Remember the thief on the cross...

Post Reply
User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 1599
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by pasayten »

Yep... This is true...

How some churches' ties to Trump-based politics are fueling an exodus of young evangelicals
Patrick Smith - Yesterday 11:24 PM

ABERDEEN, Scotland — Jared Stacy had made the decision to leave his job as youth pastor at Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, just a week before the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Disillusioned with his church and the increasingly conservative and nationalist nature of the broader evangelical Christian community to which he had dedicated his life, he was prepared to move with his wife and three children 3,500 miles away to the weather-beaten northeast of Scotland for a new start.

With their bags packed, Stacy watched the riot unfold, recognizing some of the Christian and evangelical language and imagery wielded by some protesters. He said he saw it as further proof that then-President Donald Trump had taken on a saintly status among some evangelicals.

“When your God loses, you have to find a way to get him back on top,” he said. “The whole idea was his man was supposed to be in the White House. What do you do when your God loses?”

Stacy, 31, is one of a small but growing number of younger evangelical Christians who have left what they see as a religious community led astray from its faith by a fervent strain of Trump-based politics. He and other former evangelicals warn that in a post-Jan. 6 world, the movement faces a challenge in attracting and keeping young, progressive Christians alienated by its relationship with conservative politics.

A 2020 study of religion in the U.S. found 14 percent of people identified as white evangelical, a sharp drop from 23 percent in 2006. As few as 8 percent of white millennials identify as evangelical, according to a 2018 study, compared to 26 percent of white people older than 65.

As the theologian Russell Moore, a key figure in modern evangelicalism, wrote in October: “Many of us have observed, anecdotally, a hemorrhaging of younger evangelicals from churches and institutions in recent years.”

The problem, he said, is “many have come to believe that the religion itself is a vehicle for the politics and cultural grievances, not the other way around.”

While not every white evangelical Christian supports Trump or a conservative agenda, the movement has long been associated with Republicanism and conservative values — not least through the shared emphasis on family and opposition to abortion rights. About three-quarters of white evangelicals supported Trump in the 2020 election.

“There are people who say evangelical support for Trump is inevitable based on who we’ve been in our history,” Stacy said, sitting in his small one-story apartment in Aberdeen, a Scottish port city closer to Norway than to London. “The question that stuck in my shoe was ‘Is it really inevitable?’”

It may not be inevitable, but people who have studied evangelical communities say the prospect of a church separated from politics is dwindling.

Kristin Du Mez, a professor of history at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the author of “Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation,” said that while churches themselves may claim to be simply spreading the gospel, what many do is deeply political.

“I’ve been told many times from people who attend highly politicized churches that nothing political happens inside those spaces,” she said. “They say, ‘We come, we worship.’ But then I attend and I hear prayers against the evils of big government.”

Stacy, who is originally from the Tampa Bay area of Florida, spent four years as a youth pastor at Spotswood. The church, in keeping with the wider evangelic movement, believes the Bible to be the literal word of God.

He worked at Spotswood as its interim communications director in 2012, then spent three years studying for a master’s degree in theology and working as a campus pastor in New Orleans. He returned to Spotswood as a youth pastor in 2016.

He said he was well aware of the politics of the area and the church, saying he had conversations with church members who espoused opinions and viewpoints that were not uncommon among conservatives, such as that the Civil War was about states’ rights.

But in the years that would follow, he said, he became more uncomfortable with what he saw as a politicized, conspiratorial mindset. Church members began to float QAnon-style conspiracy theories or claim that events like the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, a 90-minute drive from Fredericksburg, were the fault of the left.

“Someone would say ‘You know antifa was at the rally, right?’ or ‘Why are we having this conversation about racial justice when there is sex trafficking going all around us?’” Stacy recounted. “What concerns me is QAnon may go away, it may go out of style, but the apocalyptic paranoia that seized control — that’s not going anywhere.

“What made it urgent to me was if I have to go buy into this politicization and conspiratorial mind in order to follow this peasant from Nazareth, I don’t want anything to do with that,” Stacy said.

Chris Sosa, 32, grew up in Virginia and attended Spotswood up to five times a week until he moved away for college. He said the church was not shy about mixing politics and religion, even though its website, in a section outlining its beliefs, says, “Church and state should be separate.”

“I was taught that anyone who said they were separate just hated America,” he said.

Spotswood declined to address criticisms raised by Stacy and Sosa in detail. Instead, Drew Landry, a senior pastor, referred in an emailed response to the church’s mission: “We exist to be a community of light by making disciples who love God and love their neighbor through vertical worship, transformational teaching, biblical community and missional living.”

