Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

chipped-flag-on-brick-wall-300x200The United States of America has been under attack – from within. Two things make this fact even worse: many people are oblivious, and the larger problem is others just don’t seem to care.

It is important we understand how we got to this point of corruption and crisis as a nation, determine who is responsible, and decide what we can do about it. You may know much of this information, but many of your friends do not; please share it.

In order to examine the spiritual, financial, and political condition of the United States of America, the epic prize globalists wish to conquer, it’s vital we acknowledge some brief history.

Pilgrims and patriots came to these shores to escape religious persecution, government intrusion, and to establish a God-fearing settlement that would flourish on faith and freedom. This great Republic was originally founded upon biblical teachings, Moral Law, and the Declaration of Independence. We know, however, this is not the same country it was one or two hundred years ago.

We now know – and many of these are interchangeable – atheists, communists, liberals, humanists, Marxists, progressives, and socialists have infiltrated our government and undermined the order and very foundation of our nation. They have infected our courts, the education system, our corporations, the entertainment industry, and unfortunately, many of our churches. (Read about the Emergent Church.)

Most of us would like to see this nation return to one in which people once again honor the Lord first, respect the Constitution, the Flag, and allow others to live their lives based on Judeo-Christian principles. But this may be wishful thinking because political correctness will no longer coexist with religious freedom.

For concerned Christians, there is a stark reality looking us square in the eyes: God’s Word (Bible prophecy) reveals some sobering truths about the future of our nation and this world. Things will become even darker, more chaotic, and people’s hearts will grow cold. The Bible tells us evil will appear to prevail in the days leading up to the Lord’s return, and nations will not only come against Israel, they will stand in defiance of God our Creator and King.

The question is how much time do we have in the United States of America? Obviously, no one can answer this specifically. Could we have a great spiritual revival and awakening in our nation? It is possible, but not probable. Have we become such stiff-necked, lukewarm, self-serving people we have already sealed our own fate? Perhaps.

The other day, our guest on Stand Up for the Truth, Julaine Appling said, 

“Law is always downstream of culture.”

It is true our culture drives politics and legislation in America. Just look at the powerful LGBT lobby teaming up with Hollywood and the liberal media! But what happened to the influence of the church? Christianity used to drive culture, but today, more and more churches, leaders, and denominations have become silent or have conformed to the world.

Anti-Christian, anti-American agendas are being carried out across the country with little concern or resistance.

Two evil, influential political philosophies have shaped the direction of our nation over the past 50-plus years, and we see devastating effects on Americans who are (for the most part) unknowingly embracing them.

  • Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”
  • The Cloward-Piven Strategy

These two progressive, Marxist philosophies and their implemented agendas have been used together to bring our nation to the precipice of economic and moral destruction. First, a quote from: Rules for RadicalsA Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals

“In the beginning the organizer’s first job is to create the issues or problems.” Saul D. Alinsky,

The Obama administration sure took that principle to heart.

…Chicago-born Saul David Alinsky (1909 – 1972) was an American community organizer who dropped out of graduate school at the University of Chicago to work as a criminologist. He was drawn to the world of gangsters and was a confidant of the Al Capone mob. Alinsky became a “student” of enforcer Frank Nitti, who took over the mob when Capone was sent to prison. An Alinski radical has one main goal – power.

His motto was, “The most effective means are whatever will achieve the desired results.” In 1971, the hard Left, progressive community organizer wrote a playbook of subversive tactics to empower an upcoming generation of change agents. A few notable adherents to the Alinsky method are: Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Van Jones, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jim Wallis, and former President Barack Obama.

Expert organizer, President Obama, didn’t miss a beat when he left office and according to reports is scheming to sabotage Donald Trump’s presidency. His army of agitators numbering in the tens of thousands will take orders from Obama’s command post in his new Washington home less than two miles from the White House. Not content to move on like other ex-presidents, Obama is actively working to fight against Republicans.

Having raised over $40 million in the last few years of his presidency with the help of former Obama aides and campaign workers, his network of leftist nonprofits led by Organizing For Action (OFA) with 250 offices across the country, added staff, and fresh recruitment of liberal activists. Not only that, but Obama’s close confidante Valerie Jarrett has moved into his new DC home, the nerve center for their plan to mastermind the insurgency against the Trump administration.

The Alinsky Game Plan:

  • Exploit the weaknesses inherent in the system, made weaker by pitting opposing forces against one another.
  • Oppose independent, morally strong, educated people because those individuals, especially in groups, can’t be manipulated easily.
  • They attempt to end-run constitutional rights with social contract and dialectic consensus methods. Engage in large scale social engineering, attempting to unfreeze a society using chaos, and to then refreeze it in a new predefined shape.
  • The dividing lines they polarize people on are most often racial, economic, religious and political.
  • Cause social instability through subversive and divisive rhetoric. One method is to control the outcome of the education system by lowering the standards of education so that it creates a dependent class.
  • Use their political platforms to overload a society with social spending programs and class warfare to the point that hatred and division cause social panic.
  • Once they’ve created a problem, they propose themselves as the answer and use wealth transfers and the trumping of rights as the method to bring about “equality.”

