Saturday, January 30, 2016
Religion • GUEST PASTOR Tells Pastors to Tell it Like it Is—AMEN!
Not many pastors these days preach the uncompromising Gospel while refusing to go along with an increasingly “progressive” society that insists that Christianity is outdated. GUEST COLUMNIST/PASTOR CHRIS ASHLEY is one of the very few who continues to stand firm on Biblical truth, while others wobble to please ‘itching ears.’ He encourages all pastors to get back in the saddle, not only for the sake of the Gospel but for the sake of America itself. It is with his permission that we republish his column in full, as it appeared in Renew America. We encourage every minister to read this.
Open letter to pastors
By Chris Ashley
“The chief danger of the 20th Century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and Heaven without Hell.” – William Booth
Brothers in Christ, I fear that too many of the items above describe our nation and world. I lay much blame at the feet of pastors like us. We live in a difficult time no doubt, yet that is no excuse to bend at the altar of this world and fail our Lord. For far too long, preaching has been sounded without the Holy Spirit, and Christ has been left out of our everyday lives only to be picked up and put on, on Sundays.
We have told others that they needed to learn to forgive themselves without teaching them how to repent and turn from their sin. Salvation to escape the fires of Hell has replaced the recreation of becoming a new man in Christ. We were born a nation of God, by God, and for God, but have since banned Him from every corner of society, and ultimately from the laws that used to guard our nation. Finally, we proudly preach of the sweetness of Heaven for those who are born again, but shy away from telling the truth of the horrors of Hell to those who reject Christ.
There is much to say about all of these, and I’m sure we agree for the most part to each statement except when it comes to politics. In today’s society, we have allowed the lost of our country to dictate that we, as pastors or clergy, should stay away from politics. We have laid down our right as ministers of truth, and more importantly The Truth, and sat in the corner while this nation has been robbed of her stature as a God fearing nation.
Friends, God did not CALL us to take a back seat while Satan wreaked havoc in our society. We were not CALLED to stand still and watch our nation be handed over to those who love sin and hate righteousness. We were not CALLED to stand behind a pulpit and allow our families, communities and nation to fall head over heels in to sin and say nothing, because we do not want to upset anyone by mixing religion and politics.
Government has become a Civil Religion. This “religion” glorifies men and creations of men instead of the true and living and Sovereign God, and elevates the rights of the collective above and superior to the rights of the individual. Its foundation is socialism, and it has the purpose of destroying self government and transferring all sovereignty to a central government. It is based on democracy rather than a republican form of government, and bases its law system on the will of the collective majority rather than the absolute unchanging laws of God, and therefore worships men rather than God.
“This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.” – Benjamin Franklin
Laws are always religious in origin. Laws govern man and society, because they establish and declare the meaning of justice and righteousness. Law is inescapably religious, in that it establishes in practical fashion the ultimate concerns of a culture. Accordingly, a fundamental and necessary premise in any and every study of law must first be the recognition of the religious nature of law.
If law has its source in man’s reason, then reason is the god of that society. If the source is an oligarchy, a court, senate or ruler, then that source is the god of that system. This is a violation of the first four of the Ten Commandments, which prohibit idolatry towards anything but the one true and living God. It satisfies all the technical criteria for being a religion.
I am sharing my heart with you, because I feel we should all seek the face of the Father. Are we following His lead when we remain silent? Is He telling us to stay silent in the pulpit to the goings-on of the day that affect our lives, and the lives of children and grandchildren? Are the men that God Himself CALLED to be the proclaimers of truth, supposed to be silent when lies are being perpetuated in our society? There can only be ONE that is sovereign.
Our government and God cannot both be sovereign. We are to proclaim that God is sovereign. We, as a nation of people, fail to recognize tyranny, because we do not recognize the sovereignty of God. We will never put tyrants and our government in their place until we put God in His place, on His Throne. We have been so brainwashed and propagandized that we do not realize that we are acting as good little statists.
Statism is the theory or practice of concentrating economic and political power in the state, resulting in a weak position for the individual or community with respect to the government. In a nutshell, it is everything for the state and nothing against the state. Does this describe our nation? Have we put the government over God? There has been a shift in power, slowly over the years. Originally, power was centered in the individual. Because of that, the first most basic government was self government.
