It's Time For The Church To Stand Up!

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A thought for this week, and for the weeks to come:
"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting.
It has been found difficult and left untried."
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, English author and Christian apologist
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Vol. 18, No. 17 May 2, 2012 © 2012
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To approach this discussion, it is necessary to recall -- however briefly -- the
founding and purpose of the Christian Church. For those who are familiar with
the Scriptures, this will be nothing new. For those who might have heard it before,
this will be a reminder. For those who have never heard this, it will probably be a
great surprise. The Gospel record recounts Jesus asking His disciples whom people
perceived Him to be. And when He focused His question on whom the disciples
believed Him to be, Peter answered in a statement of belief which has been called
the first known creed of the Christian Church, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of
the living God."

Jesus answered with this promise, "Upon this rock (that statement of belief) I
will build my church." And He went further, and described the nature of the
church he would build: "and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
(Matt. 16:15-18) In other words, His Church would be so aggressive, so powerful,
that it could prevail against the very fortresses of hell and the devil.

That is the Church that Jesus said He would build. It is the only thing He promised
to build -- no government, no army, no educational institution, no business empire --
only His Church.

And He gave certain instructions as to what He wanted his Church to be and to do.
He said, "Ye are the salt of the earth," (Matt. 5: 13) And He warned that if salt
ever loses it savour, it is useless and men throw it out. He also said, "Ye are the
light of the world." (verse 14), and directed His followers to "Let your light so
shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father
which is in heaven." (verse 16)

In His last moments on this earth before ascending into heaven, he gave certain
other instructions, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature ... go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them ... teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (Mark 16:25,
Matt. 28:19-20)

More recently, in previous issues of ANC, we have pointed out that Christians
have failed in fulfilling those instructions, and the very purpose for which Jesus said
He was building His Church. For example, on February 15, we quoted Joel
Rosenberg asking this pointed question, "Will the Church step up and be the
shining city on the hill that Jesus called her to be?" And Kevin Theriot, writing
in the Speak Up Movement, "Many pastors rarely if ever address the morality
of homosexual behavior (or any other current controversial issues) from the
pulpit... The Bible has quite a bit to say on these issues and others like
abortion, family, and citizenship... But the failure of most churches to show
up for the battle is not just unfortunate, it’s disastrous for religious freedom
in America."

Similarly, Wayne Greeson writing in "Restoring new Testament Christianity,"
cited Edmund Burke's familiar, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of
evil is for good men to do nothing,” and added: "Too many Christians and
too many churches are doing nothing. They are standing idly by, they are
mere spectators. They sit on the sidelines instead of actively participating
and working for the good."

But few have spoken as sharply concerning the failures within the Church as
Wes Moore, Founder of Evidence America, who wrote: "We have no
strategy to recruit and train new evangelists within our congregations...
We don’t organize our people to effectively reach the lost ...Over 90% of
our people have absolutely no intention of sharing their faith. .. Our
leaders are often too apathetic...to make any worthwhile changes. All
the while, the numbers stare us in the face: 85% of our churches are
declining. When you measure church growth against population growth,
only about 4% of churches in America are actually growing (that means
96% of churches are actually declining)... And, according to the Barna
Group, of the more than 350,000 Protestant churches in America, over
60,000 don’t have a single convert each year."

From just this brief review, it is evident the church is not doing well.
But does this mean that Jesus' intent to build His Church has been thwarted,
and that His plan has failed? Not at all. In the words of Antonin Artaud, the
early 20th century French author, "The fault lies with you." It is we, the
present day members of His Church, who have failed... failed to fulfill His
plans, His intent, His instructions to us, as noted above. Perhaps one aspect
of the failure can be assigned to the misuse of names -- "Christian," for example,
which can mean true believers, or simply those who call themselves that out of
a process of elimination: they are not Jewish, Islamist or atheist -- ergo, they
must be "Christian." Or a more recently misinterpreted name: "Evangelical."
This once clear definition of a born-again Christian believer who is committed
to sharing his faith with others, has been diluted into meaninglessness. We hear
of "Liberal Evangelicals," or of the "Evangelical Left" -- but those terms make
no sense at all. So the Church is weakened by dissensions within, and the results
are clearly evident. And the answer?

