Present Yourselves

key-blank

As we continue this series I’ve titled Key People at the End of the Age, a little background is in order. A number of years ago I went into the hardware store to get a key made. The man took me to where the key machine was and then he somehow morphed into “Infomercial Man”. He began to speak louder as if to draw a crowd…which he did.

He said, “So you want a key eh?” He then showed me small carousel of what appeared from a distance to be keys. He said, “The first step is to Present a Blank.” He took one off the carousel. “Now this looks like a real key but as you see it is a blank.”

For our purposes let’s liken this to our initial experience as disciples of the Lord. We hear the gospel, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our need for a Savior. We are born again. Now what?

This Sunday I had one of the happiest days of my life. I was visiting the Church my son and his family attend. The occasion was the dedication of their baby boy Noah. Protestants as a rule don’t believe in infant baptism. There is however often a ceremony in which the parents present their baby—as if to say “We are dedicating ourselves to raise this child in such a fashion that he or she will walk with God, and follow Him all the days of their lives.”

Hannah in the Old Testament brought Samuel to the Temple and ‘gave him’ to the Lord. Mary the mother of Jesus along with Joseph brought the boy Jesus into the Temple to offer a sacrifice and to acknowledge that the Boy belonged to God.

Back to our ‘Blank Key’ analogy. The blank looks ‘like’ a key but won’t be a functional key until it is shaped into the use determined by the one who is making a copy of another real key. I’ve been conducting retreats and speaking to groups of young people about this lately. Somehow in our fiercely independent, autonomous age, we’ve gotten the wrong idea of what it means to be a person who follows Jesus.

I’ve heard it many times that the goal of Christianity is to GET…more success…more money…promotions and favor with the world. Listen to what the Apostle said in Romans 12:1

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable will of God”

The Greek word translated present comes from 2 Greek words which means to stand beside, to proffer, to exhibit or to yield (Strong’s Dictionary of the New Testament) Paul uses a derivative of this phrase in the last letter he ever wrote, Second Timothy. He tells his young lieutenant Timothy

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and kingdom

Preach the Word, Be ready (or Instant) in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires—because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and will turn aside their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” II Timothy 4:1-1-4

 

The word translated ready or instant means “to stand UPON. To be present…to be ready to take a stand” Strong’s Greek New Testament Dictionary op.cit

The image that comes to mind for me is the scene at either The Marine Recruit Depot in Oceanside California or its counterpart at Paris Island, South Carolina. A young man or woman has raised their hand and taken an oath. Up until now the Marines the new recruits have dealt with have been very friendly and the exchanges were very positive. Now they are picked up at the airport and taken by van or bus to boot camp. The moment the Drill instructor enters that van. Life as they knew it has changed forever.paris-island

They are screamed at and goaded prompted and otherwise scared into lining up on a curious set of footprints painted on the concrete.

The message is painfully clear that they will no longer walk as they please. They will walk in tandem and literally in formation with others who have “presented themselves.” The very command for a military salute is PRESENT ARMS. Nothing is easy by design. It is the most rigorous experience many of them will ever endure in their lives. Yet the history and the lore and the mystique is clear. They are literally standing where countless other Marines have stood… on the very same footprints!

To be a Key Person at the end of the age, I think we would do well to understand that we begin by presenting our bodies as a blank…submitting to the will of God—that yes, may involve suffering and reproach and even death for some. But in order for the Lord to use us we must understand that there is a cost involved.

Jesus didn’t call fans to celebrate his renown. He called disciples to share in His reproach and suffering. Any takers?

Maybe our salute should be “PRESENT—Blanks”?

 

As you approach the end of this tax year, won’t you consider a gift to the Jude 3 Fellowship? Your gift is tax deductible and now more than ever it is vital that this message get spread as broadly as possible. You can also designate a monthly amount. Anything will help. God bless you. Just hit the Donate button and follow directions.

 

Dr. J.

 

 

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Key Man Insurance

key-man

It struck me funny the first time I heard the phrase. I was speaking with the pastor of a large church. In our conversation he used a term that I had never heard before—Key Man Insurance.  What didn’t feel right to me was the notion that a man or woman could be deemed so indispensable as to be designated the “key” person. (without whom the organization would suffer such loss as to require an insurance policy on his life)

Now I knew that big businesses employed such strategies to cover their losses in the unlikely event that the chief executive should die unexpectedly. One insurance company described the need for such insurance this way,

“Protect yourself and your business by insuring this key employee through a key person life insurance contract. Key person insurance is a life insurance policy purchased on the life of the owner of a company or a key individual in your company. The intent of the life insurance policy is to protect the financial success of a company due to the death of that employee.”

Is there such a thing as a ‘Key Man’ in the church? If the church has (as many have in our day) adopted a corporate model and structured the church as a business, then I suppose putting a price on the value of a man or woman’s life make sense. It’s the other implication though that bothers me. It is the notion that any of us is indispensable. If we carry this notion to its conclusion, then the early church should have died out with the Apostles. If you think about it, Peter and James and John and Paul and the others could be seen as Key People. Yet the church grew and continues to grow long after they died.

