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Our children, our future

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Ontario’s new Physical and Health Education curriculum presents the most recent challenge to Bible-based Christians in a long history of contending with the incursions by  the prevailing hostile anti-Biblical culture we are surrounded with.  Only now the battleground is in what we once thought was a safe place – our schools.   And the battle is over the minds and hearts of our children.  Sadly we have yet to see much strong leadership from our churches.  Christian parents are left struggling with what to do when the new school year starts.  As recently as this weekend at a gathering of concerned Christians I attended, the audience was told to ‘ engage in constructive and respectful dialogue with the teachers and the school system’.  It’s always good to be respectful, constructive and dialogue when the time is right for it but that time has now passed.  An anti-Biblical morally repugnant ‘sexualized’ health curriculum has become the legal curriculum of the Province.  Our children are not safe.

This curriculum represents a clear and present danger to the spiritual health of our children.  Their safety will not be ensured by engaging in ‘respectful, constructive dialogue’.  The children will be the first casualties of this newest incursion and then after a generation our churches will be the next to fall away.  How can I write this?  History has shown this to be true for the mainline denominations.  And the evangelical churches are now considering embarking upon the same journey of dialogue and accommodation hoping they will have peace by it.  John Dickerson writing for the New York Times argues;

Some evangelical leaders are embarrassed by our movement’s present paralysis. I am not. Weakness is a potent purifier. As Paul wrote, “I am content with weaknesses … for the sake of Christ” (2 Corinthians 12:10). For me, the deterioration and disarray of the movement is a source of hope: hope that churches will stop angling for human power and start proclaiming the power of Christ.

This is all true but what about our children?  They are not safe.  We are commanded to protect and nurture them not abandon them to the teachings of a hostile anti-Biblical culture which has for generations been working to undermine and destroy the faith of young people.  We are living the outcome of this cultural shift in the mindset of main stream Christianity.

Changing the cultural mindset of a society isn’t easy.  It takes years of effort working on many fronts.  One of the most effective strategies involves targeting the most vulnerable and most malleable members of the group – children.  Jane Cook writing about the wider issues of being a child in our turbulent world tells us;

. . . the primary reality of being a child is being in the power of adults. Children are shaped morally and politically by the strivings, attitudes and tensions of the adult world. They are given their society’s vision for the future and the mandate to carry it out. As the psychologist, Niel Postman remarked, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”

Children: The Battleground of Change, http://www.culturalsurvival.org

When we allow access to the minds and hearts of our children, we place our future and their future in the hands of others who may not share our values and beliefs.  We do so not only to our peril but to our children’s peril.  For Christians,  the role of first educators and guardians of the child’s mind and heart is a precept not to be taken lightly. The Bible is clear about the responsibility of parents; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

What happens when we let others do what God has placed in our hands?  We know what happens.  This battle for the hearts and minds of our children has been going on for several generations now and we have lost much.  Young people have abandoned the church in droves.  Today, in many many churches we can look out over the people in the pews and gaze upon a field of grey.

The mainstream church is dying out.  This is not news.  Ir is well documented history as Benton Johnson, Dean R. Hoge and Donald A. Luidens pointed out as early as 1993

America’s so-called mainline Protestant churches aren’t what they used to be. For generations on end, the Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, and kindred denominations reported net annual membership gains. As recently as the 1950s their growth rate equaled or exceeded that of the United States as a whole.

But in the early 1960s their growth slowed down, and after the middle of the decade they had begun to lose members. With very few exceptions, the decline has continued to this date. Never before had any large religious body in this country lost members steadily for so many years. By 1990 these denominations had lost between one-fifth and one-third of the membership they claimed in 1965 and the proportion of Americans affiliated with them had reached a twentieth-century low.

Mainline Churches: The Real Reason for Decline, http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9303/articles/johnson.html

Why?  Johnson et. al. point out;

. . . the single best predictor of church participation turned out to be belief-orthodox Christian belief, and especially the teaching that a person can be saved only through Jesus Christ. Virtually all our baby boomers who believe this are active members of a church. Among those who do not believe it, some are active in varying degrees; a great many are not. Ninety-five percent of the drop-outs who describe themselves as religious do not believe it. And amazingly enough, fully 68 percent of those who are still active Presbyterians don’t believe it either.

