Posted in Musings

Hoaxy Rantus: A Bird’s Eye View of the COVID-2020 response…

COVID-19 IS A HOAX. No, the virus is real, but the response to it is so overblown that I am amazed at how many people keep believing the current narrative. Let’s look at the facts.

At the beginning of this pandemic we did not know a lot about this particular strain of Corona virus. And the initial reports coming out by the experts acknowledged that since this strain was new it had the real potential of sweeping through the world’s population. Various models were created which estimated huge loses if mitigation was not used, but even still the death numbers were said to be higher than anything we’d seen since, perhaps, the Spanish Flu (early 1900’s).

The media reported this information, some politicians, either because they saw an opportunity or because they were personally alarmed, started talking about possible limitations being placed on businesses and the people in general. Which in turn alarmed the rest of the population, specifically parents who had their children in the public school system. This had the negative effect of certain governor’s calling for school closures. Driving the mindset of many further down the panic hole. And so, it was then recommended that we shut down (temporarily) our coming and going. Businesses that weren’t deemed essential where closed (again, temporarily), and travel was strongly discouraged and in some locals restricted.

A few words before I continue…

I have some thoughts on the media and the politicians at this point. Some observations that I have noticed for a while now, but those observations were highlighted with a BOLD YELLOW highlighter at the beginning of this pandemic. I suppose it would be germane to the conversation to add the experts into this little ball as well (those scientists, medical professionals and statisticians). They are gossiping busybodies. The media, before all the pertinent information comes in, breaks their neck to tell you what is going on in the world. They don’t actually know, but they think it is a strong possibility, and they blurt it out blathering about this or about that like a young journalist writing an op-ed piece for STAR magazine. Politicians are no better. Most of them anyway. For they are seen doing the very same thing. They run off the media’s reporting, when all the facts are yet to come in, and they lean on the experts who are just as much in the dark as the rest of the populace. But they can’t admit that they don’t know. No, no that would make them look incompetent or something. This becomes abundantly clearer when we see that once they make a mistake, or they draw a wrong conclusion, they refuse to announce it. Instead, after sweeping it under the rug, they buckle down and keep driving through the mess, acting all the while that someone else is responsible for spilling the drink.

Back to the COVID-19 response Timeline…

So, once everyone is worked up into a frenzy we hear about the brilliant plan to “Flatten-the-curve.” That will solve the current dilemma that we are facing. Or, so we are told. The goal of this objective is to lighten the load on our healthcare workers. Restrictions are put in place on businesses and common folk. At this time people start asking questions about PPE (personal protective equipment). Again, a media driven narrative. (Amazing how we are incapable of thinking on our own unless some other above us does it for us!)

The response is initially unanimous, “Masks don’t offer much protection.” Just keep your distance from another (the magic 6-foot of social distancing), wash your hands regularly, and if you’re feeling unwell…stay away from others. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Burke, the CDC and the WHO, along with the Surgeon General all agreed that wearing a mask might make the wearer feel safe (a false sense of protection/security), but would do little to stop the spread of the virus.

Remember, that at the beginning of this thing we were told that everyone was going to get it. It was a new strain of a familiar virus (yes, that is correct the Corona virus family has been around for a long, long time. Check your Lysol bottle. Not to mention that this family of virus’ is the reason why some get the common cold, or the seasonal flu—not stomach virus).

Back to the goal…

So, after a 4-week (some places 6 weeks, I think) shut down, states started preparing to reopen closed businesses. By this time the economy was in a slump. Many small businesses couldn’t handle the heavy load of being closed that long, and had to close their doors permanently. Those that had survived faced the unfortunate reality of additional “guidelines” that needed to be put in place in order to reopen “safely.” Places needed to be marked on the floor to demonstrate to the public what 6-feet looked like. Limitations were placed on the number of occupants allowed in the building at a given time (arbitrarily set by different places, even when the space was virtually identical from one place to another). All the sudden, about mid-summer masks became a necessity. No new evidence was produced that proved their efficacy, but as a supposed safeguard to slow-the-spread, more and more politicians and health departments started putting their voices behind enforcing them.

