Church, Wake Up! An Urgent Call to Action

Hostility toward Christ and the Church is turning totalitarian, even in America. What can we realistically do?

By Tom Gilson Published on December 19, 2018

Western society is rapidly moving toward totalitarianism. I never would have thought it possible — yet it’s happening. Christianity in particular is under attack, at risk like never before in our part of the world. I’m not new to these issues, but a recent National Review article by John Daniel Davidson was still a kick in the gut for me. We must wake up. We must rouse ourselves to action.

From Davidson’s article: Peter Vlaming, a teacher at a small-town Virginia school, was fired recently for “misgendering” a trans person. He sought a compromise answer, but trans activists insisted on a totalitarian one. They demanded total obedience to their standards. The board caved to them.

Davidson explains, “School officials, likely terrified of what would happen to them if they didn’t deliver Vlaming’s head on a platter to this student and her family, were only too willing to ruin the man.

Totalitarianism on the Rise

This uncompromising, totalizing punishment is on the rise. No one dare fail to toe the LGBT line. Sane-thinking people are being locked for no good reason out of Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. Apple is poised to enforce a new morality. Davidson reports on 3:30 am rape-and-death-threat phone calls, and tells of an LGBT non-compliant professor’s office door soaked with urine.

Help Us Wake Up the Church!

The Stream wants to help wake up Christians everywhere to this urgent — yet still hopeful — situation. We ask you — in fact we urge you — to distribute this article as follows:

You are welcome print this article or post it on your website, provided that your purpose is consistent with ours: to help move the Church to constructive action. The entire article must be included along with a link to this page and the notice, “Used by permission.” (The permission granted here applies only to this article.)

You might not see this happening in your town yet. It reached small-town Virginia, not just West Point, but also Gloucester, a few miles to the southeast. It reached Midland, Michigan, where I was born — the “city of beautiful churches,” even.

You can look up those events easily enough. The fact is, everywhere I go, I hear more stories like these.

These events are accelerating. They’re reaching more and more of our country and the world. They are totalizing. LGBT activists allow absolutely no dissent. This is thought-control in action.

The new American totalitarianism has other faces besides LGBT — Antifa comes to mind — but gay and trans activism is at the forefront.

A New Thing In History — And Not a Good One

And it’s different than any such movement in history. That is, every successful totalitarian movement in history has an octopus’s tentacles reaching throughout all society. This is no different in that sense. Unlike all others, though, this one has no visible head; there is no identifiable dictator running it.

This is unique in history; we’re seeing a new thing here. It’s insidious, too. The lack of such a leader could fool us into thinking there’s nothing going on except some occasional, spotty surges of controlling behavior. Don’t let that catch you unawares. This is widespread, and it’s for real.

Davidson ended his article, “To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, society won’t collapse over this, but it will eventually cease to be divided on the question. It will become all one thing or all the other.” I disagree. Totalitarianism is collapse.

Are you awake yet?

So I am very concerned. I hope you are too. I urgently hope you will see what’s going on, and that it will move you to action.

That’s not all I hope for, though! I still have strong hope that this will come out for good in the end. God is still God, after all, and our hope is always in Him.

A Call to Action

Yet we must act.

Our response must center in our churches, which is certainly our most strategic point of action. In our churches we have massive numbers of people. We have widespread distribution. If the local church will take action, we can turn this around.

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But where to begin? Pastors, you must take the lead.(I’ll be speaking mostly to you from this point forward.) Readers who aren’t pastors, please take on all the leadership you can, for you too can make a difference where you are. But please, pass this along to your pastor as well.

If the local church will take action, we can turn this around.

Pastor, you must stir your church to constructive action. And you can do it. Here’s a suggested outline to follow. It won’t all fit in one message or even a month or two of them, but then the LGBT movement didn’t arise in a day, either. It took decades. The point is, we’ve delayed too long already; we’ve got to get started.

Six Strategic Steps You Can Take to Help Quell the Crisis

First: Tell the whole truth. Don’t hold back! Let your congregation know how we’re at risk. All of us are at risk. Learn what’s going on. Study the cultural situation. Read The Stream, for starters. However you do it, please: Wake up your people!

Second: Again, tell the whole truth. God is still God. His Word is still His Word, and that includes His moral instruction. He hasn’t changed His mind on any of it. He’s also still our Lord and Savior, and we’re still in His good hands — no matter what.

Third: Remind them Jesus still lives, and we must live for Him, no matter what. That includes repentance in many ways for many of us, and standing with all that His Word teaches, for all of us. To suffer for Him — if necessary — is worth it. We must not fall away from the only One who saves.

Equipping the Church

Fourth: Lead the way in engaging the battle through prayer. This movement may have no identifiable human head, but the enemy of our souls is surely pushing it from behind the scenes. Call on your people to both fast and pray. Pray like we’ve never had to pray before; for we are at risk like we’ve never been before.

