Help! I Suffer From Anxiety

Help! Ii Suffer From Anxiety
The Bible is filled with Scriptures stating that we should not worry. There is Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing…” Matthew 6:25 “…do not worry about your life…” and Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow…”  But how do we simply stop worrying when there seems to be so much to worry about?
Anxiety can be described as a feeling of uneasiness, worry, apprehension or dread together with a heightened physical arousal. It can either be caused by a known fear, or it can be a kind of ‘free-floating’ anxiety which means that the cause is uncertain. Anxiety causes various negative effects not only on one’s body and mind, but also on a person’s spiritual state. Physical effects of anxiety include stomach problems like ulcers and discomfort, it can cause back pain, headaches, shortness of breath, inability to sleep and loss of appetite.
Psychologically anxiety may cause you to be less productive, forgetful, irritable and impatient. It may also stifle your creativity and reduce your productivity. Sadly a constant state of anxiety may also harm your relationships with loved ones.
Often times people riddled with worry turn away from God rather than to Him.
When we look at all of these negative effects anxiety has on us, it is no wonder that God tells us to stop worrying. But the question still remains – how do we stop worrying?
TIPS for overcoming stress

Relax: When you are stressed and anxious, consciously relaxing makes a big difference. Stop what you are doing and breathe deeply. Focus on your body and make a deliberate effort to relax all of your muscles. Listening to soothing music or retiring for a quick break to a quiet spot can also do wonders.

Identify the source of your anxiety: In what situations are you anxious? When does the anxiety seem worst? When are you not anxious? Once you have identified the cause, you can work towards overcoming these feelings of excessive worry.

Make a few changes: Consider changing your lifestyle, certain relationships, or even your career if it seems that the cause of your worry is linked to one of these.

Face your fears: It is more beneficial for you to face and try to overcome your anxiety, than wallowing in your worries. It might be a great challenge but set goals to help you take the steps to overcome your anxiety. Perhaps you need to develop certain skills like communication skills or assertiveness. Maybe you need to re-establish some broken relationships. Whatever it is that you need to do, view it as an act of courage to step out and take action, even if you are scared.

If your anxiety is so excessive that it begins to disrupt your life – for example if you start missing obligations like work, exams or important social events because of anxiety, it might be time to consult with a registered counsellor or psychologist. Sometimes anxiety is so severe that it may cause panic attacks. Professional help will assist you so that you can live a normal, healthy life.
THE BIBLICAL perspective
God created emotions like anxiety to warn us of danger, and the Bible never suggests that we should ignore danger. It is impossible to stop worrying by a mere act of will, but that is why the Bible guides us how to overcome fear:

Rejoice! This is a command from Phillipians 4:4 and we have many reasons to rejoice. Jesus promised He would never leave us; He would give us peace and His Holy Spirit Who comforts us. God has saved us and blesses us daily; we can rejoice in tough times because we have hope!

Pray: Phillipians 4:6 instructs us how to pray in times of anxiety. Through thanksgiving and telling God what we need, we will obtain peace.

Take your thoughts captive: In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we read that we should bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and Philippians 4:8 instructs us to meditate on all things true, noble, lovely and of good report. This does not mean we live in denial about our problems, but that our focus should be on the positive.

Take action! In Phillipians 4:9 Paul instructs the Christians to do the things they learned and observed.

Anxiety may be a sign that we are not trusting God for His provision and protection. It may also mean  we are carrying our own burdens. By trusting our Father and His promises we can obtain that wonderful peace that surpasses all understanding.

Is Lobola Christian

In South Africa, and Africa in general, in the black African community – negotiated monetary payment for a bride, is still the norm even in so called Christian society. As Christians we have to turn to the Word of God to determine whether this practice is Biblical.

What is Lobola?
Nowhere in the Bible, and in particular the first five books, do we ever find mention of the Israelites being commanded by God to pay a bride price. There are only two instances in Scripture and they occur before the Law was given, and even within these instances they are never specifically stated to be a customary bride price.  In Genesis 24 a nose ring and bracelets of gold and silver were given to Rebekah by Abraham’s servant so that Rebekah could become Isaac’s wife. Contextually, the giving of these gold and silver ornaments for Isaac’s wife was more along the lines of a diplomatic gift, rather than a bride price. 