Changing Goal Post’s throughout…

What I find absolutely amazing is that during this whole venture (a nightmare in many respects) is the way that the goal posts kept getting further and further in the distance. Like the rainbow that you may have chased when you were a kid, no matter how close you get to it, the farther it is from your reach. Incapable of closing the gap, you eventually give up the pursuit.

Every other week the narrative continued to change and adapt (in a negative way) as more and more information came out about this novel virus. First it was to keep massive death from happening on American soil (an estimated 2.2 million by the modeling experts). Then it was to limit the stress put on the medical field. Extra facilities were built that were largely used. Limitations were put on the services that medical practitioners could provide. Surgeries and various other medical treatments were suspended in order to keep rooms open for the mass influx of COVID patients about to plague communities. Ventilators were created in mass quantities in order to help those in dire need. Outdoor COVID tents and testers were fixed outside of hospitals. If you need to visit a sick or ailing family member at this time you were denied access. Many people were separated from one another at a time when we need others close to us.

Why? To keep others safe. To keep down the spread. To protect the vulnerable. All noble sounding sentiments, but were they justified?

As the death rates continued to drop nation wide, the media and politicians shifted their narrative once again. Now it is a high case load that we are to be concerned about. Bear in mind that conservative numbers have the survival rate if one gets this virus anywhere from 99.2-99.9%. Even the weak and vulnerable among us have over a 99% survival rate if they contract the virus. This makes the virus no more deadly than the common flu. Which oddly enough, if you pay attention to the current tracking of influenza this year you will notice it is down considerably even though we are now in the upswing of when that type of ailment begins hitting the population.

We have went from avoiding mass death, to avoiding bogging down the medical field, to reducing the number of positive cases being recorded. The numbers we are seeing in state and national totals are cumulative. This means that the “numbers” are being vastly exaggerated. Not to mention a high false positive rate. An inability to delineate between one corona virus strain from another. And, let us not forget the lie that asymptomatic people may be one of the worst culprits in spreading the disease.

A little thoughts on being asymptomatic…

Asymptomatic means “no symptoms.” Normally this means you are not ill. Every time your body comes into contact with a pathogen (bacteria or virus) your immune system identifies (more than likely) that a foreign entity has trespassed. And like Klingon’s in the neutral zone your body goes into warp speed to attack the invader. Pathogens that present no real threat are quickly done away with. This is the result of a strong immune system. We do not identify that type of person as clinically sick. Sick people present symptoms because their body is having a hard time fighting off the invader. When a person gets the flu this will result in a variety of symptoms such as loss of taste, stuffed nose, high fever, muscle and joint pain (aches), sore throat and possible cough. Not all symptoms are always present, but some form of symptom is present when a person is clinically sick (infected).

There has been much talk about a vaccine. Vaccines are wonderful innovations that help our body’s fight off foreign invaders. The Small Pox vaccine for example was not small miracle. Vaccinated persons, when the vaccine has worked in helping the human body build up its immune system against a particular invader, are asymptomatic people. Why? Because their immune systems have been trained to fight, and since the fight is easy, there are no symptoms. Such people are identified as clinically healthy.

I’m sure I’ve oversimplified some things. I’m not a medical doctor. But, I do know how to read (a particular past time that I do quiet regularly, with much joy I might add).

Current Scenarios…

Here are some notable facts. (1) We are testing more now than ever. More testing means more positive cases being identified. (Think of shining a light in a cockroach invested structure. You don’t seem them when the lights off, but when you turn the light on you see them running in all directions). Testing for Corona virus means that we are shining the light on a particular pathogen.

(2) A positive test is NOT a clinical infection. Many people who are tested positive have no symptoms. They feel fine. This has been reported, but ignored. If a person is not symptomatic, then they are NOT coughing or sneezing or wiping their nose before they touch something. There has been no link scientifically that an asymptomatic person can spread anything.

