In Ted Morgan’s book, Wilderness At Dawn, The Settling of the North American Continent, he places this picture from the Elizabeth Waldo-Dentzel Collection, by Joshua Shaw called, The Coming of the White Man.
“A ship appears on the horizon line, with the sun rising behind it, while in the foreground four Indians on a bluff are seen in various attitudes of terror. One is sitting bent over with his arms over his head, one is shielding his face with his arm, and one is carrying a hatchet as if already knowing he is going to have to defend himself against an invader. Below, on the shore, an Indian skiff has landed and one of the Indians is already out of it, running like hell. They know that nothing good is going to come of this.”
One hundred and fifty years before the settling of Jamestown Columbus sets out on his first voyage. There are another 169 years between Jamestown and the Declaration of Independence, and 239 years from the Declaration of Independence to the present. There is 523 years that separates us from the adventures of Columbus. Has anything changed? No, not really.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer. 17:9. It is truth that sets us free. Columbus had a wicked heart, and so does the writers of history books. It was a lie that initiated the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, and it is the lie that binds our hearts captive today; yet truth is the key that unlocks the door of the cell that holds us tight. All of our forefathers were men whose hearts were malignant and corrupt who we want to believe were honest and upright; and publishers feed this desire, because it is profitable. Wicked men, writing about evil men, for immoral purposes; this is the true history of the world and America. In hind-sight we now see that that little cloud on the horizon is a terrible storm, and it is headed our direction.
“Forewarned is forearmed.”
Looking from atop the twenty-first century we can see that there has been “nothing good” that has come from the lies generated by history book authors; they were all self-serving. Today after 523 years many people are becoming aware of the disgrace affected by Columbus and are demanding the removal of Columbus and his “Day” as a recognized memorial to this man and his “true” deeds. But who was Christopher Columbus and what were his deeds?
Columbus is given credit for the discovery of America, but is that true?
Although he won the support for his adventure from the Spanish King and Queen he was not Spanish, he was Italian from the city of Genova, and was rejected by Italy, Portugal, and England. The general story line is that Columbus was out to prove that the world was round and to find an alternate trade route to the West Indies, but inadvertently landed in America. This is not completely true because first of all it was practical knowledge at that time that the world was round: it looked round, it cast a round circle onto the moon, and ships gradually disappeared over the horizon; Columbus had no uncertainties on this subject. Secondly, as far as going to West Indies, that is speculation; there is no absolute certainty where he wanted to go. Some evidence indicates that he did want to find “new” lands to the west, because “India was known for its great wealth,” Las Casa points out, it was in Columbus’ interest, “to induce the monarchs, always doubtful about his enterprise, to believe him when he said he was setting out in search of a western route to India.”[i] Thirdly, after two months Columbus landed on a small island in the Bahamas that he named San Salvador. It is a known fact that Columbus was an excellent navigator and that he had purposely held back information concerning the length of the voyage and certain other navigational particulars that others later questioned.
It is a foregone conclusion that Columbus did not discover a new world but rather an old world that had already flowered and was in decline. Even the word “discovery” is incorrect in the sense that what he did was not a discovery but more like an incursion or annexation. Wherever Columbus landed the first thing he did was to declare the land a possession of the King and Queen, and the greatest pleasure he received was not a sense of new discovery but the, “gold they (the inhabitants) wear hanging from their noses.” Columbus would later write a letter to Lord Raphael Sanchez, treasurer of Aragon and one of his supporters, dated March 14, 1493, stating his initial impression of the people;
“As soon … as they see that they are safe and have laid aside all fear, they are very simple and honest and exceedingly liberal with all they have; none of them refusing anything he may possess when he is asked for it, but, on the contrary, inviting us to ask them. They exhibit great love toward all others in preference to themselves. They also give objects of great value for trifles, and content themselves with very little or nothing in return … I did not find, as some of us had expected, any cannibals among them, but, on the contrary, men of great deference and kindness….”
But, on a menacing note, Columbus writes in his log, “Should your Majesties command it, all the inhabitants could be taken away to Castile [Spain], or made slaves on the island. With 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
From there he sailed southwest to Cuba and eventually arrived at the eastern shores of South America, but Columbus did not discover North America nor did he ever set foot on it. What he found was a bunch of Caribbean islands and bits of shoreline in South America. It is obvious that the story has been dramatized for the sake of interest and salability, and anything disgusting removed or minimized.
Death as a Mindset
Now we move on to the attitude toward death, which plays an important part of the history of Columbus, but diminished or neglected by most school texts. The way the inhabitants were treated is the most appalling aspect of the whole discovery story, and again played down for the sake of our hero.
The reader must keep in mind at this point the mentality of the people during this time in history, they were accustomed to disease and death and the ever present struggle to survive. They were at the tail end of the “Dark Ages” (300 – 1500), a thousand years of ignorance instituted by the Catholic Church who acted as their feudal lord and ruler. The crusades, initiated by the “Church” to stop the advance of the marauding Muslims, which endured for over 4oo years beginning in 1054, reinforced the association between Catholicism, feudalism, and militarism, which ideas are directly counter to true Christian notions of peace, mercy, freedom, and forgiveness, instituted by Jesus Christ. In April 1487, Pope Innocent VIII called for a crusade even against the non-resistant and harmless Christian Waldensian People of Italy, the precursors of the looming Reformation, who were mercilessly slaughtered for reading the Bible and obeying it, which so irritated the pope.
Death and war were not as sanitary as they are today where large numbers of people are killed without ever seeing their faces. Death was up close and personal then, and the unrelenting carnage of hunting down and killing infidels and heretics of the “Church,” hardened the consciences of adventurous soldiers of fortune who understood nothing of mercy, love, and forgiveness, even though they were called “Christian.”
During this time men had a warped sense of destiny instilled by the Church. Their destiny was tied up with the fear of judgment, and that judgment rested with the pope and his executioners, and not God. Salvation came as a matter of degrees to be earned and those degrees were in direct proportion to obedience to the Vicar (in the place of) of Christ. So, in essence the crusader whose duty it was to destroy infidels and heretics could do no better than to destroy many infidels and heretics. It was a twisted mindset of the cosmic struggle between good and evil, and everything outside the Catholic Church was evil. Of course these all professed to love the ones they killed, in accordance with the teachings of Augustine and Aquinas, otherwise they too would be judged. “Death, so omnipresent in the past that it was familiar, would be effaced, would disappear. It would become shameful and forbidden,”[ii] in our own day. What we are witnessing today, with the senseless murders of innocent people by terrorist, is no different than what Catholics were doing then, only in the name of a different god. It wasn’t enough to simply kill a person, suffering was equally important, because they needed to be converted to the “Church” and suffering would elicit the necessary response; it was Christian terrorism, instilling a “fear” which Christ had come to remove.
