[Also See Section The Contemporary Church]
Reaching forward with my hand to change the channel, an unusually sweet Christian man’s voice enticed me to draw my finger back from the scan button, as the host said “you’re on the air, Chris”.
“I am concerned about the hate I hear from my fellow Christians today”, this soft spoken man said. “It seems so much of what I hear on the radio today is so corrosive. Shouldn’t we be trying to love people into the Kingdom? It is a lot easier to draw flies with honey.”
“Flies with honey”, I thought as I hit the country music station button, where they actually sing about sin, not wanting to hear the host’s sugary response.
As I sat at the traffic light, trying not to scream, I glanced at the old 1988 Honda sitting in the lane beside me. Consumed by rust, it was a miracle that the old tan buggy still was able to wiggle down the road. “Wow”, I thought out loud. “The salt sure has corroded that car.”
Salt. Corrosion. Christian radio.
According to Webster, corrosive means to wear away gradually by chemical reaction.
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus told us “You are the salt of the earth”.
Ever wonder why He chose salt?
Why didn’t He say:
“You are the pepper of the world”.
Or “You are the Tabasco-sauce of the world”
Better yet, for today’s rapidly becoming good-for-nothing-Christians, “You are the sugar of the world.”
No, Jesus chose salt. Try as I might, I can’t think of a single situation where salt tastes sweet.
[Related Article: Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?]
A quick internet study on the properties of salt will show that it is, by its very nature, corrosive. Salt, an acid, is a combination of sodium and chloride, either element taken alone is toxic to the human body.
What was Jesus thinking? Why didn’t he tell us to be the “honey’ of the earth. Was He confused?
If Jesus told us that we were salt wouldn’t it be a good idea to study the function of the thing he told us to be? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to figure out what salt does?
· Salt is a preservative… keeps things from rotting. Know anything rotting in the world?
· Salt heals… your grandma every tell you to gargle salt water? Lot’s of hurting folks out there.
· Salt gives flavor… ever hear someone comment on how potatoey their French fries taste? No, the correct response is “Boy, those French fries taste salty.” Salt changes the taste of everything.
· Salt causes thirst… makes one want to drink… know anyone thirsty for Truth?
· Salt melts ice… only the Gospel can melt a cold, stony heart.
· Salt purifies… alkali, a form of salt, is the leading ingredient in soap. Couldn’t our culture use a good cleaning?
· Salt kills slugs… at least that is what a young boy told me when I spoke at a school assembly.
[Related Article: The Sedgefield Community]
Christians are supposed to be salt.
Sugar may make us feel good when we spread it around, but all sugar does is make something easier to swallow, if you know what I mean..
“Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down,” Mary Poppins sang.
The American culture is sick and decaying and we want to spread sugar.
[Related Article: Salt and Light]
I saw Joel Osteen on Larry King last week, promoting his book You’re Best Life Now. Having spent weeks atop the New York Times best sellers list, he, along with Rick Warren, is the face of modern evangelical Christianity. Osteen is pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, a congregation of 30,000, the fastest growing church in America and has a world-wide television ministry. Smiling, sweet, every hair in place, Pastor Joel and Mr. King engaged in the following dialogue.
KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?
OSTEEN: No. Here’s my thing, Larry, is I can’t judge somebody’s heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody’s heart, and so — I don’t know. To me, it’s not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn’t. I just say, here’s what the bible teaches and I’m going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it’s wrong when you go around saying, you’re saying you’re not going, you’re not going, you’re not going, because it’s not exactly my way. I’m just…
KING: Because we’ve had ministers on who said, your record don’t count. You either believe in Christ or you don’t. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don’t no matter what you’ve done in your life, you ain’t.
OSTEEN: Yeah, I don’t know. There’s probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you’re a believer in God, you’re going to have some good works. I think it’s a cop-out to say I’m a Christian but I don’t ever do anything …
KING: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?
OSTEEN: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know …
KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?
OSTEEN: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.
And a later give and take.
KING: Do you ever involve politics in the sermons?
OSTEEN: Never do. My father never …
KING: Never mention President Bush?
OSTEEN: Well, only to pray. Only to pray. We prayed for President Bush, Clinton, all of them. But I’ve never been political. My father hasn’t. I just, I have no …
KING: How about issues that the church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?
