Encouragement for End-Times Endurance brings you a look at current events around the world from a biblical perspective, including how they might be connected to Bible prophecy.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Safe Space and the Gospel

The phrase “safe space” has multiple definitions. When used to describe campus life and culture, it usually means protection from emotional discomfort, according to a recent article in Harvard Political Review.

poll conducted from May 5 to May 11, 2017 through the polling company Whatsgoodly, revealed that thirty-six percent of college students feel safe spaces are “absolutely necessary.” Between November 8. 2016 and January 21, 2017 we were inundated with a landslide of responses from people who opposed Donald Trump being President of the United States. We heard about everything ranging from pacifiers to Play Dough to guest speaker events being cancelled. 

I am wondering whether this "safe space" mentality is creeping into the church. Maybe it's my old age creeping up on me, but it seems like the character of God, and thus the gospel, is changing with the goal of presenting the church as a "safe space." While God is kind, good, loving, and merciful in dimensions we cannot yet fathom, He is also vengeful, wrathful, hateful, and judgmental. None of these characteristics are out of balance and this is what makes God holy and full of glory. The word "glory" implies weight and when perceived - just a little bit - it will drive us to our knees. A partial verse in James that we love to quote is "Mercy triumphs over judgment." The full verse is "For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment."     James 2:13 

My desire is to keep this blog to a readable length, while still making a point. God's love for us is not the equivalent of a 16 year old who is obsessed with the lead cheerleader. God's love for us is described adequately in these three Scripture verses:
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!1 Chronicles 16:34

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."    John 3:16

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."    Romans 5:8

And while He does draw us unto Himself by His Spirit, there is an aspect of His nature that is a bit elusive; so we are urged to seek Him. 
"Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you."    2 Chronicles 15:2

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart,"    Jeremiah 29:12-13

And to those who do seek God and respond in faith to His grace, here is a sampling of the warnings which sound like anything but a "safe place."

"And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."    Luke 9:23

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."    Luke 14:26

"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,"    2 Timothy 3:12

 "For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps."    1 Peter 2:21 

This short blog does not profess to spell out the whole truth, but to counter some of the "safe space" mentality that seems to have corrupted the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to be soldiers, engaged in a spiritual battle in a world filled with tribulation. Bit fear not, Jesus (our Commander-in-Chief) has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Habakkuk Goes to Las Vegas

In what has been described as the largest mass shooting in US history, 59 have been left dead and over 500 injured when a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel on a crowd of more than 20,000 gathered at an outdoor country music festival.

While this has been labeled as the work of one crazed individual, unconnected to no larger plot to bring about death and destruction to our country, please allow me to connect a few dots. You can then decide for yourself whether or not there is a bigger picture to see here.

Imagine the prophet Habakkuk, not living in a period sometime between the Assyrian overthrow of the northern kingdom of Israel and the Babylonian overthrow of the southern kingdom of Judah (722 B.C. - 597 B.C.) Imagine instead that he was in Las Vegas, Nevada last Sunday night and following the carnage, cried out to God with these words: "The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. 2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you "Violence!" and you will not save? 3 Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. 4 So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted."    Habakkuk 1:1-4 

This was not a prophecy, but a complaint to God. Between verses 5-11 God answers  Habakkuk basically saying, "You ain't seen nothing yet! You won't believe what I am going to do next. I am going to raise up a ruthless people, the Babylonians, to come in as a vulture, swooping to devour." In other words, the justice for which Habakkuk was seeking would be meted out by a people even more ungodly than the people of his own nation. The Apostle Paul cites Habakkuk 1:5 in " 'Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.' " 42 Acts 13:41. So we see the Word of God presented as sharper than any two-edged sword: In Habakkuk the unbelievable thing is a fierce judgment meted out by a pagan nation; In Acts the unbelievable thing is the amazing salvation wrought in the person and work of Messiah Jesus.

