Skillet frontman John Cooper is calling out what he described as the “woke ideology” permeating the church, arguing it’s “wrecking Christianity.”
He said, “You can’t believe in God and not believe in absolute truth, obviously, because one negates the other. Yet, that is what’s actually happening in Christianity.”
Cooper said he went through something of an awakening around 2016, recalling reading nearly 200 books in hopes of understanding the rapidly changing culture in which we live. Ultimately, Cooper explained, he came to the realization that people “don’t believe in absolute truth anymore.”
That conclusion led him to become “outspoken” about what he sees as a problematic cultural shift that is infiltrating Christian communities.
In his book, “Awake and Alive to Truth,” Cooper argues we “are living in a time that can best be described as a philosophical stew,” suggesting it’s highly influenced by postmodern thought. He relies on the following definition of postmodernism from Encyclopedia Britannica editor Brian Duigan:
A late 20th century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.
The data seems to bear out the presumption that society is trending toward moral relativism and postmodernism. A recent study from the Barna Group found that a majority of teens and young adults — 65% — agreed with the claim that “many religions can lead to eternal life.” In addition, 31% of the survey’s participants said they “strongly agree” that what is “morally right and wrong changes over time, based on society.” Forty-three percent said they “somewhat” agree with that claim.
Cooper urged Christians to “be extremely vigilant about the Word of God,” suggesting a relativistic worldview will encourage some to reinterpret Scripture based on a cultural understanding untethered from absolute truth.
Of course this is exactly what is happening and it is what the Bible prophesied would happen in the last days before Jesus returns, first to take the Saints to heaven, and then to pour out His wrath on an unbelieving world with the trumpet and bowl judgements.
When He (Jesus) opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”Revelation 6:12-17
Sadly, Jesus tells us that prior to His return people will be like they were in Noah’s day when God judged the world and all but eight people perished in a worldwide flood, lawlessness will abound.
The Sydney Morning Herald thought this week’s Q and A was a significant cultural moment. They compared it with another one in 2008 where the shibboleth question for our culture , that of homosexuality, came up. It was indeed a revealing programme – telling us a great deal about where Australian culture, politics and religion are at – and where we are heading.
Hamish MacDonald, the host, was joined by Trent Zimmerman, Liberal Member (Homosexual) for North Sydney; Anika Wells, Labor Member for Lilley;; Antoinette Lattouf, Journalist, diversity advocate, and author; and Teela Reid, Wiradjuri/Wailwan, Lawyer; and Martyn Iles, Managing Director, Australian Christian Lobby.
It was the appearance of Martyn Iles that was too much for some people – even before he had been on the show. Those who believe in love and are opposed to hate speech were quick to share the love…
“Just saw the line up for #QandA and omg the creep from the Australian Christian Lobby is on? “
“Honestly, giving people like Martyn Iles a public platform is very unhealthy for society. The ACL is a hate group. I dearly wish we had laws against this”
“I’d rather hear from a Satanist or someone other than that man…”
The Church that believes in love, unity and diversity was also quick to show us just how loving, united and diverse they are:
“Just want to pre-emptively comment on tonight’s #qanda. This man is likely to slander and bear false witness against LGBTIQ+ people and communities. He does not represent the Church, nor the majority view of Christians in Australia.” Leichhardt Uniting Church.
And it’s not just liberals – mention Iles name in some evangelical circles and eyebrows are raised, knowing looks exchanged and a general impression is given that we don’t really want to be associated with that sort of thing.
What did we learn from the show? We learned a great deal about contemporary Australian society… Here are some of the lessons….
1. For some, ‘lived experience’ trumps everything.
Facts, truth, democracy, morality, religion – everything is subordinate to what is called ‘lived experience’. Martyn was asked “have you lived experiences, heard, shared and acted upon?” The implicit statement being that unless you have walked in their shoes then you cannot represent, speak about or disagree with. “I don’t think Martyn can walk in a gay man’s shoes”. All of this sounds so true. But in ABC culture that only applies to some groups. Nobody on the panel (which was largely hostile to Martyn) seemed to grasp that they did not have Martyn’s lived experience as a Christian – but that did not stop them commenting on it and condemning it.