War has consequences, not least of which is debt and loss of manpower. Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, having married, joined their military forces to ward off the incursions of the Mohammedans. To restock their coffers after driving out the Moslems, the bold proposal of Columbus sounded better than the same offer would have sounded just a few years before; now resources were needed and the answer appeared to lay in the Eastern nations written about by Marco Polo. The slave trade was an up and coming enterprise also, which could not be overlooked as a side benefit of a Columbus venture.
Christopher Columbus familiarized the modern world with two events: the plundering of land, wealth, and labor from the indigenous peoples, which led to their extermination, and the growing slave trade which reinforced a division of race in European minds of the White Man, as different from the rest of humanity.
At San Salvador, Columbus’ first “discovery,” he took up to twenty-five of the indigenous people prisoner and held them in cages to be taken back to Spain, of which only seven survived. Columbus called these people Los Indios and labeled them uncivilized and deficient. Therefore, in his mind it was alright to exploit them, imprison them, and take them back to Spain as slaves. The abortion industry has done the same thing in the minds of people today with the misrepresentation of the human fetus as something “sub-human.”
Continuing southwest the flagship Santa Maria run aground on Hispaniola (modern day Haiti and Dominican Republic) presenting a problem, but also finding what he was looking for, gold. With the loss of the main ship only the two smaller boats were able to make the return trip to Spain, so thirty men volunteered to remain behind. Columbus had made no secret of his desire for gold, and the volunteers may have concluded that to remain would allow them to build their own fortunes in advance of the others. The initial friendly reception of the Indians had changed by the time Columbus returned and he found that all thirty men were dead. They had been overcome by the larger number of Indians who had grown unreceptive to the men’s lust, greed, and forceful tactics, so they killed them. An engraving by Theodorus de Bry (1528 – 27 March 1598) depicts the Islanders pouring gold into the mouths of the men who remained behind. It also shows the cannibalism that Columbus states that he never witnessed. So, both the pouring of gold and the cannibalism are conjecture, but it is known for sure that the men were gone when he returned.
Columbus’ next visit lasted two and one half years. Sailing on north, seventy-five miles past San Salvador, he founded the town of La Isabela; here Columbus switched roles from successful navigator to dictatorial island governor. Bringing the Indians into slavery he began demanding a steady tribute of gold and instituted a system of forced labor to grow crops and to mine more gold. To instill fear and nonviolent behavior from his subjects he took five hundred natives prisoner, sending them to Spain to be sold as slaves. Indians who began to commit faults were made examples to the others by cutting off their ears and noses then sent back to their villages. During this period the population dwindled and other islands were raided and slaves brought back to make up the shortage of manpower. After a while the villagers began to fight back, but to no avail. Abandoning their homes they fled to the mountains to escape. With this rebellion Columbus had an excuse for open war. On March 24, 1495 Columbus set out to conquer the Arawak people of the island. Bartolome de Las Casa described the force Columbus assembled to put down the rebellion. “Since the Admiral perceived that daily the people of the land were taking up arms, ridiculous weapons in reality . . . he hastened to proceed to the country and dispose and subdue, by force of arms, the people of the entire island . . . For this he chose 200 foot soldiers and 20 cavalry, with many crossbows and small canon, lances, and swords, and a still more terrible weapon against the Indians, in addition to the horses: this was 20 hunting dogs, who were turned loose and immediately tore the Indians apart.”[iii] “The soldiers mowed down dozens with point-blank volleys, loosed the dogs to rip open limbs and bellies, chased fleeing Indians into the bush to skewer them on sword and pike, and ‘with God’s aid soon gained a complete victory, killing many Indians and capturing others who were also killed.’”[iv]
The killing never let up, now all remaining were rounded-up and sent to Spain as slaves, many dying en-route or killed for sport and used as dog food. Columbus viewed the death rate optimistically: “Although they die now, they will not always die. The Negros and Canary Islanders died at first.”[v] Within fifty years Hispaniola of Columbus’ first voyage, the once friendly and generous people had been totally exterminated.
Some will reject the word “slavery” used above because it was not used at the time, but rather a system called “encomienda.” In the encomienda, the Spanish crown granted a person a specified number of natives of a specific community, with the indigenous leaders in charge of mobilizing the assessed tribute and labor. In turn, encomenderos were to take responsibility for instruction in the Christian faith, protection from warring tribes and pirates, instruction in the Spanish language and development and maintenance of infrastructure. Encomienda sounds so humane, but was just another word for slavery. “As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured (under encomienda), the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth . . . Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery.”[vi]
All of these gruesome facts, and more, are available in primary source material – letter by Columbus and by other members of his expeditions – and in the work of Las Casas, the first historian of the Americas.
Christopher Columbus was no hero, yet the public schools, and homeschool associations propagate his myth. There can be no reason outside the idea that someone feels it is improper or counter-productive for American children to know the truth about their history. These people who think this, are the enemy of truth, and may feel as Columbus felt toward the “Savages,” that they simply are not worthy of anything else; that people need only know what the elite, powerful, or intellectuals consider worthy.
The Discovery of Columbus has been fascinating for me; I hope it is for you also. These studies are not meant to be detailed and all inclusive, but only to highlight some areas which are presently missing in education; and, hopefully to encourage investigation and some oversight of what is being passed off as the truth of American history.
Next we will go to the Pilgrims and the Puritans; stay tuned.
[i] Las Casa, History of the Indies, 21.
[ii] Philippe-Aries, Western Attitudes Toward Death, 85.
[iii] Quoted in Michael Paiewonsky, The Conquest of Eden, 1493-1515.
[iv] Kirkpatrick Sale, The Conquest of Paradise, 153-54.
[v] 1496 letter, quoted in Eric Williams, Documents of West Indian History (Port of Spain, Trinidad: PNM, 1963), 1:57.
[vi] De Cordoba letter in Williams, Documents of West Indian History, 1:94.
Are people who talk and write about history necessarily history scholars? No! Just because a person is new to the investigation of American history doesn’t mean that they cannot share what they have discovered. What they don’t know about American history does not negate or discredit what they do know. If I discover a buried treasure of valuable coins, the coins would not be less valuable because I am not a professional treasure hunter. Most people are reluctant to share valuable information because they feel they will be discredited due to their lack of vast subject knowledge. Most likely they are wrong, if what they have discovered has credit in its own right and is truly valuable.
