AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY AND ABORTION

I am going to attempt to write my thoughts regarding the pro life/pro choice debate. If you are not of the mind to hear me out, please stop reading now, but make no assumptions because you did not take the time to hear and understand.

I am a Christian and have been for more than 42 years. Not that long ago, I held to a very dogmatic view regardig abortion. At one point I was so fire breathing in my opinion regarding women with life threatening pregnancies, that I stated “no woman who isn’t willing to give her life for her child is worth her salt.”

I am now ashamed of this attitude – very ashamed.

Am I still pro -life? Yes, I would certainly say I am, but I have come to an understanding that my once harsh, fire breathing, hellfire and brimstone opinion, was mostly grounded in ignorance rather than truth and good understanding. My convictions were genuine, my passion was sincere, but I was misguided in my understanding, and the worst thing about that is I was teaching others to think like me.

God forgive me.

I am familiar with the scriptures commonly cited to support the pro-life position. I actually know other scriptures that most pro-lifers have never even considered that would be useful in their arsenal of texts to condemn their opponents. I do not say this arrogantly, but the truth is, I can make a better argument using scripture for the pro life position, than most pro lifers I have ever met. 

Like most pro lifers, the basis of my entire position was that abortion is murder. And without considering all the complexities involved, I chose to condemn as a baby killer anyone who was pro choice. This was a tremendous fallacy on my part because, quite frankly, I was ignorant.

Arguing that life begins at conception was the only thing in my playbook. I did not understand that there are some pregnancies in which the birth of the child is not a viable option such as in the case of an ectopic pregnancy which can become life threatening to the mother overnight. I had no clue that such pregnancies even existed.

In an ectopic pregnancy the fertilized egg is implanted outside of the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube. The embryo/ fetus continues to grow, however, a miscarriage is inevitable. In some cases an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother because of internal bleeding. An ectopic pregnancy can become life threatening quickly, requiring emergency surgery to save the mother.

The treatment for a life threatening ectopic pregnancy is abortion, the treatment for a septic uterus (when the water breaks too early in pregnancy) is abortion, the treatment for a miscarriage that the mother’s body won’t release is abortion, and if a person can’t get the treatment for these, they will die.

As a servant of Jesus Christ what does my faith direct me to do? Do I pound the “it’s murder” drum? Or do I have compassion and understanding knowing that an abortion is sometimes a necessary procedure is such cases? If I am pro LIFE, wouldn’t saving the life of the mother have as much value to me as saving the life of the unborn child?

If we as Christians are going to minister the sweet fragrance of Christ to others, we have to get beyond our war cry that “life begins at conception.”  It’s time to move forward and mature in our understanding, and open our eyes and see the real people for whom Jesus died,

You cannot make disciples of those you dehumanize.

The issue is much bigger than simply when life begins. Ectopic pregnancies, a septic uterus, and some miscarriages as mentioned above are examples of the many complexities not understood by many fire breathing Christians who want to enforce their morality on everyone else. 

We are living in a climate in which the established church in America is no longer respected as a sacred entity, or a people of hope and love, but rather as a right wing political arm waging “holy wars” against hurting people who don’t think like them.

While I am still of the opinion that some abortions are indeed heartless and outright wrong, and many pro choice advocate feel the same way, I don’t think it’s so cut and dry in every case, in fact, I know it isn’t. It’s simply not a black and white issue with no gray areas. There are gray areas with many nuances that need to be understood, considered, and thought through. And of all people, Christians ought to be the most understanding and willing to listen. Unfortunately, too often this is not the case.

So here is where I stand at the time of this writing?

I am pro-life with regards to my faith, and I support a woman’s right to choose with regards to our laws, I take this position because legislating abortion so as to make it murder under the law as some states are doing creates a whole new set of problems. At some point, christian ethics must be stronger than our dogma!

If abortion is considered murder under any state’s law, you then have a scenario where any girl or woman who has a miscarriage could potentially be charged with manslaughter. If abortion is deemed to be murder, then miscarriages could result in similar charges. In fact there is the possibility that some states may even pass legislation forbidding women from traveling out of state to have an abortion.

