Thursday, July 31, 2008

What Does 21st Century Holiness Look Like?

Heb. 12:14 ~ "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord."

Since these days, we can all say that we've come a long way. I was on a message board recently with some other fellow COGIC believers and I posed the question, "What does 21st Century Holiness look like?" I didn't get too many answers but the ones I did get went like this:
  • "I believe holiness is not something you put on but something you live. It's a lifestyle"
  • "I believe that holiness is about what you consider to be wrong and right, what may be holy to one may not be holy to another."
  • "There's a lot of people that look holy but yet have evil hearts and are mean."
Although I would agree that holiness does not begin with the flesh or clothing, I would also quickly iterate that holiness does not exclude the flesh or clothing and personal appearance. Now, as you can see these conversations are essential and highly emotional.

A Little History Of The Modern Holiness Movement:

John Wesley (1703-1791) had one of the greatest influences on the modern holiness movement in America. Wesley, an Anglican minister, is said to have had the greatest influence on the Methodist movement was a product of the 18th Century Second Great Awakening which began in Great Britain. Wesley along with fellow Evangelist George Whitefield, were dynamic evangelists that taught that the believer was to represent the God that they served by separating themselves from the world and sin. Calvinism eventually was the diving line between Wesley and Whitefield causing Whitefield to develop the Calvinistic Methodist movement.

One of the tenets that made Wesley's teachings unique was that he contended that a Christian could be made "perfect in love." This love would mean, first of all, that a believer's motives would be guided by the deep desire to please God. One would be able to keep from committing what Wesley called, "sin rightly so-called." By this he meant a conscious or intentional breach of God's will or laws. A person could still be able to sin, but intentional or willful sin could be avoided. A person would also avoid sinning against his brother because of this perfect love. This doctrine became known as sanctification. Many of the roots of his teachings were also found in the doctrine taught by Jacobus Arminus which he adopted while in college against Calvinism and Calvinistic teachings that were most popular at the time.

During the Third Great Awakening (1858-1908) teachings on holiness and sanctification, although popular, had swayed toward "sinless perfectionism" which taught that an individual could maintain a perfectly sinless life in this present world through ultra-sanctification. These doctrines were prevalent during the emergence of Pentecostalism in 1904, at what would become known as the Azusa Street revival which was led by one William J. Seymour (Pictured Above).

One of the greatest adherents to the holiness message was Baptist minister Bishop Charles H. Mason who would be the eventual founder of the Church Of God In Christ (1897 as a holiness church and 1907 as a Pentecostal/Holiness church) which is the countries oldest and largest Black Pentecostal/Holiness church in the United States.

As stated, holiness was generally taught and accepted by a wide array of individuals. Movements against slavery were birthed out of the holiness church and the early Free Methodist movement. Teachings of maintaining holiness took on various forms from place to place. There were teachings among white holiness adherents against certain clothing, jewelry, and materialism that existed in the day. Among black holiness believers, the emphasis was more on spiritual and moral aspects of holiness. This variation of emphasis was partially due to the fact that blacks in general did not have access to the material diversity of whites and therefore were not as effected by material choices of what was considered sin.

Social welfare changed however, doctrines changed and developed along with it. The old church held strict views against materialism and "worldly appearance" Women were especially the target as to avoid material appearances and associations with prostitutes and persons of ill repute. Therefore, to paint nails, deck hair, and wear short and low cut dresses were symbols of Jezebel. The red light was a symbol of an available prostitute in certain locations, therefore holy men and women in particularly were told not to wear red. Flesh was to be hidden or covered as much as practically possible. Stockings were a must, and there were no sleeveless items for the truly sanctified. Opened toed shoes were outlawed and jewelry besides wedding rings and essential items were highly discouraged as being worldly and secular. As women began wearing pants in the early part of the 1900's, holiness churches began to respond with anti-pant wearing messages, suggesting that feminists were trying to usurp and undermine male authority and the biblical message of gender separation and distinction. Men were discouraged from wearing tight suits and having long hair. Conks and perms were worldly and only for slicksters, and hustlers and of course sexual immorality and impurity was not honored or named among the true holiness believers. Now we have singers who make gospel albums, have babies outside of context of marriage, call themselves holy ministers of music and claim to be holy. Well they eventually do get married when it's convenient for them to do so but they confess to Queen Oprah that they were secretly porn addicts I suppose in effort to purge the soul. Is this 21st Century Holiness?

