Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Government Control or Liberty of Conscience?

 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Rom. 13:1

There have been reports that our government has been training pastors and other religious representatives to act as secret police enforcers by using Romans 13 teach their congregations to "obey the government" in preparation for the implementation of martial law, property and firearms seizures, and forced relocation programs. It was stressed that pastors needed to preach subservience to the authorities and make it clear to the congregations that "this is for their own good." This report came out in 2007 and created major concerns among local congregations.  I find it interesting that of all the scriptures, Romans chapter 13 is the only chapter that appeals to government leaders.  The use of the ministry, by a corrupt government to control the churches is evil.

We may not be living in a total police state, but it is fast approaching.  The questions being asked about the use of drones over the cities of American and killing of Americans with drones has been raised by a member of Congress. All the while the government is on track to put thousands of drones in the air.  In addition to drones flying over us we may soon have bullets flying around us.   The Social Security Administration has purchased thousands of rounds of hollow point bullets, which are not used for target practice.  So I ask, what is happening in America?  Multiple agencies of the federal government are stockpiling ammunition in preparation for the possibility of civil rest during a national emergency, such as a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or a complete economic collapse.  The seeds of tyranny have taken root and there are now visible signs of diminished freedom as our government prepares to remove our basic freedoms and liberty.  

Our love for liberty and freedom is almost gone.  We have allowed the government to intrude into our lives, our homes and our churches.  We have lost the national character of being an individual.  We have empowered the federal government and its agents to run every aspect of our lives and have come to depend upon the crumbs of entitlements.  As a Quaker minister I refuse to be silent about what is taking place in my country.

First, it is God that has the power and dominion over the conscience of man making it unlawful for any authority or government to force the conscience of others.  This is a freedom that is granted by the LORD and not by the government. It is morally wrong for a government to banish, fine, imprison, or kill an individual for the exercise of their conscience in how they worship, state their opinion or live their lives. It is a violation of man's God given liberty of conscience when under the pretense of security and government authority a person's conscience is disregarded.

When the government forces one to violate his conscience, he is being forced to commit sin; because what a man does contrary to his faith is no way acceptable to God.   So now the question is does the government have the power to force men in things religious to do contrary to their conscience? The answer is NO!  Let me put it this way.  No one, by virtue of any power or government authority has the power over the conscience of men.  So when the government officials assumes they have the power to meddle in the things religious which are not within their jurisdiction they are violating the liberty of conscience which is granted by God and not by the government.  It is unjust to constrain and force men against their wills to serve the desires of the government against the will of God.  

Under the present administration one of the most basic freedoms enjoyed by American and protected by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution—the freedom of religion and conscience has been under attack for the last four years.  When the present administration oversteps the bounds of not only the Constitution but the God given right of liberty of conscience America is walking through the door of tyranny and when the ministers of the Gospel unite with an evil government they are no longer messengers of hope but hirelings of the devil.

The great problem in America is our lack of knowledge concerning God.  This is the same problem Israel had during the time of Hosea.  The LORD told Hosea, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hath forgotten the law of they God, I will also forget they children." Hosea 6:6   What was happening during the time of Hosea that mirrors our day?  "Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is not truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.  By swearing, and lying and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood" Hosea 4:1-2

America is headed for destruction if we continue to wander in spiritual darkness and ignorance.  The integrity of our government officials is gone, the integrity of many of our ministers within the church is gone and the majority of the people in this country are indifferent to the moral decline and the loss of freedom and liberty taking place today. The evil manipulators within our government and churches have abdicated all moral responsibility for greed and lust of power.  We The People have become slaves to those elected to serve.  We The People continue to believe our elected leaders are honest even when they have been caught lying, cheating, and swindling those who elected them to office.  Is it because America has lost her courage to change the course of this nation or do we enjoy the benefits of a corrupt government?   Someone said it is time we get off our blessed assurance and do something for God!  Do something to save our nation, to save our liberty of conscience, and the right to worship God as we choose.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

American Revival By True Repentance

There is a concern for the spiritual health of America among some Christians who have been praying for revival.  The problem is most have never experienced a revival and think evangelism and revival are the same.  This could not be further from the truth.  The prophet Hosea gives us an indication of what revival is all about. Hosea 10:12 says: “Sow to yourself in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and reign righteousness upon you.”  The Psalmist speaks about revival when he says,  “Would Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee.” Psalm 85:6  

