Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Supposed Decline of Christianity

       The Decline of Christianity in America, the author goes on writing happily of the supposed decline of Christianity as if it is a wish come true for him. As I read one of these articles go on and rant about the fall of memberships of once highly populated Catholic churches in the northeastern parts of the US and the closings of Protestant churches in the Northeast and Midwest, as well as the decline of memberships in even Southern Baptist churches I keep saying to myself "Man this fellow has no clue what Christianity is all about. And this is quite literally an ongoing publishing of articles and comments one will notice or walk upon every now and then. Quite a few "experts" have gone on writing and talking at will of this supposed soon downfall of Christianity and often with seemingly great anticipation. A Christian who has read his/her Bible and who is close to God will think out loud "these people have no clue who God is!"
       Often I hear about the dearth of live bodies in many of those old catholic and protestant churches located around Europe. They say that many of these pews are empty Sunday mornings while the numbers of atheists in much of Europe continues to rises. Researchers and news magazines are constantly reporting articles full of polls and surveys showing a dwindling interest of christianity in America. Online news reports of Islam replacing Christianity in southern Italy and other places in southern Europe. People have reported there being more atheists in countries like Germany than there are in the United States. More Muslims attending mosques in Britain on Friday than Anglicans attending church on Sundays. The North American Mission Board once reported there being 28 churches for 10000 Americans back in 1900. Just fifty years later there are now 17 for every 100,000. That number being reported as the population in the country has risen tremendously.
       First of all probably the biggest important detail about Christianity and one that is mentioned over and over again in the Word of God as well as TRUE Bible Believing Churches, one that many people, especially atheists, agnostics, and similar thinking people do not seem to comprehend is that not everybody who says he is a christian is truly a christian. In fact there are a lot of people, likely the large majority of people who call themselves in this world Christians who are not true friends of Christ.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23.
A lot of people, yes even some of those shouting and screaming Jesus Christ's Name while dancing on the church stage will be met during the Day of Judgment with Christ's daunting words "I don't know you".
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. Luke 13:22-28
       Jesus Christ made it clear to His disciples that the road to heaven is narrow. That means that getting to heaven is hard. That also means that the dude you saw at church who cussed you out the same day he preached a brewing sermon about the Holy Ghost may not be a real Christian. Or aunt Mabel who always goes to church but who also has a new man sleeping over her room every other weekend may not be a true Christian. All of these popular tv evangelists who have messed up big time that are favorite targets and at times psychological weapons use by Jesus Christ antagonists and other such non-believers, some of them may not be true Christians. Let's peruse through a list of them. Paula white, Jim Baker and Tammy Faye, Jimmy Swaggert, Ted Haggard, all of these one time highly revered Christian leaders, and some likely still have highly devoted followers, messed up big time. And this leads us to another highly misunderstood point of Christianity. Christianity is about following Jesus Christ not just the leaders. Jimmy Swaggert is not the author of the Bible. He is just a guy that took a highly responsible task and made a major fumble. And this is not to say that all of these guys are not Christians or that any man who claims Christ but somehow behaves spiritually erratic is headed to hell but it is a big clue that there is something wrong occurring and that instead of blindly following the pied piper maybe someone ought to get his or her Bible out, have a conversation with God and find out what He wants him or her to do instead.
       Another important detail about Christianity that is misunderstood is when people mention crimes committed by major religions and nations under the Name of Christ. For example the murdering of pagan priests and people accused of being witches between 315 and 6th century. Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) who beheaded 4500 Saxons in 782 because they refused to convert Christianity. The Crusades in places like Turkey, Hungary, and Jerusalem that slaughtered thousands of Muslims and non Catholics. Native Americans who were slaughtered in North America many in the name of Christ. And the often mentioned slaves from Africa who were brought to the Americas and where false teachers used the Bible to back up their mistreatment and enslavement of them. All of these were false teachings. Non of these acts accused of being committed in the name of Christ are supported anywhere in the Bible. These acts were committed by bullies and criminals who very likely did not ever study their Bibles. They took orders from dishonest leaders and assumed that what they were preaching must be true simply because of their status held. Others may have known their teachings were wrong but did not care. They were getting land, money, power, and free labor.
       I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. Romans 16:17-18 ESV
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8 ESV.      
       If one would pick up the Book and read it for him or herself the person will know that Christianity has always been related to the dwindling of numbers. 25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple Luke 14:25;33. The number of true Christians in America, Europe, the world is likely even much smaller than the amount imagined by these authors. But this is not Big News. The details has already been predicted two thousand some years ago by the Messiah. The same information is preached every Sunday by the true Christian churches located everywhere in the world. The message is mentioned all over the Bible, in both old and new testaments.Anyone who wants to know, anybody who is interested can pick up the Book and learn for him or herself. And if the reading is difficult for them they can go out church shopping. There are churches out there with members who are not even leaders who probably know one hundred plus times more about the Word of God then many of these writers and so-called experts who have know clue what Christ had predicted for His Church. Let's call the dwindling of church membership and church numbers Christ's huge trimming season, when He shaves off those whom He knows are not or perhaps never were in it to win it for Him. The Bible is full of true stories where God cut down the numbers in order to show His followers that He does not need a huge crowd in order to get the work done. Spend some time to read over some of these stories before allowing yourself to accept whatever popular figurehead on television or worlwide intellectual declares about God or Christianity. What does the Bible truly say about what a Christian is? How does Jesus describe a Christian?  Are the two equal?

