. A USA Snapshot Poll asked, “How religious are we?” Forty percent replied, “Very religious.” Twenty-eight percent said, “Moderately religious.” Thirty-two percent said, “Non-religious.” This is America, “one nation under God”, but apparently that encompasses a shrinking number. Satan has had his way and the laboratory has been turned over to the monkeys. Things seem crazy because they are crazy! The remarkable thing is how few of our fellow citizens grasp the radical shift in thinking and decline of morality. Benjamin Franklin argued for the turkey as the national bird instead of the bald eagle. Judging by how many of us have made turkeys of ourselves, maybe he had it right. This is Just-A-Minute
What is the fastest growing religious group in the US? It is the “nones”, those with no religious affiliation. Since 1960 mainstream denominations have lost a full one third of their members. Evangelical churches are losing members too. In fact 75% of young American adults aged 18 to 29 identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious”. With this has come a steep decline in Bible study and a weakening of traditional Christian morality and teaching. The home and family have taken it on the chin while homosexuality and same-sex marriage have increased support. Unless we return to the Bible and open our ears to what God has to say, this trend will continue and increase. This is Just-A-Minute
Evidently some political conservatives have the idea that if you are a faithful Christian, God will prosper you financially and that if you do not respect God, you will find economic disaster. This is the devil’s crock; it simply won’t fly! The apostles were among the most faithful you could find and they did not live in luxury. The wealthy were those whom Jesus said faced a challenge greater than squeezing a camel through the eye of a needle, humps, hooves, hair and all – it can be done, but only with the help of God. Moreover, there are plenty of fabulously wealthy people who thumb their noses at God. There simply is no direct correlation between prosperity and faith, unless one counts laying up riches in heaven where thieves to not break in and steal nor rust corrupts. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
There is an old wife’s tale that says the more educated one is, the less likely that one is to be religious. However, recent research shows that in some ways the opposite is actually the truth. Headed by University of Nebraska professor Philip Schwadel, the researchers found that for each additional year of education beyond the seventh grade, that Americans are 15% more likely to have attended religious services in the past week. Frankly, I am not surprised at this. The more educated one is the more likely they are to be exposed to the multitude of benefits of faith and the reasonable evidence for the same. Patheos.com, an atheist online bulletin board, objects to the finding but offers no evidence for rejecting it. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess
To me, the most striking phrase of Jesus is, “Have ye not read?” (Matthew 12:3,5; Matthew 19:4; Matthew 22:31; Mark 12:10,26; Luke 6:3).
The religious leaders of Christ’s day had indeed “read” the Old Testament passages that Jesus’ referred to in the above passages, but were more interested in upholding their own “traditions” rather than upholding God’s word (Matthew 15:3,6; Mark 7:8-9,13).
As a result, the Lord called these religious leaders “hypocrites” (Matthew 15:7-8 ; cf. Isaiah 29:13).
Today, our society would call them “reading-challenged.”
If there is a great way to determine how religious a man is, just check his pocketbook. In Acts 19, Demetrius was a religious man, but his religion was of the “green” sort. In today’s world, many express a degree of devotion to God, but when the pocketbook is affected, that religious “devotion” wanes a bit!
Our jobs, we are told time and again, are necessary. With these jobs we can provide the necessary things of life. That is what they thought in Jeremiah’s day as well (Jeremiah 44:15-19). Yes, this a a great way to test certain things, such as one’s religious devotion to the Lord. That “fork in the road” becomes a clearer path to take when one’s devotion is to the material of this world.
Another great way to test one’s religious devotion is to educate him in spiritual things (teachings) that are beyond this world. What will a man give in exchange for his soul?
As far as brand fidelity, I don’t look at the brands when I grocery shop. I just look at the cheapest products, no matter what the brand name, and purchase them.
Regarding brands, I wrote the following article entitled “The Problem of Brand Conditioning” that looks at the contrast between different religious “brands” and the Lord’s church:
The incident I’m thinking about is found in John 11:41-48 regarding the religious leaders’ (chief priests & Pharisees) response after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. When they heard the news of his resurrection, they instigated a plot to kill Jesus (John 11:49-53).
They caved in under the pressure of praise and popularity, being afraid of loosing their position of power and wealth within the Roman government.
They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43).
Men have not changed this manner of thinking in the 21st Century. Most still love the praise of men more than the praise of God.
This is a dangerous state to be found in (Acts 12:20-23).
In the most recent issue of Newsmax (October 2010) there is an article on blacklisting scientists that have substantive disagreement with other scientist relative to “global warming.” I found this article interesting because it reminds me of the way some reply to Christians who are insistent on maintaining purity of New Testament doctrine and worship. In this article, we read that, “[s]ome 98 percent of the most prominent – and most vocal – scientists are firmly convinced of man-made climate change, according to their research…. The dissenters? Largely the fringe, they wrote.” (p. 24). This large percentage, we are told, lends itself to accepting the “expert credibility” of those who subscribe to climate change being man-made. I am in no position to argue for or against man-made climate change; I have an opinion, but an opinion that has little substance. However, in this article I was reminded of something similar today in the religious world relative to “expert credibility.”
