THE GOSPEL OF
CONVENIENCE. (Jan. 2004)
The subject of this document is so unpleasing to the 21st century American Christian, I believe that by writing it I will step across a threshold of "Main stream evangelical Christian", to a "radical", a "dissenter", "out there" and even "lost" in the eyes of some folks who read these words. So be it.
(James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.)
If I have learned anything in the 35 years of being brought up and taught in this faith, it is that in most cases the word of God and the truth of Jesus Christ are foolishness in the eyes of modern man, and they do not fare so well in the "marketplace" of public opinion. Most Christians would agree, that speaking the word as it is revealed by God, has never in the history of the world been accepted by the masses, and often times even by those who lay claim to membership in the kingdom of God. I have also learned that we who name the name of Christ are called not to be silent, when we see the work of Satan flourishing in the world around us, and we are called to speak with unwavering conviction the word of God and the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, with no regard for the consequences of that speech. I saw an interesting commercial on TV today, in which a young girl is standing on a dock and a woman is drowning in the water in front of her. The girl is just standing there watching her drown. The commercial is about when friends see friends having drug and alcohol problems. They wouldn't just stand by and watch, they would help! In the same spirit, a Christian who sees another caught in the vile deceptions of the evil one, wouldn't just stand by and watch that person be led to destruction, they would speak out! I am compelled to write this, and the other articles on this site, because of this principal.
What brother or sister in the Lord would stand by and watch his friends be deceived by the devil and not speak out? What man would see his brother about to fall into a ditch and not warn him? Ezekiel 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shall surely die; and thou give him not warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Ezekiel 3:20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. and again Ezekiel 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. and yet again, Ezekiel 33:8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shall surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. I think it is interesting that this is stated a number of times in Ezekiel, I wondered why God would repeat himself so many times on this item in Ezekiel. I realized it is because he is saying something different in each instance. In the first instance 3:18, he mentions the wicked. In the second instance 3:20, he mentions the righteous, in the third instance 33:6, he mentions the people, and in the final instance 33:8, he returns to the wicked. I think there are no accidents here, I think God is making it clear that no matter who we may see in error, (the wicked, the righteous, or all of the people), it is our call to warn them. Also that if we do not they will perish in their sins, but their blood will be required at our hands.
It is this spirit in which this article is written, and for this purpose I believe God has inspired us to open this site, and to speak out in the name of Jesus to anyone that he may direct to this site. A "voice crying in the wilderness of the internet" as it were, to anyone who will hear and turn from the deceitfulness of unrighteousness...
2 Thessalonians 2: 8-12 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The context of this scripture, is of the time of the end of the age as Jesus is about to come, and it describes a state of affairs in the world and among the people of our world, and the work of Satan to deceive them and lead them to destruction. Paul is discussing the time when the one we know as Antichrist will appear on the earth, and will deceive the world, including as many of the people of God as possible. I believe that as you read these words, this scripture is being fulfilled in the world today.
I think most Christians would agree, that the deception spoken of by the Apostles concerning the "Last Days", is deception that will be directed at the true believers of God's word and in his Son Jesus Christ, not at the "world" as the world was already deceived and there is no need to bother with them. The evil one's target? I believe the target can only be the evangelical church of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I believe it is necessary to take a close look at how the Devil could possibly have worked a deception into that body of believers at this time, (we believe the time of the end). What is/are these deceptions, and how do they add up to the "Strong Delusion" spoken of by Paul? They would have to be the ones that our Lord warned us about throughout his entire ministry, #1, the love of money, #2 the love of this world, and #3 the love of darkness.
THE LOVE OF MONEY...
I remember in 1974 when the PTL club was launched. It started out as a Christian program, much like the 700 club which at that time was focusing almost totally on the Christian experience, and the Christian life as described in the Bible, and it's various ministries around the globe (Operation Blessing, etc.). Later the 700 Club, after nearly 20 years had turned from "televangelism" to "Christian Broadcasting", where they report world events according to their interpretation of scripture. A very quick change took place on the PTL club however, that I remember caused me to stop watching the program. I can see today, that it didn't stop a lot of people from watching the program. The change was so subtle, I now realize a lot of Christians didn't notice it at the time other than a few outspoken leaders.