Consider this word from the Faith and Freedom Coalition Prayer Team:
"It has become nearly impossible to keep up with the political issues and
the immorality that besiege our nation ... From the beginning of time,
man has turned from God and decided to go out on his own, only to reap
disaster. And from the beginning of time there has been one consistent
answer even in the worst of times, and that answer is found in Joel 2:
12-14, 'Even now, declares the LORD, return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your
garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and
compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from
sending calamity'... While the media focuses on the negative, America is
still a Christian nation and the believers are responding with prayer..."

Tomorrow, May 3, is America's 61st National Day of Prayer. This is
no whim ... this is an official event, signed into law by President Truman in
1952, and with the first Thursday in May designated by President Reagan and
signed into law in 1988. Despite President Obama's ignoring the National Day
of Prayer in recent years, and instead hosting gala White House celebrations of
Islamic events, millions of Americans will gather as groups and as individuals to
pray for our nation, asking God to give guidance in government and bless this
nation once again.

In ANC's ongoing prayer countdown, there are as of today, 188 days until
Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012. Let us continue in prayer, not only tomorrow as
the National Day of Prayer, but every day, as we ask God's blessing on our
nation and our world.

And there is this important advance word: Roman Catholic leaders are
calling for two weeks of public protests against President Barack Obama's
policies, as they intensify their argument that the administration is engaged in a
war on religion. The days between June 21 and July 4 have been set aside by the
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with the title: "A Fortnight for Freedom."
There will be more about this important event in the weeks ahead.

Because of the continuing left-leaning interpretation of the day's news
by the Main Stream Media, we bring to you "What Others Are Saying"

Conservative byte: "There isn’t any economic growth. There’s government
growth, but there isn’t any private sector growth. There’s no growth in
jobs: 120,000 jobs were created last month, according to the news from
yesterday. It’s just pathetic."

Zionica News: "The modern era is over, assumptions that shaped
twentieth century thought and culture, the bridges we crossed to this
present moment, have blown up. The postmodern age has begun. Just
what is post modernism? The average person would be shocked by its
creed. Truth, meaning and individual identity do not exist... Human life
has no special significance, no more value than animal or plant life....
All moral values are expressions and masks of the primal will to power."

Cowboy Byte: "Remember when there was a sense of dignity in the office
of president of the United States? Even Bill Clinton could, as the phrase
goes, act like he'd been there before; yet after almost 3 1/2 years into his
presidency, Barack Obama could be the figurative love child of bumbling."

Fred Jackson (American Family News Network Dir.): "The Constitution
was not written in the name of our leaders, but by the authority of 'We the
People.' It was expected that the people would enforce the leaders' duty
to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. If our government no
longer faithfully adheres to the Constitution, ultimately the problem is
that we are not doing our part as enlightened citizens, and when we find
that the government's current actions are out of step with the Constitution,
it is our duty as citizens to act."

Expose Obama: "With his support rapidly drying up among almost every
group, Barack Obama has turned to the so- called “youth vote.” He has
personally visited or sent a representative to 130 college campuses across
the country since March 2011. His obvious plan is to use the same lies he
told in 2008 to appeal to people who have no life experience and don’t
know any better. 'They believed it then, maybe they’ll believe it now' is
the Obama campaign motto..."

And as usual, just a few enjoyable "One Liners" . . .

Barry Rubin in a headline in The Lid: "Obama's Nonsensical Foreign
Policy: Al-Qaida Bad, Islamists Good "

Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia Police Commissioner: "Our streets are
bleeding, and they're bleeding profusely."

