Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Better dead than Red?

Once upon a time, Christians mixed politics and religion. Fortunately, we are beyond such foolishness these days...

This is from Billy James Hargis' 1966 sermon "Political Planning for Victory over Communism" (that's right, this is a sermon):

I am a Christian conservative today because only conservatism in the United States espouses the philosophy of Christ... The liberal churches today preach a social gospel. This is misnamed; it's really a socialist gospel. Or, in the common vernacular, they preach the gospel according to Martin Luther King instead of the gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John....
I believe the Bible is inspired, I believe it's God's word, I believe in heaven and hell, I believe in God and Satan, I believe in right and wrong, I believe God gave us America [emphasis not added], I believe America was God's greatest nation under the living Sun and the ideal of governments, and I believe the only hope to maintain freedom is this orthodox christian traditionalist viewpoint....
Then you have the anti-communists who say "I would rather be dead than Red" and I'm one of those that say that... I would rather see my children destroyed and my life destroyed, and my wife's life destroyed in a nuclear bombing, than the thought of them having to live under a communist slave state. This wouldn't be living, this would be hell on earth and death would be merciful!...
Now my friends, if you don't think that.. world government is the goal then you had better become convinced on that one point or you will not be an effective conservative because it all hinges on that. This is their goal: world government, as fantastic as it sounds....
I have lived through liberalism since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and I have seen my country go bankrupt economically, and I've seen our churches become apostate; and I've seen our schools emphasize internationalism instead of nationalism and even turn against the faith of our fathers. I've seen this country in the name of progress become a bankrupt -morally and economically- republic and its not even a republic any longer. I'm afraid that we have the seeds of a dictatorship in Washington, D.C., today, and I'm concerned and I have a right to be concerned and as long as I live I will express that concern....
As I have already told you in Ezekiel and Revelations both, the Anti-Christ builds a world government and a world church. It's built on compromise and appeasement; it's built on surrender of convictions, not on orthodoxy, not on principles.... You don't achieve ecumenical unity without compromise and compromise is evil!... Internationalism, liberalism, welfare statism, Marxism, fascism, communism, Nazism are nothing but an attack upon man's correct relationship with God. It is concealed atheism....
Don't talk to me of liberalism! It is a double standard, Satanic hypocrisy!... The only people I ever met in my life that I think are worth knowing are those little ol' Bible-believing Christian people who love the Lord and who love America and they're willing even in their feeble way to the best of their ability to give their lives to the defense of both. They're the only people I want to know, and they're the ones I want to hold my hand as I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

From Irwin Unger's The Times Were a Changin', pg 97-98

Monday, May 30, 2011

Some things never change.

"Surely evil people desire to live without fear, just as good people do. but the difference is as follows. Good people pursue this by turning their love away from things that cannot be possessed without risk of losing them. Evil people, on the other hand, try to remove hindrances so that they may securely attach themselves to these things to be enjoyed. The end result is that t hey lead a life full of crime and wickedness, a life which is better called death." -Augustine, On the Free Choice of the Will, pg 9.

What Augustine described in the late Fourth century still applies today, especially to modern Americans. The rhetoric of fear dominates our public discourse, and all our political system is focused on holding onto those things which cannot be held: health, wealth, job security, public safety, and so on. How much different then are those who value those things which cannot be lost, such as peace with God, forgiveness, and joy?

Sermons from Acts: Sermon 5

The Setting: Acts 10:9-33 "About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
“Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.     The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.
The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”
Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

The Sermon Text: Topical, but including references to Deuteronomy 10:17; Isaiah 64:5 and various texts from the (not yet written) Gospels.

The Exposition: Acts 10:34-43 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

The Result of the Sermon: Acts 10:44-48: "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The times they are a changin'

Once upon a time, this verse:
"Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen" (Psaml 22:21)

was translated like this:
"Save me from the lion's mouth; and my lowliness from the horns of the unicorns." (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 98)

Monday, May 2, 2011

A break from mortality...

Due to certain upcoming... events, I will not be posting even with my usual sparse regularity. I hope to be back to some kind of regular schedule in two to three weeks, but until then, here's some music to keep you entertained: