Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dr. George Tiller Murdered

The news is just breaking now that late-term abortionist Dr. George Tiller was shot to death in his Kansas church.

As ironic as it is that Tiller would be killed in church, this is a tragic development over which no one should rejoice. Tiller indeed has the blood of untold numbers of babies on his hands. However, if someone murdered him in the name of stopping abortion, what a horrific mistake.

If that turns out to be the case, they will have set the pro-life movement back years, if not decades. The media and pro-abortion politicians will have a field day.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

North Korea: What to Do?


The world is in a quandary over what to do abou Kim Jong Il and North Korea. Taking a lesson from President Nixon in 1973, here are my suggestions:

1. All U.S. strategic nuclear forces on alert. Immediately.

2. All U.S. naval forces ordered to steam toward North Korean waters. Immediately.

3. All U.S. ground forces in South Korea on immediate alert.

4. Diplomatically, word is sent immediately that North Korea stands down immediately or be subject to a severe military strike that will take out all North Korean military installations. We possess the technology. It can be done.

Kim Jong Il is an idiot and is one man. Given the choice of surrender or the devastation of his entire nation, the military leaders in North Korea will intervene and depose the idiot. Unless they are all suicidal. And that is the thing that makes me the maddest.

Why are we even in this position? We possess the ability several times over to deal with this forcefully, no matter what China or Russia think. Are China and Russia going to risk a severe retaliation on their own countries for the sake of Kim Jong Il?

Maybe. But I doubt it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pravda: The U.S. Turns Marxist


Well, well, well. So the United States is plunging into Marxism. Yes, capitalism is dead and the commies are cheering in Hell.

At least, the former Soviet communist newspaper seems to think so. I couldn't help chuckling when I saw the headline, either.

You see, if I said that, I'd be a right-wing vigilante radical propagandist. It's nice to have Pravda noticing we've had some changes in this country, although I am not willing to surrender our republic just yet.

What a turn of events, when a paper like Pravda bemoans the loss of American capitalism and warns Russian businessmen to bail before it's too late. It's surreal. It's almost like a parallel universe, isn't it?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Persecution and Resisting Evil


It's been a while since I've done an installment on my "persecution" series. Time has been a factor, as well as other issues that have cropped up to capture my attention. However, Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily wrote this interesting column today on the subject of when and if resistance to an evil government is permissible for Christians. It's worth the read.

My views tend to align very closely with his — on this subject at least — although I am still studying and have not reached a final conclusion. Whatever our stance is at present on this subject, I have a strong suspicion we're all going to have to wrestle with it more and more as the days go on.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Trouble in Northern Ireland


My occasional critics who think I am too right wing or political might find some comfort in my post today. I was originally going to post on something else, until my eye caught this ENI news story about a tragic incident in Northern Ireland . . .

Northern Ireland 'sectarian killing' seen as sign of 'deep problem'

(Dublin) - Politicians representing all the communities in Northern Ireland have condemned the killing of a Roman Catholic man in what had come to be seen as a rare sectarian attack in a once conflict-afflicted area. Police said Kevin McDaid, a 49-year old Catholic, was beaten to death by a large gang of people in a sectarian attack near his home in Coleraine, County Derry on the evening of 24 May. Disturbances broke out in Coleraine following the final day of soccer's Scottish Premier League season. Rangers, a Glasgow-based club which has had a mainly Protestant following, clinched the league title from fellow Glasgow club Celtic, which has had strong support from Catholics. Both Glasgow teams have a large following in Northern Ireland.

This conflict has grieved me a long, long time, even from my youth. As they seemed to be making some progress in getting things settled from the darker years of "The Troubles," I was beginning to feel more optimistic. Then more stories like this have begun to trickle in again.

I have no political ax to grind in this, meaning specifically whether Northern Ireland should be part of Great Britain or rejoined with Ireland proper. This particular incident even appears to be more connected with sports rivalries, but the religious/political element certainly lies at the foundation. The spiritual element is what concerns me, along with the tragic violence.

I really am saddened that this continually is labeled "Catholic vs. Protestant." The implication is that it's fellow Christians warring against one another when the reality is that it's more political than religious. Naive of me? Maybe. But people who name the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior ought not to be killing each other. We can argue all day with each other over doctrine and practice, but the physical violence is altogether another thing.

