40 harmful effects of Christianity – #11

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying,’Be quiet and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm.” Luke 4:33-35

This post is the eleventh in a series that addresses a list of “40 harmful effects of Christianity” that originated on the American Atheists Facebook page and has since made its way around the internet. In this post, I examine the following “harmful effect” from the list:

Harmful Effect #11: Psychological and physiological conditions blamed on demons, preventing believers from seeking medical care for themselves and their children.

This particular item is really just to a combination of Harmful Effect #8 and and Harmful Effect #9. This tells me that the author of this list had a difficult time contriving 40 harmful effects. Since I’ve already addressed #8 and #9, I will not explore #11 very thoroughly here. I will point out that during biblical times, the modern notion of psychological illness simply did not exist. For the vast majority of church history, there were no psychiatrists to visit for mental health treatment. Such practitioners simply did not exist.

During less advanced times, demons were not the only theorized causes for psychological and physiological illness. In fact, in time past, it was thought that erratic mental behavior was caused by the moon. Hence, until this day, mentally ill people are referred to as “lunatics”. There are any number of superstitions such as this that cause any number of people to make irrational judgments. Christianity is not a religion of superstition but one that is grounded in rational thought. The superstitious belief that mental illness and physiological maladies are caused by demons is not a Christian one. Harmful Effect #11, like #8 and #9, falls short as a critique of the Christian worldview.

One thing that bears mentioning is that the author of this list, being an atheist, presumes that demon possession is not real. It is real and if you ever encounter it, all the medical treatment in the world will not be able to break the spiritual bonds of demon possession.

In my next post in this series, I’ll address the following:

Harmful Effect #12: People disowning family members for leaving their religion.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Obama and Religion: A Clear Threat to Freedom

“You shall not offer any of your offspring for immolation to Molech, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 18:21

“Karl Marx has got you by the throat and Henry Kissinger has you tied up into knots.” Bob Dylan

In a recent address on his strategy to defeat the ISIL jihadist group, President Obama utilized his favorite catch phrase: “Let me be clear”. What was made clear to me, after analyzing Obama’s words, is that religious freedom in American is on the wane.  Among otherwise encouraging statements about the planned defeat of ISIL, the arrogance of the intelligentsia can be found in Obama’s words.  Obama has set himself as the definer of what religion is and is not; this development is disturbing.

Obama stated, “Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.”  That’s actually three things but I think the two assertions Obama meant “to be clear” about were the following:

  • ISIL is not Islamic
  • No Religion Condones the Killing of Innocents

Let’s examine these two assertions from a Christian worldview so that we can ascertain some clarity of our own.

ISIL is not Islamic?

There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.” The Shahada

On a Christian worldview, it makes sense to question whether or not a person or group is truly Christian and not Christian in name only.  Theologically speaking, anyone who denies the Lordship of Christ, for example, could not rightly be described as Christian.  Sociologically speaking, the definition of Christian can be understood more broadly.  The Roman Catholic Church is rightly understood as “Christian” from a sociological perspective, even though it an apostate organization and not rightly considered theologically Christian.  It makes sense for a Christian to ask the theological question “Is the Roman Catholic Church Christian?”  However, does it make sense for a Christian to ask the theological question, “Is ISIL Islamic”?  The answer is no.

Islam is a false religion.  Like every other non-Christian religion in the world, it Islam not founded upon principles that are true to the nature of God.  It doesn’t make sense, therefore, for a Christian to wonder if one sect of Islam is properly Islamic while others are not.  Whether a Muslim is Sufi, Sunni (like members of ISIL), or Shia, he is a member of a false religion.  Theologically, all that matters is that Muslims aren’t Christians.  Therefore, Christians have to base their assessments of the religious status of non-Christians on sociological criteria.

The most basic sociological criterion for determining if someone is Islamic is his belief in the truth of the Shahada.  The Shahada is basically the Islamic confession of faith.  Reciting the Shahada is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.  Anyone who recites and believes the Shahada can rightly be considered a Muslim.  The Shahada is so basic to Islam that it is featured on the flags of Islamic countries and organizations.  In fact, it’s featured on the flag of ISIL.