THE EFFECTS:

  • An overpowering Federal government bureaucracy that has violated the U.S. Constitution’s principles of limited Federal government power and control.
  • $20 trillion in national debt. Not even counting Social Security and Pension obligations:  Most estimates are the nation is almost $100 trillion in debt:  A system waiting to collapse.
  • An American public that has become addicted to government handouts.  More than half the population is on direct assistance from the government.
  • A laziness and narcissism with Americans where they look to government to provide instead of providing for themselves.
  • Massive Student Loan debt that will never be repaid because of a corrupt educational system that lured young people with lies and false illusions.
  • The only way to get out of this fiscal mess is a complete overhaul of the debt situation in the nation:  BANKRUPTCY, which leads to a Marxist State.

THE ALINSKY DOCTRINE:

8 Steps to Topple a Nation and Create a Socialist State.

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and The Cloward-Piven Strategy have been woven together by Progressive Marxist-Humanists to create a crisis so bad that the only “solution” is what they have wanted:  Communism.  Let’s look at the eight points where the two doctrines intersect.

*Read the entire post including resource links and a conclusion, “What Christians can do about it” at DavidFiorazo.com

 

Image credit: Tomohalloran.com

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free speech pulpit and micBoth sides are firing shots across the bow of their opponents in a revived First Amendment battle thanks to Donald Trump and a bizarre election cycle. This debate is absolutely necessary, but not for the reasons you might think.

Too many people have no idea what the Johnson Amendment is and why it is so important, but at least a few more are paying attention since Trump brought it up.

First, some background: Lyndon Johnson, a progressive, racist, and perhaps the second most liberal president in U.S. history was running for reelection as a Senator in Texas and he found a way to silence his enemies – Christians, conservatives, and Republicans. He slipped an amendment to limit the speech of nonprofit groups into a massive tax code overhaul bill and the rest is history. Conservative groups were campaigning against Johnson in 1954 and interestingly, they had concerns about communism at the time as well as Johnson’s big government ideology.

The freedom of religious expression was also restricted by Johnson’s shrewd, calculated move and many religious leaders were silenced – not necessarily because of the amendment, but due to their fear or ignorance of the law.

So a few weeks back, Trump rallied the base by claiming he will repeal the Johnson Amendment if elected president. Who knows if Trump would actually make good on his promise or if he will be able to get Congress to back it.

What are his motives? Did an evangelical Christian advisor convince him to talk about it in the hopes more conservative ears would perk up? Is his goal to create Christian Church super PACs?  Does he want to “politicize the pulpit” as some liberals claim?

Dusting off this debate has encouraged some on the right and infuriated some on the left, and there are many angles to discuss.

…I am not suggesting pastors and religious leaders must endorse candidates. They wouldn’t have to if they had already been preaching the whole counsel of God and speaking about sin, morality, the controversial issues of the day, and teaching on what the Bible says about each one. Moreover, informed citizens should already know where political candidates stand on issues of importance!

Sadly, we may now have one of the most distracted, disinterested, divided, and uninformed electorates in U.S. history.

…part of the new Republican Party platform states:

“Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs, and therefore we urge the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.”

Trump said the Johnson Amendment has had a chilling effect on the nation. Agreed, and most secular progressives, Democrats, and atheists love it because godlessness has increased and Christian influence has decreased. He also declared,

“Christianity is under siege. Every year it gets weaker and weaker and weaker…

Trump is correct, but it is because Christians and conservatives concerned about biblical morality have practically surrendered the public square by our silence and inactivity as well as our tendency to duck the issues of sin, repentance, and God’s judgment.

It is true the amendment has been used by the IRS and even by the Christian Left to intimidate and silence the voices of untold numbers of Americans. Isn’t this considered bullying?

Under the Obama administration, the IRS has aggressively and wrongly targeted and fined conservative non-profits including many Tea Party groups while the media collectively looked the other way. Enforcement of the law has been a one-sided effort.

We do know the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” People often forget or ignore that second part! This was meant to protect people of faith and their deeply held biblical convictions – and that includes when they’re outside the walls of their church!

Our Founders believed the church had a right and responsibility to influence society for good and never imagined government would be empowered to censor Christians and restrict their religious expression.

Religious leaders not only have a constitutional right to address the moral issues of the day, many believe they have a responsibility to do so.  And, pastors should have the ability to speak out from the pulpit and support or oppose a political candidate based on where the candidate stands on the issues.

History now includes the last 62 years, which, of course, tell a very different story. Hands off, big government! The state should allow the church to speak freely and let the free market of ideas decide who wins…

We know in today’s culture, political correctness trumps truth. Christians have a moral obligation to defend the truth no matter the circumstances. Regardless of what happens, let’s hope the gospel will prevail over silent compliance or compromise.

Read the entire post here:

judge not signThe phrase ‘Judge ye not’ is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misapplied biblical concepts.

Rarely does anyone want to confront sin, and rarely does a sinner want to be confronted. This presents a problem.