The American Church has helped create this dilemma. In reality, it spearheaded it.

Consider that throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s there were an estimated 200,000 – 1.2 million illegal abortions which were performed annually in the United States. Hundreds of women died every year from botched procedures. This is concerning when we consider that the current population in the United States is nor more than double of that of 1950. In fact, more people voted in the 2020 election than the entire U.S. population in 1950.

The sad reality is that the overturning of Roe does not mean the end of abortions in the United States. It simply means there will be far more unsafe abortions with a portion of them ending in fatality.

Consider that fifteen to twenty percent of all pregnancies (or approximately 1 million a year in the U.S.) will end in a miscarriage or stillbirth. In this time of crisis from millions of women in our country, in which they feel abandoned and dehumanized, they will not be turning to the church for help because the church has rejected them as baby killers.

If only we had been people with a heart of compassion for the lost…

Legislating abortion as murder and forcing women to carry their pregnancy to term is going to create an health crisis in our country because women needing medical care due to circumstances surrounding miscarriages may not be able to get the help they need, especially poor women. We have created a whole new set of problems. There is no way that you can achieve justice if you legislate that abortion is murder. It will only lead to oppressing women and more deaths. 

In Michigan, there is an abotrion law that dates back to 1931 that has never come off the books. This law could soon be enforceable again. At the time of my writing this, the Supreme Court of Michigan has issued an injunction at the governor’s request. However, if this law is not changed,
almost all abortions in Michigan would become a felony, carrying a penalty of up to 4 years, even in the cases of rape and incest.

While a Christian may have the conviction that pregnancy resulting from rape is not an excusable reason to have an abortion, we need to ask the question is it ethically right to force our morality on a victims of rape and incest? The sad truth is, the American church has at times mischaracterized those in the medical field who perform abortions as only evil and wicked people, and there is absolutely nothing godly about such mischaracterization. Bearing false witness is a sin we should seek to keep far from us.

The very gospel we claim to believe teaches us that Jesus bore our pains when he suffered on the cross, why can’t we follow his example and do the same. Hurting, devastated, abused people, and those attempting to help them don’t need our sanctimonious attitudes. They need our compassion.

Why not be people who advocate for women receiving the help and support they need, along with ensuring the child would have an opportunity of being born into a world where he or she would be welcomed by a loving family.

The sad truth is many evangelicals who are zealous about this issue, are zealous because they think overturning Roe v. Wade is going to save the United States of America from God’s judgment. It’s really not about saving “life” as the child is quickly forgotten after birth.

The reason I no longer hold to my previous harsh pro life dogma is the pro life agenda on many fronts has never truly been about the actual life of babies. If it were, plans would be in place to ensure pregnant women have the help and support they need, both during their pregnancy and after they give birth.  There would be plans in place for a good quality of life for the child after the birth rather than laws to punish and oppress women. Healthcare, child support, and child care are all important issues that have been swept under the political rug because they require we actually do something. It’s easy to stand fervently on one side of a position when it requires nothing of you.

The abortion issue is much more complex than the war cry, ”abortion is murder!” It’s really not that simple, It is complex because of rape, incest, and other life and death issues. For example the Michigan AG, Dana Nessel, shared own experience regarding an abortion she had many years ago.

Speaking to reporters, Nessel also discussed the abortion she’d had years ago — one that would be illegal in the state if Roe falls. She was pregnant with triplets and doctors told her the embryos weren’t growing in utero, she said. “And I was told very, very specifically that there was no way that all three would make it to term…But if I aborted one, that it was possible that the other two might live. …I took my doctor’s advice… And you know what? It turned out that he was right. And now I have two beautiful sons.” (Source, NPR)

It is circumstances like these that need to be thought through and understood with compassion. Yes, Christian ethics is a real thing!

