2019 FUTURE OF CHRISTENDOM CONFERENCE: Advancing the Kingdom Through Enterprise

October 18-20, 2019 Lancaster Convention Center, Lancaster, PA

 

 

God, in His love, mercy, and infinite wisdom has not only provided the means of forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ, but has also provided, in the Old and New Testaments, all necessary directions and instructions for a just, happy, and productive society. Read more

 

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    Upcoming Events

    October 18-20

    Future of Christendom Conference: Advancing the Kingdom Through Enterprise

     

     

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    Highlights from 2018 Future of Christendom Conference

    Oliver Cromwell

      "Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking"

    Is This Too Much To Ask?

    How many times in the passing of a year does the average American evangelical attend church and hear some combination of: "Christians need to expect persecution, we are just pilgrims in a strange land, and Jesus will rescue us through the Rapture"?

    It is difficult to know where to start, in my attempt to keep this simple and short.  Yes, it is true that there is to be suffering in this world, as we hear every Sunday of our dear Saints that are in pain; and yes, we are but travelers passing through; and yes, we are not of this world.

    But - Matt. 28:19 says:   “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, …”   

    Should  not the sheep expect to be guided - from our pulpits - by a message that stands our ground at some point and tells them who is in charge of what?  That is what I am looking for: just a small bit of Biblical push-back; just a little of showing that Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords and every knee will bow (Romans 14:11).  Should we not be hearing something like that coming from our pulpits?

    Randy Toman

    A Superior Culture

    A close acquaintance related a story about a military retirement party he recently attended.  Part of the festivities included touring a large military cargo plane.  He was able to chat with the plane’s pilot who has served several times in the Middle East conflicts.

    Without prompting from my friend, the pilot stated that no amount of dropped bombs, boots on the ground, or regime changes will change the situation there.  In his opinion, the only thing that will alleviate the corruption and bloodshed will be a change to the mindset of people.  Only when a significant number of individuals believe in their hearts in the dignity of life can progress be made.

    A change of heart.  We Christians recognize such a phrase as the miracle of salvation – conversion, if you will. 

    There was a time in Western history where “boots on the ground” implied the Bible was being carried along.  It was understood that Christianity is a superior culture to any other and that wherever one went, the gospel was to be proclaimed (or at least conspicuously demonstrated).

    We’re not talking about forcible conversions as a means of spreading the gospel, but a teaching and presentation of a better way.  Other religions rely on the sword to “convince” new converts but that is not the Christian way.  Yes, there have been exceptions but they are out of the ordinary.  Forced conversions are neither Christian nor conversions.

    Our Western culture, however, is now committing suicide by officially preventing the education of anyone to the superior ideas of Christianity.  The “boots” are not allowed to carry Bibles or proselytize while on their tours.  Substituted is some sort of belief that “democratic ideals” will mystically convert cultures.

    Such a humanistic idea is laughable.  Democratic ideals, or any other philosophical love of liberty, cannot exist outside of a Christian worldview.  Only as real Christianity is practiced by individuals can liberty flourish.  Freedom from greed and covetousness, security in property and persons, strong families, love of the Triune God – these guarantee true liberty in a way regime change cannot.

    Until our country begins to promote the basis of “The American Way,” namely Christianity, it will continue to squander treasure, lives, and reputation by way of foreign involvements.

    When America was a largely Christian culture it was a Superior Culture and talk of American exceptionalism was warranted.  As a secular culture it has lost both moral authority and its moral voice.

    ~John Bingaman, May 2019

    Pursuit of Happiness 

    When pondering happiness, so many people struggle to find that intangible emotion. Fulfillment and happiness go hand in hand. We may feel that our fulfillment is not being met due to dissatisfaction with the current state of our life. We feel like we are not living up to our potential, or maybe there are blocked career or financial goals. Whatever the case may be, true happiness can elude many. 

