THE BIBLICAL ATTITUDE
This world is not our home,
Oh Lord you know,
Our leaders have proclaimed it:
"Essentially, the great work of the church consists only in saving souls from the unavoidable wreck (of the world) which is sure to come."
And our enemies have derided us for it:
"The evangelical scorns all efforts made in the name of religion to correct the ills of society ... (Evangelicals believe) that the essential function of the church is to insure a way of escape from the ultimate wrack and ruin to which the world is destined."
University of Chicago,1918
"We have those among us (the evangelicals) who say that the church has nothing to do with society. Its only business is to preach the gospel, exhibit holy and unspotted lives, and thus bear witness to the grace of God."
George P. Eckman, 1917
But evangelicals have never been dissuaded by what their detractors have had to say; their only concern has been, "What do the Scriptures say?" And to most evangelicals, the Scriptures have been very plain:
My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight ... but ... my kingdom (is) not from hence. (John 18:36)
Do not love the world, or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world ... comes not from the Father ... (1 John 2:15-16)
The whole world lieth in the evil one. (1 John 5:19)
To evangelicals - to Biblical literalists - the teaching of the Bible on the matter of the world has always been very clear: the Bible instructs us that the world - which must of necessity include the United States - is under Satans control, and he is its ruler; he controls the world. Satan controls the entire world:
As Gods children, we have been called out of the world for there is nothing that we can do to make it any better. The church is a calling out from the world (John 15:19; 17:14-16; Gal. 6:14; James 4:4; - she is called out to witness that she is not of this world, but of heaven; that she is united to a glorified Christ in heaven (Eph. 1:18-23; Eph 2:6), and not of this world, even as He is not of this world (John 18:36).
The world - including, as a simple extension of logic, the United States - is like some great passenger ship which has struck an iceberg; it is sinking; the damage is of such a nature that the ship is beyond repair and doomed. As Christians, we have not been called to busy ourselves in the hopeless effort of repairing the damage, but instead, we have been called to get as many people off the ship as is possible before it sinks. The ship itself is doomed! We are to jump into the lifeboats and get as far away from the sinking ship as is possible, lest we ourselves get caught in its undertow as it sinks.
Thus, while its true that God has anointed the church to be a shining example of righteousness and holiness in the world, He has not called upon it to participate in its political activities - which activities are controlled by Satan. We are to be examples of righteousness and holiness, and by doing so to contrast the light of the church with the darkness of this world. It is this - and not the churchs involvement in the political process - which has acted as a preservative of righteousness in the world. The power and influence of a good and righteous example - humbly portrayed - is far more effective than the force of any political process. Men will never be convicted of their sin by the church taking sides with the state and placing guns to the heads of those who refuse to conform; but countless sinners have renounced their sin and turned to Christ because of the living example of humble and holy men and women of God.
We are, therefore, commanded by God to abstain from the affairs of this world; to not get involved with it. True, we are to "occupy" until He comes (Luke 19:13); but this means only that we are to vocationally sustain ourselves and not be a burden on others while we pass through - and thats all it means. In no way can this verse be construed to mean anything else. Moreover, not only are we not to involve ourselves with the world, we are not even to be "friendly" with it. The Bible says:
You adulterous people, dont you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
We have today, however, the spectacle of a whole group of Christian men and women - many of whom are counted among Christianitys most learned and spiritual leaders - who are calling upon Christians to "take America back for Christ and the church:" leaders like Tim LaHaye, Pat Robertson, Lou Sheldon, Bennie Hinn, Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, James Kennedy - the list reads like a Whos Who in American Christendom. And these men arent just talking spiritually, theyre talking politically as well. For example, the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, retorting angrily to the apparent hostility of liberals and multiculturalists towards Americas older European-based Christian culture says: "We (i.e., Christians) were here first. You dont take our shared common (Christian) values and say they are biased and bigoted ... We are the keepers of what is right and what is wrong."