Jay Carney, Obama's press spokesperson: "I never lie."

Charles Hugh Smith, writing in Family Security Matters: "Issuing debt and
printing money do not create wealth. All they can create is a temporary
illusion of wealth. We wish someone would tell our politicians that."

As with every issue of ANC, there are just a few "Afterthoughts" . . .

Strange things go on in Washington after hours, as Ed Morrissey noted
in HotAir last weekend: "Isn’t it funny what you can find out on Friday
evening about what our executive branch does? For instance, Agence
France-Presse reported last night that Barack Obama bypassed Congress
to send $192 million to the Palestinian Authority, claiming that national
security required the US to put money into Mahmoud Abbas’ pocket." A
$192 million aid package was frozen by the US Congress ... but in a memo sent
to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, published by the White House, the president
said it was appropriate to release funds to the authority, which administers the
West Bank and Gaza Strip. In signing the waiver, Obama instructed Clinton to
inform Congress of the move, on the grounds that “waiving such prohibition is
important to the national security interests of the United States” ... and it
means we’re putting almost $200 million into the hands of a terrorist organization.
The language of the Palestinian Accountability Act could not be clearer: “No funds
available to any United States Government department or agency … may be
obligated or expended with respect to providing funds to the Palestinian
Authority.” Obama literally ignored that statutory language in this late-day action.
Pamela Geller expressed it well in Atlas Shrugs: "Obama's contempt for the
American people knows no bounds. His islamophilia is putting us all at risk.
There is no better way to jeopardize the security interests of the United Sates
than by funding jihad."

There is always something we can learn from the news; like this item from
Patriot Newswire, advising us that a video posted at the liberal MoveOn.org
site says that calling illegal immigrants "illegal" comes under the definition of a
"hate crime," and insists that the word "illegal" be banned from being used in the
context of immigration. So be careful -- in this "politically correct" nation that
America seems to be changing into, you may be creating a criminal offense.

And here's an interesting twist or slant on the news: The Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) expanded at a 2.2% annual rate in the first quarter of this year .
The Obama White House called the report "encouraging." But the other side of
that "encouraging" report was that the GDP actually dropped from the previous
quarter, when it showed a 3.0% annual growth. That works out to a decline of
about 26% in one fiscal quarter. By what twist does that become "encouraging?"

Just by way of a mention: Have you noticed the plethora of name changes by
some Christian organizations? Some have been accomplished, others are being
considered ... for example, Campus Crusade for Christ has become "Cru." The
YMCA has become simply "The Y." Philadelphia Biblical University (formerly
Philadelphia College of the Bible) is considering becoming "Cairn University."
The Worldwide Church of God has become "Grace Communion International."
The Christian Reformed Church's relief function, Christian Reformed World
Relief Committee (CRWRC) has become "World Renew." Even the Southern
Baptist Convention considered a change to "Great Commission Baptists," but
decided against it, although individual churches can use that name. As is so
often the case, Shakespeare had a word for it: "What's in a name?" (Romeo
and Juliet, Act II)

We can always learn something from our Founding Fathers, and from
our earlier presidents, often from their inaugural speeches.

"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the
majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable;
that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect,
and to violate would be oppression."
--Thomas Jefferson, Third President, First Inaugural Address, 1801

"I enter on the trust to which I have been called by the suffrages of my
fellow-citizens with my fervent prayers to the Almighty that He will be
graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which He has already
so conspicuously displayed."
-- James Monroe, Fifth President, Inaugural Address, 1817

And now those familiar words: "Another week ... another issue of ANC.
As always, so much to comment upon, but not enough time or space to do so in
any adequate manner. But in these critical times, here at least are comments you
can depend upon to be pro-Christian, pro-American and pro-Conservative. ANC
remains solidly "anti" individuals and movements which are "anti" any of those
convictions. If you agree, and would like to help keep this publication to continue,
please click HERE and send your contribution by check or credit card. Thank you!

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