The change was this..
During the running of the 700 Club, the show featured short "testimonies" of people who had watched the show, and were blessed spiritually by the content and thus began a walk with God. These short segments were very effective ways of communicating the amazing event of the entrance of Jesus into the lives of people. The PTL club started out using this type of segment as well, after all Jim Baker started out his career in Christian Television working for Pat Robertson, so it made sense that he would do such a thing. That, along with the tremendous success of the 700 Club, I'm sure it seemed like the right thing to do. However, a short time into the airing of the PTL club, the focus of these "segments" began to change. They went from showing people who had been spiritually blessed by the program and had come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ, and began to show people who had been financially blessed, by giving money to the PTL club. Over and over they would show segments where people who had given money to the PTL club had suddenly gotten big sums of money, and how their money had grown tremendously. They taught that it was because God was blessing them for giving to PTL's ministry. Jim and Tammy-Fay Baker gave many a heart felt sermon on the program citing...
Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
They interpreted that verse to mean that every person who gives to the ministry would be blessed "so that you won't have room to receive it". Program after program, they would show these spots. Christians all over the country and the world sent their hard earned dollars to the PTL Club, hoping that they too might receive these "blessings". As you can well imagine, even folks who were barely able to feed their families were sending money, hoping to be "Blessed". ( I speak from experience here). The show taught the masses that money and prosperity were the rewards that God would extend to people who gave to their ministry. They taught that "God wants you to be wealthy" and that money, houses, property, and possessions were the "blessings of God". I remember that a significant amount of respected leaders alive in the church at that time, including the ones at my own church in Salem NH, refuted that teaching and the concept that God blessed people in terms of possessions and money. Even though the PTL Club's ministry fell in disgrace in 1987 in the wake of the sexual scandal, the concept that God would bless you in dollars and cents if you gave to his work remained. It has been called by some. "The Prosperity Gospel."
Many new programs have sprung up teaching the same concept of God, only without the sexual scandals. One does not need to look very far today to find many extraordinarily wealthy television based ministers following in the footsteps of the Bakers - as I said, without the sexual scandals. Without the sexual scandals, these programs have furthered these concepts in the church to their current level of acceptedness. They have been expanded on as well. I have heard folks say that if you are not "blessed" (I.E. wealthy) that you are taken in sin, or that you are not right with God. A friend of mine was told by a fellow Christian, that a poor person "Can't make a good testimony for Christ." Yes, that's a direct quote friends, from a 21st century Christian. I know that not all Christians believe that kind of rubbish, but this person for instance is an active Christian, who is involved in their church, and truly believes that they are 100% right with God in their doctrine. I know this person to be truly sincere in their beliefs. And don't say that this "doctrine" is only preached on TV, most of you have heard this "God wants to bless you" sermon right there in your own churches.
This description of events surrounding the Church in the last 30 some odd years is a matter of fact friends, it is history. It happened. We were there and have seen it from beginning to its current state. What is it's current state? The current state of affairs in the evangelical church today, is that almost every single person you talk to in American Christianity believes that his money, his home, his possessions, his holdings in the stock market, his toys, such as motorcycles, cars, electronic equipment etc, are "the blessings of God." The American way of life; the constant pursuit of money, wealth and "happiness", have now been adopted by the church as the God ordained way that Christians should live. That we are meant to create for ourselves here in this life, a sort of "paradise" where we just live out our lives in expectation of our transferal to our mansion by the crystal sea, where we will continue to live in avarice forever is astounding! Of course all the while they say "I would give it all up in a second!" Since it is safe to say that most Christians believe that they aught to be thankful for and in fact "love" the "blessings" that God has given them, I believe it is therefore safe to say that under whatever covering we would like to place it, the current state of affairs in the church is that the "Love of Money" is very much alive, and that this state of affairs has taken Satan, (if it started in 1974 with PTL as we believe it did), some 30-40 years to foster and embed in church doctrine.
