Tuesday, April 22, 2014

THE OLSTEENIFICATION OF AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY

Hank Hanegraaf of The Bible Answer Man radio show has done a brave thing. He's dared to challenge the cultic teaching of such Christian megastars as Joel Olsteen, Joyce Meyer, and Joseph Prince. Why? Because life and truth matter.

These three superstars of evangelical Christianity teach that you can create your own reality by speaking things into existence. If you want a big house, just positively confess it and you'll get it. Likewise, when you negatively confess something, you attract tragedy to yourself. This is a reprehensible recipe for the destruction of naive Christians' faith. When disaster does strike, the poor victim is to blame. This results in that person rejecting Christianity through having the wrong idea about who God is.

I fell for the same satanic nonsense more than forty years ago. Elders at the church kept nagging me to get healed and to keep my faith up. When my eyes weren't healed but grew worse, I turned my back on the heavenly Father for nine years. I eventually realized that it was that diabolical word of faith nonsense that separated me from my Lord and Saviour.

In addition to preaching the dangerous doctrine of the Word Faith movement, these hugely-popular preachers demote God to the status of a mere miracle-vending machine and elevate humans to the status of God.  Just as in Genesis chapter three, these people are convincing gullible believers that they will be as God. If that isn't blasphemy, I don't know what is.

Having read through the Bible more than seventeen times, I can't help but notice that not everybody who was faithful to the Lord lived in luxury. In fact, Hebrews chapter eleven paints an entirely different picture. From Abel to the first-century Christians, those who followed God often suffered or died for their beliefs. Did they let a negative word slip and doom themselves. No way did they ever do that! God's providence worked through their persecution to temper their faith and reprove the world. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "And we are conscious that all things are working together for good to those who have love for God, and have been marked out by his purpose."

So if you hear some preacher saying you can have whatever you want and that this could be your best life now, run for your eternal life. Satan wants people to trust in material possessions and physical health rather than trusting whole-heartedly in the providential care of the heavenly Father. Don't let these false shepherds lure you with promises of power and authority over your circumstances. They will have to answer for the lives they ruined at the day of judgement.

The Olsteenification of American Christianity is available from the equip.org site in paperback and audio version, the latter being read by the author, Hank Hanegraaff. This book will open your spiritual eyes to the wicked plans of Word Faith preachers as well as inform you of the biblical truth.

How I Was Razed would make an excellent companion book to The Olsteenification of American Christianity. It shows how cruel the elders of an aberrant church were to disabled folks and how God rescued me from their evil influence. Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers for more.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

THE EASTER BUNNY HOLOCAUST

Am I being melodramatic when I describe the annual sales of under-aged rabbits to unprepared people as a holocaust? I don't believe so. Having adopted many cast-off bunnies from families who didn't want them anymore, I feel that I'm right.

Even my family succumbed to the allure of having a cute bunny. During April of 1968, my mom and I did some shopping at Woodward's department store. A fenced-in table attracted our attention. Six or eight tan-coloured rabbits regarded us curiously through the chicken wire as we strolled up to their enclosure. "Let's get one for Diane," Mom exclaimed. "Which one of them do you want?" I chose a lighter blond coloured rabbit. A store clerk put her into a cardboard box with holes punched in it and we smuggled our new pet home on the Greyhound bus.

My sister was delighted with our new bunny at first. As time passed however, both of us tired of her. She was eventually consigned to a lonely hutch in the back yard. That poor animal died during summer due to our ignorance.

For some perverse reason, people feel compelled to tell me their dead rabbit stories. I've heard of dogs attacking the bunny, "it" getting sick and dying, or even worse. The fact that a domesticated creature with emotions and feelings died or was left to fend for itself in parks doesn't impinge on their consciences.

Doubtless people would feel differently if they knew how to care for house rabbits and realized what delightful companions they can be. Since 1996 when I found out about the House Rabbit Society, I have shared my home with quite a few delightful bunnies. From the incredibly-curious Gideon to my present rabbit, Deborah, I've felt such a close bond to my long-eared friends. They also repaid me with their affection and cute antics.

