It’s about time we had a talk about how conservative Christians are not only screwing up conservative politics but the public image of Christianity.
For some reason in the past 2 weeks I’ve been drawn into multiple blogger battles with “Christian conservatives” on the issue of gay marriage, Joel Osteen, Mormonism and a church that is serving beer at church. As anyone who has taken a nanosecond to check out my blog, Twitter or Facebook posts – I am a Jesus Freak, albeit a bit of an unconventional and non-“religious” one. I am fiercely devoted to God but like the friends who lowered their sick buddy through the roof to bypass the line outside, I am largely uninhibited by convention.
So when I pointed out that Jesus’ FIRST demonstration of God’s power was creating alcohol at a religious event – you would have thought I denied the virgin birth or something. These dear brothers and sisters in the Lord declared a fundamentalist Christian jihad against PolitiJim.
I don’t get shocked by much any more, but the overwhelming hateful tone by Christians responding to these articles just …. well … shocked me. I’d estimate that well over 75% of the posts were condemning, hateful, scorning and mocking. The disdain for homosexuals wasn’t much different from that I’ve heard against members of ISIS. One normally intelligent blogger whom I follow regularly felt that somehow by repeating the word “demonic” about Mormonism he was actually “loving” Mormons so that they knew the errors of their ways.
You know what I’m talking about. There is almost a celebratory glee in demeaning Democrats and frosting it with sarcastic and even vicious retorts. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love” is now “They’ll know we are conservatives by our shove.”
Now those who’ve followed me for the past few years know that I enjoy a good row, and sometime have gotten a little to happy with biting sarcasm and ridicule of “the other side.” Even some on OUR side. One reason I quit doing regular political posts was the realization that it actually wasn’t DOING anything other than allowing to me blow off steam on whatever was riling me at the moment. By lampooning and ridiculing the left, I was shocked to find they weren’t turning to our side in droves Also I began to realize (as our Founders did) that prayer was also an effective as a weapon especially in unity. I didn’t seem myself unifying anyone other than my fellow frustrated patriots.
Charisma News ran an article this week that Joel Osteen thought Obama was a Christian. Never mind that the interview was TWO AND A HALF YEARS AGO when Barry/Barack was running for reelection and finally made an appearance at the Washington DC Prayer Breakfast. Answering the question on air to Wolf Blitzer, Osteen said that he heard Barry/Barack confess that Jesus was his Lord and talked in terms of redemption and other “Christian” understanding.
Like Billy Graham, Osteen has chosen to remain totally non-political in order to have access to people in power. The Bible only lays out one criteria to become a Christian and it’s found in the book of Romans Chapter 10.
…if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…
Since NO ONE (and that includes you Twitter Christians) knows what people REALLY believe inside themselves accept God, someone confess Christ publically can’t be automatically dismissed. Especially if your nature borders on a 1 Corinthians personality that “believes the best of all people” just like Jesus does. (Funny how Osteen doesn’t attack his critics, is the biggest donor to his own church while not taking a penny from it – even for travel and yet HE is the one who is supposedly not a Christian while the critics don’t exhibit a rind shaving of the fruit of the Spirit.)
I have no idea if my pastor (yes, I go to Lakewood) believes that any more. The comments on this “Christian” website claimed that not only was he not a Christian or a Man of God for not believing Obama was a Muslim, most quoted scriptures that he would burn in hell and would be judged in the last days.
Really? At that time less than 20% of all Americans believed Obama was a Muslim. And moreover – Joel Osteen’s business is in proclaiming the “good news” of Jesus Christ, not being the final judge of whether people are deceptive or lying about whether they are or not. You may recall Billy Graham never got criticized for not criticizing Carter and hung out with Hillary without an all out attack by the moral majority.
Since when did it become acceptable to falsely accuse a pastor who ONLY talks about Jesus as the way to live life AND has directly been responsible for over 1 million documented salvations through his Night of Hope stadium events over the past few years? That’s actually a better record than Billy!
The bottom line is that these ferocious Facebook Pharisees want a non-stop marathon of the condemnation of SIN. No grace. No hope. No love. (You know, the entire personification of Jesus.) They want the Revelation version of judgmental Jesus despite the fact that when Jesus read in the synagogue (Luke 4) the following:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
AND LEFT OUT
and the day of vengeance of our God;
They want fire and brimstone Jesus despite the fact that they couldn’t possible escape God’s judgments for THEIR myriad of sins beginning with taking their Lord’s name in vain all the way to even THINKING murder of another (which Jesus says is the equivalent to actually DOING IT).
