Posts Tagged With: Christian hypocrisy

Israel and Gaza at War

Three years ago I had the privilege of visiting Israel and the West Bank.

It is a fantastic land full of the world’s most important history, and having visited I will never be the same. As an American Christian, I also must say I will never understand the mindset of the Jews and Muslims in the land of Israel.To be clear, I believe Israel has the right of a nation to defend her citizens against legitimate threats. Rocket attacks from nearby is a legitimate threat.

I have been following the Twitter account of the Israeli Defense Forces, and they make it out to be like they are on a humanitarian mission in the dropping of bombs all over Gaza City – and in their minds they may be. The Palestinians don’t see it that way. If Hamas truly is hiding their weapons and personnel nearby schools, hospitals, and residences, then they are bringing the carnage upon their own people. Knowing a little about the mindset of Islam, there is little value placed on human life in comparison with the urgency of Jihad.

So what is to be our worldview conclusion as we watch this war?

Probably sympathy and grieving for both sides, but for slightly different reasons. We are to sympathize and pray for Israel in their spiritual darkness. They missed their Messiah now almost 20 centuries ago. They need to be grafted back into the tree of Abraham and the blessings of covenant with God. In their land today, they are surrounded by enemies and have nothing except military might. They need the good news of the risen Messiah! Pray for our Israeli friends (both Jew and Arab).

For the Arabs, it’s got to be a hellish life in the Gaza Strip. It is poor, isolated, and infested with terrorists. The population there is at the mercy of a big, angry military in Israel, and a small, crazy band of terrorists within them. There is a sizable Christian community within the borders of Gaza as well – they need our prayers and love. Who are we to condemn these fellow humans in any way? I am rarely more ashamed of American evangelicals than when I hear ignorant war talk about beating down and/or wiping out the Palestinians. Have the heart of Christ, friends, and pray for both sides.

Both people groups are made in God’s image; the lost Muslims in Gaza who are dying and entering God’s presence without a mediator, and the lost Jews who are lording their military might in paranoid fits – as is understandable in light of the, you know, whole thing 70 years ago in Europe where 6 million of them were murdered… but neither side is “on God’s side” here, friends. There is only a broken, cursed human order of nations which cries out for redemption.

For every people group, there is only one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, and there is only one hope for all of war-impoverished humanity: the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And by the way, for Christians there is only one concern in any turmoil between nations: that the gospel and glory of Jesus Christ be made known. Rooting for Israel to flatten and destroy the Palestinians is the quickest way to dishonor and conceal the glory and gospel of Christ. I hope each of Christ’s sheep is praying for the peace and redemption of all people in this conflict.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Enough on Christian Hypocrisy

For three months I’ve blogged about Christian hypocrisy, with so much more that could be said. I had only planned on writing on this for about a month, but the lazy, long summer has had me blogging only intermittently. Some of the topics, like the one on the Prosperity Heresy, gained a good number of readers and traffic, while certain other posts got almost no traffic, leaving me thinking I might as well have written about the amazing process of screen door manufacturing.

But for now I’m going to move on from this topic. I can summarize most or all of these posts by a single thesis statement: Christian hypocrisy is present in our world for the most part because most people called Christians have never been born again; yet because of the private, personal nature of regeneration and the difficulty in discerning such from the outside, their actions unfortunately still reflect on Christ and His Church. (I’ll take a quick break while you read that over).

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

When the gospel is changed or lost Christianity is perverted into a false religion, no better than Buddhism, Oprahism, or Islam. While still retaining the appearance and credibility of the truth, false Christianities do more damage to the honor and glory of Christ Jesus than almost anything else.

Almost, I say, because as much as I hate to admit it, the truly born-again, Spirit-filled believers in this world are also a part of the stumbling block of Christian hypocrisy – if not the worst. Yet when we mess up and play the hypocrite, we have a golden opportunity to make much of Christ crucified for our sin, buried, and risen on the third day for our justification. Who can bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies!

We cannot stop the false Christians in our world from defaming Christ with their actions and words, but for us who are truly His, we can use our own hypocrisy as opportunity to lift Him up high as the bearer of our shame, the friend of sinners, the forgiver of imbecilic rebels like us. Let’s not lose an opportunity to make much of Jesus Christ, cosmic King. With much more to say, I rest…

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

 

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Of NASCAR and Nukes: What of Islam?

Americans, broadly speaking as a culture, tip-toe like chubby Athenians at the Old Country Buffet of news and philosophy. We fill our plates with some CNN, a bit of Fox News, a spoonful of Rush Limbaugh, NPR, and for dessert whatever the latest rage is on The New York Times best-seller list. We’re airport news-stand learners.