I do not hesitate to share what I have discovered although I am a “learner” and not a teacher. My Christian education has helped a lot in this respect. At first, many years ago now, I was always surprised to find that many false accounts existed in every part of life: Bible commentaries, newspaper articles, the six-o’clock news with Brian Williams, the lives of famous and respected religious leaders: Ted Haggard, Jim Baker, Jimmy Swagger, Yogi Amrit Desai, a.k.a. Gurudev, and a long list of Catholic Priest. There is no area that is untouched by deception, delusion, and outright fraud. What I learned, and learned well, is that everything must be questioned. Many times what is not being said is more important than what is said. The reader of history books and the listeners of sermons should always ask questions, “Why are these ideas being mentioned?” or “What other information is relevant about this person, event, or subject?” or “Why is this important?” We should not be surprised that so much is omitted from history books. What should surprise us is that so few people question the books, or even care. As a Christian I learned that it is a fact that evil persist in this world, and that there is a presence in every individual that has an affinity for evil. This evil is generally expressed as lies and embellishments, because this Evil has a name and he is the Father of all lies, Satan, The Great Deceiver. So, when I find these lies in Public School history books, I am not surprised, it is expected, even in their counterpart, Christian homeschool history books.
American history is one of those things where there is a multitude of buried treasure which has been covered over by the misinformation and outright lies of textbook publishers and their authors. For example, one hunter of buried historical treasure revealed this little gem about Helen Keller. Nearly everyone knows the story of her early life and circumstance. She is taught as an ideal, and not as real person, but as an inspiration to the young, to overcome every obstacle; and that is true, she did overcome great odds, but there is more to her story, or as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now for the rest of the story.” In the second volume of her 1929 autobiography, Midstream, at an age approaching fifty she stressed that she did not want to be frozen in childhood. She said that the meaning of her life lay in what she did after she had overcome her difficulties. In that book she stressed her social philosophy, which she wanted everyone to know about. While she was a very hard working individual herself, she rejected the hard labor of the union mill towns, mining towns, and packing towns she visited. In her own words:
“I had once believed that we were all masters of our fate – that we could mould our lives into any form we pleased. . . . I had overcome deafness and blindness sufficiently to be happy, and I supposed that anyone could come out victorious if he threw himself valiantly into life’s struggle. But as I went more and more about the country I learned that I had spoken with assurance on a subject I knew little about. I forgot that I owed my success partly to the advantages of my birth and environment. . . . Now, however, I learned that the power to rise in the world is not within the reach of everyone.[i]
These are terrible and honest words that the textbooks leave out (at least the ones I own). The idea of equal opportunity does not show up in these words of Helen Keller although they inform us as to who this person was and what shaped her social outlook. The idea that there may be no “power to rise in the world,” is forbidden text and territory in the Land of Promise where weakness is forbidden. But, there is more, Helen Keller was controversial in another way. She was a – Socialist – at the same time that she was one of the most renowned women on the planet, and Socialism was dishonorable and shameful, especially so during the Woodrow Wilson era (there’s another subject for questioning). Enthroned as the queen of overcoming all obstacles, enshrined for all the little children to see, and then, she is forgotten, disappearing from the stage, Why? She had no doubt fallen prey to her handlers and her limitations had skewed her senses, were the reasons given for her fall from grace; but Helen, in her bold manner, accused her accusers of being socially blind and deaf, “defending an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much physical blindness and deafness” that she was trying to prevent.[ii]
Men, like nature, generally take the path of least resistance, so when conflicts arise we look for the easy path, and Helen Keller as a card carrying Socialist does not go down well with those who are accustomed to a bland Nationalistic diet. But, this is what Helen Keller wanted to be remembered for. I am not saying I agree with her, I am only saying it is the truth, and that it is hidden from our children by those who want to program our national conscience. History is contingent on what went before us and our children should know those contingencies. The Disneyland approach to American history should be left in fantasyland and not in the schoolhouse. What will hurt us more, the truth or the lie?
Helen Keller has given us a great gift, even if she was a Socialist, which should constantly remind us of the wonder of the world around us and how much we owe to those who have taught us what it means, but she was a Socialist, who sang the praises of the new communist nation that sprang up after the Russian Revolution:
“In the East a new star is risen! With pain and anguish the old order has given birth to the new, and behold in the East a man-child is born! Onward, comrades, all together! Onward to the campfires of Russia! Onward to the coming dawn!”[iii]
Is this the Helen Keller we learned about in grade school? No! She has been sanitized for the young and the simple; she has been cleansed of all negativity against the positive message of perseverance against all odds. You don’t have to agree with Helen Keller, but you do have to know the truth.
The story of Helen Keller is just one example of the details that we have missed in our American education system. Is it important? Only if truth is important. Is it harmful? It’s red pill versus blue pill for those who have seen The Matrix. Difficult reality or a beautiful fiction: Which do you choose to live in? Most people shudder at the idea of living a lie, even if it is a pleasant one. Yes, the truth may sometimes hurt or confuse, but rarely do we learn something that we eventually wish we could unlearn. It is really those who control the matrix, the social scientist, who want us to remain in the dark. I don’t want to promote conspiracy theories, but there does appear to be good reason to believe that social propaganda is not something that is just being used to twist the minds of our enemies. Any good social engineer or marketing guru knows about Hegelian Dialectics to manage and motivate people to achieve certain goals, and history is only one part of that formula.
I said that we would start with the founders, I was mistaken. We will investigate the founders on our next installment.
[i] Helen Keller, Midstream: My later Life (New York: Greenwood, 1968 ), 156.
[ii] Forner, ed., Hellen Keller: Her Socialist Years, 26.
[iii] Hellen Keller, “Onward, Comrades,” address at the Rand School of Social Science New Year’s Eve Celebration, New York, December 31, 1920.
American history books are full of facts that should both thrill and sadden the hearts of anyone who hungers for truth. Unfortunately the history books used by the public school system and also the majority of homeschool associations do not include facts based on truth. Most of these books paint simplistic pictures of brave heroic figures that provide feel-good history that are not truthful, and honestly, quite boring.