In my view, this is what happens when you have genuine, Bible-believing, in-the-heart Christianity as opposed to what I call cultural, nominal or political Christianity. The former is made up of truly believing, spiritually regenerate Christians. The second really care nothing about Christ, the Gospel, being born again or evangelizing. "Christian," "Catholic" or "Protestant" is just a label they have without any real thought about the meaning of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. No real thought about what Christian love -- yes, love thy neighbor -- is really all about.

But the news media continually blares it out. "Catholic vs. Protestant." Christians at war with each other. Christians murdering each other.

And the children grieve.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Battle for the 10th Amendment


The 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution has been much in the news of late, at least at some news sites and broadcast outlets. The most recent report I've seen was today here in this Fox News report.

I think this is a legitimate issue and one that's been long overdue for redress. I think the federal government has abused the Commerce Clause to usurp state and local authority. The question is whether this movement will grow and succeed, or will fizzle and die like so many efforts to return constitutional sanity to our nation.

While there has been some bipartisan effort on this, I am afraid this will be seen as just another move from the right wing and the media will treat it as such.

We'll see.

Monday, May 25, 2009

More Love


As promised, I want to discuss this whole notion of nothing else mattering but Greatest Commandments — "love God and love your neighbor."

To set the stage, I'll post a clip from a recent dispute I had with an Emergent leftist on this issue. He thinks those who take conservative positions on welfare, immigration and the use of force are disobeying these commands. Said my disputant:

These two commands are central the the gospel message. So, they are primary. Christ himself says that the entire law rests upon these two commands.

There was more to what he said, but that comment was the central plank. Here's how I replied:

Okay. Now we must flesh out what "loving God and loving our neighbor" means, and to whom that command is addressed. We also need to understand what the purpose of the law was, and is.

As I have pointed out before, loving God includes keeping His commandments. That includes revering ALL of His Word, not just the "love and mercy" parts of it. We agree that the needy should be helped, but we disagree in how to help them. You seem to think a statist solution -- including redistribution of wealth and confiscatory taxation, is the only viable option. I do not believe the Bible teaches that.

I think you get what the state is supposed to do confused with what the church -- and we as individual Christians -- are to do. Just because we do not believe in statist solutions is no grounds to charge us with failure to "love our neighbor."

Even the examples you cite of the Good Samaritan and Prodigal Son are lessons for individuals, most notably believers. Neither the Samaritan or the father of the Prodigal acted as entities of the state. They acted as individuals. The state is called to a different role.

Churches historically have had wonderful outreaches to the poor and needy, as have private individuals. The government has usurped a role that is not proper. You cannot force someone to be charitable. In fact, the way the government handles resources and manages programs ought to frighten anyone away from statist solutions. Remember that Scripture says that God loves a cheerful giver? Note that it says "giver." Confiscatory taxation is not giving. It is "legal" stealing and denies the individual laborer the fruit of his labor, by which he can also bless others.

Now, in terms of other commands of Scripture being "secondary." I ask you again to consider Romans 13 and what the state has been ordained by God to do. It is to be a terror to evildoers and bearer of the sword. When the state performs those functions legitimately, it is an outworking of God's justice AND His love.

It is important to remember that God's love is NEVER at the expense of His justice. At times, it is necessary for a sovereign state to use its military to protect its citizens. That means killing people and breaking things. When you have someone like a Hitler, a Mussolini, a Hussein, or some other monstrous figure who brutalizes their own people or invades other peaceful nations (including your own), it is just and thoroughly biblical to oppose them, both in philosophy and in use of lethal force. It is also thoroughly biblical and appropriate for an individual to use lethal force to protect others if there is no government entity able or around to do it.

You cite Philippians 2 and what Paul says about "looking after the interests of others." I would ask you to look at the context of that passage. This passage has to do with believers as individuals and the church corporate. It has nothing to do with statism.

My disputant summed himself up by saying this (because he's been rebuked for his language):

When we are more offended by another term for 'butt' than we are by the fact that we have starving kids in America, then our gospel message has very little gospel. To allow the first and second command to be replaced by secondary issues creates a gospel that has very little to offer a hurting world in desperate need of a Saviour.

