Newslinks – 09/26/09

September 26, 2009 at 11:10 am | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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‘Blue Dogs’ key in turning back ObamaCare
Three Republican lawmakers have warned a gathering of conservative activists in Washington, DC, there will be disastrous fallout if the House healthcare bill is signed into law.

Vote pending on ouster of Billy Graham’s grandson
The Florida megachurch founded by the late evangelical leader D. James Kennedy will vote Sunday on whether to dismiss his recently chosen successor.

Perspective: A plea to Obama to attend church
Mr. President, one excellent way to demonstrate your Christian commitment — which some Americans question — and provide spiritual nurture for yourself and for your family, is to attend church consistently.

Nurse practitioners to perform abortions?
Pro-life laws recently passed in Arizona are being challenged in state and federal courts.

Feature: The New Abolitionists – sex trafficking worldwide
It is widely accepted by all who study human trafficking that there are more slaves today than there were during the three centuries of TransAtlantic slave trade combined. Continue Reading Newslinks – 09/26/09…

The church and the Prince

June 1, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Posted in Christianity | 1 Comment
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I bet at least one of you is wondering about the title. What prince am I talking about? Well, it’s not the Prince that used to be a symbol. It’s also not the Prince of any nation led by royalty. The Prince that I want to talk about is a book by Niccolò Machiavelli. I’ve been reading a book by Dr. Benjamin Wiker called Ten Books That Screwed Up the World, and Five Others That Didn’t Help. In this book, Dr. Wiker talks about various books that have had an extremely negative influence on the thinking and actions of the generations that followed them. The first book that Dr. Wiker talks about is The Prince.

 I am shocked by how much influence the books have had, but reading about The Prince brought me to some thoughts about the church that I wanted to toss out for discussion. The book says that everyone understands that the honest and faithful leader is laudable and praiseworthy. Everyone understands that it is best to be honest and faithful, but Machiavelli questions whether or not the honest leaders are successful ones. The premise of The Prince is that a leader needs only to look pious, holy, and noble. The leaders, while looking like leaders are expected to look, are then told that they can use whatever means necessary to keep themselves in power. Machiavelli says that “goodness” is whatever the ruler does to maintain his rule. He says that being good is something to be tossed aside but appearing good is to be pursued. A prince doesn’t keep his word, but instead practices deception and that is what brings the most successful results.

 Unfortunately, this is in direct opposition to Christian beliefs. Sadly, this thought pattern has shown itself in even religious institutions. While it may not be to the point that Machiavelli encouraged in his book, it made me wonder about some of the basic premises. For instance, Machiavelli says that it is not necessary for leaders to be righteous, holy, noble, or honest as long as they look that way. It is this thought that started me thinking about the church.

 It seems to me that this is one of the founding ideas of the modern Christian church. It seems that the modern church is more concerned with looking holy, righteous, noble and honest, all the while acting like the world and doing whatever they want. They present a façade of what Christianity should be while using whatever means necessary to get what they want. Look at some of the examples we have nowadays. Joel Osteen is the pastor of a “megachurch” in Houston. He is one of the most well known pastors in America and around the world. Many, many people talk about how they love his “sermons” and how he is a great example of Christianity. But what’s the true measure of Christianity? Is it what we think a Christian is, or is there another standard? I believe that there is a much higher standard than what we set for our “leaders”. If someone looks pious and acts that way, does that make them a Christian? If they are soft-spoken and do good things, are they necessarily a Christian? Or, is it an instance of The Prince influencing the church? Does it matter how a “pastor” looks and acts if they fail to preach the truth? Now, before you think I’m just attacking Joel Osteen, listen to what he preaches. A few months ago, Mr. Osteen preached to his 50, 000 plus congregation that he doesn’t eat pepperoni or shrimp because it was something that the Jews were told not to in Leviticus. What does this have to do with the New Testament or the gospel? Does this not sound like the Judaizers that Paul faced in Galatia? What purpose would keeping the Levitical laws have for someone who believes in Christ? The Levitical laws no longer apply to Christians! The moral law (Ten Commandments) still does because Jesus didn’t abolish that law; He fulfilled it (Matthew 5:17).