Oliver North, the darling of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, agrees; he says, "This is our government. They (the secular-humanists) stole it. And were coming to take it back." And make no mistake about it, they mean to do it - and liberals - and even "moderate Republicans" - are terrified at the prospect!
For example, in a recent lecture in Burlingame, California (October, 1994), liberal Sara Diamond, speaking to a group of "left-wing" activists brought together by People for the American Way, said that the movement these men (i.e., Pat Robertson, Tim LaHaye, etc.) represent is massive, broad-based and has no counterpart on the left. She further indicated that - despite a media hype to the contrary - its now close to taking over the Republican Party.
Sydney Blumenthal, writing in the New Yorker, agrees; he says, "The upsurge of the religious right at the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston startled many, but the shifts in the G.O.P. that came into stark public view then are now flaring into open combat nationwide. In the 1992 presidential election Evangelicals ... became the single largest constituency within the Republican Party ... [and their hold on the party was only strengthened by the results of the 1994 elections]. Since 1992, the conservative movement has steadily folded itself into its one concentrated point of energy - the religious right."
Moreover, the efforts by liberals to prevent the religious right from "... making God a wedge issue" have largely failed. For example, when Vic Fazio of California, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, held a news conference at which he claimed "Republicans are being forced to the fringes by the aggressive political tactics of the religious right," forty-four Republican senators rushed to the religious rights defense by sending a letter to President Clinton demanding that he "repudiate" the "orchestrated attack on religious conservatives" as "bigotry."
Christians are ecstatic. They celebrate the victories they have been winning throughout the country in ousting moderate Republicans and in dictating political platforms in county and state Republican central committees which support the teaching of creationism in the public schools and which oppose secular-humanism, "political correctness," New Age concepts, one world government, situational ethics, militant feminism, and the teaching of homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle or behavior.
And not only that, prayer networks supporting religious right political candidates - networks which used to be reserved solely for sustaining the sick and the activity of missionaries on dangerous foreign fields - have sprung up in churches throughout the country. For example, at the Virginia Republican Convention held in Richmond in the Summer of 1994, one booth sought recruits for the "Ollie North Prayer Network," a group that prays for North daily and includes everyone from nuns in Texas to North himself, according to an instruction sheet handed out to potential "Prayer Warriors."
The sheet also stated that "prayer and submission to the Fathers will and His guidance are the key to victory for Ollie" and includes a "program" that involves reading from Psalm 84: "O God, behold our shield, and look upon the face of Your anointed."
Since the election, many liberals have gleefully written North off - but maybe it's too soon for that. There are many evangelicals in Virginia who are sharpening their swords in anticipation of taking on moderate Republican, Senator John Warner, the man many evangelicals blame for North's defeat. It could be shaping up for a huge test of strength between moderates and religious conservatives in 1996. Religious Right activists have a long memory - and they don't take lightly to what they consider to be an act of political treason.
And this kind of talk [i.e., the talk of "prayer warriors" in support of Christian political candidates] was (and is) not unique to the North campaign.
Take another example, the "Reclaiming America Conference" held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in January of 1994 where 2,000 Christian activists stood to their feet and pledged allegiance to the "Coming Christian Kingdom" (meaning, of course, America): "I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior, for whose Kingdom it stands, one Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe" - and one might do well to ask, what about those who don't believe?
These are the kinds of things which are animating Christians throughout the country - energizing them in a vast crusade to take the country back from the "secular-humanists," and millions upon millions of Christians are lining up to enlist.
But how does such a crusade square with the teaching of Scripture?
Clearly, it doesnt! - and if it doesnt, one must ask himself whether such a crusade is really the result of Gods leading or the consequence of Satanic deception.
This is an important question, because how one answers it will determine ones future in no small measure - the road to Hell, after all, is paved with good intentions.
If all that the Bible contains on the subject of evil could be exhaustively dealt with, we should find that more knowledge is given on the technique - the methodology - of Satan than many have realized, and at the heart of his technique is deception. From Genesis to Revelation the work of Satan as a deceiver can be traced, until the climax is reached in the "Great Deception" of the "very elect" in the "Latter Days."