In the series of messages to follow, I would like to address the subject, Key People at the End of the Age. the phrase, the end of the age may seem to some of you to be a bit dramatic. Let me begin by saying that Bible makes it clear there will be a period known as the Last Days. Are these the Last Days? No one can say for sure. But are things taking place in our day that were prophesied in conjunction with or leading up to the end of the age? I think a case can be made that yes, there are things taking place in our day that have apocalyptic implications. The word apocalyptic comes from two Greek words which can be translated ‘to take the cover off…’

More on this later. For now, at the outset of this series, I want to ask, “What might it mean to be a Key Person in the Hand of God during consequential, turbulent times such as the period of history in which we find ourselves?”

The Late Francis Schaeffer wrote an important book which was published in 1984. Some of you may have perked up at the mention of 1984. (the title of George Orwell’s apocalyptic prediction of the future) He titled the book The Great Evangelical Disaster. What he predicted in that book has come to pass. Here is how he described it

The Battle We Are In

As evangelical, Bible-believing Christians we have not done well in understanding this. The world spirit of our age rolls on and on claiming to be autonomous and crushing all we cherish in its path. Sixty years ago could we have imagined that unborn children would be killed by the millions here in our own country? Or that we would have no freedom of speech when it comes to speaking of God and biblical truth in public schools? Or that every form of sexual perversion would be promoted by the entertainment media? Or that marriage, raising children, and family life would be the objects of attack? Sadly, we must say that very few Christians have understood the battle that we are in. Very few have taken a strong and courageous stand against the world spirit of this age as it destroys our culture and the Christian ethos that once shaped our country.

But the Scriptures make it clear that we as Bible-believing Christians are locked in a battle of cosmic proportions. It is a life and death struggle over the minds and souls of men for all eternity, but it is equally a life and death struggle over life on this earth.”1

In another essay Schaeffer asks the important question that each of us must be honest enough to face—How then shall we live? Remember that he wrote this book in 1984. Now we not only countenance and abide the wholesale slaughter of babies in the womb, we lightly pass over the news of the sale of their body parts. The journalist who broke this story has himself been charged for having the temerity to do an undercover operation to document Planned Parenthood’s ghoulish practices.

Francis Schaefer was a key person of sorts in his day. He boldly spoke truth to an increasing pagan culture. He wrote, lectured and used the media to try and sound the alarm that the wheels were coming off our culture. In the articles to follow I pray that you and I will somehow get a grasp on the gravity of our situation and address the question Francis Schaeffer asked over thirty years ago. How then shall we live?

Let me conclude with this thought. You are not a key person because of who YOU are but rather…WHOSE you are

1   Schaeffer, Francis, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Crossway Books, Westchester Illinois, 1984

Important info as you approach the end of 2016. The Jude 3 Fellowship relies solely on the generosity of our partners. Your gift (s) are tax deductible. Also please note that Dr. Jenkins is available for speaking engagements at churches, youth and college groups, Seminary and Bible College chapel services and In-service training events. He may be reached at chap4sq@msn.com

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They are watching

Vanderlei de Lima

Vanderlei De Lima 2004 Olympic Marathon

During the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics, the camera panned to a group of no-name athletes from a nation that few could find on a map. One young man burst into tears as he entered the stadium. As he wiped away the tears and tried to compose himself, the commentator made a remark that captures the essence of that moment.

“Look at him… for most of these athletes, this is their Olympic experience…just getting to this point…enduring what they had to endure… to enter this stadium with the world looking on.”

Like millions around the world, I wondered who it was that would be given the singular honor to receive the torch, and light the cauldron to begin the games. Who could forget the surprise when Mohammed Ali emerged and fought through the tremors of Parkinson’s to hold the torch aloft and light the fire.

Everyone expected that it would be Pele’ an Argentinian… the greatest name associated with the game of soccer. For health reasons, he declined that honor just before the opening ceremony. Who would they choose? If I was to take a straw poll, I am certain that no one would have guessed, nor been able to name the man they picked to light the flame.

Vanderlei de Lima. You know…Vanderlei de Lima. Of course no one remembers that name. Two reasons come to mind. He is no Pele’ or Ali. And second, he lost the gold in his event.

“Alone in his apartment in south London, a 69-year-old man named Neil Horan watched a middle-of-the night broadcast of the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics. Like other viewers, he wondered which Brazilian would get the honour of lighting the Olympic caldron. And when he saw that it would be Vanderlei de Lima, best known for being accosted by a spectator while leading the 2004 Olympic marathon in Athens, Greece, he was aghast.”

New York Times columnist John Branch sums up the incident

It was Horan who (at the 2004 Olympics) jumped onto the course near the 35-km mark and shoved de Lima into the crowd in Athens — “Put him aside like a rugby tackle,” he recalled in a phone conversation Saturday — and was blamed for de Lima finishing third.

“When I actually saw him with my own eyes, I really got angry,” Horan said. “I look at Vanderlei, and I think, ‘You would be nowhere near the star if not for me.’”

