Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Kill Them" The Doctrine of the Neo-evangelical

I have been following the Republican debates and have come to the conclusion that both the “liberal” and “conservative” media have slanted the outcome to favor those who will stay with the present direction of preemptive action against Iran.  The real problems are not being addressed.  I find the infighting that is taking place has been a distraction from the real issues facing the American people.  While we listen to the bad-mouthing, side-issues, and "kill the enemy" speeches-- the problems of our economy, boarder security, personal and religious freedoms along with the invasion of our privacy are being ignored.  

All the while the Evangelical voters in Iowa and South Carolina are being courted for their money and votes. The emphasis on the “Evangelical” voters has somewhat confused me when we as a country have strayed from allowing a Christian influence in our schools, workplace, and government.  It seems to me that the only time “Christians” are of any importance is when they are a large portion of a voting block and have money to contribute to a campaign.

This last debate in South Carolina was an indication of the confusion that exists among the so called “Evangelical Christians” and the real followers of Jesus Christ.  During the debate one candidate referred to the Golden Rule and was booed by the very “Christians” that profess to believe the message of Jesus Christ.  This to me was an indication of how far we have strayed from the Biblical teachings of Jesus Christ.  I wonder how many of these booing Christians went to church on Sunday morning and sang, “If you don’t love your neighbor then you don’t love God.”? 

There has been a clear message of violence on the part of many of the candidates to solve the problems of America’s enemies by just “kill them”.   The group of Christians present in the audience actually cheered this solution.  What would have happened if this were the same path we were to take with the Russians, Chinese  and North Koreans?  Each one of these countries has the military power and disdain for the American way of life to bring about our destruction but we are not crying “kill them”.  We have lived with the threat of a nuclear war since the 1950’s and that threat is still real.  

I want to thank,  the people who can so quickly boo the message of the Golden Rule.  They  are just showing their Biblical illiteracy--  who want to feel good about their country.  I guess I can't fault them for that, but I will fault them for not being true to the message of Jesus Christ.  Christians have placed so much emphasis on emotions and feeling good that they are quick to lash out against those who proclaim a message that is not “touchy feely.”  Yes, I know it is difficult to teach morals to those who have lost all moral direction and have placed patriotism over the salvation of mankind.

One thing that “Evangelicals” seem to forget is that a preemptive strike is not defending our way of life nor protecting our freedom.  Stop for just a moment and give this a thought. 

Just suppose our actions in the Middle-East threatened the way of life in Russia or China.  Our military action has threatened the security of both of these countries, threatened their concept of freedom as they perceive it, and has had an economic impact that would devastate both countries, would they be justified in a preemptive strike against America?  If we attack Iran our actions will impact the way of life in both countries.  America does not need the gas and oil from Iran but both Russia and China requires what Iran has to offer to continue their way of life.
The implication of our actions will have worldwide ramifications.  The “kill them” attitude that is being support by “Evangelical Christians” is so out of step with the mission of the Church. We have forgotten the message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, " For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

Paul instructs Timothy in  1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  If we “kill them” this is not going to happen. 

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.   The message of Jesus Christ is not death but life.  The preemptive strike we are being told is the solution to our problems is not the message of the Scripture. 

I will say again, as I did in the article on self-defense, I believe as a Christian we have the moral right to defend against those who invade our country, or endanger our family or neighbors but we are supporting evil when we are the aggressors invading others on a false premise based on the greed and power of those who have an agenda that is evil. 

Don’t be so quick to judge someone who has not bought into the policy of preemptive strikes against an assumed enemy.  Just as we would not like a foreign army camped in our front yard destroying our way of life or subjecting us to a military occupation others in the world feel the same way.  Maybe we should give the Golden Rule a chance.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What Brand of Evangelical AM I?

I am having an identity crisis.  Whenever I identify myself as an Orthodox Evangelical Quaker I begin to wonder what this really means.  To be called an Evangelical has so many different meanings.  For the most part Evangelicals are viewed as homophobic, racist, bigoted, small-minded and outdated.  We have lost the influence and respect not only in our country but within our communities as well.  For the most part we have been excommunicated from society.  Maybe the reason is society has watched Evangelical flip from one issue to the next without really making a stand on what we truly believe.  We cannot agree on what the real mission of the church is for our society.

Since Orthodox Evangelical Quakers have no official spokesperson, so no one speaks for all Evangelical Quakers.  So I will speak for myself.  Over the past twenty years there has been a major shift in the mission of the church.  The message of the church has been corrupted by the ones trusted with the message.  The LORD told Malachi what would happen if the priest forgot their responsibility to the message of the LORD.