(3) “What if?” scenario’s are a dime-a-dozen. They are fine when one can identify direct cause and effect, when a correlation between one activity or another can be demonstrated, but they are utterly pointless when those factors cannot be established. Jesus provides a “What if” scenario to those who would be His disciples: “If you love me, then you will keep my commands” (John 14.15). The condition “love” is met when a true disciple is obedient to Christ’s Law-Word. If the person in question is one who “lives” in sin (i.e., lawlessness, disobedience), then they are not a disciple of Christ. Saying “what if an asymptomatic person can spread an illness?” is a baseless hypothetical situation. No evidence exists to verify whether or not the question is valid. They may, they may not, but we don’t live our day-to-day life in this fashion. “What if I get in car crash today?” is a question we may toss around in our mind, but we still drive our car. Unless we are agoraphobic.

(4) We are giving up our freedoms for the false promise of safety. We are allowing fear (in all its various forms, no doubt different in a case-by-case assessment) to dominate our action. We are paralyzed, and the powers that be are stripping you bit-by-bit, piece-by-piece of your constitutional rights. Ohio has a curfew from 10p.m. to 5a.m., why? You can take your mask off when you eat and drink, but not when your not doing those things. There is a limitation placed on who may be served. This is true in restaurants, or other business establishments. But the Airlines do not (or at least did not when I flew this summer) have such restrictions. The plane is full, and you are told that you must wear a mask, but you can take it off if you are eating or drinking. Do you stop breathing when you do either one of those activities? No. But I thought asymptomatic people can spread the virus? I though 6-feet of social distancing is what protected you? None of which mean a hill of beans when you are in a giant aluminum tube 30,000 plus feet in the atmosphere, sharing the same recycled air with everyone else. If you can smell a fart, then you are breathing in the vapors of others around you.

Also, you evidently can’t dance or stand, unless you are at Biden-Harris celebration rally. You can stand as they officiate the wedding in Ohio, but you must sit down when its time to eat in celebration of the Bride and Groom. What is scary…and this is the last thing I will say, since this has turned into a bit of an unending rant (I could go on…), is that they’ve went from telling us what we can do at our place of business, in the public arena, but now they are gunning for what you do in your homes. They have so narrowed the scope of their focus, that now how you live in your own house has—in their eyes—fallen into their domain of power.

When will the American people say “Enough is enough!”? (Some are already doing this). When will we see a unified effort of civil disobedience, peacefully demonstrated with great conviction? (Again, pockets of resistance are forming). Or will we continue to allow our freedoms to be stripped for the false promise of being “safe?”

Posted in Thanksgiving

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving: God is God and He is Good

The following is some excerpts from this past Sunday’s sermon delivered in a facility with more than ten people, not socially distanced, and without masks (a.k.a. A normal worship service). I have structured them in a fashion that flows somewhat succinctly. The overall tenor of the sermon was to emphasize our privilege and responsibility before God and fellow man to offer prayerful thanksgiving to the Lord of Hosts. Without fear, without anxiety, without discouragement, but in boldness, unashamedly in the Name of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit’s leading. During a time when forces in government, in the media are seeking to pit family and friends against one another using the fear of a pandemic, I thought it appropriate to remind God’s people that we are to eat, drink and be merry…to enjoy those wonderful blessing that our Creator has granted us in this life, during this season, yes, even during a time such as this. I hope you enjoy and are likewise encouraged

Start of the excerpt…

You may or may not be surprised to learn that Thanksgiving as a celebratory feast has been a customary practice for about 400 years. Yes, that’s right…400 years. That’s a long time. The reason it is so vehemently attacked today is due, by and large, to an ignorance that has permeated our culture. A purposeful attack by those who have been in charge of our youth’s education system for nearly a century.

Christian historian and economist Gary North explains, “Thanksgiving is an old tradition in the United States. Although it was not the first such thanksgiving feast, the holiday had its origins in Plymouth Colony, in the fall of 1621, when the Pilgrims who had survived the first year invited Chief Massasoit to a feast, and he showed up with 90 braves and five deer. The feast lasted three days.”1

I’m sure you’ve all heard the story. The first pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts landed on the shores in the year 1620, “a year later…[many] were dead.”2 They had either starved to death, became ill due to poor health, or fell prey to the elements. The following year, however (1621), the colonists had what is commonly referred to as a Thanksgiving festival. Much thanks were given to Squanto and the Wampanoag Indians by the colonists, but the greater thanks was attributed to Almighty God.

