WAKE UP CHURCH! LEARN FROM DR JORDAN PETERSON

True Arrow Events Group is an Australian professional events business with a strong focus on mental health and rescuing our culture from the chaos. They have sponsored Dr Jordan Peterson’s speaking tour in Australia. He is speaking to packed out audiences of young men. What is his message that draws such attendance?

A professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, Dr Jordan Peterson shot to global prominence when he objected to a university edict that staff refer to students by their preferred gender pronouns. For Peterson, the issue was one of compelled speech. He will not, he says, be told what he must say, much less by people who are driven by Marxist and postmodernist motives.

His YouTube channel is now approaching 1 million subscribers.

As Peterson takes the stage of his Sydney lecture, the auditorium erupts into a standing ovation fit for a hero of our times. But there is no showmanship here. As the audience resumes their seats and silence sets in, Peterson begins hesitantly. He is softly spoken, cautious, almost diminutive and yet these people are listening. I mean really listening. Nearly every one of the packed-out audience is leaning forward, totally focused, eagerly hanging on his every word. It remains this way for well over two hours.

“I like to get to the bottom of things,” declares Dr Peterson. “I mean all the way to the bottom, until you hit bedrock you can rely on.”

Peterson’s message is one of truth and meaning. In particular, he tells his audiences how to live in light of these things. It is a message of personal responsibility and self-betterment, but one that understands the vacuous postmodernism in which today’s young people are steeped, successfully tearing it down and building up some meaning in its place.

The fact that his message is literally taking the Western world by storm is testament to how hollowed out and emptied of substance we have become.

The young men in this room have been raised on a diet of video games, porn, and binge-watched television series’. Many of them are fatherless. Their postmodern education has given them nothing firm upon which to stand in order to understand the world. They hear that their masculinity is toxic, their deep desires to protect and provide are wrong or evil, they are rapists-in-waiting, and they need to get out of the way of the women in their lives.

They have been left with no idea how to deal with themselves on almost every level.

Now here is a man – a father figure – who literally tells them to clean their room, stand straight with their shoulders back, “lift heavy rocks” (take responsibility), be brave, change the world, get married, be good fathers and husbands, seek truth…

They’ve never heard anything like it. And they love it.

Read the comments on Peterson’s YouTube videos. Young men in their droves are writing, “Jordan Peterson is literally my dad.” “Dr Peterson – I made my bed this morning.” One YouTube clip shows Peterson choking back tears as he tells of the young men like these who write to him.

Significantly, Christians are flocking to Peterson. Though not a Christian himself, he speaks a language that we are instantly drawn to because it relies so heavily upon Christian principles. He even teaches the Bible in his lectures.

But listening carefully to Peterson, I couldn’t help thinking of the Apostle Paul’s sermon to the Athenians on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-34). They, too, sought bedrock.

Many of them great Greek philosophers, the men who Paul addressed were engaged in one of the greatest quests for truth and ultimate meeting. The Western cultural heritage bears witness to their work. But they had not gone deep enough. Theirs was a drilling expedition that had stopped too soon.

Paul saw, as he walked through their city, altars and idols to many gods (v23). So many of these represented realities these people had discovered – gods who imparted art and music, fertility, victory in battle. Gods of the sea, of fire, of beauty, and so forth. But surely there is something even greater, that yet lies behind all of this?

Peterson is the same. The foundations upon which he relies are the “archetypes” of psychological theory. These are said to be deep, enduring truths, held in the collective unconscious of societies throughout the ages. They find expression in narratives, religions, social norms, psychological realities, and so forth. They exist because they are true, though often we know not how or why.

In his lectures, the Bible is held up as a text in which we find the paramount expression of some of these archetypes.

Jesus, says Peterson, shows us the deep truth that, if we bear the burden of our own vulnerability to hardship and injustice willingly and without complaint, then we will be able to transcend it.

Zion, the Heavenly City on a hill, tells us that we can struggle under the weighty burdens of our human brokenness in a way that carries us upwards until we reach a place where they will be no more.

The Sermon on the Mount tells us that, no matter the pain and difficulty of our own circumstances; no matter our lack of privilege, moral character is attainable by all.

Again, I say: surely there is something even greater than archetypes?

The realities of our world are not true because they spring from Greek myth, or even from archetypes that may be expressed by those myths and other sources, like the Bible.

