Thursday, February 15, 2018

The "Many Adversaries" Of Christianity

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Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church, telling them he would be staying in Ephesus until Pentecost, because there was an open door to preach the gospel..."and," he said, "there are many adversaries."

While the 6 million-member Lutheran Church of Sweden is collapsing under the weight of its own spiritual ignorance and apostasy, ABC's "The View" is openly mocking VP Mike Pence's personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

About the "many adversaries"...and the "open doors."

With around 6 million members, the Church of Sweden is the largest Lutheran denomination in Europe.

However, it is collapsing under the weight of its own spiritual ignorance and apostasy.

Leadership is now saying they simply "can not make ends meet" financially, and are planning to begin selling off church-owned property to pay their bills.

Most churches that are in decline get to that decision at some point. They continually liquidate property to pay for their overhead.

In the case of the Church of Sweden, their adversaries are within.

In trying to fix their problem they have taken the following steps:

  • In November, they adopted a new handbook instructing clergy to drop masculine references to God such as "He" and "Lord" so they can be more inclusive.
  • The Bishop of Stockholm, Eva Brunne, has called on her denominational churches to remove crucifixes and install prayer space for Muslims, with markers to indicate the direction toward Mecca--this to make the church more "welcoming" for Muslim guests, who are referred to as "angels."
  • Bishop Brunne has also made the churches a sanctuary for illegals, hiding them from authorities, while the church publicly advocates for open borders.
  • Bishop Brunne is the world's first openly Lesbian Bishop.

Borje Holgersson, chairman of the church council, says, "It's a dilemma, because in this business it's not really possible to increase production."

After a life in ministry, including the pastorate, I have never heard a less informed, more idiotic statement from a church leader.

The adversaries without.

Tuesday on ABC's "The View", while discussing Omarosa Manigault-Owens' criticism of Vice President Mike Pence, co-host Joy Behar mocked Pence's faith.

Owens, a former guest on Trump's "The Apprentice" TV show a few years ago and more recently on staff in the Trump Administration, is now taking on her former boss and friend.

Chief of Staff John Kelly actually dismissed Owens recently because she was using White House services---delivery, etc, for her own use.

Omarosa Owens told "The View" girls that as bad as Trump is, Mike Pence would even be worse.

She insinuated that Pence suffers from a form of mental illness because "he thinks Jesus tells him to say things...Scary."

Joy Behar picked up on her comments and began mocking Mike Pence.

She said, "It's one thing to talk to Jesus. It's another thing when Jesus talks back to you. That's called mental illness, if I'm not correct, hearing voices."

Co-host Sunny Hostin, joined saying, "I went to law school in Indiana. He is a hated figure there, actually. He's not very popular at all." If true, how did he get elected repeatedly to Congress and as Governor?

Sunny continued, "And I think when you have Mike Pence, who now puts this religious veneer and calls people 'values voters', I think we're in a dangerous situation. Look, I'm Catholic, I'm a faithful person, but I don't know that I want my vice president talking in tongues."

Referring to Pence's comments some months ago when he said, as a personal practice, he doesn't meet with a woman alone, (other than his wife), Behar said, "My question is, can he talk to Mary Magdalene when his wife isn't in the room?"

Co-host Sherri Shepherd suggested that Behar, an agnostic who was raised Catholic, may be misinterpreting the situation.

She added, "As a Christian, that's just par for the course. You talk to Jesus, Jesus talks back. What concerns me is, how long is the conversation with Jesus?"

As I watched the video of "The View," I was reminded of the words of Jesus--- words he has spoken to all of us, in John 15.
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you..."

Most often the opposition provides the greatest opportunities to share the gospel.

I believe that's the case in our own country. With adversaries to biblical Christianity becoming more and more emboldened and public and extreme, the general population reaches a point where they may not know what they personally believe, but they know they are becoming very uncomfortable with the likes of the girls on "The View" and others.

Paul recognized the "open door" in Ephesus, because of the opposition.

Profane people were instigating persecution against the Christian preachers in Ephesus, false teachers were showing up in the churches, the Jews were organized and strongly opposing the Christians, and Demetrius, the silversmith, had rallied others of his trade against the church and were holding public demonstrations advocating belief in the goddess Diana.

Some could have looked at the opposition and said---"I'm only one man or woman, what could I do?"---and become silent or simply left town.

Joshua famously said, "Choose you this day whom you will serve ["serve," not just believe in] for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Many Christians have that verse displayed somewhere in their homes. This is a time when we are being called upon to also have it in our heart and in our actions and in our words.

Change is occurring---there is an open door---you will be opposed and mocked.

Be Bold. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.