One panellist spoke of Lil Naz X as being a hero because of his Satan’s shoes video. She declared that this shows that you cannot speak unless you feel the hate, it doesn’t matter what the intention of the speaker is. She has a point? I felt that her speech, and much of the rest was full of hate for people like Martyn and me – i.e., biblical Christians. By her own standard she was guilty of hate speech. Or does this not work both ways?
When Martyn mentioned the story of the Canadian man who went to jail because he misgendered his teenage daughter, he was told – “I think that’s a very specific example and we don’t know all the details…I’m not interested in speaking this specific example”. So, some stories are not worth telling and don’t count as evidence?
Within a few minutes of that we were listening to someone who identified as “an aboriginal queer non- binary person” who went on to tell the story of a relative who died in prison. That very specific example was of course not going to be questioned.
Just before the programme I saw an advert for another ABC show – You can’t say that – where we were told that everyone has a story and deserves to be heard! But is that true? Would the ABC allow my story to be told? Or that of a transgender detransitioner? Or someone who is ex-gay? Sadly, in our society today, your story only matters if it fits in with the pre-determined narrative?
1. Identity Politics is polarising and dividing Australia.
Martyn was told that ‘you don’t have skin in the game when it comes to women’s issues”. That assumes a narrow fundamentalist individualistic view of what a human being is. All of us were ‘born of a woman’ and most of us had a mum as did Martyn. Martyn is young and not married but he has colleagues and friends who are women. I would suggest as a Christian he has a lot of skin in the game. He cares about issues such as the sexual exploitation of women and the trans attack on the very notion of what a woman is.
2. Most Australians don’t have a clue about Christianity and are hostile to what they do not know.
This was exemplified by the tweets that ABC put up on the screen. In itself it was revealing that the only tweets that I saw them put up were hostile. I’m sure they received some supportive ones for Martyn but that did not fit their narrative. He was there to be mocked and abused.
3. Shallow superficial soundbites have largely replaced substantive discussion as the primary discourse in Australian politics and media.
There were so many examples of this in the show. The lack of depth and thought was quite frightening. Take this one example. Anika Wells stated: “In the Bible there are 3,000 references to poverty and very few to homosexuality, so why can’t the ACL spend their money on that? “ This was retweeted as Gospel truth – but it’s just factually wrong. Clearly they had not bothered to read Mark Powell’s response to this oft made fake claim a couple of years ago – https://www.spectator.com.au/2017/11/abc-anything-but-biblical-christianity/
The point is that it sounds right, and they want it to be right, so the claim is made and left completely unchallenged.
Or take Trent Zimmermann’s claim that “any person should be able to decide what future they want from their own life and their body is part of that”. So if someone feels they are too fat they should be allowed to starve themselves? Or if people decide they want to change sexuality they should be allowed to seek conversion therapy? After all its their body!
Trent Zimmermann then went on: “we have to be careful about questioning whether transgenderism is a legitimate course for an individual to take…’ after pointing out that transgender people are much more likely to attempt suicide. Again, the host and other panellists, seemed to miss the rather obvious point that if being transgender does lead to such a high risk of suicide, perhaps we should question it a lot more?
But transgender is a very protected category on the ABC – the host gave out the Lifeline number after the discussion on trans….“if this conversation raises any issues…” which of course led to the inevitable tweet “If you have a guest on #qanda that makes you need to announce the LifeLine phone number that should tell you what sort of guest you have”.
4. The Cultural Elites don’t do diversity or equality.
At times this whole show felt like a put-up job. I think four of the questions were hostile to Martyn. The host questioned whether Martyn was just raising the Israel Folau issue (Israel was sacked from playing rugby after a Biblical post on Facebook that stated homosexuals were destined for Hell) as an attempt to increase the ACL’s membership, he also challenged Martyn’s figures on transgender. These are legitimate questions – the problem is that he made no similar challenges on the rest of the panel. He stated that Rugby Australia officials were not there to defend themselves – but permitted a series of attacks on Folau, who also wasn’t there to defend himself. He told Martyn ‘you’ve had plenty time, make it quick’ which again would have been fair enough if it were not for the fact that it was four (five?) against one and most of the questions were directed against him.
The audience seemed far more diverse than the panel (something noted by the Twitterati – some of whom objected that such people were even there). One young man made the telling statement “if you express your faith, then you will be met with severe career ending consequences”. This show was ample evidence of that.
