May 2017 Prophetic Observer
For printable version, click here.
Gross Malfeasance of Duty
by Bob Glaze
On July 4, 1776, a document declaring to the world that its citizens would no longer be held captive by another nation or peoples was signed by leaders of the original thirteen colonies, formally forming the United States of America. These leaders were men who were some of the greatest minds of their day. Their words even today defy the most ardent professional politicians that money can buy. While those men of that day were bent on changing the status quo to that of a safe, honest, and representative government serving its people, it seems that the reverse is in vogue for the majority of today's politicians. The servant has now become the master.
King George III of England continually ignored the complaints of the colonists; therefore, their final solution was to dissolve the limitations of the foreign ruler and rebel from the king's chains of slavery. Henceforth, the Continental Congress proceeded to break the bands of loyalty to England by formally writing and presenting the "Declaration of Independence" to King George.
The second paragraph reads: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing it powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, the majority of American citizens abolished the old government under King Obama and began rebuilding the America of their grandparents. However, certain Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, or whatever, have formed a shadow government whose goal is to cast off the wishes of the majority of Americans and return to the years of socialism under a despot of progressivism.
Continuing in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence is penned the following command issued by its founders: "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
The price of liberty is duty, and every person that enjoys this freedom must contribute to the cause. The days of silent consent are over if we are to continue to thrive or even exist in this environment. We as Christians must rise to the occasion because time is short.
Christians have long been abused by government, believing they have no say and should stay away from political issues—especially in the pulpit. To date, no pastor since the Revolution has ever been arrested because he addressed a political issue from the pulpit. The "separation of church and state" in the Constitution is meant to keep the state out of the church, not to keep the church out of state. When this bogus message was accepted by pastors and churches, most became afraid not to comply. Pastors and churches became paranoid that they would lose their 501(c)3 religious non-profit status and begin being taxed as a business.
The words "it is their right, it is their duty" were placed into the Declaration because rights come from God, and they can only be removed by God. Privileges are given by man and thus can be removed by man. Our Constitution was based on the laws of God and that gives us certain rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; therefore, they cannot be rescinded. The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The words separation, church, or state do not appear in that phrase.
"Those discussions—recorded in the Congressional Record from June 7 through September 25 of 1789—make clear their intent for the First Amendment. By it, the Founders were saying: 'We do not want in America what we had in Great Britain: we don't want one denomination running the nation. We will not all be Catholics, or Anglicans, or any other single denomination. We do want God's principles, but we don't want one denomination running the nation'" (www.freerepublic.com).
So, whose fault is it that our country is in the mess we are in, church or government? When the Christian element of society is removed from any civil event or organization, it ceases to be a representative government of all the people. It is a rare thing when a newly elected president gives evangelical Christians credit for helping place him in the White House, as Donald Trump declared in his acceptance speech. This gave many Christians a false sense of security that their champion was now going to lead their fight and they could relax and return to obscurity.
Donald Trump needs the support of the evangelical churches now more than ever if he is to continue to navigate his way to fulfilling the promises he made to the American people of change that will put this nation back on course. There are many dire predictions that President Trump will destroy our liberties and reduce us to ashes. The future of any president depends on those who put him in office continuing to support and guide him toward the mark he has set for himself. Predictions from the opposition mean very little once the dust has settled.
In an article published by www.bpnews.net on October 26, 2016, written by history Professor Thomas Kidd, we are reminded of past predictions about presidential hopefuls: "The election of those candidates has almost never led to anything as dire as what people predicted."
Thomas Jefferson would "inaugurate anti-Christian terror like that seen in radical phases of the French Revolution." Ministers denounced him as a "howling atheist."
In 1928, fundamental leaders denounced Al Smith, who lost to Herbert Hoover for being a Roman Catholic. He was also opposed by Billy Sunday for being anti-prohibition. These and many others were afraid that a Catholic president would lead to Roman Catholicism as a state religion.
For the same reason, many opposed JFK. W.A. Criswell stated that "the Roman Church wins most of its victories with the weapon of time." He added that "on separation of church and state, and the door is open for another Catholic leader who gives the Pope, his ambassador, the church schools state support, and finally, recognition of one church above America."
Professor Kidd sums up the meaningless prediction of the future of any president with these words: "Obviously, Christians will bring serious moral concerns into the voting booth with them, wanting to choose candidates with integrity, and candidates who support the right of life, religious liberty and other important issues. … But we should also remember that no candidate or political party will do the church's work for it, and that the Lord remains sovereign regardless of who wins."