Fifth: Equip your people with answers. 2 Cor. 10:3-5 says spiritual battle takes place in the realm of thoughts and opinions. The current battle is mostly an ideological one. Your church must gear up for that as well — and it can! It just requires some strategic preparation.

This point may be less familiar than the other five, so I’ll give it a bit more explanation. Obviously, to know good answers we have to begin by facing the questions squarely — the right questions, that is. If there’s one that overrides them all in this day, it’s this one: Everyone is telling me the Christian approach to sexual morality is hateful. Please, tell me so I can understand, why isn’t it hateful? What’s good about it? How can I be confident it’s good?

The other side will resort to anything; we will resort above all to speaking the truth in love.

Your older members may not be bothered with that question, but your younger ones are. They need those answers. Now. They need practice — real training — in speaking those answers clearly, under conditions of hostile fire, for there is plenty of that in their world.

Older Christians need to know, too, for why should parents or grandparents be tongue-tied when pre-teens and teens ask them about these things?

Following that initial question there will be others to answer. Your youth will tell you what they are; just ask. But start with this first one. They might not always voice it out loud — it’s dangerous to ask it in church — but you can be sure they’re thinking it.

Sixth, and finally (because people often remember most what they read last): Show and teach how to engage the battle in love. The other side will resort to anything; we will resort above all to speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), secure in confidence that our strong refuge, the rock that is higher, our Savior Jesus Christ, has the victory.

The Stream has been posting articles articles on these topics all along. Recently we’ve begun aggregating many of them under the Spiritual Readiness tag. Keep your eye on that page for more to come, especially resources you may need for equipping your people with answers.

 

Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream and the author of Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens (Kregel Publications, 2016). Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor.

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  • Patmos

    I saw the folly, hypocrisy, and outright lies of the LGBT movement before I was even saved. This isn’t a Christian thing. It’s a common sense thing. It’s a sanity thing.

    Urinating on doors and threats of rape, and you want to be taken seriously?

    The left is already devouring itself, becoming undone by the political correctness that plagues that side of the spectrum, so that the more extreme and irrational elements take over. These elements are also cutting off their nose despite their face, do they really think LGBT and Islam can coexist?

    I honestly have to question the suggestions of engagement in the article above, as we are at the point where even just a hint of the wisdom of Christ runs the risk of setting these fools off even further. Jesus did say do NOT cast pearls before swine or give that which is holy unto dogs lest they trample those pearls and then turn and attack.

    I find it far more effective to merely point out how crazy they are, to their face, with something like, “Do you have any idea how insane you are?” Then following up with simple reason. It’s not violation of Christ that is the concern here, it’s the violation of basic fundamental thought.

    • Kevin Quillen

      public education has done it’s job. indoctrination into humanism is almost complete. the future is bleak. most Christians know this and still send their kids into the cesspool. would rather have more “stuff” than sacrifice and put kids in good private Christian school. America is over. The vision of the founders is dead.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    Sure as believers we have a responsibility to pursue righteous governance. We vote our conscience & we voice our standards accordingly. Yes, we must pray as we are instructed in scripture. Yes , we must in some sense of the word stand against a culture that is growing increasingly antagonistic towards Judeo – Christian values.
    Yet in the end we are in this world but not of it.
    So while it can be profitable to follow the advice outlined in Mr Gilsons commentary it seems ultimately that excepting a significant cultural restoration to biblical morality through something akin to a “ Great Awakening “ it is likely that little will. change.
    Little that is among those outside the body of Christ. A lot can change among the body ad God shows Himsrlf faithful to those who by faith appropriate the grace needed for times like these …..

    • Within the body of Christ we must stand strong for Christ. I am not sure we are ready for that. Further, for the sake of our own next generations – young people in the church but not yet committed to the Lord – we have a responsibility to speak the truth clearly and well.

      • Howard Rosenbaum

        Yeah, we do have that responsibility towards those whose faith is on the line & if necessary, as it has been often quoted – use words ….
        Also I would agree with you ( & with scripture ) that there’s fewer “seed sown on “good ground “ than the other kinds. So those of us whose “ground” is fertile with really good seed are standing strong – even when it may look otherwise to the untrained eye …

  • They are trying to force everyone to be like them, and in so doing, they defeat themselves. After all, how many babies have been born—purely, completely, totally, and utterly naturally—to a same sex couple? Hmmm? What’s that I hear? Crickets?

    Their’s is a self-defeating enterprise, and eventually, they will be forced to swallow, hard, on the Truth.

    Stand, therefore, and when you have done all that you can do, stand firm!

  • Jed

    The Church cannot reverse our slide into authoritarianism through ‘topical’ strategies (like treatibg the LGBT issue as hersy) nor with a rhetorical approach … like church fathers dialoguing with Roman and Greek pagan intellectuals.
    The earliest Christians dealt with brutal soldiers, unsophisticated peasants, barbarian hordes … ‘demonstration’ of love, attitudes of humility, basic truths of the sinful condition and the remedy … that is what we must return to.