When we speak about revival we think of spring and fall revivals.  Revivals are planned by the church board, a date is established, an evangelist and song evangelist are called and advertising is designed to bring in the "lost".   Revival has become purely mechanical and "willed" by man and not by God.  Revival cannot be organized, subsidized and advertised.  If we are really going to get a concept of revival we have to get a vision of God’s sorrow over sin. We have to get a vision of how, day by day, we offend God.  As a nation we daily offend the LORD and as a church we offend the LORD with our weakened message of salvation.

If America is to have a change of heart it must start in the pulpit.  Joel 1:13, “Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl ye ministers of the altar, come lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God.”2:12, 17 “Turn ye now even to Me with all your heart and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments.”, “Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach.” 

Some will say not to worry about the condition of the church and country that "this too shall pass".  The problem is we have fooled ourselves about the evil that exist in our country and the church; the evil today is such that we have never seen before.  The only thing that will change this condition is fire of the LORD.  Many talk about revival but are not willing to have the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit refine and purify them.  Jesus came to bring a fire on the earth that is a consuming fire baptizing us with the Holy Ghost. 

The need for revival is definite the church is in such turmoil that there is very little difference between those in the world and those who call themselves Christians in the church.   Ministers have changed the message from the pulpit.  Preachers have heeded the cry from the pew of a feel good message.  Scriptural doctrine has been forsaken and the message of Christ's plan of salvation has been ignored and many are ignorant of true repentance.  If there is to be a revival in American churches, there must be a change in the message of salvation and true biblical salvation preached.

The problem we have in American churches is we have a large number of people who are associated with the Christian faith without accepting biblical salvation.  They came into the Christian faith under false pretense by making an intellectual decision to become a Christian without first being convinced they were sinners.  It was during the early 1800's that the church shifted the message of repentance.  We no longer preach about conviction, confession, repentance and restitution.  The message of true repentance is a negative message and does not appeal to a carnal nature.  There are many in the church today professing to be Christians while living defeated lives and living with a false sense of spiritual security.  They have come to an intellectual decision to become a Christian without being drawn by the Holy Spirit.  The process of salvation starts with conviction of sin.  The sinner must first be convinced he is a sinner.  Once convinced he must confess he is a sinner.  Confession is followed by repentance and restitution for a life of sin. The elements of conviction, confession, repentance and restitution are necessary for true biblical salvation.

Today men are not experiencing conviction of sin, they are becoming "followers" of Christ without having their conscience roused or a sorrow for their separation from God.  Men today are more concerned about their relationship with one another than a relationship with God.

The bottom line is none can come to Christ as their Savior until they are thoroughly convinced they are in need of a Savior.  No one can come to Jesus as a Savior, till he realizes that he is a lost sinner and convinced he is doom without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for his sins.

Today the world has very little concept of sin.  Most individuals are morally dyslexic and cannot tell the difference between right and wrong.  We have come to accept within the church the concept that sin is more on the order of error than a disregard for the commandments of God.  We have taken away the shame of sin.  As long as we are ignorant of the power of sin in our lives we will think of it as a disorder or syndrome and never find deliverance from sin.  

Paul did not want the Galatians ignorant of what the fruits of sin were, Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  

Many experience embarrassment when they are caught in the act.  A guilty conscience is not conviction or remorse over sin.  The philosophy of the day is to commit the act and ask forgiveness when caught-- after all Christians are required to forgive on another.  This is not conviction this is "I'm sorry I got caught."  True repentance is what Paul explain to the Corinthians,  2 Corinthians 7:9-10 "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death."  

When the Holy Spirit convicts us there is a deep sense of guilt, remorse, uncleanness, and ungodliness within our spirit.   This feeling of guilt of sin cannot be manufactured.  It is here that I will no doubt be considered a heretic by many Evangelicals and Fundamentalist.  The evangelist approach to revival has contributed to the weakening of the message of Salvation by focusing on numbers rather than true conversions.   Most Evangelical, Fundamentalist and Holiness Churches have an invitation system to bring men, women and children to Christ.  The congregation will sing a hymn while the preacher calls men and women to come to the front to make a public confession to "accept Christ".  Salvation is offered with the decision to allow Jesus into their hearts.  This custom has no foundation in biblical practice and circumvents the work of the Holy Spirit.