Horan a defrocked Catholic Priest had disrupted other sporting events. In 2003, laicized by the Roman Catholic Church and an outspoken believer that the end of the world was coming, Horan interrupted the British Grand Prix by running onto the racetrack, forcing cars to swerve past him.1

So right at a crucial point in the race of his life, an unsuspecting marathon runner is knocked down by a religious fanatic and loses the Gold Medal. Now, twelve years later, he is chosen to light the cauldron in Rio.

A few days after this strange turn of events, I attended the dedication of my newest grandchild, Camden Jonathan Riddle. My daughter Hannah and her husband Jonathan stood before a large congregation as Camden’s smile was flashed on the huge screen. Hannah read a prayer that she composed for the occasion. She prayed that he would be a “world changer” in his generation.

On the way out of church I just happened to see a man who (later that week) was about to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I happened to hear his acceptance speech. He freely acknowledged that it was the grace of God in his life that afforded him the coaching career he enjoyed.

I started to see a theme emerging when (at week’s end) I tried to contact my friend, Pastor Larry Johnson who is in the battle of his life due to a brain tumor. Larry and I have been in touch every week since we were ordained together into public ministry in 1978. He is having great difficulty in speaking but there is absolutely no doubt that he is has all his mental capacity, but his speech has been damaged by the growing tumor.Chaplain Larry Johnson

The enemy of our souls has no hesitation when it comes to impeding the progress toward the goal for those who name the Name of Jesus. In the case of the marathon racer, it was a defrocked priest whose twisted mind convinced him that the was actually serving God by attacking the runner in the midst of his race.

In the case of the NFL coach it was the long standing tension of who would be the first African American head coach. On more than one occasion, he spoke frankly about the setbacks and disappointments he had to endure along the way to receiving his Super Bowl ring.

In the case of Baby Camden, I was struck by the fact that in his lifetime he will most probably face challenges we can’t even imagine as he walks with Jesus in an age of lawlessness. I prayed for him.

Finally, I thought of Pastor Larry. He has served the Lord faithfully for over forty years. He has labored in relative obscurity. His columns appear in a newspaper that reaches thousands. His work as chaplain to his local police department cannot be measured for its efficacy in the eyes of God. His congregation would to a man say that he prepared to preach each week as if he was addressing thousands.

At a time only know to our Lord, each of these individuals will enter into the arena surrounded, and cheered on by a great cloud of witnesses. Van der lei Lima will (if he has walked with God) will have the satisfaction that the challenges in his race were not hidden from the Lord; neither was the injustice of the attack that thwarted him unnoticed by those whose races are long over.

Camden will enter, Lord willing, to experience the satisfaction of hearing his Lord say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter into the rest of thy Lord.” For Pastor Larry, the battle is on. The Apostle Paul is looking on… as are Martin Luther, and Charles Spurgeon and Bob and Shirley his beloved parents. I can hear them. “The Lord is your portion… you are going to make it!”

Those entering the stadium in Rio were aptly called contenders. For someLighting the Cauldron who read this… it is time to get up and get back into the race. For others, it is time to find your help in the Name of the Lord. For us all, it is time to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.”

 

Dr. J.

 

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Contending or Contentious?

linebacker

Legendary Chicago Bears linebacker Mike Singletary…look at his eyes

If the last 5 years have taught me anything, it is that how we say what we say about the Bible and Jesus is very important…and very delicate. Note that I did not say that the Gospel or the Bible are delicate. No, I said how we come across as we attempt to communicate these timeless truths in an era of increasing lawlessness is of major concern.

I am remembering a guy from the seminary I attended who was formerly a linebacker on his college football team. He was extremely ‘ripped’ as the saying goes. He probably had a body fat index that would rival Olympic athletes. He also had an intensity about him that often came across as a menacing countenance. I knew him and I was intimidated by him sometimes.

A christian music artist (who was attending the seminary at the time) planned an outdoor concert in Los Angeles… right in the heart of Watts. We were at Will Rogers Park…right at the epicenter of the terribly destructive riots that had taken place just a few years prior. Donn Thomas, an African American musician, had invited a number of us to go along and minister to those who would respond to his altar call. My linebacker friend, let’s call him ‘Bill’ joined us as Donn began to play “Can’t Nobody Do me like Jesus…He’s my friend” and “Ain’t no Rock Gonna Shout in my place…Long as I’m as I’m Alive to Glorify His Holy Name…”

Donn ministered powerfully and he gave an altar call. Bill and I and the others began to pray with those we hoped to lead to the Lord. Bill (I forgot to mention that he also spoke in a very loud voice) was ministering to a young boy about 13. I watched as Bill got closer and began to speak louder. The boy began to back up and Bill continued to advance….

Finally the boy ran away. Bill chased him to the edge of the park and with one last attempt… he yelled at the top of his voice “Hey!! Jesus Loves You….”

Discernment type ministries are needed as never before. The very notion of objective, absolute truth is under continual assault, and the culture around  us is careening down the “Great Down Grade” Charles Spurgeon warned us about. We need as never before to “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude verse 3)

A friend did me a great favor a while back. She read one of my posts and reflected back to me that my tone was a little harsh. (She was kind) In point of fact, as I reread what I had written, I would describe it as shrill and confrontational. How, I have been asking myself for months, can I communicate the passion I have about what I truly believe is necessary for the church to hear, yet not succumb to fleshly enthusiasm that is off-putting?