It is obvious to see where holiness came from and how it has been taught throughout the years. Some complain that these sort of teachings were bondage. I would offer when these teachings are contrasted to the devastation of sin through fatherlessness, drugs, alcohol, extra-marital pregnancies, illicit affairs and such the like, which category of items are really bondage?

It is also easy to understand why some traditions of old were generally accepted among holiness believers, but today, there are many individuals who claim to be holy but appear to be anything but holy. "Playa garb" and worldly associations have crowded the sight of and vision of the 21st Century believer. This further leads to the question, what does 21st century holiness look like?

Now we have sistah Diva's that represent 21st Century holiness. There also is no age boundary for this Divaship
For the 21st Century the holiness look is top tier and age is no factor and certainly youth is in. In fact youth is so in that we now offer 60 year olds that look like 20 year olds and the dancin' is "off da hook"

Low ryda and baggy pants, once a symbol of prison garb is now a symbol of the 21 century believer and is supposedly representative of 21st Century holiness.

Unfortunately, hip-hop, gang signs and other symbols define the believers of 21st Century holiness. They say that they have taken up the cross but they still offer the signs, moves, ways and attitudes of the world from which they came. This doesn't even mention the earring wearing and "zoot suited" preachers who appear in their pulpits as if they were either going to or coming from a health club . Is this holiness for the 21st Century?

Biblical Exposition:

1 Sam. 10:17- 22 ~ 17And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; 18And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: 19And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. 20And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. 21When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. 22Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. 23And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.

It was the during the call of Saul that we see the first King of Israel hiding himself "among the stuff"

STUFF appears in KJ 15 times in the sense of movable property. It is retained by RSV in Joshua 7:11, where Israel is said to have taken some of the things to be devoted to destruction, "and put them among their own stuff." Elsewhere RSV uses "goods" (Genesis 31:37; 45:20; Exodus 22:7; Luke 17:31), "baggage" (1 Samuel 10:22; 25:13; 30:24; Ezekiel 12:3, 4, 7), "household furniture" (Nehemiah 13:8). "Stuff" appears once in the sense of the material out of which something is or may be made, and is retained by RSV: "the stuff they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more" (Exodus 36:7). In addition, RSV uses the word 36 times for various textile materials, notably those for the making of the tabernacle, as described in Exodus 25–39 and Leviticus 14. "Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together" reads in RSV: "You shall not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together" (Deuteronomy 22:11, compare Leviticus 19:19). ~ Ronald F. Bridges and Luther A. Weigle, King James Bible wordbook [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

The "stuff" represented a place that Saul was both familiar and comfortable with. A place in which he had his "baggage" or what he needed in life to survive. He was taller than everyone else but he lived lower than anyone else. He was hidden among the "stuff" The "stuff was his desires and place in life.

It is amazing that people of God would rather live among the "stuff" than live free for Christ. Paul in admonishing the Judaizers stated in Gal. 5:1 ~ "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." The Judaizers certainly believed in Jesus, but they also believed in the old ways of ceremonialism and ritualism as found and described in the Old Testament. They were quick to say "we need Jesus" but they just as quickly said, "we need the law too"

Holiness Interscets At Multiple Needs:

Many times because of the "needs" of people they advance themselves in the world at the expense of righteousness. I once had a friend who just couldn’t let go of the relationships he had established in the world and that loss became his spiritual death sentence. Almost 15 years later, he’s still suffering because he loved the world more than he loved God.

Yes, holiness is birthed within the heart of the believer and it is a lifestyle, but holiness also covers one’s actions, deeds and presentation. Do we make mistakes? Of course, imperfect people make plenty of mistakes, that’s not what we are talking about. We are talking about loving the world so much until IF God said to leave it or certain aspects of it you have a hard time and go the other way.

