What do these news reports have in common?
Historic Saudi visit to Vatican dated Nov 6
Lesbian ordained in Lutheran church, refuses celibacy vow dated Nov 19
Cardinals discuss threat from Christian sects dated Nov 23
Christian bookstores refuse to sell gay study Bible dated Nov 26
Willow Creek’s Confession dated Nov 27
In the Saudi visit to the Vatican article, the Saudi king met with the pope for the first time ever in history. The Vatican wants freedom of worship, freedom to hold masses, and security of Catholics within the Kingdom, since private Christian worship is often punished there, even though it is supposed to be legal.
In the Cardinals article, there are two topics of interest. The first is that a Vatican- Orthodox theological commission, which has been working to heal the 1000- year rift between the Eastern and Western Church, has just approved a document wherein both parties agree that the pope has primacy over all bishops. This means that the Orthodox theologians agreed that the pope has primacy over Orthodox bishops as well as Roman ones – another historic first.
The second topic is the Vatican’s response to the rapid growth of evangelical Protestantism in formerly Catholic majority countries, such as South America, where record numbers of Catholics are leaving Catholicism. Brazil, for example, used to be a 90% majority Catholic country, and is today only 67% majority – the decline reflects the numbers who have left the Roman church for an evangelical or Pentecostal (read: Protestant) church.
In the Willow Creek article, it is mentioned that in a recent survey among church members, 60% of the church’s most mature members were dissatisfied with the lack of Biblical teaching at the church and were considering leaving the church because of it.
In the Lesbian and Gay Study Bible articles, the issue is acceptance of homo[s-x]uality within the Church. The fact is, there is a huge battle going on about this particular issue; it is the next defining issue for the Church – much as creation / evolution was in the 90s – which tests whether churches and church members love God enough to adhere to His word (for throughout the Scriptures, Old and New Testament, God describes the test of an individual’s love for Him as obedience to His word).
The connecting thread among these articles is a new line of demarcation being drawn within the Church. It is no longer a Catholic – Protestant line, a Catholic – Orthodox line, or even a Christian – other line, as it has been in the past. We are seeing a realigning of churches, both Protestant and Catholic, with the world. The Protestants are aligning with the world on issues of morality and [s-x]uality, and are beginning to abandon their defining creed, sola scriptura. The Vatican views other Christian denominations which are not Catholic as a “threat.” At the same time it is drawing the Orthodox under its umbrella, and we see the beginning of a possible alliance with Islam.
And we also see believers of every denomination leaving their compromising churches to worship God in Spirit and in truth where they can find Him. The day is coming when it will not be the Church on the one side of the divide and the world on the other. The Church is embracing the world. When the Church embraces the world, they become the Counterfeit Church – an organization that has the appearance (to the world) of Jesus but which speaks the word of the devil.
On the other side of the divide, are those who will adhere to the unchanging Word of God at all costs. Who not only say they believe God’s Word by mental assent, but who prove they believe it by living their lives by its instruction. On one side of the divide are the hearers of the Word, and on the other side are the doers of the Word. Don’t be surprised if a vast quantity of Jews end up on the doer side of the divide, either. The Lord is calling all who are His, and a revolution is occurring in Israel, as growing numbers of Jews are discovering that Yeshua (Broken link, active November 28, 2007) – Jesus – is really their Messiah. That snowball has started down the hill.
Whenever I get a chance to get to my computer and read your posts I am sooo blessed and encouraged to keep on keeping on! Thank you for your faithfulness to post truth in such a way as to "give a reason for the hope that lieth in you"! It also encourages me to continue to "study to show myself approved a workman that needeth not to be ashamed." What a testimony you are to each of us. Just wanted you to know that you are making a difference. We are getting ready to keep Hannukah (Feast of Dedication Jn. 10:22). We 'keep' it by reading a book/stories about people who have been tortured or martyred for their faith. This year's book is "The Heavenly Man" about Brother Yun in China. I am so excited because the one goal of the Chinese house churches is "back to Jerusalem"…that is even their websit address! Thank you again for your posts.
Grace and Peace,
for your kind comments, I appreciate it. Yes, we are living in such exciting times. Have you read the book, Jesus in Beijing? It is an account of the history of Christianity in China, particularly in this century, and the call that God has placed on the Chinese church: to take the gospel West, exactly as you stated, so that it can return to Jerusalem where it began 2000 years ago. My personal belief is that they will be the most instrumental in evangelizing the Muslim lands between themselves and Jerusalem, and the (former) Muslims will then join them in evangelizing Israel right before the return of Jesus! God's beautiful plan is so gracious!