Members of ISIL recite and believe the Shahada.  They are Muslims.  So either Barack Obama’s statement that “ISIL is not Islamic” is a lie or it’s something altogether more nefarious.  It’s not that Obama is engaging in a “No True Scotsman Fallacy”, it’s something worse. It seems apparent to me that Barack Obama believes his own statement to be true because he believes that he has the wisdom and authority to define what Islam is and what it is not, over against anyone else in the world who actually recites the Shahada.  Barack Obama, in his vast arrogance, has defined the parameters for what is and what is not inclusive for a certain religion.[1]

No Religion Condones the Killing of Innocents?

“Considering your specific duty as a kṣatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation. Bhagavad-gītā 2.31

To be fair it worldview, ISIL does not consider the people it is killing to be innocent.  To put it simply, ISIL consider the people it kills to be guilty of the crime of profaning Islam. Therefore, in the minds of ISIL, the people it kills are worthy of death.[2]  So with radical Islam we do see a religion that condones the killing of innocents.  We also see the religiously motivated killing of innocents portrayed in the biblical text by the Canaanites.  In ancient Canaanite religion, innocent babies were scarified to pagan gods.  We also see an example of religiously justified killing in Hindu thought.  The mythical hero Arjuna is instructed by Vishnu to kill people in battle with whom he has no personal vendetta, despite his desire not to do so, because Arjuna is a warrior and killing is the function of the warrior cast.[3]

Plenty of religions condone the killing of innocents (Whereas Christianity, I must note, condones the forgiveness of the guilty).  I don’t think Barack Obama is totally ignorant of the cases noted above.  Rather, I think he just rejects all the cases above as religious at all.  Basically, Barack Obama defines his own truth.  To Obama, I think, “religion” is a path to God through generically loving one’s neighbor and not casting any sort of judgment…kind of an all inclusive universalism that has no room for hard doctrines.  Obama invents moral parameters and then defines true religion according to his own inventions.

Obama’s Dangerous Idea

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams 

If American leaders like Barack Obama can define what is and what is not religion based on their own personal declarations and tastes, what does the future hold for religious freedom in the United States?  How long until the statement, “No Religion Condones the Killing of Innocents” evolves[4] into “No religion withholds the sacrament of marriage from loving same-sex couples”, “No religious person withholds wedding services to loving same-sex couples”, or “No religion prevents a business owner from providing the provision of chemical abortifacients to women in need.”?   As we can see from recent court cases, some going all the way to the Supreme Court, that evolution may already be here.

When does Barack Obama declare that my own bible-believing, theologically conservative Southern Baptist Convention has “has no place in the 21st century?”  How long until Barack Obama declares that “no just God would stand” for what I believe and do?

We Shall Overcome

“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” Jesus

More Christians (Baptists) were killed by Lutherans and Catholics during the Reformation than were killed under Roman Persecution.[5]  There was no government-mandated religious freedom to protect either the Christians killed during the Reformation of during Roman times.  Still the church grew.  Still it grows today even in communist countries like China where religion of any kind was against the law.  Christians, our big “G” God doesn’t need religious protection from the governments of the little “g” god of this age to build His church.

The question I have for you, Christian reader, is “Are you more concerned about spreading the gospel to the lost and living sold out to Christ than you are worried about defeating the enemies of the United States both within (Obama) and without (ISIL)?” When Jesus comes back, if the United States is still extant, he is going to decommission its government and set up His own.  Always remember the scene in the throne room of God from the book of Revelation:

“Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4

There’s a slow train coming…

[1] Political sensitivities of course, are not lost on me.  It would be irresponsible on the world stage for the President of the United States to stand up and declare something like “All Muslims are on a jihad to destroy freedom.”  There are plenty of Muslims from whom we have no reason to expect violence.  I happen to know that the Muslims here in Cartersville love pick-up trucks and America just like I do.  I’m not afraid of them and I know my Muslim neighbors here in Cartersville reject the terrible Acts of ISIL.  Still, it is a bridge too far to declare that “ISIL is not Islamic”.

[2] Again, the political aspect of war and territory-grabbing are not lost on me. There may be some in the leadership of ISIL who are not true believers in jihad but nonetheless need some greater religious cause to justify their greed with their underlings. I have no doubt that many in ISIL are true believers in jihad.

[3] A very Americanized version of this story is told in the movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance.

[4] Like Barack Obama’s Christian rejection of “gay marriage” to his Christian acceptance of “gay marriage”.

