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CHRISTIANITY OASIS
Presents
Purity Publications
Humanism vs. Christianity
~
The Polarization of America

by Patrick Vosse

Chapter 17

Community


Humanism vs. Christianity
~
The Polarization of America

by Patrick Vosse


Part Four
A Spiritual Island in a Sea of Secularism


Chapter 17 - Community


There is a demonstrated trend toward Secular Humanism and an increasing opposition to Christianity. Secular Humanism is riding on the back of the Evolutionism philosophy and galloping across out culture with devastating effect. Considering that we are entering a period predicted by the Bible in which Christians and Christian values are generally rejected by those in power over our society, we must ask the question: What should be the priority of the Christian community?

Should the Christian community be concerned with arguments over how God organized his creation or should we be focusing on the Gospel of Jesus?

Should Christians be focusing on non-theistic evolution being taught in schools when those same children are also being taught to "celebrate" homosexuality (and even experiment with it) and the media is full of Gnostic teachings that promote heresies and challenge the divinity of Christ?

Should Christians deny the validity of scientific discoveries with a paranoid fear when those discoveries reveal God's glory and fear of science labels those Christians as ignorant, unreasonable and, therefore, brings their evangelism under suspicion?

Should Christians become political activists?

… Others have the knowledge of things to come, as also visions and prophetic communications; others heal the sick by the imposition of hands, and restore them to health. And moreover, as we said above, even the dead have been raised and continued with us many years. And why should we say more? It is impossible to tell the number of the gifts which the church throughout the world received from God …

Eusebius, Book V, Chapter VII

BACK TO THE FUTURE

We discussed in Chapter 11 how the secular world is reverting to the moral culture of the decadent Roman Empire. Consider the success of the early Church at that time. Perhaps the modern Church should return to the ways of a those first Christians. We should learn from the early Church. The Church before the "opening parenthesis" (as shown in Figure 4, Chapter 11)  and the Church after the "closing parenthesis" have a lot in common. The early Church had one aim, one single-minded goal. The Church simply told the world about Jesus. Paul did not argue philosophy. He knew that would lead nowhere and be a waste of his time. However, if he converted a person to faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit would do the convincing.

Let us take a closer look at the early Church. In Acts 1:8, Jesus told the disciples, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." The Church began at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples (Acts, Chapter 2). In Jn 3: 5-8, Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again—in the Spirit. This is exactly what happened to the disciples at Pentecost, they were born again in the Spirit; and the Church was born—in the Spirit. What a difference it made! The reticent Peter immediately went out, like Billy Graham on spiritual steroids, preached to a crowd of strangers, and converted 3,000. And that was just the beginning.

There is a word that describes the early Church and makes it different from anything that anyone had ever experienced before: POWER. Acts 2:43, describes how "Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. In Acts 4:33, we are told, "With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and much grace was upon them all." Imagine a Church in which the pastor preaches with the POWER of the Holy Spirit and the congregation witnesses with the POWER of the Holy Spirit. That is exactly what Jesus had in mind, and more than that. In 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, Paul describes the manifestations of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, faith, miracles, prophecy, discerning spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpreting tongues. However, Paul presents this list as though the Corinthians are already familiar with these manifestations.[1] His point is that they are all manifestations from one Spirit and, although each person may have a unique gift, we are one body. These manifestations of the Holy Spirit are a given, it is assumed they are familiar with the gifts in their daily lives.

In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul discussed how some of the members of the congregation had become arrogant, boasting and assuming authority. Paul gives them a preview of his testing the wannabe church leaders.

Some of you have become arrogant as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 1 Cor 4:18-20

There are those who would say, "The Age of Miracles is over." Why? In 2 Tim 3:5 Paul says that in the last days men will be, "having the form of godliness but denying its power." If the Church is without the power of the Holy Spirit, it is just another human institution (Political Church, Philosophical Church, and Social Church). As Paul advised Timothy:

--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Tim 3:5

Another word that describes the early Church is UNITY. We can learn from the early Church. For them, "church" was not just singing and sermons. The Church was a community. The word "community" is taken from the word "commune," to communicate intimately. That implies a close relationship. Some of the early Christian communities actually lived together.

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to one another as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:43-47

Paul compares the body of Christ to the Church (Eph 1:22, 23) and with that metaphor, defines this unity in 1 Cor 12:25-26:

So that there should be no division in the body, but that all it parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

In Matt 18:20, Jesus says, "For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them." Jesus compels us to take care of each other:

The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Matt 25:40

And,

He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Matt 25:45

As we study the early Church, it becomes obvious that these congregations had something special. They knew each other. They socialized together. They ate together. From Paul's epistles, we learn that they took care of each other. They loved each other. The apostle John gives a clue to the love that permeated the early Church:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 1 Jn:3:16, 17

The greatest challenge facing the Church today is not evolution, Progressivism, or the many assaults from the Humanist. It is regaining the power and unity that the early Church had. Consider their situation. Heretics attacked their belief. They lived in a pagan society. They were socially ostracized. They had to worship in secret. They were tortured and killed. However, they survived because they were not alone. They thrived because they had the Spirit. Their numbers grew in spite of all that Satan threw at them because of the power and unity.

It is important for the Christian to understand that he or she is not alone and that the Christian community is not a "fringe minority" in the American society. In spite of what the Progressives would have you believe, America is a Christian nation. According to the 2007 Pew survey on religion in America, 75 percent of Americans say they are Christian. However, the number is declining and the Church has its work cut out for it.


An "Early Church" for Today

Today there are serious problems facing the Church. Our children are exposed to the atheistic and anti-Christian values in the public schools and the media. The popularity of, and belief in, Gnosticism is on the rise. Christian values are accepted by fewer and fewer and even scorned by many. Our culture is returning to the time of the early Church when a degenerate Roman Empire was saturated with Humanist values. However, the danger is not only from without; there is danger within the Christian community.

In the last chapter, we discussed the seven churches in the book of Revelation: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatria, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (Revelation Chapters 2 and 3). These churches, as types for the Church in the last days, tell us much about the Christian community to day. Two churches, Ephesus and Laodicea, are backsliders and Humanist. Their congregations lack the presence of the Spirit. They have fallen into ritualism. They are the Philosophical and Social Churches described in Chapter 4. Jesus tells them to repent and return to true worship in the Spirit. Three churches are Gnostic Christians, Pergamum, Thyatria, and Sardis. They have been contaminated with the Gnostic philosophies and idolatry of the antichrist (1 Jn 4:1-3). Two churches remained true to the Gospel and remain faithful disciple of Jesus, Smyrna and Philadelphia. Three categories of churches are defined in Revelation and they exist today: Christian Humanists, Gnostic Christians and The Evangelical Church.[2] To which version of Christianity do you belong? That is an important question because Jesus tells those who are Gnostic or Humanist Christian that they do not really belong to the true Christian community and they will be "removed", Jesus will "fight against them", he will "make them suffer intensely", He will "come against them with a sward", and he will "spit them out of his mouth". So, to which church do you belong?

