Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Boston Marathon bombing, conspiracy theories and some unanswered questions.

No, I'm not really following the Boston bomber news, not carefully anyway, but I did listen to the first part of Scott Johnson's as-usual-conspiracy-focused program, and gave up before the end. He seems to be completely convinced that the FBI set up the whole bombing and that the Muslim brothers were framed, based on the evidence he gave, but I didn't find his evidence all that convincing.  If he's right, which I guess is possible, he didn't prove it to me.  Most of his information seems to have come from Alex Jones' Infowars site, but I didn't go check that out either.  I did pray that God would bring the truth to light.

I just have a few comments and questions from what Johnson presented.  Here's his PDF for this program, which includes a series of pictures of the bomb scene.

First, he did convince me that there is something mysterious about those two figures in the first picture he keeps calling "contractors."   Why he calls them that I have no idea, especially since he also says he doesn't know who they are or what they are doing.   It's mysterious the way they are standing back from the crowd apparently in the area where the bomb was to explode not long afterward, but then appear in another picture after the explosion standing out in the street looking toward the explosion site.  The idea is that they apparently left the bomb area just before the bomb went off, but the timing in the pictures isn't given, and I can't be absolutely sure it's the same two men although they are dressed similarly.  It probably is but I can't be sure.  One of them has gray hair in the first picture and I can't see that in the second.  Anyway, if it's the same two, the question does occur how they happened to move away from the area where the bomh was to go off and now are standing rather nonchalantly, so it appears, back from the site.  Not excited, not upset, not rushing to anyone's aid, etc.   But perhaps this is long enough after the event for people to be calmer, the timing isn't clear from one picture to the next, or I missed it if it is.

Then in subsequent pictures they are closer to the bombed area, next to an SUV with something on its roof Johnson identifies as "communications" gear, then involved with investigating something under the bleachers across from that area, and then others dressed similarly are also now present.  The black jacket, the black backpacks.  The original two seem to be talking to a female FBI agent in one of the pictures.

So, yes, I'd like to know who these guys are, and as Johnson, or maybe first Jones, asks, why, since they appear to have some kind of official function, aren't they wearing some kind of identifying information?  The FBI agents have "FBI" on their jackets, the marathon security people are wearing yellow jackets.  And so on.  But these guys are in nondescript black.  Who are they?

Then Johnson goes on to assert that the second accused bomber, the younger brother whose name is apparently pronounced "Jahar," is shown walking away from the scene with his backpack still on his back, which supposedly proves he didn't have anything to do with the bombing.

Well, I can't see a backpack on his back myself, but then I'm having monitor problems and there may be something there, but the background is black, and Johnson seems to think his backpack is also black, so who knows.  I don't see anything anyway. 

He also says his backpack is the same as those being carried by the "contractors" identified above.  He claims it has exactly the same white patch on it theirs have.  Now THAT is an intriguing prospect if so.  I looked at those patches close up and they're all white and shaped sort of like Saturn with its rings in outline form.  So I went back to the original pictures released by the FBI of the two brothers walking toward the area just before the bomb was set off, looking for that mark on the backpack.  But guess what?  No mark.  The older brother Tamerlan's backpack was dark, maybe black, but I saw no white patch on it.  The backpack Jahar was carrying wasn't even black, it was white or at least light colored, and he wasn't wearing it on his back, he was carrying it slung over his right shoulder.  No similar marking, not even the same color, and if he left the scene wearing one that looked like those worn by the "contractors" he'd have to have acquired it after the bombing.  But I don't even think there is a backpack in that picture.  If there is, then we have a whole nother mystery than the one Johnson has in mind.

I did have the thought that that white hat he wore stands out in the crowd to such an extent that one could easily suspect it was part of a set up, if there was one.  That's of course Johnson's theory, a set up, they were framed.  Well, that's what the brothers' parents think, and they must be right, right?  I have trouble finding a motive for a set up myself, but I'm not claiming to know anything here, a set up is still possible, it's just that Johnson's facts aren't supporting the idea very well so far.

