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Are conservative Christian theology and liberal politics compatible?
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Christians: Is Intolerance a Correct Response to Islam in our Midst?

Recently, I received a mass-forwarded e-mail message entitled "The Joys of Muslim Women," that argued that Muslims in this country are committed to the task of imposing Islamic law on all of us, and that if this happens it would be a disaster for the rights Christian (and other) women now enjoy.  Some of the forwarders expanded on the original article, suggesting that we must not be tolerant toward Muslims, lest they achieve majority status here and use our own government to oppress us.  This e-mail raised for me quite clearly the question whether intolerance is a correct Christan response to Islam.  The answer I returned to that e-mail (using "reply all") is given below:

Yes, this is scary, just like the comment of one of the forwarders says, and I don't mean to be understood to say that it isn't. In fact, as a postscript to this e-mail, I quote a respected Islamic source explaining the intent to make Shari'a the law of the land in ANY country, once Muslims are in the majority. This is not a hidden agenda--they state it quite openly and without apology.

I fully agree that we need to be praying for our national leaders, including President obama.

However, I respectfully dissent from the implications of this comment made by one of the forwarders of the article: "boy do we need to wake up as a country and not become so tolerant as to take ANY steps down this road." Intolerant treatment of Muslims and attempts to use the legal system to forcibly suppress their message are not the answer. These people are not the enemy, as I will explain below, and intolerant actions toward them are both unscriptural and 100% certain to backfire. The answer, I'm afraid, is much more difficult than any political solution: we Christians need to start living consistently with the Christ we profess.

First, we need to observe that Muslim people are NOT the enemy. At church lately, we've been hearing sermons about the "Whole Armor of God," preached out of Ephesians 6. I observe that God never tells us to buy guns, tanks and planes, to go conquering real estate in His name. Instead, He tells us to put on spiritual armor to stand firm against a spiritual enemy. Indeed, Ephesians 6:12 says quite plainly that we are NOT engaged in warfare against "flesh and blood"--i.e., our real enemies are NOT other people--but our battle is against the SPIRITUAL forces of the darkness of this world. I also observe that ALL of the pieces of armor named in Ephesians 6 are positive spiritual qualities of our own lives; none of them are useful for attacking other people.

Even more to the point is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, which says: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..." We are not fighting an earthly battle against human enemies, and we are not fighting using human weapons or methods of combat.

It's a battle that cannot be fought with guns, with harsh words and grandstanding, or with laws. We shouldn't try to fight it that way. Instead, the only way to fight the battle is by putting on the spiritual armor--spiritual qualities of life--and standing. This is true whatever the ideology we want to call the enemy. The Church has spent far too much of its energy fighting ideologies, declaring people who hold those ideologies to be the enemy and fighting them with human weapons. Just in my lifetime, I've seen great attempts to mobilize the Church to fight against Communists, Liberals, Secular Humanists, Evolutionists, Neo-Pagans, New Age followers, Abortion Providers and Muslims, each as if the people involved were The Great Enemy of Christ. Each of these mobilizations has failed to eradicate the people who were incorrectly identified as the Enemy, because God isn't a part of our attempts to fight people. Instead, God's approach to people who follow ignorant ideologies is this: "For it is the will of God that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." I Peter 2:15. It is our lives, not our laws, that is to silence ignorant talk about God.

We also need to be aware that persecution of Muslims and warfare against them is 100% certain to backfire on us if we undertake that course. Why? Because it will confirm in their minds that the Quran is right. Mohammed warned his followers that many among the other "People of the Book"--i.e., Jews and Christians--would violently reject their message, persecute them and attempt to kill them. They were told to expect this treatment from us, and that receiving it and standing up to it leads to a great reward in the hereafter. Unfortunately, since Mohammed , Christians have seldom disconfirmed his prediction. As a group, we have rarely practiced Jesus' instructions in Matthew 5:39-48 in our dealings with Muslims.

Mohammed was not a prophet, but he was a fairly astute observer of Christianity as it existed in Arabia in his day. He wrote one rather startling observation that should challenge us, because it is still too true of much of the Church: "From those, too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent to them: so we estranged them, with enmity and hatred between the one and the other..." Quran 5:14 (A. Yusufali, Tr.).

The point of the quotation is this: what will win Muslim people to Christ is seeing our consistent Christian lives, not forgetting but remembering what Christ told us in the way we live, starting with the way we treat each other. It is our consistent lives, and our open love for each other, that will overcome Mohammed's criticisms of our faith.