We need an understanding heart, and a willingness to consider the complexities of this matter, rather than being indoctrinated with the idea that anyone who holds a different view than us is somehow a baby-killer. The reality is that the number of abortions in the United States has been on a steady decline for many years, large in part to the fact that women had access to the health care they needed and the ability to manage pregnancies was in the hands of doctors who knew what they were doing rather than power hungry politicians and American politicized Christians who were more indoctrinated than educated.

Possibly the worst thing the American church has done on this issue is characterize everyone involved in abortions as wicked and evil and sinful. Yet, that is FAR from the truth, there are many women who have had to have abortions for medical reasons, who were shamed rather than loved. Many of them no doubt wanted their child, but it wasn’t possible. It doesn’t take much of spirituality to stand outside an abortion clinic with a bull horn and shame others, but it takes a whole lot of Jesus to open your heart and show compassion and understanding, especially when your doing so against the grain of the establishment.

Rather than thinking the judgment of God is coming on America for all the aborted babies, just maybe we should open our eyes and see the judgment of God in the church because of the aborted children of God who we turned away from the faith with our hateful rhetoric.

The church did not win when the SCOTUS overturned Roe, rather it took on a whole new set of problems that I don’t think the American church is prepared for.

I VOTED FOR JOE BIDEN, AND MAINTAINED MY SALVATION

Earlier today I received a comment on one of my blog posts. The commenter wrote the following:

This writer says he voted for the wicked policies of Joe Biden and the democrats. Accordingly, he is deceived at best and a false brethren at worst. Steer clear of this man even though he speaks truth about the false prophets of today.

This was not the first insult I have ever received from a politically passionate evangelical. I have had others lash out at me because of their political views. For instance another commenter said this on the same post:

So you claim to be a christian and voted for Biden. Your a baby killer as well as he is. I hope your blindfold falls off before its too late. Your so blind you cant see the lies and evil the democrat party has done. You better start reading the true word of God! Anyone with half a brain could see the election was stolen, and they set up Donald Trump. Wake up! Before you wake up in Hell. I wont answer any emails from satans followers, so dont bother sending any.

And another person wrote this to me on a social media site:

I can and do say dogmatically you are no minister of God that I would sit under and based on the scriptures you have no place in the holy sacred pulpit. It’s people like you that compromise the word of God that’s leading the lost straight to hell.

In the same setting, another person accused me of liking pedophiles.

Now, I am not here to defend myself or how I voted in the last Presidential election, but for the purpose of getting my point across it may be necessary to do so, but before I address that, I want you to really listen to the accusations and condemnation that has been levied against me by fellow Christians in the comments above.

I was accused of being deceived and being a false brother, being a baby killer, liking pedophiles, being spiritually blind, being a follower of Satan, having no place in the sacred pulpit, compromising the word of God, and leading people straight to hell. These accusations were made by people who know nothing about me because they disapproved of who I voted for.

They did not take the time to ask questions and enquire so they could understand why I made the decision to vote the way I did? No. they simply dropped the hammer and disqualified me as a brother in Christ.

Now, allow me to share a little about myself and my faith. I love Jesus with all my heart, and I seek to be holy and pure before God. I trust in the precious blood of Christ and the finished work of Christ on the cross for my salvation. I believe in the power of Christ’s resurrection, and make it my aim to always teach wholesome and sound doctrine. I am not perfect, but I love Jesus and I want to please him.

In part, the “Christianity” expressed in the comments by those who disparaged me speak volumes to the why behind my vote. Trump’s influence on evangelicals has emboldened a very unChristlike harshness towards anyone with opposing views, or who may think differently about issues, and because of this evangelicals have all but lost their influence in the United States.

Jesus said, By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, If you have love one for another (John 13:35). If our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ can turn to hate in an instance over politics, then something is severely wrong with our understanding of the gospel.

I wrote the following in one of my posts and I want to share it here:

I have observed as many evangelical Christians have become more increasingly vicious, and quite frankly, hateful towards other Christians and non Christians alike who do not agree with them politically. It is an indoctrination that runs contrary to the Christ-like virtues that those who have put their faith in Christ are called to live by.