The judgment was national and affected a lot of righteous people (Daniel, for instance). The salvation is personal and affects whosoever, removing those who believe from a state of condemnation into a state of righteousness (John 3:18; I Corinthians 5:21). So can we see any parallels between Israel and the United States. It's interesting to note that an actual nation called Babylon was used as an instrument of judgment against Israel; while Revelation reveals a religious and economic system that impacts the whole earth in the last days known as Mystery Babylon and Babylon the Great respectively. These systems, while not yet in their full blown state, have been active in the earth for centuries. They are serpentine in nature and employ an innumerable number of tentacles to grasp and ensnare both people and nations.

When Habakkuk cries out because of violence that is tolerated, laws that are paralyzed, and justice that is perverted, he could easily be crying about the United States in the year A.D. 2017. Violence is not only tolerated, but it is promoted - in music, movies, media, and mother's wombs. Laws that flowed from nature and nature's God 200 years ago have become paralyzed in the face of Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges. Justice has become perverted as evil has been celebrated as good and good has been judged as bad. And he may be hearing God say that He will use an evil Babylonian system, even if it manifests from within, to judge a nation that once honored Him. This may well include judging a "church" that once honored Him as well. And in the meantime, those who still love God and His Word will lament as Habakkuk did.

It is time for a gut check. Although Habakkuk cried out to God for a second time, with words like this: "You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and are silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?"   (Habakkuk 1:13) But God does not back off. Speaking of both the evil instrument of judgment and the righteous in the same breath He says, "Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith."  (Habakkuk 2:4) This statement is also picked up by Paul in Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11. Yes, whether it is in a time of national judgment, or in a season of grace, the righteous will always live by his faith.

"But," you may say, "the incident in Las Vegas was the result of just one crazed individual. How can God's judgment have anything to do with that?" On the practical side, there is already coming to light evidence that indicates that more than one individual was involved. Whether that plays out or not, here are two Scriptures that cannot be ignored:

"...therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; because you did not hate bloodshed, therefore blood shall pursue you."    Ezekiel 35:6 

"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap." Galatians 6:7

As we pray for the dead and the injured, their loved ones and their families, let us also pray for our country and the church. Keep living by faith and keep fighting the good fight of faith.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Of Jehu, Manasseh, and the 2016 Election

I woke up this morning to some new news ...

(Donald Trump had won the presidential election) and to some old news... (another 3,000+ babies were going to be killed today, while in their mothers' wombs). Both the praises and the laments for the former are LOUD, while the laments for the latter can barely be heard.

Much of the evangelical church jumped on the Trump Train, hailing him as perhaps a modern day version of Cyrus (The Persian king appointed by God [Isaiah:28-45:13] to release the Jews from captivity so they could return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple [2 Chronicles 36:22 - Ezra 1:8; 5:13 - 6:14]). I suppose there is some expectation that Donald Trump will be the one to release us from the captivity of the liberal/leftist/progressive/fascist elements of society, including an oversized and oppressive federal government.

May I submit that Israel's captivity had been both proclaimed by God (through His prophets), limited by God, and ended at the hand of the man appointed by God even before that man was born. So I wouldn't get too caught up in the Cyrus analogy. Perhaps a better analogy can be found in Jeremiah 8. There Jeremiah refers to the impending desolation of Jerusalem and Judah as if it had already occurred. Their fate would be the result of the people's stubborn rebellion and sin. Jeremiah's prophetic vision caused much sorrow, yet while he spoke doom and judgment, false prophets were predicting peace. The kingdom had arrived at a place described in these words:
     "'Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed,    Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; In the time of their punishment They shall be cast down,' says the Lord."  (Jeremiah 8:12)

"So what does this have to do with Jehu, Manasseh, and Josiah?" you may ask. Jehu was one of the kings of Israel, appointed to be anointed by Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-17) but actually anointed by Elisha (2 Kings 9:1-13). All of Israel's kings did evil in the sight of God, yet among them Jehu was most pleasing to God.
       "And the Lord said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in doing what is right in My sight, and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in My heart, your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation." 31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin." (2 Kings 10:30-31)

The main purpose for which God had placed Jehu on the throne was to obliterate the house of Ahab, including bringing wicked Jezebel to her prophesied demise (2 Kings 10:30-37). Perhaps Donald trump's appointed task is to bring judgment upon the Clinton Crime Family. This is just speculation on my part, but the analogy is pretty clear.

