Atrocities Against Christians (cont.)

Have you heard of another atrocity committed by Muslims against Christians, this time on a boat of refugees fleeing Africa for Italy? Here are the details:

Christians Thrown OverboardItalian police say that Muslim migrants from Libya threw 12 Christians overboard after they refused to pray to Allah as the group’s dinghy began to sink. In total, 15 African Muslims were detained on charges of suspected assault and homicide.

The Obama administration responded with a call to end “senseless” violence. As always, the administration shows its unwillingness to say what this really is, a logical outgrowth of Islamic belief that seeks to kill all who don’t bow down to their concept of God. There’s nothing “senseless” about it; it makes perfect sense if those are your beliefs.

This is just another in a long series of statements (or lack of statements) by Obama and his acolytes, who consistently refuse to acknowledge that Christians are being targeted and that Muslims are responsible for those murders.

WH Response

But what should one expect from a president who continually calls himself a Christian while advocating for unbiblical positions in public policy?

Backlash Continues

We haven’t reached the level of persecution yet in America that leads to mass murders, but how long will it take before we get to that point? The culture is shifting rapidly in favor of denouncing all Christian morality and any claims that Christ is the only Way, Truth, and Life. We need to be prepared spiritually for that possibility, while simultaneously working to reverse this awful trend.

The Biblical Perspective on Persecution

ISIS & Ethiopian ChristiansISIS has released another video, this time showing the execution of Ethiopian Christians. The locale seems to be identical to the earlier video of the beheading of Egyptian Coptic Christians.

Thousands of Christians in Nigeria have been massacred by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram.

Christian pastor Saeed Abedini continues to languish in an Iranian prison. He is told he must convert to Islam if he wishes to be released. Abedini’s plight is not part of the crumbling Iranian deal being negotiated by the Obama administration.

France Gay Marriage FairIn America, no one has been killed for being a Christian—yet. But the rising tide of antagonism toward Christianity has been well documented. All one has to do is think of the death threats to businesses run by Christians if they don’t participate in homosexual “weddings.”

A pastor recently set out to see if a double standard exists. He requested a bakery run by homosexuals to bake a cake for him with a message on it promoting traditional marriage. He is now being threatened with criminal charges.

Burn Down

Obamacare continues to try to force Christian organizations to violate their religious tenets by offering types of birth control they believe are wrong and by covering abortions.

There are a number of Christian legal organizations that are being kept busier than ever defending Christians’ right to religious liberty. David French, a lawyer with the American Center for Law and Justice, says many of the new cases come from colleges and universities. He notes,

Our knowledge of incidents is only as good as the reporting. However, it’s clear that—particularly on college and university campuses—we have seen a significant rise in attempts to silence Christian organizations by the misapplication of nondiscrimination laws.
As I’ve said before, the next steps will be to force Christian colleges to change their statements of faith regarding sexuality or lose participation in the government-run student loan program. Churches will be threatened with the loss of tax-exempt status if their pastors refuse to conduct same-sex weddings. A report released jointly by the Family Research Council and the Texas-based Liberty Institute highlights some of the most recent attacks:
  • A federal judge threatened “incarceration” to a high school valedictorian unless she removed references to Jesus from her graduation speech.
  • City officials prohibited senior citizens from praying over their meals, listening to religious messages or singing gospel songs at a senior activities center.
  • A public school official physically lifted an elementary school student from his seat and reprimanded him in front of his classmates for praying over his lunch.
  • Following U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ policies, a federal government official sought to censor a pastor’s prayer, eliminating references to Jesus, during a Memorial Day ceremony honoring veterans at a national cemetery.
  • Public school officials prohibited students from handing out gifts because they contained religious messages.
  • A public school official prevented a student from handing out flyers inviting her classmates to an event at her church.
  • A public university’s law school banned a Christian organization because it required its officers to adhere to a statement of faith that the university disagreed with.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice argued before the Supreme Court that the federal government can tell churches and synagogues which pastors and rabbis it can hire and fire.
  • The State of Texas sought to approve and regulate what religious seminaries can teach.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs banned the mention of God from veterans’ funerals, overriding the wishes of the deceased’s families.
  • A federal judge held that prayers before a state House of Representatives could be to Allah but not to Jesus.