Being republican rather than democrat is not a spiritual virtue. Yet the belief that the republican party is doing God’s work, and the democrats are doing the devil’s has taken root within evangelical beliefs. This ideology is deceptive and dangerous because it indoctrinates Christians to believe they are engaged in a kind of “spiritual warfare” against evil forces when the reality is they are the ones who have been taken captive.

When you do not have any patience to listen to fellow Christians who may differ with you politically, when you have no desire to understand why others differ with your views, when all that comes out of you in response is a condescending and hateful attitude, you’re not the truth warrior in any spiritual warfare. You’re the captive.

One of the commenters above expressed his impatience by saying, “I wont answer any emails from Satans followers, so don’t bother sending any.” Rather than exercising self control (a fruit of the Spirit) and patiently bearing with me, he immediately cut me off by accusing me of being a follower of Satan.

I have served Jesus for 42 years at the time of this writing. Did I committed apostasy by casting a vote for Joe Biden? Let’s say for the sake of discussion it was an ill advised decision. Was it so spiritually devastating that it shipwrecked my faith?! Am I really damned to eternal destruction for casting a vote for Joe Biden after more than 40 years of walking with God?

In scripture we are instructed to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love… ~ Ephesians 4:1-2

Did these believers bear with me in love?

In Colossians we are instructed to put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. ~ Colossians 3:12-13

Was there any forbearance (patience) expressed in their comments? Was there any forgiveness? Was there any love?

I could go on but I hope you get my point. The Bible has much to say about brotherly love and how we are to treat one another as members of the body of Christ. And this is one of the biggest concerns I have with the influence of Donald Trump on evangelicals. Trump has turned Christians against Christians, and if you know your Bible that is synonymous with turning Christians against Christ (Matthew 25:40, Acts 9:5). According to the New Testament, believers are members of the same body of Christ and have all been made to drink of one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13-14).

The viciousness, impatience, and hate that is being expressed by some evangelicals is contrary to the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit. Paul warned the Galatians, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. ~ Galatians 5:13-15 

My reason for mentioning that I voted for Joe Biden in a couple of my blog posts was never to promote Joe Biden’s or any democrat’s policies. It was to point out the very thing I am pointing out here and that is many evangelicals have lost their way and have forgotten what the scriptures teach about godliness and brotherly love.

In short, I voted for Joe Biden because I see the ramifications of the Trump influence on the church, and I see the deterioration of democracy under Trump-ism. If you disagree with me, that’s fine, but if I am right about this (God knows), then it was the right decision. If I am wrong, and God knows that as well, it did not change my relationship with God. God did not cast me away for not voting for Donald Trump. My faith in Jesus Christ still stands and I am still a child of God.

My hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ and not in Joe Biden, Donald Trump, or any political party. I pray yours is as well.

SPEAKING THINGS INTO EXISTENCE

There are many unbiblical doctrines that circulate among Christians, especially among American evangelicals. One of those is the claim that we have creative ability with the words of our mouth, thus we are to speak things into existence. Therefore, If we are struggling financially we speak prosperity into existence. If we are sick or have a disease we are to speak healing into existence.

This doctrine has become so prevalent that in some places public prayers are no longer heartfelt requests humbly petitioning God, but “preachy declarations” instead, because we must “declare and decree” and boldly speak them into existence.

How did we get here?

The speaking it into existence doctrine stems from teachings within the Word of Faith movement, which at one time (30 plus years ago) did have a more balanced approach to the teachings of scripture concerning the words that we speak.

The Bible has much to say about our speech, but never once does the Bible teach that we have creative power in our words as God does. The biblical emphasis concerning the importance of wholesome speech has to do with expressions of faith in God, edifying and encourage others, praise and thanksgiving towards God rather than murmuring and complaining, and wholesome speech which is becoming of godliness, purity and good sound doctrine.

