CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Our Own Worst Enemies

Apr 14, 2010

There are plenty of forces arrayed against Christianity, many of them working overtime to see its demise. There are never-ending challenges and threats to the Christian church from without. But sadly the greatest threat may come from within.

I refer to the widespread apathy and indifference of so many believers. While the church is besieged on every front, and losing battle after battle, how many Christians simply don’t know about the war they are in, or simply don’t even care?

It seems that if just ten per cent of Christians took their calling and responsibilities seriously, we could be seeing mighty things happening for the Kingdom. But sadly so many believers are effectively aiding and abetting the enemy. We are losing battle after battle by default.

It is hard to win a contest when you are not even involved in it. The other side keeps winning hands down. That is because so often they are facing no opposition. Many believers would rather spend countless hours a day playing games on Facebook than engage in prayer, spiritual warfare, fasting, and actually getting involved in the many battles of the day.

But God will see that his church does eventually triumph, and if need be, he is quite willing to bypass believers and use non-believers to accomplish his purposes. Jesus even spoke about this. He said that “the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light” (Luke 16:8).

And in Luke 19:40 we find these words: “I tell you, if they [the disciples] keep quiet, the stones will cry out”. God is able to raise up stones to get his message out. Two examples of this have occurred in the past few days. The first involves secular conservative commentator Andrew Bolt.

He was dealing with the smear campaign being launched against the Pope. Now I am not a Catholic. And neither obviously is Bolt. But he can smell an anti-Christian witch-hunt a mile away. Indeed, he often comes to the aid of Christians, when Christians themselves remain silent.

In his blog he offers a defence of the Pope who is being accused of a cover-up on child abuse. He cites Phil Lawler as to the actual facts in this case:

• Was Cardinal Ratzinger responding to the complaints of priestly pedophilia? No. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which the future Pontiff headed, did not have jurisdiction for pedophile priests until 2001. The cardinal was weighing a request for laicization of Kiesle.

• Had Oakland’s Bishop John Cummins sought to laicize Kiesle as punishment for his misconduct? No. Kiesle himself asked to be released from the priesthood. The bishop supported the wayward priest’s application.

• Was the request for laicization denied? No. Eventually, in 1987, the Vatican approved Kiesle’s dismissal from the priesthood.

• Did Kiesle abuse children again before he was laicized? To the best of our knowledge, No. The next complaints against him arose in 2002: 15 years after he was dismissed from the priesthood.

• Did Cardinal Ratzinger’s reluctance to make a quick decision mean that Kiesle remained in active ministry? No. Bishop Cummins had the authority to suspend the predator-priest, and in fact he had placed him on an extended leave of absence long before the application for laicization was entered.

• Would quicker laicization have protected children in California? No. Cardinal Ratzinger did not have the power to put Kiesle behind bars. If Kiesle had been defrocked in 1985 instead of 1987, he would have remained at large, thanks to a light sentence from the California courts. As things stood, he remained at large. He was not engaged in parish ministry and had no special access to children.

• Did the Vatican cover up evidence of Kiesle’s predatory behavior? No. The civil courts of California destroyed that evidence after the priest completed a sentence of probation – before the case ever reached Rome.

Another stone who has recently spoken up for Christians is the conservative Jewish writer, Melanie Phillips. She has just written a terrific piece outlining all of the anti-Christian bigotry which has been taking place lately in the UK. She then offers some wise words about where all this is headed:

“Under the guise of promoting ‘tolerance’ and ‘liberal’ social attitudes, anti-discrimination law is deeply intolerant and illiberal. That’s because it has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with ideology. It is innately on the side of minorities on the basis that they are by definition vulnerable to the majority. So in the hands of the judiciary, it has turned into a fearsome weapon against Britain’s mainstream attitudes and faith.

“The result is that Christianity is now in danger of being turned into a despised and marginalised creed practised only by consenting adults in private. Christians are already being forced into renouncing their religious beliefs if they want to remain in certain jobs. This is simply intolerable in a liberal society where freedom of religious conscience is a bedrock value.

“Yet while Christians find themselves under the legal cosh, a double standard is employed towards certain minority faiths. Thus a Christian nurse is told she can’t work with patients unless she removes her cross while Muslim NHS staff have been exempted from hygiene rules stipulating that their forearms must remain uncovered.