My reply? I said:

Again, you say "replace" the first and second commandments. Not so fast. No one is "replacing" anything. Can't you understand that obeying Scripture and the working out of God's other commands are all a part of obeying the first and second commands? Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments." That means all of Scripture, not just the parts you like such as the Beatitudes. The same God that says to love your neighbor is the same God that legitimized the use of the sword. He is also the same God that said, through Paul, "if a man will not work, don't let him eat." The modern welfare state only encourages more poverty, not less. We should have learned that lesson with Lyndon Johnson.

As to the language issue, yes. Profanity and obscenity offends me, and it should offend you. I've been trying very hard to clean up my own speech in the knowledge that it grieves the Lord who commanded us not to talk that way. Remember, He said if we love Him, keep His commandments. Including the one about the language we use.

Sola's note: This probably isn't the last of this ongoing back and forth. Some might even say I'm wasting my time. But these people are infiltrating previously sound churches, and they need to be challenged. All too often, we allow ourselves to be intimidated or cowed into silence.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Love is a Many Splendored Thing . . .


In my ongoing dealings with liberal theologians and their kinfolk in the Emergent movement, I keep getting this question thrown at me. What does "love your neighbor" mean? Closely related is the charge that biblical conservatives are being "unloving."

The question is usually fired off after you are critical of their doctrinal aberrations, or try and uphold a biblical view of justice i.e. the state being a terror to evildoers (Romans 13). Over and over again, they keep bringing up "love your neighbor." Nothing else matters to them.

I've asked them the following questions repeatedly and thus far have never gotten a clear answer. So I'll ask them again.

Do Christ's commands to love God and to love our neighbor supersede all other commandments? Do these commands negate the rest of Scripture?

I'll discuss this further in the next post.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

San Diego and Beijing?


Well, well, well.

Now that this blog has been accused of spewing right-wing propaganda, let me share this little tidbit from WorldNetDaily.

It appears that local officials in a very prominent city are trying to force a pastor to discontinue holding a Tuesday night Bible study in his OWN home. Let's see. Where could this be happening? Beijing? After all, the communist government hates house churches and tries to shut as many of them down as possible. They throw the leaders in prison for good measure.

No, folks. It's here in the good old USA. San Diego to be specific.

Propaganda? Nope. Just reality.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Quick Comment on Terrorists

I'm too tired to fuss with much of a post today, but I can't help commenting about the claims that the left (including President Obama) makes about Gitmo and "enhanced interrogation techniques." Specifically, that these controversial issues help our enemies recruit new people to the radical Muslim jihadist cause. We're treating captured terrorists so badly and inhumanely, you see.

Hmm. Daniel Pearl. Leon Klinghoffer. The two 13-year-old Jewish boys hacked to death in a cave. I could go on, but you get the idea. Yes indeedy. The terrorists have much to teach us about morality and mercy.

These murderous thugs are the types who brutally behead people on video and release it to the world. These are the people who fly planes into buildings, blow up airplanes, blow up pizza parlors, and will even blow themselves up if they can take innocent bystanders with them in sufficient numbers. Do they really need the excuse of Gitmo, which is really more like a 4-star hotel, or waterboarding? If Daniel Pearl had been given the choice of waterboarding or having his head sawn off, I don't think it would have been hard to choose.

Better yet, does the left really think that if we tuck terrorist detainees in bed under eiderdown quilts, making sure to serve them prime rib along with tea and crumpets, and plenty of back issues of "Jihad Times" for their reading pleasure, that they'll be any less inclined to kill us? I guess they do.

Whatever the case, I am getting tired of being lectured by this crew on morality and American values. This is the same bunch that sees nothing wrong with sodomy or butchering unborn children up to the ninth month of pregnancy. This bunch doesn't give a rip about morality or American values, and they'd just as soon send the Constitution through a shredder at the first opportunity.

Oh, well. Off to bed before my blood pressure rises any further.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Green Day and Wal Mart. Oh, the Humanity!


Poor Green Day. In an Associated Press article this morning, the band is kvetching at Wal Mart because the chain won't carry their new CD unless the band makes it available in a "clean version."

You see, it's been long standing store policy that they won't carry CDs with parental advisory stickers on them. The band has the option of doing an edited version removing the obscenities and expletives, which many do so that they can take advantage of Wal Mart's ability to move product. Green Day believes this is "censorship," a frenzied cry we often hear when people raise objections to smut, whether it be in music or art.