    • The earliest Christians are a gret model for us. As Canon Michael Green summarized it (per Moreland’s further summary), they out-lived, out-prayed, and out-thought their opponents. His “out-lived” was referring to the kinds of things you point to here, and which I alluded to all too briefly in point 6. The intellectual battles mattered too, as thwy still do today. Do we really want our kids thinking we have no answers?

      • Jed

        Thanks for the response! You should know my comment(s) are usually general and not a critique of the article. I just have come to think that secular ‘reasoning’ has gone post-modern and thus (almost by design) un-answerable … and it is time for the church to get back to humble actions.
        Plus, kids can detect poor explanations — and good deeds speak louder.

  • Nick Stuart

    Good as far as it goes. The six points make a lot of sense. I think it highly unlikely that more any pastors who aren’t already doing them or something like them to prepare their congregations are unlikely to start now.

    Individual Christian families and singles need to understand that it is ultimately their responsibility to prepare, and not think their church is going to help them.

    So what’s an individual Christian family or single to do?
    1. Pray and see to their personal spiritual formation (prayer, worship, study, tithing, etc.)
    2. Get their children out of the public schools
    3. Get out of debt. Build margin into their personal finances
    4. Get off the activity treadmill. Build margin into their calendar
    5. Help support Christians who are deprived of their livelihood or have suffered a financial penalty because they stood up for Christ.
    6. Practice hospitality and look for ways to build community
    7. Pitch in around their local church and local Christian ministries to make up funding shortfalls with sweat equity
    8. Press their pastor and church officers to get the church out of debt, and build a cash reserve. Critically evaluate programs and cut the ones that aren’t valuable

  • The religions of man and the religious need to realize they are not being blessed by our Father, because they refuse to stop the rebellion against HIS laws and commands.
    Nothing Christianity does can be found in the word of our Father. False names and pagan titles for our Father and HIS set apart spirit. Pagan holidays to replace the commanded feasts and festivals. False Sabbaths on a pagan Roman calendar that didn’t exist before the year 46 BC, when it was created by a pagan Roman emperor. Judaism uses a lunar calendar to calculate the appointed times of our Father on unclean days, that they have no scriptural authority, commands or instructions to observe.
    Everything the religions of man does is intended to cause the believer to break the first four commandments.Why would our Father bless paganism and rebellion, when he’s had enough of that from one third of HIS angels and the two hundred fallen angels of Noah’s time?

    There is one group that will survive to the end because they are blessed by our Father. Exodus 31:13 commands us to guard the Sabbath of our Father, “by all means”. Revelation 7, the 144,000 are sealed and protected with the Sabbath SIGN of our Father. The destruction of the earth is even stopped so these elect can be saved. Revelation 14, the 144,000 are seen on Mt. Tsiyon with the returning Messiah. They are found blameless before the throne of our Father. They are called a special possession forever. These elect keep the true Sabbath of our Father according to HIS calendar instructions. Wake up folks, your religion and it’s leaders are leading you straight into the lake of fire.

    • I’ll simply say this does not reflect the views of The Stream and, leave it at that. I could set forth a rebuttal, but I doubt that would meet many readers’ needs, so I’ll pass on it.

      • Of course it doesn’t. The religious always deny the truth. Your rebuttal, what ever it may be, can not prove me wrong.

        • Kevin Quillen

          Pride goeth before a fall. You are wrong. Very wrong.

          • Everything i said it the truth. I notice you can’t prove me wrong.

          • I don’t think this discussion is going to be productive. If you engage with this person, you won’t convince him of anything, but you will derail any fruitful conversation in the subject of the post.

            It’s far more important to be talking about church strategy than its to disprove such an unusual and idiosyncratic belief, which (again) is obviously an attempt to distract and derail.

            So let him think what he wants to think. You can’t prevent it anyway. We’ve got way more important things to focus on.

          • Your reply is typical of a so called Christian. The truth means absolutely nothing to you. Your only agenda is to perpetuate the deceit of your religion. It’s shameful that you call yourself a follower of Christ, when everything you do dishonors HIM and the sacrifice he made for you.

          • Was yne, please was rhe commenting rules linked at rhe top of the comment block here. That last one crossed a clearly communicated line.

          • Do I appear to care about your rules?
            Here is a rule I adhere to. Isaiah 58:1 “Cry aloud, do not spare. Lift up your voice like a ram’s horn. Declare to My people their transgression, and the house of Ya‛aqoḇ their sins.

          • Jed

            If someone warns of impending danger, it is wise to consider.
            But a comment thread is hardly the place to fully consider truth, fallacy, delusion, heresy and such.

            Could you direct us to a specific chuch, website, organization, literature that specifically details your warnings? This is not patronizing, pandering, whatever. I really want to know what you are talking about. Thanks.