If you were ask the general religious person about the variety of religious ideas, what do you think you would get in the way of an answer? One would a multitude of answers. This variety in answers manifests much confusion, and those who hold to these opinions are influential to many others. While they are not “experts” necessarily, their influence has been impressed on young people who actually grew up with this imprint and then became experts in religious studies!
Just who is an expert? In the field of religious studies, the only expert that I have any confidence in is the Author of one book that transcends all generations and technological advances of man. The first few words of His book begin, “In the beginning God…” Now that’s an expert I can rely on.
My favorite recorded conversion story is about the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40. Here are some of my observations:
1) Through the providence of God, the angel spoke to Philip at just the right time for Philip to go and meet the eunuch at just the right place. This tells me that if an individual is truly seeking to know the gospel, God will provide the circumstances and the means for that to happen.
2) The eunuch had been to Jerusalem to worship, so we know he was a devout religious man. He was returning to his homeland, and had stopped to read out of the scroll which contained Isaiah’s prophecy.
3) We need to note that the Holy Spirit sent a “man” [Philip] to teach the eunuch (Acts 8:31). This account clearly shows that the teaching regarding man receiving direct miraculous “illumination” of the Scriptures from the Holy Spirit is false (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11).
4) The eunuch had a cursory knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures, but did not understand who the prophet Isaiah was referring to in Isaiah 53:7-8.
5) It’s interesting to note that in Philip’s teaching, “he began at the same Scripture” (Acts 8:35) – he didn’t go off into left field on some other subject or tangent. He stayed with the gospel pattern of teaching.
6) Philip “preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35) because that was Who the prophet Isaiah was referring to. Preaching Jesus would have necessarily included the core of the gospel – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Philip obviously told the eunuch about being baptized “into Christ’s death” (to effectively appropriate the blood that was shed at Christ’s “death” – Romans 6:3-4), necessitating a “burial” in water, and being raised or “resurrected” [out of the water – Acts 8:39] to walk in newness of life – the act of baptism required for the remission of sins and the putting on of a good conscience before God (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:1-8; Gal. 3:26-29; 1 Peter 3:21).
7) After the eunuch was taught all of the above, they came to a body of water and the eunuch asked Philip, “what hinders me to be baptized?” Philip responded by telling the eunuch that if he truly believed the inspired words that Philip taught him, he could be baptized for the remission of sins. The eunuch responded by confessing Christ as the Son of God, and thus Philip baptized him. After coming up out of the water, the eunuch went on his way “rejoicing” (Acts 8:38-39) because he was a saved man “in Christ Jesus,” no longer under condemnation (Romans 8:1).
In Philip’s teaching, he totally adhered to God’s pattern or plan of salvation. This conversion story illustrates the fact that as we teach others, we must adhere to the same gospel pattern or plan, not deviating from it.
My favorite compliment that Jesus paid was to the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10, when He said to him:
“Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”
The centurion was representative of the Gentiles, who Jesus said would enter into heaven long before any of the so-called “religious” Jews would (Matthew 8:11-12). Being in command of soldiers, he truly understood authority and its implications, whereas the religious Jews often disregarded God’s authority and commands (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13).
While reading the local newspaper this morning, I noticed this article by “Reverend” Kati L. Houts, the senior pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of El Paso. In her article entitled, “Think Outside The Box and See World In New Ways,” she opines that our society needs to “think out of the box” regarding same-sex marriages.
A quote from the article regarding “diversities”:
“Those who interpret the Bible literally refuse to look at life or people in all their diversities. These diversities are gifts from God and add to the richness and beauty of creation. Thinking outside the box requires openness to new ways of seeing the world and a willingness to explore.”
The word we need to replace “diversities” with in the above paragraph, is the word “perverse,” and then add “lifestyles” to it. For “Reverend” Houts’ benefit, Christians don’t refuse to look at life or people in all their diversities, we look at life through the eyes of faith (Romans 10:17), and come to the only conclusion possible – that homosexuality and same-sex marriages are perverse in God’s eyes – an “abomination” worthy of death (Romans 1:25-27; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13).
The “Reverend” goes on to say:
“The issue of same-sex marriage will never be solved by the various religious factions.”
She is correct in this statement, because God’s decrees are not based on “various religious factions” but are based upon His sovereignty and authority as Creator.
She then states two words that are the downfall of religious entities, “I believe” instead of “What does the Bible say” on the matter? http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2006/01/07/i-believe-or-the-bible-says/
“Reverend” Houts then states:
“The benefits of a legal marriage do not apply to those who choose not to marry or those who cannot legally marry due to an antiquated law that defines marriage as only being between a man and a woman.”
Yes, God’s law regarding marriage being between a man and a women is indeed “old” (about 6,000 years worth), but certainly not “antiquated.” It’s still in effect today (Matthew 19:1-6). Then she quotes the definition of marriage from Merriam and Webster’s online dictionary. Fortunately, God’s law is not based on that dictionary.
Lastly, “Reverend” Houts praises God for “thinking outside the box!”
The only “box” the “Reverend” is going to be “thinking out of,” is the box the undertaker will put her in at her demise. Then, she will face the Creator in person. Only then will she come to realize the results of her “diversified” thinking.
Brethren, the world is one sad shape. May God give us the spiritual backbone to stand up and preach/teach the totality of God’s truth without reservation (Philippians 2:12-16; cf. Acts 20:17-27).