For The Very First Time…

Hello my WordPress readers!  This is the first time since I started ABiblicalWorldview blog several years ago that I have ever advertised anything that I am doing in my personal life.  I feel the need to share this with my readers so that you may have the opportunity to bless my three children and myself should you desire to do so.

I am a merchandiser for Chloe and Isabel fashion jewelry.  Chloe and Isabel is handcrafted jewelry, made right here in the United States, and it is stunning jewelry.  I own several pieces myself, my daughters own several pieces, and we wear these pieces on a regular basis.  I would like to invite you to purchase some pieces of your own.

Go to my Chloe and Isabel site:  www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/michellemoniques and browse the entire catalog.  The prices are reasonable, the jewelry is quality, and the lifetime guarantee is real.  If for any reason you are not satisfied with your product, you may return it for a full refund.

Once again, that site is http://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/michellemoniques!  I look forward to doing business with you there…

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Boy Scout of America: The Latest to be DECEIVED

2 Corinthians 6:17

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the LORD…

1 Peter 1:15-16

But as He Which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

It is being widely reported that the Boy Scouts of America has finally decided to allow girls to join their ranks.  I remember a few years ago, when the Boy Scouts stood out amongst the civic organizations and vehemently decried attempts from the LGBTQ crowd to force them to allow homosexuals to become scout masters.  They firmly said that they would not allow that to happen.  My best friend and I were excited at that news, but I remember her saying to me, “Eventually, they will cave…one day they are going to give in to the pressure.”  She could not have been more right.

Here we are now, a few years removed from that event, and I find myself thinking back to the time when churches all over America were celebrating the fact that someone was fighting back against the onslaught of the homosexual agenda.  I remember being so happy to know that at least one male dominated group would remain just that, teaching boys how to become men, and not allowing the secular humanistic homosexual agenda to rule within their ranks.  Now that excitement is gone.

My heart is hurting for the families of the boys who love Boy Scouts. I imagine that there are fathers and mothers who are having conversations, even as I type these words, about whether their son will continue to be a part of the organization.  I imagine that some parents have already made the painful decision to pull their sons out, and their sons are more than likely heartbroken.  We live in such a pain-filled world.

The thing is that the homosexuals are no more interested in being true Boy Scouts than they are being legally married to one partner for life.  The homosexual agenda is to make the rest of us, who know their lifestyle is sinful, accept their lifestyle as normal.  God said something different in His Word:

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them…Romans 1:26-32.

I know you may read this and think, what does the Boy Scouts allowing girls in have to do with the homosexuals?  It is all part of the same agenda.  They all want to change the face of the family that God created.  They want to gender neutralize the world.  They want to do away with male leadership.  They want to erase the man, and make him as lily-livered as Adam was in the garden, when he disobeyed God and fell for the trap satan set for him.  Eve was the bait, and Adam was the fish…

I continue to pray for America.  I believe that God is giving us one last chance to get it right.  I believe that God is allowing us another chance to repent for allowing the homosexual agenda to reach Sodom and Gomorrah proportions.  I believe that God is not pleased with the state of America where homosexuality is concerned.  He did not like it in Sodom and Gomorrah, and He does not like it in America.  He rained down fire and brimstone over Sodom and Gomorrah, and He is able to do likewise to America if He chooses.  I pray that we will repent.

If you are reading these words and you do not have a relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ:  if you have not asked Him to forgive you for your life of sin, and be the LORD and  Master of your life, do not let this moment pass without doing so.  The next moment is not promised to you.  None of us know the number of our days, only God does.  None of us knows when Jesus will return, and He is coming back.  Cry out to Him today.  He never turns His back on those who come to Him in sincerity.  He will save you.  He will give you new life.  He has already paid your sin debt on the cross, because He loves you and does not want you to spend eternity in hell.  Give your life to Him today….Romans 10:9-10.

 

Double-Minded Men…

James 1:8

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

You would have to live underneath a rock not to have heard at least some of the controversy surrounding the National Football League, or NFL, and their anthem protests.  The protests began last year with one player in particular, who claimed that he could no longer salute a flag that stood as representation of a country that “oppressed” people of color.  (The word “oppressed” is his word, not mine.)  That football player was quoted as saying that he would not stand for the national anthem anymore until there was change in the way people of color are treated by law enforcement officials.  (By the way, at the end of last season, the team for which this young man played dropped him, and up to the time of this writing, he has not been picked up by any other team.  Hmm.)  Since the beginning of this football season, the whole anthem protest thing has picked up a lot of steam and teams, their coaches, retired players and even owners are joining in the fray.  One team decided to stay in the locker room, while only one of their players came out and stood, hand over heart, for the national anthem.  Another team stood in the tunnel until after the national anthem was finished.  All of this chaos began when one man decided not to stand for the national anthem.

Being the opinionated person that I am, I have several thoughts about these anthem protests.  I will express each one of them at some point.  My main problem with the protests is the fact that the original player claimed that he wanted to see changes in the way “oppressed” people are treated in this country.  I keep going back to the word “oppressed” because I cannot imagine how anyone can think that Black people in the United States of America in 2017 are “oppressed”.  Any oppression that is exacted upon Black people today is the oppression that they bring upon themselves.  For instance, (and I have used this example in a previous blog post) there was the situation with the young man who was killed by police officers after being asked not to sell cigarettes on the street in front of a certain business.  The part of the story that the media fails to publicize is the fact that the young man had robbed the very store he was arrested in front of earlier that day.  The police officers were called when he  began selling individual cigarettes in front of the very place that he had robbed!  The police came and politely asked him to move along and he became belligerent.  An altercation ensued, and he ended up dead.  After his death, tributes began pouring in on social media from persons claiming to know him, calling him a good person and such.  My question is this:  how good a person do you have to be to rob a store?  How good do you have to be disobey police officers?  How good do you have to be to become belligerent when given instructions?  That is not the kind of good that I want to be.

