A Deadly Deception of America's "Christian Right"
Selling a "Cadillac with no engine" (18 Oct 98)
One of the readers of this web site emailed me the following question: "What does a person have to do to become a Christian?" It's an excellent question; one that is highly relevant to many of the most serious problems which mankind is faced with these days. To illustrate this point, let me first describe one of the FALSE answers to that question which is profitably being "sold" to many Americans these days.
For 45 minutes this afternoon (18 Oct 98) I watched one of America's "right wing" TV Evangelists (Dr. Charles Stanley in this case) pace back and forth in front of an American flag while explaining his views as to what it really means to be a "true Christian." As is often the case with these right-wing preachers, he never even mentioned God's commandment of love your neighbor as yourself. Instead, he talked about three "layers" of belief:
1) You have to have KOWLEDGE that Jesus is God (or the son of God).
2) You have to have CONVICTION that Jesus died for your sings.
3) You have to TRUST that you will be "saved" by believing in him.
Then in his explanation as to what it means to "believe in Jesus Christ", he taught that you must have a confident conviction that:
1) Jesus Christ is what the Bible says he is (the Son of God).
2) Jesus Christ will do what he says he will.
3) Upon placing your trust in him, you are entering into a personal relationship with him as the Son of God (i.e. have a personal relationship with Jesus as your "personal savior").
Suppose you wanted to buy a luxury automobile and some man offered you a "Cadillac" with no engine in it. And suppose that, like Dr Stanley, that man spent 45 minutes beautifully describing the features of that brand new Cadillac, the plush upholstery, and the elegant Cadillac emblem, the CD Player with 80-watt speakers, the electronic cruise control, its "NorthStar System", etc. And suppose that you agreed that the car really did have all of those features and you agreed with the numerous quotes he made from the Cadillac Owner's Manual about those features. Would you buy that car? Of course not, because in spite of all of those "elegant extra features", without an engine in it, it doesn't even fit the definition of an "automobile."
God's commandment to love your neighbor as yourself is the "engine" of true Christianity. As Jesus illustrated in Matthew 25:31-46, it is the ESSENTAIL criterion upon which we will ALL be judged. Jesus spent most of his ministry on earth teaching about the Kingdom of God (a.k.a. "the body of Christ") and encouraging others to become a part of it as well. The Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ is composed of those who define ungodly concepts rather than people as their "enemies" and who seek, follow, and TELL THE TRUTH relative to God's commandment to love their neighbors as themselves [without placing restrictions on their definition of neighbor].
Let's examine what it really means to love your neighbor as yourself in this regard. Would you be loving your neighbors as yourself if you expected them to be "perfect"? Of course not, because you know that it would be unrealistic to expect even yourself to be "perfect". Furthermore, the definition of what constitutes "perfect" is debatable, depending on what criterion one chooses to use. Jesus taught that we should use God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves as our fundamental criterion for perceiving the world.
Does that then mean that we should "give all of our money away to the poor?" Not really; you wouldn't expect your neighbors to do that either. Although God expects us to give some of our money and/or time to helping the poor, charity organizations, our local churches, etc., He mostly expects us to TELL THE TRUTH relative to God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves, because THAT is what will eventually bring an end to poverty--worldwide. As St. Paul said in Romans 8:28, "All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." We each have our individual callings and means for earning a living, but when opportunities arise where he can help solve problems that others are experiencing simply by telling the truth, God expects us to do so!
You may be saying to yourself, "Telling the truth is easy, so what's the big deal about that?" Remember Dr. Charles Stanley above pacing back in forth in front of an American flag while misleading his listeners regarding what it means to be a true Christian? He was in fact using God's name in vain by falsely implying that flag worshipping is compatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus would NEVER have taught his followers to worship flags (or the nation states that they represent), because that would violate the first two of the Ten Commandments as well as BOTH of God's two most fundamental commandments as summarized in Matthew 22:37-40. Many early Christians chose to die rather than to worship such things. Flag worshipping is a form of Satanism that has been used over the centuries to "morally justify" just about every sin you can possibly image! But have you ever seen ANY of our nation's TV Evangelists point that out? To the contrary, many of them (Pat Robertson and Van Impes for example) have been among our nation's leading "apostles" of flag worshipping [promoting loyalty to "national sovereignty" while claiming to represent God]. Those who claim to represent Jesus Christ while teaching the OPPOSITE of what Jesus would teach are in effect "antichrists", are they NOT?
Think about this. Can we REALLY put our faith in portrayals of "Christianity" whose leaders CLAIM to represent a "supernatural" God but who REFUSE to obey God's commandment to love their neighbors as themselves? Of course not. That's why were have ACTUALLY been putting our faith in H-Bombs and other Satanically inspired tools, in spite of Christ's warning that those who kill with the sword will perish by the sword.
You may now be asking yourself at this point, "What difference does it make? Why not simply "let them do their own thing." Why not? Because their LIES are killing people (literally) by the MILLIONS worldwide! Their "anti-new world order" efforts to financially cripple the United Nations and its peacekeeping abilities have contributed significantly to the creation of VERY DEADLY anarchies in Africa and elsewhere. Just last week, their "mouthpieces" in Congress once again refused to pay our nation's past dues to the United Nations even though the UN is facing possible bankruptcy. Furthermore, their promotion of "national sovereignty" as a "solution to problems" has helped to encourage new insurrections to erupt in Nigeria and Kosovo, and their role in helping to convince the Clinton Administration to vote against the establishment of an effective International Criminal Court has helped to guarantee that such problems will continue or even get worse. And it isn't just people overseas who are suffering as a result of their false teachings; this coming December many of our nation's poorest women and children will be "kicked off of welfare" (and will probably join the ever growing ranks of our nation's homeless people) as a result of their efforts.
How can they "morally justify" all the above while claiming to represent God? They simply repackage and "sell Christianity" as a "personal savior insurance policy for the soul" while using the "elegant extra features" of Christianity to divert attention AWAY from following God's commandment of love our neighbors as ourselves. Their "gospel" is essentially a gospel of selfishness, and as Jesus pointed out, we can "recognize them by their fruits."
So what does a person have to do to become a true Christian? Basically, you need to become part of the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ. The initial step is often referred to a being "baptized" or "born again." Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit (the Spirit you perceive when you seek the truth relative to God's commandment of love you neighbor as yourself). John the Baptist, Jesus' disciples, and most denominations of Christianity today have used baptisms with water to symbolize this event, but it's the baptism of the Holy Spirit that really counts. To do this, you re-orient your life to seeking, following, and telling the truth relative to God's commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. When you do this, you will recognize God's Spirit and experience it purging ungodly doctrines and values from your heart and mind without even having to try very hard. From then on, telling the truth from God's point of view will "come naturally" and all those "elegant extra features" of Christianity will be yours as well.
The "good news" about all this is that becoming a part of the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ is relatively easy, and it works! Throughout history, many highly revered Satanically inspired institutions such as slavery and imperialism have been brought down not so much as a result of war but primarily as a result of the efforts of people who followed God's commandment to love their neighbors as themselves. Slavery is still practiced in some parts of Africa (and is presently being protected by the national sovereignty system), but in time it will be abolished there as well, for the same reason. In this age, it is the worship of "national sovereignty" itself (a.k.a. "the abomination that causes desolation") that currently resides at the top of God's "hit list." If you are interested learning how God plans to get rid of that one, I highly recommend you read my interpretation of St. John's Book of Revelation in my article "What does the Second Coming of Christ REALLY mean?" on www.onesalt.com.
"one grain of salt"
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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002