When it comes to Christian homeschooling truth should be paramount in the selection of what our children are learning, but it isn’t. What our children learn about their nation and its founding is only the regurgitated myths passed down over many years to propagate an embellished and overstated storyline. All the stories we read in the textbooks are anticipated; every difficulty has already been resolved or is about to be resolved. They avoid controversy and conflicts of interest which real history is full of. They leave out anything that might reflect poorly on national conscience and character. Any drama that is added ends in exaggeration, because we know that everything always turns out for the good of America. Despite setbacks the United States is depicted as overcoming all challenges; this is the American mindset fostered and fed by what is falsely called American history. If the words of Jesus have any bearing on American history, regarding knowing the truth, then we are doomed to be prisoners: John 8:31-33
“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free ‘?”
James Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an African American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic who made a very informed statement concerning American history.
“American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.”
What James meant, is the reason for this article. The present, not being a source of information for the writers of history books, is the consequence of having to repeat the past. You see, we don’t learn from history because we are never taught true history. Blacks and Indians don’t like American history because they know it is a lie to prop-up an idol, to which every American child is force to bow. World history is primarily a history of shame that every culture goes to great lengths to re-tell, and America is no different. Christian American history books repeat the same myths and instill the same false patriotic blend of hero-worship and national pride as do all the others, only they prefix theirs as the truth, by emphasizing a providential source and outcome. Until Christians are enabled to demand truth they will not understand what James meant or how to live really free lives. Likewise, Christians don’t understand why Indians scorn the celebration of Columbus, when they have been spoon fed the myths of his great [sic] adventures. The perceived need to promote Nationalism is one of the main reasons our children do not get taught true history. The desire to encourage honest inquiry is downplayed by the “duty” to indoctrinate patriotism. Consequently most of what needs to be known about American history is tossed out by the teachers and the text books, and the old saying lives on: “Those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.”
There have been valiant attempts at correcting the problem by outsiders criticizing high school history books, like Frances FitzGerald’s America Revised: History School-Books in the Twentieth Century, A book about the way the American History non-college textbooks have changed since the late 1800s. In 1979, when her book was a best seller, she made the prediction that, “Text publishers may now be on the verge of rewriting history.” Her prediction did not materialize, even amongst Christians, who should have welcomed it. She recognized the problem and attempted to address it without putting on the required blinders to truth, or allegiances to banners, as do the popular publishers, so the darkness prevails.
The major problem with text book producers is that they are largely clones of former works. Anyone who would query the primary sources – deeds, diaries, directories, speeches, songs, photographs, articles, letters – of which there is a mountain of material, would conclude, as I do, that a great fraud has been forced upon our youth, and their teachers have become complicit, albeit through ignorance.
A secondary problem is “tradition.” Tradition has not only become a problem with our Christian heritage e.g. the Catholic Church’s placement of their tradition above the Word of God, but also with our National heritage; research and truth become subordinate factors to the cherished American myth. Recent research and exposes, by those who choose to color outside the lines of the status-quo, are mostly dismissed as too radical or heretical.
For the Christian teacher or parent – truth – should be the driving force, because it is truth that “sets us free.” Complacency is the enemy of truth, whether it is in our study of Scripture and its history, or in our study of the history of the world and the nation of our pilgrimage. Homeschool teachers believe that simply because they are in a “Christian” environment that this somehow inoculates their students to the world, when in actuality the world has crept into their homes and associations like yeast infiltrating and corrupting dough. Christianity and American history have both suffered along the same lines of complacency, and the consequences are the same: ignorance and stupidity, and neither are acceptable qualities.
The myth is so engrained that to teach the truth will no doubt place the teacher at odds with the majority of Americans who not only love their National lies but will die to preserve them. This is scary indeed considering the Apostle Paul’s message to Timothy that those who live righteously, justly, and truthfully, will suffer persecution. Consequently, the price for truth may be too high for most to pay, so the myth is elevated to the position of truth, and none object.
The first Christians were defenders of the truth, not myth and fantasy. They spoke and wrote on the basis of solid evidence. Peter wrote:
“We didn’t follow any clever myths when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and His coming. No. With our own eyes we saw His majesty. God the Father gave Him honor and glory when from His wonderful glory He said to Him: “This is My son whom I love and with whom I am delighted.” We heard that voice speak to Him from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”
“And we have a more sure word of prophecy. Please look to it as a light shining in a gloomy place till the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Understand this first, that no one can explain any written Word of God as he likes, because it never was the will of a human being that brought us God’s Word, but the Holy Spirit moved holy men to say what God told them.”
Is it only concerning the Bible that Christians are supposed to demand truthfulness, or is it in every aspect of life? I believe that Christians feel some vested interest in propping-up the National myths. Even though the New Testament declares that Believers are strangers in this world with their citizenship in another country, they feel an attachment to their world and nation and an allegiance that is not Biblical. Many of them know what the Bible says in this respect and they are quite sure that it doesn’t mean that they can’t participate in this world as if it was their home. By wearing the blinders concerning American history they have blinded themselves from Biblical truth as well.
There is a movement abreast to throw off the chains that bind people to historical falsehood, but I am sure that it will not succeed in this age of darkness, because the ruler of this world is the Father of lies and his world is the world of darkness and deception. Any attempt to bring truth and light into this world will be met with persecution; that is the law of darkness. But, nonetheless, Christians are commanded to be a light in this world and to expose lies wherever they appear, whether in the Bible or in our history; a lie is a lie and it cannot tolerate the light of truth.
In the next series of articles I am going to light-up a few myths that are national favorites of all Americans, including Christians, starting with the discovery of the Americas. I can guarantee you it will not be the boring stuff you received in American History class.
Christ’s example to us is richly illustrated, demonstrated, and exemplified by way of His many teachings and in His genius and spirit. He could have easily commanded armies and defeated every corrupt ruler and coercive power on earth, if it pleased Him. But He did not avail himself of such power. Christ yielded Himself, as a submissive and harmless lamb. But, it may be said, and said correctly, that Christ occupied a very peculiar position; that no human being ever was, or ever could be in His position and situation. Jesus was giving Himself in exchange and as a ransom, for all mankind. But, while this is absolutely true, we are likewise told by one of His apostles that, by the very act of His suffering and sacrifice for the human race, He left us a model and example to follow and a path in which to walk. Therefore, all confusion of how we should respond is taken away by that single expression of His life.
So, where does popular “Christianity” get this idea that they can act contrary to Christ and still claim to be His followers? Where do they get all their fearless and bold machismo, from the Spirit? Let the world broadcast some drama being played out on its stage and every Christian begins to act as if they are of the world. Today every Christian is told to be ready to kill, but they will not find in the life of Christ where that approval is given. Christ the Lamb of God and His children doves; these two things are diametrically opposed to the modern sermons spewing forth from faithless pastors and their unbelieving disciples. Where are Christ’s witnesses who will stand in the gap and proclaim TRUTH in the face of violence and persecution?