The King James version of the Bible uses the word contend in Jude 3 to describe the assignment we as believers have to hold true to the scriptures. The Bible also, however, uses the words contention and contentious to describe less than godly approaches that some well-meaning apologists are accustomed to exhibit.

“A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city and contentions are are like the bars of a castle” (Prov. 8:19)

In Romans, Paul concludes his letter with this directive…

“Now I urge you brethren note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned and avoid them.”

The Greek word translated divisions comes from two root words meaning literally ‘two stances’ ( hence the idea of division of something that was intended to be ‘one’.) The word offences describes a young sapling, bent for use of becoming a ‘trap stick in a snare’ (see Strong’s Concordance Greek Dictionary # 4624 and 4625) I’m not stretching the meaning to say that this word suggests “tripping someone up” by means of a snare.

Remember Paul is saying ‘Avoid them.’ (the ones coming causing divisions and offences) What then is the meaning of Jude 3 in which Jude is pleading with his readers to “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints”? Again, the original language yields a rich meaning that changes everything. The word Jude used is a  derivative of a word from which we get our word “agonize”  It can mean to “struggle for” to “earnestly contend for.”

Elsewhere in the New Testament we are exhorted to ‘not be that guy’. What guy? Maybe our linebacker friend Bill who thought he had to tackle someone…to win a battle… in order to represent the truth. Paul wrote to Titus, “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work. to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle,  showing all humility to all men(Titus 3:1-2) The word peaceable in the King James version means “don’t be a brawler” The same word is used in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he lays out the qualifications for leaders A bishop must be….not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous…” (I Tim: 3:3)

Here is what I gleaned from this brief study. To contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints is arduous, and frankly agonizing at times. What I/we need to guard against, however, is the tendency to adopt an attitude of combativeness with others in order to arrive at the truth. I don’t want to be a brawler. I don’t want to be ‘that guy.’ I don’t intend to ever back down, but I can pray, even agonize in prayer… that I contend for something rather than against someone.

Something to think about…

Dr. J.

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True Truth

On trial for his life, Martin Luther is reported to have said, “Peace if possible…The truth at any rate.”

The other day a famous preacher appeared on a talk show. He was apparently trying to rehab his image. He had been accused of having numerous sexual encounters with young men in his mega-church. After some long awkward silences, the host asked him, “What is your stance on gay marriage?”

The man gathered himself… looked straight into the camera… and said “I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman…that being said, that is my truth. And other people have their truth and that’s o.k.” It was an artful dodge, but his defense was flawed by definition.

The Greek word that we translate as “truth” in the New Testament literally means “nothing hid or concealed.” I take that to mean that truth is either true or it is not. There is no room for nuance here. Jude verse 3 (the guiding scripture of the Jude 3 Fellowship) reads “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” From this verse I conclude:

  • Truth, (as Paul put it)“The truth as it is in Jesus”–was a ‘once for all’ proposition
  • It is one truth for all people and for all times
  • It had and has been delivered ‘once for all’ to the saints.
  • To treat truth as such is something that will involve contending (the Greek word is agonidzo—we get our word agonize from it.

One could rightfully ask, contend against what or whom? I will tell you that Jude’s epistle as well as the epistles of Peter and John deal with people in the church who have caused strife and confusion by distorting or tinkering with the Gospel. In every generation there have been those who took it upon themselves to adapt the gospel to their current culture. It is no different today. The preacher I mentioned earlier illustrates this point. His “this is my truth” remark was really a tacit acknowledgement that others’ truth was par with the truth as it is found in Jesus.

People have literally stopped their ears when I say “Jesus said that “all who came before Him were liars and thieves.” It is written “There is no other name under heaven by which men shall be saved.” One really has just a few options when it comes to the claims of Christ. The very notion of propositional truth—that is, there is one truth that is to be either accepted and believed, or rejected—is under assault today.

You need a thesaurus to decipher and parse the various ways that pubic figures disguise lies. One of my favorites was when the then Presidential candidate John Kerry was caught repeating again and again a statement that he knew to be false and misleading. One of his surrogates came up with this creative defense. “Secretary Kerry is one of those rare men possessed of a fluid consciousness. Intellectual fluidity was this man’s actual wording.

I remember hearing once, “In war, the first casualty is always the truth.” We need as never before to be convinced that the Bible is ‘true truth’ as Francis Schaeffer put it. By all means, we are all free to obfuscate redefine, speculate. bend tear and mutilate as much as we please. If, however, something is universally true and based on the very Word of God, then we have a dilemma. The Bible states in no uncertain terms that not all will be saved. It also makes it crystal clear that you can be sincere and at the same time sincerely wrong, and that there is judgment involved.

