"EVANGELICAL LEFT" & "EVANGELICAL LIBERAL"-
IT MAY BE TIME TO ASK: ARE THESE TERMS
"EVANGELICAL LEFT" AND "EVANGELICAL
LIBERAL" REALLY OXYMORONS?
Oxymoron – we hear the word frequently and use it
occasionally, and we have a fairly good idea as to what it
means . . . but let us take a few seconds to be sure. By
a common dictionary definition it means: A rhetorical
figure of speech in which contradictory terms are
combined. An example might be "thundering silence,"
"genuine imitation," "original copy" or "larger half."
Background. A few years ago we carried on an email
discussion/correspondence with one of our readers who
insisted that he was an Evangelical and a Liberal. As the
exchange of messages continued, it was obvious that
with respect to the term "Evangelical" he was not seeing
it as a theological issue, and with respect to the term
"Liberal," he was at heart simply anti-George Bush.
But we assumed he was a believer . . . and we assumed he
was sincere. But sincerity is really not enough. Some may
recall hearing about the Rose Bowl game of 1929, between
Georgia Tech and University of California, Berkley. The
game is memorable because of what has been described
as "The worst blunder in the history of college football."
Roy Riegels picked up a Georgia Tech fumble and ran 65
yards in the wrong direction. He was completely sincere
as he ran down the field, but he was sincerely wrong.
So it is with those who insist on being "Evangelicals" and
"Liberals." Those terms constitute an oxymoron. They are,
in dictionary words, "contradictory terms."
Ann Coulter, whose acerbic language cuts to the core,
describes the Liberal concept in these words, "Liberals
claim to be terrified that the Religious Right is going
to take over the culture in a country where more than
a million babies are exterminated every year, where
kindergarteners can be expelled from school for any
mention of God, and Islamic fascists are welcomed on
college campuses, while speakers opposed to Islamic
fascism are met with angry protests."
The current efforts toward a resurgence of "Evangelical
Liberals" and the views of the "Evangelical Left" are
being led by two long time Liberals, Jim Wallis and
Tony Campolo, both of whom claim to be Evangelicals.
Their fear is exactly as Ann Coulter expressed it – that
the "Religious Right" is taking over the Republican party.
The "Religious Right" was given prominence in political
issues by Hillary Clinton in her description of a "vast
right wing conspiracy" allied against her husband when
American Christian believers felt that it was wrong –
even a sin – when the president of the United States,
a married man, engaged in adultery through sexual
relationships with a young female employee in his
presidential offices. Tony Campolo was appointed
as Mr. Clinton’s "spiritual adviser" but no apology,
no confession of sin, no expression of regret, was
ever voiced by the president. Instead he lied under
oath concerning those sexual actions.
This is not the Evangelical viewpoint of the way such
matters should be handled, according to Scripture.
The proponents of Evangelical Liberalism have taken
on a new label – "Red Letter Christians." As explained
by Mr. Campolo, "Because being evangelical is usually
synonymous with being Republican in the public
mind ... we came up with a new name, ‘Red Letter
Christians." They are obviously concerned about the
Liberal anchor positions which support homosexuality,
same-sex marriage, and abortion.
They see the primary mission of the church as being
to relieve poverty, feed the homeless, and fight disease.
They claim to base their viewpoints on the words of
Jesus, which are printed in red in some Bibles. This
is not a new approach -- it dates from the turn of the
century, and was the basis for the "Social Gospel"
concept, which in simplest terms holds that it is
better to do good than be good.
In the words of Mr. Wallis, "The goal of the group is
to advance the message that our faith cannot be
reduced to only two hot button issues - abortion
and homosexuality. Fighting poverty, caring for
the environment, advancing peace, promoting
strong families and supporting a consistent ethic
of life are all critical moral and biblical values."
In their rejection of the basic factors of Evangelical
belief, they seem blissfully unaware of the words of
Carl F.H. Henry, the distinguished theologian of the
20th Century, and father of the Evangelical movement.