John 2:15-17 ~ "15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

John is simply talking about the world’s system, modus operandi, and benefits that are gained from it. The world rightly expects to find within the believer a standard of holiness and righteousness. Jesus said this,

Mt. 5: 13-16 ~ "13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

The world cannot see your faith, but they can see your presentation. The saint was to exemplify Christ, the church was to exemplify the body of Christ to the world. By simple analogy we see that policemen are known by their uniform. Even an undercover police will have an identifier in the right company, which he proudly displays. The firemen is know by his uniform. Even the prostitute is known by her dress and if not so obviously her associations. In other words the world even has an order by which it communicates.

It seems that the only ones who do not love the order of God and his kingdom are fringe Christians. Those are they who know for sure that God has brought them. They will tell you quickly, "You don’t know what I been through." As if they have a lock on going through life’s circumstances, but at the same time they are unwilling to respond with the commitment of body, soul and spirit that Christ demands.

The word of God has not changed however,

Rom. 12:1-2 ~ "1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

The Saint was to be a "living sacrifice". Yes holiness responds to it’s environment and is aware of the environment in which it exists. The standard is the objective word of God not the subjective feelings or perceptions of what one thinks.

2 Cor. 6:17-18 ~ "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

Who are "them" and what is "them" in your life? Physically, mentally and emotionally the believer in holiness touches not the "unclean thing". Only Christ can actualize your ability to live and be holy. Too many use the phrase "holy lifestyle" as a cliché and that is all it has become for some who were raised in holiness.

Thank God for all those who live sacrificially and choose not dwell among the "stuff’ of this world. There will be a great reward. All those men who choose to live and look like godly men instead of pimps and homosexuals, and to all those sistahs who choose to live and look like godly women instead of a bunch of stage show ho’s and lesbians ----GOD BLESS YOU AND PLEASE KEEP THE FAITH.

Well I guess my ministry is officially over now. Persecute me for righteousness sake…it’s OK, I’ll be in good company. So I’ll conclude with this:

Rev. 22:10-21 ~ "10And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.


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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Black In America's Church

This post is dedicated to my Mother-in- law Mother Ella Mae Rutherford (Collins) (1925-2008) This 83 year old Saint took me in when I was homeless and fed me when I had nothing to eat. Best part of all she let me marry her daughter and prayed until God gave us two of her grandchildren. May the Lord forever bless the memory of Mother Ella Mae.

In the recent and highly anticipated CNN documentary "Black In America" the condition of the black community was discussed from various perspectives through community and family representatives. The bottom line seems to be roughly about 50%.

This means that about 50% of all homicides, new AIDS cases, and crime are committed by persons who identify themselves as black. This is especially alarming since black individuals only represent roughly 35% or less of America’s total population and in certain segments such as black men only (13%) and black women only (19%) of population figures the problems are disproportionately high.

The truths that "Black In America" exposes are nothing new to those of us who have examined the condition of our community and continue to pray and address issues that are damaging our communities and seemingly exploding in our faces. Here is an excerpt from my soon to be released book "Ministering Effectively" regarding the same issue:
"According to statistics compiled in 1999, 69% of all African-American children are born out of wedlock. This is in comparison to a rate of approximately 33% for all American families in the same year. This quite naturally sheds light on the fact that the majority of African-American children are being raised either by single-women, grandparents or in foster care. Other information released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in early 2008 shows that Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) were most rampant in the African American community especially among youth’s ages 16-25. African-American women accounted for more than half of the new HIV infections annually. The four most infectious diseases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and HIV, were all led in numbers by the African-American community, and African-American women were the target and highest group of new infections when broken down by numbers. Even syphilis, which was once thought to be stamped out is currently in resurgence and the leading group is once again the African-American individual.
According to the 2008 Guttmacher Institute report, African-American women make up about 19 percent of all US women, however the figures demonstrate that African-American women account for approximately 35 percent of all annual abortions." ~ Pastor Harvey Burnett "Ministering Effectively" (Dunamis Publishing 2008) Introduction pg. ii

Now, one thing I am interested in hearing addressed is the relationship of AIDS, and fatherlessness to homosexuality. If Black women have such a high rate of STD's (this is partially because women are more likely to seek immediate medical attention for unknown changes to their bodies) then there must be a pool of individuals from which these diseases and especially AIDS are being contracted. AIDS and HIV are acquired, which means that there are some interactions with already infected individuals that cause the spread and proliferation of the disease. There seems to be an effort to make AIDS a heterosexual disease when the fact remains that the homosexual community yet remains the place from which this disease has had it's exposure to the heterosexual community. Will the church community during this special acknowledge homosexuality as a SIN or merely a societal ill? This remains to be seen.

