TRANSITIONING FROM
MODERATION TO RADICALISM

by: S.R. Shearer
July 23, 2001

Moderation in the service of Christ is no virtue, and radicalism is no vice.

INTRODUCTION

Over the past few months we have spent a great deal of time discussing what has been happening in the world over the last several decades; specifically, the development of a very ruthless and exceedingly savage world-wide system of UNRESTRICTED capitalism based principally on the harsh reality of overwhelming American military and economic preponderance. The pathology that this system of brutal, cold-blooded capitalism has unleashed on the world has had the effect of dividing it into two parts -

  1. An elite class of political / economic "managers" that is transnational in nature and approximates in most countries (especially those countries that are part of the so-called "Third World") about 20 percent of the population,

and

  1. A "worker-serf" class which makes up the remaining 80 percent of the population.

The "managers" rule this "New World Order" system at the behest and in the interest of American corporate power (with the sometimes cringing, toady-like participation of America's European and Japanese "junior partners"). This "manager class" is sustained in its position of dominance by the machinations and intrigues of the CIA working in coordination with local police and military forces, coupled with the use of death squads when the occasion demands it. All this in turn is backed up as a last resort by the guns of the American military.

BUILDING DEMOCRACY DEATH SQUAD STYLE

Now it should be noted that within the boundaries defined by the "political / economic manager" class, a semblance of democracy does indeed prevail, and it is because of this that the United States never tires of trumpeting the so-called "fact" that it is helping to "build democracy" throughout the world. But it should also be noted that the kind of "democracy" the United States is promoting here is the same kind of "democracy" that prevailed for whites in southern states like Mississippi and Alabama during the era of "Jim Crow" (i.e., 1880-1960).

Unfortunately - and just as the case was for blacks in the South during "Jim Crow" - for the eighty percent of the population of America's system of "CLIENT-STATES" that fall into the "worker-serf" category, it is a notably cruel and utterly despotic system that entails grinding poverty and horrifying, constant humiliations of every sort that aim at stripping people of their self-respect and robbing them of any vestige of what might pass as dignity and honor - a process that tends to dehumanize all those against whom it is directed, just as it did to blacks during segregation.

THE GROWING DIVIDE BETWEEN THE
RICH AND THE POOR IN THIS WORLD

Under America's client-state system, a massive transfer of wealth to the rich has taken place throughout the world. The results of this transfer are staggering. While more than a billion people live in poverty, the richest 200 people in the world more than doubled their net worth between 1994 and 1998 to more than $1 trillion. To get an idea of how much money we are talking about here, consider this: a measly 1 percent tax on their wealth could fund primary education for all of the world's children who lack schooling.

Another way to appreciate how massive this divide is, is to consider the fact that the world's top three billionaires ALONE possess more assets than the combined gross national product of the 48 least developed countries and their combined population of 600 million people. Think about that! It's appalling, unless one is so obscene in his thinking that he can believe that the lives of these three people are worth as much as the lives of these other 600 million.

Such inequality in income could NEVER be justified before God. NEVER!- unless one is prepared to say that the worth of a person's life can be measured by his possessions, which I suppose is what Kenneth Hagin, Bennie Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and the other purveyors of the Green Gospel believe. But if that's the case, then the life of the Person they purport to worship - Jesus Christ - was not worth very much, for Jesus said of Himself:

"... foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." (Matt. 8:20)

The fact is, by today's standards, Jesus would be numbered with the bottom 600 million people, not with the top three. And this divide is not going away. It's growing! For example, since 1979, the average income of the highest-earning 1 percent of Americans has increased by roughly 80 percent. On a broader scale, the income of the highest-earning 20 percent has increased by 19 percent (in constant dollars - i.e., dollars adjusted for inflation). All this has occurred at a time when the incomes of the bottom 60 percent of the population have experienced a decrease in real income (again, measured in constant dollars) - so that today, the top 1 percent of the population in the United States has as much wealth as the bottom 49 million people.

A second way to measure how abhorrent the divide between the rich and the poor has progressed in this country is to measure the gap between the compensation "earned" (if one can truly say that these people really "earn" their money) by the CEOs of U.S. corporations and the amount earned by U.S. workers. According to the magazine, Responsible Wealth, CEO pay in the United States has risen 535 percent since 1990, but gains for regular employees just barely kept even with inflation.

A third way to measure the divide between the elites in this country and average working people is to compare the pay of the average CEO to that of a minimum wage worker: if the minimum wage had risen at the same rate as executive pay over the last three decades, it would stand at nearly $41 an hour (that's $82,656 a year) as opposed to $5.15 an hour (that's $10,382 a year).

A GROWING FRUSTRATION AMONG AVERAGE PEOPLE

Without question, this outrageous (but growing) gap between the rich and the poor has produced feelings of bitterness and frustration - even if they are sometimes hidden - that run very deep. These feelings have resulted in a growing opposition to the corporate elites worldwide as evidenced by the riots against them in Thailand, in Quebec City, in Seattle, in Washington D.C., in Prague, in Athens, in Seoul, in Istanbul, in Budapest, in Paris, in Mexico City, in Buenos Aires, and now in Genoa, Italy at the meeting of the so-called G-8 - wherever these elites gather and wherever their institutions (the WTO, the World Bank, the IMF, etc.) can be found, AND SO MUCH SO THAT THE ELITES ARE BEGINNING TO SEE IN THIS OPPOSITION THE EMERGENCE OF AN "INTERNATIONALIST / NEW AGE / LEFTIST CONSPIRACY" AGAINST THEM. And it's true! - the elites do have reason to be concerned. There is a burgeoning "grass roots" movement against them, and it is occurring not just in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, but in "Fortress America" itself, the very citadel of elite power.

The evidence of this popular unrest in the United States is everywhere, despite the best efforts of the elite dominated mainline press to explain it away. The truth is, the message that "globalization" - the economic process the elites have constructed to enrich themselves with - is good for "ordinary people" throughout the world is not resonating very well with the "masses" any more.

But when they (i.e., "ordinary people") try to stop it or at least mitigate its uglier aspects using the "democratic process," they find that the "game" has been "rigged" against them and their efforts come to naught - as for example, when NAFTA was foisted on the American people despite polls that showed that more than 65 percent of the American people were against it. As a result, growing numbers of them are taking their frustration to the streets, and as they do so, they are being "RADICALIZED."

THE GROWING PROCESS OF RADICALIZATION

As the radicalization process takes hold, a new "class consciousness" is taking shape, one that is increasingly manifesting itself in terms of a "rich / poor" mindset and in the terminology of "CLASS WARFARE," a Marxist/Leninist paradigm that the elites thought they had forever done away with in the collapse of the old Soviet Union in 1989 - 1991. This is a paradigm that sets the hearts of the elites a flutter in stark, naked TERROR.