Isaiah has well said,
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
Christians wake-up! We are in the midst of the test of a lifetime and we are failing miserably.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
“See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.”
From these verses the conclusion can be drawn that there are those who believing they have light are really in deep darkness. How great is that darkness when men are self-assured, who read their Bibles then do as they please, when pastors heap praise on those who kill and their sheep follow suit, when Christ loving men stockpile the weapons of war and fear for their lives. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual. Our warfare is not of this world!
Christ is our example; follow Him, not the world.
1 Timothy 4:1
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
Christians today look at the practice of Christians in times past as proof that war and vengeance is compatible with the Spirit of Christ. Even one of the immediate followers of our Savior, whose eyes had rested upon His harmless face, whose ears had received the flood of His pleasant voice, requested permission to call down fire and death to destroy his Master’s enemies. “He knew not,” said Jesus, “what spirit he was of.” The current practice of professing Christians today cannot be relied upon as a proof of what is right and honorable. By their example ignorant followers of men would pull the white robe of righteousness over all the errors, crimes, and corruptions of a now crippled Christendom. The standard of the Cross has hung heavily, blood-soaked, over pillage, plunder, and violence, in every corner of the world, making the name of Jesus a by-word and a reproach to the unbeliever and heathen. Please, my “Christian” friends do not broadcast the glory of your cruel allegiance as a defense of your passion for patriotism and war, it does not resonate with love and truth; it does not represent Christ
“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his fellowman is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us (His enemies). And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:14-16
The behavior and character upon which Christ pronounced His sincere blessings, i.e. The Beatitudes, in Matthew 5, are exceedingly remarkable. They are these:
1. Poor in spirit,
2. Sorrow and mourning,
3. Humility or meekness,
4. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness,
6. Pureness of heart,
7. Peacemaking, and
8. Persecution for righteousness sake.
Now, let the Christian try whether he can suggest eight qualities that stand in a more obvious contrast with anger, war, vengeance, hate, self-protection, law enforcement, or military action than those mentioned above. It is clear that Christ was here differentiating His followers from the world.
Christ has shown the qualities and characteristics of the person who would follow Him, and He lived that life as our example. Somehow all of these eight things are in striking contrast to the Christian who demands his rights to “peace” through police, armies, guns, and self-defense, instead of trust in the Prince of Peace.
Christians have misunderstood Christ and what it means to be a follower of the meek and lowly Savior. I have yet to meet anyone who can defend a contrary position without repeatedly going back to the Old Testament. The abundance of New Testament Scriptures declaring a new and different kind of life for believers, living under a new Kingdom code of conduct are plain and simple, but also ignored in favor of the flesh. There isn’t one in a hundred Christians who will even investigate the matter; the flesh will trump the truth almost always, and not even miss a heartbeat or feel his conscience stricken.
There are so many lies floating around today, and with patriotism at a fever pitch, none will give up his supposed right to protection of life and limb; yet Jesus says follow me, and follows up these characteristics with six commands that override the Old Testament:
1. Do not be angry,
2. Do not lust in your heart,
3. Do not divorce,
4. Do not swear,
5. Do not resist an evil person, and
6. Love your enemies
Where in all of this are we given permission to provide for our own personal safety? the Christian must deny Christ to carry a weapon, to join a police force, or to be a soldier. A Christian who does these things can be said to follow Christ in word, but not in deed. No permission is given!
Christianity is represented as something that is difficult, that takes all of our effort and concentration, and that only a few will succeed amongst the many who try. The Bible says that we are to “Strive to enter in,” and that “Many will seek to enter in, but will not be able.” The reason for so many failures will be to the weakness of the flesh to grasp the utter dissimilarity between the world’s ways and the ways of God’s Kingdom. Kingdom life is totally contrary to everything we have seen with our eyes, felt in our bones, reasoned with our brain, or been taught by the Church. We pray with our mouth, “On earth as it is in Heaven,” then live a life that is contrary to the words we speak and the things we say we believe. We swear oaths to kill if commanded; we sit in judgment of our brothers, and condemn, when called to jury duty; we pledge allegiance to a flag and a kingdom other than God’s kingdom, after being told that we cannot serve two kings; we enter into the politics of this world as if we were not a citizen of another country and attempt to do for that government what God alone can do. When our heart is in the world and the doings of that world, then we can surely expect to fail at following the Lord; He, Himself said it cannot be done, yet many seek to do it, but they do not strive to enter in.
And, all of this is not even to mention “shedding all the (other) weights that so easily beset us.” The Church today is rightly called a seeker Church; too bad it is not called a striving Church. The striving Church is that Church of which Christ was happy, and blessed with those wonderful words in Matthew.
In sincerest honesty, where is that Church?
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7
Understanding what Christ meant when he uttered these words,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also”
was the key that unlocked the chain that bound my heart and mind. I had been programed from my earliest life to be reasonable and it became normal to consider that it was good and even righteous, to resist evil by whatever force necessary. An “eye for an eye” seemed fair and just, and to establish criminal courts, police forces, and armies to defend one’s self from enemies made sense; but the un-molested words of Christ say, do not use violence, do not take part in violence, do no harm to anyone, not even to those who you call “enemies.” What had I discovered? What could these words mean?
Christ is speaking of two things here. First, He takes the position of what is to be expected when a person obeys this command of not resisting an evil person. The direct result will be personal abuse. Secondly, He challenges the establishment under which mankind lived during His time, under the Mosaic Law, and under the Roman law. But, also, He is contradicting the various legal codes under which we all live today; he sets up the principle of non-resistance to the evil man, which principle, according to his teaching, should be the basis of the Christian man’s social and spiritual life, which was the basis before the fall of Adam. What He means is; men believe that their laws will cure evil in society — but, they don’t realize that they only increase evil. There is only one way to defeat evil — by returning “good” for evil to all men without prejudice. For thousands of years men have tried the “eye for an eye” principle and have proved that it doesn’t work; evil only increases in proportion to the population. An eye for an eye legal system is only the law for men who live in darkness by an establishment governed by darkness.
