I think it’s time we reexamine what the word ‘church’ means, because there seem to be a WHOLE lot of people out there, using it incorrectly. Webster’s New Basic Dictionary defines ‘church’ as: 1. All Christians regarded as a spiritual entity. 2. A building for public and especially Christian worship. 3. A congregation. 4. A public religious service. 5. A Christian denomination.
Strong’s Exhaustive Bible Concordance Online states, the KJV New Testament Greek word for ‘church’ is ‘Ekkleisa.’ This is an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting. A company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake. Finally, the church is described as the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth and in heaven.
OK. So, the church is made up of all Christians. What is a Christian? Again, Strong’s defines the Greek, ‘Christianos,’ as a follow of Christ. Well, what does it take to be a follower of Christ? What did Jesus prescribe?
In Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23, Jesus was talking to the people. “And he said to them all, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” We must, as Paul said, ‘die daily’ in terms of crucifying our fleshly, worldly desires to live according to God’s laws and will.
Jesus also told us, in John 14:15, 14:21 and 15:10, that if we loved him, we would keep his commandments. In Matthew 22: 36-40, one of the Pharisees, a lawyer, asked Jesus the following: “Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Now we’ve established the foundation for the reason the term ‘church’ needs to be revisited. Why? Because the overwhelming majority of so called ‘Christians’ in today’s society do NOT obey the commandments of Jesus, nor do they take up their cross to follow him. Perhaps they should reassess whether they are part of the ‘church,’ or just a social club with fancy robes. I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing a whole lot of commandment following, or cross carrying going on these days.
I’m going to give you some examples, and I’ll be naming the denominations involved. Personally, I tend to go to Baptist churches because, out of the smorgasbord of denominations offered within the Christian community, the Baptist doctrine best reflects my beliefs of what the Bible teaches. If that doesn’t blow your skirt up, that’s fine. I’m not going to argue the differences in denominations for the purposes of this article.
According to a survey of adults all over the United States, conducted in September 2011 by LifeWay Research, 44% of people polled stated they DID consider homosexual behavior to be a sin. When this question was asked in November 2012, the response fell to 37%.
Of Americans who attend religious services at least once a week, 61% stated ‘Yes’, they felt homosexual behavior is a sin, and 73% of those who considered themselves “born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christian,” agreed. Of the people who never attend a religious service, 71% said they do NOT feel it is a sin.
Just for grins, I’m going to split the difference between those 61% who attend a religious service, which include beliefs other than Christianity, and the 73% of Christian hard core believers, and postulate that 67% of professing Christians feel homosexual behavior is sinful.
Why only 67%? What is the other 33% thinking?? Do they think Jesus old-fashioned? Oh, that’s right…Jesus “never condemned homosexuality.” Yes, I’ve heard that one plenty of times. Well, Jesus clearly stated many times that He was God. In John 8:28, “Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
He was and is the Great I AM of the Old Testament; that same thundering God on Mount Sinai, who inscribed the Ten Commandments on the tablets of stone with His finger, for Moses to give to the people. And what did the Great I AM say about homosexuality way back in the Old Testament? Leviticus 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
‘Well, Jesus was cool. He loved everyone, no matter what.’ Yes, He loves everyone. BUT…He’s still the thundering God of the Old Testament, and the Bible clearly declares in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” I guess the 33% of professing Christians must not belong to the ‘church.’ According to Jesus, if you don’t follow His commands, you don’t really love Him, and are therefore not ‘Christians’, or ‘followers of Christ.’
Now, let’s talk about the Israel haters in the ‘church.’ It really is hilarious that today’s Christians tend to forget that Jesus was Jewish, as was the overwhelming majority of the early church. They were Israeli. From Israel. And yet, so much of the mainstream church, especially in America, are bitterly opposed to Israel occupying the land GOD gave them 4000+ years ago! You remember, don’t you? The Promised Land?
How powerful media propaganda can be. All we hear on the news is how mean and ugly the Israelis are to the Palestinians. I swan, if people were told by the media enough times that pine trees were purple, they would believe it! This is a nation of Sheeple!
An article on Frontpagemag.com by Mark D. Tooley, talks about how a radically anti-Israel group called the, Episcopal Voices of Conscience, is urging their denomination’s executive council to consider Israel akin to Apartheid South Africa in its oppression of the poor, poor Palestinians. They are urging the Episcopal Church to “immediately more forward with our church’s corporate engagement policy so that our financial resources are not being used to support the infrastructure of this suffocating occupation.”
They also want their denomination to join the Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist and United Church of Christ officials, who asked Congress in October to reconsider U.S. military aid to Israel. Add those in the Emergent church movement, and you’ve got about a bazillion ‘Christians’ who oppose Israel, which is just a brilliant idea.
In Genesis 17: 7-8, God told Abraham, “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” In Genesis 12:3, God promised Abraham, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
What is there about, ‘I will give you the land for an everlasting possession, and I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you,’ that people don’t get?? Isn’t it pretty self-explanatory? The nation of Israel has been gathered back into the land Almighty God gave them, as He promised. They aren’t going anywhere, regardless of the whining histrionics spewed by the rest of the world.
The signers of this sniveling missive include, former Presiding Bishop, Edmond Browning, Washington D.C. National Cathedral Dean, Gary Hall and Bishop Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church’s first openly homosexual bishop. By the way, Gary Hall, Dean of the Capital’s National Cathedral recently announced that sodomite weddings could now be conducted within its walls. How quaint.
Much to its credit, Episcopal Church officials are quoted as saying that the church’s House of Bishops rejected a “trajectory toward supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.” Thank you for your adherence to Biblical doctrine! Now you just need to reexamine that whole, let’s-appoint-homosexuals-as-church-Bishops, thing. After all, God doesn’t allow us to cherry pick which Bible teachings we want to accept or ignore.
In their letter, the Episcopal Voices of Conscience quoted from Martin Luther King Jr., to justify their “call for justice on the land where Jesus lived his earthly ministry,” ignoring the fact that King himself strongly supported Israel. A more appropriate name for this group would be the Episcopal Projectile-Vomiters of Biblical Ignorance.
So, let’s get this straight. This group is invoking the name of Jesus to their denominational elders, insisting they capitulate to their demands to cut off any support, financial or otherwise, to God’s chosen people, the Jews. Jesus’ people. They are against the chosen people of the God they purport to serve, because they’re upset those chosen people returned to the land GOD gave them thousands of years ago. No matter that the Arab brothers of the Palestinians refuse to give them land; no, they want Israel’s land.
WELL, TOUGH TOENAILS! The Palestinians aren’t going to get anymore of Israel’s land. The Jews have given up too much already. And the Palestinians will NEVER have one square inch of Jerusalem! Ever! Try to take it. Come on. Bring it…I DARE you!
Let me get back to the issue of what the ‘church’ is. It should NOT consist of those who are accepting and welcoming of abominable behavior that God hates. It should NOT include those who refuse to take up their cross and love Jesus enough to follow His commands, and it should NOT be comprised of people who hate Israel, demanding she give up even one more grain of sand of her land to anyone.
If you belong to a congregation of people who subscribe to the above beliefs, per the definition of the words ‘church’ and ‘Christian,’ you are not attending a ‘church.’ You simply belong to a nice country club. Examine your heart and make sure you’re really a part of THE church, also known as the Bride of Christ. The denomination and/or building you enter for Sunday service is inconsequential. What the pastoral staff and congregation believe means everything.