Biblical examples
In Genesis 29, Jacob had to work for Laban the father of Rachel for 14 years before he could marry her. Laban though, in the Biblical context seems a selfish and greedy man, whose conduct is not one to be followed, especially in his deceitful dealings with Jacob concerning his two daughters.

These payments from Jacob at best, were to impress or appease man. In contrast, in Genesis 2, the first wife that man ever received was from God when the Lord formed Eve for Adam and brought her to him.   The Lord did not demand payment for Eve but gave her to Adam freely.  The conclusion we can draw from this is that the Lord gives freely and lovingly of His blessings but man is corrupt in his  dealings with others.  Compare Psalm 145 with Psalm 94. In South Africa, particularly in the black African Christian communities, negotiated bride prices are lengthy and tedious. In some cases these negotiations place great strain on the marriage couple.

The essence of Lobola
In most cases the interests of parties that have little bearing on the marriage couple are taken into account (such as those of remote uncles and aunts). Not to mention the interference of ancestral spirits where these practices are mixed with Christian doctrine in the traditional African churches.  In some cases during the traditional lobola ceremonies for marriage, passwords and codes are given to the bridegroom’s negotiating party to gain access to the bride’s homestead. Often ancestral spirits are called on to bless the marriage and then a few days or weeks later the couple undergoes a ‘white Christian wedding’ with New Testament marriage vows in a church before God and the pastor.

The primary reason for dowry or bride price as presented by the elders in African society is to ‘harmoniously’ join the two families but what if no-one in either the bride or groom’s family beside the marriage couple are Christian? What communion has the light of Christ with the darkness of the traditional African ancestral religions? Especially if they are bound together artificially by money and not by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). Nowhere in the New Testament is a bride price mentioned in connection with marriage. 

God is consistent in His Word and that under the New Testament Covenant there is even less support for a bride price than in the Old Testament. 

Do away with Lobola
This bride price issue can often cause contention and division within a church, and therefore in an effort to maintain unity should be done away with among our brothers and sisters in the Christian community. The context and the covenant of the Christian marriage are vastly different from a worldly marriage. We need to determine if the whole system of Lobola undermines the Biblical principles of marriage. From the evidence above, it seems this is the case.

Marriage blessed by God
From personal experience, I give the following advice to our beloved Christian brothers and sisters who will be participating in a lobola ceremony prior to their marriage in church before God and their pastor:
The lobola negotiations, ceremony and bride price is best avoided altogether but if this is not possible then I would advise to get married before God in a church first before any traditional ceremonies. This will ensure that your marriage is blessed by God before participating in any ceremony that may contain elements or procedures that are offensive to the Lord. If a traditional ceremony can’t be avoided then examine the procedure beforehand to determine whether there are any aspects of the ceremony that are unScriptural and remove these procedures from the ceremony.

Some traditional African ceremonies can be really beautiful with bright traditional clothes, beautiful singing and dancing but all of this can be done at the church service in honour of God; only one church service and ceremony is required to please the Lord. This article is not intended to condemn our Christian brothers and sisters who have already been married through traditional ceremonies with lobola being paid.
Instead, we encourage these couples to remember the difficulties they may have experienced and help other Christians to avoid marriage practices that are not commanded by the Lord.