"The need for a vital evangelicalism is proportionate
to the world need...The cries of suffering humanity
today are many. No evangelicalism which ignores
the totality of man’s condition dares respond in the
name of Christianity... Modern evangelicalism need
not substitute as its primary aim the building of a
‘relatively higher civilization.’ To do that is to fall into
the error of yesterday’s liberalism. Its supreme aim
is the proclamation of redeeming grace to sinful
humanity...The gospel of redemption is the most
pertinent message for our modern weariness...The
battle against evil in all its forms must be pressed
unsparingly...in politics, in economics, in science, in
ethics – everywhere in every field." (From: "The
Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism,"
Carl F.H. Henry, Chapter VIII) There is nothing in
the clear statement of modern evangelical belief
which merits the essence of failure which the
Liberals assign to it.
They deliberately confuse the visible church of whatever
denomination with the Church which Jesus said He was
building. And they ignore the words of II Timothy 3:16-17,
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may
be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
To get back to the question which opened this issue,
the answer is abundantly clear: "Evangelical Liberal"
and "Evangelical Left" are oxymorons – contradictory
terms – and cannot be supported or verified by Scripture.
Afterthoughts . . .
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, speaking
at a luncheon in his honor last week in New York, made
some effective recommendations, including these, "Relish
the challenge that comes with defending freedom . . . Stop
whining about unfortunate circumstances . . . Read the
Constitution before pontificating about it . . . Reason with
your mind to break free of ideological segregation."
And speaking of good quotes, in a debate with Jim
Wallis at the Value Voter Summit in Washington a few days
ago, Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics
& Religious Liberty Commission, had this to say, "If we don’t
have laws saying no human being, even a mother, has a
right to absolute life and death over another human being,
we are not a civilized society, and we will still have abortion."
Fallout from the Anglican homosexual problems
continues, this time with one entire branch of the world-
wide Anglican Communion – the Traditional Anglican
Communion (TAC) – with some 400,000 members,
seeking full corporate sacramental union with the Roman
Catholic Church and is now awaiting response from the
Vatican on their request. Quite a dramatic change after
some 500 years of separation.
And from the Founding Fathers: "If there is a form
of government, then, whose principle and foundation is
virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better
calculated to promote the general happiness than any
other form?" – John Adams, 1776
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Raging California Wildfires Make 500K Flee
This issue is being written amid the distraction caused by thewild fires which are destroying so much of San Diego County.Superlatives are being exhausted. Referring back to the film"The Perfect Storm," this is being termed "The Perfect Fire."Simply, it is the worst fire disaster in the history of San DiegoCounty. As we write, more than 500,000 people have beenevacuated. By contrast, during the disastrous fires of 2003some 50,000 were evacuated. A city of 10.000 evacuees hasbeen established in Qualcom stadium. A state prison has hadto evacuate its 4,400 prisoners. More than 1,000 homes havealready been destroyed. Santa Ana winds have gusted to 100miles per hour, making aerial tankers unable to assist infighting the fires. Many hospitals are closed. Schools, collegesand universities are closed, as are many businesses due to thedangerous air quality. It is reported that there is not a singlehotel room available in all of San Diego. But emerging fromall this disaster are the churches of the area, stepping in to help.Many have provided space for evacuees, others are providingfood and other necessities, and many of the volunteers at theseveral evacuation sites are representing individual churches.They are playing an important part of the overall civic effortto cope with this tremendous disaster.
AMID ALL THE GLOBAL PROBLEMS FACING US,
THE CONCEPT OF SPORTSMANSHIP HAS
ALSO BEEN SERIOUSLY TARNISHED
AMID ALL THE GLOBAL PROBLEMS FACING
US, THE CONCEPT OF SPORTSMANSHIP HAS
ALSO BEEN SERIOUSLY TARNISHED
Any collector of present day American humor certainly has
in his collection of favorite stories jokes about lawyers,
blondes and politicians. The blondes stories are about the
much maligned "dumb blondes," while the lawyer and
politician stories are about corruption, dishonesty, cheating,
twisting the facts, etc.
Thus two professions important in American history and our
way of life are vilified and made the point of ridicule. Yet the
most important document in the history of this nation –
the Declaration of Independence – was signed by 56 of our
founding fathers, and approximately half of those signers were
lawyers. All of them, if they had not been previously, became
overnight politicians, separating themselves from their former
government and rulers, and establishing a new, "rebel" form
of government which became the United States of America.