As Paul once said, these things are true because of God who is yet unknown to Peterson and so many of his disciples. The true and living God – the “God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth” (v24). God who made the bedrock truth which lies behind the archetypes. The One “in whom we live and move and have our being” (v28) – by whom we can be transformed to become the people of character that Peterson would have his followers become.

In many ways, I felt like I was sitting in a modern-day Areopagus (v22) on Monday night. The great philosopher stood before us, leading us on our quest for truth and meaning. An audience made hungry by hollowed out, postmodern secularism, hangs on every word. Questions follow.

It would have been fitting had there been an altar to an unknown God (v23) in the corner. The room does not know it, but He is the answer to all their questions – those they have asked, and those they do not even know.

He is the bedrock they seek. The Logos by whom all things have been made, who is the light and life of men (John 1:3-4).

There is a hungry, needy, confused generation growing up in Australia. The Dr Jordan Peterson’s of this world are feeding them something, but I can’t help thinking: why not the church?

If it is a message of truth and meaning we crave, then this increasingly unknown God, revealed in the pages of scripture, is the answer because He is true, and He has given all things their meaning.

Extracted from Martin Ile’s blog – acl.org.au

ENEMIES OF CHRISTIANITY DECLARING NEW WAR ON RELIGION

I came across this article written last year by a non Christian, Andrew Bolt who can see more clearly than Christian leaders the coming persecution.

CHRISTIANS, prepare for persecution. Open your eyes and choose stronger leaders for the dark days.

I am not a Christian, but I am amazed that your bishops and ministers are not warning you of what is already breaking over your heads.

How mad that Queensland’s Education Department can now warn schools against letting students praise Jesus in the playground. The department has put out reports telling state schools “to take appropriate action if aware that students participating in (religious instruction) are evangelising to students who do not participate”.

It gives examples of what students must not say in the playground — such as “knowing about Jesus is a very important thing”, or “God, please help us to use our knowledge to help others”. Nor may students hand out Christmas cards or decorations.

What do these bureaucrats fear from children inspired by Christ?

Is it that stuff about loving your neighbour? Or that instruction to respect the dignity of every human life that makes Christians the enemy of totalitarians?

But this ban on playground talk of Jesus is only the most shocking salvo of the new war on Christians.

Pastor Campbell Markham is facing an anti-discrimination complaint arising from blog posts he wrote relating to the marriage debate.

Last week, two Christian preachers were summoned to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Tribunal for preaching their faith’s stand on traditional marriage and homosexuality.

Hobart pastor, Campbell Mark­ham and street preacher David Gee, from Hobart’s Cornerstone Church, were denounced by an atheist offended by, among other things, Markham quoting a verse from the Bible.

We’ve seen this before. Hobart’s Catholic Archbishop, Julian Porteous, was two years ago ordered by this tribunal to tell by what right he spoke against same-sex marriage.

How cowed the churches have been before this looming persecution, now picking off vocal Christians, one by one.

Just this year, Sydney University’s Student Union threatened to deregister the university’s Evangelical Union unless it stopped insisting members declare their faith in Christ.

Meanwhile, same-sex marriage extremists bullied Coopers Brewery into taking down a video of a Christian MP Andrew Hastie debating same-sex marriage, and lobbied IBM, PwC and Sydney University to punish staff belonging to a Christian group opposed to gay marriage.

Last week, 70 pro-Safe Schools activists picketed a church to abuse people at an Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) meeting as “bigots”.

A sign explaining why Coopers Beer is not being served at a hotel earlier this year.

Last year, an ACL meeting was cancelled after the hotel venue was bombarded with threats.

The state-funded SBS joined in by banning an ad by Christians defending traditional marriage, yet ran one for an Ashley Madison dating service for adulterers.

The Greens are the political wing of this attack on Christianity, and are demanding churches lose their legal freedom to hire only people who live by their faith.

The media, too, often cheer this war, using as their excuse the sexual abuse of children by some priests and ministers decades ago. Rarely do they admit the average gap between the alleged offences by Catholic priests and the lodging of complaints is 33 years. That suggests the churches did crack down on paedophiles decades ago.

But this vilification has had its effect. The Census shows the proportion of Australians calling themselves Christian has dropped from 74 per cent in 1991 to 52 per cent now.

No wonder, when the weaker churches cower before the persecution.

Last week, some even licked the boots of the anti-Christian ABC when it launched yet another attack, smearing churches as the haven of wife-beaters.

