By James L. Lambert
During last month’s MTV music video awards ceremony, actor Jack Black urged the audience join hands and pray to “dear dark lord Satan.” In his prayer, the actor prayed that the musicians and nominees would have “continued success in the music industry.” The awards program was broadcasted on the MTV network (a subsidiary of the Viacom Corporation) throughout the country through cable and satellite television.
The Radio City Hall audience readily acquiesced to Black’s invitation to pray to the devil. In a video posted on YouTube, Black encouraged the large audience to join in by saying, “let me see those horns.” Black, dressed in a “muscle suit” continued by asking the awards ceremony audience to join hands during “the prayer.” He then held hands with actress Leighton Meester while he prayed aloud.
Black’s prayer went basically unnoticed among most conservative and Christian media circles — perhaps because they feel the comedian was simply joking as he displayed his contempt for Christianity with the prayer invocation. In fact, this would be in keeping with Black’s previous behavior.
In 2008 he participated in a video that mocked supporters of California’s marriage initiative, Proposition 8. In commenting on that video, the Culture and Media Institute (CMI) said Black “appears as Jesus rebuking the Proposition 8 supporters while munching on a shrimp cocktail and saying that the Bible condemns eating shellfish too. Then he [Black] reels off some scripture references without context to suggest that the Bible is self-contradictory and unreliable.” In their press release (December 4, 2008), CMI described Black as “an anti-Christian bigot.”
But regardless how one looks at Black’s actions, it sets a dangerous precedent. Author and King’s College professor Paul McGuire labels Black’s prayer to Satan as “just the tip of the iceberg of what is happening in our nation and in the entertainment industry.” The conservative commentator contends that “although it is hidden, Satanism is one of the fastest growing religions in America.” He adds: “We can expect to see Satanists demanding and getting the same rights as any other religion.”
Former Hollywood actor Bob Turnbull says Black’s prayer to the “dark side” was “pathetic and sick,” which shows a “heartbreakingly sad” side of Hollywood’s culture. Turnbull, also known as the “Chaplain of Waikiki,” knows a little something about Hollywood. In the ’60s and ’70s, he appeared in a number of well-known movies (The Little People, Camelot, Tora Tora Tora) and television shows (Hawaii Five-0, Petticoat Junction, My Three Sons, Bob Hope Chrysler Theater, Another Life).
Phil Magnan, director of BFamilyAdvocates.com, chimes in, wondering if Black “really knows what he is invoking or has any idea how destructive Satanism really is.”
Radio talk-show host Jesse Lee Peterson has a different take on Black’s prayer. Peterson is instead at odds with MTV, the network that hosts the awards. He says it is “disturbing that MTV continues to promote the most degenerate and base programs on its network….[They] intentionally air programming designed to seduce and corrupt the minds and hearts of America’s youth” (like Sex…with Mom and Dad, among others).
Ultimately, McGuire believes there could be some encouraging signs to come. While he affirms his belief that the level of darkness will continue, the Christian author strongly believes that simultaneously Americans will “see a revival among the youth similar to the Jesus Movement in the ’70s.”
Evangelical author Josh McDowell takes on theology of media icon
DALLAS, Texas – “One of the mistakes that human beings make is believing that there is only one way to live, and we don’t accept that there are diverse ways to being in the world. There are many paths to what you call God.”
Oprah Winfrey said it. And when she did, many Americans who love Oprah believed it.
But one of the best-selling living evangelical authors, Josh McDowell, is not about to sit back and let that statement go unchallenged.
The result is a very unusual book – both in Christian publishing and in the world of secular literature.
It’s called “O God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality” – and its official debut in bookstores nationwide comes tomorrow.
“As Christian apologists who believe that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone, we wanted to create a fictional, almost Socratic dialogue that would cover many of the themes of Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual teaching in recent years,” explain McDowell and co-author Dave Sterrett in their preface.
Rather than pile on Oprah with Bible verses to contradict her casual New Age proclamations, McDowell and Sterrett use a fictional conversation – or series of conversations – between two female graduate students, both seeking spiritual truth.
The book comes out as Oprah is very much center stage in the news world.
Even in her bid with first lady Michelle Obama to land the Olympics in Chicago, her rhetoric took a markedly spiritual tone.
“I love this city, because this city has been so great to me and I know what this city has to offer,” Winfrey said. “My message is really about my love for Chicago and … the spirit that we know the games will bring and the spirit that the people of Chicago will bring to the Games.”
Oprah is also lending her name to a new movie about abusive relationships called “Push,” for which she serves as executive producer.