The present day jokes about lawyers and politicians would not
have applied in those 18th century days and we have always held
those signers in highest respect. By contrast, it will be recalled
that 150 years earlier, in his play, "Henry VI," Shakespeare had
used the phrase, "The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers."
(Those words have been used by lawyer-bashers for years, yet
they were actually spoken in defense of the role lawyers play.)
So in recommending a life-long profession for young people,
two choices are more or less removed due to the reputation of
certain practitioners. And what remains as an example of
honesty and decency? One could always point to athletics or
sportsmanship which take the rules of conduct from the historic
Olympic games, begun in 776 BC and continued until they
were canceled in 393 AD, after approximately one thousand
years of the finest in athletic competition. The Games were
revived in 1896, and were held that year in Athens where
they were born. They continue to this day, expanded into
competitions which have become international in scope.
But even in this realm, corruption has crept in, and we have
just witnessed the women’s sprint champion from the
Sydney Games having to give back her medals due to the
use of steroids . . . and the 2006 Tour de France biking
champion had his title stripped for the same reason . . .
baseball’s Barry Bonds home run title is in some disrepute
over steroids . . . a professional football star is in deep
trouble for animal cruelty . . . and even this past weekend
the baseball playoffs had a star pitcher under investigation
for possible steroid use.
Thus all the way from the traditional lawyer critiques
to the here-to-fore sacrosanct athletic sportsmanship,
virtually every aspect of our present day life is tarnished
by a form of conduct which comes under the Bible label
of sin. We have spoken before of the need in this country
for a spiritual awakening, or a "revival" to use an Old
Testament term. We who make up the Christian church
cannot continue to allow every aspect of our way of life
to be compromised by these failures to live according to
the pattern Jesus established for us.
Afterthoughts . . .
A step toward a "One World Religion?" We have
read about the letter signed by 138 Muslim clerics and
scholars from all branches of Islam, addressed to Pope
Benedict XVI and other religious leaders throughout
the world. The document calls for world-wide religious
unity, and says, almost as a threat, "Our common
future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself
is perhaps at stake." The Vatican calls the call for unity
"very interesting"and "very encouraging." The Anglican
Archbishop stated, "The call to respect, peace and good
will should now be taken up by Christians and Muslims
at all levels and in all countries." Bible scholars will find
portions of prophecy reflected in such proposals as set
forth in the actions of the Anti-Christ in Daniel 8:25.
Freedom of the press was an 18th century problem.
Concerns over the real intent of the First Amendment did
not begin in our day, but were also felt in the early years
of our country. "If by liberty of the press were understood
merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public
measures and political opinions, let us have as much of
it as you please. But if it means the liberty of affronting,
calumniating and defaming one another, I for my part,
own myself willing to part with my share of it." – from
Benjamin Franklin, 1789
A valuable asset in the Christianity/Islam debate.
Anew book, "Religion of Peace? Why Christianity is - and
Islam Isn’t" by Robert Spencer offers a clear defense of the
need for an alliance of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus
and other victims or potential victims of a universal Jihad,
an alliance centered around the values that the historic
Judeo-Christian principles have given to the world. Spencer
demonstrates why we can’t defeat the Islamic threat without
defending and asserting the faith that built the civilization
of the West – Christianity.
Views of Americans in familiar Bible stories. The
Barna Research Group of Ventura, CA has once again made
a helpful report on the views of Americans with respect to
some of the most familiar stories from the Bible. Six Bible
stories were presented to the research group, with the
following summary results: on Jesus rising from the dead,
75% accepted it as literally true, with only 19% feeling it is
not literally true; on Daniel in the lion den, 65% found it
literally true; on Moses parting the Red Sea, 64%; on David
fighting Goliath, 63%; on Peter walking on water, 60% and
on God creating the world in 6 days, 60%. Those responses
are encouraging, but there is a tendency to reject accepting
the truth of the stories as meaningful in the life of a person.
In words taken from the Barna conclusion, "Sadly, for many
people, the Bible has become a respected but impersonal
religious history lesson that stays removed from their life."
