Abstain From All Appearances of Witness?

This is a response to the email from the Billy Graham Association, concerning Franklin Graham’s admonition for American Christians to abstain from offending China’s laws concerning proselytizing for the cause of the gospel during the summer Olympics in August ’08.  The contents of the original email are in BOLD BLACK TYPE.

The response to a post from PastorRandy@blogspot, who was gracious enough to post the email defending Brother Graham’s comments. Thanks Brother Randy for making this email available.

From Pastor Randy’s blog….. 

Comments concerning the post ‘A House Divided’ This post is concerned that Graham is associating with the State Church of China in his meetings there.

It is not about the ‘LAW OF THE LAND’. It is more about a prevailing  spirit that we see thriving in the Church in America, and that a spirit of compromise and devoid of commitment for her Lord. Brother Graham’s argument, at least at face value, appears to be a formidable defense for such a stand, but does not have a biblical foundation that endures when the storms rage against a believers testimony.

Please take the time to consider this testimony- John & Betty Stam.

 

A Response from the Billy Graham Association

I received this very kind and gracious email response from the Billy Graham Association on Franklin Graham’s comments,
Franklin Graham was recently quoted in the press as saying that he was not in favor of Christian groups illegally proselytizing during the Olympic Games later this year, stating, “I would not support any illegal activity at all.”While there is some valid disagreement over how to approach preaching the Gospel in China, with well-meaning Christian groups and ministers using different strategies, the BGEA believes that ideally, and in the long run, “it is best to follow the laws of the land.”

We see in the book of Acts (Acts 5:29) that the disciples were given clear instructions to breach the law of man by the angel of the Lord in order to further the cause of the gospel. To which Peter responded to the council ‘the law’ “it is better to obey God rather than man.”

The tribulation did not take Peter and the other disciples by surprise as when Christ sent them into the world with the message of the kingdom, He imparted these very words of encouragement….

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.” Matt.10:16-18

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:18-19

No where do we find Christ exhorting the believer NOT to disobey ‘the law’, except of course as a murderer, thief, evil doer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters, but to manifest His love in so doing.

So when we find the believers in the church at Smyrna being cast into prison, tried and suffering tribulation, we can almost rest assured that it was ‘the law’ that wrought such unjust condemnation against the body of Christ.

It is this same unjust condemnation that we see against the underground church in China. As long as a church succumbs to the Three Self Patriot Movement (the state church) they receive a peaceful religious pass of sorts. But with the underground church we see them in the midst of a fiery trial because they have chosen rather to be obedient to God than man.

Now I would never pretend to fully understand the oppression that is taking place in China, but rest assured those that are in the midst of persecution and those that faithfully undergird our brothers and sisters in the midst of this fire will tell you that the religious attack is vehemently coming from the state church; not at all unlike the opposition we saw against our Lord and His followers as they spread His gospel.

There is a serious disconnect for the church in America. We have become so apathetic for the cause of the gospel that God is allowing all of our Christian freedoms to be removed form our society. It’s not that we don’t fund the movement, but if it were left up to us to go ye into all the world and preach the gospel, even in the face of adversity, we would wait for an opportunity.

While the church sits by idly trying to understand what is happening, we must admit, that for the most part, the church is wallowing in a passive yet ignorant spirit as to what is really taking place. And those of us who see it are so lazy that we are not waging spiritual warfare (prayer) to tap in to the power of God to turn the tide. The frog is being boiled to death and he doesn’t even realize it is happening.

So really the problem is not obedience to ‘the law’ it is apathy and deception. We feel like the enemy can be won peacefully. I think that if we saw the church in America stand upon the unadulterated word of God, we would see the enemy loosing ground, to which he would vehemently reek in persecution. If the church is willing to sit by and bath itself in the comforts of vain religion, the enemy of the cross will sit there and smile… ask the church at Laodecia.