“Push” is about an abused, obese teenager in Harlem who is pregnant with her second child and how a teacher at an alternative school tries to pull her out of her situation. Winfrey was inspired by the message of hope that the book and film present.
“What struck me is that you can live in those circumstances and still find hope,” she said. “You can’t do that on your own. Somebody has to show it to you. For me it was teachers.”
It is Oprah’s compassion that lures millions to her TV show and her magazine and the persona that has become an industry. Yet, McDowell and Sterrett explore the possibility that misguided compassion, based on human emotions rather than divine revelation and God’s law, can lead people in dangerous directions.
“If you are a Christ follower who believes, as we do, that God’s salvation is only through Jesus Christ alone, perhaps this book, ‘O God,’ will inspire a conversation with friends who are asking you questions,” they write. “How do you respond when a friend at your work, school, book club, gym or family reunion brings up Oprah Winfrey’s teaching or a form of new spirituality? Do you know how to speak and live the truth in love? This book probably won’t provide every single answer to all your questions about God and spirituality, but we hope it will provide some. Our desire is that ‘O God’ will create friendly and perhaps robust spiritual conversation about the most important things in your life.”
McDowell has authored or co-authored more than 110 books with more than 35 million in print worldwide. His classic “More Than a Carpenter” alone sold more than 15 million copies.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
President Obama and the organizers of the Chicago 2016 bid for the Summer Olympic Games announced that Mr. Obama will, after all, attend the Oct. 2 meeting of the International Olympic Committee at which the 2016 host city will be chosen.
The announcement is a tremendous boost for the Chicago but, perhaps saving it from what otherwise could have been likely failure.
The heads of state for the other three bid cities – Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, and Tokyo – had all announced their plans to be in Copenhagen for the Oct. 2 vote.
As a result, Obama’s initial decision not to attend could have been fatal for Chicago’s chances. It is likely that the IOC would not have looked favorably on Obama refusing to go the extra mile for a bid from his hometown, regardless of his hectic healthcare reform schedule in Washington.
Indeed, the potentially decisive role that heads of state can play in Olympic bids was underlined four years ago, when experts suggested Paris was a shoo-in as host city for the 2012 Summer Games.
The day before the vote, French President Jacques Chirac was mocking the competition, saying “the only worse food than British food is Finnish” and “the only thing the British have done for Europe’s agriculture is mad cow disease.” Meanwhile, British Prime Minister was at the IOC meeting in Singapore lobbying the IOC heavily on London’s behalf.
The combination of the two events turned the bidding in London’s favor. Mr. Blair’s lobbying effort was so aggressive, in fact, that French organizers complained to the IOC, saying it was illegal. The charges were dismissed.
This will be the first time that a US president has gone to the IOC vote. But London 2012 established a new bar for bid cities, and Obama initial unwillingness to commit to those obligations were a great concern to Chicago 2016 organizers.
At a press summit earlier this month, they made it clear that they were doing everything in their powerto persuade Obama to go, but that the decision was ultimately his.
“We could not be more pleased to welcome President Barack Obama to our delegation for the IOC selection of the host city for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the US Olympic Committee said in a statement.
Obama’s decision leaves Chicago well placed for the Oct. 2 vote. One of the top analysts of Olympic bids rates Chicago as the second favorite to win the IOC vote, just behind Rio.
“Rio has been able to deliver an emotional edge to its appeal that the other bids haven’t matched,” said Mr. Hula in a press release. “Chicago slips to second from the June index, but still scores three points higher, helped by the addition of financial guarantees and government support.”
Biblical patriarch ID’d in hieroglyphs, depiction of cow linked to pharoah’s dream
Egyptian coins carrying the name of Joseph, the biblical patriarch whose arrival in Egypt as a slave eventually provided salvation for his family during decades of drought across the Middle East, have been discovered in a cache of antique items shelved in boxes in a museum, according to a new report.
The report from the Middle East Media Research Institute said the coins with Joseph’s name and image were found in a pile of unsorted artifacts that had been stored at the Museum of Egypt.
The newspaper said the discovery countered claims by some historians that coins were not used for trade in Egypt at the time the Bible records Joseph and the Jews migrated there.
Those historians have argued that trade was done by barter.
But researchers told the newspaper the minting dates of the coins in the cache have been matched to the period in which Joseph was recorded to be in Egypt.
“A thorough examination revealed that the coins bore the year in which they were minted and their value, or effigies of the pharaohs [who ruled] at the time of their minting. Some of the coins are from the time when Joseph lived in Egypt, and bear his name and portrait,” said the newspaper report.
