Glorious distraction

With the Democrat Convention in full swing and the Republican Convention scheduled to start soon many Americans are being swept up in the climax of the political season. Christians are no exception — and that’s a shame.

Again, let me say I do not believe Christians should completely withdraw from the political process. However, politics — even in normal times — is a tempting distraction for Christians. It’s almost irresistible during election time. I call it a distraction because a Christian’s primary focus should always be God, His will, and His glory.

It’s a shame because we allow ourselves to avert our eyes from the eternal purposes of our Lord for the sake of the apparent, yet fleeting, glamour of politics.

Of course there are those who disagree. Janet Parshall, a radio talk-show host, seems to think it is a sin for a Christian not to vote for one of the two “major-party” candidates.

“Scripture says if you know what’s right and you don’t do it, that’s called sin,” she said in an article at worldnetdaily.com. According to the article, it was Parshall’s conclusion that, “it is critical that Christians vote this November for whichever of the two major presidential candidates seems most likely to advance their values.”

My question to her is: Who ever said voting for either of the “major-party” candidates was “right,” according to Scripture? Suppose neither of these men represent my values? Suppose I find both of them highly objectionable? Am I to vote for the “lesser of two evils?” Because remember, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Voting ones conscience may mean voting for a “major-party” candidate. It may mean voting for a “minor-party” candidate. It may even mean not voting for president at all — as it would be a violation of your conscience for any of the candidates to occupy the oval office with your support.

The worst part of the distraction is the misplacement of faith. All this fervor over the election is due to having one’s faith placed firmly in the government. That is not where the faith of any Christian should lie. Regardless of which candidate moves into the White House next January God will still be on His throne. God will still be sovereign. And it will still be the calling of every Christian to serve God rather than mammon.

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The Church trivialized

A new television program in the United Kingdom plans to take 13 non-Christian volunteers and have them attempt to “live by the teachings of the Bible for three weeks.” Their progress will be monitored by four pastors from various denominational backgrounds — Anglican, Catholic, Evangelical, and Pentecostal.

The report in worldnetdaily.com said, “Whether people can be made into Christians by a three-week crash course in discipleship, however, remains a matter of debate.”

No it doesn’t.

The answer is, “No, they can’t.” To be made into a Christian one must first be born again. The notion that “living by the teachings of the Bible” is a means of becoming a Christian was dispelled by Christ Jesus, Himself.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” — Matthew 23: 27-28

Jesus was explaining to these Jews that all of their good works are nothing more than window dressing. It serves only to fool the casual observer. But God is no casual observer. He sees the heart. And regeneration of the heart is the necessary first step in becoming a Christian. It is something only God can accomplish. Scripture makes this point over and over again…

  • “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” — John 6:44
  • “And he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’” — John 6:65
  • “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” — 1 Corinthians 2:14
  • “As it is written, ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” — Romans 3: 10-11

The title of this new game show is “Make me a Christian.” To treat salvation as a game show is an affront to God. It is an affront to biblical Christianity. It is despicable. But it’s not surprising.

We can’t expect a world full of lost and dying sinners to behave in any fashion other than that of lost and dying sinners. But what is horribly sad is for anyone who claims to be a Christian to advocate such nonsense.

Make me a Christian?

There is no man-made device, scheme, plan or show capable of making anyone a Christian. The reconciliation between fallen man and Holy God is so remarkably difficult only God, Himself, is capable of doing it.

May God forgive us.

The Church under assault

When the New Testament Church started, it was seen as a threat by the governing officials in Rome. These new “Christians” did not give proper honor or respect (read “unconditional loyalty”) to the empire.  All states — be they ancient Rome or the modern nation states — are completely irrational in the protection of their own power. Anyone who does not express what the state deems as “appropriate” loyalty is immediately suspect. This is why the early church was persecuted. Those first Christians did not regard Caesar as Lord — that title was reserved solely for Christ Jesus. The mere fact that these Christians regarded anyone or anything as higher than Caesar was a real problem for Rome.

They were dealt with.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Today, many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being “dealt with” by states who view them as threats. In China house churches are being “cleaned up.” Christians are forced to promise not to meet during the Olympics so they do not embarrass China. Or they can go to prison — their choice.

In Saudi Arabia Christians are simply being deported.

In both cases we need to lift our brethren to God in prayer. They struggle with persecution most of us have never had to face. On the other hand, the church in America faces a threat much more subtle than those in China and Saudi Arabia. One, I believe, that is far more serious. Jim Fedako explains.

The world needs a Savior

The world has been looking for a savior since the very beginning. The natural consequences of sin on our world create an environment filled with problems from which people desire a rescue. Man’s problem through the ages, however, has been looking in the wrong places for that salvation.

History reveals a long and pitiful record of mankind’s search for salvation in all the wrong places. False religions and idols abound. But one institution we never quite seem to equate with idolatry is government. Man’s trust in the king, the empire, or the state to raise him up from his hopeless situation is just as prominent in history as his trust in made-up gods, superstition, and golden statues.

In ancient Rome the emperors were worshipped as gods. In the middle ages kings claimed the “divine right of kings” and ruled as if they were acting on god’s behalf. Of course in the 21st century we like to think of ourselves as a little more sophisticated than that. Surely we don’t believe mere men to be our means of salvation. I call your attention to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Not because I oppose his candidacy (although I do) but because of the messianic tone his campaign has taken.

I’ve long maintained that American politicians, as a class, are an arrogant bunch. They think they know better than the rest of us how things should be run. They think, because of their elevated intellect, they are entitled to special standing. I’ve often suspected politicians of secretly having a messiah complex. But, to their credit, they’ve all denied it.

Until now.

Obama has embraced the messianic tone. In his speeches he has claimed his election would reverse natural phenomena and end poverty. He has spoken of leading the world (not just America) into a new age of prosperity. He has even publicly said that many people would experience an epiphany, whereby a light from heaven would descend and they would be “compelled to vote for Barack.”

It’s bad enough that he believes his own hype. But Obama’s savior-speak has an entire generation looking to him for something he can’t deliver. In a letter to the editor to the East Illinois Journal Gazette-Times Courier, Steve Davis wrote:

“I’m taking a special look at Barack Obama because he’s a lot closer to a Jesus-type than the other candidates, by quite a bit. What if God decided to incarnate as men preaching ‘hope and change.’ And what if we didn’t recognize them, because we are so dull, and let them slip away, not availing ourselves of the opportunity to be led by God!”

God has come to Earth as a man. His name is Jesus. Only he did not seek to defeat sin and death through political means. In fact, when Jesus was brought before Pilate prior to his crucifixion, he explained his kingdom wasn’t of this world.

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” — John 18:36

Jesus didn’t come to save the world the way the world thought it ought to be saved. The ancient world was seeking salvation by other means. The modern world seeks salvation by other means.

The church still has an opportunity — and a responsibility — to share with a lost and dying world where true salvation lies. We need to tell people that they don’t need a savior, they need the Savior.

Thideology Research Team: Case File 006

Jerusalem, ISRAELThideology Research Team scholars today reported the discovery of a Royal Seal bearing the name of a prince who, according to Old Testament accounts, threw the prophet Jeremiah down a well. A separate team of scholars and archaeologists from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University are actually credited with the discovery.

The Thideology Research Team, though not directly involved with the discovery, has broken out the SCUBA gear just in case. Said one Thideology Research Team scholar, “There’s usually water at the bottom of wells, right?”

A more complete account of the recent discovery may be read here.

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