Deception is truly a sinister and clandestine craft, and its work today in what passes for "evangelical Christianity" has become so lethal and toxic that the faith of countless numbers of heretofore sound Bible-believing Christians is being poisoned; yet it is so subtle and delicate in its intrigue that those who have been entangled in its web of fraud and trickery hardly realize that their faith has been thus corrupted.
We find recorded in Genesis Satans first work as deceiver, and the subtle form of his method of deception. We see him here working upon mans highest and purest desires, and cloaking his own purpose of ruin under the guise of seeking to lead men and women into a closer relationship with God. We see him using good to bring about evil; suggesting evil to bring about good. Caught with the bait of being "wise" and "like God," man is blinded to the principle of obedience, and is deceived - and in the end, the desire to be "good" has counted for little. Indeed, the cleverest way in which the devil deceives is when he comes in the likeness of somebody or something which apparently causes a person to "be more like God" and/or to be "good." But the Bible somberly warns us:
"There is a way which seemeth right (i.e., good) unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)
In various places and in diverse ways the Scriptures warn about the dangers which will encompass the saints of God at the end of the age - so much so that the "very elect" shall be "deceived" (Mat. 24:24); but I Tim. 4:1-2 is the only passage in the Bible which explicitly shows the special cause of the peril to the church in the closing days of this era, and how Satan will break in upon her members, and by deception beguile many:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;" (I Tim. 4:1-2)
The word hypocrisy here means the act of deceiving, to fabricate, to make believe, to act in a false manner, to feign, to make a false show of, to dream up a false story and tell it as real; in other words, to present a lie as the truth.
The peril to the church at the close of the age, then, is from people who present a lie as the truth; from hypocrites who claim to be one thing, but who in reality are something else altogether; people who pass themselves off as Christians, but who are nonetheless unalterably opposed to God - much as Judas was.
The peril from such men concerns every true Christian in the "Latter Days." The prophecy declares that (1) some Christians shall fall away from the faith; and (2) the reason for their fall will be that they have given heed to a deception - a teaching which outwardly appears to lead to God and to bring about "good," but which in reality leads to disgrace and dishonor.
These hypocrites are believed because outwardly they appear to be "good," to be "spiritual." The so-called "good life" or "spiritual life" of these hypocrites is taken as a sufficient guarantee for their teaching.
But goodness is no guarantee of the truth: all teaching must be judged against the Written Word. Nothing else will suffice. To think that goodness and "good intentions" are adequate warrants for the truth is to take the first step down the road to deception. Such thinking has its foundation in the prevalent idea that everything that Satan does is manifestly evil, the truth not being realized that he works under cover of light. (2 Cor. 11:14)
We repeat, there is only one principle for testing the source of all doctrine - and that is not "good intentions," but the Written Word, the Bible.
But how is it possible that so many evan-gelicals - including a vast portion of our leadership - could have allowed themselves to be so dulled spiritually that they have become such easy targets for these hypocrites? The answer is apostasy! Apostasy is not necessarily false doctrine and/or sin - though it can be this, and there can be no question that these things inevitably follow in the wake of apostasy - but rather it is, in the first instance, the falling away of Christians from a view of themselves as citizens of Christs heavenly kingdom to a view of themselves as citizens of the kingdom of this world.
If we truly are aliens to this world, as the Scriptures so plainly declare we are, what should we have to do with its politics? - nothing of course. Why should we as aliens seek to involve ourselves in the politics of a foreign country? To do so diverts us from the single mission which we have been Scripturally commis-sioned to accomplish - to convince as many people as possible as we journey through to join us in seeking that better land - that "heavenly country" whose builder and maker is God.
To get involved politically in the land we say we are leaving is to reveal ourselves as nothing more than frauds - people who dont really intend to leave - and unbelievers have a stubborn and pernicious way of noticing such inconsistencies; and then we have the chutzpah and temerity to wonder why we are so ineffectual in leading people to Christ?
