What Will it Take?

question-mark3-misallphotoWell, as we set upon the end of one year and the beginning of another, I cannot help but look back and reflect on this last year.  I think we can safely say that we have seen definitive evidence of the decline of the church’s influence in the American culture.  With the re-election of a president that is one of the most pro-abortion, anti-life records in political history, a president who has openly promoted the profanation of marriage by endorsing homosexual unions, it has become clear that our country has embraced a non-Christian ideology.  This is not major news, many Christians have been sounding the alarm for years, but it has gone unheeded.  But now as we face a new year before us, my question for the church in America is “What is it going to take?”

Consider this, we have seen the growth of megachurches and seeker friendly country clubs for years now.  Every week, hundreds, even thousands of people walk the aisles, prayer “the prayer,” sign a card and are proclaimed “Christians” in their congregations.  Those people are never taught about sin, righteousness, judgment, condemnation, the wrath of God, repentance or the sacrifice of Christ.  Instead, they are given gospel-light messages that consist of Christ loving them so much that He’d rather die than live without them.  They are told that God only has their best life in mind and all they have to do is follow a ten step program to get a better job, better marriage, or better kids.  There is no call to holiness, no attempt to cause the people to question their worldly mindsets, no testing to see if they are actually in the faith.  What is left are a room full of goats who have been mesmerized into believing they are in fact sheep.

In these same churches, the sheep that do exist are either marginalized or simply shoved out the door to make way for the vision of the “goat-herder in chief.”  This has allowed the growth of these country clubs masquerading as churches to go virtually unchecked.  With little to no opposition inside the churches, they grow like a virus in a compromised immune system, with almost the same deadly effect.  The more churches that adopt worldly advertisement growth techniques, the less the true Word of God is preached.  The less it is preached, the worse the compromise within the body and the more sin is tolerated.  The end results are people who claim to be Christian, or even “spiritual,” but who have no personal sense of the wickedness of their sin.  Thus they allow and even promote blatantly sinful behavior. Can the re-election of a man who is anti-christian, anti-life and pro-homosexuality be a surprise then?

That is not to say that there are no real Christians in America.  They are still many sound biblical churches faithfully preaching the Word of God.  But I fear that even truly born again Christians have become more affected by worldly philosophy than they realize.  Go into most churches today and ask Christians what is more loving, to confront sin and unrighteousness boldly, pointing people to the need of Christ’s propitiatory death on the cross, or to win friends through kind works, easing them into the gospel.  Inevitably, many will choose the latter.  Most Christians today have succumbed to the world’s belief that it is simply unkind to point out sin and to warn of the judgment to come.  They believe the message is “too harsh” and will drive people away.  The result is that a small percentage of truly born again Christians are going out of their way to share the gospel with the lost in our country.  And an equally small number are trying to call out the churches who aren’t even on the biblical program.

So how did this year end with the country embracing a false Christian president who embraces universalism, denounces true Christianity, promotes murder of the unborn and homosexuality?  Simply because the church has allowed our influence to wane.  We have allowed the propagation of false churches by not calling out with a unified voice against them.  We have not resoundingly called them false teachers and have been willing to work in conjunction with them as “co-belligerents.”  As they grew, we simply let them go on unchecked.  Additionally, we have not combated the false gospel of “Jesus loves you just the way you are,” with the bold proclamation that all mankind is deserving of the wrath of God and the only escape is Jesus Christ.

The American culture has watched a watered down version of the gospel propagate throughout the country and sees it for the phony message that it is.  They have no desire to be a part of it and walk further and further away from it.  Yet, the true gospel has not been preached with boldness and regularity.  The true church has involved itself in any number of other activities – politics, protests, Tea Parties, etc. – yet does not offer the true message of salvation to a world immersing itself in sin.  The country sees the true church as harsh and judgmental for it does not call to the world in compassion to the Savior.

So today, on December 31, 2012, I ask you as a member of the true church of Jesus Christ, “What will it take?”  Will you, in this next year, be willing to step up to the plate?  Will you stand against the false gospel of the country club churches?  Will you call them out for the false teachers they are?  Will you work to make sure your church steers away from such nonsense?  Will you get you and your congregation worked up to preach the true gospel to a lost and dying people?  If not, what will it take?

Wake Up Church!