I remember my Apologetics teacher, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery said that “a universe in which both Unitarianism and Roman Catholicism could both be universally true would be a mad house!” Does this mean that I have the right to tell people they are going to hell? I wouldn’t treat it that way. But neither do I have the right to eliminate my uncomfortableness by saying that the Bible is wrong about Hell and that no one is going there…

I guess Martin Luther had it right

Peace if possible…the truth at any rate. I can say and I do say right now that no one HAS to go to Hell. Anyone reading this can right now repent, confess that they have sinned and offended God and that they believe that Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross, He died for them. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

Now there is some true truth.”

Dr. J.

 

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Let’s have Chinese tonight

cookie

“The wheels are coming off!” Think of children in a homemade cart careening down a steep hill. To your horror, you notice the wheels begin to wobble. The steep down grade, the laws of physics and the shoddy construction of the vehicle are about to produce a predictable result.

A few days back I picked up a copy of The Oregonian newspaper. These were the headlines on the first two pages:

Transgender teacher sees victory as a wider win

‘Wall’ builds only unity

Methodists postpone LGBT discussion

                                                                                  Trudeau apologizes for throwing elbow

In the same paper, there was a Washington Post story, ‘China disputes strange cannibal-related food export rumors.’

Now for the back stories behind those slug lines…

A fifth grade teacher in a suburb of Portland was paid a $60,000 settlement by the Gresham-Barlow School District after this individual complained of harassment. You will note that I didn’t say the teacher was a man. Leo came out as transgender last spring after surviving breast cancer. You see Leo Soell “identifies as neither male nor female, and goes by THEY (emphasis mine) instead of he or she.”

Regarding Wall builds only unity, this story had to do with another suburb of Portland in which hundreds of students from 6 high schools left school and took to the streets in protest. The crowd carried a jubilant vibe with chants that included “Yes we can!” What caused this spontaneous, curiously very logistically coordinated event? One student posted a banner which read ‘Build the Wall.’ One politician’s slogan (Obama’s mantra ‘Yes we can’) was described as a jubilant vibe, while the other admittedly political statement ‘Build the wall’ was characterized on the evening news as hate speech.

The Global United Methodist Church General Conference met “to vote on potential changes to church doctrine and rules…the church’s stances on gay clergy and gay weddings are the most contentious issues…” They kicked the can down the road and basically failed to make a decision. The headline in the commentary piece, however, spun it in such fashion as to communicate that it is inevitable that they will endorse the LGBT agenda.

The third piece really caught my eye. I pastored in Canada for twelve years. Newly elected Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau admitted to and apologized for disrupting a session of parliament by grabbing one MP and elbowing another female MP in the chest. Ostensibly this action was justified because a crucial vote to close debate on the liberals’ agenda was threatened.

The head of state literally threw an elbow to push through his agenda. The boorish bully behavior was the subject for all the talking heads, but almost as an after- thought the pundits were forced to identify what the issue was. Trudeau’s government was trying to literally push through physician-assisted euthanasia (NOTE: THE WORD EUTHANASIA…NOT DEATH With DIGNITY) Translation?…this open ended-language opens to door for a scenario where a government panel will decide who is euthanized, and the criteria that will inform those decisions.

After taking an antacid pill, It hit me what these stories have in common. They were crafted by professionals to create a narrative. The facts were bent folded and mutilated to produce an impression.

In my book Fatal Drift – Is the Church Losing its Anchor? I talk a lot about the phenomenon of Narrative creation and maintenance.  There is a concerted, scientifically-based (behavioral sciences) highly sophisticated machine that is dead set on creating entire generation that will be shaped and brainwashed into accepting a false narrative that will result in the following

  • The elimination of even a hint of the created order of God to do with gender
  • The loss of good order and discipline in the schools in favor of indoctrination to a globalist agenda
  • Politics reduced to street fighter tactics
  • And the elimination of any theology that would dare to affirm that God’s Word is the final authority in manners of  doctrine and practice in the church.

You may have noticed that I didn’t say anything more about the article about ‘cannibal related food export rumors.’ Does China, as the article posits, actually ‘take dead bodies, marinate them put them in cans and sell them in African supermarkets?’ Who is to say?

My question is, why did this tabloid-worthy drivel make the cut and appear in a major newspaper? I do know that the other major Newspaper in Oregon, The Register Guard ran an article a while back featuring recipes for women… to facilitate them… to eat their placentas! Is it a stretch to say that the progressives might promote the Chinese rumor and feature articles on the value of human flesh as nutrition in the third world? Kind of adds a ghoulish overtone to the phrase “Let’s have Chinese tonight.”

The narrative barrage in the Oregonian appears to have been unleashed to plant and reinforce the following thoughts

  • The teachers in PUBLIC a.k.a. TAX FUNDED schools have the right to self-identify as “they” to fifth graders
  • It is noble and good to shut down PUBLIC a.k.a. TAX FUNDED schools to promote illegal immigration
  • The new normal in politics is a scorched-earth a bare-knuckles PUTSCH style brawl
  • The value of human life and the notion of man being created in the image and likeness of God is to be jettisoned in favor of a more enlightened, progressive view…i.e.  the flesh of man as a source of nutrients.