“The relentless message from the top of our society is that Christianity — the foundation-stone of Western liberty, tolerance and democracy — is intolerant, bigoted and objectionable in contrast to other faiths. Their own precepts may be truly inimical to liberty or reason, but to these we must not turn a politically correct hair.”

She concludes, “The highest echelons of both the Church and the judiciary seem incapable of grasping why Christianity is crucial to this country and has to be upheld and defended against attempts to undermine and destroy it, from wherever such attacks may come.”

Why is it that secularists and Jews can see the horrendous assaults on Christianity, and seek to do something about it, while so many Christians do not seem to know or care about any of this? Why in the world has the church become so spiritually and morally cold that God has to raise up non-Christians to fight the good fight?

If Christianity in the West one day soon finds itself to be totally obliterated or driven underground, we will mainly have ourselves to blame. Unless we wake up from our slumber, there will not be many more years left. I certainly won’t be writing this blog much longer if the church does not stir itself to action.

It seems only fitting to finish with the words of Jesus: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:15-17).

blogs.news.com.au/couriermail/andrewbolt/index.php/couriermail/comments/seven_questions_the_media_didnt_ask_before_smearing_the_pope/
www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=730

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41 Responses to Our Own Worst Enemies

  • Thanks, this is a sobering reminder.
    I pray that readers (including myself!) will therefore DO something rather than merely ‘raise awareness’.
    Dominic Snowdon

  • Thanks Dominic

    Yes we must be involved in both: we must be aware of the issues and let others know about them as well, but then we must also act. At the very least, serious praying is a good start.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • This was a very well placed article. Timing is everything and your are right on time. I am half a world away and am as worried about our faith as I see you are. I am standing up and making it well known that I am not going to sit by and be persecuted for my beliefs. As for the President of my Country, look what he did for gun sales in the US… He is also doing it for recruiting people to Christianity! There is a revival happening and it is world wide. We need to lead this revival!

    Thank you and God Bless you Bill.

    Ed Cox, Forest Hill, Maryland USA

  • Ripper Bill! Having fought this very battle with numerous bureaucrats, I can honestly say that it often feels lonely. We need more and more people with a head to think Christianly, a heart to be incensed at the disintegration of biblical truths in the hands of church leaders and the ticker to stand up to be known as a defender of those truths.

    Robert Johnston

  • Your answer is in the text – Jesus’ message to the Laodiceans. Christians in the Western nations are neither cold nor hot… we lack love and are generally full of self-centredness…. we confuse lust with love, and in general, are no different from those in the secular world. Lacking true repentance, many Christians will suffer the fate that Jesus describes in Matthew – the love of many will grow cold – and they will turn away from the Lord. Sadly, this is happening before our eyes, and I don’t believe that we will see any kind of change until true repentance from dead works and “dying to self” is experienced among church leadership. I consider myself blessed to be in a church where the leadership (not just the senior pastor!) has a real heart towards God. We are starting to see this attitude spread through the whole congregation (slowly)….

    Cheers,
    Andrew Munden

  • Hi Bill – a stirring and prophetic word to us all.

    Many believers would rather spend countless hours a day playing games on Facebook than engage in prayer, spiritual warfare, fasting, and actually getting involved in the many battles of the day.

    How shallow we all are – and most of us need to repent of at least some level of apathy/lack of commitment to the cause of Christ. I know I need to be more diligent in my application to prayer, spiritual warfare, fasting and being active in speaking out my faith.

    I certainly won’t be writing this blog much longer if the church does not stir itself to action.

    We pray Bill that you will be able to continue writing your blog for many years to come and that the forces of the evil one will not hold sway in our nation of Australia. God bless you Bill for your wonderful work in speaking the truth publicly – and I pray that you may see some tangible results from your work to encourage you about its value.

    Chris Cullen

  • Many thanks indeed Chris

    Keep up your good work as well.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Bill for highlighting these two articles by two people who clearly are covered by the angels’ words at Christmas as being people of goodwill (Luke 2,14). They are examples to us all of the need to stand up for what is right and for what is Christian. Many of us pray for you and your work every day Bill so, like Paul, please keep up the good fight.
    John McCarthy

  • Many thanks John

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • As a Catholic I have some views on this situation of the problems from within the Church.

    Whether we had or have a more faithful or heterodox leadership in the dioceses of the world, the attractions of the modern world for instant gratification would still be there because of modern technologoes and because secularism was always there even before Vatican II.