What fascinated me about this Charisma article, is that at one point a MUSLIM commented on how these Christians and Muslims were not much different, and he invited them to read more of the Quran.
And you know what? HE WAS RIGHT!
Contemporary conservative Christians seem to have this notion that “righteousness” comes from the proper conservative political beliefs and not committing homosexuality or voting for Democrats.
And their entire message to the world is comprised of either “you’re bad and we’re not” or “if you quit sinning you won’t go to hell.”
It is the exact same spirit of Islam and Westboro Baptist Church.
No wonder the world is confused about Christianity. And why liberals distrust conservatives. Whey the hell would they want to become a bitter, judgmental, self-righteous political snob like you?
Ever wonder why all the SINNERS wanted to hang out with Jesus? I did. It confounded me that the “religious” who actually were trying to obey the 10 Commandments couldn’t STAND Jesus, but the gluttons, drunkards and sinners not only flocked to him but kept inviting Him to their parties!
Do you know of any analy retentive religious a**hole YOU would want to invite to your July 4th BBQ? (Hint: If you don’t know what I’m talking about, this is likely how others see you.)
It is the same tone and action of the men who found a married woman sleeping with another man and decided that they would “take action” to purge their town of such atrocity.
But then a bearded man (whom I guess most of these conservatives today would call a liberal today), stood in between the stone wielding posse and the naked humiliated woman. And what’s ironic is that he didn’t even point out the hypocrisy of these men in ONLY bringing out the woman to stone and not the man they caught her in bed with. He didn’t start yelling at them or even get angry. He merely wrote in the sand and challenge the first “perfect” person to throw the first stone. They left.
And even then, he didn’t turn to the woman and say, “what you did was bad, bad, bad. And if you don’t REPENT you will burn in the eternal fires of hell!”
Instead He let her off SCOT-FREE. No groveling, no “repentance,” not even a warning. Just, “I don’t condemn you either. Go and sin no more.”
What’s interesting is that the “sin no more” is actually in what is called present, imperative tense. That means he did NOT say “don’t ever sin again” or even “stop sinning.” It is more like, “you are not in sin from here on out.”
AND HE FIRST TOLD HER that he did NOT condemn her. EVEN BEFORE she could have possibly said anything remorseful – let alone “confess” her sin. We don’t even have a record of her REPENTING!! [And “repent” by the way does NOT mean to confess your sin and determine that you won’t do bad any more. The word in the Greek is “metanoia,” which is CHANGE (meta) your MIND (noia). So Jesus and John the Baptist were literally saying “Change the way you think” not asking for some kind of admission of all their past sins.]
Which most Christians – especially conservative ones – seem to overlook. Our “righteousness” has nothing to do with our actions but our belief. The 10 Commandments and the Law given to Moses (after the Israelites turned down God’s offer to relate to Him directly as we can now in Christ) demanded perfect action to rules. In fact the Bible makes it even clearer that you make Christ’s death unimportant if you believe “keeping the law” is what God cares about.
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
Galatians 2:21, NKJV
Instead, our “righteousness” comes from what we believe. Trusting that Jesus lived perfectly so that our attention (or attention on others) isn’t focused on what we (or they) are doing right or wrong – but focusing and believing that Jesus gave us all of His righteousness, and He took all of our sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets,
22 Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe.
Romans 3:21-24Amplified Bible (AMP)
It could not be any clearer.
And yet huge parts of Christians continue to want to focus not only the sin of sinners – somehow thinking they don’t know they are miserable and “missing the mark” (which is what the word “sin” really means), they also feel compelled to do it against OTHER CHRISTIANS!
Now everyone is not only Joel Osteen’s judge, they now are greater than God in pronouncing every celebrity, every politician and every TV personality worthy or not ignoring their own tax cheating, cursing, lustful thoughts, false accusations and speeding through school zones that no one will ever know about because of their anonymity. Worse – you violate the direction Jesus gave for the same dilemma when the disciples complained that “one who is not following us” is casting out demons in His name. Jesus said, “Do not stop them. For whoever is not against us is for us.”
“Politijim, are you saying that we should just accept gay marriage, unaddressed lies from the left and political corruption and do nothing about it!!???
No, not at all. I’m just saying that there is a reason non-Christians are mean, divisive, judgmental and the last person they would want to be caught in an elevator with - let alone a desert island, despite the fact Jesus people FLOCKED to Him. Kids – always a great judge of character couldn’t wait to jump in His arms. Sinners didn’t feel condemned around him and invited them to their gluttonous parties. He wasn’t the kill joy that most Christians – indeed – are.