The concept of money as the "Blessings of God" will be addressed more attentively in the article: "The Blessings of God" here on this site. for now I name it as one of the contributing factors, creating the deceptions spoken of here.
THE LOVE OF THIS WORLD...
Another change that has taken place since the 70s, is that television ministries have become a source of leadership for the church. In the 70s, television preachers were just folks who started a TV show and shared the faith. They were viewed with great skepticism, and were certainly never seen as the leadership for the entire evangelical church, even though some of the folks who had TV shows were already leaders in the church before they took on shows. We know that television requires a tremendous amount of charisma and salesmanship to accomplish, but in this case that has morphed into a group of people "selling" themselves to the church as it's leaders. It teaches that they are capable to disciple them through their Christian walk, and to receive their tithes as legitimately as their local church. All the while they assure them that as long as they give "sacrificially", they will be "blessed" and not have to worry about their money or their ability to provide for their families.
The second part of what I believe to be a three part root causing the church to accept deceptions as truth, is also something that has been fostered in by TV preachers, and that is the concept of "Political Christianity". TV preachers have for a long time indicated that they believe in "Just Wars". Some of them, including Pat Robertson, have even written books that are literally laced with these concepts. (see some of their quotes in the 4th Reich article) Anyone who has read "The Secret Kingdom" is well aware of what I am saying here. And they are talking about "bloody" fleshly battles, not Spiritual Warfare. As if our weapons were carnal, and not spiritual, as stated clearly in the Bible.
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.
They have been instructing Christians to become involved politically and they even have very detailed and intricate plans on how to "take over the government". Since the occurrence of the 9/11/2001 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings in New York, they have stepped up this teaching in quantum leaps. Respected preachers like Charles Stanley, Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell, C. Peter Wagner, Tim LaHaye, Benny Hinn, etc, have touted the current administration's "War on Terror" as a divine mission assigned by God to the United States of America. Also, that if you do not believe this you are "utterly condemned", "fighting against God". Some of these "leaders" have even given "warnings" to the churches to "cast out" those who disagree with this concept as "detractors", including any Pastor or teacher that speaks against this belief. They have taught that patriotism, nationalism, and American pride are right things, due to the fact that America is a "Holy" nation. (see our article, "Patriotism in light of the scriptures" for more info)
These concepts have been readily accepted by the church as truth, since these preachers have gained their acceptance as the "Apostles" of the 21st century church. Time after time, these men have been quoted as saying, "It will be a bloody battle" (Pat Robertson), "I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good ... Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism." (Randall Terry *Operation Rescue) Just to quote a few. When one considers that these are supposedly some of the most respected people in Christianity today, it becomes entirely worrisome that these men have forgotten the words of our Lord...
Mat. 5:44-45 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Luke 6 28-30 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smites thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asks of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
Brothers and Sisters, the life that Jesus described for his followers was not one of a political activist, nor was it one of wealth and privilege. It was not one of involving ourselves with the affairs of this world. When Jesus said there would be "wars, and rumors of wars" he didn't intend to indicate that we would be involved, or sitting by the sidelines with popcorn cheering on "our side". Rather, he indicated that these are the things that "the world" would be doing. He never ever said that we should be into these things, or in any way involved or participating or giving our "support" to them. Dear Brothers and Sisters, if Jesus Christ walked on the face of the earth today, he would not be walking around waving an American flag, with a stuffed purse full of money! He would not have 6 or 700 G's invested in the Corporations of America through the stock market, which build factories in ravished countries, and pay starving laborers pennies a day so that they can show a 4 billion dollar profit, instead of a 3.5 billion dollar profit! By entering into that which is evil, do we not become evil ourselves? How does the American Christian intend to stand before God and distance himself from the deaths of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children, when he cries out "God bless America!"
