REFIRE, NOT RETIRE!
(Eccl. 8:8 Amp. Bible)
D ear soldiers for Christ, it is not time to fold up the battle flag, but to raise it higher and higher. The war for souls has intensified over the last several years. We’ve seen too many walk off the field of battle, but we’ve also seen more join the ranks of Christ’s Royal Regiment. While many lack the courage to face the world as it is, others face it with undaunted courage.
While it is painful to hear of and see all the misery, violence, injustice etc. etc. all about us, the Holy Spirit compels us to push on, fight on. God still longs for souls, lost souls, to be redeemed. We MUST continue to RESCUE THE PERISHING.
There seems to be no end in sight to the ISIS Crisis. Europe is being invaded with refugees—Muslims mostly—many I dare say will eventually cause trouble for their host countries.
Recently, Staff Sgt. Colin Thomson of the U.K. has joined in the soul-rescue brigade. Staff Sgt. Florin Niculae, also of the U.K., had joined several years previously. Pray for these soldiers of Christ that they troop up/train up more soldiers that will fight the good fight of faith for Christ Jesus. Islam is bent on riding all Europe of Christianity. Many are overwhelmed by the immensity of the Islamic problem and feel helpless/hopeless to respond. Write us for free materials to give out to the lost and dying souls. . . to the Muslims that are compelled to fight for their (false) god, Allah.
One of Muhammad’s popular claims is that God commanded him to fight people until they become Muslims and carry out the ordinances of Islam. All Muslim scholars, without exception, agree on this. Muhammad said:
“I have been ordered by God to fight with people till they bear testimony to the fact that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger, and that they establish prayer and pay Zakat (money). If they do it, their blood and their property are safe from me.” (See Bukhari Vol. I, p.13).
Scholars understood this claim to mean the waging of offensive wars against unbelievers in order to force them to embrace Islam as individuals or communities. Our Commander, Jesus Christ the Lord, has commanded us, commissioned us, to “Go then and make disciples of ALL nations . . .” Matt. 28:19 So dear believers, are you GOING??
We dare not close our hearts to His command, nor close our eyes to world events “by relegating them into neatly packaged eschatological schemes that relieve us of any responsibility,” as one minister aptly stated.
Also, we must not stop our ears to the cries, the prayers, the moans of the world’s hungry (for the bread of life). Business as usual will never accomplish the great irrevocable mandate to world evangelism. Read the Bible—from Genesis to Revelation, the “Call to all” is there.
While the Western Church has grown FAT, PROSPEROUS, and AFFLUENT, the world has grown weak and hungry. But don’t be fooled by this thing called “Church.” Jesus even rebuked Laodicea for its supposed richness (Rev. 3:14-22). While the Western churches may have “stuff and things” in abundance, they have spiritual deficiencies that are killing them. Deliberate and calculated waste is the central aspect of both Church and State here in the U.S. When ancient Israel got in this sad state of affairs, the LORD sent his judgments/punishments.
THE PROBLEM,—THE SOLUTION
I believe that if we would get off our lazy behinds and go to the front lines, some of the global problems would be solved. At the very heart of all these complex, vexing difficulties is a fundamental spiritual reality—Paul explains them in his epistle to the Ephesians (see cpt. 6:10-17). Paul uses terms like “principalities” and “powers,” though he also uses other terms like, “authorities,” “dominions,” “thrones,” “rulers,” “princes of this world.”
We must not dismiss Paul’s teachings as the relics of a pre-scientific era. “The Bible,” as one author once wrote, “is dealing with a far more profound reality than fork-tailed demons in red pajamas or benign ghosts”. Rightly said (write for our many teachings on “Spiritual Warfare”). What we Christians are at war with is, in reality, Satan and his demons. Many religions, organizations, clubs, societies, institutions etc. are literally rules by demon forces. Even certain churches are nothing more that organized sin.
Actually, on the other hand, behind just policies and equitable laws are profound spiritual realities. So, the “spiritual powers” or “authorities” can be good or evil.
Jesus addressed both in His day. The Bible, unlike the Qur’an and Hadiths, calls us to wage the “peaceful war” against these evil powers (without using carnal weapons, of course). We are called upon to fight at every level—institutional, structural, social, and personal. I like what one minister said, “The perimeter of our concern encompasses 360 degrees.” Amen!!
Conquer! Not with carnal weapons: prayer, preaching, peace, faith, and love. These weapons can destroy Satan’s strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4). We have seen these weapons work. We have proved them many times over the years.
TCWE — 1980
While my wife, myself, and our two children were establishing ourselves in California in 1980 (after doing missions for 10 years in both the states and Central America), in Thailand, The Council on World Evangelization put forth this statement; “Of all the tragic needs of human beings, none is greater than their alienation from their Creator and the terrible reality of eternal death for those who refuse to REPENT and BELIEVE.”
Those were the days when Christians believed the Gospel (over 800 Christian leaders met as a follow-up to the 1974 Lausanne Congress). Their statement goes on to say: “If therefore we do not commit ourselves with urgency to the task of evangelization, we are guilty of an inexcusable lack of human compassion”.
Ever since God established ACMTC, we have, by His grace, gone into many nations of the world. . . .and we still work at it today. We supply the troops with ACMTC materials for the WAR has greatly intensified. The U.S. center on world missions calls the lost, “culturally distant non-Christians”. This is true, BUT the U.S. itself has its share of “the lost”.
Currently, we here in New Mexico are working among the many Native American tribes/pueblos. We see hundreds saved (and healed!) every year. We also work among the Mexicans, and of course, the whites (not many blacks here).