 Weak faith is a church killer.  The authors continue to say

In our opinion, the mainline Protestant membership loss is simply the next stage of this process of declining commitment to the church and to Christian faith and witness. The cultural revolution of the 1960s may have hastened its onset and added to its severity, but it was not its major cause. Most conservative religious communities came through the cultural turmoil in fairly good shape; the mainline Protestant churches were already too weak to mount an effective response.

Seeking to accommodate the world leaves parents unwilling or unable to pass a strong faith on to their children.  Johnson et. all. describe the lack of commitment among the people;

Given the reluctance of so many baby boomers to talk about religion or to instill their own views in their children, the prospects that their offspring will make a serious Christian commitment are even dimmer than their own prospects turned out to be. And among the “religious” dropouts the prospects are dimmer still. They are virtually unanimous in wanting their children to have a religious education, but less than a third with children at home have actually enrolled them in Sunday School. Many hesitate to do so for fear of getting “roped in” to a round of church activities themselves. They are “too busy,” and they have a myriad of other commitments. Above all, they see no real point in getting involved.

Where was the leadership of the church at this time?

The challenges posed to Christianity by various secular ideologies and moral systems have been truly formidable in recent times. Mainline Protestants in general and Presbyterians in particular are well educated. Many of their forebears read such authors as Darwin, H. L. Mencken, and Aldous Huxley. In response to the currents of modernity, denominational leaders promoted ecumenism and dialogue, but they did not devise or promote compelling new versions of a distinctively Christian faith. They did not fashion or preach a vigorous apologetics.

The trend hasn’t turned around.  As  churches strive to accommodate the world around them they decline.  Lauren Markoe states; “The majority of church-affiliated Americans belong to denominations that forbid gay marriage, including Roman Catholics, most Baptists, Pentecostals, evangelicals and Mormons.  Mainline Protestants, once the majority in America, have lost ground in recent decades to other denominations and to independent churches.” (With Presbyterians in the yes column, mainline Protestants solidify gay marriage support, Lauren Markoe. March 18, 2015)

Today, Bible believing Christianity as a way of life is under attack and has been for decades.  The war is for the hearts and minds of our children.  We are losing that war.  Sadly many church leaderships have urged accommodation and dialogue.  History shows us the result of that strategy.  As in the days of Ezekiel and Jeremiah there are many who would tell us to ‘go along’ and ‘get along’.  Don’t listen to them; “Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord.” (Ezekiel 13:3,4,5)  Ezekiel continues; “Because they lead my people astray, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash,  therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall.” (v. 10,11)  The flimsy walls have fallen! Why should we believe they will protect us again.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.  The time for dialogue and accommodation is over.  It has been tried many times with the same result – church decline.  Will the church help us keep our children safe and speak the Gospel unashamedly with love into a world that is broken and hurting?   Indeed, both are required for the church to stay on course and remain viable.

“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  (Judges 21:25)

Who will lead through this difficult time

A New Day!

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Jeremiah 31:33,34 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

     This new covenant means a new day for all people.  It heralds a closeness with God that hasn’t existed since the Garden of Eden.  We won’t need to talk and teach about God because we will know Him.  At last we will be free and clean and live like it!

    Matthew Henry describes this new day and new deal accordingly; “In Hebrews 8:8,9 , this place is quoted as the sum of the covenant of grace made with believers in Jesus Christ. Not, I will give them a new law; for Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it; but the law shall be written in their hearts by the finger of the Spirit, as formerly written in the tables of stone. The Lord will, by his grace, make his people willing people in the day of his power. All shall know the Lord; all shall be welcome to the knowledge of God, and shall have the means of that knowledge. There shall be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, at the time the gospel is published. No man shall finally perish, but for his own sins; none, who is willing to accept of Christ’s salvation.”