    A more faithful/traditional leadership and praxis would no doubt have reduced the bad effects and incidences of the sex abuse crisis however, it would only be a small difference. Human beings make choices. Whether they be heterodox and liberal or faithful and orthodox.

    It is not just atheists who are happy to be a part of the seperation of Church and State. There are man non-Catholics (and even Catholics) who are happy with this situation.
    As a traditional Catholic I oppose the mantra of the separation of Church and State. I am opposed to theocracy however, Aquinas and others have spoken about how our secualr laws should reflec Divine law especially in what is know to every person regardless of Faith, which is, the natural law that is knowable and available to even human mind and heart.

    Michael Webb

  • It’s so easy for us to stay in our homes and stay in our workplaces and stay in shells – we’ve all done it numerous times. The allure is there all the time: whether it’s on tv or internet you’ve got news, articles, videos, friends, and overall so much stuff for us to waste our time on.
    But yeah what we actually need to do is, I guess: read those articles and respond; chat to friends and preach the Gospel to them; watch those videos and make your own.
    Hard work, but easy; fearful at times, but exciting once you’re doing something.
    I’ve just been convicted in this area recently and your post only confirms it – keep up the good work, your work is important.

    Nathan Keen

  • I admit I spend too much time on the computer and get caught up with the worries of the world. Like will Mahmoud Ahmadinejad use nuclear weapons on Isreal if he gets them and so on etc. But I know when I talk about the onslaught Christianity faces, lets say after a church service, I just feel that most people, while aware don’t give it much thought. I hope I’m wrong there. I always to try and find good reasons for my faith, if I am ever going to talk with people who might ask one day. But I do get sick of the unnesary attack on Christianity. Isn’t enough to our critics that we try?

    I could never renounce my beliefs. I have said to people when they asked how my Easter went I always mention I go to the church services etc. But I guess people are more interested in going to sporting matches or wining and dining then thinking about God, let alone contemplate what I’m thinking, leaving the Lutheran Church to become a Catholic.

    Carl Strehlow

  • “I certainly won’t be writing this blog much longer if the church does not stir itself to action.”

    Maybe, just maybe, Bill, there is something to what you’ve said here. Maybe most of the apathetic, cold Christians you are talking about don’t actually read blogs. Maybe all you’re doing here is preaching to the converted.

    Perhaps a man of your giftings should be applying himself differently. You are a prophet with an urgent message to deliver. Is it enough to sit here blogging away? Should you not be meeting with church pastors and elders? Getting into churches on sundays and talking with people about the issues? Running educational meetings and seminars around town?

    Jereth Kok

  • Thanks Jereth

    Yes I do those things quite often as well as this blog. It seems both methods can be used, and I seek to do just that.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • A great article Bill. As it happens, I was just listening (by podcast) to my favourite Christian radio show today whilst driving the tractor. The topic was “What Is the Worst Sin in the Church of America?” The conclusion was much the same as you have highlighted here – apathy and indifference. Keep up the good work.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Thanks Ewan

    “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1).

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Bill.

    The homeschoolers of Victoria fought this battle and lost in 2006, so that we have the “Education Reform Act 2007” to impose registration upon home educators who previously had a perfectly adequate common law structure, well attested in a number of court cases.

    One of the ministers staff actually flaunted the government’s power by spitefully taunting the Christians when the Bill was passed – “we did it because we can!” as if to say “you silly Christians, how dare you oppose us?”

    I wasn’t present at that confrontation, but I prayed that the Lord would rebuke that fellow, and deal with the abuse of power.

    Well, Lynne Kosky has gone, but we are still homeschoolers.

    Michael Webb, you said:
    “As a traditional Catholic I oppose the mantra of the separation of Church and State.”

    The original principle was to restrain the power of the King (and Parliament) from interfering with the operation of the Church.

    Too often these days, the anti-Christians abuse this principle to mean the removal of all faith (mainly the Christian faith, of course) from the political arena.

    And we mostly see it from the “left” side of politics, with the many attacks upon GW Bush, Steve Fielding and Tony Abbott.

