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Month: July 2011

Christian Mass-Murderers?

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The recent heinous terrorist attack carried out in Norway by the maniac Anders Behring Breivik has once more brought Christians into disrepute with many news outlets erroneously identifying this murderer as a Christian.i Putting aside this man’s personal case for a moment, it is all too common for people to be described by themselves or others as “Christian” without any legitimacy to their usage of the term. Christians themselves are in part to blame, for they frequently accept shallow professions by the famous and notorious merely in a misguided effort at publicity, legitimization in society’s eyes, or for increasing statistics of converts. The Lord Jesus Himself was quite stringent with those who wanted to follow Him. One’s bare declaration of faith was not sufficient; their profession had to be real, and He could read hearts (John 2:23-25.) His apostles also looked for true conversion and its subsequent fruits in the lives of those who professed to be Christians. Appreciating Jesus’ ethics, opposing His secular and religious enemies, and desiring the benefits of the kingdom were not sufficient grounds for really becoming a believer. For one to really be a Christian, they must receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior (John 1:12; John 3:16; John 5:24.). The Scripture puts it starkly: “He that has the Son has life, he that does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12.)

Words Have Meaning

One would scoff at a professing Marxist who had never read The Communist Manifesto or Das Kapital; his profession would be still less credible if he took up a career as a stock broker on Wall Street. Likewise, one could affirm themselves a member of a political party, but if they disagreed with the majority of that party’s platforms, disliked their candidates, and lived in a manner that thwarted that party’s agenda, one would surely be justified in rejecting their claimed adherence to that political party. Or what about a Vegan who owned a chain of burger joints and daily feasted on ¼ pound cheeseburgers?
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The Lord Jesus Christ: Persona Non Grata Of The 21st Century

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“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.” John 16:1-3

Much to the consternation of secular elites, spiritual beliefs continue to thrive in many parts of the world. But then again, not all spiritual ideas are equal. The Bible cautions us: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1.) Just because something emanates from the spiritual world does not automatically ensure that it is from God. Satan is an enemy of human souls who is able to transform himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14.) Sometimes this diabolical deceiver walks in the halls of tyrannical and oppressive powers, sowing discord, violence, and pain. Just as often, however, this traducer is found in temples, churches, synagogues, and mosques, whispering doctrines of demons into the itching ears of religious men and women (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 4:3.) Everything must be tested in accordance with the Spirit of truth who has revealed His will in the Holy Scriptures (1 Thes. 5:21.)

Hirelings Versus The Good Shepherd

It is astonishing to see the acclaim that is given to some religious leaders in our world today. The Dali Lama, the Pope, and other high level clerics are feted, praised, and consulted by celebrities, politicians, and academics. This world’s treatment of Jesus Christ stands in marked contrast to how these religious frauds are received. They are lauded, He was reviled. They preside over great material resources, He had no settled dwelling place, maintaining that, “foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Mat. 8:20.) They are sought out by the princes of this world, He was delivered up for crucifixion by them (1 Cor. 2:8.) Their opinions are carefully analyzed in the halls of academia, yet His Word continues to be ridiculed and excluded from centers of learning and power. In short, this world loves these men because they are part of the same human-exalting, God-denying system (1 John 2:15-16.) They represent idolatry and falsehood; conversely Christ represents His own unshakeable kingdom, which is based upon the truth and accurately reveals the true character of God the Father (Mat. 11:27; John 18:36-37; Heb. 12:28.)
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Unconventional Prophets

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“And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.’ Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation.” John 11:49-51 [Emphasis mine.]

There is nothing like raising the dead to get people’s attention. In the aftermath of the Lord Jesus calling His friend Lazarus forth from the tomb, many people “believed in Him” (John 11:45.) Christ’s enemies could not deny that He performed many miracles as signs of His identity as the Messiah. Therefore, they decided to do away with the One that they viewed as a wonder-working Nazarean upstart. What is more, they also plotted to murder Lazarus, the latest evidence of Jesus’ power (John 12:10-11.) “If one does not care for the evidence, just bury it,” seemed to be their motto. This incident was merely one more example of the long history of this world’s opposition to God’s Word.

Asleep In The Light

The Almighty has taken great care to reveal Himself to His creatures, but in their sin they habitually refuse to receive the light that He provides through the Scriptures. Of course, the Bible shows us the Son of God, Who in turn manifests the God the Father to mankind (Matt. 11:27; John 14:7-9.) Yet some of those who claim familiarity with its contents demonstrate a woeful neglect of the God Who is revealed on every page. As the Lord Jesus told the observant Jews who confronted Him: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40.)

The religious leaders who dominated the Temple and the ruling council (the Sanhedrin) set aside the miraculous evidence that vindicated Christ’s claims, electing instead to do away with this nettlesome teacher. They prejudged Him without giving due consideration to the facts surrounding His ministry (John 7:51-52.) They conceded that He performed “signs”; yet these mighty works failed to sway their stubbornly entrenched opinions concerning His provenance (John 11:47.) Judaism’s earliest position on the Lord’s miracles was to attribute them to Satanic power, a view that was later reaffirmed in their revered Talmud (Mk. 3:22; cf. Tractates Sanhedrin 43a & Toledoth Jesu.)i
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