Friday, 20 May 2016

Who's Afraid?

"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”"
Romans 8:15 NKJV

"Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims."
1 Corinthians 6:12 The Message

There's a lot of media play these days about being "x-phobic", add your choice of word for "x". Islam, Homo, Trump, Hillary or whatever the commentary is about. Any time a Christian speaks out the cries of phobia are alarming.

We don't have to be afraid. But anyone who speaks in opposition to anyone else is unilaterally declared (usually by Fox News or CNN or some other channel) to be "phobic" of that particular group.

Now, I'll acknowledge I have a certain amount of nervousness about the upcoming US election. Frankly I'm not sure any of the major candidates are suitable for the role of leader of the "free" world. But who is, really? The role is a daunting one that requires a great deal of fortitude mixed with diplomacy. But I'm not afraid of the issue.

What's the deal with telling us we're afraid if we disagree with something?

The answer is actually simple. The World is afraid. It lives in a constant state of fear. We hear it in every news broadcast. If it's not a political candidate it's the environment, or the economy, or Christians, or Muslims, or all of the above. And in truth, the World actually has good reason to be afraid. At the Last Day when Christ returns the World will be destroyed by His Judgement. And it knows it - every living being has knowledge of the need for Christ hardwired into it, but Satan twisted it up so much that they quite literally are blinded to it.

So how do we as Christians deal with the wall of fear we face when we stand up for Truth?

Alarmingly, many are choosing to fall in line with the World's views about, well, pretty much everything. Mainstream denominations are capitulating to the pattern of this world regarding far too much. The verses in Romans that follow the opening quote from this post specifically address sexual immorality, something which is ignored by most these days, or actually embraced in many places because it's the individual's "choice" or "they were made that way". In the World's eyes these are legitimate arguments, but how can the Church turn away from 2000 years AD and several millenia BC of morals when the Scriptures specifically say God is the same yesterday, today and forever? (Hebrews 13:8) If God hasn't changed, why are our leaders insisting we change our views? And where are the voices standing up to them? Where is this generation's Martin Luther? Or George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley? Or Wilberforce?

The silence is deafening. Leaderless, the church is veering away from the recorded teachings of Christian doctrine and embracing universalism, pantheism, panantheism and paganism, some denominations have leaders declaring openly that all religions lead to God anyway.

CS Lewis compared Christianity to a mathematical equation. The other religions may have a part of the answer, but there is only one fully correct answer - Jesus Christ. All the others, no matter how close, are wrong.

If you look at my older posts you'll see I am quite fond of a particular statement by William Booth, Founder of the Salvation Army, who spoke of the issues we are facing now a full century ago. Modern teachings suggest, no - explicitly state - that there can't be a literal Hell (even though Jesus spoke as though He believed there was one), that a relationship with Christ is not essential to being a Christian (nope, I don't understand that one either!), repentance is not essential for forgiveness (seriously?), salvation doesn't mean you have to change (no regeneration?), and God has no place in politics (but not vice versa).

Booth saw it coming even before World War One, yet a century later the "leaders" are blind to it.

I'm glad I don't have a spirit of fear. I'm unnerved even without one.

I'm not afraid of Islam. Or homosexuality. Or (most of) the political candidates.

But it doesn't mean I have to agree with them or accept them. Islam (the non-ISIS variety) is close to the Truth, but it misses the Salvation of the Relationship Jesus offers. It's wrong, and I care very much about the end destination of my Muslim friends, but I'm not afraid of it.

Orwell said that in times of deceit, truth becomes the ultimate hate-speech. These days it's very much the case. In South Africa we have a President whose party refuses to impeach despite the Constitutional Court declaring he has violated the constitution he swore to uphold. Successive "leaders" of both America and Britain have deceived allies and enemies about almost everything they've done that has put the countries in the situations they now face. Yet they remain un-phased and, alarmingly, still in power.

But the crux is the accusation the World levels at those who dare take a stand. The accusation that it is based on fear of change. Perhaps in some cases that has been true in the past, thinking of the Inquisition in particular. But in those cases it was the fear of losing control that was the issue. Take that off the table now. Christians - and I'm not referring to the KKK and such who the media would have everyone believe are "christians" - but real Christians, Born-again and Spirit Filled, generally are not the ones in power. Certainly not as individuals.

So we don't fear the World and it's opinions.

But the World certainly fears us.

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