So-Called Evangelicals Denounce The Atonement As “Too Individualistic”

In an interesting article posted a Christianity Today, Mark Dever examines growing opposition within the Evangelical community to the substitionary atonement, meaning the death of Christ upon the cross for the fulfillment of our sins.

Thinking they know more than God now, a number of theologians oppose the Atonement as a barbaric holdover from less enlightened times that fosters a sense of individuality among believers. Heaven forbid anything that hinders our sublimation into members of the COMMUNITY.

Frankly though, if Christ did not die for our sins and rise from the dead, why bother being a Christian at all? 1 Corinthians 15:19 says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

Furthermore, what’s the point of forgiveness and eternal life if it means the obliteration of our individuality in a manner akin to Brahmin in Hinduism or the Nirvana of Buddhism? Also, the observant might note that, if these theological babblers have constructed elaborate arguments to convince themselves they are without sin, the last thing they want to confront is the most jarring reminder of all that the bad in humanity outweighs the good.

The word sin is simply retained as a convenient tool with which to prod the masses when the uneducated clods drag their feet in implementing the agenda of the elite and hindering the revolution rather than to convict any one person of individual wrongdoing.

For the offenses of materialism, racism, and nationalism mentioned are so broad that they are more interpretations than specific misdeeds.

In the eyes of our social and ecclesiastical overlords, materialism is not so much the Saganist philosophy that the universe all the was, is, or ever will be but rather the failure to relinquish one’s property to the state or other institutions of authority. Racism is not so much the mistreatment of a particular individual and thus covered under more traditional ethical codes but rather failure to support undue concessions or favors for protected groups. Nationalism is not so much the elevation of the state above God or even the individual but rather the failure to embrace the headlong rush towards global government.

As all powerful as the Communitarians would like their collective to be, it’s not going to do one bit to keep you out of Hell or launch you into a happy afterlife. And if there is no hope beyond the grave, why shouldn’t we party like a bunch of Epicureans, maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain as each of us sees fit if death is nothing but the ultimate get out of jail free card as the cold end of it all with neither the guilty being punished or the righteous rewarded?

by Frederick Meekins

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Prominent Critic off the Mark Regarding Apocalyptic Thriller

As a semi-professional contrarian prognosticator on current events and ideas, I’ll be the first to admit how easy it is to find fault with things falling outside the purview of one’s own take on the world. However, it would seem from John Whitehead’s review of “Left Behind” in the February 7, 2001 edition of WorldNetDaily that some people are never happy.

Though I have not yet seen the film nor read the series of novels as of earlier 2001, I have seen similar works such as “The Omega Code”, “One Moment After” and the 70’s classics “Thief in the Night”, “Image of the Beast”, and “Prodigal Planet”, as well as having noticed the proto-eschatological themes addressed in more mainstream science fiction such as “Babylon 5” and “Earth: Final Conflict”. I believe I am safe in addressing John Whitehead’s criticism of this cinematic production. <

John Whitehead levels considerable criticism at “Left Behind”. Yet at one time he was one of the voices calling for greater Christian involvement with popular culture as evidenced in a profile of him published in the December 7, 1998 edition of Christianity Today. It is in response to this yearning that the producers of “Left Behind” hope their efforts will “lead to more family-friendly movies”.

But of such efforts, John Whitehead says today, “Christian involvement in culture should be in a way that ultimately serves that end — not merely to pour $17 million into a poorly adapted feature that does not contribute to leading viewers into a deeper relationship with their eternal Creator.”

One must assume Mr. Whitehead thinks such edification can be found in “The Last Temptation of Christ” which he classified as “a sympathetic and reverent treatment of Christianity’s origins,” according to the Christianity Today profile. It should be recalled that “The Last Tempation” was the movie that made Judas out to be the hero and cast Jesus as the villain.