It is the duty of the Christian church to teach and arouse its membership to stand up for the right to life. No person should have their life taken from them except for a capital offense. Has our government violated this right to anyone? Yes, through abortion. It is ironic that those that are opposed to the death penalty champion abortion. According to www.USAbortionClock.org, since 1973 when Roe v. Wade passed, 59,372,088 babies have been murdered. A total of 7,698,973 babies have been murdered by Planned Parenthood since 1970—89,586 this year alone. Our government is not protecting the right to life of those who have become a citizen of the United States since conception.
Liberty of Americans is now a great concern because of new techniques and laws concerning the tracking of personal data. Government surveillance and new technology now makes is possible to know where you are at any time, monitor your telephone conversations, your favorite TV programs, and what you buy at the grocery store.
For thousands of families, the pursuit of happiness has gone from the American dream to a nightmare of futile hope. The eight years of Obama produced fear and hardship on millions of families, but promoted the entrance of millions of immigrants with full benefits. While Obama stated that he was a Christian, in his actions swore his allegiance to the Muslim faith. The pursuit of happiness lost much of its attractiveness on his watch.
Once a people have tasted freedom they will not long tolerate a corrupt and tyrannical government. They will either be free or die, never surrender. The people of this free republic rose up in November of 2016 and answered the call of the "Declaration of Independence" by exercising their right and duty to throw off the government of the liberal agenda, Barack Hussien Obama, and Hillary Clinton.
We have elected a gutsy business guy who is not bound by Wall Street or the good ole' boys of the Beltway.
We elected him because of the promises he made to lead the nation. Now that he is doing what we asked of him, we must not shrink back for fear that we have created a monster. Many believe, including me, that God has given us a small window to complete the mission he has called us to do. Donald Trump is not perfect, but has given us the go-ahead to proclaim the truth about the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus."
Three Questions for the Modern Church
by Larry Spargimino
We may blame the savagery of the Holocaust and Nazi expansionism on Adolf Hitler, or we may believe that Emperor Hirohito was the ultimate culprit for Pearl Harbor and the thousands of lives lost, but if we blame those leaders are we not missing something? Those men could have done nothing without the insane loyalty of their followers.
Because these megalomaniacs were able to convince their followers that a glorious destiny awaited them, with their hate-filled rhetoric and fiery speeches they were able to mobilize a multitude of very intelligent people to follow a course that ultimately led to the destruction of their countries.
What does this have to do with the modern church? Simply this: the amazing popularity of the book and the movie, The Shack, by William Paul Young, would be impossible without the widespread endorsement and support of multitudes of professing Christians.
Some are quite high profile. Eugene Peterson, author of The Message Bible, endorsed The Shack with words that appear on the front cover of the novel: "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good!"
While the story is a well-written, powerful drama of good and evil, there are some major—and I mean major—theological issues that surely should grieve the hearts of those who know the Word of God and want to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ go out into all the world. Sadly, The Shack may be the only exposure multitudes of people have to Christianity.
Can we remain silent, or should we address some of the issues that are raised by Young?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor, author, and theologian who opposed Hitler and the majority of German churches that, by their guilty silence were endorsing the leadership of the Führer,said: "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak; not to act is to act."
I know Shack lovers will be grinding their teeth at me at this point. So to help ease their indignation, I have written a study titled The Shack: The Good and the Very Bad in which I quote from The Shack at length, and also from Young's latest book, Lies We Believe About God. For those who have felt uneasy about The Shack, Young's latest book will show them why. My study should be available shortly from Southwest Radio Ministries.
In this column I want to address three questions to the modern church. I, of course, am thinking primarily of those who are Shack supporters.
Does God Have Any Expectations for His People?
Modern America, and the rest of the world, wants an easygoing faith. This is why the Emerging Church is gaining so many followers. Rob Bell's Love Wins, and Brian McClaren's writings are now forming the theological underpinnings of the modern church. For these authors, and many others, the idea of being obligated to God, and living up to His expectations, and having to meet some standard of behavior, is automatically rejected. It's part of the Hyper-Grace Movement that is catching hold. Does God have any expectations for His people? Does our heavenly Father expect His children to grow up? And is He grieved when we don't?