Have you been watching the news this week? If you have, like the rest of us, you are probably aghast at the sight of American embassies in the Middle East overrun by Muslims and our ambassadors being hurt or killed. And, like the rest of us, you may be wondering why on Earth our government isn’t doing something about it. You might be wondering how our government, or the media, or people in general, can be so blind to the fact that Islam is in fact a religion of subjugation and violence, and how they can pretend it is not what we see being played out in front of the cameras on the evening news. You might just see this as the reason you need to get far more politically involved than ever before, because, after all, if this administration cannot see the threat, then it is time for someone else to take the reigns, right? Yeah, I imagine a lot of people are thinking that right now.

But, if you are a Christian, I have to ask you a serious question, one that might make you a little uncomfortable. If you see Islam as a threat, if you see the danger that a satanic religion represents, if you see the harm it has caused to so many people, what are you doing about it? I’m not talking about taking up arms here. I’m not talking about some sort of militant activism either. And yes, I recognize there are hundreds, and thousands of muslims who have never so much as looked cross eyed at another person. I recognize there are many who would never even dream of committing acts of physical violence, so please do not misconstrue what I am saying here. I’m talking about what are you doing about the lost souls who bow to Mecca five times a day trying with all their might to please Allah. What are you doing to break them out of the works based, man centered religion that drives them to these acts. If you recognize that this religion, which is at the heart of so many problems in the Middle East, is truly a false and dangerous religion, what are you doing to change it?

Let me put it another way. When you go to church this week, why will you go? To be built up and strengthened so you may go forth and preach the gospel? Or will you go to be entertained and have your self esteem boosted? Will you walk out of church so in love with the Savior that you cannot help but to preach the gospel? Or will you walk out happy that God has made your life so comfortable? See, the point of church is not to make us feel better about ourselves and our lives. It is to make us love Jesus all the more and to drive us into the world, into spiritual battle, so that we might take the gospel to the ends of the earth. However, I fear that a great many people who attend church this Sunday might go there shaking their heads about the terrible things that have happened this week, but will come out feeling so nice and comfy about how much God has a wonderful plan for their lives. It will not even cross their minds that God has commanded them to preach the gospel, and that the answer to the violence in the Middle East is not in governments, political sanctions or military actions, it is in that very gospel they are commanded to preach!

The violence and tragedy in the Middle East this week needs to be a wake up call, not so much for the government, but for the church. For far too long, we have sat by and watched as church growth programs, self esteem seminars and entertainment industries have corrupted the church. We have been too satisfied to see the undershepherds who have been called to equip us for battle lay down that duty to entertain and amuse us. Yes, numbers in the churches grew, but those numbers represented nothing more than false converts because they never once heard the call to repent of their self centered sinfulness and cling to the cross seeking the mercy of the Savior. Church, we must repent of this! We have been commanded by our Savior to preach His gospel unto every nation! And can there be any further evidence that this world needs the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ than what we are seeing happen right now?

Those in the Middle East who have perpetrated these atrocities are sinners like you and me! They need Jesus Christ to wash away their sinfulness through His shed blood alone! They are trapped in a works righteous religion that calls them to appease their “god” through works, through man centered efforts, which will never atone for their sin. If we want see change in the Middle East, it can ONLY come through the gospel! It is the only thing which can change the heart of wicked and sinful man. No government plan, no sanction, no political overhaul can change man’s heart, only the power of the Holy Spirit can accomplish that. And God has ordained that it is through His gospel message that it will be accomplished.

Christians, wake up! When you go to church this Sunday, don’t be satisfied to sit back and be entertained. Weep over sin, starting first with your own. Glorify God that He sent His Son to die for sinners and to save them from the fires of Hell. And then be moved to preach the gospel in every way possible. Obviously, not all of us are called to be foreign missionaries, but maybe God has equipped you to support them. Maybe you can even start your own ministry here in America that will send missionaries over seas. You can even be a missionary here in your own hometown. Start preaching the gospel now, where you live. Share it with someone today. Let the turmoil in our world be the wake up call that makes you realize that God has called you to share the only thing that can change the hearts of men. The only thing that can bring them out of the treadmill of work righteousness. The only thing that can bring them from death to life. Preach the gospel today!

The Mormon Moment? Religious Conviction and the 2012 Election

To vote or not to vote…that is the question. At least it has been the question at Defending. Contending. for many months now. We have all discussed whether a Christian should or can vote for a Mormon candidate…or if we should or can vote for a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage candidate, or if we should just stay home and not vote at all. Previous articles: Mormon President?, Vote for Mormon?

