Subscriptions
Monthly Archives
Monday
Sep102018

Identifying the New Darkness

What is the “new darkness”?Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

When we speak of darkness we usually mean it is a condition where darkness prevails and there is no light. The darkness of our world goes beyond the idea that something is evil, satanic, or even demonic. That is usually how we would describe something being full of darkness. I think there is a new darkness where the stereotypes of darkness no longer have validity. This new darkness has the presence of light, but is still considered darkness by biblical standards. This new darkness is deceptive and has the appearance of doing good things, and follows a recipe where spiritual life and culture have a bond of agreement. 

Let me explain:

Anyone who goes to the movies or watches movies in their home theaters are aware of how the language of modern movies has deteriorated to being crass, crude, and using the Lord’s name in vain to excess. Yet the darkness of this crude form of expression is accepted, tolerated, and celebrated as ‘art’ or an expression of ‘real life’. This new darkness loves to change the meaning of words to imply something different because the devious goal of this crass crowd is to make this lowered standard mainstream acceptable. 

This new darkness loves to go to church and attend small groups. It listens and accepts a religious message, but at the same time ignores any call of scripture to live a Christ honoring, holy life. It reminds me of Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 3:5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”

 

This new darkness manipulates moral standards and promotes human depravity that pits parents against children. If a gay son comes home and wants to be married to his partner and the parents refuse to accept the lifestyle of the son, their actions are considered hateful and classified as abuse. If the parents accept the arrangement, then from that point on the parents are more likely to be pro-gay in their views. This of course is in direct violation of what scripture calls sinful behavior. We are always called to love people, but we do not have to accept, condone, or support a sinful lifestyle. If that same son came home and told his parents that he and his wife decided to have an open marriage where sexual relationships with others was going to be the new norm and wanted your approval, what would you say? Would the new ‘norm’ for your son and his wife be something they would push you to accept? Probably not, because there is no agenda here, and it is simply information they shared. Homosexuality on the other hand, is a forced acceptance - like it or die. Heterosexual sin you can still reject and be okay within society without a lot of condemnation. 

Extramarital affairs, open marriages, and polygamy can all be opposed without anyone being called a hater if they disagree. Interesting standards, right? 

In God’s eyes sin is sin; it may have a label to it, but at the end of the day it all keeps you at a distance from God. 

The new darkness accepts a political agenda that is not good for the individual. This liberal agenda we see in our schools has a hidden agenda to prepare our world to live without the influence of God. It doesn’t matter whether you belong to the Democrats or the Republicans; the idea of the state being the sole caretaker of your life is dangerous and will rob you of the freedoms you have come to enjoy. Government and God cannot play a co-equal role in your life. One or the other will have to be the ruling factor just as Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and mammon. 

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

The new darkness wants us to accept a government that rules our lives. It will tell us what to believe and what not to believe, it will provide us with the necessary elements for health care, retirement, how to raise our children, and what to accept or what to reject. To some degree we have this today, but like Obamacare, either you take it or be fined. You must accept this or be punished. Sound familiar? 

Revelation 13:17 “and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.”

The new darkness is winning the minds of people because they have no counter-measures to gauge against. If you are not listening/reading the words of Christ daily for yourself, you are slowly being prepared to accept the lies of the new darkness.

Romans 12:1-2 has great insight into the spiritual condition in our world:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will

We are being conformed to this world, this is what is happening, and the Church is being swept up in the tidal wave of conformity. Be the same, do the same, think the same, yet God’s Spirit wants to transform us, changing our minds and hearts into what looks and sounds like Jesus and not this world. 

The new darkness is about conformity, not transformation. 

Keeping it honest and truthful….K 

Tuesday
Sep042018

When the Foundations are Destroyed

Author Kay S. Hymowitz from an except from the book “This Way Up” writes:” The waning of the two-parent family has weakened American society and left it vulnerable to a host of ills: poverty, declining economic mobility, the crisis in the white working class, men dropping out of the labor force, school achievement gaps, child abuse, crime, and racial, gender, and economic inequality. The nation's epidemic of fractured homes has helped inflame all these problems to seemingly intractable crisis levels. 

So what can policymakers do to encourage young Americans to commit to marriage before they have children and improve the stability of their unions? Trivial as it may seem to many in the policy world, the battle should start with an unapologetic social marketing campaign that drives home the importanceof stable, long-term marriage for both children and communities.”

