Tag: Christianity

PRIDE OR TRUTH

Over the years I’ve been blogging I’ve seen that the biggest yawn for readers, judging by their response-or lack of it-is any discussion of what truth is and what it means to us. I’m almost writing this post for myself, knowing that very few will be interested: hair color, hurt feelings and virtue-signaling are far more important to people now.

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Our post-modern culture has infected everyone, including the Church. Chat in some depth with a few people in your church, and you’ll find a surprising number who either don’t know their Bible-the indispensable source for the follower of the original Jesus Christ-or who think they and the “experts” know better than Paul, Peter, John, Jesus Christ, and even the Father himself. They know more about Creation, science, history, the reason for the suffering of Christ, what sin is, and almost every foundational doctrine. God didn’t create the universe or Adam, there was no world-wide Flood, Moses didn’t usher in a series of plagues to punish the Egyptians, Jesus wasn’t the Son of God and he didn’t rise from the dead.

I was once invited to dinner with a gentleman who attended the same church as I. He would always sit in a prominent place in the front row, singing louder than anyone else, as proud as he was of his voice, and his greatest efforts were always in the songs about the blood of Jesus. He was a nice guy-the model Christian, it seemed.

After dinner our discussion turned to Scripture at my request. When I read a few verses and commented on them, he replied that the passage didn’t mean what I said it meant. So I asked him what he thought it meant. His reply was “I don’t know, but it doesn’t mean that”. I pursued the issue and discovered that he believed nothing remotely similar to what we would consider to be generally accepted evangelical doctrine. The entirety of Scripture, to this man’s mind, is impossible to understand without imposing our own faulty views upon it.

Try telling the IRS that their demand for payment has no correct interpretation.

My friend attended church for years before finally and publicly renouncing his faith totally. He was not grounded in truth. He hadn’t built his house on the rock.

My response to the arrogant opposers of scripture within the Church is that you should either repent of your pride and distrust of God, or go off and start your own religion. Just don’t call it “Christianity”.

 

Sanity In An Insane World

Does it ever seem to you that the world has gone crazy? Here’s the antidote to insanity…

I spent the first part of my life trying to escape reality in many ways, most notably and notoriously through alcohol and drugs. To me the world was an ugly, lonely, dark and boring place, and every opportunity I had to ignore it and turn in on myself and my own personal world I took. I would sleep until twelve or one or two. I would avoid work as much as possible, and I would avoid people who had their feet planted firmly in the real world.

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Decades later I can see why I was that way, because, without doubt, the world of humanity really can be for many people lonely, frustrating, hurtful, harmful and even disgusting. But now I sometimes feel like I’m one of the only people attempting to see the world as it really is. Escapism rules, in many forms.

However, what’s far worse than widespread escapism is that the Western world has largely cut itself off from its moral and spiritual roots, so that what was once unthinkable has become acceptable or at least up for serious discussion. Our world has embraced immorality-even to the point of infanticide and giving children sex changes-and a potent mixture of voluntary spiritual confusion. Logic is also “out the window”, so that a majority are happy to believe that we evolved from soup, even though, as I’ve documented before, the evolutionist can show you no evidence whatsoever for that idea. I suppose you could call it paganism run amok, and political correctness defends and champions paganism in any form your little heart may desire: anything which dismantles traditional values and commonly-held truths and standards.

The result of rejecting the truths our Creator established can only be error: confusion, faulty living, mistakes, blunders, disasters, and a battle for the supremacy of ideas.

Unfortunately, the problem of the rejection of truth and so the rejection of sanity and peace extends into a large part of the professing Christian Church. And here is the nub of the problem. If those “leading” the church fall into the ditch, will not the church fall into the ditch with them? At least, those who don’t think for themselves will.

The rejection of our founding beliefs and truths is actually an attack on the Church of Jesus Christ, and therefore a spiritual attack. When a minister promotes his own views or those of others above what the Bible tells us, or even if he just ignores Scripture as being irrelevant or “elastic”, he is in fact denying the Faith once delivered to the saints. He’s leading his flock into confusion, insanity, and paganism.