Christians are more inclined to volunteer, donate and keep families together, surveys show.

This ABC series led off with a ludicrously false claim: “The men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who attend church sporadically.”

A week after I proved this untrue, the ABC edited its reports to replace that false claim with another: “Overall, the international studies indicate that intimate partner violence is just as serious a problem in Christian communities, as it is in the general community.”

Wrong again. Professor Bradford Wilcox, author of the American study the ABC cited as proof, complained “the (ABC’s) story … does not square with the evidence that church ­going couples, in America at least, appear to be less likely to suffer domestic violence”.

In fact, Christianity produce better citizens in many ways. Surveys show Christians are more inclined to volunteer, donate and keep families together. So what do the enemies of Christianity wish to achieve by smearing, silencing and destroying this civilising faith? What would they replace it with? With the atheism that preaches every man for himself? With Islam? Or with the green faith that has not inspired a single hospital, hospice, school, or even soup kitchen? Yet the persecution is starting. Are the churches ready?

Since this article was written Australia now has legislated same sex marriage and as a result the transgender activists have escalated their agenda beyond my belief. People these are “last days” and we have moved into “fast forward”.

IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP AND WATCH OUT!

This article by our Singaporean brother in Christ, Jonathan Heng is relevant for today, particularly his acknowledgement that the Word of God is under attack like never before. As a result, the prophesied apostasy in the church is upon us.

“Friends, we need to understand the times we live in. The church ought to be a beacon of truth and light. Yet there is so much spiritual apathy and lethargy! We need the person and power of Holy Spirit to awaken us, and make us alive in Christ. We need to come before God with fear and trembling. Today, many preachers attempt to amuse and entertain the crowds. Fewer and fewer would preach on repentance and surrender. A true minister must allow the Holy Spirit to have His way. The great need of this hour is a revival of the Holy Spirit’s power.

When we are ablaze with the Spirit, we will hunger for the Word, which has the power to wash and cleanse us. The Word of God is under attack today. Often, the assault is not outright, but subtle. The danger is to add to, or subtract from the Word. We need to get back to declaring the whole counsel of God’s Word. Not mixtures. Not half truth and half falsehood, but we must speak the truth in love.

As we are filled with the Spirit and the Word, we will be watchful and sober, spiritually speaking. Watch out! Be alert! We have a responsibility to guard the truth! Defend the doctrines of our faith! Be ready for the rapture! Watch and pray! At the same time, occupy till He comes! Be in the business of winning souls! The priority of the church is to fulfill the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus is coming soon! While we are still alive today, let us ask God not for temporal earthly treasures but for eternal treasures!”

For online resources from Jonathan visit: jonathanheng.com and whgoc.com

“END TIMES” SIGN – ECONOMIC COLLAPSE

The only other times in U.S. history when stock prices have been this high relative to earnings, a horrifying stock market crash has always followed.  Will things be different for us this time?  We shall see, but without a doubt this is what a pre-crash market looks like.  This current bubble has been based on irrational euphoria that has been fuelled by relentless central bank intervention, but now global central banks are removing the artificial life support in unison.  Meanwhile, the real economy continues to stumble along very unevenly.  This is the longest that the U.S. has ever gone without a year in which the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and many believe that the next recession is very close.  Stock prices cannot stay completely disconnected from economic reality forever, and once the bubble bursts the pain is going to be unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

If you think that these ridiculously absurd stock prices are sustainable, there is something that I would like for you to consider.  The only times in our history when the cyclically-adjusted return on stocks has been lower, a nightmarish stock market crash happened soon thereafter

The Nobel-Laureate, Robert Shiller, developed the cyclically-adjusted price/earnings ratio, the so-called CAPE, to assess whether stocks are likely to be over- or under-valued. It is possible to invert this measure to obtain a cyclically-adjusted earnings yield which allows one to measure prospective real returns. If one does this, the answer for the US is that the cyclically-adjusted return is now down to 3.4 percent. The only times it has been lower were in 1929 and between 1997 and 2001, the two biggest stock market bubbles since 1880. We know now what happened then. Is it going to be different this time?  This insane bubble has been almost entirely fuelled by central bank manipulation, and now that manipulation is being dramatically scaled back. And the guys on Wall Street know what is coming. 

This bubble has lasted for much longer than it ever should have, and everyone understands that a day of reckoning is coming.

In case you don’t remember, in 1987 we witnessed the largest one day percentage decline in U.S. stock market history.