          • Have you ever read your bible? Apparently you have no idea of the many rebukes towards the tribes of Israel for their many transgressions and eventual covenant breaking. The northern ten tribes were taken captive and removed from the land because of their sins and idolatry. Judah would eventually be run of their land for the same reasons. Even the Messiah rebuked the Pharisee of Judaism, which he would also do to the preachers of Christianity had they been around at the time.
            As I pointed out in my initial post. Nothing Christianity does can be found in the word of our Father. I go on to list the many transgressions of Christianity and Judaism. The number one transgression is their false Sabbath on a pagan calendar of Rome.
            I don’t know why anyone has to belong to a religion, no religion teaches the truth or obeys the commandments of our Father. I knew Christianity was a lie since my teens. I studied Judaism to keep the commanded feasts, festivals and Sabbath. Even then I questioned many of the doctrines of Judaism and a lunar calendar for which they have no scriptural authority to observe. Although i never associated myself with a religion.
            Just before I retired in 2013. I began hearing of the book of Jubilees that the religions of man had banned. Jubilees 4:16-18 tells us Enoch, a man so righteous he never died, wrote a book. The religions of man have also banned the writings of Enoch. It became apparent why when I read the calendar instructions of chapters 72-82 and realized these are the only scriptural instructions to formulate a calendar system that the true Sabbath of our Father can be identified. Thereby we are able to obey the Sabbath command of Exodus 31:13.
            Having spent all of my adult life praying for the truth, i was shown how the calendar worked and given proof of a celestial phenomena that proves the correct count of days. To fulfill a promise to share this information, I created a Facebook group to teach and discuss the calendar of Enoch.
            You won’t find any religious organization to teach the truth. I have been on this mission for more than five years and everyone treats me in the same manner as Tom Gilson. I am on a block list a mile long by all the big name evangelists, preachers, the religious etc. etc.
            However, I have more than 2500 members in my calendar group who know the truth when they hear it. These are the elect who won’t be fooled by satan and his minions. Christianity and Judaism will be easy prey for satan.

          • Kevin Quillen

            “Enoch, a man so righteous he never died”
            Hebrews 11:13 says “all these died in faith……” Who are “these?” Enoch is in the list of those who died in faith. Enoch died. Period.

          • The false apostle Paul, the god of Christianity is wrong. Genesis 5:22 And after he brought forth Methushelaḥ, Enoch walked with Elohim three hundred years and brought forth sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with Elohim. Then he was no more, for Elohim took him.
            Jude 1:14 And Enoch, the seventh from Adam, also prophesied of these, saying, “See, YHVH comes with His myriads of set apart ones.
            Chapters 3 and 4 of the book of Jasher give more detail about the life of Enoch and how he was taken to heaven. Even the kings and princes of his time pronounced Enoch king over them for teaching them righteousness.

            So why does the false apostle Paul say this? Hebrews 11:5 By belief, Enoch was translated so as not to see death, “and was not found because Elohim had translated him.” For before his translation he obtained witness, that he pleased Elohim.
            Enoch is not in the list you mention. The list begins with Abraham. Enoch will be one of the two witnesses who will torment the sinners (you) in the last days.

            Think about this. Tuesday when you get down on your knees and bow down to your Christmas tree, a pagan phallic symbol, to retrieve your presents, think of the warning of Jeremiah.
            Jeremiah 10:2 Thus said YHVH, “Do not learn the way of the gentiles, and do not be awed by the signs of the heavens, for the gentiles are awed by them. 3 “For the prescribed customs of these peoples are worthless, for one cuts a tree from the forest, work for the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. 4 “They adorn it with silver and gold and they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it does not topple. 5 “They are like a rounded post and they do not speak. They have to be carried because they do not walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they do no evil, nor is it in them to do any good.”

            I have an interesting read for you. A book by Lew White titled Fossilized Customs. It’s two hundred and fifty pages in pdf of documented paganism that Christianity adheres to. Provide me with some form of contact and i’ll send it to you.

          • Three of Wayne’s comments recently deleted. See above.

          • Wayne, since you have explicitly informed us you don’t care about our rules, and since more than one of your comments has been in violation, your opportunity to comment ends now.

  • Kevin Quillen

    The Church MUST cut the ties to government! Give up the tax exemption! Then speak truth to power fearlessly. Find Christian leaders who will run for office and support them. A HUGE political action committee comprised of MANY churches can make the difference. Nothing will happen without bold leadership. Will it happen? Sadly, no.

    • Jed

      I told my (ex-)pastor once that the church should give up their exemption and post it in the bulletin as the ‘ free speech license fee ‘ — a friend in earshot said it was hilarious how quickly the (ex-)pastor ran away.

    • Trilemma

      The Church is tax exempt simply because it’s a church. A church does not have to file with IRS as a not for profit organization to be tax exempt.