Since Johnson thinks it was a setup and that Jahar probably didn't have anything to do with actually planting the bomb, I have to assume he didn't see the news coverage about a Jeff Baumann who was standing right next to the bomb and had his lower legs blown off by it, who notified the authorities from the hospital that just moments before the bomb went off he had looked the guy in the eye who put it there.  He saw him put down a "bag," that's the word he used, not "backpack" though that may in fact have been what it was, he looked him in the eye while he was putting it down, and then a short time later it went off.  He was identifying him in response to the pictures the FBI had released earlier, and I believe it was Jahar he identified rather than the older brother.

Speaking of those first pictures, the video from the surveillance cameras of the two brothers walking toward the marathon finish line area, the younger following a few steps behind the older:  How did those two get singled out of that crowd?  I'm sure the FBI are well trained to identify suspects, but did someone sit watching the film over and over and over, and out of that whole moving crowd of people thought those two suspicious enough to send out their pictures as actual suspects?  I admit my question may have to do with simple ignorance of how such sleuthing is done.

And I have one more question about the bomb site.  Why haven't we heard anything about the other bomb?  The first pictures of the bombing caught the first bomb AND the second, the second on the other side of the street and farther away.  I have to suppose nobody got hurt at that location but it's still a question.  One question is how did either of the two brothers get to that location, across the street and back in the direction they had originally come from, after the first bomb went off?

There are also unanswered questions about their doings after that day, and how they got involved in that shootout and so on.  There are no photos of any of that.  Also how the boat Jahar was eventually found in could have been riddled with bullets and he still be able to get out of it without help.  Just questions it would be nice to have answered.

Was it a setup?  What could the motive have been?  It's certainly disturbing to have to wonder if the FBI would actually have set up an attack that would kill and maim Americans.  And who ARE those guys Johnson calls "contractors" anyway?


UPDATE 4/28:
Looks more and more to me like the general media presentation of the situation is the correct one, not that there may not be points here and there to dispute.  I'd still like to know who those two men are that Johnson calls "contractors" and the others who showed up later in the same garb.

But the story of the Chinese man who wants to be called by his American name Danny, whose car was hijacked by the two brothers, is credible, including his account of how he got away from them.  That's where we find out they were thinking of going to New York probably to do another bombing.  They seem to have loaded some paraphernalia for such a purpose into the hijacked car.  And how it all unfolded after the driver got away is credible too.  The authorities were alerted and the shootout followed in which the older brother Tamerlan was killed and the younger, Jahar, escaped to the boat in a backyard. 

In all that there doesn't seem to be room to add in anyone else, just the two brothers on their own having concocted this crime.

But very possibly, even probably, with the encouragement of their mother, who along with Tamerlan was identified a couple years ago as a possible terrorist.  She's also wanted for theft in the US.  Since they are planning to come to the US I suppose she can be arrested for that. 

4/29  They seem to have changed their minds about coming to the US.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A message on the Holiness of God

Wouldn't normally post just a link to a sermon but this one is so good I'm going to.   Heard it on local Christian radio, Pilgrim Radio .  I've heard this pastor before, Mike Preston, and been impressed with him.  He's pastor of what must be a very small congregation in Graeagle, California (population 737), but he's got a depth of Bible understanding that is rare in preachers.  So I found his web page and hope to listen to more of him. 

The one that so impressed me tonight is his sermon on Leviticus 8, which is one in a series he did on Leviticus.  In our day of casual attitudes in the churches, treating God like our buddy instead of the Holy God, we desperately need to recover a true fear of God and to hear a message about the unapproachable Holiness of God.  You can find it at Graeagle Community Church on the Sermons page, though it will be aired twice again on Pilgrim Radio Saturday and also on Sunday -- check their schedule.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Followup on Harbinger lawsuit

Got an email linking a press release from the publisher of The Harbinger answering the publication of information about a lawsuit against a critic of The Harbinger.

