Friday, October 03, 2008

When will the truth finally set us free?

Recently someone forwarded an email to me warning that Barack Obama is the Antichrist because the book of Revelation says that his reign will be 42 months, the same as a U.S. Presidential term. Big mistake. I hit the "reply" button and preached that brother a sermon. Here's what I wrote:

It's not possible for the book of Revelation to claim the anti-christ is of Islamic decent, 1) Islam wasn't invented yet when it was written, 2) it's a religion not an ethnicity so you can't be of Islamic decent.

An anti-Christ is anyone who takes attention away from the true Christ.

I suggest you read the 1 John 4:1-3

"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world."

Obama publicly acknowledges Jesus as his Lord and savior.

While you're at it, you need to bone up on your both your theology and your eschatology a little bit. Many fundamentalist strains of Christianity believe in a false doctrine called dispensationalism that is not truly found in Scripture, but rather was developed in 19th century America.

You're trying to frighten Christian voters into being afraid of Barak Obama, a devout Christian himself- not a Muslim or the anti-christ. This is NOT a Christ-like behavior.

1 John 4:18 tells us that "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." Besides, Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 and Luke 6 to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

What you're doing is "the ends-justifies-the-means." You're so afraid of Obama yourself, that you're willing to spread lies and propaganda about him to insure that McCain/Palin win. That's not Jesus- that's Machiavelli.

Dispensationalists pretend to be friends of Israel because they think that Jerusalem will be some kind of celestial star-gate for Jesus' second coming, when in reality they are anti-semitic, hating Jews and blaming them for killing Jesus. They can't wait for them to be "Left-Behind" and sent to Hell. Whereas, granted, Jesus may be the only way, truth and life (John 14:6) BUT- God does not WANT ANYONE to perish (2 Peter 3:9).

It's so unfortunate that politics makes such strange bedfellows because Catholics that are so adamantly opposed to abortion find quick and fervent allies among fundamentalist and evangelicals in the religious-right movement, yet many of these allies suspect the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church itself of being the Antichrist and/or the Beast!

How do we know that Jerusalem won't be a cosmic star gate for his arrival to usher in some millennial reign? Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:22-24 that His true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth, not in physical, geographical or political locations.

As for predictions and prophecies and televangelists who think that the market crash is a sign of the end times or Sarah Palin's prediction that Christians will find refuge from the tribulation in Alaska- Jesus tells us that he will return like a thief in the night in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and in Matthew 24:36 He assures us that "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." We need to love and trust Him and not worry about signs or trying to help arrange things for Him politically. He doesn't need any help.
I know you mean well and I'm sure you truly love God and America, I'm sure you're a good person. But be careful not to be corrupted by politics and political messages, whether they're from the right OR the left. Don't be motivated by fear or anger. Be motivated by love and a desire to reconcile everyone to Jesus.

As God tells us in 2 Peter-
" 3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins."
Thank God, He's granted us liberty and privilege to elect our own leaders in the United States. If you want to vote solely on social issues that are important to you so be it. This is your right. But please, don't be frightened into any choice based on shoddy theological assertions of people who seek to use religion as a means to assert their political agendas.

Remember Galatians 3:28- "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Guess what- there is neither Republican nor Democrat, Independent nor Libertarian, Black nor White, Asian nor Hispanic, Urban nor Suburban, Metropolitan nor Rural, either. Believe it or not, there ARE Liberal Democrats who LOVE Jesus and America and want what's best for everyone. I'll even bet that when we get to Heaven, we might just find a few Socialists, Communists, and even Anarchists there!

When will we ever live up to our motto? "E Pluribus Unum"- From many, one.

Soon, I pray.

Please forgive me if I've come off as angry or condescending in either of these emails. I happen to love Jesus and to love America and I have been wounded and persecuted and attacked and alienated and ostracized and doubted, slandered and shunned because I disagree with other Christians who watch Fox News more than they read their own Bibles and I feel like I have to either take a stand like Luther or gradually be pushed away from my Savior by His own "sheep."

Please forgive me, but please, please, don't fall prey to fear, lies, or political propaganda, let alone to false prophecies, false doctrines, and foolish heresies. Read the Bible, not political email forwards. Share God's love and His good news of forgiveness, not fear and racism.

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