Unfortunately, the importance of having wholesome speech has morphed into a belief that we have creative power and thus should speak into existence whatever it may be that we desire. Yet no one in scripture served God in this manner. If we can’t find an example in scripture of any servant of God who held to this practice, why would we think we could? And if we can plainly understand that God’s servants in the scriptures never practiced speaking things into existences, why would we think we could twist some of their writings to justify such practices?

The truth is, the idea of speaking things into existence appeals to our carnality, but wholesome speech which is becoming of godliness requires true spiritual growth and maturity, and therein lies the difference.

One very popular Word of Faith minister who has taught speaking things into existence, claimed that Psalm 119:72 speaks of “the law of the mouth.” He followed up by saying, “the Bible says the law of the mouth is better than silver and gold. Why? Cause that’s how we make it.”

Here is what Psalm 119:72 actually says: The law of THY mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

This text is not referring to some spiritual law that we put into motion with our words. It is referring to God’s law that came from the mouth of God, and the Psalmist is declaring his desire for God’s law rather than the wealth and riches of this world. In fact, much of Psalm 119 is dedicated to praising God and glorifying his law. Psalm 119 begins by saying, Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. ~ v.1

Consider also these verses from Psalm 119:

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. ~ v.18

Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. ~ v.29

Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. ~ v. 34

The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.~ v. 51

I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law. ~ v. 55

Verses 61, 70, 72, 77, 85, 92, 97, 109, 113,126, 136, 142, 150, 153, 163,165, and 174 all make reference to God’s law as Thy law”. Now consider verses 43-45:

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Speaking God’s word (God’s law, precepts, commands, and instructions) was a practice encouraged in the Old Testament as an expression of love, dedication, and service towards God. It had absolutely nothing to do with speaking things into existence because of having “god-like” creative power.

In Psalm 119, the Psalmist prays, “Remove from me the way of lying”. If the Psalmist had believed he had creative power in his words, why wouldn’t he have just removed the way of lying from himself?

And again, therein lies another problem with the speak it into existence doctrine. It plants the idea in the minds and hearts of people that they are somewhat self-sufficient with God-like creative abilities in their words. Yet the Psalmist declares “I am poor and needy” in his seeking after God (Ps 40:17; 70:5).

In the book of the Revelation Jesus rebukes the church of the Laodiceans for saying “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Jesus then tells them that they do not know that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. ~ Revelation 3:17

If there were a “law of the mouth” by which we could create with our words as the minister mentioned above has suggested, what then was the problem with the Laodiceans claim to being rich, and why would Jesus give them such a rebuke?

And again, here lies another problem with the speaking it into existence doctrine. It deceives people into thinking they are spiritual when they are not. It deceives them from acknowledging their true spiritual condition before God. It leads them into a false sense of spirituality and gives futile ground to pride, but God hears the desire of the humble (Ps 10:17).

There is so much more I could write on this topic but this will suffice for now. The Bible does have much to say about the importance of our words, but never once does it teach us that we have creative power like God. This belief is not scriptural and is actually akin to sorcery and witchcraft.

HOW GOD COMPLETES HIS WORK IN US

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ… ~ Philippians 1:6

Often texts such as the one cited above are quoted as a kind of stand alone truth that is thought to just happen rather than being understood within the context to which they belong.

When we consider the context, we find that Paul does not imply that God is going to automatically complete the work he has begun in us, and we have other texts throughout the New Testament which bring balance to such notions. Our obedience and continuance in the truth have something to do with our walking in the blessings of God and the completion of God’s work in us.

For example, consider Paul’s words from the very next chapter of Philippians:

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, (you) work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. ~ Philippians 2:12-16

As we can see here, Paul instructs the Philippians to live in truth and obedience because God was at work within them and God’s work in them required obedience on their part. Paul goes on to say, “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” (v. 17)

The completion of the work of God in us requires something from us and as we can see from Paul’s opening in chapter one, this was the aim of Paul’s prayers and labor for the Philippians. Paul was willing to give himself unselfishly both in service and in prayer for their furtherance in the faith. And because of this, Paul was confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in the Philippians would perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. ~ Philippians 1:3-11

The confidence that Paul had that God would complete the work he had begun in the Philippians came from his heartfelt and earnest prayers for them. Paul had prayed so earnestly for them that he says, “I have you in my heart” and “I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” Prayer is powerful when our heart is invested and we all need to learn more about heartfelt earnest prayers.