When it finally happens, millions upon millions of ordinary Americans will be completely shocked, but most insiders know that the other shoe is going to drop at some point.

In particular, watch financial stock prices very closely.  Last month, Richard Bove issued a chilling warning about bank stocks…

The Vertical Group’s, Richard Bove warns that the overall market is just as dangerous as the late 1990s, and he cites momentum — not fundamentals — as what’s driving bank stocks to all-time highs.

“If we don’t get some event in the economy or in politics or in somewhere that is going to create more loan volume and better margins for the banks, then yes, they would come crashing down,” Bove said Monday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “I think that the risk in these stocks is very high at the present time.”

It isn’t going to take much to set off an unstoppable chain of events.  Our financial markets are even more vulnerable than they were in 2008, and the right trigger could unleash a crisis unlike anything we have ever seen in modern American history.

extracted from article by  Michael Snyder, a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District,

 

WAKE UP CHURCH: WE NEED BELIEVERS MINISTERING IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

We urgently need a mighty move of God. We need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which will awaken believers to the reality of people lost without God.

Urgency can be defined as importance requiring swift action. As such, one of the essential qualities of the kingdom of God is urgency. Let me suggest that if multitudes are going to receive the witness of Jesus Christ, there is a great urgency, which exists for the continual manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit

Jesus tells his disciples in Luke 10 as they engage in the evangelism of their generation: “Say, … the kingdom of God has come near to you” (Luke 10:10b-11b). How were the disciples to demonstrate the nearness of the kingdom? Jesus tells them to heal the sick—a direct manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power.

Urgency in 21st century evangelism is the announcement that the kingdom is just as near today as it was then.

Why would the kingdom manifest in our generation with anything less than it was in Christ’s? Urgency means that the kingdom is of supreme importance and requires a demonstration of God’s power. Such kingdom urgency necessitates a kingdom message, coupled with kingdom power. How do we live in this place of urgency?

We need the Spirit’s presence! We must not allow the “tyranny of the immediate” in today’s culture to numb us from our need of “immediate urgency” for the Spirit’s presence.

Paul reminds us that the kingdom of God is righteous, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). Our ongoing fellowship with the Holy Spirit equips us to be kingdom ambassadors operating with kingdom urgency and power.

It is His holy and healthy power working in us and through us that draws the world around us to His transforming grace.

Let me offer two thoughts on this idea based on the internal and external expression of the Spirit’s presence in our lives:

His Grace Working Inward 

There is an inward urgency of the Spirit within the lives of believers:

We see this in Romans 15:13. “May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.” The greatest need for every human being is hope. Paul tells us that no matter the obstacles or challenges it is possible to overflow with hope. This is the work of the Holy Spirit establishing the kingdom—righteousness, joy and peace—internally. Are you abounding with hope? Without it, urgency is impossible. Only the hope-filled recognize the importance of swift Kingdom action.

His Grace Working Outward

There is an outward urgency that the Holy Spirit release through the church to draw the lost to Christ’s transforming grace. This is found in
Romans 15:19: “By the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” This verse shows us Paul expressing the kingdom with urgency through his witness. The result was that throughout all the surrounding cities and provinces the Spirit manifested the message of the Kingdom.

The importance of the kingdom requires our swift and holy action. Our generation wants an expression of authentic kingdom urgency. Jesus the King is worthy of nothing less. 

Mikel French has challenged  spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with The Book of Hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide Soul-Winning Celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor’s conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia’s 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

JESUS SAID, “They will deliver you to tribulation, they will kill you …”

A staggering 90,000 Christians were martyred in 2016 alone, according to Dr. Massimo Introvigne, director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR). Approximately 600 million Christians are not entirely free to worship. The CESNUR study goes on to explain that the major source of persecution has shifted.

The monstrous new perpetrator of mass persecution of Christians is no longer state communism, but Islam, both state and non-state. According to Introvigne, “Islamic ultra-fundamentalism” is now the new murderer of Christians.

Consider for a moment the staggering arithmetic of modern martyrdom. According to my calculations, there are 525,600 minutes in a year. The report says 90,000 Christians were slain in 2016. That means every 5.84 minutes of every day in 2016, a brother or sister in Christ was murdered simply for being a Christian.

