The Cross and the Flag

Cross-Wooden-with-Draped-American-Flag

From before the founding of this great country Christians have fought and died in various campaigns, small and large, national and international, to repel enemies, secure freedom and thwart tyranny. The original settlers to the shores of this new world had no specific vision of what this could or would be; they simply sought a place where they could survive away from tyranny, establish a home, support themselves and worship God in freedom. They sought a place where no governing body could demand they worship and think as that government dictated.

Ultimately the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were framed by men who understood the price to be paid for the freedoms they sought, as well as the flag-raising-on-iwo-jima

responsibilities of every individual to protect and keep them.

While there are many and loud cries to the opposite, the records, writings and founding documents are clear that the American colonies were grounded and founded on Christian principles, as a nation where freedom of religion was a cornerstone. Thus, the Bible was and is to be held as a free and clear guide to the society in which we live. Over a period of less than 200 years the USA became the most dominant nation in the world, offering freedom to those who chose to integrate into this society, regardless of race, color or creed.

Unfortunately, the nation has been hijacked by people who disdain Christianity and who hate the idea that there is a God watching over us who does not approve their licentious lifestyle. The ones holding to this will tolerate any thing, except Christianity. They have adopted the humanist manifesto as their guide to life, believing the lie.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Christian who views this country as God’s promised land (perhaps not quite literally, but figuratively). If asked if the US is a Christian nation he would normally reply in the affirmative; as opposed to a nation founded on Christian principles and the Judeo-Christian ethic. This person would readily identify with the Cross of Christ draped with a US flag, as depicted in the illustration, seeing the two symbols as inextricably linked.

That particular depiction of the Cross of Christ is immediately viewed by most American Christians as a symbol of Christian patriotism.

I have made a case, in a previous post, that the church in the US has been infiltrated by humanism. This has never been more obvious than in the past 45 years. That there is “leaven in the dough” goes without saying. Though the amount varies significantly from denomination to denomination, individual to individual, it is obviously there. The evangelical movement was once a stalwart in advancing the cause of a conservative Biblical interpretation. However, as might be expected, as the culture pushed back against the beliefs of the evangelicals, many began to waver in the face of opposition. The most obvious problem has been that only a small percentage of Christians read the Bible or know what the Bible has to say. And, of those who do, there are many who want to disagree with some parts of the text. In so doing it becomes easy to interpret other parts in a way to diminish confrontation with the sin in our society.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.; Strength to Love (1963)

Abortion and the redefinition of marriage as anything other than one man and one woman are two glaring examples.

God’s extraordinary blessings on this nation are now viewed as ‘entitlements’.

Now, the flag of the United States of America, unfortunately, represents a pluralistic nation that refuses to honor, much less bow a knee to Almighty God. This great flag symbolizes a once great nation that has determined the murder of the unborn is a good thing, a mother’s right, and should be blessed by God, denying the most basic law of God regarding innocent life. This flag represents a nation of lawlessness, where reprobate minds, sitting on the highest court of the land, decide what is legal, based not on the Constitution, but on what the people want. This flag represents a nation that says marriage is defined to be whatever two (or more) individuals want it to be; thus destroying the basic foundation of our society – the family.

“The LORD hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocentblood, a heart that plots wickedschemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.” [Psalm 6:16-19]

But what of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The cross represents one of the most horrific forms of execution ever devised. Jesus, falsely accused and convicted, suffered and died in a public execution on a cross outside of Jerusalem.Christ on the Cross_Rubens But, three days later, He was physically resurrected by the power of Almighty God, and, having conquered death, He finally and forever defeated Satan!

The empty Cross of Jesus Christ represents the sacrifice paid by the Son of God to redeem mankind (bring us back to our original status with Almighty God). It is an ‘immutable’ (unchanging) symbol of the Grace and Mercy of our Eternal, Just and Righteous God.