Another excerpt:

"There is an attack of epidemic proportions on young black men. Both personal and moral failures and a complete social breakdown has filled the prison system with an overwhelming amount of black men. According to the Justice Policy Institute, a Washington-based research and advocacy group that supports alternatives to incarceration, as of 1997 Black men under any type of correctional supervision 
were 2,149,900 representing 9% of the total African American population as compared to white men totaling 3,429,000 or 2% of white population in the US.. The study found that in 2000 there were 791,600 black men in jail or prison and 603,032 enrolled in colleges or universities. By contrast, the study said that in 1980 there were 143,000 black men in jail or prison but 463,700 enrolled in colleges or universities. The study did not directly address why the number of black men in jail and prison climbed so quickly. Some experts suggested as one explanation a rise in the number of black men serving time for drug offenses. But Justice Department figures show that from 1990 to 2000, 50 percent of the growth in inmate populations at state prisons was for violent crimes, and that only 20 percent was for drug crimes. African American men are roughly 13% of American total population but almost 50% of the nations total prison population In New Mexico, for example, 30 percent of young black men, aged 20-35, are in prison (or, less commonly, in a secure mental institution). That is an extreme case, but there are 32 states with more than one in ten young black men in prison, and ten states where one in six young black men are behind bars" ~ Pastor Harvey Burnett "Ministering Effectively" (Dunamis Publishing 2008) Introduction pg. iii

When we have preachers going to jail at rates comparative to the world and rank sinner, that is not a good sign. I have taught and continue to teach that in many cases our communities are a mere reflection of the church condition. One comment by earring wearing, Bishop T.D. Jakes aired Wed. July 23rd was that our realities are many times dissimilar to our ideals. That the church preaches ideals of what should be, but must deal with the reality of what is. On first brush I say, OK, that sounds like an accurate account of our condition. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary & Thesaurus 2006 ideals are a standard of excellence or those things regarded as a model worthy of imitation or a goal.
When I reviewed Jake’s comment analytically, the assessment of the WORD of God as a mere "ideal" just didn’t feel comfortable. Why? Because it makes no allowance for the power of God or the supernatural change that can and must occur within individuals and our communities.

I Cor. 1:23-24 ~ "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."
Rom. 1:16-18 ~ "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;"

The WORD of God was and is the power to bring change. This change was to be efficacious. The church and ministry is not merely about "ideals" "values" and "goals" it is about the transformation of lives through the Power Of God. That power is not devoid of ideals or idealistic paradigms but is not centered on those things. I believe that this is why the fulcrum of American problems lay at the door of the black church and in the bosom of the black community. We have preached and taught "ideals" and have not cause the people to enter into the true power of God through repentance and turning from sin.
I believe that the following scripture typifies Bishop Jake’s and far too many ministers regarding the issue,

2 Tim. 3:1-5 ~" This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

Although the CNN special was not a religious show, it was unavoidable to discuss this topic without consulting religious leaders. As I watched, I began to wonder do our "Christian leaders" believe that God can change the condition of our communities?

In my article on Antisupernaturalism and Miracles, I discuss the effort of the metaphysical naturalist to remove the supernatural from life and living, therefore removing God from all rational conversation and discovery. Naturalism does not account for the supernatural and therefore cannot be evidential or scientific as it claims because it refuses to consider all available evidences. The deception is that religious leaders have also fallen from this line and make no or very little allowance for the "Power Of God" in their lives, communities or ministries.
Many of my atheist friends, who read this blog from time to time, have made a correct observation by questioning why they should follow a God that cannot provide evidence of HIS presence through the changed lives, behaviors and actions of the people who claim to be his. In other words, if God is real, then why aren’t we changed?