Is it time for people who claim to be believers in Jesus and the Bible to push back? You (at least for now) have the right to press the school district and the editor of the paper to account for this stuff. Think about it…Oh, and by the way, the next time you are out at a Chinese Restaurant…think twice before saying “Lunch is on me…”

Contending,

Dr. J

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Nudge Not Lest Ye Be Nudged

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The Word of God is Clear…Until it’s Not

I love Fridays. There are predictable events. They will offer clam chowder at your favorite restaurant. Perhaps it is pizza night. School’s out for the weekend and…The Mullahs are whipping up the obligatory “Death to America” chants at Friday prayers. Oh, and the Federal Government will announce its most odious dictates just in time to catch everyone distracted.

President Obama, who is ostensibly responsible for protecting the United States (while Russian and Chinese fighters are buzzing our Naval Ships unchallenged) ‘ordered’ (another report used the word ‘decreed’) that public Schools (those that receive federal funds) to immediately make the necessary adjustments to see to it that the bathrooms are accessible to any student who self-identifies as the opposite sex.

There was an immediate, albeit tepid response from someone claiming to be a spokesman for Evangelicals that, “We haven’t given the process enough time. He went on, “Why, we took longer to decide on what should be included in the Food Pyramid.” Note, he didn’t say this is wrong. Merely that he and others like him weren’t quite ready for the inevitable blowback.

Pictured above is an announcement of an event which took place at Fuller Seminary in 2014. The ONETABLE group–a recognized student group of LGBT students, advertised its event by starting with the trailer. The Word of God is clear…until it’s not.

For a number of years now, I have been trying to get people to realize that there is an inevitable trajectory to this relentless onslaught of lawlessness. “The love of the many will wax cold” said Jesus in Matthew 24. This He said would be the direct result of “the increase in lawlessness.”

I want to first of all acknowledge that people like Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, and Paul Smith New Evangelicalism New World Order and others were prophetic when they predicted that we would end up here, once we abandoned the centuries old belief that the Bible is inerrant. How else could the largest evangelical seminary in the world countenance an event of a student organization which posits that the Word of God is unclear when it comes to something as basic as gender?

What I say next could be dismissed as some sort of conspiracy theory. Let the reader decide. The very verbiage of the ONETABLE emphasis mine organization at Fuller belies the fact that there is collusion and social engineering going on in our culture at such a breathtaking level that we should all be alarmed. Here are some facts.

The Obama administration has used more social scientists and behavioral psychologists than any administration in history. “President Obama has announced a new executive order on Tuesday which authorizes federal agencies to conduct behavioral experiments on U.S. citizens in order to advance government initiatives.” Chuck Ross, Daily Caller 9/15/2015

The new program is the end result of a policy proposal the White House floated in 2013 entitled ‘Strengthening Federal Capacity of BehavioraI Insights.’

The initiative draws on research from University of Chicago economist Richard Thayer and Harvard law school professor Cass Sunstein, who was also dubbed Obama’s regulatory Czar. The two behavioral scientists argued in their 2008 book ‘Nudge’ that government policies can be designed in such a way that ‘nudges’ citizens towards certain behaviors and choices. The desired choices almost always advance the goals of the federal government.” ibid

Back to the wording of the Fuller LGBT group…I knew something about the ad sounded familiar. Do you remember when all the children from Central America showed up at the southern border of the U.S.? Remember how it was touted as a humanitarian crisis and that there just happened to be a number of church groups that took in the children? The Obama administration had reached out years before to a group of self-appointed Evangelical leaders. I remember the chill I got when the president had a press conference and said “I don’t know what the big deal is, law enforcement is on board with it… the military is onboard…and we’ve got the Evangelicals…”

The name of the group of so-called evangelicals was The Evangelical Immigration Table. It was headed up by the likes of Jim Wallis, a radical leftist crony of Obama whose organization Sojourners got grant money from none other than George Soros.

Around the same time this occurred, I heard something streamed from the convention of the denomination I served for over thirty years. A pastor got up and declared (he had actually mailed it in it before the convention) that he had a Word from Jesus. He was allowed to give it at a plenary session of the convention. In essence he said “If the group did not welcome the LGBT community to the table that Jesus would withdraw His presence from them.

The next day an elder stood up with the man with his arms around him and said “We really don’t want to damage this man’s growing influence or diminish his voice. In his zeal, he just ‘over-spoke.’ Can you in good conscience deny that the progressives have not only infiltrated the church, but that the church has become an echo chamber for ‘Nudges’ in the direction of apostasy?

The ‘Nudge’ crew clearly thought the image of the Table was a winner. You know, like the communion table. They will not stop until they declare that God created homosexuality and that the Bible is merely a genre of literature that has evolved.

The Word of God is clear…until it’s not?

No.

“The Word of God is alive and active, sharper than any two-edged sword piercing to the division of joints and marrow, soul and spirit and discerning the thoughts and the intentions of the heart.”

Dr. J

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And So it Begins

loyolaI remember the first time I got “the look…”

I was having a conversation with another pastor about my book, Fatal Drift, Is the Church Losing its Anchor? I was reiterating my strong conviction that once we treat the Bible as mere literature and deny that it is (all of it) God-breathed, then we are rejecting God’s Word… It was then I got “the look.”