Our hope in eternal life is built on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and on what he taught. If it isn’t truth, then we’re all adrift on an ocean of uncertainty and confusing and conflicting ideas. But what does scripture claim? It claims that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). So when your minister or your church or you yourself deny or ignore that claim, you may as well throw out your hope in eternal life, and in the forgiveness of your sins. If some of it is wrong, all of it is wrong, because it consistently confirms itself. If it’s wrong it has become just someone’s opinion as to how to be raised from certain death, and how to be accepted by whatever or whoever is beyond it, if there is anyone or anything beyond it.

Jesus Christ, according to the apostle John, said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). If you don’t want to accept that statement as being factual, you’re calling John and Jesus Christ liars, and you’re flushing away any certainty of eternal life. Not only that, but you’re also flushing away the teaching of Scripture as to what is right or wrong. Truth is then up for grabs, for anyone who can win elections and force their views of right or wrong on everyone else. Man has then become the measure of all things, as Protagoras claimed, and you are at the mercy of whoever gains the upper hand, whether it be by force, trickery, lies, semantics, abuse, flattery or bribery.

Jesus Christ, in the synoptic gospels, quoted Old Testament Scripture and declared it to be the Word of God, to be obeyed above any other alternative (Matthew 4:4). Denying Old Testament truths such as Creation ex-nihilo is to deny God and to call the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit liars and incapable of speaking truth. You’re on very shaky ground if that’s your view. In fact, cutting yourself off from the foundations of the free world, as imperfect as it is, can only lead ultimately to either virtual insanity or tyranny, or both. Atheists argue that they can be as rational and moral as any religious person, and so they can, but only because they have the benefit of being raised in the afterglow of a society based loosely on the principles of God. A multitude of alternative societies in the past and the present holds the value of life and liberty in contempt.

Some of God’s actions as recorded in the Bible were confirmed by Him with an oath. “God did this so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:18-19).

Would you rather live life and approach death and eternity embracing those promises, in which case you have nothing to lose and everything to gain: or rejecting them? In the latter case, you have everything to lose. Have faith in God, and in His Word.

WHAT MAKES YOU SO SURE YOUR RELIGION IS THE RIGHT ONE?

Usually people ask this question not in an honest, inquiring way, but rhetorically, cynically, critically. Or perhaps in these more militant days they’ll just tell you straight that you can’t know anything for sure-except, of course, what they believe. They want you to be unsure of your faith, and preferably to abandon it altogether, so that you’re in the same spiritual condition as they are: lost and without hope, and more importantly, without any moral compass to control how they live and how they think.

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Pilate said, cynically, “What is truth?” He was on the wrong side of history.

If you stand for nothing you’ll fall for anything, like rocks turning into humans and men becoming women. If you’re too open-minded your brains will fall out. And remember, it’s those on the narrow path who are on the way to life, while the broad road, which our society wants us all to travel on, is the road to destruction.

It’s time not to shrink to the size of a mouse when someone challenges us with unbelief and lies from the pit of hell, but to stand firm and strong, in the power of the creator and sustainer of all things. There’s plenty of reason to know what we believe and to know what we know. If you want evidence and reason to support your faith you can find it in history and archaeology-if you avoid the revised versions and the atheistic, relativistic rhetoric. You can find evidence in true science, and in nature.

The Western world is sliding rapidly down a slippery slope, not just to irrelevance and confusion and division and social decay, with only a few brave souls working to stop the rot, but to attack from others who are very committed in their own mistaken beliefs, and who are determined to impose them on the rest of us as soon as they are able.

It’s time to stand firm. It’s time to “..be still and know (not ‘hope’) that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It’s time to put on that spiritual armor, most particularly “the shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16). And when someone asks you how you know your God is the real God, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). We spend hours a day entertaining ourselves: why not spend a half hour a day building up our faith?

We don’t have to be militant, or rude, or arrogant or smug: share your faith with gentleness. But we do need to remember all those examples from the past given to us, of people who have stood firm in the face of hatred and rejection of our God. The most important and relevant of those is Jesus himself, who could not and would not deny himself or his Father. He stood firm to the end, and because of his obedience, “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name above all names” (Philippians 2:9).

(To my regular readers-I’ll be returning to the subject of the rapture soon. Thanks for your time).

