The Christian life is like riding a bicycle,
you are either moving forward,
or you are falling off.
The Christian life is like riding a bicycle,
you are either moving forward,
or you are falling off.
In the heart of Hebrew history, there existed a ritual that is fraught with New Testament meaning. It was the practice of anointing a king or a high priest. In the ceremony, oil was literally poured upon the head of the person in symbolism of the filling, covering, empowering of that person by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the office to which he was installed.
Of course, as many things were, this was a shadow, type, picture of the One Whom God would both send and anoint to be the ultimate Prophet, High Priest and King. In the Hebrew language the word for “anoint” is “Messiah.” Therefore, the believing Jews looked for their Messiah (anointed one) to come. In the New Testament times, the primary written language was Koine Greek. The word in that language for “anointed” is “Christos” or in transliteration: “Christ.” Now the person anointed of God in the New Testament is Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. His anointing was not in oil but in the reality that oil symbolized: Holy Spirit. That occurred at Jesus baptism as He and John moved to fulfill all righteousness.
Moreover, Jesus is the head of His body, the church. Since the Head is anointed, (Christ) it is appropriate that the body also be anointed (Christ). That anointing of the body occurred at Pentecost, Acts 2. In that anointing, the body received energetic power and gifts to perform the commission given to it by the Head. The church exploded with true growth, but God was not preparing it for a megachurch, but for its demise through immediate proliferation in Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the earth. It was destined for an effective scattering in a few days. Therefore, those that were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.
A powerful church then came to exist in Antioch. Teachers such as Barnabas, Paul, and others were a part of it. It was there that the disciples were first called “Christians.” Some say this was a term spoken by locals in contempt of who these people were, and what they were doing. There simply is no proof at all of such an allegation. On the other hand, the locals knew Greek very well. They applied this term to them because they recognized that they were ministering in the name of, and in the Spirit of Jesus the Anointed (Christ).
While to the locals it may have been primarily the works of the church by which the name was applied; to the church it was the things that made them a church by which the name was rightfully applicable. That is, they were born-again people; baptized people, church-body people; dedicated people to the teaching of Jesus. They were indeed Christians (Christ-i-ans) (anointed ones). Any other application of that term today is nothing more than a corruption of it. It does not apply to all the saved today anymore than it applied to all the saved in Old Testament times. It is a term that is uniquely applied to the true members of the anointed body of Jesus: His church: anointed in Spirit and Truth: Christians, in the uncorrupted meaning of the term.
have enrolled in the
witness protection plan.
They are hiding
in plain sight.
who doesn’t witness is a
contradiction in terms.
responsibility does a Christian have in the use of his money? May he
actually worship God with it? This is an oft asked question,
especially in lessons and discussions of stewardship. It is asked
because there are tangential extremes that invariably get thrown into
the verbal mix. There is acceptable worship of God with money, but
money is never a substitute for what worship should include.
In Old Testament times, God demanded a tenth of one’s increase, even the first fruits of man, beast, the field, the orchards, and the vineyards. Wealth or lack thereof was not taken into consideration, except in the offerings in which the poor could offer birds instead of beasts.
Under the New Testament era of grace, God’s people have not received less, but more responsibility, all within the realm of maturity rather than demand.
But modern times have produced their own extremities. On one hand, some would have us to always study to boycott companies that sell what we need when those companies then use their money wrongly. I do not accept that responsibility unless the evil is blatant. I cannot be responsible for what others do with their money. I have enough trouble governing my own decisions.
On the other hand, one should be aware of his responsibility to use money wisely. It is hard to claim that there is no money for God’s work when one is spending God’s money ( yes, your money is God’s money that you would not have unless He blessed you with the health and ability to earn it) for alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and other vices that are a blight on society. Moreover, what does the widow who gave her last two mites to the work of God say to us? Anything???
Furthermore, it is not the religious super-structural programs, but the local, New Testament Churches that should be the object of our concern in wise stewardship. After all it is not the tele-evangelist; the cooperative programs; or self-styled religious programs that visit you in the hospital, conduct funerals, deliver God’s messages in sermon, song, Bible study, and in property maintenance commensurate to worship services. It is the local church which provides these ministries. It is worthy of the support of all its members. Maintaining it is giving to God and accepted as such. Personally, I am careful how I spend my money, and more careful how and where I give it, because I am convicted that is how the Word teaches me to be.