But this is really no different than what we need to win people in any part of the unsaved population to Christ. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another." John 13:35.

Ian Johnson

P.S.: Here is the quotation from an Islamic source that I promised. This is from "The Basics of Shari'a" by Dr. Hassan Hathout (at http://www.islamicity.com/voi/transcripts/Shariah.htm):

<<

Some religions live on morals only. The ethic of this morality is when someone smites you on the right cheek, turn the other cheek. It is noble in a moral sense. But can people live by this? If I smite you and you take me to the judge, then the judge will rule that I be punished. So there are both the moral and legal wings in Islam.

Hence Islam caters for moralities and for societies. Yet when my Christian friend asks me, "How do you feel about the separation of Church and State?"

I tell him, "Excellent, it is the best think America and Europe have done."

Then he asks, "Why are Muslims keen on the Shariah, and want to live under Islamic Law?"

I tell him, "The difference is that in Christianity there is no State, and in Islam there is no Church." If you apply Christianity as Jesus taught it, then you will give to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s. In Christianity there is nothing about catering for a state and a law. Jesus didn’t say that. When the church took over, the church was wrong and the people had to separate the church from the state.

But when Muslims are living in their land and they are a majority and they want to be ruled by Islamic Law, it is their democratic right. It would be a folly if people would protest that people want to be ruled by Islamic Law. It is their right.

In Islam, if you remove the parts about governing the Islamic State, then you will have remaining a mos-haf which is thirty or forty pages. This is because Islam is a comprehensive way of life.

So, please let us in America separate the church and the state and let it be sufficient that the Freedom of Religion is safeguarded.

But please don’t blame Muslims if they want to be ruled by Islam. It is the prerogative as a majority in their land, and it is part of their religion and nobody is in a position to tell them, "Do not be ruled by your religion."

>>

Quotation from "The Basics of Shari'a" by Dr. Hassan Hathout.


One final note: God has never promised us a life free of persecution, and avoiding persecution should not be one of our major objectives. Indeed, both Jesus and the Apostles told us that if we were living righteously and presenting the truth, we would without any question be persecuted. See, for example, Matthew 5:10-12, Mark 13:9-13, John 15:18-23, 2 Timothy 3:12, James 5:10-11, 1 Peter 4:12-19. The key is not to avoid it, but to bear it correctly.

I am reminded of Stephen. Stephen was faithful, and he acted and preached with such power that none of his enemies could refute his words or resist the Spirit in which he spoke. Acts 6:10. But, instead of believeing, many of his hearers hated him, and had him arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin for trial on false charges. Acts 6:11-15.

Now Jesus had promised that when his followers were brought before kings and councils to answer for the crime of believing in Him, the Holy Spirit would give the right words to say. Mark 13:11. Stephen was listening to the Holy Spirit, and preached a powerful sermon to the Sanhedrin--so powerful, in fact, that they were enraged and quickly stoned him to death. Acts 7. Did Jesus' promise fail? No, Jesus hadn't promised Stephen (or us!) a long life in this world. He had promised that Stephen would have the right words to say. This promise was kept. Stephen had precisely the right words to say, and obediently said them. In fact, on his way out of this life, Stephen saw Jesus STANDING, not sitting, standing, at the right hand of God, applauding him! Acts 7:56.

But that isn't the end of the story. Present at the trial of Stephen was a young man named Saul, from Tarsus. (Acts 7:58). saul also joined in the rage of the council against Stephen, fully agreeing, the scriptures say, to his death. (Acts 8:1). Saul held the clothes of his elders while they killed Stephen. He then, for a time, became the greatest persecutor of the Church, and was responsible for the imprisonment and death of many of our brothers. (Acts 8:2-5).

But Stephen's great sermon, the one that got him killed, wasn't lost on Saul. It planted a seed.

If Stephen had refused persecution and death, we would never have had the Apostle Paul.

Think carefully about that!


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 11:16 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 3 November 2009 11:27 PM EST
Links to Reviews of My Book
Topic: my books

Review by Dr. Bruce Cook at Reserve Books.com describes Our Oneness in Christ as a volume that "breaks new ground in the increasingly important struggle for unity among Christian believers" and that could be a part of "the most significant movement in the Christian church since the Reformation."