The main point of the communication is this: 
“As this issue has spilled into public forums, the dispute has been re-characterized as one in which Charisma House and Rabbi Cahn have sought to suppress the right to criticize The Harbinger and discourage dialogue regarding the work. Because of this misinformation, Charisma House feels compelled to respond in order to make clear its position that any and all dissent, disagreement or dialogue regarding The Harbinger is not only encouraged but also necessary for the continued growth of the body of Christ in today’s world.  
“It is also important to note that despite what has been portrayed, the legal counsel involved represents Charisma House and not Rabbi Cahn. Any communication from the attorney to The Berean Call has been initiated by Charisma House and not Rabbi Cahn.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A tribute to Dave Hunt 1926-2013

Chris Pinto does a nice  tribute to Dave Hunt,  who died on Friday the 5th.  He includes excerpts from a lengthy interview of Dave he did many years ago.

Dave was the founder of the Berean Call, and wrote many books I read as a new Christian over twenty years ago, most of them on the New Age, the cults and occultic religions and their impact on America over the last decades, also particularly his expose of the Roman Catholic Church, A Woman Rides the Beast

Another Comment on my post about the "Heaven" experiences

UPDATE:  October 26, 2013:

Listening to parts of the Strange Fire Conference I missed the first time around I just heard Justin Peters on the Word-Faith Movement and somewhere toward the middle of his talk he mentions visits to Heaven, including the stories of Colton Burpo and Alex Malarkey. He says he and Phil Johnson spoke with Beth Malarkey who told them the story about her son is not true. So Peters says the stories are simply false, made up, lies.

Even after such a long time my main post on the experiences of visits to "heaven" continues to accumulate hostile comments.  Today I received one from "wingedlion" who accuses me of being a satanic infiltrator since my views don't "build faith" but destroy it. 

Well, I have to say I WANT to destroy "faith" in experiences of this sort.  Our faith is to be in what God tells us in His word, not in our experiences.  Experiences that contradict the Bible, and so far ALL those I've read about do, are only going to lead people into deeper deception. 

It's one of the signs of the times that we are in the very last of the last days that this sort of phenomena has been increasing, which is apparent just in the number of books that have come out about such experiences, and even in the number of comments I've been getting to this topic.  It's all of a piece with the increase in apparitions of "Mary" over the last century or so.  Apparently we're only too gullible when it comes to anything "supernatural."

Here's today's exchange:

Having died, and been brought back to life myself, I will have to agree with the Burpo's. I am somewhat concerned about makeing demons more powerful then God though, I believe this is the work of a Satanist infiltrtor, and not a "concerned Christian". This is a faith destroyer, not a faith builder.

Hello Wingedlion,
Did God allow Satan to deceive our first parents?  Has He allowed him to deceive countless millions across the world and down the millennia who are enslaved to false religions?  If so, why wouldn't He allow demons to deceive us still if we believe things contrary to the Bible?  What sort of "faith" is it that is built on false experiences?

I can't judge your experience since you don't describe it, but the Burpo boy brought back descriptions of supposed occurrences in "heaven" that contradict the Bible.  I cover this more in a more recent post on this subject than I do in this one. 

Christians CAN be deceived and "supernatural" experiences are apparently an all-too-easy way for the devil to accomplish this these days.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A few remarks on a lawsuit by the publisher of Jonathan Cahn's Harbinger, against the publisher of David James' book, The Harbinger, Fact or Fiction?

Reluctantly I have to agree with those who emphasize the biblical teaching against suing a brother in Christ, for any reason.  I say this "reluctantly" because I have to suppose that the publishers of The Harbinger took the scripture into account and must have come to their decision after much thought, and having followed all this from the beginning I can see how they might have been driven to such an extreme. 

I began supporting The Harbinger here before any of the criticisms emerged against it and I responded to some of the early ones, notably T A McMahon's and eventually David James', so I'm aware of how it all developed and felt from the beginning that most of it was misguided and terribly unfair, even maddeningly so as so many different accusations were made of the book from different sources.  

