PREACHING, POLITICS, POWER & PASSION

I’ve been a Christian all my life, and a committed one since 1974. Raised by Godly, Roman Catholic parents and educated in parochial schools, I’ve always had a sense of God’s love and always accepted that Jesus died for me, paying the price for my sins. I thank the IHM nuns and Jesuit priests for instilling that in me, even if by “forceful” means occasionally!

HappyNuns

Since joining the ranks of evangelical, pentecostal, conservative Christianity, however, I’ve been immersed in a hypnotic state of “Christian culture” that I now see as a Grand Diversion from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christian leaders in the western world have by and large, through the centuries, embraced the ways of the world and used its methods to gain power, prestige, respect and financial security. Many prominent Christians – and you would know them if I named them – have looked to church and national politics as a pretense to influence the world for Jesus, while building constituencies, churches, denominations, legalistic doctrines and fortunes.

We need to be very careful here, because the Word of God says that “The love of money is the root of all evil.” That’s an incredible statement, isn’t it?

ALL Evil. All evil comes from the love of money. That’s heavy.

I take that to mean that if a person loves money – if gathering financial resources to himself is his chief concern – then evil has a foothold in his heart. But what if seeking money is one’s second aim in life, or third, fourth or even fifth?

30 Pieces of Silver

30 Pieces of Silver

Can you place your love for money in fifth place and say that it has no hold on you? I think not. No matter where that lust is placed, it is still lust. Lust after money, mammon, wealth and riches is still a stronghold that Satan uses to entice us away from God’s plan for our lives. And it’s one that divides Christians, often causing leaders to control people so that resources can continue to flow their way.

We’ve all seen it. Remember Jim and Tammy Bakker? Jim Bakker would be the first one to tell you that he used people and their money to build a kingdom here on earth. Then it collapsed and he went to prison for it. What a disgrace to the name of Jesus.

What kind of witness is that?

As Christians, our witness must be unassailable and without guile. When we build relationships with others, especially the unsaved, we must not have any ulterior motives other than to “love them as ourselves.”

If a minister, “prophet” or any Christian leader aims to add people to his business team so he can achieve “seven streams of revenue” to defeat the “spirit of poverty,” watch out!

Is that how Jesus acted? Is that how He wants us to act? I’m not saying we shouldn’t make a decent living and provide for our families – far from it. But was Jesus a capitalist?

dominionAnd why do western Christians think we should “take a city for God” or a nation? Why are we always on a war footing, when the two commandments Jesus gave us are to love God with all of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls; and to love our neighbors as ourselves?

I’ve seen more passion for politics in the Body of Christ than I’ve seen for unreached people – by far. Whether the issue is abortion, Muslim domination of the world, single-payer health care or selections for the U.S. Supreme Court, it’s amazing how much energy, preaching, money and sheer spiritual force is directed at this stuff by Christians.

And none of it is ever going to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God anyway, so what the hell are we doing with what God has given us?

I can’t begin to tell you the number of emails I get on a regular basis, warning me of the imminent danger of Islam, or the evils of homosexuality or the depravity of abortion. “We must rise together to fight this menace!”

No – we must not. That is just so much smoke from arrogant people trying to build their base of power by uniting us against a common enemy, a favorite tactic of tyrants through the centuries. How about we stop passing these emails around and see if the world falls apart! That will prove that they do no good anyway – all they accomplish is to engender fear in the Body of Christ, and to create a sense in us that other human beings – like Muslims and homosexuals – are evil and worthy of our hatred, not our love.

If we think that our weapons are carnal, worldly and of this earthly realm, we are sadly mistaken. There is no way we will ever stop abortion until people’s hearts are changed and they just don’t want to get an abortion because it’s evil. There’s no way we will ever ensure justice by fighting for “conservative” judges on the Supreme Court. There is no way that we will stop the spread of Islam until we show people a better way. And we will never see homosexuals gracing the doors of our churches until we begin to love them.

MenKissingThat means we must stop alienating them and acting like we’re better than they are. Have we forgotten that Jesus died for us too? Yeah, while we were dead in our sins.

So what makes us any different than Chuck and Stephen who live together a few doors down the street – as lovers? In fact, now that we’ve been forgiven, we have a mandate to love them, not judge them.

How do we win the Muslim world – or even one Muslim – for Jesus Christ?

Not by bombing nuclear facilities in Iran!! Yet that’s what many American Christians propose today, in order to protect Israel. That’s the justification.

Since when did a temporal, worldly goal supersede a Godly, eternal one?

Do we think that by killing people we will win them for Christ? Are we crazy? We have got to think about these things and reorient ourselves to what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. Is it about being a Republican or Democrat? Are Republicans good and Democrats evil? Why?

C’mon, you know this is how most of us feel or have been told to believe. How many times from the pulpit have we heard: “I can’t legally tell you who to vote for, but remember to vote for the platform that’s closer to what we believe.” Wink-wink. What? What kind of Godly instruction is that?

Why should we align ourselves with any worldly system?

Take a good look at yourself and ask yourself this: Am I a follower of Jesus or of conservative principles?

Look, all I’m trying to do here is get us all to think differently than what we’ve been trained to do as good, submissive Christian followers for our entire born-again lives. Yes, we should follow humble men and women of God into spiritual battle, and for eternal purposes.

But the day is coming when Christians around the world will unite in a spirit of sacrificial love to reach those who have never heard the Gospel. There are still two billion people on this planet that need to hear the Good News for the very first time. How do we justify spending most of our time “fellowshipping” when people are dying and going to Hell? Are we sipping spiritual cocktails while millions are drowning all around us?

Who cares?

How do we justify NOT going to the hard places in the world, to places no evangelist has gone before? What exempts us from that Call?

Nothing but our spiritual laziness and fear. And it’s sin. It’s so much sin.

“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

ASLEEP IN THE LIGHT by Keith Green

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Posted on October 2, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. … but newmission, it’s been more than two-and-a-half years! Surely you can cut me some slack and pass this thing along.

  2. Dirty dog, REPOST? Oh your pushing the limits my brother !!!

  3. Reblogged this on MISSION:CRITICAL and commented:

    Here’s a message that bears repeating, in case you missed it the first time.

  4. I read a good article today about some of our earlier posts here
    hope you like it:

    http://www.rbc.org/questionsDetail.aspx?id=59400

  5. Western dogmatic christian

    The rubber has met:

    judge  /dʒʌdʒ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [juhj] Show IPA noun, verb, judged, judg⋅ing.

    to form a judgment or opinion of; decide upon critically: You can’t judge a book by its cover.