Now for Manasseh and Josiah. Here the analogy is stretched a bit regarding the players, but it holds strong as to the over-arching principles. Manasseh was a king in the southern kingdom of Judah. He was extremely wicked...
      "He also built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, "In Jerusalem I will put My name." 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger."  (2 Kings 21:4-6)  "Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin by which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the Lord." ( 2 Kings 21:16)

Because of the sins of Manasseh and Judah, God said that he would destroy Jerusalem and take the people into captivity. This began with Manasseh himself being taken captive by the Assyrian army, a hook being put in his nose, and being taken prisoner to Babylon. It was there that Manasseh humbled himself greatly before God and sought His favor. God heard his prayers and restored him to Jerusalem where removed all of the idols and places of pagan worship. (2 Chronicles 33:11-17) It is important to note that in spite of God's mercy towards Manasseh, which extended to all of Judah, even to 4 generations (although it proved that even the most vile of sinners can find grace through genuine humility and repentance) did not negate the nation's sin of shedding innocent blood. Thus after the 2 year evil reign of Amon, the righteous 31 year reign of Josiah (which included genuine revival), the 3 month evil reign of Jehoahaz, there began the 11 year evil reign of Jehoiakim. It was during this time that the Babylonian invasion began which would ultimately result in the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews. The Bible's own commentary as to why this calamity fell upon God's chosen people follows:
       "Surely at the commandment of the Lord this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, 4 and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the Lord would not pardon." ( 2 Kings 24:3-4)

I am no more concerned with timing than Isaiah was when he prophesied the Babylonian invasion/captivity during the reign of Manasseh. Manasseh ruled Judah for 55 years - longer than any king before or after him. His sins ushered in the beginning of an Assyrian invasion, resulting in Manasseh being taken to Babylon. His repentance brought about a reprieve followed by a reformation, and several years later actual revival. There is no doubt in  my mind that the USA is as guilty of the shedding of innocent blood as was Manasseh and Judah. We have been doing it for over 43 years now, and God will judge that. When and how are up to Him.

It is interesting to note that the USA has been undergoing an invasion of people from a foreign land whose countenance is fierce and whose ideology of world conquest is veiled by a thin veneer of religion. I speak of Islam. Perhaps there will now be a temporary halt to the invasion. Perhaps there will be some reforms. Christians are well-known for dusting off 2 Chronicles 7:14 periodically, but the fruit of repentance remains sorely lacking. The continued genocide with the church's passive permission continues.

I am encouraging evangelicals everywhere, from the prominent TV figures down to the members of small village churches to take up the banner of Personhood. There may never again be a window of opportunity to put this national sin of abortion behind us and legally declare that personhood, and all of its due process protections, begins at the moment of conception. Whether Donald Trump is a modern day Cyrus, or representative of a repentant Manasseh, the duty of the church to be salt and light remains the same. As part of that, the "3.1.10 Initiative" (contacting our 3 congressmen at least 1 time per month to pass a Personhood Bill, and urging at least 10 friends to do the same) will be moving into high gear. I'm confident that Donald Trump will sign into law such a bill. May our efforts going forward outweigh our passivity of the past. In Jesus' Name!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

World News Through the 3rd Lens: Connecting the Dots

What do evolution, abortion on demand, same sex marriage, and Islamic terrorism have in common?

