Many Christians say that Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and cultural marxism pose the greatest ideological threat to the gospel in our day. They may be right. Others fear that the spread of these ideas will lead to full-blown socialism in our nation. Read more
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How we make our money is just as important as how we spend it.
Economic activity is one of the most common and basic forms of human interaction and the Bible has much to say about it. However, it takes time to understand the complexities of our modern economy so that we can better apply God’s principles to our everyday activity. Here are five reasons your effort will be worthwhile. Read more
There’s a very unpleasant breed of Christian festering in the comment sections of blogs, websites, Twitter and Facebook groups. They won’t recognize themselves in the description I give in this paragraph, but you certainly will if you have run across them. They are typically young men, many well-educated and some with a background in philosophy. Their most obvious attribute, aside from their pride and superiority complex, is that they are unteachable. They always have an answer to counter anything you say. They are especially inclined to do so when they don’t understand what you said but think that they do. As one well-known Bible teacher has noted–that’s a stupid way to live. Read more
I once heard a preacher say that people almost always choose organized evil over disorganized evil. His point was that societal breakdown, if it lasts long enough and is violent enough, has great potential to result in totalitarianism. The modern corollary might read something like this – we will give away our freedoms to a government that makes us feel safe from random evil acts. Read more
I find it interesting that the gospel message presented in the Western world emphasizes the forgiveness salvation brings to guilty sinners yet in biblical times, people in Israel and surrounding lands lived in cultures that seemed just as concerned about alleviating shame with honor and fear with power (Psalm 44:13–15; Isaiah 54:4). Read more
People are on the move. In 2017, approximately 258 million people, or 3.4% of the world’s population, live outside their country of origin. Migrants include legal and illegal immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, guest workers, missionaries, international students and expatriate businessmen.
According to the United Nations 49.8 million migrants reside in the United States. Saudi Arabia, Germany and Russia host around 12 million each while the U.K. hosts about 9 million. In 2017 India had 17 million native born persons living abroad followed by Mexico with 13 million. Other countries with substantial migrant populations living abroad include Russia (11 million), China (10 million), Bangladesh (7 million), Syria (7 million), Pakistan (6 million) and Ukraine (6 million).
Despite the small percentage of people involved worldwide, immigration is a contentious topic. Citizens in wealthy nations, where 2/3 of migrants end up, sometimes feel threatened by an influx of people who bring different values and customs to their land. Some fear immigrants will take their jobs. Resentment that tax dollars go to support immigrants heightens when stories of lawlessness on the part of immigrants surface.
Most of us have heard arguments for and against current U.S. immigration policy. But how closely have we examined migration from a biblical perspective? Do we have confidence that our words about immigration and that our actions toward immigrants conform to God’s will?
Two Christian Views on Immigration
Within the past two weeks I have heard on Christian radio two disparate views on migration.
One program1 featured a talk given by a former U. S. congresswoman in which she portrayed migration as a threat to the survival of Western civilization. She cited as evidence numerous accounts of attacks on western women by immigrant Muslim men. She asserted that many Muslim refugees do not intend to assimilate into Western society, preferring to live in enclaves where sharia law supersedes the law of their host nation. The goal of Muslim immigrants, she claimed, is to establish an Islamic state in their host nation. Furthermore, she says demographics will make such a takeover possible because the Western world has decided to stop having children.
The congresswoman quoted Deuteronomy 32:8 to support her position that moving one nation into another goes against Scripture. She said that God called Abraham out of mankind’s rebellion at Babel to bless the nations by forming a blessed nation (Israel) that other nations must bless rather than curse (Genesis 12:3). She pointed to Matthew 25:31-38 and Joel 3:1-2; 12-14 as evidence that the nations will be judged on how they treat the nation of Israel.
The other radio program2 featured a seminary professor who described migration as part of the human DNA, saying that every country has been built on migration starting with God’s command to go and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). God was the catalyst for worldwide migration in Genesis 11. (Of course, problems arise when people migrate to a place where other people already live.)
He said, “migration is a metaphor for the Christian life” citing 1 Peter 2:11. He made the point that not only should we be a blessing to migrants, but also that migrants bring blessing with them. Migrants can actively bless their new community (Jeremiah 29:4-7). Also, he reminded the audience that immigrants are made in the image of God and that Jesus died for them. They too can rule the earth and they can bring something to their host country.
The professor noted that the Great Commission is a call to migration.
