Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Do we think we're better than Jesus?

From Pastor Brad, Albertville, Alabama:

"Most of us like to get along with others. We want everyone to be our friend. We exert a great deal of energy being politically correct, choosing our words carefully so as not to offend, and generally avoiding conflict as if it were the mother of all sins. We are artists as pacifying and befriending others, often in harmful ways.

As Christians, we know that it is our duty to proclaim the gospel. We also know that, if we speak the gospel, it is going to bring conflict. If we present the gospel to an unbeliever, some nasty things are bound to come up in that conversation:

1. We actually believe that if the other person does not repent and believe in Jesus that they will die and go to hell.

2. We actually believe that they deserve hell.

3. We do not think that they are good people. We believe them to be wicked.

That's just to name a few of the potential deal-breakers if we are honest about what we believe. Jesus said things like this all the time. The Bible clearly teaches that man is sinful and that apart from the risen Savior, there is no hope at all. The Bible is clear about the reality of hell and it is equally clear that those who reject Jesus Christ deserve to go there. We know that. We believe that."

There's more. . .

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What ever happend to. . .

Jesus went to all the effort to bring the Good News, even to his own death, and never gets a word in the annual report.

Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio has revised his mission statement (I AM the way, the truth, and the life) to "Creating a better world by serving people in need" moving from what He did to what We do. Hunger. Housing. Healing. Hope. But no Jesus.

Can be seen at www.lssco.org. Well, never mind--I couldn't find the Annual Report on the web site. I'm working from a paper copy--maybe it will be there later. It is 90% a list of donors--seems like a big expense in a time of shortage.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Churches help the government redistribute the wealth

When I mention my concern about "faith based initiatives" (i.e. churches) taking money from the government to 1) run the church's programs, or 2) run the government's program, I get little or no support--except from non-Christians who also seem to see it as inappropriate, although for different reasons. I just can't imagine (what would Jesus do) our Lord and Savior suggesting that his disciples petition the Roman government for money to feed the poor, offer a cup of water, and bind up the wounds.

Folks, we're going to be in big trouble when the President moves off health care and starts fulfilling his campaign promises to shut us down if we don't have nondiscriminatory hiring (other faiths, GLBT) or offer a sermon on marriage and it's declared "hate speech." This can be done by any number of "czars" or congressional threats by pulling the tax exempt status (one senator has already suggested that because of the Catholic Bishops' opposition to abortion in the recently passed House health care bill), stopping expansion of building programs through zoning, denying church supported nursing homes Medicare and Medicaid, disallowing church schools certain government services, removing a license for adoption or fostering programs if they have requirements that married couples be male and female, etc., etc., or (and it's coming) recognizing the moral and legal rights of animals as equal to humans.

But let's take a look at one "peace and justice" quasi-Christian group, which includes our own ELCA:
    "Jesus said that the poor would always be with us—but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to bring them broadband. A coalition of Christian churches and the Islamic Society of North America has launched a new campaign to bring broadband to everyone in the US so that "our poorest communities, our rural areas, our public libraries, our public schools, and community centers" benefit from the communications revolution that the Internet hath wrought.

    The "Bring Betty Broadband" campaign casts the broadband debate in moral terms. It's about the "right to disseminate and receive information," it's a "right that helps to define ourselves as human beings and political actors," and it's absolutely essential for everyone in a modern society.

    In addition, in the modern economy, just distribution of access to communication and information is essential to promote economic justice," says the group. "Increasingly in the United States, the fundamental right to communicate is meaningless without high speed Internet access."

    The joint effort is part of a media reform project called "So We Might See," and it's spearheaded by the United Church of Christ (which organizes a lot of these "justice" groups). It has also been endorsed by the National Council of Churches, the US Catholic Conference of Bishops, the United Methodists, the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), the Lutherans (ELCA), and the Islamic Society of North America."
I wonder how much of the truth of the gospel is going to be sent via high speed Internet if Main line Christians are cooperating with Muslims on the project? If the government provides the internet access, it can also decide on the content, just as it does for radio and TV. Castro has shut down bloggers; so has Chavez; so has China.

Now through these various clutches of faith groups which spend more time writing grants and having meetings than telling people about the way to salvation, we've got racial justice, environmental justice, media justice, peace and justice, battered women's justice, social justice, justice for women, etc. etc. Justice, the biblical word, is nearly synonymous with "righteousness." God is eternally righteous and the source of all righteousness which can only be understood in his revelation. God's righteousness was revealed in the 10 commandments and the life and death of his Son Jesus. We are declared righteous for Jesus' sake--it's not our own and never will be. Nor will we ever achieve Biblical justice for others by redistribution of goods and services through taxation. And it's definitely not "good works" that follows from faith.

Think about it. Isn't it mind boggling, that many of the Christians in this group who believe that broadband is a "right," don't even believe in the right to life of an unborn child, or the right to medical care for the inconveniently sick and elderly.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Can we trust the Bible?

I think I've spotted what might be ELCA's problem. Have you looked through (Akaloo) Questions for life: Matthew's View? It's Augsburg Fortress published in cooperation with Presbyterian Church USA (2006) and the cover says it's for grades 9-12. Akaloo means "follow." I don't know if UALC is using the series; checking the internet, I see many churches use this series for Sunday school. I found a "loose" copy of Matthew at church, and assume our young people are using it. In glancing through it I thought the "point counter-point" quotables were beyond strange--using Norman Mailer and Dr. Seuss to make a point about safe sex . . .and quotes from American Pie. (The adults who wrote it might "get it" but do 9th graders?) However, this statement on p. 6 of the introduction really stopped me in my tracks and explains a lot about why ELCA has lost its way not only on sex, but other topics, since the Akaloo series includes many age groups:
    "We can't determine for sure what Jesus actually said, may have said, or wanted to say. The gospels are written three, four, even six decades after the events happened. And the four gospels themselves often differ in the details. So we read the story to discover what is says for me, us, and all people of all time.. ."
That's not much to hang a sexuality statement on, let alone a faith.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Peace and Justice Christians--Do they ever get to talk about Jesus?

"The Pittsburgh interfaith impact network, which comprises more than 30 faith-based organizations, promised to hold them [senators, city council reps] accountable on issues such as health care, immigration reform, racial profiling, neighborhood blight and public transportation.

For two hours at Epiphany Catholic Church in Uptown, PIIN members outlined problems and plans for reform, then called upon officials or, in some cases, their surrogates, to answer a series of yes or no questions.

Among the promises, representatives for Sens. Bob Casey Jr. and Arlen Specter said they would support legislation that protects immigrant workers from abuse regardless of whether they were born in the United States.

Allegheny County Council President Rich Fitzgerald said he would continue to support plans to make shopping malls more accessible to public transit riders. A representative for County Executive Dan Onorato said he would make eradicating blight a priority.

And Pittsburgh police Chief Nathan Harper said he will work to implement a policy that would bar officers from targeting people based solely on race. He also agreed to create a "cultural diversity training program" that would be mandatory for each officer and said he wants the force to better represent the diversity of the community it serves."

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09303/1009479-455.stm#ixzz0W6zPwJUu