So, I must object to the profaning of what the Cross is and stands for by a flag that represents a nation becoming bereft of every vestige of that One who died for all mankind!

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Help, I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Get Up

Good Without God! Really?!? (Part V)

Man has, from the very beginning, exercised his will in opposition to God, by seeking to operate outside of God’s Will. In a similar vein, mankind has used the intelligence God gifted them to devise ideas of why they believe God does not even exist and all of creation just happened. Reality? NO! Lunacy? YES!

Man upside down in dirt hole with legs in the air

However, my purpose here is to speak to the end result of that questioning of God – the religion of humanism and how it has crept into the Christian Church, the universal, worldwide body of believers in Jesus Christ. Within the universal Church there are numerous subsets and denominations. Just as the human body is a unified creation, made up of many different but essential elements, so the Body of Christ (the pure and true Church) holds to a set of foundational beliefs that cannot be set aside and still remain part of the Body.

“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”        [2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12]

Apostasy, as I will discuss it herein, defines the process of falling away from the Christian faith.  It is a revolt against the truth of God’s word by any believer, group or church organization that has “fallen away” from the truths of Christianity as divinely revealed in the Bible.

It is as simple as that! Humanism has been a primary cause of apostasy. The false teachings of humanism began to seep into Christian thought and writings as early as Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274), and followed by the likes of René Descartes, Jeremy Bentham, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and John Dewey, among many others.

In my early years as an adult in the church I experienced numerous examples of people talking out of both sides of their mouth regarding what they believe and how they put it into practice. One of the primary problems that eroded the foundations of church bodies was failure of individuals to study and know the Word of God. Whether it was simply spiritual laziness, or the distractions of busy lives, or materialism or the explosion of audio and visual mediums of communications, followers of Jesus began to drift away from focus on God’s Word. Many remained faithful to church attendance (it’s a social thing), but created a segregated life of home, work and church. They found it easier to let a pastor or teacher ‘spoon-feed’ them with spiritual truth during a short service on a Sunday, than to acknowledge their personal responsibility to spend time daily exploring God’s Word for the truths He had for them. For example, the difference in a person feeling good because they know there are diamonds in a particular rock formation, versus the one having the tenacity to carefully dig into the rock and extract the diamonds.

Our God is a triune being who, from eternity past and forever, exists in fellowship. He welcomes fellowship with His children. As we grow in our love for Jesus through the Bible and the teaching of the Holy Spirit we find favor with God the Father.

Many pastors, who came up in this environment of apostasy, found that teaching bits and pieces of the Bible, eliminating those areas that were caustic to the culture, would facilitate growth in attendance and membership of their local church.

woman-rejectionThe people who have developed such a lifestyle will eventually pattern a god that fits comfortably into their lives. However, as can be seen in all congregations, they know how to “play church,” how to act and speak the part. It is possible to know someone for years and never grasp the disposition of their spiritual walk. Indeed, many aspire to and gain positions of leadership for the gratification of their ego and/or their desire to rule others.

When confronted with issues that endanger their belief system, they spout out, “Well, I believe God loves all people and would never do ‘such and such.” Or, “I think God would never support that kind of belief or action.” Or, worse yet, “Though there is nothing to support it in the Bible, I am sure Jesus would agree with this.” (See the Post on Pres. Carter) The operative word here is “I”. So to speak, people rip out the parts of the Bible that interfere with their personal beliefs or lifestyle, while building a belief system out of what little remains. You can approach the Bible with a sin-hardened lifestyle, pick out certain passages and try to prove a point. The Bible is either all true, inspired by God, or not.

The late Adrian Rogers (Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, TN) described the ministry of the three persons of God in this way:

  • The ministry of God the Father is to rule the universe!
  • The ministry of Jesus the Son, in conjunction with His Father, is to save mankind!
  • The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to open blind eyes, to bring light, to bring understanding!

The person who has believed in Jesus as the Son of God, and that He died, was buried and rose from the dead, physically, and is alive today, has been redeemed and is a part of the Family of God.