By working with in the framework of the laws of China, Franklin was able to reach out to more than 423,000 in Hong Kong last year, with more than 33,000 placing their faith in Jesus Christ. Similarly, during his current trip in China, Franklin was able to preach the Gospel message to 12,000 .”people in China’s largest church.

I remember the testimony of a man that spoke but before a tiny crowd of maybe 20-25 believers. Not in a large and ornate church but meeting in an isolated location under the cover of night in sub-freezing temperatures. Each member bring pages from God’s word because they do not have complete text. How precious is His word to these committed believers.

If the police how run across this assembly they would have been in jeopardy of beating, jail or loosing everything they possessed. This must not have been the case with the church Brother Graham preached at? If not, I wonder what the difference would be?

What we have in these words of justification is evidence of how cloudy spiritual discernment in Christian circles in America. The church in America feel that a church’s success in measured in numbers, attendance, number of conversion, baptisms, financial giving, etc….

We ought to be concerned that this is a vulnerable area for the church; an area of great deception. The church in America hangs it religious hat way to heavy upon the numbers as seeming evidence of success.

When the word of God measures success, it speaks of endurance. Once again let’s consider Smyrna…

“be thou faithful unto death, and I will give the the crown of life.”

The underground church in China is a mirror of the church in Smyrna, not the state church Three Self Patriot Movement, but the underground church.

The underground church in China is immersed in the persecution that Christ warned His disciples would follow when their witness was true to His word; not the state church Three Self Patriot Movement. It not about numbers, it’s about commitment, and that to the Living Word.

“It is amazing the distance some Christians go to seek persecution and all so unnecessary.  Draw a little nearer to Calvary, and persecution will seek you.  The world still hates the man who hates his sin.”          -A.W. Tozer

It is also our prayer that this will open up additional opportunities to tell the people of China about Jesus Christ. As the Beijing Olympics approach, Franklin Graham encourages Christian groups that want to do ministry at that time to be sensitive and respectful to the local church and the impact we as outsiders could have on them. For anyone who wants to review the current laws of China regarding religious activity this information is available at www.billygraham.org.

If we would consider the furtherance of the gospel as it spread across Asia Minor, those carrying the gospel did not sit around and wait for an opportunity to share the gospel, they aggressively pursued under the direction of the Spirit of God. When religion works, it waits for the opportunity, when the Spirit of God works, He is aggressively seeking to save those that are lost; even when it is contrary to ‘the law’.

Thanks again for your e-mail. We hope this answer has been helpful. Please contact us with any further questions. It is our pleasure to assist you.

Thanks once again Brother Randy for posting the email from The Billy Graham Assoc.

malachi

Water Unfit For Drinking………

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates, ‘and in thy schools’. Added by the blogger for emphasis.

When God led His people out of Egypt, he gave very careful instructions for the fathers to keep His word before their children……

We have not only forsaken the word of God in public schools across this America, but we have supplanted it with another teaching. Please take the time to consider the article History Textbooks Promoting Islam. Source: WorldNet Daily 

Among the lessons public school students must learn from the various books:

  • Muhammad “taught equality”
  • Fasting reminds Muslims of people who struggle to get enough food
  • Muhammad told his followers to make sure guests never left a table hungry
  • Arab traditions include being kind to strangers and helping needy

 

Now if you are a Muslim, I am sure that you are ecstatic that you Holy book and its doctrine is being propagated in our public school system and you should be.

If you are a Christian, you should not be surprised as the day draweth nigh.  A day liken to the day God sent Isaiah to His people…..

“Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, [that] they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, [till] wine inflame them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands. Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope: That say, Let him make speed, [and] hasten his work, that we may see [it]: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know [it]! Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto [them that are] mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, [so] their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

A word of encouragement to a nation that has shaken its fist in the face of Almighty God…. “Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?”

malachi

Black&White

In March of 2005, NBC Dateline ran a special on the Bennie Hinn Ministries. Below are some revelations from the program that was aired. Source: MinistryWatch.com

Hinn is founder, chairman, president and CEO of BHM. Through his crusades – which collect untold amounts of cash, as well as donations through checks and credit cards – and television program, “This is Your Day,” Hinn raises upwards of $100 million annually. • Hinn’s salary is somewhere between half a million and a million dollars per year. He also gets royalties from the sales of his books;
• Personal perks for Hinn, family and his entourage include a $10 million seaside mansion; a private jet with annual operating costs of about
$1.5 million; a Mercedes SUV and convertible, each valued at about $80,000;
• What the church termed “layovers” between crusades included hotel bills ranging from $900 per night to royal suites that cost almost $3,000
for one night’s stay. Layover locations included Hawaii, Cancun, London, Milan and other exotic locations.
• Beverly Hills shopping sprees;
• Receipts showing Hinn’s daughter receiving $1,300 in petty cash; her boyfriend getting $2,550 for babysitting; $23,000 in cash dispersed to
Hinn and his wife; and, $25,000 in cash for expenses for a crusade – 30 minutes away from Hinn’s home;
• Hinn continues to espouse the theologically-suspect self-serving Word-of-Faith or “prosperity” gospel. Jesus and his followers never amassed
personal wealth through their ministry and instead lived a clearly sacrificial life. Hinn would be wise to follow this example and encourage his
followers to do likewise as this would lead to much greater spiritual prosperity, the value of which far exceeds anything material;
• Hinn employs two primary methods to manipulate those that watch him – promising healings to those afflicted with chronic or terminal ill-nesses, and claiming that donations are “seeds” being planted by the donor that will result in the gift giver enjoying financial blessings;
• Television producer Nathan Daniel, a former BHM employee who was hired to improve the public image, instead reported to NBC, “There was
never one complete record that would suit the criteria for documented miracle healing.”

Now consider Sua Yinh Siong of Lau Chai village, in Sapa district in the Northwest Mountainous Region of Vietnam Source:CompassDirectNews

Which testimony exudes the aroma of Christ and His Spirit?

Which testimony would be the easiest sell to the church in America?

Pray for our brothers and sisters that are in the fire for the cause of Christ.

malachi

Are You Considering Religion? Reconsider.

This may seem a little strange coming from a pastor, but if it is religion that you are looking for my friend, I exhort, please reconsider.

Do’s and Don’ts will never make one pleasing to God, not to mention, that one could never do or not do enough to satisfy God. He gave clear cut evidence of this when he gave us His law.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second, but the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

So in order for one to even attempt to live for God, shall most assuredly end in religious futility, to which God is not looking for at all. One will only find this sort of religious rite will only draw one near unto God with their lips, only to find their heart far from Him. This my friend is the crux of the matter… the heart.

So God showed us the fault was with them, us, you, me….  our hearts.

For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: Hebrews 8:8-10

You see my friend the problem was not with the law (God’s rules and regulation) it is with the heart of the individual. It is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. God wants to transform our hearts and mind.

God is not wanting to change our actions, He is wanting to change our will, our hearts, our mind so that they are liken to our precious Lord. The actions will supernaturally follow. By the mercies of God, present your body a living sacrifice, not conforming to this world or to religion, but by a transforming of the mind and that by His word.

Don’t look for religion. Receive His Christ…. Yeshua ha Massicah

malachi

Truly A Vexing Spirit

On May 15, 2008  the California Supreme Court narrowly ruled that homosexual couples have a constitutional right to marry, striking down laws barring same-sex nuptials and making the most populous state in the union the second after Massachusetts to legalize  homosexual  marriage. Source Bloomberg.com

In this latest act by the California Supreme Court, we see a rogue spirit from 4 of the 7 justices. This in the face of a 2000 ballot decision where 61 percent of California voters supported a ballot initiative defining marriage as between a man and woman.  

It would appear to me that these Supreme Court justices may want to count their blessings that their livelihood (as a Supreme Court Justice) is not contingent upon the 61% of the voters who were told their opinions are not worthy of consideration, by the ruling on May 15th. 