Whole Gospel, Whole Church, Whole World

Whole Gospel, Whole Church, Whole World
Taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth in obedience to the Great Commission, is an inescapable imperative. A definition of world evangelisation that has won assent from Christians of all stripes was memorably summarised in ‘The Lausanne Covenant’ – affirmed by the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation in 1974 –  “Evangelisation requires the whole Church to take the whole Gospel to the whole world”.
The three wholes embodied in this ringing phrase had been part of Christian discourse long before John Stott drafted ‘The Lausanne Covenant’. Indeed, one might argue they go back to the Apostle Paul, if not to Abraham himself, but just to keep the conversation within living memory, a stirring statement by the Dutch theologian Willem Adolph Visser ’t Hooft in 1961 proves the point:
“The command to witness to Christ is given to every member of His Church. It is a commission given to the whole Church to take the whole Gospel to the whole world. When the Church recognises that it exists for the world, there arises a passionate concern that the blessings of the Gospel of Christ should be brought to every land and to every man and woman.”
The whole Gospel
The command to witness to Christ is given to every member of His Church. When the Church recognises that it exists for the world, there arises a passionate concern that the blessings of the Gospel of Christ should be brought to every land and to every man and woman. The whole Church means every member. The whole world means every man and woman. The whole Gospel means all the blessings of the Gospel.
That is surely better than some missionaries taking some blessings of the Gospel to some people in some parts of the world. The phrase ‘the whole Gospel’ suggests there may be some versions of the Gospel that are less than whole – that are partial, deficient, less than fully Biblical.
consider the entire bible
First, we must give full weight to the spiritual realities of sin and evil, and we must evangelistically proclaim the glories of God’s redemptive achievement in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
There would be no Gospel without the Cross. Indeed all blessings of the Gospel derive from it, from personal salvation through Christ’s death in our place to the reconciling of all creation. The Cross is at the heart of The Lausanne Movement, and the theme around which the Cape Town Congress revolves is “God in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself”. 
The whole Gospel must be drawn from the whole Bible. So we have to ask what contribution the social, economic, and political dimensions of the Old Testament make to Christian mission. For centuries the God of the Bible revealed His passionate concern for social issues: political tyranny, economic exploitation, judicial corruption, the suffering of the poor and oppressed, the evils of brutality and bloodshed.
So passionate, indeed, that the laws God gave and the prophets God sent addressed these very matters more than any other issue except idolatry (they regarded such things as idolatry’s tangible manifestations). Meanwhile the psalmists regularly cried out in songs of social protest and lament that we tend to screen out.
Unfortunately one can still detect a subtle (or occasionally, not subtle at all) sense that somewhere between Malachi and Matthew, all that changed. Is it possible that such things no longer claim God’s attention or spark God’s anger?
god of the old and the new
This is the same disdain for the Hebrew Scriptures that the Church condemned in the second-century heretic Marcion. It makes the alleged God of the New Testament almost unrecognisable as the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel.
This alleged God has shed the passionate priorities of the Mosaic Law, and has jettisoned all the burden for justice that He laid on His prophets. The implications for mission are equally dramatic. For if the pressing problems of human society are of no concern to God, they have no place in Christian mission – or at most a decidedly secondary one.
a complete message
God’s mission, in this view, is simply getting souls to Heaven, not addressing society on earth. I find such a view of God and of mission to be unBiblical and frankly unbelievable, if one takes the whole Bible as the trustworthy revelation of the identity, character and mission of the living God.
The Christ-centred, Cross-centred redemptive truths of the New Testament do not nullify – rather, they complete – all that the Old Testament had already revealed about God’s comprehensive commitment to the wholeness of human life. As well as God’s relentless opposition to all that oppresses, spoils and diminishes human well-being, and God’s ultimate mission of blessing the nations, destroying evil, and redeeming His whole creation, for God’s own supreme Glory in Christ.
The Gospel as a whole then shows us God’s heart for His broken, suffering, wicked world. For the last and the least (socially, culturally and economically) as well as the lost (spiritually) – not that these really can be separated, since human beings are whole persons. For those who are dying eternally in their sins, but also for the causes of their premature dying in this world of hunger, disease, and war, and brutality of every kind.
For those who are without Christ, without God and without hope in the world, but who also, in that desperate spiritual condition, suffer all kinds of other lacks: the landless and homeless, the love-less and limb-less, the family-less and stateless.
For the creation itself, frustrated in its supreme goal of giving glory to its Creator, and groaning under the onslaught of human greed and violence. As Gospel people we must believe, live and communicate all that makes the Gospel the staggeringly comprehensive good news that it is. I hope The Global Conversation will show multiple examples of this conviction in action.
The whole church
In a quantitative sense, the expression ‘the whole Church’ insists that mission is the task of all Christians, not just of the clergy or professional missionaries, and that in itself is a necessary reminder. Mission is far too important to be left only to missionaries.
The Lausanne Covenant talks of our being ‘called out’ in order to be ‘sent out’. The whole Gospel of Jesus Christ is fully expressed only when the Church, Christ’s Body on earth, is faithfully fulfilling the three roles Christ Himself fulfilled on earth and for which He empowers us through His Spirit.
We are called to a priestly role in worship and in prayer; to a prophetic role in declaring God’s message and priorities to His world; and to a servant role. Only when these are practised together will we truly reflect God’s redeeming love for the world.

