Tag Archives: Billy Graham

Culture War Christianity in American history

In this article, you might find our comments on our previously published articles about Culture War Christians

What Are The Culture Wars?

A History Of The Culture Wars

A Theology of Culture War Christianity

Beyond the Culture Wars


 

What are the Culture Wars?

Think of “culture” as a way of life. It is the sum total of all values, beliefs, and practices making up a communal existence. When God commissions newly formed humanity in Genesis 1 to “fill the earth and subdue it”, he sets men and women into the world with a cultural mandate. His plan was for a human society, united under his rule in the world, ruling with him over the Cosmos as his vice-regents. {What Are The Culture Wars?}

Karl Marx saw how main religion tried to lure people in the ban of the church by false doctrines. It is because the majority of people did not take the time to read the Bible that so many religious groups were able to get people following their false doctrines.

Regularly, people were so prayed for by those doctrines of those churches that they no longer faced the real thing because they preferred to float on those ideas of those churches. It had become so bad that Marx also realised that for many, religion was like an ‘opium for the people’. In lots of Christian and Islamic denominations, their church leaders managed to have their followers, following and worshipping a wrong god and not following the real Christ. since his time still not much has been changed, and there are still lots of false teachers and false prophets around. Marx was disturbed by the knowledge that he saw so many people around him falling for those false human teachings and giving their money away to those churches when there were so many people around them suffering. Marx also noted few dared to question, let alone challenge, church doctrines.

It also bothered several thinkers in the 19th century that the church made no attempt to defend the majority of their churchgoers or parishioners, and did not stand up against the exploitation of parishioners. For far too many centuries, the Roman Catholic Church itself had done everything possible to trot out money from the poorer population.

The German revolutionary, sociologist, historian, and economist, Karl Marx and his closest collaborator, the German socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels’ answer to the ills of society was according to some, just the opposite of the utopian dreamers’ answers. Mainly this, because the ideas of utopists (like Mr. Ampe) seem for many too far-fetched and unreachable. Though Marx and Engels found enough people who, like them, believed that one could change the way people lived and could come to a better world with less inequality. They, too, went for a better world.

Since World War I the world has evolved incredibly on all levels. Politically it was a time of trying out several political systems, getting more than once in a lot of problems and crises. The Western world clinched at the industrialisation and experienced mixed economies floating between all kinds of political thoughts. Even as the western world became less religious and the church got less of a grip on its citizens, the rich continued to control everything and did everything they could to maintain their power.

For

For him it is clear that Christ should be at the centre of Christianity. But he also expects something for those who call themselves Christian. He

When Jesus prayed,

“on earth as it is on heaven”

he was indicating his expectation and desire that the culture of Heaven becomes the culture of Earth by way of his Church. But does Culture War Christianity, the sort launched in the ’70s, contradict the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom?

So many people had looked forward to the 20th century, hoping that because of all the new inventions, brought forward by the Industrial Revolution, they would be able to create a world where everything would be much easier and giving them more time to relax. The century opened with great hope but also with some apprehension, for the new century marked the final approach to a new millennium. For many, humankind was entering upon an unprecedented era. The English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian H.G. Wells’s utopian studies, the aptly titled Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought (1901) and A Modern Utopia (1905), both captured and qualified this optimistic mood and gave expression to a common conviction that science and technology would transform the world in the century ahead.

Already before the seventies of the previous century there was something going wrong in the industrialised world. Even though many countries were allowed to offer independence back to their colonies, they continued to exploit people in their own countries. Even when churches wanted to present God in different ways over the years, people should know That God never changes. He will always be the same and keep to the same Plan He had already from the beginning of times.

The American pastor and current PhD candidate in Theological Ethics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Jared Stacy 
wants to call our attention to this basic theological ethic:

The work of God’s rule spreading throughout the world in individual lives and communities will never contradict who God is.

We would have loved that, but reality shows something totally different. For centuries, the main Christian churches have chosen another path than the disciples of Christ. The majority of people preferred to keep to their heathen traditions and festivals and the Catholic and several Protestant churches followed them and made Jesus Christ (the Messiah) their god. As such, we must say there is a lot of contradiction in what people say God is. For many, He is not the God of Christ, Who is the God of Israel, but is a god who is part of a three-headed godship, the Trinity.

It is not just that difference of who God is and who Christ is that has brought division in the world of believers. The diversity of religious groups has also brought both confusion and discord. Coming closer to the 21st-century tension or strife resulting from a lack of agreement came to bring even more separation between the true followers of the Nazarene Jewish masterteacher Jeshua  ben Joseph (Jesus Christ) and the name-Christians who worship Jesus as their god and do not shy away from also worshipping all kinds of people they call saints, this while the One True God desires full recognition and worship.

We have the impression that the blog writer who also writes for platforms like NPR, the BBC, Current, and For the Church, does not see (or does not know) the multiple camps in Christendom. He only mentions two of them. He writes

To speak generally, mischaracterizations come from two camps. Let’s call one group “conscientious objectors” and the other, “vocal advocates”.

Some accuse conscientious objectors to the Culture Wars of believing that Christianity should have no influence in the public square. They slander these conscientious objectors as faithless & godless, or misrepresent them as conspiratorially hypocritical, secretly harboring a progressive political agenda.

On the other end of the spectrum, some conscientious objectors accuse vocal advocates of conflating Christianity with cultural power. This often leads them to slander vocal advocates as compromising sell-outs, or mischaracterize their advocacy & well-connected influence as grounded in an inherently complicit conservative agenda. No doubt, I believe there are instances of legitimate criticisms from boths sides in Christian spaces. But polarity abounds.

For him the polarizing gap between vocal advocates and conscientious objectors reveals a vast “no man’s land” in American evangelicalism. This is why he believes his series has pastoral and personal implications for all of us.

Because either you or someone you know is wandering the no man’s land as a refugee from the Culture Wars.

Many American evangelicals are proud that they (so-called) keep to The 10 Commandments, though all of them already sin against the first commandment, not keeping to The Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah of hosts, the God above all gods.

David Hansen correctly says

“The majority of Americans will tell any pollster that they believe in the Ten Commandments. But only a small percentage of those people could even recite the Ten Commandment; and even a smaller percentage have any genuine interest in following them.” {The 10 Commandments in American Culture}

Lots of North Americans should seriously think about their religion and their faith. About that faith Stacy says there is a danger.

On a day of hope, we need a fresh reminder of the danger inherent in an embrace of Christian faith. {The Danger of Faith}

He points out the trap many Americans have fallen into.

It is American consumer Christianity that invites us to “make Jesus Lord of our lives”. This pitch makes Christ a commodity, leaving us—the consumer—with control. The resurrection and ascension is a coronation that happens apart from our consumer choice & control. {The Danger of Faith}

1909 painting The Worship of Mammon, the god of material wealth, by Evelyn De Morgan

The great part of the US population, as well as in other developed countries, is that believers have deviated from Biblical truth as well as become wedded to matter and thus actually honour the god Mammon. Several denominations in the United States make clever use of asking people for money all the time, pretending that they will then have a better life. It has also become so ingrained in people that one can only be successful if one has acquired a lot of money. Consequently, many do everything possible to be as rich as possible (on the material plane) while completely neglecting spiritual wealth. Many have forgotten that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

Stacy writes

It is hard to deny today that for many, the supposed downfall of America is synonymous with the collapse of Christianity. Jesus confronts this idolatry with his Kingdom. {The Danger of Faith}

Lots of Americans are even not aware of how they participate in idolatry, which they prove by continually clinging to pagan festivals such as Candlemas, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, to name only the main ones, and to cling to money and material gain.

He reigns over a Kingdom that cannot be shaken through the rising and falling empires of this world. {The Danger of Faith}

And throughout history, many kingships or kingdoms and principalities as well as republics have risen and fallen. Never before has man succeeded in creating a nation or empire in which everyone was comfortable and where justice was done to everyone. Several Christians, in imitation of Christ, have tried to make people understand how best to live in unity with fellow human beings, plants and animals.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. (Leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial) - NARA - 542010.tif

The 1963 March on Washington participants and leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, as mass protest movement against racial segregation and discrimination in the southern United States that came to national prominence during the mid-1950s.

When we look at the German culture struggle of the 1870’s (kulturkampf) it’s clear that the American Civil Rights movement was a “Culture War” too. King’s commitment to non-violence laid a distinct Christian foundation for the Civil Rights movement. But white evangelicals of the time either distanced themselves from King, or denounced the Civil Rights movement entirely, with calls to “just preach the gospel.”  {A History Of The Culture Wars}

writes Stacy.

But not many white Americans were really willing to go to preach what was really written in the gospel. They prefer just to take some phrases out of context to repeat them so that people come to believe them.

The forty odd years from this origin point until today witnessed the end of the Cold War and an insurrection at the US Capitol. Between these bookends, Culture War Christianity made itself known & felt in American society through movements. (See, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne; Stan Gall, Borderlines: Reflections on Sex, War, and the Church; Frances Fitzgerald, The Evangelicals; Tim Gloege, Guaranteed Pure; historical treatments on these movements) {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy reminds his readers:

The arguments and relationships in the antebellum South were transported via Lost Cause theology 100 years into the future, seen in white evangelical responses to the Civil Rights Movement. But these leaders could not ignore the impact of King’s kulturkampf. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He assures his readers that

Culture War Christianity started after the Civil Rights Movement, not before. It borrows the playbook of the CRM. Ironically, it thrives on a sort of “persecuted minority” mindset, borrowed from the Civil Rights movement, but not actually indicative of the communal experience in its main constituents: white evangelicals. A minority mindset is a prominent characteristic of God’s people in the Scriptures. However, this mindset is not characteristic of evangelical experience in the United States. Race relations and evangelical’s historic participation in the moral establishment offer two historical keys that present a necessary critique of modern Culture War Christianity. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

He believes it is impossible to understand the history behind Culture War Christianity apart from race relations in the United States. So, we begin where we left off, with this statement:

The Culture Wars began when white American evangelicals took the activist playbook from the very Civil Rights leaders they opposed, to advance a moral agenda they could support.