Malachi 2 1 “And now, O priests, this command is for you. 2 If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. 4 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts. 5 My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts, 9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.

I don’t want to be part of the corrupted message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ nor sidetracked from the message of Salvation.  Here is where I see the corruption of the message, as Evangelical we have bought into the wrong message.  Let me explain, we have several factions within those called Evangelical Christians.  I will address just a few.

The desire for power and money has corrupted the once-sound Evangelical ministers of the Gospel.  Today, one doesn't have to look far to see the spiritual disrepair these ministers have left the Evangelical faith in. Because of the longstanding apostasy of these ministers, untold millions have not heard the true message of Jesus Christ - having previously believed that those entrusted with teaching them the Christian faith were doing so faithfully and truthfully.

Evangelicals are leaving the message of Salvation for political power and position.  During this Presidential campaign the Evangelical influence has already made the news.  An emerging Christian movement (The New Apostolic Reformation) wants to take over politics, business and culture in preparation for the end times and the return of Jesus.  The leaders are considered apostles and prophets, gifted by God for this role.  There are those who believe the Church will have dominion over the world at the end of the age. The nations and governments will be upon their shoulders as they rule for Christ. With this authority, the church will restructure cities, then countries and then the rest of the world. All the secular authorities, governments, rulers and kings will be under the churches rule, and we see the world change.  Christ will then return and the kingdom will be presented to Him.   Christ will set up his Kingdom and He will not our help to take control.

I believe as individuals we have a responsibility to exercise our duty and responsibility as citizens and speak out against the evils that are dominating our country and to become active in changing our communities but this is not the main message of the church.  We will change our communities when we see a change in the message of the church.  That message is to evangelize the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ not to dominate the world.   
As Evangelicals we have allowed our message to be hijacked by devious enemies of the church.  I am obviously not an expert in geopolitics, economics, or foreign policy. However, I am aware of the sect within the Evangelical church that feels they must support Israel no matter if it is right or wrong.  The Christian Zionist movement within the Evangelicals has an agenda that will never support peace in the Middle-East.  They are praying for the destruction of Israel while claiming to be a supporter.  Millions of dollars have been raised and given to the Zionist movement within Israel to bring about the Rapture.  What is sad is the Zionist looks at these evangelicals as a source of cold hard cash, additional sympathy with the American electorate and additional clout with conservative Christian members of Congress.  Evangelicals have left off evangelizing and are trying to bring about the Rapture of the Church to get them out of this evil world at the cost of millions dying without the message of hope.  They have forgotten, But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” 

One Christian Zionist minister said, “I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption.” This is contrary to the words of Jesus “no man comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). John further writes, in his first Epistle: “He who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12).  The Apostle Paul, as well, would say the opposite of this Zionist minister: “I do not set aside the grace of God: for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Galatians 2:21). Paul is affirming that nothing that the Old Testament offered could avail apart from the death of Jesus. Salvation does not come from the Torah it come from Jesus Christ.  We should be sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone—Jews included. 

Another area Evangelicals have lost their message is in the context of “social issues”.  As Evangelicals we tend to pick and choose our “sins”.  The main issues we address today are “defining marriage”, homosexuality and abortion.  I remember when I was in my youth it was smoking, drinking, dancing and going to the movies.  How times have changed.First let me state, marriage is between a man and a woman, homosexuality is condemned by the Scripture and abortion is the taking of life.  These issues are important areas of our faith.  However, these sins are no greater than adultery, lying, stealing, maliciousness, whispers and backbiters, spiteful, proud, boastful, disrespectful of parents, and covenant breakers just to name a few things that will separate you from God for eternity.  But you will not see Evangelicals protesting a divorce court, or marching on the Statehouse demanding laws against covenant breakers, because we don’t view these as serious sins.  Could it be that we are guilty of these sins?  If Evangelicals were doing the job of evangelizing the lost we would not need to define marriage, protest against homosexuality and abortion because the power of the Holy Spirit would “cleanse from ALL unrighteousness.” 

 Maybe the reason Evangelicals are viewed as homophobic, racist, bigoted, small-minded and outdated is because we have forgotten the mission of the Church and have become homophobic, racist, bigoted, small-minded and outdated.  In 2012 let’s get back to sharing the message of Jesus Christ to a lost world.  We don’t need to control the world, force the Rapture, or make laws against sin.  Let’s bring the message of Salvation back into our churches and see sinners converted and lives changed.

Galatians 1 6I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  9As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  10For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.