Mr. Whitehead further admonishes contemporary Evangelicals in light of the “Left Behind” phenomena, “Instead of dedicating their lives to taking care of the poor and the needy, American followers of Christ too often ignore His example and instead look for cheap thrills in an increasingly superficial world.”

Mr. Whitehead should be reminded of his own neglect of the downtrodden in his own pursuit of glitz and the limelight. According to Christianity Today, Mr. Whitehead’s civil rights organization the Rutherford Institute, at the expense of those facing more pressing and substantial First Amendment religious rights issues, came to the defense of Paula Jones — the floozy who wouldn’t disrobe for then Governor Clinton but who apparently had no problem doing so for Playboy photographers.

To some Christians, it’s not legitimate missions activity unless it’s directed at some impoverished foreigner halfway around the globe. John Whitehead writes, “…instead of centering their hopes, prayers and financial resources behind the tragedy in India [a reference to the recent earthquake] … much of the American Christian community was busy hyping a movie that one reviewer called ’unintentionally hilarious’.”

Elsewhere on his gaudy and semi-tasteless looking magazine and website Gadfly, John Whitehead has explored the metaphysical background of the “X-Files”.

How would he propose we reach out to those whom this particular genre speaks to? Somehow I don’t think vaccination clinics or soup kitchens will quite grab them where they are hurting most. An evangelistic film geared towards their interests in paranormal phenomena and government conspiracies likely would, however. And for others, such visualization would help make the obscure beasts, dragons, plagues and judgments of the Book of Revelation and other passages of Scripture relevant to their early twenty-first century lives.

John Whitehead dismisses “Left Behind” as a “B” film and comments, “Truly Christian films embody this aim by exploring the human dimensions of loving thy neighbor as thyself, portraying servants in a world where everyone seeks to be a master, and by encountering the Divine in unexpected places …”

What more could Mr. Whitehead hope for than a movie set during the time of the Tribulation?

During that period in eschatological history, the very power of Satan will be allowed the seemingly unbridled power the Prince of Darkness has always longed for since the time of his fall, and during this future era simply being a Christian could get you executed. It is under such conditions to which Americans are currently not accustomed that the protagonists of “Left Behind” must stand for truth and righteousness during the heyday of the New World Order.

In all likelihood, “Left Behind” is not a perfect movie. However, much of the drivel and filth produced by Hollywood is not worth watching to begin with.

It must be remembered that Christians have not had much practice at producing cinematic masterpieces that are both theologically accurate and appeal to a broad audience. This is due in large part to the sanctimonious piousness like that displayed by those such as John Whitehead, who in at least this instance, refuse to realize the apologetic of certain literary genres and narrative techniques.

By Frederick Meekins

Canonizing the Blair Witch: Pagan Religion More Noble than Christian Belief in the Eyes of Some

Isaiah 5:20 reads, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Many assume this warns that those who violate this holy decree will have the judgment of God heaped upon them. But while God is not slack in fulfilling His promises, the forthcoming retribution might not necessarily flow directly from His fingers in the manner we might expect. Often we end up being punished by the consequences of our own actions without God intervening as a primary cause.

In an article appearing in the January 18, 2001 edition of the Prince George’s Sentinel extolling the merits of Wiccan variety witchcraft, one discovers that in calling evil good and good evil that the very epistemological categories required for rational thought and communication begin to break down. Foremost among these is the idea of truth and its basis in objective factual knowledge.

The article begins its symphony of misinformation from almost the very first note. Sentinel staff writer Matt Carr boldly declares early in the piece, “Christianity has dwelled in the hands of war and genocide. Missionaries sent forth to deliver the teachings of God … led to the torture of the Chinese and Japanese.”

From this, one would conclude that fanaticism is only a Christian shortcoming. But excuse me, has anyone checked out much of Islam’s record lately? In Sudan, Christian children are sold into slavery and their legs mutilated so they can’t run away. Upon reaching adulthood, many will be executed so they won’t present a threat to their masters.