OSTEEN: Yeah. You know what, Larry? I don’t go there. I just …
KING: You have thoughts, though.
OSTEEN: I have thoughts. I just, you know, I don’t think that a same-sex marriage is the way God intended it to be. I don’t think abortion is the best. I think there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I’m not going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open for everybody.
KING: You don’t call them sinners?
OSTEEN: I don’t.
[Related Article: Is Homosexuality A Sin?]
That’s cotton candy folks, that ain’t salt. No wonder his church is overflowing, he’s preaching the gospel according to Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”
America is in trouble, because most churches are serving syrup. The largest church in America takes no position on the great moral issues of the day. Men marry men, 10 commandments ripped off of buildings, evolution trumps creation, abortion is a choice. That’s okay, come to our church, who are we to judge?
It takes courage to confront sin, to be the corrosive eating away at the framework of the world. Sad to say, but the world has become the salt of the church. Want proof? Doesn’t the average teenager in your church dress like Britney Spears?
[Related Article: The Communities of Richmond and the Greater Richmond Area]
Just before Jesus told us we were salt, he warned us of the consequences of becoming the corrosive. (Matthew 5:11-12)
“For the time is come that Judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)
I learned from a white-water rafting trip that once you allow the water into the raft, you spend the rest of the time bailing.
It’s time to bail.
It is time for some Truth, for a return to a salt-laced, corrosive, slug-killing Gospel.
Now is the time to pass the salt!
2005 Dave Daubenmire – All Rights Reserved
Preacher: JB Hall / Sermon presented at First Baptist Church – West Liberty, KY
Introduction: You and I live in extraordinary times in our nation’s history. These are not ordinary times. We are witnessing, right before our very eyes, the destruction of American culture, and the rise of a tyrannical Social state.
This is not just random, modern day cultural rot we are witnessing. This has been an ill-contrived, highly organized, masterfully executed plan that has been an ongoing project for many years. In much the same way termites eat away at the foundation of your home, and their work does not become visible until your home is in danger of total collapse; American culture has been under attack from hidden enemies with secretive agendas for decades, eating away at the foundations of our nation.
You and I live in the age of deception. Great deceptions by powerful people in high places are being perpetrated upon the citizens of America.
Let me read a few excerpts from a WND article titled:
“JOHN DEWEY’S DUNCES”
Exclusive: Ellis Washington exposes ‘Marxist propaganda factories called public schools’
Conservative intellectual Dr. Thomas Sowell, in a recent column, “Teaching Americans to hate their country”, made the historical observation about how 100 years ago progressives like John Dewey of Columbia University changed the American education paradigm whereby teachers were no longer considered “the transmitter of society’s culture” (as they have been for roughly the past 6,000 years) but activist “agents of [progressive, socialist] change,” as evidenced by the way most Americans have been happily educated inside its Marxist propaganda factories called “public schools.”
Who was John Dewey?
John Dewey (1859-1952) was the father of the modern American public school system, a leading progressive who promoted the philosophy of pragmatism and an activist for secular humanism in American society. Dewey was also an original signatory of the Humanist Manifesto and ridiculed moral absolutes and traditional religion, especially Christianity in favor of an evolution/atheist worldview.
So, America’s public education system became the factory for laying the foundation that would be the future Marxist, Socialist state these early Communists envisioned.
Fast forward to 1958; a man named Cleon Skousen published a book entitled The Naked Communist in which he listed 45 Current Communist Goals. These were goals that would accomplish the dissolution of the Constitutional Republic, which is the foundation of the United States of America. In 1963, at the request of Mrs. Patricia Nordman from De Land, FL, who had been the publisher of the De Land Courier; the HON. A. S. HERLONG, JR., (D) OF FLORIDA read before the US House of Representatives and entered into the congressional record, these 45 Current Communist Goals listed in Mr. Skousen’s book.
I won’t quote all of them, but I would like to read some of them:
1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.
11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces.
15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing policy-making positions.
21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”
24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, and healthy.”
27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a “religious crutch.”
28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture–education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].
40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.
[Related Article: A Tribute to Communism]
How successful would you say they have been at accomplishing these goals in just 55 short years?
Fast forward to: May 2, 1996, and I quote excerpts from another WND article entitled:
“DOES OBAMA PLAN TO BANKRUPT AMERICA?”