[5] I don’t have a direct citation here but came across this fact while reading either The Story of Christianity by Gonzalez or The Baptist Heritage by McBeth.

40 harmful effects of Christianity – #10

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

This post is the tenth in a series that addresses a list of “40 harmful effects of Christianity” that originated on the American Atheists Facebook page and has since made its way around the internet. In this post, I examine the following “harmful effect” from the list:

Harmful Effect #10: Genital mutilation of babies endorsed by religious texts.

At the outset, it is important to distinguish between male circumcision and female genital mutilation.

Male Circumcision was used as a sign of the covenant between God and the Jews in Old Testament times, though the practice is not currently unique to the Jewish culture. Circumcision is addressed in the Bible numerous times, however, where Christianity is concerned, circumcision is not a religious requirement. To the contrary, male circumcision, as an act of religious obligation, is specifically proscribed in the New Testament.

Female genital mutilation, which is also known as “female circumcision” is not addressed in the Bible. The practice is widely considered a barbaric practice and is mostly confined to the African continent. Christians have opposed the practice of female genital mutilation on that continent for almost 100 years.

Given that male circumcision is proscribed as a religious act in the New Testament and female genital mutilation is not addressed in scripture at all, it is a blatant falsehood to assert that “genital mutilation of babies endorsed by religious texts” is a “harmful effect” of Christianity. The author of this list is clearly ignorant of Christianity or, worse, is purposely trying to misrepresent the religion.

In either case, the author is perpetrating an untruth and clearly exposes himself as an unreliable, undiscerning critic.

As a point of doctrine, I am compelled to note the New Testament is clear that no act of man can secure salvation. Salvation is the free gift of God. It is received through faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone. Christianity is not a religion that values outward signs, such as circumcision, but rather an inward change, as it were, a circumcised heart.

Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:6

In my next post in this series, I’ll address the following:

Harmful Effect #11. Psychological and physiological conditions blamed on demons, preventing believers from seeking medical care for themselves and their children.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

40 harmful effects of Christianity – #9

And the evil spirit answered and said to them, ‘I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’” Acts 19:15

This post is the ninth in a series that addresses a list of “40 harmful effects of Christianity” that originated on the American Atheists Facebook page and has since made its way around the internet. In this post, I examine the following “harmful effect” from the list:

Harmful Effect #9: People choked, starved, poisoned, or beaten to death during exorcisms.

There is not one example in the Bible of anyone being choked, starved, poisoned, or beaten to death during an exorcism. (unless are counted the seven sons of Sceva who were beaten by a demon-possessed man during a failed attempt at exorcism) There is no biblical prescription to choke, starve, poison, or beat anyone to death during the course of an exorcism. In fact, there is no prescription for exorcism procedures at all, except perhaps Jesus’ observation that some evil spirits can only be removed through prayer.

I understand that the Roman Catholic Church does have official exorcism procedures. I do not know if they include the practices of choking, starving, poisoning, and beating (I doubt they do). I do know that their procedures are not found in scripture since, as I noted above, no such procedures are prescribed in scripture. In any case, I do not consider the Roman Catholic Church to be an organization that operates within the parameters of biblical doctrines. It’s apostate, pagan in nature, and superstitious.

Lastly, the author of this list of “harmful effects of Christianity” list did not bother to provide actual examples of violent exorcisms that resulted in death. Even if we grant that such exorcisms have occurred, I think it’s fair to note that anyone who is presumed to be demon-possessed is likely either severely mentally ill or actually demon-possessed. It’s hardly unreasonably to suspect that such a person would engage in violence himself or come to a violent end.

Such an end isn’t a “harmful effect of Christianity” but rather an unfortunate reality of life. Christians should keep in mind that Jesus came so that we might have more abundant life. We should also keep in mind that, when demons crossed Jesus’ path in scripture, they always seemed to know exactly who he was. Jesus is the Son of the Most High God and He did leave his church with the power to face the demons influencing this world.

In my next post in this series, I’ll address the following:

Harmful Effect #10. Genital mutilation of babies endorsed by religious texts.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

**I do not consider the Roman Catholic Church to be a Christian one. It is an apostate entity with many false doctrines. It is certainly culturally Christian, however, and does affirm primary Christian doctrines.

