It came to a head when I met with the leader of a famous revival organization. I assumed that this would be the last place I would find compromise. To my horror and surprise he warned me that my comments about Obama were opposite their culture. In other words, I had to shut up about Obama or I couldn’t preach there anymore.
My response was immediate and direct. “What if this is the same cheap grace, false honor excuse that the pastors of Germany used to remain silent while Hitler expanded his power? What if God is ordering His vessels to rebuke Obama? Do you want to be one of those men of God with blood on his hands because you remained silent when you should have rebuked the tyranny?” He said he agreed with me but I never heard from him again.
Turn on Christian television and it won’t be long before you see a false prophet today. He will tell his victims that they are about to be blessed and favored. Then he will make an utterly meaningless, high probability prediction. It always sounds sickeningly similar. “The Lord has shown me that you are about to be wealthy beyond your dreams. You do not realize how much Daddy loves you and wants to bless you.”
Since the first misguided “Christian psychologist” discovered that Christians needed to feel valuable, we have been treated to an unending stream of toxic sludge that has left the army of God flabby, drowsy and AWOL during America’s greatest moral disaster.
At some churches, rolling on the floor, drooling while making animal noises is considered the “moving of the Spirit.” Then there is the other extreme: Pastors preach sermons that sound like a late night monologue, stringing together phrases straight out of fortune cookies, making sure that they end on time and leave the audience spiritually unscathed.
Both extremes carry the same lie: We have become too valuable for sacrifice. We are too blessed for the Cross. We are too entitled to join the rest of the Christian world in persecution and holiness.
God is sending the “Preachers of Los Angeles” and all the rest a solemn warning: START LIVING AND TELLING THE TRUTH OR THE ANOINTING AND BLESSING ON YOU WILL VANISH. . God is issuing a dire warning to the false prophets who infest the church: REPENT OR IT WILL COST YOU YOUR LIFE AND YOUR SOUL!
Barrack Obama has left us no choice. He never says anything good about Christians. He never says anything bad about Islam. He foments racial hatred, destroys marriage, and respect for the police (he has given more due process to the terrorists in Guantanamo than to our cops). He punishes Israel. He is working to wipe out the freedoms and hopes of the next generation.
He is a wounded animal bent on destroying everything we hold dear. If the ministers of God had obeyed the Holy Spirit they would have risen up in one voice of holy outrage and driven the king out of office.
Moses rebuked Pharaoh. Samuel rebuked King Saul. Nathan rebuked David. Daniel rebuked Nebuchadnezzar. John the Baptist rebuked King Herod. Stop it! Don’t use the title prophet unless you are willing to rebuke Obama and his abomination. Speak truth to power or you are nothing but a prophetic poser.
There are signs of hope. A very successful pastor prepared to do a series based on the Wizard of OZ at his mega church. He spent thousands on props. He wanted to dazzle his congregation. Then one night he woke up from a deep sleep and realized that God had left him. He felt utterly devoid of God’s presence and peace In his life. He despaired of life itself.
In his desperation he cried out to God. God was grieved by his entire ministry. He had ceased telling the truth. He repented to the bone. The congregation joined him in tearing down the props as if they were idols. “We were once a harmless congregation,” he said. “Now the Holy Spirit is moving in our meetings with great power. We are becoming a mighty army!”
What should be done, legally and socially, with photographers who don’t want to take part in a gay wedding, or churches that don’t want to consecrate a same-sex union? How should we all treat the old-fashioned view that marriage is between a man and a woman?
Many institutions, commentators and politicians already have their answer: Opposition to gay marriage deserves no more respect than racism. The government ought to force a photographer, a musician or a caterer to participate in a gay wedding, they argue, just as we forced racist diner owners to allow black customers to sit at their lunch counters.
But the premise here — that opposition to gay marriage is necessarily grounded in bigotry — is wrong.
But refusing to participate in a marriage ceremony is a different sort of thing. It’s not a statement about the people involved. It’s a decision about the ceremony itself — that one doesn’t want to endorse a definition of marriage that one doesn’t share.
And there are many valid reasons to believe in marriage as being between a man and a woman. There are many arguments to make here, but here’s one, from my own Catholic perspective:
There isn’t really a Catholic teaching on gay marriage — there is a rich Catholic teaching on marriage, which is a sacrament. Marriage is inextricably tied with sex and family formation. To deliberately separate these three things is a moral error, the Church teaches.
Sexual morality, as taught by traditional religions, isn’t terribly popular in the U.S. these days, but it’s a mistake to dismiss these views as archaic prescriptions followed blindly by the faithful. Such teachings are often far more complex than simple “shalls” and “shall nots” accepted as divine revelation.
Consider Aristotle’s view of virtue and happiness (eudaimonia, in Greek). Happiness — a deep, lasting happiness — is a life lived according to virtue, Aristotle writes. Morality can be seen as the roadmap to human happiness.