    John Angelico

  • Hi Bill
    It must be very frustrating for you. You sound the alarm and the church puts the pillow over its head and keeps sleeping.
    I work in Christian media. In Australia we have Christian radio stations that cover most populated areas, we have the Christian TV Chanel and a number of publications. Your articles are written for your blog and have a great influence on the many that go to your web site. To reach the majority of Christians and get them involved you have to go to the media they access. Few of the media outlets mentioned would have the time or the resources to take your articles and make them suitable for their media. If you could record a weekly 3 to 5 minute audio for radio, highlighting the issue and directing listeners to a website for directions to further action, you will be speaking to many thousands. The combined audience for Christian radio is well over 1 million. You could use a local radio station for the recording and put the program on CMA’s MediaPoint where it would be available to every Christian radio station in the country. You could offer Christian publications a regular supply of 500 word articles.
    Here is me telling you what you need to do when your article is about what we all must do. You know the issues, you have done the research, you are a great wordsmith and the articles are yours. I pray that God would send someone alongside you that can help take your ministry to a higher level and reach even more people.
    Des Morris

  • I think the most important thing in dealing with these worrying trends is to make sure you are standing firm in the faith to start with by doing in your personal life what the Bible exhorts us to do – watch your life and doctrine closely, and by the power of God’s spirit, make every effort on a daily basis to keep the inside of the cup clean so that the outside will be clean also. I have seen the importance of these things and the results in my own life – I can see how the devil is working against Christianity and for those Christians who submit to God’s authority on a daily basis, they will be able to see and discern the times and trends. I have found that living my life in the above mentioned way has given me a spirit of boldness where I am not afraid to give reasons for the hope I have in Christ – then I leave those people I tell this to, to God to do his will in their life. The closer you grow to God each day, the more transparent the world becomes and by growing closer to God, I believe that your resolve to resist the things of the world becomes stronger and will prepare you for dealing with the forces of darkness. I think sometimes that it is not so much the apathy of Christians but lack of direction or planning as to how to go about being active in opposing these attempts to shackle Christianity – I am of the opinion that it needs to come from the top – people like the Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen need to get involved actively and by communicating with the church about these things, encouraging the faithful to petition politicians and the like -as an example I read the Anglican newspaper when I get it and to date (I stand to be corrected), I do not recall seeing anything written about the issues raised by Bill here, which I do find a bit disturbing – the churches collectively can probably do a lot to stifle these anti Christian proposals but they need to get involved as a whole and not leave it to individuals or small groups.
    Steve Davis

  • Sorry Bill – an after thought came to me – have you ever spoken to any of the church leaders about these things? I wonder if they are aware fo this site? Just food for thought that’s all.
    Steve Davis

  • Thanks Des and Steve

    Yes I do speak at churches, I do have contact with church leaders, and I do use Christian radio. But I could always do more. Any help would be appreciated in this, in terms of opening more doors of opportunity.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,
    You say you could always do more – but how much more realistically? If you speak at churches, have contact with church leaders and use Christian radio then what else is there for you to do? Be careful that you do not shortchange yourself on your efforts – your listeners have a responsibility as well – the responsibility to act upon what they hear and especially the church leaders (hopefully they are!) – forgive me if I sound a little naive but as I said in my last letter, I have not seen any articles in the Southern Cross on these matters so something is amiss somewhere and I do not think it is your efforts. There is plenty of information on your site for us to read and be informed about so really we need to start adjusting our thinking and how we can stand up and be counted.
    Steve Davis

  • Christians seem to think that Christianity is just another religion with no right to express or advocate its opinions and values. Why? Do we defend the gospel of Jesus Christ as Creator, Saviour and Lord – starting with the real history of life and sin as given in Genesis?

    Instead, most of us accept millions of years of evolution as ‘fact’ and hence we can’t logically defend the Gospel as being based on real history. E.g. no one who believes that Genesis is Allegory, Myth, Poetry, etc has yet responded to my repeated challenges on this site to answer atheist Frank Zindler who says: “Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation there is no need of a saviour. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.”

    Christians seem to avoid both Genesis and Zindler – perhaps because they are embarrassed to believe in Jesus as Saviour and Lord and yet reject Genesis 1-11 as history.

    So why be surprised that we are own worst enemies? Christianities poor social influence may be partly due to accepting the lie that Christianity is ‘faith’ while evolution is ‘fact’.

    But evolution is based on unprovable assumption held on faith, that is, it is more ‘religious-belief’ than ‘fact’. Now natural selection and mutations are fact, but they in no way even begin to explain the faith-belief that molecules evolved into man. Real experimental science indicates that origin of life and man are impossible via natural selection and mutation (See JC Sandford: “Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome”).