Rick Patrick: Sewing Up His Own Schism

“The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.”
― Thomas Sowell

“Upon this rock I will build My church.” Jesus

Allow me to introduce you to Dr. Rick Patrick.  Dr. Patrick is a member of the board of directors of the Southern Baptist special interest group, Connect 316.  This group, in my opinion, has spent the last year doing two things:

  1. Promoting itself and its members
  2. Sowing discord among the body of Christ

In my view, Patrick and the members of Connect 316 spend a great deal of their time blaming all the world’s ills on Calvinism and trying to consolidate power in the Southern Baptist Convention within their own ranks so that they can obtain all the financially lucrative leadership positions/ save as many souls as possible through semi-pelagian decisionism/ control/ direct the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost world.  (Did I mention that they hate Calvinism?)  This group, in my opinion, plays upon the ignorance of every day pew-sitting Southern Baptists who erroneously think Calvinism is some kind of evil, anti-missions theology.

Connect 316 has developed its own statement of faith; it’s called the Traditional Statement.  Anyone who doesn’t think the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is an adequate statement of faith, can go to the Connect 316 website and sign its anti-Calvinist “Traditionalist Statement”.

One signer this statement is Bob Hadley, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, FL who recently published the following statement:

“If the trustees look to Louisville for their (International Mission Board) next president, our church’s giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering will follow our giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering: $1.”

Allow me to translate this statement for you:

“If a Calvinist is appointed to lead the IMB, my church will stop giving to annual IMB fundraisers.”

As you may have heard, Dr. David Platt was recently elected as President of the International Mission Board.  Platt is a widely respected young pastor with significant moral influence over many southern Baptists…and he’s a Calvinist.  Platt, the author of Radical, is widely known as one of the most mission-minded men on the planet.  He blows the ignorant caricature of anti-missions Calvinism that Connect 316 depends upon to spook laypeople and consolidate its power out of the water.  Some Traditionalists, like Hadley, have not taken kindly to Platt’s appointment and are threatening to withhold giving to the SBC.

“David Platt is one of the most passionate and influential voices for missions among evangelicals.” The Baptist Press

Rick Patrick has apparently realized that some his Indians are off of the reservation.

One should understand that gaining political power in the Southern Baptist Convention is tied to being a champion of the SBC’s Cooperative Program.  The Cooperative Program is the system by which independent Southern Baptist churches jointly (and voluntarily) fund SBC entities such as seminaries and the International Mission Board.  Anyone who desires a position of leadership in the SBC is expected to have his church give to the SBC.  As anyone in business knows, one has to spend money to make money.   Rick Patrick and Connect 316 just can’t have Connect 316 traditionalists going around threatening to defund SBC entities.  Thus, Patrick has published an article entitled “CP Evasion Fails the Great Commission” at SBC Today.  Here, I will make fair use of the article to critique it.

I’ll start with Patrick’s title.

“CP Evasion Fails the Great Commission”

The CP was started in 1925.  If we take Patrick’s word, this means that the great commission was not accomplished by anyone before 1925 and is not accomplished now by any of the thousands of Christians churches in the world that do not give to the Cooperative Program.  Patrick’s statement is absurd.

The text of Patrick’s article follows with my critiques in bold:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

While I celebrate the autonomy of each Southern Baptist Church in directing their mission gifts however they feel led, I nevertheless believe that the Great Commission is best fulfilled by churches who freely choose to contribute through and not around traditional Cooperative Program channels.

My reasoning is partially grounded on the concept of Cooperative Program superiority championed most clearly in the language of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report of 2010: We call upon Southern Baptists to honor and affirm the Cooperative Program as the most effective means of mobilizing our churches and extending our reach.

No, Southern Baptists have not declared that the Cooperative Program is the only way to support missions. We have simply declared that it is the best way.

Churches directing their gifts around the Cooperative Program and toward a specific ministry do so for one of two reasons. Their CP evasion may be positive in nature—in order to increase support for a particular entity they value. On the other hand, it may be negative in nature—in order to avoid supporting a particular entity they devalue. In both cases, they forfeit our most effective means of Great Commission support.