This is not a presidential campaign story, but Lynne
Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, has discovered
that her husband and Barack Obama are related – not closely,
but actually 8th cousins. The common ancestor is Mareen
Devall, an immigrant from France. Mrs. Cheney discovered
the relationship – which has to be described as strange –
while she was doing research for her book, "Blue Skies, No
Fences," which describes her growing up in Wyoming.
George Washington on influence of foreign powers:
"But if we are to be told by a foreign power what we shall
do and what we shall not do, we have Independence yet
to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little." --
George Washington in a letter to Alexander Hamilton, 1796.
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ACROSS AMERICA, CHRISTIANITY SEEMS TO BE
LOSING ITS APPEAL FOR YOUNG ADULTS,
THE SOURCE OF FUTURE LEADERS
A friend and adviser to this newsletter returned last week
from a visit to the Ukraine where he was engaged in the
development of an expanded program of evangelism. His
comment upon his return, "The Christians in the Ukraine
put American Christians to shame." He was speaking of
Christians who live in a small country, located next to, and
in the shadow of, Russia where religious freedom has long
And he is right. Last week, in the issue of this newsletter for
October 10, we cited the report that North America is the only
continent on earth where the Christian church is not showing
growth. That is a startling fact, and some of the reasons for it
are alarming to Christians committed to the Evangelical cause.
Among all the surveys and the reports generated by them,
two recent reports from the Barna Group of Ventura, California,
stand out as particularly significant. One report, dated October
8, 2007, relates directly to teenagers, who are perceived to be
among the most religiously active Americans. Among their
religious practices, 72% say they pray in a typical week, 48%
attend worship services, 35% attend Sunday School, and 31%
read the Bible.
Encouraging as those figures would appear to be, they do
represent quite a sharp decline from a similar survey 10 years
ago – from 81% t0 72% as to prayer; from 53% to 48% as to
worship services, and from 37% to 31% as to Bible reading.
With respect to church attendance, the most important
reason for doing so was "to worship or make a connection with
God" at 45%. To choose between a church which teaches tradition
and background of their faith, and one that teaches how their faith
should influence everyday decisions and life styles, they chose the
latter by 39% to 16%. However, overall, 45% of teenagers said
they didn’t prefer either type of church. An earlier report from
the Barna Group, dated September 24, 2007, was focused on the
young adult portion of the population, those in the 16 - 29 age
bracket.There the declining reputation of Christianity was most
In the 10 years since the last such survey, when a strong majority
of non-Christians felt favorably toward the role of Christianity in
society, the current figure reflects a sharp decline to 16% of non-
Christians in this age bracket who have a good impression
It is particularly disturbing to note that Evangelicals are hit
most hard in this evaluation, and only 3% of the 16-29 age young
people express favorable views of Evangelicals. The overall
opinion expressed as to present day Christianity was that it is
"judgmental" 87%; "hypocritical" 85% and "old fashioned" 78%.
The perception of Christianity that is now the most common
one is that it is "anti-homosexual." 91% of non-Christians and
80% of church-goers have that impression. Among the most
frequently voiced opinions of Christianity were: "It has changed
from what it used to be," and"In today’s society it no longer looks
Many reasons are offered for these unfavorable trends in the
opinions of young people as to the Christian faith. A demographic
reason would reveal that the percentage of non-believers increases
with each generation. Among adults over the age of 40, they
number about 25%. Among the 16-29 age bracket, they number
about 40%. Following this trend, in the next generation they will
represent an even greater percentage of the population.
This is not an in-depth analysis or study. We have briefly presented
a summary of the results of some surveys conducted in a
thoroughlyprofessional manner by a respected research group.
This must be faced, that today Evangelicals and their churches
have failed and are failing, and are not withstanding the attacks on
our faith by liberals, atheists, agnostics and those who represent
another religion. It may well be asked, "What ever happened to the
much touted success of some of the ‘Mega’ or ‘Giga’ churches, and
some of their much publicized televangelists?" "Revival" may not
be a New Testament word or a New Testament concept, but using
some acceptable terminology we need a "revival" or a "spiritual
awakening" in America ... and soon.