Parson to Person
From early days, the United States of America has been generally know by the world as a Christian nation. To be sure there were many times and episodes in its history that would bring that idea into question. Still, following the great revivals of the early 19th century, that label largely stuck, more predominately in the Southern Bible belt than in the other regions. This will draw some flack, but here me out.
A few years ago, the then president of the United States stood before a gathering of leaders from many nations and forthrightly declared that America was NOT a Christian nation. A fire storm of repudiation ensued from folks at home.
I shall refrain from the many temptations of digression that present themselves in order to advance the greater purpose in mind. Could he have been correct? I think it all depends upon what one considers a Christian to be.
To perhaps 90% of what is called the “Christian World” the definition of a Christian is one who confesses that Jesus is the Son of God. Repentance from sin and faith in Him brings eternal salvation to the spirit of the individual. But Faith in God has wrought individual salvation since Eden, and none of the Old Testament saints are biblically known as Christians. What are we to make of it all? Please think with me!
The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11). They did not name themselves that, but the general populace dubbed them with that title. They were a Greek speaking people and knew exactly what they were saying and meaning. It is dedicated discipleship (followership) by which those saved people were recognized and entitled.
The disciples at Antioch were 1) saved by grace through faith; 2) baptized by the first church by immersion in water; 3) honored the Word of God by teaching the biblical landmarks that guided their life, these included the above plus eternal security of the believer, and the authority of the church to spread the gospel, and administer the ordinances Jesus put into His church . As one is dedicated to these things and grows in the Word, he will be a New Testament Christian. Did this just decimate the popular idea of Christianity? Doubtless!
When folks align themselves with a religious organization without thought or research of the Biblical model, they become a Christian in colloquial name only, and are devoid of any meaningful honesty with their Creator as it is revealed in His eternal Word. Evangelism is reduced to an invitation to “our church” and its programs rather than to the all important, individual, relationship with God both in salvation and in dedicated, acceptable service.
Maybe, just maybe that Muslim pleasing president was unwittingly right. Simply put, a nation of churchgoers does not a Christian make!
The current President of the United States of America boldly states in International media that the United States is not a “Christian country!” To a generation largely ignorant of history, he lauds the (unfounded) contributions to our advancement by Muslim nations. There is outcry, but not loud, and not long. As national foundations are made to crumble, one may still hear fainted laments, “But we are a Christian nation!” I submit to readers that while this great nation was founded on the Judeo-Christian teaching of Holy Writ, the definition of “Christian” by that holy book does not agree with the common, modern understanding of the word; that reality overwhelmingly reveals that “Christian” nowadays more pointedly means “Cultural Christian.” Think about it!
Churches of all types, brands, and contradictory doctrinal standing are accepted as “Christian” because they purport to hold to the historical fact that a man named Jesus came as the Son of God into the world, and was crucified on a Roman Cross. That certainly is a true, historical and biblical fact, but accepting that alone does not qualify a person or an institution to be a Christian, except in the cultural sense.
Cultural Christians believe without question that any church is Christian simply because it purports to be. Folks do whatever is necessary to be added to the membership rolls of the “church of their choice,” but care little about learning what it teaches or where it came from let alone what Holy Writ declares. Attendance is largely limited to AME (Armistice Day, Mother’s Day, and Easter) attendees which qualifies them to boldly make their spurious claim.
Cultural Christians find that such membership may allow them to inflate claims of contributions for tax advantages, it insulates them from the outreach of more evangelical disciples, and gives them a false sense of security that they could not be in error due to the large numbers of educated people who have made, similar decisions; it affords them social, business, and recreational interaction at minimal costs.
Nowadays, humor may be extracted from the inability of young and old alike on the street being unable to answer important questions in civics, but let’s hope the questions do not turn to the Bible. It would be disastrous , which, of course, it will be when cultural Christianity is offered to the Master as being the real thing!
Romans 1:22-23 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
Scientists who believe in evolution have a faith just as much as any Bible-believing Christian. However, it is a very different faith than Christianity. This fact was illustrated when some secular scientists declared the bones labeled “Piltdown man” an ape-like human ancestor. Only after a couple of generations did they bother to actually study the bones and discover them to be an obvious hoax. They did the same with “Nebraska man,” which turned out to be a pig.
Several years ago, scientists announced the finding of some fossil bones of the very first primate. Naming it E-o-sim-ias or “dawn monkey,” they said that it led to monkeys, apes and finally to us. Eosimias weighed less than an ounce and could have stood on your thumb. Scientists found no complete skeletons. However, after examining foot bones the size of grains of rice and some lower limb bones, they declared it to be our ancestor. They interpreted the foot bones to be primate-like. They concluded that the lower limb bones showed that Eosimias had grasping hands and feet that enabled it to walk on branches like monkeys.
The Bible warns that God will curse those with ever more foolish notions who reject the obvious fact that He is Creator. He does this so that they might see their foolishness and repent for placing the creation over the Creator. In this case they have done that by saying that it was not the Creator, but rather this tiny monkey that led to humanity.
International Herald Tribune, 3/17/00, “Tiny Fossil Fills Gap in Evolutionary Record.” Drawing: Artistic representation of Eosimias. Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
George Washington, perhaps more than any other Founder, saw the hand of God everywhere.
It never fails. Write a column in defense of the religious foundations of the United States (my article “Paine’s Prophetic Dream Interpreted“) and out of the woodwork come all manner of denunciations.
One letter, typical of many others, told a whopper of a fib regarding George Washington. The writer sent me a quote from the Father of Our Country that was published online at an “Inspirational Quote Site” (I found the site). The publisher failed to reveal the source — he had good cause — nevertheless, he sent it out to his subscribers as the “inspirational quote of the day” and directed its recipients to circulate the quote far and wide across the Internet.
I suppose nonbelievers have no problem engaging in the same kind of missionary labors they find so appalling in Christians — And they do a good job — Their efforts reached right into this writer’s home, in mass!
According to this unidentified source, George Washington once said: “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
The problem is, Washington never said it; and not only are these not Washington’s words, but never was there a statement more out of character for a man than these ascribed to Washington. George Washington, perhaps more than any other Founder, saw the hand of God everywhere: early on in his life, in the French and Indian War, in the American Revolution, and in the establishment of the American Government under the US Constitution. And, judging by the volume of quotes he made on this subject, George Washington was not afraid to make his feelings known.
From Washington’s “Farewell Address,” we read:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men & citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect & to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private & public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the Oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure — reason & experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.’Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of Free Government. Who that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric. “Promote then as an object of primary importance, Institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened. 
This is the real George Washington. Religion, said he, is a critical factor, both in the establishment and perpetuation of our laws. The connections between private and public felicity, and morality and religion are numberless. Religion is a necessary spring from which popular government sprang; it is the foundation of the fabric.
Thus, government — in Washington’s view — should not stand neutral as regards religion, nor embrace a secular approach (as did the French; his comment was directed against the French), nor a communist approach (which would abolish religion in private affairs as well); no, rather, he felt a proper understanding of the nature of self-government requires that government ought to “promote,” religious and moral principle as “an object of primary importance,” especially in institutions of learning, that public opinion in future generations might continue to be enlightened.
Yes, “the Enlightenment” that Washington was firmly attached to was not the European secularist model — And note this: promoting religion was not about force, not about creating a national church, but about protecting free religious expression in the schools for the sake of securing an enlightened electorate. Without this security, free government would fall under the weight of its own folly.
This was typical Washington.
Besides, the magnificent Farewell Address, at every turn, Washington fearlessly spoke his mind about God’s hand in securing our liberties and the need to humble ourselves before him.
In a letter dated, September 28, 1789, he wrote:
The man must be bad indeed who can look upon the events of the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude towards the great Author of the Universe whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf. And it is my earnest prayer that we may so conduct ourselves as to merit a continuance of those blessings with which we have hitherto been favored. 
Again he wrote:
The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations. 
That God’s protecting hand was on the side of the American soldier, was no doubt in part, because their leader was ever encouraging his soldiers to act like Christians.