THE POST-TRUTH POST

Two kinds of people are interested in the type of culture we live in today-those who are concerned about it, and hope and pray to reverse the negative trends, and those who are promoting the negative trends…

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Of course, the promoters, the drivers of our social and political world, don’t see their view as being negative. They’re heading, they think, towards a utopia in which all shackles of morality and propriety are totally removed; in which the old order of things is done away; in which the Judaeo-Christian world-view is abolished and forgotten.

I was listening to an interview with a member of Ravi Zacharias’ team, who was talking about our “post-truth” culture. We’ve moved, he said, from “post-modernism” into “post-truth”. Post-truth culture is one in which, as in post-modernism, truth is perceived to be subjective only (my truth is my truth, your truth is yours), but also one in which the facts don’t matter any more. What matters now is feelings and preferences.

This definition and observation didn’t tell me anything new. I’ve realized for many years that a large number of people-perhaps a majority- aren’t interested in genuine debate or inquiry in order to arrive at facts or truths. Instead, they’ve made up their minds already, based upon what they want to be true, even if it’s blatantly obvious that it isn’t. They only seek to bolster their views with any line of reasoning, faulty or not, which serves to intimidate and bash the “ignorant” and “bigoted” rabble.

In defense of my own ignorance and bigotry, I can say that I once held to many politically-correct tenets which I now see as being faulty or destructive. No-one can accuse me correctly of being uninformed and closed-minded, because I’ve seen both sides of the moral, political, philosophical and social divide.

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I use the word “divide” in its singular sense intentionally here, because if you haven’t noticed, our culture, ostensibly rich and self-proclaimed to be “diverse”, is actually shaping up to be two-sided and polarized. On the one side we have those holding to the traditional view of society and culture which is largely Christian in its morality; one-man one-woman marriages; a uniform view of right and wrong; an un-wavering patriotism; age-old work ethics, and a conservative understanding of immigration and societal growth in which those coming in do so legally, and with the intention of blending into what is already here.

On the other side of the cultural divide we have those pushing, particularly since the start of President Obama’s reign, with all their might to demolish all the above standards, and to replace them with anything else which suits their no-holds barred morality. The Judaeo-Christian view of things is the one obstacle in their road to Utopia.

The election of Donald Trump represented the worst thing which could have happened to the progressive agenda. Trump is no choir boy by any standards, but he did and does hold to the principles of a predominantly Christian culture, as outlined above, and he does take serious note that there are many millions who still see society in its traditional sense. Consequently, the effort to remove him has been driven by angry desperation, and a desperation which claims to be tolerant but which in fact refuses to listen, and which unashamedly negates any reference to objective, verifiable facts. Even the laws and constitution of the land are seen to be enemies in our post-truth age. And so my post returns to its starting point.

The throwing-off of Truth is nothing new. It’s been done over and over again, since the very beginning of man. Someone gets tired of living by the rules-particularly God’s rules-and here comes the abandonment of rational thought, and the embracing of anything which opposes it. It’s a prideful attitude which is destined for failure. The underlying belief is that either there is no God, no Person with any expectations of us, or that even if there is, he/she/it is irrelevant and not worth considering anyway. It’s rather like your left hand intently disliking the rest of your body and so deciding its going to go off and live independently of the rest of you.

We can no more live in a universe without God than we can live in a world without air. And unfortunately for those rebelling against the way of things, against the nature of the real universe governed by its creator, there is nowhere else to go. The One who ultimately controls all things, who gives and sustains life, does indeed have certain expectations. He also has no intention of giving away His universe.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIALISM AND CHRISTIANITY

Is there a difference between socialism and Christianity? If so, what is it? Are socialists the real Christians while others are hypocritical fakes? Do socialism and Christianity go together?

Many people who consider themselves to be socialists but who aren’t caught up in its root philosophy may think that they are the real Christians. If you vote “right”, they insist, you’re obviously wealthy and greedy, and don’t care about the poor- you only care about yourself. However, since the nineteenth century committed socialists and communists (in general) have despised the Church. They believe that it has corrupted human history, and that religion is a poison to society. Marx, perhaps the most influential name in the history of socialism and communism, hated the Christian Church, and socialists and Marxists today are far more likely to be strongly opposed to Christianity than for it.

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GENUINE GENEROSITY

The difference between socialism and Christian giving is clearly seen in the book of Acts-sometimes used erroneously as a selling point for socialism:

“…all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44-45).