2 John 1: 9-11 says: Whosoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: (God bless) For he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
What does this scripture tell us about how we must act toward our currently sitting government? Brothers and Sisters, it IS NOT the doctrine of Christ to go to war or to kill others in his name. When Jesus walked the earth he was considered a "passivist" by the "zealots" who were in fact "patriots". Barabbas was a zealot who didn't agree with Jesus' teachings. He didn't want to forgive Rome, he wanted to rise up militarily and he expected that that was Jesus' mission. He was in prison according to church history, because he killed a Roman guard, an act of "patriotism" in the name of the "freedom of the Jews."
Look at this...
This picture is the most abominable thing I have seen in recent years, and a truly scary and surreal picture is drawn by what it represents!
Are you now thinking "Well they came here and killed us!" There are 3 reasons why you are terribly wrong there friend: #1 is that 99% of the "terrorists" in the world hail from Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Afghanistan, NOT Iraq. The average Iraqi (you know the ones that are dying?) has a wife, 3 or 4 children, a car, and a job (before 1991), and lived a life quite similar to ours. He is NOT a terrorist. I am not saying there have never been ANY terrorists in Iraq. #2 Even if they did "come here and kill us", we are not them! We who name the name of Jesus Christ are COMMANDED not to live like this! We are called to, as stated by Jesus, "Love your enemies". What does that have to do with "Taking it to the terrorists"? What does that have to do with "Preemptively striking other nations", in order to "Preserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"? "in the name of freedom"? How does that justify serving 130,000 young American soldiers up on a silver platter for terrorists in another country, so that the terrorists will go there instead of coming here? #3 Let's define "terrorist" for a minute here, do we even know who is a terrorist and who is not? If you are in a land fighting a government that America likes, you are a terrorist. Yet if you are fighting a government America hates, you are a "freedom fighter". The monumental arrogance of the United states Government is well known throughout the world, except for in America. This arrogant, hypocritical system of thought is now like never before infecting the church of Jesus Christ, and I can surely GUARANTEE you that our Lord is not pleased!
James 3: 17-18 says: But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Again, how does this stack up with the American Government's foreign policy? It does not. Could we safely say that James was aware of Jesus' attitude on these matters? I think so. The life that was described by Jesus for his followers, was one in which he would be mistreated, hated, cast out, persecuted, and that the retribution for the injustices committed against him belong to GOD, not the mighty American Military. Are we supposed to be looking to the American military for our protection? He is called to accept the mistreatment with joy and gladness, knowing that a servant is not greater than his Lord, and that if they persecuted him, they will persecute us. How does that stack up with the American philosophy of war? How does that stack up with the description of the MEEK one pleasing to God, as described in the book of Mathew? And just in case anyone still thinks that what we are doing in Iraq and around the world is a Godly mission? please view this Windows media player video...
That man doesn't have a weapon and is incapacitated, he poses no threat to those soldiers at all, yet they kill him for pleasure. Our soldiers are not preaching the gospel in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Africa, Columbia, Kosovo, or anywhere else in the world that they have had military operations going on. The mission America performs in other countries is about control, power, oil, and money. They are causing divisions in other countries to overthrow uncooperative governments, or leaders that do not conform to their wishes and demands. They don't care if those leaders are brutal dictators or not. This Government has become a "gang" of corporate executives and billionaires in control of the largest military the world has ever seen, and when those executives wish to put a factory in your country or exploit your natural resources, you're leaders better fall in line. The fact that America supported Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war is proof of this. The fact that they turn a blind eye to the human rights violations in China is another proof. The point of these items is this... For a Christian to now in the 21st century, tout the deeds of the American government around the world as a holy mission is at best incredibly naive', and at worst a most vile abomination before the God that they proclaim to serve. Unfortunately, most of the church believes that Jesus would have us enjoy a life that basically resembles what is promised for us in his eternal kingdom rather than to live out the great commission as commanded until his return. That whatever the American Government is doing, it is ok because they are "protecting our blessings". It is truly scary that a Government that is acting entirely in the interests of "Filthy Lucre", power and control, is viewed by today's church as Holy! My God, please save us!
THE LOVE OF DARKNESS...