Adapted from a report in The Australian Presbyterian by David Robertson
Police in Finland are investigating the leader of an entire denomination for publishing a booklet that disapproves of homosexuality. The author of that booklet, Dr. Päivi Räsänen, which sets forth the Biblical teachings about sexuality, is also under investigation for the crime of “agitation against an ethnic group,” a statute which added “sexual orientation” to the list of protected classes. The maximum punishment is two years in prison.
Dr. Räsänen, who is very impressive for her integrity in the way she speaks up for Christian truth in the public square. (For example, she points out that the Finnish state church is obligated, by law, to base its teachings on the “Holy Scriptures,” and asks, how could it then be illegal to teach what the Holy Scriptures say?) Here is a sample of what Dr. Räsänen, also a medical doctor, has to say:
I believe that ultimately the purpose of these attacks is to eliminate the Word of God and discard the Law of God. It is very problematic that expressing Christian beliefs is often seen as insulting in the West. For example, marriage between a man and a woman has become a concept that is understood as restrictive, even threatening. Concepts such as man and woman, father and mother, are dearly loved concepts, and as old as the history of humanity. The attempt to break down the gender system based on two different genders hurts especially children. It is unfortunate how uncritically the ideology of sexual diversity and LGBT activism has been supported and endorsed even by churches.
I believe that every person has the right to hear the whole truth of God’s Word, both the Gospel and the Law. Only people who recognize their sins need Jesus, the propitiation for our sins. We must have the courage to speak about the dangerous effects of LGBT activism. Debatable themes such as immoral sexual relations have to do with guilt. Guilt cannot be solved by denying it, but only by confessing it and receiving mercy and the message of forgiveness in Jesus’ sacrifice. It is impossible to think that classical Christian doctrine would become illegal in the West.
Please pray for Dr. Räsänen and for the other faithful Christians in Finland and in other parts of the world, where many are enduring much worse persecutions. Remember, persecution comes with the territory
True Christianity is based on the belief that there is absolute truth based on the word of our Creator. The opening words of the Bible are: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1. When we look at the Bible, we discover a number of principles about truth:
1. Truth is absolute by the will of God. God not only reveals Himself as the Trinitarian God, but also as the God who determines what is true and false. Jesus says in John 4:23, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” If we really want to discover truth, we must be willing to believe that it is the Creator who determines truth from falsehood—not our own emotions or intellectual theories.
2. Evil, or sin, is the enemy of truth. The biblical definition of sin outlines what is false and hurtful to human beings. Truth is an understanding of reality that ultimately determines thoughts, morality and actions.
3. Truth is revealed by God in the life of Christ and in the word of Scripture. In John 17:17 Christ prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
Moral truth is contained, then, in moral teachings, or law, given by God. Since these laws define the reality of life as ordained by the Creator, they exist whether we acknowledge them or not. The consequences of sin are just as inescapable whether committed knowingly or in ignorance.
The foundation of the law is God Himself. By trusting in Him and acting according to what He has commanded, we don’t have to experience the painful effects of sin. Moreover, for Christians who have been born again and have received the Holy Spirit indwelling their own spirit, we have received the power necessary to obey His instructions. “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27 The Holy Spirit is the oil required for our lamp, our spirit to function as God intended.
Jesus said, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” Mark 12:29-31
This simple teaching by Jesus Christ forms the basis of all truth. There is a choice between simply going on the way you have been and turning towards God. It’s up to you.
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or SEND PESTILENCE among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7: 13-14
“The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.” Jeremiah 18:7-8
How foolish are our leaders! The answers to our problems are in God’s Word as these two scriptures testify. Sadly, as God’s Word predicts, in the “last days” the world turns away from God and in fact denies His existence. The consequences of that rebellion are also revealed in the Bible – God’s wrath will be poured out on an unrepentant world just as it was in Noah’s day. Jesus also warns us beforehand of the coming tribulation that will face Christians who fear God and hold to the inerrancy of His Word, His commandments, particularly the sanctity of marriage, and gender.
“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man (Jesus second coming). For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:37-39
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31
The following report on usage of the YouVersion Bible App demonstrates how God uses catastrophes for His purposes. How important it is we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance so we are in step with His purposes in our sphere of influence.