Nevertheless I can't agree with the lawsuit even though in my earlier post below I entertained the possibility that I might.  Those ministries like the Berean Call have to be free to say what they will no matter who they offend.  Also, while I could see suing for something like defamation since some of the criticism implied terrible things about Cahn and his ministry that in my opinion are clearly untrue, it doesn't seem right to sue for loss of financial gain from a book that has sold over a million copies already, which is a staggering statistic for any Christian book.

The only way to deal with the criticism is to leave the outcome in God's hands, but also of course try to answer it.  I wish I had it in me to do the thorough kind of critique of David James' book that he did of The Harbinger.  In fact I started to do just that a few months back, got something like twenty pages of notes together for the project and then got derailed.  The criticisms have been answered many times over, by Cahn, by me and by others, but with James' whole book out there against The Harbinger something definitive still seems to be needed.

Earlier post:

I'd heard rumors of a lawsuit against the book by David James which criticizes The Harbinger in lengthy detail, or its publisher the Berean Call, but have been occupied elsewhere, and to be honest also avoiding the subject for some time although I knew eventually I'd probably have to address it.   The reason for avoiding it is that it would obviously bring up a lot of controversy I'd have to investigate in great detail to do it justice, and I just haven't been up to that sort of research lately. 

But now I've read the article on the subject at the Berean Call, which came out in February, and figure the time has come to begin the process of investigating the issue -- if it's still a live issue, and I don't even know that at this point. 

But I want to say just one thing about the article at the Berean Call: Overall I'd say the BC article creates a false impression by referring to so many other issues they've addressed in their ministry over the years, lumping the Harbinger with them by implication, and this is how McMahon criticized the book originally too, mostly by innuendo, which I objected to in my blog when his review came out about a year ago now.  In this current article he goes on and on with general statements about the importance of a truly biblical perspective which implies that this is lacking in Cahn's book and its supporters.  Purely by innuendo he justifies his own critique of the book without saying anything direct about it.  He did the same thing in his Foreword to James' book, making all kinds of general statements about current problems with biblical discernment among Christians without making ONE statement directly about The Harbinger itself.

The article says very little about the lawsuit itself except that it's the first time they've ever been sued by anyone they've criticized. Of course it might be possible to draw the conclusion that this is the first time they've been WRONG in their criticism, and I might come to that conclusion myself.

In my post about McMahon's original review I argued that his objections were unfounded, and eventually I came to the conclusion that what he and David James were calling unbiblical in the book was not unbiblical at all but merely a reflection of their own dispensationalist theology, and I believe that much of that theology can itself be shown to be unbiblical. 

The article,  The Demise of Biblical Discernment addresses the lawsuit in two paragraphs:

The latest issue, which we submit to you for prayer support, is a threatened lawsuit over the book we published by David James ( The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? ). The complaint is that the author used too many quotes from the New York Times best-selling book, The Harbinger, without permission from author “rabbi” Jonathan Cahn and publisher Charisma Media Publications (CMP). The complaint further states that our use of the quotes has inhibited the sales of The Harbinger and has thus financially damaged Cahn and CMP in an amount yet to be determined. In effect, we are being told that we must limit our documentation in warning the body of Christ of the biblical errors in The Harbinger. In other words, we cannot be Bereans or like the watchman of Ezekiel:3:17-19
 without Cahn’s permission.

This is the first time in my 35 years of working with Dave Hunt and our addressing nearly every major religion, religious cult, aberrational Christian sect, unbiblical trend, religious publication, book, media production, etc., that any organization or individual has even hinted at suing us. Now, however, we are being threatened with legal action by those claiming to be in the church. More critical than the unbiblical action of a brother threatening to take another brother to court (1 Corinthians 6) is the issue of preventing the biblical evaluation of a work that is influencing hundreds of thousands of professing and confessing Christians, as well as those who don’t profess to know Christ. We have hired a copyright attorney to address the legal issues and have responded to the attorney for Cahn and CMP. Even so, we covet your prayers that the Lord will be glorified throughout the process.