      • davidrev1911

        You couldn’t be any more in error Trilemma! So you also NEED to do your homework in this area too; as the Church in America has always enjoyed what’s been called its “NON-TAXABLE” status, guaranteed through and by the First Amendment. However, when it comes to the term “TAX-EXEMPT,” this travesty committed on our part, is exclusively associated with the 1954 Johnson Amendment!

        So tragically, the Church in America had to voluntarily CHOOSE this solely mammon-related, insidious designation of “Tax Exempt,” so as to henceforth bow-their-religious-knee to Caesar – namely through the IRS; in which case the American Church has long-since become nothing more than state-controlled, state-licensed religious business corporations, i.e., “artificial persons,” or “creatures of the state” – under their cherished not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporate status.

        And one will never find this type of description for a so-called New Testament Church – aka OUR having committed spiritual harlotry through our unholy marriage to Caesar – ever even hinted at throughout the NT.

        • Trilemma

          Under 508(c)(1)(A) of the tax code churches are exempt from having to apply to the IRS for tax exempt status.

          • davidrev1911

            That’s a curious comment; especially when it’s believed by many experts in this area, that as I write this, some 80-to-90% of Churches, and Parachurch Religious Organizations in America have in fact voluntarily CHOSEN to ENTER INTO “501(c)(3) NFP TAX EXEMPT” corporate business status, with the IRS.

            So unfortunately, you’re just parroting the same confusion that’s so often misrepresented by well meaning church people, just like I used to do, until I dove headlong into this issue over two years ago, through some focused in-depth study, for about three months initially.

            (See also the personal website of attorney and constitutional law expert, Jerald Finney, In-House Counsel & National Director for the “Biblical Law Center,” and former distinguished member of the (ADF), or “Alliance Defending Freedom,” until he received this radical re-orientation of both scriptural & legal truth many years ago. His prodigious publications are well-worth the required time in study, in order to receive a “new pair of glasses,” through which to see this tragedy, or blight on the American Church, for what it truly is.)

            So please take note of the following insightful excerpt from an article on the “BLC’s” website, called “Unincorporated Associations Are Not Unregistered New Testament Churches”:

            ● ● ●

            “The next error that we keep hearing is the erroneous idea that churches are automatically tax-exempt. Well, this isn’t true, either. Let’s examine this issue further.

            “The IRS considers a church to be a legal entity called an “unincorporated association” or “religious society,” even if it isn’t incorporated and will treat it as any other non-profit organization or “public-charity” under Section 501(c) (3) of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code at Sec. 508.

            “Special rules with respect to section 501(c) (3) organization
            (1) Mandatory exceptions. – (a) and (b) shall not apply to-
            (A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations, or . . .

            “First you will notice that all churches, whether incorporated or not, are considered to be 501(c) (3) tax-exempt public charities according to the IRS. Churches, regardless of doctrine, whether incorporated or unincorporated, are treated the same by the IRS. They do not have to file any forms for “tax-exemption.”

            But it does not say that they have a “Mandatory Tax-Exemption.” Under (1) it says “MANDATORY EXCEPTION.”

            “Now there is a big difference between “exemption” and “exception.” For one, “EXEMPTION IS NOT MANDATORY, ONLY THE EXCEPTION IS MANDATORY. But before we look at the difference, let’s notice the status of the “association.”

          • Trilemma

            From the nolo dot com website article entitled, “Are Churches Always Exempt.”

            Because of the First Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion, the IRS has long adopted a largely hands-off approach to regulating churches.
            For example as long as an organization qualifies as a church, it need not apply to the IRS to receive its tax exemption—the exemption is automatic. Moreover, churches need not file the dreaded IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ–the annual information forms that other charities must file each year.
            However, many churches apply to the IRS anyway. The advantages of doing so are that (1) the organization will obtain official recognition of its tax-exempt status which assures donors that their contributions are tax deductible, and (2) it will be listed in IRS records as a qualified charitable organization and it can obtain a determination letter from the IRS stating that contributions to it are tax deductible.

            A church’s tax exemption is automatic.

          • davidrev1911

            NO! I’m sorry, but you’re simply wrong again. And you’re completely missing the “spiritually” devastating crux of this issue as well my friend. You’re conflating TWO mutually exclusive, tax-related legal concepts with regard so-called Christian Churches in the US; of which, rather interestingly, the IRS itself has long-since provided more than sufficient evidence of said crucial [and practical] distinction.

            A valid, biblically premised “New Testament Church” – thus by definition, a properly functioning, or correctly “established” First Amendment Church – is, above all else, both a NON-TAXABLE & NON-LEGAL assembly of like-minded believers, i.e., enjoying their First Amendment derived status of having that “Mandatory Exception” of being NON-TAXABLE.