Gary DeMar writes, “William Bradford, governor of Plymouth and the colony’s first historian, continually makes references to ‘the Lord Who never fails,’ ‘God’s blessing,’ and ‘the Providence of God,’ in times of both plenty and want.”3 He continues, “As the historical record shows…thanksgiving was ultimately made to God. ‘Governor Bradford, with one eye on divine Providence, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to God, and with the other eye on the local political situation, extended an invitation to neighboring Indians to share in the harvest feast…This ‘first Thanksgiving’ was a called to suit the needs of the hour, which were to celebrate the harvest, thank the Lord for His goodness, and regale and impress the Indians.”4

The key to understanding the true nature of Thanksgiving, in the words of Rush Limbaugh is to understand, the colonists “thanked God for the guidance found in the Bible for restructuring their community, and shared the bounty with the Indians, who did teach them how to do things they didn’t know how to do, basically be farmers.”5 As was noted earlier, however, this was not the first such thanksgiving celebration, but one of many. In his book, America’s Christian History, DeMar writes, “The colonists of another era were aware of the many instances of thanksgiving celebrations found in ‘holy writ.’ Thanksgiving, as it was practiced by the colonists was a religious celebration that shared the sentiments of their biblical forerunners, giving thanks to God for His faithful provision. For these devoutly religious people, thanksgiving would have come naturally.”6

Here are a few examples:

  • In the year 1564 a small French colony near present-day Jacksonville, Florida established a settlement. These Christians, led by Rene de Laudonniere sung “a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God, beseeching Him that it would please Him to continue His accustomed goodness towards us.”7
  • In the year 1610, 409 colonists settled in what is now known as the Jamestown settlement (Virginia). These individuals led by strong Christian leaders and principles were reduced to 60 survivors mainly due to starvation. “[They] prayed for help that finally arrived by a ship filled with food and supplies from England. They held a prayer service to give thanks.”8
  • “On December 4, 1619, 38 colonists landed at a place they called Berkeley Hundred [in Virginia]. ‘We ordain,’ read an instruction in their charter, ‘that the day of our ships arrival…in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”9
  • “The first official Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in June 29, 1676 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, across the Charles River from Boston…” similar proclamations were given in the year 1730, and in 1749 in New Jersey, New York.10
  • In the fall of 1789, then president George Washington proclaimed an official day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated on “Thursday, November 27.”11
  • Finally, “in 1863, Abraham Lincoln officially restored it as a wartime measure. The holiday then became an American tradition…[becoming] law in 1941.”12

The point of this historical study is this: the celebration of a day of thanksgiving has always been a part of our nation’s history. The focus has always been on giving praise to God for providing for us, His creatures, all the basic necessities of life, and every other free grace that He bestows on His children.

Reminders from Ecclesiastes

Whenever I find myself getting bogged down by those things in life that stretch you thin I turn to this little book of Solomon. I picture him writing this book in the last few moment of his life as he reflected on the things he studied, on his past successes and failures, as he perhaps struggled with much regret. Things that he didn’t do that he wished he would have. Things he had done that he wished he hadn’t. Plans that never reached fruition. Things he’d carefully planned and built that would be torn down and squandered by others.

Oh, I think he took much comfort towards the end in the insurmountable grace of our God. But knowing that God is better to us than we actually deserve is bittersweet. Sweet as honey when we really, truly grasp the wonder of His loving kindness towards us. Bitter as we struggle with those past regrets, “Oh…that I never sinned against you My Lord, My God!” Knowing what I do about the gospel, if my choice of books were limited, I believe that this little book here would be one that I would determine to hold onto. For the wisdom in it is deeply profound in its simplicity. And, I am convinced that our lives under the Lord’s Headship are meant to be more simple than what we tend to make them out to be. We put too much pressure on our lives, on our performance, in reality assuming that we have abilities beyond our control.