    Some pastors will enter into this equation with the words that Jesus is the key to happiness. Jesus wants you to be happy; He loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Some even go so far as to say that God wants you to be financially well off and we must just have enough faith and then we will be fulfilled because our financial cup will overflow. The promise of happiness, even from these “Christian Pastors” is all based upon God giving you your desires.

    The issue with this entire equation is that our happiness and fulfillment should not be found in fleshly goals. The Scriptures are clear: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” -Revelation 4:11

    We exist by and for God. As Christians, we should find our fulfillment in service to our King. Solomon once tested many things to see what would bring him fulfillment. The Scriptures tell us that he tested and tried many things, from sexual pleasure to great wealth and material gain; he denied himself nothing that his heart desired. He tells us that in all of this he found nothing but vanity. He concludes his thoughts with this statement: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” -Ecc. 12:13.

    When we take our eyes off of our desires and turn them to Christ and how we best can serve Him, we will find fulfillment, because we find pleasure in serving God in whatever life he has decreed for us to live. And then we can, like the Apostle, sing even in chains and shackles; because our pleasure is found in the building of the Kingdom of Christ.

    -Eli Jones

    Virtual Virtue

    Thanks to social media, anyone can now be virtuous.Just declare it so on Facebook.

    We have enough challenges getting to know people we can see. Appraising a person requires real-time conversation, hearing voice inflections, and observing their actions.

    Virtual words have become the substitute for substance. Words on a virtual page masks obvious character flaws. I can make myself look really good on my social media profile.  But do those who really know me wonder who that Saint person is? I can abuse the opportunity FB allows to re-create myself into something I’m not.

    There is nothing new under the sun, and every era has its own version of virtual virtue. Writing in the seventeenth century, John Bunyan had our modern social media virtue-signaler-turned-keyboard-warrior bagged and tagged. His character, Talkative, could sub for the virtually virtuous of the present day.  On their way to the Celestial City, Christian and Faithful ran across a virtual reality Christian star:

    Moreover I saw in my dream, that as they went on, FAITHFUL, as he chanced to look on one side, saw a man whose name is TALKATIVE, walking at a distance beside them for in this place there was room for them all to walk. He was a tall man, and somewhat more comely at a distance than at hand. To this man FAITHFUL addressed himself in this manner:

    Faith. Friend, whither away? Are you going to the heavenly country?
     

    Talkative. I am going to that same place.

    Faith. That is well; then I hope we may have your good company? (Are you on FB? I’llsend you a friend request)

    Talk. With a very good will I will be your companion. (Friend request accepted).

    Faith. Come on then, and let us go together; and let us spend our time in discoursing of things that are profitable.

    Talk. To talk of things that are good with you or with any other, to me is very acceptable; and I am glad that I have met with those that incline to so good a work.(Thus begins a rigorous FB exchange on various Christendom subjects)

    BUT poor Talkative had two big problems. First, he was “somewhat more comely at a distance than at hand”.  FB would make it possible for him to stay behind his keyboard. Much safer back there. Secondly,  thus earning his name, he declared  that “To talk of things that are good” was actually “a good work.” Of course, talk is good if it leads to good actions. Talk is terrible if it substitutes for good actions. But , for the time being, Talkative is  virtually virtuous.

    Faith. "Well then," said FAITHFUL, "what is that one thing that we shall at this time found our discourse upon?" (Pick a subject, any subject)

    Talk. What you will: I will talk of things heavenly, or things earthly; things moral, or things evangelical; things sacred, or things profane; things past, or things to come; things foreign, or things at home; things more essential, or things circumstantial – provided that all be done to our profit. (So far, so good)

    Faith. Now did FAITHFUL begin to wonder; and stepping to CHRISTIAN (for he walked all this while by himself (not following his FB page) he said to him (but softly), "What a brave companion have we got! Surely this man will make a very excellent pilgrim." (I read his blogs regularly)

    Chr. At this CHRISTIAN modestly smiled, and said, "This man with whom you are so taken will beguile with this tongue of his twenty of them that know him not." (Uh-oh)

    Faith. Do you know him, then?