Typically there are two kinds of people who will never, even as a principle, agree with the simple understanding of this command, but habitually defend the justice of resisting an evil-person. First there are the Christian Patriots, who consider their Church and their flag to be the only true one, and then there are the promoters of revolution who may also be patriots. Neither of these will abandon their Constitutional Right to resist by force what they consider to be evil; and neither wants to recognize the obvious fact that evil is defined differently by different groups, and will therefore in their turn resist with violence what they consider evil. Both of these groups will demand violence against evil while both may likewise rely on the teaching of Christ and fly a Christian banner.
The majority of Christians understand Christ’s teaching in various ways, due to the common patriotic undercurrent that flows through the Church, but rarely are His words taken in the direct, simple meaning which they are given in the text. Because of our having accepted these un-Biblical interpretations we have arranged our whole life on the very foundation Christ denies in His Sermon. We carnal Christians really have no intention or desire to understand His teaching in its unpretentious sense, so we comfort ourselves either that we have understood His teaching correctly or that this teaching is incompatible to nature and our life, and impossible to adhere to.
With these presuppositions in our head we preach the Gospel that Christ is God, the Second Person of the Trinity, who descended to earth to show us how to live, and then organize elaborate rituals necessary for the administration of the sacraments, for building and planting churches, for sending out missionaries, for ordaining pastors and priest, for the teaching of our flocks, for the writing of statements of faith; but one little thing we have overlooked — namely, to do what he told us to do. The world has arranged its life in all sorts of ways, having methodically forbidden any notion of turning the other cheek. No one, Christian or otherwise, even tries doing what Christ commands; they have all concluded beforehand that these words are impossible to obey in today’s modern society.
The bottom line is clear, the law of overcoming evil with evil, which we have made the foundation of our lives and Nation, is false and unnatural; and Christ gives the true basis, the basis of His Kingdom come to earth, —non-resistance— which, He says, the Christian is obliged to obey. We think our laws of violence will correct evil; they only increase it. Evil is the way of the world, it is natural to the world and to its Prince, the Devil. If evil could overcome evil then it would have done so thousands of years ago, but instead it only gets worse. Christ now commands Christians to do as He does; overcome evil with good. He not only said this but his whole life, and his death, exemplified to His followers the teaching of non-resistance to the evil man.
So, why all the disobedience to His commands?
Believers hear all these things, they read it in their Bibles, they say the words are inspired and divine, and that Jesus was God, but then they conclude that It is all very spiritual but impossible to keep in our advanced civilization, it would upset the organization of our existence which we have become accustomed to and which we like. Therefore, everything is reduced to an ideal, which Christians must seek for and pray for, but an ideal only attainable on the other side of the resurrection. Others, who watch the Church and read Church history, having adopted the visible Church’s model, that Christ’s teaching has little practical use regarding the true nature of the world, determine that Christ’s teaching was only meant to be preached to the inhabitants of ancient Galilee, but not to their advanced culture, to which it is just a sweet dream. Had Christ appeared today and stood on the same level with their learned scholars, they say, he would not have mentioned those things about the birds of the air, about turning the other cheek, or about not being troubled about tomorrow. These scholars have judged Christianity by the Christianity they see being modeled by the Church in our society. The Christianity of today regards the organizations, prisons, courts, businesses, armies, and police forces as conformable to Christ and then from the teaching of Christ it selectively obeys only that part that does not intrude on their particular life in any of these areas. But since Christ’s teaching is the denial of all that life, nothing is accepted of that teaching except mere words. The learned scholars see this, and, as they are under no compulsion to hide it as it is hidden by the Church, Christ’s teaching being gutted of all substance is subjected to profound criticism and very rightly rejected. Their conclusion is clear that there never was anything In Christianity except dreamy ideals.
It would seem as though before one criticizes Christianity one should understand what Christ’s teaching consists of, and to decide whether his teaching is reasonable or not one should first of all admit that he said what he said, without commentary; but that is just what is not done either by the Church or by the critics. And we know very well why they do not do it.
We know very well that Christ’s teaching includes the denial of all those human illusions, such as State, culture, science, art, and civilization, and those things that make them work, such as the military, police, courts of law, that we think we can separate from the ranks of delusions. But it is just against these things that Christ speaks against Christian involvement, without excluding any.
The least that a Christian can demand of another Christian, who judges any doctrine, is that they should judge it in the sense in which the teacher himself understood it. And he understood his teaching not as a distant ideal for humanity, obedience to which is impossible, nor as a mystical poetic fantasy wherewith he captivated the simple-minded inhabitants of Galilee. He understood his teaching as a real thing, and a thing which would save mankind. And he did not just imagine Himself on the cross but He actually died for his teaching, and many others died and will yet die. Of His teaching no one can say that it is a dream!
The truth is a dream to those in the Matrix of this lost world, and there are many people who say that this teaching is idealistic because it is not natural to man’s situation. It is not natural to turn the other cheek when the other is struck; it is not natural to be made to give what is one’s own to someone else; it is unnatural to be made to work for others instead of for oneself. It is natural to man, they say, to defend his safety and the safety of his family and his property, i.e. it is natural for man to struggle for his own existence and his own good. The man-on-the-street will say that man’s most sacred duty is to defend his rights and to kill if necessary to protect those “rights.”
Christians say that Christ’s teaching is not in harmony with man’s nature to protect his rights by force. But, will anyone deny that murder or torture is wrong, not to mention a man, but to torture a dog or kill a goat or calf is contrary and distressing to man’s nature? (I know men who cannot live with themselves because of having to kill during war; and people who would be vegetarians if they had to kill their own meat.) Yet we govern our entire lives in such a way that will guarantee our own personal advantage, which is obtained at the cost of inflicting suffering on others, which is contrary to our true human nature. Our life is organized to conform to, and be enforced by, the mechanisms of our institutions, which will inflict violence to satisfy our will, and stands as a witness to the extent to which violence is contrary to human nature. Not a single judge would decide to inject with poison the man he condemns to death. None of our generals or soldiers, were it not for forced discipline, mandatory oaths of allegiance, and declarations of war, would even decide on their own to hurt a single man. All this is apparently done thanks to a very complex state and social machinery, the purpose of which is to distribute the responsibility for the evil deeds that are done that no one would feel the unnaturalness of those deeds. Some men write the laws; others apply them; a third set drill men and acclimate them to discipline, i.e. to senseless and immediate obedience; a fourth set — the people who are disciplined — commit all sorts of deeds of violence, even killing people, without knowing why or what for. But a man need only, even for a moment, free himself mentally from this web of worldly organization in which he is involved to understand what is really unnatural to him.
