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My daughter agreed to take me to the Church of the Incarnation, a musical feast of a Capella singing in a High Episcopal Church replete with lavish stained glass windows, clearly valued at millions of dollars, incense, huge candles and all the trappings of a church that only recently cast off the Roman label. I’ve seen a few great cathedrals of Europe, Chartres, Paris, and others. And that is what I wanted to hear again after a youth spent listening to Episcopal services. This is what the Wesley family saw in church in 18th century England.
A liturgy of the past.
But I was not prepared for what I saw in the light of 50 years of progress as the church of Jesus Christ has moved on, not just decades, but a century forward in thinking and practice.
Over half the congregation was male; also the choir, which was as good as you will ever hear, was half male. The acoustics were perfect. The soprano who sang the Magnificat must have been a professional. Only one other church in the area, the Messianic community at Sar Shaloam, can say that half their congregation is male. But the difference is that this church had many homosexuals while the Messianic men were straight.
Blessed assurance can be false.
All men (and women) have a desperate, internalized need to feel saved. It applies to all cultures and is one of the main functions of religions, false ones as well as true, rotten political systems as well as blessed ones, to provide this assurance to the citizens.
In China, for example, in brazen contrast to the West, the Communist State simply mandates that even though there is required atheism, everyone goes to heaven. I have yet to figure out how this works. If you do not believe in God, how can you believe in heaven….or hell.
The convenience in believing in a special heaven just for you.
No one explains this, but I did read where Mao Zedong, the butcher of China, remarked to an aide that they would all die and be with Karl Marx in the next life. The heaven for genocidal maniacs would rightly be called hell, and yes, I think we can believe Marx is there in some discomfort, and yes, Mao can expect to be there since he engineered the death of 30 million, a lot more than Hitler and we know where Hitler is.
Every false religion tells their adherents that it alone is the way to heaven. And after 45 years as a peregrine missionary, I can declare that all men (women, and children) do believe in God even though education and culture might try to wipe it out. Truth will overcome in the end. But when we pull the religious scales off we see that it is faith, not religion, that saves us.
Religion has no power to save
So I ask myself: How can all these homosexual men sit through this service, which was Biblical and accurate to the nth degree and leave the sanctuary assuming they will be in heaven with the Lord someday. It makes no sense. There is no room for evil or its practices in heaven; God demands holiness in His people. And no one is saved by liturgy.
The limits of the Incarnation
The answer is the limits of the Incarnation, which is God’s decision to enter human history by becoming man, as Christ with us, savior, redeemer of the whole world, our sacrifice for sin. All this is true, and it is the message of three hours on the cross so many centuries ago.
The elegant program of worship towards this God-man did not touch these men because everything was Jesus, and Him only. He alone was the focus of the service, the church, the congregation, the singing and the truth. But it is not the whole truth.
The other three hours Jesus spent on the cross was for the redemption of the created world, not just humankind but also the culture, the planet, its resources, the animal kingdom, and nations. The blood of the cross fell on the ground.
Jesus’ sacrifice becomes complete through us.
Even though Jesus’ sacrifice for sin was complete in all aspects that salvation must still be worked out to completion in history of which you and I are a part. If this were not so, God would have ended future births and taken us all to heaven in one great act immediately following His death. No, He did not want the re-creation of the world to progress without Us.
The second half of the Crucifixion is what we, his people, are and do in this world. For this we need, no, we require submitted and obedient lives. “Christ in you the hope of glory.” The crucifixion is not complete until Jesus completely conquers this world and everything in it; that is what we anticipate. We are part of that redemption as his Body here on earth, and it is not a body of evil or perversion.
The Acts of the Believers
The 1st four gospels are about the incarnation, but the balance of the New Testament concerns the acts of the apostles and the management and productivity of the believers for centuries to come. I am today just as much a creator of the universal salvation message in what I do for the Kingdom as the original apostles and worshipers in the caves of Rome.
The church defined
The church service I enjoyed on Mother’s Day was only about Jesus; the modern world is about us and our mission to a fallen world. And God gives no ministries to the openly sinful, the rebellious, or the disobedient. The church is not a building, a program or a bureaucracy; it is the people of God living progressively more holy lives and changing the world around them through those lives. Salvation to be real demands a response.
If you get a map of the world, you will be astonished to see that in 2,000 years Christianity has taken over most of the globe, at least in principal if not in actual practice. The world still lies in the evil one, for all our effort, although things are changing. But we are doing what Jesus asked us to do. When Jesus said “It is finished,” He meant, “I’ve done my part now you can do yours.”
My daughter said later that as she left the ladies room she noticed not one person in the choir was smiling.
I asked her, “if you knew in your inner man, that you were going to hell, not because God mandated it (because God sends no man to hell) but because of your own decision, would you be smiling?”
#Hitler #MaoZeDong #Marx #sexualdeviants #church defined #falsereligion
The American public routinely becomes testy with the sitting President of the United States, maybe it’s boredom, maybe the culture has just moved on. In the 1940’s folks were disgusted with Franklin Roosevelt’s grandiose notions of his assuming a four term kingship. They hassled Harry Truman over his not-so-savory buddies. They fumed about General Eisenhower’s 3% inflation. Three percent??? Oh for the day!