The report carried an explanation of the discovery by a team involving researcher Sa’id Muhammad Thabet:
“Studies by Dr. Thabet’s team have revealed that what most archeologists took for a kind of charm, and others took for an ornament or adornment, is actually a coin. Several [facts led them to this conclusion]: first, [the fact that] many such coins have been found at various [archeological sites], and also [the fact that] they are round or oval in shape, and have two faces: one with an inscription, called the inscribed face, and one with an image, called the engraved face – just like the coins we use today,” said the report.
The newspaper called the find “unprecedented” and said, “The researchers discovered the coins when they sifted through thousands of small archeological artifacts stored in [the vaults of] the Museum of Egypt.”
The Egyptian newspaper noted that the Quran indicates clearly “that coins were used in Egypt in the time of Joseph.”
The report continued, “Research team head Dr. Sa’id Muhammad Thabet said that during his archeological research on the Prophet Joseph, he had discovered in the vaults of the [Egyptian] Antiquities Authority and of the National Museum many charms from various eras before and after the period of Joseph, including one that bore his effigy as the minister of the treasury in the Egyptian pharaoh’s court…”
The report continued, “According to Dr. Thabet, his studies are based on publications about the Third Dynasty, one of which states that the Egyptian coin of the time was called a deben and was worth one-fourth of a gram of gold. This coin is mentioned in a letter by a man named Thot-Nehet, a royal inspector of the Nile bridges. In letters to his son, he mentioned leasing lands in return for deben-coins and agricultural produce.”
The report explained that other texts from the Third, Sixth and Twelfth Dynasties also talk about coins.
“The archeological finding is also based on the fact that the inscribed face bore the name of Egypt, a date, and a value, while the engraved face bore the name and image of one of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs or gods, or else a symbol connected with these. Another telling fact is that the coins come in different sizes and are made of different materials, including ivory, precious stones, copper, silver, gold, etc.” the newspaper reported.
The museum research uncovered 500 of the coins “carelessly” stored in boxes.
One even had the image of a cow “symbolizing Pharaoh‘s dream about the seven fat cows and seven lean cows, and the seven green stalks of grain and seven dry talks of grain,” the report said.
“Joseph’s name appears twice on this coin, written in hieroglyphs: once the original name, Joseph, and once his Egyptian name, Saba Sabani, which was given to him by Pharaoh when he became treasurer. There is also an image of Joseph, who was part of the Egyptian administration at the time,” the report said.
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16
We have entered into a time of crisis and that crisis has spread around the world. I am besieged by many pastors from many countries for help, but there is little to help them with. This crisis has been coming for a long time now, and it is just beginning to break out onto the surface of our lives. I would like to share with you my response to one of those pastors in Africa:
We are in a time that is much like the time when Elijah was hidden by the widow of Zarepath, who was a picture of the Church. There was nothing left in the barrel other than enough for a last meal before they starved to death. And yet the Lord preserved her and her son through the famine because of their faithfulness to His prophet.
We have brought this famine upon ourselves because, just like the Israelites, we have forsaken the true Gospel for a golden calf that was more to our liking. He has taken that golden calf away, and we are left with the empty promises of a false Gospel based on the illusions of prosperity and wealth, on blessings that are based on wishful thinking, and on a love that is defined only by our hope for an excuse to get away with worldliness and sin. We are reaping what we have sown.
While I scrape together something to send you, please remember that I have always warned the ministers in Africa who thought they had obtained a position of honor rather than a ministry of selfless humility. That mode of thinking is endemic in Africa. It’s as if there is such a lust for personal recognition and a desire to become tribal chieftains that they have forgotten what the Lord really called them for – to serve, not to be served. It is evident in how they adorn themselves with their titles. Everyone calls themselves a pastor, they are full of apostles, and everyone is striving to attach the title of bishop or prophet to the front of their name.
So where are all these great and mighty powerhouses of God now? Like cockroaches, they are scurrying for cover. Where are all the great promises they have given us now? They are empty milk cans with holes punctured throughout the bottom of the can. Where are all their prophesies of prosperity and blessings now? They have dissipated like wisps of empty clouds before the wind of their own vanity. The Grace of God is not cheap, and the blessings of God are not bestowed upon a lukewarm, anemic pretention of righteousness.
You remember that I warned everyone of a coming storm, that the dark clouds of war are on the way. I pleaded with congregation after congregation to dive deeply into the Word of God and to sink their roots in deep or they would be blown away in the storm. How many bobbed their heads up and down in an superficial acknowledgement! They believed that I was a prophet, but they didn’t take my words to heart – and I told them right to their face that that’s exactly what they would do. And now we are beginning to see those spoken words take on a harsh substance.