An appropriate nugget of truth:

Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly. But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God…So I commend pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes 8:12-13, 15

Here we are reminded that sinner’s will not escape the doom that awaits them: “…it will not be well for the evil man….” There will be a reckoning. Both for those who do not fear God and those who do. I cannot help but think how important this reminder for us is. Are we not surrounded by evil in this day? Do we not see the walls of our society shaking, as the culture makes outright war against our Lord and Savior? And yet, we are reminded that though it seems as if they will get away with everything they pursue…judgment is looming over them. Not only are we told elsewhere in Scripture that they will eventually fail in the works that they do (2Tim 3.9), but we are commended to enjoy life “to eat and to drink and to be merry” in spite of the sorrow that such persons try to bring into the world.

We have toils in this life. Life is filled with trials and tribulations. Wicked men grow more corrupt and seek greater power to lord over us all, but we are commended to rejoice and to enjoy life. I cannot help but think of how across this nation there is a concerted effort by politicians at both the state and local level trying to rob people of their joy this holiday season. They want to limit our time of celebration. They want to stifle our getting together. People want to know why I believe the issues around us are religious in nature and not scientific, and this is the reason why. God has given us freedom to live freely and to pursue happiness. I know that we are not guaranteed happiness. There are times meant for sorrow, for tears rather than laughter, but when tyrants try to rob you of the simplest of joys…it has nothing to do with safety but power!

We are to gather, to pray, to rejoice, to eat, to drink, to have festivities. We are not to cower in fear, for the state is not our god, but the Lord on High is!

Final Refrain:

For I have taken all of this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him…Go then, eat your bread in happiness, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He [God] has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes 9:1, 7-9

It does not matter what is going on around you, for the righteous, the wise have their works in the hand of God. We do not know what the morrow will bring. We cannot see the future, but that is not to be our focus. Do you see that. As tempting as it might be we are not to worry, to grow anxious of what might be. Instead, we are to eat in happiness, drink in cheer knowing that God has already planned our steps ahead of time and He approves of His people’s activities. Those that seek to walk in His righteousness—clothes in white; those that desire to live under His Spiritual anointing—abundance of oil on the brow. Such are the sort of people that are commended (commanded) to “enjoy life with…” those dearest to you “all the days of your fleeting life.”

We are to live under the sun in a spirit of Thanksgiving. And no one can rob a thankful heart from the man or woman who trusts in their Maker—Jesus Christ.

So my friends, my message is this. Do not let fear govern your hearts this holiday season. Do not allow panic to keep you from enjoying one of the most sacred times of year where we celebrate life with the one’s we love. Enjoy your life and Thank the Lord above for it.

ENDNOTES:

1 Gary North, “Thanksgiving and Marginal Utility,” American Vision, November 25, 2015, accessed November 25, 2016, http://americanvision.org/127561/thanksgiving-marginal-utility.

2 Ibid.

3 Gary DeMar, America’s Christian History: the Untold Story, (Atlanta, GA: American Vision [1993], 1995), 25.

4 Ibid, 27.

5 Rush Limbaugh, “The True Story of Thanksgiving,” November 23, 2016, accessed November 25, 2016, http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2016/11/23/the_true-story_of_thanksgiving.

6 DeMar, America’s Christian History, 203, 204.

7 Ibid, 204.

8 Ibid, 204.

9 Ibid, 204, 205. Excerpt quoted from: Jim Dwyer, ed., Strange Stories, Amazing Facts of America’s Past, (Pleasantville, NY: The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., 1989), 198.

10 North, Thanksgiving and Marginal Utility.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid.

Posted in Biblical Questions

How to Know Whether You Should Stand or Kneel

God has given me a love for history. When I was younger I must admit that like many kids I found the subject boring. Today, my library is filled with the words of many dead men. Dead in the flesh, yes, but alive in Christ, present with the Lord of Glory (cf. Phil 1.21-23).

During my undergraduate work I attended Nazarene Bible College (hereafter NBC). I answered the call to ministry as a standing member of the Church of the Nazarene. This is the church were I was primarily raised. I grew up a Wesleyan-Arminian. However, over time my convictions changed. (This history lesson in my life is a case study in how over time God changes the way we think and live in the world around us. Something very vital in our current day and age.)

Renewing My Mind

Paul tells his readers in Romans 12:2—

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (NASB).1

An appropriate question one ought to ask after reading such a verse is “How is my mind to be renewed?”

The answer is found a little earlier in the text:

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!”