So……when is the NFL going to start protesting against behavior like this young man’s?  When are they going to say enough with all the crime and killing and nonsense that goes unnoticed in the Black community?  When are they going to consider the fact that this nation is being “oppressed” by “people of color” who hold their own neighborhoods hostage, while making White America feel guilty for having a standard.

Another killing comes to mind when I think of protests gone awry.  There was a young man who was killed by the neighborhood watch person because he refused to submit to questioning.  The neighborhood watch person was out there doing the job he had been assigned, but this young man came along and defied him, wound up dead, and it’s the neighborhood watch guy’s fault.  He went to trial and was acquitted, but he was, for a long time, hounded by the media and by Black America because of the death of the young man who defied his instructions.  When is the NFL going to start protesting young men defying authority?  When is there going to be an uproar over people not doing what they are told to do by the persons in authority?

There was another killing late in 2016 of a man who had been convicted three separate times for drug-related crimes.  He was wanted for questioning concerning a fourth crime, and when police approached his home to talk to him, he ran.  The police chased him and caught up with him, only for him to attack them physically and they shot him.  The next day, the newspaper in the city where he lived showed a bunch of Black people carrying signs and walking in the middle of the street holding up traffic.  News cameras wound up in that area, and of course, someone put a microphone in one of his relatives’ faces.  The relative called him such a good man…he was a good dad to his kids, all three of them, by three different women, neither of whom he had the decency to marry, and the only reason he was dealing drugs was so that he could buy school clothes for himself and his kids.  When is the NFL going to start protesting irresponsible behavior on behalf of young Black men who impregnate women that they know they are not going to marry, leaving the burden of raising the children to the young women, and many times, the young women’s parents?  When is the NFL going to start protesting against young Black men selling drugs on the streets of Black communities?  When is the NFL going to start protesting against anything other than something that makes no sense?

I am not an NFL fan and never have been.  I am only familiar with all that goes on in the NFL because I am a fan of other sports, and the NFL always manages to become inserted into the other sports talk that I like.  I hear the praise of the persons who support what the NFL is doing, and I hear those like myself, who think this is nonsense.  I strongly support our president when he says that the owners should fire anyone who disrespects our nation, our flag and the brave service personnel who sacrifice to give us the right to disrespect our nation and our flag!  I would suspend and/or ban any player who did not stand for the national anthem at the beginning of a sporting event.

I do not worship the flag.  I do not worship the national anthem.  I do not worship sports.  I do worship the LORD Jesus Christ, and I do know that America was founded on the principles that are taught in the Word of God.  I am proud to know that there is evidence of what the LORD did for this world by suffering and dying on the cross at Calvary all over this nation.  The players in the NFL are not ultimately disrespecting our nation; ultimately they are disrespecting the LORD Jesus Christ.  They want chaos…they do not want order, and Jesus commands order amongst His people.  They want lawlessness…Jesus commands us to govern ourselves according to His law.  They want to be subject to no one…but we will all stand before Jesus Christ and give an account for all the things we did in our lives.

If you do not know the LORD Jesus Christ, come to know Him as Savior today.  Repent of your sin, ask Him to forgive you, and ask Him to be the LORD of your life today.  The reward will be great when you get to heaven.  The consequence of rejecting Him will be equally as terrifying.  Do not let this moment pass without confessing your sin to Him and asking Him to save you.  Don’t be a double minded man…unstable in your eternity.

Dear Churches, You’re Killing Yourselves…

As you may have noticed by now, I am not too proud to share my blog with other writers who have eloquently expressed my sentiments.  I have found another such writer in a gentleman named Matt Walsh.  I have never met Matt; as a matter of fact, I had never heard of him until I read this article.  I saw this article on my Twitter timeline and once I started reading it, I could not stop.  This is just what the “doctor” ordered.  I hope you enjoy this article as much as I have.

Matt Walsh: Dear churches, you’re killing yourselves and this is how

 
Matt Walsh: Dear churches, you’re killing yourselves and this is how

Arrangements-Photography / Getty Images

A certain sermon I heard a little while ago has stuck with me.

It began with a reference to “Toy Story.” Yes, “Toy Story.” The cartoon with talking toys.

The Pixar film, as the pastor explained, contained many examples of friendship. Friendship is important, you see. It’s good to have friends. In case anyone thought friendship was bad, he was standing up to boldly declare otherwise. Remember that Randy Newman song called “You’ve Gotta Friend In Me” from the movie? He did. He quoted it at length. Then he handed out juice boxes and graham crackers and we had nap time on the alphabet rug.

I have no problem with a sermon that draws on art or literature outside of Scripture to illustrate a theme contained in it. But of all the poems, novels, songs, films, paintings, sculptures that may reveal some divine truth, he went with “Toy Story”? Oh, but “Toy Story” is relatable, you say. Really? Relatable to whom? Kindergartners? Well, are we in a Kindergarten class or a church? It certainly is hard to tell anymore. Just add a few boxes of crayons and a couple glue sticks and some of these churches would be indistinguishable.

