The mark of the beast and love for the Lord

Nothing about the book of Revelation here; I borrow the apocalyptic phrase to note that I’ve been written up. Marked as a false teacher. Relegated to the scourge of the earth. All because of who I associate with.

Amazing it’s not happened before now. Well, there have been one or two who took potshots. But nothing as specific and detailed as the X drawn on my forehead this past week. Continue reading

#corollaries, #criticism, #good-attitude, #religion

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Timeless Truth on Intimidation/Bullying

Albert Barnes, New Testament Commentary on Mark 3:21

“He is beside himself.

He is delirious, or deranged, The reason why this report gained any belief was, probably, that our Lord had lived among them as a carpenter; that he was poor, and unknown; and that now, at thirty years of age, he broke off from his occupations, abandoned his common employment, spent much time in the deserts, denied himself the common comforts of life, and set up his claims to be the Messiah, who was expected by all the people to come with great pomp and splendour. The charge of derangement on account of attention to religion has not been confined to our Saviour. Let a man be made deeply sensible of his sins, and spend much of his time in prayer, and have no relish for the ordinary amusements or business of life; or let a Christian be much impressed with his obligation to devote himself to God, and act as if he believed there was an eternity, and warn his neighbours of their danger; or let a minister show uncommon zeal, and waste his strength in the service of his Master, and the world is not slow to call it derangement. And none will be more ready to originate or believe the charge than an ungodly and infidel parent or brother; a self-righteous Pharisee or professor in the church. At the same time, men may endanger themselves on the bosom of the deep, or in the bowels of the earth, for wealth; or may plunge into the vortex of fashion, and folly, and vice, and break in upon the hours of repose, and neglect their duties to their family, and the demands of business, and in the view of the world it is wisdom, and proof of a sane mind! Such is the consistency of boasted reason; such the wisdom and prudence of worldly men!”

[Truly, Jesus said: “”Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12 NKJV).]

#bullying, #crazy, #criticism, #insane, #intimidation

Why Ridgedale church of Christ Is Getting Slammed

In the greatest sermon ever preached, Jesus wrote, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mat. 5:12-13).  Persecution takes many forms, but if you want to see one form of it simply go to Ridgedale’s Facebook page and look at the dozens of examples of tolerance from broad-minded people as they help that congregation face what the world thinks of them.

An article by Kevin Hardy in today’s Times Free Press online (http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/aug/21/repent-or-leave/), which reflects some basic ignorance of what the Bible teaches about church discipline, unleashed a firestorm of hateful response by readers who are on Facebook and who in turn posted their remarks on the aforementioned page.  My prediction is that things will get worse before they get better for the good people at Ridgedale.  Understanding that we do not have all the facts of the case and would not expect a person in the world to give them to us, what we should do is focus on what is alleged.  A professed lesbian’s family that attended Ridgedale was approached by church leaders after the woman’s mother publicly supported her daughter as she sought same-sex benefits from the city of Collegedale.  As the family’s support of their daughter was public, the church felt compelled by scriptural mandate to ask the family to repent or be subject to church discipline.  The family publicly made their exit and a congregational matter is now being splashed across news outlets.  But, why is this congregation facing such an outcry and disapproval?  The answer will differ from individual to individual, but here are some broad reasons evidenced from people’s responses.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because of the cultural sickness of subjectivity.   One woman writes, “I think the decision makers of this church will one day pay for their sins…” Another woman writes, “I think the Cooper’s will be far better off without a church who punish’s them for not turning their back on their child….” Another puts it, “In my world, my God accepts, doesn’t judge and loves all his children!” Still another says, “Wow! I guess we know different Gods. My God offers unconditional love and tells me not to judge others….” (misspellings and grammatical errors made by the original writers). Others’ subjectivity is more subtly expressed, but here is the common thread.  People think they get to co-opt God and make Him over in their image.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because of society’s warped view of tolerance.  Certainly, so many who commented on that page are not tolerant of anyone who interprets Scripture literally.  They are not tolerant of this congregation’s autonomy. They are not tolerant of the view that homosexuality is a sin.  It is abundantly clear from the comments.  You will read such slurs as “bigot,” “hoping the church burns in hell,” “Scumbag Church,” “group of horrible people,” and more.  This is dripping with irony.

Ridgedale is getting slammed because the average person does not know the Bible.   People speak of God loving unconditionally, Jesus accepting everyone, and that one’s sexuality does not matter.  There is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord in our land (cf. Amos 8:11). Such lack of knowledge will destroy a people (Hosea 4:6).  God’s unconditional love does not mean unconditional acceptance if someone lives in rebellion to His will.  Jesus will not accept everyone.  To the majority, He will say, “Depart from Me” (see Mat. 7:13-14, 21-23).  Apparently, one’s sexuality does matter (see 1 Cor. 6:9-11). But people are grossly uninformed about the only book that reveals the heart and mind of God.

Please pray for Ridgedale.  Encourage them and show them love.  The detractors are popular and validated by a world separated from God.  Let us have the courage to stand by God’s people who are willing to stand up for His will. – Neal Pollard

Neal Pollard preaches for the Bear Valley church of Christ in Denver, Colorado. His blog can be viewed by clicking here.

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#bible-ignorance, #church-discipline, #controversy, #criticism, #current-events, #homosexuality, #news, #tolerance

Fault Finder

Last Sunday evening we studied Matthew 7:1-6 in relation to judging and those who find fault with others. We noticed that there is a standard that is applied by the fault finder that is not in accordance with the Holy Spirit and, unfortunately, there are some fault-finders who identify themselves as Christians guilt of the same.

A fault-finder is one who is blind to that which he (or she) is actually guilty of. It has been said that the fault-finder is rather quick at finding fault in others because they are guilty of the same; they know for what to look. Whether that is true or not in every respect, I don’t know. I can, however, see it being true in many respects.

We can overcome guilt any one of us have in this area by recognizing the evil of such behavior and making a point to look at (or find) the good in another. That change of focus allows us to see a white sheet of paper (representing that which is good in a person) rather than a single black dot on that sheet of paper (which represents some bad in another person). All to easy it is to single out the smallness of the bad more than the largeness of the good.

If we are the victim of an overly critical person, implementing the Lord’s approach (1 Peter 2:21-23) and the Holy Spirit’s exhortation (Romans 12:17-21) will bring much peace of mind. RT

#criticism, #fault-finder, #peace

People who are critical can be of much b…

People who are critical can be of much benefit to me. However, those who seem to be people wielding much criticism, I quickly disregard. The weak moral, emotional, and spiritual disposition can benefit me (or anyone else) as a person very little.

#critical, #criticism