A familiar, much needed Scriptural prayer: "O Lord, I have
heard thy speech and was afraid. O Lord revive thy work in the
midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath
remember mercy." (Habakkuk 3:2)
Afterthoughts . . .
A new survey – on Bible verses! This has almost become the
Age of Polls or Surveys, ranking everything from the approval of
the public on the performance of the president to the opinion on
the Iraq war or the advantage of cars which run on fuels other
than gasoline. But here is a survey based on 37 million Bible
references, which discloses the most cited, most familiar or the
favorite Bible verses. Not surprising, the most familiar verse is
John 3:16. The most quoted book is Ephesians . . . but check on
your "Favorites" folder . . . you will want to refer to it frequently.
Even Nancy Pelosi knows when to flip-flop. When an
Eagle Scout arranged for a flag which had flown over the US
Capitol to be presented to his grandfather, he asked for the
wording on the certificate to mention the devotion of his
grandfather to God, country and family. The flag procedure
is done hundreds of times each year by Members of Congress
for their constituents. But this time the Architect of the Capitol
deleted the word God. During the adverse reaction to his
decision, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at first defended
the elimination of the word God. However, so many people
across America disagreed with her and expressed their objection
to the decision, that the Architect changed his self-developed
rule, and agreed to permit the word God to appear when
requested in such certificates. Nancy quickly got on board,
reversed her previous anti-God stance and agreed that it was
OK to mention God, even in our nation’s capitol. It proves that
John Kerry did not fail as a flip-flopping role model.
Jimmy Carter is at it again. Last May, when the former
president was busy promoting the marketing of his audio book
series of Bible stories for children, he lashed out at President
Bush, calling this administration "the worst in history." Now
he has turned his wrath, or his righteous (?) indignation on
Vice President Cheney, calling him "a disaster for our country."
Mr. Carter, who previously seemed to have the Worst President
title locked up, seems to forget that at the end of his term as
president he left us with inflation at 12%, unemployment at 7.5%,
interest rates at 18.1%, and he also left 52 American hostages
imprisoned in Iran. But perhaps he may be excused as having
a short memory.
In line with the theme of the main essay in this issue,
a new survey by Kelton Research has disclosed that Americans
know more about the ingredients in a McDonald "Big Mac"
than they do about the Ten Commandments. The respondees
named the ingredients as two all-beef patties, 80%; lettuce,
76%; sesame seed bun, 75%; special sauce, 66% and cheese,
60%. By contrast, "Thou shalt not kill" was known to less than
60%; "Honor thy father and mother" was known to only 45%.
However, 70% recalled "Thou shalt not kill" and 69% knew
about "Thou shalt not steal." One conclusion might be drawn
that Americans spend more time eating Big Macs than reading
the Bible. This could be considered as humorous, or very serious.
Could this be a sign of the times? National Churchwatch, a
British church safety group, has advised Catholic and Anglican
clergy to remove their clerical collars when off duty to avoid
being singled out for attack. While no official figures for acts
of violence against clergy are available, a study done by the
University of London in 2001 found that seven in ten clergy
(70%) had experienced some degree of violent attacks in the
period 1997-1999. It may be that the unfavorable opinion of
Christianity is finding its expression in a realistic way.
An interesting thought, with religious and national security
overtones: "Do you support the mosques in America preaching
jihad and recruiting jihadists? If a pastor or rabbi endorses a
candidate, the church or synagogue can lose its tax exemption,
Mosques can regularly host terrorists and preach jihad with
no penalty." – Jerusalem Prayer Team, October 10.
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AS EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS, WHICH CURRENT
ISSUES ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU? HERE
ARE SOME NATIONAL RESPONSES
AS EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS, WHICH CURRENT ISSUES ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU? HERE ARE SOME NATIONAL RESPONSES
But first, note this reminder of our position on the national
election in 2008. Several months ago we took the position that
we would not comment on the upcoming presidential election
until the year 2008. There is still more than one year until that
election day, and at this point in time no one can really be sure
exactly who the candidates will be. So we will hold to our policy
of refraining from any comments until early in 2008.