  6. This is the where the rubber meets the road.

    fun·da·men·tal·ism
    usually a religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.

  7. western dogmatic christian

    jiffy pop,
    I have already apologized twice on this forum,
    for my ideas or christian perspective which you might not be “open” to ,be it conservative or Gods word as sound teaching based…now im being edited too…
    you say that we or im not tolerant too new ideas…
    your comment:
    Intolerance, ignorance and strife aren’t what I want to participate in. Done.

    seems to me you too!!

    done with it all ….im out !!

  8. “Try discussing how we now move on to reaching the lost – the 2 billion unreached people – for Jesus. What are the best ways to do that in the face of broken community with each other? How do we move past the hurt and become the Love we’re talking about? Ideas?”

    i know that when we think of that number of 2 billion unreached people we’re already thinkin of ways to win over our streets, neighbourhoods, cities, states and nations for God. with “revival fire” falling from the skies and “swords of truth” from our mouths, we arrange our mass-revival meetings, movie nights and other various church-based outreaches.

    (just take where i’m goin with a little grain of salt…i’m not tryin to put anyone or their method down.)

    maybe my thoughts seem naive, childish or simplistic in comparison to those grander ideas, plans and goals, but what i keep comin back to is being the “old” me again. the childish and naive me.

    maybe i’ve “regressed” in my approach, but (i know this sounds simple) i just try to be “me” to the best ability that i was created despite all of my failures and wrongdoings.

    i’m not raising tons of money to send out missions teams and i’m not participating in a missions visit. i’ve done those things…heck, i was even raised in another country doin those things. but where am i now?

    i’m so far away from all that now. i’m isolated geographically. i’m livin in a small countryside village away from any family or friends, any organized church institution, any “fellowship group” or any opportunity even to go to the places our minds automatically conjure up when we think of “2 billion unreached people.”

    so what do i do now? what do i do when i’m stripped of all these “assets.” maybe this is what i meant about “regressing” in my method of living.

    here’s a couple definitions of the word, regress:

    1. To go back; move backward.
    2. To return to a previous, usually worse or less developed state.

    but what if regressing is actually moving forward? what if it’s good not worse? what if we’re stripped away of everything we know and are?

    then we’re just left with an old, weathered, cracked, chipped tool… ourselves.

    but it’s (we’re) a tool that can still be used in this “regressed” state, often even better than the (our) newer versions. kind of like a great-grandfather’s old wood plane, handmade out of rough wood itself. it’s lasted decades and it still works as good as ever. the Maker made it to last despite the decades of use and abuse it would take. it’s (we’re) guaranteed to not need replacing.

    which can’t be said of the “newer” tools made out of the “latest” materials that we buy with all their guarantees. guaranteed by their “newer” makers to be replaced when it breaks. (guaranteed to break.)

    i feel like i’m back to the basics of that old, chipped, weathered tool. back to the basics of learning what my parents taught me when i was a child. the church was teachin us (5, 6 and 7-year-olds) how to speak in tongues, “take off our shoes because we were standing on ‘holy’ ground,” being forced to “give testimonies” and spending every halloween at our church- arranged “hallelujah night” where we’d go into the local community and put tracts in all the normal kids’ candy bags (yes, they were the normal ones). then funny enough, we’d go back to the church for halloween, i mean “hallelujah night” candy and pop. so while i was bein taught all that “church stuff,” my parents were thankfully teaching me something completely different at home.

    to just be myself as Jesus made me.

    love someone how i want to be loved. stand up for the little guy. don’t laugh when other kids are making fun of another kid. these are REALLY basic ideas, i know. but maybe a back-to-basics approach is good. get rid of all the “reaching out” crap that i learned elsewhere and get hold of these basics again, that i learned at home.

    so i’m tryin to do that. i’m not even attempting to try to reach a “goal” of 2 billion. i’m just tryin to be that child again. i wave to our elderly neighbours when i see them. i go to their house for coffee when they ask me over and i try to listen to them and speak in their language. i shovel their driveway if there’s tons of snow. i try to greet the same 50 or so customers every day with a smile. try. 🙂

    and for now, that’s about it. i’m self-removed from everything and everyone that i know. i’m self-removed from all the evangelization methods (and tactics) that i have learned or been force-fed over the years. i’ve now chosen to be in a place in my life where all i can live off of are some very simple and basic, but TRUE, lessons that HAVE stuck with me.

    i’m left with what’s at the core of me.

    i’m not tryin to reach 2 billion lost people in some far-off jungle where they speak in clicking tones and i’m gonna be “the one” to reveal Jesus to them. i’m just tryin to say hi to, smile to, talk to, listen to and learn from the few people that live in my immediate vicinity. and i’m just tryin to get back to basics and be the kid me again.

    i know not all of us are living abroad, immersed into another culture away from any family, friends and “support groups.” but what if we all began to force ourselves to immerse ourselves into local cultures, where we do live, and learn about others’ ways of life?

    get away from “the way we do it at our church” and get back to the little-kid in all of us when we didn’t see colors or religions or politics…we just saw another kid to play with and to befriend.

    hey, it’s a start.

  9. Just a couple of quotes that I found in my research and study that I found interesting.

    “If anyone harms (others), God will harm him, and if anyone shows hostility to others, God will show hostility to him.” Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 1625.
    “Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians…and (all) who believe in God and the last day and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” The Qur’an, 2:62

  10. 2 billion unreached people. I’m guessing they don’t have email? From reading different Christians’ perspectives on this blog and knowing those are common Christian points of view, I think those 2 billion are safer not hearing anything. Why? So they can argue with each other on blogs and refuse to be open to different ideas and cultures? I’m beginning to think, after these months of discourse, that I would rather have known nothing from birth and have learned from God’s nature and human spiritual instinct instead. Sorry if that offends anyone. Jiffy Pop has popped. Intolerance, ignorance and strife aren’t what I want to participate in. Done.

  11. Western dogmatic christian

    jiffy pop pop”

    I guess i have to apologize once again… i mean i am obviously in the minority in this forum…

    so i think we shouldnt get offended so easily and assume i think a certain way…(prejudice) i didnt get offended, and i just let those things go..as far as what you and Vagabond had to say…..

    Praise The name of Jesus

    I agree with Dennis lets move on !!

