By Paul Proctor
I garnered a lot of email from my last article about the coming Rapture of the Church. Some received my commentary with joy, excitement and expectation, others with shock, anger and contempt. Amid the many diverse messages that found their way to my inbox, some generous and some not, I gained a bit of clarity as to the state of the perceived church that I think is important to pass along.
I discovered that many of those who call themselves Christians apparently don’t want to be delivered from this fallen world. Their goal instead is to make it a better place in which to live by forming alliances, organizations, ministries and networks to help them build a sort of Heaven on Earth.
If our little speck on the globe, by the grace of God, becomes a little more tolerable for a time through the courageous and benevolent efforts of the brethren, then praise the Lord; but should that be our primary objective? If we become fixated on this world and how we might change it for the better, do we not do so at the expense of the world to come and those who, as yet, have no hope or desire beyond the flesh?
Shall we Christianize the old to make it homier for our family, friends and countrymen or point to the new? Where is our focus – on the horizontal here and now or the vertical to come?
Is there any scriptural directive calling us to renovate the Land of the Lost into a facade of faith so that it will appear to be Christian owned and operated when our Lord returns, even though it is clearly stated four times in scripture that Satan is the “prince of this world?”
Considering that Christians become better disciples and experience their greatest spiritual growth under hardship and persecution, wouldn’t the seemingly honorable goal of making this a “better world,” in reality, be as counterproductive as trying to make soldiers out of recruits by turning their boot camp into a day spa? What is the eternal value in this?
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2nd Corinthians 2:10
We criticized Jim & Tammy Bakker 20 years ago for sweet-talking their followers out of millions of dollars to build the infamous Heritage U.S.A.; but aren’t local churches around the country today doing much the same thing to finance pleasure palaces and amusement parks full of worldly music, theater, dance, recreation and refreshments, catering to almost every appetite imaginable; and even worse, marketing it to the rest of the world as “evangelism?” It is no wonder that so many from the postmodern church have a hard time believing in the Rapture. With a kingdom like this in the works, who needs Heaven?
As if that wasn’t enough, several notable evangelicals, including Rick Warren, have now signed on to the pagan left’s environmental agenda by joining the Global Warming Initiative. Even though many conservatives found it somewhat strange and out-of-character, Warren’s liberal tendencies didn’t come as all that much of a surprise to those of us who, for years, have rebuked him and warned others of his Purpose Driven pretense; theories, techniques, philosophies and practices that have been liberal all along.
But because Warren’s sensory-saturated customer base has lost sight of what it means to be a conservative and a Christian, they didn’t see it coming. Their wisdom, discernment and Biblical convictions were “pyromarketed” away with The Purpose Driven Life; so now, rather than question, object or protest the consensus on a new-found environmental “stewardship” program that he and his cronies are peddling, many, I suspect, will simply fall in line behind his leftward march toward U.N. compliance, thinking they do the Will of God because they do the will of Warren.
The obvious question Christians ought to be asking is: What does environmentalism have to do with eternal life? Nothing, unless you believe that Heaven is the third planet from the Sun and that it can only be saved with human hands and worldly wisdom.
“For 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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” – 1st John 2:16-17
Other Christians take a more aggressive approach toward a “better world” by affirming the Commander in Chief’s call to send soldiers into combat overseas to change it militarily, one country at a time, into whatever he and his supporters think it ought to be. Consequently, only a Remnant of believers remain to “occupy” this world as “strangers” and “pilgrims;” following a risen Christ, Who saves souls, to a Promised Land their eyes have never seen, while everyone else unites to save the planet.
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul…” – 1st Peter 2:11
Compare today’s earth-centered values with those of the Apostle John who wrote:
“Love 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.” – 1st John 2:15
And the Apostle Paul who said:
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21
I find it particularly disturbing that Christians who have been called out of this evil world by the Lord they claim as their own, have so dismissed the Word of God and His command to “Come out from among them and be ye separate” that they’ve fallen madly in love with it; becoming seduced and entangled in its affairs, calling it a “ministry,” a “career” a “pastime” or their “patriotic duty” as if that somehow justifies their love of this life.
“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” – 2nd Timothy 2:4
“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” – John 12:25
After a rather long and heated volley of email messages with one enraged conservative over the misguided priorities of contemporary Christians and the sheer vanity of it all, I finally brought our correspondence to a close with this.
I wrote: “Jesus said ‘my kingdom is not of this world.’ Where is YOUR kingdom?” I asked; “Is it here on Earth or is it in Heaven?”
He refused to answer.
“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever amen.” – Galatians 1:3-5
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