 The Scopes Monkey Trial, was an American legal case in 1925 in which a substitute high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.[1] The trial was deliberately staged to attract publicity to the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, where it was held. Scopes was unsure whether he had ever actually taught evolution, but he purposely incriminated himself so that the case could have a defendant.
Scopes was found guilty and fined $100 (equivalent to $1,349 in 2016), but the verdict was overturned on a technicality. The trial served its purpose of drawing intense national publicity, as national reporters flocked to Dayton to cover the big-name lawyers who had agreed to represent each side. William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for Scopes. (Wikipedia)
While the verdict itself proved indecisive, it opened Pandora's Box and over the next 35-40 years the theory of evolution was accepted more and more as true science and the teaching of it crept into every aspect of society. Creationism was swept aside, not even given a place as an alternate theory. Science books touted evolution, and its corresponding ancient earth (millions or billions of years old) theory; government and privately funded research projects at universities were built upon this premise; and the language of "40 million years ago this, and 250 million years ago that" became common everywhere natural history was displayed. Evolution became the science of the religion known as Secular Humanism, and of political systems such as Communism, Marxism, and Fascism. God was being squeezed out of all expressions of public life.
The anti-God crowd had several willing spokespersons. Madelyn Murray O'Hair is best known for the Murray v. Curlett lawsuit, which led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling ending official Bible-reading in American public schools in 1963. This came just one year after the Supreme Court prohibited officially sponsored prayer in schools in Engel v. Vitale. It would take an encyclopedia to list all of the attempts to eliminate and public reference to the "Christian God" of "the God of the Bible" since then. They continue non-stop up to now, with no letup in sight.
So with evolution our national science, and God on the outside looking in, is it any wonder that man would be lured into codifying his position in the process of natural selection? Behind the scenes, Margaret Sanger, in 1921, opened a birth control clinic in Brooklyn, NY and founded the American Birth Control League. The name was changed to Planned Parenthood in 1942. Planned Parenthood championed eugenics, its founder being a rabid racist. While disguised by a lot of double-speak, the core thinking was that the black race was inferior and it should be eradicated, so why not accelerate the natural selection process. Such thinking under girded what became known as Nazism in Germany, only the inferior races included all Jews.
Do you see where this is going? In the USA, the idea that all life sprang from some random combination of proteins in a primordial soup, attacked the common concept that all human was sacred and valuable. Soon the attacks would turn into victory with the Roe v. Wade decision (by the Supreme Court, 5-4) on January 22, 1973. Since then some 60 million babies have been murdered while in or emerging from their mother's wombs. This doesn't count the number of babies killed while in the germinal stage of life by the morning after pill. All the while, a disproportionate (approximately 3:1) number of black lives are snuffed out by abortion.
Disregarding, on a national level, the fact that all human life comes from and reflects the image of the Creator has just led to more strange concepts and practices. One of them is to disregard God's definition of marriage as between one man and one woman for life. Little by little, the pressure from a segment of the population which numbers about 1-2% pushed for recognition of same-sex marriage until it became the de facto law of the land because of a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court in the Obergefell v. Hodges case on June 26, 2015. It would be fair to assume that polygamy, incest, and dozens of other perversions will push for their day in court should the Lord's Second Coming be delayed.


Scripture declares "Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34 "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance." Psalms 33:12 The Bible contains many Scriptures which state that god will judge the nations. One with end-times significance is "Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations." Joel 3:12 It is quite possible that God has been gradually judging the USA as we have gradually been turning from Him. Be that as it may, there are, and have been, natural consequences stemming from our unnatural national decisions. There are now millions fewer productive workers contributing to a more robust economy and contributing to the Social Security Trust Fund. Consequently the over-65 portion of our population has been increasing an to a degree is being supported by contributions from a shrinking workforce. Same-sex marriages do not naturally produce babies, and so the situation is further aggravated.
Now where does Islamic terrorism fit in? In ancient Israel, ultimate judgment for their rejection of God (often referred to as whoring after other gods) came at the hands of another nation (Assyria, Babylon, Rome). When God spoke concerning the coming destruction of Babylon by the Medes, He said, "Surely I will fill you with men as with locusts and they shall lift up a shout against you." (Jeremiah 51:14) This nation must beware of its enemies and Islam has declared itself as such. Islam is comprised of people described as "Their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths.  The way of peace they have not known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall not know peace." (Isaiah 59:7-8) Because of various government practices, some intentional and some by bureaucratic ineptitude, the camel of Islam has gotten its nose in the American tent.