Unfortunately in many places prayer has been reduced to declarations often expressed more in a preachy manner rather than sincere and heartfelt requests. Paul’s confidence came from his “requests.” to God on behalf of the Philippians – I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy…

Nowhere do you see anyone in the New Testament praying in a preachy, declarative manner in which they are taking authority or dominion. Yet over and over again, we read of prayers being offered as requests and petitions with heartfelt sincerity – that this is what God works with to complete his work in us.

PEOPLE DIE, AND GOD ALONE REMAINS

Rooted and Grounded In Christ

Just days before Smith Wigglesworth suddenly passed away, he sit with a young man of whom he was mentoring. Mr. Wigglesworth wept as he looked at all the invitations of those who wanted him to come speak at their churches and or ministries.

He said to his young friend, “people have their eyes on me, God will take me out of the way.”

A week or so later, he was dead.

Today, people continue to put their eyes on men they esteemed as “great” and they even do so with Smith Wigglesworth. Yet Wigglesworth was broken that people had their eyes on him in such a manner, rather than having their eyes on God.

When Joshua became the leader of Israel after the death of Moses, God said to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land…

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THE UKRAINIAN REFUGEE CRISIS: CHILDREN AT THE BORDER WHO NEED OUR HELP

My dear friend, Ed Rosella of Eleos international Ministries is in direct contact with Romanian Christian workers who are actively helping Ukrainian refugees at the Romanian/Ukraine border. I want to share some of the information that Ed is relaying to friends and supporters of the of the Romanian charity he works with. This is a massive crisis for real people need our prayers and support.

In a recent email Ed shared the following:

Our Romanian partners have brought hundreds of Ukrainian children and their mothers from the border into the safety of Romanian homes. Our Romanian partner, Avram Gal (Director, Asociatia New Life International Romania) shares his thoughts concerning the children he is seeing at the Ukrainian-Romanian border.

“Children suffer the most in these moments.  They do not understand what is happening and why they have to separate from their fathers. They are scared, and at the slightest noise made by planes, they panic and run into their mothers’ arms. These little ones have no blame; why should they suffer the hardships of this world at such a young age? Only God knows what they are going through! The scenes and tears seen on both sides of the border are unimaginable. The children are crying, the parents are crying, and no one knows when and if these families will ever be reunited.

Mothers do their utmost to be sure that their children have the best possible future in such situations. Thus, they often travel many kilometers on foot, in the cold, fighting in parallel with hunger, and with unknown situations.

We remain optimistic, but we are preparing for the worst. That is why I invite you to join the efforts to support us as we help the incoming waves of refugees. I have been at the Ukrainian-Romanian border since the beginning, and I confess that the despair in the eyes of the people who arrive is increasing day by day.”

Below are some photos of some of the children of refugee families. If interested, you may donate to help following this link: http://eleosinternational.org/donations.asp

A PRACTICAL WAY TO HELP ROMANIAN REFUGEES

For those of you who would like to contribute to help the church in Romania and their fellow Romanians who are suppling help to the Ukrainian refugees, please click on the PDF letter provided. It is from my dear friend Ed Rosella with Eleos Ministries International. We know every penny will go to Romania to help. Thank you for all whose hearts are moved to give.

Click to access ukrainerelief.pdf

SEEDTIME AND HARVEST IN GENESIS EIGHT

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. ~ Genesis 8:22

I heard a minister attempting to prove his point about monetary giving and tithing using this verse. Unfortunately, those who use this verse as a reference to monetary offerings because of the words seedtime and harvest, are simply mishandeling this text.

There is absolutely no reference in this text to monetary offerings. This text is talking about the cycle of seasons on the earth. Notice the context in which seedtime and harvest is mentioned: While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

God said this in response to Noah’s burnt offerings which were a type of Christ. God was so moved that he said in his heart that he would never again curse the ground for man’s sake.