This phenomenon first surfaced in the widespread sympathy by average Americans for workers in the UPS strike in 1997. It cropped up again on an even more massive basis during the "Battle for Seattle" against the WTO near the end of 1999, and the subsequent (though smaller) demonstrations against the IMF and the World Bank in April 2000 in Washington D.C. Then there was the unabashed rhetoric against "globalization" generated by Ralph Nader's presidential campaign, and finally there is the widespread sympathy of ordinary people for the plight of the "Charleston Five," something the elite press has gone out of its way to hide from the American people but which is, nonetheless, receiving extensive attention in the black community and other minority communities throughout the country, and, indeed, worldwide.

What has made this rhetoric so different from the anti-globalization rhetoric generated by Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot is that it is coming from the Left rather than the Right - after all, unlike the Right, the Left aims at DISMANTLING and ultimately DESTROYING the elites; it does not just aim at their reformation, as the followers of both Buchanan and Perot aim at - and it is precisely this left-wing kind of radicalization that has brought thousands into the streets of Seattle and dozens of other cities since, again, not only in this country, but around the world. What all this seems to suggest is that WE ARE AT THE START OF A PROCESS OF SOCIAL RADICALIZATION that is worldwide in its scope - and that this process is ongoing, albeit unevenly and with advances and setbacks.

UPS AND THE TEAMSTERS UNION

The first real warning the elites received as to the extent of this radicalization occurred, as we earlier indicated, in the victory of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters over UPS. It was the most important win for labor in at least two decades. Workers took on a hard-line and supremely arrogant employer - one of the most important corporations in today's U.S. economy, and one of the best-connected in Washington - and forced the elites to cry uncle. The strike centered on the question of part-time work, which forces many workers to hold down more than one job at a time - a grievance shared by millions of U.S. workers in both union and nonunion workplaces. Even the mainstream media was forced to take notice of the issues involved.

This strike also reflected the mood of union workers against the "do-nothing" policies of the old labor bureaucracy, a bureaucracy that over the years the elites have successfully "bought off" and co-opted. This mood by average union workers against the old labor leadership underlines the shift that has led to the rise of the radicalized "New Voices" leadership in the fight that has been going on in the top rungs of the AFL-CIO. This struggle for the leadership of the labor movement as a whole holds powerful portents of "things to come" insofar as the elites are concerned.

Should the "New Voices" leadership gain the ascendancy in the labor movement, the unions could be radicalized in such a way that it would make even the leadership of Harry Bridges' old International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) look tame in comparison - something that sends shivers up the spines of those who hold sway in America's corporate boardrooms. While these struggles are things that most ordinary Americans don't have a clue about - largely because the mainline press purposely ignores them - they, nonetheless augur great danger for the elites - and the elites know it. As a result, they are bending every effort to "bust" the unions - legally and illegally - in order to stop this radicalization. [More about this in upcoming issues.]

SEATTLE AND THE FIGHT AGAINST THE WTO

Then there is the demonstration that shut down the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle in late 1999. The spectacular collapse of the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks in Seattle in December a year and a half ago has been the subject of hundreds of articles and TV programs, as well as countless e-mails and discussions around the country and the world, as indeed it should be. The WTO meeting was meant to further the "American Way" (as Ahmed Shawki, editor of the International Socialist Review put it) - i.e., finish the process of imposing American ECONOMIC and CORPORATE hegemony on the world. This was to be the millennium-ending crowning achievement of the Clinton Administration and a celebration of a "new American century."

But the protests against the WTO meeting in Seattle and in other cities around the world ensured that Clinton didn't get his way. They pointed unmistakably to the fact that hundreds of thousands if not millions of people saw the WTO as a focus for the deep-seated and widespread resentment they have against the brutal capitalism that the United States and its lackeys in Europe and Japan are seeking to force on the world. The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees President Gerald McEntee captured the mood when he declared at the November 30 rally against the WTO in Seattle that ordinary people must "name the system" that they are struggling against - i.e., "corporate capitalism." This is not the kind of statement the corporate elites are predisposed to take lightly.

While the corporately-controlled "mainline press" has sought to minimize the importance of what happened in Seattle by pointing to the disparate elements involved in it, this point should be underlined: however disparate the political views expressed in the demonstration were, they were at least united around the two themes of (1) "ANTI-CORPORATE GREED" and (2) a "DESIRE TO FIGHT."

RALPH NADER

Then there is the matter of the presidential campaign of Ralph Nader. Nader's Green Party presidential bid represented the most successful LEFT-WING third-party campaign in more than 50 years. Nader's final tally of 2.7 million votes, nearly 3 percent of the electorate, exceeded the 2.5 percent won by Henry Wallace's 1948 Progressive Party campaign. Despite tremendous pressure on them to vote for the "lesser evil," Al Gore, millions voted for Nader anyway. For them, the campaign helped to raise the bar of expectations, giving voice to commonsense issues like national health care and a living wage that the major candidates wouldn't touch.

The campaign itself activated tens of thousands of LEFT-WING, ANTI-CORPORATE activists who gave it its grassroots character. These are the kind of people the elites truly fear! Moreover, the numbers of people who agreed with Nader's positions clearly exceeded the numbers who actually voted for him in the end.

The scare campaign on behalf of Gore, led by the likes of Reverend Jesse Jackson (Jackson has been co-opted by the elites for some time now), feminist Gloria Steinem (Ramparts Magazine long ago exposed Steinem for taking money from elite coffers), and "mainline" union leaders (who - like Steinem and Jackson - have been similarly "bought off") helped to cut Nader's support in half by election day.

In the end, Nader found his most concentrated support among college students and young, first-time voters - the same people that the Left used as a battering ram against the elites thirty-five years ago in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Poll data suggests that these voters, who had no fixed party loyalty, were most likely to stick with Nader on election day. Nader raised a series of questions - big business control over Washington, corporate power in a globalized world, and so on - which obviously went beyond the election.

His campaign laid the political basis and drew together an activist core that could become an ongoing anti-corporate political movement in years to come.

THE CHARLESTON DOCKWORKERS

Then, finally, there is the struggle of the Charleston dockworkers against a virulent anti-union offensive in South Carolina, a struggle that the elites fear beyond the imagining of most ordinary people because - while it remains obscure to average Americans - it touches on the issue of who controls the docks and ports in the United States: the unions or Big Business? This is an extremely important matter to American multinationals precisely because it is tied so closely to "free trade" - again, the principle economic (and political) vehicle through which the elites have enriched themselves over the last several decades. South Carolina's corporate elites are out to make an example of these workers, who represent the most active and powerful unionists in a state with one of the lowest union densities in the country.

