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Hillsong’s Brian Houston condemns Christian athlete Israel Folau for quoting scripture

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Hillsongs Brian Houston condemns Christian athlete Israel Folau for quoting scripture

Yes you read that headline right. This story comes from Australia where the county’s largest megachurch, Hillsong, condemned rugby star Israel Folau for quoting scripture that condemned homosexuality, among other sins, and warned of hell. The two biblical passages paraphrased by Folau are 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21. Now, this, predictably, earned a Fatwa from the Rainbow Jihad crowd and corporate sponsors of Rugby Australia pressured the league to take action against Israel Folau’s past social media comments. In a column last month titled “A message to Folau: The world doesn’t need more judgmental Christians” in The Sydney Morning Herald, Brian Houston of Hillsong wrote a sharp rebuttal to Folau’s message.

While sin is a real issue, the God I know and seek to follow is a God of love. He says that He did not come to condemn the world, He came to save it. And as Christians we would do well to follow the example of the founder of our faith. I believe there is a heaven and a hell but if you study scripture you won’t read about Jesus screaming to people that they are all going to hell. In fact Jesus, John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul, all kept their harshest criticism for those who were religious and judgmental.

There is a lot of crap to break down here. Brian Houston after praising Israel Folau has completed his “but” and is moving towards his own theological teaching. It begins by trivializing sin. Then references John 3:17, which is fair. But then charges Christians to follow the example of the founder of our faith. He names Jesus, John the Baptist, and Paul. So what is their example? It is oft said that Jesus preached more on hell than heaven, but regardless of the official tally, one would be hard-pressed to find a scriptural example of someone who preached about heaven and hell more than Jesus. John the Baptist preached a hardline message of repentance, and Paul was the source of what Folau was quoting. It seems Israel Folau was following a more literal example of these three.

But let’s break down the last portion of this quote. Are the harshest words of Jesus directed towards the religious and judgmental? I disagree with this premise. Jesus renders woes towards the Pharisees, but it’s not because they were religious or judgmental; it’s because they were frauds. In John 3, Jesus comes close to berating Nicodemus for not understanding Scripture when it’s his job. Jesus employs the word hypocrite. In ancient times, a hypocrite is an actor. Jesus doesn’t condemn their judgmentalism, he condemns their apathy.

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. – Matthew 23:13 (NASB)

This is the first woe. The subsequent woes condemn virtue signaling prayers, their travels, their greed twice, their fake appearance, and their virtue signaling messages about the prophets of the past whist they conspire to kill the Messiah. Never does it condemn their accurate quoting of scripture. Never does it condemn their calls of repentance. The Pharisees were actors. And the ones who weren’t acting, Nicodemus, were sucking at their jobs. The Pharisees weren’t leading people to God because they knew not God. And how can a people know God if the people who are supposed to show them suck at their job. The very thought process engenders righteous anger. The Pharisees didn’t understand the law, instead exploited the culture and population’s lack of knowledge to live a life of luxury and elitism.

In 40 years of telling people about the good news of Jesus, I have seen that the “turn or burn”, approach to proclaiming the message of Christianity alienates people. Scaring people doesn’t draw them into the love of Jesus.

God cared so much for the eternity of humankind that he sent his only son to die in order that he might make a way for restoration and reconciliation. The problem with harsh comments in the media and disparaging statements on social media is that they create a further wedge between God and people.

The world doesn’t need more judgmental Christians. In the eyes of many, the church is not relevant to their lives and is seen to be stuck in the past.

I don’t agree with turn or burn, but I am a big fan of fire and brimstone. Peter’s Second Sermon in Acts 4 confronts the people with their sins and makes it clear that the failure to heed Jesus has eternal consequences. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is perhaps the most famous sermon in American history. Fire and brimstone is remembered, and that was Israel Folau’s message. Then Houston starts talking about division and creating a wedge. But why is this bad? If people see a wedge between God and the people, they will soon see that the God side is better. Instead of finding middle ground with society, Christians are called to stand apart. We are called to create the wedge where the alternative is a society rejecting God. Jesus created a wedge between God and the people and was crucified. Peter employed this same wedge to bring people back to God. There is a right side of scripture and a wrong side of scripture.

Modern Day Pharisee

The actor hear is most certainly not Israel Folau, rather I pose this question: is Brian Houston a modern day Pharisee?

I hope Izzy is extended some grace from all Australians. He is young and sincere and passionate about his relationship with God. We have all made mistakes when it comes to speaking too quickly, judging too harshly or being blinded by our own stubbornness. The world is a better place when we all look at ourselves and recognise our own human failings, and we can extend the same grace to him as we’d like others to show us.

The only reference to the right way and wrong way to do things that Brian Houston uses are those from his experience. He cites broad biblical examples, which have shown to be incorrect. To Brian Houston, there is a right way to reach people and a wrong way, and because he owns the largest megachurch in the world, he must be doing it the right way. Because he is well established, he knows what he’s doing. His admonishment comes off as a “stay in your lane.” Sound familiar? Come to think of it, the Pharisees ran the largest temple in Judea…

Back to Israel Folau

The Australian Rugby Union wants Israel Folau gone. They want him out of the league after he was found guilty of a high level breach of the players code of conduct for a social media post paraphrasing the Bible. Church Leader’s Megan Briggs reports that Folau grew up in a Mormon church but his family left. And when he began his professional career, he began attending a Christian church and heard the love of God for the first time. Since then he has been outspoken.

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Culture and Religion

William Barr nails the secular upheaval of Judeo-Christian morals

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William Barr nails the secular upheaval of Judeo-Christian morals

Humans have a moral compass. We’ve had it for over 2000 years. Before we had it, there were other parts that were already being formed so mankind would have a basis for morality and absolute truth that differs from postmodernism or its emerging despicable cousin, the post-truth society of false absolutes based on personal feelings.