Some were overtly political, like the Moral Majority or Christian Coalition. Others would serve the notion of family values, yet retain political influence, like Focus on the Family or Promise Keepers. Local churches and expansive media (books, radio, television) formed the local grassroots communities made these movements possible.

While this all may seem quite familiar, especially if you inhabited spaces within white American Christianity during the last 40 years, a history of the Culture Wars would be best served by going back 2 centuries to look at the phrase “Culture War” itself. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In his blog he then goes back to the 19th century, across the Atlantic Ocean where the Germans provide us with a glimpse into a framework upstream to both the Civil Rights Movement and “Culture War Christianity” at a time when a new world order was being born. In that era, he recognises the central position of the Catholic Church, facing new threats to its grasp on power.

From the political power of the nation- state to the intellectual frameworks of liberalism and Darwinism, the winds were shifting. In response, the Church produced a flurry of theological statements and denouncements meant to stem the tide of ideas that threatened its hold on the Old World Order. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

File:Portrait pius ix.jpg

Portrait of Pope Pius IX circa 1864

The Holy See under Pope Pius IX on 8 December 1864, brought an appendix to the Quanta cura encyclical, with a syllabus where the church wanted to have the people see that it was with the times and recognised 80 of the

“principal errors of our times.”

As the errors listed had already been condemned in allocutions, encyclicals, and other apostolic letters, the Syllabus said nothing new and so could not be contested. Its importance lay in the fact that it published to the world what had previously been preached in the main only to the bishops, and that it made general what had been previously specific denunciations concerned with particular events. Perhaps the most famous article, the 80th, stigmatising as an error the view that

“the Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile himself to and agree with progress, liberalism, and modern civilisation,”

sought its authority in the pope’s refusal, in Jamdudum Cernimus, to have any dealings with the new Italian kingdom. On both scores, the Syllabus undermined the liberal Catholics’ position, for it destroyed their following among intellectuals and placed their program out of court.

The Church denounced religious liberty, the nation-state, and other consequences stemming from the “threat of liberalism.” {A History Of The Culture Wars}

For some time there had been bumbling or difficulty in having a good relationship with the Catholic Church. More thinkers also came to speak out about the huge profits the Church was making on the backs of the faithful. Increasingly, there was also the idea of going back to the basics of Christ’s teachings where simplicity was preached and people were taught how to stand up for and care for each other. In the gospel, Jesus set a good example of how not only Christians should live, but actually every human being.

In the 1870’s, the German people, specifically within the Kingdom of Prussia, found themselves in conflict with the Catholic Church over their own Reformation roots and a rapidly secularizing order. This conflict had ramifications for both the Church and the separated German states. As a result of this conflict swirling around the German peoples, individual German States united along highly Protestant lines under Otto Von Bismark of Prussia. (See, Helmut Walser Smith, editor, The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History) This period of conflict and change was given a name: Kulturkampf, or “Culture Struggle”. This German kulturkampf shows us how struggles between competing visions for human existence are sparked by complex reactions between religion, politics, and power. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

It is the clash between people of the common people, as well as philosophers and political thinkers, with the church, that caused very animated conversations in several places in the German Empire about faith, church, and the way we as human beings should choose to arrive at a better world.

After World War II several American religious groups tried to have the power over the American people. They tried to convince them that they were the sole church which preached the truth. Some even went so far to tell the people they were chosen by God and that their church is the only one that can bring them in heaven. For those churches, it is certain that one can only be accepted by God if one follows their rules. Of course, such a saying is absurd, but a large majority of Americans follow that false statement. In the life of faith, it is also certain that no particular church by Jesus was ever designated as the only one to follow.

By studying German kulturkampf, we can begin to see the American Culture War’s false claim to exclusivity and authority by claiming itself to be the sole representative and defender of orthodox Christianity. When we realize this — that American Culture War Christianity is not the single defender of the faith —  it trains us to adopt a healthy critical filter every time a Christian leader describes the “very survival of Christianity at stake” as a smoke screen for unChristian agreements with power. On the other hand, conscientious objectors to Culture War Christianity would do well to consider how “culture struggle” might be a positive expression of Christian faith. There is space to consider positive “culture struggle”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

King’s kulturkampf was rooted in Christian principles, and sought to dismantle the injustices of racial segregation, subjugation and discrimination within America. With the upcoming of the more conservative Christians, and/or conservative evangelicals, the position between coloured people worsened again and nationalism and (far) right-wing ideas came to the forefront in the States, the same way they did in the 1930s in Europe. Thus, from Europe, we could see the very dangerous development of right-wing rule and the glorification of such despots as Donald Trump, who is a danger to the world.

What would come to define and shape Culture War Christianity in 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s in the US is not at all what King and several serious preachers had in mind. The growing conservatism by the Americans brought forward people who are against equality and who find the white man is the pure race. Even Billy Graham came to criticise segregation but also denounced the non-violent demonstrations as contributing to further violence.

Others denounced calls for desegregation entirely. Back in 1960, Bob Jones Sr. took harder lines at Christians supporting an end to segregation by referring to them as “religious infidels”. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Several pastors of mega-churches, especially in white neighbourhoods, succeeded in shifting all the faults of the system onto the backs of the blacks and refugees who just’ came and invaded America’, without the government doing enough to stop them. One would think the religious leaders would have their moral reasoning to flow from a theological calculus, but it (for sure) did not come from Biblical teaching.

Stacy writes

Charles Ivory’s masterful Proslavery Christianity examines the white evangelical relationship with black evangelicals before the Civil War. He looks at how these interactions between white and black Christians, slave and free, actually came to shape the white evangelical theological defense of slavery. If we want to understand the Culture War Christianity of Falwell, and other white evangelicals, we need to examine their response to the Civil Rights Movement. I believe their response has its source in the theological calculus of white evangelicals in the antebellum South. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Ivory writes it was not uncommon for white and black evangelicals to worship within the same church. Indeed, the revival of the late 18th century did not discriminate on the basis of cultural background. But the theological conflict in evangelical churches pre-Civil War centered around conversion. Namely, does Christian conversion necessitate manumission? Today, Christians would argue chattel slavery is indefensible regardless of a slave’s conversion to Christianity. Humanity is not property. However, the historical context of the time made the question of conversion and manumission the frontline theological conflict regarding chattel slavery within evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

In West Europe the people had gone already through that process, knowing that slavery was something one could not accept in a civilised society. On this, several speakers came to draw attention to a system to bring more equality among all people. The road to socialism and communism was thus promoted by several enthusiasts.

Culture War Christianity has long since ossified into the de facto expression of faith for many white American evangelicals.

But those white American Christians have come to love themselves more than someone else and consider themselves as the only ones worthy to govern America. They do not have an eye at all for the indigenous people, because they consider themselves as the rightful founders and owners of America.

For 200 years, white evangelicalism has been an insider. No where has the minority mindset been more pervasive in our modern conception of Culture War Christianity than rhetoric. Phrases like “drain the swamp”, “make America great again”, and “take back America for God” in evangelical politics go right next to “that’s too political” and “just preach the gospel” in evangelical churches. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

We can wonder from who those evangelicals have to take back ‘their country’! Those evangelicals seem not to have any idea what the ‘founders’ of America had in mind and why they wanted religion and government separated.

While separation of church and state was federally enshrined in the Constitution, it did not play out in those strict terms in state and local governments. This changed in the early 20th century, when the Scopes trial, New Deal politics, and internal theological warring between fundamentalists and modernists left a vacuum in American society that evangelicalism used to fill in common culture. Neo-evangelicals like Billy Graham emerged in this vacuum. But for the long of American history, Christians have not only been influential, but privileged.

How can a privileged majority come to see itself as a minority? Culture War Christianity accomplishes this in part by dressing itself in the Biblical and theological concept of a remnant. A faithful few of God’s people who remain loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land. But this theological adaptation does not line up with the historical participation of white evangelicals in the moral establishment of the United States. Yet, the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Though the big problem of those Tea Party and conservative or fundamentalist evangelicals is that they are not at all remaining “loyal to God and his ways in a foreign, godless land” they even have betrayed God and His son on several levels. They have created some three-headed god (or three-une being) and political leaders such as Trump as their gods, and consider their American flag as their religious symbol even a Christian symbol. For sure they can not belong to the faithful few of God’s people, because they do not believe in the Only One True God and because they do not act like People of God. They themselves are part of that ‘dark world’ the Bible is talking about. And now in those times that darkness and of gloominess can be seen everywhere, they also do everything to create division and spread hate, instead of spreading the love of Christ and his great message of a world full of peace. Those evangelicals with other name Christians have made it a sport to make fun of, blacken and curse true Christians. They do everything possible to get people away from those true worshippers of God. They also have some sort of paranoia and consider all people from abroad as dangerous suspects. They fear those coming from outside America would destroy their freedom.

Stacy remarks

the drums of Culture War for white American Christians implied a greater enemy beyond its borders. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

and also see what happened under the influence of certain political figures.