Kay S. Hymowitz is the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal. 

I don’t know much about the author, but she writes with a great deal of insight. It seems that more and more people today are writing about how divorce, fatherlessness and single parenting are not virtues of society, they simply weaken a nation from within. God has set the standard for a strong economy, a strong educational system, and a strong character building process which all evolves around the family. Fatherlessness, single parented homes, and divorce build into systems that become dependant upon society for their support. 

Research has concluded that single parented homes are more likely to have less time and less money to raise their children.

Single-parent households have less money and less time for children. To be sure, many single parents are heroic, but it’s a struggle. Studies tell us “that children raised by single parents are significantly more likely to have children young, to drop out of high school, and to work less as young adults,” write sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution.

Other research indicated there are four main factors that contribute to poverty.

Using data on individuals from 29 countries, they calculated the “prevalence” in each country of four phenomena often tied to poverty — single motherhood, unemployment, having a young head of household, and having low education.     -National Review Robert Verbruggen 

The U. S. Department of Health and Family services have put together a list of what they found to be characteristics of healthy families. Here is that list. 

Based on various assumptions about what a strong family does, researchers have developed lists of structural and behavioral attributes that characterize successful families. In spite of differences in discipline and perspective, there seems to be a consensus about the basic dimensions of a strong, healthy family. The following constructs, which are often interrelated and complex, will be identified, defined, and described briefly as they exist in strong, healthy families:

  • Communication
  • Encouragement of individuals
  • Expressing appreciation
  • Commitment to family
  • Religious/spiritual orientation
  • Social connectedness
  • Ability to adapt
  • Clear roles
  • Time together

So much of these healthy characteristics come from healthy families and the interaction between the members of that family. In the degeneration of family structure, most of these elements are missing. God’s structure for a healthy society always had the family at its foundation. Verses like the following reveal why society is in such a mess because we have not supported the family. 

Proverbs 11:29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.

Many millennials have allowed their culture to replace the role that parents and grandparents play in their lives. Advice and counsel now comes from others and from social media sites rather than the insights from within the family. We have noticed that once the matriarch and patriarch of the family have passed away, the connection to our siblings were never the same.   

From an article from the International The News states how a family torn by the destructive forces of divorce affects the children.  

Emotional
After a divorce, children from pre-school through late adolescence can experience deficits in emotional development.

Educational
Slowed academic development is another common way that separation of the parents affects children. The emotional stress of a divorce alone can be enough to stunt your child’s academic progress.

Social
Divorce affects children’s social relationships in several ways. Some children act out their distress about their broken family by acting aggressively and by engaging in bullying behavior, both of which can negatively affect peer relationships.

Family dynamics
By its very nature, divorce changes not only the structure of the family but also its dynamics. Even if you and your spouse have an amicable divorce, simply creating two new households permanently alters family interactions and roles.

Anytime a family is pulled apart and destroyed for any reason the consequences are greater than what society wants to admit. God says He hates divorce because He knows when you tamper with the structure of the family you tamper with the DNA of society. 

Malachi 2:16 

For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”

When you tamper with the family, you are dealing treacherously against God. 

Dealing treacherously with God probably will not go well for you. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

Wednesday
Aug292018

When the Church Becomes Something Other than the Church

Premise #1: It is wrong to murder a person.

Premise #2: The unborn is a person.
 

Conclusion: Therefore, it is wrong to murder the unborn.

-Ryan Turner

The United Methodist Church has now published new documentation that supports abortion. They did so by renaming abortion to “reproductive health.”

From an article from lifenews.com comes this statement. 

The revision of this Social Principle is boldly announced in its title change: from “Abortion” to “Reproductive Health.” Why? “Abortion,” as a title, might be considered too controversial, harsh, specific. In contrast, “Reproductive Health” might be understood as more medical-clinical, gentle, and general.

https://www.lifenews.com/2018/08/28/united-methodist-church-proposes-new-position-statement-saying-we-support-abortion/

The article basically suggests that the United Methodist Church wanted in their words to become more theological, more relevant and more succinct. 

So here is how we as the United Methodist Church do that: 

Let us assemble all the concepts in society today on the theme of abortion. Our objective then is to try to insert them into our denomination in ways that the concepts will be accepted without much thought. In the end we will have a church that will stand for everything and be accepted as loving people. 