Now for today’s discussion, TIME Magazine,
the oldest and
largest of the nation’s 3 leading weekly news magazines, each
week selects "Ten Most Popular Stories of the Week." From week
to week the lists run the full range among stories of the antics of
show business personalities ... national politics ... the war in Iraq
... the activities of terrorists ...governmental affairs ... human
tragedies ... natural disasters, etc. The list reflects the diverse
interests of the American people as perceived by TIME editors.
The current list, released on October 4, is, as usual, made up of a
wide ranging assortment of subjects. Those subjects include – for
example – the controversial military plane, the V-22 Osprey, now
going to be deployed in Iraq; the matter of Britney Spears
custody of her children; riots in Islamabad and killings in Burma;
and mixed in among all of them are two items of particular interest
to evangelical Christians – one as to whether "mega preachers" are
scandal prone, and the other about the problem of the developing
negative image of Christianity.
If those are of top interest to Americans, generally, what are
the top items of interest among Evangelical Christians? In September
the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) conducted a survey to
determine "the top issues of concern to American evangelicals today."
The results of that survey were not released in the form of a list of
the "ten top" items. The concerns expressed through the survey
were presented in groupings. For example, cultural concerns in -
cluding consumerism, materialism, family finances and the pre -
servation of traditional families were reported as the top items of
concern among the 30 million members of the NAE. Highest among
those cultural concerns were reduction of abortions and defense of
the sanctity of human life. There was little concern expressed about
national politics or the war in Iraq.
The next highest level of concern was "helping the hurting," which
included HIV/AIDS, poverty reduction and immigration reform.
The third high response area was evangelism, including the clarity
of the Christian message, freedom of religion in other countries,
the credibility and integrity of Christians, and an increased passion
for evangelism in our churches.
Other issues of concern included health care, emphasis on Christian
doctrine, the issue of homosexuality,
the increasing influence ofIslam
, and racial reconciliation. NAE President, Leith Anderson said,
"The answers were so diverse that they were difficult to categorize.
Maybe that’s the whole point – that evangelical leaders have a
long list of concerns."
This point is very clear – the interests and concerns of the
American public differ widely from the interests and concerns of
American Evangelicals. This should not be unexpected because
it is doubtless due to the over-riding importance of the Great
Commission of Jesus Christ, to go into all the world and preach
the gospel to everyone – and the Christian way of life arising out
of belief in that gospel which includes the various cultural concerns
expressed in the NAE survey.
It is of extreme importance that this wide difference between
the interests and concerns of Evangelical Christians
interests and concerns of the American public be maintained,
and that as Christians we do not allow our rightful concerns
to be come diluted and de-emphasized in the growing concept
of "diversity" and "political correctness," which the Liberals
speak of as "progress."
The importance of being a Christian: "Christianity, if false,
is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only
thing it cannot be is moderately important." – C. S. Lewis
Afterthoughts . . .Borrowing from computerese, some new terminology.
With the number of so-called "mega-churches" growing at such
a rapid rate, the largest of those churches have now been given
a new label: "giga-churches." According to the annual list of
the 100 largest American churches as reported in Outreach
Magazine, the largest church is Lakewood Church in Houston
with an average weekly attendance of 47,000. The list discloses
that 36 of the top 100 have weekly attendances of at least 10,000,
earning for them the "giga-church" label . . . the remaining 64
have a weekly attendance of 6,000 or more. The churches in
the "mega-church" category have a weekly attendance of at least
2,000. An estimated 1,300 churches are in that size range in
America, but that number is growing rapidly – and at a time
when 70% to 80% of US churches are either have a fixed level
of membership or are in a decline.And to follow-up on that thought,
is the statement by Eric
Ramsey of the Southern Baptist Convention
Missionary Board, "North America is the only continent in the world where the church is not growing."