Because of the rampant ignorance regarding rabbits and the tricks some breeders resort to, I wrote When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies. It shows how each rabbit who entered my care changed from a shy fur ball to a charming and intelligent creature. By letting them be themselves, I've had many happy years of companionship with each of them. Check my Bruce Atchison's books page for more about this marvelous memoir.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

HOW TO STOP BEING A ZOMBIE

Believe it or not, many of the people in this world today are zombies. Worse yet, they don't know that they don't know that they are. Fortunately, there is a way to become unzombied, if there is such a word.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus that "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:" Unless a person is born again, as Jesus told Nicodemus, they can't see the kingdom of heaven. This means that non-Christians are dead to the spiritual truth of God and therefore need to be born of the spirit.

All this means that people aren't truly alive without becoming adopted into the family of Christ. All the good works in the world won't get people to heaven because they are done with wrong, often self-centered, motives.

Because Christ was raised from the dead physically, we who believe in him also have the assurance of physical resurrection. But first we need to be made alive spiritually. By repenting of our sins and surrendering our lives to Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit. This third person of the Godhead helps us understand the Bible and become steadily more like Christ. This process is called sanctification.

God has made the good news, called the gospel, so easy that even a child can understand it. Yet theologians spend their lives plumbing the depths of this wonderful offer from the Lord. If you wish to be made alive spiritually, admit to God in prayer that you're a sinner and you need saving from the eternal death sentence all humanity inherited from Adam and Eve. Jesus said he would never turn away anybody who came to him and asked for forgiveness.

The next step is to find a church where the pastor teaches from the Bible and explains what each verse means in context with the rest of Scripture. Since so many churches have ministers who would rather give moral advice than explain what God has said, it's a good idea to pray for help in finding a well-balanced church.

I wish I had known all of this when I surrendered my life to Christ at a home-based vacation Bible school in 1969. Because nobody helped me understand my new life, I ended up in a cultic house church. I wrote how the Lord led me to freedom in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. You can find out more about this wonderful story at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"WHAT DID YOU DO, TAKE MUSIC LESSONS?"

Electronic music has been my passion for decades. The sound of analogue synthesizers evokes a sense of wonder in my soul. Being so moved by that futuristic sound, I purchased two electronic keyboards and a second-hand Realistic MG-1 synthesizer. With the help of an electronic music program host's four-track cassette recorder, I composed about six hours of tunes.

During the spring of 1989, I embarked on a project I called Seventeen Sites. Each track was named after an airport in Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories of Canada. Having no CD-R burner and having a CD made being so expensive, I recorded copies onto cassette tapes.

In the past, some of my friends complained that my music was repetitive and simplistic. I decided to strive for a melodic sound rather than only for a unique effect. The results astonished my friends, especially a DJ at CJSR, the local university radio station, named Gene Kosowan.

"What did you do, take music lessons?" he asked after hearing the tape. "This music is so much better than your other stuff."

I felt amazed that he was so impressed with my latest work. But an even bigger surprise came in July When a track from Seventeen Sites called "Hay River soared to the top of the weekly music chart. "You're number one," Gene announced over the phone to me one evening. I didn't understand what he meant until he explained that my tune was at the top of the chart that week. I had copied the tune to a C-10 cassette, never suspecting it would become so popular.

Twenty-five years later, I uploaded some of these tracks to SoundCloud, along with others that I recorded over the years. My hope is to create YouTube videos for these tunes using stock photos of the various places which each track is named for.

These days, I'm busily promoting my new book called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. People need to be on their guard when listening to persuasive preachers peddling new ideas. I didn't know about such false shepherds and became trapped in a cult for fifteen years. Read more about this wondrous testimony of God's providential leading at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

WINDOWS XP SUPPORT ENDS TODAY

Those who know me well understand that I don't like changing something that works and that I find useful. This is particularly true of computer programs and operating systems.

I resisted switching from DOS to Windows until November of 2000. Even then, I had Windows 98 installed on my new PC because I heard it had all the bugs worked out of it. What a disaster that was. It kept crashing and giving me all kinds of grief. In spite of it's problems, I resisted upgrading until 2008.

Though friends said that Windows XP worked well, I felt skeptical. "Could any Microsoft product work properly?" I thought whenever folks mentioned XP's excellent performance.

When I had a new computer custom-built for me in 2008, I let the tech install XP. My friends were right about it working better than past Windows operating systems. I'm still glad that the end of support for Windows 98 forced me to buy a new PC.

Now I face the same problem again. My old faithful operating system won't be supported with bug fixes and security updates after today, leaving me more vulnerable to hackers. Replacing Windows XP feels like jumping into the unknown but I need to upgrade sooner or later.