"This book should be read by all Christians who are looking for a true revival in this age," according to a review by Pastor Dwight Coffman posted on Spiritrestoration.org.

"As a Bible Study, this book is good and will benefit the reader" according to Theodocia at Ghost Writer Literary Reviews.

According to Richard R. Blake, reviewing on Amazon.com: "A much needed book on a subject close to God's own heart."

Book summary at The Authors' Den.

 

More Links.


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:38 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 3 January 2010 4:12 PM EST
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Some Biographical Material
In case any of my readers are interested in my strange past, which I doubt, I have posted some biographical material on the site that supports this blog at the link given earlier in this sentence.  Nothing bad is included in this materia that hasn't already published against me by someone else, years ago.

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 7:05 PM EDT
Monday, 5 October 2009
Two wonderful jokes
Topic: F unAQs

Did you hear about the roofing company that went out of business because it didn't have enough overhead?

>>>>>

Q.  Why did the cow visit the psychiatrist?

A.  Because she had a moo disorder. 

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 11:22 PM EDT
Is psychotherapy a mitigating measure taken to relieve mental illness?
Topic: legal matters

Is psychotherapy prpoerly considered a mitigating measure taken to relieve mental illness?  And, if it is, should it be afforded the same degree of legal protection that is afforded to the use of psychiatric medication?

I believe the correct answer to both questions is "yes," and I've posted my opinion in a public comment on psychotherapy as a mitigating measure the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's public docket regarding its proposed regulations implementing the ADA Amemdments Act.

 

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 8:45 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 October 2009 8:47 PM EDT
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Joe Wasserkopf and the founding of the Inverse Baptist Convention
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: Pure Satire
Joe Wasserkopf and the founding of the Inverse Baptist Convention: A Tale of Religious Experience

About 2 a.m. on the Sunday morning before Christmas in a year not too long ago, professional burglar Joe Wasserkopf was practicing his trade at the First Baptist Church of Podunk Falls, Arkansas when suddenly the fear of and Hell came upon him.  He had always known well enough that stealing was wrong, but he had burglarized churches before without feeling the slightest remorse.  This fear he felt was absolutely unfamiliar to him and was overpowering.  He sat for a time totally paralyzed, fearing greatly, wondering what he must do to be saved.

As he sat steeping in his fear, Joe remembered the few things he thought he knew about Christianity and salvation.  He remembered that salvation had something to do with the forgiveness of his sins.  He also remembered that someone had once told him he must call upon Jesus' name to be saved.  And finally, he remembered that someone had once told him that he had to be baptized.

It was at this point in his fearful musings that Joe noticed the baptistery. It had been filled the night before, in anticipation of several baptisms the next morning, but it had not yet been heated.  Upon seeing the full baptistery, Joe suddenly understood what he must do. He asked Jesus to forgive him for burglarizing the church.  Then he stood on his head in the baptistery, mentally reciting Jesus name, determined to remain in that posture until Jesus showed him the way of salvation.   

Sure enough, about three minutes later Joe had a very powerful religious experience.  His life immediately changed for the better, and he started preaching to others the utility and necessity of being baptized by calling on Jesus' name while standing on one's head in a baptistery.  Mockers, of course, attributed his religious experience to anoxia and hypothermia.  However, he persevered, and he assembled a following in spite of the mockery. Those who criticized Joe and his followers were not "true" Christians and simply didn't have "faith."

Others--many others, it seemed--were having powerful religious experiences after two to four minutes in the tank utilizing this unusual mode of baptism.  There were a few near-fatalities early in the growth of the movement, but after a few years the technique became sufficiently standardized that those administering the rite could distinguish religious from medical distress, and the near-fatalities ceased.  Joe Wasserkopf left his life of crime and became a wealthy televangelist.

Then Joe and the leaders of some of the local churches in the movement decided that the movement was in danger of being "split" by the heretical teaching of some of the newcomers to the movement. These newcomers had indeed experienced powerful baptismal religious experiences, but their visions while standing on their heads were not entirely similar to those of Joe and the older leaders.  Indeed, some of them even had the gall to teach that there might be other ways to receive the salvation experience, without standing on one's head in cold water!  Joe and the other leaders feared that a "split" would deceive some of the faithful, and might also damage their incomes.  So, it was time to form a denominational organization to bring some discipline to bear.