A Missional church
As we have seen, mission is integral to the existence of God’s people who are ‘called out’ for a purpose. What other kind of Church is there, than the one that God created for mission? A friend said to me recently, “Missional Church sounds to me like female women. If it’s not missional, it’s not Church.” As someone else said, “It’s not that God has a mission for His Church in the world; but that God has a Church for His mission in the world.”
the proof of the gospel
Secondly, we need to contrast the ideal of a ‘whole’ Church with the rampant lack of wholeness that fractures the Church everywhere. How can we bring the wholeness of the Gospel to our broken world unless we are demonstrating some level of its healing power in ourselves? Yet the Church is often rent with division and conflict over race, caste, tribe, gender, material goods, and so many other areas. The Church is not just the delivery mechanism of the Gospel. It is itself the product of the Gospel, and is to be the living, visible, proof of the ethically transforming power of the Gospel.
So the failures and abuses in the worldwide Evangelical community are, in the literal New Testament sense of the word, a massive scandal – a stumbling block to the Gospel being seen, heard and accepted. For that the only answer is repentance and reformation.
reaching the world
That very repentance will require invoking a third sense of ‘the whole Church’.  We need the whole world Church, working with greater levels of mutual co-operation and partnership, North to South and East to West. There is a lot of listening to do, a lot of learning and un-learning.  Our task across borders and boundaries is to do better, in Paul’s words, at accepting one another, counting others better than ourselves, and looking to their interests more than our own. A Global Conversation is indeed a good place to start, though not to end.
We can take the phrase ‘the whole world’ in a purely geographical sense, meaning every corner of the planet. Nowhere is not the mission field, including our own country. There are still very many unreached peoples in the world, many places where the name of Christ has never been heard.
All these are still urgent priorities for Christian evangelistic mission. The ends of the earth are still waiting. And today the ends of the earth may also be our next-door neighbour, or the migrant in our midst.
saving creation
According to Paul, we are not going to be saved out of the created world, but along with it. But if our Bibles begin at Genesis 3 and end at Revelation 20, we are in danger of missing the whole point of God’s great story of the redemption of all creation.
We will think only of saving fallen sinners from final judgement, not about living in the present creation as those who, by being in Christ, bring the transforming values and prophetic truth of the new creation into the here and now.
conquering ideologies
What are the gods that surround us, and what is the Christ-like neighbour-loving response to those who worship them? We must not confine this to thinking only about the great ‘world faiths’. There are whole ideologies of secularism and atheism that need to be engaged, along with the idols of consumerism, patriotism, and hedonism that are happily thriving on the worship of those who claim to be disciples of Jesus.
Our responsibility is to the earth God entrusted to us, which God has reconciled to Himself through the Cross (Col1:20). If the planet was created by Christ, sustained by Christ and belongs to Christ as His inheritance, the least that we can do is to look after it properly.
Biblical stewardship of the earth should have been an Evangelical theme long before the threat of climate change turned it into a matter of self-preservation.
problems of The world 
What kind of missional engagement should take place in relation to globalised economic trends and forces, massive migration, the Internet and new technologies, and all that goes on in the marketplace and public square, in business, politics, education, media, journalism, medicine, and the whole world of human work?
We are surrounded by myths and counter-myths that generate violence and justify violence in return. Apart from addressing the appalling scale of death and destruction that these idols produce, do we not have a responsibility to challenge and expose their falsehood and to ask what Gospel reality is implied by Jesus when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers”?
addressing humanity
The list under this heading would be endless. But if the Gospel is good news in relation to all that sin has turned into bad news, then the Gospel must be big enough, and our mission must be wide enough, to include the transforming power of God in relation to disease, hunger, brutality, human trafficking, slavery, gender violence, poverty, injustice, ethnic cleansing, and all forms of tribal, caste and ethnic hatreds and oppression.
Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 are a wonderful summary of the theme of this article. “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ…” .
The reconciling, redemptive ministry of Jesus sends out those whom He has called out. And we are sent out to bring the whole Gospel of God to the whole of God’s world. No single one of us can engage in everything such a holistic mission demands.
The same thought doubtless occurred to God, which is why He created the church with a multiplicity of gifts and callings, so that we can, as a whole Church bear witness to the whole Gospel in the whole world.
May this global conversation generate understanding and focused action, as we participate with God in His global mission.