As the avalanche of immorality in America continues consuming many professing Christians, the idea of judging has become even more unpopular. You and I have choices to make regarding how to deal with the issue of sin in our culture and sadly, there are believers who think we should never mention the behavior of others.

In that case, how are we supposed to share the gospel of Christ, repentance from sin, and the need for forgiveness from God and eternal salvation?

Rather than address sin invading the church, we open the door to even more compromise by accommodating immoral behavior because we don’t want to offend anyone. But is this what Jesus taught?

“Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:4-5

Jesus used every opportunity – including death – to warn others. I strongly suggest we not exercise our right to be silent.

How can we turn a sinner back to God if we don’t make a judgment and say anything about sinful behavior? James wrote:

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20

The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth not to associate with people who claimed to be Christians, but were living sinful lives (1 Corinthians 5:9). He urged the committed believers to judge those within the church and let God judge those who are outside (1 Corinthians 5:12-13).

So let’s be very clear on this: We are not to judge unbelievers; we are to share the gospel with them, because without Christ and the Bible they have no moral compass. We are instructed to judge fellow believers as long as we do it with a spirit of humility and love, not hypocritically.

There are two types of judgment in the Bible: krino judgment is to “try, convict and punish”; anakrino is to “scrutinize, investigate and determine”.

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”  John 12:47-48

The word Jesus uses here for judge is krino: “to try, convict and punish”.

“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.1 Corinthians 4:3-4

The word for judge in this verse is anakrino: “to scrutinize, investigate and determine”Anakrino is used 14 times in the New Testament in these ways: examine, question, discern, judge, account.

Nine times out of ten, people use the words, ‘Judge ye not’ completely out of context. Even those with limited knowledge of the Bible and Christianity have either heard or have used these words themselves. This has become laughable in a culture today that promotes the idea of tolerance, but is quite intolerant when it comes to biblical Christianity, morality, and absolute truth.

Moral relativism seems to be the new law of the land.  Everyone determines their own morality, and when man decides what is right or wrong, it becomes easier to defend the indefensible. After all, if the Bible does not apply to every person, well – then anything goes!

The people of Israel knew all about this and the result is always lawlessness.

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25

In the Old Testament, the God of creation often judged the people of Israel, and either blessed or punished nations depending on their obedience or rebellion. After Jesus Christ conquered the last enemy, death, by His resurrection, God the Father transferred all power and authority to His Son (Matthew 28:18). The deity and authority of Jesus are non-negotiable facts in the true Christian faith, and the Bible teaches Jesus will one day judge all humanity.

As believers, we have the Holy Spirit to help us discern good and evil, and the love of God should move us to compassion; to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ and to encourage and warn fellow believers entangled in sin.

This may seem obvious and elementary to some, but in today’s culture of hyper-tolerance it must be repeated: it is necessary to make moral judgments.

First, no one is without sin, and if someone says they do not sin, they are simply fooling themselves (1 John 1:8). Assuming you and I have confessed our sins and have received God’s forgiveness, we know how awful it feels to commit a sin and be distant from God, so we should help others be reconciled to Him.

Let’s be clear on another point: only God knows what’s in a person’s heart. All we can do is judge behavior according to the teachings of Scripture.

The concept taught in Matthew 7 is to judge yourself or examine yourself first, and then you will see clearly to address someone else’s sin. Some folks seem to think Jesus said never attempt to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (mention their sin).

In his commentary on this important teaching, Pastor Joe Schimmel of Good Fight Ministries wrote:

To grasp the true context, let’s take a closer look at Matthew 7:1-5:

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

If you have never read past verse 1, then perhaps you are seeing the true meaning of this verse for the first time. Notice that Jesus did NOT ever say, don’t judge – period. He exhorts us to judge with righteous judgment in John 7:24 and here in Matthew 7:1-5. He says first be sure you’re right with God before pointing out someone else’s sin, thus granting the right to judge. The correct understanding of Matthew 7:1 is that simple! Verse 5 clarifies and exposes the skeptic’s erroneous understanding of “Do not judge”, by giving the green light, if you will, to judge… so as long as it is not done in a hypocritical manner.

God hates sin, and He calls you and me to shine our light and expose the darkness of sin. Naturally then, as we continue to witness unrestrained immorality in our culture, it should grieve our hearts and make us angry. That anger, however, should be directed toward the enemy and the evil of sin, not toward those who are entangled in its web. They need our prayers.

The dilemma remains: How do we bring someone back who has wandered from the truth? Some Christians actually think that instead of pointing out a person’s sin we should let our actions speak. Okay, roll the dice and let me know how that works out.

It is true sanctification – becoming more like Jesus Christ and less like the world – is a lifelong process. That being said, mature Christians should be held to a stricter standard than new believers. If we are not ‘walking the talk,’ we have no business telling someone else to repent of their sin.

In a perfect church in a perfect world, the person you approach concerning their sin would respond “Oh, wow, you’re right and I appreciate you telling me. I sure can’t argue with what the Bible teaches. I’m going to take it to God right now and ask His forgiveness, thanks so much for caring.” (OK, stop chuckling to yourself.) There must have been someone through the centuries of Christendom who responded with an open heart like this, no?