The once great pillars of intellectual and theological depth in our colleges and churches have been traded for “if it feels good do it” – just ask the average Vanderbilt University senior some basic questions about their world, or the average evangelical to articulate a Christian worldview.

Sex with every other person on campus? Yes, please! Detailed statistics on every member of the Boston Red Sox for the past 58 years? Oh my, yes! Critical thought and a mature understanding of society and life? Well, I do read Time at the doctor’s office… whenever NASCAR isn’t on the TV in the corner.

This ought not to be so for Americans – a once educated and formidable people.

Yet this ought not to be so for Christians, especially. We are entertained to death, and frankly, we have little patience to wade in above our ankles when it comes to the difficult work of analyzing and understanding our world and the doctrine of Scripture. It’s all too confusing and crazy – who can keep up with it all? Let’s keep things light!

I like Budweiser!

The Bachelorette!

Obamney!

Facing Koranic, Radical Islam

What does this general unwillingness (or inability) to think critically look like when we examine the relationship between the average American and the bogey-man of radical Islam? Ugly. It’s not a simple challenge.

On the one hand the left wing types generally give radical Islam something of a pass. They are too busy today in their own jihad against Christianity in the West to worry about their kids being beheaded tomorrow.

On the other hand, the right wing types many times would deal with the problem through neo-colonial shock and awe. We see too often the broad-brushing of the Middle East as “the bad guys” so that we can then send our overpriced firepower “over there” to keep us safe “over here.” This is pure Bull-oney, blind pragmatism, and a failed foreign policy, empirically – not to mention at best quasi-constitutional.

Yet Christ’s people ought not to make sense to this secular left-right paradigm. We ought not to be either coddling Islam as if it were an equally valid expression of culture, nor should we be trying to make friends and influence people through deadly drone strikes at Afghani wedding parties.

The Military Church

So what are we doing in evangelicalism? I remember a year or two after we invaded Iraq again, my church brought in a member of the Israeli Mossad pretending to be a Christian convert from Judaism. He preached for an hour about Israel’s special right to be protected by the United States, and very much praised the military, our President, and us churchlings for our unquestioning support of all things war+Israel. After all, we know that God is on our side, right?

I was mortified, but not because of him. Him I could explain. It was the atmosphere of “us vs. them” in the church which made me sick. An atmosphere which mimics the right-wingers on talk radio which barely disguise their most patriotic desire to see the Middle-East dealt with by nuclear glass parking-lot creation.

Out with the Great Commission and up with the conquest of the Muslims! I’m surprised there wasn’t an Army recruiter in the lobby afterwards.

And isn’t this the atmosphere in conservative evangelical churches throughout the land? We salute the new-Christ made in the image of Uncle Sam, and turn to catch a few hours of Sports Center.

What of the wars, though? America has bombed, subverted, toppled, and destroyed Muslim countries for 70 years now – how’s that going for us?

Most of us have also heard the frantic reports of Islam taking over western Europe by sheer breeding capacity. The average Muslim family in western Europe has an average of over 6 children, while the natives top out at about 1.8. Within 40-50 years at this rate, Europe will be a brown, Muslim continent.

I say good. What’s the matter with that? God will make His Church in the beautiful brown and olive people of Europe and dispose of the spoiled, death-loving whites. And what about it? We’ve squandered our heritage as a Christian culture (speaking of the west in general), and we’re dying out accordingly.

Meanwhile today, Muslim countries are the least evangelized in the world. We would much rather send our teenagers on a short-term missions trip to the Bahamas than lose their lives for Christ in Karachi.

So let me see… we will send Americans to Muslim lands as long as they are authorized to kill them to keep us safe over here, but when it comes to missionaries who are authorized to be killed for the sake of the elect, we can’t get volunteers. Well, I shouldn’t say no volunteers. Those who study the numbers report about 1 evangelical missionary for every 1,000,000 Muslims in the world.

Hypocrisy.

And it stems from an ignorance of Scripture. An ignorance of the Author of the Scripture and what He demands. An ignorance of Church history and all that has happened in the cause of Christ. An ignorance of how the world works. A messed-up, self-esteem centered public education system. An unwillingness to interpret the cosmos according to the lens of Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and resurrected for the salvation of Muslims who might cut your head off.

The Biblical Church

…obeying the Lord Jesus Christ for 1,980+ years.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NKJV)

…making every effort in prayer, in fasting, in sacrifice to bring the gospel to our Muslim neighbors, not settling for simplistic “us vs. them” tribal mentalities. Not settling for MSNBC and Fox as our source of worldview. Not settling for church gatherings which look entirely like ourselves – but instead loving some ethnic flavor in the mix.