In a general order dated, July 9, 1776, General Washington writes:
The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger — The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.
To help encourage such faith and fidelity to Christianity among the troops, General Washington procured Chaplains “of good character and exemplary lives” over every regiment.
It was in the same order that he referred to “his Country” as being “under God.” 
On a number of occasions, Washington requested that the troops refrain from gambling and profanity. His reasons for these requests are noteworthy:
On, February 26, 1776, he writes:
All Officers, non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers are positively forbidden playing at Cards, and other Games of Chance. At this time of public distress, men may find enough to do in the service of their God, and their Country, without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality. 
And again on August 03, 1776 we read:
The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing, a vice heretofore little known in an American army, is growing into fashion. He hopes the officers will, by example as well as influence, endeavor to check it, and that both they and the men will reflect that we can have little hope of the blessings of Heaven on our arms if we insult it by our impiety and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it. 
Washington understood that men must meet God half way; that prayer was not enough, that actions proved faith, that righteousness exalts a nation.
After the war was over and Independence won, Washington reflected on June 11, 1783, in a letter to John Hancock that America seemed “peculiarly designated by Providence” for “a display of human greatness and success” and “a fairer opportunity for political happiness than any other nation has ever been favored with.”
He then listed the blessings of Heaven that combined in a manner never seen since the world was:
The Foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epocha when the rights of Mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind after social happiness have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages, and Legislators, through a long succession [of] years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our Forms of Government, the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment, and above all, the pure and benign light of Revelation, have had a meliorating influence on Mankind and increased the blessings of Society; At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely Free and Happy, the fa[u]lt will be entirely their own. [my emphasis]
There are many things which can be said about George Washington. To claim that he saw no connection between the establishment of our free government and the Christian religion is not one of them. These few examples, among so many others, establish the point.
Author’s Note: This article was honored to be included in CERC: Catholic Education Resource Center.
Get your copy of the author’s highly praised inspirational novel: Dark Rose
Steve Farrell is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Moral Liberal, one of the original pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2007), and the author of the inspirational novel Dark Rose
THE GRACE OF CHRISTIAN SPEECH
“He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.”– 1Pe_3:10.
“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt.” — Col_4:6.
THE IDEAL of Christian speech is given in the Apostle’s words to the Colossians. Our speech should be always gracious; and grace stands for mercifulness, charity, the willingness to put the best constructions upon the words and actions of another. It is a great help in dealing with envy, jealousy, or unkind feeling to compel our lips to speak as Christ would have them. If you are jealous of another, the temptation is to say unkind or depreciating things, but if we live in the power of the Holy Spirit, He will enable us to check such words and replace them by those that suggest kindly consideration on the part of ourselves and others. Endeavour to say all the good that can be said, and none of the evil. It is remarkable that when we make the effort to speak kindly on behalf of those against whom we feel exasperated, the whole inward temper changes and takes on the tone of our voice.
There should be salt in our speech–purity, antiseptic, and sparkling like the Book of Proverbs. A playful wit, a bright repartee, are not inconsistent with the Apostle’s standard, but whenever we mix in conversation with people, they should be aware of an element in us which makes it impossible for them to indulge in ill-natured gossip or coarse jokes.
We must continue in prayer that God would open to us doors of utterance, so that we may speak of the hidden beauty and glory of our Saviour. Sometimes, also, when we are hard pressed to know how to answer difficult questions, it is given to us in that same hour how we ought to speak, and we find that the Holy Spirit has found an utterance by our lips (Luk_12:12; 1Pe_3:15).
It is recorded of our Lord that during His trial He spoke not a word to Pilate or Herod, but as soon as He reached the Cross, He poured out His heart as their Intercessor, saying: “Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do!” Speak more to God than to men who may be reviling and threatening you. It is blessed to realize that He is able to guard the door of our lips, for probably there is no part of our nature that stands more in need of His keeping power.
Live in us, Blessed Lord, by Thy Holy Spirit, that our lives may be gospels of helpfulness and blessedness. May all foolish talking and covetousness, bitterness, wrath, and anger be put away from us, with all malice. AMEN.