Pride is an ugly thing and we all deal with it at times.

Though most Christians may have good intentions, some choose to justify depravity by arguing against judging rather than promote biblical Christianity – and it is mind boggling.

Others are in the “hey, we just need to pray for them” camp. Okay, let’s pray for them. Then what? Too many people think that commenting on someone’s sin is never acceptable.

This accommodation of sin and refusal to judge and preach repentance – the main message of Jesus and John the Baptist – is a result of our silence and has led to our present culture of compromise. The sad thing is many Christians have been duped into believing that being silent is more loving, when, in fact, the exact opposite is true!

Our concern should be to encourage others in the faith knowing we are all sinners ‘working out our salvation. Galatians 6:1 states:

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Restoration is a good thing! But how can we restore a sinner if we cannot even address the sin? It is foolishness; it’s worldliness to think this way.

Believers are obligated to live by the light of God’s Word. The apostles refer to their former condition (before Christ) as darkness, because those living in sin cannot see where they are going. In the Zondervan Matthew Henry Commentary, Ephesians 5:11 (exposing darkness) is explained:

We must have no fellowship (association, communion, participation) with sin or sinners. Sinful works are works of darkness. These works of darkness are fruitless deeds; there is nothing gained by them in the long run, whatever profit is pretended by sin, it will by no means balance the loss. We must therefore have nothing to do with these fruitless deeds. If we share with others in their sin, we must expect to share with them in their plagues. Rather than being partners with them, we must expose them. We must witness against the sins of others, and endeavor to convince them of their sinfulness in our words; but especially by the holiness of our lives. Reprove their sins by abounding in the contrary duties.

Making judgments in a biblical manner doesn’t need to be confusing if we understand God’s word. But we are in a time in America when the church is afraid to offer a moral judgment on anything. One thing is certain; we had better examine ourselves first and make sure we are true to the faith and Word of Jesus Christ!

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

Thanks to the Holy Spirit, Christians have spiritual discernment nonbelievers do not have access to, particularly related to biblical truth. In 1 Corinthians 2:15, the apostle Paul says those who are spiritual should judge all things. One of the many promises from God is that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. God gives us a greater capacity for applying His wisdom and discernment to everyday life.

Christians are instructed to examine everything carefully and cling to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We do this by holding all things up to Scripture, the ultimate standard and truth detector.

The Word of God encourages Christians to remain in Him in order to produce good fruit in our lives. But how do you determine the good fruit from bad fruit? The Apostle Paul lists the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Fruit is that which comes from our actions and words, hopefully pointing others to Christ and influencing our culture for godliness. Similar to Matthew 7, the gospel of Luke includes the same lessons from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which he warns believers about false prophets and teachings, as well as about judging wrongly. Luke 6:43-44 states:

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.

You and I will be judged by what our lives produce, whether good or bad. This judgment will include not only what we did and said, but also what we approved of and did not say. Each of us will be held accountable for our actions, words, and lack thereof on judgment day.

Silence never saved anybody.

Do you really believe in your heart that Christians should have no input in matters of moral importance in our culture?

A religion professor at Charleston Southern University, Peter Beck stated:

I am greatly grieved by those who call themselves “Christians” yet constantly cover for the very wickedness and sin that they are supposed to shun and flee from. They embrace the very sinful people who have clearly transgressed God’s commandments, laws, precepts, directives, and requirements …You must understand, my friends that while you are so concerned with … creating an environment of love and peace, [lasting] peace is neither possible nor probable without the end coming first. Jesus Christ is the only One who can and will bring us eventual peace … when God sends Him back to earth as the King of Kings to reign forever and ever!

If we love those who are in bondage to any sin, we will tell them about the forgiveness of Jesus Christ and encourage them to repent. A Spirit-filled Christian with the proper love and motives will seek God’s approval, not the world’s approval.

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul writes: All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable … for correction … Wait, “correction”? How can we as Christians correct anyone if we are not supposed to make a judgment on right or wrong? This misguided argument can make a person’s head spin – and we’ve all heard it. God’s correction is good and sometimes He uses other people in the church to get through to us.

The church is in some ways a hospital for those who know they are sick.

Pastor John MacArthur said:

A church that does not discipline a sinning member is like a person who has good reason to believe he has cancer but who refuses to go to a doctor – because he either does not want to face the problem or does not want to face the treatment. If he waits too long his whole body will be permeated with the disease and it will be too late for treatment to do any good. No church is healthy enough to resist contamination from persistent sin in its midst.

We also need to be wise and discerning about church leaders and teachers. Your pastor or ministry leaders are human, and they are just as susceptible to sin and temptation as you and I.

Throughout the Bible are warnings about those who purposely stretch or twist the gospel, apparently to deceive and lead others astray. Matthew 7:15-16 states:

Beware the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves, you will know them by their fruits.

John writes to Christians in 1 John 4:1 saying:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

The better we know the Word of God, the more we will be able to discern what is ungodly. If we know the truth, then we will be able to expose a counterfeit.