At first glance, the state of South Carolina's prosecution of five black union longshoremen looks like a bizarre political throwback - something that could only happen in the cradle of the old Confederacy, the state that has kept the ancient segregationist Strom Thurmond in the U.S. Senate for the last 47 years. But the facts of the matter are very much different from what they first appear to be. The struggle here has very little to do with racism as such and everything to do with the new globalist world-economy the elites have been constructing over the last few decades.

Charleston is the second-biggest port on the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts after New York-New Jersey, based on cargo value. It is the fastest-growing port in the country as well. The growth that the Port of Charleston has been experiencing in recent years is the result of massive multinational corporate investment in South Carolina, which has led to the near doubling of manufacturing companies in the state in the four years between 1994 and 1998 to about 1,400.

These aren't the factories once typical of the Southeast - paper mills and textile plants - but state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities such as a BMW assembly plant and its suppliers. Indeed, foreign multinational investment was responsible for nearly half of the $5.5 billion invested in South Carolina manufacturing plants in 1998. Alongside BMW is German auto parts giant Robert Bosch, France's Michelin Tire, and Japan's Hitachi Electronics. Some of Corporate America's best-known names also operate plants in South Carolina, including DuPont, Owens-Corning, General Electric, WR Grace, Timken, Lockheed Martin and a whole host of others. These firms were initially attracted to South Carolina because of the state's anti-union political environment. All of these firms are dependent on the Port of Charleston to carry on their "free trade," globalist activities.

USING THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT AS A
BATTERING RAM AGAINST THE UNIONS

The dockworkers in Charleston belong to a virtually all African-American union - ILA Local 1422 - which is a part of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA). For years and years, this particular Local operated essentially as a "company union," and rarely if ever challenged the corporate domination of the port. But under new leadership, all this began to change in recent years - and so much so that the multinationals operating in South Carolina - in conjunction with their minions in South Carolina's political establishment - decided to challenge and ultimately crush the union. They used as a pretext the fight over the flying of the Confederate flag above the state capitol that has been raging for the past several years in the state.

ILA Local 1422 became involved in this struggle because so many of its members are African-Americans. On January 17, 2000, ILA Local 1422 led a mass march against the Confederate flag in Charleston.

Feelings ran high against the union as a result - especially among whites who viewed the Confederate battle flag not so much as a symbol of racism - as did the black community in the state - but rather as symbol of their own peculiar "Southern heritage," a heritage that their forefathers had fought and died for, and one which they had come to feel was increasingly under attack by what they consider to be the "hated forces of multiculturalism" and "anti-Christian bigotry."

Three days later, the state's Republican attorney general (and a "darling" of the state's Religious Right") - gearing up for a run for the Republican nomination for governor and hoping to ingratiate himself with the state's multinational corporations (whose money he needed if he hoped to mount a successful run for the governor) - decided to take advantage of the "heat" generated against the black dockworkers union for their participation in the anti-Confederate flag demonstration a few days earlier, and orchestrated an attack on the ILA Local 1422 picket line, COMPLETE WITH 600 COPS, DOGS, HELICOPTERS AND ARMORED CARS.

Not since the anti-union "Red Scares" of 1919 had the state (or for that matter, the country) seen anything like it. When the dust settled, five longshoremen had been charged with FELONY riot charges and placed under a 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. curfew. Another 27 faced a $1.5 million lawsuit by employers. Problem was, the riot that had ensued had not been a union-led riot, but a police-led riot.

The fact was, the police had outnumbered the longshoremen by more than twelve to one (there had been 50 longshoremen to the state's 600 policemen). This kind of over-reaction to the union's legally established picket line gives some indication of how seriously today's corporate elites take union activity of any sort, and most especially union activity in an area as sacred to the institutions of "free trade" as the nation's ports and docks.

There can be no question that the corporate elites were sending a message here - challenge us, and you will be CRUSHED! Challenge us, and we will have our minions in government (whether federal or state) LOCK YOU UP BEHIND BARS for years and years to come. Challenge us, and we will SLAP MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR LAWSUITS AGAINST YOU and ROB YOU (and your family) of your homes and all of your possessions while you rot away in prison! That's the message they were sending, make no mistake about it!

Moreover, in orchestrating their attack against the longshoremen in the fashion they did, the corporate elites in South Carolina maneuvered themselves in such a way that they were able to (1) enlist average whites on their side by portraying the union as being "anti-white," and (2) they were able to enlist Religious Right conservatives in support of their union-bashing activities by portraying the union as a socialist institution and, ipso facto, anti-Christian. Most of this kind of activity, of course, was done "under the table" and "out of sight" of the mainline media - but "out of sight" only because the media steadfastly refused to take note of it - though all sorts of flyers to this effect were being circulated throughout Charleston and in the churches at the time.

THE ROLE OF RELIGION (i.e., CHRISTIANITY)
IN THE ELITES' "NEW WORLD ORDER" SYSTEM

What's going on now in Charleston is, of course, illustrative of how the corporate elites use religion in their "New World Order" system: AS A MECHANISM OF CONTROL. This is what they're doing all over the world in such places as Guatemala (with the Religious Right's "darling," Rios Montt), Honduras, Argentina [where Juan Carlos Ortiz (who established the prototype "accountability model" the so-called Fort Lauderdale Five so slavishly instituted in the United States, and which today - under a different name - continues to spread like wildfire throughout the church) actively curried the support of the old Argentine military Junta by harboring death squad functionaries in his church], the Philippines, etc. And this is precisely what they are doing now in the United States with the Religious Right where leaders of the church are being pressed into service as population "CONTROLLERS" (overseers and "labor managers," so to speak) for the wealthy. THEIR PRIMARY FUNCTION IS TO "MOLD" AND "FIT" THE "WORKER-SERF" PORTION OF THE POPULATION INTO USEFUL AND EFFECTIVE "COGS," "GEARS," "SPROCKETS," AND "RATCHETS" IN THE ELITE'S "CORPORATE MACHINE."

BEING A "GOOD CHRISTIAN" IN SUCH A WORLD MEANS BEING A COMPLIANT AND DOCILE WORKER, which, ipso facto, means avoiding membership in unions or worker organizations of any kind; knowing how to say, "Yes sir" and "No sir" to your "Betters;" not being a "complainer;" avoiding welfare even if that translates practically into holding down several jobs at the same time in order to make ends meet - and making your wife and children do the same; not fussing when elections are rigged; not fretting about police brutality or questioning the authorities when your neighbors and loved-ones are hauled "downtown" on trumped up charges, and so forth. This is what is meant when people say that this person or that person is a "good Christian" in country after country in America's system of "CLIENT STATES."