“As for our church doctrine and practice, we affirm The Baptist Faith and Message 2000,” he added, referring to a statement of faith that summarizes key Southern Baptist thought.

Stacy, who is studying for a doctorate in theology, said he views the Jan. 6 riot as a turning point. More than 100 prominent evangelical Christians attacked the “perversion” of rioters’ using Christianity to justify the violence of Jan. 6 in an open letter published six weeks later.

But Du Mez said she worries that much of the evangelical community is unwilling to listen to outside criticism.

Many evangelicals get their news from and form opinions based on a narrow set of media outlets, she said, including Christian talk radio and Fox News — because of a long-standing distrust of mainstream media.

“So their reality is just so different, and the conclusions they draw are so different. That’s where we see the popularity of ‘Stop the Steal’ in evangelical spaces, the idea that Biden is not a legitimate president — that’s a fairly widespread view,” Du Mez said.

As for the future, Stacy cautions that the forces that pushed him away from the church and from America are still just as strong.

“Just because people are being put in prison and there’s a [congressional Jan. 6] committee doesn’t mean anyone is watching for the ripple effects in the church. This isn’t going away.”

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/how%2 ... ar-AAWkrQZ

pasayten
Ray Peterson
dorankj
Posts: 576
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2021 1:08 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by dorankj »

I would still encourage you to read the book and consider the point being made, not necessarily all the other ‘issues’ with the author. The concern I’m attempting to point out is grieving the Holy Spirit. I too believe in the gifts as they are presented in the Bible, but they must be biblically correct. For example, some might say I perform ‘healing’ when I correct a blood sugar near death but it is not a biblical healing and if I cite that I would be offending God. That’s what I think is being pointed out and I find a valid concern, God will not be mocked.

User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 1599
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by pasayten »

Ken,

Did not read the book, but did watch/listen to John on a 1 hour sermon about Strange Fire...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRqD89ZBWyg

He certainly does not like the charismatic movement... and uses a broad brush of putting many in that category... 500 million in fact... I do not like putting people in boxes. That and some of his rigid demeanor and lengthy old testament talk put me off somewhat... In the end, I had to look up a definition for charismatic movement to see maybe who he was including...

The charismatic movement is the international trend of historically mainstream Christian congregations adopting beliefs and practices of Charismatic Christianity similar to Pentecostalism. Fundamental to the movement is the experience of baptism with the Holy Spirit and the use of spiritual gifts (charismata).[1]...

The problem with boxes as it tends to overlook the individuals. I do not think all charismatics are falling over drunk ilke and barking like dogs...

I did like his ending in that the purpose of the Spirit is to help transform us to be like Jesus... That is also my belief. I bet a lot of individuals in his "charismatics" box also believe that also...

I also believe that God is a loving and gracaeful God... He sent His Son to die for us... I am trying to be more like Jesus with the Spirit's help... Falling a little short so far these days in love your neighbor as yourself... I don't fall over in worship or bark... I do believe in spiritual gifts... I do have a strong gift of discernment... I am not a fan of Benny Hinn... So am I still in John's charismatic box or in his view offending the Holy Spirit?

Actually it doesn't matter... He is just a man and I am not worried about his opinion... :-)

pasayten
Ray Peterson
dorankj
Posts: 576
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2021 1:08 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by dorankj »

I’m interested in your take on it.

User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 1599
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by pasayten »

Well in the non-political spirit of looking for common ground in the area of Christ, I will look further into the book... Looks like it was publish in 2013... Before Trump entered the fray.... I do see there are a variety of opinions floating aroubd on the book...

https://www.wordinlife.com/pdfs/iron-sh ... erence.pdf

https://www.hopefaithprayer.com/books/B ... uthven.pdf

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-lib ... -macarthur

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmrk8DKzf0w

https://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/Issues ... range-Love

Will have to look for myself...

and yes, Trump is a mortal enemy to me, democracy, and the Republican party as to how and when I supported it... :-)

pasayten
Ray Peterson
dorankj
Posts: 576
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2021 1:08 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by dorankj »

Well, you failed to recognize an opportunity where we might find common ground and better understanding of each other by insisting to condemn the entire works of a largely respected Christian writer because he dained to offer some support of who you seem to make your mortal enemy. Maybe read the book and see if it has a point in the area that it addresses?