Can the modern Church return to the Spirit-led congregations of the early Church (Smyrna and Philadelphia) as well? Let us consider some things that we can do. In each of the Christian priorities discussed below, success will be dependent on three things. The Christian community must 1) get informed, 2) get organized, and 3) get active. The Progressives are evangelists too and they are very good at being informed, organization, and activating their followers. Christians can to learn from their success.


Priority 1: Evangelism

When discussing evangelism, we must raise a topic that will be uncomfortable to many. Most Christians do not evangelize. Table 11 summarized the results of the Pew religion survey mentioned earlier regarding Christian evangelizing.

Table 11. Reported frequency in witnessing about Jesus by selected Christian traditions.

 

At least once a week Once or twice a month Several times a year Seldom Never
Evangelical 34 18 16 18 14
Mainline Protestant 14 12 15 27 33
Historically Black 42 13 9 17 18
Catholic 14 9 13 26 38
Mormon 24 23 27 18 9
Other Christian 21 23 14 24 19

Obviously, the Christian community will never be successful witnessing to Humanists if they do not witness to anyone. Witnessing is the Christian’s prime directive. It should be an integral part of our lives. We will discuss this more in the next chapter. Let us now consider evangelizing the Humanist and those who are following the Humanist lifestyle.

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and "sinners"?" Mk 2:15, 16

How could Jesus socialize with the worst sinners? What if your pastor routinely had dinner with drug dealers, prostitutes, and homosexuals? Would this type of evangelizing result in an "emergency meeting" of the elders? Mark continues:

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners."

When Jesus was eating and conversing with the "sinners", he was evangelizing. We often emphasize the preaching to the multitudes of thousands but forget that Jesus was a master of the one-one-one witnessing as well. He was not afraid to get "down and dirty" and remind us that God loves everyone! He wants everyone to be saved. However, the focus of this book is the Humanism and that is where we will confine our discussion of evangelism – target Humanists. As I mentioned above, the Humanists, through their implementation agents Progressivism and Socialism, are active evangelists. They promote a "gospel" of sin is acceptable. Sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, drugs, abortion, euthanasia and, "do your own thing" are all acceptable, even good. Many are drawn to this "gospel" even though they do not understand Humanism as a philosophical, social, or political movement. As a result, the Christian effort to evangelize the Humanist is twofold: the Humanist ideologue and those who have been lured into the Progressive lifestyle and merely use the Humanist jargon as justification.

It has been my experience that the typical evangelical technique of presenting the "plan of salvation" is rejected by the Humanist ideologue outright. For the alcoholic to begin the process of recovery, he must first admit that he has a problem. The traditional plan of salvation applies the same principle by starting with Romans chapter 3—all have sinned and no one does good. When the Christian witnesses to a Humanist and starts with this approach, he immediately slams into a very solid wall. The Humanist does not define sin in the same way that the Christian does. For the Christian, the Bible defines sin. For the Humanist, society and the individual define sine. Humanists begin with the premise that humans are essentially good or, at least, can become good. It is intellectually difficult for the Humanist to accept the need for salvation in the first place.

Most, if not all, are aware in at least a general way of what Christians believe. However, they have taken a philosophical position diametrically opposed to the Christian message. The Christian’s message is about the spirit; the Humanist philosophy is about the intellect. The Christian’s message is about the supernatural as revealed by God and accepted by faith; the Humanist philosophy is about the natural and accepted through reason. Arguing the pros and cons of the dividing issues usually falls on deaf Humanist ears. Since the Christian’s reasoning begins with a premise based on faith, the Humanist usually dismisses the arguments as superstitious babble and illogical. The problem is similar to that faced by the Philosophical Church. As the Renaissance ushered in a flood of Atheism, the Church tried to "fight fire with fire" and argue on their level. It did not work. Flatland-Spaceland. Christians can oppose evolution, abortion and the like, and should; however, that opposition is not an evangelical tool. If anything, used as a method of evangelizing, it immunizes the Humanist against the Christian message. The Humanists cannot be reached by philosophy or science; they are reached through the heart and that mean you must, hold on--love them! John states it very well in his first letter.

Dear friend let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we may live through him. This is love: not that we love God, but that he loved us and sent is Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 Jn 4:7-12

In a sermon I heard many years ago, the pastor said, "I you were the only sinner in the world, God would still send his Son to die for you." That statement is true of everyone on earth, Humanists included. We need to practice seeing the Humanist as God does; as an object of divine love. We are not to judge the Humanist. Paul was very clear about Christians not judging nonbelievers.

I have written you my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church. Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you. 1 Cor 5:9-13

When we approach our evangelism of the Humanist with the position that we are to love them and let God do the judging, we are much more likely to bring them to Christ. Let them see God’s love first and then let the Holy Spirit to the restoration.

I have had the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of evolution with several Humanists. In most cases, I have been successful in convincing them that evolution is a philosophy, as described earlier in the book. In no case has that success led to anyone totally rejecting Humanism, let alone accepting Christianity. However, I have found that being true to my faith in the Gospel, asking hard questions about Humanism, and gently and politely engaging Humanists in debate has an impact.

Three scriptures that are important to remember when witnessing about Jesus in general and particularly when witnessing to Humanists and those who have been drawn to their lifestyle. The first is Jn 16:8-11; Jesus is speaking to his disciples regarding the Holy Spirit:

When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

The second scripture is from Jn 6:44; Jesus is speaking to the self-righteous challengers:

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

The third scripture is from 2 Thes 2:10-12; Paul speaking about the resistance of  unbelievers to the Gospel:

They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

As we discussed in Chapter 4, Paul provides the best example regarding witnessing to philosophers and ideologues. Simply stay on message, stay with the Gospel. Present the message of Christ and let the Holy Spirit do the work. The first scripture cited above tells us that the Holy Spirit touches everyone in the world and convicts him or her of sin. Deep down in every person’s soul there is a "tug" from the Holy Spirit that tells us what is right and what is wrong. The Humanist may have satisfied himself that his philosophy is rational and that Christianity is superstitious bunk, however, in the wee small hours of the morning, there is that "tug" and there are doubts, admitted or not.

For this reason, we must work with the Holy Spirit when witnessing to the Humanist. The Holy Spirit touches each person and deep down each is called to the truth. Arguing philosophy, sociology, or politics merely confirms the Humanist’s mind-set. Working with the Spirit, we aim for the person’s spirit. The next chapter discusses this in detail.

The second scripture tells us that the Humanists, or for that matter everyone, cannot come to the Lord unless drawn by the Father; again, the work of the Holy Spirit. In spite of the Humanist rhetoric, there resides in each a yearning. Often this is undefined and difficult to identify. However, when presented with the truth of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit "tugs" at that yearning and seeks a response. This is not an intellectual exercise; it is Spirit to spirit. Working with the Spirit, we aim for the person’s spirit.

The third scripture tells us that, if the Humanist is convicted by the Spirit, called by the Father, hears the Gospel of the Son’s redemptive work, and still rejects God, he will be allowed to perish. The Christian's role in this is to reveal the Word of God both by telling and by example. It is God’s role to convict and call. If the Humanist rejects both God’s and your efforts, then leave him or her to God, but without judgment. As my grandmother often said, "Let go and let God." The only thing left is to pray for the person.