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Old and The New

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17 King James Version.
       Here is a verse I used to here often as a young child but I hardly hear anymore. As a man in Christ one is supposed to be a new creature. Old, bad habits are supposed to pass away. Good, better habits should make this old person new. A nice, positive outlook for God's child but one that much of the world had great difficulty agreeing with. If one does not measure up to this statement by the Lord: "all things are become new", the person is typically called a hypocrite. Let's stretch this command from Jesus out a little bit:
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! II Corinthians 5:16-17 NIV
"So for now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view." Jesus tells us not to regard anyone from a worldly point of view. So does Jesus apply the word "hypocrite" as a typical person living in the planet earth would?

       As a frequent commentator on online journal and articles, typically, I have read the words "hypocrite" on a frequent and just about daily basis. Myself have even had these words fired verbally to my face. Much of the accusations of hypocrisy comes from not even knowing the person, just simply blaming Christians for actions and wars committed by Romans, Americans, Israel, Confederate slave owners, Republicans, tens, hundreds, even thousands of years ago. The commentator assumes that these are all the same Christian as what Jesus previously defined in the Bible.

  1. Matthew 7:21-23New American Standard Bible (NASB) “ Not everyonewho says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
 Often the accuser lumps all Christians together with tribes from Iraq or Afghanistan who call themselves Christians but have been accused of committed some at times atrocious acts. 
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation II Corinthians 5:16-19 NIV.
Jesus answers all of these accusers by earlier stating that "from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view." That means that when President Obama bashes Christians for standing up against gay weddings by calling them Hypocrites, while ignoring the thousands of Christians being slaughtered by Muslims in countries like Nigeria, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and many others, we don't regard Christianity from his point of view. We don't allow people who praise gay marriages define who is and who is not a Christian. We don't allow people who openly disregard the punishment Christian Nigerians, Christians from Cameroon, and Niger are taking from Boko Haram to define who we are or who we are supposed to be as Christians. Those people are not themselves Christians and are trying to define Christianity outside of the Word of God which Jesus described as a Big No, No.
       Jesus took great punishment from the world while He was walking the earth. He took brutal beatings and verbal abuse from the very same Boko Haram, Liberal - Christian taunting folks who don't themselves desire to obey the Bible but in return expect perfection from Christian people. Jesus loves us but in the same way He loves us, He expects the best from us.

60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 
62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:60-62 New International Version (NIV)Jesus knew Peter's heart. The world would have called Peter a hypocrite. Jesus did not see Peter in a worldly point of view. It is time for Christians to take a long break from listening to the Oprah Winfrey's, Cyndi Lauper's, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Madonna's. Writers from the Huffington Post who have made a career out of taunting Christianity, those people writing those articles don't know Jesus. "Obama?", well I will leave that comment for somebody else. Read our Bibles. Jesus will tell you what a real Christian is and who are the true hypocrites. And that is all we need.