User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 1599
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by pasayten »

dorankj wrote: Sun Apr 10, 2022 6:13 pm

It’s too bad you chose to impose partisan politics on this, the book has nothing to do with partisan politics but is addressing mis-guidance from the church and its leadership similar to your condemnation of mega-churches. Maybe your politics isn’t as open-minded or tolerant as you like to further? Stay in your team-sport mentality then.

Firstly, My response on the non-interest in the book was that MacArthur has exactly entered into the realm of partisan politics so I do not look upon him as an author that I would listen to or respect his writings.

Secondly, I have not condemned mega-churches... Only posted articles about some failures of man when in positions of power... i.e. "Why does man screw up the beautiful simple message of Jesus Christ so badly?"

Thirdly, I am very open minded and value inclusion which seems to be a fairly foreign value to you.

pasayten
Ray Peterson
dorankj
Posts: 576
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2021 1:08 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by dorankj »

It’s too bad you chose to impose partisan politics on this, the book has nothing to do with partisan politics but is addressing mis-guidance from the church and its leadership similar to your condemnation of mega-churches. Maybe your politics isn’t as open-minded or tolerant as you like to further? Stay in your team-sport mentality then.

User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 1599
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by pasayten »

This is an interesting read...

Politics and the Christian Faith: Thoughts on John MacArthur’s Statement

Victor Sholar
September 24, 2020

A couple of weeks ago, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church shared in an interview with the Falkirk Center at Liberty University, his conversation with President Donald Trump. In that conversation Pastor MacArthur gave reasons why a true believer could not vote Democrat, “Because there is no way that a Christian could affirm the slaughter of babies, homosexual activity, homosexual marriage or any kind of gross immorality. No way we could stand behind a candidate who is affirming transgender behavior which of course is really the reprobate mind of Romans 1… Any real, true believer is going to be on your side [Trump] in this election”.

It is Pastor MacArthur’s last statement that has caused a bit of concern as we prepare for the coming election. Is the assurance of one’s salvation determined by how one votes? If you vote Democrat does this mean you are not a real true believer in Jesus Christ? If you vote for President Trump does this prove you are a true believer in Jesus Christ? How you answer these questions will not only define salvation, but if the church should be known more by its political affiliation than its gospel witness, since now the proof of Christian obedience is tied to one’s politics.

Now, just in case you think I’m taking Pastor MacArthur’s statement to an extreme, consider a recent account of a 21 year old minister from Arlington, Texas, who was denied the renewal of his license for gospel ministry because of his public endorsement of democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. Is church membership or church discipline also determined by whether you vote Republican or Democrat?

If this is the way we are thinking we need to be more open and honest about it. It shouldn’t be during the election season we discover that the assurance of one’s salvation or qualification for ministry is measured by what political party you support. Let’s start inserting this into our doctrinal statements and New Members Class curriculum. And I say this perfectly understanding why Pastor MacArthur believes this is not an issue to agree to disagree upon. For in his statement he concludes that the Democratic Party affirms behaviors that reflect the reprobate mind of Romans 1.

When you read Romans 1:18-32, it does read like a biblical analysis of the modern day sins in our country. Paul begins by stating that the wrath of God is against “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” [1:18]. From verses 21-23, he describes the ungodliness of men as being aware of God’s existence in creation and conscience, yet refusing to give Him glory or thanks. But instead exchanges the knowledge of the Creator for the worship of the creation. And then in verses 24-32, Paul describes how the unrighteousness of men is manifested in sexual immorality, lesbianism, homosexuality and a lack of natural affection in the family, which demonstrates that God in His wrath has given mankind over to a reprobate mind.

If there was one political party in America that fits the description of support for these behaviors we would have to say it is the Democratic Party. But does that automatically mean that the Republican Party is the party for the Christian?

Secular Liberalism and Conservatism Are Under the Wrath of God:

Any serious student of Scripture must always take into consideration the structural outline of a book in order to discern the transitions from one subject or scene to another. In the book of Romans the section beginning with the wrath of God being upon “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” [Rom. 1:18], doesn’t end at verse 32 of the same chapter, but continues through chapter 2. In chapter 2 Paul writes, “Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things” [Rom. 2:1].