The President is applying radical 1960s theory
On May 2, 1966, two Columbia University sociologists, Professor of Social Work Richard A. Cloward and his then-research associate Frances Fox Piven, wrote a pivotal article in The Nation, articulating “a strategy to end poverty.”
“…the two Columbia University-based sociologists concluded that a progressive strategy of voting ever-expanding social welfare programs could push the capitalist system to the breaking point.”
Cloward and Piven, who later married, both taught sociology at the Columbia University School of Social Work when Obama was registered as an undergraduate student at Columbia.
“The Cloward-Piven theory predicts capitalism will collapse such that the USA can be reconstructed as a truly socialist state dedicated to the elimination of private property and the creation of ‘social justice’ achieved by redistributing income from the ‘haves’ to the ‘have-nots.’”
Do our elected officials not understand simple economics? Did they fail Economics 101? Certainly not! They fully understand economic principles. The problem is that many of those in charge of shaping US economic policy subscribe to Cloward-Piven/Marxist economic ideology rather than traditional American capitalism that has made this country the greatest economic powerhouse the world has known…providing the greatest opportunity of any country in history for the common man to rise above his apparent means to financial success.
Remember, all this began at least a century to a century and a half ago. Even our founding fathers disagreed over the power and role of the federal government. Thankfully, those who favored a limited role for the federal government won out and produced the Constitution, our founding document that became the model for true American governance.
Who then, is the grand architect of this all-encompassing, diabolical conspiracy with a narrative spanning generations, political parties, and iconic cultural institutions?
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
People die, but Satan and his demonic forces live on. He and they clearly are the unseen powers of spiritual wickedness working in the high places of the institutions of power in our country; enlisting willing wicked individuals to perpetrate these great deceptions and keep the destructive plot moving forward across decades and generations.
Folks, troubling times appear to lay ahead for all Americans, and especially Christian Americans. We are right on the verge of experiencing genuine Christian persecution in America.
[Related Article: Judgment, Not Warning!]
Is there hope for America? Yes; but American culture, as well as individual Americans’ eternal fates, rests with the church.
Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
The first part of this verse has to do with personal conduct; the second part of the verse has to do with public speech. We must not only refrain from wickedness ourselves; we must publicly renounce wicked works. We are commanded to call sin ‘sin’ publicly.
[Related Article: The Sedgefield Community]
Sadly, the church has devolved into not only a passive observer of sin; it is quickly becoming a supporter, and in many cases, proponent of those who practice and promote the very things it should be sounding the alarm against.
[Related Articles: The Silent Church and The Shameful Social Gospel]
In an article on the church becoming more and more anti-Israel titled “Calling All Pentecostals!” Jim Fletcher, a Southern Baptist, wrote,
“I would go so far as to suggest to you that in 10 years’ time, you will no longer recognize the Southern Baptist Convention. As it too strides toward liberal theology and a dance with ecumenism that would cause its founders to spin in their graves, the SBC will also fall in line with the new thinking on Israel, both theologically and geo-politically.”
What then, is our role in a culture where Biblical Christians are increasingly marginalized?
I believe the answer is found in our Sermon Text today. We Christians are called to be salt and light to the evil world around us.
1. First, let’s talk about light. Light does two things:
A. It dissipates darkness.
B. It reveals reality.
C. We are not told to make our light shine, but to let or allow our light to shine. If we are saved, the Source of light, the Holy Spirit lives inside us.
D. Our job then is simply to not suppress His influence, simply to not hide Him.
E. Darkness will never quench light. Light will extinguish darkness 100% of the time.
F. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany said,
“It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Did you get that, “…the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie…!” Do you realize we have the advantage!
G. Applying the light of God’s truth to any issue will extinguish the darkness of the web of deception woven to conceal the truth, allowing the truth to be revealed in crystal clarity.
Thus, the deception will be exposed for all to see just what it is – a deceptive lie designed for the downfall of those taken in by it.