The Culture Wars of white American evangelicalism was not the reaction of the minority against the majority, but the majority against a imagined majority. It is hard to avoid this conclusion given overwhelming support for President Trump. {A History Of The Culture Wars}

Stacy continues writing

In the place of Jesus’ active reign today, we find American Christians given to other reigning power structures: nationalism, racism, misogyny, and bigotry. They are discipled by political—not resurrection—power. This is partly the reason why Culture War Christians took greater issue with Kaepernick’s supposed desecration of the flag than they might with his concerns over police brutality against image bearers. They operate in a power structure other than the Kingdom of Jesus. {A Theology of Culture War Christianity}

Stacys wonders

What if Culture War Christianity long ago bowed the knee to a nationalist, secular conservatism? One with its law & order politics, reticence on issues of race, and idolatry of country? {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Ans says that he has argued this in his series.

Long before white evangelicals told MLK to “just preach the gospel”, there has always been a Christianity domesticated by, and deployed in defense of, the status quo in this country. Frederick Douglass called it before any of us. And in this sort of Christianity, “make disciples” has too often been code for “make people like us” not “make us like Jesus”. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

There lies one of the biggest problems in American Christendom. The majority of Americans does not take time enough to seriously study the Scriptures. For most of them the Bible also only means the New Testament. Lots of those evangelicals also do not understand what that sacrificial offering of Jesus, letting himself be nailed at the stake, means. For them it is very difficult to grasp how a man of flesh and blood could give himself as a lamb for whitewashing the sins of many.

Some of those white evangelicals living in the United States of America are convinced they are the only ones who can  Make America Great Again and build up the most correct state. They forget how so many people before them have tried already to construct an ideal state. They should know it shall only happen under Jesus Christ that we shall be able to live in a perfect world.

Let us also not forget Niebuhr’s saying,

“any good worth doing takes more than one lifetime.”

According to Jared Stacy

This should give us pause before we entertain pragmatism to bring about change in our lifetime. It was Jesus who said,

“what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?”

This should give us pause as we count the cost of pragmatism to reveal the Kingdom of God. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

He ends his article series by saying

After all, the cross is not a symbol of cultural superiority for white America, but of surrender and sacrifice in the Kingdom of God. We must measure our motivations by the Cross, and our methods. Take it from me. A millennial. The generation who was born in and shaped by the ‘Jesus & John Wayne evangelicalism” in its prime. {Beyond the Culture Wars}

And recognises the problem

Culture War Christianity allows you to have a Christian worldview and reject the Cross.   {Beyond the Culture Wars}

By which he hopefully means: rejecting the ransom offering of that Jewish Nazarene master teacher, Jeshua ben Josef, or Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

It substitutes other, more pragmatic means to really get things done. But in the Kingdom of Jesus the only strategy available for implementing a Christian worldview is the Cross.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

We have to do away with the false teaching in Christendom and have to go back to the Biblical teachings and keep to them, adhering to Biblical Truth and not human doctrine.

We should recognise the danger of that growing conservative evangelism.

For all it’s posturing about the morality of America, Culture War Christianity has stopped its ear to calls for ethnic & economic justice. Has tied its hands in response to sexual scandal and abuse in its ranks. Yet expresses incredulity when the world fails to take its sexual ethic seriously. Culture War Christianity can only provide more entrenchment, more combat, and more pragmatism. But crucified Christianity is growing the world over, and—as it has always done— turning the world upside down.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

Writing from Scotland, the author of the mentioned articles, wants to suggest a simple but humble invitation to venture into the wilderness as an act of faithfulness. For him,

the wilderness meant stepping out of the American pastorate, and out of America. This was my move made in faith. An attempt to combat the rise of cynicism in my own spirit, channeling it into meaningful, faithful action.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

From Moses, to Elijah, to Christ. Perhaps the wilderness is the place for those disenchanted and disillusioned, those disowned and disinherited from Culture War Christianity, to begin to see the Cross not as a symbol storming the US Capitol, but again as a place where our power grabs go to die. And where there is death to our ability to bring about change, God brings resurrection that changes everything.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

The Austrian philosopher and Roman Catholic priest known for his radical polemics arguing that the benefits of many modern technologies and social arrangements were illusory and that, still further, such developments undermined humans’ self-sufficiency, freedom, and dignity, Ivan Illich illumines what it is to be in the world, but not of it — just like Jesus.

Jared Stacy offers his words as a simple reflection in the conclusion to his series:

It is astonishing what the devil says: I have all power, it has been given to me, and I am the one to hand it on — submit, and it is yours. Jesus of course does not submit…Not for a moment, however, does Jesus contradict the devil. He does not question that the devil holds all power, nor that this power has been given to him, nor that he, the devil, gives it to whom he pleases. This is a point which is easily overlooked. By his silence Jesus recognizes power that is established as “devil” and defines Himself as The Powerless. He who cannot accept this view on power cannot look at establishments through the spectacle of the Gospel. This is what clergy and churches often have difficulty doing. They are so strongly motivated by the image of church as a “helping institution” that they are constantly motivated to hold power, share in it or, at least, influence it.  {Beyond the Culture Wars}

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  20. Postalgia / Prostalgia – Is this as Good as it Gets?
  21. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
  22. Cultural Amnesia
  23. The Future of Governance
  24. False American Dream
  25. Thinking Critically about Marxism, Socialism and Communism (All in fewer than 1000 words!)
  26. The Missing Faith Dimension of the Capitalism vs. Socialism Debate
  27. A Broken system
  28. Psychological Warfare
  29. Humanities Retribution
  30. Walk The Path
  31. Reform or Revolution? A Debate (I)
  32. Reform or Revolution? A Debate (II)
  33. Editorial: what is humane socialism?
  34. The virtues of good, enlightened, accountable elitism
  35. The Radical Left Needs to Call into Question Existing Social Institutions at Every Opportunity, Part Four
  36. End of capitalism as we know it
  37. The Future is History
  38. The true believer
  39. Research Resources: Communism in America
  40. “A Spectre is Haunting Europe…”
  41. Finding the Ideal, Perfect Community
  42. So You Think Capitalism Is Evil
  43. Capitalism: The Ultimate Empowerment
  44. Capitalism: Misunderstood
  45. On the Current Conjuncture
  46. The discipled political church
  47. Veneration (Gilbert and Gilbert)
  48. Christianity and Idealism (Van Til)
  49. Brief Insights on Mastering Bible Doctrine (Heiser)
  50. A Field Guide on False Teaching
  51. Andrew McWilliams-Doty looks at evangelicals
  52. Evangelical: Leave It or Love It?
  53. How the term Evangelical has grown to blur theology and ideology
  54. Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics – An Interview
  55. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  56. Is it Time to Abandon “Evangelical?”
  57. Warped Christianity
  58. The 10 Commandments in American Culture
  59. Communist Infiltration, What Did Bella Dodd REALLY Know – YouTube
  60. German priest contradicts pope and backs pornography as sexual ‘relief’ for celibates | Catholic News Agency
  61. Sports Star to Be Jailed 10 Months for ‘Transphobic’ Message
  62. What is at stake in the buffer zone debate? | Isabel Vaughan-Spruce | The Critic Magazine
  63. Win for Christian ministry after judge refuses to strike out discrimination case – Christian Concern
  64. Watch the body language in this heated exchange yesterday between Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Chinese Emperor Xi 👀 | Not the Bee
  65. Episode 21 – Stella(r) (Hypo)Creasy and the Gov Crackdown on Free Speech – YouTube
  66. Senate advances same-sex marriage bill amid religious freedom concerns – Catholic World Report
  67. America/Brazl – After 50 years, the mission of Cimi is still “to defend with courage and prophecy the cause of the indigenous peoples” – Agenzia Fides
  68. The Christian Father -Conferences of the Men’s Group – YouTube

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A History Of The Culture Wars

Jared Stacy

Culture War Christianity has long since ossified into the de facto expression of faith for many white American evangelicals. In Part One of this series (which you can find here) we introduced the American Culture Wars. As a whole, this series examines the historical & theological shape of Culture War Christianity in comparison to Jesus’ Kingdom through the lenses of these two camps, conscientious objectors and vocal advocates. We concluded last week with a descriptor: Culture War Christianity tends to make enemies, not love them.

This week, our second part examines the historical orgins of the Culture Wars. If you’re pressed for time, I present a TL;DR that takes 2 minutes, and you can return to read the article at your leisure…

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read Summary)

The key to understanding modern Culture War Christianity is the history of American race relations and Christianity. This article locates the birth…

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Filed under Cultural affairs, History, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, World affairs

Niet “de Moslims” maar de fundamentalisten zijn een probleem

Er waren Afghanen die zeiden dat zij wilden dat de Amerikaanse troepen zich terugtrokken, maar met een beter plan, en dat zij niet verwachtten dat het land zo snel zou vallen. Velen die diensten hadden geleverd voor de Amerikanen, Duitsers, Fransen, Nederlanders en Belgen hadden er op vertrouwd dat hun werk naar waarde werd geschat en dat hun werkgevers hen wel zouden beschermen. Dit was echter zonder de waard gerekend. Nu het ongelofelijke gebeurde, dat de Taliban zo snel kon oprukken en het land zo vlug kon veroveren, had vermoedelijk niemand verwacht.

Talibanstrijders houden de wacht langs de kant van de weg bij het Zanbaq-plein in Kaboel op 16 augustus 2021, na een verbluffend snel einde van de 20-jarige oorlog in Afghanistan, toen duizenden mensen het vliegveld van de stad overspoelden in een poging om te vluchten voor de gevreesde hardlinie van de islamitische heerschappij van de groep. Foto: AFP / Wakil Kohsar

Westerlingen veilig in Europa

Het is vreemd om te horen hoe bepaalde Westerlingen die hier in de Europese Unie in alle veiligheid zitten, de mensen proberen bang te maken voor naar hier komende Afghanen. Zo konden wij de voorgaande dagen enkel parlementariërs en vroegere generaals waarschuwen dat wij niet zo maar Afghaanse families op vliegtuigen naar hier laten komen omdat daar het gevaar in schuilde dat sommige van hun kinderen zich tegen onze maatschappij zouden keren en het Islamisme aan onze maatschappij zouden willen opdringen.