How can we change the Humanist mind-set and effectively witness to them?

  1. Get Informed. Humanists tend to attack people of faith and are fond of throwing scriptures, out of context, in our face. My advice is do not get involved in a debate with a Humanist unless you are well-founded in the scriptures. Be prepared to answer challenges regarding inconsistencies in the Genesis account of creation, the severity of the Law in the Old Testament, and social atrocities committed by the Church in the Middle Ages. At the same time, get informed about Humanism and the particular brand of Humanism to which your acquaintances adhere. Some Humanist are "fundamentalists" and treat the Humanist Manifesto as "gospel"; others are selective in their acceptance of the Humanist philosophy. Find common ground through neutral conversations.
  2. Get Organized. Make a notebook with pertinent scriptures and Humanist positions. Make lists of Humanist issues and how you would challenge them. For example, the Humanists claim the fetus is not a living human, but the fetus is alive and has unique DNA, separate from the mother. Make lists of Humanist challenges to Christianity and pertinent scriptures that defend the attack. Form a Christian focus group that prepares for witnessing to Humanists. There are many ways to get organized, depending on individual situations, but the best way is to utilize the Christian community and not go it alone. The important thing to remember is do not try to argue and pressure the Humanist and, most important, be prepared. Most Humanists have the opinion that a person would not choose Christianity unless he or she is ignorant and superstitious. If you are not prepared, that will merely confirm his opinion and he will dismiss anything you present.
  3. Get Active. As mentioned earlier, the Humanists are evangelists too and they are very successful. Nothing is gained by complaining about abortion, schools, and the encroaching Humanist lifestyle. Christians must be as active as the Humanists are. You cannot convert all the Humanists in your circle of acquaintances, but you can focus on one and cultivate him or her. Become better acquainted with their philosophy; no arguments, please, just ask questions about their position. If he or she asks about your position, just explain it without the sales pitch. Go slowly. Take the time to know what he or she likes and dislikes about Humanism. Many claim to be Humanist because of intimidation or think it is politically correct, or that it is a more intellectual position (this is discussed in the next chapter). However, in a conversation with a friend, it might emerge that there are a few issues that are not entirely acceptable. You may have common ground. This takes time. But this is merely the opening. As mentioned above, it is unlikely we can reach the Humanist through mental gymnastics and critical thinking. We reach him by touching his spirit. He or she may have and external comfort in espousing the politically correct philosophy but inward there may be emptiness and the sense that something is missing. That is where to aim the witnessing; the heart not the head. One-on-one.

There are millions of people who have been drawn to the Humanist message, not for philosophical or political reasons, but because the Humanists accept them as they are. The homosexual rejected by society, the young, accidentally pregnant, woman seeking an abortion, the prostitute whose life gets more miserable each day – all are accepted by the Humanist as they are. Too often, the recruits eventually become Humanist ideologues adopting both the Humanist lifestyle and the Humanist philosophy. Too often, the Christian’s attempts to evangelize these "sinners" drives them away because of judgmentalism. For these, there are three additional scriptures that apply to the witnessing process. The first is from James 2:14-18:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has not deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without cloths and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same sense, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.

The second is from Matthew 25:34-40. It is one of my favorite scriptures.

Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited my in, I needed cloths and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing cloths and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?"

The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

The third scripture is from Luke 10:30-37:

"A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of is clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. So, too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘And when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise".

In the first scripture, James exposes the hypocrisy of the "pew sitter" that prays for the poor, but does nothing to help them; who condemns abortion, but does nothing to help the confused and scared young girl; who mocks the "sinful" homosexual, but never invites him to church. If we are disciples of Jesus, we must show it by acting like Jesus.

The second scripture, Jesus tells a similar story, but he makes is point a bit more dramatically. Jesus continues in the verse to tell those on his left to depart from him because they did not do those things mentioned above for which he praised the righteous, because in denying these acts of mercy to fellow humans, they denied Jesus. He tells us, if we do not feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and meet the needs of our brethren, we will not enter the kingdom! And in the third scripture, he expands our responsibility to include strangers.

This is not contributing to the missions; this is one-on-one ministering. This is touching people with compassion and love. This is not telling them about Christ; it is showing them. The Humanists have done a much better job of evangelizing their message and drawing the disenfranchised into their ranks. While the pregnant teenage girl pushes through a crowd with signs shouting murderer, the Progressives inside giver her cup of tea and sympathize with her dilemma. Homosexuals are ostracized, rejected, mocked, physically abused, and told they are sick perverts. The Humanists tell them they have rights too and society should, no must, accept them. Jesus never condoned sin in any form, but he never rejected the sinner, he died for him.

Back in the ‘70s there was a small Evangelical church in my city. The congregation was made up of average folks, conservative biblical fundamentalists. Mostly they were middle-aged and elderly with a smattering of youth. One of the youth, who was attending the local college, became friends with a "hippy" classmate. When I say "hippy" I mean smoking "grass", free sex, and do your own thing. For some reason, the two hit it off and became friends. The Christian invited his friend to church and was surprised when he accepted the invitation. The next Sunday, not only was the friend in church, but three of his "hippy" friends. Needless to say, the conservative congregation was not sure what to do with the guests. However, at the end of the service, the pastor gave an invitation to repent and accept Jesus as savior. Much to everyone’s surprise, two of the four walked to the front of the church and received Christ.

Over the next few months, more than 20 young "hippies" received Christ and attended the church regularly. "Attending church" does not adequately describe their participation. They were on fire for the Lord. Long hair was cut; those who were drifting got jobs, couples got married, and two began seminary studies. The personality of the church changed from sober to youthful enthusiasm and even the elderly found the change refreshing. A year after the first "hippy" friend attended his first service there the congregation had doubled in size, largely due to its growing reputation of being "alive." However, the growth was also due to how the new Christians evangelized. They befriended others who were using drugs, were gay, and were homeless. They could empathize with them because they had been there. One-on-one. Two years after the friend made his first visit to the church the congregation build a new building and used the old church building as a school.

Even though the congregation grew, the value of personal contact and caring was not lost. Every Friday night families met in assigned groups for potluck, prayer and Bible study. There, people ministered to each other. There, you could bring a friend, listen her problems, and help her find a solution. I moved away from that city 25 years ago so I do not know what the status of the church is today. But the last I heard, they had set up branches in neighboring small towns, continuing the one-on-one ministry with the "hippies."

Several years ago Christians from several churches got together and formed FISH. FISH was an informal effort to help people in the community, Christian and non-Christians, who needed help. Christians registered and indicated when they were available and what skills they offered. FISH had a standing ad in the classified section of the local newspaper. Word spread and the calls for help increased every week. The rules concerning witnessing were simple, don’t witness about Jesus unless asked. If someone asked about FISH or why you were helping, just say, "We are Christians and this is what Jesus would have us do." If they responded to that, then you could continue the witness. However, the primary goal was to help. I had an old pick-up truck and got a call at least once a week to help move a large item or, sometimes a household. Occasionally I got a call to help a single mom clear a plugged kitchen sink. About one in four calls resulted in some serious witnessing.