Over thousands of years, Christianity, building on the traditions of the Jews and ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, has tried to understand human nature ± — through experience, reason, and revelation. From that picture of the human soul, the Church has tried to craft a roadmap.
We need a roadmap because life is full of obstacles and pitfalls that we typically can’t see beforehand on our own, but which are well-known in prior human experience. Walking directly towards what we think we want can often be perilous to our happiness. Sacrifice, patience, and struggle are often required.
It’s not an old-fashioned or purely religious notion that sacrifice is necessary for happiness. Secular morality embraces that notion as well: You shouldn’t always eat whatever you want; you need to exercise; don’t get too drunk.
The road to happiness also involves giving up sex at times, even when following secular moral road maps. Perfectly irreligious, live-and-let-live moral systems often guard against (for example) prostitution, open marriages, sex in the early teen years, and extreme promiscuity. These activities may appeal to some people in the short run, but one need not believe any particular religion to understand how they can cause anguish and pain in the long run.
The roadmaps provided by conservative religious moral systems prescribe a narrower path and often call for more sacrifice. In many cases, for many people, the prescribed path is celibacy. If you want to be a Catholic priest, nun, or monk, you must also agree to a life of celibacy.
If you’re unmarried, most Christian teaching tells you to be celibate. Many men and women are unmarried, despite their best efforts, and asking them to forego sex is asking a lot. But the Church does so out of an understanding of human nature, and the true path to happiness.
Married Catholic couples are often called to abstain from sex if they want to space out the births of their children. And the limitations on divorce often mean a sexless life for married people whose marriages fell apart, or whose spouses suffered a debilitating injury, or were imprisoned.
Everyone is called to some level of sacrifice — some more, some less. Nobody says it’s fair. But it’s prudent, the Church teaches.
For people who are exclusively attracted to people of the same sex, the Catholic Church also prescribes celibacy.
I got this roadmap image from a conversation over coffee with Eve Tushnet, the author of Gay and Catholic. Her heartfelt book makes it clear that carrying the cross of gay celibacy is very different from, and often harder than, the chastity to which other Catholics are called. But she has concluded this is her cross, and her path.
These rules, again, aren’t terribly popular these days. I expect this column to persuade approximately zero people that they should give up premarital sex, birth control, or their same-sex relationship.
But however unappealing or unconvincing you find this approach to sexuality and marriage, how can you say this view is grounded in bigotry?
You don’t need to agree for an instant with Catholic, or Protestant, or Muslim, or Jewish teachings on sex, family, or marriage. But if you can grant that some of these teachings are grounded, not in animus, but in an understanding of love, then at least you can agree to this: We shouldn’t use the force of law to banish these views from our society.
Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner’s senior political columnist, can be contacted email@example.com. His column appears Sunday and Wednesday on washingtonexaminer.com.
By Mario Murillo
Thomas Jefferson said, “in matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
America has changed so fast that many believers wonder if they should change with the times. Indeed, some of our most famous Pastors have stunned the faithful by saying that they now endorse gay marriage and openly state that the Bible is wrong about hell.
There is a phrase that echoes in my spirit, “either it is always true or it was never true.” Truth has a stubborn way of staying the same. Righteousness is timeless. It does not flex, bend, or twist in the wind of modern thought. Likewise, love is unchangeable: full of mercy but it cannot rejoice in a lie.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be stripped of any part of its message if it is to impart eternal life. The central place of signs and wonders wrought by the Holy Spirit also does not change. Jesus irrevocably welded miracles to the preaching of the Gospel when He said, “these signs will follow those who believe.”
Either it was always true or it was never true. Here are examples of the timeless advice of the Bible for preachers today.
1. Integrity in the media: Proverbs 25: 26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked. This warns Pastors who suddenly lose their moral compass under the hot lights of a talk show studio. You must quote the Bible and be quick to answer questions about the Cross, hell, sin, marriage and repentance. America needs to hear the truth… you can be poison instead of healing if you betray your calling!
2. Changing because of the success of compromise. It is easy for a preacher to envy the wealth and prestige of secular celebrities and media pastors who have built empires in the name of God. Psalm 73:1 Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
3. When you leave out truth from your sermon you are dooming the younger generation: When the Psalmist realized how he was slipping because of envy he also saw that he could take down a generation with him. Psalm 73:15 If I had said, “I will speak thus, “Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
4. Don’t make any decision until you see the Glory of God in prayer where you will get a true perspective. Psalm 73: 16 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me—17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.
5. Make sure your pulpit is selfless. Preach what helps them not your career. Acts 20:20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house.
Now some final advice for all of us:
Either it was always true or it was never true applies our hope:
Now some final advice for all of us:
If ever there were verses that were designed to encourage conviction and standing in times that screamed for panic or compromise it is these verses:
Psalm 62: 5-12 My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. 7 In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah 9 Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor. 10 Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. 11 God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this:That power belongs to God. 12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work.