BESMIRCHING THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

It is precisely this "client-state" system of "labor management" and elite manipulation of the church that is now being introduced into the United States. This is what the elites are up to in Charleston - i.e., using the churches against their opponents in the unions, and rewarding them (i.e., the churches) for "faithful service" with programs like the Bush Administration's "Faith-based Initiative."

JUST AS YWAM, WYCLIFFE, AND OTHER PROTESTANT MISSION-ARY GROUPS WERE IN THE FOREFRONT IN DEVELOPING THIS KIND OF SERVILE CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA'S SYSTEM OF CLIENT-STATES, SO THEIR COUNTERPARTS IN THE UNITED STATES - EVANGELICAL LEADERS LIKE D. JAMES KENNEDY, PAT ROBERTSON, JAMES DOBSON, TIM LAHAYE, etc. - ARE NOW AT THE FOREFRONT IN PUSHING THIS KIND OF "CORPORATE, ELITE-SPONSORED CHRISTIANITY" IN THIS COUNTRY.

It is an evil alliance of convenience where Christianity has - like some kind of "street whore" - been "bought off" by the elites and made to "service" the carnal lusts of her elite masters and "johns." This is what Tim LaHaye, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy and all the rest are really up to - "pimping" the church to the corporate elites for profit. They have become nothing more than "procurers" in the service of the devil, selling the church for "filthy lucre!" So far has this alliance between the Religious Right and the GOP progressed that Ronald Brownstein, a national political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, can feel justified in writing (July 17, 2001):

"The GOP has (now) become the party of the most religiously observant ... Evangelicals who regularly attend church gave 84 percent of their vote to Bush (in the 2000 election) ... (and) some influential GOP strategists (now) think the quickest way for Bush to expand his ... (political base) is to pump up his support even more among the faithful, creating what could be called a moral majority. In particular, White House strategists believe one key to Bush's re-election is to increase his share of the vote among observant Catholics from his current three-fifths toward the four-fifths he draws among evangelicals."

Brownstein says that all this is a "sign of the times," and that what the elites of the Republican Party have done is to frame the issues of the day - no matter what they are - in religious terms rather than economic terms, and use the "religiously observant" as a battering ram against those who oppose their globalization policies. This is precisely what they did with the dockworker's strike in Charleston, South Carolina.

By painting the issue there in religious terms (and to a lesser degree in racial terms, though they have gone to great lengths to "distance" themselves from any direct involvement in the flag controversy from an "Old South" or "white" standpoint) the elites that were pushing the effort to break the dockworker's union managed to garner the support of a majority of religiously observant South Carolinians in their struggle against ILA Local 1422. And this is EXACTLY what is happening in countless numbers of other incidents throughout the country as the elites do battle "in the name of Christ" to enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary people.

The great tragedy in all of this, of course, is that in pushing this form of apostate religion - the kind that inevitably sides with the elites against the poor - today's "Establishment Christianity" has besmirched the name of Christ and has caused millions upon millions of people throughout the world to believe that CHRISTIANITY IS A RICH MAN'S RELIGION more oriented towards the oppression of the poor than it is in protecting the destitute from the malice, viciousness and carnal lusts of the elites; a religion whose main purpose is, as we have already suggested, to offer up its parishioners as "cheap labor" in the elite's "New World Order" system and persuade them that their main function in life is to act as "cogs" in today's Capitalist System rather than as real disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

REVELATION 6:6

As this new dual-track economic system (one track for the rich, and one track for the poor) that the elites have crafted has taken hold in the United States, it has had the effect of destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands (even millions and millions) of former middle-class families while all the while it pretends to be their benefactor - and this is especially true insofar as Christians are concerned. SO WRETCHED HAS LIFE BECOME FOR MANY PEOPLE FINANCIALLY THAT THEY NO LONGER HAVE ANY TIME LEFT OVER TO SPEND ON ANYTHING ELSE BUT WORK." All they have time for is to slave away at jobs that barely pay enough on a daily basis to keep "body and soul" together. [NOTE: we urge all our readers to get Barbara Erhrenreich's new book, Nickeled and Dimed; it is a wonderful expose on the impact of the "new economy" on millions of average people throughout the country.]

Moreover, there is no reason to expect that things will get any better as time goes on. Indeed, the Bible very plainly suggests that this vicious economic process (pathology) will not diminish as the "end of the age" draws near, but will relentlessly gather up more and more people into its cruel grip until the words of that mysterious lyric in Revelation 6:6 are finally fulfilled:

"And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (Rev. 6:6) [NOTE: the meaning of this lyric is that the condition of man during this era will be reduced to such that he will have to labor a whole day simply to buy a loaf of bread or three measures of barley. But the second part of the saying ["... and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine ..."] means that the famine in these days will not extend to what might be called a "global elite of worthies" who have evidently allied themselves to the anti-Christ's policy of conquest - only the rich in the ancient world could afford oil and wine.]

PROSTITUTES TO THE ELITES

Now it is extremely important to note that while this dynamic is having a profound impact on the world at large, the impact that it is having on the church is even more extreme - indeed, it's HORRIFIC. The fact is, TO MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, THE CHURCH NO LONGER APPEARS AS A "BEACON OF HOPE," A PLACE WHERE THE POOR CAN RESORT FOR HELP AND "COMMUNITY" IN A WORLD THAT CARES LITTLE OR NOTHING FOR THEM (OR EVEN CARES THAT MUCH ABOUT WHETHER THEY LIVE OR DIE), BUT RATHER AS A PROSTITUTE WHO HAS SOLD HERSELF OUT TO THE ELITES FOR MONEY (that is, after all, what prostitutes do).

What else can one say about a church like First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas that has pimped itself to the Hunt brothers; what else can one say about a ministry like Focus on the Family that pimped itself out to El Pomar; what else can one say about ministries like Concerned Women of America that take money from the Moonies; and what else can one say about the churches in South Carolina that circulate material "under-the-table" against the dockworkers in Charleston in order to ingratiate themselves to the state Republican Party (which in turn was trying to "suck up" to the state's multinational corporations). Call it what it is - PROSTITUTION! SPIRITUAL PROSTITUTION!

THE QUESTION BEFORE US NOW

The questions before all of us now is, which side is the church to be on? - the side of the rich, of the 20 percent of the world's population that belong to the "manager class," OR will the church choose to identify itself with the "worker-serfs," the remaining 80 percent of the world's population. To choose the one side (i.e., the "manager-class") is to choose APOSTASY; to choose the other side (i.e., the poor and the downtrodden) is to choose to remain identified with the REAL message of the church and those who are truly open to the Gospel, or does one really believe that the rich are open to the Gospel? If you believe that, you believe it in TOTAL contravention to the Scriptures, for the Bible says:

"... It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matt. 19:24)

And, again it says:

"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called ..." (1 Cor. 1:26)

Unfortunately, however, as things stand now, the church has not identified itself with the poor, but rather with the rich. That's EXACTLY what it is doing when it identifies itself with the elites of the Republican Party; when it identifies itself so OPENLY with South Carolina's multinational corporations and against the poor dockworkers in Charleston; when it identifies itself with Rios Montt in Guatemala; when it identifies itself with Occidental Oil in Columbia, and on and on ad nauseum.