First, censorship by definition is government enforced. Wal Mart can't censor anyone. No one is telling Green Day, or any other artist, that they can't produce and market all the filth they want. There are other outlets out there who would be more than willing to carry their CD. At the same time, no one can force a private company or retailer to carry things that violate their ethos or policy.

But instead, Green Day would rather whine and make themselves out to be martyrs for the sake of "self-expression."

I've got a better suggestion. Why not just clean up your act? Maybe you like swimming in cesspools, but you don't have the right to drag everyone else into the tank with you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Angry People and Insecurity


I always enjoy reading Marvin Olasky, an editor and commentator for World Magazine. In his column this month, Marvin takes an eagle-eyed view of today's generation and their penchant for anger amid insecurity.

I especially enjoyed his quotation of another columnist, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, who wonders "why the left is still so angry?" Milbank himself is a man of the left, and he surprisingly admitted, "even under Obama, the anger on the left is, if anything, more personal and vitriolic than on the right."

While not glossing over anger and asperity on the right side of the fence, Olasky observes that anger and insecurity often go hand in hand. There's only one thing to really fix that insecurity, and that is faith in Christ. Says Olasky . . .

Since we're sinners, we're all prone to insecurity, unless we realize that our security is not subjective but objective, not dependent on what we do but on what Christ has done. We feel secure when we know deep down that all things work together for the good of those who believe in Him. Some might scoff: superficial answer? No. There's nothing deeper.

Having just taught on that passage out of Romans a couple of weeks ago, I concur heartily!

Monday, May 18, 2009

More Wisdom and Warnings from John Bolton


Each month, the National Rifle Association publishes their "America's First Freedom" magazine. The May issue featured a great interview with John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He had some very keen insights into our new administration, as well as some words of warning. Some excerpts:

1. I think the most important thing is that American ambassadors at the U.N. have to do is remember that they represent the United States to the U.N. They don't represent the United Nations back to the United States. And it's very fundamental that we should defend America's interests there.

America should not be a well-bred doormat at the U.N. Now it's a very uncongenial environment in many respects on gun issues—Second Amendment issues in particular—and when you have an administration that I don't think is very favorable to the correct interpretation of the Second Amendment anyway, I think we could well be at risk in the U.N. system of seeing negotiations, and possibly treaties or agreements, that might try and impair our Second Amendment rights. So this is something we've all got to be very vigilant about the next four years.

2. "Norming" is a term that's applied to international agreements that affect the behavior of individual governments. And there's a reason [a lot of people don't know about it]. And that is that left-wing elements in our society have not been as successful legislatively as they've wanted to be over the past 10 or 20 years. What they've done is very ingenious, tactically, from their point of view. When they don't have success, such as on gun issues in Congress or state legislatures, they stop fighting there and try and take the issue internationally. And [they try to] have international agreements negotiated by diplomats, who often don't have the same understanding or support for some of these issues. [They} negotiate them as treaties, then bring them back to the U.S. Senate and say, "You have to ratify this treaty. One hundred and eighty other countries have already ratified it, how can the U.S. be isolated?"


NRA: If you get an arms trade treaty, it's binding. But what does that mean? Does it supersede our Constitution?

BOLTON: It doesn't supersede the Constitution. But if it is enacted—if it's adopted by the Senate and then enacted as positive law—it would bind Americans. So there's a real battle to be fought here. I think the best defense is a good offense, and to not wait until it gets to the Senate or not wait until Obama tries to sign it as an executive agreement. I think you've got to get into the negotiations and try and affect the outcome there.


Joel's comment: Elections have consequences.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Twisting Slowly, Slowly in the Wind


Well, it's been quite a week in Washington. Off and on, I've been watching the ongoing flap over "enhanced interrogation techniques," and what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew or didn't know about it. I think it made my flu worse, to be honest.

You have to hand it to her for chutzpah. Calling the CIA a passel of liars is no small thing. Even fellow Democrat and current CIA director Leon Panetta isn't too happy with Ms. Pelosi these days. I can't help but think of Watergate, when John Ehrlichman famously said of L. Patrick Gray — leave him to "twist slowly, slowly in the wind."

Will this force Nancy Pelosi out of the speakership? At the moment, I doubt it. She'll claw out the eyes of anyone who tries to unseat her from her lofty throne. However, if this drags on for long, there is a chance that fellow Democrats will force her to step down rather than give the Republicans any more ammunition.

