One of the descriptions given to the cartoon character, Superman, at the opening of his television program was that he was “faster than a speeding bullet.” Today Superman has a rival in the speed in which apostasy (a total departure of one’s faith and religion) is taking over churches, Christian institutions and ministries. What an unusual time in which we live. Many of the Bible believing churches are dying or shrinking fast. Others have sold out to a contemporary god, changed their name and format and keep asking for funds.
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What a fascinating time in which to live. In my short lifetime I have seen some 180 degree turns in America’s culture, philosophy, politics and religious beliefs. I can remember when most of the aforementioned were pretty much black and white. There were little, if any, gray areas. In matters of faith today, most are ecumenical, i.e., meaning “one size fits all.”
Recently the U.S .Religious Landscape Survey Report II (6-23-2008) was released. That survey, which interviewed 35,000 Americans, revealed some vast changes over the past few years.
Valentine's Day is a religious holiday that only one religion connects any religion to it. The background and research is so flimsy that Valentine could have been one of three saints or no saint at all. The holiday is depicted by boxes of candy, red hearts, little make believe angels called cupid (angels in the Bible have no wings.) Nothing about salvation, heaven, hell, resurrection, the cross, etc., are connected to this day. Even though Valentine Card sales are only #2 in regard to Christmas cards, the day does not leave much impression outside of erotic, romantic or frivolous.
In our weekly Bible class, we are doing an overview of the sixty-six books in the Bible. We have finished the major prophets and are in the middle of the minor prophets at this time. What stands out about all of God’s men is their preaching against sin. You could really call them “negative” preachers. They cry out against and point out the sins of their own nation. They identify and point out the sins of their religious leaders. They call a spade a spade and mince no words. Before we attribute such goings-on to the Old Testament, note many of Christ’s messages.
James, the Lord’s brother, in writing to the twelve tribes of Israel scattered everywhere, said,
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
I was thinking about all the new gimmicks modern day preachers and churches are employing to attract people. Our old flesh is much more interested in gimmicks than the gospel. In the vernacular of the day, they are trying to “reinvent the wheel.” The wheel remains as one of the most important inventions in history.
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD." Amos 8:11
Most apply this verse to our present age and culture. I am not so sure about that. A famine of bread and water would cause people to do anything they could to satisfy their hunger and thirst. They would go to whatever extreme was required to get something to eat or drink. If anything, our present culture is the opposite.
In our weekly Bible study, we are studying II Timothy, the apostle Paul’s final epistle. Paul knew his time was short on earth. He experienced the loneliness and ridicule of “sticking to his guns” in his spiritual beliefs. When he was saved, he was ridiculed and hated by his peers, the religious leaders of Israel. Now, in his final months, those he had befriended with the gospel of Christ had also forsaken him.
Let me take this time and space to thank those of you who write us. Thank you for your comments on our Bible study courses. Thank you for your Bible questions. There is no such thing as a “stupid question” when asked sincerely. There are stupid answers because I have given many of them over the years. I do my best to answer each of your questions personally. It has been my experience that I have never learned anything from someone that always agreed with me. If someone is just asking about our ministry, we will mail them a newsletter and add them to our mailing list.
Dr. McCain used to say that “compromise” was the worst word in the English language. Have you ever wondered how “compromise” gets started? Compromise begins the moment our desire for man’s praise exceeds our desire for God’s praise. Compromise occurs when our hunger to gain respect in men’s eyes outweighs our hunger to please God.
Fifty years ago, every American understood that killing a baby was wrong. Today, that subject is too argumentative and political.