And speaking of Japan, did you know that the Christian church there was nearly wiped out by persecution after the death of Francis Xavier, the pioneering Jesuit missionary to the Orient? And the Red Chinese harassment of the modern Church is so well documented that I don’t even need to provide additional information to justify my claim.

So much for the wonders of multiculturalism.

Elsewhere, the Sentinel article plays so loose with the facts that it is doubtful if the statements made are worthy of classification as such. The article says of a local Wiccan, “[he] celebrates a religion of nature, much in the same way those burned at Salem did.”

In all likelihood, with the exception of the local slave, probably not one resident of Salem, Massachusetts was a practitioner of the occultic sciences. Rather the modern equivalent of those persecuted at Salem can be found among those falsely accused of sexual harassment simply because they’ve rubbed someone the wrong way, figuratively of course, and their accusers had more in common with Anita Hill than today’s average Christian.

Furthermore, technically there were no Wiccans in Massachusetts at the time because, quite frankly, Wicca hadn’t been invented yet. According to an article in the Atlantic Monthly reviewed on Crosswalk.com, Professor of Religion Phillip Davis of the University of Prince Edward Island and Historian Ronald Hutton of the University of Bristol concur in their assessments that Wicca was concocted in 1950 by amateur anthropologist Gerald B. Gardner who was influenced by German romantics and various occultic practices.

Even though Wicca does not posses a clearly delineable historical pedigree, that does not mean its ideas aren’t drawn from some kind of background. It’s just not the one filled with unicorns and flower children its adherents would like many to believe. It may have more in common with the Wicked Witch of the West depicted in the Wizard of Oz.

For example, in Wiccan lore, practitioners of this form of spirituality trace their lineage back to the Druids. Did you know that the Druids practiced human sacrifice?

Closely related to the Wiccans are those today professing themselves to be pagans. Their rights to bad mouth Christianity’s historical shortcomings are also suspect given their own atrocities.

Leviticus 18:21 says, “Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech [a pagan deity] (New International Version).” Later on in the book of II Kings chapter 23, King Josiah destroys the altars upon which children were sacrificed to pagan gods. One might like to note that Wiccan feminists play a prominent role in the abortion movement.

No wonder Wiccans are quick to heave objective history out the window.

From the Prince George’s Sentinel article, one gets the impression that witches are the only mistreated religious group. The warlock interviewed for the article said, “I’m intimidated to put my beliefs on applications.”

Join the club. Many Christians feel the same way about the retaliation they will receive for expressing their convictions to leftwing supervisors and coworkers. Frankly, very few employment applications ask for one’s religious beliefs being that to do so violates the law.

Yet the ironic thing is that these very same ones peeved at those apprehensive about suffering a witch among them, to use the King James English, find John Ashcroft an unfit nominee for the office of Attorney General simply because of the Christian beliefs he happens to live by.

As a nation built upon the freedom of religion, the Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to live free in their beliefs without government harassment and without actual forms of physical violence from those with whom they disagree. However, a society that extols witchcraft as virtuous and shuns Christianity as a shameful thing is further down the yellow-brick road of losing its freedom as a judgment permitted under God than most realize.

By Frederick Meekins

 

Trump No Less Pious Necessarily Than Average Christian

In contemplation as to whether or not Donald Trump is a Christian, Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in a SermonAudio podcast alleged the presidential candidate has not produced any fruit testifying to such.

As an example, this pastor did not offer any proof such as Trump enunciating an errant Christological profession or even the tycoon’s shocking confession that he did not have any sins needing forgiveness.

Rather, the criteria referenced by Harris included no proof of regular church attendance, lack of a spirit of generosity, and lack of fidelity to a single woman.

How is charity being defined?

By the tossing of money at a particular cause or organization with no expectation of anything in return?

By that definition, the financial oblation many believers place in the collection plate each week doesn’t count either.