Of course, this dissertation on the theological significance of Buzz Lightyear was pretty standard fare. The message preached from most pulpits in America is just like this: superficial, childish, empty, and seemingly designed to insult the intelligence of anyone who hears it. Christianity is dull and lifeless in this country because that’s what the church and its leaders have done to it. They’ve made it into something so bland, generic and inoffensive that it no longer bears any resemblance to the faith of our Christian ancestors. Even the church buildings themselves reflect this trend. Most of them look like shopping malls or government buildings. Sleek, gray, ugly, secular. But inoffensive. Inoffensive in the same way that the DMV is inoffensive.

Indeed, the primary goal of the modern church is to avoid offense, at whatever cost. And this is precisely why they’re dying. The problem is not merely that they’re boring people. After all, there are those who are bored watching anything that doesn’t involve explosions and car chases. The problem more specifically is that they’re starving people. There is no substance, no meat, in the message being preached. The congregants sit there and slowly starve to death.

Your flocks are starving, churches. You are starving them.

John 21 tells us of a conversation between Our Lord and St. Peter. Three times Our Lord tells the apostle to “tend” or “feed” His sheep. You are not feeding us when you serve up a bunch cliches, platitudes, and vapid pop culture references. The sheep need something real. We need to be guided. We need to be taught. We need to be empowered. We need to be called to repentance. We need to hear about sin and redemption and Heaven and Hell. We are confused. We need explanation. We need to be told how to navigate the spiritual minefield of modern culture. We need something to hold onto. Something to think about as we return to our daily lives. Something real. Something true. Something unsettling. Something dangerous. Something incredible. Something religious.

We are getting killed out there. Don’t you understand that? We drag our sorry, beaten carcasses into church each Sunday (and fewer and fewer even bother to do that anymore) after another week languishing in Sodom, and what do you have to say? Friends are good? Really? Is that it? The Disney Channel could have told me that. What else do you have? Nothing? Could you really have nothing to say to us? Then what are you doing? Why do you exist? Tear down the buildings. Turn them into parking lots. At least they’ll serve a purpose again.

The troops are suffering massive defeats in battle, and when they consult their commanding officer, what do they hear? “Yeah, it’s rough out there, guys. So let me tell you what I learned about teamwork from watching Guardians of the Galaxy.” I spoke to someone at an event recently and he told me that a pastor at his Methodist church actually gave a sermon about lessons from Spider-Man. I guess he was trying to tap into the superhero craze, taking his preaching cues from Stan Lee instead of St. Paul. Millennials must love that! Well, this millennial didn’t. He left mid-sermon and found a new church that very day.

A woman emailed me last week to complain that her priest has given three homilies — three, in a row, Sunday after Sunday — on “inclusivity.” Yes, the brave warrior for Christ stood before his church and fearlessly waged war against the great spiritual danger of non-inclusiveness. This is the real problem we face, you see. There’s not enough including going on. It’s not that our families and marriages are falling apart. It’s not that millions of babies are being killed. It’s not that America is full of porn addicts. It’s not that our children are being sucked into a heathen culture of decadence and moral degradation. It’s the lack of inclusiveness. The road to Hell is paved with people who weren’t appropriately inclusive. That’s what this priest thinks, anyway. A priest who became a priest for reasons that are as unclear to me as they likely are to him.

Speaking of courageous sermons, there’s a non-denominational church not far from me, attended by some family members, where the congregation was treated to several weeks of sermons on the issue of racism. The white churchgoers nodded along while the pastor explained that we shouldn’t judge people based on the color of their skin. Everyone felt grateful for the opportunity to profusely agree with him.

Racism may still be a problem in America, but it’s most likely not a sin that tempts the people sitting in the pews of a church in a liberal north eastern suburb in the year 2017. It’s more likely that they struggle with lust, selfishness, materialism, and worldliness. I guarantee not a single person in the church would disagree with the notion that people of all races are equal. But they almost certainly disagree with many other fundamental Christian teachings, which is why their church ought to be focusing especially on those.

There probably weren’t any neo-Nazis or Klan members in attendance, but there were, I’m guessing, fornicators, adulterers, gossip hounds, moral cowards, gluttons, and heretics. This pastor was careful to avoid all of those areas, though, for fear that he may say something that would accidentally spur someone to repentance. But it is harder and harder to avoid talking about sins that hit close to home for the modern Christian, considering that he has such an extensive and diverse resume of them. If a pastor is going to attempt to condemn any evil at all, and he has resolved to do so without mentioning any of the evils that his own sheep may have actually committed or be tempted to commit, he has an increasingly limited supply of sins from which to choose. He’s basically left with racism and pollution. On that latter point, the Pope is all over it.

It’s not that this stuff is outright heresy (although there’s plenty of that going on as well), but that it’s nothing. It doesn’t even have enough substance to be heresy. It’s just rhetorical flatulence. Vapor in the air. A soft breeze with a slightly putrid odor. Christianity in America is so hollow because our fearless leaders have decided that it’s better to keep people in church by putting them to sleep than to draw them deeper into their faith with the full force of unvarnished truth. So, they drone on about friendship and tolerance and recycling, while Satan prowls about devouring souls. And Satan has never had such an easy time finding souls to eat — it’s a veritable soul buffet down in Hell — because most Christians never hear about Satan or Hell in the first place.

People need to be woken up. They need to be offended. Offend us, pastor. Make us uncomfortable. Make me look at my reflection and see the things I’d rather not see. Pull me out of my comfort zone. Make me angry at myself, or at you for making me angry at myself. Can you stand to have people angry at you? If not, I believe you have chosen the wrong profession — and the wrong religion.