One evening I got a call from FISH and was asked if I could put someone up for the night. She explained that a backpacker had been robbed and his pack with all his possessions, including his wallet, were gone. He had nothing and no place to stay. He was hungry. I checked with my wife, she agreed so we said sure, we will take him. She paused for a moment, and then said, "He’s black." I said, "No problem." Then she said, "He is quite dirty." Same response. A half hour later, I picked up "Bear." Bear was in a sorry state. He had not eaten in two days and his clothes were rags. That evening I witnessed the greatest exhibition of plate cleaning before or since. The next day we got Bear deloused and a set of new clothes. In return, Bear built the kids a tree house and took care of some badly needed yard work. During our conversations, I came to learn that he had attended a college in California for two years, most of his friends there were Marxists committed to the Humanist lifestyle. He had not gone to church since a child and had no use for religion. Distracted by drugs, he flunked out of college and had been drifting ever since. In spite of his aversion to religion, he accepted an invitation to attend church service on Sunday. We went to the church mentioned above; I thought it would be more to his liking. He did seem to like the service, but said nothing. Some of the people from FISH donated money for a new backpack and stuff to fill it. After five days, rested and hunger appeased, Bear said it was time to move on.

I thought that was the end of the story until six months later we got a letter from Bear. It was from a prison in California. He explained that the five days spent with my family changed his opinion about religion. The people at the church were different, he said. He explained that reason he was on the road was that he was wanted for robbery. When he left us, he went back to California and while traveling, God began to work on him. When he got to California, he found a church and received Christ as his savior. Then he turned himself in to serve his prison term. He told how in prison he met other new Christians and they met whenever possible for prayer and Bible study. One-on-one.

A year after my encounter with Bear, I learned of another group of Christians who visited inmates in prison. Inmates would register if they wanted someone from the group to visit them once a month and the organization would make the match. Over the years, I heard many interesting stories but the one I like the most came from the women’s prison. A woman, let us call her April, was serving her term at the women’s state prison and signed up for the visitor program. The woman selected to make the visits, let us call her May, lived in a large city about an hour’s drive from the prison. On her first visit, May learned that April had eight children who were living in foster homes in May’s city. April could not talk about anything else; she was so worried about her children. The next month, May had nine visitors, May and April’s eight children. For the next two years, May rounded up the kids and they visited April one Sunday each month. With April’s permission, on the day of the visit, May collected the children early and they went to church before going to the prison. The children began to witness to April and three months before her release, she accepted the Lord. May arranged for a job interview when April left prison. She got the job. The last I heard April and her children were attending May’s church and doing just fine. May spent just one day each month, but that page in her Book of Life has nine gold stars. One-on-one.

These are examples of how we can witness through action. One-on-one action. It is "get out of the pew and answer someone’s prayer" type of action. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Get Informed. Get acquainted with your community. No, I don’t mean the malls and parks. Where do the homeless hang out? Where are the young pregnant girls, confused and scared? Where are the drug addicts that need to enter rehab but have given up? Where are the homosexuals who, in spite of the liberal efforts to treat them as normal, are rejected and despised? Find them. The church youth group can probably tell you about many teens that need your care. Does your congregation have member who is a Social Worker who could help?
  2. Get Organized. I gave three examples of how a church or a group of Christians organized one-on-one evangelizing that was successful. There are thousands of stories like these. Those that I know of that are successful tend to focus on one activity, but that is not necessarily a requirement (FISH just met any need presented). The organization can be as a part of your congregation’s outreach or, much better, a group of churches working together. The important element in any successful outreach is that a Christian alternative be presented and supported. The Humanists welcome the pregnant teenager as she is with no judgment and provide emotional support as well as the clinical access to the abortion. One-on-one. The Christian alternative needs to be equally effective. It is not enough to say, "We will be praying for you," then move on. Does she need help with her parents? How will she live until she gives birth? How will she pay for the prenatal care and the hospital? If she cannot take care of the baby, then what? Effective ministry will answer these questions and actually provide the solutions.
  3. Get Active. It is just a matter of doing it. With a practiced eye, you can see Jesus in need everywhere. When you see him reach out to him. It has been my experience that the more you evangelized the easier it gets. At first, there is a bit of "stage fright" but in time, it goes away. While it is true that being organized can be very effective, you need not wait for a program to develop. It is too easy to procrastinate.

Priority 2: The Christian Community

I thought about it for a long time. Should Priority 1 be Evangelism or the Christian community? I think they are equal; it is difficult to conceive on one without the other. Before the Christian Community can be effective in the struggle against Humanism, it must be healthy. Individuals are vulnerable, but in the strength of a community, we are safe. A strong, harmonious, and loving community will provide the resources we need to withstand the onslaught and even a devastating attack; things we cannot do as individuals. However, a community filled with petty complaints, jealousy, and indifference is merely a collection of individuals. Even Priority 1, Evangelism, discussed above is less effective without the support of a dynamic Christian community. It is important, therefore, that our communities are spiritually healthy and strong in the Lord. As the perfect storm develops, we need each other more now than ever.

It is important to be sure your Christian community is on the right track, scripturally. In Chapter 4, we discussed the fact that the Church can wander or be contaminated by ideas in conflict with the Bible. Concepts such as Gnosticism or collective salvation are readily found in some Churches today. The Pew survey on religion cited above revealed some interesting statistics regarding beliefs about salvation and the existence of a personal God. These are given in Table 10, below.

Table 10. Pew religion survey results regarding Christian beliefs about God.

Church Affiliation

% Believe in a personal God % Believe God is an impersonal force % Believe there are many ways to God
Protestant      
Evangelical 79 13 57
Mainline 62 26 83
Historically Black 71 19 59
Catholic 60 29 79
Mormon 91 6 39
Jehovah’s Witness 82 11 16
Orthodox 49 34 72

These figures are alarming. The fundamental teaching of the Christian Church is that salvation comes only by faith in Jesus and that God is a personal God who is to be worshipped. This survey exposes that fact that Humanism has had an enormous affect on the Social Church and that many Christians have opted for political correctness rather than biblical truth. The survey also indicates that those who attend church services weekly are less inclined to accept the Humanist philosophy. It appears that pastors and priests have a lot of work ahead of them. However, in some cases, the pastors and priests are the problem. Therefore, the first step in a healthy Christian community is to assure it is on a sound biblical foundation. If your church is not, find another. Only when your Church has a true biblical foundation can it give the support necessary to oppose the tide of Humanism.

How close to the early Church is your congregation? Paul gives us an example of how the early Church worshiped. Remember, there were no stained-glass cathedrals or mega-churches back then; everyone met in someone’s house.

When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet and speak to himself and God.

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. 1 Cor 14:26-33

That sounds outright … Pentecostal! Could it be …? The fact is, a congregation without the Spirit actively at work is a dead congregation, a human institution no different from any Progressive bureaucracy. As Paul told Timothy (2 Tim 3:5): avoid those congregations that have the form of godliness but deny its power. To be an effective ministry, the congregation needs the Spirit and needs to be an "early Church."