Let’s be different. Let’s be biblical. Let’s step out of political Christendom and into Christianity. Let’s love those wild sons of Ishmael and give them Christ. Let’s refuse to be understood by the left-right politics in America. Let’s love like Christ.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Comparative Religions, Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wretched TV Video Clip: Christianity Responsible for War and Violence?

Good wrap-up to our posts on the Crusades.

Happy interpreting!

-Justin

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, The Message of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Wants You Really Filthy Rich!

…or not.

???

One of the most popular teachings (under the Christian banner) in the world right now is that God wants you to be rich and healthy.

Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer. You know them.

T.D. Jakes, Jesse Duplantis, Brian Houston of Hillsong. You’ve even liked them.

From Africa to Atlanta to Australia, there is no shortage of preachers willing to tell you that God wants you filthy rich – and to just give a “seed” offering to the ministry so that God can bless you with wealth.

I can hardly think of a more blasphemous, hypocritical teaching. Jesus was poor, His followers were despised and martyred, His people around the earth today are in desperate need every hour, but these snake-oil salesmen would have us believe that’s all just a lack of faith or an illusion we can overcome.

The idea is that God became flesh in order to fulfill all your dreams of personal accomplishment. We’re kingdom people, right?

Right. But what is the kingdom right now? Is it absolute victory over the effects of sin in the world? If you’re listening to voices like T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, or watching TBN, then you probably believe that God is interested in filling your bank account and self-esteem meter to the max.

But what does it mean to be a Christian? It means following Christ in good times and bad… and if you’re following Him faithfully, it’ll probably turn bad in this life.

Yet watch here as T.D. Jakes tells us that if we will just give him our money, that then God will fill our lives with everything we want (quid pro quo/buy your miracle):

Is that Christianity, or is it Christian hypocrisy?

I’d like T.D. Jakes to take Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn over to North Korea to tell the tens of thousands of Christ’s sheep and their families who are locked up in prison camps being starved to death for their faith in Christ that they just don’t have enough faith to be rich and healthy like them.

Go on T.D. Jakes, tell them to have more faith.

As a matter of fact, so much has been written on this subject that I feel no need to go much further in my analysis. In interpreting this cosmos, I see an horrific barrier to true faith in Christ and true spiritual health, and it is the pervasiveness of these lies which are rooted in the love of money… and we know about the love of money, right?

1 Timothy 6:6-10

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (NKJV)

How much clearer could it be? You may become rich in this life – but it is for God’s glory and the good of others before yourself… But in a nation built on the pursuit of happiness, is it any wonder these ear-ticklers have gained the platform and deceived the lustful people?

Here are some tremendous resources to learn about this love of money heresy which makes Christ look like a fool:

John Piper hits it out of the park as usual.

T.D. Jakes articles to clarify his spiritual pedigree.

C3 Church Watch which documents the doings of heretic Phil Pringle and his prosperity wealth message.

Apprising Ministries wants to keep you aware of the multitude of spiritual dangers out there.

Let Us Reason handles the truth about Pastor Creflo Dollar.

The Christian Post article about TBN’s recent financial scandals.

And we could go on and on… be content with what you have – Jesus promised two things to His people: eternal life in the forgiveness of sins, and trouble/suffering/persecution/sorrows in this life.

Think about it.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Christians, Republicans, and the Obamacare Ruling

It was argued in 1988 when we elected Bush Sr., again in ’92, ’96, ’00 with Bush Jr., in ’04 even more vigorously for Bush Jr. part II, in ’08 with lizard-breath liberal McCain, and although I haven’t tuned in this time, I’m sure it is still being bandied about for Romney.

Christians wringing their hands, begging us to all get behind the Republican candidate because “at the very least, we’ll get our Supreme Court nominees on the bench.

It’s sort of worked out with Clarence Thomas. Alito might be OK. But after today with Chief Justice Roberts – he who was hailed by Christians and conservatives as a right-wing, trustworthy man ‘o God – are we finally disabused of the notion that there is any good reason to elect these liberal, two-faced Republicans to the presidency?

This is not a politics blog, and I am not trying to delve into politics here. I am trying to take this opportunity to remind my fellow Constitutionalists, conservatives, and Christians that you can tell a tree by its fruit. There was really only one candidate in this race which has shown conservative principal, character, and integrity over his career. He was laughed off again by most conservatives – as they joined in the cynical, secular attitude of the MSNBC/MSM crowd. Suicidally, we picked Romney who is probably left of LBJ.

I hope some of you will think long and hard about voting for Romney based on a prayer that he might do a few of the things he has promised.