Its wealth - or, as is more often the case, the desire for wealth (for most people never really get it) - which blinds us to the transitory nature of our connection to this world and which leads us into apostasy. Apostasy inevitably develops when Christians - because of their worldly comfort and wealth, or simply their desire for material things - refuse to acknowledge in word, deed, or action the fact that they are merely "pilgrims and strangers" - aliens - to this world and this present life.
It is the desire for material things which diverts Christians from their journey - from seeing this world as merely a "way station" on their path towards a better world. Paul wasnt just kidding when He said,
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
For they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (II Tim. 6:7-10)
Dom Helder Camara of Brazil has been much maligned because of his connection with Liberation Theology - a theology which attempts to involve Christians in left-wing (as opposed to right-wing) political causes. But Camara was right at least on one point when he wrote:
"I used to think, when I was a child, that Christ might have been exaggerating when He warned about the dangers of wealth. Today I know better. I know how ... (impossible) it is to be rich and still keep the milk of human kindness. Money (or the desire for money) has a dangerous way of putting scales on ones eyes, a dangerous way of freezing peoples hands, eyes, lips and hearts."
Lay not up for yourself treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also ... No man can serve two masters (or two kingdoms): for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve (both) God and mammon (i.e., you cannot serve heaven and this world at the same time). [Mat. 6:19-24]
Speaking of those who have given up on viewing themselves as citizens of heaven, and have reverted back to seeing themselves as citizens of this world, Paul said,
For I have told you often before, and I say it again now with tears in my eyes, there are many who walk along the Christian road who have become the enemies of the cross of Christ. Their future is ... loss ... (for) all they think about is this life here on earth. [Phil. 3:18-19 (Amp.)]
Apostasy - i.e., that condition of thinking which leads us to perceive ourselves more as citizens of this world than of heaven - results when our attachment to the things or "treasures" of this life - our cars, our houses, our careers, etc. - overwhelm us and cause us to think of ourselves not as aliens to this world, but as "permanent residents." Once we as Christians have acquiesced to this way of thinking we have created the conditions necessary to open us up to Satanic Deception.
Lets now pause and think about all this, particularly as it pertains to the Religious Right - remembering all the while that what follows could have only occurred to a people who have given up on seeing themselves as subjects of an heavenly kingdom, and have instead grown accustomed to thinking of themselves as citizens of this present world.
A very wise person once said, "Satans greatest ruse is to first create a problem, and then offer the solution." The problem created is the bait; the poison is in the "solution." In the case of the Religious Right, the problem which Satan has created consists largely in what is perceived (and perhaps rightfully so) as a fundamental moral collapse of the society at large over the last three to four decades: specifically, the breakdown of the traditional family, the concomitant up-surge of single parent families, the growth of militant feminism, the acceptance of homosexuality as an "alternate life-style," Congressional and judicial acquiescence to the insane concept of women in combat, the increase in crime of all sorts, the rise of sexual permissiveness, the acceptance of "abortion on demand" - the list seems endless. When all this is combined with the new multi-cultural chic and "political correctness" currently in vogue - a style of thinking which arrogantly and disdainfully denigrates the nations older European-based, Christian civilization - its enough to create a cultural firestorm - an enormous rage which has emotionally seized control of countless numbers of evangelicals and blinded them to their own eschatology (or doctrine of "end times").
The problem Satan has created seems compel-ling, persuasive, convincing; it demands action. The bait is set.
The solution? - evangelicals must "enter the lists" (or arena); they must involve themselves and their churches politically to "stop the madness." The trap is sprung!
And what a shrewd and clever trap it is! Consider! Most evangelical scholars agree that two Babylons are spoken of in the Book of Revelation: "Religious Babylon" and "Civil or Commercial Babylon."
Dwight Pentecost of Dallas Theological Seminary agrees; he writes,
"Turning ... to the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, we see the whole stage filled with two personalities only (in the end of days): a Beast and a Woman ... These two ... picture ... the future prophetic earth ...