The implication is quite obvious: there must be a new surge of cross-cultural evangelism. There is a whole new generation since we started out in 1971. While there are missions at work, the sad fact is that the “Gospel Message” has been so watered down it has become “another gospel” with a different Jesus. It’s TRUE!! In fact, some of these missions oppose and fight us for being aggressive (not violent, but active!). They are, in reality, establishing dull Churches that are under a U.S. Internal Revenue Service 501C3 tax exemption regulation (a curse!)
Missiologists tell us that we must change with the times. Does the Gospel change? Has God changed? NO! The PROBLEM dear ones is that no one wants to present the Biblical Gospel/Biblical Jesus. They tell us that their $$ will fall off. Too Bad!
Jesus said if you don’t pick up your cross (daily!) and follow Him, you are not worthy of Him. We’ve got to deny the changing times—they are getting more and more SINFUL every year.
The debate is this: the “Good News” should or should not be contextualized into the culture in which it is proclaimed. Galatians 3:28 tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond or free, there is neither male or female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”. Here Paul removes ALL ethnic, racial, national, social, and sexual distinctions with regard to one’s spiritual relationship with Christ. ALL in Christ are equal heirs of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7), the promised Spirit (Galatians 4:6), and renewal in the image of our God (Colossians 3:10,11). Over against this, within the context of spiritual equality, men remain men and women remain women. Their God-assigned roles in marriage and society remain unchanged. But in the callings of God, God can and does use both male and female (see our materials on Women in the Ministry).
As for us accepting pagan traditions (which one will invariably encounter), be careful not to take in anything that is clearly offensive to God and His Word (we encounter much of this among the many natives that live here in New Mexico and the surrounding states of Utah, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado).
The Good News must remain free of all racism/nationalism. Sadly, too many American ministries believe that “Americanism” is much better, hence, they teach an American version of the Gospel. But we are global Christians with a global Gospel—our goal is to reach ALL peoples of the earth, not cater to the selfish interests of any one nation state. We worship NO nation (unlike the many that literally worship either Israel of the Pope!). As one pastor rightly said, “We dare not allow the little tin gods of our modern nation states to draw us into their blasphemous intertribal wars”. Nationalism will do this if we’re not careful.
Sure, there is the war aspect of this Gospel work; but there is also the Samaritan aspect. Keep the balance. The Gospel must liberate, not enslave (as Islam does). We need to see peoples FREE from the slavery of SIN. We don’t need enticing gimmicks, slick image-making advertising etc. No. “The Kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power” (I Cor. 4:19). Hello? Is anyone listening??
Away with all this prosperous, flamboyant, churchianity. It is truly sickening. It is spiritual deprivation itself. Away with going to Israel (the nation that rejects Christianity, yet uses it for $$ sake!) Taking whole groups, spending lots of $$, while denying the poor, the wretched, the denied. All this “Lets go to Israel!” stuff is nothing but sight-seeing vacationers having fun. . .while other nations of the world await the Good News. What are we to do with Matt. 25: 35, 40? We may not be able to feed bellies but we can feed the world the Bread of Life.
But American Christians (?) are more interested in results, numbers, and money. These two demons—unlimited growth and money—are deeply embedded in the American psyche. Growth and wealth are the religion of secular American society, not Biblical Christianity. For America, expansion/wealth is always desirable.
MORE!! is always good, bigger is always better. These demons literally RULE both Church and State. Do you think God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit is impressed with all this stuff we call “Christianity”?
This assumption about BIGGER is BETTER has no roots in the teaching of Christ not the N.T. writers. It is assumed that the pursuit of self-interest/church-growth will necessarily lead to ultimate social good. HA! There has never been a time in America when “Christians” have been so well off BUT rotten to the core.
The nation itself is pitiful. Chicanery is paramount, abysmally sick. Massive spiritual pollution is literally killing the Church, which in turn, effects the nation state. What we have, if I can be candid, is a DEATH CULTURE. And this is what we export, even the Gospel is contaminated with death. Yet greedy men/women in both Church and State look favorably upon any growth producing incentive, even when it becomes harmful.
The message from all quarters of this nation, from folks with their heads screwed on right, is that America’s undisciplined consumption and waste must END! The Church is included. America’s gluttonous consumption for pleasure and wealth is a sin, an oozing cancer eating away at our spiritual vitals.
Actually, it kills our passion for Christ and kills our compassion for the lost, to see them saved. Oh how the Church has diminished over the years in hungering for the Lord and desiring to see souls redeemed and trooped up as soldiers in God’s army. Discipleship is now looked upon as harsh and unloving. All these things constitute gross sin from a Biblical perspective.
Denial (that hateful word!) would do this nation a world of good. Yet denial is the norm in many ways: denying the call to repent, to cut back, to go and be witnesses to the lost. Americans sure know how to do this.
OUR SAVIOR—THE U.N.?
Give us a break! The United Nations is full of demons in human bodies that cannot and will not help solve the world’s problems. Nether can global corporations help. They may expect political/economic clout, but the Kingdom of God is not about clout—it is about eternal life. While both Church and State try to play God, i.e. “World managers,” things keep going down globally. The architects of “world peace” (whatever that is???) have failed time and time again. Why? They have ignored and omitted the Prince of Peace.
It is time to make time for the Lord and His mission. We must get back to the Diving Center. In short, we must die to self and live for Christ. The Spirit is calling for all nations to REPENT. The call is sounding loud and clear—do you hear? We must share God’s burden. We must keep in step with His comings and goings.
Our freedom from selfishness allows us to serve others. It is time to REFIRE, not RETIRE!!