June 16, 2007

Old St. Olaf Is Turning Over In His Grave

It's not that I can rally be surprised anymore; maybe a better word is resigned to bizarre behavior. After all the Scriptures note repeatedly that to abandon God and His precepts is to invite confusion, lunacy and turmoil.

Enter St. Olaf College--a "Lutheran" school in Minnesota (I put--Lutheran--in quotes because it is Lutheran by heritage) which has appointed a new head of their department of religion.

Okay, call me nuts, but one might presume that a Lutheran College would appoint a Lutheran--at best and a Christian at least, as the director of the school's department of theology. But that only makes perfect sense, which in our day of apostasy at all levels and all places, must be abandoned.

So who is the new head of religion at this once Lutheran College? Anantanand Rambachan, who is a studied, life long Hindu. Prof. Rambachan shared his insights on numerous questions. The first pertained to the role of evangelization in religious expression. Here is what he said. "We gathered to share our perspectives on this matter and to consider acceptable and unacceptable ways of sharing our faiths in communities. "…we agreed that while everyone has a right to invite others to an understanding of their faith, no one has the right to violate others’ rights and religious sensibilities."

Now I certainly have no problem with his statement thus far however he concludes the discussion saying, "At the same time, all should heal themselves from the obsession of converting others."

Ah, now there's a rub! "Obsession" is a pejorative word and is no doubt a slam against Christians who happen to take seriously Jesus' command to "Go and make disciples..." Jesus--God--didn't suggest it as neat thing to do if one is so inclined. He commanded because there is salvation in NO ONE ELSE. His words not mine. (John 14:6)

"Why do you feel it’s important we have more interfaith dialogues?" The Interviewer asked.

The Professor replied-- "The need is theological because in the light of the ultimate mystery of God, all human understanding is incomplete and falls short. Other religious traditions can help enrich our faith and open our hearts and minds to the inexhaustible divine."

Great answer unfortunately it is fatally wrong. God's revelation of himself in the person of Christ is complete--which is why Christians are or at least should be vehement about trying to win others to the only truth that saves.

Hell Has Cooled Off In Modern Times

More survey results are in and, well, they're really not surprising. According to LifeWay Research 70% of teens believe heaven exists. That may seem like a good start but remember you cannot assume we're talking about any kind of orthodox understanding of "heaven." Additionally, nearly 70% believe that Jesus is their way to heaven. Sounds but then the survey also showed that

That seems really encouraging until their theology comes to reveal itself for what it is. A little better than a fourth of them believe kindness gets them into heaven--certainly a popular notion and not just among teens. About another quarter believe that their religious practices will get them to heaven. Again-not uncommon among the general populace.

But now here is the conflict with understanding and belief. The 70% who say they believe they will go to heaven because Jesus died for their sins, 60% of them also believe they will go to heaven because they are religious and 60% because they are kind to others.

Alright it is confusing but supposedly the result so of the survey with cross referencing etc. shows that rather than nearly 70% believing in Jesus as the Way, truly only 28% believe that.

Honestly, I think 28% is grossly inflated as well but then I am normally a pessimist. What is more disturbing to me then the confusing figures is the revelation that about one out of five teens strongly agreed with the statement that they don't care if they go to heaven.

How could that be? It's pretty easy actually. It simply means that they understand neither the realities of heaven nor the horrors of hell. Again this is not surprising as many so-called "believing" adults do not truly believe in hell as a place of conscious torment.

Past of it is the day in which we live but the majority of it is simply bad teaching--or maybe better--no teaching! You see in the age of consumerism, talking about eternal torment doesn't exactly draw the crowds. So the fact is, as the late Anglican Bishop J.C. Ryle wrote back around the turn of the century, "Heaven doesn't seem nearly as holy or hell as hot as they once were."

And there you have it. Not only do unbelievers not know the truth these days, even the so-called faithful are confused at best and willfully ignorant at worst. You can't change the rest but you can change yourself.

Representative Democracy Sometimes--Isn't!