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” [Ephesians 1:13-14]

It is this Holy Spirit, permanently resident in the believer, who teaches us the Word and provides guidance in the daily pursuit of life. Since this is built on faith in God, the humanist cries foul, and is bent to accept nothing he can’t see or prove by science.

Paul explains why it is different for the non-believer.

“But the natural, non-spiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them (of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them) because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.” [1 Corinthians 2:14 Amplified Bible)

There is but a remnant in the USA of those who trust God, read, study and follow His Word, and lead a life worthy of the calling placed on them by their Master, Jesus. Large numbers professing Christianity cannot, will not, submit their entire lives to Him. The book of the Revelation, the final book in the Bible, speaks to how that turns out!

Former Pres. Carter Admits His Wish to Re-Write New Testament

Has God appointed Jimmy Carter to revise and update the New Testament?!? After 2000 years, is it possible the devolved and corrupted wisdom of the humanist mind will finally get their way?

Probably NOT!

But the simple fact that Mr. Carter would reluctantly make such an admission of the truth of what is recorded in the Bible, and then turn around and readily admit his belief God got it wrong, is a perfect example of modern humanist belief that the Bible is not the Word of God.

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From MEDIAite.com; by Alex Griswold; 7/7/2015

Former president Jimmy Carter has admitted that there is not a single verse in the gospels where Jesus approves of same-sex sexuality or same-sex marriage.

“Former president Jimmy Carter said on Tuesday that he believes Jesus would approve of gay marriage, though he said that he doesn’t have ‘any verse in scripture’ to corroborate this notion.

“‘I believe he would. I believe Jesus would. I don’t have any verse in scripture…’ Carter responded when asked by HuffPo Live host Mark Lamont Hill whether Christ would embrace same-sex nuptials. ‘I believe that Jesus would approve of gay marriage, but I’m not – that’s just my own personal belief.’”

–           –           –           –           –           –

Well – he hedges a little, as a good humanist will do, to hide the fact of his disbelief in the Bible’s Truth.

Once again the former President, starved for publicity, verifies God’s Word:

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” [Proverbs 12:15]

Be Careful What You Wish For

520px-The_worship_of_Mammon

Good Without God! Really?!? (Part III)

Through the 20th Century, while Christian adults became more and more numbed to the sinful lifestyles portrayed all around them, their children were taught by those same portrayed lifestyles. And imaginations, the most fertile ground within young people, began to seek further and further into ideas and patterns God strictly forbids. If, as the Humanist believes, there is no God, there is no life after death, and man evolved from slime, then moral relativism rules the day. No one can tell anyone else that one way is better than another.

That became a swirling torrent in our culture. The Christian Worldview was criticized from all angles. On the one hand the Church leadership, in many denominations, began to hedge their bets; they were unwilling to preach the Word in truth and let God be their shield and provider. On the other hand, because Christianity was held in esteem by the majority, personalities from politics, sports, entertainment and business used the label of Christian and/or veiled references to garner further accolades, votes, endorsements, etc. while living out a life that clearly ran counter to the way of the cross; thus advancing a form of “Christian Hedonism.”

And the train just kept rolling, faster and faster. More and more mixing of Humanism into the Church. The seminaries were turning out potential leaders who had rejected some foundational aspects of the Christian faith. But churches welcomed them, never truly vetting their core beliefs. Better pedigrees (PhD’s, ThD’s, and DMin’s), better pulpiteering, or a book published; many times these trumped the man grounded in the Scriptures. Form over Substance!

Jesus said, “It is written: Man must not live onbreadalone but on every word thatcomes from the mouth ofGod.” [Matthew 4:4]

At breakneck speed, from before the beginning of the 20th century, many Christian denominations were not only accepting, but promoting the denigration of Scripture from the truth –that it is God’s Word – to the belief it is a book about God with some historical and moral ideas for discussion. This led to a swirl of cultural problems, including acceptance of divorce, non-married co-habitation, abortion, racism, and today’s big splash – illegally legalizing homosexual marriage. In addition, greed and corruption prevailed in government and business (the end justifies the means).