Paul charges the secular conservative as being under the wrath of God for passing judgment upon the secular liberal because he practices the same sins the secular liberal promotes. When I read this I couldn’t help but to see the parallel between the secular conservative in Paul’s day and the present-day conservatives in our nation. Let me summarize some of the recent scandals of the Republican Party and you decide whether Romans 2:1-3 applies to what we are seeing today:

Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley [Republican] adultery with former top aide. This Governor was a deacon and Sunday School teacher at a Baptist church. [2017]
Daily Mail: Oklahoma State Senator [Republican] Ralph Shortey, engaging in child prostitution, caught with a teenage boy in a motel room…According to the Associated Press report that as a state senator, Shortey “routinely voted with his Republican colleagues on bills targeting gay and transgender people,” including a measure passed in 2017 to allow business owners to discriminate against LGBT people.]
NBC News 10/21/2017 – Several consecutive groups knew Wes Goodman, a GOP lawmaker who supported “natural marriage, had been secretly engaging in sexual encounters with men… a self-proclaimed Christian conservative.
One of the most egregious acts of sin in recent times has been the murder of babies. And the party that has championed the cause for the unborn has been the Republican Party. This truth has caused many Christians to promote the philosophy of the single vote in support for the life of the unborn. But does the Republican Party really stand against abortion?

Elliot Broidy, former RNC deputy finance chairman paid $1.6 million to a Playboy Playmate he had an affair with, after she aborted his child. [The Guardian: A Republican theme on abortions: “It’s Ok for me, evil for thee” article by Arwa Mahdawi, August 25, 2018]
Scott DesJarlais a Republican congressman from Tennessee supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage… Even after all that information came out DesJarlais still had the gall to vote for anti-abortion bills and boast of having a “100% pro-life voting record”.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul accused Republicans of being fake “pro-life” supporters [Newsweek.com; 7/3/19] – Quote: “Last year, I tried to attach to a spending bill a prohibition to have any money spent by Planned Parenthood. You know what happened? [GOP leadership] sat me down and one of the senior Republican Senators said, “We cannot have the vote today.” I said, ‘Why?’ He said ‘we might win.’” Last August, Paul’s Senate office issued a statement about Republicans blocking his amendment to “Defund Planned Parenthood.”
Chief Justice John Roberts [Republican] provided the decisive vote to preserve access to abortion in Louisiana [CNN.com 6/29/20]
According to LifeSite Catholic 9/4/20 – Trump promises to ‘fully defund’ Planned Parenthood if he wins election. Yet from 2017-18, the Republican Party had control in the White House, Senate and House. It was Dr. Russell Moore, from the ERLC who remarked when two pro-life bills failed before the Senate in February of this year, “It ought to be a national scandal that the US Senate failed to advance either of these basic and commonsense bills that would protect human life.” You tell me, which party do you vote for when it comes to the single issue of abortion? The party that supports abortion or the party that refuses to stop abortion?

If you support the secular conservative you need to think through Paul’s question to them, “And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? [Rom. 2:3] When a politician is committed to righteous policies but not righteous living, the Lord doesn’t endorse him, but condemns him. The wrath of God is against secular liberalism and secular conservatism.

Samuel Perry, “Dear Christian, If you recognize everything about a candidate is immoral other than their stance on abortion, then perhaps their stance on abortion doesn’t actually emerge from genuine morality at all. Maybe their position emerges from their immoral desire to dupe suckers.”

The Devil Is in the Politics:

The Bible describes the devil as “the god of this age” [2 Cor. 4:4], “the ruler of the world” [John 14:30] and “the prince of the power of the air” [Eph. 2:2]. This means that the devil has authority over sinners who occupy positions in government [Matt. 4:8-9]. Yes, God created the institution of government to be a minister of good and an avenger of evil in society [Rom. 13:1-4]. And on many occasions it fulfills this purpose and on many other occasions it has failed to fulfill its purpose. The reason for this is the devil, not Christ is ruling over every system of government in this world. If this were not true, why would Jesus command us to pray to God, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?” [Matt. 6:10]

The church’s struggle is not with politicians in Washington but with the devil himself. They are not the enemy but our mission field. Our enemy is one who hates God and those made in His image. He is not only God’s adversary but the believer’s as well [1 Pet. 5:8]. Jesus even referred to him as “a murderer from the beginning” [John 8:44]. In other words, the devil murdered the human race when Adam fell in the Garden, “For as in Adam all die” [1 Cor. 15:22].

So we must understand that any political ideology that minimizes the importance of care for all image-bearer regardless of ethnicity, social class, age or gender is under the influence of the destroyer of man’s souls not the Savior of it. When Christians are tempted to choose between the lesser of two evils, or trifle with either/or ethics and yes/but deflections. The witness of the church suffers because its politics are being driven by situational ethics or relative views on morality, instead of a holistic view on matters of justice. In fact, the Lord often commanded Israel to care for the weak and afflicted in society because there was a tendency to overlook their needs. You never find a command to care for the rich and powerful, because it is a product of our sinfulness to always exploit weakness.