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35 New King James Version (NKJV)
Notice the Creator of the Universe said that ALL (that means everyone including liberals), will KNOW that you are a Christian IF you have AGAPE love (that is selfless love) for each other.
Since Rush isn’t here, I’ll translate for those of you in Rio Linda: “NO ONE KNOWS OR BELIEVES YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN IF YOU ATTACK, DEMEAN AND CONDEMN OTHERS WHO ARE SEEKING JESUS”
(And I’ll add – they certainly want NOTHING to do with your God.)
And that holds true to our political enemies as well.
Mormons are not “against” Christianity. Joel Osteen is not “against” what is best for this country. Both may be naïve or clueless on things that are obvious to us – but that is no cause to berate and ridicule them.And if you ask me BOTH show more “LOVE” toward other Christians than any of those who want to spend their time attacking and ridiculing others.
There is a new documentary by Darren Wilson that came out this fall called HOLY GHOST. (Purchase Streaming here.) It is amazing. He let the Spirit of God lead him on how to document the moving and power of God in people’s lives.
During this segment, the filmmakers followed a fire and brimstone preacher who told every Mormon he me met that they were going to hell. He shouted scripture and handed out tracts that were written to scare the Bejesus to…well Jesus. Over 10 years he had saved 3 people.
Then, we followed some young, joyous Christians, drunk on the Holy Spirit (like the Christians of Acts) who merely started praying for the needs of various Mormons they met. In less than half an hour 4 who had actually EXPERIENCED the Power and Love of God had accepted repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. You know, just like Jesus used to do.
Paul said, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human[a] wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. [ 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, (NKJV)]
But what do most evangelicals do today? Try to the talk the sinner to death – mostly by harboring on how bad and evil and sinful they are.
When has that ever worked with you?
I can’t remember a single instance from teachers, parents, friends - and CERTAINLY not strangers – where someone hammered me to death on something I was doing wrong and I suddenly just melted and did whatever they wanted. Usually it drove me to the EXTREME of the opposite.
I wrote a booklet/essay years ago called “God Unplugged.” I described my first encounter with this type of Christianity this way:
It started the day my momma turned on Billy Graham when I was 13. “Was I a Christian?” “Was I saved?”
She wouldn’t let up. I thought, who cares? Sure, I’d gone to Sunday School when I was 8 but no one made it out to be that much different from Cub Scouts or Little League.
While my biggest concern was the right sized bell bottom styles and trying to get my first kiss, mom suddenly morphed into Darth Vader. "What kind of music was I listening to?" "Are kids my age drinking?"
"Was I having sex yet?" (Like I’d talk about that with my mom!). There were more commandments handed down that week than Moses on Mt. Caffeine. I was just sure of one thing - I was no longer neutral on religion. I was now firmly against it.
Honestly, it wasn’t really until the past 5 years that I found out how totally forgiving, loving and non-judgmental Jesus is. And it hasn’t made me want to sin more – it’s made me want to sin less – since my love for Him has grown exponentially.
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
Romans 2:4 (NKJV)
I just finished a great book by Jason Clark which summarizes it wonderfully:
I used to try and love God, but now I just let Him love me.
This is why Jesus was so RADICAL to the “religious” community and why they wanted him killed! What? All I have to do is trust in God and tell people that and I don’t have to pay for my sins??
Didn’t Jesus let the adulteress off? Didn’t he let Peter off when He had just told the public that if someone denies Jesus before people, Jesus would deny that person in front of GOD!?
THIS is why the Left can’t stand us and won’t listen to our ideas. THIS is why we are called hypocrites. Our “claim to fame” rests on our OWN righteousness – rather than that of Jesus’. And Paul says that if you DO NOT KNOW that repentance comes from telling and demonstrating God’s GOODNESS (not His condemnation) then you “despise the riches of God!”
Paul is pretty adamant that this is NOT the way to live the Christian life. In fact, he calls those who try to put Christians back on the Law of doing right and wrong – versus letting Jesus and the Holy Spirit live inside you ACCURSED.
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 …8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed
If you read the whole chapter (or book) Paul makes it clear that these Galatians are caught up with being “religious” rather just believing by faith they are righteous through faith. (Don’t take my word for it read it yourself!)
Going Back to How to Change People
Now lest you think I’m turning into John Kerry, who believes if we just quit antagonizing Muslims they will stop their jihad, let me talk about the difference between PERSONAL and GOVERNMENTAL responsibilities as a Christian. Clearly Jesus said to render to CESEAR what is CESEAR’s and to render God that which is God’s. When you are talking (or tweeting) an individual – your standard is far different from what we do as a society through government power.