This Christian nightmare is not the occasional random murder by some lone-wolf psychopath. It is systemic persecution that includes rape, forced marriage, torture and “conversion” to Islam at the point of a sword—the literal point of a sword or muzzle of a machine gun. Islam is Satan’s Antichrist religion for these “last days”. As mentioned in my last post, the stage is set for the Antichrist figure in Revelation to surface.

Nations and world leaders must face up to the true nature of this slaughter. When Boko Haram kidnapped dozens of little girls in Nigeria, it was not political. The “Chibok girls” were Christians, and their kidnappers were Islamists who genuinely believed that, according to the Quran, they had a right to enslave, buy, sell and rape young Christian captives.

According to the annual watch list published by another organisation, Open Doors, the top 10 countries where intense persecution of Christians takes place were all more than 50 percent Muslim. Furthermore, 40 of the top 50 such countries are predominantly Muslim. While the United Nations obsesses over Israeli apartment houses in East Jerusalem, it is largely silent in condemning Islamic apostasy laws and the persecution of Christians in 40 nations.

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one anotherThen many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. Matt. 24: 9-12

These are the words of our soon coming King Jesus, answering His disciples questions of what it will be like before He comes again. Does this sound like the events outlined above and the persecution being faced by outspoken Christians in western nations? Is the church prepared for increased persecution. Jesus tells us it will escalate, until finally He pours out His wrath upon the earth. When does Jesus pour out His wrath upon the earth, when the seventh seal is opened and the first trumpet is blown. What is your pastor/leader preaching this Sundays?

ANTICHRIST: THE STAGE IS SET

Imagine if the Antichrist is a Muslim (Mahdi/12th Imam) as Joel Richardson and other “end times” scholars are predicting. He will now not only have the worship of the Muslim nations around the world, particularly those surrounding Israel, but fanatical support of the growing number of Muslims in Europe. In fact, in many of these countries such as Holland, under the age of 17, Muslims are the majority.

Most European countries are bankrupt and unemployment particularly under the age of 25 now at levels where anarchy is inevitable. The stage is set for this charismatic, demonically controlled leader to emerge. In fact, both the Sunni and Shiite Muslim leadership are already expecting him to emerge.

Hundreds of Muslims engage in a mass prayer service next to the Coliseum in Rome, on Octoberuropean  21, 2016. (Image source: Ruptly video screenshot)

Mainstream media are now questioning if “Europe fears Muslims more than the United States”. The photograph used in the article was a recent Muslim mass prayer in front of Italy’s monument, the Coliseum. In echoes of the capture of the great Christian civilisation of Byzantium in Constantinople, Sunni Islam’s most prominent preacher, Yusuf al Qaradawi, declared that the day will come when Rome will be Islamized.

According to US President Trump’s strategic adviser Steve Bannon, the “Judeo-Christian West is collapsing, it is imploding. And it’s imploding on our watch. And the blow-back of that is going to be tremendous”.

The impotence and the fragility of our civilisation is haunting many Europeans as well.

Europe, according to the historian David Engels will face the fate of the ancient Roman Republic: a civil war. Everywhere, Europeans see signs of fracture. Jihadists seem to be leading an assault against freedom and against secular democracies. Fears occupy the collective imagination of Europeans. A survey of more than 10,000 people from ten different European countries has revealed increasing public opposition to Muslim immigration. The Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs carried out a survey, asking online respondents their views on the statement that “all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped”. In the 10 European countries surveyed, an average of 55% agreed with the statement.

Do civilisations die from outside or inside? Is their disappearance the result of external aggression (war, natural disasters, epidemics) or of an internal erosion (decay, incompetence, disastrous choices)? Arnold Toynbee, in the last century, was adamant: “Civilisations die from suicide, not by murder”.

Everywhere in Europe there are signs of a takeover. Muslim students now outnumber Christian students in more than 30 British church schools. One Anglican primary school has a “100 percent Muslim population”. The Church of England estimated that about 20 of its schools have more Muslim students than Christian ones, and 15 Roman Catholic schools have majority Muslim students. In Germany as well, there are fears of a massive Muslim influx into the school system, and German teachers are openly denouncing the threat of a “ghettoisation”.