Therefore, Joe and the old leadership formed the Inverse Baptist Convention, in order to maintain the unity of the movement and the pure teaching of its one distinctive doctrine--namely, that God grants the penitent believer salvation at the instant he or she receives baptism by inversion according to the rite prescribed by the organization.  

This tale is fictional, of course, but it is believable because it is so much like so many things that have actually happened throughout church history...      

Posted by ian_j_site2 at 2:52 PM EDT
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Cash for Codgers and other health care exaggerations
Topic: Pure Satire

Yesterday, Roger Randel sent me this wonderful spoof on the hype that is being used against health care reform.  It's called "Cash for Codgers."  Here it is:

CASH FOR CODGERS

Democrats, realizing the success of the President's "Cash For Clunkers" rebate
program, have revamped a major portion of their National Health Care Plan.
 
President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Sen. Reed are expected to make this major
announcement at a joint news conference later this week.
 
I have obtained an advanced copy of the proposal which is named "CASH FOR CODGERS" and it works like this...
 
Couples wishing to access health care funds in order to pay for the delivery of a child
will be required to turn in one old person. The amount the government grants them will be fixed according to a sliding scale.
 
Older and more prescription dependent codgers will garner the highest amounts.
 
Special "Bonuses" will be paid for those submitting codgers in targeted groups, such
as smokers, alcohol drinkers, persons 10 pounds over their government prescribed
weight, and any member of the Republican Party.
 
Smaller bonuses will be given for codgers who consume beef, soda, fried foods, potato
chips, lattes, whole milk, dairy products, bacon, Brussel sprouts, or Scout Cookies.
 
All codgers will be rendered totally useless via toxic injection.
 
This will insure that they are not secretly resold or their body parts harvested to
keep other codgers in repair.
 
Remember you heard it here first.
 

******

And of course, we ALL know that if Congress enacts a health care reform package that threatens insurance company profits in ANY way, Iran will instantly invade California and a nuclear accident will eat New York!


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 12:32 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 August 2009 12:35 AM EDT
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Bipartisan Health Care plan--Shame on you!
Topic: Political and economic

Those who follow this blog know that I originally supported single-payer national health care, and still think it would be the best approach (though it has no chance of passage now).  I later said that I supported the President's public outline for health care reform as the best realistic chance for reform, so long as it contained a "realistic" public option.  However, the "bipartisan" plan that is slowly emerging is far from the President's outline.  

While few details of the "bipartisan" health care reform package have been settled clearly enough to be fed to the public in written form, the comments of those involved in the process reveal both that few large changes may be expected and that some of the changes that will occur will be good for the insurance industry and bad for a lot of people.  Some of these important details may be inferred from single comments that have been repeated, in one form or another, by people on both sides of the process.  Other details must be inferred from pairs of apparently contradictory statements that can only be reconciled with each other by assuming certain plan details.

The first and most obvious problem with Congress' bipartsan approach to the issue is that, in counting the "cost" of the program, they are counting only the relatively short-term costs to be borne by the Federal Government through new taxes.  To evaluate the REAL COST to the ENTIRE ECONOMY of health care reform would require a balancing of the new taxes required against the savings to individuals, employers, and state and local governments that will result from the reform.  But Congress is not even attempting this. What the responsible members of Congress are publicly saying is that a reform that "costs" $1.6 trillion, or even $1 trillion, in new taxes over the next 10 years costs too much.  This debate simply ASSUMES that the new taxes to pay for the government's end of the reform will simply be ADDED to the cost of the present system to its participants (individuals, employers and the government), and that none of the other costs will change.  However, the immediate cost to the government is NOT the whole picture.  It is, in fact, generally agreed that, if this country had a well-functioning health care financing and delivery system, this would ultimately save all of the participants in the system a great deal of money.   It may well be that individuals and employers would end up saving more from the existence of a well-functioning system than they would pay in taxes to maintain it.  But we will never know.

Second, we know now that, because of the expense, the public plan is off the table.  There is still some talk of permitting nonprofit cooperatives into the market, but even that looks a little unlikely.  Note that the very fact that a statute would be needed to merely permit nonprofits to offer health insurance amply proves the point I made in an earlier blog post that health insurance is NOT in any way a free market, but rather a market carefully regulated to insure consistent profits for oligopolistic for-profit insurance companies.  This is absolutely not going to change.  Nonprofit cooperatives, if permited at all, will have to play by the for-profits' coverage, pricing and premium-rating rules.