Here is a good example of how this can work: A couple of years ago I heard a blessedly offensive sermon at a church in Pennsylvania while I was on vacation. It was about the important and neglected topic of reverence. The point was that we are often too casual in how we approach Our Lord, in or out of church. The men in the congregation were admonished because many of them couldn’t even be bothered to put on pants and a nice shirt, and some of the women came dressed like they just stumbled out of a college bar at 2 AM (my phrasing, not his). It was explained that their lackadaisical, slovenly attire is a symptom of a far greater problem. Many Christians have a lackadaisical, slovenly spiritual life. Their outfits only reflect that fact.

I say this was offensive to me because, as I listened, I looked down at myself and remembered that I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. And flip flops, God forgive me. Oh, I had a reasonable explanation. I hadn’t remembered to pack formal attire, you see. I began to feel embarrassed and angry at him for making this sweeping statement without considering that some of us may have a good reason to be dressed like beach bums. I knew I’d have to walk down the aisle like a scolded schoolboy, wearing exactly what I’d just been told not to wear. I was offended. I had an excuse and it was outrageous that this guy hadn’t prefaced his remarks by specifically exempting me, personally, from everything he was about to say. How dare he assume that I lack reverence just because I wore pool clothes to church. I don’t lack reverence! I’m, like, so reverent! You wouldn’t believe how reverent I am!

But I couldn’t convince myself. He was right. I had no excuse. I’d been chastised and I deserved to be. As I thought about it, I understood that this isolated incident was not so isolated. I often lack the appropriate reverence and humility when approaching God in church or in prayer or in any situation. There is little of the solemn and the sacred in my faith life, I conceded. He nailed it: this wardrobe malfunction was a symptom of a deeper problem. I left that day resolved to do better, and, though I still am far from perfect in this or any other regard, I believe I have improved by the grace of God. And it all started with getting a little offended.

Sure, I could have stormed out of church, my sandals flapping furiously as I walked, and never come back. I could have whined about that mean “judgmental” man who had the audacity to criticize my behavior. I could have been so offended that I left the faith entirely and never returned. I could have spent the rest of my life telling stories, as people often do, about the self-righteous old Puritan who caused me to leave Christianity, through no fault of my own. But, had I gone that route, it would have been no great loss to the Church.

I heard a story about a priest who recently watched some of his parishioners — including choir members — leave his church in the middle of a sermon because he preached against abortion. That did not dissuade him, nor should it. Let the cowards leave. Let them run out of the church in tears. Let them have their temper tantrum. Let the weak and the selfish declare and separate themselves. If there are only two people left sitting in the pews, all the better. At least we’ll know where we stand.

Whoever does not want to be challenged, whoever insists that they are above reproach, whoever wants only sweet nothings whispered in their ear, whoever wants a comfortable Christianity, does not want Christianity at all. They are not limbs on the Body of Christ. They are malignant growths. They are toxic. Cut them out. We pray that they return to the faith, but not until it is the faith they truly desire. If they are sitting there hoping to have their ears tickled and their preconceived notions confirmed, it is the duty of any pastor or priest to disappoint them. And offend them. There is no other way to tell the truth.

 

God’s Public Answer To Hannah’s Private Prayer

1 Samuel 1:10, 13, 17

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.  

Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.  

Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of Him.

The book of 1 Samuel opens with the introduction of Elkanah, and his two wives, Penninah and Hannah.  Penninah had given Elkanah children, but Hannah could not.  Elkanah made his annual trip to Shiloh to worship and make sacrifices to the LORD.  He was a faithful man of God.  He loved Hannah dearly, and his heart was near to her because she was barren.  Elkanah was a sensitive man…

Penninah was mean-spirited and proud.  She mocked Hannah for being barren.  This hurt Hannah’s feelings badly.  She cried and had no appetite.  Elkanah did all he could to make up for her barrenness.  Nothing can take the place of a child in a barren woman’s arms.

So, Hannah prayed.  She had a deep longing in her heart.  She knew that only God could fix the longing in her heart.  The Bible says “…she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.”  

As Hannah prayed, not with glamorous, eloquent, repetitive words, but prayed within her heart in silence, she was noticed by Eli the priest, who thought she must be drunk.  It is amazing how others are not understanding when it comes to the depths of our pain!  Eli judged her immediately and even scolded her to stop drinking.  Hannah did not let Eli’s wrong conclusion discourage her.  She explained to him that she was not drunk; she was only pouring out her heart to the LORD.  She had a deep need and only the LORD could meet that need.  Only the LORD needed to hear the cry of her heart.

Once Eli heard Hannah’s explanation, he bid her to go in peace, and assured her that the God of Israel would grant her petition.

How I relate to Hannah!  There is such a deep longing in my heart that sometimes has to go unspoken to those around me, but I cry out to the LORD in silence.  My silence in my prayer time does not mean that God does not hear; just as He heard Hannah, I know He can hear me.

This day, I cry out in silence for the LORD, the God of hosts, to come down and hear my petition, have pity on me, and meet my need…just like He did for Hannah.

 

Salvation or Social Justice: Which Do We Really Want?

I saw the link to this article on my Twitter feed.  After reading it myself, I thought about how insightful the author is in his writing, and how clearly he explained the problems that plague the so-called “Black church”.  I wanted to share this with my readers.  I hope you come away as excited about someone telling the truth as I did.

Is the Gospel No Longer Enough for Black Christians?