Another response you may have heard when reacting to a Christian’s judgment might be, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” Implying that Jesus taught us not to judge is ludicrous. This verse is also misused and often taken out of context.

The passage in John 8:3-7 is about a couple caught in the act of adultery. It is interesting to me the Pharisees brought only the woman to Jesus. If she was “caught in the act,” then the man must also have been caught. Where was the man? The Law of Moses required both the man and the woman to be stoned to death, but the religious leaders didn’t care about technicalities. They had a different agenda: It was a set-up to test the Lord Jesus.

Notice Jesus didn’t tell them not to judge; He knew the wicked hearts of the Pharisees as they confronted Him with accusations. Jesus responded with, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her (vs 7).” Since they all had sinned, each of them dropped their rocks and walked away one by one (John 8:9). The Lord then acknowledged her sin, forgave her, and warned her to go and sin no more.

Andrew Murray said:

“To convince the world of the truth of Christianity, it must first be convinced of sin. It is only sin that renders Christ intelligible.

What a good juxtaposition. The very truth about sin can be what leads to understanding the solution God provided through the Savior. Apart from explaining sin’s consequences, the crucifixion makes no sense.

Francis Schaeffer believed Christians in general are avoiding the cultural battle and allowing its downward slide. In his book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Schaeffer wrote:

It is my firm belief that when we stand before Jesus Christ, we will find that it has been the weakness and accommodation of the evangelical group on the issues of the day that has been largely responsible for the loss of the Christian ethos which has taken place in the area of culture in our country over the last forty to sixty years.

Full obedience to the Word of Christ obligates us to speak. We are to be on the lookout as watchmen on the wall because if God judged Israel for not repenting, how do you suppose He will deal with America?

Culture reflects the strength or weakness of the church which reflects the strength or weakness of individual Christians. In Ezekiel’s case, there was a specific message the Lord instructed him to preach and yet, the principle applies to believers today:

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself. Ezekiel 3:16-21

How many more warnings do we need in order to repent and/or get others to turn back to Jesus as well? Sometimes we need stern warnings and other times we need to be the ones speaking up to warn others. God works through us to reach people, and those whom He finds faithful will receive their reward.

You never know, one day someone may thank you for caring enough to tell them the truth.

God will make the final judgments on all creation. We are His messengers, and our goal is to point people to Jesus Christ – and in many cases, back to Christ!

For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. John 5:26-27

spiritual warfareHe said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. Matthew 16:15-18
 
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3-4

Why does it seem Christians are almost always on the defensive rather than preaching the gospel, influencing culture, and standing up for Christ and His truth? Jesus Christ enlisted us in active service, and we are to make it our goal to obey and please Him (2 Corinthians 5:9). As soldiers of an eternal army, we cannot afford to be indifferent or ignorant about the intensifying battle all around us. When we are silent and fail to engage in warfare, we become ineffective for God’s kingdom including the important work of making disciples.

Here’s an excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence (chapter 14).

This epic battle between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of darkness is real whether you believe the Bible or not. Jesus came to earth to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and when He returned to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to help us fight (John 14:12).

The leaders of the armies are Jesus Christ whom God has exalted forever far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come (Ephesians 1:21); and Satan, the temporary ruler of this world (John 12:31) whose time is short (Revelation 12:12).

God allows us to choose what part we will play in advancing His kingdom. We can choose to do nothing or we can respond to His call and fight the good fight of faith (2 Tim. 4:7). Yes, it is risky, certainly unpopular, and potentially dangerous, but without risk, we experience little reward and we often suffer repercussions for not taking action.

Lord of the Rings’ fans will remember the scene in The Two Towers in which the massive, evil army of Mordor was on the move toward Gondor in their quest to wipe mankind off the face of the earth. After being warned about the enemy advancing, Aragorn encouraged the king to ride out and face the enemy. Théoden, King of Rohan, declared, “I will not risk open war.”

Aragorn replied with truth,

“Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not.”

Instead, the king ordered the city to evacuate and retreat to Helm’s Deep, a fortress that had kept them safe in the past… As a result of not staying to fight, many more lives were lost.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-12).

Do we avoid conflict and run away when life gets difficult or when we are faced with opposition?
For some, their security is money; for others, that security comes from family, a job, a relationship, the Internet, or even church activity. Some escape to entertainment; others to whatever provides immediate gratification. Our culture will only get worse if we continue to seek comfort, worldly things, or our own happiness while avoiding the battle for souls and ignoring our mission in Christ.

…And what if people in our own church say the Bible is not inerrant, there are no moral absolutes, and we are taking our faith too seriously? Press on!

We’re not to be overcome by evil; we are supposed to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Today’s remnant of committed believers must not follow the pattern of the [lukewarm] church in the last hundred years.

I agree with Charles Spurgeon and others who believe we are foolish to expect to serve God without opposition. In fact, Spurgeon stated, “the more zealous we are, the more sure are we to be assailed …” But he always kept the victory in sight:

Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon shall be cast out and forever destroyed, while Jesus and they who are with him shall receive the crown. Let us sharpen our swords tonight, and pray the Holy Spirit to nerve our arms for the conflict. Never battle so important, never crown so glorious. Every man to his post, ye warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly!

…Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18). Think about what gates are used for. Christians will overpower the enemy’s gates in the end. Did you get that? Though Satan constantly attacks believers, the Bible never refers to the enemy storming the gates of heaven!

One of the keys to our success in spiritual warfare is this pearl of truth: Gates are defensive!

All hell should be on guard, and a strong, armor-wearing, battle-tested church should be on offense, attacking the enemy with God’s Word. Preaching the gospel is one way to stay on offense and help rescue people from the camp of the enemy.

Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Too many of us leave our swords at home on a dusty shelf. We forget Satan is a defeated foe…

Read the entire book excerpt:

Rethinking Values in the Post-Crisis World: Jim Wallis

In June of 2010, Reverend Jim Wallis was asked if he believed abor­tion and homosexuality were sins. Christian radio station General Manager, Mike Le May, got the answer loud and clear: Wallis shouted at him, called him a “right-wing Kool-Aid drinking Glen Beck follower” and hung up the phone. I documented the divisive controversy that led to this exchange in my book, ERADICATE.

On Monday, Wallis – being faithful to the Democratic Party platform – openly admitted to supporting same-sex marriage. Not surprisingly, a spokesperson for Wallis’ Sojourners magazine could not say whether or not Wallis believes homosexuality is a sin.

Appointed by President Obama to his White House faith council, some say Wallis is a progressive evangelical because his primary support is from leftists.

In 2011, it was revealed by investigative journalists that Wallis’ Sojourners magazine received hundreds of thousands of dollars from radical socialist George Soros. Why would an anti-American financier like George Soros give large grants to Sojourn­ers?

Jim Wallis first denied the Soros connection saying, “No, we don’t receive money from George Soros… Our money comes from Christians who support us and who read Sojourners.”

Soros is a corrupt billionaire from Hungary aiming to destroy America’s Christian ideals and freedoms that made us a great nation. His hatred for America fuels the financing (over $52 million) of left-wing media outlets and groups including those promoting abor­tion, atheism, homosexual activism, socialism, and government expansion. It’s no wonder Jim Wallis tried to hide the truth.

George Soros is working to destroy America’s system of capitalism and this connection between Wallis and Soros should not be ignored.

On their website, Sojourners quotes people like Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, new age leader Marianne Williamson and empha­sizes social justice, environmental activism, diversity, and immigra­tion.

Wallis seems to look at the Bible in light of the world around him rather than looking at the world in light of God’s Word. From his White House platform, he attacks Republicans while calling himself a “nonpartisan evangelical minister,” and is very popular among liberals who routinely vilify Christians for their involvement in political issues.

According to Wallis:

“As more Christians become influenced by liberation theology, finding themselves increasingly rejecting the values of institu­tions of capitalism, they will also be drawn to the Marxist analy­sis and praxis that is so central to the social justice movement.”

Early in his career, Wallis founded an anti-capitalist magazine called the Post-American which identified wealth redistribution and government-managed economies as the keys to achieving social justice. He changed the name to Sojourners in the early 1970s. During his college years at Michigan State, Wallis joined the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a radical organization that aspired to overthrow America’s institutions. Wallis remains opposed to the free market system in America.

Over the years, Jim Wallis has been pro-Vietcong and actually celebrated America’s defeat in Vietnam, stating:

“I don’t know how else to express the quiet emotion that rushed through me when the news reports showed that the United States had finally been defeated in Vietnam”

In 1979, the journal Mission Tracks pub­lished an interview with Wallis, in which he expressed his hope that “more Christians will come to view the world through Marxist eyes.”

Wal­lis was listed as one of three “Religion and Socialism Commission co-chairs” in a 1982 Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) newsletter. He promotes equally distributed wealth, but this type of socialism has never been able to create the abundance needed to lift the poor out of poverty. Most importantly, his social justice politics cast aside the Great Commission of Christ – to make disciples of all nations – and can be confusing to people.

In 2005, Wallis was hired by Senate Democrats to help turn religious voters into Democrats in part by sprinkling references to God and faith into their speeches to dupe people into thinking they found religion.

The next year, in a 2006 radio broadcast, an interviewer asked: “Are you then calling for the redistribution of wealth in society?” Wallis replied, “Absolutely, without any hesitation. That’s what the gospel is all about.” Whose gospel?

According to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the true Gospel is about faith in Jesus Christ for eter­nal salvation:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, …For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…

Author, editor-in-chief of World Magazine, and Provost of The King’s College, Marvin Olasky has debated Jim Wallis. Olasky writes:

“Biblically, justice – tied to righteousness – is what promotes faith in God, not faith in government… Learn about the biggest institutional hindrance to economic advancement for the poor: the government’s monopoly control of taxpayer funds committed to education and welfare.”

In a 2008 interview with Christianity Today, Wallis promised to “work very hard to make abortion reduction a central Democratic Party plank” for the first time. It’s been seven years since Wallis made that promise and over 1.2 mil­lion babies continue to be aborted every year. He claims “poverty and global inequality” are today’s fundamental moral issues.

