Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fear and Envy

In 2008, Barak Obama was swept into office as our 44th president, riding on the wave of hope and change. As he faces a difficult reelection, he has resorted to preaching a doctrine of fear and envy, pitting classes against one another and promoting racial strife. His policies attack the very foundations of Christianity, in one instance, forcing the Catholic Church to provide abortion coverage to employees, a direct assault on the doctrine of their faith. Progressive churches, such as the ELCA, continue to worship this president and support this attack on Christianity by their silence. Perhaps, this is due to the fact that the ELCA offers “reproductive services” that include coverage for elective abortions in their employee health insurance plan. The murder of the unborn does not bother the enlightened leaders of the most wayward of the “mainstream” Lutheran churches. Mention advocating for the LGTBQ community or immigration reform and ELCA leaders stand right up and jump into the fray. Murdering unborn human beings is defended as a woman’s right to choose while the leaders of the ELCA ignore any responsibility to protect the lives of those who cannot protect themselves.

Deuteronomy 6:13-15, “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.” No longer is the fear of God important in the teachings of the ELCA. Other gods are accepted and other religions are acknowledged as offering a valid path to salvation. Of course, this is not the official teaching of this apostate church, but is becoming increasingly acceptable in numerous ELCA churches. The ELCA also welcomes those that teach a gospel other than our Lord taught, inviting controversial teachers to speak at many events, including their national youth gathering. Why not begin with the indoctrination of the young to emphasize these errant teachings in order to fundamentally change the face of Christianity?

Envious of the peace and tranquility of the State of Israel, the leaders of the ELCA advocate for the sworn enemies of Christians and Jews alike, the Arab State of Palestine. They encourage the terrorist organization Hamas, decrying Israel as a villain when they attempt to build housing communities on Israeli land. As rockets rain upon Israel, targeting innocent civilians, the leaders of the ELCA choose to ignore these acts of war, instead accusing Israel of committing atrocities when they retaliate, even while Israel shows remarkable restraint. The leadership of the United States, Israel’s one and only ally, stands idly by as Iran works feverishly to produce nuclear weapons, with the stated intent of eradicating Israel and the “Great Satan”, as they refer to the United States.

Christianity is under assault, not only by the secular elites, but by our own government. The Department of Justice continues to broaden its’ interpretation and enforcement of the separation of church and state. Student’s personal Bibles are confiscated at public schools, while implements of Islam are embraced and welcomed. Christian prayer is challenged in the courts while Muslims are allowed to leave their jobs and answer their five daily calls to prayer, citing somehow this will serve to foster tolerance. Any other religion is not only tolerated, but welcomed, while Christians are shouted down and looked upon as backward and uninformed. Daniel 8:23-25, “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” This interpretation of one of Daniel’s visions rings eerily pertinent to today. Yet the leaders of the ELCA call Scripture outmoded and irrelevant to today’s society and work overtime to rewrite God’s word.

The leaders of the ELCA, in league with the government, use fear in an effort to destroy those that have the audacity to uphold the authority of Scripture. Churches undergoing the process of breaking fellowship are now being assailed in the courts by the leadership of the ELCA. Since the ELCA is so invested in this secular world, why wouldn’t they avail themselves of the tools of the state by bringing lawsuits against churches that have the nerve to want to break fellowship. As we turn the other cheek, those seeking to diminish the influence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, strike again and again. Michelle Obama compares her husband to Jesus Christ, proclaiming that he has brought us out of the dark and into the light. There is no light where there is no truth. As this President continually pits our citizens against one another, with lie after lie, leaders of God’s church join in, signing on to documents such as the Dream Act and accepting positions on presidential committees that only legitimize attacks on the very truths they are charged to uphold. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” Proclaim His truth until all have heard and believe! Dwell in God’s word and remain in the light. Shine bright with the light of Jesus Christ and expose the darkness that fills our world.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Willfully Ignorant

Jesus said to His Disciples in Matthew 8:17-18, “Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” When one engages in willful ignorance, one must actually suspend belief by ignoring any information that tends to contradict one’s own standard of reality. If you choose to seek out only that which confirms your opinion, you just might be willfully ignorant. Ignorance, in and of itself, is simply being unaware, but adding to that fact, being willfully ignorant, involves refusing to acknowledge any fact which may prove one’s preconceived notions are in error. Many in the secular world, especially in politics, adhere to talking points, deliberately ignoring any evidence that may lead them to a conclusion other than the one they choose to accept. Preexisting beliefs often lead one away from solutions to problems, in fact, often creating additional complications for that person. We see this happen over and over in many liberal groups. The occupy movement, preconceived racial injustice marches, environmental protests, just to name a few, often act without a full accounting of facts, causing untold damage to society. But, being liberal means never having to say you’re sorry. This type of thinking has been embraced by the liberal, or what some now call, progressive churches, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church in America. The enlightened leaders of these wayward churches choose to take a road less traveled. In order to deliberately disregard God’s written word, they proclaim that God is speaking to them today and has said “new things” that obviously overturn accepted Christian doctrine.

