Monday, April 09, 2018

Lynchburg Revival--"Progressive Christians" vs Conservative Biblical Christians

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This weekend Shane Claiborne and a group of so-called "progressive Christians" held a revival meeting in Lynchburg, Virginia "to contrast the America first Christianity" they say Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. and pro-Trump Christians are promoting, versus the "Red Letter Christians" who are trying to keep "Christianity from being colonized by American nationalism."

The run-up to the "revival meeting" was contentious, and the participation was not as strong as hoped for, but the religious Left vows to fight on.

This is a very divisive and deceptive movement within Christianity. You must be informed.

Most "revival meetings" I have known about over the years, or read about in history, had to do with people hearing a gospel message and being given the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

Jonathan Edwards and the late Billy Graham come to mind.

This was different.

The Run-Up to the Meeting was Contentious

According to Jonathan Martin of the Red Letter Christian organization, they tried to reach out to Jerry Falwell, Jr. to "pray with a group of students on campus" with "regards to race and the conflation of Christianity with nationalism."

Martin says, "We want to move from 'the important thing to do is to be polite to Pharaoh' religion, to 'let my people go' religion."

He said, "We are not looking to demonize anyone, but rather to proclaim the One at whose name demons tremble. We are believing God for the Lynchburg Revival to be a powerful counter-witness to white Christian nationalism---marked by fasting, repentance, prayer, preaching, worship, and foot-washing."

Martin says, "America is in need of nothing less than an exorcism from the principality of white supremacy and the distortion of Christian nationalism, proclaiming instead the radical witness of the kingdom of God."

Liberty University told him he would not be allowed on campus and would be arrested if he began his planned meeting with students.

In a letter dated April 4, the Liberty University Police Department informed Claiborne that he was restricted from being on both the LU campus and the Thomas Road Baptist Church premises.

Many Christian leaders easily saw through the motives of Claiborne and his colleague's efforts. John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College, said that although he is not a fan of Falwell or Liberty University---or Trump, "The Lynchburg Revival" is without question a "direct attack on Falwell Jr. and his university."

Jonathan Martin, Shane Claiborne, Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, Rev. William Barber, Lisa Sharon Harper and other so-called "progressive Christians" are well known to Falwell and most other conservative, biblical evangelical leaders. Many of these, along with local religious Left pastors and leaders, were featured in the "revival."

The Lynchburg Revival took place this past Friday evening and Saturday.

What was the Message of the Revival Meeting?

Local Lynchburg news said this of the revival meeting:

The event was organized by national group Red Letter Christians and a handful of local faith leaders.
Throughout the night, speakers preached a message of inclusion for marginalized groups, such as the LGBT community and people of color, while warning against intolerance and white supremacy.
The event featured readings from Kaitlin Curtice, a Native American Christian author who spoke about finding God outside of the church; Brandan Robertson, a bisexual Christian writer and activist who shared a letter about the need to accept the LGBT community into congregations without judgment; and a spoken word necessitation from Micah Bourne, a poet and musician, that pressed the need for peace and called for a shift away from funding military operations and toward backing humanitarian missions.

The local news reported that about 150 people attended. In regard to Falwell, he didn't have anything to say directly to the press, but put out a statement that said in part, "All Christians have the free will to make whatever political choices they deem best for the country," referencing Matthew 22 in which Jesus said, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's."

The message of the "Revival" is not the message of deliverance.

It was a message of affirmation of sin, rather than deliverance from it.

Paul wrote in I Timothy 4, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron."

Peter wrote in II Peter 2, "For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error."

Bi-sexual and homosexual activists preaching inclusion and acceptance of behavior that God condemns is not "revival." Peter continues, (19), "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage."

And Peter writes, "It would have been better had they never know the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them."

The Red Letters of Matthew 24:11-12, quotes Jesus: "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many, Because lawlessness will abound." Jesus continues with an encouragement to "endure to the end."

The Message of the Religious Left Offers a False Choice.

Christians are not being called upon to choose whether to serve God or be patriotic and observe national sovereignty. And it's not about white people. It's about the heart, not the color of the skin.

And the teaching and advocacy of open borders, or some form of that, is from the likes of George Soros, not the Word of God.

Are Open Borders God's Will?

This narrative of the Left equates Christian compassion and Christian charity to multiculturalism. And diversity. And inclusion.