The glaring hypocrisy of religious liberal and social activist Jim Wallis has again been exposed, and we should pray for those confused or deceived by this very “different gospel” the Christian Left promotes.

Wallis supporters

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All the way back in the first century, the apostle Paul pleaded and warned believers to be on guard against men within their own ranks who would try to “draw away disciples after them.” They would dis­tort the truth of God’s Word, teach only selected parts of it, or take Scripture out of context to deceive the flock. These are also tactics of certain modern day evangelical leaders who some might describe as emergent, liberal, or postmodern.

Postmodernism can be traced to the early 1970s and generally ques­tions whether truth can be known with certainty, if it even exists at all. The danger, of course, with accepting ambiguity over truth is it leaves the door wide open to debate right and wrong in terms of feelings and experiences. Postmodernism rejects there is scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which is the same for everybody.

For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole pur­pose of God. Be on guard… I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:27-30)

Doubt and uncertainty are the devil’s tools going all the way back to the Garden of Eden when the serpent tempted Adam and Eve by getting them to question God’s literal words. We can practically take those deceptive words, “Did God really say…?” and finish the question with whatever ending you’d like in order to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of believers…

We now need to take a critically important look at how big of a threat false teachings are to the stability of the church in America.

You’d think the church would be a safe place for believers, but these are dangerous times in which we live. In the same way socialism has infected America, false teachings have infected Christianity. Some well-known leaders have gone astray and have taken some of the flock with them… Please pray for discernment, test every spirit according to the Word of God, and check with other sources.

It is unwise to put our pastor or favorite national religious leader up on a pedestal. We are all fallen beings looking up to the perfection of Jesus Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The Bible warns teachers to watch their doctrine closely (1 Tim. 4:16). Many emergent church leaders do not focus on the deity of Christ and the authority of the Bible as much as they call attention to themselves or a doctrine they are espousing.

Remember this: we are more likely to defend and stand up for what we love. It is imperative we get back to loving the truth – the living Word of our God. (Have you read Psalm 119 lately?)

The watering down of sin and the Bible has now spread like poison in American churches. Truth has sadly become vague or irrelevant to many Christians, and grace and tolerance are over-emphasized today, thanks in part to the seeker-sensitive church mentality. Sinners are attracted to these emergent teachings, and some end up liking what they see and hear because it is patterned after the world. It makes them comfortable, but is this the church’s job? Whatever happened to preach­ing the whole truth and leading people to repentance?

Many churches in America now have beautiful buildings, coffee shops, bookstores, great music and sound systems, state of the art lighting, edgy drama, video presentations, and some even offer yoga classes. Some churches seem to put more of an emphasis on entertaining the flock than on feeding them God’s word. Well, at least it keeps the young people occupied, but what will they do when the go out into the real world? Are they prepared to face spiritual warfare and withstand attacks on their faith?

The very existence of the Bible is divisive because it forces people to make a deci­sion about its message. It offers two options; accept it as God’s Word or reject all of it. Picking and choosing verses like a spiritual buffet is not permissible. Cafeteria Christianity won’t cut it.

Jesus never backed down when it came to facing prideful religious leaders. He challenged both their teachings and their actions. Every­thing we hear today must be held to the standard of Scripture because the enemy is active within the church working to blot out God. We must strive to continue in the Word of God and its authority.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

The better we know the Word of God, the quicker we will recog­nize false teachings. With a solid foundation rooted in absolute truth and a faith based on Christ the Lord, it will be harder for us to fall for counterfeits. You might be surprised by some of the statements and beliefs of some of today’s influential Christian leaders…

Theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul recently stated:

“In every age the church is threatened by heresy, and heresy is bound up in false doctrine. It is the desire of all heretics to minimize the importance of doctrine. When doctrine is mini­mized, heresy can exercise itself without restraint.”

Minimizing the person and the gospel of Jesus Christ is a good way to describe what many evangelical leaders do regardless of whether it is on purpose or not. Teachers will be held to account one day for every­thing they teach. Having said that, these men are best-selling authors, speakers at Christian music festivals and conferences, and several are mega-church pastors…

These ideas and teachings were not accepted by Christians overnight. The progressive pathways of emergent leaders have gradually merged with the wide road that leads to destruction. I don’t believe leaders set out at first with the agenda to poison Christianity, but their liberal theology has evolved to the point of contaminating the church. They intended to avoid harsh teachings regarding hell, judgment, and sin, but what has emerged is a wishy-washy, compromised and weakened message of a broad, tolerant gospel.

Conversely, Jesus was not very tolerant. He said even families would be divided over Him and that “For judgment I came into this world (John 9:39).”

And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins (John 8:23-24).

“But wait,” one might argue, “look at the size and growth of our church buildings and marketing campaigns and fundraisers! Look at how hip and relevant we are! We even serve cappuccino and lattes! Our sermons are catchy, our services are attractive, the kids are having fun, and we’ve even blended in with culture!” This is my point exactly about the dangers of conforming to the world’s ways.

