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Prominent ”Faith” Stories of 2007

Commentary on the News
Friday, December 07, 2007
Jan Markell

While these stories reflect more diminishing discernment in 2007, stay tuned to the end where hope is proclaimed.
* Christian leaders are betraying the Lord for the cause of “world peace.” A declaration was released November 23 titled, “Christian Leaders Invite Muslims to Love God, Neighbors Together.” Christian leaders responded across denominational lines calling on the two Abrahamic faiths to come together. Nowhere in the Bible are Christians instructed to unite with other religions and their deities. And “world peace” only comes with the coming of the Prince of Peace.

* The rise of the “Religious Left.” Making more and more headline news are leaders on the Left including Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren (Emergent), Rob Bell (Emergent), Doug Pagitt (Emergent) and many others pushing the social gospel. Global warming, “fasting for peace,” human rights, AIDS issues and more now dominate. It is almost as though left-wing politics has replaced issues of real faith such as salvation, repentance, and sin.

* The rise of the postmodern sentiment that we can’t really know God other than through mystical practices such as “Christian Yoga,” labyrinths, contemplative prayer, etc. There is the belief that these experiential rituals and gimmicks will get people into the presence of God. However, according to the Bible, the “contact” procedures may also be used by the ungodly.

* Unrecognizable “evangelicalism” is fast-becoming “evan-jello-calism.” So says John MacArthur associate Phil Johnson who feels “evangelicalism” has lost its meaning. It is still strong enough to elect presidents and for Time magazine to select The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” back in 2005 (though some listed didn’t belong there.) But we saw again in 2007 how it is sliding leftward.

* “Evangelicals” are uniting with unbelievers, giving credibility to what they should be denouncing. That will play out even more in 2008 when “evangelicals” participate with unbelievers at Robert Schuller’s “Re-Think” conference. Bill Hybels lauded Jimmy Carter in 2007, and Rick Warren and his church gave a standing ovation to Sen. Hillary Clinton. What messages do these events send?

* There has been a greater advance of turning churches into corporations. As author and commentator Roger Oakland says, “Churches, when they become corporations, have to operate like a corporation, not a church. In the world, people in corporations are always looking for position. The only way one can be successful in climbing the corporate ladder is to be loyal to the corporation and the corporate president. Herein lies the problem-when a Christian becomes more loyal to a man than the Son of Man, spirituality can soon turn to carnality. If that is driven by power, position, or possession, often that is the perfect recipe for disaster.”

* The rise of the “Emergent Church” has escalated in the last year. I refer to it weekly on my radio program and for good reason. Foundational beliefs are being undermined by the “Emergent Church” as it tries to re-invent Christianity. They will tell you they are just trying to “reach the culture where it is at today,” but in reality, their reinventions are entirely anti-biblical.

* Along those lines, we have seen the rise in what John MacArthur calls “grunge Christianity.” He says, “You have heard the arguments: We need to take the message out of the bottle and speak the language of the contemporary counterculture. How else will we reach young people? We have to stay in tune with the times.” Throw in there the pragmatic philosophy of giving the “unchurched” whatever it takes to make them feel comfortable.

* One of the most heretical theologies to explode recently is called “Kingdom Now/Dominion Theology.” This seductive end-time theology has millions now believing we can “make the world perfect and then usher the Lord’s return into a perfect environment.” Many who once held to eschatological truth now believe this seduction.

* We have witnessed the advance of a “hating God” movement. There is almost a “practicing the absence of God” effort. From The Secret to Pullman’s “Golden Compass,” a loving God is scorned by atheists run amok. Christopher Hitchins has made his millions writing against God. But our loving God is so patient He delays His coming that they might be saved.

Good things have happened this year as well! As the world faces new daily perils, many are looking for answers and finding hope and faith in Christ, including Muslims. Technology is furthering the gospel around the world. A remnant of believers is committed to the gospel and longs for truth. And every day we can see signs that remind us that He is coming soon! Many of the points above reflect that.

(Jan is founder of Olive Tree Ministries. To receive her free print newsletter, e-alerts, and to access three years of radio programming on line, visit her Web site, www.olivetreeviews.org.)

I have been a believer since 1981. Everything else before that is relatively meaningless. My heart has, from day 1, always been toward the subject of bible prophecy and I have seen the Lord do amazing things in my life through simply studying the Word and applying it to my life. I am a wife, grandmother and work full time in ministry. Life is full, and full of learning curves and seasons.

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