Big Ol’ Catholic Billboard

billboard2 I took this picture today in Pueblo, Colorado. They also bought the other side of the billboard and it has a different message.

The thing that is just so painfully obvious to me is that Catholics do, in fact, worship Mary. Talking to someone who is dead, and expecting them to be able to help you, seems a lot like worship to me. I realize they don’t think of Mary as God or a god, but they think she can hear millions of prayers at once, and she can at least attempt to persuade her Son to do something.

While it’s obvious to me that they’re attributing abilities to Mary that belong only to God, and that prayer is an act of worship to be reserved for God alone, I’ll just quote a couple of standard Catholic prayers to Mary, and everyone can decide for themselves.

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

Morning Consecration to Mary
My Queen, My Mother, I offer
myself entirely to thee.
And to show my devotion to thee,
I offer thee this day, my eyes,
my ears, my mouth, my heart,
my whole being without reserve.
Wherefore, good Mother,
as I am thine own, keep me,
guard me as thy property and possession.
Amen.

Ergun Caner Cover-Up

Each time this comes up, I’m surprised by how many people haven’t heard about it. I don’t think it’s been discussed on Defending Contending, so I think it must be pointed out.

Ergun Caner has been exposed as having embellished his resume in years past, and there is ample, irrefutable evidence of these lies. Rather than just admitting the obvious and apologizing, Caner is attempting to hide the evidence.

A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. (Matt 7:18)

A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. (Matt 7:18)

We wouldn’t hesitate to point out the lies of a Muslim. We would expect Muslims to point out a prominent Muslim’s lies, and call for him to step down from his position. How can we, as Christians, do anything less than we would expect of Muslims? We should be all the more anxious to stand for the truth.

None of us want a prominent evangelical to be caught in immorality. But, if they’re unrepentant, we need to point out that they are in sin, and may not even be Christian. How can a true Christian be unrepentant for so many years? Caner needs to be removed from the evangelical talk show circuit, which has yet to happen.

To find more specific information, check out these items:

YouTube Joins in the Great Evangelical Cover Up

Dividing Line Episode from June 4, 2013

A Lone Voice

I always thought that you would have to be old to look back over your life and see substantial cultural change. But now, we have seen a major cultural change over the last few years.

In 1991, Magic Johnson was diagnosed with HIV. Isaiah Thomas began to question whether Magic was a homosexual. In 1991, it was obvious why Magic Johnson would have been offended that his friend was questioning whether he was homosexual. I seriously doubt articles were written rebuking him. For the vast majority of men around in the 1990s, having someone doubt that you were 100% heterosexual was very offensive.

But sports writers today don’t see it that way. For example, this guy says:

It doesn’t matter how you got [HIV]. It doesn’t matter if some people thought you were gay, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. It’s as ridiculous as freaking out over whether or not people think you’re secretly left-handed.

Today, the big sports news is that Jason Collins announced he’s homosexual. He plays for the Boston Celtics. We are being assaulted with sports writers and newspapers falling all over themselves to applaud Jason Collins.

There is one exception to the deluge of accolades Collins is receiving. Chris Broussard had this to say on ESPN:

I think he did a great job answering the question.

As seemingly uniform as the honor Collins is receiving is the disdain Broussard is receiving.

For example, ESPN says, “We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today’s news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins’ announcement.”

It seems they’re not as excited about the diversity that Broussard brings. Some of those who pride themselves on their tolerance of perversion, cannot find it in themselves to tolerate Christianity, and are calling for Broussard’s career as an NBA commentator to be ended. This obvious inconsistency is because we all have a God-given conscience, and when Broussard calls sin a sin, he’s hitting the raw nerve that we all have–our conscience. For those who hate God, that is just too much to deal with, so they lash out at the messenger.

I doubt Broussard thought about whether he was putting his career at risk. Will those of us who do have the opportunity to think about what we’ll say choose career suicide and possible poverty or will we deny Christ and the truth? I think that we will all have to make that decision as the culture becomes more evil, but we should all make it today if we haven’t already. As for me, I choose Christ.

Matthew 16:26 says, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”

Matthew 10:28 says, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

This Is My Kind of Politician

Check out this story of an evangelical preacher who ran for president of Ecuador. He definitely doesn’t pull any punches. He has allegedly said:

  • He believes homosexual behavior is “immoral” and that it is a “severe deviation of conduct.”
  • Homosexuals are sinners.
  • The judge’s ruling against him was “contrary to the law of God.”
  • “[Those that]  judge me, they will be judged. They don’t have interference in heaven.”
  • “One day God will judge everything, and be prepared to explain to God why you called evil good, and good evil.”

He has been fined $3000, and banned from politics for one year for what he has said. I can’t imagine any American politician at any level saying such things. ecuador-mapI’m saddened that there are such blatant limitations on free speech in Ecuador, although I have to admit to a gross ignorance of their legal system.

While I’ve grown more and more pessimistic about America’s moral condition, I know that we Americans still enjoy great freedom of speech. The question is do we take a bold stand while we have the freedom to, or do we hide in the corner even though we don’t face a trial and fines like our Ecuadorean brothers?

Abortion Ministry

catholicsI took this picture—of about 50 Catholics and their priest performing mass—last Friday while standing on the sidewalk near the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. The clinic performs abortions on Thursdays and Fridays (aided in part by any American who pays taxes). This was the first time I’d been to an abortion clinic.

