It takes a lot to get me angry. I pride myself on being able to get along with just about everybody. People who know me in person know me to be a person of integrity, with a deep abiding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as demonstrated by a Christlike attitude towards everybody I meet. I meet very few people that I cannot get along with. I count among my personal friends people with whom I have substantial differences - Jews, Moslems, Mormons, Jehovah's witness, athiests. My friendship with them is not based merely on a desire to "convert" them. Although I would be willing to talk to them about faith in Jesus when and if they inquire, I do not force my religion down their throat - and receive the same consideration from them in return. Eventually, if my faith is real and good, the truth of a gentle, loving, sincere life will lead them to ask the source of my peace. I also have personal friends who are involved deeply in sin - adultery, homosexuality, drugs, witchcraft, gluttony, and greed. My desire is that they repent and turn to Jesus Christ. While I affirm them as friends, I do not become involved in their sin. Un-wanted advice from me does nothing to change them - their desire to repent must come at the leading of the Holy Spirit. If I am asked to provide help or advice, I will provide both abundantly. If not, I will lead by example.
This is the mark of a mature Christian, one who understands that God gave man free will, and that will sometimes is to reject God and His goodness. Perhaps the only true thing that satan ever said was a question asked of God in the throne room - does Job love you freely, or is it because you have blessed him?
Job 6-11: One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
God's ultimate response was to allow the blessings to be taken away, and Job questioned - which is not wrong - but he did not curse God. God gave Job - and us - the gift of a free will. We do not love God because we are forced to, we love God because we choose to. If God himself mandates free choice - who am I to question that decision? Am I supposed to beat a Jew over the head to subdue him so he will listen to the Word of God? Am I supposed to preach about gluttony to the woman who is struggling with it? Of course not!!! I would drive them both away from Jesus Christ. If I show my Jesus neighbors I love them unconditionally, no matter if there is, or is not a chance that they will come to church with me, they are a lot more likely to accept an invitation. It is non-threatenting, the friendship is "no strings attached". We both will be enriched. If I lose weight myself, and the fat lady sees I did - I will be a lot more credible when I say that God through Jesus Christ can free you of sin. That is a lot better approach than in Moslem countries, where the bankrupt religious leaders pass laws making it against the law, punishable by death, if you convert from Islam. Nothing does more to invalidate their religion. People are Moslem because they are forced to be Moslem. If Mohammed had any faith in God at all - he must now be hanging his head in dishonor. The religion he established can only stand if people are forced to be a member.
I am writing this on the 14th day of September, 2001 - three days after the most horrendous act of war ever perpetrated against the United States. It seems, in many ways, that God has withdrawn his blessing from our land, that many of the freedoms we once enjoyed will be limited to a degree so we may be more secure. A trip to the airport will drive this point home to anybody who doubts. Yet I choose to join the country today in an hour of prayer and reflection, reflection on the goodness of God. A secure knowledge that in the stuggle to come, God will deliver us from the hands of the evil one, and continue to keep his hand of blessing on the last bastion of freedom left in the world. God has not lifted His hand of blessing from our nation. We have humbled ourselves, turned from sin, and prayed.
There are those who would take away the right of free men to have a choice. They would impose Islam on us, detroy our faith and ability to serve Jesus Christ. The desire to control the lives of others seems to be the strongest human desire of all; eclipsing the desire for sex, even the desire for life itself - as the suicide pilots revealed. These evil men will stop at nothing to make us all fundmentalist Moslems - just as they are - so their own bankrupt religion will somehow be validated when they are surrounded by clones of themselves. The Spirits of Misery and lonliness have only one desire - to inflict themselves on everybody else so it does not seem so miserable and lonely, when everybody else is in the same boat.
I have documented elsewhere the fact that fanatical control freaks are not limited to the Moslem terrorists. They are alive and well in the Christian church - which often times provides a haven for people who love perpetuated authority. They would take away our freedom to worship God in our own way - as a choice of worship style, musical style, teaching style, and Bible translation. I have reproduced without change the vitriolic emails of "King James Only" fanatics, who want to force the church to use only one translation. Out of respect for David Wilkerson, I recently dropped a page of emails written by his followers directed at me - because the emails were SO BAD - so filled with HATRED, they were discrediting his validity as a Christian leader!!! What fruit was his ministry producing - fruit of Christlikeness, or the bitter fruit I was receiving? I have also received email after email from fools who do not bother to read the entire site, and waste my time re-hashing the same tired old arguments that I have already answered as if they are God's only word on the matter. Just as the Moslem terrorists are trying to take away our freedom of worship - so are these fanatics, who would take away our choices in worship!!!