Hurray for church leadership! Once again, a group of leaders who actually think what they are doing is in the best interests of their churches. 

Let us create a church that changes terms so that words like abortion become softer and gentler for people to accept. Reproductive health seems like the right term to use and in time it will eliminate the stigma that comes along with a word like abortion. 

The United Methodists are changing words to reflect a modified term for the same result; killing babies in the womb is still murder no matter what you call it, and it still grieves God’s heart. The church does not have the right to change God’s principles and values, and at the point they go down that road to redefine what God’s word says is when they cease to be the church

Hear ye Hear Ye, United Methodist Church leaders here is a news flash for you: “The world does not need more of its own relevance, it needs the truth of God’s Word.” If you think by calling yourself a church you are simply pleasing God, you are in for a big surprise. You have to obey God’s Word in order to be His Church, and if you think Jesus is kind toward disobedience, read His summary of the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. He was stern to those who decided to be an entity of their own thinking and making. 

Here is how you become more theological, more relevant, and more succinct. 

Romans 6:16 

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Deuteronomy 28

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. .

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

Sunday
Aug262018

The Religious System that went so wrong

I was raised Catholic and I was raised to fear God. Fear was all I knew about God in those early years, and that came at the hands of stern nuns who taught in the Parochial school I attended. I didn’t have much interaction with any priests  (probably for the better). The Catholic system I was raised in taught me about the law of God and the law of the church, but I never understood Jesus as either Lord or Savior. What I got was religion and that is the bottom line to the problems that the Catholic Church is experiencing worldwide. The Pope was in Ireland over the weekend and tried to address the sex scandal that has plagued Ireland for over a decade. CBS news did a story that stated: 

Deeply Catholic Ireland has had one of the world's worst records of clergy sex abuse, crimes that were revealed to its 4.8 million people over the past decade by government-mandated inquiries. The reviews concluded that thousands of children were raped or molested by priests or physically abused in church-run schools — and Irish bishops worked for years to hide those crimes.

The Pope’s response:

The failure of ecclesiastical authorities — bishops, religious superiors, priests and others — to adequately address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community," he told them. "I myself share these sentiments. 

The religious systems like the Catholic Church along with other Protestant denominations have all been guilty, in my opinion, to hijacking the truth of the gospel and remaking it into something the Bible does not support. It is my understanding that this kind of deviation from the scriptures is the basis for the aberrant behavior now being unearthed in the Catholic Church.  Whatever happened to the scripture that tells Priests and pastors to be examples of oversight to the people entrusted to their care?

1 Peter 5:2-3 "Be Shepherds of God's Flock that is among you watching over them not out of Compulson, but because it is God's will: Not out of Greed, but out of eagerness: not lording it over theose entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 

What is even worse is when these wolves came into the parishes in Ireland they were protected by the Bishops, which made the crime against the victims even worse. It is no wonder the Pope got just a warm reception.
Most religious systems have an appearance of a spiritual emphasis, but the reality comes down to what Jesus said about Israel in Matthew 15:8

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

Religion is a system that does not make you right before God. It doesn’t matter how much religious activity you do; it does not count as having a relationship with God. As a former pastor I have watched people be religious. They give their tithes, they sound really spiritual in their conversations, and they even quote scriptures as references as foundations of life. Yet when no one is looking they watch pornography, they are abusive to their family, they even kick the dog. They are no different in the nature of sinning before God as the Priests who were doing spiritual activities during the day and molesting children by night.
Religion is not a measuring stick as to how good or bad you are as a person. Religious activity is only an appearance that displays an outward attempt to know God, or be seen as knowing God. This was the Pharisees’ modus operandi and their form of religion was highly criticized by Jesus in Matthew 23. This chapter in Matthew is a great chapter to read and study if you really want to know what Jesus thought about religion. Religion worships tradition because tradition places everything in boxes of practice based upon an outline called doctrine. Every denomination or religious system has these boxes. Some of these boxes become so important that people begin to worship the boxes rather than God. Such is the case I believe in the Catholic system of religion. Their tradition is so important that it is on par with the scriptures, which in itself is so wrong.

Ancient Israel gives us such a good example of how to forget God in light of our religious beliefs (boxes). Jesus told us this when He addressed the practices of the Pharisees. 

Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are."