The third part of the root of deception is the love of darkness. What is the love of darkness? Is it the love of things that are evil and being clear about that? Is it to be a person who is a murderer, robber, or someone who cheers on evil and isn't ashamed to say so? No Brothers and Sisters it is not. That is being lost with this present world, much like those who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah, or those who lived at the time of the flood. That is much different than the "Lovers of darkness rather than light" that Jesus spoke of. Let's define both darkness and light. In Matthew 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness. Jesus is talking about knowledge here. The eye is significant of our "ability to see" in this verse. the "Light that is in us" that Jesus describes here, is knowledge. Darkness is deception, and what he is saying could be rephrased as.. "If even that which you DO believe is right, is totally wrong, how great is your darkness? You're darkness would be especially dark if even the thing that you believed was right was wrong. Then both that which you think is right, AND that which you think is wrong are ALL wrong, then you have no right in you.
Confused? Let's try this; We as evangelical Christians, who read and understand the Bible know that for instance, the practice of worshiping Saints and the Virgin Mary that the Catholic Church exercises is Idolatry. So if the average Catholic believes that worshiping them is good religion, we believe that even the thing that he thinks is right is wrong. So we would therefore conclude, that a person in this Church is even MORE lost than the world, because he thinks he is right with God and therefore is ok... but he is taken in Idolatry. See what I am saying here?
Jesus said that if even that which you believe to be right is wrong, then you are in a worse state than he who doesn't know anything. I am saying that concerning their views on America and its place in Prophetic Scripture, the American Christian church is in darkness because they believe the deeds that America does are holy. In fact they are basking in hypocrisy, lies, deceit, and in some cases, outright maliciousness. They are governed by men who seek only to become more and more wealthy, and are doing it in the name of our Lord.
John 8:12 is another example of when Jesus uses the term "light" to describe knowledge. Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. There are two different uses of the word light here. One in the phrase, "I am the light of the world" and one in the phrase "the light of life". I think most folks would not have to struggle to understand that when Jesus said that he was "the light of the world", he was saying that he is the one who manifests the secret sins of men's hearts. That the "light of life" spoken of by Jesus in the Gospels, is the "Knowledge" of life, I.E. that he is the salvation of God.
There are scores of instances when Jesus used the word light to indicate knowledge or understanding of things. This is the darkness I am talking about when I say "the love of darkness". I believe that Americans today are VERY taken in the darkness that America is a Godly nation, and that most of them "don't want to hear it" when the evil of the country's deeds are described. When talking to a man, (not Christian), about the war in Iraq I said to him; "doesn't it bother you that we have been given 4 different stories as to why we went in there, and that none of them have as of yet been proven truth?" His response to me was; "I don't really care why they went into Iraq, Saddam is a bad man, and so it is a good thing."
With this statement, this man swept under the carpet three things we were discussing, 1. That we were deceived about why we went to war with Iraq. 2. That there were innocents being killed daily there. 3.That the war in Iraq had nothing to do with "the war on terror" as described by the American government. This is one form of "Loving Darkness." He doesn't want to discuss or even consider the fact that they lied about it, that innocent people were dying, and that this war had nothing to do with the war on terror. He just wants to think that America is good, and whatever stance needs to be taken to hold that belief will do just fine for him.
In speaking to Christians, it is even more startling than this man. They also "don't want to hear" the truth of the things going on in the world. They wish only to believe that America is good and that its ok for them to go to war "In the name of Christ." This is exactly what I have been describing here. Christians in America today, (not all of them), do not want to know that there are terrible atrocities being committed by their government. They don't want to look at the fact that their leader bears fruits that are far from the heart of Jesus Christ. Jesus said "you will know them by their fruits." Yet the Church of Christ would rather sweep it all under the carpet with statements like; "We aren't supposed to judge our leaders", "America is a Godly nation", "We are supposed to pray for our leaders." Even though not one of these statements include accepting leadership that betrays the word of God. They choose to love the darkness of "not knowing" the truth. By refusing to look at the truths that are SO evident in our world today, so many American Christians would rather just ignore and turn "blind eyes" to the truth. Remember the scripture at the beginning of this document? And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
THE GREAT DECEPTION...