2. Second, let’s talk about salt. Salt has two basic purposes:
A. It flavors. Flavoring has to do with making the environment or culture around us pleasant – an enjoyable experience. Have you ever tasted something that was unsalted…a cooked food perhaps? It is usually not very palatable…doesn’t taste very good, does it? Even when it is salted while being cooked, it still does not have enough flavor for some people, and they put more salt on their food after it is served. Even fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe taste better with salt on them to some people. So, salt adds flavor to an unpalatable dish. Another thing about salt is that it permeates the entire pot of food that is cooking. A small amount of salt will flavor the entire pot of food. You do not need a ratio of 1 to 1…salt to food…only a pinch of salt will flavor it all.
B. It preserves. Preserving has to do with preventing cultural rot…preserving our culture from the destructive forces that would destroy it.
Before refrigeration was available, people would often preserve meat for the family by rubbing salt into the side of beef (or whatever piece of meat they had), and hanging it in a storage building to cure. This would preserve the meat without refrigeration.
[Related Article: Corrosive Christianity]
3. In our text this morning, Jesus said, “Ye [we Christians] are the salt of the earth:” and “Ye [we Christians] are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-15)
The thing we have to understand about salt and light is that they only work when they are applied to the food or darkness they are intended to flavor, preserve, or illuminate. We then, as salt and light, are useless until and unless we are applied to the culture we bemoan. As the salt of the earth, and the light of the world, we Christians are to permeate all areas of our culture. We are not to restrict our Christian influence to the walls of our churches and our homes; but to speak, stand, and live out the principles of Scripture wherever we are stationed in our culture – our jobs, our schools, our communities, etc. Popular or not in the politically correct climate in which we live, this is what we are called to do. As the Lord instructed Paul in Acts 18:9 we must “…Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace.”
Like Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
[Related Article: Concerning Richmond, VA and the Greater Richmond Area]
In Conclusion: The first and most critical step in healing is always an accurate diagnosis; to prescribe the right treatment we must have the right diagnosis. This morning we have diagnosed the problem, and have prescribed the solution.
The centers of power of our nation – The government, the judiciary, the public education system, and the media – as well as the culture at large, are all being influenced, motivated, and directed clearly by the destructive designs of Satan and his demonic forces. Our cultural and political problem is in fact a spiritual problem.
Neither the culture nor our government wants to hear the truth, and will revolt at the sound of it. However, the only hope of recovery from the downward, death spiral our nation is experiencing rests with you and me, the church. We are God’s salt and light…the applicators of God’s truth.
Healing can only begin when you and I, our nation’s salt and light, the applicators of God’s truth, apply (speak, stand for, and live) the illuminating, preserving, truth of His word to the deceptions, issues, and practices that are threatening the very existence of American culture.
The question then is this: Are you willing to be the salt and light God has made you to be by speaking, standing for, and living the truth of His Word, regardless of consequences, in the place He has stationed you?
Author: Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) 
Source: Pastor LarryDeBruyn, Guarding His Flock Ministries
An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!
The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!
- Richmond, VA and the Greater Richmond Area
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.’ That is clear enough and so it would have been if He had added, ‘and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.’ No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Then again, “He gave some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry.” Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they refused? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll.
Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world“, not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance “Let the dead bury the dead.” He was in awful earnestness.
- Salt and Light
Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say, ‘Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!‘ No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!
In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement’. Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them…Don’t touch their filthy things…” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.
After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, ‘Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are.’ No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. If they ceased not from preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today’s church. Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her and bring us back to apostolic methods.
Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the careless and the scoffers, who testify the church met them half way, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!
The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is for Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.
“Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods!” 
 Taken from The Sovereign Grace Messenger: A Publication of the Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship, Issue 37, Winter 2014, Pastor Ron Staley, Editor, Mechanicsville, VA.
 I thank my good friend Bob Gifford, pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Dale City, VA, for drawing my attention to this article. It serves as a confirming witness of much of what I have written about and is contained elsewhere on the website, Guarding His Flock Ministries.
- Music by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Author: Daniel Greenfield
Source: the Sultan Knish blog – 07.16.2014
In our modern age, things no longer exist to perform their function. Washing machines aren’t designed to clean clothes, but to save water and energy. Food isn’t there to be eaten, but not eaten. And armies aren’t there to win wars, but to be moral. And the truly moral army never fights a war. When it must fight a war, then it fights it as proportionately as possible, slowing down when it’s winning so that the enemy has a chance to catch up and inflict a completely proportional number of casualties on them.