Many Christian families are in need of financial and social help. That person sitting next to you at the Sunday service may be one of them. Do we know each other well enough to identify our brother and sister’s needs? Do we know their needs? Do we care? I am not talking about a "Social Church" here. This is ministering to our brothers and sister in our own congregation on a one-to-one basis. Remember what Jesus said, "Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me." Of course, to do this, we have to become acquainted. We cannot do that by sitting in the same building for an hour or so on Sunday. I guarantee that there are families in your congregation that have needs – some physical, some not physical.

The fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service.

Mother Teresa

Jesus set the example at the Last Supper (Jn 13:1-17). Before Jesus and his disciples began the Passover feast, Jesus took off his robe, placed a servant’s apron around his waist, got down on his knees, and washed his disciple’s feet. When he got to Peter, Peter objected, "No, you shall never wash my feet." Jesus responded, unless I wash you, you have no part with me." Then Jesus said:

Do you understand what I have done for you? He asked them. You call me "Teacher", and "Lord", and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

If you do them. As James said (Jas 1:14),

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds?"

Does that woman sitting in the pew in front of you go home to an abusive husband? Do you know? Do you care? That gentleman over there to your right, did he just loose his son in Afghanistan? Do you know? Do you care? The family that arrived to the service early in a 15-year old car, are they worried about this month’s rent? Do you know? Do you care?

Have you noticed how God answers prayer? With very few exceptions, God answers prayer through people. By the Spirit working through you, YOU are the answer to someone’s prayer. That is how the "Body of Christ" works. I mentioned earlier in the book that Christianity was not a religion but a relationship with Jesus. It is also a relationship with his "body" the Church. That is why he said: whatever you do to the least of the brothers you do to him. How can we assure our Christian community, the "body of Christ" is healthy and strong?

  1. Get Informed. What are the needs of your Christian community? Many are hidden. Perhaps Ann’s husband is an alcoholic and abuses her, but she is ashamed to tell anyone. Are there enough Sunday school teachers? Do they have the necessary training and supplies? When you go to a doctor, the first thing he does is give you a physical exam. Get together with some of your congregation and church leaders and conduct an examination of your community. Determine what is weak and what is strong.
  2. Get Organized. Organizing the Christian community is NOT the responsibility of the priest or pastor. It is your responsibility. Christians are not called to be pew sitters. The passive Christian is not a disciple. Naturally, efforts to organize the community must be coordinated with the leadership of the Church, but they should not have to do all the work.

Think big. In the last chapter, we discussed how the perfect storm is growing in intensity and the Christian community will be swept away by the Humanist winds if not prepared. The very best way to survive these attacks is through a unified community the larger that community the better. Perhaps it is time to put aside the petty human-made differences that divide the Christian community. It is time to unify our community based on what we have in common. There are many things a large community can accomplish that a small community cannot. In his letters to the Church, Paul addresses the community at Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, and so forth. The churches in each city were united.

Think small. How can we become acquainted and minister to each other in a church of 150, 400, or 2,000 members? Paul considered the church in each city to be a unified community, but he also recognized that that community functioned in smaller groups. For example, In 1 Cor 16:19, he send greeting from those who meet in the house of Aquila and Pricilla. These houses were typically small by today’s standards and we can expect the group was small enough for personal interaction.

  1. Get Active. What are your talents? What did God give you for his service? As Jesus said:

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Matt 9:37, 38

In Matthew (22:14), Jesus says that many are invited but few are chosen. God does not choose us because we are worthy or talented. He chooses those who answer his invitation. He calls many to serve but few answer that call.


Priority 3: Education

Mark Twain once said, "I never let schooling interfere with my education." Considering the problems describe in previous chapters, it is time that we not allow public schooling to interfere with our children’s Christian education, or secular for that matter. We cannot expect to give all the responsibility of our children’s education to the public school system– particularly in the areas of morality and faith. Nor can we allow TV to be the unsupervised baby sitter. It is the parent’s duty to raise their children, not the teachers or the TV network executives.[3] To do this the parents must prepare themselves to understand the issues and spend enough time with their children discussing these issues to assure they have a sound foundation for making good decisions. The children will face these issues after they graduate – there is no way to escape the exposure – so we must prepare them. We must parent them.

However, the Christian community has a responsibility as well. The unity of the early Church is desperately needed now more than ever. Consider the teen-ager that feels alone in a school where his or her peers are buying into the garbage being taught. Peer pressure is intense. They feel alone. Temptation is great. They need the company of other teens who are in the same boat.

Here is where the Church can meet a serious need in today’s society. These kids need more than Sunday school. They need supplementary education that deals with these issues in detail. They need peer companionship and social activities that support their faith, not challenge it. They need security. If a congregation is too small to provide this kind of support, then small congregations need to join together. Actually, that would be the best approach. Unity. Do not let their schooling interfere with their education. An old African proverb says, "It takes a village to raise a child." For the Christian, that village is the congregation.

Perhaps it is time for Christian educators, managers, scientist, academics, anyone with the skills necessary, to begin to establish the educational support system necessary for our children’s education. Whether it be a complete Christian school, a supplementary school sponsored by the community churches (or a single church), or home schooling, it is of the highest priority. Organization, textbooks that tell the truth, financing, and Spirit-filled teachers are all needed. Who will do it? Our children’s education is too important to leave to the public schools. Here are some practical steps we can take to deal with the problems in public schools today.

Schools Boards. School boards are intimidated by the ACLU and when just one Progressive parent complains about prayer, creation, Christmas carols, or speaking the word "Jesus", many boards initially resist, however, the threat of a lawsuit is often enough to make them yield. Lawsuits are costly and time consuming and, as we discussed earlier, activist judges make the outcome less than optimistic. Often, those who attend school board meetings are a Humanist majority and their presence intimidates the board members. The Christian community can help.

  1. Get Informed. Keep abreast of the issues that are considered by the school board. If your community knows ahead of time, you can get prepared.
  2. Get Organized. Perhaps form an Education Committee in you church that has, among its duties, the responsibility to maintain communication with the school board and the issues it considers and then prepares the Christian community on issues of interest. The committee then organizes the members of the community to attend the pertinent school board meetings and present well-informed testimony.
  3. Get Active. Get out of the pews and into the chairs of the school board meeting. Establish an Education Committee in your church that monitors school board activities and volunteer to support it. Attend school board meetings and become acquainted with the board members; they are more likely to listen to your complaints if they know you. There is another action a Christian can take, but it is not for everyone. Become a member of the school board. You need not be a teacher or a politician to run for a position on the school board. With the support of the Christian community, you could even win! Then you could make a real difference. Christians should also become active in the PTA. A sufficient number of Christians and like-minded individuals can sway a PTA group to be more sympathetic to Christian oriented issues. When that happens, the PTA can be a strong force for change within the school bureaucracy.

Classrooms: Do you know what is being taught to your child? It starts with the textbook. Teachers in K-12 use the textbook as their guide. They may supplement the textbook, but the textbook is "gospel", so to speak. Progressives know this and, over the past several decades, many textbooks were written that promote the Humanists agenda. In addition, Progressives have gained control of the teachers unions and, as a result, many of the teachers and principals go beyond the liberal expansion established by activist judges and become active Humanist indoctrinators. There is something you can do about this.