Since 1991 it has been known that the intent of the Muslim Brotherhood is to implement social jihad in this country. The MB stated plan (General Strategic Goal In North America 5/22/1991) is to unite those who believe in their work of destroying America from within. Then rule over them. At the same time The Immigration and Nationality Act passed June 27, 1952 revised the laws relating to immigration, naturalization, and nationality for the United States. That act, which became Public Law 414, established both the law and the intent of Congress regarding the immigration of Aliens to the US and remains in effect today. Among the many issues it covers, one in particular, found in Chapter 2 Section 212, is the prohibition of entry to the US if the Alien belongs to an organization seeking to overthrow the government of the United States by "force, violence, or other unconstitutional means." This, by its very definition, rules out Islamic immigration to the United States, but this law is being ignored by the White House.

The Islamic invasion may not be God's final judgment upon America because she has rejected God on a national level, but it certainly seems to be part of that judgment. The irony is, the very same government which has spurned God is the government opening the doors to an evil people bent on our destruction. As though given over to a strong delusion, the government of the United States is poised to shoot itself in the foot, and perhaps the heart. "Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter." (Isaiah 59:14)

The American Christian must "...Take heed that no one deceives you." (Matthew 24:4) Jesus has told us what would happen before hand, not to scare us but to prepare us. "But he who endures to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 24:13)



Saturday, December 19, 2015

World News Through the 3rd Lens: Islam, the Constitution, and the Bible

Islam has been around for 1400 years...

yet in 2015, in the age of social media, everyone seems to be talking about it. It's not just social media either. In a recent edition of the Johnson City Press, the front page banner read: "Vigil seeks prayer for Muslims, refugees. One of the vigil organizers said that in the face of many anti-Muslim headlines of late, their group would be "standing in solidarity with them, supporting them as good people and Americans." She also said, "It's unfortunate that so many Americans are judging those who practice Islam by their absolute extremists, but don't do so with Christianity," as she pointed to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Robert Dear who is charged in the recent Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs,

Normally I would be the last person to criticize others for organizing a prayer vigil, but this one prompted so many questions and comments, I just could not let it pass.

     How do the acts of Timothy McVeigh and Robert Dear equate with extremist Christianity?
     Where is the Muslim community in all this?
     If more than 90% of Muslims in this country are moderate, why don't we here them proactively speaking out in support of the US Constitution and assimilation; against sharia law and special privileges?
     Why is there a difference in Islamic expression depending on the percentage of Muslim population in a given town, region, or state?
     Why are organizations like CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood given either a free pass or special privileges, in spit of written documents exposing their goal of overthrowing America?
     Why was Iran not only given an unbelievable boost in the attainment of their nuclear goals, all the while spewing epithets at the USA (great Satan) and Israel (little Satan)?
     Why was Iran recently praised by Secretary of State Kerry as being compliant with the terms of the nuclear agreement, when Iran has just tested medium range ICBM's in violation of two UN resolutions?
Those are just a few questions for which we should not seek answers, but our congressmen should be seeking/giving answers too?

Now for a few comments, and I'll be done (for now).

     The following document should be mandatory reading for all 535 members of Congress and for all Cabinet heads. Each one should be required to make a written commentary which constituents can access.

“ A N E X P L A N A T O R Y M E M O R A N D U M  O N  T H E  G E N E R A L
S T R A T E G I C  G O A L  F O R  T H E  G R O U P I N  N O R T H  A M E R I C A ”
The above Muslim Brotherhood document was entered

into evidence in the U.S. v Holy Land Foundation trial, and is

a primary source threat document that provides new insights into
global jihad organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood.
     The US government should take note of the fact that organizations like Open Doors consistently reveal "The one glaring fact that emerges from this report is that the overwhelming majority of Christian persecution around the globe today is being committed at the hands of [fundamentalist] Muslims of all races, languages, cultures and socio-political circumstances"
US government should make it a practice of looking at laws which are already on the books, and then enforcing those laws, rather than make new ones which are more politically correct. For example:
The Immigration and Nationality Act. passed June 27, 1952 and became Public Law 414, states in Chapter 2 Section 212 the prohibition of entry to the US if the Alien belongs to an organization seeking to overthrow the government of the United States by "force, violence, or other unconstitutional means." It also prohibits the entry of Aliens who are members of or affiliated with any organization that advocates or teaches, the overthrow by force, violence, or other unconstitutional means of the US or of all forms of law, and Aliens who publish, circulate and distribute materials teaching or advocating the overthrow by force, violence or other unconstitutional means of the US Government or of all forms of law.