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Located on one of the most historic streets in the United States, particularly for black Americans, Auburn Avenue in downtown Atlanta, stands the venerable Big Bethel AME Church.

“Big Bethel”, as it is affectionately and reverently known, was founded in 1847, the same year educator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass began publishing his anti-slavery newspaper The North Star, and the slave Dred Scott filed a lawsuit in St. Louis Circuit Court claiming his temporary residence in a free territory should have made him a free man.

It didn’t.

But, I digress.

For all its notoriety as the oldest predominantly black congregation in Atlanta, Big Bethel is equally renown, if not more so, for a simple two-word message which, for nearly a century, has stood conspicuously affixed atop the church steeple against the backdrop of an ever-expanding Atlanta skyline.

It reads: Jesus Saves.

The message that “Jesus Saves” has been the clarion call of black Christians in America since their earliest exposure to Christianity in the 1600s. It is this unwavering, and perhaps unfathomable, faith in the redemptive power of the gospel that was the impetus for slave-poet Jupiter Hammon, the first black person in America to publish a work of literature (1760) and whose entire earthly existence was as a slave, to comment:

“Now I acknowledge that liberty is a great thing, and worth seeking for, if we can get it honestly, and by our good conduct, prevail on our masters to set us free; though for my own part I do not wish to be free, yet I should be glad, if others, especially the young Negroes were to be free. For many of us, who are grown up slaves, and have always had masters to take care of us, should hardly know how to take care of ourselves; and it may be more for our own comfort to remain as we are. That liberty is a great thing we may know from our own feelings, and we may likewise judge so from the conduct of the white-people, in the late war, how much money has been spent, and how many lives has been lost, to defend their liberty. I must say that I have hoped that God would open their eyes, when they were so much engaged for liberty, to think of the state of the poor blacks, and to pity us. He has done it in some measure, and has raised us up many friends, for which we have reason to be thankful, and to hope in his mercy. What may be done further, he only knows, for known unto God are all his ways from the beginning. But this my dear brethren is, by no means, the greatest thing we have to be concerned about. Getting our liberty in this world is nothing to our having the liberty of the children of God. Now the Bible tells us that we are all, by nature, sinners; that we are slaves to sin and Satan; and that unless we are converted, or born again, we must be miserable forever. Christ says, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, and all that do not see the kingdom of God, must be in the kingdom of darkness.” – An Address to the Negroes of the State of New York, 1787

In excogitating these words of Hammon, the question naturally becomes: what could possibly have possessed a man, whose every breath of his existence on this earth was as someone else’s property, to see beyond his station in life to something that was of infinitely greater significance to him?

I believe this question to be germane to the current milieu in America, as many black Christians have begun to advocate a purely activist theology borne of a soteriology that proffers the idea that the preeminent, if not sole, mandate of the gospel is the pursuit of “social justice”, the manifestation of which is evidenced primarily by the bringing about of such realities as socio-ethno egalitarianism and the eradication of all human suffering and oppression, particularly of those whose melanin happens to be of a black or brown hue.

There are many black Christians today who, believe it or not, would assert that, collectively, the plight of black people in 21st century America is tantamount to that of Jupiter Hammon in the 18th century. This, I believe, is because words like slavery and oppression are applied so flippantly and, dare I say, ignorantly today as to divest them of their historical significance with regard to legitimate injustices that were perpetrated against God’s black and brown-skinned image-bearers (Gen. 1:27; Acts 17:26).

But at the risk of incurring the wrath of many who will read this blog post, particularly those who self-identify as social justice warriors (SJWs) or “race workers”, not every perceived injustice involving black people can be attributed to ‘racism’ (another term which, like slavery and oppression, is losing its force due to overuse.) Nonetheless, that is secondary to the matter of how blacks who profess to be Christian are to respond when injustice – as defined objectively in Scripture – does, in fact, rear its sinful and ungodly head (Lev. 19:15; Jer. 22:13).

Since the founding in 1773 of the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia – the oldest black church in all of North America – the church has served as both the soul and heartbeat of social and political consciousness for black Christians in America. Organized both politically and spiritually, black churches were not only given to the teachings of Christianity but were faithfully relied upon by their members to, under the biblical precept of imago Dei (Gen. 1:27), address specific socio-economic issues that directly impacted them.

This infrangible and abiding bond with the church is conveyed rather soberingly by author Richard Nathaniel Wright who, in his book 12 Million Black Voices: A Folk History of the Negro in the United States, declared that: “It is only when we are within the walls of our churches that we are wholly ourselves, and that we keep alive a sense of our own personalities in relation to the total world in which we live.”

Interestingly, if not ironically, the forging of these bonds between blacks and the church was necessitated, to a great extent, by the hypocrisy of people who failed to live up to their own stated ethos concerning the equitable treatment of their fellow human beings. Case in point, on October 21, 1774, the Continental Congress, in an address to the people of Great Britain, said:

“When a nation, led to greatness by the hand of liberty, and possessed of all the glory that heroism, munificence, and humanity, can bestow, descends to the ungrateful task of forging chains for her friends and children, and, instead of giving support to freedom, turns advocate for slavery and oppression, there is reason to suspect that she has either ceased to be virtuous, or is extremely negligent in the appointment of her rulers.” 