  1. Get Informed. This will take some effort and time. Get involved with your child’s education. Read his or her textbooks. Each day ask what occurred in class. Get acquainted with other parents. Ask other parents if they have had questionable experiences with the school. Get acquainted with the teacher. As a bonus, your child will probably do better in school just from all this attention.
  2. Get Organized. To be effective, it is better to work as a group. If other parents are concerned about the quality of education or the content of the curriculum they would probably be interested in forming a group to correct the problem. They can divide the textbook review and collectively document questionable school policies. As the old saying goes, "Two (or more) heads are better than one."
  3. Get Active. If a problem is identified, meet with the teacher. This is where the organized group pays off; don’t go alone. The teacher is much more likely to listen and take a complaint seriously if more that one parent presents their concerns. If this does not work, meet with the principal, this time with a small group. Go up the ladder of school hierarchy until the concerns are satisfied. It does not harm the effort if the press is notified; squeaky wheels do get the grease and the squeakier the better when it comes to bureaucrats. If legal action is indicated, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is available to assist parents in defending against the Progressive agenda. Check them out on the internet. If you do not have the funds, they can help for a reduced fee or pro bono. Check out their web site.

Super Sunday School: Inevitably, we must face the fact that, even if we are able to restrain Progressive indoctrination and improve the quality of education, improvement will not be 100 percent nor will it happen overnight. Once we know what is being taught in the schools and what needs to be corrected or supplemented, we have the information necessary to act. We need, however, a means of delivering the supplemental education. The Church is already structured to provide Christian education through Sunday school. Perhaps the congregation can go a step further and expand Sunday school to supplement public education. If evolution is taught as fact and the teacher is prohibited from even mentioning creation, the congregation can correct that deficiency. If liberal sexuality is taught as normal in the sex education class, the supplemental school can present the Christian view. In some cases, if the congregation has the resources, tutoring can be provided. This is far too much to squeeze into an hour on Sunday morning and, therefore, requires a commitment of time and resources; and the commitment from the congregation. The supplementary Sunday school will go a long way in correcting some of the problems with public education.

The Alternative School: Considering all the problems with public schools, how would you like to enroll your child in a private school that has a high academic standing? There is no danger of drugs and the school is 100 percent safe. Graduates from the school have been accepted to Rice University, Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, and Princeton. Teachers do not indoctrinate the students in Humanism, evolution, Socialism, or anti-Christianity. Prayer is encouraged and Bible study is part of the curriculum. Sex education is based on Christian standards and homosexuality is not treated as an acceptable lifestyle. Interested? One last point; the tuition, including all education materials, is about $100 per month. The name of the school is (drum roll, please) home schooling.

You may have heard negative reports about home schooling and certainly, the elite will look down their noses at it. However, the success of home schooling presents a real threat to education bureaucrats and the National Education Association. Home schooling is an embarrassment to the state and federal departments of education and the arrogant teachers unions. Education budgets continually rise and, with each increase in these budgets, the student scores decrease. The public school system is strongly opposed to home education for a very important reason – money. A school district’s funding is based on enrollment and if too many students opt for home schooling, the school district’s budget will be cut.

Progressive will try counter the home schooling movement by saying that it is only the Christian fundamentalist and far-right weirdoes that home school. Not true. A 2001 US Census survey found that only 33 percent of those who home school cited religion as the reason. The survey found that 30 percent cited a poor learning environment in public schools, 14 percent objected to the curriculum, 11 percent felt their child was not being challenged, and 9 percent cited a poor moral environment as their reason. By 2003, 68 percent cited "dissatisfaction with academic instruction in public schools" as their reason to home school and 72 percent cited religion and moral instruction. It is clear that the American public is increasingly dissatisfied with public education for both academic and moral reasons; and they are doing something about it. The number of children that are home schooled is increasing currently at a rate of approximately 10 percent per year but that rate is increasing. Homes schooling is a real alternative for the Christian family or the Christian community. Below are some of the alternatives in the home schooling experience.

  • Basic Home Schooling. This is the most parent-intense and is not for everyone. Lesson units, internet access, and educational materials are sent to the home and it is up to the child and the parents to discipline themselves in order to succeed. All indications are that those who succeed in this type of program not only excel academically but also acquire better discipline and work habits as well. A major concern is lack of socialization with peers. This may not be a problem if the child has friends independent of the study environment, but this must be considered. Another concern, particularly in middle and high school levels is the lack of ancillary programs and facilities such as sports, music, and laboratories. However, it works. My granddaughter home schooled until middle school. When she entered the public school system, she was an average of one year ahead of the other students.
  • Church Home Schooling. This is a modification of the basic schooling discussed above. Several families within a church community agree to home school and the church leadership assists with facilities and sometimes support staff. The curriculum is the same as the basic home school, however, the church provides space for study cubicles and the children study in a group. Because the lesson plans are individualized, it is possible to include children of all ages in the facility– something like the "one-room schoolhouse" that was the backbone of rural education not so long ago and gave us President Lincoln. The parents take turns as monitor or, if there are sufficient children, the parents or the church may pay a teacher’s assistant or a professional teacher to monitor the group. The church community mentioned above (with the hippy evangelists) set up a school like this and it was very successful. This group home schooling has the advantage of providing socialization with schoolmates and does not require one parent to remain at home with the child. If the group is large enough, some of the ancillary activities and facilities can also be provided.
  • Christian Community Home Schooling. This approach combines the above with a broader view of the Christian community. Think of it as Church Home Schooling on steroids. If you live in a larger city, undoubtedly there are parents in other church communities that are considering home schooling as well. This approach provides a network of several Church Home Schools that is centrally coordinated. Because of the increased size of the home schooling system, many of the ancillary activities and facilities can be provided. Already in some communities, the public schools allow use of sport and laboratory facilities.

The Parochial/Charter School: Usually associated with Catholic or Lutheran church communities, the parochial school has been a part of the American education scene for over two centuries. The parochial school is a private school, similar to the public schools, however, the curriculum conforms to the religious beliefs of the sponsoring institution. Since the school is private, religious instruction can be included, as well as prayer, Christmas programs that include Jesus, and an approach to the standard curriculum that conforms to Christian beliefs. Some parochial schools are noted for their academic excellence. The Parochial school must depend on donations, sponsorship, and tuition to cover the costs. Therefore, parochial schools are more expensive. Often the higher costs of middle and high school makes parochial education at these levels prohibitive. However, if a parochial school is established with the entire Christian community as the sponsor, the feasibility increases dramatically. Typical advantages of a parochial school are: higher academic standards, freedom in textbook selection, control over the faculty, a disciplined environment, and different moral standards than found in public schools. The advantages of the parochial school are sufficient to attract many non-religious families.

The charter school is similar to the parochial school but my be secular. It is actually part of the public school system, however, it is established privately and often with private donations. There are fewer restrictions placed on a charter school and, like the parochial school, there is more control over curriculum, discipline, and avoids the problems associated with progressive teacher unions and higher costs associated with them. Also, like the parochial school, the students usually score higher and enrollment waiting lists are long.