While we should continue to fight back against these attempts to marginalize Christians, we also should not be surprised that this is occurring. We have been warned in the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul told Timothy, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” That’s not one of those promises Christians are eager to claim. Jesus, though, reminds us,

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.

We need to keep that perspective and live for Christ and His kingdom, regardless of what the so-called powers of the earth try to do.

Persecution

Judge Not?

Obama at National Prayer BreakfastPresident Obama uses the occasion of Easter, at a White House prayer breakfast, to insinuate that he’s very concerned about Christians who use “less than loving expressions.” Mr. President, I’m concerned about that, too. I always have been. But it all depends on what one’s definition of “loving” may be.

For Barack Obama, not endorsing same-sex marriage is unloving. For Barack Obama, not allowing abortion on demand is unloving. For Barack Obama, giving medical attention to a child born alive during an abortion is unloving. For Barack Obama, not letting Iran into the circle of the “civilized” nations by denying them access to nuclear capability is unloving. For Barack Obama, seeking to guarantee the survival of Israel apparently is unloving. I could go on.

He’s done this kind of thing before, most recently at another prayer breakfast where he downplayed Muslim atrocities and tried to paint a picture of moral equivalence by pointing to the Crusades.

When Muslims killed journalists in Paris and then turned to killing people in a Jewish grocery store, he refused to say Muslims were responsible and that Jews were targeted. Last week, in Kenya, when nearly 150 Christian college students were massacred by an Islamist terror group, the official White House response was to ignore both the religion of the attackers and those who were massacred.

Mr. President, my problem is that I know your background. You claim to be a Christian, but whatever Christianity you make a claim to is nothing more than a radicalized Marxist theology that makes Jesus into nothing more than a model to follow for “social justice.” I read the interview you did for a Chicago newspaper prior to your presidency in which you made it clear that 1) all religions lead to God; 2) you’re not sure there is an afterlife; 3) being a good father is what you depend on for a right relationship with God; 4) it is wrong to try to convince others to become Christians.

Judging OthersSo I am judging, based on your own statements, your radical history, and your actions, inactions, and outright string of lies you have uttered as president, that you, sir, are no Christian.

Yes, I can hear the outraged voices: who are you to judge? Doesn’t the Bible say “judge not, lest you be judged?” Anyone who says that discloses a superficial knowledge of that passage of Scripture.

Read it carefully and you will see that, from the context, Jesus is telling us not to be hypocrites. He says that before you judge, be sure you are not doing the same things for which you judge others. Take the log out of your own eye first, then take the splinter out of another’s eye.

Throughout the Bible, judgment occurs, and we are told often to be a discerning people. We are to look at the fruit of others’ lives and determine whether or not they are genuine. Otherwise, we will often be fooled and follow those who will lead us astray. Yes, we examine our own hearts first, but then we are to examine the actions and the words of others as well.

Some people have the idea that being a Christian means you just let things happen without standing up for truth publicly. They say that is true humility. I disagree. Humility is knowing the One who is really in charge and submitting our lives to Him. It means to boldly proclaim His truths so that others will be led away from destruction. To be silent is to connive with falsehood. We are to be watchmen on the walls, sounding the alarm when an enemy approaches.

I will continue to sound the alarm whenever the enemies of God’s truth try to advance. I will not be silenced. And Mr. President, to speak out concerning the falsehoods being promoted by your worldview and your policies is not being unloving; rather, it is being discerning, with the goal of helping people see His truth.

Meanwhile, Mr. President, I would urge you—in the love of God and out of concern for your soul and in context—judge not, lest you be judged.

Righteous Judgment

Lewis & Humility

Sheldon VanaukenSheldon Vanauken was an American studying in Oxford in the early 1950s. He was supremely pagan in worldview and lifestyle. Then he started reading C. S. Lewis. As a student of literature, he immediately was drawn to Lewis’s Space Trilogy, then began digesting his apologetic works. He decided, since Lewis was at Oxford also, to contact him, and a correspondence between them developed.

Lewis dealt with all of Vanauken’s major questions: the uniqueness of Christianity with respect to all other religions; the need for humility and “bending the knee” to Christ as Lord of all things in one’s life. Vanauken, with Lewis’s help, bent his knee one day and became a convinced Christian. Vanauken’s wife also gave her life to Christ as a result of reading Lewis.