This by its very definition would rule out Islamic immigration to the US, but this law is being ignored by the White House and by presidential candidates who think it divisive and reprehensible to ban the entry of those whose ideology is Islamic. All Muslims who attest that the Koran is their life's guiding principal subscribe to submission to Islam and its form of government. This is not religious discrimination because Islam, disguised as a religion, seeks to bring all people under submission to Sharia. It is in their Constitution, the Koran, which commands Islamists to conduct violence against or to kill those who do not submit to allah and the prophet--at least 109 times, in context.

  Isaiah 59:7 "Their feet run to evil, and they make hast to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths."
  And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you." Matthew 24:4




Thursday, December 3, 2015

Santa, the Sword, and the Star

Syncretism - the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought

The picture to the left would be viewed by many as absurd, and by others as blasphemous. An Islamic Christmas tree! Of course not! Yet for decades, we in the western world have thought that we could engage Islam in economics, military aid, and a seat at the geo-political round table and that eventually they would become so enamored with our values that they would adopt them. Syncretism would carry the day. After all, Islam is just a religion, the free practice of which is tolerated in any democratic society. So here near the end of 2015 we should be asking ourselves, "How's that working?"

You see, Islam is much more than a religion; it is an economic system, a judicial system, and a geopolitical system. With respect to the latter, it is committed to world domination. It is a system where church and state are one; where adherence to "the faith" is maintained with threats of death to all who would depart. In spite of all that, there is a place for syncretism within Islam, because Islam views lying to advance the cause as a moral virtue.

As the Islamic community gains a foothold in the midst of a different culture, lies will be told over and over again to mask the real aims of Islam. Here in the United States, the lies have been institutionalized under banners of such organizations as C.A.I.R. (Committee on American/Islamic Relations).  Following the gruesome murders in San Bernardino yesterday, CAIR in a news release said, "We condemn this horrific and revolting attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured...The Muslim community stands shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans in repudiating any twisted mindset that would claim to justify such sickening acts of violence." A family member of one of the shooters expressed shock at a CAIR news conference. The twisted mindset, however, emanates from the Koran, which repeatedly instructs followers of Islam to kill infidels. While it is a nice gesture for CAIR to issue such statements of condemnation, it is scant window-dressing and propaganda. It is a step back from true Islam, employing syncretism, until a more advantageous time.

Syncretism and Christianity

Although the following words of Jesus Christ are found in the New Testament, they were spoken to an Old Testament people, in an Old Testament economy. "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men..." (Mark 7:8)

Paul would spell out a similar principle to the New Testament Church, which would apply to us today, in the 21st Century. "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)

Keeping those two Scriptures in mind, let's look at two streams of Christianity. One stream abandons virtually all of Christianity's Hebrew roots while the other embraces them. Each stream involves syncretism to varying degrees. Much of the modern church, while reveling in the grace that has set us free from the Law, has at the same time syncretically embraced its own set of observances, which almost carry the weight of law. Volumes could be written about this subject, but we'll mention only one.


At some other time we will explore Christianity's syncretic approach to Easter. For now, because "'tis the season" we will look at Christmas. To suggest that the church should not celebrate Christmas would be tantamount to heresy, yet consider...

     While we freely abandon the commandments concerning the Sabbath and the Feasts of the Lord, we add Christmas as something to be observed, in spite of the fact that neither Jesus nor any of the Apostles commanded us to do so.

     The date, December 25th, has nothing to do with the birth of Christ.