Forget charging up a hill. Armies charge up the slippery slope of the moral high ground and they don’t try to capture it from the enemy, because that would be the surest way to lose the moral high ground, instead they claim the moral high ground by refusing to try and capture it, to establish their moral claim to the moral high ground, which they can’t have because they refuse to fight for it.
Israel has been engaged in a long drawn out struggle for the moral high ground. The moral high ground is to the modern Israeli what the land of Israel was to their pioneer ancestors who drained swamps, built roads and shot bandits. Then some of the bandits were discovered to be the oppressed peoples of the region, fresh from Syria or Jordan, who then got busy retroactively protesting the settlements built on that stretch of swamp that had been set aside in their revisionist history as belonging to their great-grandparents while dangling oversized house keys to the swamp.
Sadly the only way to win the moral high ground is by losing. Just look at the massive Arab armies who repeatedly invaded Israel, did their best to overwhelm it with the best Soviet iron that the frozen factories of the Ural could turn out, and lost the bid to drive the Jews into the sea, but won the moral high ground. Then their terrorist catspaws spent decades winning the moral high ground by hijacking airplanes full of civilians, murdering Olympic athletes and pushing old men in wheelchairs from the decks of cruise ships.
All these killing sprees accomplished absolutely nothing useful, aside from the killing of Jews, which to a certain sort of mind is a useful thing in and of itself, but that failure won the terrorist catspaws the moral high ground. Their failure to win a war by hijacking buses full of women and taking the children of a school hostage conclusively established their moral superiority and nobility of spirit.
The world was deeply moved when Arafat waddled up to the UN podium, with his gun, wearing a mismatched cotton rag on his head that would decades hence become the modish apparel of every third hipster standing in line with a can of 20 dollar fair trade Lima beans at Whole Foods, because his commitment to killing people in a failed cause that even he didn’t believe in, in exchange for money from his backers in the Muslim world showed his deep commitment to the moral high ground.
In the seventies, after Israel had won a few too many wars, Henry “Woodcutter” Kissinger, suggested that it lose a war to gain the sympathy of the world. Golda wasn’t too enthusiastic about the idea, but with the old woodcutter in charge of handing out the axes, there wasn’t much choice about it. Israel came close to being destroyed in ’73, but just when it might have won the sympathy of the world, its armies of young men dashing from synagogues into overcrowded taxis to get to the front lines, turned the tide. Israel won. The woodcutter of Washington lost and Israeli scrapyards filled up with piles of Soviet steel, which was good news for the big sweaty guys who ran them, but bad news for those pining for the lofty fjords of the moral high ground.
In ’91 the Israelis went nuclear and decided to beat Arafat at his own game. Rabin and Peres talked the old terrorist out of retirement and down to Washington D.C. where they surrendered to him in an official ceremony at the Rose Garden overseen by a beaming Bill Clinton. Finally Israel had won the moral high ground. And the United States had carved off a chunk of that delicious moral high ground, even though Clinton was forced to fidget in his chair at Oslo when his Nobel Peace Prize went to the greasy terrorist, though perhaps he should have considered that defeat to be another victory of the moral high ground.
But the moral high ground proved notoriously elusive for the Jewish State. There was a brief lull when it seemed that the original sin of kicking ass had been atoned for in the Rose Garden, but then the terrorists started killing Israelis again and the Israelis insisted on fighting back. In no time at all the moral high ground was roped off with a special reserved section for terrorists and a sign reading, “No Israelis Will Be Admitted Unless They Renounce Their Government, Zionism and the Right of Self-Defense.”
Peace was the last best hope of the new Israeli Hatikvah, not to be a free people in their own land, but to be a moral people in a land that didn’t really belong to anyone in particular, but that they were optimistic everyone could live in harmony in.
But peace with terrorists meant not fighting back and there was a limit to what the 70 percent of the country that didn’t go to sleep fantasizing about peace would accept in the name of peace.
And so, terrorists killed Israelis, Israelis killed terrorists, that part of the world located in an ugly modernist building overlooking Turtle Bay, which the turtles would like to have back, condemned Israel and demanded that it resolve things peacefully by surrendering more land to the terrorists in order to build up their confidence in Israel’s commitment to a peaceful solution.