This is an indictment of the modern and powerless church. We can argue concepts of "free-will" and discover that man truly is a "free-will" agent and has certain controls over his own destiny quite convincingly, but the true question is what are we as the church actually doing to help our community through the lives that we live, and how are the community and people changed as a result of the Power Of God through us? What is at question is our consistency of living not the abundance of things we do or services we offer.
We have more ministries today than ever before and seemingly everybody is called to preach. For example, we have male and female Apostles, Bishops, and Pastors, not to mention Evangelists, but yet our communities are weaker than water. We’ve got larger buildings, but a weaker message. A louder and more diverse message and low morality. We have a message of inclusion that engages the homosexual, child molester, drug dealer and murder without ever leading them to the altar of repentance and purging. We present the "ideal" of salvation and a better life in Christ as an escape from current conditions, but where is the "power" that effects change?

Look At The Scripture

In Mk.11: 11-15 We find an inclusio of the barren fig tree which was representative of Israel, God’s people. Here we observe Jesus entering Jerusalem 2 times. The first time was to observe (v.11) and the second time was to scourge (v.15) In between this inclusio, there appeared a barren fig tree, as if it should have something to offer both Jesus and the disciples that were with him, but there was "nothing but leaves" Jesus then curses the fig tree commanding that it will never yield fruit again. (v.14)
The temple was active. The individuals were buying and selling sacrifices and other items to be used for the remission of sins. When Jesus got there he found the equivalent of "nothing but leaves" and consequently condemned the actions of the people and beat the "money changers" out. In what appears to be another and prior incident in which Jesus did the same thing at a prior Passover celebration, in John 2:12-21 Jesus asked the people to contrast the temple to his body, both of which were to be destroyed, but only one raised. This challenge was fulfilled in AD 70, and until this day, only one temple was raised and that was the temple of the Body of Jesus.

Huge buildings and dynamic ministry programs, TV and radio outreach does not the Power Of God make. These things by themselves do not facilitate God’s power. If that were the case we would have no problem within our community in evangelizing the lost and turning these atrocious conditions around. Yet an abundance of social and moral problems exist and to speak against such seems to be out of vogue as too many ministers merely want to be perceived good by the public and stand with politicians for popularity and gain.

The Call To The Church

I believe that the greatest call to the church today is to REPENT and serve the Lord with purity of heart.
2 Chron. 7:14-15~ "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place"

I believe when we truly repent as a whole for making a muck of truth, morality and absolutes our communities would be ripe for and experience the change necessary to turn these situations around. The time is now for turning back to God. Barack Obama (Now President) claims that he wants to "tear down walls" and calls himself a "fellow citizen of the world" so that the world can be unified and bring a new and more clear vision to humanity. Unfortunately many of the walls he wants to tear down include walls of righteousness and the church of God.

Lord please let the reader help spread this message of repentance before it is too late.

In the words of Mother Ella Mae, "Now them people know they just need to get right and get saved, cause they crazy."

Amen Momma Ella and again I say amen.


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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The 100% CHANGE Man

One of the most controversial and divisive subjects among ministers, especially in the African-American community, is the election of the next president of the United States and more specifically the endorsement or non-endorsement of self proclaimed "progressive" Senator Barack Obama.

Pastors such as Clenard H. Childress Jr. of Black Genocide.Org have made their dissent known in light of the facts regarding Senator Obama's stances on abortion and homosexual rights.

Other Pastors and ministers such as Kirbyjohn Caldwell on his site
has declared the following,

"There was recently a Time Magazine article that implies this website was part of a premeditated plan to attack Dr. James Dobson. Unfortunately, I was never contacted or given an opportunity to comment on the article. Nothing could be further from the truth. This website was created to directly respond to comments made by Dr. Dobson in his June 24 broadcast and to set the record straight about Senator Obama and his deep Christian faith. It was created to respond to Dr. Dobson in a spirit of love and lift up a candidate we think is the best choice for our country. The reason over 10,000 individuals have signed up is because they believe in a positive, affirming vision of the United States, not because they believe in attacking Dr. Dobson. Sincerely, - Kirbyjon Caldwell"
Christian conservatives and fundamentalists such as James Dobson of Focus On The Family, have said, “I think [Obama is] deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theology” (Focus on the Family Broadcast). Regarding Senator Obama's political strategies, Dr. Dobson also stated, “And if I [Referring to Senator Obama] can’t get everyone to agree with me, it is undemocratic to try to pass legislation that I find offensive to the Scripture. That is a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution” (Focus on the Family Broadcast).