  12. Hey Pop lockin’ daddy…..Jiffy !!!!
    Agree with your understanding and mindset of WISDOM and being open to the truth above all. I am also considering what Dennis said, how do we use this to reach the almost 2 billion who don’t know Christ.
    One way is to change our ‘mind-sets’ so we can accept wisdom over belief ‘systems’ and start to see our commonality.

    I was fortunate to do work for an Indian man who is a devout Hindu and also worships at a Krishna temple. He is a beautiful human being, filled with love, peace, joy, respect and wisdom. He and I spoke about things of God and we have much in common, especially our understanding of individual purpose. We are here to help and care for our fellow man, to ease the pain of the sick and to take care of the widows and orphans.
    Now this he and I can build on, we can build on this relationship much easier than a relationship where I ‘exude’ a ‘spirit’ or ‘attitude’ of superiority because I have been saved by my faith in Christ.
    I am a follower of the Way and when people get around me and exude that attitude they repel me.

    So, to keep this short, I agree Mr. J. Pop, its time we get constructive, change our minds about who we really are, and start to build bridges that connect us with one another. I think that we seem to have lost the idea of Imago Dei.
    We are ALL created in the image of God, sin is the only separation.
    And while I was yet a sinner, ……. You know the rest…

    Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew
    They ain’t no different than me and you

    If we dip our bread in the same bowl of oil
    Maybe we will be planting on fertile soil

    To see new growth of respect and love
    To see new joy coming from above

    If we just close up, we may never know
    The real love that he wants us to show.

    Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew
    They ain’t no different than me and you.

    (bloggin’ some poem action) !!!!!!

  13. Hey “Jiffy” and “Dogmatic”: OK, I posted your comments regarding the guru who speaks some truth, but now let’s move on to another topic. Let’s not get caught up in minor matters when the most important one stares us in the face.

    Read the article again and understand the summation of it:

    _________________
    How do we justify NOT going to the hard places in the world, to places no evangelist has gone before? What exempts us from that Call?

    Nothing but our spiritual laziness and fear. And it’s sin. It’s so much sin.

    “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
    _________________

    Try discussing how we now move on to reaching the lost – the 2 billion unreached people – for Jesus. What are the best ways to do that in the face of broken community with each other? How do we move past the hurt and become the Love we’re talking about? Ideas?

  14. Western dogmatic christian

    Hi Vicki,
    Love your post , and we miss you….
    call anytime, lets get together ,do dinner with the family ….
    congrats on Rebekah and Dustin getting married
    wish we were there
    God Bless

  15. Western dogmatic christian

    Vagabond,
    Im with you my friend with this statment:

    I agree with all these things you’ve said! it’s just that we’re not doin what we’re sayin! we’re not listenin to what we’re sayin! that’s why i said it’s all become useless christian euphamisms. what good is the truth, even to speak it, if we don’t listen to it and act on it…..

    so lets act my friend….

    As far as this teacher:Paramahansa Yogananda
    i can recognize false teaching when i see it , i went to his web site and explored more of what he had to say and it is evident that what he says sounds real good but is it of God?

    This is clearly New age doctrine ,here is a qoute from his own site:
    “In titling this work The Second Coming of Christ, I am not referring to a literal return of Jesus to earth….A thousand Christs sent to earth would not redeem its people unless they themselves become Christlike by purifying and expanding their individual consciousness to receive therein the second coming of the Christ Consciousness, as was manifested in Jesus….Contact with this Consciousness, experienced in the ever new joy of meditation, will be the real second coming of Christ — and it will take place right in the devotee’s own consciousness.”
    —Paramahansa Yogananda

    I mean no disrespect, im just going to point out things that i believe are not Biblically sound …

    In Jesus Name
    Peace

  16. Whosoever Will

    Vicki:

    If you don’t want to call, try writing them a letter. Tell them how much you miss them, or I was just thinking about you. I remember when ….. Wright about the good times you had together.

    If you know when their birthday is send them a card. Invite them over for dinner. If you have something in common like a hobby invite them to go to a show or shopping for it.

    Love all over them to make them feel wanted and how sorry you are that they are not in your lives.

    Stay away from why they left the church, they will bring it up when they are ready.

    Above all pray for them.

  17. Sound? Doctrine? Christian? Hindu? It’s neither really. Just wise words from a wise man who loved Jesus.

    Sound? Doctrine? Christian? Hindu? It’s neither really. Just wise words from a wise man who loved Jesus.

    Sound? Doctrine? Christian? Hindu? It’s neither really. Just wise words from a wise man who loved Jesus.

    He understood Jesus in a way we do not. We need to learn from other cultures, not red flag them because they’re different. They can lend perspective that we’ve never had the chance to experience, due to cultural differences, religious influences, moments of spiritual enlightenment, etc.

    Which part of the guru’s teachings do you disagree with? Which parts do you agree with? Wouldn’t it be more constructive to state these, rather than judge a man as speaking unsoundly because he has an Indian title or a Hindu bias? If I would have quoted the passage as being written, by, say Pastor Jim, would that have made it more sound? Not sure what you even mean by sound doctrine. Does it line up with the Holy Bible you mean? Let us know what you think doesn’t line up. When I was young, I was told to not suck my thumb because of germs. Now is that “sound doctrine” or wisdom that you can live by?

  18. I also want to thank Vagabond. I had actually given up being able to put in words how our family feels. It’s not that we choose to feel this way or enjoy it. Going from being involved in something for years, feeling accepted and loved, to not knowing what the heck happened.

    I don’t have the answers and I don’t think Dennis or any of the posters on here know how to handle this. But I know that if I wasn’t a strong believer and trusted in the Lord and had people around us, only a few, than our relationship with the Lord could truly be hurt.

    I also believe that God has shown our family this and what happened to us, to change us. We have so much freedom now, to love God and people, whether they are a believer or not.

    I’m not on here bashing anyone or saying what church you go to is wrong. I understand that none of us is perfect, not even one. But should we just look the other way and just accept stuff that isn’t right?

    I saw someone that used to go to my church that left before me, and I felt very ashamed of myself for not contacting her or just saying hi I miss you. She wasn’t someone that was in leadership or involved, but for a few years she was someone who I enjoyed talking to and being a friend to.

    And I know some people don’t want a call or to have people trying to find out what happened or entering into gossip…

    So how can people in churches and groups support those that leave?