France saw 34,000 fewer babies born last year than in 2014, a new report just found. If it were not for Muslim women, France would have an even lower birth rate: “With a fertility rate of 3.5 children per woman, the Algerians contribute significantly to the growth of the population in France”, wrote the well-known demographer Gérard-François Dumont.[1]

Thanks to Muslim migrants, Sweden’s maternity wards are busy these days.[2]

In Milan, Italy’s financial center, Mohammed is the top name among newborn babies. The same is true in London (it has a Muslim mayor with a radical background), in the four biggest Dutch cities and elsewhere in Europe, from Brussels to Marseille. It is Islam, not Christianity, that now saturates Europe’s landscape and imagination.

Meanwhile, Europe’s leaders are almost all childless. In Germany, Angela Merkel has no children, as British prime minister Theresa May and one of France’s leading presidential candidates, Emmanuel Macron. As Europe’s leaders have no children and no reason to worry about the future (everything ends with them), they are now opening Europe’s borders to keep the continent in a demographic equilibrium. “I believe Europeans should understand that we need migration for our economies and for our welfare systems, with the current demographic trend we have to be sustainable”, said Federica Mogherini, the European Union representative for foreign affairs.

Islamists take culture and history more seriously than the Westerners do. Recently, in Paris, an Egyptian terrorist tried to strike the great museum, the Louvre. He planned to deface the museum’s artwork, he said, because “it is a powerful symbol of French culture”. Think about an Islamic extremist shouting “Allahu Akbar” while slashing the Mona Lisa. This is the trend we need to start reversing.

TOO LATE GIULIO, THE “BIRTH PANGS” ARE UPON US. WE ARE IN THE LAST DAYS, AS PROPHESIED IN GOD’S WORD. GET READY FOR TRIBULATION CHURCH. SORRY, THE CHURCH IS ASLEEP. ALSO, AS PROPHESIED THE CHURCH WILL BE CHARACTERISED BY APOSTASY AT THIS TIME AND IT IS. JESUS PROPHESIED THAT “MANY WILL FALL AWAY” AND “MOST PEOPLES LOVE WILL GROW COLD” Matthew 24:10,12.

PAUL TELLS US WHY THE END TIMES CHURCH WILL BE WEAK, VACILLATING AND FULL OF APOSTASY. JUST ONE OF THOSE CLUES CAN BE FOUND IN 2 TIMOTHY 4:3-4 “THE TIME WILL COME WHEN THEY (CHRISTIANS) WILL NOT ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE; BUT WANTING TO HAVE THEIR EARS TICKLED, THEY WILL ACCUMULATE FOR THEMSELVES TEACHERS IN ACCORDANCE TO THEIR OWN DESIRES; AND WILL TURN AWAY THEIR EARS FROM THE TRUTH (GOD’S WORD), AND WILL TURN ASIDE TO MYTHS (PARTICULARLY EVOLUTION & BILLIONS OF YEARS). SADLY, APOSTASY CAN BE FOUND IN MOST OF THE SEMINARIES AND DENOMINATIONS

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.


CHRISTIANS -“HATEFUL, MEAN, BIGOTED, NARROW-MINDED”

Someone has said, “If I can define you, I can confine you.” Once the caricature “hateful, mean, bigoted, narrow- minded” attaches to believing Christians, we become identified through that false lens. Thus, for example, when we attempt to support religious freedom bills in legislatures, we are immediately defined as “haters.” Big businesses and the media target legislative members and engender public support for the idea that core religious rights that were long the subject of broad societal consensus, are in fact unjustifiable shields for “bigoted” religious people and institutions that must not be tolerated.

Marginalisation

Once the caricature is drawn, then it becomes easy to move to the next step—marginalisation.

Think of this, for example, why is it that there is no evangelical on the Supreme Court? Evangelicals are one of the largest minorities in the United States. But, our pro-life position and views on marriage are regarded as not acceptable and militate against an appointment to the Supreme Court—and beyond that, to appellate courts and district courts. Our views are simply unacceptable to the political powers that be and we are sidelined from the public square— marginalised.

us-supreme-court-memebersEvangelical Scalia DIED

Discrimination

Once you can make a caricature of a group and marginalise them, you can discriminate against them.

The biggest examples of that, from a legal point of view, are the recent cases before the Supreme Court of Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor. In both cases, the present administration forcefully sought to discriminate against persons who, because of religious belief, did not want to facilitate abortions. Those decisions hung by a slim thread in the Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby won by a 5-4 vote, and the Little Sisters of the Poor case was sent back down to the lower courts, in all likelihood, because a majority of opinion could not be reached on a divided 4-4 Court.