Self-immolation is quite a spectacle, isn't it?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Human Works and God's Foreknowledge


I've been teaching a series on Romans for the past few months, and it's been very enjoyable. It's also very difficult, especially when you get to chapter 9, which deals with the doctrine of election. I haven't felt much like posting the past few days, but thought I'd better put something up. And what better thing to put up than a subject that raises people's blood pressure.

One of the common points of argument on this subject is how God "elects" His people to salvation. Calvinists argue that human works and will have nothing to do with it. God's election is sovereign and not dependent on anything we do. Arminians insist that God "foreknows" who will believe in Him and elects people to salvation on that basis.

I was reading up on this in lesson prep, and I found this rather arresting passage from John Calvin himself, commenting on the Romans passage, "if through grace, it is no more by works," etc:

This amplification is derived from a comparison between things of an opposite character; for such is the case between God's grace and the merit of works, that he who establishes the one overturns the other.

But if no regard to works can be admitted in election, without obscuring the gratuitous goodness of God, which He designed thereby to be so much commended to us, what answer can be given by Paul to those infatuated persons, (phrenetici—insane) who make the cause of election to be that worthiness in us that God has foreseen? For whether you introduce works future or past, this declaration of Paul opposes you; for he says that grace leaves nothing to works.

Paul speaks not here of our reconciliation with God, nor of the means, nor of the proximate causes of our salvation; but he ascends higher, even to this— why God, before the foundation of the world, chose only some and passed by others: and he declares that God was led to make this difference by nothing else but His own good pleasure; for if any place is given to works, so much, he maintains, is taken away from grace.

It hence follows that it is absurd to blend foreknowledge of works with election. For if God chooses some and rejects others, as he has foreseen them to be worthy or unworthy of salvation, then the grace of God, the reward of works being established, cannot reign alone, but must be only in part the cause of our election. For as Paul has reasoned before concerning the justification of Abraham, that where reward is paid, there grace is not freely bestowed; so now he draws his argument from the same fountain— that if works come to the account, when God adopts a certain number of men unto salvation, reward is a matter of debt, and that therefore it is not a free gift.


A very powerful argument, if you ask me. Human pride is very, very subtle. If we think for one moment that good works of any kind earn one drop of Christ's blood, or help in obtaining our salvation, we are on very, very dangerous ground.

How does the will of man intersect with the will of God? It's a mystery. But I have to give the sovereignty to God, where it belongs. If I had to save myself, I might as well reserve my bunk in Hell right now. Why did He save me? I don't know. But I am eternally thankful that He did.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ugghhh....


I do wish when people are ill, they'd stay home. Now the bug has bitten me, so I won't be blogging for a day or two.

Cough . . .hack . . . sneeze . . . ache . . .

BLAH!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mark Steyn: Live Free or Die


I always enjoy Mark Steyn, whether he's on television or in print. He's very witty with a droll sense of humor. But behind that droll sense of humor is a very keen mind.

In this Imprimis column, Mark recalls the motto of New Hampshire, "Live Free or Die." He then pulls the curtain back to reveal just what America is doing to itself these days.

Isn't it something when a native of Canada who spent his school days in Britain has to remind us of what the American experiment was all about?

I wish we had more immigrants like Mark Steyn -- no matter what ethnic group -- who actually hold some reverence for America's founding principles.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

How Can Christians Prepare for a Meltdown?

Note: This article is reposted by permission.

by Jonathan Stephens, Pastor of East Side Bible Church of Chicago.

On February 7, 2009 it was announced in the media that three more bank chains in the USA collapsed – that was nine chains in the first five weeks of 2009. Only three collapsed in the USA during the entire year of 2007. 500,000 jobs are disappearing each month in our country. Unemployment is pushing 8%. Our national leaders in mid-February debated and then passed completely along party lines an almost $800 billion “stimulus package.” Since most of our national leaders no longer seem to have much moral fiber anymore, they privately loaded this near trillion dollar “loan” from you, the taxpayer, with an estimated 40-60% in pork barrel spending. This world-wide economic earthquake’s epicenter was the USA, and what Congress has perpetrated with this bail-out is akin to Congress showing up at a 5-alarm fire where a factory is burning down, and yet proceeding to sell matches and lighters to the bystanders watching the building ablaze. And no one – and I mean no one that I have seen, on television or heard on the radio in our society, is even considering the idea of turning to God and repenting (haven’t heard much of anything along such a line even on our famous conservative radio talk shows). With millions claiming to be born-again Christians in this country, sadly it does seem that most function as practical atheists as a specter of fear and panic pervades our nation at this time.