            Hence such assemblies of IRS recognized NON-TAXABLE believers, experience virtually ZERO entanglements with Caesar, in any conceivable manner; especially when it comes to those Churches of which voluntarily, or unwittingly submit their congregations to Caesar’s IRS, so as to willingly function under the mammon-related enticements associated with the “Tax Exempt” designation – formally bestowed upon themselves by the IRS – as a result of voluntarily seeking-out this particular “Tax Exempt” status through incorporation.

            So this type of assembly, meaning the Tax Exempt variety, is diametrically distinct from the NON-TAXABLE assembly, of whom ultimately find themselves under the strict control of Caesar subsequent to their having willfully morphed into these TAX EXEMPT 501(c)(3) state-licensed business corporations – or “artificial persons” and/or “creatures of the state.” The legal, thus spiritual distinction, couldn’t possibly be any clearer Trilemma.

            When it comes down to it: Ya gotta want that “Tax Exempt” designation badly; so much so, that Caesar must be sought out legally, in order to have this mantle of the antichrist spirit bestowed upon such congregations of likeminded believers, subsequent to formal 508 and/or 501(c)(3) state-sanctioned incorporation.

          • davidrev1911

            Notice the following quotation from Steve Nestor, a Senior Officer with the IRS when this statement was given, as seen in the hard-hitting factually premised book, “In Caesar’s Grip,” by Attorney Peter Kershaw:

            “I am not the only IRS employee who’s wondered why churches go to the government and seek permission to be exempted from a tax they didn’t owe to begin with, and to seek a tax deductible status that they’ve always had anyway. Many of us have marveled at how church leaders want to be regulated and controlled by an agency of government that most Americans have prayed would just get out of their lives. Churches are in an amazingly unique position, but they don’t seem to know or appreciate the implications of what it would mean to be free of government control.”

          • Trilemma

            My point exactly! Thanks!

          • Trilemma gg

  • Dena

    Most Churches don’t even talk about social issues and avoid them altogether. You never hear them talk about abortion and the LGBT agenda.

    The thing is, most of the congregation wants to know how to deal with these issues and the Bibical base where we stand. So why the silence from the Pastors?

  • Sorry to say that this is a battle the church will likely lose (Dan 7.25) before the Lord comes back and wins it for his Kingdom. Why? One reason is this: Tom suggests we “Tell the whole truth.” But Christians can’t even decide what the “whole” truth is. According to Tom in another article we need experts to tell us how old the earth is, we can’t relie on God’s word as clearly stated in Genesis 1. But it’s also Genesis 1 that tells us God created them “male and female.” (Gen 1.27) Our kids and the world are watching us. If we don’t believe the first 26 verses of Genesis that talk about the first 5 days of creation, why should anyone believe verse 27 about God creating them male and female on the 6th day?

    When Christians are ready to take the word of secular philosophers (the age of the earth/univese is a philosophy, not science – no one can directly measure the age of the earth or the universe) over the word of God, the church is headed for defeat.

    When prominent apologists like William Lane Craig are headed toward denying the inerracy of scripture so he can maintain his beloved belief in the fairytale big bang theory that supports his Kalam cosmological argument – the church is headed for defeat since many will follow him. (He’s one of those “experts” people will follow instead of God’s word.)

    In fact it’s already happening. Study after study shows Kids are leaving the church (up to 80% of those who attended church while home) when they leave home and go to college (and can decide for themselves). Why? One big reason – the hypocrisy of Christians who profess to believe the Bible – but who obviously don’t.

    It’s not like Gen 1 is hard to understand. The only hard thing about Genesis 1 is deciding whether you believe what it clearly says about how God created everything – including males and females. If you can’t believe the first 26 verses, don’t be surprised when others don’t believe any of it – including verse 27 about males and females.

    • Kevin Quillen

      Thank you Duane. Well said.

    • Jeremiah 8:8 warns us the false pen of the scribe has worked falsehood. By removing one word, some bibles have caused the debate over the age of the earth.
      Genesis 1:1 In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth. 2 And the earth “CAME” to be formless and empty and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters.
      The first creation was destroyed by the rebellion of satan and one third of the angels.

      The earth would again have to be destroyed because the 200 fallen angels married human women and begot the Nephilim who sinned against man, beast and plant life. The 200 fallen angels would teach man all manner of evil and war and even abortion.
      Genesis 6: 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and also afterward, when the sons of Elohim came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, the men of name. 5 And YHVH saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
      Enoch 6 – 9 documents the evil brought onto the earth by the fallen angels. Enoch 69 documents the smashing of the embryo in the womb, abortion.

      The false pen of the scribe would remove the proper name of our Father. Christianity would substitute pagan names and titles, such as god and lord. Judaism would make it a capital offense to even speak the proper name of our Father.

      The false pen of the scribe would replace the Hebrew word chodesh, meaning set apart, head of the month, with the English word moon. This is done to justify the pagan lunar calendar Judaism would adopt from Babylon during the exile. This is prophesied in Jubilees 6:36-38. Judaism would also adopt the names of the Babylonian months, including the name of the fourth month, which is named to honor the king and god of Babylon, tammuz. Though they were forbidden to name their months and days as the pagan Romans would do.

