THE CHURCH MILITANT
Ephesians 5:11-"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them". This Christian News Blog maintains a one stop resource of current news and reports of its own related to church, moral, spiritual, and related political issues, plus articles, and postings from other online discernment ministries, and media which share the aims to obey the biblical commands to shed light on and refute error, heresy, apostasy, cults, and spiritual abuse.
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
Former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked at a McAllen, Texas, news conference Monday if he thought his use of the term “anchor baby” might harm him among Hispanic voters. Perhaps concerned that it could, he said when he used the term, he meant to apply it mostly to Asians.
The issue of “anchor babies” — babies born in the United States to mothers who are here illegally in order to secure birthright citizenship for them — became a prime issue in the presidential campaign when candidate Donald Trump called for ending the practice when he revealed his immigration plan on August 16.
The Washington Post and AFP quoted a statement Bush made on Monday to reporters at McAllen’s Palenque Grill:
What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there is organized efforts — and frankly it’s more related to Asian people — coming into our country, having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship.
By choosing to hold a press event just nine miles from the Mexican border and by speaking intermittently in Spanish and referring to the fact that his wife is Mexican American, Bush evidently sought to contrast his immigration policies with the plan that Trump outlined last week. Bush’s defensive posture was likely a response to two videos released by the Hillary Clinton campaign last week and on Monday that sought to link Bush’s immigration plan with Trump’s — specifically seizing on Bush’s use of the term “anchor babies.”
During the McAllen conference, Bush addressed the Clinton charges head on:
My background, my life, the fact that I’m immersed in the immigrant experience — this is ludicrous for the Clinton campaign and others to suggest that somehow I’m using [anchor babies as] a derogatory term. And by the way, I think we need to take a step back and chill out a little bit as it relates to the political correctness, that somehow you have to be scolded every time you say something.
After defending himself against Clinton’s charges, Bush went on the offensive against Trump:
Mr. Trump’s plans are not grounded in conservative principles. The simple fact is that his proposal is unrealistic. It will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. It will violate people’s civil liberties. It will create friction with our third-largest trading partner that is not necessary.
Despite the Clinton campaign’s assertions, Bush and Trump have expressed contrasting views on immigration. Trump’s plan specifically calls for “ending birthright citizenship for the children born in the United States of parents who are here illegally.” As we have noted, Bush does not object to birthright citizenship in principle, and described it as “a noble concept.” Unlike many conservatives and constitutionalists — he does not dispute the loose interpretation of the 14th Amendment that applies a right granted to freed slaves whose ancestors lived in the United States for generations to aliens who come into the United States for the primary purpose of giving birth here.
Where Bush apparently draws the line, however, is the practice that has become common among Asian women called “maternity tourism.” AFP reported that last March, U.S. authorities raided dozens of locations in Los Angeles suspected of offering “maternity tourism” services for pregnant Chinese women who want to give birth in the United States in order to secure U.S. citizenship for their children.
The report cited a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that some Chinese women have paid more than $50,000 for such services.
A Chinese woman able to afford $50,000 to travel to the United States to give birth is obviously in a different category from an impoverished Mexican woman, and is almost certainly motivated by different reasons. While those from south of the border most likely come here illegally to escape poverty and seek a better life in America, the Chinese “maternity tourism” client is far from poor. Furthermore, not all of them are here illegally, and many possess valid tourist visas. This suggests that unlike women from Mexico or Guatemala, who intend to use their “anchor baby” as a steppingstone to gain immediate citizenship for themselves, the Chinese women having babies in America may be thinking more long-term, preparing their children for eventual permanent migration to the United States.
It is impossible for a citizen of China to attain the level of affluence required for “maternity tourism” unless they are well connected with the communist government. This suggests several possible explanations, including whether the Chinese government is grooming these new U.S. citizens as future overseas business managers who will not require the usual visas to work in the United States — or even for future espionage activities.
Whatever motivations the Chinese “maternity tourists” and their handlers in the Chinese government might have, Bush has spoken out against the practice. However, this still places him very far away from several other GOP candidates — including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham — who would end birthright citizenship entirely.
It isn’t necessary to explain that Hitler’s Nazi regime amounted to extreme totalitarianism. The leaders of the so-called “Master Race” considered huge numbers of human beings unworthy, even unworthy of life itself. But not all were to be exterminated. Some were needed as workers to produce goods and some were forced to become servants for the Nazi leaders.