Then both Bishop T.D. Jakes and Pastor Rick Warren have been Driven to Purposefully Reposition Themselves and endorse Obama hands down. (Or should I say "Hands Up")

So as we can see there is a firestorm of controversy. On one side, we know we all need CHANGE. Gas prices at all time highs, a war with seemingly no end in sight, a deflating dollar and families under financial siege. Then we also suspect that a terrorist attack is responsible for bacteria infested tomatoes which are suddenly NOT the source of the bacterial infestation at least according to the FDA.
Then there are a host of moral and ethical issues. California and Massachusetts who have ordained homosexual unions and marriages, right in Canada's back yard. Just in case you didn't know, Canadian authorities now consider preaching against homosexuality a crime. Yes, we need CHANGE.

But as I said in my prior prior post, Baracking The Gay Agenda, Can we really say yes to this change? At what price must we have CHANGE? Now don't think for a minute that I am providing any sort of endorsement for John McCain. (or any candidate for that matter)

I have many of the same or similar sentiments as the late Former Presiding Bishop Of The Church Of God In Christ, Bishop Dr. G.E. Patterson who said,

"The Republican, religious right is for every human right except when it comes to the rights of leveling the the playing field of racial equality and seriously addressing the issues of the minority community."

All of this is especially interesting because of what is taking place in the background. On a recent radio show of Janet Parshall's America Mrs. Parshall exposed the current plans of Planned Parenthood to endorse a worthy candidate with over $10 Million Dollars of support.

Now this is the same Planned Parenthood that receives most of it's funding through tax dollars, who gives Senator Barack Obama a 100% Presidential candidate rating (endorsement), has through it's first President, Margaret Sanger, likened children in the African-American community to "human weeds" (This was during their Negro Project in 1939, a statement which by the way, which has never been retracted) and continues to contribute to the decline and population control of Black America. I've stated these facts before, but for those new to this site or just passing by, this is worth restating:
  • Under Planned Parenthood 500,000 African-American babies are killed EVERY YEAR in the United States.
  • Under Planned Parenthood 1,452 black baby deaths EVERY DAY in the United States.
  • Since 1973 Planned Parenthood has been responsible for the DEATH of almost 13 MILLION BLACK BABIES in the United States under the guise of the "legal right"of abortion.
These are additional facts:
  • Since 1973 in the African-American community 203,695 people have died of AIDS
  • Since 1973 in the African-American community 1,638,350 people have died of CANCER
  • Since 1973 in the African-American community 2,266,789 people have died of HEART DISEASE
  • Since 1973 in the African-American community 13,000,000 (13 MILLION) people or (BABIES) HAVE BEEN KILLED under the guise of abortion aka a woman's right to choose.
Additional Planned Parenthood figures can be found at One News Now
Because of the rampant social problems including separation of the family by incarceration, and substandard public education, and the inefficacy of the church, the Black community has been devastated. Current statistics confirm that the African-American community is not replenishing it's population as quickly as is necessary to maintain its status as the largest minority group within America. According to census projections and statistical data, the African-American population will continue to decrease for quite some time. In other words, the Black community's annual death rate now meets or exceeds it's annual birth rate. Premature deliveries and miscarriages have increased among African-American women, because abortion has been used as a method of birth control so regularly that the bodies can't handle wanted or desired pregnancies. Abstinence education even within many conservative churches has taken a back seat to condom distribution, holy-hip hop gatherings and other youth activities that insight the flesh. Additionally, based on the various reports that I have read, by 2010, African-Americans are expected to officially be the SECOND largest minority group in the USA.

Now, as of Tuesday July 1st, Senator Obama has committed to expanding President Bush's "Faith Based Initiatives" and asking the community church to focus on the poor and needy in a greater way. He promises to do this if elected with certain unnamed "restrictions" on hiring policies etc.

What is the PRICE for that CHANGE?