     What kind of church would reflect the glory of this new covenant?  What kind of fellowship would  arise out of the character of the new covenant?  What would this church’s ministry be to a hurt and broken world?  There would be unity and universality.  Every member in this congregation would agree because the agreement is written by the very hand of God in every heart.  There would be no need to minister within as God himself has restored each and every member of His body. Every assembly under the new covenant would be an outward church – ministering and teaching the poor, the broken and the fallen in the world.

     Matthew Henry depicts the power and outreach of the church under God’s new covenant; “This is the foundation of the covenant; and when this is laid, duty will be done wisely, sincerely, readily, easily, resolutely, constantly, and with comfort. A plentiful outpouring of the Spirit of God will make the ministration of the gospel so effectual, that there shall be a mighty increase and spreading of Christian knowledge in persons of all sorts. Oh that this promise might be fulfilled in our days, that the hand of God may be with his ministers so that great numbers may believe, and be turned to the Lord! The pardon of sin will always be found to accompany the true knowledge of God. Notice the freeness of this pardon; its fulness; its fixedness.”

     Sadly, there can be  a contrast between the church we know and the church God has made.  Worldly and carnal churches still preach to the old covenant order of priestly classes and externals in ritual and doctrine.  Far too often priests step in and place themselves between the people and their legitimate leader – Jesus Christ.  The worldly priests are taught by academics and become academics and teach the academics of religiosity.  It doesn’t work very well.  When a broken prideful world makes it’s own church and religion we should not be surprised when it is broken as well.  How can we contend with it?

     We find good advice in Matthew Henry’s directions for self-assessment regarding the ministrations of the church we sit in; “Let us search whether we are taught by the Holy Spirit to know Christ, so as uprightly to love, fear, trust, and obey him. All worldly vanities, outward privileges, or mere notions of religion, will soon vanish away, and leave those who trust in them miserable for ever.”  Take a good look around – do you see defeat and misery where there should be joy and overcoming?  Do you see privilege and vanity where there should be humility and service?  Are the teachers at the front or is He established firmly in the heart of each and every believer in the pews?

     If this self-assessment finds your assembly missing the mark, rejoice you have found your mission field.  If you find yourself lacking, rejoice the Holy Spirit is always there to teach and give you what you need to step into the new covenant.  Jesus promised us no less; “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26)

     Come Lord Jesus
 

Come now let us reason together.

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When people over-intellectualize faith and God it doesn’t take long before their discussions go round and round like a cat chasing it’s own tail.  They have lots of fun but they go nowhere.  The Bible may not be considered smart or fashionable anymore but disparaging it and those who take God at His Word has become quite the ‘in’ thing.  People think themselves clever because they can  jumble up  some science and philosophy words in a ponderous sentence that looks impressive.  But when these grand looking ideas are examined for any real meaning they are found lacking.  Fancy talk is empty and arid.  Sophists love fancy talk.

Reason isn’t fancy talk.  Reason speaks to life and living.  It is about real things that have shape, size and weight.  Reason is about real feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate and love.  Reason is about real events like birth, death, betrayal and triumph, Reason goes somewhere meaningful because it arises out of an honest desire to understand as opposed to just impress.  Reason has an edge that cuts away the fat of empty words.  Reason has a point and that point is to come into a better relationship – be it a deeper understanding or connection.  God always reasons.

The Bible is full of examples of God reasoning with humanity.  God reasoned with Cain regarding Cain’s attitude towards his brother; “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?.If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’” (Genesis 4:6,7)

God reasoned with the people of Judah; “’Come now, and let us reason together’, says the Lord. (Isaiah 1:18) The Lord desired to re-engage the people of Judah in open and honest relationship. He didn’t hold any grudge; ““Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” (v, 18) All can be made well again. His terms are simple; “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (v 19,20)  Reason always points to a choice that must be made.  This is the pattern of reason- it builds up, opens up, deepens and gives those who engage in it a better life – if acted upon.