We no longer understand or accept that we are not to covet what God abhors.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”” [Jeremiah 17:9-10]

I could go on and on – but, the picture is very clear. Roe v. Wade is only a result of the problem; Obergefell is only a result of the problem.

What’s the problem? A weak-kneed Church riddled with humanist thought, who fear man more than they fear God.

“The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” [Psalm 19:9-11]

The ‘silver lining’ to this tale of woe is this: Since the Church was born over 2000 years ago, in every generation, it has grown in the midst of persecution!

Next: Delineation of the Humanist Manifesto in the light of God’s Word.

Leaven in the Dough

Good Without God! Really?!? (Part II)

Okay, so, I talked previously (see Part I) about some general aspects of Humanism. You might look at that and wonder, “How could two such opposite belief systems ever get syncretized?” I’m glad you asked. The answer can be found in the weakness, or failure of the ChurchBread_Photo

  • in standing firm on the truth and inerrancy of the Word of God, and
  • in withstanding multiple extreme seismic cultural shifts. (Much of which would not have transpired if my first point had been upheld)

By the way – in the Bible, unleavened bread represents spiritual purity. Therefore, leaven represents impurity, or sin. We will see how the Church has become very much leavened.

Humanism is an insidious system of beliefs. Those who cling to the beliefs are rarely concerned with purity within their belief system, choosing to accept some but not other tenets. I say insidious because of the practices of the practitioners. Many people, when confronted, will say, ‘of course I do not believe that’. However, the life they lead sings a different song.

Meanwhile, the local church has been pinned down with the establishment of buildings and budgets and large staffs. Business plans and formulas began to creep in. Budget became the new king – and the end justifies the means. As I mentioned in the previous post, when Jesus taught on the ‘cost of discipleship’, e.g. forsake everything to follow Him, most of His quasi-disciples left. In other words, the means can only be the pure Gospel proclaimed to all people everywhere.

“Commit your activities totheLORD, and your plans willbeachieved.” [Proverbs 16:3]

The people in the pew grew lazy. To keep such an organization going required a continual cash flow. Therefore, do whatever is necessary to keep the people happy and coming back!

In the early Post WWII years that was not so much a problem. People looked to God and the Church for spiritual guidance and redemption. Jobs were plentiful, and people believed in tithing, or giving liberally to the ongoing of church ministries. But very quickly the explosion of commercialism and new technologies for entertainment, freely enjoyed by those outside the Church, began to woo the Christian. Churches, contrary to the warnings of Scripture, fell into utilizing various forms of entertainment and sports to bring people into the building. The preaching of the ‘whole counsel of God’ sometimes got in the way.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer made this assertion:

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other  direction.”

As the 1920’s roared in, entertainment somewhat modeled the moral climate that had been established by a distinctly Christian culture. Christians felt safe in participating in the movies, theater and music that was springing up. Most Christian adults ignored the humanist and anti-Christian messages blatantly displayed, choosing to see their entertainment demi-gods and goddesses through ‘rose colored glasses’ (Read Renaissance of the Disciple). Television quickly pried open the door to the home.

For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.” [Romans 1:21]

Such is the subtlety of Satan’s schemes for mankind. And pictures and words, given free rein in the mind and thought patterns, slowly begin to change a person’s worldview. Once a person has seen a pornographic picture, it cannot be unseen; or sinful words laced through a haunting melody cannot be forgotten. They stay in the ‘hard-drive’ of our mind, ready to be pulled up when needed. As we move forward into the world of the ‘flesh’, our psyche works like a ratchet – ever moving forward, never moving back. (Read more on The Ratchet.)

Next: Part III – More Humanism in the Church