And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. ~ Genesis 8:20-22

The intent here is that the earth would continue its cycle of seasons, yielding seeds and producing harvests, and being the habitation every day and night that God had created it to be for mankind. As Noah and his family embarked on the new world after leaving the Ark, they were not giving monetary offerings to preachers because there weren’t any except for Noah whom the New Testament refers to as a preacher of righteousness.

However, they would have to plant and grow food, and endure the heat and the cold as the days and the nights passed. If you are a minister and you are using this text for teaching about monetary offerings, please stop. It’s not talking about that. There are plenty of other texts you can refer to if you want to get your point across about giving. This should not be one of them. This text is not talking about “sowing seed” i.e., giving money. It’s talking about things that grow from seeds in the soil of the earth such as crops, trees, vines, gardens, etc.

Please have integrity when you handle the Word of God and teach it correctly. Don’t build into texts things that are not there and claim that is what the Word says. Have integrity when you handle God’s holy scriptures.

Blessings…

GOD’S FAITHFULNESS TO ALL GENERATIONS

One of the funny things about the Christian faith and indeed about the Bible is that it seems to be, as it were, designed that every generation has to chew it through afresh. ~ N.T. Wright

One truth that stands firm, but is often overlooked within western Christianity is God’s promises to all generations. Too often Christians embrace a worldview filled more with despair than the promises of God. And with so much emphasis on the last days, many sincere Christians often feel that if the church doesn’t do something to bring about some kind of revival, the godless culture around us is going to swallow up the Christian faith.

Rather than a worldview of despair, the Bible encourages a worldview of hope. Namely, hope in God’s faithfulness to all generations: For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. ~ Psalm 100:5

The truth of God endures to all generations and no culture, no matter how godless, can silence the truth of God. God’s word will make it to all who reach out for him.

Consider that one of the Messianic prophecies about Jesus was this:

I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah. And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. ~ Psalm 89:3-5

According to the book of Acts, God’s promise that the Messiah would reign from the throne of David was fulfilled in the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus at the right hand of God. The glorified Christ at the right hand of God is God’s promise of faithfulness to every generation! Now consider Psalm 33:11

The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. ~ Psalm 33:11

Throughout the book of Psalm there are many texts which speak of God’s faithfulness to every generation. One text that many Christians have heard is Psalm 119:89, which says, For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Yet it is the very next verse that people often don’t consider: Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. ~ v. 90

Have you ever considered that God is faithful to reveal himself to every generation? Didn’t his word make its way to you? Sure it did! And it will make its way to the coming generation and the generation after that as well.

The canon of scriptures that we refer to as the Holy Bible, shows us over and over again how God worked from one generation to another, and how God called people he raised up in every generation to speak his word and uphold his righteousness.

Enoch, Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, all lived and served God in different generations. There truly is nothing unique about us, we only think there is. God is the one who works all things after the counsel of his own will, and while we live in our generation, we have the opportunity to serve him as co-laborers with him and to glorify him. The advancement of God’s Kingdom is not dependent on us. it is dependent on his faithfulness to all generations.

Thy name, O Lord, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O Lord, throughout all generations. ~ Psalm 135:13

One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. ~ Psalm 145:4

Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth
throughout all generations. ~ Psalm 145:13

The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion,
unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord. ~ Psalm 146:10

Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation. ~ Isaiah 51:7-8

Thou, O Lord, remainest for ever; thy throne
from generation to generation. ~ Lamentations 5:19

NEW TESTAMENT EVANGELISM (PART TWO)

When evangelical street preachers stand on street corners and college campuses and condemn those whom they know nothing about as being wicked, God hating, reprobate, and headed strength to Hell, they often do so because they themselve have a misunderstanding of what the gospel is and how it should be communicated. 

There are some street preachers who are doing it right, but far too many times, street preachers come across as hateful, judgmental, and harsh. This is because they have not patterned their evangelism after the examples given to us in the New Testament.