At a time when our country is in a state of national mourning, the only appropriate thing for Christian stations in the country to do is to send the message of restoration, of God's provision in the time of trouble. Whether is it a Christian teaching station, a hymn station, or a Christian rock station - all have come together in one accord to soothe a nation deeply wounded by those who have no tolerance of our way of life. Every Christian rock station in the country shares the deep spirit of mourning, of prayer, of repentance, of restoration - and is doing everything possible to minsiter to their audiences. Yet - at a time when we all should be coming together in the Lord, speaking shoulder to shoulder with each with righteous, Godly anger against the oppressor - guess what arrives in my email? A blatant statement of DISUNITY. A statement of bigotry, one that attempts to attack and invalidate the faith of those of us who prefer the Christian rock style of music, those who perform it professionally, and those who broadcast it. At a time when Christians of all musical tastes are supposed to stand together in unity, praising God and asking for his blessing on our nation in the coming conflict, I received the following (reproduced in entirety, with no changes):
I realize this sounds sarcastic, but it is truly meant to make us think about the "truly comforting" message of standard Christian music - I guess I have to admit that I have never heard any Christian Rock music that would comfort a grieving person, but then I haven't heard a whole lot of your Christian Rock, so perhaps am not the best judge. Consider a scenario such as this:
In light of the terrible tragedy in New York, perhaps some "Christian Rock" would comfort these people? God forbid we should use any of the "old, slow, somber" hymns that conveyed the "Faith of our Fathers" - it is so outdated, how could it bring comfort - perhaps the fireworks, etc. would again bring a smile to the face of a Christian and help them forget what they have just seen - OR would a song like "Amazing Grace", "The God on the Mountain is Still God in the Valley", "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" be considered "really quaint and out of place because it is 2001?" - No, a thousand times no - we NEED these hymns, EVEN IN THIS DAY, as they speak to the heart as Christian Rock never could - in times of great need, I think you will find the human heart longs for a little quiet, a little soberness, a little humbling before an Almighty God and will allow the worshiper to "Be still and know that I am God." These hymns have stood the test of time - and if this carnage continues, it could be that the music tastes of the young will then return to what is truly meaningful and not just a "passing fad", which is what I believe Christian Rock to be - I believe even you would have to admit that in most instances, when you face the storms of your life, Christian Rock music, with the tiny references to scripture, and mainly show and excitement are not enough to hold and encourage you in times of great grief - in my opinion anyway, I am very sure your position has not changed and you still believe Christian Rock is what people need - consider the following scripture - and also, think of where America is headed and where the world is headed and what do we NEED - really NEED - is Christian Rock just a "luxury" so far as music is concerned, or does it fill the deep inner spiritual need of man? Ask God - I know how I feel about it, I've already told you and I can tell you I know of no one that listens to Christian Rock for comfort at this time - maybe you know people that do - if so, guess their inner needs are somewhat different than people who have sold out to God long ago.
II Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be DISSOLVED, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be DISSOLVED, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
I do not mind telling you - I was OUTRAGED at this expression of intolerance from a - guess what? - David Wilkerson follower. Look at the last sentence "their inner needs are somewhat different than people who have sold out to God long ago" - WHAT an insult to literally hundreds of Godly Christian young people that I have known through the years in youth ministry! This person took extreme offense when I compared her intolerance to that of the Moslem fanatics. I can see some REAL SIMILARITIES, however! These anti-Christian rock fanatics do NOT BELIEVE you are saved. They cannot conceive that you are sold out to God. They would purge every one of you from the church - maybe they would not fly airplanes into buildings to get rid of you, but their hearts are filled with hatred for your chosen style of worship music, for yoru faith, for YOU! You would not be given any consideration in their church at all for positions of leadership, responsibility, or even service. I heard from one young man who was not even allowed to SCRUB TOILETS - because of his chosen style of worship music! May I remind all of you - and the writer of the email above - that this type of spirit of hatred is the SAME as the spirit of MURDER. President George W. Bush said we will make no distinction between those who perpetrate the acts, and those who harbor them. GOD makes no distinction between those that hate, and those who commit murder:
Romans 13:9 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
1 John 3:15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
So I think my analogy to the terrorists is CORRECT. NOW you see the true spirit behind the fanatics who hate Christian rock. It is the desire to take away your freedom to worship God in your own way. The desire to take away your individuality, your freedom of thought. It is the desire to destroy every single recording of Christian rock, the desire to ban it from the airwaves, to stop its performance. It is the desire to FORCE uniformity in worship across the board in Christian churches. It is a hatred of YOUTH, a hatred of new and creative ideas, a hatred of change - a completely SELF-CENTERED desire to be in ultimate control - to be a religious dictator and voice of the "truth" - a desire to legislate out of existance anybody who wants to worship in a different way. It is the spirit of MURDER, according to scripture. And I am OUTRAGED, with a righteous, holy anger on your behalf.