Why, one might ask. why do you believe that American Christianity is being "sent strong delusion that they might believe a lie". What reason could God have for being wroth enough with his church to allow this to happen? The explanation for this can be found in all three of the sections above, and is prophesied about in the scriptures.
#1. The love of Money has infiltrated the church to an alarming degree. If anyone thinks that this doesn't anger a Lord that spent his entire ministry here condemning money and service to it, they are wrong. Living as if and teaching others that money is the blessing of God, and that possessions are a sign of his pleasure borders on blasphemy against his spirit. To think that Jesus rose up from the Mount of Olives, sat at the right hand of the Father, after preaching that money is evil, and then changed his view and decided that money and possessions was the very way that he would now "bless" his children is abominable. That the American Christian rises up each morning and goes about each day to maintain his prosperity, to grow his wealth, to upgrade his standard of living, to "secure his future", and throw God a couple of hours each weekend, is exactly the opposite of what Jesus told us to do in this life. Anyone thinking that Jesus would "bless" us with the very thing that Paul said pierces men through with many sorrows, is terribly mistaken.
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows,
We see in Mathew 6:19-20 a different picture,
Mathew 6:19-20 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (see the article "The Investing Christian" by W. C. Kisiel for more on "treasures")
I remember thinking at one time in my life, "Why doesn't God let ME win the big lottery drawing? I would do GOOD things with the money because I am a Christian! I distinctly remember the Lord saying to me "I wouldn't do that to you my son." I spent many years trying to figure out what that meant. I now know what he meant by that, and I praise him for it!
#2 The Church is falling in love with the World. As the American Christian Church lends its "moral support" to the deeds that its government is doing across the globe and continues to turn a blind eye to the atrocities that it commits, becoming the "Patriots" that they are now becoming and proclaiming the "Holiness" of this government's actions, it commits adultery with the world and increasingly enrages the Spirit of God. There is no question that today's Christian "loves" America. That the Christian leadership now teaches a process of "taking this government over" and "taking the world for Christ" by carnal means, (war and bloodshed) truly fulfills the scripture concerning the "Woman" riding the "Beast" in Revelation 17.
A Church of Apostate people in love with the world and money, drunken with the blood of the saints, (the Woman), affiliated with and having some control of the most powerful Government and Military the world has ever seen, (the Beast), by whom all the kingdoms of the world are made wealthy, (NAFTA and the like), is exactly the picture that this article is drawing. I don't believe the Woman is drunk with the blood of the saints at this time, nor do I feel that she is "riding" the beast as of yet, because this is now in process. But if the Christian right in America performs its goal of taking over the government by taking offices, and becoming the largest voting influence in this country, (which they will need to join together with the Catholic church to accomplish), I would see that as the absolute fulfillment of that picture in Revelation 17.
#3 The Love of Darkness (ignorance) creeps in. People are deliberately not willing to acknowledge the evil, deceptive, filthy lucre based actions that this government is committing, and this is going to cost a very terrible price in the end. Consider Jesus in his dealings with the Pharisees of ancient Jerusalem. He NEVER let them pretend they didn't know what was going on. He refused to allow them to hide behind foolish excuses. The only times he became angry and slammed them, was when they were trying to play word games with him and hide from the truth. And remember how angry he was? remember the things he said to them?
Matthew 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Matthew 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness!
Mark 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Will the 21st Century American Christian be able to play those "word games" with Christ face to face concerning the war in Iraq? Concerning the activities of the Companies they have their money invested in?
THE GOSPEL OF CONVENIENCE...
The American Christian today has truly forgotten these scriptures in his life. Rather, he has accepted the "Party line" as it were, where buzz words and phrases have been adopted as truth.. "God wants to bless you" (meaning that he wants you to be wealthy), "It is ok for a Christian to have money" (meaning that it is ok for us to spend our lives seeking wealth). These statements aren't so terrible in their inception, just in the passion with which Christians live by them. We don't think its wrong for a Christian to have money either, until it becomes the entire focus of 90% of his time, energy and dedication. We agree that God wants to bless you but we don't believe that means to make you wealthy.