"There can be no argument or discussion as to this speaking of both the civil (political, economic, and military) and ecclesiastical (religious) conditions that will rule and characterize that part of the earth that is within the limits or boundaries of Prophecy.
"The whole of it will be filled with what shall answer to this Beast and this Woman. The two [the Beast (which answers to the civil power) and the Woman (which answers to the religious power)] are thus indissolubly co-related ... the civil power supporting the church, as the Beast in the picture supports the Woman, and the Woman is supported by the Beast ..."
In other words, what Pentecost is describing here is a situation in which a vast and terribly evil latter-day "New World Order" is prophesied as coming into being as the result of a convergence of two turbulent and violent streams of energy - one which has as its source religion, and the other which has as its source civil power - creating thereby a union of church and state with "ragingly" dangerous social and political ramifications - a brutal, savage and uncontrollable energy which the Bible says will ultimately corrupt and pervert everything it touches.
And, again, how will all this come about? - clearly, as the result of the union of religion and politics! But isnt this exactly what the Religious Right is all about? Take the Christian Coalition, for example; isnt this what Pat Robertson means when he says that the coalition is "... launching an effort ... to become acquainted with registered voters in every precinct (in the country) ... (to) ... build a significant database to use to communicate with ... registered voters ... (to) mobilize (them) ... (to) rebuild the foundations of ... America from the grassroots (up), precinct by precinct, city by city, state by state?"25 And if so, what are we doing getting involved in it?
Could it be that we have been so blinded by our emotions, by our hatred of the "secular-humanist" agenda, that we are to be found madly participating in the fabrication of the very system of things which the Bible predicts will someday turn on us and destroy us?
You say that you are becoming involved in Religious Right political activity because people you admire - "good people," "honest people," people who are motivated by "good intentions" - have urged you to do so. But is this a good enough reason? This is exactly how deception begins - the substitution of "good intentions" for the Written Word of God. This is exactly the kind of thinking that got us into so much trouble in the first place! When God told Eve not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, He wasnt just kidding around - and Eves "good intentions" counted for nothing when she was at last expelled from the Garden as a result of her disobedience.
When the Bible says that this world is not our home - and not to fight for it (John 18:36), it means it! Its not toying with us. Jesus said, "My kingdom comes not from hence (i.e., it has nothing to do with this world) ..." (John 18:36); "...everything in the world ... comes not from the Father ..." (1 John 2:15-16); "... The whole world lieth in the evil one" (1 John 5:19); "... Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God" (James 4:4). The Bible isnt fooling around here; its not exaggerating; its not embellishing; its not elaborating; its not overstating to make a point, it means it. And the attempt of your friends, the 700 Club, Pat Robertson, Tim LaHaye, etc. - to say otherwise is foolish in the extreme. They are heaping up reproach and dishonor to themselves by doing so; and the trouble is, theyre involving you in their foolishness - a thoughtlessness which clearly contravenes the Word of God; and when the reckoning finally comes - and it will - youll have to face it alone. They wont be there to help you. And your efforts to say, "The 700 Club told me it was OK" won't wash! This is serious stuff! Eternity is in the balance here!
As evangelicals, we call ourselves "literalists," but we are failing to be literal when we shrug off the plain meaning of these verses [i.e., verses like Heb. 11:13; Heb. 11:14; Heb. 11:16; John 18:36; 1 John 2:15-16; 1 John 5:19; John 15:19; 17:14-16; Gal. 6:14; James 4:4; Eph. 1:18-23; Eph 2:6]! - by doing so we lose the right to call ourselves "evangelical."
Yes, someday Jesus will come again - maybe sooner than some of us expect. Then He will make everything right! Then He will restore the kingdom. But Hes not going to need our help! - and its a pretty sad state of affairs when our arrogance and pride have become so titanic as to believe otherwise. Until then, let us give ourselves to the Gospel, of rescuing - as D.L. Moody put it - as many people as possible from the shipwreck that is sure to come, and in doing so, to fulfill the only real commission which has ever been given us - not rescuing the world, but rescuing people out of the world!
We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]
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