Friday, December 17, 2010

What are the troubling headlines in your world?

What are the troubling headlines in your world?

Is it the Incredibly growing deficit? For the last 50 years the USA has been going deeper and deeper in debt with no end in sight.
Maybe its the incredibly shrinking job market.
Maybe its the ongoing misery in Haiti, the earthquake, then rampant Hepatitis, now a cholera pandemic.
Maybe it's the growing violence against Christians around the world. There are radical Muslims out there killing Believers almost everyday.

Well here's one that hit me between the eyes:

Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound 

WHAT? Most Evangelicals? Doesn't the idea that some one is "Evangelical" mean that the church needs to be evangelistic? Obviously not. (See full article below.)
I know, this is not new. Evangelicals have been populating the World Council of Churches for decades. I just forget sometimes that Evangelical doesn't mean Evangelistic. THe WCC is all about tolerance. I guess like the American Cancer Society is. NOT!
Ever heard anyone from the American Cancer Society say, "Go ahead and smoke cigarettes, its OK, why can't we all just get along?" No, that's not what they say. They don't endorse suntanning, carcinogens in the diet and other cancer-friendly activities either.
Does that make them Intolerant? I don't think so.

Brothers and Sisters, we can be Evangelical in many things but let's not be Evangelical in our approach to the gospel. Let's be Evangelistic! Good News Centered! Sharing our Faith in Christ by and through both actions and words. Sometimes actions need to precede the words. Sometimes the words of the gospel are all there is time for.

But let us not forget, that there is a message to the Gospel.

There is a message that must be delivered.

Giving away school supplies, helping with rent, watching children for 5 mornings in the summer time to give moms and grandmothers a few mornings off, are not going to Lead Anyone To Christ.
They may help! They may helps us build relationships. They may help us open someone's mind to the possibility of a relationship with Christ.
But the Message is the Thing!

SO, here goes a "Different" kind of Christmas blog:

1. There is no salvation without the power of God working in someone's life.
Pleadings are fine, encouraging someone to believe is great. But God Alone provides the power, that none of us had on our own, to repent and believe. A person doesn't just wake up one day and out of the blue decide to be a Christian.
Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes,
Act 5:31  This One God has exalted to be a Ruler and Savior to His right hand in order to give repentance and remission of sins to Israel.
Act 11:18  When they heard these things, they were silent and glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted repentance to life
2Ti 2:25  in meekness instructing those who oppose, if perhaps God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth,
Isn't it something incredible that God not only gives people the "Faith" to believe but also the ability to repent. I didn't understand for a long time why it said that Esau looked for a place to repent and couldn't. God didn't give it to him, for one thing. He was only sorry about the outcome of his decisions not for what he had done.
(Heb 12:16  (lest there be any fornicator, or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17  For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; for he did not find any place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears). )
2. Unless we all repent and Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ there is no salvation. None. Zip. Nada. Sorry.
Luke 13:3  I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Joh 1:12  But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name,
Joh 3:36  He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him.

3. God does not OWE salvation to anyone. Not even sweet old Aunt Susan who's an atheist (or Buddhist or Mormon...)  but nicer than any Christian you know.
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us 5 (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved),
6 and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,
7 so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

God saves people because He Loves, not because there is any good in any of us.
God saves to demonstrate the greatness of His grace. He gets to display it however He wants.
If God gives Faith to people when they hear the gospel it is so that they might believe. (Rom 10:17  Then faith is of hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.)
Dear Old Aunt Susan has to repent and believe. And somebody needs to tell her!

Some think the way I look at the gospel is cold and harsh. (Poor aunt Susie.)
But I am amazed by the grace of God, that sent Jesus to die in my place, or in ANYONE's place.
   I am amazed by love that lifted me from out of the miry pit.
      I am undone by Holiness, that reveals all the filth that inhabits my very best efforts.
         I am beyond my capacity to understand how the blood of Christ can cleanse me of all that uncleanness.
And yet He does. And that is Good News!
And without Christ, there is No Good News.
Christmas is one of the best times of the year to renew your commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and your desire to share the gospel with others.
Have a Very Blessed Christmas!

Love you all, Clark

Here's that article I mentioned...

Author: Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound 

By Stephanie Samuel|Christian Post Reporter

Campbell, who co-wrote American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, contends that surveys of 3,000 Americans, used to write the book, show that American people of faith, though devout, are very tolerant. So much so that most believers also believe that good people, despite their religious affiliation, can go to heaven.

Among the faiths, 83 percent of evangelical Protestants agreed that good people of other religions can go to heaven. Ninety percent of black Protestants also believe good people can go to heaven.
When prodded further, more than half – 54 percent – of evangelical Protestants said yes, people of religions other than Christianity can go to heaven. Sixty-two percent of black Protestants agreed with the statement.
Notably, the author mentioned that there may be some in the evangelical category that don't belong.
Campbell, an expert of religion, politics and public policy, explained at a Thursday discussion of his book that the numbers can be explained with the “Aunt Susan” theory. Aunt Susan, he said, is the nice friend of a family member who is well-loved and is an all around do-gooder.
“You know that if anyone is destined to go to heaven, it’s Aunt Susan,” described Campbell.
However, Aunt Susan is of another religion. Rather than condemn that person to a lost eternity, Campbell said, most American believers choose instead to believe that that person is heaven-bound.
He also shared that knowing an Aunt Susan opens believers up to other faiths.
“You become warmer not only to people of that group, but to people of other groups,” Campbell contended.
Simply put, interlocking social networks allows believers to accept tenants of other faiths.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, works with leaders of many faiths on issues such as stopping pornography, abortion and religious persecution.
“That doesn’t mean that I’m going to abandon the New Testament teaching,” he stated.
Those who do so to accommodate other beliefs “aren’t very good evangelicals,” in his view.
Land lamented that more evangelicals are being taught the doctrine of universalism. “It’s emphasized from the pulpit; it’s emphasized in the seminaries,” he decried.
Universalism is the theological doctrine that all people will eventually be saved despite a relationship with Christ.
He said this is especially true of youths because the messages from the pulpit have changed.
“I think the doctrine ‘In Christ alone’ … was emphasized more 25 years ago than it is today so young [people] are hearing about it less,” he revealed.
While Land said it is possible for Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and even Catholics to follow the tenants of their faiths and have salvation in Jesus Christ, he stated that the same is not true for Buddhists, Muslims and Mormons.
“It is impossible to believe what Mormons believe and be a Christian. It is impossible to believe what Muslims believe and be a Christian,” he said.
Likewise, he acknowledged that there may be unsaved believers among Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and Catholics. Salvation, the biblical requirement for heaven, is an individual and personal choice, he told The Christian Post.
Land said he quotes the Bible’s New Testament which states that there is one mediator between God and men and that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life to all those who ask about heaven. If missionary work and evangelism is to continue on into the future, other Protestants must do the same, he asserted.
“If the price of respecting your faith is to deny mine, then that price is too high,” declared Land.
Campbell’s discussion was held at the Pew Forum in Washington, D.C.

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