Well sports fans, our good old "representative" form of government has failed us again.

The good and moral citizens of Massachusetts have had the opportunity to vote on the meaning of marriage removed from their hands. It will be another five years before people with virtue and common sense will be able to get another crack at reversing the heinous Sodomite marriage bill in the commonwealth to our south.

What is strange about this matter is that proponents of a marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman counted votes ahead of time and were convinced they had enough votes to get the initiative on the ballot in 2008. But when it came to the actual vote, there were many defections to the other side. It went down in flames 45-151 where they needed 50 votes to get it on the ballot.

Speaking of the shocking outcome, Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said in a statement, "The Marriage Amendment won its first legislative vote and was on track to win its second with a healthy margin. The unprecedented pressure by leaders on Beacon Hill…derailed the largest initiative petition drive by citizens in the Commonwealth's history."

Allegations of bribery by the governor and arm-twisting by the House speaker as a means of pressuring legislators to switch their vote are being investigated.

Presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told The Associated Press that the vote is "a regrettable setback" and said it makes it more important to pass a national amendment supporting traditional marriage. Marriage is an institution that goes to the heart of our society and our leaders can no longer abdicate their responsibility."

I am skeptical of Romney's commitment to such things in light of his public castigation of General Peter Pace when the general commented on the reality that gays in the military are not good for the military.

At any rate, remember my words from the recent past. The two greatest threats to America are Islam externally and homosexuality internally. Tuck that away as you evaluate our future leaders.

Big Brother Is On The Move...

Bye, Bye Ms. American Pie…I introduced my sermon on Memorial Day Sunday with the song by Don McClain lamenting the passing of our nation's age of innocence. In that message, which you can here on line at our website which is fefchurch.org, I spoke of the near future and the possibilities that were just around the bend concerning infringement on our rights of free speech and religion.

Well, those days are closer than we think. According to the American Family Association, "House bill H.R. 1592 and Senate bill S. 1105 would make negative statements concerning homosexuality, such as calling the practice of homosexuality a sin from the pulpit, a 'hate crime' punishable by law."

Don Wildmon of the AFA claims that "the proposed law would make it a crime to preach on Romans Chapter 1 or I Corinthians Chapter 6. Or even to discuss them in a Sunday School class."

I have read a summary of the law and I don't quite read in the summary, the same dire prohibitions Wildmon claims but to be sure, the language seems to be there to make it a possibility. The point to be made though, is regardless what it actually does or intends the law is totally unnecessary and would be a complete infringement on the freedom of religion and speech. I can't imagine it passing but honestly passing may not even be the sponsor's intent. It may just be part of the chiseling process by which we are worn down over time. It worked for abortion, it worked concerning special rights for homosexuals, it will work for homosexual marriage, and will work for this mislabeled hate crimes legislation. It is only a matter of time.

Lest you think however my scenario is implausible or alarmist consider that right now, the 9th circuit court of appeals has already ruled that in California, use of the words “natural family,” “marriage” and “union of a man and a woman” is a “hate speech” crime in government workplaces.

Do you think there is any correlation between the Middle East war, Iran's insistence that it will annihilate Israel and the U.S. and this most base degradation of our culture?

If you know your Bible, you know the answer to that.

As a late addition--I have not checked this myself but have been told that our illustrious Maine senators co-sponsored this bill. It figures…

Ruth Graham--A National Treasure

The wife of the most famous and one might argue--successful evangelist known to man has received her reward. Ruth Grahm was 87 years old when she shed her aged, frail, and aching mortal body in exchange for the glory of God. "To live is Christ--to die is GAIN." Paul wrote. That sums up Ruth's life pretty thoroughly.

Dr. Graham stated on his wife's passing, "Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team. No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support." A lot of men say those kinds of things about their wives because it's expected. But as a pastor, I KNOW Dr. Graham meant it. Our ministries truly could not go forth with any kind of impact or integrity were it not for the Christ-like sacrifices minister's wives make their whole life long.

