Who says the sky isn’t falling?

In the latest issue of the “Christian Chronicle”, an individual, in reference to SCOTUS’s decision concerning the “constitutionality” of homosexual marriages (and whose state had already began the process of legally recognizing homosexual marriages before June 26, 2015) was quoted as saying that the sky hadn’t fallen because homosexual marriages had been legalized. Perhaps I’m missing the sky for the clouds, but his comment, at least to me, sounded like a marginalization of the situation that was made toward any “chicken little” who warned about the seriousness of what was happening and what will happen because of America’s decision that day.

Yeah, the world is still ticking after June 26, 2015. People are still are going to work. People are being born. People are dying. People are even eating, drinking and, yes, people are even getting married! But this is true because of God’s long-suffering toward sin and his desire for our repentance from it (2 Peter 3:9); not because of some marginalization of its seriousness; and June 26, 2015 was a serious day with serious spiritual ramifications.

Fact is, for those who are familiar enough with the pictures of Revelation, cultures and kings, nations and economies, and even the “sky” itself can be in the process of falling without anyone outside of Heaven’s perspective even realizing it. And furthermore, I would remind people that it took a while for the raindrops of Noah’s day to reach the ground, but once that sky started falling there was no turning back, nor did all the water come from above. But that’s a whole other rainbow pride type of conversation.

So who says the sky isn’t falling? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I wouldn’t confuse our view of looking up for God’s view of looking down.

For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:38-39

#christian-chronicle, #consequences-of-sin, #homosexual-marriage, #judgment-of-god

RT is up for the fight!

For quite a number of months I have been overly concerned the membership growth of the Highway Church of Christ is directly connected to my failings as a preacher. So much I have been thinking along this line I have seriously contemplated resigning in order to encourage the elders to bring in “new blood” that some stimulation of a different sort may result in numerical growth.

I have been encouraged to dismiss this thought with the few that I have spoken about this.

In the latest issue of the Christian Chronicle (April 2015, pp. 1, 16) there is a short article on the numerical decline in churches of Christ. In the last 25 years, the numerical attendance of the church in America has declined nearly 10%. This decline, however, is not a “church of Christ” problem, but an overall religious interest decline in this country.

What is the reason for this? “‘There is a discernable rise of churchless Americans,’ Barna President David Kinnaman told The Christian Chronicle. ‘This consists of three trends converging: an increasing percentage of atheists, a growing number of nominal Christians disengaging completely from churches and more pressure on well-intentioned churchgoing families who don’t attend as many weekends per year as they would have 10 years ago’ (p. 16).”

The third group mentioned – I don’t quite understand what is being said. The first two, however, I know very well.

I want to offer some thoughts concerning them.

Consider the “nominal Christians.” These are people who want to be saved from their sins (clearly recognizing that sins exist, and that they are damning), but they don’t want to do what the Lord said is required of them. The Lord addresses this very sentiment in the Gospel of John. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:19-21, NKJV, emphasis added).

The idea of being exposed is as difficult of an experience as one can, well, experience. Yet, if salvation is desired, then exposure must result. It has already been seen by God, the guilty one knows about, now there is need for the guilty to own up to it.

The increasing number of atheists is directly connected to a world where confusion reigns with regard to what is right and wrong. I constantly write letters to editor for the exposing purpose of showing the complete emptiness of an atheistic moral code (this includes agnosticism and secularism) in a society where right and wrong is crucial for a civilized community. There is an audience in the community who wants to read such things as I write; thus, I am printed in the newspapers in Decatur as well in Mattoon-Charleston often.

It can be discouraging to labor in an environment where growth is exceedingly slow (if it occurs at all). Labor, however, must continue to occur. Whether or not Ron Thomas is right for the Highway Church of Christ in Sullivan, Illinois might be up for discussion. What is most certainly right is that Ron Thomas has to be up for the “fight.”

#attendance-decline, #christian-chronicle, #determination, #nominal

What Must They Do To Be Saved???

In the recent Christian Chronicle paper there was an article titled, “How the should we interact?” which discussed how certain congregations of the churches of Christ were interacting with three other churches outside their fellowship (a Baptist Church, a First Presbyterian Church and Methodist Church).

Several other issues aside, I want to quickly point out the futility of such work and worship arrangements between “us and them” by using a direct quote in the story.

On page 19 of the (February 2014, Vol. 71, No.2) story a “pastoral minister” for the Southwest Central Church of Christ said, “None of these [works] requires us to deny who we are or compromise what we believe…In a major urban area like Houston, it is not Churches of Christ against Baptists. It is Christians trying to share Jesus with Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews and cultural pagans.

Did you catch that? Because therein lies the problem. We can’t just simply “share Jesus” along side Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. Do you know why? Because we don’t agree, and rightly so, on what those Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jews and cultural pagans need to do to be saved.

Do they need to say the sinner’s prayer? Do they need to simply “believe” in Jesus? Do they only need to confess Jesus and then all is well? Or do they need to actually obey the gospel?

After Phillip “preached Jesus” to the eunuch of Ethiopia the eunuch was left asking “where’s the water?” When such a one asks that of the Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists in relation to the gospel of Christ they are told “the water is over there, but you don’t need that right now, we’ll take care of that next week, next month or maybe even next year; everything is alright, you’re saved just the way you are.” And even when they do get around to baptizing people it’s not for a scriptural purpose.

Now I don’t want to sound argumentative for the sake of being argumentative, but I came from the Baptist background. I have family that I love dearly who refer to themselves as Baptists. I have friends that I love dearly who refer to themselves as other denominational names. But my love for them, and even for others that I don’t know, has nothing to do with replacing the unity of the Spirit that Jesus wants for His church with a spirit of unity that does nothing more than ignore the important issues that must be settled, such as the answer to question of “What must I do to be saved?” For if we do not agree on such an answer then how could we possible “share Jesus” with others along with them?

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)

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#christian-chronicle, #denominationalism, #doctrine, #ecuminical-movements, #religion, #salvation, #unity, #unity-of-the-spirit

Engaging Muslims

In the latest issue of the Christian Chronicle (CC), there is an article concerning Muslims and Christians having dialogue. I am all for that, but exactly what that entails is a bit beyond my understanding, even after having read the piece. It seems to me that if dialogue is desired, then Matthew 7:12 applied will be the answer; don’t know how that can be improved upon. They are lost eternally, so to engage them is a positive thing – both at a gentle level and at an aggressive level. The situation will determine which one is applied.

#christian-chronicle, #golden-rule