The "old fashion altar call" was unheard of until Charles Finney used it around 1830.  Finney developed the modern evangelistic methods of forcing a decision to get results.  The process was later used by Dwight L. Moody, Peter Cartwright, Sam Jones, R. A. Torrey, Billy Sunday, Bob Jones, Gipsy Smith, Mordacai Ham, John R. Rice, Billy Graham and many evangelists today all used the method with impressive success. The invitation system had come to stay.

Today the "old fashion altar call" has replaced the Holy Spirit as the first step to salvation to a forced decision.  Jesus told his discipiles, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:" John 16:7   We are not called to save people or force them to make a decision, but rather to be a witness of what Jesus Christ has done in our life.  Our pleading, begging and singing sinners to kneel at an altar may not bring salvation to the lost sinner but it will bring a weakness to the church.  They must first be convinced by the HOLY SPIRIT they are sinners, not by the fear of hell, the imminent return of Jesus Christ, or the emotional appeal of Almost Persuaded sung for one half hour but by a godly sorrow for their actions against a holy God.  

It is conviction that causes one to realize that he or she is separated from being in a right relationship with God. Unless a sinner repents, he will stand condemned before God and lost forever. Luke 13:5 "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."  Before there can be true repentance, a sinner must have an understanding and acknowledgement that he is guilty of sin accompanied by a godly sorrow.  Conviction of sin brings a man to an awareness of this hopeless, helpless condition. The guilt of sin was laid upon the sinner by the Holy Spirit-conviction, to the point he sought forgiveness of his sins so that he could find peace within his soul.

If America is to have a revival with true repentance and turning from our wicked ways the message from the pulpits must be a message of biblical salvation.  The message must speak to the lost condition of man and his separation from God.  The sinner must be convinced and convicted of his lost and sinful condition by the call of the Holy Spirit and the church must be convicted of her wickedness and repent and turn again to the LORD.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sheep or Sheeple?

The label Sheeple originated in the United States, and designates people who tend to accept and take statements at face value, especially if it is cited in mainstream media or religion.  The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research. They undermine their own individuality and may willingly give up their rights.  They are clueless as to the real workings of our government and our economy and what is sad is they could care less. 

One can observe the characteristics of the Sheeple in not only the workplace but in the community, the church, and even the family. The ones I find are most likely to fall into the category of the Sheeple will be from the middle-class. I have found that those who are working every day and trying to live the American Dream do not want to know what is "really" happening around them.  As long as they have a job and continue to have the security they have laid out for their life they want to stay ignorant. The main driving force in their life is the accumulation of "nice things" and being thought of as respectable people.  Most of what they have learned about the world around them comes from the main stream media or from a liberal bias.

Coming from a background in education and having spent thirty-two years dealing with "academia" I have run across those who are "knowledgeable" about what is happening around them because they are "informed" people. They know someone who is in the "know".   These are the people who are teaching the next generation of Sheeple.  They feel because of their education and that they "paid" between $100 and $200 thousand dollars for their "knowledge" entitles them to know what is going on in the world.  Most of these individuals have no understanding of what is happening around them let alone around the world. Yet they have no problem ridiculing those they view as uneducated. If you spend any time among the Academia Sheeple you will notice they have difficulty showing their intelligence.  The only thing they can actually point to is the framed paper hanging on the wall that says they completed the "intelligence test."

The Academia Sheeple do not like to be challenged.  When questioned about their understanding of the issues at hand they will more often than not confuse the issue or bring up something that is not related to the subject being discussed. They cannot take direct confrontation because they do not understand how to handle facts.  The Academia Sheeple is arrogant and clings to the standard propaganda of the bias news and is the Biblical example of the "blind leading the blind."