Again, I don't yet know enough about the lawsuit to have an opinion about it, but my impression from the above is that it focuses on the legal limit to how much material can be quoted in a review without permission. James quoted a great deal of the Harbinger in his criticism so that he may well have violated that limit.

While I might agree that biblically it's wrong for brother to sue brother in the church, my judgment on this subject has always been for the Harbinger and against most of its critics, and specifically because of what I consider to be UNBIBLICAL criteria, particularly in the criticism from the dispensationalist camp, such as by McMahon and James, so I might in the end side with the lawsuit in this particular case.

But at this point I don't know enough to have an opinion one way or the other.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Berean Call weighs in on the History Channel's Bible miniseries

This came in email from The Berean Call, exposing the History Channel's mini-series, "The Bible." I did a very short post on it a while back based on what I'd heard about it from Chris Pinto since I don't have TV these days and couldn't watch it myself. I did get to watch some of it finally, at You Tube, but didn't have the patience to stick it out for long. It clearly rewrites the Bible, and besides being offensive it's also boring, perhaps because it isn't the Bible but just a bunch of made-up tales loosely based on the Bible. But as usual these days, enough "Christians" are taken in by it to warrant more of a comment.

Really, it ought to be enough for a Bible-believer to know that Roma Downey was involved with the TV series Touched by an Angel, but since that isn't enough either, maybe the Berean Call's comment will open some eyes.
TBC: We have received numerous inquiries regarding "The Bible mini-series" which the History Channel is broadcasting. Following are our comments.]

This mini-series is but one more program designed to discredit the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

It gets worse if you examine the background of those making this Bible mini-series. Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett say they believe in the Bible, but it's clear that they will put their own spin on it. Downey was one of the stars of 

Touched by an Angel, with her co-star being Della Reese, who founded her own "New Thought" church (Christian Science, Religious Science, Unity, and other mind science cults). They are both new-agers to the core. Downey was interviewed by a Hollywood publication, which furnished this information:

"Roma also attends the University of Santa Monica, a private graduate school founded by New Age spiritual and self-help guru John-Roger, and will graduate with a master's degree in spiritual psychology in June.

 "'As someone who has been on a spiritual journey for many years, it seems a natural extension of that work,' says the lady still seen in Hallmark Channel reruns as angel Monica. She notes, 'The skills I'm learning will ultimately qualify me to be a therapist' - not that she has plans to start a practice anytime soon. 'It's really so interesting to learn about human behavior'" (

Not surprisingly, there is already a "Bible 30-Day Experience Church Kit that "includes everything you need to launch a sermon series and outreach campaign based on The Bible miniseries." course for churches available in conjunction with this series. We've received reports from readers of The Berean Call that their pastors have announced new studies based upon this material.

Downey's producer, husband Burnett, states, "By telling these emotionally connected, big stories, hopefully millions of people will reopen their Bibles." 

It would truly be wonderful if people would reopen their Bibles and move away from reading about or seeing a documentary on the Bible and would instead read the Bible itself to see what it says. May the Lord deliver us from the deception of men.

 The first show aired this past Sunday. How did it fare?

It has received some well deserved flak for depicting the angels at Sodom as "Ninjas." Several news sources have commented on this. It is instructive, however, to read comments of the viewers. For example:

[Comment from a reader]: "My son and I watched it. Just about fell out of my chair when an angel was depicted as a ninja. We both said....'What were they thinking?'"

[Now from a defender]: "Really? Did you just assume and think he was a Ninja because the actor playing him was of Asian Descent? He behaved more like a Roman Gladiator in his sword work and movements, but maybe you didn't notice that. Ninjas also carry Katanas, however this guy carried Roman style swords and used them as such."

The Bible distinctly says that the angels struck the men of Sodom with blindness. They had no need for swords. Nevertheless, this is what Downey and Burnett's movie portrayed. This departure from the Scriptures doesn't leave us with an expectation that the later episodes will improve.