In 1959, journalist William Shirer authored The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a monumental 1,200-page study detailing much about Europe’s experience with the Third Reich. Shirer laid out the attitude of Hitler and his chiefs about virtually everything in his remarkable work. He, of course, pointed to several varieties of horror practiced by the regime, and what he reported about education is especially revealing.
Hitler’s right-hand man, Martin Bormann, explained the Nazi thinking with regard to the already conquered Slavs in a 1942 letter sent to a fellow Party member. In part, it stated: “Education is dangerous. It is enough if they can count up to 100.... Every educated person is a future enemy.” Heinrich Himmler, the dreaded leader of the secret police, wrote that half of the conquered Czechs would be forced to become “workers.” Those from the educated class were “intellectuals” and they were to be “eliminated.”
As for the conquered Poles, Hitler himself stated that they were “born for low labor.... There can be no question of improvement for them. It is necessary to keep the standard of life low in Poland and it must not be permitted to rise.” Addressing the potential problem of Polish priests, Hitler stated, “... they will preach what we want them to preach. If any priest reacts differently, we shall make short work of him. The task of the priest is to keep the Poles quiet, stupid and dull-witted.”
Why bring this up in 2015? Simply because the education being supplied to America’s youth parallels what was given to the people conquered by Nazi Germany, even what many living in Germany were provided.
In December 2013, statistics compiled by the 34 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranked America’s teenagers as follows: 31st in math; 24th in science; and 21st in reading. Each of these rankings was worse than it had been over the preceding three years. Each continues to sink.
So what have the nation’s educrats done to address the continuing slide? They gave America’s students Race to the Top, Outcome Based Education, Goals 2000, and No Child Left Behind. None of those programs helped to reverse the downward trend. Now they have produced Common Core, which is being resisted by many because it, too, will not bring improvement. It will lead even more surely to the kind of uneducated worker bees sought in years past by the Nazi regime.
Education actually is dangerous for utopians or tyrants. An educated individual is a “future enemy” to a would-be totalitarian. On the other hand, he or she poses no threat to free people living in a free country.
To learn more about how America’s education system became such a failure, we recommend reading Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children. Veteran educator Samuel Blumenfeld teamed up with journalist Alex Newman to warn all Americans, especially American parents, about the need for radical change in teaching the young. Without radical change, including removing federal involvement from education (where it has no constitutional authorization), the ratings will sink further and the students coming out of the system will be ill-prepared to revitalize what was once the finest educational system in the entire world.
If you want your children or grandchildren to receive a classical education similar to our Founding Fathers, we highly recommend FreedomProject Education (FPE). An affiliate of The John Birch Society, FPE provides a full Kindergarten to 12th Grade curriculum from top teachers via the Internet. The best part? It’s 100% free of Common Core!
The title of this blog entry may seem very strange to laymen, but I would guess will hit a cord among pastors. There are many distractions that can rob a pastor from enjoying the very church services into which he has invested much thought and effort. I would like to give you several thoughts that I am continually preaching to myself in this area:
1. Rest in the fact that this is God's church, not yours. What I mean by this is, sometimes we feel like all the expectation is on us to perform and make some great thing out of this group of believers. We bear an unnecessary burden of thinking that it all depends on us and every service must be "super" and above average. If, and when that does not happen (because it doesn't) we blame ourselves and consider ourselves failures. Well, listen up "bud" - that ain't your church! This is God's church, and more specifically - it is Jesus' church. He is the Head, and He is the leader of it to succeed, fail, or do "average". Relax - the buck does not stop with you.
Yes, it is true that pastors are not the center of the universe (egotistical control freaks), nor responsible for the outcomes of services. Although self-defined as "emerging" and/or "reformed", they may think of themselves as "missional leaders" as a result of the heretical influence of Drucker, Hybels, Warren, Keller, Piper, and Tripp, all of whom have incorporated the "business model" of doing church along with the metrics of church performance.
Christ is the head, not the pastor. But being the head, Christ also is not responsible for, or the cause of, success, failure, or average outcomes. The body of Christ, the church members, are given the liberty in Christ to determine that. See:Colossians 1:18-"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." See: Ephesians 5:30-"For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." See: Ephesians 4:4-"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling". Ephesians 4:12-"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ". Ephesians 4:16-"From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." SEE:1 Corinthians 12:12-"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ."
Any pastor (shepherd/servant) who cannot discern the body of Christ in a biblical way can readily and justifiably be accused of being patriarchal if not abusive.