      Because the religious depend on others to teach them, they are so deceived by the evil of man’s religions. Not even common sense prevails among the religious.

  • davidrev1911

    Brother Tom:

    I wonder how this message in your well-meaning article would resonate, right now, with our faithful brothers and sisters in atheistic, totalitarian-controlled China & North Korea – let alone those Christians living-and-dying under the brutal regime of Sharia Law in so many Muslim-dominated societies/countries on earth?

    And yet those common dirt-poor, 1st-century Jewish and Gentile “Christian” brothers & sisters, namely those [“doulos” = Greek] ‘bondslaves of Yeshua-Jesus the Messiah’ – of whom innumerable individuals, had faithfully labored and died horrendous martyrs deaths under such a despotic, paganized Roman Empire – were nonetheless openly accused of “turning the [known] world upside down…” through their bold, and untiring witness [see etymology of “martyr”], for the gospel of Jesus Christ. [i.e. Acts 17:6]

    So what’s wrong with this non-biblical picture of so-called Christianity here on U.S. soil anyway? Isn’t your current description of almost Godless, post-Christian God Bless American society – THE very location in time-space-dimension history, in which our sovereign Heavenly Father has placed us to uncompromisingly, and sacrificially live-out our Christian witness? [See Acts 17:22-27]

    Yet maybe we ultra-sophisticated and/or urbane 21st-century professing Christians, have somehow tragically wound-up despising, thus jettisoning our genuine biblical “birthright” – of which necessarily follows one as a genuine disciple of Jesus the Messiah?

    Why should open and hostile persecution, or imprisonment – as a causal result of being vigorously and virulently hated, thus marginalized by the government, as well as the UNsaved – or even the potential loss of all things [including one’s physical life], NOT apply to professing Christians in this United States? Are we supposed to be exempt from this biblically-mandated birthright of suffering – simply because we live in this constitutionally privileged nation?

    Or has the US Constitution somehow rendered null-and-void – the ultimately binding authority contained in the Word of the Living God? Are we really supposed to be earnestly clamoring for a seat-at-the-political-table of cultural respectability, and comfortable ease??

    • • •

    “Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.” (1 Peter 3:13-17/NASB; see also 1 Peter 4:17-18 & 2 Chronicles 7:14)

    • We have certainly relied too much on our heritage and our constitution, rather than on God. It’s time we sorted that out aright again at last.

      As to how this would resonate, all I can say is that the questions and issues we face are different (in part, at least) than those that they face. We must all choose unwavering faithfulness to Christ, but we can’t be faithful to Him in their circumstances, only they can; and we can only be faithful in ours. I’ve written my thoughts here with our circumstances in mind. I’m sure they could be improved upon, though, especially by hearing their insights.

  • Trilemma

    Number six would also include online discussions even under the cloak of anonymity. It only takes a small few rude Christians to make Christianity look bad. Also, I think it would help if Christians stopped using certain memes such as these.

    1. The only people in the world who can be moral are true Christians.
    2. The only people who can understand the Bible are spirit filled true Christians.

    These memes express the moral and spiritual arrogance of the religious leaders that Jesus had to deal with. If Christians don’t want to come across as arrogant then they should avoid memes like these.

    • davidrev1911

      2. “The only people who can understand the Bible are spirit filled true Christians.”

      It’s most unfortunate that you think this way; but you’re simply wrong in saying this, because the Judeo-Christian Scriptures [esp. the NT] couldn’t possibly be any more unambiguous, or clear in this matter! All I can do is post a few passages, then provide a few other Scripture references for you to prayerfully consider in this context; and simply pray that you’ll finally allow the Ruach haKodesh, or Holy “Spirit of Truth” Himself into your heart & life, in genuine repentance – then simply “receive” the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior. (e.g., John 1:12-13)

      Please consider Jesus’ powerful teaching moment with one of the still-unregenerate Jewish religious leaders, Nicodemus, a Pharisee [John 3:1-21], and highly influential rabbinical authority in Israel…i.e., “are you THE teacher of Israel and do NOT KNOW these things.” [3:10] Then take note of Yeshua-Jesus’ declaration to him in v. 7: “Do not marvel that I said to you, you MUST BE BORN AGAIN.” (My emphasis)

      “The natural [i.e., UNregenerate/UNsaved] person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)

      “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You [believers, or true children of God] however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Roman’s 8:9-11)

      “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:15-17)

      “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7; see also Jesus’ dialogue with the religious leaders in John 8:37-47.)

      There is SO much more Trilemma, but I do hope this helps somewhat. Merry Christmas to you and yours too!

      • Trilemma

        Both of these memes have been used on me. Do you believe anyone can understand the spiritual truths in the Bible or is it only born again spirit filled true Christians who can?