In Matthew 17 we read that the disciples were not able to cast a demon out of a boy. Jesus was unhappy with their inability to do so. He expects His church to be sold out to Him and be power-filled so we can push back the darkness with the power and authority He delegates to His faithful children. Jesus said, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?" (vss. 15-17).
"Faithless and perverse generation" seems rather harsh. Obviously, the disciples should have been able to cast the demon out. Jesus was disappointed. He made His disappointment known.
The Lord's words of reprimand and warning to the churches of Revelation 2-3, are another good example. Jesus commends the church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:2-3), and then He issues strong words: "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love … repent and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Rev. 2:4-5). He is going to snuff out their light. Ouch!
The same epistolary form is seen in the Lord's words to the church at Thyatira: words of commendation (Rev. 2:19), but then He states: "Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication [sexual immorality], and to eat things sacrificed unto idols … I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works (vss. 20-23). Ouch! Obviously, Jesus did not come to console us; He came to perfect us.
I would hope my readers would realize two very important things: First, the church in America desperately needs revival—the kind that America saw in the past and is currently sweeping different parts of the world at present. Secondly, the way that revival comes is through a holy church, a church that does not give the devil a "place" [a beachhead], one that does not "grieve" the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:27, 30). Emergent theology will never prepare the church for revival. It will simply prepare the church to assimilate the world into its very being and thereby hasten its death.
Is God Always "Nice"?
Some Christians get only a selective exposure to the Bible. They may do their devotions with the aid of a booklet that focuses only on some of the "nice" verses. Others never even read the Bible through, but are only exposed to what is in the Sunday School Quarterly or on the screen in the auditorium of the church. Others allow their theology to dictate what parts of the Bible they believe and what parts are for some other generation. Some can't understand their Bibles because their translation is archaic.
In Acts 5:1-10 we read of the sin of Ananias and Sapphira. Both of them died a sudden death for a hypocritical lie and its perpetuation. But let's look at the aftermath in verses 11-16: "And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people…And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women…There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one."
We can search the Bible and find some pretty shocking episodes showing that God is not always "nice." Lot's wife simply looked back and turned to salt (Gen. 19:26). Uzzah put out his hand to steady the ark and was smitten by God (2 Sam. 6:7). Regarding violations at the Lord's Table Paul wrote: "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily [lit. "in an unworthy manner"], eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged" (1 Cor. 11:29-31). We are ALL unworthy to sit at the Lord's table, but a careful self-examination helps us to partake with humility and contrition.
Does God Ever Leave Virgins Out in the Cold?
Some believe that God is a doting, indulgent Father. Quite to the contrary: He sets boundaries, and gives us warning about those boundaries and their full meaning, especially in view of the fact that we are living in the last days.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13) is a part of our Lord's Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:1-3ff), His extended teaching on the end times, and the importance of the proper preparation.
In the parable, we meet five wise, and five unwise virgins. Five had no spare oil for their lamps; the other five were ready for a long wait and had extra oil to keep their lamps burning brightly. In the parable, all ten fall asleep. Jesus is not teaching that we can never sleep, or never even live at ease—but such a blessing is only for those who are prepared.
When the Bridegroom arrives, those with the oil enter the home with him. The others are left out in the cold. "Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not." This was a resounding "No." A refusal to show them mercy. "Watch therefore," Jesus continues, "for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
In our "entitlement society," people have been trained to believe that everyone is, somehow, entitled to a slice of the pie. The person who does not work is somehow entitled to the same mansion and luxurious style of living as anyone else. Socialism appeals to those who want someone else's large slice of the pie. They stage a sit-in and protest when they don't get that large slice. The idea of shutting virgins out in the cold and not feeding those who don't work (2 Thess. 3:10) sounds like the worst of horrors!
It is harsh. It hurts. It sounds mean. But it is truthful. You have to pay the rent or get an eviction notice. Break into someone's home and you might get shot. Open the borders and create sanctuary cities and sanctuary states always leads to disaster. Preparing for reality, and for what the Word reveals, is wise. Heeding God's boundaries is training for God's realities.
The post-modernists like to escape reality. Marriage is no longer based on God's realities but on sinful proclivities. There is a price: disaster. What's really tragic is when professing Christians get caught up in the lawlessness of the world. Indeed, professing Christendom has given an invitation to the man of lawlessness. The popularity of The Shack is a sad, but truthful, indictment of the modern church.