John Kennedy lowered taxes which the statists did not like. Johnson increased the debt and blacks lost their homes in record numbers. Nixon made everybody mad and the Media gained too much power thinking it could elect and remove politicians at will, and perhaps it can. President Jimmy Carter refused to kowtow to elites and Ronald Reagan refused to kowtow to the press. George Bush #1 made the mistake of compromising, Clinton made sexual license seem like an innocent game and they hated George Bush #2, because, well they just did. Finally inert Barak Obama inaugurates the nadir of life and culture, especially economic decay. Average household loss during his years was $40,000 which he tried to blame on others, and he added a crushing economic load of taxes and regulation. Barak means in the original language “blessing” – well maybe not.
All this public kvetching usually occurs in the second term. But poor Donald Trump has not had one minute of approbation except from his dismayed followers.
The Bible says there is a spiritual cause for everything. So we are not to look to the newspaper or TV for the answers.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
This Bible is two books; the Old Testament outlines the moral law, which means that everything it says is true whether you know it or follow it or not. It applies just as equally to the dictator of North Korea as it does to the Governor of Maine. Old-timers, one of them was Aristotle, called this Natural Law, meaning it happened anyway; just sit back and watch.
The New Testament, in addition to its key message of salvation of the soul, tells how individuals and nations can apply the moral law to their decisions and behavior to improve on human life. The Protestant Reformation caught this message and went full bore ahead. Our world today is a reflection of this theology in practice.
At the same time our morals have deteriorated at an exponential rate, as Robert Bork wrote, Slouching toward Gomorrah; not so, we are racing there. The 50 years from 1950 to 2000 represent a replacing of most of the assumptions that the natural law applies to us. To wit: the wildly successful and profitable abortion industry which has slaughtered more than Murder for Hire, some 117 million babies according to estimates since legalization in 1973. But legal does not mean moral and it’s the moral law under siege here. Shabby attempts to call babies “tissue” have actually failed, but we are stuck with the law, the statistics and millions of women trying to hide guilt.
Divorce had many causes after World War 2, not the least being the dearth of males in the USA and a lopsided system of leaving women poor with child custody. Generations of poor children then became the unhappy and disconnected rebels of the late 60s and on. Today these confused, partly homeless latch key kids are now gender confused.
Churches are losing members, the one place where morals were once taught, but now no more lest someone might be offended. Heaven help us that God should offend us! Jesus said He would bring division.
Matthew 10:34-36 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
Sodomy is OK now too, even embraced by churches and decaying denominations who know that sodomites have more money to spend because they don’t have children, and there is always that mortgage to pay. Reminds you of selling indulgences, doesn’t it?
Defacing monuments, as a ruse for erasing history, is still public vandalism. History is not your enemy; history is morally neutral and changing it can’t be done. Hitler tried to erase Jews. The Palestinians tried to erase the Holocaust. The Civil War is real and that’s that.
Gunning your car through a group of citizens is still attempted murder; oral sex still results in an increase in mouth cancers; opioid pills no matter how obtained, stolen or prescribed, still kill in large, unchecked numbers; maryjane is still no lady and she still seduces unsuspecting kids into drug addiction if they have addictive personalities as so many do. Adultery, child abuse, animal abuse are all too common, all taken in stride, the mother’s milk of drama and news. It is hard to be shocked anymore but it is still evil only now they call it something else.
Weak willed hypocritical Congressmen are still exposed by their forked-tongue votes; people who make a business and practice of hate, public or private are still reprobate anarchists in spite of media white washing; Sharia Law is still a gross violation of human decency no matter how many football fields and other emoluments the Islamists finance for local schools; the world is filled with more George Soros’ just ready to do what he has done if he is gone.
Spiritual wickedness in high places is not about humans or humanism, although humanism has made anti-human life possible and acceptable. It is about evil on the throne of a culture.
Enter Donald Trump 2016. Why is he so hated? The answer is plain. The Media and the licentious generations of the last 50 years fear he will restore the Moral Law as the Law of the Land. To acknowledge Donald Trump is to acknowledge one’s moral depravity, or at least its tacit acceptance in the public square. We can’t have that; we can’t change because change means admitting what you can’t face about yourself.
Trump can’t restore the Moral Law of course, because it already rules whether the president is Mr. Trump or Maxine Waters. It rules not just individuals but also nations and the inanimate universe as well. The collapse of law and order and the noxious culture of f-bombs filling the airways are the visible results
Your panicky efforts to be rid of the moral law won’t work; and Donald Trump can’t restore it either. The human race is stuck with truth. Donald Trump has done the one thing modern men cannot tolerate; he told the truth. The truth can make you free, if you can accept it. The Media will not accept that. Truth-tellers will be crucified, as you well know.
That war is now being fought out in our public streets, a valley of decision for each individual. Where will you stand?