I once believed these things. I lived for them, strived after those "blessings", only to realize that they occupied my entire life. God had receded to a VERY small place in my ACTIONS, compared to the things that produced those "blessings"; my job, my business, my future plans, building for my retirement, ad nausium! Sure I went to Bible study, I went to Church on Sunday, but bible study is for MY benefit and so is Church. What was I doing to further the kingdom of God? How much of my time was spent fighting this war? None. I had become a Christian who did nothing but feed at the troth of spiritual growth and edification, while becoming a fat waste of space spiritually. "Laying up for myself treasures in this life" and "ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth".
Is this your life Brother? Sister? I would ask you to re-evaluate your entire approach to your time here in this life. We are not done with our duties yet, we shouldn't be living as if we are. So what is the Gospel of Convenience? I believe it is pretty much the entire philosophy of today's American Christian, I mean look at the accepted beliefs today..
"Prosperity" God wants you to be "blessed". He wants you to have a nice home, a lot of money, a large 401K waiting for your retirement, and for you to enjoy life. You will receive this and more as long as you give "sacrificially" to his work.
"The Pre-Tribulation Rapture" God is going to take his people out of this world just before the tribulation begins. The time spoken of by Jesus as the time when he will separate the "wheat, from the Tares". We will be gone and "other" Christians, the ones that get saved during the tribulation will go through that, because they haven't been "working so hard all their lives" for God like we have. We don't deserve to go through the tribulation. This will be discussed more thoroughly in the Article "The Rapture and The Coming of the Lord"
"Warfare Theology" God wants us to "take the world for Christ", and the American Government and the American military is the tool he will use to do this. We must rid the world of the evils of Communism and Islam. In the process of doing this, we will have no choice but to go to war and "fight the good fight".
"We are not supposed to judge our leaders, we are only to obey them". Because our President says he is a Christian we are called to believe that, and not to judge what he does. We are supposed to support him no matter what he does, regardless of weather it betrays the words of Jesus.
"We are not supposed to Judge our spiritual leaders, we are only to obey them" We are not supposed to question our Spiritual leaders or to question what they say. Because they are our leaders whatever they say is of God, again, even if it doesn't align with scripture.
These beliefs are all very convenient for the 21st century American Christian, because they enable him to live his extravagant lifestyle laden with "God's blessings". He doesn't need to fear being persecuted for his faith, nor will he ever be killed for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. He will not even be around to be tried by fire because he has a get out of tribulation free card in Jesus Christ. Brothers and Sisters PLEASE, hear these words! Awaken from this DANGEROUS slumber!
In 1948, Israel took its land and in 1967 they took Jerusalem. Most Christians believe that this event marks the beginning of the end of the age. Stop assuming that "some other" great nation will rise up "Later on" and fulfill these scriptures. The time is now! The Revelation is NOW unfolding. No other nation CAN arise this powerful, because America stops ALL nations from acquiring nuclear technology. This is the largest, most powerful nation that has ever existed in the world! Could the Bible overlook the existence of America, and be the word of God as it is? Of course it mentions America! Where does the scripture talk about a "Great and Holy" nation that will rise up in the last days and bring the world into submission to God? IT DOESN'T! "All nations and peoples and tongues" have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People can cite that small tribe in Africa that hasn't heard yet forever, but they descend out of nations that have already been told. The great commission is coming to a close! We believe the coming of the Lord is at hand! We need to drop these nice cozy beliefs and prepare for persecution!
The entire American way of life is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and we are in a time when we need to re-assess our lives, our ministries, our finances and our very view of God! We are in the process of scaling our lives out of the extravagant things that they have become and we hope that others will follow. That our lives wouldn't require us to make a fortune to sustain would free up our time to serve the living God in the final days of the scripture! It is an exciting thing to be persecuted for Christ, not to be dreaded. It was foretold, it is expected, and the reward for those who "Hated their lives to the very end" is everlasting. Let us pray for one another that we might return to our former love, and walk this faith as we were intended to, to the Glory of Jesus Christ our Lord!!
In Christ, F.E.Reilly
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