Making converts to our religion isn’t worth much because that will only produce more religion, not people who love God. As I have said in the past, I have purged my life of the religious things that are not based upon the truth of the Bible. The boxes of doctrine and practices of the Catholic Church could fill a warehouse of material based on tradition versus scripture. This only contributes to the sexual abuse epidemic that has overtaken that religious institution. The end result of any church that takes the liberty to create a system of religion that violates God’s word will suffer the separation from God like those churches in Revelation 2 and 3. God will remove His hand of blessing and protection because tradition has replaced Him as the center of their practice.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

Thursday
Aug232018

When Gods House Becomes A House of Abuse

13 And He declared to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”Matthew 21:13

The headlines recently reported yet another sex scandal in the Catholic Church. 

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- 

A priest raped a 7-year-old girl while he was visiting her in the hospital after she'd had her tonsils removed. Another priest forced a 9-year-old boy into having oral sex, then rinsed out the boy's mouth with holy water. One boy was forced to say confession to the priest who sexually abused him.

Those children are among the victims of roughly 300 Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania who molested more than 1,000 children - and possibly many more - since the 1940s, according to a sweeping state grand jury report released Tuesday that accused senior church officials, including a clergyman who is now the archbishop of Washington, D.C., of systematically covering up complaints. 

This again is another sign of what is to come. I don’t believe this is the end of the depravity in the church, I think it’s just the beginning. If this report is true, every Catholic Diocese in America has this kind of problem; it is not an isolated case. This weekend the Pope is in Ireland partly because of the sex abuse problem there. His apologies will never be enough for the victims of abuse because every year there are more victims sharing their stories on how sexual abuse happened to them in the house of the Lord. 

As the Pope visits Ireland this weekend, many are hopeful he will begin a process that will  bring the Catholic Church to new leadership standards of moral order.  That order needs to remove restrictions that keeps priests from marrying.

1. The first area of reform must start with the removal of all restrictions on priests who are forbidden to marry.

Along with the lifting of the celibacy rules, the church must adapt a better way of recruiting their priests. It is quite obvious that the church has protected predators for decades without much concern for the victims all in the name of religion. The priesthood is full of men who are predators who take the vow of chastity and then prey on the innocent who are under their care. 

2. The second area of reform is one of accountability for priests. Clergy in general struggle with pornography and sexual sin. 

Patrick Means, author of, 
Men’s Secret Wars, reveals that 63% of pastors surveyed confirm that they are struggling with sexual addiction or sexual compulsion including, but not limited to, the use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, or other secret sexual activity.

Taking a vow of celibacy does not protect you against the temptation of sexual sin. I think that any single man in our sex-crazed world would find it even more difficult to steer clear of pornography. 

Patrick Means goes on to say:Seventy-five percent of pastors do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use. This is a problem, as I’m sure you can already tell, but I don’t think all hope is lost. “For a pastor to maintain sexual purity, he needs a band of brothers with whom he can be open and honest.” Sexual sin runs deep.Accountability should run deeper. If you find yourself in a situation where sexual sin has taken over or you’ve considered entertaining the idea find someone to talk to.

Reform must place accountability measures in place that requires all church personnel working in a ministerial position to have accountability partners. 

3. The third area of reform needs to be how we identify clergy and laity.

The Bible tells us that all leadership gifts in the church are designed by God to provide training for all members to do the ministry. Priests are often left to do ministry of the church, and that model is not a Biblical format. If the believers in any church are equipped to do the work of the ministry there is safety in numbers as they deal with the public. 

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.     - Ephesians 4:11-12

This format of ministry reminds us that all members of God’s body are priests and ministers of His Grace.  All believers are priests and there isn’t any distinction between the importance of ordained ministers and priests and the laity as it concerns doing ministry for God.  

And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What's more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 1 Peter 2:5

I share these scriptures as a foundation for why the system is so flawed as it concerns how we see priests and ministers and how the religious system is grounded in tradition and not in the Lord. There is no hierarchy between clergy and laity; in fact I would like to see these terms completely disappear. Moving ministry away from models where there is one person in charge of the ministry role is clearly a model we want to abandon. Ministry models where gifted people in groups can reassure that someone isn’t being set up to become a victim of a predator leader who preys upon the vulnerable. 

I know my suggestions here are simplistic in retrospect, but if a corporation had as many sexual abuse cases as the Catholic Church it would be out of business. 

Judgment begins in the House of the Lord. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Twitter Vimeo Rss
Connect with Larry Kutzler