Er was zelfs een Belgische parlementariër die, ook al was hij zelf niet van Belgische origine, beweerde dat wij niet zo maar alle vluchtelingen in België konden binnen laten en dat wij hoognodig de al in België residerende Afghanen terug naar hun land moesten sturen.

Elk jaar zijn er wel een “Vredesweek”, “Mensenrechtenweek”, “Dag van Gelijkheid”, “Dag van de Vrouw”, “Dag van de Verbondenheid”, “Dag van de liefde”, enz., maar als puntje bij paaltje komt is er van al die mooie verkondigingen en beloftes op die dagen niet veel te merken na die dagen. Politici beloven ook heel veel, maar verwezenlijken weinig van de beloften die ze maken. ook zijn er weinigen die hun handen in het vuur willen steken om anderen te verdedigen. En vandaag komt het er zeker op aan om voor een bepaalde groep mensen op te komen en deze niet enkel te verdedigen maar ook om ze in veiligheid te brengen.

Penibele toestand in Afghanistan

In zeer korte tijd wisten de Talibanstrijders vanuit drie hoeken van het land verder meerdere streken van Afghanistan onder hun macht en controle te krijgen.

De Taliban hebben het standbeeld opgeblazen van een sjiitische militieleider die tijdens de Afghaanse burgeroorlog in de jaren negentig tegen hen heeft gevochten, zo blijkt uit foto’s die woensdag circuleerden, waardoor nog meer twijfel ontstaat over hun beweringen dat zij gematigder zijn geworden.

Elke actie van de opstandelingen tijdens hun plotselinge machtsovername wordt nauwlettend in de gaten gehouden. Ze houden vol dat ze veranderd zijn en niet meer dezelfde draconische beperkingen zullen opleggen als toen ze het laatst over Afghanistan heersten, waarbij ze de rechten van vrouwen vrijwel volledig afschaften, openbare executies uitvoerden en televisie en muziek verboden.

Ze hebben ook beloofd geen wraak te zullen nemen op degenen die zich tegen hen hebben verzet.

Maar veel Afghanen blijven zeer sceptisch, en duizenden haasten zich naar de luchthaven en de grens om het land te ontvluchten. Vele anderen houden zich angstvallig schuil in hun huizen, nadat gevangenissen en wapenmagazijnen werden leeggehaald tijdens het offensief van de opstandelingen in het land. Ook zijn er meerdere berichten dat er al Talibanstrijders van huis tot huis zouden gaan om vroegere medewerkers van de geallieerden buiten te sleuren en te straffen. Op televisie waren er al zulke beelden te zien van een man die letterlijk uit zijn huis werd getrokken en bijna gevierendeeld werd onder zijn pijn geroep.

Onder de Nieuwe wapperende Vlag

De opstandelingen hebben hun eigen vlag – een wit vaandel met islamitische opschriften – gehesen in de gebieden die zij hebben veroverd.

File:Statue of Mazari in Bamyan.JPG

Het standbeeld van Baba Mazari in de provincie Bamyan, Afghanistan. Abdul Ali Mazari was de politieke leider van het Hazaravolk en het hoofd van de politieke partij Hizbe Wahdat.

Terwijl de Afghanen en de internationale gemeenschap afwachten of de Taliban hun beloften gestand zullen doen, circuleren op de sociale media foto’s van het vernielde standbeeld. Op de foto staat Abdul Ali Mazari afgebeeld. Hij was de politieke leider van de Hezb-e Wahdat-partij tijdens en na de Sovjet-Afghaanse oorlog, die in 1996 door de Taliban werd gedood, toen de islamitische militanten de macht grepen van rivaliserende krijgsheren. Mazari was een voorvechter van de etnische Hazara-minderheid in Afghanistan, sjiieten die werden vervolgd onder het vroegere bewind van de soennitische Taliban.

Het standbeeld stond in de centrale provincie Bamyan, waar de Taliban in 2001, kort voor de door de VS geleide invasie die hen uit de macht verdreef, berucht werden door het opblazen van twee enorme, 1500 jaar oude Boeddhabeelden die in een berg waren uitgehouwen. De Taliban beweerden dat de boeddha’s in strijd waren met het verbod van de Islam op afgoderij.

Een andere belofte van de Taliban die nauwlettend wordt gevolgd, is hun belofte om te voorkomen dat Afghanistan opnieuw wordt gebruikt als basis voor het plannen van terroristische aanslagen. Dat was vastgelegd in een vredesakkoord van 2020 met de regering-Trump, dat de weg vrijmaakte voor de terugtrekking van Amerikaanse troepen, waarvan de laatste aan het eind van de maand zouden moeten vertrekken.

De laatste keer dat de Taliban aan de macht waren, boden zij onderdak aan Osama bin Laden en Al Qaida, terwijl zij de aanslagen van 11 september 2001 planden. Amerikaanse functionarissen vrezen dat Al Qaida en andere groepen zich opnieuw in Afghanistan zouden kunnen vestigen nu de Taliban weer aan de macht zijn.

Abdul Ghani Baradar

Moellah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund van de Pathaanse stam Popalzai

De Taliban hebben toegezegd een “inclusieve, islamitische regering” te vormen en hebben gesprekken gevoerd met voormalig president Hamid Karzai (van 2002 tot 2014),van de machtige Pathaanse Popalzaiclan, en Abdullah Abdullah, een hoge ambtenaar van Pashtunse en Tadzjiekse afkomst in de afgezette regering. Mohammad Yusof Saha, een woordvoerder van Karzai, zei dat de voorbereidende vergaderingen met Taliban-functionarissen de uiteindelijke onderhandelingen met Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, een van de oprichters van de Taliban in Afghanistan en de hoogste politieke leider van de Taliban, zouden vergemakkelijken.

Op foto’s die woensdag online circuleerden, was te zien hoe Karzai en Abdullah een ontmoeting hadden met Anas Haqqani, een hooggeplaatste leider van een machtige Taliban-factie. De VS hebben het Haqqani-netwerk in 2012 tot terroristische groepering bestempeld. De betrokkenheid van Haqqani bij een toekomstige regering kan internationale sancties tot gevolg hebben.

Reden om het land te ontvluchten

Als men na gaat wat er de afgelopen 20 jaar in Afghanistan gebeurd is kan men het niet verwonderlijk noemen dat er nu nog een grotere vluchtelingenstroom is opgetreden dan de vorige jaren.

Door de onzekerheid hebben duizenden Afghanen de afgelopen dagen geprobeerd het land te ontvluchten, en de VS en hun bondgenoten hebben geworsteld met het in goede banen leiden van een chaotische terugtrekking uit het land. De Taliban hebben dinsdag de civiele kant van de internationale luchthaven van Kaboel ingenomen en met geweld geprobeerd de mensenmassa’s in bedwang te houden. Zelfs een reporter van CNN botste op een lijn van Taliban strijders die een zeer agressieve houding tegenover de volgens Islamitische normen en in het zwart geklede vrouw namen, die voorzichtig achteruit stapte. (Men kan zich enkel afvragen wat deze Westerse vroouw daar nog deed en waarom zij nog niet teruggeroepen is naar Amerika, want haar leven kan daar duidelijk in gevaar zijn – wat werd aangetoond door de lichaamstaal van die Talibanstrijders.)

Voor het Westen is het makkelijk zeggen dat de mensen thuis moeten wachten op een oproep van de ambassade vooraleer naar de lcuhthaven te trekken. Hoe gaan zij dan op weg naar de luchthaven de controle posten van de Taliban kunnen passeren? Honderden mensen stonden woensdag vroeg buiten de luchthaven. De Taliban eisten documenten te zien voordat ze de zeldzame passagier binnenlieten. Veel van de mensen buiten leken geen paspoorten te hebben, en telkens als de poort ook maar een centimeter openging, probeerden tientallen mensen door te dringen. De Taliban losten af en toe waarschuwingsschoten om hen uiteen te drijven.

Welk gevaar vormen Afghaanse vluchtelingen voor het Westen

Al meerdere jaren proberen bepaalde politieke partijen hun landgenoten bang te maken voor een veroverende Islam. Hierbij vergeten ze dt het iedereen vrij is om een godsdienstige groepering al of niet te volgen. Als men zulk een angst heeft dat de Islam het christendom zou gaan vervangen, hoort men zich eerder af te vragen wat er verkeerd gaat in dat christendom dat mensen er een afkeer van krijgen.

Duidelijk is wel dat uiterst rechtse groeperingen totaal een vals beels schetsen van de Islam en dat zij alle moslims of Mohameddanen over de zelfde kam scheren. Zij doen er ook alles aan om “de Moslims” als gevaarlijke wezens af te tekenen. Zij willen iedereen doen geloven dat “de Moslims” een gevaar vormen voor de gemeenschap en de Westerse cultuur. Maar bestaat er wel iets zoals “Dé Moslims”? In de Moslimgemeenschap zijn er ook zeer veel strekkingen zoals men in het christendom ook zeer uiteenlopende strekkingen heeft en men daar ook niet kan veralgemenen om te zeggen “Dé Christenen”, ook al merken wij dat dit ook wel regelmatig gebeurd, vooral op de commerciële televisiezenders. Maar ook de stataszenders hebben het makkelijk over  “de christenen” terwijl zij in België dan feitelijk de Rooms Katholieken bedoelen, terwijl er in Nederland dan wel meer naar de “Nederlands Protestanse Kerk” of de “Gereformeerden” wordt gewezen.