It was as if he was saying, “Gee, I thought you were o.k..” or perhaps “I didn’t know you were one of those” He seemed to be intimating that I was either a “knuckle-walking Neanderthal” or that I was just not very bright.

Once, I got “the look” for pointing out that we are living in a time that the very notion that believing there is such a thing as absolute truth is somehow proof that one is a hater, a bigot, or worse.

I am going to buy a small stopwatch, and keep it in my pocket. When  I begin to discuss abortion, gay rights or anything else that runs contrary to the progressives’ narrative. Typically all I do is state my belief that the Bible is true. Within minutes (sometimes seconds) the tone of the conversation changes and I am attacked personally. (ad hominem) I imagine myself quietly stopping the stopwatch in my pocket…pulling it out… and congratulating the individual. “Wow, that’s a new record! You went from a respectful dialogue to an ad hominem attack in 30 seconds!”

Think I’m overstating this? Try it.  I told friends about the time I was preaching in Canada, in which I made reference to one scripture that had to do with gender. My friend who hosted me told me later. “F.Y.I.  If someone with a smart-phone took offense at your citing that verse you could be prosecuted for a hate crime.” I learned later that they use  the word “Tribunal” to describe the people who would be judging you.

Since then, I have made mention of this incident and gotten “the look” from incredulous people who think “That could never happen here…” Read the following,

An unnamed employee at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles has been suspended and is currently being investigated for a “hate crime” by the university’s Bias Incident Response Team and the LAPD for “denying transgenderism” when she stated that there are only two genders, reports The College Fix.

http://www.dailywire.com/news/5338/catholic-college-employee-investigated-police-amanda-prestigiacomo

Loyola Marymount is a CATHOLIC university! They have a Bias Incident Response Team that in tandem with the LAPD is investigating (she is suspended now) an employee for committing a Hate Crime for merely pointing out that Catholic Dogma states that there are only two genders. “Male and Female He created them.”

I am already prepared for the next time I get ‘the look” when I say the following,

If you name the name of Jesus as your Savior, and you are raising your children to trust that the Bible deals with absolute truth, then F.Y.I., the Bias Incident Response Team’s next raid may take place at your home. How you answer the question, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God and that belief in his sacrifice on the cross for sins is the only way of salvation?” is taking on some Orwellian aspects.

Before you change the subject to the playoffs or what Kanye and Kim wore on the red carpet…Let me put it to you squarely

Not to choose…is to choose. I was holding my newest grandchild the other day, overwhelmed with emotion at how pure and innocent he is. I don’ t want one day for him to think “Papa Jim, why didn’t the Christians speak up?”

Dr. J

 

 

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One Way…Or Something Else?

bono peterson

Someone could justifiably say to me, “You just have one string on your banjo…all you talk about is how the church is surrendering to the culture.” It’s true…try as I might, I keep coming back to this issue. In researching my book, I mentioned an encounter I had with member of a scholars’ blog. The topic had to do with engaging  the culture.

In my post I pointed out something I felt was germane to the discussion. I mentioned that Bono, lead singer for the rock group U-2, was an example of how cultural icons were influencing the church. I related the true story of an Episcopalian church that was so enamored with Bono that they advertised an upcoming communion service in which U-2 music would be played. They called it—are you ready—a U-2charist!

I posted this in the blog and was immediately chided by another Christian scholar, the official historian of his denomination, who replied, “What’s wrong with that? Bono is a very spiritual person.” I was stunned. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, in that progressives have been making inroads in heretofore evangelical circles for quite some time. Many Christians assume that Bono is a Christian because he appears on the platform with Christian leaders like Rick Warren.

Fuller Seminary recently announced with great pride the launch of their new FULLER studio,

“Dear Alumni and Friends of Fuller

I am beyond delighted to announce that after years of planning, and cultivating support for FULLER studio. This robust online site of resources officially launches April 26th, 2016!

FULLER studio has been given an extraordinary opportunity to premier an exclusive 20-minute short film…Bono, Eugene Peterson and Psalms, documenting the unique relationship between this notable musician (of the band U-2) and the author of The Message revolving around their common interest in the Psalms.”

When I read this email, I was reminded that the previous President of Fuller observed Ramadan “in solidarity with our Muslim friends…”

Note the raised index finger in the photo of Bono and Eugene Peterson, and listen to his quote by a reporter covering one of Bono’s concerts

At a recent U2 Concert, One writer (who is called a christian) discussed her turmoil in hearing Bono point to the Cross, the Star of David and the Crescent Moon on his bandana and repeat: “Jesus, Jew, Mohammed-all true. Jesus, Jew, Mohammed-all true.”

bono headbandI can resonate with a little “discomfort” at the words “all-true,” but I was more unnerved by a Christian being “devastated,” as she put, at the thought that other religions might have something in common with Christianity. We may not believe in Mohammed, but we certainly worship Allah (despite the differentiation K-Love and Focus on the Family try to make – historically, He is the same God, and if you want to say the God of the Jews and the God of Islam and Christianity are all different, then so is the God of Catholics, the God of Baptists and the God of Pentecostals). http://www.emergingchristian.com/2005/12/bono-and-antichrist-allegations.html

Make no mistake,  when Bono displays the One Way sign he is not confessing Jesus as the only way of salvation. He is rather co-opting the symbol to his stated view that Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha are the same God.

