WHERE WE AS EVANGELICALS ARE AS WE
APPROACH THE END OF THE YEAR 2007,
AND A NEW YEARS RESOLUTION IDEA
Here we are on the day after Christmas, less than
one week before the first day of the new year, at the end
of Volume 9 of this weekly newsletter, and with the
presidential election less than 10 months away – and
the first thought that probably occurs to us is: "This
year 2007 went by so quickly! It seems like the shortest
year we have ever known."
That may very possibly be a valid opinion, and as we
look around, and as we think back, we have to admit that
there were a lot of major happenings, all over the world,
during the year 2007. As a result we are being presented
with all kinds of lists of the "10 Top Stories of 2007."
There are several "10 Top News Stories" lists, with the
top choices featuring, for example, the Virginia Tech
Killings, the Mortgage Crisis and the Iraq War, while
another was headed by the Transition in Pakistan, the
Mortgage Crisis and the Final Harry Potter Book.
And there were lists of the "10 Top Religion Stories,"
which featured, for example, the Taliban Kidnapping
and Killing Korean Missionaries, Books on Atheism
Making the Best Seller Charts, and Faith Issues Entering
the Presidential Races. Another such list was headed by
Mother Teresa’s Revelations, Religion in the Various
Presidential Campaigns, and the Death of Jerry Falwell,
James Kennedy and Ruth Graham.
And there was even a list of the "Top Christian Bashing
Stories" of 2007, which featured the Colorado Church
Murders, the Federal Hate Crimes Bill, and the Atheist
Attacks on Jerry Falwell Immediately after his Death.
And perhaps the strangest, but most interesting list
appeared in the British Medical Journal and set forth
"7 Great Medical Myths." Featured in the expose were
the Need for Drinking 8 Glasses of Water Daily, that
Reading in Dim Light Ruins your Eyesight, and that
Eating Turkey Makes you Drowsy. (That one comes
at an appropriate time after the Christmas dinner!)
So in the events which shaped our world in the fast
moving year 2007, there was something of interest –
and concern – for just about everyone, and surely for
us who are Conservative Evangelical Christians.
And here is the view of the Liberal left at this
time in history from a major Liberal spokesperson,
Bill Press, in his nationally syndicated column on
December 23. Read this excerpt carefully. It is
the Liberals’ declaration of victory over us: "The
religious right is dead. It will never again exercise
the political clout it once had ...For Americans
generally, the demise of the religious right is good
news. It means that tolerance is back. It means that
we don’t have to worry so much abut trying to turn
the United States into a Christian nation....In short,
the dying influence of Christian conservatives means
that people of all faiths, or no faith at all, will feel
comfortable participating in the political process –
and not just those who subscribe to the narrow-minded,
intolerant, mean-spirited brand of religion espoused by
Dobson and Robertson. And for that we collectively
pray: Thank you, Jesus."
And that is the view of the Liberals– that we Christians
are narrow-minded, intolerant and mean-spirited. We
do not take offense at his words, because we recall the
words of Jesus in Matthew 5: "Blessed are ye when all
men shall revile you ... and say all manner of evil
against you falsely ... rejoice and be exceedingly glad
for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted
they the prophets which were before you ... ye are the
salt of the earth ... ye are the light of the world."
When we make our annual "New Year’s Resolutions,"
let us remember some other words of Jesus where He
directed us to go into all the world and preach the gospel
to everyone. That Great Commission certainly includes
the United States . . . and as part of our Resolutions,
let’s prove Bill Press to be wrong. The faith of Christian
conservatives is not dead.
And as for his fear of turning America into a Christian
nation, he has evidently forgotten or ignored these words
in a speech by one of our nation’s Founding Fathers,
Patrick Henry: "It cannot be emphasized too clearly
and too often that this nation was founded not by
religionists but by Christians, not on religion, but on
the gospel of Jesus Christ." It is clearly not a matter of
"turning" America into a Christian nation, but rather
a matter of "returning" America to the nation it was
founded to be.
Afterthoughts . . .
TIME Magazine’s "Man of the Year" for 2007
was Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia and soon
to preserve his influence on the country by becoming
the Prime Minister, when his chosen successor becomes
President. TIME’s managing editor, Richard Stengel,
said of Putin, "He’s the new czar of Russia and he’s
dangerous in the sense that he doesn’t care about civil
liberties; he doesn’t care about free speech." In addition
to whatever else Mr. Putin may be, Stanislav Belkowski
claims he is also "Europe’s richest man," having acquired
$40 billion during his eight years in power, through his
control of much of the nation’s energy assets. Putin may
not be the worst choice – the runners-up were Al Gore
for his controversial Global Warming theory, and J.K.
Rawling, author of the Harry Potter books. Seems a bit
pitiful that out of the whole world, those were the best
from whom TIME had to choose.
Roman Catholics have overtaken Anglicans as
the United Kingdom’s dominant religious group. The
London Telegraph revealed figures which show that
the number of people attending Sunday Mass in England
averaged 861,000 compared to 852,000 Anglicans in
Sunday worship services. These facts are seen to be a
warning that the Church of England may soon become
a minority faith after four centuries of unquestioned
influence following the Reformation. Attendance at
Anglican Sunday services has dropped by more than
20% since 2000. Adding to the significance of this
disclosure was the very public announcement of the
conversion of former Prime Minister Tony Blair to the
Catholic faith last week. The rise of Catholicism has
been assisted by an influx of immigrants from Eastern
Europe and Africa. One of the complex aspects of the
situation is that the Queen is Supreme Governor of
the Church of England.
And speaking of the Church of England, the head
of the denomination, the Archbishop of Canterbury,
last week described the familiar stories and hymns of
the Nativity as being nothing but a "legend." He argued
that there were not three kings, but that they were wise
men from somewhere outside the Roman Empire . . .
he said there is no evidence of farm animals near the
birthplace of Jesus . . . the idea of a special star is a
myth and there is no evidence that the Nativity took
place in December, but the idea fitted well with the
time of the winter festival. And some people wonder
why the Anglican/Episcopal churches have problems.
An interesting bit of good news, and a setback
for Michael Newdow, the atheist who is trying to get
the word "God" taken out of our Pledge of Allegiance
and our national motto, "In God We Trust," taken off
of our currency. Congress has passed a bill introduced
by Senator Brownback (R, Kan) to move the motto
from the edge of the new $1 presidential coins to the
front of the coins. It awaits only to be signed into law
by President Bush.
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