The terrorists were not expected to reciprocate and build up Israel’s confidence in their commitment to a peaceful solution because they already had the moral high ground by way of losing the last thirty engagements with the IDF, including the battle of the school they set up snipers in, the church they took over and the hospital that they used as an ammo dump.
The great quandary for Israeli leaders is how to win a war without losing the moral high ground. This is a tricky matter because it requires winning the war and winning the peace. And you can’t do both at the same time.
Israel’s solution has been to fight limited wars while remaining absolutely committed to peace. No sooner does a war begin, then it is pressed to accept a ceasefire. To show its commitment to peace, Israel is expected to accept the ceasefire. At which point Hamas will begin shooting rockets again and the whole dance will begin all over again. But Israel has trouble refusing a ceasefire because its leaders still believe that they can get at the moral high ground by showing that they are more committed to peace than the other side.
The peace is however unwinnable. It’s not even survivable in the long term. Peace either exists as a given condition or it is maintained by strong armies and ready deterrence. Peace cannot be found on the moral high ground, only the mountains of the graves of the dead.
Seeking the moral high ground is a fool’s quest. Wars cannot be fought without hurting someone and trumpeting your morality makes it all too easy for your enemies to charge you with hypocrisy. The man who spends the most time vociferously protesting that he isn’t a thief, that he has never touched a penny that belonged to anyone else and that he will swear on a floor-to-ceilling stack of bibles to that effect, looks far guiltier than the man who scowls and tells his accusers to mind their own business. The more Israel defends its own morality, the more it winds the chains of the accusers around its own neck.
Refining its warfighting with the object of fighting a truly moral war leads to refined techniques that kill terrorists but still cause some collateral damage, and to soldiers that are more afraid of shooting than of being shot at. And all this painstaking effort goes for naught since it really makes very little difference to Israel’s enemies whether they have one photo of a dead Muslim civilian to brandish or a thousand. Either one makes for the same manner of indictment. In aiming to win the peace, Israel instead, like all modern states, loses the war.
The father of an Israeli soldier told his son after he was called up for duty that he would rather visit him in prison than visit him in the cemetery. “If you are fired on, fire back.” That is good advice not just for that young man, but for his entire country, and for the civilized world. It is better to fire than be fired upon. It is better to be thought a criminal, than mourned in Holocaust museums. It is better to leave the moral high ground to those who worship the romance of endless bloodshed and defeat. It is better to lose the peace and win the war.
“For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things?”, saith the LORD: “shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (Jeremiah 5:26-31)
Despite what the political parties would like you to believe, the problem in America is not the politicians, it is the pulpits. I hate to break the news to you, but most of America’s pulpits are filled with cowardly men. They are a shame to the Christ they claim to serve.
Harsh words, aren’t they? Not the type of thing that will make any friends in this “cheap-Grace” culture in which we live. But that’s okay. I’m not looking to make friends.
- The between “cheap grace” and the genuine grace of God; Salvation by Faith, by John Wesley
I am about fed-up with what I see. How did we ever get such man-pleasing leaders? All that our fore-fathers held dear is being destroyed before our very eyes and hardly a peep from the pulpit. They don’t want to hear it. It’s the pulpiteers that I am talking about. They are concerned with being too harsh, they tell me that “Jesus is in control,” that they are not “called” to fight evil and that “we should pray for our enemies.”
Where have these guys come from? What we need is a return of the Voice of God thundering through the prophets standing in America’s pulpits. Not the prissy Purpose Driven drivel passing as the Gospel today. The feminized-preachers of today cannot hold a candle to those who ushered in The Great Awakening which led to the American Revolution, and the abolition of slavery — two world-changing events spearheaded by the pulpit.
Listen to the message of America’s premiere preachers today. Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven Life have infiltrated the Church. Over 400,000 pastors have attended his conferences and over 40 million of his books have been sold. Wikipedia tells us:
“Since September 2002, over 30,000 congregations, corporations, and sports teams across the United States have participated in a “40 Days of Purpose” emphasis. A May 2005 survey of American pastors and ministers conducted by George Barna asked Christian leaders to identify what books were the most influential on their lives and ministries. The Purpose Driven Life was the most frequent response.”