And yet, less than 20 years after those words were spoken, the first Fugitive Slave Act was enacted that outlawed any efforts to harbor or impede the capture of slaves. It was another 70 years until slavery was officially, though not totally, abolished by president Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, only to be replaced by the equally unjust and inhumane peonage system in the post-Reconstruction South.

https://i0.wp.com/abolition.nypl.org/content/images/image/full/1231517.jpg

But for all the influences that may or may not have been factors in black churches becoming the bastions of social and political activism they are, foundational to that existence is the proclamation of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

The truth is there is no gospel and, conversely, no church – regardless of ethnic composition or denominational affiliation – apart from the life-changing message that ‘Jesus Saves’. It is that message which, I fear, is being lost as increasing numbers of black Christians become convinced that their primary loyalty is to an ecclesiastical legacy rooted in a socio-ethno missiology that emphasizes societal reformation apart from spiritual transformation.

It is this concern that was the impetus for my posing the question that is the title of this blog post; a burden that is echoed in the words of esteemed theologian D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who, in his excellent work Preaching & Preachers, remarked that:

“The people, they say…are interested in politics, they are interested in social conditions, they are interested in the various injustices from which people suffer in various parts of the world…so they argue, if you really want to influence people in the Christian direction you must not only talk politics and deal with social conditions in speech, you must take an active part in them…But I have no hesitation in asserting that what was largely responsible for emptying the churches in Great Britain was that ‘social gospel’ preaching…It was more responsible for doing so than anything else…This concern about the social and political conditions, and about the happiness of the individual and so on, has always been dealt with most effectively when you have had reformation and revival and true preaching in the Christian church… My argument is that when the Church performs her primary task these other things invariably result from it.”

At the risk of coming across as facetious, let me remind you that the words “You must be born again” are still in the Bible. Open yours to Jn. 3:7 and you will find those words there (perhaps in red letters.) I point this out because most people’s paradigm of morality is anthropological not theological, which is why we fail to see the futility of trying to fix ourselves (Jn. 3:19).

A social justice-centered gospel will take you only so far (Mk. 8:36).

How can we for whom the gospel was sufficient – and necessary – to change us, expect something other than the gospel to change someone else?

To believe that an innately sinful society inherently possesses either the capacity, or the ability, to bring about the kind of equity so zealously desired by social justice advocates is both unrealistic and naive.

As Christians, we must be about the business of changing hearts not just minds (Eze. 11:19-20).

That said, however, the question remains: Will the gospel in which you profess to believe be enough for you if and when those hearts and minds do not change? Not all of them will, you know.

What, then, will you do?

What will be your response?

Will it be that of a man like Jupiter Hammon who, though a slave his entire life, kept his “eyes on the prize”? Or will it be more in line with Malcolm X, demanding your rights “by any means necessary”?

These questions are not to suggest the “religious fatalism” that W.E.B. DuBois cautioned against in his seminal work ‘The Souls of Black Folk’ but, instead, are meant to reorient us to the fundamental truth that gave birth in the first place to such revered black houses of worship as Big Bethel Church in Atlanta, and Bethel A.M.E. Church in Indianapolis, and “Mother Bethel” A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia – the truth that Jesus Saves.

Such is the essence of the gospel and the message of the church.

Apart from that, everything else is secondary.

Everything.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Darrell

Related:
Hijacking Social Justice (Podcast) – The Mortification of Spin
Darrell Harrison on The B.A.R. Podcast with Dawain Atkinson

Heretical Teaching…

I saw the link to this article on my Twitter feed.  I wanted to share it with my readers.

Joyce Meyer Teaching the “Relationship over Religion” Heresy

By

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. — James 1: 26-27 (ESV)

https://charismamag.com/blogs/straight-talk/33577-what-joyce-meyer-did-when-she-found-out-satan-robbed-her

She is one of the most popular “preachers” for women today. She is one of the most sought after conference speakers for the entire Purpose Driven Industrial Complex. She is Joyce Meyer and she is one of the most dangerous false teachers alive. She blends a folksy mix of prosperity gospel, word faith heresy and NAR theologies to create a hodgepodge mess that could lead most people far astray from the biblical God and Christ. She has openly taught and believed that Jesus Christ was born again, which would mean that He sinned. She openly teaches that Jesus stopped being the Son of God on the cross. She openly teaches that Jesus went to hell to pay for our sins where He was tormented and if you do not believe that then you are going to hell yourself. Meyer has taught that we are “little gods” a common word faith heresy practiced by the likes of Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland. Not only is she a little god but she claims that she is not a sinner. A great deal of the teachings she provides she claims direct revelation from God to explain their extra-biblical nature. Her wealth is estimated in excess of 15 million dollars as she preaches about God wanting you rich beyond your dreams of greed. She owns a 10 million dollar private airplane. This can literally go on and on beloved. She is a wolf plain and simple and has been devouring the sheep of the Lord and those seeking God for many many years. It is always fascinating when someone so popular and false takes pen to paper to write so that we might gain a direct insight to how flawed her hermeneutics and understanding of Scripture is. The above link is to a recent article she published on Charisma Magazine’s website where she shares what she did when she realized that the devil had robbed her. Let us reason together beloved:

“I’ve been robbed! That is one of the first revelations I had after I started diligently studying the Word and realized I wasn’t living the life Jesus died to give me. At first it made me mad, but it was the truth I needed to hear to help me begin an amazing transformation to a life I can honestly say I now enjoy. For many years before this, I was a Christian but I wasn’t serious about my walk with God. As a result, I was miserable. I didn’t have any real peace or joy, and I felt guilty most of the time. Thankfully, God showed me through John 10:10 that I didn’t have to be miserable and I could have abundant life in Christ.” — Joyce Meyer

We start with such thick irony, which is often the case with false teachers who cannot properly divide the Word of truth because they do not respect it. When you approach the Bible to proof text your pre-drawn conclusions, it is of little wonder that you cannot actually hear what God is truly saying. So Meyer’s opening contention is that once she started diligently studying the Word God gave her a revelation through John 10:10, which is the premise and underpinning of this article by Meyer:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. — John 10: 10 (ESV)

I’ve been robbed! That is the revelation Meyer claims God gave her when she read John 10:10. To this I would ask if she only read John 10:10 in a vacuum because then I might be able to understand how one might get confused. This is a perfect verse for us to learn about the importance of context beloved. For years I too thought that this verse is clearly teaching that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. I know I have heard it preached from pulpits by solid preachers as well. So what is the problem when you actually read the context? The thief Jesus is warning us about is not the devil.