Migration and the Spread of the Gospel
This last observation reminded me of one of the lessons in a course called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. (For those who aren’t familiar with Perspectives, it is a class to help Christians gain biblical, historical, cultural and strategic perspective on Christian mission and become more involved. Some mission organizations require the course.) The lesson shows that historically, the gospel spread both by voluntary and involuntary migration and by migration of Christians and non-Christians.
For example, missionaries, in obedience to the Great Commission, voluntarily migrate to lands where Jesus is not known. Ruth voluntarily migrated to Israel to follow their God. Daniel involuntarily migrated to Babylon where he had significant impact. The Celts and Goths voluntarily migrated to the Roman Empire for spoil and were evangelized. The Vikings took Christian monks as slaves and Christian girls as wives back to their homeland (involuntary migration) where their captives, over time, evangelized them. African slaves involuntarily migrated to North America where many became Christians.
As the above examples demonstrate, man’s wickedness cannot thwart God’s purpose. Christians need not remain passive in sharing the gospel with migrants while we debate whether or not they should migrate.
As you can see, Christians care about immigration for different reasons. This post is an invitation to start a discussion about immigration. I hope readers will share their perspective and experiences so that we, as Christians, can better understand and better formulate our personal response to the migration phenomenon encompassing the globe.
To start the discussion, I have shared some of my thoughts and experiences in a comment on this post. Please share yours.
Why do you care about immigration?
- What is God Saying to the Nations? https://www.oneplace.com/ministries/understanding-the-times/
- Christians at the Border, https://discovertheword.org/series/christians-at-the-border/
False teachers typically turn Bible doctrine on its head. They take passages out of their context and apply them to whatever point they want to make. Of course, in the process, they ignore many Bible passages that assert reality and disprove their message. The doctrine of suffering is an easy target for these charlatans because, simply put, no one wants to suffer. Read more
If you don’t subscribe to the idea that capitalism is the only moral economic system, an idea boldly proclaimed by Christians infatuated with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, and you dare mention inequality, you will probably be accused of class envy. Or, you will be labeled a socialist. It matters not to these ideologues that you reject socialism outright. Read more
Some of my favorite Bible teachers on radio have been dispensationalists who believe in a pretribulation rapture of the church. They rarely bring up the subject. In fact, you could listen for years without hearing a sermon on the rapture. The same is true of the church I currently attend. When they say one’s stance on the rapture shouldn’t divide Christians, they mean it. They are more interested in building up the body of Christ and making disciples. Read more
Does the Bible predict a future “Rapture” of the Church when believers are suddenly snatched off the earth to meet Jesus in the air, and unbelievers are left behind to deal with airplanes without pilots, driverless cars and other assorted chaos? Is Jesus 2nd Coming a two-stage event in which he comes first for his Church, delivering them from the horrors of the Great Tribulation, and later to judge the world and usher in the Millennium? Read more
If you attend an evangelical church, especially a Baptist, Pentecostal or non-denominational church, you might be surprised to know how many Christians do not believe in a pre-tribulation rapture or in a “great tribulation” lasting seven years or that Revelation chapter 20 speaks of a literal thousand-year period (millennium) when Christ rules on earth.
According to LifeWay Research, only one-third of American Protestant pastors believe in a pre-tribulation rapture and only half believe in a future, literal thousand-year reign of Christ.1 Read more
Money creates problems for many people. Too much of it and we may disown God, too little of it and we may dishonor his name:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God
It also creates lots of confusion. We need look no further than our political divisions to see the problem. Read more
In the wake of cruise missile strikes in response to Sarin gas attacks in Syria, the U.S. dropping the largest conventional weapon in history on an ISIS target, and U.S. warships sailing toward North Korea, internet searches for World War 3 on Google have reached an all time high. Other people, especially those who believe this show of strength will deter aggression from other nations, show considerably less concern. Read more
Last Monday morning the social media world was in a huff because United Airlines denied boarding to teenage girls on one of their flights because of inappropriate attire. All the major news outlets reported the story.
How dare anyone tell us, the paying public, what to wear? Read more
What have you done for me lately?