For most are doing that for the purposes of curring favor with God or to workout some kind of arrangement between the taxman and/or the church leadership.

Secondly, it must be admitted that Trump’s conjugal relationships are less than ideal.

However, unlike Bill Gothard, Josh Duggar, Jack Schaap, at least Trump seems to be attracted to woman over the age of consent or not beneath him on an organizational flowchart where the occupational statuses of the objects of his desire are not threatened if they spurn his advances.

By Frederick Meekins

Welfare Witchdoctors: Health Program Used As Front For New Age Quackery

Americans engaged in the struggle for the soul of this country realize the dangers posed by both the New Age movement and certain kinds of government entitlement programs, usually though as independent phenomena. It now seems these two threats may be getting together to further erode the moral and spiritual foundations of this great nation.

Featured in the October 24th Washington Post health insert was a story detailing a government health program where the Department of Housing and Urban development paid $840,000 to the National Institute for Medical Options to promote techniques to reduce stress and illness among residents of public housing.

There was more to this program than teaching residents to take their vitamins, eat three square meals per day, and to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. As part of the program, participants were taught to burn incense, about the healing power of crystals, and how to chant “I am the perfect image of the Divine Creator”. Somehow, I don’t think this was a Biblical reference to being made in the image of God because, in addition to the aforementioned practices, patients also learned what goddesses of the Greco-Roman pantheon best described their particular personality.

It is amazing with what one can get by with provided one’s goal is the erosion of the traditional American values.  For example, Greek mythology is no longer deemed appropriate as part of a well-rounded education because of its despised Eurocentric origins even though, despite its shortcomings, it has been traditionally utilized as a literary device in transmitting the ethical heritage of Western civilization. However, when used to undermine traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs, the government gives it its imprimatur as a system by which to promote pagan practices. One can imagine the outrage that would erupt had personalities been classified according to what Biblical character they most resembled and prayer suggested as technique for controlling stress.

If Christian organizations and charities are to be excluded from alliances with the government designed to ameliorate human deprivation for fear of the harm the church might inflict upon the state rather than as a way to prevent the state from exerting undue control over the church, such cautions should be taken in avoiding entangling relationships with other religions that compromise the First Amendment as well.  It cannot be denied that this so-called “wellness” program offered by the National Institute of Medical Options is fundamentally religious in nature backed by science so dubious in nature it would force Carl Sagan to side with Creation Science if he was forced to pick between the two.

The Washington Post article pointed out that the National Institute for Medical Options is administered by the same individual who pastors the Community Center for Wholistic Healing. Michelle Lusson, ordained by the Episcopal Church, who claims to be a “metaphysician who channels Cosmic Cycle Updates that provide valuable information on the spiritual awakening and transformation of the global world body and of the individual.” I don’t know exactly what such nonsense means, but I can tell you it wreaks of the New Age movement.

Unfortunately, the questionable spirituality is not confined to the private-sector partner of this contractual relationship. The article revealed that these kinds of beliefs can be traced to the highest levels of public service.

These New Age therapies have been endorsed by HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Assisted Housing Delivery Gloria J. Cousar. It was also mentioned she happens to be ordained by the International Metaphysical Ministry.

Cousar defended these kinds of programs by saying, “People become involved in drugs because they have given up…. This program helps empower people to act on healthier lifestyles.”

So would handing out Bibles and inviting the downtrodden to Sunday School. However, the government would never do that and certain elites would probably like to forbid you as private citizens from doing that as well in light of the many agency regulations, municipal statutes and corporate policies radically curtailing religious speech and prosyletization efforts.

A number of Evangelical leaders have suggested that Christians should curtail the attention they pay to matters of politics and policy in order to concentrate on the loftier concerns of faith and belief confronting American society. Such a suggestion might prove inadequate when these arenas begin to merge as a single challenge as is the case of these New Age welfare programs.

(First published in the mid 1990’s)

By Frederick Meekins