Today’s Christians are more familiar with the words of Warren than the Words of Jesus. Thousands of America’s churches have used it in their Bible Studies and thousands of preachers preach Warren’s message. Joel Osteen was voted Most Influential Christian in 2006. His preaching style focuses on “the goodness of God rather than sin.” He is a self-described “Life-coach” and “thinks that there are probably others better qualified, or more gifted for explaining Bible verses. Osteen explains that he tries to teach Biblical principles in a simple way, emphasizing “the power of love and a positive attitude.” [Wikipedia]
Presently, Osteen and several Lakewood Church team members travel across the nation, presenting programs in large stadiums to a paying public. He has sold millions of books to millions of feel-good Christians.
- Ten Shekels and A Shirt
Blog moderator’s note: I have placed the interview in its entirety at the end of this post
IPS Note: In the video clip above Joel Osteen not only soft shoe’s around the Gospel (I haven’t counted the times he said “I don’t know” in a 70 second clip), but adds that he spent a lot of time in India with his father. And while he says he does not know much about their religion, he knows “they love god” and he has “seen their sincerity”. How very very tragic that this man who leads a mega church, and has authored umpteen ‘Christian’ books does not have the slightest idea what the Bible says about salvation, nor what it says about idol worship. Or perhaps he did not notice the idols in all the time he spent in India. (For the record.. reminders of these idols they are literally on every street corner, in most homes, and stores. It is impossible to get away from them. . And what do these idols represent? [See The Spirits Behind Pagan Gods and Goddesses]
While our nation is killing babies, our schools are indoctrinating Christian-kids in Secular Humanism, and “Truth has fallen in the streets,” [Isaiah 59:14] our preachers are attending church-growth seminars, using ‘self-help” books to supplement the Bible, and chasing after the butts and bucks. They are fiddling while the nation burns, building their church rather than Christ’s Kingdom.
Public schools are destroying the faith of Christian children and the pulpits are silent.
Legislation is introduced to remove the rights of parents and the pulpits are silent.
Children are taught they came from apes and the pulpits are silent.
Millions of children are “medicated” to control their behavior and the pulpits are silent.
Gambling is promoted to pay for schools and the pulpit is silent.
Precious babies are being murdered in the womb and the pulpits are silent.
Planned Parenthood kills babies with our tax dollars and the pulpits are silent.
Judges make laws silencing and punishing unpopular viewpoints and the pulpits are silent.
Tolerance trumps Truth and the pulpits are silent.
Sodomy is granted legal protection and the pulpits are silent.
The institution of marriage is crumbling and the pulpits are silent.
Barrack Obama says the Sermon on the Mount justifies gay marriage and the pulpits are silent.
Government has replaced God as defender and provider and the pulpits are silent.
Faith-based initiatives invite the government into the Church and the pulpits are silent.
The IRS muzzles the voice of the Church and the pulpits are silent.
Taxes are levied to do the work of the Church and the pulpits are silent.
The Church locks arms with compassionate-conservativism and the pulpits are silent.
Children’s service agencies separate family members because Christian principles are taught in the home and the pulpits are silent.
A Purpose Driven Life is elevated above the New Testament doctrines concerning the death of the self-life and the pulpits are silent.
Barrack Obama says Christians and Muslims worship the same God and the pulpits are silent.
The Constitution is ignored and the pulpits are silent.
Pagans pray to open a session of Congress and the pulpits are silent.
Our elected officials lie and steal and the pulpits are silent.
Private property is stolen by government and the pulpits are silent.
Mother Earth is protected more than Father God is defended and the pulpits are silent.
Illegal immigrants overrun our streets and corrupt our country and the pulpits are silent.
The entertainment industry celebrates debauchery and the pulpits are silent.
From a bygone era, the sound from the pulpit rumbles throughout the ages.
“Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you DAMNED?” – Leonard Ravenhill
“Churches don’t need new members half so much as they need the old bunch made over. There wouldn’t be so many non-church goers if there were not so many non-going churches. Too many churches are little more than four walls and a roof.” – Billy Sunday
The voice from the pulpit today sings a different song.
- The Spirit Of This Age
“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: but what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:31)
“None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.” (Isaiah 59:4)
Tragically, the pulpits are silent.
- America’s Spiritual Crisis
 What’s wrong with this picture? – (ReformationTheology.com, February 13, 2006).
Larry King interview with Joel Osteen (full-length version)