What’s interesting is to see Lewis’s perspective on the role he played in the Vanaukens’ conversion. It gives insight into Lewis’s own character, and the prominence of humility in someone who could easily have puffed up his role. Instead, here is how he explained his contribution:

C. S. Lewis 8I hope my interest in you both is something less blasphemous than that of a Creator in a creature (it wd. anyway be begetting not creating, see Philemon 10).

My feeling about people in whose conversion I have been allowed to play a part is always mixed with awe and even fear: such as a boy might feel on first being allowed to fire a rifle. The disproportion between his puny finger on the trigger and the thunder & lightning wh. follow is alarming.

And the seriousness with which the other party takes my words always raises the doubt whether I have taken them seriously enough myself. By writing the things I write, you see, one especially qualifies for being hereafter “condemned out of one’s mouth.” Think of me as a fellow-patient in the same hospital who, having been admitted a little earlier, cd. give some advice.

God will always use a person for His purposes who doesn’t think too highly of himself. I believe Lewis’s books and essays continue to bless readers today, in large part because of the quality of his personal character. It shines through in everything he wrote.

First Great Awakening: Results

Great AwakeningIn my ongoing American history series, I’ve completed three posts on the First Great Awakening. They have highlighted the people whom God used to bring an awakening to colonial America. William and Gilbert Tennant established the Log College to train ministers; Jonathan Edwards was the theologian of God’s love best known for his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God; George Whitefield, an itinerant evangelist from Britain, pulled it all together with a series of trips to America, and was as popular in his day as another George—Washington—was later.

Some, though, have pointed to what they call the bad effects of the Awakening. They single out some individuals who went too far in their enthusiasm and acted strangely. They also decry the split that occurred in some denominations over the Awakening.

To those criticisms I reply: first, there will always be some who go too far, and no movement should be judged solely by their actions; second, Jesus said He came to split families along lines of those who believed Him and those who rejected Him. The split that occurred in some of those churches was sometimes merely a difference of opinion in tactics for preaching the Gospel. Others who objected were beginning to edge toward Unitarianism, which is a denial of Jesus as divine. Therefore, I don’t put much stock in the negative results of churches splitting over the Awakening.

What did it accomplish? I see three definite, positive developments.

  • First, it re-emphasized the personal nature of salvation. Each person is responsible for his/her response to God’s offer of mercy. No one gets into His kingdom by going through all the external motions: baptism, communion, church attendance. Neither is salvation a “group” thing; each one of us must give an account of our lives individually.
  • Second, it started a round of college planting for the purpose of raising up even more ministers (and those who chose other professions) grounded in a Biblical way of thinking. Colleges started during that time included what we now call Princeton, Dartmouth, and Brown. Note that they all began as Christian colleges. How the great have fallen.
  • Third, this Awakening created a common experience for all colonial Americans from Georgia to Massachusetts. Prior to this event, each colony saw itself as a separate entity with more connection to London than to each other. The spiritual experience of the Awakening also awakened them to their common interests, thereby helping to create greater unity of thought and purpose—something they would need as the crisis of the American Revolution approached.

In my view, this First Great Awakening was a genuine move of God to shake the people from their spiritual lethargy and stupor. It accomplished its purpose.

The Obama Zone

Yesterday, ISIS captured more than 100 Christians in Syria. If they are treated as other captives, the women and young girls will be raped and brutalized, then executed. The men may be burned alive or crucified. Hatred drives these Islamists, and nothing will appease them. This is no different in spirit than the Nazis. Both movements were and are fueled by Hell.

Yet what do we hear from the administration about this latest report of Christians being massacred? Not a word yet. You see, we wouldn’t want to “inflame” the captors. It might lead them to continue their rampage of terror. At least, that’s the message Obama’s spokespersons are disseminating.

Our president, meanwhile, shows no signs of changing his mind about the foolish comments he made at the Prayer Breakfast:

Not Be Named

This past week, we did get a warning about a possible terrorist attack on the Mall of America in Minneapolis. Was it genuine, or just a ploy to force Republicans in the Senate to drop their opposition to Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that malls like that would make perfect “soft” targets for the terrorists.

Did you see the sign at the Mall of America, boasting that it was a gun-free zone? Well, that’s great. Now we don’t have to worry about terrorists taking guns in there. After all, it’s against the law, right? And they are so law-abiding. The absolute foolishness of our politically correct contingent is neverending.