I hope even moreso that this nation will have an awakening to just how far down we have fallen, and tremble at the judgment of God falling on us. Today is the day to stop placing our faith in the professional criminals we call Republicans. Today is the day to turn in repentance to the mercy and help of Almighty God – He who the Founders invoked as our only hope, and that without blushing.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Poem: Hemlock Lake

My feet like a trunk – solid, rooted, weighty.

Stillness to the south. Silver flashes below the surface.

Just a touch of wind to shift the strands of hair

Over my easy brow

Like a canopy of oak leaves just after they’ve turned for autumn.

No need to move now. The silence is swarming, health is abounding…

This old tree of me, rough-grown

Over years in Valhalla-esque green serenity.

Hemlock’s waters feed me.

God’s finger-shaped puddle.

Chemical clarity, H2O purity, potable consistency

Even in 2012.

Shielded from filth

Like 4 year-old Bobby is from knowing Mommy and Dad are Santa’s hands…

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It’s not consistent for those who follow Christ to abuse the earth and/or support people who would do so. It’s hypocrisy to be careless about the creation while being care-full about the Creator.

Don’t we all want to hand our children and grandchildren a lovely place to live and raise families?

As Christians, we ought to recognize that when we care for the earth, we are reflecting the character of God in whose image we are made. We are to subdue the earth, yes, but of course that means we are to use it for our benefit – never to abuse it.

Don’t let socialists and liberals steal our mantle of being environmentalists. It is hypocrisy to love Jesus and yet waste the good gifts He has given us in nature.

We, the followers of Christ Jesus (who created every beautiful atom and molecule), ought to celebrate the earth, preserve its beauty and purity, and oppose anyone who would sully it by greed and indifference.

After all, those of us who belong to Jesus and have been granted meekness… “will inherit the earth.” Let’s set the example of being good stewards of the planet.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Artistic Creations, Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Said in One Breath: Religious Pride is the Worst

Wouldn’t you rather have to deal with an angry alcoholic IRS agent as a neighbor rather than a well-dressed, coiffed, slick religious leader who kills people with lies and hypocrisy? Jesus did.

Don’t be a religious punk.

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Series on Christian Hypocrisy-Halfway Point

Interpreting the Cosmos is a destination where hopefully you hear a voice of love and discernment as I address our world through the lens of God’s Word the Bible. My recent series on Christian Hypocrisy has been a necessary piece of what it means to be a truth loving Christian in 2012 America. We must address hypocrisy in the Church. We must confess our sins and ask God for repentance for ourselves as individuals, and also our culture as a whole.

I pray you all receive the blessings of the Holy Spirit as we continue with this series for about another month.

Please enjoy our posts from this series:

Christian Hypocrisy: Cancer in the Body

Adulterous Pastors: Extreme Hypocrisy Damage

Persecution and the Absolute Carnival of Narcissism in the Church

Great Commission Gone to the Dogs

Homosexuals and Idiocy in the Name of Jesus

Plane Crash God Laughs…?

The Real Hypocrisy: Guest Post by Dr. Bob Froese

The Church and the Hypocrite

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

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The Real Hypocrisy: Guest Post by Dr. Bob Froese

It is with great joy that I am introducing my first guest writer to Interpreting the Cosmos; Pastor Bob Froese of Faith Fellowship Church in Clarence, NY. Bob is a brother in Christ who labors faithfully in the local church week in and week out; preaching the Word, counseling the flock, and providing an example of a bold yet humble, amiable, loving pastor with a backbone of steel. His is a brand of Christian manhood which most evangelical churches in America sorely need and lack.

Although I live far away, when I visit I have benefited greatly from the ministry at Faith Fellowship Church – my family’s local church. There will be no silliness or flippancy at FFC, but rather true preaching of the Word of God, counseling which deals with sin and rebuilds lives on the only sure foundation, and fellowship in the true worship of Jesus Christ. I could go on, but lastly I know Bob would want me to say that anything good at FFC or in his life is only due to Christ, from Christ, and for the glory of Christ. This guest post is the honorable 50th on this young blog – and it goes to the voice of a faithful local church pastor in whom the Holy Spirit works the image of Christ Jesus. Take it away, brother.

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What is the Real Hypocrisy?

Bill met her in the car at lunch. He’d never known such excitement – this was a woman who would make him happy. And so he made a choice, which ultimately offended God who hates adultery and divorce, and broke the heart of his deserted wife.

Oh, you say, I see that all day long. Just like Mellancamp sang: Ain’t this America, land of the free? And what does it have to do with hypocrisy?

Bill’s response when confronted was, “At least this is honesty, this is truth.”