But this state of affairs cannot continue indefinitely. And why is that? - because things have progressed to such a point within "Establishment Christianity" that even the dullest among us can easily see that the pretensions of the church do not match the reality. THIS IS THE POINT THE CHURCH REACHED IN THE TIME OF LUTHER - AND IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN.

WE ARE "AT THAT MOMENT"

We are at the moment, to paraphrase Walt Whitman's words, when Christianity "is for a while caught between THINGS ENDED and THINGS BEGUN" - and it has come to this point not because of some symbolic date on a calendar marking the turn of the millennium, but because the church's old order is dying off. Like the Catholic Church just prior to the Reformation, IT SIMPLY NO LONGER HAS THE CAPACITY TO PROVIDE ANSWERS (spiritual or otherwise) THAT CAN CORRESPOND TO EVEN THE MOST MINIMAL NEEDS OF THE POOR AND THE DOWNTRODDEN.

All it has to offer is an "icky-sweet," "Pottery Barn" kind Christianity that purveys nothing more than bland pleasantries, empty kindnesses, and hollow affabilities from its garland bedecked pulpits week after week - the kind of congenial, so-called "family values" Christianity that goes down so nicely in places like Simi Valley, Fort Lauderdale, Malibu, and Granite Bay - the kind of Christianity one hears preached from the pulpits of evangelical leaders like D. James Kennedy, Charles Stanley, Jack Hayford, and the late John Wimber; but it's not the kind of Christianity that would do those living in South-Central L.A. much good, or the kind of Christianity that would be of any help to the poor in Mozambique, Zambia or Botswana.

This spiritually exhausted "THINGS ENDED" kind of Christianity is a REI variety of Christianity that is suspicious of passion and fearful of people who communicate their views without concession. It's a Christianity that doesn't trust people who are absolute in their convictions, and who are impatient with "compromise" and the occasional so-called "necessity" of sometimes having to sacrifice principle to what they call "reality" and the "necessities" (really, the amenities) of the "here and now."

MODERATION OR RADICALISM

"Be moderate in your own beliefs," and "don't try to push your convictions onto others" - these are the watchwords of today's Christianity, the kind of "George Bush Christianity" that prefers form over substance. "Tolerance" and "civility" are its mottoes. The belief that it is possible to "communicate across disagreements" and "find common ground" is rooted in their worldview; and if it were possible, many who adhere to this kind of tepid Christianity would even essay to bridge the gap between heaven and hell itself. Typical of this kind of thinking is a letter we received a few months ago in reaction to one of our more "intemperate" articles, "Capitalism and Christianity:"

"While the content of the article is largely true, I found it interesting that you used, as support, references from the Bible - in particular one that is commonly read as "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." My understanding is that the original Greek read "...for a tax collector..." rather than "...for a rich man..." and that the prevalent interpretation was introduced into the King James translation because of the effects that were becoming evident on the tax revenues flowing to the crown.

"While I am unsure as to the original, untranslated content of your other supporting scriptures, it seems to me that perhaps in the case of this particular verse, it is not altogether solid in its support of your stance. Thoughts on your part? THEY ARE WELCOME SO LONG AS THEY ARE POLITE AND RESPECTFUL" (emphasis added).

BE POLITE AND RESPECTFUL?

Be polite? Be respectful? Of what? - of this form of absurd Christianity? Is this what Jesus was doing when He said to the Pharisees and scribes (i.e., the "Religious Establishment" of His day):

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,

and say, 'If we had been {living} in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in {shedding} the blood of the prophets.'

"Consequently you bear witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

"Fill up then the measure {of the guilt} of your fathers.

"You SERPENTS, you BROOD OF VIPERS, how shall you escape the SENTENCE OF HELL? (Matt. 23:29-33)

Where is there any respect here for the scribes and the Pharisees? Where is there any effort here to be polite on the part of our Lord and Savior? Surely, there is none!

Nowhere in any translation of the Bible can the stupidity evinced in the letter above (and that's exactly what it is! - i.e., stupidity) be maintained - i.e., that the word for "rich man" should be translated "tax collector" in Matt. 19:24. The fact is, this kind of thinking is so far "out of line" that it can only be accounted for by some kind of pre-disposition of mind intent on emasculating the Bible's very clear injunctions against the rich. One needs only to take the time to consult Strong's Greek Lexicon (#4381) to dispel such thinking. Maybe the Bible according to the Republican Party (or the Gospel according to Kenneth Hagin or Kenneth Copeland or Robert Schuller or Bennie Hinn) might offer such a translation, but nowhere else!

COURTEOUS GUIDES ON THE ROAD TO HELL

No! - this kind of letter is entitled to the UTTER contempt that we give it! - which is exactly the kind of loathing that Jesus gave to the "Religious Establishment" of His day (and, again, that's precisely what it was, i.e., loathing) when He referred to them as "DESERVING THE SENTENCE OF HELL" and called them a den of "POISONOUS SNAKES" and a "BROOD OF VIPERS." Moreover, one's disdain in this matter should not be diminished by the rather "effete" and "polite" manner in which the letter was presented. The fact is, this kind of dishonesty in the handling of the Word of God leads to hell, and whether one is guided there in a courteous manner or not won't much matter in the end after one has at last arrived at that destination.

This is the sort of "THINGS ENDED" type of Christianity that has nothing to say to the poor of the world, the kind of Christianity that is so "moderate" in its beliefs that it feels no shame and chagrin in using such prissy, limp-wristed phrases as "My understanding is," "The prevalent interpretation is," "While I am unsure," and that final wickedly delicious phrase, "Thoughts on your part? THEY ARE WELCOME SO LONG AS THEY ARE POLITE AND RESPECTFUL." These phrases are all typical of the kind of effeminate, sissified Christianity in vogue in America today; the kind that affluence inevitably creates; the kind that refuses to trespass on anyone's comfort zone; the kind that tries to nullify the divide between wealth in the "here and now" and true Christianity.