           "In the fifth century, the Western Church ordered it [speaking of Christ’s birth] to be observed forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol [who is the sun god], as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed" (Encyclopedia Americana, 1944 edition, "Christmas").
          Shepherds would not have been watching their flocks by night in the middle of winter in Judea. Historically, the flocks would have been kept in a sheltered area at this time of year.
          It would have been the worst time of year to have people travelling for the purpose of taking a census.
          Historians calculate that the course of Abijah mentioned by Luke 1:5, during which Zacharias served, happened from June 13-19 in that year ( The Companion Bible , 1974, Appendix 179, p. 200). When you do the math, Mary would have conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit when Elizabeth (wife of Zacharias) was 6 months pregnant with John (the Baptist). Fast forward and Jesus would have been born sometime during the last two weeks of September.
     So the church observes the birth of Christ, which we were never commanded to do, on a date that finds its origin in the birth of the Roman sun god, avoiding the biblical evidence concerning the approximate date of Christ's birth. Add to that all of the other traditions surrounding Christmas and you have very compelling evidence that syncretism has been a part of the church for centuries.


The point of this blog is not to play the Grinch and steal Christmas from anyone. It's only purpose is help you, the reader, discover that many things have been added to our Christian faith and practice that are not biblical, yet we passively accept them. This is syncretism. Contract this with Islam, which has on purpose embraced non-Islamic practices at times and places. This syncretism, while not usually displayed by hanging scimitars on trees topped with crescent moons, enables Islam to be welcomed into societies as a non-threatening minority. The first to show their true colors are said to be "radicalized." As numbers increase, what was once radical becomes normal.
The warning to the church is also the same. What was first embraced by a few radicals (heretics) becomes normal a generation or two later. You've seen it; you can imagine it.

Jesus is the Reason for Any Season!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving (To whom? For what?)


To whom? For What?

On my way to a meeting this morning, Glen Beck on the Patriot Channel on Sirius XM Radio announced that Turkey had just shot down a Russian war plane and that World War III had begun. NATO would be holding an emergency meeting in two hours in Brussels, a city still on extended lock-down because of terrorist threats. The US Department of Homeland Security had just issued a warning to all travelers to be on the alert this extended holiday weekend. And JC Penny announced that, for them, Black Thursday would begin at 3 P.M. And the verse of the day on my Bible app reads: "but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57

As I reflected on this verse, I remembered that it was written as the conclusion of Paul's defense of the resurrection. He had made the point that if there were no resurrection then Christ could not have been raised from the dead. If that were true, then we (Christians) would be the most miserable of all people, still dead in our sins and trespasses. Many Christians walk around in the shadow of the cross, overlooking the significance of the empty tomb. If Jesus had only died, claiming that His death was for the remission of our sins, but had not risen from the dead, at the end of day He would have been nothing more than a dead liar.

Paul even makes the outrageous claim that if Christ had not risen from the dead, it would be better to embrace the Epicurean philosophy ("Eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we die.") than to embrace Christianity. But Jesus has indeed been raised from the dead. Paul had already presented incontrovertible proof of that fact, leading to the next fact: we too shall be raised from the dead. That is both good news and bad news.

Some of us remember the old Schlitz (?) Beer commercial: "You only go around once in life, so grab all the gusto you can!" It was a modern take on Epicureanism, and at it's core was the lie that when you die, that's it. Eternal nothingness! But the truth is, all will be raised from the dead, some unto everlasting joy and some unto everlasting torment. It all depends on what we do with this Jesus. Do we believer in His atoning death; justifying resurrection? Do we confess (accompanied by obedience) His Lordship and do we believe He is coming again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

If the answer is "Yes!" then there is a glorious eternity awaiting us. Current events are not so alarming, because as we pray, "Come, Lord Jesus, come!" we understand that things on planet Earth must wax worse and worse until He does. We understand that things like wars, famines, and earthquakes will increase in both intensity and frequency. Apostasy will increase within the visible church while the true church will be purified in the fires of affliction. There is the side of our prayer that we verbalize and the side we internalize. One cannot happen without the other.

It is with that truth in mind that we can "speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," Ephesians 5:19-20 And... "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18