God always reasons; humanity doesn’t; nor are we always open to reason.  Satan doesn’t reason.  Satan plays on our baser emotions.  The devil plays on our pride and jealousy; “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” (Genesis 3:1-5) Satan knew if he could get Adam and Eve to ‘over-intellectualize’ what was really a very straight forward situation then he could lead them to their downfall.  It worked!

The Bible tells us that we are not immune to false reasoning when people over-intellectualize; “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3,4)

Sadly you can get people to swallow just about anything today if you throw in some scientific terms and concepts.  We don’t start our fairy tales with ‘once upon a time’ anymore. We use more high sounding words to start our myths with;.words like – ‘science shows . . . ‘ or ‘modern thinking has led to a more evolved position . . . ‘  Sadly a lot of people will swallow any hook baited with those words or words like them.

Reason leads to wisdom; “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

Don’t settle for anything less!

My people love it this way

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Jeremiah 5:30,31 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority,and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?”

     There is a story that illustrates how slow change can bring about radical unexpected transformation in a system and not always for the good.  In this story a mild mannered frog finds himself in a pan of cool water.  Being a frog he doesn’t realize that the pan of water is sitting on a stove.  The frog is comfortable – he likes water.  He is unaware that someone has turned up the heat and the water temperature is slowly rising.  The poor frog is not capable of sensing the incremental change in the water temperature – he’s just comfortable sitting in his water.  Eventually the water boils and the frog dies, never the wiser about his dangerous predicament.  Had the frog just been tossed into the  boiling water he would have immediately jumped out but the slow changes lulled him as he was boiled alive.  Something the poor frog never expected.

     In Jeremiah’s day ‘the water was boiling’ and people didn’t notice.  They liked things the way they were; “. . . the basic lie was religious. It was Baalism, to use a general term. It began when the priesthood deceived itself into allowing a bit of falseness to creep into their preaching, and they convinced themselves that a little bit would not hurt at all. It would be all right. What they did over time was to gradually severe their mooring to God’s law and the restraints contained in it.” (Forerunner Commentary)  The commentary goes on to explain why the people didn’t notice; “When a society gets this corrupt, they have no idea what truth is anymore, and God says they had come to the point that people loved to be lied to.”

     Today so called Christian priests of all kinds rule and speak by their own authority.  Shocking things are said by clerics and accepted by their flock and tolerated by the wider Christian fellowship as a matter of course.  This has been going on for a long time now.  Around the turn of  this century the Archbishop of Canterbury was quoted as saying; “‘While we can be absolutely sure that Jesus lived and that he was certainly crucified on the cross, we cannot with the same certainty say that we know he was raised by God from the dead.’ The Mail newspaper 1999-AUG-04.”  (Religious Tolerance)  Bishop Spong has pronounced; “Jesus … was … placed into a common grave, and covered over…in a very short time only some unmarked bones remained. Even the bones were gone before too long. Nature rather efficiently reclaims its own resources.” and “A deceased man did not walk out of his grave physically alive three days after his execution by crucifixion.” (quoted in Religious Tolerance)

     Paul tells us that without belief in the resurrection our faith is useless; “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-17)

 ‘If Christ has not been raised, our faith is futile’ – this is what the Bible says and a false futile faith is being pushed on us every day by many false clerics dressed up in pretty vestments as they self-importantly prance across the stage provided for them with their flock’s tithes and offerings.  Yet we still feel good in our churches, there is no discomfort.  Like the frog we don’t notice (or care) that the water is boiling and we are dying still in our sins.   Popular churches and preaching avoid the hard steps of faith.  It feels so good to be scientific, modern and up-to-date in your beliefs even if they are completely futile.  Sadly, some honest clergy are silent and walk hand in hand with impostors lending legitimacy to the fakes and inadvertently heating the ‘water’ by yet another increment.

     Today, fakes usurp the legitimate authority of God’s Word; “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1,2)  The Bible tells us that this has been slowly going on for a long time; “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2 Peter 2:1-3)  Why can we not notice the water is boiling?

