Friday, July 24, 2015

CNN: "Bringing Babylon Back..."

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A while ago, CNN aired a feature story titled, "Bringing Babylon Back From The Dead."

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a pastor whom both CNN and Fox News has called the leader of the Hispanic evangelical movement in America, says, "We now live in Babylon."

Pastor Rodriguez is traveling around the country telling church members silence is not an option for Christians.

He is also challenging pastors to lead.

"The church," he says, "is moving from Jerusalem to Babylon."

"And," he says, "today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity."

Pastor Rodriguez says, "As a nation we have never been under a canopy of darkness that we presently find ourselves."

"These past six weeks have been surreal"---the Supreme Court redefining marriage, the subsequent attacks on religious liberty, Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts, says the pastor.

"Almost eerie and apocalypic."

It's apparent that American culture is moving toward what Scripture describes in the fall of Babylon, but Rodriguez says the church is also changing their address.

CNN either doesn't get what happened or doesn't care why Babylon fell. In introducing their special report on Babylon a couple of years ago they open with this:

"Babylon was one of the glories of the ancient world, it's walls and mythic hanging gardens listed among the Seven Wonders."
"Founded about 4000 years ago, the ancient city was the capital of 10 dynasties in Mesopotamia, considered one of the earliest cradles of civilization and the birth place of writing and literature."
"But now following years of plunder, neglect and conflict, the Babylon of today scarcely conjures that illustrious history."

CNN reports that although major efforts have been made to bring global tourism to the famous city, "it is drawing only a smattering of tourists."

The reason the city still lies in ruins is found in Daniel chapter 5:

Thousands were in attendance at Belshazzar's party in downtown Babylon.

Belshazzar commanded the gold and silver vessels that had been taken from the Temple in Jerusalem by his father, be brought to the party so the king, his lords, their wives and mistresses could drink from them.

As the party continued, they called for more vessels from the Temple. In a drunken stupor, the people of the beautiful city "praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone."

Then the writing appeared on the wall...What does it mean?

Daniel is called. He gives the king a straight answer, telling him his father was the most powerful man in all the earth, but when his heart was lifted up and his spirit hardened with pride, his heart was made to be like that of the beasts, and he was reduced to "dwelling with the donkeys" in the field.

Then Daniel told the king, "Even though you knew all this, you have refused to humble your own heart" and are standing in rebellion toward almighty God.

"You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting," Daniel told the king.

Scripture records that on that very night, "Belshazzer was slain."

And the world class city lies in ruin to this day.

Rodriguez is telling people, Hispanics and otherwise, "If the state of Babylon is not evident now for some, it will be in just a matter of a year or two."

If we---the church---continue as we are, he says, "The church will become a marginalized religious threat in America--irrelevant, no longer prophetic."

"And," he says, "we will be satisfied having gatherings in a self preservation society sort of modus operandi and no longer relevant for speaking into the corporate sphere or the culture or society."

He is calling on Christians to understand that politics will not restore us---its not about politics, but "as Christians we have a moral responsibility to vote by biblical worldviews."

He is saying there are two reasons why Christian leaders or the pastors would be silent, theologically speaking.

"Sin or fear." Or both.

He is telling pastors, "Whenever there is sin, because we lack the moral imperative or authority, we are quiet. Sin removes or dilutes or hinders any sort of moral authority."

"The other reason," he says, "there's fear of losing followers, fear of losing income, fear of attracting negative media, being called names."

He says, "We can't drink the Kool-Aid that it's all love. We can love people to hell if we don't share the Truth...the gospel is Truth with love."

And that is what he believes people are looking for.

He shared the following in his sermon at the recent Hispanic Baptist Convention in Austin:
In 1917 Communist officials declared in St. Petersburg, Russia, that by the 21st century the entire world would embrace Communism, and the Christian faith would cease to exist. In the 1930s, the Nazi regime declared that they would outlast the followers of Jesus. In the 1960s, rock musicians — "We're more popular than Jesus now" — boasted that by the turn of the century they would receive more praise and adulation than the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost combined.

We are well into the 21st century. Lenin is entombed; the Third Reich is dead; The Beatles are gone, but the church of Jesus Christ is still alive and well! Why do we continue to grow, even in the midst of adversity and persecution? Simply stated, we thrive because we are centered. We are centered in a way no other movement can be. We have Christ as the center of our church.

Accordingly, the only agenda that can save America stems not from the donkey or the elephant, from the left or the right. But rather, the only agenda that can save our nation is none other than the agenda of the Lamb.

For the Agenda of the Lamb to go forward, we must secure the centrality of Christ. This we must do deliberately and consistently. On that first Good Friday, the cross of Christ stood high on Calvary, visible to all coming and going — inescapable, central. Jesus was not then and cannot be now on the periphery. Jesus is always central.

And in regards the current state of affairs in America, Rodriguez added: "When light stands near darkness, light prevails."

Be Encouraged.