All About Grace: Joseph and Wendy Prince

All About Grace: Joseph and Wendy Prince
World renowned preacher on the topic of Grace, Joseph Prince will be speaking at the Coca-Cola Dome in JHB in October. Hereunder an extract from his recent preach.
“Grace is possibly one of the most misunderstood concepts by Christians today. And yet Grace is integral to our walk with God – for Grace is actually Jesus Christ. He is Grace personified. His Grace is evident through the work of the Gospel – for the Gospel itself is Grace.
the gospel and grace
The test of the Gospel is Grace. If the message excludes Grace, or mingles law with Grace as the means either of justification or sanctification (Gal 2:21; 3:1-3), or denies the fact or guilt of sin, which alone gives Grace its occasion and opportunity, it is ‘a different’ gospel. (v. 8-9). We are saved by faith, not works. Our Christian walk is only by Grace…we cannot do anything by or of ourselves. When you put Jesus in the midst of your life, your marriage, your church, He will hold everything together.

 “For the law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ”. John 1:17. Notice that Grace and Truth are linked together. So what is this Truth? It is the Truth of the New Covenant. Grace is not a doctrine. It is a person. The person of Jesus Christ. Grace is not a teaching, it is the Gospel. Sometimes when you look at Bible Schools they will teach on Grace….but Grace was never a doctrine. We need to rediscover the Gospel that Paul preached for it is in this Gospel that the righteousness of God is revealed – that is, the Grace of God through Jesus.
the law and grace
The Law demands righteousness from sinfully bankrupt men. Grace imparts righteousness to sinfully bankrupt men. The Law of God says “I will by no means forget your sins, but I will visit them to the third and fourth generation”. But under the New Covenant because of the Blood of Jesus, God says, “I will remember your sins no more but your sins and iniquities I will remember no more.” The Law is natural.
Grace is supernatural. The man in the street understands Law; there are people in the Middle East blowing themselves up because they believe they are keeping the Law.  They are training to gain righteousness, hoping that they will obtain paradise. The Old Testament prophets call your sins into remembrance. New Testament preachers call your righteousness in Christ to your remembrance – because when you are awake to righteousness you will be dead to sin.
Lawlessness and grace
Why is it then that the Church has become so legalistic? It is because the Church fears that by teaching Grace people will become lawless and disgraceful. We know that we are saved by Grace – but it doesn’t end there. It’s Grace that saves us and Grace that will take us home.
That was Paul’s message right throughout the New Testament and it should be our message today. (2 Corinthians 3). We cannot obtain righteousness with God through our own behaviour. We can only live, breathe and exist through Grace. Through the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
jesus is our example
We do not abandon the law – but we do not live under it. Jesus is our teacher and our righteousness, the law makes you conscious of yourself, it shows you your failings. But it cannot deliver you. Only Christ delivers.
The law was written on tablets of stone (the 10 Commandments to Moses), under the New Covenant God says “I will write My laws on your heart”. Under law you are focused on yourself and your good works or lack thereof. Under Grace you are focused on Christ. If you seek first His righteousness, then all will be added unto you. William Hunt the 18th Century theologian said: “Grace is the only thing that can bring a Holy God and a sinful people together. Therefore Grace is the greatest Holiness there is”.  “Sin shall not have dominion over you because you are not under law but under Grace.”  Rom 6:14