     Post-modern Christianity is killing us; “Post-modern Christianity falls into line with basic post-modernist thinking. It is about experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over religion, images over words, outward over inward. Are these things good? Sure. Are these things bad? Sure. It all depends on how far from biblical truth each reaction against modernity takes one’s faith. This, of course, is up to each believer. However, when groups form under such thinking, theology and doctrine tend to lean more towards liberalism.” (gotQuestions?org)  Who reads the Bible anymore and who would take the Bible’s word over a well educated professional cleric’s? These are important questions for us – our salvation depends upon it.

     But what will you do in the end?

     Save us, Lord Jesus!

   

   

Is your cistern leaking?

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Jeremiah 2:13 “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

     Do we do that today?  How can you forsake God and ‘hew a leaking cistern’?

     Rejecting any part of the Bible on the basis that it doesn’t apply to us today would be forsaking God.  Why?  God tells us; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4)  The Word is Jesus and He is our light;  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
   

The entire testimony of the Holy Bible is a  complete whole – a spiritual unity – embodied in Jesus Christ.  Jesus tells us; “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) And the God tells us; “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)  To discount any part of God’s Word while claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ is to worship a lesser god.  Creating the idol of the post-modern acceptable ‘Jesus-lite’ who just loves and doesn’t require holiness is to forsake God!

     God doesn’t require any complicated theologies – His Word is necessary and sufficient.  But the new age ‘Jesus-lite’ does require a very sophisticated theology of deception.  Sadly there is no shortage of clerics and seminaries that hew these ‘broken cisterns’ that hold no water.  I’ll simply quote one such ‘scholar‘ to illustrate my point;

If a person calls Jesus Lord then I personally am happy to call them a brother or sister in Christ. If they are pro-gay marriage, don’t believe in the resurrection, if they believe someone other than Paul wrote 2 Timothy then I will agree to disagree and do my best to understand why they believe what they do. However, I will also stand firmly on the things I believe to be true of our faith but I will endeavour to respectfully dialogue with folks about those beliefs.

What I will not do is, and what I think is bad Christian practice, is to allow my beliefs to define another person’s faith. Our tradition, in my case conservative, should define what we think not whether another person is saved or a Christian.

Detecting Liberal Seminaries, Sep 4, 2013 @ 0:08 by Scot McKnight

     Notice the intellectual ‘slight of hand’ – the authority of the Word is replaced with the authority of a person’s belief.   Jesus tells us that being a Christian isn’t about our claim to Christianity or any other person’s claims but rather on the claim His Word has on our hearts and minds; “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” (Luke 6:46,47,48)  Indeed the real Jesus tells us how to recognize His true followers; “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31.32)   People who don’t believe in the resurrection or marriage being the union of a man and woman, don’t abide in Jesus’ teachings.  They are not followers of Jesus according to Jesus. It’s that simple but many who prefer a fake ‘Jesus-lite’ make it complicated.

     The Bible tells us; “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)  Many look at this scripture only within the context of marriage but it’s wider application is just as important.  When we countenance fake claims to Christianity not only do we allow rampant brand hi-jacking of Jesus by fakes but  we also yoke ourselves to these impostors spiritually.

     Ecumenism is a stealth idolatry that is destroying Bible believing churches.  Well meaning pastors and their congregations who desire to be loving to others give recognition and the authority that goes with it to ‘Jesus-lite’ idolatry and the worldly fake-Christianity that has grown up like a cancer.  The Bible tells us how it works; “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3,4)  It’s a natural human desire to be liked by all – even fakes.  And it doesn’t take long before you start listening to them.

     When fear of man  replaces the fear of God, the seed of accommodation and tolerance for false doctrine takes root.  Even Bible believing churches decline because they are yoked with darkness. How so?  In the name of false unity, of ecumenism, we countenance their lies with our silence, thereby giving them an authority that God does not!  And in so doing we lose the authority of God’s Word and His blessing as a church fellowship, bit by inevitable bit. What is the result of this stealth idolatry seeping into believing churches – decline.  People are not taught the difference between what is fake and what isn’t so they come to see no difference.   Our cistern starts to leak and people fall away.  The church ages and children see no need to attend.  The latest statistics in Canada attest to this decline.

     Come Lord Jesus!

   

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