I'm sure those "restrictions" will take form in a requirement that institutions of "faith" expand homosexual rights and employment practices without a doubt. Why should we expect differently? Senator Obama has consistently suggested that the church is out of tune with regard to it's message against homosexuality. This is a statement from one of his appearances within the last 12 months,
"I am not willing to have the state deny American citizens a civil union that confers equivalent rights on such basic matters as hospital visitation or health insurance coverage simply because the people they love are of the same sex – nor am I willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the sermon on the mount." ~ Sen. Barack H. Obama

For those confused about the subject please go to our study on Homosexuality & The New Testament for a biblical review of what Senator Obama says is "obscure line" in the bible regarding this. Either way, to assume that an agenda has not already been set may be fatal for America and further devastating to the the African-American community in particular.

Can we expect to CHANGE the CHANGER?
Many of the ministers I've spoken to assume that we can "make Obama do what we want him to once he's elected". Is that right? Can we expect to CHANGE such a strong willed person, who overcame the obstacle of an atheist father, spiritually lethargic parents, a part racist grandmother, and a church that taught black nationalism "without his knowledge" for over 20 years.
In Obama's 2006 speech, A Call To Renewal delivered in Washington, DC. the Senator addressed many issues and laid out his thoughts as to the roll of religion in both politics and public life. Although I don't intend to impugn him with any of his comments, (no more than he has already impugned himself) there were more than a few things worth noting.
As he discussed Dr. Alan Keys assertions in 2004 that he (Obama) wasn't representing his "Christian values" in his politics, Senator Obama responded as follows:
"But what they didn't understand, however, was that I had to take Mr. Keyes seriously, for he claimed to speak for my religion, and my God. He claimed knowledge of certain truths. [Referring To Keys] Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, he was saying, and yet he supports a lifestyle that the Bible calls an abomination. Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, but supports the destruction of innocent and sacred life. And so what would my supporters have me say? How should I respond? Should I say that a literalist reading of the Bible was folly? Should I say that Mr. Keyes, who is a Roman Catholic, should ignore the teachings of the Pope?"
Now we are at least aware that Senator Obama does not take the bible literally. Then how is his understanding determined? Based on his subjective methodological interpretations or some other standard? These questions are at least worth finding out. So far as the intent to bring religious issues to the forefront, Senator Obama couldn't be more clear:
"...and I think it's time that we join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy."
Pluralism? Have we asked the effect of pluralism in religion? That's where it seems to be going. Senator Obama also wants to make sure that alternate voices on religion are given a change to proliferate their message:
"Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome - others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends. In other words, if we don't reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, then the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons and Alan Keyeses will continue to hold sway."

This reminds me of the current skeptical teachings regarding the Council Of Nicea on May 20th 325 AD. It is said that the only reason that Christianity exists today and that Jesus is hailed as Lord is because the Council, through Emperor Constantine, snuffed out all opposing voices and made Christianity the official religion of Rome.(This whole argument and more are refuted HERE.) This is the same strategy that Senator Obama takes, by encouraging opposing voices to engage those who hold traditional Christian values so that their "insular views" won't rule the day.
Maybe this strategy gives insight into why Senator Obama would ask Donnie McClurkin to join his campaign tour, only to disassociate himself from Donnie's message of homosexual freedom and deliverance and upstage him later by allowing a homosexual minister to engage the crowd preaching the message of inclusion.---Next thing you know, Donnie is spread all over the internet rumored as a STILL practicing homosexual. All I want to know is what Donnie's opinion is....But strangely enough as it is...I haven't heard from Donnie yet...Have you? I would like to know.
Then this may be the ultimate conflict:
"I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.
Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what's possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It's the art of the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing."

It remains to be seen, but one thing I know, ministers are as divided today as the country was along party lines in the Bush-Gore election. Maybe we should go back to really seeking Jesus instead of seeking the "next great wonder". Maybe we should renew our roots of telling the truth and holiness instead of seeking political association and position. We would be wise to remind ourselves of what scripture teaches about this "pluralism"
James 3:1 ~ "My brethern be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."

Compromise by any other name smells just as sweet. Disservice to Jesus is disservice to Jesus plain and simple.

Joshua 24:14-15 ~ "Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."


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