‘”Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’ — John 10: 1-11 (ESV)

The imagery is quite clear. This is the Good Shepherd teaching. The contrast Christ is drawing is between the Shepherd and the thief. The teachings of Jesus versus the false teachings that seek to steal the seed of the Gospel from your heart and thus destroy and kill your future hope. And what exactly is that future hope beloved? What is the abundant life Meyer is selling here? She is selling the abundant temporal life, which is consistent with prosperity preachers but that is not what Jesus is saying here. What did Jesus come to bring us beloved? Was it for an extra car in the driveway or a snazzy corporate jet? No! It was for eternal life and the promises found in Jesus to attain it. This is a subtle nuance to grasp but Meyer is right to list the fruit of the Spirit but she lists them as a means to have an abundant life now. Yes a yielded life to Christ will result in the fruit for this life but it is rooted in the eternal not the temporal. Peace, joy, self-control are all important for believers but that is to help us overcome this world through Christ not pitch a tent towards Sodom. The fruit is also what allows us to stand out to the lost. So that they might want what they see we have. So if the Good Shepherd comes to bring eternal life and that is only accomplished through the preached Gospel then we know the enemy is the false teachers who do not preach the Gospel, such as Joyce Meyer. Therein lies the irony. The devil did not rob you Joyce, whoever preached falsely to you did. Now you have become the thief and the sad irony is that you believe God led you to John 10:10, ignored the surrounding 15 verses, so that you could life your best life now and missed the larger point about the Gospel and eternal life. Meyer would continue:

“But I needed to change! I remember asking God to show me what I needed to do to become the person 2 Corinthians 5:17b (AMP) said I should be: “A new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]…” Have you ever thought, “If I’m so new, why do I act like the ‘old me’?” Well, becoming a “new creature” from the inside out is a process that takes time. When we accept Christ as our Savior and we’re born again, we receive the nature of everything God is in seed form. 1 John 3:9a (AMP) says, “God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him.” Seeds have to be watered and take root before they can produce fruit. And the fruit of having life in Christ is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). It’s the ability to deal with challenges and overcome them by God’s grace so others will see Christ in you and want what you have. The key to experiencing this life is identifying how the enemy works in our lives to steal what God has given us.” — Joyce Meyer

Onward she ploughs through faulty theology because she is still under the false impression that the enemy here is Satan and he is trying to steal her joy and peace etc. What is missing from this section however is what we are made a new creation from and the answer is sin. That is because we have a new relationship to sin and are reconciled to the Father through which now have a ministry of reconciliation. That is what the Gospel is beloved. It is a ministry that reconciles the lost people of this world to the God who created them. The section of Scripture she cites here is rich with deep and profound theology regarding the Gospel, eternal life, and the cause of Christ but she has minimized it down to not behaving better or overcoming carnal challenges in this temporal life. This is a recurring theme from false teachers. Instead focusing on the eternal they focus on this world. The blessings are for this life. The fruit of the Spirit is to leverage a better temporal life. To Joyce Meyer God has given us stuff and the devil likes to steal it but she has referenced two Scripture sets; both of which contain so much more power and life than she is able to grasp hold of.

“In John 10:10, Jesus tells us we have an enemy–the devil–who wants to keep us from God. But when you read the whole chapter, you see that Jesus is talking about the system of religion, which is perpetrated by the devil. Because the last thing the devil wants you to know is how much God loves you and how a personal relationship with Christ gives you access to everything he’s stolen from you.” — Joyce Meyer

No Joyce. That is not the enemy Jesus is referring to in that passage. He is referring to false teachers who would distort the Gospel of Jesus Christ, such as you. If this was not bad enough though Meyer now goes completely off the rails. Beloved, there is absolutely nothing in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John that speaks against organized religion, nor speaks for this relationship theology that has infected so much of Christendom in these last days. Not even a scintilla of a whiff of what Meyer alleges. Because she never correctly handled the Word to begin with she is being led down the bunny trail in her mind about the devil trying to steal things from you. Her solution? Make everything personal and eliminate all accountability. This is a cancer within the body of Christ today. Do you want to know who instituted this horrific notion of religion? God did. Just read the key verses today! God is speaking about a religion that is pure and undefiled. Yes there can be abuses within religious systems. We see that obviously through the Pharisees in the Gospels. You do not throw the baby out with the bathwater however. It is interesting that Jesus boils down religion that is pure into two coherent thoughts. Take care of the neediest people and do not become stained by the world. What do we see today instead? A church that is wholly enamored with itself and the cult of personalities it creates that is completely in love with the filth of this world. They openly admit it! They seek relevance with the world. Andy Stanley’s church recently did 90’s boy band music for worship, including sexually charged lyrics. Perry Noble once famously did Highway to Hell. Hillsong sleazed up Silent Night and danced their way through “I like to Move It, Move It.” The sermons are no better. Instead of repent for the kingdom is at hand we hear nothing but a slop of self-help and motivational speaking designed to make THIS life better. Are we sensing the theme yet beloved?