  19. Thank, thank you Vagabond for your last comment today, October 7.

    May we all be free to express our hearts to the limits and not be accused of dividing the brethren and tearing down the Body. It’s all a process of listening as you said, and letting the King of our hearts continue to reveal Himself, as we open ourselves to hear each others cries, banters, opinions and life experiences.

    This is wonderful and I thank God that I don’t have to put on a so-called Chinese face any more to keep from revealing my gut.

  20. yes, WDC, i do believe that is about as sound doctrine as there is. why wouldn’t it be? because it’s written by someone who’s not a christian leader? here’s a few of them that really jumped out at me:

    “Humility, love for God and doing everything with the thought of God, forgetting self, are the fundamental criteria characterizing a true servant of God’s word.

    “He should have an appreciative, respectful, comparative knowledge of religions, while being grounded in truth, free from hidebound dogma. He should know the difference between true religion and custom, discriminating between universal spirituality and denominational observances.

    “A teacher should always meditate before instructing others, a practice more valuable than gleaning ideas from books or dialogues with other people.

    “It is not enough to commit to memory the words of the scriptures, or to receive a Doctor of Divinity degree. One must digest truth and then preach with the power and conviction of the soul.

    “He must keep his mind on God that he might in the highest way be able to convey thoughts of God to others.

    “When God speaks through a soul, mountains of delusion are removed from the minds of listeners.”

    i’m not a follower of Paramahansa Yogananda, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t sound doctrine in what he’s saying. much more doctrinal truth than with some of the stuff we adjust our ears to these days.

    thanks for the apology earlier. that’s cool, i didn’t take offense to what you said. i just thought it’d be good to clear my name of any accusations of being a nonchalant follower of Jesus.

    i do see what you’re talkin about. it’s just that my opinion differs from yours. i believe that when there is unrest in the body of christ, that should mean somethin’s goin on! why are leaders leavin? why are people questioning? unrest is good! why would we want to just sit back and “rest” within our walls? let us UN-rest ourselves from our hypnotic state and tarry in the fields!

    “we should be lifting each other up not tearing Christian brothers down, some of the statements said on this blog is kind of unbelievable to me , it truly breaks my heart…”

    is it tearing brothers and sisters down when people are revealing their wounded hearts and lives? is it tearing brothers and sisters down when people are speaking the truth of how they’ve been crushed by church leaders and other “brothers and sisters”? is it tearing brothers and sisters down when questions are asked, opinions differ, unrest is stirred up?

    what is truly heart-breaking are the crushed lives that are being laid out in these blogs…and aren’t being listened to.

    “Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God…The New Testament often addresses the distortion that results when the ideas of popular teachers become more important to us than what God says.”

    then why do we do the EXACT OPPOSITE? why follow the “wisdom” and “ideas” of our “popular teachers”…wisdom and ideas such as “the seven streams of revenue” and programs of “assimilation”? these teachings are NOT the teachings and power of God.

    let us open our ears, truly open our ears, and hear. listen. question. stand up. speak. follow the teachings of God, NOT of “popular teachers”.

    “To detect error, expose it to the light of God’s truth……”

    error HAS been detected, people HAVE exposed it to the light of God’s truth…and it has fallen upon the deaf ears of their leaders. it has been turned down, squashed, quieted and dismissed. and it has been ignored by others because it doesn’t “assimilate” to the popular teachings of our time.

    i agree with all these things you’ve said! it’s just that we’re not doin what we’re sayin! we’re not listenin to what we’re sayin! that’s why i said it’s all become useless christian euphamisms. what good is the truth, even to speak it, if we don’t listen to it and act on it?

  21. “Spirituality should never be used for commercial or personal gain. It is preferable that a spiritual teacher not receive a salary. Once he begins to take money for his service to God’s work, it becomes merely a job.

    Thessalonians 3:8 (New International Version)

    8nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

    Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

  22. Western dogmatic christian

    sound doctrine…..
    sound doctrine……
    sound doctrine…..
    ??????????

  23. Something I read today:

    “When, through the help of wise men, souls are transferred from the brine of material desires to the sweet waters of Bliss, they bring rejoicing to the august Giver of Life.

    “God loves to see His sons consciously seek Him, and He is extremely pleased when one influences others to come unto Him. When a reformed Spirit-bound soul inspires another spiritual fugitive to return to God, that service to a fellow being is considered the highest human duty. Blessed are those who fish for souls in fulfillment of this noblest spiritual activity on earth.

    “The achievement of catching truth-seeking souls in the net of one’s own truth conviction and heavenly devotion to draw them to God brings the blessing of the Divine to the soul-fisherman, and also eventually liberates him.

    “To furnish food to the hungry is good, to give inner strength to the mentally weak so that they can fend for themselves is even more important, and to impart all-freeing wisdom to the soul-bewildered is of supreme consequence. Material or mental help is only transitory consolation for human embroilments; Heaven is the permanent panacea for all human afflictions.

    “In order to become a spiritual fisherman, one must become adept in the art of spiritual fishing.

    “It is not enough to preach against evil, for its deceptive cunning will counteract every argument. Man needs to be convinced of the eventual, everlasting blessings of virtue. It is better for teachers to tell the truth- that evil is very attractive and enjoyable in the beginning, like poisoned honey, sweet to taste; but it is deathly bitter once swallowed.

    “Humility, love for God and doing everything with the thought of God, forgetting self, are the fundamental criteria characterizing a true servant of God’s word.

    “He should have an appreciative, respectful, comparative knowledge of religions, while being grounded in truth, free from hidebound dogma. He should know the difference between true religion and custom, discriminating between universal spirituality and denominational observances.

    “A teacher should always meditate before instructing others, a practice more valuable than gleaning ideas from books or dialogues with other people.

    “He must keep his mind on God that he might in the highest way be able to convey thoughts of God to others.

    “He must have complete faith in God, believing that His help will come when needed. The divine law works!

    “The best sermon a teacher can give is through the voice of his character and actions.

    “Spirituality should never be used for commercial or personal gain. It is preferable that a spiritual teacher not receive a salary. Once he begins to take money for his service to God’s work, it becomes merely a job.

    “It is not enough to commit to memory the words of the scriptures, or to receive a Doctor of Divinity degree. One must digest truth and then preach with the power and conviction of the soul.

    “When God speaks through a soul, mountains of delusion are removed from the minds of listeners.”