Rom 11:33

The curious asks: “Okay, so God is rich in both wisdom and knowledge…how does that help in the renewing of our minds?”

Go back a little further and you will find this statement by Paul:

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

Rom 10:17

Our faith in God, which is a gift of His wonderful grace, is delivered to us through His Word. Christ Jesus as Lord is the Lord of the Covenants or COVENANT.2 Now to sum up rather quickly, our minds are renewed at the moment we are transformed into an heir with Christ (He as Lord, we as servants). Our faith—the object that we look to and trust in—is developed (by God’s gracious activity) through the hearing of His Word. When Paul is praising God’s wisdom and knowledge, he is referring to in that context of the wonderful gospel (good-news) that God has grafted the nations into His Son like a wild olive shoot. An unnatural but wonderful thing.

The first step…

So the first step in our mind’s being renewed is seen in the saving work of God through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. To have our object of faith changed to Christ, and this demonstrated in a confession of faith and a change of living, marks the journey of being non-conformed to the ways (thinking, speaking and acting) of this world (those whose object of faith is something else).

With me so far? Okay, good.

Knowing the Truth

Thinking along the same vein, I would like to turn your attention to a discussion on truth. Jesus says in John 14:6 (among other things), “I AM…the truth.” What does that mean, He is truth? Can you imagine one of your neighbors saying that to you one day as you are talking about current events. They give their opinion on this issue or that, and when challenged say to you, “I am…the truth.” Meaning that when they speak no falseness touches their lips.

Knowing Truth in John’s Gospel…

Recently, I heard a minister commenting on Jesus’ earlier claim in John 8:32 that “…the truth will make you free.” A lot of people reference this comment by the Lord, but I’m often taken aback at how few understand its meaning. Case in point, the pastor who was teaching a lesson on some Bible app said that this is in reference to Jesus. “He is the truth…if you know Him, then He’ll set you free.”

While I do not deny the assertion that Jesus is the truth—He is!—that is not what John 8:32 is saying. Contextually, Jesus was not merely making a reference to Himself in the form of “If you know Me, then you know truth and you will be saved.” Don’t get me wrong there is an element of truth, but is severely compartmentalized. “Progressive” Christians in some of the mainline denominations will tend to speak in a similar way when they say, “That our faith is not based on the Bible, but on Jesus. Knowing Him personally, the greatest revelation of God, is the only thing you need to be Christian.” Again, not entirely wrong. No doubt about it there are segments of truth here. But what is negated is the means to how one KNOWS Jesus.

If only we would learn to read the flow of thought in Scripture, then maybe so many well-meaning (I am making an assumption here that they are in fact well-meaning) would not commit such egregious errors and mislead others. Jesus says,

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

John 8:31-32

Speaking to those who professed belief in Him, Jesus’ response was that the test of faith would be whether or not they consistently lived (thought, spoke and acted) in accordance with His word. To “abide” is much more than merely acquiring mental knowledge. It is more than memorizing the text. Those things are noble pursuits to be sure, but they do not save you; they don’t free you. The test of whether or not one is a Christian is in how they allow the Bible (God’s Word/Christ’s Word) to shape and mold (conform/renew) their thinking (cf. 2Tim 3.16-17). As Jesus said to the same sort of individuals earlier in John’s Gospel:

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”

John 5:39-40

The second step…

So the second part of having one’s mind renewed is after faith has been received through the hearing of the Word, we continue walking in it. As we mature or as our minds are renewed we are able to “appraise” or “discern” all things (1Cor 2.15). How so? Because “…we have the mind of Christ” (1Cor 2.16).

It is due to this fact that as I continued to learn God’s Word I began reading those who have gone before. Over time (about a 2-3 year period) I transitioned from a Wesleyan-Arminian theological bent to one more in line with Reformed theology. Tota Scriptura (all of Scripture) and Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone) became my watch, word and song.

Back at Nazarene Bible College

Though I was warned at NBC to not read the writings of Calvinism (nickname for Reformation Theology), I did so anyway. I would compare what they were saying with their Arminian counterparts with an open Bible in hand. I’m not sure if I ever entered the cage-stage like others speak of, but I do know that overtime those who were my brothers and sisters in Christ abandoned me for my convictions regarding biblical truth.