PERSONAL SALVATION isn’t under the dominion of the government (unless you live in an Islamic or Communist state). And all faithful Christians and Jews ARE required to be “good stewards” of that which is given them. Jesus pointed out for instance that the person who sets out to build a barn without planning, and budgeting for it will be ridiculed. Americans were given STEWARDSHIP responsibilities unlike any other government in history.
So while I can personally pray for and “love” my friends who are gay or Muslim (I have both by the way), I can also advocate public policy that is responsible to oversee my responsibility as WE THE PEOPLE. (Unlike other countries, WE THE PEOPLE have the authority over government – we just seldom talk about or enforce it).
It isn’t any more “loving” to let crooks steal goods or my cash from grocery store than it is to let those with no commitment to steal the wealth (or morality) of my country.
I just don’t have to be angry about it all the time.
Remember Jesus knit a bullwhip and DROVE the moneychangers from the temple. But also notice that NO WHERE does it say he did this in anger.
Like a petulant 5 year old child of mine, I can firmly spank their little behinds with an attitude of complete calm - and even caring – because I know that - for where their maturity is – it is the best thing for them.
The concept to defend one’s self, family and country is also biblical. But when we see our society, culture and government attacked with things that we KNOW instinctively are wrong (and even dangerous), it is natural to cry out in outrage.
But we already know the concept of “appropriate and proportional response” in law. I will shoot dead an intruder in my home without a second thought to their wellbeing, but would (rightfully) be jailed and tried for shooting a politician who wanted to sign a law allowing the government to invade it electronically, or confiscate my goods without Constitutional due process. Why? Because of “imminent threat.”
We all know that releasing millions of illegal aliens into public – many that are dangerous criminals – isn’t just a theoretical political danger, it is a very real threat to our homes and communities. (Just ask border town victims.)
Darryl Issa has been amazing in his professional, mature demeanor in Congress (albeit not strong enough in taking politically risky actions like actually calling for Holder’s imprisonment.) And as such, many in the middle feel “safe” in standing behind his efforts as opposed to someone like Alex Jones.
But on one on one, interactions with other Christians and liberals – IF WE CLAIM TO FOLLOW CHRIST – we are besmirching Jesus’ reputation more than Obama is the Constitution when we keep demanding “performance” that Jesus never did.
I had one poster on the Charisma challenge me that Jesus said, “be ye perfect” and “if you love Me keep My commandments” inferring that it was all of MY responsibility to not sin and be perfect. I find it funny he also didn’t tell me it was my responsibility to heal the sick and raise dead on my own too! It is this false notion that somehow I can make myself become like Jesus - without Jesus!
The Bible is pretty clear:
…[because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord…
2 Corinthians 3:18, AMP
Why can’t we call sin “sin” without condemning people?
Jesus seem do OK by changing the hearts of the people and the entire world. Muhammad seemed to do not quite as well, but OK too. But in a very destructive way.
Islamists want to change the world by total control. They want to DEMAND every one abides by what they think is RIGHT or WRONG, and if you don’t agree – they will kill you.
Unfortunately this is PRECISELY how many conservative Christians behave. “We demand you quit sinning and we are going to implement a law to make sure you do!”
Funny thing is - all the laws in the world won’t change someone’s heart to WANT to do the right thing. Only Jesus and the Holy Spirit can.
If conservatives spent HALF the time praying not just for our country – but for those who want to transform it into Sodom and Gomorrah, both in quiet and DIRECTLY, they might be surprised at how impact it would have.
Many say they believe in the Bible. It’s about time they started ACTING like it including the part that says, “Love conquers all.”
And maybe then as we continue to try and elect godly men and women to government to continue to create Constitutional conduct, some socialists will be struck blind by the lack of anger, animosity and animus on their path to Destruction. And we’ll frame our policies and positions with true sense of concern that might make the scales fall from the eyes.
The Bible is brilliant. There is a clear guideline on how to deal with the rebellious. It seems contradictory but isn’t.
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest you also be like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Proverbs 26-4-5 NKJV
When we are given opportunities to dismantle their own “wisdom,” we have a mandate IF it does in a way that doesn’t reflect the “spirit” of selfishness, vindictiveness and pride that wants to exert power and disrespect to beat the other side into submission.
We do this in the right way, we will not only win over the secular right and many on the left, but we will win back the country our Founders envisioned.