Mrs. Graham was left pretty much to be a single parent during the children's formative years. While Billy Graham was evangelizing the world, Mrs. Graham was rearing their brood. Had she not understood and believed that her role in the ministry was absolutely vital to the Good News going forth through the lips of her husband, their marriage and their ministry would have been drastically different. But missions was in her genes.

Graham was born on the mission field where the Chinese Christians, to whom her parents ministered, were so full of joy that they made a lasting impression. Compared to the unbelieving Chinese around her, the Christian Chinese beamed. Ruth Graham truly was the wind beneath her husband's wings.

Death comes to us all but Mrs. Graham's perspective is memorable.

She said--“We look on death as a tragedy, and we grieve with the family and friends, but we don’t stop to think that God probably is not grieving,” she said. “I wonder if He’s excited when one of his children is coming home - it’s a not a stranger coming home, it’s a loved child.”

Indeed, the hope of Jesus Christ is not mere fancy; it is not something contrived by the weak who need a crutch. Those who know the Savior, know what life is and what it isn't.

May we all, who wear the name of Jesus, be as faithful as this national treasure.

Shed The Father's Day Guilt

Okay, I know it's father's day plus one but hey, I'm not on the air Sundays.

Some of you hearing this are breathing a sigh of relief precisely because Father's Day has come and gone. For you, any remembrance of your father is painful, and angering! Your father was not a good man; even by sinful man's standards and if I'm talking to you I trust you know what I mean.

One thing I want to tell you is that you need not feel any pangs of guilt because Father's Day has come and gone and you did nothing for your father--except try to forget that you have one. Oh I know you can probably find plenty of pastors who will say something glib like, "You need to forgive and forget," or "It's time to move on."

Heaven knows, you would loved to have done that years ago but somehow an undesired odor, the sound of a footfall sets off a chain reaction of emotions and memories that cast you right back into the prison of that perpetrator.

Can I tell you that your heavenly Father is far angrier with that man than you are? Oh I know that's hard to believe; if that were true, surely God would have done something definitively horrendous to him before now, you think. Well, I do understand that believe me, but I also know that God has stored up his anger for a future day. That's why the apostle Paul admonishes the folks at Rome to "leave room for the wrath of God" rather than exacting your own revenge in such situations. Oh, it's there I assure you--Romans 12:19--even though it is an element of God's nature that few wish to discuss.

We're far more comfortable with an ooey-gooey spongy god whose vocabulary contains only the words-- I Love You. But the fact remains that from Genesis to Revelation one cannot escape the holy character of God who promises from beginning to end that "The Day of the Lord" is coming, a day when justice, ultimate justice will finally be fulfilled.

So that man who hurt you; who violated you is a marked man and your heavenly father knows who he is and what he did, and he hasn't gotten away with anything. One day you, and that man, will realize that.

June 09, 2007

Faithful United Methodists Succumb To Liberal Control

Christian United Methodists apparently caved in to quasi-Christian United Methodists unfortunately taking a stand for the "unity" of the denomination rather than taking a stand for God's truth.

In 2004, the denomination adopted a resolution stating they would work together "for their common mission of making disciples throughout the world." Sounds almost reasonable on the surface but it's fertilizer. Make disciples of what; of whom? The cause of the discussed separation in 2004 was over Biblical issues like abortion, homosexuality, illicit sex, and gender perversion to mention only a few.

The faithful should have split! You know, "Choose Ye this day whom you will serve…" Instead they have committed to holding hands, singing John Lennon's "Imagine" (I actually found that in a United Methodist song book in a local church) while making disciples of "Design-your-own-religion" creating god in your own image and likeness.

Ironically, in the same resource from which the story about denominational unity appeared was also an update about a United Methodist minister who had a sex change. (I can't make this stuff up.)

Rev. Ann Gordon, who now goes by Rev. Drew Phoenix has been "reappointed" by Methodist leadership. Apparently the denomination has no "rules about transgender pastors."