Another example that is impacting Assemblies of God colleges and universities as well as all schools who are members of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) is a recent change in the Department of Education (DOE). Christian institutions are now discriminated against because they hold to biblical teaching on sexual morality.

Next on the horizon is the possibility that accrediting associations will determine that a school which has behavioural standards for students regarding same-sex or gender identity relationships is a school not worthy of accreditation, and/or that companies, school boards, and graduate schools will not admit or employ graduates of schools who “discriminate” on the basis of sexual orientation and identity. Schools will either be forced to accept standards imposed on them or go out of business.

Persecution

Step one: make a caricature of persons committed to scriptural teaching on morality. Step two: marginalise them. Step three: discriminate against them. Finally, the last stage: persecute them.

This is what is pending in the California legislature as I write—the outright persecution of Christian institutions by a state that says, “We will attempt to humiliate and marginalise you if you don’t give in.”

What’s next? Unless present trends are reversed, I can envision a day not too far off in which faith-based para church educational and compassion institutions are forced to close if they retain biblical standards of sexual conduct for employment, or even requirements that employees, faculty, or students profess a Christian commitment.

The local church itself will be the last domino to fall in terms of persecution. Tax-exempt status may be lost. Ministers could lose the ministerial housing allowance. Donors may not be able to deduct charitable contributions. Churches which utilise their facilities for public events and compassion ministry, in addition to their times of worship, will be declared public places of accommodation and forced to provide marriage services to same-sex couples.

If you say, “Oh, that can never happen in America,” then let me remind you that we never thought a day would come when the White House would be lit up with the rainbow flag to celebrate a decision by the Supreme Court to legalise same-sex marriage.

I have never written anything like I am writing to you now. I realise that what I am writing paints a very dark picture. You are now asking yourself, but what can we do? Here are some suggestions.

Pray

There may be some who are cynical about a call to pray. But, we know the Lord hears the prayers of His people. Let’s take to heart 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” We must pray for a third Great Awakening to come to America.

Prayers of gratitude for the religious liberty we have enjoyed, and prayers of petition for its future protection should be an ongoing and regular part of our personal and corporate prayer life.

Engage

Use whatever means possible to exert your influence on our culture and political system. Be informed as a voter. Run as a candidate for office if you sense the Spirit asking that of you. Let your elected representatives hear from you on issues such as religious liberty protection.

It’s also vital that we understand that we advocate religious liberty for others, not just ourselves. It is against our religion to impose our religion. When we find persons, organisations, or religious bodies who stand with us on the First Amendment protection of the free exercise of religion, then we welcome their advocacy alongside our own.

Of course, being engaged requires being informed; helping those who worship in our churches every week to understand the nature of the challenges we face, honestly but without overstating, is a critical first step. Had Christians across Missouri truly understood what was at stake in the religious liberty bill that failed in that state legislature earlier this year, the outcome may have been different. We must educate in order to inspire action.

Watch Your Spirit

There’s a fascinating verse in Jude 9 that says, Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil in a dispute about the body of Moses, did not dare to pronounce upon him a railing judgement. But he said, “The Lord rebuke you!'” In other words, Michael did not behave like the devil in fighting the devil. We must take to heart the admonition of the apostle Paul,

“The servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but must be gentle toward all people …” Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will “grant them repentance to a know the truth” (2 Tim. 2:24–25).                                                                                                                                                                                         Let’s be gracious as we take our stand on issues that concern us.

Do Good

The world may not agree with our beliefs, but they cannot deny when we do good. As individual believers and as a church together we must continue to serve others. We must be known as people of compassion and mercy. We are for the just treatment of others and we help the poor, the needy, the addicted, the wounded, the lonely and the downtrodden.

Keep Doing the Main Things

Our first and foremost call is to preach and live the gospel. Let’s keep the main things the plain things, and the plain things the main things. We must fulfil both the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20) and the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37–39). That’s our priority! Let’s never substitute evangelism and discipleship with political action. Let’s keep eternal matters and temporal matters in perspective.

Our Battle Is Spiritual

God loved the world and so must we. We cannot give others any reason to identify us as “haters” or “bigots.” The world will not be won by Christians who are shaking their fists at sinners. Something is a truism when it is true. This truism is true: “We must hate the sin and love the sinner.” “For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armour of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:12–13).

Rejoice

Nothing happening has caught the Lord by surprise. He told us we would be persecuted because of our loyalty to Him. But we are not to be angry about that or downcast. Instead, Jesus said: ”

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.12 Rejoice and be very glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in this manner they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:10–12).