Should not believers and the true Bible-believing Church of the Lord be beacons of light at this dark hour within our nation? Yes it should, but as unbelievers scan Christendom in America, what do they see when they look at us? Are they drawn to Christ through our powerful faith, testimonies, and heavenly orientation? Or do they see the same panic and materialistic mindset as are plaguing our culture? Three places one must look to see what is happening in our churches during such an uncertain time are: giving, prayer, and leadership acuity. Let us examine all three for just a moment. The picture is not pretty.

First of all, in reference to giving, born-again Christian contributions to charities are down by some estimates, as much as 25% from 2007. Many of our fine Christian para-church organizations (including IFCA International) are on the bubble of financial instability. Most local churches are seeing a roller coaster of giving by the people in their pews. As much as we leaders hate to admit it, giving by Christians in our churches is predominantly discretionary. It ranks right down there with pizza money on a Friday night.

Secondly, local church prayer meeting attendance is at an all-time low and church congregations are fighting more than ever (anyone in contact with church arbitration organizations, like our own Bible-Related Ministries, would be hearing the dire warnings of church meltdowns being in epidemic proportions these days across the land). Spiritual common sense would say that our prayer meetings would be slowly growing as believers come back to prayer with great concern for the welfare of society and Christianity in this country. My own church’s prayer meeting attendance has actually decreased the more urgent the society’s destabilization has become. American Christians have long-since been strong-holded by an unbiblical sense that corporate prayer meetings are inconsequential and that efforts in finding solutions to our problems are better spent focusing on good fiscal policy, than on prayer.

The third barometer of where the American Body of Christ is in these trying times is in the caliber of our church leadership. Biblically ignorant and carnal elder rule, combined with highly educated yet low-ethics-full-time pastors have created a fundamental incapacity in our church leaders to point society towards a biblical mindset. It has been almost an axiom for the last 30 years that as our full-time church leaders become more and more educated with Masters and Doctorates before going into the pastorate, there has been a commensurate decline in wisdom living and righteous passion among those same leaders. Education is never wrong, but we are finally observing that it will not produce a spiritual man. If a leader’s heart is not directed by holiness and love for Christ, no amount of higher education will stop the moral decay and leadership ineptitude.

Corporate giving, prayer, and leadership acumen have always been primary barometers on the body of Christ’s spiritual condition. Yet, where can this society turn to, for hope and answers, when what they see in “us” is just more of the same around them: Self-sufficiency, panic, secularism, moral failure, and materialism? What we have in our churches in the pews, across this country are: “on-the-edge” Christians who are prayer-less, desensitized-by-decadence, idolatrously oblivious to their own evil, panicking about the future, apathetic, bored, materialistic, lazy, addicted to escape-ism through entertainment, obsessed with positivism, and who are therefore spiritually unprepared for what lies ahead in this dark nation.

Why have I written all of this? Is my goal to berate our IFCA members to give more, attend more, do more? Heavens NO!! We do not need more “churchy” actions in our congregations. We need heart/spiritual renewal in our churches and only the Spirit can produce that in a prayerful people who seek after it. I am very, very concerned for the state of our churches in our country. It is not our size or lack of finances that make us vulnerable to a societal collapse, but rather it is our spiritual lethargy. We need to be warned severely that the spiritual foundations of the Body of Christ in America, by and large, have been severely weakened to such an extent that we do not have the moral strength to withstand the coming storm of potential collapse in our country. Financial security (a secular myth) is not what we need as believers in these perilous days. And we certainly do not need any more political conservatism.

Our country is doomed and its final collapse may very well happen before the Rapture. Romans one tells us that the final sign that judgment HAS ALREADY ARRIVED upon a nation is rampant legitimized sodomy. Therefore, based on that one biblical criterion alone, our nation is not heading for judgment – we have already been judged! Then we must also remember that prophetically the Antichrist will rule from a ten nation confederacy – and there is no one “big-toe” world superpower among those ten toes. It is evident throughout the Scriptures in reference to the last days that there will be no superpower running the show. The USA will most likely be gone or greatly diminished if prophecy is to be fulfilled as we believe it will. With our country already judged, economic and social collapse could happen any day.