        • davidrev1911

          Did you not read these passages, plus the ones I’d provided for additional clarity, and context??? It’s unmistakably plain. Plus I never even scratched-the-surface, when it comes to adequately addressing your concerns in this area.

          But to answer your question: NO…in fact, absolutely NOT, because “the Bible tells me so.” Maybe it’s comprehensible in some general types of teaching; but overall, the Holy Word of God is DEEP, from beginning-to-end, since within its content it’s clearly stated that it [both Old/New Testament’s] only has ONE Author – the Ruach haKodesh.

          The Bible is like multiple-layers deep my friend! So please take the time to carefully examine what I sent ya today. And may God richly bless your efforts!

          • Trilemma

            I don’t see anything written in the Bible that couldn’t be understood by a non-believer. Perhaps an example would help. Can you quote a Bible verse that only a born again spirit filled Christian can understand what it says?

          • davidrev1911

            Please allow me to try a different approach. Because the fact you’re still asking the same questions, or making the same unbiblical assumptions in this very context – after all the crystal-clear texts/passages I’ve already given you to the contrary – speaks volumes to me; and I mean an individual that’s been INDWELT by the Holy “Spirit of Truth” Himself, for more than 22 years now.

            So please personalize your answer, and give me, if you will, your heartfelt and/or truthful answer to the following question I’ve capitalized just below – about which Jesus asked His own disciples:

            “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “BUT WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?”

            ”Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-17/ESV)

    • Ben Welliver

      The atheists who spew their malice on Christian sites always claim to be experts on the Bible. The assumption is that if you hate a religion, you understand it better than the people who love that religion.

      Pretty stupid.

      • Trilemma

        How do you respond to such atheists?

        • Was that a “How do you respond” question, or a “How should Christians respond” question? If the first, was it for your information or for a thinly veiled tu quoque sort of charge?

          You’re welcome to have it any of those ways. I was just curious, that’s all.

          • if you were asking the latter, about how Christians should respond, that’s an important question. some time ago I decided I had to do some serious study to see if there was anything in Scripture that would apply to online discussions, particularly with people who were obviously determined to be adversarial no matter what.

            Turns out there was something there. Yes, God knew the internet was coming; or more to the point, there really is nothing new under the sun. Not in human interactions, anyway. Internet anonymity only amplifies what’s been there all along.

            Anyway, I thought I’d write my studies up in a blog post, but when it reached 7,000 words without slowing down, I realized I was writing a booklet instead. You can find it in Amazon under my name and the title “How Would Jesus Blog?”

          • Trilemma

            My question was aimed at looking at what the response actually looks like. Responding in love may look different for different people. Some people may think a response that could be seen as rude is a loving response, sort of the tough love approach. Some respond with name calling. Some respond by mischaracterizing arguments. I believe how people treat each other is very important to God. I’ll check out your book.

          • Thanks for looking into it!

          • Trilemma

            It was a “How do you respond” question. I think you did a good job of answering the “How should Christians respond” question. I truly appreciate your efforts and the efforts of other contributors to The Stream to bring civility to online commenting. The purpose of my question was to initiate a discussion of a real world example of what you’re talking about. So no, I’m not interested in a tu quoque charge. I don’t consider that profitable. Paul said that for him, all things are lawful but not all things are profitable. I think that also applies to online comments. Some are profitable some are not.

  • bbb

    In reading several articles like this, especially ones about Christian persecution in the educational systems K – college graduate degree level it is more and more evident that Christians have been TOO meek, too passive, too quiet about the Word of God and their beliefs in Jesus Christ as our personal savior.
    By this I mean that churches need to write and sign petitions to Betsy De Vos and the President and Vice President and to the Speaker of the House and Senate whip to give us vouchers to send our children to non-public, non-Union dominated, non-politically correct schools.
    The First Amendment is being vaporized through lawsuits because public schools are so burdened with tens of thousands of regulations they cannot even maintain discipline and high academic standards any more.
    If each church could have fifty or one hundred signatures of its membership demanding vouchers for their children to attend schools other than public schools, and if each town had twenty churches, and each State had a thousand towns, then the numbers would be big enough to be noticed.
    Competition in the world of business and even in the social services sectors [like hospitals or goodwill industries] means providing better merchandise or medical care or charitable goods because the customers matter. Schools have veritably eradicated any competition except for the exclusive private academies which the politicians’ and wealthy elite kids attend.
    Pro-active churches need to demand the vouchers promised when Trump ran for president become a priority.
    Public schools are cesspools of social engineering and anti-American indoctrination.
    This is a great article. It is time for Christians to stand up for Christ and God’s word.

    • Thanks for the word of encouragement!

      I agree on the political action — except I’d really want to emphasize the first six strategic actions taking precedence. We need more of a solid, prayer-soaked, knowledgeable, self-sacrificially loving basis to our political action. I don’t mean we need to fully arrive at that first, but we need to be aiming clearly in that direction.

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