- O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.
Robert Burns, Poem “To a Louse” – verse 8
- Bill Maher is a self-proclaimed non-Christian so the language in this clip should surprise no one. If you are offended by the language used by those outside of Christ use…good! So am I. This is from one of his shows back in May…but I am posting it now for two reasons. First, because my good friend Noel Malan posted it on Facebook and I just now became aware of it and, second, because we need to understand how the world perceives us as a religion. Even a pagan like Maher knows enough Scripture to see the disconnect between what Jesus said and how so many who claim to follow Him actually act. I hope you will view it and I hope you cringe in the appropriate places.
- Notice that he is attacking our hypocrisy, not what Jesus taught.
The truth is, if everyone who claims to be a disciple of Christ would imitate Christ not only would the kingdom explode in size but I seriously doubt that our government would be messing around killing folks in the Middle East. Why is that? Because they would see the good works of the Christians in our nation and glorify God.
When one thinks of the lives lost and the resources expended on our fruitless wars and political meddling in the Middle East it should bring us to tears. What if those same lives and resources were given to win the hearts and minds of the Islamic world? What if we were known for acts of mercy instead of violence? I’m not talking about the government here, I am talking about the kingdom of God. Peter wrote, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name” (1 Peter 4:15,16). Too often, as Christians we have supported our government as they meddled and murdered!
What if Christians were known for being first on the scene of earthquakes, tsunamis, famine and pestilence? What if we were known for helping instead of meddling? What if we spent money on lives and souls instead of buildings and flashy “worship services.”
We have several fine ministries that seek to do just this. Here in Abilene, we have Global Samaritan Resources that has helped many thousands. But it is a separate ministry from the church and has to struggle to raise funds like so many similar efforts. Shame on us! We had rather build buildings and divert needed funds to projects Jesus never even hinted at. Our “ministries of mercy” ought never need to go begging…they should be overwhelmed with resources to couple the gospel with the mercy of the Prince of Peace!
What excuse did we give to Bill Maher to say what he said? By not carefully following Christ in attitude, word or deed. Time for self-examination!
Peter echoes the words of Christ in Matthew 5:14 “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).
Do this, and Bill Maher (and many others) will have little material for their writers.
Filed under Altruism, Atheism/Theism, Attributes of God, Christlikeness, church, Contradictions, Culture Wars, Current Events, discipleship, Evangelism, Food, Friendship, Good & Evil, Hypocrisy, Ignorance, Infidelity, Islam, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Growth, Middle East, Missions/Evangelism, morality, Natural Disaster, Palestine, Peace, Persuasion, Politics, Religion, Respect, Ridicule, Scripture, Selflessness, Suffering
Due to all the “saber-rattling” going on recently, plus calls to “Support Israel,” I thought it might be time to run this article again. Israel bullies and blockades the Gaza Strip and Gaza responds by firing rockets into Israel. I can see this going on forever with great loss of life. But what really bothers me is that evangelical Christianity seems to be blind to both the realities of the sins of both sides and yet sides with Israel because of a major misinterpretation of prophecy and fulfillment. Let me challenge you to take another look at the facts. If, after reading this short treatise, you still disagree, please feel free to put it into words in the comment section of this blog. But, be nice, or I will delete your comment.
Do Israelis have a divine right to what is now called Israel? Who does the land occupied by the modern state of Israel belong to? Should Christians support Israel’s right to exist as a divine right? Are the Jews still God’s separate chosen people? Consider the following points:
- The promise of the land of Palestine (Canaan) to the Jews has been fulfilled (Joshua 21:43-45; 23:14; Nehemiah 9:7,8). The Jews received what they were promised in full. The occupation of the land by modern Israel has nothing to do with God’s promises. It has to do with modern Israel’s alliances and the fact that the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world can’t get along with each other and get their act together.
- The Jews were originally deported from the land for their disobedience just as God promised (Leviticus 26:33; Nehemiah 1:8,9 and many others).
- Any restoration to the land was predicated upon their returning to belief and obedience (Deuteronomy 30; Ezekiel 36:22-38; Nehemiah 1:8,9). Most of those who now occupy Palestine are not believers and are certainly not obedient. Many, in fact, are atheists. How can modern Israel be the fulfillment of any promise of restoration?
- God has not rejected His people but only those who become believers in Messiah Christ are the “Israel of God” (Galatians 3:29; 6:15-17).
- Only those Jews who accept Jesus as Messiah can continue in covenant relationship with Yahweh (Romans 9-12) and receive any promise.
- Because Christ has fulfilled the Law of Moses, there is no longer a division between Jew and Gentile…we are one in Christ and Abraham’s spiritual offspring (Ephesians 2:11-22; Galatians 3:28,29). So, who will be restored to the land?
- The Old Covenant given to the Jews alone has been superseded by a new covenant (Hebrews 8:7-13) made by God with all who believe. Since there is no separation between ethnic Jews and believing Gentiles, who will receive the alleged promises of restoration to the land?
The truth is that modern unbelieving, disobedient Israel has no more right to the land that belonged to the Palestinians than European Americans have to the land that belonged to the Native Americans. Throughout history, one group has driven out another and occupied their land. If we are going to restore all of earth’s lands to those who originally possessed it, absolute turmoil will result. Let me make a few alternative suggestions:
- Leave the Israelis alone. They fought for the land they have and they won. It is not the fulfillment of prophecy; it is the work of the United Nations and the spoils of war.
- Palestinians and Arabs, get your act together and be nice to your neighbors. The world will be a much better place and nobody will have to blow up themselves and others. You think God likes what you’re doing? Neither do I. And, while you’re at it, do something about this madman dictator of Iran. He’s not helping your cause at all.
- Israelis, quit bullying the Palestinians and give them a homeland. One of the reasons they hate you is your mistreatment of them. They will probably never love you, but they might learn to abide you. One thing for sure, killing children and leveling houses will not win you any points.
- Christians, you’re not helping anything with your misinterpretation of prophecy. Instead of this ridiculous “Christians United for Israel,” and “Christian Zionism” put your efforts into preaching and modeling Christ to both Jews and Arabs. Are you doing what Jesus would do? I don’t think so either. Start preaching the peace that only the Prince of Peace can give. Instead of lobbying with the Jews, preach Christ to them. And don’t you want the Arabs to be saved? Well, you don’t act like it.
- How do we win them over? By being salt and light and letting our good works toward these very needy people bring glory to god. Guns, bombs and missiles will never accomplish anything but death and continued hatred and division and the loss of souls to the author of all that is ungodly.
Filed under Christlikeness, Culture Wars, Current Events, History, Ignorance, Islam, Israel, Jesus Christ, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Prophecy, Terrorism
In our culture, the people have a say in who governs them, but ultimately it is is up to the Almighty. Is that His stamp of approval on their positions and policies? Check out Daniel 2:21; 4:17; John 19:11; Romans 13:1-6 (and there’s a bunch more). God sets up rulers and deposes them…some good some bad — for reasons best known to Him. Believers need to shut up and get on their knees and pray for President Obama and all those who govern us (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
Filed under Attributes of God, Conspiracy Theories, Culture Wars, Current Events, Discernment, Faith, Freedom, Good & Evil, History, honor, Politics, Religion, Respect, Skepticism, Theism