Thanks to the Radway Library, I have another PC which runs XP. If my programs aren't compatible with the new computer's operating system, I can always use that machine. Meanwhile, I'll have to adjust to Windows 8 or 8.1 and it's changes from XP.

For more information about the discontinuation of XP and how to test your machine to discover if 8.1 works on it, visit the Microsoft site.

As for MS DOS, I wrote all three of my books using it as well as WordPerfect 5.1. My first two paperbacks are featured on my Bruce Atchison's books page. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity is in e-book, as well as paperback form, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMMERS

In my previous post, I wrote how my foolish notion of getting rich the easy way led me into many sorrows. The same applied for material blessing fads preached even today. Virgin Mobile recently sent me an e-mail outlining ways to protect ourselves from scammers. Here are these tips, paraphrased so I won't be sued.

Watch out for aggressive and pushy marketers, whether on the phone or by e-mail. They want to make you feel intimidated or guilty so you'll give them whatever information they ask for. I got conned into installing an expensive alarm system by a salesman who grew angry at my hesitation. I didn't want to seem churlish so I signed up. What a mistake that was, both in money and in lousy customer service.

Beware of chances to win prizes, especially if the caller or e-mailer doesn't give a recognizable company name. The same applies to claims that you've won something. I got burned by the "free alarm system" bait and switch by that alarm company I just mentioned.

Never give out any personal information over the phone or e-mail to anybody claiming to be your bank, phone provider, or any other business. When in doubt, call the number of that business from the phone book and ask if they called about needing updated account information. People have fallen for this trick and paid dearly for it.

Additionally, I've received calls claiming my computer was sending out malware. The individual claimed to be from Microsoft or a company affiliated with them. By installing a program on my computer, he claimed that it would stop sending out viruses. This is a ruse to gain access to your PC. The malware that this supposed computer company would install on your hard drive would take all your personal information and send out malicious code. Well-established companies such as AVG have better anti virus programs and they don't contain spyware. Freeware programs often conceal this elicit code as toolbars which install even if you click "No."

Many countries now have agencies which track down scammers. If you feel that some person or agency is impersonating the police or trying to trick you, call these agencies or the authorities. Only by being wise about personal data and not falling for too-good-to-be-true offers will keep you safe. Reporting scams can help your police forces track down these miscreants, thus saving others from falling into these traps.

I also mentioned in my previous post about How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. It shows how I fell for many incredible lies. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers distribute this inspiring testimony of God's providential rescue of my soul.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

THERE REALLY IS NO FREE LUNCH

"Congratulations! You've just won a free trip to the Bahamas!" That's the phone message I keep getting from somebody hoping to trap me with a too-good-to-be-true scheme. Though the principle of offering something for nothing is ancient, modern people still fall for it. Why? Because people have the silly hope that maybe this time it'll work out for them.

I've fallen many times in the past for such easy-money schemes. Amway was one of the first to enchant me. It sounded so possible with its sponsorship of "downlines" who would sponsor more people and so on. Friends tried to warn me that only the few at the top would reap the real benefits of my hard work but I refused to listen. After five years of giving it my best, I realized that my friends were right.

I also became caught up in the Principal Group scandal of 1987. A man called me one day and said a friend recommended this investment plan that would net me a startling twenty percent annually. As I listened to his sales pitch, I realized this could be the break I was looking for. I invested fifty dollars into the scheme and also coaxed my brother to also put in his entry-level investment. Then the news broke regarding the arrest of the leaders of this Ponzi scheme. Though I felt fortunate that I received twenty-six bucks back, I hadn't been cured of my delusion regarding easy money.

The woman who sponsored me into Amway called me up all excited one evening. I thought she was just practicing some new pitch to convince prospects but this was something different. After rushing to the bank and withdrawing a fifty dollar bill from my account, I folded carbon paper around it and posted it to the name at the top of a list my friend gave me. Once again, a news report burst my bubble and I came down with a hard thud.

Believe it or not, there is a spiritual con game spreading through churches in the west and even into third world countries. Preachers such as Joseph Prince, Joel Olsteen, and Joyce Meyer are teaching that you can get whatever you want if you just keep positively confessing that you have it. They teach that we can speak good or ill fortune into our lives. I fell for this nonsense more than forty years ago and the lack of results turned me against God for nine years.

In How I Was Razed, I wrote about how I was taken in by false teaching and chain-letter-like gimmicks. This testimony of God's sovereign rescue of my soul is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.