2. Rest in the fact that God is working, so you don't have to manipulate the work.
What I mean by this is that early in the senior pastorate, I felt like I needed to control the "aura" of any given service by pumping the people up or having a theatrical moment, or interjecting myself artificially during the song service to "get the people more stirred, etc.". I felt like I could make or break how good a service was and how much the people would get out of it. I have seen other pastors straining to artificially create something by passionate words, brow beating, church self-promotion, etc. At best this is arrogant, at worst it is blasphemous against the work of the Holy Spirit.
We would do well to consider Psalms 84:2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.God is alive and working in the place of corporate worship and we don't need to manipulate the service to make it "more so". I think our part is to communicate that clearly to the people and then to allow God to be God. We all should be coming to the services to meet corporately with God and expect no less. If the attention is on the "super" pastor or the "super" music or the "super" church we have, or the "super" service - we are missing the boat and participating in plastic worship. Pastors, rest in the fact that God is working in hearts. He really is doing a work that you cannot manipulate. His sovereign evangelism and sanctification is something that works THROUGH us, not by us.
Aside from the fact that this particular pastor is still shedding tears during his prepared sermons, which is a form of manipulation to some, and belies his explanation above, a long line of open air preachers, tent revivalists, TV evangelists, charismatic/pentecostal healers, and other hucksters have delivered the message of the gospel with mixed results.
But for those cutting edge pastors who now use the internet, publish books, and have media covered grandiose conferences, retreats, events, and rallies, the packaging is more important than the watered down message. Success is measured by growth, i.e., growth of reputation, income, numbers, and ministries. Man pleasing, casual "come as you are" dress, fun and entertainment is the vehicle to catch and keep the attention of those post modern media saturated eyes and ears at most church activities. Staging and manipulation are keys to all this. That includes everything from rock style contemporary music, loud bands, giant screens, movies, bursting into tears at select times, skits, dancing, acrobatic acts, motorcycle stunts on stage, colorful props, sound and lighting changes, people being slain in the "spirit", demons being driven out, etc. All carefully crafted to produce desired effects.
Today's typical pastor is a business entrepreneur, always checking the effects and results, modifying the packaging and the product too. If that means cutting out anything offensive, such as doctrine, sin, hell, and/or repentance, so be it. To do otherwise, these pastors would have to admit to, and repent of, all that the emerging church gurus have prescribed for a long time is just not biblical. Having been robbed of true worship by hirelings, no wonder the people have grown weary of, but resigned to plastic worship. They didn't create this. Pastors have! And the next church will be as bad or worse! Worshipping in spirit and truth has been almost totally lost in America's churches. 3. Believe that you are called, gifted, and used by God. I have no idea how many times I have run back to this chapter in the pastorate: 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Imagine - you and I are "able ministers". That is such a consolation when you feel like your ministry is worth about 2 cents. Whether we see results or accolades is not the truth - the truth is, we have the ability to minister for God through the calling and gifts He has bestowed on us. Our ministry really changes hearts and lives no matter to what extent we ever see it.
So, when I prepare my sermons, when I stand in that pulpit, when I reflect on how I "did" last Sunday - let me look through the lens that I am ministering with supernatural gifts that do not fail.
Many pastors truly are not even worth 2 cents. If you are a 501C3 tax exempt church pastor, you may have been "able" at one time, that is, before your church applied for tax exemption with the IRS. After that, government replaced Christ as Lord, and because of that, you have been told in no uncertain terms every year that you may not do or say certain prohibited things in your church. If you feel like your ministry is worthless, blame the IRS; but you are not allowed to do that. If the "spirit gives life" and not the "letter", terminate the tax exemption status, and free yourself and your congregation from bondage.
Secondly, reflecting on your effectiveness is indeed fruitless and none of your business! It's not all about you exclusively. The entire body of Christ ministers with supernatural gifts, not just you because you happen to have a seminary degree. 4. Come to the services to see the living God yourself. You are not the one man show at church. Jesus is the one man show. When we consider that we are coming to seek and worship the "living God" in corporate worship, we must not think that is for everyone except the pastor. No, you are coming to engage with the God who is alive also. The song service is not a segue to your show - it is time to sing in the Spirit. It is time to lift up Jesus in your own heart. Stop staring at the schedule to see what comes next - consider the words of the hymn from your heart. Listen to the song leaders comments (God works through him also). Listen to the choir's worship instead of focusing on sister Jean who is off key. That choir isn't singing better or worse for your resume's sake. They are not singing for YOU. Focus on the God they are singing to and about. You are not a better or worse pastor because your song service is primo or pitiful. You didn't come to the service to build yourself up - you came to see the living God. One thing that helped our pastors with this was moving off of the platform onto the front row during services. We are no longer the zoo exhibit, but are part of the congregation engaging in worship ourselves.