This then raises the title of this article: “How Can Christians Prepare for a USA Meltdown?” We cannot see or know the specific future for our country, but it certainly is not an upstanding picture we receive when we observe both American society and American biblical Christianity. Affluence and financial security are ephemeral qualities at best. From the Scripture’s point of view, the only preparation that will stand firm in the face of the coming storm is spiritual renewal that produces a spiritual awakening among the believers in our churches to repent and get right with God NOW!! The only preparation that is of any value is a profound spiritual awakening which occurs in each of our hearts. We need spiritual fortitude, purity, maturity, stability, passion for Christ, profound prayer, and an all-out return to the supremacy of the Scriptures in our lives. God will only produce such spiritually necessary virtues in the soil of hearts deeply moved to get right with God as we abandon all self-sufficiency and idolatry.

We need to be gathering together in fervent prayer in our local churches NOW, asking the Lord to have mercy on our churches and see us through the spiritually dark days ahead. We need to pray together that we would be ready to share the light of Christ from a foundation of confidence in God and faith that He is completely in control, even if all around us collapses. Sadly, these are not the current passions of most churches, as a whole. In fact, our spiritual condition seems to be worsening with the deterioration of our economy, as idolatry, apathy, boredom, greed, and laziness strangle believers step by step, thus fulfilling the prophecies of 2 Timothy 3:1-5 within the Church! We believers are supposed to be the ones who give secular man hope in the face of imminent danger in our country. WE are the ones who know that the Bible says: God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne (Ps. 47:8).

Are you afraid of the future dear believer? Do you behave like a fool who has no hope? Repent. Do you not know that the heathen rage, and yet God is in control? Our sovereign Lord expects us to “play the man!” We are to stand in the gap of societal break-down and direct the lost to the safe haven of Jesus Christ, as we demonstrate true faith, and cease from worrying about our own safety, and turn from trusting in financial trickery, our 401k’s, or governmental bail-outs. Our society is in the death throws of decadence having run amok. Decadence always cannibalizes a nation. There is no turning back for our country. But there is still hope for believers, that the Lord will have mercy on us and drive us to our knees, weeping over our own worldliness, and where we finally behave like we truly trust in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ – not only for our salvation from hell, but for His divine guidance in the face of great turmoil.

Are you willing to cease striving? Is it not now time to stop your own spiritual meltdown? Then beseech Christ today and return to the Savior of your soul. Drop to your knees privately and at church, and recommit your life once again into the hands of your sovereign Lord. Then, no matter what comes our way in the USA, God’s will for each of us will be safe and secure.

From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, who is enthroned on high? Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth. He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap….praise the Lord (Psalm 113)!

Comment by Solameanie: This was a very sobering article, and Pastor Stephens graciously consented to allow me to post it here. I think it's important not to knee-jerk at his comment on political conservatism. I am as conservative as the day is long, but politics in and of itself will not accomplish the social change I think most Christians would like to see. Hearts, minds and lives changed by the power of the Gospel will accomplish that change. However, many well-meaning believers focus so much on the political that the Gospel gets short shrift.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Day of Prayer and Nehemiah


At my office, we generally participate in the National Day of Prayer. However, as it is a Christian organization and we are praying for our ministries, partners and families, it doesn't have the political, "civic" overtones of the official Day of Prayer across the United States.

Over at his blog, Daniel J. Phillips posted this thought-provoking commentary about the National Day of Prayer and some of the theological problems inherent in it. I largely have to agree with him. There is a difference between the church (regenerate believers) praying and those who deny Christ offering prayers. This whole thing really illustrates the problem between acts of biblical faith and "civic" religion. Or, to put it on other words, having the state mix itself in the matters of the church.

Aside from all that, I had to put my focus on the Day of Prayer for the office. My assignment was to talk about the Day of Prayer's origins and purpose. While researching it, I had to focus on the well known passage in 2 Chronicles, which is often used on the Day of Prayer . . .

Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:12-14)

The official Day of Prayer was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Truman in 1952. Reading at the official website, it's interesting that it mentions invitations to those of "all faiths," yet later on in the "bullet points," it's obvious that the intent is Christian. This is a classic example of the problems of a "civic" type religion in light of Scripture. The Chronicles verse says "if My people who are called by My name." I am afraid you can only reach one conclusion by the Lord's statement.