    In short Christians who believe Genesis is myths or poetry have weak foundations for being salt and light. Hence, low on power and conviction, we become apathetic – as Bill laments. Apathy is the symptom – the cure should be to recognise the causes and to eliminate them. Hence Christians should all support and promote sites such as billmuehlenberg.com, saltshakers.org.au, creation.com etc as they are trying to address the various causes of our apathy and could help turn the church around.

    Peter Newland

  • To Peter Newland,
    Pete, while I understand your frustrations and value your worthy observations, it is important to understand that not all Christians blindly follow and accept these trends – there are many Christians who are well aware and up to date (thanks to sites like this one) with the type of sordid sentiments doing the rounds at this point in time. As for debating atheists/evolutionists, some of the comments these people make such this Frank Zindler above are so idiotic and absurd that sometimes it is better to heed the words of Jesus when he said “Leave them, they are blind guides”. His comment “Now we know that Adam & Eve were never real people” – OK, so how does he “know” that? You will usually find that these people make comments that they just cannot support and sometimes you just waste good breath and brain matter trying to reason with them. The same goes for people like Richard Dawkins, he has been given a privileged look into the world of biology and I do not care what anyone says – if God has given you a gift of interest in the areas of biology, medical science etc. then you just cannot dismiss the notion of a creator – it is such a simple argument but I think Bill said in one his previous writings – some of these people just do not want to believe – the best thing in these circumstance is to pray for people like Zindler as he is under the judgement that you and me were under at one time in our lives and we can only pray that God will grant him repentance like us. Also be careful about the comment “Evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity”, far from it Pete, it is actually the other way around and I dare say there is plenty of tangible evidence to back that comment up. As for Christians poor social influence once again do not be deceived – God is at work in his people and if they get out of bed each day with a prayerful resolve to submit completely and unconditionally to His authority, then their social influence will be quietly working its way through society and while we may not always see the results this side of heaven, we must continue to be faithful above all things trusting God to be working behind the scenes which I truly believe in my heart that he is. All the best Pete and keep your chin up mate.
    Steve Davis

  • Miranda Devine does a pretty good job showing up the overtly strategic nature of the attacks on the pope;

    www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/evildoers-not-pope-to-blame-20100414-sdyj.html

    Damien Spillane

  • I agree Peter. The root problem of apathy is surely unbelief. If we as Christians really believed what we say we believe, we would act differently. As Bill often reminds us, orthodoxy precedes orthopraxy. There is nothing orthodox about theistic evolution, and it would seem that the church is reaping the consequences of wrong belief.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Dear readers,
    A short time ago, Bill did a sermon at my church. I actually thought it was fantastic and to be completely honest, the thoughts running through my head all the while Bill was speaking were, about time we had some of this straight talk and at the end there were flyers with this site address, hence I’m here. As I was leaving feeling ready for anything, one of the ushers shook my hand and said to me,”so what you think?” I said awsome loved it. He said to me “mmmmm yeah a bit different”. I walked on through the doors and felt a bit deflated. Since then I have vigorously prayed for the leaders of my church, I’m not sure what else I can do.
    Daniel Kempton

  • In an odd way though, Bill, we should almost welcome things getting worse, because only a worsening situation will force Christians/the Church to wake up and choose just which side they/it is to take (Jesus’s message was all about choice and decision, then action), and when things begin to get really bad then the truth will be out and politicians and others will no longer be able to pretend (that they are anti-Christian) and lie. What’s that quote I put on my site’s Quotes page? Something about it’s no good being a wolf in sheep’s clothing if you don’t one day throw off your disguise, and come out as you are … Satan himself will one day have to break cover – and then there can be no more denials, illusions.
    To be fair, Peter Hitchens, in the UK, is a Christian who tells it like it is, like Melanie P.
    John Thomas, UK

  • Thanks John

    Yes and no is how I usually respond to your first point (indeed, I just did a few hours ago as I was teaching a class). Yes, persecution certainly separates the men from the boys, and the church is strongest in countries where there is persecution. But no, we are nowhere told to seek persecution in Scripture, and we should all vigorously stand up for religious freedom and fight against any moves to restrict it.