Om dezer dagen geschoolde mensen te horen beweren dat men toch niet de Afhanen naar hier mag halen omdat zij dan een gevaar zouden gaan betekenen in de toekomst als hun kinderen groot zouden zijn en het Islamitisch geloof zouden gaan verkondigen, is waanzin.  Ten eerste kan het veel gevaarlijker zijn voor het Westen om nu al diegenen die de Westerse mogendheden geholpen hebben daar in Afghanistan in de steek te laten. Dat zal eerder een vijandig gevoelen tegenover de Westerse landen oproepen en een kiemend zaad vormen om wraak tegen die landen te nemen. En men kan er dan zeker van zijn dat die wraak niet zoet zal zijn.

Islamitisch en Christelijke fundamentalisme

De verstandigen zouden de mensen moeten doen inzien dat niet alle moslims even fanatiek zijn als die fundamentalisten. Islam, zo wel als het christendom heeft niets te maken met fundamentalisme, al kan men het even goed vinden in beide godsdienstgroepen.

Allah wil helemaal niet dat mensen elkaar uitmoorden. Wel is het zo dat Allah Al-Aliyy graag zou hebben dat meer mensen dichter tot Hem zouden komen en Hem herkennen als de Enige Ware God. Maar daartoe laat Hij iedereen vrij om zijn of haar eigen keuze te bepalen. God onderzoekt en kent het hart, dus heeft het helemaal geen zin om mensen onder dwang te ‘bekeren‘ en als Moslim of Christen – zij het Katholiek of Protestant– door het leven te laten gaan.

In de vorige eeuwen konden wij in het Westen ook meerdere fundamentalistische Christenen waarnemen. Ook zij gingen verschrikkelijk tekeer en lieten achter hen een enorm bloedbad. Vandaag zijn de fundamentalistische christenen wel minder gewelddadig, maar toch zien wij, vooral in Israël dat zij er nog steeds toe bijdragen dat er dodelijk geweld wordt gepleegd.

Als men meerdere debatten volgt valt het op dat er nu (zoals enkele jaren geleden) weer mensen zijn die de anderen bang willen maken dat de moslims de bedoeling zouden hebben om Europa, en eigenlijk de hele westerse wereld, te gaan onderwerpen. {multicultureel realistisch, moslims in nederland!} Vreemd genoeg zijn daarbij christenen die dan zeggen dat in Israël wanhopig onze westerse zaak verdedigt wordt zodat we niet overlopen worden. Maar zij zien over het hoofd dat zeer vele Zionisten eigenlijk land van anderen afnemen alsof het hun eigen grondbezit is. Verder zijn vele van die Zionisten ofwel zeer conservatieve Ultra Orthodoxe Joden, waarbij dikwijls de fout wordt gemaakt dat het allemaal Haredi zouden zijn, of helemaal geen gelovige Joden. Verder zijn er ook een heel groot deel Evangelische Christenen die met man en macht de Joodse gelovigen van hun geloof in dé Enige Ware God doen willen afzweren om hen ook hun valse Driekoppige godheid of Drievbuldigheid te gaan laten aanbidden. Hun aanwezigheid vormt trouwens nog meer olie op het vuur in het al woelige Midden-Oosten.

Iedereen moet beseffen dat elke vorm van fundamentalisme of uiterst orthodoxe theologische richting onverantwoord of zelfs onaanvaardbaar is, wanuit welke richting die stroming ook moge komen.

Maar men mag niet denken dat zulk een enge zienswijze enkel bij Moslims zou bestaan. Overdreven orthodoxie, een vaak anti-intellectuele tendens in de interpretatie van de kerkelijke leer kan men ook in bepaalde Christen gemeenschappen vinden.

Verlangen of terugkeer naar de wortels van een ideologie of geloof. Als zodanig is een fundamentalistische beweging een reactionaire beweging. Het doet opgang in verschillende stromingen van de Islam, evenals overigens in het Christendom en Jodendom. In de Verenigde Staten is het aan het einde van de negentiende eeuw opgekomen als reactie op Darwin’s evolutietheorie. {Cultureel Woordenboek.nl over Internationale politiek en fundamentalisme}

Beter bang voor de echte fundamentalisten

Men moet niet zo zeer bang zijn voor die Afghanen die naar onze streken zouden wegvluchten van de Taliban. Men moet eerder bang zijn voor die mensen die anderen hun gedachtengoed met alle macht wilen opdringen. Gevaarlijk wordt het zelfs wanneer bepaalde beperkingen voor de mensen in wetten worden gegoten waar niemand kan ontsnappen en waarbij zware straffen worden opgelegd. De verplichting die men volgens de wet heeft ten aanzien van wat men doet of nalaat gaat mee bepalen of er sprake kan zijn van fundamentalisme. Aansprakelijkheid kan vrijwillig zijn aangegaan (bijv. bij een contract) of door de wet zijn opgelegd en dan moet niemand voor zulk een akkoord gaan bang zijn. Aansprakelijkheid door de wet wordt wel gezien als het wezenlijke verschil tussen enerzijds klassieke en anderzijds sociaal-economische rechten. De klassieke rechten zijn meestal omgezet in wettelijke regels die de overheid bij niet-naleving aansprakelijk maken. Zo kan compensatie worden gevraagd in gevallen van marteling, een handeling waarmee het slachtoffer ernstige psychische of lichamelijkepijn wordt toegebracht, maar ook bij onwettige gevangenschap of hechtenis, of vorm van detentie waarbij de vrijheidsberoving door een overheid of een andere hogere (of sterkere) mach, en kan opheffing van censuur via de rechter worden afgedwongen. Sociaal-economische rechten zijn meestal als idealen geformuleerd, zoals de rechten op werk of huisvesting, waarvoor de overheid niet wettelijk aansprakelijk is. Maar ook aan sociaal-economische rechten wordt steeds vaker juridische aansprakelijkheid verbonden. Een rechter kan bijvoorbeeld boetes opleggen als vrouwen of leden van minderheden gediscrimineerd worden bij toegang tot bepaalde banen.

In Afghanistan en enkele andere Islamitische staten kan men zien dat de machtshebbers alles in het werk stellen om hun macht zichtbaar en voelbaar aan iedereen op te dringen. Voor die fundamentalisten is er geen sprake van andere ideologieën dan de hunne, en iedereen hoort zich naar hen te schikken.

Niet voor de vluchtelingen maar voor hen die deze mensen doet vluchten moet men eerder uitkijken en bang voor zijn. Het zijn diegenen die er een strenge eenzijdige interpretatie van een godsdienst op nahouden, die zich kenmerkt door religieuze onverdraagzaamheid.

De anti-semiet en evangelische prediker William Franklin (Billy) Graham jr., die een aantal ‘kruistochten’ organiseerde in de 20ste eeuw, waarvan er één leidde tot een groei van het evangelische christendom in Australië.

Velen vergeeten dat oorspronkelijk ‘fundamentisme’ de benaming was  voor een conservatieve beweging in het Amerikaans protestantisme in de 19e eeuw. Na de Tweede Wereldoorlog ontplooide de beweging zich vooral als een anticommunistische, evangelistische stroming vertegenwoordigd door predikanten als Billy Graham. Fundamentalisme was ook te vinden bij de Zuid-Afrikaanse Nederlands-hervormde kerk, of bij de Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (afgekort NG Kerk of NGK) de oudste van de zogenaamde Drie Zusterkerken in Zuid-Afrika, die apartheid verdedigde als de wil van God.

Veel te vell mensen vergeten dat fundamentalisme heden ten dag voorkomt in alle godsdiensten.
Maar hier in het Westen lijken de mensen enkel oog te hebben op de fundamentalistische aanhangers van de islam die `islamisten` worden genoemd.

Men mag niet vergeten dat fundamentalistische opvattingen vaak strijdig zijn met de mensenrechten, zoals in de ideeën over de ondergeschikte positie van de vrouw, de verkettering en vervolging van degenen die geen of een andere godsdienst zijn toegedaan en de weigering om het gezag van internationale verdragen te erkennen. duidelijk kunnen wij deze kenmerken warnemen bij bepaalde Islamietische groepen zoals de Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Qaida of Daesh en andere.

Wat ook verkeerd gaat is dat heel wat mensen die fundamentalistische islam gelijk stellen met terrorisme en zelfmoordaanslagen, wat niet zo hoeft te zijn, maar toegegeven wel dikwijls gebeurd. Sommige fundamentalisten nemen inderdaad hun toevlucht tot geweld, maar er zijn veel fundamentalisten die langs vreedzame weg hun overtuiging uitdragen en veel islamitische terroristen gebruiken een fundamentalistische opvatting van de islam als een excuus voor het nastreven van politieke doeleinden, zoals het terugdringen van Amerikaanse invloeden in het Midden-Oosten.

Diegenen die nu Afghanistan in een zeer korte tijd hebben weten te veroveren zijn fundamentalisten waarbij de politieke en economische macht voorop liggen en die een geloof opdringen aan anderen om hun machtspositie te verzekeren en om met een angstpsychose anderen tot hen te binden.

Het is voor zulke gevaarlijke dwinglanden dat de wereld eerder bang hoort te zijn dan voor diegenen die Allah aanbidden in alle eerlijkheid en vroomheid.