You can’t be under Grace and not be Holy anymore than you can not be under water and not be wet. Grace can not separate from Holiness. Please understand I am not against the law – Jesus said He did not come to destroy the law but to fulfil it.
righteousness and grace
 Jesus kept the law completely and set the precedent for us. We do not strive to please God; for in Christ we have already pleased Him. But we live righteously because we love God. It is out of love and not duty that we refrain from sin and serve God. Once the law has been fulfilled (which it was in Christ) you rest. If you are paying a bank, once your debt or loan is paid off, you finish, you rest.
The law is Holy – but it cannot make you Holy. The law is righteous, but it cannot make you righteous. (Galatians 2:21) The law is pure, but it cannot make you pure. (Galatians 3:1-3). Only Jesus can.
When Jesus was preaching in the temple, the Pharisees brought a woman caught in the act of adultery. They wanted to trip Him up so they said to Him: “Moses said she should be stoned”. If Jesus said don’t stone her, He would have broken Moses’ law. If He said stone her, the people hearing Him preach about the love of God would be confused. Jesus never answered them.
The Bible says He stooped down and wrote on the ground. He said, “Let him who is without sin throw the first stone”. Did He break the law? No. He upheld the law. It is only Christ who can uphold the law and fulfil it. It is only by Grace that we are made Holy.
We do not have to keep laws to be Holy; we keep Christ in our hearts and He makes us Holy. Sin cannot stop God’s Grace – because all are sinners. God’s Grace stops sin.
Wisely, Jesus said to the adulterous woman “…Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” John 8:11b. Instead of condemning her, He showed her Grace and said “Go and sin no more. “
there is no condemnation
He didn’t condemn her with the Law. He gave her the gift of Grace. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom 8:1.
The Church has forgotten the definition of Grace, we expect people to be clean before they come to God. Before they become Christians! Wasn’t it Jesus who said that He came for the sick, because it is the sick who need a doctor? Why do we expect people to bathe before they come to the altar of cleansing? Why do we expect them to clean themselves when they can’t? It is only Jesus who cleanses us. It is only His Blood that washes us pure as snow. Our righteousness – our good works – are as filthy rags to God! Why?
Because we presume on our own strength that we can be good, that we can please God, that we can do it. No, it is only Christ who can fulfil all the requirements of God.
a revelation of grace
People need a revelation of Grace so that they can truly know God and understand what He has done for us. When Jesus said it is finished – He completed it. You cannot finish a finished work. People sin without license – they don’t need a license to sin. (i.e. the argument that Grace gives license to sin).
It takes the Holy Spirit to understand Grace, to live in Grace and walk by Grace. It takes the Holy Spirit to reveal the person and the work of Jesus Christ to you. You can’t do it on your own!
Let us as God’s people return to Grace and not be afraid to preach Grace from our pulpits. When believers have an accurate understanding and revelation of Grace – that is Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross – they will truly live free and desire to be blameless for the Master.