The other day I was reading through my Facebook friends’ posts and read what I believed to be a currentnews item from the online version of The New York Times (I neglected to read the date…I saw the word April and assumed it was current. Someone apparently re-posted it)

By MARGALIT FOX

APRIL 17, 2013

George Beverly Shea, who escaped a life of toil in an insurance office to become a Grammy-winning gospel singer and a longtime associate of the Rev. Billy Graham, appearing before an estimated 200 million people at Graham revival meetings worldwide, died on Tuesday in Asheville, N.C. He was 104.

Shortly after reading this, I learned that the rock icon Prince had died. Surely you caught some of the 24-hour news coverage. It rivaled the coverage usually afforded the death of a head of state. Listen to what the New York Times published

Let me tell you why “Adore” is the central song in the Prince canon. Because in “Adore” you get the commingling of two keys to understanding the man and his music: his sexuality and his spirituality.

In the second verse he paints the picture: “When we be making love / I only hear the sounds / Heavenly angels crying up above / Tears of joy pouring down on us / They know we need each other.” They’re having sex under a sprinkling of angel tears, which are flowing because of the angels’ admiration of their love. This is the erotic intertwined with the divine…

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/opinion/sunday/princes-holy-lust.html

After reading seeing footage of some of Prince’s onstage antics, I was appalled that The Times saw fit to run this opinion piece. As if to complete the trifecta, I noted just one more posting. A friend posted a quote from the late Erma Bombeck. April 22nd is the anniversary of her death in 1996.

Here is the quote,

Don’t confuse fame with Success…Madonna is one Helen Keller is the other.’

I came away from this experience with a renewed vigor to speak out against what I believe to be a seduction of the church by progressives who blur the lines, and promise fame and acceptance to those who sidle up to celebrities.

George Beverly Shea sang the praises of his Lord to over 200 million souls and slipped off into eternity with little notoriety. A rock singer whose hyper-sexualized music earned him fame and fortune is spoken of in reverential tones.

I agree with Os Guinness who wrote in his book, Prophetic Untimeliness—A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance

We therefore need to examine the modern promise of relevance and reinvention. Could it be the means to advance the good news to a confused weary battered world that is hungry for news that is genuinely good? Or a Trojan horse that we wheel into the camp at our peril?”

If I have but one string on my banjo, I plan to make sure it is in tune with the truth.

Dr. J.

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bonhoeffer

Seventy one years ago this month, a quiet theologian who was designated a ‘special prisoner’ of the Fuehrer, heard his name called. He knew what it meant. He was forced to strip naked and was marched to the gallows. He was by all accounts one of the most promising theologians of his day. He was engaged to be married.

One of the last official documents Adolf Hitler signed before he killed himself, was the death warrant of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was part of a group who conspired (and failed) to assassinate Adolph Hitler. It’s complicated to weight whether or not it was right for man of God to participate in a plot to kill someone. I have often thought of Ehud the ancient Judge in Israel who used deceit to get close enough to stab Eglon King of Moab.

The thing I remember when I think of Bonhoeffer though is the fact that he put his life on the line. The doctor at the prison camp where Bonhoeffer was killed confessed that he had never seen man face his own death as Bonhoeffer did.

In his final letter from Tegel prison, he could write:

Please don’t ever get anxious or worried about me, but don’t forget to pray for me – I’m sure you don’t. . . You must never doubt that I am travelling with gratitude and cheerfulness along the road where I’m being led. My past life is brim-full of God’s goodness, and my sins are covered by the forgiving love of Christ crucified. I’m most thankful for the people I have met, and I only hope they will never have to grieve about me, but that they, too, will always be certain of, and thankful for, God’s mercy and forgiveness.

We have one last glimpse of Bonhoeffer on April 7th 1945, in the
schoolhouse at Schönberg in the remote Bavarian hinterlands, where he had been brought after a two months‚ stay in Buchenwald. Here he and a group of other prisoners, including the British Military Intelligence officer, Captain Payne Best, celebrated the Sunday after Easter with a short service. Bonhoeffer read the set texts: Isaiah 53:5 “With his wounds we are healed”, and 1 Peter 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

But then two guards arrived to summon him to leave. There was only time to ask Captain Best, if he survived, to take a short message to England, and to remember him to his ecumenical partner and friend, Bishop George Bell of Chichester: “Tell him that for me this is the end but also the beginning – with him I believe in the principle of our Universal Christian brotherhood which rises above all national interests, and that our victory is certain.”

He was then taken back to the notorious concentration camp Flossenbürg, where on the same night he was to be arraigned, convicted, condemned to death, and in the gray dawn of the following morning, April 9th, executed by hanging.

Bonhoeffer has no known burial site. But his courageous faith in the power of God’s forgiveness has proven in subsequent years to be an inspiring source of healing and cure for the sins of his nation and his church.

http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/akz/akz2602sp.htm

Lord give us all the courage to speak truth to power and then entrust our very lives to you…

Amen

Dr J

 

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