I don’t have a solution for the good readers of DefCon, as this is split along many different lines of conviction. However, I do offer this interesting video of a round table discussion at Southern Seminary this week. The title tells the story:

“The Mormon Moment? Religious Conviction and the 2012 Election”

The roundtable discussion features Albert Mohler, Russell Moore, Greg Gilbert, and Mark Coppenger. This video contributes to the conversation and helps each of us think through the issue from several angles. The panel discusses what Mormonism is, where they have appeal to our society, how it is a false gospel, and what impact a Mormon President of the USA might have on the world stage.

 

(you may have to press “play” twice)

**** This video is in no way an endorsement for either candidate or an endorsement for not voting, but a contribution to the discussion.****

Southern Seminary Resources Website

Panel Discussion MP3 Download

Is a collapse coming?

I consider the subject of economics to be as fascinating as watching paint dry or watching a round of golf, but recently I’ve taken notice of an economic storm brewing on the horizon of our nation that is getting very little attention and very few seem to be talking about, even though it will affect every single American and the way we live.

You simply cannot pay off trillions of dollars in debt by printing more money without drastic ramifications, and these ramifications could very well be the collapse of the American dollar resulting in this nation plummeting into Third-world status overnight.

Here are just a few of the headlines I’ve taken from the Drudge Report over the past month; headlines that are often glossed over because we’ve  been distracted with the Casey Anthony murder trial, the war in Iraq, American Idol, and our sports:

Dollar losing global reserve status

China: USA’s Already Defaulting

China Warns on Risks of Dollar Holdings...

PAPER: Global order fractures as US power declines...

Carville: 2012 could be 'very rough'; Civil unrest 'imminently possible'...

PAPER: USA has record $61.6 TRILLION in unfunded obligations; $534,000 per household...

Daily economic briefings disappear from Obama's White House schedule...

REPORT: Gold headed for $5K an ounce...

Housing Crisis Now Worse Than Great Depression...

IMF cuts U.S. growth forecast, warns of crisis...

Trades reveal China shift from dollar

There’s no doubt that we are on the brink of total economic collapse, but this collapse can be brought on even faster if China or OPEC stops accepting the American dollar as the global reserve, or if we suffer another terrorist attack like 9/11, or if a devastating earthquake hits a major metropolitan area like Seattle, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. When the dollar finally loses its status in the global market we will see the end of our American way of life virtually overnight.

As Christians, our hope and trust is not in politics, economics, money, might, armies, presidents, or kings, but with our nation facing inevitable financial collapse it may be wise and prudent for us to prepare to be able to take care of our families, friends, neighbors, and even strangers if/when this event takes place. If a foreign entity moves in after our collapse, will we be ready to face the possible outlawing of Christianity and the fierce persecution that could come with it?

We need to be prepared to boldly proclaim the gospel to a mass of people who will be dumbfounded at what just took place; a nation of people who never thought they’d see empty grocery store shelves and never imagined that clean drinking water would ever stop flowing from their taps.

An event such as the total collapse of the U.S. economy will cause many to turn away from the false idols that have consumed their lives for so long, but will you and I be ready to point them to the One who can reconcile them to God, or will we be too preoccupied with finding food and water?

We must not keep our head in the sand and expect that our way of life will continue, it simply can’t. Democracies have a shelf-life, and God will not allow us to continue as a nation in our current ways forever. 

Here are just a few videos (there are many more out there) to help you better understand what is likely about to happen. You can do more research for yourself via the internet, and I encourage you to do so.

A dramatization of what could happen very soon in this nation:

How quickly we can run out of food:

More information on our precarious economy in light of Japan’s economic status:

Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8


Should Christians vote for the lesser of two evils?

The topic of whether or not Christians should vote recently came up in the comment thread of this post that originally asked the question of whether or not Christians should vote for a Mormon (i.e. Mitt Romney). However, the predominant question that emerged from the comment thread was: Should a Christian vote for the lesser of two evils?

Now, if a truly blood-bought, born-again, child of God was running for political office, the debate would be moot. But let’s face it, we will probably never be given that option (at least not on the presidential ticket). Any genuine Christian with presidential aspirations would be facing an insurmountable obstacle of opposition because the world would hate him because it hated Christ first (and no pupil or Christian presidential candidate is above His master).