Thank you for letting me share my heart with you on this vital matter of religious liberty. In every dark time, believers have learned to say anew, “Our Lord reigns!”

This an abbreviated letter (grievous warning) was sent out by George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God (USA) and chair of The Assemblies of God Fellowship

WHAT IS GOD DOING IN YOU & YOUR CHURCH?

Us Christians, we should be continually astounded by what God has done and is doing for us and those in the world around us. Consider just a few of his mind-boggling blessings:

  1. You have been forgiven. If you’re a Christian, you carry absolutely no guilt for your past sins. Like a criminal who was released from death row, you have been declared not guilty, and you no longer face punishment. When you wake up every morning, you should pinch yourself as you realise how merciful God was to pardon you!
  2. The Father has adopted you. Adoption is a foreign concept in many cultures. There is not even a word for adoption in some languages. Yet God loved you so much that He brought you into His family, called you His child and shared His eternal inheritance with you. Have you taken time to ponder what that means?
  3. You can read and treasure God’s Word. There are still many people today who do not have the Bible in their language. There are others who live in countries where Bibles are restricted. Do you realize how high a price was paid by previous generations so you could have the Bible now? Do you read it with a sense of grateful humility? Do you realise it prepares us for coming events? There are more prophecies about Jesus second coming, than there were of His first coming, and there were over sixty of those. The Pharisees and Sadducee’s did not get His first coming, what about the church and His second coming. Is the church asleep, as were the ten virgins in that parable, five had oil in their lamps but all were asleep at the time of their Lord’s coming? I believe we are in the “last days” and as we watch events unfold, particularly in the middle east, we can line them up with the O.T. and N.T prophecies. As the world descends into increasing darkness, just as the Bible prophesied, is your church preparing you for these events?
  4. You have continual access to God’s presence. In the days of the Old Covenant, people who worshipped the true God could only do it from a distance. They stood outside the door of the temple while priests made sacrifices for them. You should pinch yourself now! Because we live in the New Covenant era, every born-again Christian can approach the throne of God with confidence. We worship the Lord in “spirit and truth” as Jesus prophesied to the Samaritan woman at the well.
  5. The Holy Spirit lives in your Spirit. Before Jesus came, the Holy Spirit only “came upon” certain people—prophets, kings or special messengers and sometimes only for a specific purpose or season. But today, because of Jesus’ atonement, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to rebirth your Spirit (died at The Fall). The Holy Spirit now lives in you 24/7. He is your counsellor, your comforter and your teacher. He prays for you, refines you, refreshes you, empowers you and leads you deeper and deeper into God’s truth. He is the one that produces the nine fruits of the Spirit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, kindness and self-control. He is also the one that enables your use of the nine spiritual gifts: Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning of Spirits, Speaking in Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues. Shouldn’t you be in awe of a God who does that?
  6. You can enjoy God’s house and His people. Jesus said when we gather together, His presence is there. He dwells in His congregation. Yet many Christians have given up on the church because they got hurt, or because pastors weren’t perfect. But do you realise that the church is a miracle? It is the living body of Christ, and until He returns it will be the place where God accomplishes His purposes but find a church that stands on the authority of God’s Word. Don’t miss this profound blessing!
  7. You get to experience the Holy Spirit moving all around you. Ministries such as that of the Danish evangelist Sorben Sondergaard are experiencing Church as in the time of the “Book of Acts” where Holy Spirit healings and miracles are commonplace. The Holy Spirit is moving in profound ways today. Churches are growing rapidly in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, and many new churches are now being planted in the United States which stand on the authority of God’s Word. Instead of focusing on the negative trends you see in the media, you should stand in awe that we live in a day that ancient prophets longed to see.
  8. You are going to heaven. No matter what pain, sickness, disappointment or trial you face during your short time on Earth, you are going to step into an eternity where there is no darkness, no death and no tears. As Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Phil. 1:21. When this life is over, you are going to live forever. It will take an eternity to comprehend a God who would treat us so mercifully.

Please take time to ponder God’s marvellous, mind-blowing love. Pinch yourself and be reminded that the truths we read in the Bible are not just words on a page or dry doctrinal concepts. They are living realities that should shake you to the core and produce the purest form of wide-eyed, awestruck worship.

Modified article by J Lee Grady former editor of Charisma Magazine.