As Dan Phillips rightly points out, it might be a good thing that President Obama is not leading a Day of Prayer event given his actions on matters of great concern to God. Are the prayers of those in rebellion against Him taken into account? Yes. Yes indeed they are . . .

If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination (Proverbs 28:9).

That ought to sober us up a bit. The long and short of it is, let's have a Day of Prayer in the church. Let's be repentant ourselves for our sins, while interceding for one another and for the repentance of our nation. Pray for our leaders as Scripture commands us to do. But let's not have any of this nonsense about some sort of "national" prayer of the unregenerate.

Now, what about Nehemiah? How is he related to this subject?

In our Day of Prayer in the office, we looked at a passage in Nehemiah. As usual, something else caught my eye other than what was being discussed -- something about Nehemiah and his character as governor before the people . . .

Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, for twelve years, neither I or my kinsman have eaten the governor's food allowance. But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them their bread and wine besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of the fear of God (Nehemiah 5:14-15).

Hmmm. I wonder what application we could make to the situation in our country at the moment?

And not only in Washington.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

"GUYLINER?????"


The other day over at my friend Cindy Swanson's blog, I rather snarkily commented that it would be nice to see a male artist without mascara. The genesis of that remark was all the fawning over one of the contestants on American Idol — a guy who wears enough eyeliner to make the late Tammy Faye Bakker jealous.

I was being tongue-in-cheek, but imagine my horror this morning as I read this piece in USA Today about the growing appeal of "guyliner."

GUYLINER???? First it was "manbags" to compete with women's purses. Now men have taken to wearing makeup.

Now, this doesn't surprise me if we're talking about the swish crowd. Remember Boy George? But this seems to be a growing trend among those who would prefer Adam and Eve instead of Adam and Steve. Trying to look androgynous? Nope. It's worse than that.

What is next, I wonder? Girdles and bras? Lipstick? Perhaps men will now become consumers and users of feminine hygiene products? Puh-leeze!

I can see it now. The next brand of manscara from Maybelline. Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.

Ooops. Wrong product.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Wouldn't It Be Hilariously Funny . . .


My friends warn me against too much schadenfreude, but I think even they would admit that this scanario would be hysterical.

Imagine President Obama nominating someone to the Supreme Court with confidence that his appointee will be a flaming liberal. But then, the new justice begins racking up a solid conservative, strict constructionist voting record along with Justices Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and (generally) Anthony Kennedy. That means instead of 5-4, we'd have 6-3.

There is precedent. Justice Souter ended up being a liberal as did the late Chief Justice Earl Warren. In fact, President Dwight D. Eisenhower called Warren the "worst mistake" of his presidency.

Just think if the liberal appointee began voting conservative. Just imagine it.

We could then say that he or she has "grown" on the bench.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Specter the Demagogue


So newly minted (actually, he was counterfeit money all along) Democratic Senator Arlen Specter thinks Jack Kemp died because of the Republican agenda? Now, that's a hoot . . . and an example of how ridiculous liberal demagoguery can get.

I could just as easily argue that Specter and his ilk are responsible for the deaths of millions of babies through their support of legal abortion. Couldn't I?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Lake is Calling . . .


I've been down South several times in the past two years, but not for what I really like to do. I haven't fished for crappie in two years. That is way, way too long a time.

Oh, you can catch them here in Illinois where I live. But they tend to run very small -- about the size of your hand or a bit bigger. If they do get bigger ones here, they tend to be on farm ponds. If there is a good crappie lake in Illinois where they run larger, someone let me know.

The other fish I most often catch here are carp and catfish. I don't like carp, and I hate handling catfish because of the horns. Ouch, ouch, and double ouch.

I'd better quit talking about fishing, because I am going to put myself in high dudgeon. I have no prospects of getting away any time soon.

Sigh.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Joke's On Us!


Tax Cut/Credit/Refund? What Tax Cut/Credit/Refund?

Enjoying that little bit of extra money in your paycheck thanks to the so-called Obama stimulus and tax cut? According to this AP report, don't enjoy it too much.

Looks like the government is going to want some of it back. Are you surprised?

I'm not. And I have a hunch I am going to have to resist even more schadenfreude when people finally get wind of this. They voted for it. They're going to get it.