There are three important things to see in this passage. First, there’s no doubt that these first Church-age believers really were generous. Secondly, however, they were generous towards each other, not to the state’s coffers or the tax man. Thirdly and most importantly, the giving and distribution seen in chapter 2 was voluntary.

The obvious difference between a socialistic redistribution of wealth and real, original Christian giving is that socialism demands and takes money from you in the form of high taxes, whether you want to give it or not, and uses and distributes it as the ruling elite decides. Sometimes it’s allocated to anything but Christian causes, such as abortion or sex-changes. Socialism takes your money by “law” with the threat of punishment, whether you want to part with it or not, and whether you can afford it or not: Christian giving is willing, voluntary, joyful, generous giving from the heart, and from wealth that you have earned from your own hard work and enterprise.

Genuine Christian giving doesn’t tax people (although some cults tax their followers) whereas socialist economies take from everyone whether they want to pay or not. Socialism also saps the will of many achievers and workers: why innovate and work hard if half of your reward will be taken away from you and given to someone who could work but won’t? Why work hard when your money is to be taken away without your say-so and given to individuals and cultures, who are poor because by their political policies there is no incentive or will or right to work for themselves?

Within the Christian Church there are many generous souls and churches who quietly make life better for those around them and in other lands. These people are never the focus of TV documentaries, and propagandists from DC to university lecture halls refuse to acknowledge this.

WHAT A CHRISTIAN IS

The term “Christian” (“Christ-one”) was originally a title for those who were believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is not primarily about politics at all: it’s about repentance from sin, as defined in scripture, and faith in Christ’s sacrificial life, death and resurrection.

LEFT AND RIGHT

No, God doesn’t “vote” left or right: obviously he doesn’t vote at all. Instead he has his own standards which are fixed and eternal, independent of human reasoning. Those standards may or may not be followed by individuals on the left or the right of the political spectrum. However, socialism-solidly and often extremely “left” of center (if there is such a thing as “center”) is predominantly atheistic or at least simply secular. We can see this in the present-day use of the US Constitution’s “establishment” clause, being used by the “left” as a weapon against expressions of faith, and almost always Christian faith. The clause was originally and clearly intended to protect the free exercise of religion-all religion-without the ability of the government to establish and impose one on its people.

VIOLENCE

Socialism is often, as prescribed by Marx himself in his communist “Manifesto”, established or promoted by violent rebellion or the threat of it. Violence has been the primary method of imposition of extreme socialism and communism the world over since Marx. In contrast the gospel is about love and mercy for all men-rich or poor-and obedience to established authority. Jesus Christ said “Love your enemies”, not “Beat them up and steal their property until they submit”. See my post on the birth and aims of socialism:

https://nickyfisher.com/2012/06/09/war-religion-and-atheism-part-2-marx-and-engels/

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THE RUB

Socialism is intrinsically opposed to the Church and the Christian God, and to the traditional, Biblical family. You can see that in today’s world very clearly. Many on the “right” of the political spectrum are on the right not because they’re greedy, but because they see the extreme “left” to be at war against the social values and principles which have upheld our society, and which are built into the human conscience.

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Don’t forget that greed is not confined to the “right”-there are billionaire and millionaire socialists, some of which are currently funding Leftist and Marxist groups, and a certain left-leaning political party, in our time. But you can’t get rich by giving it away now, can you? So why are they rich if they think we should all share the money around? Is it because they think the rabble (the rest of us)  should share our hard-earned wealth while they should keep their billions? These people, along with certain politicians, entertainers and activists, fancy themselves as the ruling elite in a future Marxist/communist state, just as other communist states have been run. They would, by design, be more equal than the rest of us.

My dad was the most godly man I’ve ever known, and the most generous. He lived in humility and holiness as much as any man does, and he also considered himself a socialist. He felt that way because when he was a child the people who did all the hard physical graft-including his own dad-were paid little and worked long hours, receiving little respect from their employers, and socialism promised to fix that problem. I don’t think he realized that all self-respecting socialist societies, particularly at the time he was raised, were based on atheism, naturalism and secularism.

Given his life as an example, I don’t doubt that a socialist who may be wrong about a few Biblical doctrines as he was can also be a real Christian in the original, true sense-and a good one. But let’s not get the terms confused.