“When I realized that God loves me unconditionally and that He has a plan for my life, it helped me understand that He wanted an intimate, personal relationship with me. I discovered that the Christian life is not about religion but relationship. Because religion is a thief that keeps us from becoming transformed into the image of Christ.” — Joyce Meyer

Now Meyer goes full Purpose Driven with the horrible teaching about a grand purpose for everyone’s life that raises unrealistic expectations about something God never said. God knows your life because He sees all time but not everyone is going to have some marvelous dream destiny thingy just because people refuse to understand the context of Jeremiah 29:11. What is telling is that she admits that when she realized something God never said, that helped her understand that He wanted an intimate relationship with her. This is the parasitic nature of false teachings and how they steal things from us beloved. God never promised a grand purpose for our lives and He never said He wanted an intimate relationship with us. Now, if you want to have an intimate relationship with God I suggest you start with His Word. Let’s go to Acts and see what the early church did. Were they all seeking some experiential personal relationship? No. They fellowshipped together. They studied together. They broke bread together. You know — religion. Perhaps one of the most blasphemous things I have read in a long time is the notion that religion, which God instituted, is a thief keeping us from being transformed into the image of Christ. Look how close she gets to the truth beloved. False teaching is the thief because it steals the keys to the kingdom and hides them from those who need the Gospel. It is false teaching that keeps you from being transformed into the image of Christ. It is Joyce Meyer.

“Now, when I say “religion,” I’m not talking about going to church; it’s important for us to go to good churches where the Word of God is taught and we can grow spiritually. I’m talking about a performance mentality that says it’s what we do that determines whether God approves of us or not. A religious attitude says, “If I just pray more or read the Bible more or do more good things or go to church on a regular basis, then God will be happy with me.” It gets us on a treadmill of feeling obligated to do certain things to please God.” — Joyce Meyer

Yes, we can’t feel obligated to the Creator of the universe — how horrible! Perhaps realizing the onslaught of criticism she was going to receive for such a heretical article, Meyer tries to have it both ways but fails miserably. You do not get to slander religion, promote this false relationship theology, and then pretend you didn’t just say what everyone can see you said. It is not a matter of God being happy with me. It is about me wanting to please God. We do not read the Bible or pray because we think it wins us points with God but because God has commanded us to and we are obedient. It is not a matter of obligation Joyce but rather of transformation. You know, the thing you claim to be chasing.

“Relationship with God is based on the truth about His love for us and tells us who we are in Christ. We learn how much God loves us and that it’s because of what Jesus did for us on the cross–through the sacrifice He made–that we have what we need to be everything God created us to be.” — Joyce Meyer

Meyer is just careening from one false theology to another as we now enter into the sloppy agape portion of the article. Note the last sentence here. That we have everything we need to be everything God created us to be. Once again the purpose driven heresy wrapped up in the prosperity gospel. Do you have your ten million dollar Learjet and your two million dollar mansion? What has the devil stolen from you that you need to fulfill this grand purpose He never actually promised you? By the way, if relationship is based on the truth, what is she inferring religion is based on? Beloved this is straight up demonic.

“It’s good for us to pray, read the Bible, go to church and do things for others to make their lives better. But it’s important for us to do these things as a response to what God has done for us, not to get Him to love us. Salvation is God’s gift to us, and we show our love for Him by the way we live for Him. That’s relationship, not religion. Having new life in Christ is so amazing because through it, we become the home of God. His Spirit comes to live in us and work with us, bringing restoration and wholeness to every area of our lives. Then, as we learn to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we can receive everything God has for us and take back what belongs to us!” — Joyce Meyer

No Joyce it is not relationship. That is a made up theology originating in your wickedly deceitful heart. If we think that religion is a dirty word then we eliminate huge swaths of the New Testament. We suddenly are accountable to no one. We become our own authority. All decisions in our walk are guided by our feelings masquerading as spirituality. Then there is the relationship side of this equation. What is the nature of the relationship? There is only one that is true and that is His Lordship to our servanthood. The friend of God theology however has convinced generations of people that Jesus is their buddy. Their ever-present wingman. A cosmic busboy to clean up their mess and a cosmic ATM for their flow of blessings. If the relationship is accurate then He is our Lord and we need to do as He says. Where do find what He has said? The Bible. You know, all of those pesky things we feel “obligated” to do.

Beloved this is a perfect picture of the anatomy of a false teacher at work. We ran the gambit in this one little article of so many false teachings that Jesus taught us will steal, kill and destroy. It really is a shame because she touched on so many life giving Scriptures and then sucked the life right out of them. Neutered them to the point of spiritual impotence. This false relationship theology has been spreading for a couple decades now. There is no clearer strategy from the real enemy, Satan, than to have God’s own people denigrate the very vehicle He has chosen to deliver the Gospel — the church. Religion can be pure and undefiled if we would just insist on taking care of people and if we would simply not become sullied by this world. This entire article and the vast majority of false teachings today are overly focused on and enamored with this world. They pretend to be above the muck and are merely rolling around in the mire for Jesus but the filth and stain of this world is evident. You can see it with every secular song sung in worship. You can see it in every sermon about you and this life. You can see it in every article written by people like Joyce Meyer who ironically tries to teach from the tenth chapter of John and confuses the devil with herself.

Reverend Anthony Wade — August 15, 2017