+

Voorgaande

Uit de oude doos: Soennitische en Shiitische Moslims

Het gevaar om niets te doen tegen de oorzaak en de kwaal

De haat van IS voor Christenen

Het failliet van de war on terror

Duizenden op de vlucht voor Taliban

Een leven terug onder taliban

Vluchten naar een hoopvolle toekomst

Migratie en veiligheid even geherformuleerd

Islamofobie is contraproduktief

Een leven terug onder taliban

++

Aanvullende lectuur

  1. Uit de Oude Doos: Israël versus Hamas
  2. Hersenspoeling en voortdurende intimidatie
  3. Bekeerlingen en omgang
  4. Christen vervolgingen in het Midden-Oosten
  5. Wanneer de jongere oor kreeg voor Arabische klanken
  6. Gevolgen van beperkingen van vrijheid in Turkijë
  7. Angst en verlossing van het kwaad
  8. De Vredesweek vraagt Internationale Gemeenschap Verantwoordelijkheid te nemen
  9. Witte, grijze en zwarte tinten voor de Lage Landen en Europa
  10. Veroverende geloofsgroep
  11. Te late hulp voor Syrië uit Westen voedingsbodem voor Vechters voor een Islamitische Staat
  12. Fundamentalisme en religie #1 Noorwegen
  13. Fundamentalisme en religie #6 Versplintering
  14. 2015 het jaar dat ISIS duidelijk maakte dat het ook in Europa is
  15. 2015 het jaar dat ISIS duidelijk maakte dat het ook in Europa is – Vervolg 1
  16. 2015 het jaar dat ISIS duidelijk maakte dat het ook in Europa is – Vervolg 2
  17. Veroverende geloofsgroep
  18. Uitdrijving bevolking provincie Idlib
  19. Politici die trachten het geloof in de privesfeer te duwen of uit de maatschappij te bannen
  20. Noodzaak om ons sterk te maken tegen twee bastions
  21. islamitische militanten
  22. Uit het archief: Macht, Olie en Religie
  23. Fundamentalisme en religie #1 Noorwegen
  24. Fundamentalisme en religie #6 Versplintering
  25. Is een fundamentalistische kijk op de bijbel, de enige mogelijke kijk?
  26. Bestaat er iets als Christelijk fundamentalisme
  27. Jihad gedoe
  28. Geloven in God

+++

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  7. De islam, een anti-westerse veroveringsideologie wordt in Nederland al jaren geknuffeld
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  14. Na 20 jaar,Afghanistan is opnieuw in handen van de Taliban islamofascisten
  15. Hamas feliciteert de Taliban voor zijn ‘overwinning op de Verenigde Staten’
  16. Iran, Oman, Qatar en Hamas omarmen gewelddadige machtsovername van Afghanistan door Taliban
  17. Bijleveld verantwoordt zich voor sturen militairen naar Afghanistan
  18. Afghanistan: De val van Kaboel is een wake-up call voor Israël
  19. Amerikaanse militaire delegatie bezoekt Turkije om de luchthaven van Kabul te bespreken
  20. Afghanistan: de VS druipen af, komt Turkije in de plaats?
  21. Val van Kaboel is grootste vernedering voor Amerika en het Westen in decennia
  22. Chaos op luchthaven Kabul, duizenden Afghanen proberen te vertrekken
  23. Talibanleiders gebruikten Twitter en WhatsApp om Kaboel te veroveren
  24. Taliban bedankt Afghanen voor achtergelaten wapens
  25. Onthoofdingen en executies: De bodem van het Ghazistadion in Kaboel was ooit doordrenkt met bloed
  26. Handleiding van de Taliban voor een perfecte steniging in Afghanistan [in beeld]
  27. Afghanistan, het spel van de schaduwen
  28. Zomaar een moment uit het leven van een bureaucraat
  29. Arabia
  30. Jeruzalem: leven te midden van religieuze fanatici
  31. ‘Het gaat niet om wat je gelooft, maar hóé je dat doet’

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5 ways America changed God

In the period of our present time system (Gregorian Calendar), the world has done everything to change God.

The majority of America’s churches teach that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. though when they would look at the person many take as their god and the God of the Bible, you would expect them to see that they are totally different entities. One is an Eternal Allknowing Spirit God, not having birth nor death, and having no flesh, bones or blood, and Who can not be seen by man. The other person they take for god, is called the son of God in the Bible, and was born and seen by many people. That man of flesh, bones and blood also had to learn everything and at the end of his life still did not know a lot of things; He even did not know when he would be coming back or when the Last Days would take place, which would be very important and not to be missed moments for all people.

Lots of Christians and certainly lots of Americans do not seem to see those differences between those two Biblical characters. Considering their country’s near-400-year history, can we honestly say that their concepts and perceptions about God haven’t evolved?

In a column for CNN, Matthew Paul Turner wonders if the contemporary American God is the same as in 1629, when the Puritans began organizing a mass exodus toward their “Promised Land”?

He writes:

Is our modern God the same as in 1801, when Christians at a revival in Kentucky became so filled up with God’s spirit that they got down on all-fours and barked and howled like wild dogs?

More recently, is our God the same as in 2000, when born again Republican George W. Bush won (sort of) the presidential election by rallying America’s then thriving evangelical electorate with a Jesus-tinged GOP rhetoric he called “compassionate conservatism.”

The truth is, no. God is likely not exactly the same as God was yesterday, not here in the United States, not among America’s faithful. Here, God changes.

According Matthew Paul Turner  the American’s making God into their own image isn’t a new trend. He recognises that they’ve been changing God since Anglo Saxons first stepped foot onto these shores of the New World. He gives five examples.

1. The Puritans’delusions, who had the idea that God had chosen them and ordained their prosperity before the foundations of the Earth.
2. God creates evangelicals.
One of the biggest influences of the Great Awakening was how God altered the way he interacted with America’s people.
3. America falls in love with Jesus.
Looking at Baptist and Methodist, congregations which boasted a more laid-back approach to worship and faith as opposed to the stuffy religiosity of Congregational and Anglican gatherings. – The simpler approach to Christianity that Methodists and Baptists offered would eventually be tested by the nation’s debate over slavery, a conflict that divided America’s churches long before it divided a nation.
4. America’s apocalyptic obsession
In the decades after the Civil War, America’s Jesus-focused Christianity led to John Nelson Darby’s apocalyptic-heavy theology, dispensationalism. Among evangelicals, dispensationalism also cultivated a culture of fear, defensiveness and carelessness about helping a “doomed world.”
5. The Billy Graham effect
As the country sought healing after World War II, Americans began searching for hope in the God-smorgasbord that Christianity had laid out, from Bible-believing fundamentalism to Holy Ghost-inspired Pentecostalism, from education-minded Roman Catholicism to progressive-leaning high church spiritualism.

He remarks

Today, most Christians can’t distinguish between God and GOD®, which has made America’s deity into a superpower, an almighty deity that can be mixed with just about anything, from enterprise to politics, from hate campaigns to promises of prosperity.

Here in America, God is constantly changing. It’s a divine story that we edit and manipulate—sometimes innocently and sometimes intentionally—into our own narratives.

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Matthew Paul Turner is the author of “Our Great Big American God: A Short History of Our Ever-Growing Deity.” The views expressed in this column belong to Turner. 

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Three basic commands

At the (internet) service this morning brother Eric Lowe spoke about people at first following up the CoViD-19 measures strictly. At the first lockdown, the governments of the West-European countries had been giving very clear instructions. That way lots of people kept to the measures and seemed to have fewer difficulties following those instructions than by the second lockdown.

When the governments started to relax the measures and then started giving different signals people started to get confused and we could see that many people were not any more prepared to follow the social restrictions. So many months after the beginning of the corona crisis, people start getting tired and less interested to listen to the advice of the epidemiologists.

In Christendom we can see a similar attitude as in the citizen world. Today we see a lot of people who are not so much interested in listening to wise, and even less to old and new sensible advice. Mr. Lowe said the less people are listening they go by, and remarked:

If you are not listening you can not hear.

And that is just the problem by a lot of people who call themselves Christian. We better would look to the examples in Scriptures, which would all make it so much easier to pass those difficult times of isolation.

If we care not to listen then our listening shuts down.

That is what we see what happened with lots of Christians, not to say with the majority. For many so-called Christians, there is not any more such a good connection with God. They have forgotten that the experience with God depends on our nearness to God and all that would happen in His presence. Many wait for God’s presence to happen, and in the meantime try out their own gods and saints to bow down for and pray for.

Billy Graham warned:

“God doesn’t want us to waste our latter years or spend them in superficial, meaningless pursuits. Instead, He wants us to use them in whatever ways we can to influence those who will come after us. God wants us to finish well. . . .”

When being a Christian people should be as a disciple of Christ, following his teachings and worshipping the same God a Christ. Though many, who call themselves Christian, do not worship the same God as Jesus Christ worshipped. They even do not want to accept the Words of God, Who Himself said that Jesus was His beloved son. God, Who is no liar, never said He is Jesus or never held back to say that He would be Jesus. In case God would be Jesus, then he would naturally have told the people around Jesus a lot of lies, but also to His prophets He would have told lies more than ones.  Already in Jesus time, when there was a genuine and powerful work of God, men did not like to be apart from it, especially if they were religious leaders. Consequently we find both Pharisees and Sadducees coming to John’s baptism. He met them however with prophetic insight. He unmasked them as having the characteristics of the serpent, and warned them that wrath lay before them. He knew that they would boast of being in the proper Abrahamic succession, so he knocked that prop from beneath them, showing that it would not count with God. Nothing would do but repentance, and his baptism was with a view to that; but it must be genuine and manifest itself in fruits that were suitable. James, in his Epistle, insists that faith, if it is real and vital, must express itself in suitable works.