    Paramahansa Yogananda

  24. Western dogmatic christian

    New mission and Vagabond,
    Dont get me wrong my brothers i Love both of you as My Brothers in Christ and not only that but just who you guys are, so PLEASE FORGIVE ME
    if i have said anything that came out in a personal way that may have offended you,i have a great deal of respect for both of you , i meant it in a more general sense of the issues we are talking about…….
    I still dont think you understand where i stand on these issues…
    what is bothering me the most is unrest in the Body of Christ….we should be lifting each other up not tearing Christian brothers down, some of the statements said on this blog is kind of unbelievable to me , it truly breaks my heart,
    i read a good article yesterday that explains some of this…..

    Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. —1 Corinthians 2:5Cartographers (mapmakers) deal with the problem of distortion when they display the round shape of the earth on the flat surface of a map. Since there is no perfect way to do this, some world maps depict Greenland as larger than Australia.

    Christians have to deal with the problem of distortion as well. When we try to understand the spiritual realm within the limitations of the physical world, we can end up exaggerating minor things and minimizing important things.

    The New Testament often addresses the distortion that results when the ideas of popular teachers become more important to us than what God says. God’s purpose, said the apostle Paul, is “love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5). Sound teaching does not distort God’s Word or divide the church. Rather, it unites believers and builds up the body of Christ to care for one another and to do the work of God in the world (1 Cor. 12:25).

    All human attempts to explain God are inadequate, and can even distort our priorities, confuse our thinking, and flatten our understanding of the spiritual life. To keep from distorting God’s truth, we must rely on God’s power rather than man’s wisdom (1 Cor. 2:5). — Julie Ackerman Link

    This mortal life is far too brief,
    Eternity too vast,
    To follow human sophistries
    And lose the soul at last. —Clayburn

    To detect error, expose it to the light of God’s truth…….

    Love and Peace my Brothers
    in Jesus Name

  25. This is in response to Vagabond and Western Dogmatic Christian’s back and forth banter. I believe that this is a fantastic verse to explain true evangelism.
    Given by and researched by: Big Daddy !

    Proverbs 11:30(b)
    And he that is wise winneth souls.
    Strongs definition of Winneth: A primitive root word to accept, bring, buy, drawn, fetch, get, infold (bring into) and mingle.

    Strongs of Wise: Intelligent, skilful, artful, cunning or subtil.

    Now this verse could be constructed as such; the person that uses intelligent, skilful artful measures to draw, bring, bring into the fold or mingle people with the knowledge of Christ are good…
    (written in that order because the KJV states, “and he that winnith souls is wise”.)
    Bringing someone into the knowledge of God allows God to initiate HIS work in their souls. Making disciples of men also allows men to ‘learn’ of God so they can, Knock, Seek and Ask. Salvation is a personal realization of Jesus as the WAY to God.

    As the old saying goes: “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”, we all must agree that there are many ways to deliver a message to someone.
    Personally I would choose the method of Jesus and the prostitute caught by the Leaders of the Temple.
    Joh 8:3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst
    they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.
    Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”
    This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
    And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
    And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.
    But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
    Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
    She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]

    Even know the Pharisees were “RIGHT” in their understanding of the Law, Jesus leveled the playing field so to speak by asking them to take account of their own lives. He also looked at the woman and said, (kjv) Where are your accusers? … Neither do I condemn you. So, why do we feel that its important to ‘show’ people the sin in their lives, to accuse them or condemn them? I know your thinking of the woman at the well story, yes I have heard that argument before. People say that Jesus ‘pointed out her sin’ to prove her a sinner. It appears that Jesus used his ‘prophetic’ knowledge of this woman’s life to gain her trust. Just after Jesus spoke of her husbands, she instantly knew he was a prophet of some sort. Jesus used this opportunity NOT to point out her sin but to tell her of the GOOD NEWS, that HE was the Messiah. That God was making a way for people to worship HIM in Spirit and in Truth. This had nothing to do with pointing out peoples sin.

    Matthew Henry stated while commenting on Gen 12:5. Those that would win souls have need of wisdom to know how to deal with them. I believe that this is the HEART of the discussion. We need to use wisdom when dealing with people.
    In any case we have to DISCIPLE not “SAVE” people, Jesus said make Disciples, we can split hair’s all day long over that one, but it is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. He did not say go Save people or go tell them how much sin they are in or go throw accusations at them because they are sinning. (much like the Pharisees above).
    He simply said, make disciples of men. Be willing to develop relationships with them, build bridges to them, learn of their culture, gain WISDOM TO KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM.
    Sadly this is not the common understanding of evangelism of the Western Groups of people that congregate in buildings on Sundays. (being careful as to not offend anyone)
    It is the understanding of many of the Missionaries that I have met over the past few months, you see they MUST enter into a culture. They do not have the luxury of “hit or miss” evangelism. First impressions are lasting ones and in a foreign culture you cant afford to lose any rapport. Relationships are the primary goal. I met a couple that lived in Azerbaijan for 10 years, they immersed themselves into the Muslim culture to bring Jesus to the people. They LOVED because they knew they were called to LOVE. They met needs, built schools, taught English and lived the Gospel of Jesus among them.
    When talking to the Wife of this couple, I found myself at ease with a secret that I held. I felt it was O.K. to ask her about it. So, I spit it out, Mel, I love hearing the call to prayer, its so cool sounding !!!!!… Fearful that she was going to judge me I sort of backed up. She smiled and said, that is the one thing that I miss deeply from Azerbaijan. She loved the call to prayer too. She would replace the word Mohammad with Jesus.
    I know that some may think this is blasphemous, but I tell you that she was in love with this people group and in 10 years, through relationships, meals and dedication to serving “SINNERS” they were able to build a self sufficient church and move back to the USA.
    They both had stories of people that they shed tears over, because the missed them so much, even those who had never converted to Christianity. This is the Love of Christ that covers a multitude of sins.
    He did not come for the well, but the sick.
    This upside down, crazy, turn the other cheek WAY of living is supposed to be based upon tolerance, love, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, patience and longsuffering of the ones who DON’T KNOW.
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
    But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
    so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
    For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
    And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
    Those that would win souls have need of wisdom to know how to deal with them.

