"Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumb- ling block or obstacle in your brother's way." Romans 14:13
"Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak." 1 Corinthians 8:9
Why have I pulled these two passages from the Bible (and not go into the context of which they were spoke) to make a foundation for my post? Because these words speak so well to what is causing my head to spin and my concern for other Christians, those who are babes in Christ, and for the secular world who are watching Christians.
For years, rightly or wrongly, Christianity has taught congregations or warned them in depth about other religions in which they consider to be cults:
In the pews of many Sunday Schools or in the early evening of Bible Studies, and yes, in Seminars across the United States, it has been drummed into the Christian mind that there are cults and you should do everything to evangelize these lost people and bring them to Christ.
But, the political arena of 2012 has changed this teaching/preaching. For the first time in history, we will have a Republican ticket that does not have a Protestant running for the office of president. We have a Mormon and a Catholic. What is a Christian to do? There must be some kind of conflict occuring in their spirit? They must be deciding: "Have I been lied to for years or does my Christian faith have to go along with the teachings of my denomination?" Heads everywhere must be spinning or even exploding.
Evangelism of Jews has always been hampered by the fact Jews believe Christians seem not to be able to decide if they worship 3 Gods - God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and the vast number of denominations they have. Now throw into this mix the changing opinions about Catholics and Mormons in the name of politics, Christianity has stabbed their own selves in the back in their ability to be taken seriously about their belief in Jesus. INTEGRITY has been lost in the 2012 Election.
1. A great challenge confronting the church is denominationalism...
a. According to one account, there are more than 38,000 different denominations!
b. Different religious organizations, bearing many different religious names
c. Hindering the spread of the gospel ("Why, you Christians can’t even agree!") we should not be surprised when unbelievers are slow to accept the gospel coming from a divided church
2. Many point to the divided condition of those professing to follow Christ...
a. Atheists and agnostics use religious division as an excuse not to believe in God
b. Muslims, Jews, etc. often use denominationalism reasons not to believe in Christ
3. Denominationalism has also given support and encouragement to the cults
a. Mormonism started in reaction to the denominationalism of Joseph Smith’s day
b. Those who call themselves "Jehovah’s Witnesses" use religious division to encourage people to follow their own strictly-controlled organization.
This is what the faithful have been told for years. But no more. All of these beliefs are being turned on their head while the pea soup spewers are calling Democrats people who hate God and are evil, lost, and sinfulmpeople bound for hell. The president, who has been called a Muslim, receives no such 'blind eye' by the Christian Right. Or has he? As far as hypocrisy is accounted for.
"… Jerry Johnson and his role in formulating a document calling on Christian leaders who decide to back Mitt Romney to also make clear that Mormonism is a cult. As Johnson explained, he personally will not be voting for either President Obama or Mitt Romney because that is like having to choose between "voting for the Beast or the False Prophet."…. As we have noted several times before, Religious Right radio show host Steve Deace has made a habit of inviting openly anti-Mormon activists onto his program to make the case that Christians cannot vote for Mitt Romney purely because of his faith…. Bryan Fischer has a long history of criticizing Mormonism, saying that it is not protected by the First Amendment and warning that electing a "spiritually-compromised candidate" like Mitt Romney will weaken the nation and threatens its spiritual health…. Isn’t it interesting how right-wing personalities like Bryan Fischer and Janet Mefferd consistently say that no one on the Right attacks Mitt Romney over his Mormon faith…and then go on to claim that Mormons are under Satan’s deception and don’t care about public office because they are waiting to become gods, respectively. And Fischer and Mefferd are far from the only ones who are trying to make the Mormon religion into an election issue."
"On a Monday edition of Crosstalk, Vic Eliason of Voice of Christian Youth America advised listeners against supporting a Mormon candidate for president because they are praying to “the wrong God.” Eliason in 2008 hosted a presidential candidate debate with other Religious Right leaders that you will not be surprised to learn Romney did not attend."
"Channeling Mike Huckabee, Eliason said that “Mormons do believe that Jesus and Beelzebub, or the devil, are kid brothers.” He went on to say that Mormons “believe that someday God is going to put you on your own planet and you will be a God in charge of your own planet,” warning that “if those things happen, who knows, we might have a president who would suddenly evacuate the White House and go to another planet and become a God!”: the above three paragraph can be found at http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/topics/mormonism
******* insert here: HEAD SPINS HEAD SPINS HEAD SPINS! ***********
The Christian Right is seizing the day to take their country back and it does not matter what is sacrificed in this effort: INTEGRITY
Let's imagine for an instant Christianity is against the American government (made up of the three branches guided by the Constitution) crowning itself as the one and only true leader of the free world, America, instead of Christianity. What can we parallel to this self crowning (which the founding fathers actually established with every citizen of the United States voting their wishes as to who would have these powers)? Yes, I know. The Great Caesar.
A more well known occurrence on the Ides of March, in 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was assassinated, at the foot of a statue of Pompey where the Senate was meeting. Before Caesar went to the theater of Pompey to attend the Senate meeting, he had been given advice not to go, but he didn't listen. Biographers describe tension between Caesar and the Senate, and his possible claims to the title of king. These events were the principal motive for Caesar's assassination by his political opponents in the Senate.
Brutus began to conspire against Caesar with his friend and brother-in-law Gaius Cassius Longinus and other men, calling themselves the Liberatores ("Liberators"). Many plans were discussed by the group, as documented by Nicolaus of Damascus:
“ The conspirators never met exactly openly, but they assembled a few at a time in each other's homes. There were many discussions and proposals, as might be expected, while they investigated how and where to execute their design. Some suggested that they should make the attempt along the Sacred Way, which was one of his favorite walks. Another idea was to do it at the elections, during which he had to cross a bridge to appoint the magistrates in the Campus Martius. Someone proposed that they draw lots for some to push him from the bridge and others to run up and kill him. A third plan was to wait for a coming gladiatorial show. The advantage of that was, because of the show, no suspicion would be aroused if arms were seen. The majority opinion, however, favored killing him while he sat in the Senate. He would be there by himself, since only Senators were admitted, and the conspirators could hide their daggers beneath their togas. This plan won the day."
The result unforeseen by the assassins was that Caesar's death precipitated the end of the Roman Republic. The Roman lower classes, with whom Caesar was popular, became enraged that a small group of aristocrats had sacrificed Caesar.
People are calling for smaller government, but it actually seems like they want to kill government. It is the rich aristocrats of the 21st Century plotting the demise and the 99% who are enraged. Will this attitude have some unforseen consequences?
Christianity is stabbing itself in the back and have been doing so for years. It has culminated and shown it's true self; which is the lust for POWER and GREED. The flip flop on their teachings of cults and which denomination is the only TRUE Christian religion and who belongs in it, has been heading to this outcome: The Ides Of Politics; which we witnessed during the Republican debates.
So, I am looking for more serious wounds as we get closer and closer to the day when the vote is cast. Will our ability to be taken seriously as those living Holy lives and an example for others who would want to follow Jesus continue after 2012? Or will our venom and loss of integrity turn off the world to Christianity?
All I know is - my head is spinning from listening to the Christians as they engage in politics. I look for the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus as he changed history through his ministry and I can't see it.
I'll leave you with my main point from my book The Politics of Prayer: "Judas demanded revolt; Jesus commanded love."