Where have all the Christians gone?

This is a lengthy excerpt.  I recommend you read the entire piece here.

A generation ago pop star Bonnie Tyler famously asked: “Where have all the good men gone?”

Since then, the situation has only gotten worse, Bonnie.  As C.S. Lewis noted, men in the English-speaking world have largely been emasculated, and men in the Church are seldom an exception to this decades-long trend.

To stand strong for one’s faith in Jesus Christ and push back against a culture that, in the words of Isaiah 5:20, “call[s] evil good and good evil” is to be “divisive,” “unloving,” “bigoted,” and “intolerant.”

This is because evangelicals have confused Christ’s command to love others with being likable, as if that were an attribute of God. (It isn’t.)  As such, they endeavor to be, above all else, inoffensive and polite.  This doctrinal malpractice has given us a generation of men who are what Lewis called “men without chests.”  …

I urge you instead to be offended by the way our God’s name is blasphemed in our country every day; by the 54 million children murdered in the holocaust of abortion since 1973; by the sordid sexual agenda that is eroding the very fabric of Western civilization; by the fact that Christians are dying for their faith, largely at the hands of Muslims, at a rate of 100,000 per year; and, most of all, by the reality that these things are being ignored, trivialized, or celebrated.  These are things that offend me deeply, and I hope they offend you, too.  Righteous anger has a place within the Christian life.  Tap into it.  In the words of Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry and do not sin.”   …

Evangelical Christians comprise a hefty 26 percent of the U.S. population. I fully believe that if they were to find their voices, their courage, and were to dispense with candy-assed Christianity, that we would see a Great Awakening in America.

Agreed.  Christ himself on several occasions was contemptuous with the authorities of the day, and felt no need to be “nice” to the those who wore the trappings but denied the Truth.  The Church should worry less about getting along with the world, and more about challenging that world, whatever the cost.  We need Paul’s persistence, not Osteen’s opulence.

Answering the question

Many people, including me, are asking frequently this year how our electoral choices came to be so ridiculously horrid.  Where is the honorable candidate?  The one who has been consistently honest and not self-serving?  Why are there no leaders we can trust?

We have to admit we ourselves are at least partially to blame.  Humanity is a lousy judge of character, because the “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick.  Who can understand it?”

Let’s face it, at least today of all days: when the Perfect Leader showed up, many centuries ago, this is what we did to Him:

Crucifixion-3-Crosses

We were offered the Bread of Life, and the crowd called for Barabbas instead.  It shouldn’t be a surprise to realize our choices have been ever-more problematic since then.  Just remember that Christ still wears the crown He won that day, and no matter who wins the Presidency, they will one day bow the knee to the One who is Faithful and True.

May we all say “yes”

While I haven’t had much time to comment lately, that doesn’t mean I’m not reading constantly.  Of all the things that could be said about the latest instance of random, senseless violence, I think THIS needs to be heard most of all:

Dear Sweet Mamas,

I know you are hurting today…

Yesterday a 26-year-old man whose name I won’t give more fame to walked up to your child and said “Are you a Christian?” and your child said “Yes.”

Then he shot them in the head. He walked up to some other moms’ children and asked the same, and if they said “no” he still wounded them, but he let them live.

He killed nine of your children, Mamas. Do you know what that means? That means eight of your brave children saw one of their own take a bullet in the head for claiming Christ and they said yes anyway.

They said yes anyway. They said yes anyway. They said yes anyway.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

I want my children here with me, and I know you want yours with you too.

But I will tell you that a YES and a life snuffed out for Christ is better than a NO and 100 years more on this earth without Him.

Thank you for loving your children. Thank you for being Christ to your children. You have made a difference in a way I know you never wanted or hoped or expected to, I know, I know.

But Mama. Your child was able to look into the face of God yesterday and hear “well done.”

I don’t mind admitting the tears that last line brought… tears partially in joy for those who stood firm and were able to hear the Father say “well done.”  We live in a world that seems to grow closer to hell every day, in so many ways.  I think about my Three Musketeers and what they will likely see in their lifetimes, which are just getting started.  I want them to be able to defend themselves, and others, if need be.  I want them to understand truth and to have good judgment.  But most importantly, I pray that if God allows any of us to have to look evil in the eye and, unarmed except for our faith, answer the most important question anyone can be asked, that our answer, too, will be a resounding “YES.”  For we have this hope: the grief in such circumstances is tempered by the knowledge that evil may strike the body on this fallen earth, but never the soul of one who belongs to the Father.  And such a soul has a future that far outlasts the pain this world can inflict.

 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.”  — 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

May the “sounds” this Saturday be an encouragement to us all.  Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

The reign of the ‘god of this world’

“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  2 Cor 4:4

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”  Isaiah 5:20

From Thursday’s New York Times (caution: difficult reading ahead):

QADIYA, Iraq — In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.

When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.

“I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God…”

Tragically, it is — drawing him closer to the ‘god (lower-case “g”) of this world,’ who is running amok in our day.  Anyone who can look upon the atrocities of ISIS, or the holocaust of unborn children in the West, and state that evil doesn’t really exist–that the term is merely a social convention based on outmoded religious beliefs–is indeed “blinded.”  Fatally so.

There are many who look upon ISIS and others, like the Westboro Baptist Church, and conclude the problem is faith itself.  Sadly, they too lack discernment.  The Enemy is shrewd — whether you serve him directly or become spiritually indifferent as a result of those who do, either way he draws souls away from the salvation Christ came to offer.  Those who believe the elimination of ‘religion’ is the path to peace don’t realize that the evils of the linked article is the default setting of a world that is enslaved by sin.  They literally risk throwing out the baby–the Christ child, the only hope of redemption–with the bathwater.

But for those of us with “eyes to see” and “ears to hear,” we know there is only One solution for this.  While it may eventually involve physical confrontation, far above the mere dabbling with airstrikes and symbolic but ineffective gestures, the real solution involves seeking to draw near to Jehovah, our creator, sustainer and savior.  It involves praying for the Spirit to bring revival — and not just in America.

The battle lines are being drawn, both abroad and at home.  May the God (uniquely capital “G”) of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter and Paul watch over us.  Our nation does not deserve it, but unlike those who serve hellish spirit the Times unwittingly wrote about, we serve a God of love, mercy and grace.

And the battle ultimately belongs to Him.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”    Ephesians 6:12-13