    For all who took exception to the Missionaries use of the call to prayer I have translated it the way that she understood it, with Faith in Christ:
    God is the Greatest
    I bear witness that there is no God but God
    I bear witness that Jesus is the only Messenger of God
    Make hast towards worship
    Come to the True success
    Prayer is better than sleep
    God is the Greatest
    There is no God but God

    PEACE BE UNTO YOU

  26. hi Western Dogmatic Christian,

    thanks for the reply. it’s always good to have healthy debate and to share our personal views and experiences. iron sharpens iron, right?

    i agree with you when you say that you needed that extra TLC from a caring brother. everyone needs to hear things in a different personalized way. you’re blessed to have had someone there to challenge you that extra amount that you needed before you saw the light.

    what i’m talkin about, though, isn’t connected to your personal experience or the fact that, yes, part of the job of “loving” is to be lovingly persistent in certain individual cases.

    what i’m talkin about is this bigger “movement” or belief that it is our duty as “the church” to stick our fingers in people’s faces, bang ’em over the head with “fire and brimstone” as you put it, with the final ulterior goal to “win over someone’s soul.” in no way, shape or form can we do the final “job” of winning another’s soul.

    just hear me out. i’m not sayin we shouldn’t want or desire or be willing to be used to bring others into the kingdom. we ARE to be the tool, the deliverer, the prodder, the “stubborn encourager” (at times), as was your friend to you…

    …but it’s just my opinion that it is the Spirit who draws a soul to Himself after the message has been delivered. don’t get me wrong, it IS our duty to deliver the message. but i think we have it arse-backwards if we think it’s our duty to complete God’s part of the job of speaking intimately into someone’s soul in the way that only He can do. how pretentious of us!

    where i disagree with you is that i have a “nonchalant attitude” towards seeing Jesus’ mission for us here on earth. i’m not at all building myself up by saying this but, bro, i’ve been the first westerner to preach in various jungles, i’ve traveled to over 40 countries serving the Lord and spreading the Good News of Love, i’ve spoken in and challenged countless churches to look outside their four walls…i’ve been there.

    believe me, i know what it means to go door-to-door, shake the dust off my sandals (which funny enough was almost always in churches that didn’t want to open their eyes to their inward “feed me” mentalities), i’ve identified sin in my own life and been used to identify sin in others’ lives (in a non-finger pointing way). all these things you’ve challenged me on, i’ve done.

    it’s always good to not jump to conclusions about who someone is just because they have a different opinion than our own.

    so, i guess i can say that i have actually “kind of” noticed that “the world” (AND “the church” btw) calls sin not sin.

    i just believe that everything needs to be done in love. no, loving someone does not mean that we ignore their sin. i’m not sayin that. what i am sayin, though is why do WE have to focus on people’s sin and consistently point it out to them? it’s only my opinion, from the preaching and sharing and travelling that i’ve personally done, that this method doesn’t reach as many as the method of love, humility and self-awareness of our own sin.

    i’ve done my share of “bible-bashin” and i regret EVERY damn time i did it! i don’t know how many souls i might have shut off to being won over by the Spirit…(at the same time, which kind of is my point, EVEN IF we “turn people off” to God, THE SPIRIT is MUCH more powerful than us and can speak to even the most turned-off-by-christians person…in other words HE does the “winning over”).

    i’ve learned from my mistakes and sins towards others and have learned that a message of love (NOT nonchalant-ness) can cut through any amount of sin or stubborness and open someone’s soul to be prepared to be won over finally by the Spirit.

    i’ve been on “the top” (mr. missionary preacher man) and i’ve been at “the bottom” (mr. begging for forgiveness man). and to be honest with you, the times i believe and feel i was most used to love, care and help others was when i was at the bottom. and when i’ve been at the bottom with all my other fellow sinners, i’ve actually found more Christ-like love from them than from the institution of “the church.” figure that!

    love conquers all. but not in the christian-crusades-way that we as “the western church institution” so often define the word “conquer.” read where “conquering” the earth “for God” has gotten us: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades

    maybe it’s best we take the word “conquer” out of “love conquers all” to prevent us from misinterpreting it. what are we left with?

    LOVE ALL.

  27. Humbled By Christ

    D & Newmission: I think we have skimmed over a bigger topic. The church is sick. There are many proofs of that. Our very foundation is cracking and crumbling, and for good reason. It is not built on Chirist. We are not the people of God. We have proved to be the people of the flesh. That is why the world views us as hypocrites. WE ARE. Yet it goes deeper than even this…

    In the book of Revelation there is a call to the saints to ” come out of her my people”. This is speaking of Babylon the great…. The Great Harlot.

    What is a harlot, but one who was once faithful?
    If you study this topic you will find that this is speaking of the church structure. God is literally telling his people to come out of harlotry and start BEING the church.

    So what does that look like? Obedience.

    In two places in revelation it states “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus”

    The harlotry in the church is the lack of obedience. We have kept all our focus on the faith of Jesus and nothing on his commands!

    In I John it states “By this we will know that we have come to know him, if we obey his commandments.”

    I think the greater problem that we are missing or afraid to call out is that there are MANY that are in the church claiming to know God and their life and fruit says nothing of the sort. They do not know God and in fact are deceived.

    Remember He said that MANY would say to me Lord Lord… and he would say depart from me for I never knew you.

    Likewise the parable of the 10 virgins. Interesting thing about that parable, all were desiring to go with the bridegroom, all had the structure correct, the foundational elements, all were in fact “believers” – or why would they sit waiting if they did not believe He would come? – But not all went.
    Not all were prepared.

    The HARSH reality is that there are those who will be deceived. That word means they really believe and are even sincere in their hearts… Dont just say you can run a marathon in your heart.
    TRAIN FOR IT! DO IT!

    I Peter 4:17
    For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

  28. Western dogmatic christian

    I do Love the sinner……including you…..
    and i do hate sin……including my own…and any other sin…
    who said you dont Love ,because you identify what sin is.
    i just dont get it…..

    The world if you havent noticed wants to call what is Sin Not Sin.. thats why it is being talked about and pointed out….

  29. Western dogmatic christian

    Vagabond,
    You said:
    i thought it was our job to just love on people with no motives or presentations; just live out the example through our lives…and leave the “winning over” of souls job to the only one that can truly speak to someone’s soul and “win it over” to Himself. sorry, not tryin to be nit-picky…i’m just done with all the pentecostal euphamisms we overuse.
    Let me tell you my testimony if you can put up with another “Pentecostal Euphanism” …
    If there wasnt an Stubborn Pentecostal Bornagain Assemblies of God going to church dude working with me, in my face just about everyday handing me tracks of Gods word and telling me everyday i mean everyday for weeks that YOU NEED TO GIVE YOUR LIFE TO THE LORD !!
    I would have never done it!!!!!
    and thats the truth ,this non chalante attitude just doesnt work my man…
    when the disciple went door to door did they have a Goal ? paul said if they refuse your Message shake the dust off your feet and move on..sounds like a mission to me and they were delivering it…

    there needs to be more fire and brimstone in your face truth speaking preaching in peoples lives
    and only Gods word and thats what convinced me was Gods word will do the rest …..
    This Brother brought the good news,
    one more thing if people dont know that they are in need of a savior why would the look ?
    everyone needs to know there own depravity including myself thats why i said yes to the savior….