    Chr. Know him! yes, better than he knows himself. (Someone who actually knows Talkative in real-time)

    Faith. Well, he seems to be a very pretty man. (On Facebook, that is)

    Chr. That is to them that have not thorough acquaintance with him: for he is best abroad; near home he is ugly enough. Your saying that he is a pretty man, brings to my mind what I have observed in the work of the painter, whose pictures show best at a distance; but very near, more unpleasing.(Dare Christian challenge the man’s obvious virtual virtue?)

    Christian advises Faithful to call Talkative out for his hypocrisy, resulting in Talkative taking offense and leaving their company.  Christian summarizes by saying:

    Chr. You did well to talk so plainly to him as you did. There is but little of this faithful dealing with men nowadays, and that makes religion to stink in the nostrilsof many as it doth; for they are these talkative fools whose religion is only in word, and are debauched and vain in their conversation, that (being so much admitted into the fellowship of the godly) do stumble the world, blemish Christianity, and grieve the sincere. I wish that all men would deal with such as you have done: then should they either be made more conformable to religion; or the company of saints would be too hot for them.

    "How TALKATIVE at first lifts up his plumes!
    How bravely doth he speak! how he presumes
    To drive down all before him! but so soon
    As FAITHFUL talks of heart-work, like the moon
    That's past the full, into the wave he goes;
    And so will all but he that heart-work knows."
      - John Bunyan

     

    -Joel Saint

    Is socialism the fault of the church?

    How often have you heard someone claim that we have socialism because the church failed to provide charity, so the government had to step in?  Is that really true?  Take a drive around and look at the names of hospitals: St. Luke's; St. John's; Holy Redeemer; Presbyterian Medical Center. These are representative of massive amounts of charity traditionally provided by the church.  I am unaware of any evidence that Christians and their churches stopped providing charity in the mid-twentieth century, sparking a crisis in need of the government's supposedly unlimited wealth and omnipotent grace.  Rather, the government at all levels barged in and took over responsibilities for things in which it had no right to meddle.  The "let the government handle it" mentality is the result, not the cause of this usurpation.  And it's a predictable response from people who are taxed out of far more than half of their wealth to pay for inefficient measures that used to be handled for a fraction of the cost by people who actually cared.

    If you want a clear picture of how this all works, I highly recommend an article written by Rev. Ben Johnson and published on the website of the Acton Institute: "How Pagans Viewed Christian Charity".  In this fascinating article we read how, after Constantine legalized Christianity in 313, his Nephew and successor Julian the Apostate moved to take over charity in exactly the same way that we see done today. By way of a letter to the pagan high priest:

    "[I]t is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg, and the impious Galilaeans [Christians] support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us. Teach those of the Hellenic faith to contribute to public service of this sort, and the Hellenic villages to offer their first fruits to the gods; and accustom those who love the Hellenic religion to these good works by teaching them that this was our practice of old.

    With the letter, the emperor sent several thousand bushels of grain and pints of wine to be distributed by the priests, at public expense."

    The article is not long, and is filled with interesting and instructive parallels to our own situation.

    So...is socialism the fault of the church?  I'd say yes to a significant extent.  But not for lack of giving; rather because of a pietistic attitude and theology that allowed her to sit by silently while the civil government overstepped its proper bounds, when we should have been standing up and saying: "NO!".

    To those who suggest that reversing this can be done by increasing charitable activity, I'd say yes, let's increase charitable activity, but let's not have any illusion that we can compete with a government that now, at all levels combined, spends $23,000 per year for every man, woman, and child alive within our borders.  No, in addition to charity, we need to be doing the footwork in whatever way God affords us to educate, influence, convince, pray, and legislate our way out of this mess, by God's mercy because that's truly what we need.  It's a long way out, to our way of seeing and thinking, but if we get busy and act God will tend to the timing and results.

    -Jim Mogel