The Cooperative Program was started in 1925, before the age of internet and digital banking, in order to distribute mission giving from individual churches more evenly to the causes of the state and national conventions. The tradeoff to this even-handed giving was the substantial state and national convention bureaucracies that the CP model created.  In such bureaucracies, convention leaders can use the good-ole boy system to hand out posh positions to their friends.  (Names like Hankins and Caner come to mind.) In times past, this was a necessary evil.  In times present, a church or an individual person can send money directly to an SBC cause (such as the IMB or a seminary) through the cause’s website.  No national committee is needed to decide how best to give out everyone else’s money.  Of course, no one with a desire for consolidating power would ever advocate such decentralization.

If the Cooperative Program is not the only way to support missions, then how is a church failing the Great Commission when they redirect their mission gifts through a strategy of CP evasion?

1. CP evasion ignores the SCOPEof the Great Commission. 

The Great Commission is much more than international missions. Churches who direct their giving away from CP channels in order to “get more money to the nations” have taken it upon themselves to prioritize reaching “the uttermost” at the expense of reaching “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria,” as described in Acts 1:8. Jesus did not say, “and most of all” to the uttermost. We sometimes fail to consider that as the fourth largest mission field in the world, we are the uttermost where many other nations are sending their missionaries. The work we do through NAMB and our state conventions is absolutely Christ honoring Great Commission work worthy of our full support.

Here Patrick makes it look as if he is making a point from scripture, but he really isn’t.  Excellent work is done through NAMB, and people can donate to NAMB directly through its website.  (NAMB is not 20 years removed from a financial scandal enabled by the good ole’ boy system.)

2. CP evasion ignores the SCHOOLS of the Great Commission.

The Great Commission exhorts us to continue “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Our seminaries receive Cooperative Program support without which they could not operate. Our Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission educates Christians regarding morals and ethics and advocates in the public square as salt and light before a watching world. Directing gifts toward our mission boards or specific mission agencies bypasses these important ministries, which are fulfilling the Great Commission as well. What kind of missionaries will we be sending overseas without academically rigorous and spiritually inspiring seminaries to train them?

I attend an SBC seminary.  People can give directly to the school, directly to a scholarship fund, or directly to a student in need.  On another personal note, I don’t know one classmate in seminary who thinks well of the Connect 316 crowd.  There are a lot of us young guys, I think, that are sick of the political stuff.  We love Jesus and we just want to share Jesus.  We’re in seminary to learn how to do it better.

3. CP evasion ignores the SUPERVISION of the Great Commission.

Two days a year, the Southern Baptist Convention is in session. The rest of the time, the Executive Committee handles the day to day operations of our denomination. Administration is admittedly not an exciting spiritual task. However, it is naive to assume our denomination could exist without it. When churches engage in CP evasion to bypass the business office in order to give directly to the missionary on the field, they simply fail to appreciate the complex necessity of infrastructure. In the United States Air Force, for every pilot, there are roughly twenty-four support staff members on the ground. Everyone favors the exciting jobs, but paying the complete operational cost is necessary.

Apparently Patrick thinks that regular people and churches need spiritually-gifted administrators to control their money.  He then compares that type of bureaucracy, with no citation of statistics, to the United States Air Force.  The SBC isn’t in the business of killing foreign people.  The Air Force is.  The Air Force is also a federal government bureaucracy.

4. CP evasion ignores the STRATEGY of the Great Commission.

The Cooperative Program strategy can be compared to the unified budget of a church. As long as church members are faithful in their tithes and offerings, there are resources available for every line item in the budget, but when church members designate for specific causes of their choosing and bypass that budget, it creates a financial disaster. The popular items like music, children, youth and missions eat up all the money because everyone wants to feel like they are paying for life changing, spiritually transforming ministries. But the unpopular items like air conditioning compressors, toilet paper and routine maintenance are then left unfunded. In a quarter century of ministry, I have never seen anyone designate a special donation for the boring stuff. But just try to have church this Sunday without toilet paper and see what happens!

The notion that CP evasion is a new and improved way to support the Great Commission may seem admirable in its passion and idealism, but it is unfortunately fraught with naïveté and grounded in the presumption that one’s individual program will work much better than our cooperative one. Unfortunately, CP evasion always leads to CP erosion, thus reducing our Great Commission efforts as long as the Cooperative Program is indeed our “most effective means of mobilizing our churches and extending our reach.”