  30. Hey Vagabond,
    Great post. I agree that its ALL about relationship. We are called to socialize with ‘unbelievers’ and model, so to speak, this alternative lifestyle that God has brought us to by putting us on the road of salvation. I too struggle with ‘christian-ese’, words and intent of words.
    Winning people to the Lord conjures up thoughts of ‘competition’ and that adding a notch to your gun belt mindset. That can bring us all into self pride or self condemnation.

    Digging deeper into the scripture, ‘Go and make disciples of men’ brings a very different meaning to what is commonly known today as ‘evangelism’. Jesus never told us to ‘go save people’ or go explain the ‘Roman road’ to them. Looking at the discipleship model we have to agree that relationship cannot be ignored or looked past. Relationship is discipleship. If we look at the word discipleship in the dictionary we find that it is a person who is a pupil of the doctrines of another; a follower. I think that any reasonable person would agree that this is a sound definition of the word ‘disciple’. Further there is a definition for the word “GO” that really helps this verse also. GO: to keep or “BE” in motion, this also seems to be a reasonable definition.

    This is what we end up with: “while you are keeping on keeping on, or in motion, you should have relationships with men (mankind) and work to bring them into an apprenticeship program so they also can become followers of Jesus.
    Notice that there is nothing here that categorizes people at all, its just ‘men’. Clearly this is an all-inclusive word that represents ‘everyone’. Also, to help someone become a follower you have to have a relationship with them, discipleship or apprenticeship is an ongoing process, not a quick ‘lets say the prayer of salvation’, now go find a church.

    So, how will any of this work if we do not socialize with ‘sinners’?
    How will homosexual people ever see a bridge if ‘we’ don’t build it? How will the neighbor who struggles with internet pornography ever see a different way if we are not making ourselves available to him ? Who is exempt and who is not?
    This is the mindset that I have finally broken, and believe me it is a ‘mindset’ that was taught to me early on.
    Its important that we put off the ‘old’ and put on the ‘new’, new mindsets that break down the walls that ‘we’ have built based upon judgment of sin and sinners.
    The catch-all phrase that seems to give everyone a pass is, ‘I love the sinner but hate the sin’… that one really makes it easy to justify not building relationships with people that sin just like we do, but have never been discipled into a place of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

  31. “I’ve been immersed in a hypnotic state of ‘Christian culture’ that I now see as a Grand Diversion from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    Amen, ’nuff said, and I aint doing it any more.

    God Bless

  32. hi David,

    you wrote: “In our goal to win others for Christ, we as Christians can’t shy away from presenting – in love – an exemplary alternative of obedience to God to a sinful world.”

    i don’t like the idea of having a “goal” to “win” others for Christ. i’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, it’s just the way we’ve all been taught to speak as believers, but it sounds too ulterior motive-ish to me (and to others if they might wonder why we’re bein so buddy-buddy with them all of a sudden). i thought it was our job to just love on people with no motives or presentations; just live out the example through our lives…and leave the “winning over” of souls job to the only one that can truly speak to someone’s soul and “win it over” to Himself. sorry, not tryin to be nit-picky…i’m just done with all the pentecostal euphamisms we overuse.

    let’s just love and leave it up to the Spirit to do the “winning over” and “explaining” others’ sins to them.

    i’m not presuming or saying you’re a follower of the “another notch in the belt” method, but to anyone that is, i think that’s just really messed up. we are the DELIVERERS of GOOD news and LOVE. our postman delivers us the mail. then he leaves. he doesn’t sit there and open it with us and explain what’s written in the letter. right?

    so why do we feel it’s our job to sit there and repetitiously “remind” those we’ve delivered the mail to, to read the mail REALLY slowly and walk them through every word until it “sinks in” (so we can get our notch in our belt…oh, but “for Him” of course!). how about we just allow HIM (who wrote the GOOD NEWS that we deliver) to speak to the reader of his own letter. surely He can explain it to them in that inner way much better than we can…

    you also wrote, “The more we come across as accepting of sin, the more sin will be embraced by the whole of society, and the barrier between those we are trying to reach and God becomes all the stronger.”

    to which dennisup responded to another poster, “Please don’t miss my point! When I ask the question, ‘What makes us different from Chuck and Stephen’ all I mean is that we are also in need of saving by God’s grace. Of course they’re in sin, and if we’re honest, so are we. Maybe the sin is different, but there it is. The Word says that if we say we have no sin we are lying. The real point, however, is that just because Chuck and Stephen are living in sin, it doesn’t mean we have to point it out to them and everybody else, and judge them so harshly. By doing so, we classify them in our minds as people we don’t want to be around.”

    also, i think we try takin on too much responsibility (or maybe we think God REALLY needs us THAT much) when we talk about “breaking down barriers between man and God.” i think if we just do our part to love, the GREATEST commandment (to which we always manage to attach other “duties” to), then i’m sure God is mighty enough to break down barriers within peoples’ souls. it’s not our job to “convince” society. it’s our job…i don’t like that word…hmm…duty…privilege, yeah PRIVILEGE to LOVE.

    let’s deliver the mail through our lives (and with words when necessary)…and let the writer speak to the reader through his own letter.

  33. By the way Dennis, I have to remark how similar our backgrounds are…as you know, I too was raised Catholic but have been a committed Christian since the same year – 1974! I too am thankful for that foundation. I was struck by that just yesterday, while listening to Frank Beckman on WJR interviewing an avowed atheist who represents an organization (Freedom From Religion) that is putting up anti-Christian billboards all over the metro area. Like a lot of people I know who deny God, they never had the foundations of reverence for Him to begin with.

    I think it speaks again to how Christians have to stand firm against the ever decaying, ever-encroaching anti-Christian values of society…some Christian foundation is more often than not better than none.

  34. The other side of the coin is that it is not whether we love people or not that separates them from God, it is their sin. And while Jesus did embrace the sinner he also said “Go and sin no more.” In our goal to win others for Christ, we as Christians can’t shy away from presenting – in love – an exemplary alternative of obedience to God to a sinful world. The more we come across as accepting of sin, the more sin will be embraced by the whole of society, and the barrier between those we are trying to reach and God becomes all the stronger.