Malls

May I take one more opportunity to make fun of the “jobs for jihadists” theme?

Drive-Through Lanes

As a nation, we have entered the “Obama Zone,” where everything we’ve ever believed is now turned upside down.

Obamaland

And here’s another thing that is now reversed:

Dissent

A poignant Scripture from the book of Isaiah is one I’ve used many times to decry what we see happening in our country. I’m going to use it again today simply because it so accurately describes what we are experiencing:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!

Obama the Christian?

ObamessiahThe mainstream media is making a big deal out of forcing Republicans to say President Obama is a Christian. As if they care. Surveys over the years have been consistent: the mainstream journalists that attempt to direct the thinking of the nation are overwhelmingly secularist; 90% or so seldom attend church, and when they do, one might question the choice of that church. What gospel is it preaching?

No, they’re not really interested in Obama actually being a Christian. They just want some Republican candidate for president to say he isn’t. Then they will have a sound bite to use against that candidate forever, painting him as a narrowminded bigot.

Fortunately, I’m not running for an office and never will be. I will say what I think. Let’s look at the evidence. Jesus did say you would know who is and is not His disciple by the fruit of their lives. He also said not everyone who claims He is their Lord is really part of His kingdom. Words are extremely cheap.

So, here is a partial list that might help us determine whether Barack Obama is a Christian. Keep in mind this is a partial list only, but pretty representative.

  • His biological father was an anti-colonialist Muslim. Obama, even though he never really knew him well, idolized him.
  • His mother was a radical leftist who wanted nothing to do with Christianity.
  • He was raised a Muslim, attending Muslim school in Indonesia. No child is responsible for where his parents school him, but it is more than obvious by his actions that he has a special place in his mind and heart for Islam.
  • He was sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Hawaii who were also radical leftists; his grandfather deliberately put Obama under the tutelage of a communist agitator, Frank Marshall Davis.
  • In both high school and at the various universities where he was educated, he involved himself in radical activities and was known to smoke marijuana, and who knows what else.
  • When he became a community organizer, he attached himself to a church because that would provide him an “in” with the community.
  • The “church” he chose was one that preached a “gospel” of Black Liberation Theology, which pictures Jesus as more of a revolutionary to bring heaven to earth rather than as the Savior of orthodox Christian belief.
  • In an interview with a Chicago newspaper when he was an Illinois state senator, he said he didn’t know if there was a real heaven or hell.
  • In that same interview, he clearly stated that Christianity wasn’t the exclusive way to God.
  • He is a radical as well on the issue of abortion, seeking to extend this “right” to every woman at all times. He has praised Planned Parenthood for its efforts to make abortion available to all.
  • As an Illinois senator, he even fought against a bill that would provide medical care to any baby “accidentally” born alive during an abortion. In effect, he favors infanticide.
  • We now know he lied about his support for the traditional Christian concept of marriage; he has favored same-sex marriage all along but hid his views for the sake of election and reelection.
  • His administration supports actions against Christians who hold to their belief that homosexuality is a sin. The Justice Dept. has repeatedly sought to take away tax-exempt status from Christian organizations that don’t go along with Obamacare mandates that violate their Christian faith.
  • He has stepped up the rhetoric against Christians lately, as he seeks to portray them as violent extremists as opposed to the actual Muslim violent extremists.
  • He won’t even condemn acts of Islamic terror by name when directed against Christians, pointedly refusing to even identify the victims as Christians.

Christians Do Stuff

I have no problem saying publicly that Barack Obama is not a Christian. In fact, he’s becoming more vocal about his true beliefs now that he won’t be running for president again.

I understand why Republican candidates have to be careful in what they say; the Obama media will scorch them if they come out too strongly with their real views. The wisest path is to redirect those questions back to the journalists. Why do they never confront Democrat candidates with the same type of “gotcha” questions? Republicans also need to focus on the positive agenda they would bring if elected.

But I’m just an academic and a blogger. I will say what I think—at least until the government stifles free speech on the Internet. I will stand firm for my Christian faith and all that implies in public discourse and public policy. If we stand together on this, we can still turn this around and make a difference. The nation doesn’t have to continue its descent into oblivion.