When Jesus got baptised the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, the God of Israel made clear who that Nazarene man standing in the river Jordan was:

3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of יהוה, make his paths straight. (Matt 3:3, NRKJV)

13 Then cometh Yahushua from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Yahushua answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Yahushua, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of Elohim descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matt 3:13-17, NRKJV)

Some months later Jehovah would repeat it and say:

18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. 19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. 21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust. (Matt 12:18-21, NRKJV)

Also today we are in times that many do not want to hear God’s Word and do give preference to words of theologians and people who say they are from God. But they are often wolves in sheep clothes and people fall for their words instead of believing the simple words of the Bible.

Though our brother Eric Lowe, had it this morning about man’s attitude in corona times, we can interpolate it also to the behaviour of many people who call themselves Christian today. The majority of those belonging to Christendom care not to listen to God’s Word. That makes their listening shuts down.

One example of a young girl (teniiiola) who writes:

I know that they’re two different people because the Bible makes it clear that Jesus is seated at the right side of God. Nevertheless, they are the same. As per, they are one. Praising God is equal to praising Jesus (one can’t even access God without Jesus anyway) and praising Jesus is the same as praising God.  {comment on 4 misconceptions that need to be cleared about being a Christian.}

On one side she seems to understand that Jesus and God are two different persons. Though then she, like some other people, sees a proof of Jesus to be God, when is written:

that Jesus is seated at the right side of God

clearly not seeing and not understanding Jesus is not sitting on the throne of God, but is sitting next to God, which indicate he, as another person than God takes the place on the seat next to God.

For following up the Covid-rules simple messages worked, but as soon as complex messages were given confusion started to take master of many people. The same when in Christianity several teachers started using Roman-Greek philosophy and twisted several words of Christ, to please the people who were so used to heathen rites and festivals.

The young girl on her website also says:

Calling Jesus God does not equal to calling God’s name in vain…Jesus wasn’t even on Earth as at the time this instruction was given.   {comment on 4 misconceptions that need to be cleared about being a Christian.}

giving the idea when people were not on earth when a Bible text was written the calling of their name as a god would not be wrong or would be acceptable. That is closing the eyes for reality and for the meaning of God’s Words. Those who have Madonna as their goddess today and honour her name are doing the same fault as those in ancient times, who honoured Apollo as their god.

Today with the pandemic lots of people are like in the wilderness. After Jesus his baptism, after God had declared him to be His son, this son of man also went into a wilderness. There he told the adversary of God “not to tempt God”, something we see many do. Lots of ministers and priests calling their flock to come to gather in their churches, not having to worry, because God would protect them. Some even dare to say:

 Those people who are catching CoViD-19 are those who do not believe enough in Jesus, who saves all who believe in him.

The Bible tells us God can not be tempted and that man can do nothing to Him. But Jesus, all should know, was tempted more than once. When in the wilderness Jesus told a tempter:

7 Yahushua said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt יהוה thy Elohim. (Matt 4:7, NRKJV)

Those who say they are a Christian should pick up such words of Christ. They also should remember Jesus words when the tempter offered an opportunity for Jesus to be worshipped and praised:

10 Then saith Yahushua unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship יהוה thy Elohim, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matt 4:10, NRKJV)

Not Jesus should be worshipped, but all glory, worship and praise should be given to the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, the God Who is above all gods. From his time in the wilderness, we should remember three words as memory joggers. From the story of Jesus in the desert, we should remember three basic commands, which should be the fundamentals of Christian faith.

  1. obey the commands
  2. don’t test God
  3. fear Jehovah God and worship only Him

A true lover of God can’t be double-minded and always shall take the following words of God at heart.

16 Ye shall not tempt יהוה your Elohim, as ye tempted him in Massah. (Deut 6:16, NRKJV)

Being in difficult days we should remember how God was with His people and how He is willing to be with us, in case we want to be with HIm.

8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest. (Ps 95:8-11, NRKJV)

7 Wherefore (as the Holy Spirit saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, (Heb 3:7, NRKJV)

13 Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! (Ps 81:13, NRKJV)

29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deut 5:29, NRKJV)

Jehovah God told very clearly to what we have to keep:

6 I am יהוה thy Elohim, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 7 Thou shalt have none other elohim before me. 8 Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: 9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I יהוה thy Elohim am a jealous El, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, 10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments. 11 Thou shalt not take the name of יהוה thy Elohim in vain: for יהוה will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Deut 5:6-11, NRKJV)

Several who call themselves Christians have difficulty with

3 Thou shalt have no other elohim before me. (Exod 20:3, NRKJV)

and have taken Jesus as their god and as if that was not enough also have taken his mother as a goddess and several other human beings as saints to whom they pray and hope they shall fulfil some of their wishes. Praying to someone else than Jehovah God is also taking God’s Name in vain and desecrating it.  Nobody should forget:

11 Who is like unto thee, O יהוה, among the mighty ones? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? (Exod 15:11, NRKJV)

24 O Sovereign יהוה, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what el is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? (Deut 3:24, NRKJV)

Even Jesus who did such wonderworks could not do anything without God.

19 Then answered Yahushua and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (John 5:19, NRKJV)

Jesus very well knew Who had saved his People and by Whom he could do all things he did. Jesus as the previous prophets feared and wanted to serve God.

11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; 12 Then beware lest thou forget יהוה, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 13 Thou shalt fear יהוה thy Elohim, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. 14 Ye shall not go after other elohim, of the elohim of the people which are round about you; 15 (For יהוה thy Elohim is a jealous El among you) lest the anger of יהוה thy Elohim be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. 16 Ye shall not tempt יהוה your Elohim, as ye tempted him in Massah. 17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of יהוה your Elohim, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. 18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of יהוה: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which יהוה sware unto thy fathers. 19 To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as יהוה hath spoken. (Deut 6:11-19, NRKJV)

From his followers, Jesus also demanded that they would follow God’s commandments and that they would do God His Will, like Jesus also did God His Will. For following the commandments of God is for the good of man.

26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of יהוה your Elohim, which I command you this day: 28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of יהוה your Elohim, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other elohim, which ye have not known. (Deut 11:26-28, NRKJV)

15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of יהוה thy Elohim, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: (Deut 28:15, NRKJV)

The chosen ones by Christ also asked their followers to fulfil the Wish of God and warned what could happen to them who do not keep to God’s commandments.

8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, (Rom 2:8, NRKJV)

29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deut 5:29, NRKJV)

As with Israel we should also know what Jesus and his God require from us.

12 And now, Israel, what doth יהוה thy Elohim require of thee, but to fear יהוה thy Elohim, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve יהוה thy Elohim with all thy heart and with all thy soul, (Deut 10:12, NRKJV)

Like Petrus once was a satan, resisting what God wanted, we too should be very careful not to resist God and not to go against His Laws.

10 Then saith Yahushua unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship יהוה thy Elohim, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matt 4:10, NRKJV)

14 Now therefore fear יהוה, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the elohim which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye יהוה. (Josh 24:14, NRKJV)

It is a simple message and we should not complicate it. We only have to have One God Who is One, and not two or three.

35 Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that יהוה he is Elohim; there is none else beside him. (Deut 4:35, NRKJV)

6 Thus saith יהוה the King of Israel, and his redeemer יהוה of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no Elohim. (Isa 44:6, NRKJV)

Humanity wants to reverse the complexity and reject the simple because it is too simple and confronting. All people should know that Jesus is getting to the essence of the Old Tetament. Jesus is the way to God and we should be thankfull he managed to do the will of God, putting his own will aside. (In case he would be God he would not have to put his will aside because than he would always have done his own will.) Jesus also was not a schizophrenic god who would say he was someone else and pray to someone else when he would be praying to himself. Jesus did not pray to himself and learned others also not to pray to him, but to his heavenly Father.

Matt 6
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (Matt 6:1-9, NRKJV)

39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. (Luke 22:39-46, NRKJV)

2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. (Luke 11:2, NRKJV)

Jesus prefered to do the Will of God, and that is what a Christian, or follower of Christ also should do. We should look forward to God’s Kingdom to come. As followers of Christ we should remember and do likewise Jesus Christ.

38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (John 6:38, NRKJV)

34 Yahushua saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. (John 4:34, NRKJV)

30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30, NRKJV)

Real Christians shall or should follow the teachings of Christ and shall take up the task given by him, namely to go out into the world spreading God’s Word and spreading the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. Those who want to call themselves “Christian” should do as Jesus Christ asks them to do.

Jesus asks his disciples to make up their mind and to be clear sighted, not about others, but about themselves.

To be clearsighted about ourselves, is to be aware of our own shortcomings, limitations, and challenges. But it also means to be aware of our own gifts and talents. {Seeing Clearly – Br. James Koester}

But Jesus demands a full breath true insight, a proper choice of oneself! He does not want you to follow him because others say so or because others are following him. You have to do it out of own choice and by believing in him and even more important, believing in Him Who sent him.

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24, NRKJV)

16 For יהוה so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For יהוה sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17, NRKJV)

It is by believing it was God Who sent His own son, and not that God Himself would have come down to earth to fake His birth, torture, death and resurrection (all parts which do not belong to God).

18 And all things are of יהוה, who hath reconciled us to himself by Yahushua the Messiah, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that יהוה was in the Messiah, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for the Messiah, as though Elohim did beseech you by us: we pray you in the Messiah’s stead, be ye reconciled to יהוה. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of יהוה in him. (2Cor 5:18-21, NRKJV)

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to יהוה by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Rom 5:10, NRKJV)

The gospel may be very simple, do not make it complicated. The Bible speaks a clear language, but we should be willing to hear ait and to see the underlying essence and message.