In many areas, voucher programs exist that subsidize the student’s cost if attending parochial or charter schools and, in some cases, home schooling. The voucher system is based on the concept that the student’s family has already paid taxes for their child’s education and if they do not use the public school system, the money should be applied to the alternative education chosen by the parent. School vouchers are strongly opposed by teacher unions and Progressive politicians because it takes money away from the public school system, reveals that the problem with public school education is in the system itself, and blocks the Humanist intimidation common in public schools.

These are a few examples of how some are meeting the challenge of academic and moral failures in our public schools. As mentioned before, the education bureaucracy and Progressives will oppose any efforts to remove our children from their influence and philosophical indoctrination. However, their objections are mostly unfounded and a Christian community can, working together, create an excellent learning environment that maintains Christian values.

  1. Get Informed. Google "Home Schooling" or "Christian Home Schooling" and study the available options; there are many. Contact your school district for information regarding how to register your child as a home school student. Ask what facilities are available to home school students (your taxes have already paid for the facilities). There may be others in your community or nearby cities that are already home schooling and they can give some valuable tips. Do not forget the most important step– talk to you child about this and include him or her in the process.
  2. Get Organized. Coordinate with your church leaders to set up a meeting of parents who are interested in home schooling. The effort will be much easier if several families are involved than a solo effort. A classified ad could put you in contact with families outside of your church and open the possibility of a Christian Community Home School System.
  3. Get Active. Once you have the necessary information and either go solo or join a community system– act. It will seem like a big step, but once you make to decision to do it, press the "go" button. When you have the opportunity (if necessary make the opportunity) tell the school district officials why you are home schooling. They should be interested and it is important for them to know why they are loosing a student, or several students, and the associated funds.

Priority 4: Engage the Secular World

How did Jesus engage the world of secularism and contaminated religion? We discussed how Jesus was a master of one-on-one engagement. However, he is most famous for his engagement of the community in the broad sense. The stories of how he fed 5,000 (Matt 14:13-21) and 4,000 (Mk 8:1-9) during his sermons. These numbers counted only the men. In rural Israel 2,000 years ago, it would represent most of the people from more than one village. Jesus was public with this ministry because it was efficient. Another characteristic that is seen in his ministry is debate. The scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees constantly challenged him. He met those challenges head on, usually in front of a crowd of onlookers. Finally, Jesus ministered to the people publicly. He healed and worked miracles among large crowds of people, showing them the love and power of God.

We have an obligation to show Christ to the world. Sitting passively in a pew is like hiding the good news. We must show Christ to the world. We must engage the secular Humanism that is engulfing our society.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matt 5:14-16

When we speak out against pornography, abortion, sexual promiscuity, and drugs, we shine light on God's moral standards. When we feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and comfort the sick, we show the love Jesus has for everyone. When we refuse to participate in the Humanist lifestyle, we shine God’s light on sin. As Humanists engage the world, they will win the battle for souls if Christians remain passive and avoid engaging our brothers and sisters. Engaging the secular world is a challenging effort.

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. Jn 1:5

Just like the Flatland-Spaceland dilemma, the Humanists do not understand the Christian mind-set. That is why we must engage the secular world with the Spirit and leave our egos at home. At the Last Supper, Jesus described our relationship with the Holy Spirit.

If you love me, you will obey what I commanded. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. Jn 14:15, 16

Christians should consider engaging the secular community as Jesus did. In addition to the one-on-one ministries, Christians need public ministries to show Christianity and the message of Jesus to as many as possible. Here are a few suggestions.


The Public Forum

Today we think of a forum as a public meeting. In Jesus time, it referred to the market place where people gathered and gossiped or engaged in discussions on politics or other issues. This is where Jesus often encountered the Pharisees and others. Today television has replaced the market place but the concept of public debate continues. Several cable news broadcasters have "forum" programs. These usually consist of a panel of expert, perhaps three on the pro side, and three on the con side, who present their arguments on a selected issue. After the experts give their arguments, the audience asked questions and this stimulates further debate. A well-moderated forum of this type can be very enlightening.

One of the criticisms Humanist often charge against Christians is that they are unreasonable, uninformed, poorly educated, and do not have a good grasp of the issues. The Pharisees tried to pin that label on Jesus as well. I would like to suggest that the Christian community consider sponsoring forums to debate issues such as abortion, Progressivism in the public schools, and other topics of interest to the local community.

Held once a month, the forum would be similar to that described above using local experts to represent each side of the argument. The discussions must be maintained with discipline and civility and must not be seen as overt evangelizing. The purpose of the forums is to present the Christian position in a reasoned, logical, and considered manner. In addition to presenting the Christian position on the issues, the community will see that Christians are not as the Humanists would have them believe.

Organizing forums like this would required the cooperation of the entire local Christian community and a commitment of time, energy and, in some cases, money. However, it provides the means to engage the community in a way typically not encountered by the secular world and may give a few Humanists food for thought.


Community Action

Every community has needs and good citizens respond. The Christian community can be an important factor in the improvement of the community in which they live and, in the process, be a witness to the love of God. Are there homeless people or citizens out of work with hungry families? Attend city council meeting and present the problem to them. Then ask what the Christian community can do to help. Each community has unique needs but every community has needs. Feeding the hungry, providing child care, school volunteering, and sheltering the homeless are but a few selected from a very long list.

By working with city councils, school boards, and other organizations, the Christian community can become a vital source of assistance to the community. As the secular world sees Christians from this perspective, and understand that the fruit of God’s love is service, a few may inquire about the source of that love.


The Political Christian

There is very little in either the New Testament or historical accounts of the early Church that indicates the first Christians were involved with either politics or the law. I do not think that the reason is theological. More likely, they did not have the opportunity. Most Christians in the Roman Empire were not Roman citizens; they were conquered subjects of the Empire and had little or no say in the politics of the Empire. In addition, the Roman Empire was not a democracy as we have in the United States today. The only thing that kept the senators in line politically was the threat of riots. However, when given the chance, the early Christians did take an interest in politics and the law and used to their advantage.

A good example of Christians using the law and politics to their advantage is the narrative of the apostle Paul given in Acts, chapters 21-28. Briefly, Paul was witnessing about Jesus and several Jewish leaders objected to his message and stirred up the crowd against him. The crowd began to beat Paul to death. The commander of the Roman army in the area sent soldiers to stop the rioting and they put Paul in chains and brought him to the soldiers’ barracks. The crowd followed and demanded that he be turned over to them. Confused, the soldiers took Paul inside the barracks and tried to beat him to get a confession. As they stretched him out in preparation for the scourging, Paul asked, "Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?" Eventually, Paul was brought before the governor and this placed him in a difficult position. On one hand, the Jewish leaders could stir up a significant riot and that would reflect poorly on his leadership. On the other hand, here was a Roman citizen that had been exposed to public ridicule and beating and had not been found guilty. Even the charges against him were unclear. The governor tried to get rid of the problem and asked Paul if he were willing to stand trial in Jerusalem in front of the Jewish leaders there. Paul said no and that he wanted to be tried by Caesar’s tribunal as is his right as a Roman citizen. Eventually it became clear that Paul was innocent. However, because he had demanded a trial before Caesar, he was sent to Rome. In Rome Paul witnessed for several years and converted many to Christianity before he was eventually executed.