Baptist is the largest Protestant denomination in America, but a
recent study discloses that 29,900 of their 42,000 churches in
the US are not growing – only 30% are showing growth. But
the study disclosed a more alarming fact – among the "growing"
churches, 1,409 reported no baptisms in an entire year,
indicating that they are really "shuffling Baptists
church to another church." A surprising fact emerges from
such studies – that the Christian church is growing faster in
China, under persecution, than in almost any other place on
earth. It should be a wake-up call for American Christians to
realize that we are the only place in the world where Christianity
is not growing.In case you wondered about Atheists,
yes, they are still
around, and still active. The Atheist Alliance International
just sponsored a conference in Crystal City, Virginia, where one
of the conclusions reached was that science must ultimately destroy
organized religion. Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins,
name, denounced the "preposterous nonsense of religious customs,"
and compared religion to racism. He had this to say about moderate
Christians, stating that "so-called moderate Christianity is simply
an evasion," and seemed to be saying that as an Atheist or Christian
a person should be solidly for whatever they believe. The conference
did not seem to have the aggressive tones of earlier years, whenMadelyn Murray O’Hair
was influencing the US Supreme Court.Christians in the Sudan
are still being killed while the US,
the UN and the rest of the world sits back and watches. Just two
weeks ago, on September 27, a suicide bomber attacked a Baptist
church in the Southern Sudan town of Khorfullus killing six
children and injuring the pastor and three others. The bomber
was reported to be in full army uniform. It is Southern Sudan,
mostly Christian and ethnically African, which is the victim of the
ethnic cleansing by the mainly Muslim North, largely Arab. In the
past several years an estimated two million have been killed and
more than four million forcefully displaced. And no relief is in sight.The importance of church membership. Dr. Philip GrahamRyken,
the pastor of the 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia,
in his book "Communion of the Saints" draws this important
conclusion, "Martyn Lloyd-Jones
went so far as to describe
church membership as ‘the biggest honour which can come a
man’s way in this world.’ There is no union with Christ apart
from the communion of the saints. Nor can the saints have true
communion without belonging to one another by belonging to
Christ in His church. The communion of the saints is for members
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IRAN PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD LABELED AS
"THE BILLY GRAHAM OF THE MIDDLE EAST"
IRAN PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD LABELED AS
"THE BILLY GRAHAM OF THE MIDDLE EAST"
That appellation was assigned to him by an Arab Sunni
diplomat who said after Ahmadinejad’s speeches in New
York, "He is the Billy Graham
of the Middle East, and you
are paying for his crusades." It is true that both speeches,
at Columbia and at the UN, were more rambling sermons
than political discourses or current events lectures, and
demonstrated that the president of Iran, despite his very
unprepossessing appearance, sees himself as having a sense
of divine mission almost as a 21st century John the Baptist,
preparing the way for the return of Islam’s 12t h Imam, the
Mahdi. The Mahdi, according to Islamic lore, is a righteous
descendant of Mohammad, who went into "occlusion" in the
ninth century at the age of five, and has been hidden ever
since. He will return after a period of chaos, bloodshed and
war, and will lead the world into an era of universal peace
after establishing the rule of Islam throughout the world.
Mr. Ahmadinejad was very definite about this in his two
speeches, saying, "I emphatically declare that today’s world
more than ever before, longs for the perfect righteous
human being who has been promised to all peoples and
who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the
planet. Almighty God make us among his followers and
among those who strive for his return and for his cause."
In his speech at the UN he made his position clear, saying
that the era of Western dominance was coming to a close,
and would be replaced by the bright future at the return of
the 12th Imam. "Without any doubt, the Promised One, who
is the ultimate Saviour will come. The pleasing aroma of
justice will permeate the whole world."
It should be made clear that the God of whom Billy
Graham spoke during his years of ministry, is not the God
of whom Mr. Ahmadinejad spoke in his New York speeches.
And it is also clear that Islam, a much newer religious faith,
has borrowed generously from the Christian doctrine of the
Apocalypse, and the return of Jesus Christ to rule in the
period of the millennium.
One of the few occassions when Ahmadinejad was booed
during his speech at Columbia was when he said that unlike
America, in Iran there were no homosexuals. He did not
explain in detail why that may be true – the fact is that gay
sex in any form is punished by death under Islamic law in Iran.
Offenders are given a choice of four death methods: hanging,
stoning, halved by a sword or dropped from some high point.
Since the Ayatollahs seized power in Iran in 1979 more than
4,000 gay men and lesbians are known to have been executed.