Faith is simple {Check Yourself, Christian}

so keep it simple and do not unnecessarily complicate things by twisting the words of the Bible; Just take those words like they are written down.

Are there ways in which we may be externally religious—doctrinally sound, outwardly well-behaved, “godly” in character and lifestyle—yet insincere behind the curtain, and before the Lord? {Check Yourself, Christian}

When we are not careful, we can get carried away by all those theologians and people who prefer to keep to human doctrines instead of keeping to Biblical doctrines. Many of them are able to carry a lot of Christians away from the Biblical Truth.

Seeing Biblical truth is only possible when one is willing to listen to God His Word as it is written in the Book of books, the Bible.

Being a good and real Christian requires to see who Christ Jesus is and to believe he is the sent one from God, who really died for the sins of others. God can not die, so in case Jesus would be God he would not only always have done his will, but also would not ever had to be afraid of what the Romans would do with him, because he could not die, so any impalement would not harm him. Al those who say Jesus is God, make of his impalement (or crucifixion) a big farce and make of his appearance on earth a whole farce.

Real Christians recognise what Jesus realy has done, and know what a horrible fear he must have had. Real Christians are also aware how much pain Jesus must have had and as such appreciate it so much more, that he was undergoing all that torture for people he did not know and at a time he could have been unsure if God would be going to help him or taking him out of the dead. At one moment the fear became so high he even cried to his heavenly Father (and not to himself);

46 And about the ninth hour Yahushua cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My Elohim, my Elohim, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matt 27:46, NRKJV)

A person can not leave himself, so Jesus did not ask to himself why he had left himself, but asked his heavenly Father Why He (God) left him (Jesus):

34 And at the ninth hour Yahushua cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My Elohim, my Elohim, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:34, NRKJV)

Yes, after Jesus in fear called to his Father in heaven, as if He would have forsaken Jesus (which He did not), Jesus gave up the spirit, which means that Jesus really died. (Remember that God as an eternal Spirit can not die.) It was not in his own hands that Jesus gave his life, but in the Hands of his heavenly Father, the Only One True God.

46 And when Yahushua had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the Spirit. (Luke 23:46, NRKJV)

When Jesus died, his life finished, but not his story. He had always kept to the three basic commands and lived according to those fundamentals he tried to explain and which each true follower of him should follow.

As society may go further away from God’s command and from Christ’s teachings, real followers should give the example and prepare the way, so that more people may come to see that Jesus is the way to God.

6 Yahushua saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6, NRKJV)

Let us take a piece of advice from a Trinitarian at heart, though even he might not see how he himself is caught up in the chains of this world.

We cannot accept the lies that are popularly accepted, even when progressive “Christians” around us conform to them. The only source of truth is the Word of God and we know that His Word will never change! {Progressive Christianity}

Working full-time as a witness “for his Savior” we only can hope he with his wife Brittany, shall come to recognise the work Jesus did and shall come to follow him wholeheartedly. And that is always possible because people have to grow in the Word of God. We all live in a world where many things are said and where many satans or adversaries of God are at work. Because of the main churches being so strong and so eager to get their false teaching of the trinity across, it is very difficult for people to see the trees in the wood. Though if they would be willing to open their eyes for the simple things and the simple words, clarity will be near.

That is the hope the lovers of God can have. It is never too late to spread the gospel and to show people the real Christ who bore witness of his heavenly Father. the Bible tells us also that this shall happen when we come closer to the end times, and as such we can live by the hope in Christ. He, who even did not know when he would be coming back, because such thing is only known by God (and Jesus not being God as such did not know it) gave us the hope that one day when the kingdom of God would be preached all over the world the Day will arrive that he shall be allowed to judge in the name of God.

19 Then answered Yahushua and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of יהוה: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. 31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of Elohim in you. 43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from Elohim only? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? (John 5:19-47, NRKJV)

When we call ourselves “Christian”, let us believe in that sent one from God, who is authorised to speak and act in the Name of God and follow up his given task to instruct all the nations, immersing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe and to give heed to all as much as Jesus has given and commanded his disciples.

18 And Yahushua came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age. (Matt 28:18-20, NRKJV)

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Preceding

Do you really know what you say you believe in?

Not About The Name Of The Godhead Of Jesus

Rhetoric and Biblical Truth

Religion and the essence of devotion

The false prophets in the present world

O God, How Long? ~ Psalm 74

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Additional reading

  1. Words in the world
  2. Let us make sure we are not stiff-necked
  3. The Almighty Lord God of gods King above all gods
  4. El-Shaddai God Almighty Who no-one may see and live
  5. Relating to God is it possible
  6. No man see the Almighty God and live
  7. When there is a God is it possible to relate to Him
  8. Only One God
  9. God is One
  10. The Trinity – the Truth about God
  11. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  12. Altered to fit a Trinity
  13. First Century of Christianity
  14. Hellenistic influences
  15. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  16. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  17. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #2
  18. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  19. Sayings of Jesus, what to believe and being or not of the devil
  20. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  21. Why did Christ not reveal the exact time of his second coming?
  22. Followers with deepening
  23. What Does it Really Mean to Be a Radical Follower of Jesus?
  24. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  25. If you have integrity
  26. Attitude to others important for reaching them
  27. Love and cultivate that which is pure
  28. Who are the Christadelphians

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Related articles

  1. Seeing Clearly – Br. James Koester
  2. Running and pausing with Jesus – Br. Todd Blackham
  3. It’s a privilege
  4. What Does It Mean to be a True Christian?
  5. Being A Cultural Christian Is Not Enough
  6. Being Christian
  7. Effective Christianity
  8. Progressive Christianity
  9. They Will Know We Are Christians By…What?
  10. The History of the Development of the Trinity Doctrine
  11. Is Jesus God? Debate between Pastor Stanley Sjoberg and Sheikh Ahmed Deedat
  12. The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven
  13. Do As I Say
  14. Christians
  15. Peace at any price?

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Words of Jesus preached with authority and conviction and fishes to fry

In the 1970ies our Baptist church went with a motor-coach to a huge stadium to hear the American preacher Billy Graham. It was incredible how he could move the auditory. The audience was incredibly enthusiastic and weeks after we were still talking about what we got to hear and how that man could burn fire in the hearts of the listeners.

The ALS-patient of the blog “Unshakable Hope”, also has the picture in his mind of thousands of people at a Billy Graham crusade walking down to the front after hearing the words of Jesus preached with authority and conviction. Bill Sweeney writes

Even two thousand years after Peter and Andrew dropped their fishing nets to follow Christ, His words still have the power to change the hearts and minds of millions of people. {I’ve Got Bigger Fish To Fry}

At the beginning of our contemporary era, it must have been very special around Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and Palestine. That young man who could speak so well and who did such miraculous things, that many wondered how he could do that. Though he never claimed honour for himself. He knew very well that he could not do such things without his heavenly Father Who is much greater than him. He was happy that he received the power from God and that way could help people so that they too might come to know the Most High God.

“17  And it came to pass on one of those days, that he was teaching; and there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who were come out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was with him {1 } to heal. {1) Gr that he should heal; Many ancient authorities read that he should heal them }18 And behold, men bring on a bed a man that was palsied: and they sought to bring him in, and to lay him before him. 19 And not finding by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went up to the housetop, and let him down through the tiles with his couch into the midst before Jesus. 20 And seeing their faith, he said, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this that speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 22 But Jesus perceiving their {1 } reasonings, answered and said unto them, {2 } Why reason ye in your hearts? {1) Or questionings 2) Or What }23 Which is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Arise and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins (he said unto him that was palsied), I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go unto thy house. 25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his house, glorifying God.” (Lu 5:17-25 ASV)

“ Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner.” (Joh 5:19 ASV)

“ Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I.” (Joh 14:28 ASV)

Though Jesus came to bring the Truth, lots of people did not want to know it. Also today lots of people refuse to accept the biblical truth and do not see that Jesus is the way to God. Lots of people have made Jesus into their god instead of accepting him as the mediator between them and the Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

“5 For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times;” (1Ti 2:5-6 ASV)

Living on this globe with all its difficulties and our daily pains and problems we can see the light in the darkness by the hope that man has offered the world. With the knowledge that no single man can do what Jesus did, none bringing salvation to us, we can share that hope with those around us, showing that all other sent ones from God, the prophets, witnessed about him who is the Lamb of God and as such suffered also a lot and even gave his life as a ransom for many (including us).

“ To him bear all the prophets witness, that through his name every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.” (Ac 10:43 ASV)

“ And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved.” (Ac 4:12 ASV)

“ On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that {1 } taketh away the sin of the world! {1) Or beareth the sin } (Joh 1:29 ASV)

Bill Sweeney writes

Maybe we’re at our best, our most compassionate, our most empathetic and our kindest when we’re in the midst of these difficult times. Maybe this is when we are most like Christ. Yes, I am convinced that this is when we’re most like Christ.

Instead of trying to avoid thinking about these difficult times, I think we should purposely reflect on them and remember all of the things that seemed so trivial. Those things are still trivial in the good times. And, the things that still mattered to us in the hard times, are, I’m convinced, the very things that Christ wants us to build our lives around; these are the bigger fish.

Can you have joy and happiness building your life around these bigger fish?

Yes!

Through all of my really difficult times, especially battling ALS for the last 21+ years, I’ve discovered that building my life around these things that matter, these “bigger fish,” is the secret to true and lasting joy.


But, I still leave room for sports, mindless movies and other little fish.

{I’ve Got Bigger Fish To Fry}

 

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