    If after standing strong against these attacks on religious freedom, we still find ourselves under heavy persecution, then at least we can endure it with heads held high. But if we did nothing to fight it along the way, then much of the fault lies with us. So let us enjoy the freedoms we now have, and do everything we can to resist the moves to take these freedoms away.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Damien Spillane, thanks for the link to Miranda Devine. Her article in the Australian is much needed.
    Bill, once again, thanks for your vigillance.
    Stan Fishley

  • To Steve Davis,
    Steve, you say Zindler’s claims are: “so idiotic and absurd that sometimes it is better to heed the words of Jesus when he said ‘Leave them, they are blind guides’.” Is Zindler blind or clear-sighted in his atheism? I’m yet to see Zindler logically refuted by Christians who don’t defend the Genesis account of Adam and Eve as the first two people created directly by God at the beginning of creation. If we don’t defend Genesis 1-11 as history, we implicitly concede Zindler’s premise “that Adam & Eve were never real people”. On that basis, Zindler is logically correct.
    That concession is part of what makes us our own worst enemies rather than clear-sighted guides. But I don’t despair thanks Steve. So I persist on this issue – ‘ad nauseam’ do I hear from some? But I’m willing to be a fool for Christ.
    Peter Newland

  • Peter,
    Let me make something very crystal clear to you before I go on – I absolutely and without any reservation whatsoever – believe the Genesis account of creation and will defend it to anyone. I hope I have not given you the impression that I do not defend the creation – if I have then please accept my apologies for that. The point I am trying to make is that some comments made by these people are just so far out there that they are not worth answering and I stand by that with a clear conscience. As for your comment “Is Zindler clear sighted in his atheism?” – I think that is an oxymoron as we both know that there is nothing good or complimentary that can be attributed to atheism – atheism is the worst insult to God in that it denies his very existence – in addition to this, I do not recall Jesus getting into long winded arguments about the existence of God, he came to show us the way to salvation through repentance and if you feel that you can defend the creation with this fellow then by all means go ahead – take a step out in faith and see if you can have a discussion with him, I never said that Christians should always ignore every statement made like this – however sometimes you have to choose your own battleground. I completely disagree with your statement about Zindler being logically correct – We both know and believe that Genesis 1-11 is fact – no atheist or evolutionist has ever been able to disprove it so that puts paid to any claim about him being correct as a result of his denial – the very fact that he says the creation is a myth makes him incorrect no matter what angle people wish to see it from. I am glad you are willing to be a fool for Christ – so am I!
    Steve Davis

  • Steve,
    Apologies if you felt I was attacking your belief in Genesis. My phrasing: “If we don’t defend Genesis…” was intended to avoid the false implication that belief in Genesis as history is necessary for salvation – it is NOT. For my first few years as a Christian I didn’t believe Genesis was real history. But now, as with you, I believe the traditional, or ‘biblical creationist’, reading of Genesis and the Bible as teaching that creation was in six ordinary days about 6,000 years ago.
    However, Christians who do not believe that Genesis is real history implicitly agree with Zindler “that Adam and Eve never were real people”. On that clearly-stated basis, Zindler’s argument, despite your objection, IS logical – though it applies only to such Christians. Hence Christians who use “long winded arguments” to twist the clear language of Genesis, to deny that Genesis means what it says, effectively surrender to Zindler’s succinct challenge.
    Hence I completely disagree with you that Zindler etc are “not worth answering”. Christians who ignore such gaping holes in our apologetics contribute to us being our own worst enemies.
    Peter Newland

  • Bill having heard you personally sharing your God given passion for the first time today was very poweful. You see though I may have been previously exposed to the information brought out in your lecture, it really did not penetrate my being; it did not affect me beyong a general uninvolved level because when you are in the arms of a par amour, you are not so easily distracted.

    Hearing you today enabled me to see with understanding that I had become fully seduced by the spirit of apathy and liked being there. Apathys’ carresses are very comfortable and unchallenging, and after all, in this stress related world, who can’t use a bit of carressing!!

    I had genuinely not ever related my uninvolvement with that which is unpleasant, uncomfortable and in the out there category as an abrigation of our primary God given mandate to fill and subdue the earth. I had never comprehended with insight and understanding that when we are not working for the kingdom, we are working against it, often simply by not reckognising the enemy and therefore it’s tactics.