Original intentions confessed and realized…

Now I must admit that when I first began writing this post, this was not the direction I had planned on going in. What I originally wanted to do was share with you a quote from Richard Wurmbrand. It comes from his book Tortured for Christ. After reading through Foxes Book of Martyrs, I picked Wurmbrand’s book up and began to read it. Well, his writings along with Deidrich Bonhoeffer. Both men Christians that stood in a day an age when tyranny surrounded them.

After reading these works, I thought that my fellow students at NBC would benefit from hearing what they said. We were given an assignment in one of my classes that asked “Where we thought our nation was headed in light of the Christian message.” Referring to these works I said that if we were not careful and diligent we would soon be under the same sort of socialistic/communistic tyranny that these Christians experienced in the past in Europe. I was severely rebuked by the professor of that class publicly. They said that I was historically inaccurate and was making connections that need not be made. When I asked, “Could you give me specifics?” I was met with silence.

I’d rather be wrong…

Unfortunately, I was right in my assessment back in 2007 or 2008 (can’t remember the exact year). In closing, I would like to share with you the words of Richard Wurmbrand’s testimony in light of Stalin’s communistic regime. As you read it, compare these things with what we see going on in our sociopolitical climate and ask yourself, “Are we not falling a similar path?”

“Once the Communists came to power, they skillfully used the means of seduction toward the Church. The language of love and the language of seduction are the same…Jesus told us to discern between the language of seduction and the language of love, and to know the wolves clad in sheepskin from the real sheep. Unfortunately, when the Communists came to power, thousands of priests, pastors, and ministers did not know how to discern between the two voices.

“The Communists convened a congress of all Christian bodies in our Parliament building. There were four thousand priests, pastors, and ministers of all denominations—and these men of God chose Joseph Stalin as honorary president of this congress. At the same time he was president of the World Movement of the Godless and a mass murder of Christians. One after another, bishops and pastors arose and declared that communism and Christianity are fundamentally the same and could coexist. One minister after another said words of praise toward communism and assured the new government of the loyalty of the Church.

“My wife and I were present at this congress. Sabina told me, ‘Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ! They are spitting in His face!’ I said to her, ‘If I do so, you lose your husband.’ She replied, ‘I don’t wish to have a coward as a husband.

“Then I arose and spoke to this congress, praising not the murderer of Christians, but Jesus Christ, stating that our loyalty is due first to Him…Afterward I had to pay for this, but it was worthwhile.”3

Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ, 28-29.

Questions and Final musings…

I apologize to my readers for the length of this quote, but I wanted you to get the entire context. Now, if you will allow me, I will ask some pointed questions. What is the difference between Socialism and Communism, are they not sisters? Stalin murdered Christians for their beliefs. He killed them for thoughts, which he viewed as Hate-speech directed toward communist philosophy. Millions died under his watch. What is the difference between him and the party that cries for the blood of our unborn, and threatens Christians for daring to speak against the moral wrongs in our society? Just as Wurmbrand faced the propaganda of the communist machine, are we not seeing the same sort of propaganda machine in corporate Media and Big Tech? Finally, where and when will you take a stand?

Standing rather then kneeling before the pressure of our times requires a renewed mind. A mind instructed, corrected, rebuked and training in the thoughts of God. The sad thing, and it is sad, is that many professed believers’ apparently get their marching orders from the godless culture surrounding them, rather than learning to abide in God’s Word. Clinging to things that have a form of godliness, but in all actuality are not godly at all, is a recipe for persecution, slavery and death.

ENDNOTES:

1Unless otherwise noted the New American Standard Bible, 95’ update (NASB) shall be the English translation of choice in this document.

2All biblical covenants point to the One Covenant that God has established with His people; those that bear His image. Each covenant prior to the one revealed in Matt 26.28 and further explained in the letter to the Hebrews (see chapters 8-10), is being built upon in Scripture. They are all the same covenant foundationally speaking, but they do not reveal the totality of what God’s Covenant accomplishes in history until the unveiling of Jesus Christ, the Son. In short, God does not compartmentalize history or His people in the fashion that Dispensational Theology teaches.

3Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, [1967], 2017), 28-29.