Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And we wonder why the Church is shrinking...

The last 24 hours have been interesting. Last week news broke that Tony Jones, one of the muckity-mucks in the Emerging Church movement, has come out to say that unrepentant homosexuals can be a part of the Church and continue to date other men or other women etc. While there are some that pounced on the news, it was mainly the folks who think loving your neighbor should take a back seat to not drinking and making sure every one's dressed "appropriately".

Meanwhile, Ed Young makes national headlines by encouraging his married members to have sex everyday for a week. People who normally are for the whole "community" idea and a more "honest" Christianity went immediately ballistic over this. It was dirty. It was a cheap publicity ploy. It was unloving to single Christians or to those with troubled marriages. That church is a "cult".

One man proclaims as truth things that are not only not in the Bible but against what it says there. The other preaches that married couples aren't supposed to use sex as a weapon against each other, do what they enjoy and do it more often; all of which can be found in the Bible...both Old Testament and New. The one who seems to be getting the majority of the criticism from "christians" is the guy preaching the Word.

If you are more offended by the idea that married people are God ordained to have sex and yes, even to like it, than you are by accepting people still in active sin they have no intention of ever repenting of then you need to check and see if you are still in the faith. Don't give me any of that "We all still sin.." garbage either. Yes, we all have sin that God has not convicted us of yet. Very few of us, however, have sin that is clearly spelled out int he Bible that we have not addressed. If you do, you need to check yourself again.

I believe this is why the Church, at least in Europe and America, is shrinking so dramatically. We can't or won't even get the basics right. We'd rather be guided by our emotions (scared or offended by open sexuality or compassion for the lost that over rides the call to repentance because it might hurt their feelings) than be guided by the word of God.

If judgment comes to America it will be because of things like this not who we elect. Judgment begins in the Church, one of the Apostles told us.


Monday, November 10, 2008

The Idolatry of Obama

It is the summer of 64 AD. A great fire has swept through Rome, the seat of one of the greatest empire's to ever exist. Of the 14 neighborhoods in the capital city, four have been completely destroyed and seven more have been badly damaged. The people of Rome are furious, looking for someone to blame. Many blame the the man in charge. They know he had plans to build himself a bigger palace and the fire has freed up land in the crowded city for him to do so. In order to deflect blame from himself, the Emperor begins to blame a small sect of weirdos that have come to Rome. These folks, followers of a man named Jesus, whom they call Christ, refuse to worship the Emperor as a god and deny that Rome, and by extension he, is the final authority in the world.

This man, Nero, sends out orders to his military. He has Christians arrested. He opens his private gardens to the public, hosting parties for the commoners that last well into the night. All is well, however, there is plenty of light to see by. He has ordered some of these Christians covered in wax or pitch and had them crucified them along the paths of his gardens. When it becomes dark, his servants light the Christians on fire, illuminating the party.

When the parties are not enough, he hosts shows at the Circus. He has Christians wrapped in animal skins. They are thrown into the arena with wild dogs or lions, neither of which have been fed in a long time in order to increase their aggressiveness. Nero and the crowd watch as the animals hunt, kill, and eat the Christians. This is great entertainment.

The Emperor does not stop there. The people are behind him. He has free reign to deal with these people not just because of their religion but “ for hatred of the human race”. He tortures and murders Christians in such heinous ways that the very people who once cheered it begin to show sympathy for those killed.

This man, this Emperor, was so full of rage at Christians that he killed not one, but two men known as Apostles. Nero had Peter crucified upside down in 64 AD reportedly on the Vatican hill. Paul was beheaded along the Via Ostiensis in 67 AD. He was a hateful, sadistic ruler that ruthlessly persecuted and murdered Christians. In was under his tyrannical rule that Paul wrote :

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
1 Tim 2:1-4 (ESV)

What?! No cry for revenge?! No call to overthrow the government that so coldly, if such cruelty can be called cold, persecuted himself and the Church? No, not even the thought of it.

Perhaps, as the events of our recent election unfold, we should remember this. While Barak Obama was not, is not, my choice to be President of the United States the fact remains that is what he is going to be. If God really does raise up kings and powers, then God has put Mr. Obama on the throne of our country. Paul says very clearly in Romans that as God's appointed man, we owe the incoming President respect, honor and our prayers.

Those of us who believe that the “wrong guy” got elected or that we're going to be judged because we elected a Democrat are simply wrong. I find it amusing that they grieve that a man who claims to be a brother in Christ got elected over a man who once called Christians “agents of intolerance” and, if I remember correctly, “a poison in the political system”. He referred to Falwell and Robertson , and those who follow them as an “evil influence” on the Republican Party. I'm crushed that the Christian hater didn't win over the socialist.

Back to my point, God is not angry at America because we elected Barack Obama. He is not going to judge us unless we repent and elect lots of Republicans for Congress in 2010 or a Republican (even if he HATES Christians) in 2012. There are lots of reasons for God to judge America and they have been going on for 30 years or more. Not the least of which is idolatry.

The bulk of the American Church has spent 30 years worshiping at the alter of the Republican Party. They are our champions against abortion. They will protect us from those who wish to harm us. They will give us freedom. If we elect Republicans, then God is pleased and all will be right with the world. Except it isn't...never has been, even during the Regan years. There are those on the other side who will sacrifice to the Democrat god. They will supply all our need.

Both sides are looking for a messiah. We have elevated a political party to the stature of “savior” in practice and emotional responses if not in creed. Anything worshiped as savior other than THE Savior, is nothing short of idolatry.

If you think judgment is coming because we rejected the Republican candidate...repent.

If you think that Mr. Obama and his Cabinet will make your life great and give you everything you want, bringing justice in his wake...repent.

If Paul can tell early Christians to pray for the man who will eventually kill him, a man he has met before, then we need to quit our whining and prophe-trying of God's wrath and get to praying for the man elected as our president who has not, as far as I am aware, used one Christian to light a cocktail party in his backyard.