Bill defined a lack of hypocrisy as the freedom to do whatever he wanted, as long as he wanted to do it. Desire had become his standard for truth. If he didn’t achieve his over-riding desire, he was hypocritical, play-acting.

For many, the definition of hypocrisy defies an absolute standard of truth outside of and apart from self. Existentialism rules and reigns. “I want it….that settles it.” Even in the church, we quickly turn to subtle variations of hypocrisy. A popular bumper sticker reads “God said it…I believe it…that settles it”. In this too, existentialism is alive and well. Take out the “I believe it,” and you have an absolute statement.

Joe studied psychology in university. He learned that he suffers from depression, and as a good student, he worked with a psychiatrist to find the best prescription to keep him functioning.  Recently God saved him, and now he enjoys church and reading the Bible, but when things get bad, he calls his doctor for the prescription that gives him a vacation from dealing with problems. He doesn’t believe God’s Word holds what he needs.

Joe thinks, “God might have said it, but unless I believe it, it doesn’t settle it.” His life reveals a mentality strongly rooted in modern relativism. Relativism pronounces ethical truth as dependent on the individual or group holding that truth, defying any absolute standard. Relativism accepts an eclectic manner of prescribing hope for intrapersonal and interpersonal struggles, from troubled inner responses to problematic interactive responses.

Relativism that intertwines religion and psychology fed Joe’s reaction when Joe’s biblical counselor called him to learn to think biblically (2 Corinthians 10:5). He responded with, “You must be taking God’s Word out of context. I’ve been to school and studied psychology, and I’ve learned that I have a diseased mind which cannot take thoughts captive.”

What’s our reply?  Is it: “Ah, yes. Pardon me. I hadn’t known. Here I’ve been fiddling with something less than the highest truth. Why don’t you help me.”?  Absolutely not!  The Bible supports its own identity as the source, indeed, the only source, of absolute truth. A true Christian will always fall in line with God’s word. We dare not teach that “God said it…I believe it…that settles it”, but rather that “God said it. That settles it.”  We must stand behind Psalm 119:160, “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” Our job is to affirm God’s word as the voice of God to us today, to bring God’s solutions to bear in the face of the difficulties.

A discussion of hypocrisy, absolute truth, existentialism, and relativism quickly raises the question of Scriptural sufficiency/authority. Do we truly deny that there are other voices of God (“truths”) other than God’s Word?  Do we bend the knee to relativism when the “other voice” is the voice of real life experience? Or the voice of academia? (Not to deny the necessity of excellence, Christians must embrace scholarly exposition in order to rise above the other voices. We must rightly divide God’s Word!)

The culture in which we live espouses a view that truth is relative, and therefore kernels of truth can be found in other different systems of belief. However, relativism, even from a wordly and philosophical standpoint, is self-refuting! The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has this to say about relativism:

“The claim that truth is relative is, by the relativist’s own lights, only true relative to some frameworks and false relative to others. Hence, it is argued, the relativist cannot account for the status of his own claims…truth is the Achilles’ heel of relativism…many philosophers have agreed that the view is self-contradictory or self-refuting…It is quicksand all the way down. The metastasis is total. The meltdown is complete.”[1]

Dare we combine truth with error? We are more than fools if we do.

It’s all the same different same up is down is blue!

More importantly, God has given us very clear words on relativism (that says truth can arise from various sources) and religious eclecticism (that says truths can be combined). God’s word gives a scathing response to false prophets who claim to speak truth, when in fact they speak lies. In Jeremiah 23:31, the living God says “‘Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,’ says the Lord, ‘who steal My words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets,’ says the Lord, ‘who use their tongues and say “He says.”’

God gives us very clear teaching on the absolute truth of His Word. His Word is the tool to discern what’s at root of heart issues (Hebrews 4:12). His Word is the paradigm for courage and success (Joshua 1:8-9).  His Word equips us when used in relevant ways (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  His great and precious promises provide everything we need to respond to intrapersonal (inner man) and interpersonal (in relating to mankind) issues (2 Peter 1:3-4).

When we cry “hypocrisy” to those who make choices based on desires, we will face opposition. When we cry “hypocrisy” to those who claim other voices of God (“truths”) besides God’s Word, we will face opposition. We dare not waver. Deny systems that give credibility to other voices as truth. Faithfully hold up God’s word in preaching and practice. Not to do so is the real hypocrisy.


[1]  Swoyer, Chris, “Relativism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/relativism/&gt;.

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Dr. Bob  Froese serves as Sr. Pastor of Faith Fellowship Church, Clarence NY where he and his wife Ruth oversee a Biblical Counseling Center, & also serve as NY State Coordinators for International Association of Biblical Counselors.

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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