    Along those lines, the practical reality of living in a sinful, evil world is we often have to make a choice between the least of evils…and many Christians, when they vote, do view choosing one political party or candidate over the others as being such a necessary choice. Some Christians would argue that the idea of “just war” is also such a choice.

  35. Whosoever Will

    Why do we fail when we talk to the lost people of the world?

    Most of the time I think it is because of how we make them feel. They think that we are attacking them. You better change and stop doing that or you going to burn in hell. While that may be true, all it does is put up walls between us. They look at us as know-it-alls, and that we are talking down to them and that we think that we are better than them. They believe that we are judging them, the only person I have the right to judge is the one I see in the mirror.

    Dennis is right we need to start showing them love. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. We need to take the time and get to know them and how they feel, what’s going on inside of them, and why they are doing what the are. This means we need to take the time to listen to them.

    Then we need to relate it in are own lives on things we did. I know how you feel, I felt the same way, but this is what I found out.

    We need to take the time to get to know them and what their needs are and do are best to fill those needs.

    And I think most of all we need to stop offering them the church, and start offering them Jesus.

    Did Jesus just get the Apostles to make a choice and then push the away. Sorry I don’t have time for you today I need to do this for myself? No.
    Jesus took the time to personaly train them for about three years. He took the time to get to know them, show them HIS love, fills their needs
    and teach them by example. Then when he thought they were ready told them to go and do the same.

    The real problen in the world today is the heart condition of man. We all have a blood disease.
    It’s not that we have AIDS or are H-I-V positive or even the we are N-I-V positive (just a little humor), it is that we are all SIN positive.

    We need to stop trying to take the world for Christ and just focus on taking one for Christ.
    If we can get this down, making disciples and teaching them to do the same. Then we will have it right.

    As far as money goes, money is not evil, the love of money is. We need to make a choice with the money we get, Am I going to build myself a castle or am I going to build HIS kingdom.

    Democrat or Republican?
    Neither, I am a Monarchist.
    For I await the coming King.

  36. I refuse to be a drone in the “Borg Collective” where
    Resistance is Futile!
    Thanks for your freshness and provocative thought.

  37. Dennis, please keep writing. Thank you for helping me to get stirred more and more with the heart of God as you continue to write from your heart.

    I have never felt that even in the best of my efforts, I could fathom the human suffering I see around me, daily. The call to “be Jesus” in the earth has been resounding, since the hour He spoke, lived here bodily and rose to sit at the Father’s right hand. May we, in every way, seek to hear Him as we hear the cries of mankind, and sacrifice ourselves to emulate His love.
    God help us all.

  38. Big D and WDC, I think this says it all if we really want to accept the ‘spirit’ of the commentary from Jesus.

    15-16Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers. The religion scholars and Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company and lit into his disciples: “What kind of example is this, acting cozy with the riffraff?”

    17Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here with the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.”

  39. Dear Western Dogmatic Christian,

    Please don’t miss my point! When I ask the question, “What makes us different from Chuck and Stephen” all I mean is that we are also in need of saving by God’s grace. Of course they’re in sin, and if we’re honest, so are we. Maybe the sin is different, but there it is. The Word says that if we say we have no sin we are lying. The real point, however, is that just because Chuck and Stephen are living in sin, it doesn’t mean we have to point it out to them and everybody else, and judge them so harshly. By doing so, we classify them in our minds as people we don’t want to be around. OMG! What if someone saw us hanging around with homosexuals? Would they think we’re gay too? But if we don’t relate to people on a personal level, how will we ever reach them? They are never going to experience the true love of Christ – like we have – until WE love them like Jesus loved us.

  40. Kathy Cristoforo

    What is the sound of one soul applauding? Wow! -that was awesome Dennis. Well said! And, it was the absolute essence of speaking the truth in love. I don’t adhere to the same view of Christianity that I once did. I guess I don’t even catagorize myself as a “Christian” these days, but those simple principles that Jesus taught are the ones that resonate in my soul. It’s all the other stuff that you mention that makes Christianity look so hypocritical and to me, unappealing. And yet, I still have a relationship with God.

    Again, bravo Dennis – that was awesome!

    PS…I grew up in the Catholic school and church as well and am thankful for the foundation they laid for me.

  41. D,
    I would assume that this post will not get as much attention as your others because this post gets to the heart of the issue. This is where the rubber meets the road and people don’t want to talk about this stuff very much. I remember a brother at my old church who was very moderate to liberal in his political thinking. He was a sweet, sweet man. But he was labeled a crack-pot and dismissed as one who ‘really does not have it all figured out’. This mindsets came from leaders not just the congregation. I could never understand where the ‘socio-political’ christian “right” came from. I would assume that it started with the Moral Majority Political Action Group comprised of many dominant ‘christian’ leaders. Wow, now thats a scary thought, ‘dominant christian leaders’.
    I back you and firmly agree with you.
    This is not a time for focusing on financial gain, streams of revenue, political rhetoric or a ‘pseudo-militaristic Christian’ battle cry to ‘arm’ ourselves against the ‘SPIRIT’ of poverty, Islam, Homosexuality or any other ‘SIN’ that seems to be IN man. Its a time to love as Jesus Loves us, good, bad, black, brown, short hair or dread locks. None of it matters, Love your neighbor as yourself, Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, body and soul, in your goings cause other people to know about Jesus and finally, as the Father sent Him, He sends us.

  42. Western dogmatic christian

    Dennis,
    I sure do miss you man…..
    You are way to smart for me to even comment , way above my head my friend,
    all i know is that i want to be a servant of Jesus Christ everyday, and to Love the Lord with all my heart, soul,mind and strength….
    and to Love my neighbor as myself…i know i fall short many times ,but i pray the Lord to teach me his ways….
    one comment i will say is that there is a difference between judging someone and discerning right from wrong…..

    your comment was:
    (So what makes us any different than Chuck and Stephen who live together a few doors down the street – as lovers? In fact, now that we’ve been forgiven, we have a mandate to love them, not judge them. )

    I do Love them my brother, but i still discern whats right from wrong ,the same as any sexual sin, pornography, adultry etc. we still can say it is a sin to do these things , doesnt mean we hate
    because we said it….

    Love you brother
    God Bless
    P.S. how do you like my username

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