    I know how radical, extreme and unbalanced that sounds on the face of it, but I am only just beginning to understand why Jesus was considered to be such a radical, why the church of His day did not delight in His teachings and see Him as a wonderful, all round great guy. I now have a better understanding of why He asked, “will I find faith on this earth when I return?” Faith is not a verbal agreeing with; faith is not a mental agnowledgement of; faith is not an end product. Faith is an alive and active actualisation; faith involves participation with; faith is only truely possible when one has eaten from the tree of life, the tree of knowledge of good and evil does not produce faith. And having said all that, it goes without saying that faith works in love, for without love, we have nothing. And that Bill is what you brought out today, the love of a fathers heart for all of His children; the love of The Creators heart for HIs creation. That spark of fire from your heart, enabling me to grieve along with God and birthing a desire to learn how to truely become the salt of the earth and live in this world but not be in heart, mind or spirit, of it.

    Thank you.
    Jaruska Bellu

  • Many thanks Jaruska for your kind words and for sharing honestly with us. It is God’s Spirit that warms the heart and touches the soul, moving us on to deeper and greater things with him and for him. Many blessings to you.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Pete,
    Point taken. I did not for one second believe you were attacking my belief in Genesis – I just wanted you to know that I am as passionate about it as you are that’s all. If nothing else at least we are on the same road – we just need to stand firm in the faith and be preapred to give a reason for the hope we have. It will be tough road ahead I think!
    Steve Davis

  • It is interesting that Richard Dawkins is working with a lawyer who was called a “practicing Christian” on RN yesterday. I thought how odd this whole set up was, but as I am still praying for Richard Dawkins’ conversion, I thought to myself that God has probably orchestrated more puzzling ways to perform his gracious miracle of salvation.
    There is much in the Catholic Church that needs to be corrected. In the words of David Nobel, “Ideas have consequences and bad ideas have bad consequences”, the doctrine of celibacy for priests is a wrong idea, described by Paul as a deceiving spirit. This is the underlying problem in most of the “sex scandals”. Also, the immunity of the pope, is that not something that has to be addressed?
    I believe God knows how to defend himself and we should not shy away from criticism, just because it is a “Christian denomination” that is being criticized. If we are prepared to accept the help of none Christian people like Andrew Bolt and Melanie Phillips, then maybe we should also take the criticisms and face up to them on their own merit.
    May I also respond to a comment by the American, Ed: Jesus said that we will be persecuted if we are serious about following him. Paul also said it to Timothy in his second letter. But, remember, Jesus said that we would be blessed. It is only to us Christians that our Christian heritage should be important. It is hard to build a case for non-Christians to demand that they should value our Christian heritage, they can by nature not see its value. Therefore, our first priority must always be to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
    Philip Yancy described Jesus as the “sin absorber’ in his book “the Jesus I never knew”. That statement has impressed me greatly and has been the cause of much soul searching and prayer. We as his disciples also must be “sin absorbers”. That will naturally involve suffering. When Jesus was struck at his mock trial, he did not rebuke his attacker, only asked for what evil he was being struck.
    I believe prayer, a loving and truthful and well reasoned response are the weapons in our spiritual war fare.
    Paul said in his address to either Festus or Agrippa “I speak with the voice of truth and reason”, but he had to leave the result with God and he himself still went on to be tried in Rome.
    In revelation it says that “they overcame by the blood of the lamb, the word of their testamony and that they did not love their lives even unto death.
    Thank you Bill for your site, but please, only discontinue to publish because the Lord has directed you, not because the church is pathetic. May I finish as an encouragement for you with God’s words to Elijah in the cave, “there are 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal. When you feel alone, be assured you are not alone.
    Ursula Bennett

  • Dear Bill,
    I just wanted to let you know that I fully agree with your last comment on your article “our own worst enemies”. I am saying this just in case you had the idea from the comment I sent to you before that I was looking for persecution in order to be blessed. No, not at all, in fact the opposite is probably closer to the truth. I know I am such a wimp that I probably deliberately concern myself with that part of what Jesus said in order to become stronger in it.
    Blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • Thanks guys

    With the new anti-Christian EOC bill now passed in Victoria, anyone actively standing up for Christ in the public arena can expect a knock on the door from the thought police. So we all need to ask ourselves: ‘Am I ready for jail time?’ See my new article on this here: www.billmuehlenberg.com/2010/04/17/when-the-thought-police-come-knocking-on-your-door/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • A belated reply to Des (15.4.10). You say, “It must be very frustrating for you. You sound the alarm and the church puts the pillow over its head and keeps sleeping.” Yes it certainly is, but it should be equally frustrating for every true disciple of Jesus Christ who seeks to extend his Kingdom and to faithfully follow him.

    Jesus himself of course felt the same frustration: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matt. 23:37).

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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