When Christianity Appears Cultish

When Christianity Appears Cultish
The Early Church had a major problem. A movement known as Gnosticism infiltrated the Church and attempted to separate Christians from their local fellowships, Christian leaders and the simplicity of their faith.
The word ‘Gnostic’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘knowledge’ and the adherents of this group claimed to have special revelation from God. They saw themselves as an elite group, with the ability to impart spiritual knowledge and insight that other professing Christians lacked. Focusing on their teaching – much of it based on emotional experience – took the eyes of believers off Christ and fixed them firmly on the Gnostic spiritual leaders.
what is gnosticism?
Quite a few of the New Testament books were written to combat this error and place believer’s trust and focus back on the Living Word – Jesus Christ. Colossians, Galatians and 1 John are examples. “You are complete in Him,” said Paul as he emphasised the need to mature in their faith and knowledge of Christ. (Col. 2:10)
Believers were instructed to ensure that Christ was pre-eminent in all things (Col. 1:18). He is the undisputed Head of the Church and total allegiance should be to Him alone, never to a leader however important he or she was deemed to be by their peers.
While the Gnostics promised believers ‘greater grace’ and ‘the deeper life’, those who became embroiled in the system found themselves in a tight web of legalism in their attempt to become more ‘spiritual’.  “Oh, foolish Galatians!” wrote Paul. “What magician has cast an evil spell on you? For you used to see the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death as clearly as though I had shown you a signboard with a picture of Christ dying on the Cross. Let me ask you one question:
Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the Law? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you believed the message you heard about Christ. Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” Gal. 3:1-3.
The believers were encouraged to meet and share fellowship on a regular basis (Acts 2:40-47), study the Scriptures, pray, break bread together and care for one another. The Gnostics did everything they could to draw believers away and fill their minds with the quest for ‘deeper truth’. They questioned the integrity of Christians in regular fellowship and poured scorn on the local fellowships and their leaders.
modern day error
Those who read the Epistles began to understand that the Church is the Body of Christ, wherever it is found and in whatever way it expresses itself. No badge or label marks the Church. No tight group, system or organisation monopolises the Truth. The Church is a mystic union, the Body of Christ, and is composed of all who trust Him as Lord and Saviour and call on His Name. The mark of developing maturity is that believers love the Lord and love their fellow Christians.  The attitude of spiritual superiority demonstrated by the Gnostics and their followers, in fact, demonstrated total lack of spiritual maturity. “If someone says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20,21. (Compare 1 John 1:6,7) Gnosticism has reared its ugly head again in these Last Days, as prophesied in 1 Tim. 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”

christ alone
Obviously we are not talking about sincere seeking for Truth and greater insight into spiritual matters, but about groups who attempt to deflect Christians from their basic trust and faith in ‘Christ Alone’ and ‘Scripture Alone’ and separate them for their own purposes.
‘love bombing’
I saw this firsthand while at Bible School. A group calling themselves the Fellowship of Decisive Disciples (FDD) influenced some of the students in my group. At first they were enamoured by the ‘spirituality’ of the FDD members. It seemed they had the ear of God and all other Christians. The group used a technique practised by many cults, known as ‘Love Bombing’. They poured love and attention on these students, introduced them to literature and teaching centred on their leaders, introduced them to new friends and succeeded in cutting them off from their family and friends.
legalistic faith
Persuaded that this group had the ultimate truth, these students left the Bible School and became totally submitted to their leadership. They were eventually brainwashed to the extent that they were no longer able to make personal decisions.
Every action they took was submitted to the leaders who made all their decisions for them. They were cut off from society and taken to a farm near Welkom, where they became unpaid labourers, willingly giving their service ‘to the Lord’. Typically these groups are characterised by a charismatic leader, single-minded devotion, legalism, intense renunciation of the world and rejection of orthodox faith.
who is targeted?
These groups generally set out to influence middle-class, well-educated young people between the ages of 18 – 25. Often immature and lacking solid Biblical knowledge, this group is looking for love, acceptance, affirmation and significance. They want to get closer to God and they want to be involved in a significant cause.
abnormal attention
They are invited to Bible Studies and fellowship meetings, linked up with instant friends and made very welcome. As they become involved, a ‘Mentor’ focuses on them and ‘Love Bombing’ begins. This takes many forms, invitations to chat, outings, praying for their special needs, telephone calls and, nowadays, SMS messages. Some young people have been known to receive in excess of 40 messages a day, affirming them as special and chosen by God. 
Some of the Mentors may not even be aware of their part in this manipulative procedure as they genuinely try to help these young people. At the same time, strangely enough, they do not usually give the same attention to their own children and spouses. Often they are in unhealthy relationships with their own families.
It is not normal for people to act in such a fanatical manner and once the converts get into the system, they usually find quite a different scenario…
The young converts are drawn into ‘spiritual highs’ as their emotions are manipulated and they become increasingly dependent upon their mentors. Decisions are made in collaboration with them and they are discouraged to think independently.
Their minds are saturated with literature and teaching from the movement. Scripture is often taken out of context, carelessly used to justify wrong conclusions. Often the Bible is spiritualised to such an extent that dependence upon interpretation of the leadership is completely accepted.

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