COFFEE HOUSE CHRISTIANITY

This coffee house kind of Christianity puts great store on "gentleness" and "forgiveness," while ignoring such clear injunctions as Christ's advice to His disciples in Mark 9:43:

"... if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into (eternal) life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched ... (Mark 9:43)

It's as if today's Ben & Jerry form of Christianity had excised or cut out such verses entirely from the Scripture. Dwelling as it does in the temperate zone - neither cold nor hot [and ignoring the Bible's somber warning against this kind of Christianity, i.e., "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev. 3:15-16)] - today's Christianity is not compatible with absolutes of any kind. As David Brooks sarcastically puts it in his book, Bobos In Paradise, instead of a "Final Judgment" the REI Christians of today believe in a "Final Discussion," much like a kindly old teacher - a Mr. Chips sort of person - would have with one of his pupils - an exam where the test isn't actually graded, there are no "right" and "wrong" answers, and no one fails.

BOBOS IN PARADISE

Brooks describes the kind of heaven the Starbuck kind of Christians that flock around the John Wimbers and the Robert Schullers of this world believe in. He writes:

"Picture a ... (Yuppie Christian of today) pausing on her Montana hill top at dusk, with thoughts of her law practice or mutual funds or teaching load far away. The air is still and fragrant, and even her dogs, Caleb and Jonah, pause to savor the silence. As the breeze comes up, she pulls her FoxFibre shirt close around her neck. Lights are coming on in the distant houses across the valley, where former urban professionals (all Christians, of course) have moved to start their own specialty food companies - Uncle Dave's Pestos is just on the far ridge to the north, Sally's Sauces is over to the west, and Yesterday's Chutney is on a few hundred acres south of that. She looks out over the tangle of wildflowers on the fields ... (blah, blah, blah).

Again, you say that we are being intemperate in this matter! Too absolute! Too condemning and "judgmental!" But, isn't that what Jesus was being (i.e., "intemperate") when He described the "Religious Establishment" of His day as "hypocrites?" "serpents?" and a "brood of vipers?" Isn't that what He was being when He asked them, "How shall you escape the sentence of hell?" These are NOT the words of moderation and temperance! These are NOT the words of someone who is "trying to communicate across disagreements and find common ground." These are NOT the words of someone who would be much approved by today's yuppified Christianity.

COME OUT OF HER

IT IS PRECISELY THIS KIND OF "POTTERY BARN" CHRISTIANITY THAT IS PASSING AWAY! And again, why is that? Because it has nothing to offer the poor and the downtrodden - spiritually or any other way. Indeed, it has WHORED itself with the elites to such an extent that it no longer has any consciousness of what it should really be all about, and has arrived at a point where it is now IMPOSSIBLE for it to turn back. THOUGH IT CONTINUES TO CLING TO POWER, THERE ARE SWELLING NUMBERS OF "EVERY-DAY" SAINTS OF GOD WHO ARE GROWING INCREASINGLY WEARY OF ALL THE PRESENT-DAY CHURCH'S APOSTASIES, AND WHO - LIKE LUTHER, ZWINGLE, HUSS, AND ALL THE REST OF THE REFORMERS - ARE READY TO ANSWER GOD'S CALL TO -

"... COME OUT OF HER ..." (Rev. 18:4)

And the sooner they begin to come out, the better! Or is it really that hard for us to see what's going on; to recognize the "signs of the times?" Jesus said:

"... When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.

"And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.

"Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

"Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" (Luke 12:51-54)

Come on now, it's not that hard to see! It can only be hard to those people don't want to see it - and in them the Scriptures are fulfilled that say:

"Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

"And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

"For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Matt. 13:13-15)

No doubt this is REVOLUTIONARY stuff! - but then, what do we think life is all about? Having a pleasant time of things? That's not what the Christian life is all about. Jesus said,

"Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, NAY, BUT RATHER DIVISION:

"For from henceforth there shall be five in one house DIVIDED, three against two, and two against three.

"The father shall be DIVIDED against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. ?" (Luke 12:51-53)

WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A REVOLUTIONARY:
COUNTING THE COST OF TRUE "SERVANTHOOD"

Brothers and sisters, these are revolutionary times - not only insofar as the world is concerned, but also with the church. Everywhere there is a feeling of unease and restlessness in the air - an impression that something is about to explode. Again I say, one senses that this feeling of unrest is not at all unlike what one would have sensed in Europe just prior to the Reformation. A sense that the old order in the church can no longer hold - so full of apostasies is it, and so far out of touch has it become with the "common people."

Jesus said:

"I HAVE COME TO CAST FIRE UPON THE EARTH; AND HOW I WISH IT WERE ALREADY KINDLED!" (Luke 12:49)

Do you want this fire? I hope that you do! - but just as it didn't come cheaply to Luther, it won't come cheaply to us - to YOU. It will cost you everything you have, even your very life. But then what should you expect? If the price of "servanthood" cost Christ His life, will it not also cost us our lives also? Jesus said,

"It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" (Matt. 10:25)

Now, this is "hard stuff," no doubt, and many of you who have managed to get this far in this article will simply be unable to go any farther. You prefer today's "Pottery Barn" kind of Christianity. You like your dogs, Caleb and Jonah, your FoxFibre shirts; you love your neighbors, "Uncle Dave" and "Sally Sauce." No! The "Pottery Barn" is exactly where you want to stay.

Others, no doubt, assent to what has been said here concerning the condition of the church, but because of family concerns and other considerations you simply are unwilling to countenance the words of Christ in Luke 21:51-53 ("Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, NAY, BUT RATHER DIVISION: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house DIVIDED, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be DIVIDED against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.") This is simply too harsh. Certainly Christ was merely exaggerating to make a point. These people too will "fall away," in other words, they will go into apostasy.

Finally, there are those who may want to make the journey between "moderation" and "radicalism" - between, as Walt Whitman said, "THINGS ENDED," and "THINGS BEGUN" - but they first of all want to take care of some prior obligations - then they will come. But the Bible says that such people are only kidding themselves. Jesus said:

"And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest ...

"And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, SUFFER ME FIRST TO GO AND BURY MY FATHER.

"Jesus said unto him, LET THE DEAD BURY THE DEAD: BUT GO THOU AND PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

"And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; BUT LET ME FIRST GO BID THEM FAREWELL, WHICH ARE AT HOME AT MY HOUSE.

"And Jesus said unto him, NO MAN, HAVING PUT HIS HAND TO THE PLOW, AND LOOKING BACK, IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD." (Luke 9:57, 59-62)

Pretty harsh, isn't it? Yes, no doubt it is! After all, none of these things - i.e., taking care of one's aged parents, saying good-bye to one's family, taking care of one's debts, etc. - are wrong. They are the "responsible" thing to do. But when the "Kingdom of God" is in the balance, everything else must be jettisoned.

And that's the point here - SURELY THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS IN THE BALANCE TODAY! And if that's the case, everything else MUST be jettisoned.