The unfortunate truth is, gaining the approval of the voting populace would require compromising one’s faith and morals in order to be accepted and in order to procure the votes needed to win. The Christian candidate would have no choice but to assimilate to the world in order to garner the approval of the world. (To see how successful that pragmatic approach is just look at the result of years of pastors pandering to the world while their sheep are dying of starvation. There’s a reason why God warned us not to mix light with darkness.)

Time and time again in America Christians are relegated to having to choose between the lesser of the two evils and it doesn’t appear that the upcoming presidential election will be any different.

So, with all that said, my current position is that true Christians should not have to vote if they first have to sit down and estimate which candidate is the lesser of two evils. 

Although I cannot (and will not) dictate to others whether they should vote or not, my conscience tells me that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.

Now, I know that there are many who will respectfully disagree with my position, and even suggest that it’s our duty as Americans and our obligation as Christians to vote for someone . . . anyone! So, for the furtherance of this discussion, I present the following four questions for your consideration:

Continue reading

Sign the petition to free Gao Zhisheng

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From ChinaAid, a Christian organization fighting religious persecution in China:

Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, disappeared February 4, and was last seen being taken away by a dozen police officers. Gao Zhisheng has been repeatedly kidnapped, arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Chinese authorities, because he has defended the persecuted and has been an unyielding voice for justice in the Chinese courts.

Read Gao’s account of 50 days of torture in 2007.

Read Gao Zhisheng’s letter to the U.S. Congress in 2007.

Read Geng He’s open letter to the U.S. Congress.

Read Senator Dorgan’s speech from the Senate floor.

ChinaAid together with Mr. Gao’s wife and children are deeply concerned about Mr. Gao, and reports from inside China indicate he is experiencing severe torture.

Your voice is vital to this international outcry

1. Sign the petition.

We will deliver a printed copy of all the signatures collected to the Chinese embassy. Add your voice, and encourage your friends to sign the petition, to make the Chinese government aware that the world is watching this situation and to call them to account for their inhumane treatment of Gao Zhisheng.

So far, 101,944 people have signed the petition. (updates every 15 mins.)

Click here to forward to your family and friends.

2. Send e-mails.

Double your impact by sending e-mails to top Chinese government officials and media sources. ChinaAid will send you an e-mail with a list of e-mail addresses and a sample e-mail message urging them to use their influence to release Gao Zhisheng.
So far, 419,675 emails have been sent to Chinese government officials and media sources.

3. Help for the persecuted.

There is a current need to provide help for the persecuted in China. Your support enables ChinaAid to provide well-timed legal advocacy for Christian prisoners, as well as basic needs for their families. Most of all, your gift is a sign of encouragement to the persecuted church in China that they do not walk alone.

Friends, don’t think that this kind of thing won’t happen in this country one day. The current president is, at heart, a Communist. If you don’t believe me, let his actions speak. He has taken over the banks. He is trying to take over the auto industry. If he has his way, the US government will take over every media outlet in the country and only broadcast what Obama wants you to hear. **sniff sniff** Yep, smells like Communism to me.

One of the other hallmarks of Communism is the regulation of all religion. By any means necessary. This, my friends, is what the church can look forward to experiencing right here. The only way to escape it is to go along. Some people are already on that path.

Wanda Sykes wishes Rush Limbaugh would die

And who is that laughing at the prospect of another man’s death? Barack Obama himself. The man that so many who claim to be Christian voted for, because he managed to pass himself off as a “Christian”–and now we are reaping the consequences. The man who found a wool coat at a thrift store to cover the fact that he is a wolf beneath it.

Here we have a parallel to the church in America today. Much like the many “pastors” who throw a few Bible verses out to their crowd, all the while hiding the true gospel (see also: TBN, TD Jakes, etc), this man throws a few Bible verses out there, and the undiscerning crowd laps them up without even cracking their Bible to check and see if what he is saying is the truth.

And it is, most of all, meant to expose a man who cloaks himself in the word “Christian,” who will not dare enter a church where the true gospel is being preached, and who will, undoubtedly, seek to demonize the preaching of the truth as “hate speech.” Yet he will sit and smile as a woman makes jokes about wishing death upon another human being. And it doesn’t matter if it was Rush Limbaugh she was talking about or whether it was Ted Kennedy. The fact that she was wishing death on anybody is enough to consider it hate speech, and the fact that this “Christian” president is laughing about it should be enough to show what kind of a man he really is.