When Jesus conversed with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, he did not tell her she was sinner under the wrath of God. He did not place her into a “category” in which she was no better than the Pharisees who opposed God. Instead, Jesus met her on a personal level and had a conversation with her about her life, and this is what true New Testament evangelism should look like. The gospel is custom designed to minister to every heart.

When Jesus spoke with Nicodemus the conversation was different because Nicodemus was an educated religious leader. Still, there was no condemnation from Jesus.

When the woman who was caught in adultery was brought to Jesus, Jesus did not condemn her. Instead he forgave her and told her to go and sin no more.

There were times in scripture that certain groups of people were warned of God’s judgment, and this only happened when the gospel was rejected by the hardhearted opponents to the gospel. Yet it was not the method used in every case.

For example, the Bible tells us that Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them (Acts 8:5), and that the people believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ. ~ v.12

Later, this same Philip came across a man who was reading the book of Isaiah the prophet, and Philip took the opportunity to share Christ with him.

And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. ~ Acts 8:27-28

Notice that this man had come to Jerusalem to worship. He had yet to believe that Jesus is the Son of God because he had not yet heard the gospel. As we continue to read, there is no evidence that Philip categorized him as a God hating sinner. Unfortunately, some modern day street preachers would have.

People who hate God do not make pilgrimages to go worship God nor do they follow up their worship by reading scripture.

Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. ~ v. 29-31

Notice that this man was reading the book of the prophet Isaish. At this point he had no idea that Jesus is the Son of God, but his heart is searching for God. The text tells us “the Spirit said to Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.”

We need more Spirit led evangelism and less pre-scripted messages which misinterpret Paul’s words concerning there is none righteous, and none that seeks after God. This man was seeking after God, and consequently the Spirit of the Lord led Philip to him to tell him about Jesus.

In Romans when Paul says, there is none righteous no not one, and there is none that seeks after God, he is not referring to every single person. The very people in the Bible disproves this logic and interpretation. There is a greater context that Paul is addressing when he makes those statements, which is referring specifically to those who reject God and justify their sins. That is a teaching for another article.

We can see that this man in Acts 8 was seeking after God, for he had made a journey to worship, and was reading the book of the prophet Isaiah, and as a result the Spirit led Philip to him. Philip joined the man on his chariot and shared the gospel about Jesus from the very text the man was reading which was from Isaiah 53.

The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and
preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. ~ Acts 8:32-38 

There is not a trace of evidence that Philip preached judgment and condemnation to the man. There is no evidence that Philip told him how awful of a sinner he was and how he was a hater of God who needed to repent. Philip preached Christ to him, a man whose heart was already seeking for God.

In Acts 10 we read of another man who was seeking after God, and how the Spirit of God sent Peter to him to declare the gospel to him and his household.

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thy alms are to come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seas side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. ~ Acts 10:1-6

Notice that Cornelius was a devout man and he feared God. In Paul’s reference of “there is none righteous, no not one” and “there is none that seeks after God” Paul also cites the text that says, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

However, we can see from the text in Acts 10 that Cornelius did fear God, so Paul’s words in Romans are not a reference to every person who has not yet heard and believed the gospel. Yet too many street Preachers preach as though it is part of the gospel message concerning all people. It is not. Instead, it is a wrong interpretation of Paul’s letter to the Romans. In fact Paul himself refutes such interpretations in Acts 13 when he declared the gospel to those who feared God.

Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. ~ Acts 13:26

How can the word of Salvation be sent to those who fear God if absolutely no one fears God? Bad theology, and bad interpretation of scripture make for bad evangelism which tends to bring a reproach on the gospel. It’s time for that to change.

In my next teaching on this topic we will pick up right here, and continue with the salvation of Cornelius and his household. Until then, may the Lord to guide you in your interactions with others whose hearts the Lord may have already opened to the gospel as he did with Lydia, whom we will read about as well.

Part One
https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/2022/02/06/new-testament-evangelism-part-one/