Reappointed? No rules about transgender pastors? How about God's rule against usurping God's authority and prerogatives? There is only one Creator and he doesn't make mistakes when it comes to knitting the person together in the womb. I guess to some Methodists though, we're not only "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139) but must now add, "and sometimes mistakenly made" as well.

The hallmark of a good church is allegiance to Jesus Christ and fidelity to the "faith once for all delivered to the saints," not fidelity to a denominational structure that has long since abandoned Biblical absolutes. There is no virtue in such unity and the discipline of God promises to be poured out, for God will not be mocked.

United Methodists are declining in numbers; is it any wonder? Poor Charles Wesley--if only he could speak, but God still speaks but many in the United Methodist Church have long stopped listening.

Atheism Tends To Be Rather Self Defeating

Our church--meeting in what was an old Cineplex, has one of the biggest signs in the community. We put it to good use with catchy sayings--usually of a humorous nature but that contains some thought provoking bite.

The one we recently had up spawned some criticism. Apparently a few atheists took offense that either we were implying they don't exist or we were saying, God doesn't believe they exist. That they would complain at all is profoundly ironic.

On the surface, the sign has simply been misunderstood. It was a humorous twist on the logic that atheists use to deny God. Namely--"I don't believe in God. Therefore, God does not exist."

So the sign read, "God does not believe in atheists, therefore atheists don't exist." What is remarkable and underscores the arrogant sin nature of the human heart, is that the people we heard from felt justified in getting angry at the insinuation that God would deny their existence. First that's just down right weird because if God doesn't exist who cares that he would deny they exist?

But equally odd is that, while they found it offensive that someone, anyone would deny their existence, they saw no problem that they--who are mere lumps of clay to whom God gives breath--would deny God's existence. Isn't that wild? The void of logical reasoning is dumbfounding to me but then God did say that He sent a delusion on those who deny his existence.

Romans chapter 1 is very clear. "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened." (Romans 1:21) It spells out the numerous consequences of their denial of God and none of them are pleasant.

The mind of man is a curious contradiction indeed but one cannot dismiss the Creator and expect it carries no fall out. I've said it many times over the years but the Bible says it better. "God will not be mocked--for that which you sow, so shall you reap." Atheists need not worry about a silly sign; they need to worry about their foolish disbelief and turn their eyes in repentance to the One they currently deny.

June 01, 2007

Liberals Aren't Just Tight, They're Miserly

CNN has just concluded its analysis of the wealth of our national leaders. 40 of the nation's 100 senators are millionaires. For all the image building done by the nation's liberals trying to portray conservatives as the filthy rich who care nothing about the less fortunate, the results show that the number of rich Republicans and rich Democrats are running neck and neck.

That being said, of the top ten richest Senators, 8 are Democrats. Now understand, I have no problem with anyone being rich so long as it was obtained in a legitimate, moral way. What I have a major problem with is the way the rich--normally the liberal rich, excoriate "the rich" as a class and work hard to make themselves appear like they're "one of us."

Remember John Kerry's famous, "Can I get me a huntin license here?" (misspelling intentional) and now Barak Obama's peeps are working hard to make him seem like the guy next door.

Let's be honest, none of these guys and gals on either side of the aisle are "one of us." So let's stop the nonsense making it appear they are. But even more, let's stop the lying which makes it appear that conservatives are all about the green backs and liberals are all about the people. Actually, if anything, the opposite is true.

That's right conservatives truly are more generous, more giving, and truly more compassionate than liberals--by far!

George Bush and Dick Cheney for example give pretty close to 10% of their income to charity and that seems to have been an established practice before they were in the limelight of politics.

Al Gore's income tax records showed he gave a measly $353 to charity in 1998 and former President Bill Clinton once claimed a $75 deduction for donating a suit with ripped pants to the Salvation Army, as well as $2 for a pair of used (ew!) underwear and $9 for six pairs of used socks.