“From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?” – Ronald Reagan
If we are not going to govern ourselves, there is always going to be an outside power to govern us “for our own good.” We now view the state (government) as source of all law and authority. Neither law nor authority flows from God, but flows from the state. Consequently, the state government now fights against all other forms of government, even against the governing of God.
The reason there are so many anti-God, anti-Christian laws and rules is that Christianity has become an embarrassment to the powers that be. Our government wants to distance itself from Christianity (just as anything does when left unto human reasoning). It was once a known fact that the U.S. was a Christian nation, but now Christians have been alienated in our own country.
“Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants.” – Benjamin Franklin
Why have Christians become so silent to the woes of our nation? I believe that although the answer is simple, it will be hard for us to face. It is our fault. It is the fault of the pastors of the body of Christ. As shepherds we have been entrusted not only to the spiritual welfare of our flock but every aspect of the lives of our flock. How many among us only preach our sermons, then leave the congregation to themselves? When one of our own is hungry, do we not make sure they are fed? When one of our own is sick, do we not ensure they get medical treatment?
Yes we do this as Christians (as most other brothers or sisters in Christ would), but do we not feel a stronger need to ensure that those whom Christ has entrusted to us are protected in every way possible? We need not stop at hunger and sickness.
“The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down. Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict. Anything is better than compromise, apathy, and paralysis. God give to us an intense cry for the old-time power of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost!” – A. B. Simpson
I believe that as shepherds of His flock we need to get away from what we’ve been “taught” was proper behavior for preachers and pastors. We need to seek the face and council of The Almighty. I believe on the authority of His Word that we are all living in this time for a purpose. Our purpose is not to sit idly by while those that despise righteousness and love evil take our nation in to the pits of hell. We are to rise up and be heard. We should always spread the Gospel, but also speak out for truth, and righteousness.
There will be opposition. There will be opposition in our own congregations. The truth always hurts, especially to those who hate it. The truth is tough to swallow nearly every time. If the flock is not led to truth, whether it is spiritual, physical, emotional, etc., then how will they find it? The fact is, if we do not lead them, others will. They may know the spiritual truth, but have become lost in the vastness of humanism. We can see that now with just a look around us.
Why are so many people “significantly frustrated by their faith”? Could it be that it’s been watered down to the point it’s lost its power? Why do so many feel that “faith and religion just aren’t that important to them right now”? Could it be we have allowed things of this world (secular humanism) to attach themselves to our culture to the point that they rule?
The concepts of secular humanism have subtly dulled our national consciousness and are seen in radical feminism, the homosexual rights movement, the clamor for the individual right to abortion and suicide, the total exclusion of the right to prayer in public life and public schools, and political correctness to the point of absurdity.
How about those who say Christian beliefs just “don’t make sense to them” and “their spiritual needs cannot be met by Christianity”? If Christ cannot meet their spiritual needs, no thing or no one can. Christ doesn’t make sense to them because we have not stood up against humanism and statism and allowed them to fall prey to this “national religion” that fulfills the needs of the masses.
“He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.” – Benjamin Franklin
So, where does that leave us? Are we to continue to hide behind “separation of church and state” and “never mix politics and religion”? Are we going to allow the Enemy to continue to blindly lead our flocks to the death of complacency and apathy, or are we going to take a stand?
“All God’s giants have been weak men, who did great things for God because they believed that God would be with them.” – Hudson Taylor
I ask each of you to seek the face and will of the Lord, and ask what He would have you do. I ask that we all follow His lead whatever it is. If it is to continue as we are doing and being silent, that will not be hard. Yet, if it is to be bold and outspoken, I pray that He would give to each of us the measure of the Holy Spirit that we need to please Him and accomplish His will.
“Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them. They make the impossible happen.” – Dr. Robert Jarvik
We should have no fear, for our Lord is with us and we “can do all things (especially the impossible) through Christ who strengthens us.”
© Chris Ashley
Rev. Chris Ashley is Pastor of Cowan Rd. Baptist Church in Gulfport, Mississippi and a freelance writer.