Third, we know that something at least similar to the current premium rating system, which only pools risks over employment-related groups and not over the whole population, is going to continue.  We know this from the comments of some leading Democrats to the effect that the reform must be limited as requested by big labor, so as not to interfere with multi-employer group plans under collective bargaining agreements.  But because both coverage for everyone and employer contributions for full-time employees are to be mandatory under the new system, the reform would not in any way interfere with union members' ability to get coverage at their employers' expense.  Thus, what these Congressional Democrats are actually telling us is that the rating system that gives many union employees preferential premium rates is not going to change.  This, in turn, implies that the current policy rating system is not going to change very much.

This rating system is the source of the largest inequities in the present system.  Those who are fortunate enough to be employed by large employers that have large group plans, or by nationwide union-administered multi-employer groups under collective bargaining agreements will still get the best rates--though it's really hard to say whether those rates will go up or down as a result of the reform.  Young, healthy people purchasing individual policies, and small employer groups wherein all of the covered employees are young and healthy will still get decent rates, though not as good as those eligible for large group plans.  Small employer groups in which some of the covered employees are older or have health conditions will still pay very high premium rates.    Individual premiums for older people and people who have ever had any serious health problems will remain often prohibitively high  (though the insurance companies will no longer be permitted to exclude coverage altogether).    

Fourth, it is obvious that there are going to be no realistic subsidies to support coverage for those who can't afford it.  The test for subsidy eligibility is quite obviously going to be a straight household gross income "needs test," fixed as a percentage of the federal poverty line in the reform statute itself.  It will make no distinction, for example, between a young healthy couple with healthy children that is eligible for coverage under a union contract and pays 20% of its household income for health insurance, and a couple a few years older with a sick child who must pay 70% of their identical household income in health insurance premiums.  If the subsidy threshhold is set at 200% of the poverty line, as seems quite possible right now, and the household gross income of both of these hypothetical families is 199% of the poverty level, both  families will receive identical subsidies, probably based on the average premiums for young healthy people.  If the household income of both of these families is 201% of the poverty level, neither family will receive any subsidy.       

Fourth, it appears that Congress is really intent upon enacting a measure that will make all of us who have been pressuring it for reform sorry that we ever asked, because it will make a large proportion of the population into involuntary lawbreakers.  This can be seen by reconciling 1) the repated assertions by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that the reform will mandate that all persons, or their employers, must purchase health insurance and 2) the apparently contradictory admission, by lawmakers again on both sides, that the packages they are presently considering would leave  millions of Americans uninsured.   Wait, if it's mandatory, that means everyone is going to be covered, right?  Well, no.  It means that everyone who can afford coverage is going to be covered.  Many will still not be able to afford coverage, though required to purchase it.  This group would include the millions of unemployed.  Moreover, since eligibility for employer-sponsored group coverage would remain restricted BY LAW (as it is today) to "full-time," permanent employees, most of the millions who work one or more part-time jobs, or can only find temporary work, would also remain uninsured.  The comments made by our members of Congress recognize this.  These uninsured would not be covered under the new law, but would simply become involuntary LAWBREAKERS, criminals whose only crime was being too poor and/or employed by the wrong employer.

This leads to my final point.  In an earlier posting in the "pure satire" channel on this blog, I asked how a law that would make mandatory individual purchase of health insurance would be enforced.  In that posting, I facetiously compared compulsory automobile liability insurance laws to the proposal for compulsory health insurance.  I suggested, by analogy to taking away the drivers' licenses of uninsured drivers, that the only logical penalty for failure to maintain compulsory health insurance would be to take away the lawbreaker's "breathing license."  Unfortunately, Congress appears likely to take my satirical suggestion seriously.  Several members of Congress have publicly suggested that the package they are now working out will include provisions that would remove from all health care providers (including emergency rooms, which now bear this burden) any obligation to provide treatment to any uninsured individual unless that individual immediately, at the time of service, pays for enrollment in a health insurance plan.  This can only mean one thing for those who are really unable to afford the premiums the health insurance industry demands of them--for their crime they will be sentenced to death, at a random and unpredictable time, by untreated medical emergency.  If the statuory income-based subsidy formula says you OUGHT to be able to afford insurance, but in fact you can't afford the rates imposed, we are going to take away your breathing license for your crime!