When the Lord called on apostate Judah to amend it ways in order to remain in the land He said, “if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place.” [Jer. 7:5b-7a] Justice between a man and his neighbor means to treat each neighbor right. If our theology leaves us to choose between the immigrant or the orphan, the poor or the unborn, the police officer or the unarmed African-American, we are not representing a biblical view on these issues but an irreligious one. For the book of James tells us that pure and undefiled religion entails showing compassion to the orphan and widow in their distress [1:27], abstaining from the sin of partiality [2:1-13] and demonstrating a righteous anger against injustice [5:1-6]. And he warns us that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” [Jas. 2:10]. We are guilty of all God’s commandments if we are selective in keeping only a few. We are in sin of the whole if we reduce and only keep a part.

There Is No Christian Vote Just a Christian who Votes:

My reasons for writing this article was not to provide a solution on how one should vote but to awaken us to a dilemma. When you place your vote for the support of a candidate, you may reason that you are not voting in support of the person’s behavior but his policies. But realize when you cast your vote it will only be interpreted one way, you support this candidate. Period.

Yes, no party is perfect, but also no party is Christian. When you vote you are essentially supporting which pagan you believe will bring some good to society. So voting is a common grace not a promotion of the Christian faith. There’s a difference. Therefore there is no such thing as a Christian vote; but a Christian who votes. In other words, you vote as one who professes Christ, but your vote itself doesn’t represent the kingdom of God, it doesn’t advance the gospel of Christ, it merely affirms your earthly citizenship. You are a Christian who votes just like you are Christian who plays a sport, or a Christian who watches a movie. Your involvement in these activities are not kingdom activities but Christian liberties we enjoy in this life. The only agenda of God’s kingdom that we are commanded to advance, is the gospel!

Therefore, if you chose not to vote, guess what, you would not be in sin and God’s kingdom will not be hindered from advancing. If you chose to vote, guess what? Your vote, regardless of who you vote for, doesn’t hinder God’s kingdom from advancing because His kingdom is not of this world [John 18:36]. Jesus is not building a political party; He is building His church. Jesus is not seeking to Make America Great, but making His kingdom great. And the last time I read my Bible, it revealed that God the Father does not give the title deed to the earth, to the donkey or the elephant, but to the Lamb [Rev. 5]. So let’s be honest, when you vote, you are voting for the candidate that will further your cause, not Christ’s.

Your vote doesn’t cause God’s kingdom to come, or His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. So let’s stop trying to Christianize our vote; because our vote has nothing to do with determining our salvation. Our Christianity is based on faith alone, in Christ alone, and demonstrated by pursuing Christ-likeness. And to be Christ-like, is to promote the politics of Christ’s kingdom. For the apostle Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” [Phil. 3:20]. The Greek word for “citizenship” (politeuma) is where we get the English word “politics,” which refers to a person’s behavior as a citizen of a nation. Our citizenship in heaven has nothing to do with what will take place in November. Our energies should be focused on promoting the interests of heaven on earth. Therefore as citizens of heaven:

We should be praying, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” instead of reciting 2 Chronicles 7:14, because the land is not groaning over the sins of America but longing for the revealing of the sons of God [Rom. 8:19].

We should be striving as a church of diverse opinions and ethnicities to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace [Eph. 4:3]; instead of dividing over earthly political parties governed by the devil.

We should be more concerned about maintaining our Christian witness in a crooked and perverse generation [Phil. 2:15], than seeking to maintain our religious liberties.

We should seek to separate the Christian faith from politics and American patriotism; because America is not the bride of Christ, the church is.

We should put our hope in Christ, instead of putting our trust in politicians [Psalm 118:8-9].

https://thefrontporch.org/2020/09/polit ... statement/

pasayten
Ray Peterson
User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 1599
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by pasayten »

dorankj wrote: Sun Apr 10, 2022 7:00 am

Ray, I’d recommend “Strange Fire” by John McCarthur.

No... MacArthur has become too mired in politics lately for me... Might be a good read for Trump though... Does Trump read books? :-)

pasayten
Ray Peterson
dorankj
Posts: 576
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2021 1:08 pm
Contact:

Re: Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by dorankj »

Ray, I’d recommend “Strange Fire” by John McCarthur.

User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 1599
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Remember the thief on the cross...

Post by pasayten »

theif.jpg
pasayten
Ray Peterson
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests