Archive for August 16th, 2007

Early conspiracy-minded watchdawggieOK, Ok – I went rather technical in yesterday’s post on “Lions and Tigers and Bears“, as some folks have noted.  My apologies for this, as when I deal with eschatology, in particular, I try to be much more specific (and, unfortunately, dry).

So, to give it a little more flesh with fresh examples:

1) Here is an example of how a certain theological/eschatological mindset leads to Christian conspiracy theories.  It seems that a number of churches belonging to the World Council of Churches is trying to come up with some sort of “conversion code of conduct” as a way of blunting governmental actions toward missionaries.  Well, this has to be more insidious that what meets the eye, since the Catholic church is involved:

The World Council of Anti-Christ would like to see all true Christian evangelism end. That’s because this body believes that all paths lead to heaven anyway. Be prepared to hear American evangelicals from the left jump on board in the interests of world peace.

I want the jackals at the World Council of Churches and the evangelicals who have joined their howling pack to know that signing such a code of accommodation to the world’s false religions is treason against heaven. [emphasis mine]

One of the conspiracy-minded commenters then jumps on board with:

Sounds to me like things are “right on course” according to the apostle/prophet, Paul

2Th 2:1-4 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

APOSTASY MUST COME FIRST BEFORE THE DAY OF THE LORD. [emphasis not mine]

I won’t go into the full eschatology of this, but let us sum it up to say that this person is, first, trying to place modern events into scriptural prophecy (dangerous, at best), and, secondly, has chosen a prophesied event which many scholars believe has already come to pass (which doesn’t prevent a second occurance, mind you), when Vespasian desecrated the Temple in 69/70 AD by sacrificing a pig on its altar and declaring himself god.

Regardless, this is just another example (along with RFID/666) where certain folks try to force already-completed prophecy into modern events.

2) Here is an example of twisted orthopraxy in relation to following what Jesus taught in terms of the Kingdom of God and spreading the gospel.  St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying:

“Preach the Gospel at all times. Where necessary, use words.”

This succinctly sums up an orthopraxy based on spreading the gospel through interpersonal relationships, (particularly as opposed to hit-’em and forget’em style street preaching).  When taken in more depth, St. Francis’ philosophy is not to never preach the Gospel – but to be salt and light and to use words when necessary, particularly when your actions and your words are in alignment.

The writer of this particular article is one of the most frequent examples I hear of “Fire Insurance Sales”, focused on the eternal to the neglect of the temporal.  What is interesting is that Rick Warren is criticized for pragmatism in attracting numbers, whereas this individual – praised by many of Warren’s critics – is just as pragmatic, though his pragmatism is derived from the numbers that can be reached with ”word only”, since missional/relational evangelism is much less “efficient”, requiring ongoing contact, extreme patience, actual faith, and full, heartfelt care. 

One of the commenters to this article, calling himself a “pastor”, then commented:

To preach the Gospel by lifestyle is indistinguishable from government social workers, the non-Christian cults and false world religions who also can point to exemplary human works.

It is our message, in Words spoken by God Himself, that shows the world the difference.And keep in mind that it was the LORD God Almighty Himself that decided to save people through the “foolishness” of preaching. The word means to “proclaim” verbally.

Maybe it would be best if this “pastor” actually KNEW the scripture and quoted it in context. It is not the “foolishness of preaching” – it was the “foolishness” of the message that was preached. But don’t take my word for it:

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

Preaching the word through relationships and lifestyle is far more than government social work (which only exists because the church has dropped the ball), but it is a whole lot more challenging than hawking the equivalent of eternal fire insurance on a street corner…

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