Searches on the YouVersion Bible app increased by 80% this year, to nearly 600 million, as the pandemic created a sense of uncertainty and turmoil. The verse Isaiah 41:10, which is about God’s promise for strength and help, was the verse that was bookmarked, highlighted, and shared the most.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
With 43.6 billion Bible chapters read, 7.5 billion audio chapters played and 1.4 billion Bible Plan days completed, YouVersion says it “saw its highest levels of global Bible engagement in app history.”
“This has been a challenging year with many people facing devastating loss, loneliness, and fear,” said YouVersion founder Bobby Gruenewald. “While 2020 is a year so many say they’d like to forget, we see it as a year to remember how God used the Bible App to help so many people who are searching for answers. Through every hardship, people continue to seek God and turn to the Bible for strength, peace, and hope.
The results reveal how people are seeking God as they wrestle with the difficult circumstances they’ve faced in 2020, and that’s something we can celebrate.
The biggest crisis facing the evangelical, global church today is the growing lack of biblical literacy worldwide, according to Thomas Schirrmacher, the newly elected secretary-general of the World Evangelical Alliance. I agree with him.
“Our biggest problem is that Bible knowledge is fading away,” Schirrmacher told The Christian Post. “This is the utmost problem we have beyond all theological differences, financial problems, and political questions.”
According to the State of the Bible 2020 report released by the Barna Group and the American Bible Society, U.S. adults who say they read the Bible daily dropped from 14% to 9% between early 2019 and 2020.
The study found that the proportion of Americans who read the Bible daily also fell to fewer than one in 10 (9%), the lowest number on record during the 10 years of the State of the Bible research study.
We are talking about God’s Word, our Creator’s Word, that He wants to convey to His creation. To those, He made in His image. What could be more important? It contains the message of who we are, why we are separated from our Creator, why the world is like it is, and more importantly what God has done and is doing to put it right. The Bible gives us an accurate history of this world so different from the godless evolutionary view inspired by the god of this world, Satan.
Schirrmacher, who studied theology in Switzerland and the United States, and serves as the WEA’s Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns, said that in the Western world “more and more kids that come from evangelical families are not really rooted in the Bible,” and many of them leave the faith.
In an increasingly polarized society, Schirrmacher also emphasized the importance of unity, stressing that the “biggest obstacle” to the spread of the Gospel are divisions within Christianity.
“We need to discuss much more and long for what is the DNA, I would say not only of evangelicalism but of Christianity,” he said. “What we have together is the Bible, Jesus, and the Gospel.” We cannot allow these central teachings of Christianity to fade away together with minor topics. Then, there will be nothing left.”
Fortunately, the good news is, God is active in His world. He will accomplish His purposes and it will unfold exactly as He tells us in His Word. As I have mentioned countless times before on this website, there are more prophecies about Jesus soon coming return then there were about His first coming to earth and there were more than 300 of those. It should be reason enough for everybody on this planet to want to spend time in His Word and for those who know Him to want to share the good news with others.
An atheist activist group, Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is suing the federal government over the allegation that Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is “dodging records requests relating to a White House bible study.”
FFRF PRESS RELEASE: “According to reports, the Trump administration holds weekly bible study sessions at the White House. FFRF is seeking the records to determine whether or not the bible study uses government resources, whether staffers may feel coerced into organising or even participating in the religious event, and to ascertain government access granted to Capitol Ministries, a group that seeks to evangelise elected officials.
The Bible study is a rarity in government, and, according to Drollinger, a similar study among cabinet members potentially hasn’t happened in over a century. The weekly Bible study in question has been “making history.” Drollinger told CBN News in an interview last year that participants — some of the most powerful people in government — are “godly individuals that God has risen to a position of prominence in our culture.”
The participating secretaries include: CIA Director Mike Pompeo, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue, EPA head Rick Perry, Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“[Jeff Sessions will] go out the same day I teach him something and I’ll see him do it on camera and I just think, ‘Wow, these guys are faithful, available and teachable and they’re at Bible study every week they’re in town,’” Drollinger said.
The Bible Study is apparently co-sponsored by Vice President Mike Pence. The list of bible study attendees includes officials whose appointments FFRF objected to because of their inability to keep their personal religion separate from their public office: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and, of course, Secretary Ben Carson, the surgeon whom President Trump tapped to run Housing and Urban Development. (Trump himself rarely makes an appearance.)”