This is not the storm yet. This is just the winds that precede it. The worst is yet to come.
And still, they refuse to hearken, clinging instead to a desperate hope that the empty promises of blessings will come to an unbroken, unrepentant church whose hope is based on wishful thinking rather than righteousness. We would so much rather listen to the songs of false prophets about a loving “Daddy, than face the stark realities of the fear of God.
Today I was reading Ephesians, and stopped at the scripture in chapter 4: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” The word “sleight” actually refers to a gambling die. We throw the dice each time we lean into the easy “feel good” messages we turn to on the radio and TV, and the Christian Self-Help books we rush to for an easy solution. Oh, how we hope we can find an quick answer to our plight by taking the easy way out and skirting around the hard messages of repentance and righteousness that is found in the Bible!
And by doing so, we throw the dice and gamble with our souls by lending our ears to some new thing- ANYTHING but the Fear of God. Instead of going up the mountain to face God like Moses did, we will pay our $19.95 to anyone that will convince us of an easier way. And we end up creating gods in our own image that will allow us to skirt the call to repentance.
But the great stone wheel of Judgment continues to roll in spite of our objections to a critical Gospel that we try desperately to avoid. We thought that the calm before the storm was our reprieve, but the storm clouds are gathering, and now we feel the winds that are beginning to blow.
The lush fields that Ahab looked to when Elijah first brought his message of judgment have withered to a brown and dusty land of drought. We have done our best to put away the prophets that stood for that old fashioned Gospel in an attempt to replace them with the prophets of Baal that promise rain, and we seek to persecute the prophet that proclaimed these warnings to us, but it is not the words of the prophet that have brought this upon us – it is our own failure to fear God.
We have an appointment on the top of Mount Carmel, and judgment will fall before it begins to rain.
For prayer request or support,
“Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.” I Kings 18:37
Can the United States of America as we know it crumble from within in just a few short years?
The stunning possibility is more than just a dream to some enemies of the greatest nation on Earth. It is a fast-becoming probability. “We all know about terrorism. This is the war you don’t know about,” declares “The Third Jihad,” an eye-opening movie now available on DVD.
“It’s an entire movement, and the idea of it is hatred for our way of life,” says former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.” Featured in the DVD are clips of Muslim leaders in the U.S., including Abdul Alim Musa, an imam in Washington D.C., who boldly states, “On our website we talk about the Islamic State of North America by 2050.”
“The Third Jihad,” narrated by devout Muslim American Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, opens with the following statement: “This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are radical. This film is about them.”
In contrast to the use of “violent jihad” and terror to instill fear in “non-believers,” “The Third Jihad” introduces the concept of “cultural jihad” as a means to infiltrate and undermine our society from within.
Gospel superstar Andrae Crouch and his twin sister, Sandra, confirm meeting with Michael Jackson and praying and singing with him weeks before his death.
Jackson, raised as a member of the Jehovah’s Witness sect and reportedly a convert to Islam last year, sought out the Crouches for inspiration for his upcoming tour, for which he was unprepared, according to a report in Assist News Service.
But while some blogs have reported that meeting led to a spiritual conversion by Jackson, the Crouches say they are not certain.
“Not sure where that came from,” said Sandra Crouch on her Facebook page. “We loved and respected Michael and will continue to pray for his family. All the extra is not from us.”
A spokesman for the Crouches had this to add: “Andrae and Sandra did in fact visit with Michael Jackson two times, once at the recording studio, and once at his home in the last two months, as recently as three weeks ago, asking for prayer concerning the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and how he could make his music more ‘spiritual.’ So Andrae and Sandra explained to him about the anointing and about Jesus. He wanted to know what makes your hands go up, and makes you ‘come out of yourself,’ and what gives a ‘spirituality’ to the music? He then requested to hear his favorite song that he loves and wanted the(m) to sing to him, so they … joined hands and sang together, and he said, ‘It was beautiful.’ He first heard it in New York, and loved it and wanted it on tape. He had the engineer tape the song sang to him by Andrae and Sandra. He definitely had an encounter with them.”
The Crouch spokesman said: “He did NOT reject Jesus or the prayer when (we) prayed, and gladly joined in prayer. He usually doesn’t touch anybody, but he touched them, and held their hands in a circle as they sang and prayed. There was NO actual ‘sinners prayer’ however, but they did talk and pray about Jesus and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. They also told him, ‘Michael, we consider you as our son,’ and he said, ‘Yes, yes, yes’ and gave him his latest music on a CD, and he told him, ‘Andrae I trust you with this,’ and gave him CDs of 2 songs … unpublished, beautiful music.”