 How about other examples? What about the prosperity gospel “preachers”? They go around the world “preaching” prosperity and blessing to those who will listen, but to what end? They act piously and righteously (often touting their piousness) but what they preach isn’t found in the gospel. Not only that, there are some statistics that show that the people who follow these false gospel preachers are some of the poorest people. What does this say about their gospel? The influence of The Prince is evident here. In the “prosperity” circles, it’s all about chasing the blessing and gaining God’s favor. Those who preach the prosperity gospel will say that it’s not about money only. They will talk about how they want “believers” to regain the “authority” they lost and live like Christians are supposed to live. If it’s not about money, then why do all of their messages revolve around money? If it’s not about money, then why do they all have to have private jets, million dollar mansions, and designer suits? Why do they constantly talk about “sowing and reaping” and asking their followers to give money so they can gain God’s blessing for their lives? They parade around and shout and yell and get red-faced as they “preach” their “message” with “authority” but the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Machiavelli would be proud. They aren’t killing anyone to keep themselves in the position of power that they have, but they are using deception to get exactly what they want and looking as pious, righteous, holy, and noble while doing so.

 What about the whole conflagration with Miss California? Carrie Prejean has been held up as a role model for Christians (young women especially). She talks about her faith and when she answered the question Perez Hilton asked, she was lauded as a wonderful example of Christianity. Is this true? Think about this for a minute. Here is a “Christian” woman parading around IN A BIKINI!!! What kind of example is she setting? So she thinks that marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s great, but is she a role model? I will not have my daughter doing what she does…ever. The bible makes clear statements about how women (and men) should dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:8-9). How can you be modest when your body is almost totally uncovered? How does this reflect Christianity? Is it because she claims to be a Christian or thinks that marriage is between a man and a woman that she is a Christian? I think that it’s great that she believes in traditional marriage, but that alone doesn’t make here a Christian. She goes to a church, but that doesn’t make her a Christian either. She seems to be using Christianity to forward her career. She looks and sounds pious, but where is the fruit? If she understands what the bible says and was taught by people who understand the bible, then she should know that what she wears and how she presents herself does not line up with Christianity. She would know that parading around in a bikini on a stage in front of millions of men (and women) could likely cause many of those watching to sin by lusting after her. Now, I understand that they could lust after her even if she dressed modestly, but do they need help? What really irks me is that she seems to have no concern or care for what she’s doing. She’s basically said that she doesn’t care if people don’t agree with what she’s doing, she’s a Christian and she’s going to continue to model and do pageants. Machiavelli would be proud.

 Watching what is going on in the church and seeing how so many people call themselves Christians and then do whatever they want, I can’t help but wonder how small the true church is. I can’t help but think about the parable of the wheat and the tares. It seems that the church is full of weeds. There are a number of people who look like wheat, but they have no fruit. The new game for the church is to see how quickly you can start a church, fill the seats, and then build your new buildings. Of course, this doesn’t happen when you preach the true gospel. To get this to happen, to build a “megachurch”, you have to compromise the gospel. You have to preach what people what to hear to keep them comfortable. You have to have programs that help people to feel like they are doing something good and “reaching out” to others. If you have this, then you’re off to a good start. Unfortunately (in these churches), it’s not the gospel that saves. Instead, it’s the emotional experience that people have and then spend the rest of their lives creating. I have said this before but I still can’t help wondering how you can grow a “megachurch” and preach the true gospel. The bible itself says that people will hate the message of the true gospel. If people are going to hate that message, how likely is it that you’re going to have thousands upon thousands to fill a former sports arena?  If you really want to see the effects of the gospel clearly, look outside the US.

 The church of America today (and to a large extent the rest of the world) is playing with the principles found in Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince. They strive to build a convincing façade of holiness, righteousness, and piety while doing everything that they can to fill and grow their churches (even if it is directly against the scriptures they are supposed to uphold). Is this what Christianity is? Nope. Christianity is about recognizing that you are a wretched sinner and that you have been saved by the grace of God. It is about Jesus Christ taking the punishment for your sins (crimes against God and His law) and you being released. It is then a life of striving to be an example of Christ on earth. It means that you repent of your sins as soon as they are committed and share the truth of the gospel. This is Christianity. It is not about being perfect, it is about striving for perfection while understanding that you will need God’s grace daily for the sins that you still commit. To those who profess and play up their “Christianity” for the public eye and to gain anything for themselves (whether it be money, congregants, or anything else) you need to stop. You are doing nothing other than making a mockery of my Lord and Savior…


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