God used the politics and law of Rome to his purpose. While Paul was confined in jail in Israel, the Lord came to him and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify in Rome." God used the political and legal system as a mean to bring attention to the Gospel in the capitol of the Roman Empire. Throughout the Bible there are scriptures that stress the importance of being a good citizen. Pay your taxes (Matt 22:18-21, pray for those in authority (1Tim 21-3), and submit to and obey government authorities (Rom 13:1-7). These are all passive in nature because that was how the Empire was structure. Today in modern United States of America, all those admonitions still apply, but more is required if one is to be a good citizen. Being a good citizen in America requires one be active.

An American has the privilege to vote. Throughout the history of mankind and even today, voting is withheld from those who are ruled. However, voting, real voting, requires the people study and understand the issues. In a polarized America with the complex issues raised by Progressives, it is more important than ever. The Christian community has the responsibility to be informed about the issues important to Christians and where the candidates stand. Is the candidate pro-life? Will the candidate oppose appointment of activist judges?

Together, voting as a community, the Christian voice becomes a shout. This does not mean every Christian should vote for Democrats or Republicans. Nor should all Christians think the same on every political issue. Christians can have an impact, however, on those issues that touch the heart of the Christian community such as abortion, public expression of faith, liberalization of promiscuous and deviant sex, and the Humanist indoctrination of our children in the classroom.

When politicians understand that there is a significant part of their constituency the demands a government with Christian principals, at least does not oppose Christian faith, the possibility of slowly regaining a non-Humanist society will be realized. If the political action is focused on issues not religion, the question of separation of church and state is mute. In our democracy we have the power to change things, but only if we are active. Here are a few suggestions for consideration.

Since voting is the lifeblood of a democracy, the Christian community can provide the mechanisms for facilitating voter registration within the Christian community. However, the lifeblood of a democracy needs metaphorical oxygen and that is information. The Christian community must be informed about the issues and the positions of the candidates.

The League of Women Voters can be a model for political action that defines democracy. They investigate and interview political candidates and then publish a voter’s guide that allows voters to make an informed decision. The Christian community could publish a similar Christian voter’s guide. Interviews would focus on the candidate’s position of issues such as abortion. Candidates for the Senate would be asked which Supreme Court Justice they admired the most and why; this would give insight to whether they would vote to appoint an activist or not. Candidates could be invited to the Christian forum mentioned above to participate in the debates.

Perhaps the most effective activity for a Christian is to participate in the local party precincts, Republican or Democrat. Each party is organized from the bottom up. The local precinct is at the grass roots. Each precinct select a delegate to participate in the next level, the county convention and there delegates are selected for the state and finally the national conventions. In addition to delegates, the party platform is debated and finally established in the same way. By being active at the precinct level, a Christian can guide the party platform away from the Humanist agenda and possibly become a delegate. It is a small step, one among many, however, if enough Christians get active in the party of their choice, they will have an effect.

This political activity is not partisan. It should focus on those issues that affect the Christian community, the schools, and the children. While good citizens will be informed and participate in secular politics, this activity is aimed at to issues that are at the heart of the Humanism-Christianity conflict. Being politically active does not require changing parties, work within the party of your choice. It is not necessary to change your opinion on the economy, taxes, or other secular issues; Christian are as varied on these as anyone; that is what makes us a democracy. The politically active Christian, however, will focus on the issues that affect the moral climate of the nation and the freedom to express the Christian faith and values in the schools, the malls, the city council meeting, the clinics, and the public venues in general.


LET GO AND LET GOD

As Paul told the Corinthians, we can be "in the world but not of it", but we cannot do it alone. The individual Christian cannot oppose the rip-tide of secularism flooding society, but the Christian community can create islands of refuge; refuge, not just for Christians, but also for Evolutionists, Humanists, and Progressives who feels the tug of the Holy Spirit and want to respond.

The Christian community needs to be a place where new Christians can experience the love of Christ, receive the ministry of others, and learn how to minister to others. We need not live in the same building to live together, but we do need to commune. As the world polarizes, the need for a strong community life will increase and we will need a new paradigm for "family."

Perhaps it is time for Christians to reconsider the structure of their community. Political, social, and legal agendas have not succeeded in holding back the avalanche of secular morality that is so offensive to the Christian. We are faced with the moral decay in the schools and throughout society. We cannot escape it. Our situation is very similar to that of the early Church and the solution is the same as theirs. Christianity must mean more than a Sunday service. The Christian community must be more than the congregation that meets on Sunday. To do this, Christians must heed the final words of Jesus just before he was taken into heaven:

… but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all of Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

That is the solution to the challenge of Humanism. But we must venture into this challenge alone. We need the support of the Christian community and, most important, the Holy Spirit. As my grandmother was fond of saying, "Let go and let God." Or, as Solomon advised:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Prov. 3:6

That is the model the early Church gave us, Spirit-led activism. That is the model I propose here for the modern Church. We need a Church (that’s you) that has Sprit-led evangelism, Spirit-led engagement with the community, and Spirit-led congregation building.

There is one last thought I would propose before we leave the subject of the Christian community. The priorities presented here, evangelism, community development, Christian education, and engaging the world, all require time. When a Christian repents and commits his or her life to Jesus, what does that commitment include? To obey God and adhere to his commandments. However, his commandments involve evangelism, community development, Christian education, and engaging the world, as well as sitting in the pew each Sunday. The commitment to Jesus includes the commitment of your time.

We are continually reminded to tithe our money, and correctly so. Supporting the Church, the missions, and helping the unfortunate is part of our duty. But what about our time. Jesus would have us get involved personally with the ministries; in fact he demands our personal involvement. We need to seriously consider tithing our time.

Allowing for 8 hours of sleep each night, we are awake 112 hours per week. A tithe of our time would be 11 hours each week. If Sunday service is 2 hours, you read the Bible and pray 1 hour each day, that leaves 2 hours a week for activities discussed in this chapter. Is that asking to much? For an individual it is negligible. However, if the entire Christian community tithed their time, and did so effectively—make way for the Early Church. This means that we cannot be "Sunday Christians"; we must be "between the Sundays Christians."



[1] Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Baker Books, was written in the 4th century and is a detailed account of the early church. This is an excellent resource for any Christian interested in the challenges to and the success of the early church. The power and unity of the early church can be a model for Christian communities today.

[2] We use the tem Evangelical here in its originals Greek meaning: to present good new, i.e. to tell people about the Gospel. An Evangelist is one whose Christian focus is the Bible with out the philosophical, social, or political artifacts and who tells others about the good new of salvation through Jesus. The Evangelist, therefore, rejects Gnosticism and Humanism.

[3] Even "educational" channels such as Discovery and National Geographic are not safe. These channels present numerous programs that promote the Gnostic gospels as legitimate scriptures possibly more correct than the accepted Christian Bible. They also present programs that emphasize the "historical Jesus" as just a man, possibly married, and never resurrected. Their Gnostic roots are showing.


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