It is really blasphemous to say: "Jesus is the one man show", although the intent is understood. Unfortunately for him and his audience, it does demonstrate that this pastor himself views a typical church service as more of a "show", than a worship time. The phrase "segue to your show" is an admission and declaration that pastors in general these days do in fact see their service as a show.
It is not biblically possible to "see the living God yourself", especially from a fundamentalist point of view. This hints at a proclivity towards Catholic contemplative mysticism. Such can be seen in examples such as Tim Keller offering classes at his church on contemplative mysticism and spiritual formation, and John Piper with Beth Moore practicing the "silence" waiting for a "fresh" word from Jesus.
It should be common practice for the congregation to make "discerning" Berean style reviews of what has transpired during a service. Of course, criticisms of mistakes, errors, or inadvertent occurrences should be overlooked by the pastor(s) and the congregation. What should not be overlooked are serious theological and/or biblical errors or heresies, rudeness, insults, or other offensive mannerisms, gestures, appearance, or actions from pastors and ministry heads. The pastor(s) should be open to criticism from discerning persons because pastors have a greater public responsibility. If they are too thin skinned and sensitive to criticism on important issues, they should consider leaving the ministry, instead of defaulting to accusing the other person of faults, or driving the person out of the church. Godly criticisms do not diminish a pastor's ministry. 5. Allow the details to be the details and not the main thing on your mind. I am a detail guy. I go a bit crazy when the lights aren't on properly, the sound has feedback, there is no centerpiece in front of the pulpit, etc. One of my favorite sayings to staff and helpers is "God is in the details"...but an equally popular saying is "The devil's in the details". That can certainly be true when we are in a service worshiping and leading worship and the only thing we can focus on is the fact that the piano mic is not on or the projector isn't working correctly.
I think we need to come to the place where we give a certain allowance to details not being exactly right in, well, ANY service. We are not working with professional ushers, sound system techs, etc. - there will be things not quite right. I have made the mistake on many occasions to feel negative feelings toward people who I thought should do better, only to realize that they were doing their best - but things "happen".
As pastors, we must strive for excellence and to remove stumbling blocks that interrupt or distract from the message - but ultimately, God WILL sanctify His people despite incorrect details. I struggle with this, but it is the truth. If I am so "peeved" by the details that I preach with a bad attitude, then I am grieving the Holy Spirit that wants to use me. That will never do.
Some pastors are perfectionistic, especially those who went to fundamentalist colleges and seminaries. You can tell by their neat appearance: dry cleaned and pressed suit, recent and short haircut, polished shoes, somewhat up to date tie, and always the three, four or five points of the handkerchief in the breast pocket.
Upon entering the sanctuary, they immediately make a laundry list of everything and everybody not in accordance with protocol. That sets the stage for either pent up hostility towards the offenders, or actual calling out prior to the service or sermon. Yes, it is very important that all words sung or spoken be heard by all, but visible irritation on the part of the all important pastor is just rudely authoritarian in nature and appearance. So the latter cancels out any trim and proper outward appearance he might have had. 6. Deflect the "stinkers" that answer to Jesus for how they talk to you. In every church there are "stinkers" that seem bent on saying exactly the wrong thing to irritate you before or after you preach. I believe the devil is pinching their bottom or something to say that thoughtless, heartless, distracting, hurtful comment to pull you away from clear ministering. They say rude things about how long you preach; they correct something that you said; they tell you something they don't like about the church; they complain about some foolish thing or another. Deflect it - don't engage in it. I have burned myself time and time again by responding to these comments in a sarcastic or defensive way. It does not work - nothing works. That person will stand before the Lord for their resistance and hurtfulness to the ministry and God's servant. Plain and simple - let God deal with them and give them no energy. You are not the problem pastor - they are. It is not "lording" to know that God did not engift or call those people to lead and teach the flock - He called YOU. You must own and embrace this authority and service and like Nehemiah, ignore the Sanballots and Tobiahs to do God's great work.