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 11:45 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 June 2009 1:54 PM EDT
Sunday, 21 June 2009
Does the political tone of the pro-life movement encourage abortions?
Topic: Political and economic

This will be a blog post--possibly the first in a related series of posts--that will get me in trouble with both sides of a highly polarized issue as to which both sides insist vehemently that "whoever is not fully for us is against us."  In it, I will raise the question whether the political and judgmental tone, single-issue emphasis, and methods and tactics of the pro-life movement may actually encourage abortions.

Before I go any farther, let me declare this:  I believe that unborn babies are humans and have rights.  Therefore, I believe that abortion is a wrong, not a right. 

However, I suspect that the highly polarized and judgmental political atmosphere surronding the issue may actualy encourage abortions for several reasons.  The first and simplest is simply that people naturally want to do anything that is forbidden.  This is not a new observation, by any means. In fact, the Apostle Paul discussed this matter at length in the seventh chapter of his letter to the Romans.  Applying the principle to the sin of coveting, Paul explained that he would not have known what coveting was if God's Law had not forbidden it, but when he was told of that Law, "sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire."  Romans 7:7-8.  So by insisting on the prohibition of abortion as a motivation, we may actually be perversely increasing the attractiveness of abortion as a viable alternative.

Second, and somewhat related to this, is the observation that, by making the primary focus of the issue the search for a prohibitory POLITICAL solution, we literally have INVITED the abortion industry, and the political and media allies it finances, to recast the issue in terms of a woman's "right" to her body. Precisely because of the vehemence of the Christian political block that has been trying for almost 40 years to restore the defunct prohibition on abortion, women with unwanted pregnancies--who are already hurting and vulnerable--are being told that Christians are trying to steal their "rights" and the only way they have to defend those rights is to choose abortion.   Abortion, instead of being a wrong aganst the baby, becomes a kind of a civic duty.

Third, and probably most important, is the observation that the whole debate over legal prohibition of abortion has been a distraction from the real issues that created the problem.  The real issues are spiritual, social and moral, but not mostly political.  I'll start with issues that relate to the Church.   What are we, as the Body of Christ, doing to encourage responsibility and natural love for children?   What are we doing to assist mothers--whether or not in intact families--with their children?  Do we approach unwed mothers, and unmarried pregnant women among us, , with real love and support, or as outcasts that we provide some "assistance" somewhere else, where we don't have to be reminded of them?  Are we judgmental, attaching mental scarlet letters automatically, or are we showing real Christian love?  And what are we doing to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children (even in intact families)?  Behind every woman with an unwanted pregnancy is a man.   That's just a fact of nature.  What are we doing about it?

But because we have chosen to focus on changing the law, we are collectively not asking these questions--at least, not persistently enough to get good answers. 

 

 


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:40 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 June 2009 11:56 PM EDT
Thursday, 28 May 2009
An election to pray for
Topic: Positive prayers and posi

On June 12, there will be a presidential election in Iran.  The two main contenders are current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former Prime Minister (during the 1980s) Mir Hossein Mousavi.  Both are fully committed to the Islamic Revolution (as is anyone who is allowed a voice in Iran today).  Nevertheless, I believe Christians here should be praying for God's will in that election.  Why?  Let me give four reasons:

1.  In spite of centuries of Islamic rule, culminating in the Islamic Revolution, there is still a fairly sizeable  native Christian community there.  Their lives and witness will be affected, perhaps very substantially, by the outcome of the election and the policies of the resulting government.

2.  God still loves all of the Iranian people (even those committed to Islam)!

3.  We are commanded to pray for "kings and all who are in authority" that we may "live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."  I Timothy 2:1-2.  This command is not limited to the "king" of our on country; instead, we are to pray for "kings," plural.  If the matter is considered carefully, it is easy tounderstand that our ability to live peaceful lives doesn't depend only on our own government, it also depends on all of the other governments that could attack our country.  Moreover, our ability collectively, as the Body of Christ, to live peaceful and quiet lives, depends on the actions of every king, every government on earth, because there are believers everywhere (including Iran).

4.  The chances for peace in the entire region depend heavily on how militant the Iranian government chooses to be.  If Iran becomes more conciliatory, the chances of peace in the region improve greatly.  This depends, in part, on the mindset of the leader to be elected next month.  

Our role in this election is to pray for God's will to be done in the election and for God to draw the winner to Himself.  It is NOT to pray against any human being.


Posted by ian_j_site2 at 10:17 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 28 May 2009 10:20 PM EDT

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