This moral compass is the Bible, and our adherence to Judeo-Christian beliefs as a nation and in many places around the world has helped mankind keep evil at bay. Our flawed efforts through the millennia have fallen short, not because the Word wasn’t perfect but because we are not perfect. This has eroded to the point that modern society is experiencing a secular upheaval forcing cataclysmic decay of our morality.

We are flawed. Progressives are trying to use these flaws to pull us further away from the truth of our existence and the only truly moral compass we possess. They’re doing it through media, education, and entertainment. They’re attacking churches, synagogues, and adherents to the Bible with an anti-Biblical worldview that is growing increasingly militant.

Attorney General William Barr recognizes this and expressed as much during a speech at Notre Dame last week.

William Barr’s speech on religious freedom should resonate with everyone who recognizes the degradation of our values as a people and a nation. The further we diverge from the Biblical worldview, the worse the world becomes.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Culture and Religion

Should Church be the mission field?

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Should Church be the mission field

There is a growing prevalence of churches that want to draw people in to present the gospel. These churches, commonly referred to as “seeker friendly” churches have been one of the biggest trends in Christianity in the postmodern world. A comparison would be the analytics of Major League Baseball. Some people champion it; others loath it. For these seeker friendly churches are engaged in the advance usage of analytics and marketing. In the effort of not being dismissive in a traditionalist “get off my lawn” way, I want to examine, giving a fair shake, this prevalent trend in Christianity.

In the early church, it was inconceivable that churches would attract large audiences to present the gospel. During the time of persecution, Christians building coliseums for worship would have been lit as candles to light those coliseums while lions were fed to their brethren in an evening pagan spectacle. During the reign of the Papacy, this second phase of Christian history built cathedrals, however these architectural feats were never intended to be mission fields, rather home bases. The post-reformation segment of Christendom saw large gatherings and generational revivals but a large church does not equal a “seeker friendly” church. In American history, we have seen some readily obvious cycles of rebellion and repentance with the Great Awakenings. We aren’t in one of those periods of repentance as a society; we need to be, but I digress. If you build it and they will come is an entirely new phenomenon for physical churches.

I am unsure whether this phenomenon of seeker friendly is the result of the rebellion in our societies or a response to. However, many prominent proponents of seeker friendly churches have questionable theology such as Andy Stanley. Andy Stanley’s Deep and Wide is the bible for seeker friendly churches. There’s obvious problems with the seeker friendly church model that stem from belief systems that counter scripture, the Popularity Gospel as I have coined it.

But the original question was not contemplating the theological legitimacy of seeker friendly churches. Rather we are examining the use of church as the mission field which these famous megachurches’ methods have permeated into many bible believing churches. The origin comes from theologically void sources, however legitimate churches use much of these methods to increase the audience of the church, but I am wondering how these methods can increase the size of the church.

1Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NASB

So if the church is to be the mission field why then is the church not interested in preaching the gospel every Sunday? Sermons on money don’t save. Sermons on not being “judgmental” don’t save. Not even sermons on loving your neighbor save. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 concisely articulates a saving message that Paul seems to have preached regularly during his time in Corinth.

Comfort

The Good News of Jesus Christ is a call to a painful death to self, daily. No work-around backdoor preaching in a way non-believers can agree with is a sufficient substitute. Using the physical building and programs as a mission field is an unprecedented means modern Christianity finds itself in. By no means, should we turn down innovative ways to baptize believers and make disciples. However, these means must do exactly that. If the church is to draw non-Christians, specifically church adverse people, in with music, atmosphere, and accommodations then the duty of the Church to Christ is to present the gospel daily.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Culture and Religion

Child abuse: CNN uses 9-year-olds as ‘transgender’ props at Equality Town Hall

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Child abuse CNN uses 9-year-olds as transgender props at Equality Town Hall

Two distinct sciences – biology and psychology – contradict claims of inherent gender dysphoria in children. It’s not that it never happens, but study after study shows parental bias, abuse, or both are more prominent causes for children to believe they are misgendered than being “born this way.” Undeterred, the radical progressive left continues to promote the concept that child transgenderism is common and totally not the results of activist, misguided, or abusive parents.

During CNN’s “Equality Town Hall,” two 9-year-old children have been brought to the podium to ask questions of candidates. One such child, Jacob, was accompanied by his mother, Mimi Lemay, who happens to be a member of the Parents for Transgender Equality National Council.

Conservatives on Twitter were quick to point out the spectacle CNN was trying to propagate in their question to stay “woke” and relevant at the same time.

What? Only three Tweets? Fortunately, most Americans were either watching football, shopping for Halloween candy, or doing literally anything other than watching CNN’s town hall. It was that bad… from what I hear.

Here’s the reality of the Democrats’ agenda. They feel like they must pander to secure not only the votes of those in the community but also the large number of radical progressives not in the community, but who wish they were. This is 100% for nomination purposes only. Once a Democrat emerges victorious, the LBGTQ community will be pushed to the bottom of the Democrats’ and CNN’s priority list. Why? Because they represent a secure voting block for Democrats.

This is what makes it so unfortunate that children like Jacob are used to promote an agenda. At 9-years-old, he isn’t old enough to understand the complexities of politics. He’s also not only enough to be definitively experiencing gender dysphoria from a clinical perspective. Even progressive doctors acknowledge post-puberty sexual awareness is a prerequisite for true gender dysphoria to arise. At 9-years-old, he’s still just confused at best and brainwashed at worst.

Parents participating in this type of brainwashing should be investigated for abuse. Shame on CNN for promoting this type of child exploitation for the sake of appeasing those who hold a radical political ideology.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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