I SHALL NOT BE MOVED! Either it is always true or it was never true that He will heal us, protect us, guide us, restore us, and multiply our giving. Honesty, integrity, fidelity, faithfulness and purity are always valid or they were never valid. Those who move away from the demands of the Bible will also lose the mighty results of obedience. Standing like a rock on our principles will release God’s best!
Open Bathrooms and California’s War on Kids: A Daddy’s Perspective
Why Do So Many ‘Born-Again, Spirit-Filled’ Women Show Off Cleavage in Church?
“I know I’m inappropriate, but I’m trying to save time. I know I’m in the wrong. My mother would not approve. But would it be better that I not come?” Those werethe words of a 30-year-old woman entering church in Maryland wearing a revealing tank top and tight pants.
God bless her, but that’s in the same spirit as saying, “I know it’s inappropriate to cuss in church, but I can’t think of any better way to say it,” or, “I know it’s inappropriate to smoke during praise and worship, but I didn’t have time to finish my Marlboro on the way here.”
Some women—and I am talking about so-called “mature believers,” not lost souls or baby Christians—come into God’s sanctuary on Sunday morning wearing clothes you might rather expect to see them wearing at a dance club on Saturday night. Their blouses cling to their bodies, their necklines dip so low and stretch so wide that they reveal cleavage, and the slits up the sides of their skirts offer more than an innocent glimpse of their thighs. Again, I’m not talking about sinners seeking God or new believers who plain don’t know better. I’m talking about those who claim to be “born-again, baptized, blood-bought” (even tongue-talking) members of the church!
Paul instructed Timothy that women should “adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation” (1 Tim. 2:9), and he told the church at Corinth that “our unpresentable parts have greater modesty” (1 Cor. 12:23). Regardless of how hot it is outside or how busy we are, there’s no justification for Spirit-filled women to come to church wearing clothes that cause some men to pay more attention to the things of the flesh than the things of the Spirit.
But rather than repenting, some of these progressive women are lashing out against campaigns likeModest Is Hottest, calling it sexist. In her critique of Modest Is Hottest, Sharon Hodde Miller, a doctoral student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, argues, “A woman’s breasts and buttocks and thighs all proclaim the glory of the Lord.” Maybe, but I somehow doubt Jesus intended for this aspect of His glory to manifest in church.
Worship artist Jaime Jamgochian launched Modest Is Hottest to reach out to teen girls with the love of Christ. She says, “I feel like there’s always more to it when a girl is dressed inappropriately than ‘I just want to look cute.’”
I agree—and the same goes for older women who call Jesus Lord. I’m not suggesting that women subscribe to the Holiness Movement’s guidelines for women’s clothing and makeup. No, I’m not suggesting religious rules and regulations. But I don’t think Christian women should dress like the worldly women in church or anywhere else. It’s not about a shame-based approach to modesty that Miller opines about in her column. It’s about self-respect—and respect for others.
“I love what Jaime is doing; she is right on: Modest is hottest! I think this is such a good message to convey. Jaime is not being sexist but rather sharing that as beautiful women of God we can look so gorgeous without being revealing,” says Alyssa Shull, a youth pastor at Words of Life in North Miami and founder of The Pink Lid, a conference designed for girls between the ages of 12-18 where beauty and purity are key themes.
“You are respecting yourself and those around you when you are modest,” Shull says. “Lust is very prevalent in our culture, but Jesus says in Matthew 5:28, even if you look at a woman with lust in your eyes it is adultery. So I believe that women can do their part and display themselves in a beautiful way without promoting lust. You can be stylish and modest! I agree with Shull and, as the mother of a 16-year-old girl, appreciate what she and Jamgochian are doing for young teens.
Again, it’s not about the sinner coming in to look for Jesus or the baby Christian still shaking off the dust of the world. We’re talking about tongue-talking women wearing clothes so tight they may as well have been spray-painted on and cleveage falling out of their blouses. That’s why Facebook comments about this topic like this one trouble me: “Get to where God sees and don’t worry about the wardrobe of another person unless you are inclined to buying them new clothes to wear.” And this one: “Even if they aren’t lost, they have an identity issue. Who are we to judge?”
If we can “judge” that they have an identity issue, can’t we judge that they shouldn’t be showing cleavage in church? Isn’t the Word of God clear on this matter? And it’s not our responsibility to buy a woman new clothes just because she’s wearing seductive garb to church. But it is our responsibility to speak the truth in love to those who may not know better and to lead by example. In too many ways—including sometimes our wardrobe—Christians have conformed to the world. Paul warned us not to “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2).
It’s not about being the fashion police, and it’s not about condemnation. If the Holy Spirit convicted your heart about the way you dress as you read this, don’t let the devil beat you up. Just buy a few new modest outfits and keep praising God! It’s about not purposely opening the door to the spirit of immorality. Sure, as one Facebook commenter noted, a woman could wear a burlap sack to church and still find lustful eyes upon her. But does that mean we let it all hang out in the name of liberty? God forbid.
To read a response from a guy’s point of view, click here.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.