Obama, the year before he ran for office gave barely $1000 on an income of $259,394. That's not cheap; that's downright stingy. I have to tell you, this conservative Christian gives about 9 times as much on an income no where even close to Obama's.

So please, when you hear the political rhetoric from liberals accusing conservatives of being miserly realize they sure don't put their money where their mouths are while conservatives most assuredly do.

Apparently our God Is Puny

22% of the world's population is Muslim. That's a lot of people. Ah, but 33% of the world's population are Christian. That's even more people. But the fact is, Islam is growing at a rate of close to 3% per year while Christianity is growing at only 2.3% per year. Which means that one day before long, Islam will be the dominant religion in the world.

When you consider the teachings of Islam--I'm not talking about what today is erroneously called "radical Islam" but what the Koran clearly teaches, it is hard to imagine the attraction.

There is no assurance of salvation, it is an arduous religion that places bondage after bondage on its adherents hoping to stay on the good side of Allah; and it views women as clearly inferior and are treated as chattel. Sura 4, of the Koran which I am currently reading says, "Men are superior to women on account of the qualities with which God hath gifted one above the other…"

If you don't know what chattel is, it is what the American slave was prior to the Emancipation Proclamation.

So why in heaven's name would such a religion be growing faster than any other?

Because people want a God who is BIG and, well, god-like! Now think of that compared to how the Christian God is often portrayed

The Muslim says, Allah is holy; so holy, if you even mock him in a book you may pay for it with your life. The Christian says, God is my buddy; I'll just slap his name on a Coca Cola logo on a T-shirt which says, "He's the real thing" and peddle them for $10 each.

The Muslim says, when you worship Allah, you bow before Mecca--the holy land--(five times daily) and touch your head to the ground in reverence. The Christian says, God loves you just the way you are; come worship him (if there's nothing better to do) in cutoffs, flip flops and a baseball cap.

Iraq is an Islamic nation and the women wear special garb, and the men pray five times a day no matter where they are. We pretend America is a Christian nation as we slaughter babies in the womb, celebrate pornography, homosexuality and all manner of sex.

Islam is attractive and devouring Europe because the church is dead and people hunger for a big God and Islam offers them a big God.

We have some things to learn from Islam…

How About a "Thank you" Instead?

Rachel Smith stepped out onto the stage in Mexico City who hosted this year's Miss Universe Pageant. The boo's commenced immediately. Ms. Smith was representing the good old, generous, benevolent, compassionate America that contributes millions upon millions of dollars each year to the ungrateful, hypocritical, brats of our south of the border complainers.

Where's the thanks for America's generosity which was ($34 million last year) directly and indirectly, and for America's billions contributed through illegal immigrants whom this country ignores, coddles and cajoles?

Never mind America's going to bat incessantly for Mexico at the United Nations. (Remember the $50 BILLON bail out a dozen years ago? That was at America's urging.)

I am fed up with the whining, sniveling, poor of the world always back stabbing us and always complaining we are power-crazed, imperialists, and blah, blah, wahhh.

It's really a good thing I'm not president of the purse strings; things would be much different in the world. And what about the hypocrisy of these nations that criticize and protest our immigration policies?

Mexico has the toughest immigration laws on the continent. If we adopted half, no make that, a tenth of the rules for immigration that Mexico currently has and enforces, we would be deluged with cries of racism, bigotry and imperial arrogance even more than we are. I am sick of it.

How come there's one set of rules for the world and one for America? I say ENOUGH. No mater what we do it is unappreciated, and wrong. Since when did we become the slave of the global masters who seem to think we exist to supply everyone else's material demands?

That we need immigration reform is obvious. The President's solution is financially absurd but then the whole wretched government is so messed up what difference does it make what we do? We have laws that mean nothing; where no laws exist, we create them through the courts, and the laws which are sane, are either ignored or enforced by fiat at the whim of those with the power. What we have is organized, national anarchy. Maybe it is time to move to that commune; but where would we go? How about Mexico? Oh I forgot, we'd never be able to get in.