How to evaluate the Ahmadinejad visit? In his two major
appearances he challenged the largest superpower on earth, he
threatened a regional power (Israel) with extinction, and he
ridiculed the UN efforts to regulate his program of nuclear
development declaring that he considers the matter closed.
Apparently the UN accepted his conclusion, and instead of
imposing new sanctions, granted Iran a two month extension
to explain their nuclear ambitions.
In the Arab world his visit was seen and reported as a
victory and he is portrayed as a hero for venturing into the
"lion’s den." It is difficult to find justification for handing
one of the world’s premier terrorists such public platforms
to spout his contrary views. The American media, liberal as
ever, described him as "friendly," "humble," "incorruptible"
and "modest," and on the CBS Morning Show, Scott Pelley
said, "He is genuinely religious, genuinely humble, there are
no fancy clothes, fancy cars ... he is a fascinating character."
They seem to ignore that he denies the Holocaust, says the
nation Israel should be exterminated and sends bombs and
weapons to insurgents in Iraq to kill American soldiers.
That was not the end of the saga. After leaving the USA,
he traveled to Latin America to encourage leftist-leaning
nations to join in economic ventures which would encourage
their hatred of America, climaxing his trip with a great reunion
with Hugo Chavez,
the President of Venezuela. Arrangements
were made for economic exchanges which would benefit both
countries, and strengthen their resolve to oppose the United
States and the Bush administration – which they agree on as
being the "Great Satan" – in every way possible.Here’s a thought:
As a member of the UN, Ahmadinejad
is entitled to speak there. Perhaps it would be best to admit
him into this country to visit only the UN, hold him under
close supervision by UN officials, provide residence facilities
for him within the UN complex, and escort him back to his
plane as soon as his UN appearance is completed. And the
same strict control would apply for all terrorists.
Afterthoughts . . .
A treasure trove for the ACLU; those guardians of the
religious activities of the nation are quick to file suits against
small town school boards who might have a copy of the Ten
Commandments visible, or where some child bowed their
head in prayer before eating. But here right in the nation’s
capitol city, right in the capitol building, representatives of
several religions meet regularly for prayer – Muslims, Jews
and Christians assembling in different rooms. The ACLU
could institute some suits at high dollar levels. Some have
traced this practice to the request by Ben Franklin in 1787
that the business of government start each day with a prayer.
The inclusion of an Islamic time of prayer is indication that
faith based groups go beyond the traditional Judeo-Christian
boundaries. But it is still religion, and the ACLU feels very
strongly about religion.
This may be hard to believe, but there was such a furore
about the radically discounted price the NY Times charged
the Democrat support group, Moveon.org, for their insulting
ad ridiculing General Petraeus that the Times finally admitted
they had made a mistake, and Moveon.org has had to pay an
additional $77,083, bringing the cost for the ad to $142,083.
Now it would be nice if some of the Democrat leaders would
admit that the ad was disgraceful!
One strong voice during the Ahmadinejad visit was
not from any US official, but from the new French President,
Nicolas Sarkozy: "There will not be peace in the world if the
international community falters in the face of proliferation
of nuclear arms. If we allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons,
we would incur an unacceptable risk to stability in the region
and the world." It is good to know that the French government
under its new conservative leadership is determined to accept
responsibility for their membership in the world of nations.
A good 18th century quote on state government: "The state
governments possess inherent advantages , which will ever give
them an influence and ascendancy over the National Government,
and will forever preclude the possibility of federal encroachments.
That their liberties, indeed, can be subverted by the federal head,
is repugnant to every rule of political calculation." – Alexander
Hamilton, June, 1788
An alarming current day quote on our government:
"In order for our republic to work, there must exist a certain level
of trust and faith. The public at large must be able to trust their
elected representatives to do the job. When that faith is shaken,
not only do the government institutions suffer, but the country
does as well. A new survey shows that trust in the federal
government is at its lowest point in this decade. People are
tired of double talk, scandals, partisan attacks, and lies. In fact,
according to the survey, trust in many of the government
institutions is ‘now lower than it was during the Watergate
era, generally recognized as the low point in American history
for trust in government.’" – Bobby Eberle, gopusa.com
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