As soon as we Christians stop accepting the customary evil that we employ as an immutable divine truth, it will become obvious which of the two is in accord with man’s true nature, violence, or the law of Christ. Do we Christians dare admit that our peacefulness and safety, and that of our families, and all our pleasures, are purchased by the destitution, imprisonment, corruption, and misery of others; soldiers and policemen, who, armed with guns, gas, and tasers, against hungry and homeless people, and those who are destitute of the ability to avoid evil, safeguard my amusements and capacity to purchase every scrap of food I put into my mouth or into the mouths of my children? Or, will we Christians even want to know that my food, safety, and enjoyment are only mine when no one else is in need of them and when no one has to suffer or be resisted on account of them?
One need only understand the law of Christ in its full meaning, with all its consequences, in order to appreciate that Christ’s teaching is not contrary to man’s true nature, but only to his environment, that His principles really consists in rejecting what is contrary to man’s nature, namely, the visionary human doctrine of resisting evil with evil, which really makes life unhappy and which are only vain imaginations.
Men need only to understand Christ’s teaching correctly to understand that the world is a dream, and a nightmare, a very wild and terrible dream, the delirium of a lunatic from which you need only awaken into Christ in order never to return to that terrible hallucination.
God came to earth; the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, became flesh, and redeemed Adam from sin and bondage; this God, we were taught to think, must have said something secret, mystical, difficult to understand, and only to be understood by an elect few; and suddenly it appears that the word of God is so simple, so clear, so reasonable. God says to Christians, do not do evil to each other, and there will be no evil, but if you should find yourself confronted with evil then overcome it with good, even if it cost you your life. Is it possible that God’s revelation is so simple? Can it be that God really said that? It seems to me that we all already knew that; it is so simple!
Elijah was a prophet, fleeing from men, and the woman Jezebel, who hid in a cave, and it was revealed to him that God would appear at the entrance of the cave. A tempest arose that destroyed the trees. Elijah thought this was God, and looked; but God was not there. Then came thunder; the thunder and lightning were terrible. Elijah went out to look for God there; but God was not there either. Then there came an earthquake; fire shot from the earth, the rocks were rent, and the mountains quaked. Elijah thought surely God would be there, but still God was nowhere to be found. Then a light, quiet breeze floated along the ground, bringing the refreshing fragrance of the fields. Elijah looked, and God was there! Such are these simple words of God, “Resist not an evil person,” and with them come peace and refreshing.
They are very simple words, but in them is expressed the Royal Law of God, “Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself.” This law is to such an extent eternal that if there is any movement towards salvation for lost souls, it is thanks only to those men who have so understood Christ’s teaching and have endured evil and not resisted it with violence, who have stood as a witness to the power of God and of love. Progress towards the welfare of mankind is made not by the persecutors but by the persecuted. As fire does not extinguish fire, so evil cannot extinguish evil. Only goodness, meeting evil and not infected by its disease, conquers evil. Every deliberate step forward will be made solely in accordance with the path of love and non-resistance to the evil person. If the advance of Christ is slow or hindered, this is thanks to the fact that the clearness, simplicity, reasonableness, inevitability, and necessity of Christ’s teaching is hidden by its ministers from the majority of men in the most cunning and dangerous way, hidden under a different doctrine falsely called His.
This verse along with a verse from Timothy was the key that opened my eyes and it can do the same for you.
Sep 3rd, 2015 by indywatchman
What Does it Mean to be a Totally Devoted Follower of Jesus?
Where in all of Christendom must a person go to find such a person today? This is a chilling inquiry considering the words of our Lord, that finding faith on the earth at His return, is questionable. If we are living in the last days, as few would argue, would it be a fair question to ask if we are practicing the “faith” that is required of our Savior? If our time here on earth is short should we be alarmed at such a proposition? Would the concerned person be out of line to contemplate and share such a request?
As I examine Scripture and look at all the examples of those who were followers of Jesus, and there were many, Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, stands out as a foundational model of what being a follower of Jesus demands.
“But one thing is needful.”– Luke 10:42
These words have rung-out down through the corridors of time in the minds and hearts of past saints and in great sermons and books by such men as Spurgeon, Finney, Wesley, Kierkegaard, and a host of others, who could not rest till this important issue was answered. To settle the matter of the “one thing needful” is to answer the question of who is a totally devoted follower of Jesus.
As I studied this verse I discovered, among other things, this striking contrast with another verse in Scripture.
“Yet lackest thou one thing.”– Luke 18:22
What we can imagine in the life of Mary is a young woman, simple in her life style, poor, naïve, trusting, and childlike, fully taken in by what she had seen and heard from Jesus. When Jesus came to visit she was totally consumed by His presence and placed His attention above all other concerns. At this exhibition of devotion Martha was offended by Mary’s inability to focus on other immediate concerns. At this display of Martha, Jesus admonishes her that it is “Mary” who has “chosen the better part,” and the “one thing needful”. In another part of Scripture, we are told she took some very expensive perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. She may have anticipated a day when she would marry and saved this perfume for that special occasion. What we know for sure is that the perfume was expensive and that she spent it all on, what appeared to those watching, waste and silliness. What we can also imagine is that her gift to Jesus was like the two mites of another poor woman mentioned in the Bible. In other words, she gave the best and maybe all she had. That was Mary’s great act of devotion, and the scent of that perfume still hangs in the air today for those whose hearts are intertwined with that lovely act.
In contrast, the rich young ruler, enumerating all of his acts of devotion to the Lord, was told, “Yet lackest thou one thing.” The rich young ruler was not a totally devoted follower of Jesus. He had only given enough that his comfort zone was not disturbed or his lifestyle infringed upon.
If we study all the passages that speak to the act of following Christ and the virtues necessary to accomplish that act: mercy, forgiveness, temperance, modesty, love, compassion, charity, meekness, self-denial, etc. and take inventory of those virtues in our own lives where do we stand, where do I stand. If Mary was sent back today for some period of time to be tested, and we went to her for instructions in righteousness, how would we expect to find her; and where would we expect to find her? What would be the circumstances of her life? How would we place her in society? Would she be rich or poor? Would she be distributing her resources to the needy or saving back a nest egg for retirement? Would she invest in stocks or buy up commodities? Would she live in fear of assault and buy a gun for self-defense? Would she run for political office or vote on Election Day, for the lesser of two evils of course? Would she serve on jury duty and judge her neighbor? Would she support the death of terrorist or pledge allegiance to nationalism? Would she keep one foot in the Church and one foot in the world just in case plan “A” fell apart? Would we expect to find her dressed in fashion, exposing just enough flesh to get attention but not enough to get arrested? And jewelry, piercings, and tattoos, would we expect these things?