When the Holy Spirit isn’t invited by the preaching of solid Scripture to come in and work in our hearts, there can be no conviction. Without conviction and revelation of sin, there can be no repentance leading to forgiveness…

Jesus warns us that He is returning quickly and said Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown (Rev. 3:11). It’s up to indi­vidual Christians to live counter-culture for the Lord and resist those who oppose the light and truth of Christianity.

Thankfully, there are some good churches and pastors out there who still teach the unfil­tered truth. There is also a remnant that understands the times. These committed soldiers are seeking allies, kindred spirits to encourage and sharpen one another. Take up your position! There are watchmen exposing darkness and soldiers fighting the good fight of faith who are hoping to one day hear God say, “well done.” Let’s do our best to be counted among these.

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:4-6).

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*Excerpts from Counterfeit Christianity & Emerging Into Confusion, (Chapters 12, 13) from ERADICATE: BLOTTING OUT GOD IN AMERICA by David Fiorazo

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Charles Spurgeon once said, “When the sinner sees the awful consequences of breaking the Law of God—that he cannot escape the certainty of judgment—he will see his need to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. When we preach future punishment by the Law, the sinner comes to Christ solely to flee from ‘the wrath to come.’”

The former founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI and a popular icon in the emergent church movement, Rob Bell grew his following in part by being a friend of the world. Bell often uses suggestive ques­tions rather than declarations to challenge traditional Christian doc­trine and the Bible’s authority.

In typical emergent fashion, Bell often creates more ambiguity instead of clar­ity, having no genuine commitment to absolute truth. So it’s no surprise to many of us that Bell came out in favor of homosexuality last week:

I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.

I’d say that’s a bit different than Jesus’ definition of marriage. Of course God loves every one of us, but nowhere in Scripture does He tolerate sin – any sin. He’s holy; He’s God and we’re not. You might recall in 2011 when MSNBC’s Martin Bashir grilled Bell over his mushy position on Hell and eternal judgment. Even Bashir, a liberal cable TV host, referred to Bell’s teachings as unbiblical and historically unreliable. Bashir confronted Bell and said he was “amending the gospel so that it’s palatable,” and “much easier to swallow.”

It’s easy to see that Bell is giving our culture exactly what it wants: nothing too confrontational, convicting or absolute. In the Gospels, Jesus described hell as a fiery furnace, outer darkness, a place of destruction, agony, torment, and weeping and gnashing of teeth. Bell, on the other hand claims:

“For Jesus, heaven and hell were present realities. Ways of liv­ing we can enter into here and now. He talked very little of the life beyond this one… No amount of clever marketing will attract people if we teach that ‘God will punish people for all of eternity.’

Because of sin, judgment must come. The Word of God leaves no doubt about the existence of hell and severity of it. God has provided everything we need to know about hell and how to avoid it through faith in the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ. Bell is an example of the product of Protestant Liberalism that evolved back in the nineteenth century. When the message is watered-down, it can be confusing to the biblically illiterate.

This brings us to Universalism which teaches that all people will ultimately be saved no matter what they believe here on earth. You can live the way you want: sin, curse God or deny Christ and still make it into heaven. Some Uni­versalists say their salvation is through the atonement of Jesus Christ while others think everybody will go to heaven eventually regard­less of whether or not they have put their faith in Christ.

Apparently this universal redemption will be realized either during a person’s lifetime or after their death in some future state. Since there are many variations of Universalists, it’s not possible to place them all in one doctrinal category.

Rob Bell stated, “What Jesus does is declare that he, and he alone, is saving every­body. And then he leaves the door way, way open.” But, in Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus Christ said:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Christian Universalism however, holds that all of mankind will ultimately be saved through Jesus, whether we place our faith in Him as the Son of God or not. This salvation is not from hell, but from sin, thus pretty much eliminating the truth about a future Judgment Day. As you can imagine, this is a very appealing teaching to young people, and an entire generation of evangelicals has already been poisoned with this unbiblical doctrine.

After all, who wouldn’t want to accept a God of love without having to hear about repentance, holiness, judgment and justice?

Some Universalists believe they will make it to heaven because a lov­ing God would never create a place like hell. They think they will have to make up for their sins in some way – in heaven – and that they are disciplined and purified in this life for their sins. Most believe punish­ment for sin is moral, not physical since there is no eternal damnation. Christian Universalism boils down to the claim that any doctrine about a literal hell is wrong.

There are those who also split hairs over the essential doctrine of Christ’s physical resur­rection, believing He was taken into heaven by God instead of actually rising from the dead and coming out of the tomb. Groups that deny the physical resurrection of Jesus are not Christian, nor are groups who deny the teaching of the Trinity. One of the more dangerous Universal­ist beliefs is a type of reincarnation in which those who have rejected Christ get a second chance and can still come to faith in the next life. These teachings should be avoided, and it’s always best to test all things by the living Word of God.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to con­tend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.  Jude 3-4

For more on the emergent church, counterfeit Christianity, religious confusion, and other false teachings, see chapters 12-13 in Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

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