The Bible study, in particular, has been an area of interest for the FFRF due to the fact that Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries, the man who leads it, has reportedly made controversial past statements about about Catholicism as well as women legislators.
He reportedly called Catholicism “one of the primary false religions of the world” and wrote the following about female politicos:
It is one thing for a mother to work out of her home while her children are in school. It is quite another matter to have children in the home and live away in Sacramento for four days a week. Whereas the former could be in keeping with the spirit of Proverbs 31, the latter is sinful.”
Imagine what God can do with an entire year as we commit to elevate Scripture across the nation. Join Nick Hall and people like Francis Chan and Ravi Zacharias to make this happen.
THE BIBLE IS THE MOST CATALYTIC BOOK IN HISTORY.
IT HAS INSPIRED MORE EXPRESSIONS OF BEAUTY & SOCIETAL ADVANCEMENTS THAN ANY OTHER BOOK. EVER.
THE ONLY QUESTION LEFT IS – WHAT WOULD BE INSPIRED IN YOUR LIFE IF YOU MADE THIS YOUR YEAR OF THE BIBLE?
“Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 2 Chronicles 20:20
To participate in the movement, you follow just three simple steps:
Declare: Take a picture with your Bible and post it with the #YearoftheBible hashtag.
Engage: Engage with the Bible like never before using the movement’s resources.
Create: Use the inspiration to create art and music you can share with the #YearoftheBible hashtag.
“‘Your Year’ is not a pass/fail test,” the movement’s website says. “It is an intention to passionately engage with Scripture for a whole year. This is a community of Bible readers across the world that is diving into the same reading plans and resources, which means you can study the same books and fascinating themes together.”
Almost 2,500 people have already used the hashtag #YearoftheBible on Instagram. Hundreds of these photos show people with their Bibles—some clean and brand-new, others ragged with pages covered in notes and underlines. Come join.
Read Bill Yount’s story of how God broke through his doubts, to speakto Bill, and how it changed his life. Jesus said, my sheep hear my voice. His sheep spend time in His Word, they spend time in prayer and they spend time in praise.
What’s keeping you from hearing God’s voice clearly? This is part 1 of Bill’s message on listening to God. The second part is what Bill believes God wants us do in this “crucial hour” we are in, leading up to His second coming.
“As a new Christian, out of the gate running, hell took its best shot at me to abort the innate desire to ever hear God’s voice. A wedge of contention drove deep between my Bible teacher and me the moment he said, “God spoke to me.” Those words were alien to me. Immediately, my whole being was flooded with doubts as the enemy unleashed those infamous fatal words: “Indeed, has God said?” (Gen. 3:1). Surely this man had a big ego problem, thinking God Almighty would take the time to speak to him personally among the billions of people on earth.
I left the Bible study in frustration that evening, thinking he was certainly out of his mind. That crazy teacher kept me awake. An hour later a question walked into my bedroom, “But what if you could? What if you could actually hear God speak to you?” As I began to faintly consider the possibility of an answer, that question lit a fire within me that has never gone out. I thought to myself, if God could actually speak to me, I would be willing to wait 30 or 40 years to hear him speak one word: not a whole sentence but just one word.
God wants to speak to you. Two hours later, the Lord Himself walked into my sleepless night. He said, “Son, I want to speak to you more than you want Me to.”
From that moment, my journey began listening for His voice. Now you know what I live for. I live to hear God speak. My worst days have taught me:
When God speaks, you live. When God speaks, you’re healed. When God speaks, you’re delivered. Storm clouds scatter. Dead dreams thunder with life. I’m not talking about man speaking, but when God speaks, you live. His voice has brought me through hell and back, changing doctors’ reports and adding years to my life. The devil’s best shot missed me.”
Bill is a member of Bridge of Life in Hagerstown, Maryland, where he is an elder and a home missionary for the past 40 years. He faithfully served in prison ministry at Mount Hope Inc. for 23 years and now travels full-time, ministering in churches and Aglow circles. Bill has authored several prophetic books. His latest book is The Power of Real / Transparent Prophetic Encouragement. Visit Bill’s website at billyount.com.