Colorado Springs is sometimes referred to as the Mecca of Christianity. There are many Christian organizations headquartered there, such as Focus on the Family. However, only three evangelicals showed up to plead for the lives of the unborn and to proclaim the law and the gospel to those who were there to murder their children.

The woman who was the de facto leader of the Christian contingent has been doing abortion ministry for five weeks, and had to bring her 15 month old son. I’m very grateful to her for what she’s doing, but it’s indicative of the state of the church that the most experienced person there is brand new. I’m not at all surprised that so few evangelicals show up, but I am ashamed.

The same sad state of affairs seems to be the case (in my experience) in any type of evangelism. Those of us who wish to proclaim the gospel are told that we’re not doing it right while the critics don’t do anything.

The reason there are 50 Catholics there is because the priest was there. People follow their leader. Christian pastors don’t go out witnessing, so Christians don’t go out witnessing. It seems that very few of us really do anything.

I don’t mean to come off sounding bitter. I came to grips with this situation long ago. I’m merely pointing out the issues. But I’ve been thinking about how abortion ministry might be best done. After going once, I’m clearly not qualified to say anything, my few hours of experience now ranks me among the top 1% of American Christians.

It seems to me that there is a normal way to present the law and the gospel in most situations, and that’s what we should all be doing, and should be getting very good at. If you have that ability, you’re 95% prepared to witness at a gay pride parade, to a bar crowd or at an abortion clinic, because it’s all about the gospel.

Those of us thinking about trying something new may be hoping to find a qualified Christian leader to show us the ropes, but that may not happen. We don’t have the luxury of waiting for our pastors to lead us to do something. We are commanded to expose unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11) even if we have to figure it out with just other laymen and the Bible.

Seven Reasons America Hasn’t Been Reached for Christ

Greg Stier wrote an article giving seven reasons why America hasn’t been reached for Christ. It’s an astounding thought that maybe America hasn’t been reached for Christ. There are so many Christians here. But, if you talk to 10 unbelievers I’d estimate that four of them wouldn’t know why Jesus died on the cross. Probably all 10 of them would know that Jesus did die on the cross, but that’s a far cry from possessing a clear understanding of the gospel.

I agree with Stier’s seven reasons (for the most part), and I thought I’d add a little to them.

1. We have outsourced the work of evangelism.

Stiers’ example of this is big events such as Billy Graham crusades. But my church does relatively small events where we’re supposed to invite the unsaved and someone will present the gospel at some point. Ray Comfort points out that this is like police throwing a party at the jail and inviting the criminals, so they don’t have to go out and catch the criminals. This is not only unbiblical, but it leaves evangelism to the one person who speaks. No one else has to present the gospel to anyone. And it’s way more work and more money to try to throw a big party than just walking up to someone and talking to them.

2. We have lost our sense of urgency.

Stiers says that hell has been taken out of the equation by some Christians. I guess this would be the only point I’m not really seeing eye to eye with Stiers on. The Christians I know certainly believe in hell. And for me, while not wanting people to go to hell is a motivation, a bigger motivation is a desire to obey and glorify the Lord. We should evangelize out of obedience, and leave the results to Him.

3. We are ashamed of the gospel.

Steirs says, “I believe that many Christians are secretly ashamed of this catalytic ‘narrow minded’ message.” Over the years, I’ve put a lot of thought into why Christians don’t share the gospel, and I’ve always held out hope that this wasn’t the issue. Recently I’m beginning to think this is the main issue. Christians, just like everyone else, want people to like them. That’s fine to a certain extent, but if we want people to like us more than we want to speak the truth to them, there is a problem.

The proclamation of the gospel is going to lead to problems and controversy in your life. A certain percentage of the people aren’t going to like you or your message. Some people will call the police. Some people will yell at you and mock you. Some will get saved. This is what happened to the apostles, and this is what is should be happening to us.

Besides that, the gospel isn’t something to be ashamed of. It is something that should give us so much joy that it overflows into telling others the good news. If you’re worried about people disliking you so much that you’re not sharing the gospel, I think that’s cause to question your salvation.

4. Many Christians can’t explain the gospel.

It is pretty clear to me that this is a problem, and Stiers hits the nail on the head with his explanation.

5. Church leaders are not leading the way.

This is pretty clear as well. The way I learned to witness is by tagging along with others who were doing it, until the guy I was with said, “Go talk to the people sitting on that bench.” There is no other way to learn than by doing it.

Don’t you think the “Teaching” part of the Great Commission (commonly known as discipling someone) would involve church leaders showing people how to evangelize? How many pastors are showing people how to witness? How many pastors can witness? Are they unwilling or unable?

6. We have forgotten how to pray.

Stiers says, “When church services spend more time in announcements than intercessory prayer then you know something is broken. If we want to reach every person in this nation with the good news of Jesus we need God to act on our behalf. We need Him to soften hard hearts and open closed doors. We need to pray like we mean it.”

I have to admit this is my weak spot, but I’ve committed to doing better, and praying for God to raise up laborers for the harvest.

7. Churches don’t mobilize their young people to share the gospel.

This is Stiers’ ministry—training and motivating teens to share the gospel. I like witnessing to young people (about ages 16-30) most of all. First of all, they are in less of a hurry to get where they’re going–they’re willing to sit around and talk. It seems, their minds are less made up, and they’re open to discussion.

Stiers finishes with, “It’s time we drop our lame excuses and reach this nation for Jesus Christ. Who’s with me?”