A greater concern as a nation and more importantly as a Christian, is what we are seeing in terms of a rogue and rebellious spirit that is blatantly directed against God’s word. A spirit that is saying “we don’t care what God says about homosexuality, we are going to do what ever make us feel good”.

It is not hard for one to see the union of the two spirits… that of the the rogue Supreme Court Justice and the unrepentant homosexual.

In the 19th chapter of Genesis we read of God sending two angels to Sodom to retrieve Lot and his family from the pending judgement on a city giving to the most abominable sexual sin.

In the second epistle of  Peter chapter 2, Peter speaks of the impending judgement against those that pervert the Word of God and analogs it with the destruction that befell Sodom and Gomorrah, for an example unto those that after should live ungodly.

The word of God goes on to tell us that Lot was delivered from this judgement but was not completely unscathed. He was tormented with the filthy conversation of the wicked and that seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.

The pleasures of sin are but for a season. God’s mercy in the face of Jesus Christ endureth forever.

malachi

This Olympic Medalist Surely Awaits Gold…

82 days to go until the Summer Olympic Games begin in Beijing China. For seventeen days in August, athletes from around the world will convene in Beijing to to vie for the highest medal and honor in their specific area of sports.

As the Olympic games draw near, reports are coming in that China has stepped up its crackdown on Christians, according to the China Aid annual report released back in February of this year.

Source: The Christian Post

“China Aid Association noted that the number of persecution incidents is likely to be much higher because of censorship in communications.

There were four main targets of persecution: house church leaders, house churches in urban areas, Christian publications, and foreign Christians and missionaries living and working in China.”

Which brings me to an athlete that is running a race that is set before him. His name is Liu Huiwen and he is imprisoned in Dongxiang, China for distributing a Christian Tract. Source: Compass Direct News.

That’s right a tract…..  “A Letter To Our Muslim Friends” during a funeral in Manping Groupin Ketuo village, part of the Dongxiang Autonomous Region, a Muslim-majority ethnic area in Gansu province.

The article goes on to say that many of the prison guards and inmates are Muslims, and that Liu is being mistreated in prison.

Though his suffering is unjust and most assuredly intense, his reward is both certain and great.

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Liu’s wife, Miao Hui Lian, fears that without intervention her husband’s well-being could be severely impaired. She and their 4-year-old son are living with Liu’s parents, as she has no income to support herself during his imprisonment.

Keep Brother Liu and his family in your prayers daily.

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.  1 Peter 4: 13-14

malachi

A Tiny Ember Is All That Is Left…….

A Dwindling Witness
No church in the world can claim more ancient roots than in Israel-Palestine, where there has been a continual Christian presence since the time of Christ. But in the last 60 years, the number of Palestinian Christians living in the area has dropped from as much as 40 percent of the population to only 2 or 3 percent (estimates vary), while most Palestinian Christians have emigrated elsewhere. The reasons are debated—various groups blame Israel’s policies or pressures from the Muslim majority. In 1992 George Carey, then Archbishop of Canterbury, told the New York Times that he feared in 15 years Jerusalem and Bethlehem would become “a kind of Walt Disney Christian theme park”—a tourist attraction without a real Christian presence. His prediction is in danger of coming true. But those local Christians who still remain in places like Bethlehem are holding on to their homeland and heritage fiercely. 

Resource Christianity Today- Christian History Newsletter05.17.2008

 

The words of the Archbishop of Canterbury have proven to be quite prophetic. I wonder where America will be in 15 years, if the Lord tarries?

In the parable of the sower, the Lord gives us 4 types of soil into which the seed is sown. It is the stony ground I would like to consider in this post-

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. Mark 4:16-17

From the analogy above the operational word is endure. In order for our life to be a testimony, we must endure. In order for us to endure we must abide in His word. “I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matt.5:13-16

Pray God will strengthen the brethren in Israel as they stand in opposition to the enemies of the cross.

Jerome
“It is not being in Jerusalem, but living a good life there that is praiseworthy.”

malachi