I am certainly not condoning deflecting or ignoring valid complaints or concerns. I am talking about the guy who thinks his spiritual gift is "criticism". He oozes negativity and discouragement like a nasty burn oozes puss. Deflect and do not engage. Blog Comments:
Let's face it; pastors in general react badly and childishly when it comes to either discerning individuals or critics. Because of their inflated egos, they reject both as not originating with God, since in practice, they would prefer to believe they are the only ones gifted, by nature of their "special calling" and seminary degrees. You can see it on their faces and behavior: pouting face, angry face, one eyebrow jerked high above the other, refusal to acknowledge, outright shunning, walking away. After all, if what I just preached or taught is of the Holy Spirit, do these critics/discerners really think I said something wrong, out of place, or heretical? How dare they! If this is a consistent pattern from your people, a pastor like this should seriously consider in prayer whether they are just inarticulate timid people making such comments, who, if you actually gave them a chance, might have something genuinely important to convey. It is presumptive and hurtful to judge such people as being resistant and hurtful to ministry, directed by the devil, not having spiritual gifts as important as yours, etc. It is especially judgmental and hurtful to relegate them to a "no energy", "condemned by God already" category. Because you arrogantly presume to be the one and only "God's servant", you have sinned grievously by proclaiming, which is not a quote from scripture, but this pastor:
"You must own and embrace this authority and service and like Nehemiah, ignore the Sanballots and Tobiahs to do God's great work." (SEE: Nehemiah 4:6-8)
If you're alienating saved people, you may be grieving the Holy Spirit!
7. Don't worry about results. Now, some will disagree on this point, and I am willing to allow them to be wrong. One of the great joys that I have had in ministry is not to look at "the numbers" week by week. We only publish the average attendance once a year at our annual meeting. Why? Because being results oriented is a HUGE distraction to actual God-ministering. It is trellis work and not vine work. When the numbers are up you think, "Well, look at that - I am really doing something for God." When the numbers are down you think, "That's it, I'm a failure, I want to quit." Man of God, listen to me - that is garbage. Stop looking at the numbers. *I must credit Dr. Dan Davies with this thinking.
The same is true with responses to the invitation. Let me blow your mind a moment. I live on the North East coast and hardly anyone responds physically to the invitation. When I go preach at different places - people come forward in plenty. I really don't know if it is our geographical location or the mindset of our church - but people don't usually walk the aisles. This really troubled me for some time and I even had a pastor recommend that I use the deacons to come forward and "prime the pump" so others would come.....Long sigh here for Arminian manipulation.........
Men, the work of sanctification is not "decisionism", but rather the change in hearts and lives as the work of God "untwists" people's minds long-term to conform them to Christ. Sometimes, invitation calls (as emotional as they can get) are really replacements for the true repentance of the heart that isn't the business of any person seeing you walk forward to an "altar". Over the years we have seen real and lasting growth spiritually in our people though they are not big on walking an aisle. We must believe in God's living work of changing the heart, and not put our trust in the physical response/ result of seeing people come at a man-method invitation. But...we are just men and want to see those results for our own validation that we are a "good pastor". We must focus on faithfulness and the final "well done" rather than present results. When I can free my mind from those man-made expectations - then I can enjoy preaching the life-changing Word of God without trying to make more people come forward to please my immature heart or the voices of my critics.
Well, I have written much but I hope this will be a blessing to some of my pastor friends and enlightenment for laymen. Let's get back to enjoying our church services again and engaging with the living God who occupies the pillar and ground of truth.
Trying to analyze people is psychoheresy. It is not the business of pastors to ascertain a person's spiritual state or motives, unless asked to do so. Certain places like liberal Delaware are as cold and unsocial as possible. Displays or gestures of friendliness and courtesy are actually deemed threatening. So walking aisles for these might be offensive. Some are fearful of standing out. Eastern states where liberalism, large immigrant populations, Catholicism, and apostate churches exist, are ignorant of conservative values, our founding documents, primarily due to the secular humanist public education system, and a small Christian conservative presence and voice.
All of these should be no excuse when one wants to humbly give God all the glory. However, these may have reservations because of many factors. Could it be the pastor's admitted sins of arrogance and exaggeration that befuddle the people? Or might the leadership not be sending a clear sound? (SEE: 1 Corinthians 14:8-9), constrained by that IRS 501C3 again? In any case:
Matthew 10:32-33"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."