Men need not think that it is Mary only that puts the Church to shame; the male ego is riddled with the poison darts of pride and vanity.
My question is about devotion. How much devotion does it take to satisfy God? Can we be partly devoted and partly not devoted? I think, in my general perusal of Christendom today the rich young ruler was in pretty good shape, he only lacked – one – thing.
Jesus will return and then we will all know just what His standard is. As for myself, I am concerned. Reformed Theology, of which I was for most of my Christian life, has taken all the earnestness out of salvation. To “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” is passé; after all you are either elected to salvation or you are not, so don’t worry, they say. I don’t mean to make anyone angry, so if you are in the Reformed camp just ignore what I have said, but for the rest of us we may want to take heed to this message and inquire diligently into this matter.
The whole New Testament, page after page, deals with nothing else than devotion to God, in one form or another. The words of our brother Paul settle the matter plainly,
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1.
In consideration of all that has been done for us it is only “reasonable” that we devote every part of our life to Him.
Mary was devoted to Jesus, body, soul, and spirit, and her act of being a “living sacrifice” was to offer to Jesus the very best she had, regardless that it was everything she had. She was a beautiful example of devotion. For nearly three hundred years after Christ, the Church understood exactly what was required to be a devoted follower of Jesus, and their history details their simple life and sufferings. After that time, the true Church is for the most part hidden. What Augustine and Constantine gave us is the Church morphed into something altogether different from their primitive ancestors, and it has come down to us as a deformed abstraction of what man wants the Church to look like. The true Church is still alive, but it is small and hidden for the most part, and if we will be a part of this real Church then we must, at all cost, understand the ancient definition of devotion.
The cost is high, but the price is worth it, and the alternative . . . well, we all know the alternative.
Devotion is not prayer, regardless of how it is done, private or public, neither is it time spent in reading some favorite devotional, or a certain time set aside on Sunday after church; but it is rather a life given to God. So, who is a devoted person? It is that person who considers God in everything he or she does; their whole life being a devotion to God by doing everything in His name and to His glory.
We can certainly acknowledge that we should be devoted in our prayer life. Now, is there any reason why we should be devoted in our prayer life and not in every other part of our life? No! Therefore, any direction that our life takes in business, any use of our leisure time, our talents, and our money that is not strictly in accordance with the will of God is as ridiculous and useless as saying a prayer to be heard or seen by men. There is no other reason that our prayers should be pleasing to God than that we may live unto God, in all aspects of life, in the same spirit that we pray to Him. If it wasn’t our duty to devote everything that our eyes see, our ears hear, the clothes we wear, the words we speak, the work we do, the money we spend, or any other action to God, there would be nothing good, wise, or efficient in offering up the most Heavenly prayers.
I believe that it is for this cause that we see so much confusion in the lives of professing Christians. You observe them keeping strict routines of times and places as to buildings of worship and fellowship, but as soon as the service is over they are like those who never attend. The pattern of their life is heathenish with a little Sunday worship thrown in. In the way they spend their money, their time, their dress, with fears and cares of the world, in their pleasures and entertainment, and in their work they are no different than the rest of the world. The laughing of the world towards Christians is a reflection of the fact that their devotion goes no further than their occasional prayers.
Truthfully, can anything be more ridiculous than intelligent, inspiring, and heavenly prayer being added to a life of which there is no intention of reverencing God in modesty of dress, giving of money, abstaining from alcohol and illicit sex, computer games and sports, deviant entertainment, or shady business practices. If you were to meet a man who was very religious in every respect but confessed that he never prayed to God, wouldn’t you be suspect of this person’s Christian witness? On the other hand, if a person prays with consistency both at Church, at home, and in public, but the rest of his life is as heathenish as any other person who has absolutely no regard for God at all, would you not be amazed that he professes to be a follower of the meek and lowly Jesus? Wouldn’t you agree that one is as irrational and strange as the other?
Here is an interesting Biblical fact; there is not one command in the entire New Testament instituting public worship. But, on the other hand, the Gospels and the Epistles are entirely about how we should live everyday life. Their teachings guide us in how to differentiate between what is holy and what is profane. They instruct us to be different in every attitude and way of life from the spirit and way of the world; to renounce the world’s goods, to fear none of its evils, to reject its joys and ways of happiness; to be as innocent as doves; to live as pilgrims and strangers; to be always watchful and wary of temptations; to take up our cross and follow Jesus; to deny ourselves, to mourn and seek a poverty of spirit, to forsake vanity and pride, to be humble and meek, to rejoice in our sufferings, to reject the lust of the flesh and of the eye, to bear injury and forgive, to overcome evil with good, and to bless our enemies and not judge them. Is it not interesting then that so much emphasis is placed on attendance at public worship – and yet people neglect and preachers disregard the common duties of every Christian that are mentioned on every page of the New Testament?
Glenn Christopherson an Australian Christian friend of mine had this to say about Sunday morning worship.
“This may come as a shock to some…”
“When the Apostle said, to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrew 10:25), he was not saying make sure you attend the 10 o’clock service every Sunday. This verse is so much more powerful than that, not to mention there were no 10 o’clock services to show up at when this was written.”
So you can see that devotion is so much more than what we have been led to think or believe. We toss the word around much too casually as just another word in the genre of religious babble. God means so much more when He demands devotion of His children.
If contempt for the temporal and devotion to the eternal are necessary attitudes for the Christian, then it is necessary that these attitudes appear in in the whole course of our lives. If self-denial is a condition of salvation then everyone who would be saved must make self-denial a part of their everyday life; and the same is true concerning humility, honesty, chastity, temperance, love, and a host of other virtues.
Does the Christian life sound hard? Yes, it is hard, and that is why we have the Church; it is an effort that takes a complete body of many able and healthy parts working together for the success of the whole, all operating with the Spirit of God. The Bible says, “Strive to enter in through the narrow gate, for many will try, but fail” “Many are called, but few are chosen.” “Strait is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction.” “Pursue peace and holiness without which no man will see the Lord.” These things were not written to scare us, they were written because they are true, and for that reason we should have a certain level of Godly fear. As a compass is useless without a magnetic north to cause it to work properly, so also Godly fear should be our magnetic north that keeps us always vigilant to “obey everything He has commanded us.”
Read Romans 12:1 and meditate on Paul’s words, and let devotion to God be the new rule of your life.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.