Again, all this may seem revolutionary to those who think that the main purpose of Christianity is to make life more enjoyable and comfortable in the "here and now" and to make our family-life more agreeable and pleasant. But the fact of the matter is, real Christianity is REVOLUTIONARY "stuff" - the kind of "stuff" that will cost those who embrace if fully everything they have. Jesus said,

"... the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth ALL that he hath, and buyeth that field.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

"Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold ALL that he had, and bought it." (Matt. 13:44-46)

These are the kind of people of whom the Scriptures say,

"Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matt. 13:43)

Of course, this is NOT exactly the kind of Christianity that is advertised from the pulpits of today's "Establishment Christianity."

PAYING THE PRICE: THE TRUTH HURTS

Now please pay careful attention here. What we are about to say will no doubt offend some of you. But believe me when I say, our purpose is not to offend you. Our purpose is simply to tell you the truth - and THE TRUTH SOMETIMES HURTS. Nonetheless, better to be hurt now - while there is still time to take corrective action - than to be hurt later when there is no longer any time to correct ourselves. It's not without reason that Jesus said:

"Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire." (Matt. 18:8-9)

God prohibit that any of us - because of the sometimes hard admonitions of the Bible, admonitions that are meant to lead us to life - should be offended because of them and like the "disciples" in John chapter 6, withdraw from the Truth, and walk no longer in it:

"Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? ...

"FROM THAT TIME MANY OF HIS DISCIPLES WENT BACK, AND WALKED NO MORE WITH HIM." (John 6:60, 66)

But rather we should be like Simon Peter who - when Jesus said unto the twelve, "Will ye also go away?" (John 6:67), said unto Christ,

"Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)

BECOMING A REVOLUTIONARY FOR CHRIST

So, again, I pray - with ALL of my heart - that you will take no offense at what we say here. I repeat, we do not wish to offend anyone - only to tell you the truth, and by doing so to "REVOLUTIONIZE" your walk with God and make you a productive member of the church - a PARTICIPANT in, rather than merely an observer of, the events of the "end of the age" - so that on THAT DAY, that GLORIOUS DAY, you will hear the words every true Christian longs to hear,

"... WELL DONE, thou GOOD and FAITHFUL servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: ENTER THOU INTO THE JOY OF THY LORD." (Matt. 25:21)

SERVICE TO THE LORD REQUIRES TIME

It is in the light of all this that I say, God forbid that we should DECEIVE ourselves concerning the reality of our walk with Christ! I say again, God forbid! And there is a very profound and intense reason I say this, and it relates back to the way so many of us have been made prisoners of today's economic system - even to the point that we no longer have any time left over for Christ and the "work of the church" - and that is this: MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, REAL SERVICE TO THE LORD REQUIRES TIME. If you have no time to serve the Lord, then you CAN'T serve Him. It's not possible.

DO NOT THINK THAT YOU CAN SERVE THE LORD WHEN YOU HAVE NO TIME TO DO SO. Again I say, it's simply not possible. Serving the Lord requires not just "hearing," but "doing" also - as the Bible says:

"... Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, DECEIVING your own selves." (James 1:22)

Your "thinking" about serving the Lord is not the same thing as your "doing" it. Even your "praying" about it - if it has no practical outcome - is just another excuse for inaction, and in the end, all you are doing is DECEIVING yourself. The Bible says

"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

"If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

"And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

"EVEN SO FAITH, IF IT HATH NOT WORKS, IS DEAD, being alone.

"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.

"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD? (James 2:14-18, 20)

And what's more, do not think - EVEN FOR A MOMENT - that in doing a "good job" at work, or by being a "good provider," or by even being a "good mother" or a "good father" you are necessarily doing a work for the Lord. THE UNBELIEVERS DO THAT - and are they doing a work for Christ? The very real fact is, many in the elite classes - who crush the poor under foot and despise Christ and everything the Kingdom of Christ stands for - are "good mothers" and "good fathers." But will that count for anything for them on THAT DAY? No! - not even a little bit!

COMING TO GRIPS WITH SOME HARD TRUTHS

The very hard truth of the matter is, if you return home from work exhausted, fatigued and debilitated, and all you have energy or time for is to flop down on your bed and go to sleep, then do not think that your exhaustion will count for anything insofar as the Lord's work is concerned. It will not! It may count for something insofar as your "worldly responsibilities" are concerned - your responsibilities to your aged parents, or to your children, or to your employer, or to your own financial security - but it will not necessarily count insofar as service to the Lord is concerned.

Now this is NOT to say that you have no responsibilities to your parents, or to your children, or to your employer - but if these responsibilities impinge on your service to the Lord, do not think that by discharging these responsibilities you will discharge your obligations to God. You won't! You are not necessarily discharged from your responsibilities to the Kingdom of God when you faithfully take care of your own responsibilities to your family or to your employer.

You say, however, that between your responsibilities to your employer and your responsibilities to your children, to your mother and father, and to your family in general, you have no time - or very little time - left over for the Lord. But if that's the case, you have TOTALLY misconstrued your priorities. Your priority must be FIRST OF ALL to the Lord, and then - only after you have discharged those responsibilities - are you permitted to begin discharging your responsibilities to your employer, to your mother, to your father, to your children, to your wife or husband. Isn't this what the Bible says:

"He that loveth father or mother more than me IS NOT WORTHY OF ME: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me IS NOT WORTHY OF ME. (Matt. 10:37) ?

Surely it is!! This is a hard saying, but it is, nonetheless, the truth.

THE PRINCIPLE OF "FIRST FRUITS"

Christ MUST be first in our lives. In the Old Testament, this was expressed in the "principle of FIRST FRUITS." You gave God the FIRST FRUITS of your labor. God had to come first - first insofar as TIME was concerned, and second insofar as MONEY was concerned. God was, so to speak, paid first - before one's self, before one's family, before one's loved ones. The Bible says:

"Thou SHALT NOT DELAY to offer the FIRST of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the FIRSTBORN of thy sons shalt thou give unto me." (Ex. 22:29)

Again, the Bible says,

"And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the FIRSTLINGS of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always." (Deut. 14:23)

And yet again, the Bible says:

"Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD.

"And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the FIRSTFRUITS of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.

"And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps." (2 Chr. 31:4-6)

THE "GOOD SERVANT"

When we give unto the Lord, we don't give that which is left over after we have taken care of our own needs. Like all good servants, we MUST take care of the Lord's needs first, and then - only after His needs are taken care of - do we take care of our own needs. That's what being a "good servant" is all about. And it is specifically to the "good servant" that Jesus said,

"... WELL DONE, thou GOOD and FAITHFUL servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: ENTER THOU INTO THE JOY OF THY LORD." (Matt. 25:21)

The "good servant" takes care of the needs of his Master FIRST - or does anyone really think that a servant who is waiting on his master's table and who suddenly stops and leaves for an hour or two to take care of a few personal errands of his own - leaving his master to fend for himself - and then returns to carry on, is a "good servant." Surely such a servant would be fired.