I didn’t catch the “strategy” Jesus left us in the Bible to fund a large Roman Catholic Church political machine.  Politically, most Southern Baptists favor limited, decentralized, local government (and independent churches).  It doesn’t make sense that they would agree with Patrick here.  Observe how Patrick talks down to people who disagree with him.  They are “naïve”.  Patrick is basically saying, “Leave it to the influential leaders, they know better than you how to spend God’s money.”  Well, baptisms are at an all time low, do they really?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

I’m not a Calvinist.  Yet, I still feel predestined to see that organizations like Connect 316 should be avoided like the plague.  Rick Patrick’s organization has spent months propagating anti-Calvinist propaganda and, now, he’s trying to clean up his own mess.  It’s Shameful.  It leads me to wonder if Connect 316 is under the influence of the enemy.

“For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,” 2 Timothy 3:2

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.  

40 harmful effects of Christianity – #8

“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.” James 5:14-15

This post is the eighth in a series that addresses a list of “40 harmful effects of Christianity” that originated on the American Atheists Facebook page and has since made its way around the internet. In this post, I examine the following “harmful effect” from the list:

Harmful Effect #8: People dying – and letting their children die – because their religion forbids accepting medical help.

The Christian theologian and reformer Martin Luther once said, “Take your medicine and put your trust in God.” I see no reason to contradict this advice.  This is because I have a biblical worldview. I agree with contemporary theologian Albert R. Mohler who has stated, “The Bible never commands any refusal of legitimate medical treatment.”

So from where does item #8 on this list come?  It hardly comes from any form of Christianity that could be considered normative and it certainly doesn’t come from the Bible.  In his epistle to the church, the Apostle James advocates anointing the sick with oil.  Taken in a first century context, this scripture is prescribing how to go about medical treatment.  At that time, oils were used for medicinal purposes.  Note that the sick were to be anointed with oil by the elders of the church. Rather than forbidding medical assistance, the Bible teaches that leaders should help administer such assistance in the prayerful hope that God will restore the sick person.

In modern times, hospital visitation is a part and parcel to the life of a church elder (or pastor, to use the more familiar term).  Elders generally no longer anoint the sick with oil for medical purposes because such activity is not common to modern medicine.  Rather, medical care is handled by trained and licensed doctors and nurses, while elders (and oftentimes hospital chaplains) apply spiritual care.

In no way are Christians called to eschew medical help for themselves or their loved ones.  To the contrary, they are compelled to provide it.  Countless hospitals are (at least culturally) Christian causes and have words such as “Baptist”, “Presbyterian” and “Methodist” in their names.  I was born in a Catholic** hospital in Chattanooga and treated for stroke-like systems in another Catholic hospital in Atlanta. Monks and nuns have been providing care for the sick for ages.  To say that “People dying – and letting their children die – because their religion forbids accepting medical help” is a harmful effect of Christianity is patently absurd.

It should be kept in mind that, no matter the medical treatment received or denied, everyone eventually dies.  Jesus promises Christians eternal life.  This is the blessed hope of Christianity and I am thankful for it.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

In my next post in this series, I’ll address the following:

Harmful Effect #9: People choked, starved, poisoned, or beaten to death during exorcisms.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.  

**I do not consider the Roman Catholic Church to be a Christian one.  It is an apostate entity with many false doctrines.  It is certainly culturally Christian and does, however, affirm primary Christian doctrines.

What Is The Movement® All About?

sethdunn88:

I’ve written about my concerns with Ronnie Cloud previously. Below, Gene Clyatt fleshes them out a little more. Remember, Jesus said, I will build my church.” Ronnie Floyd appears to be building Ronnie Floyd.

Originally posted on Pulpit & Pen:

[In the interest of full disclosure, I never asked Ronnie Floyd out for a cup of coffee before posting this. Deal with it.]

Dr. Ronnie Floyd-Formal-High ResI had never really known much about Ronnie Floyd prior to hearing the news that Albert Mohler was planning on nominating Floyd for the office of president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the June 2014 meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. Oh, I might have heard the name, I suppose, but, if I had, I sure don’t remember when or in what context. But, because of the respect in which I hold Dr. Mohler, I was initially favorably disposed towards Floyd.

Then I begin to hear stories about a Disneyesque childrens’ church area, complete with a firetruck baptistry, where sirens sound and confetti cannons fire off from the rafters. I began to hear that he was a shameless self-promoter, known as “Ronnie Armani.” And I began to wonder…

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