Apparently these new things that God is saying advise the enlightened leaders of these apostate churches to lift up the longings of a depraved humanity as good in His sight. These religious elites believe that God is telling them “Nevermind” as Emily Littella (Gilda Radner from Saturday Night Live, back when it was actually funny). would say. To these misguided church leaders, a God that uses masculine terms to describe Himself is now somehow offensive to the radical feminist that must be placated. Scripture is no longer the sole and normative source to be used to determine matters in our faith life and the doctrine of bound conscience allows it to be tempered with our human reason, experience and traditions. The Virgin Birth and even the resurrection of our Lord and Savior is questioned by these elites, as, at least confused, or just plain inaccurate.  They explain that the authors of Scripture may have misunderstood what God was saying or they simply did not possess the reason necessary to properly explain these events.

These new things disregard that which our Lord commanded. Yes, God commanded. The authors of Scripture were inspired by the Holy Spirit and for thousands of years have been accepted as the word of God. That God’s churches would proclaim these heretical teachings as if God actually changed His mind and decided to reconsider the laws He gave us for all time. As the leaders of these misguided churches forge ahead through paths unknown, they willfully ignore that which our Lord taught. One wonders what these leaders truly believe and why do they insist upon ignoring God’s will. They disregard established tenets of Christianity in order to appease the secular world’s vision of a tolerant society. Rather than promote that discipleship entails rejection of the self, new doctrine places self ahead of our God. When one can place conditions upon God’s church, such as when the LGTBQ community demands that they be accepted, not as a sinful being that all of us are, but somehow above those that choose to endeavor to obey God’s law. And when they decide that being LGTBQ is more critical than their identity as a Christian, they indeed place themselves and their identity ahead of God. Deuteronomy 11:26-28, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.” And still these leaders encourage their membership to place themselves upon the altar and worship themselves, their identities and their good deeds.

Jeremiah 5:21-22, “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: 22 Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence?” When will God’s people listen to His reason and decide to simply obey. For when one truly loves the Lord, the goal to please Him should be paramount, not the goal in looking for excuses to disobey when Scripture does not please them.  Pray that more will have their hearts and minds opened so more will be saved from these errant denominations.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Are you in Denial?

reposted from 5-26-10

The Apostle Peter, the Rock, denied Jesus 3 times on the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion. He denied our Lord to save his skin, since he believed that he too, may have been brought to judgment on that night. How many times have you denied the Lord his proper place in your life? Our denials are not always as literal as Peter’s. We deny our Lord by placing ourselves and our interests before Him. Jesus told his disciples in Luke 9:23-26, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up the cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit your very self? If any of you are ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” To follow our Lord requires complete dedication and willing obedience. If we choose to concentrate on our own identities, our own families, our successes, or accomplishments, we will lose that which really matters, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that is necessary in order to gain our salvation. Those of us more concerned with satisfying our worldly desires and pleasing ourselves before pleasing our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will have no part in His kingdom.

So, we must deny ourselves in order to place Christ first and foremost in our hearts. This is not such an easy task for a sinful and selfish humanity. The ELCA is so passionate in their struggle for social justice that they have lost sight of the reason that we should work to right the wrongs of this world. Jesus is the reason that we strive to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, provide care for the sick and injured, and welcome all sinners to worship our Lord. We do these acts, not of our own volition, but because Jesus himself first did these things in His Father’s name. Without our Lord, we are lost, trapped in our selfish world, full of sin, with no one to deliver us from the corruption that can so easily overcome our lives. Luke 18:26-27,29-30, “Who then can be saved? Jesus replied, “What is impossible with human beings is possible with God. Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” Salvation is a gift from God alone. No matter how we hard we try attain the kingdom of God by the virtue of our own accomplishments, we will fail. Only by the grace of God are we granted salvation.

Acts 4: 11-12, “Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.” Jesus is indeed the cornerstone that our faith and church is built upon. Without His death and resurrection, we all would stand accountable for our sins and the punishment that we so greatly deserve. All that we are and hope to be is a gift that He has provided to us. Since we owe our very lives to our Lord, why is it so difficult to thank and praise Him in our daily lives? Study God’s Word and you will be filled with His Spirit. The Bible is God speaking to each and every one of His children. Read it, learn it, and let His Word lead you to the personal relationship with Christ that He desires and that we all are seeking.

1 Peter 4:1-2, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because those who have suffered in their bodies are done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” When we place our Lord at the center of our lives and express our love for others as He did, sinful desires and worldly practices that we once placed as priorities, will cease to be important in our daily lives. We must be diligent then and temper our desires for the things of this world, so that we always place Christ first in our hearts.