These "revivalists" are teaching that globalism is synonymous with godliness. It isn't.

A very brief review:

The Bible Teaches Respect For National Borders.

In Deuteronomy 32:8, Moses writes that God ordained independent existence of nations. "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel."

God "set the bounds" legitimizing nationhood and national borders.

In Numbers 20 and 21, God further affirmed His approval of nationhood instructing His people to seek permission to cross the territory belonging to the Edomites and the Amorites in their journey to the Promised Land.

Moses even offered to pay for the water they would use and the food their animals would eat while in the host country. He also promised to recognize their culture and not "turn to the right nor to the left" while in transit.

Moses also used the term "your country" in Numbers as he assured the King of Edom good behavior until such time that God's people had "crossed his borders."

What About Immigration and Asylum Seeking?

Controlling a nation's borders and respecting the borders of other nations is consistent with biblical teaching.

Secular and so-called Christian progressive political correctness has denied this Truth and deceived well-meaning people---particularly Americans and Europeans in recent decades. And they have done so in the name of the Lord.

Illegal entry into a country is not found in biblical teaching. In fact, we are taught to adhere to the laws of countries in which we are guests or even strangers.

More on "strangers" in a moment.

Biblically, each country must decide how it will accept immigrants and refugees, how many and under what criteria.

Nations, Nationhood and Evangelization.

Christians are told to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every person.

The Lynchburg Revivalists are teaching that one must choose between patriotism and the Great Commission.

Certainly, we must share the gospel with all ethnic groups and immigrants in America. However, Jesus did not intend His Commission to be used to deconstruct a nation. His intention was clearly to share the gospel with the nations of the world.

In Isaiah chapters 13 through 23, there are prophetic announcements concerning 10 different nations: Babylon, Palestina, Moab, Syria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Edom, Arabia, Judah, and Tyre. God judges nations as nations.

Therefore it is not sinful or "un-Christian" for those living in a certain nation to have a distinctly national distinctive.

A nation ceases to be a nation if its borders are not controlled.

Paul, preaching in Athens, confirmed this biblical model. He said (Acts 17: 26), "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings. "So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us."

From one blood, God has ordained many nations. Nationhood and seeking God is linked in Paul's teaching.

Nationhood actually facilitates evangelism according to the Bible.

Nationhood from the Beginning.

The divine institution of nationhood is first found in Genesis chapter 10. Those nations did not immediately come into existence as God had instructed because in Genesis 11 we read that people were not living in distinct groups---or nation communities. It was in this setting that we find an organized rebellion against what God had declared.

Most Christians know the story of the Tower of Babel very well. Nimrod led the rebellion suggesting that the Tower would facilitate the people in becoming more authoritative than God Himself and enable them to build a one world society---one incidentally, without the burden of God.

God's solution to man's wayward behavior was nations, language, and borders.

The "Stranger" Jesus Spoke Of.

There are a number of references in Scripture relating to Israel and "strangers." In all references, it is taught that they must be treated well. The point is that strangers are seen to be vulnerable, often listed along with orphans and widows. Any nation in any age will always find a number of "strangers" in their country. These should be treated fairly and given equal treatment under the laws.

However, these mentions of "strangers" were never intended to be charters for mass immigration or mass uncontrolled migration of refugees.

It is not biblically correct to use the verse from Galatians 3:28 to justify the obliteration of national identity, which is what Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Al Sharpton and others, including a number of those who spoke at the "Lynchburg Revival" this weekend are teaching.

When Paul writes, "In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek," he is stating that men of every nation may be partakers of the covenant of grace, not that nationhood should be destroyed.

Paul writing in Romans refers to the fact that even after his conversion to Christ, he never lost his sense of identity with his own people.

Even a cursory look at what the Bible says about nationhood and clearly defined boundaries makes it abundantly clear that God authored nationhood, including language and borders for His special purposes.

To reject this divine model is to not only stand with the secular progressive ideology but to give credence to the anti-God Tower of Babel movement and that's exactly what the so-called evangelical Left is doing in Lynchburg and churches across this country.

Their message is a different kind of Tower, but the intent is the same.

They are becoming what they say they are against.

John Wesley once wrote, "We feel in ourselves a strong...kind of natural affection for our country, which we apprehend Christianity was never designed either to root out or to impair."

Christianity was never designed to destroy national identity.

Patriotism toward our country and total commitment

God intends we do both.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.