Knowing a little more about this next group, since there is strong blood connections to this group.  The Redneck Sheeple are maybe the most dangerous of the Sheeple.  They are ready to bomb the enemy back to the Stone Ages, their motto is to "kill them all and let God sort the dead."  They love to talk about how they would solve the problems of the world as long as it does not interfere with football, basketball, baseball and NASCAR.  They don't have time to be distracted from their favorite past time. They have a warped understanding of the Constitution and what true patriotism is all about.  They don't like big government interfering with their rights or freedom but have no issue with others losing their rights and freedom by the actions of our government.  They support those who talk "conservative" but in reality are no different from the "liberals" they can't stand.  They don't need to understand the real issue they just know it "ain't right" so just "get'er done".  

The Religious Sheeple have several various breeds among them.  There is the Christian Zionist Sheeple.  What I find frightening about this group  is that many of the Neoconservative’s who are Jewish and strong supporters of the Israeli government have allied themselves with Christians Zionist Sheeple whose “love” for Israel comes only from their desire to see the end time prophecies fulfilled.  Many Christians who profess a “love” for Israel do not wish to see a resolution to the conflict in the Middle East.  In order for there to be a fulfillment of the end time prophecies there must be Armageddon—which is actually suicidal for Israel.  In actuality there is no true love for Israel by Christian Zionist Sheeple who have an end time doctrine that advocates the destruction of Israel. The word “Armageddon” appears only once in the entire Bible and is found in Revelation 16:16. If you open God’s Word and read this passage yourself along with the verses immediately before and after it, you will be amazed at what you will find and not find in regards to the battle of Armageddon.

This is what Christian Zionist Sheeple who profess to love and bless Israel are praying will happen soon.  The inconsistency of the doctrinal teachings of Christian Zionist Sheeple who profess a love for Israel and the desire for the Rapture which can only happen by making Israel the sacrificial lamb is no more than a self-serving love.  The agenda of the Christian Zionist Sheeple who are looking for the Rapture must encourage the ongoing violent struggle in the Middle-East or Christ will not return.  So when I see both the Neoconservative Jews and Christian Zionist Sheeple coming together I wonder who is the real Sheeple? 

Then there is the Wagon Wheel Sheeple.  These people believe going to heaven can happen by different religions.  Because we are a society that does not like to discriminate against others we open the door to anyone's belief. The acceptance of different "spokes" all lead to the same hub is the basis of their theology.  These individual have made Christianity just another religion.  They have bought into the lying doctrine of the false teachers.  There is only one way and it is not by a wagon wheel—it is Jesus Christ.

I'll stop with the Denominational Sheeple.  These people have accepted the leadership of their denomination regardless of the unhealthy atmosphere.  They have learned not to make waves, do not question authority, and remain loyal.  Making waves, asking hard questions and disloyalty is equal with disobeying God.  These Sheeple have learned from watching others who were labeled rebellious, insubordinate, and disruptive to the unity of the group that it is not worth the scorn from the leadership.  They have learned to accept the decisions of the leadership without question.  After all, the leaders are people of God and would not do wrong.

I could not end without at least bringing up the group of Sheeple who are so far lost they think they have all the answers to all of the world problems-- the Anarchist Sheeple.  They have a twisted view of the world because they have twisted values.  They are easily manipulated into a cause without understand the issue they are fighting against.  These individuals make good protesters, suicide-bombers, environmental extremist and rioters.  They believe everything they are told about politics, culture, capitalism, religion, women's rights, gay rights, illegal immigration, and the environment. They believe anything the media manipulators tell them.  They do not need the facts; facts only cloud their reason to act.  They have no problem believing a lie and when the lie is exposed they will continue to believe the lie.  They are linked to the "progressive agenda" and depend on it to support their cause.  The evil in this world is a direct result of the "conservative agenda".  

I don't want to be a Sheeple.  I choose to discern right from wrong, to try the spirits, and use a Biblical view of the world.  I understand there are wolves lurking in the shadows of every area of life and that I must be on guard against the evil that is all around me.  The battle we are faced with today is far greater than any time in the history of mankind.  There are those who would destroy the very foundations of our freedom and remove our God given rights.  We must be vigilant and awake to our surroundings.  Although almost impossible we must convert the Sheeple by the transformation of their minds.  This can only happen by directing them to a deeper spiritual life in Jesus Christ—he who the Son sets free is free indeed.