This is not a question we should be asking God, but it seems we do. What better explains an inconsistent prayer life? We get excited and thankful when God answers our prayers, certain we will remain connected to our Creator. Then we drift. This comes up, then that. We become too busy, too self-sufficient, too satisfied with life without Him. Read more
Most Christians would probably agree that stewardship of our money is an important aspect of our faith. But if we merely nod our head in agreement without taking demonstrable action, we may be in grave danger. Read more
Some on Christian radio proclaim Donald Trump’s victory as an act of God’s mercy, giving our nation a second chance. I suggested in a previous article that we should consider the choices we had for president this election as judgment from God. Read more
I found the widespread description of this past presidential election as a choice between the lesser of two evils perplexing. From an issues standpoint, I considered nearly every presidential election in my voting lifetime to be such a choice. Why were people in such turmoil over this election and not the previous ones? Read more
Dark Clouds On the Horizon
This past presidential election cycle awakened fears in the hearts of many Americans that might otherwise have lain dormant had there been a candidate who rose above the lesser of two evils criterion.
Christians across America sense that time is running out. Like a train speeding toward a canyon not knowing its bridge is out, our nation has failed to slow its moral decline or alter its course by taking a different track. On the contrary, we seem to be accelerating as we approach the abyss. Read more
A Pleasant Respite Read more
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:5-10
Many Christians are in a quandary about who to vote for in the upcoming election in the United States. Read more
Both Israel and the Church are referred to in Scripture as God’s Bride. But, there are other names they share.
Both Israel and the Church Are Called God’s Chosen People Read more
In my post, The Church Is Not a Parenthesis In God’s Redemptive Plan, I challenged the idea that God has a different redemptive plan for Israel and the Christian Church and posed this question – If Israel and the Church are so distinct, why are they often described the same way in the Bible, or called by the same name? Read more
(This is the first article in a series that explores God’s plan and the Christian’s place in the unfolding drama that is indeed the greatest story ever told. It is God’s story, not ours, yet God has graciously made our story part of a larger, exciting, awesome, and beautiful story – God’s redemption of the world. Included in this story is the Great Tribulation. Will Christians be Raptured and thus escape this troubling time or must they be prepared to be faithful witnesses through it?) Read more
In John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem Maud Muller, a poor maiden and a rich judge, upon a happenstance meeting, imagine how different and better their lives would be if they left their own situations and lived like the other. But their chance meeting was soon over, with neither having voiced their imaginations, as the judge closed his heart knowing his family would oppose him accepting a lower station in life. Read more
The human heart is fragile. It can be broken and crushed (Psalm 147:3). This same fragile heart is the one with which we are to love God passionately along with our mind and soul and strength (Luke 10:27). The fact that God “inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal (Job 5:18)” makes this conundrum even more baffling. Read more
Micah denounced Israel not only for their sins against God in the form of idolatry, but also for their sins against each other. There is no doubt about their guilt, as it is God himself who testifies against Samaria and Jerusalem (Micah 1:2).
Israel Had An Incurable Wound
In the book of Micah we learn that Samaria (the capital of Israel) had an incurable wound and like untreated gangrene it had spread to Jerusalem (the capital of Judah). What was the wound that was so loathsome to God? The northern kingdom’s idolatry had reached a level from which judgment would no longer be withheld. As a result, God proclaims to the whole earth that he will make Samaria a heap of rubble. Read more
Are you ever surprised by how quickly you forget what God has done for you or what he expects of you? I am not just referring to something you heard in a sermon you thought was interesting. It could be something that touched you so deeply that, at the time, you would never believe you would forget it or fail to act on it. But you did.
You are not alone. Read more
Christians naturally want to know what God’s will is for them. However, when the focus of this question is on vocation rather than following Jesus, we are liable to get sidetracked. Read more
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Ps. 90:4
I remember my concept of time when I was a child. It went by slowly. On my seventh birthday my present was a fishing rod and tackle box ordered from the Sears catalog. (Remember those?) Every day I watched for the mailman hoping he would bring my package. It took six weeks to arrive. To me, it seemed like an eternity. Read more
My times are in God’s hand. I find great comfort in this fact particularly because of three things that are true about God – he is good, he is omniscient and he is omnipotent. If he is not good, I have every reason to fear his sovereign power. If he is not omniscient, then his plans might be misguided or have unintended consequences. If he is not omnipotent, then he is unable to do all that he has promised and my times are not really in his hands. Read more
I feel it sometimes. Cold, heartless evil. It’s all around. It’s dark and ugly. It’s chill penetrates to the bone. I felt the cold when I heard of the murder of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I feel it when I read about ISIS beheading and crucifying Christians. The darkness draws close with countless other events reported on the nightly news. Read more