DISHONORING THE LORD

But isn't this what we do with the Lord when we take care of our own needs first - and only after we have finished taking care of these needs and the needs of our own family - do we take care of the Lord. Who would want to have a servant like that? But, again I say, isn't this what we are doing when we, for example, pay our own bills first, and then - after we have taken care of these debts, do we take care of "tithing" to the Lord? Of course it is!

Yes, that's EXACTLY what we are doing when we pay the mortgage (or rent), when we pay the car payment, when we pay our Visa and Master Card bills, our utility bills, even our groceries - and then, after all these bills are taken care of, we give what's left - if anything - to the Lord? Of course it is! Are we then a "good servant?" No, we are not! Again I say, if we had such a servant, we would surely fire him.

Some might say, "I admit that I am too deeply in debt, and I have not given the FIRST FRUITS of my labor to the Lord. Give me a chance to pay my obligations off first (for instance, my car, my expensive TV, my Thomasville furniture, etc.), then I will serve the Lord." But that won't cut it either. Don't rob the Lord to take care of your own sins of omission.

HONORING GOD WITH YOUR LIPS

IF YOU DO THAT, THEN YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SAY THAT GOD IS FIRST PLACE IN YOUR LIFE - and you DECEIVE yourself. I say again, when you pay your mortgage payment, when you pay your car payment, when you pay your Visa and Master Card payment, when you pay your utilities, when you pay all these things first before the Lord, then it surely can be said that these things take precedence over God in your life. Don't be evasive here. Be a Mensch! Be honest! That's what it means! What you say when you do this is that God comes AFTER all these things! In your list of priorities, He is somewhere down there below the gas company and the phone company - and the Word of God is shamefully fulfilled in you which says:

"... this people draws near to me with their mouth, and with their lips they do honour me, but they have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men ..." (Is. 29:13)

Better to sell the car (and get a clunker), and return the TV and the furniture - for who says that you will have tomorrow to pay these debts off. You have no assurance of tomorrow. The Bible says:

"Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:13-14)

God forbid that we should honor God with our lips, but not with our hearts, and by our doing so, lose any hope of ever hearing those wonderful words,

"... WELL DONE, thou GOOD and FAITHFUL servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: ENTER THOU INTO THE JOY OF THY LORD." (Matt. 25:21)

RADICAL SOLUTIONS

So what do we have here? Where are we in all this? WE ARE AT THE "END OF THE AGE" - that's where we are. We are in an "emergency situation" a crisis situation that demands a RADICAL solution. Being "moderate" and "half-hearted" in our Christian life will no longer do. Every servant of God is being called to take action. In this present situation, we must be able to say as Paul said to king Agrippa,

"Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision ..." (Acts 26:19)

Christ is calling us today! And He is saying - just as He said to Paul so many years ago,

"... rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

"Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,

"To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God ..." (Acts 26:16-18)

This is RADICAL Christianity, it's not the "Pottery Barn" kind of Christianity that is being preached from the pulpits today, but it is precisely the kind of Christianity that Christ demands of us in this present evil hour. He is calling us to this kind of Christianity today - and I tell you the truth, that unless it can be said of you as it was said of Paul and his followers, that "THESE ARE THEY THAT HAVE TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN ..." (Acts 17:6), then you simply have no idea what REAL Christianity is all about. Radicals are the kind of people who can say with Christ:

"... THE ZEAL OF THINE HOUSE HATH EATEN ME UP ..." (Ps. 69:9; cf., John 2:17)

This means, one has expended EVERYTHING on the Lord; it's all gone; there is NOTHING left over. One's radicalism (i.e., zeal) has exhausted everything, it has eaten up one's very means of survival. There is no bank account that has been left untouched, no money that has been left unspent - one's substance is entirely gone! Pretty radical, huh?

This kind of thing is COMPLETELY foreign to today's Christianity. Today's Christians are nothing more than dilettantes - dabblers and triflers in Christianity. People who flirt with Christianity, but who have never really gotten involved with it. They simply are not the kind of Christian that will be able to rise above the exigencies of the "end of the age."

But one needs to understand something here, Christianity is not something you can trifle with. You must either get in or get out. That's EXACTLY what Christ meant when He said,

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (i.e., vomit) thee out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:15-16)

GET INVOLVED

So I say, COME OUT OF HER! - and do not listen to the preachers and propagandists who would shriek that the task before us is impossible; too utopian; too suicidal. Let us rather answer these "pimps to the elites" and their money-grubbing paymasters in the elite classes that we are not here to tinker with the Old Order, we are - like Luther did before us - going to COME OUT of her! And let us do so without any further delay.

And it is not as difficult as you might think to start. I don't care how isolated you might be - there is a way you can begin - TODAY. Take our material. Download it, copy it, and then pass it out to your friends. If you are unable to download it in a satisfactory fashion, write us, or phone us at (916) 568-7461 and we will send you copies of our articles that you can pass out. Free! And when you pass it out, put your name and telephone number on it. No doubt, many will be offended by these articles. Indeed, Jesus promised us that this will happen, but He said with regard to this matter,

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for GREAT IS YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

"Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 5:11-12, 14-16)

GREAT IS YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN - isn't that reason enough for you to keep at it. And if you do, eventually you will find some who want to hear you out on these matters. God will bring them to you, just as He brought you to us, so He will bring people to you. Then begin meeting with them. That's how you start!

Finally, if you have trouble leaving your "Pottery Barn" church, you can "grease the way." You can make it easy for yourself. How? - by passing out these articles in your church. Believe me, the "powers that be" in it will then ask you to leave. You won't have to leave on your own accord. They will INVITE you to get out. They will "show you the door" and tell you not to come back. Isn't that what the Bible says:

"... they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to ... (church councils), and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake." (Luke 21:12)

Of course it is! But the Bible says:

"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matt. 24:13-14)

So, "gird up your loins," and get ready, and in all of this, remember, "GREAT IS YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN!

Until next time,

God bless you all!

S. R. Shearer

Antipas Ministries


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PS Have the courage of your convictions! Contribute to the ministry by making out a check to "Antipas Ministries" and sending it to -

Antipas Ministries
P.O. Box 160863
Sacramento, CA 95816-0863

Or donate through Paypal by clicking the Paypal image below:

We DESPERATELY need your continued SACRIFICIAL financial help as we get settled up here in Canada. Time is short - and we need to be about the Lord's business as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions, please call us in Canada at (250) 397-2555 or email us at [email protected].

NOTE: Please note that we are still using our account in Sacramento, and will be doing so until we get an account up here. Until then, just continue sending your help to Sacramento. Our address in Canada is:

Antipas Ministries
Forest Grove Lodge Ranch
Box 99
Forest Grove, British Columbia
Canada
V0K 1M0