Around the World: Re. False evangelist.
True Christians, says radio evangelist Harold Camping, should not go to church. They should drop their church memberships, leave their congregations, and just listen to the radio…The idea has its appeal to many Americans. Sleeping in on Sunday. No worship services. No meetings. No obligations…Mr. Camping, who operates the Family Radio network, bases his teaching on his idiosyncratic end – times theology. Despite his earlier mistakes – he once proclaimed that the world would end in 1994 – he is undaunted in his millennialist certainty. According to his allegorical interpretation of Revelation, he maintains that Satan has now set up his throne in the church. This is reflected in the apostasy of churches, bringing judgment even against faithful congregations. The bottom line is that “the Church Age” is over. What the Bible says about pastors, elders, congregations – that is for a previous dispensation. Now, Christians don’t need any shepherds or church order to rule over them. It is fine to meet in each other’s homes, but there is to be no worship, as such, no organization or offices….Does Mr. Camping have a point?Apostasy does rage in many churches. Mainline Protestant denominations have long ago rejected the authority of Scripture…. Even many evangelical and conservative churches are adjusting their teachings and their practices to fit the dominant culture, down-playing doctrine, softening the Bible’s moral demands, and teaching that the Gospel is not necessary to salvation. At the same time, the moral failures of so-called Christian leaders have become a world-wide scandal…Some Catholic priests…some Protestant ministers too, …are guilty of the rankest sexual immorality, including the sexual abuse of those under their spiritual care….Still, Mr. Camping’s teachings…are shot down by clear statements of the Word of God. Christians are told directly not to neglect meeting together – especially “as you see the Day drawing near”(Heb.10:25)…Saying that this and other texts about the church do not apply anymore is just another way to deny the authority of Scripture, making Mr. Camping just another liberal theologian. (From WORLD, April 20, 2002).
According to Scripture, it is God’s will and ordinance that Christians should establish and maintain local churches, because without them the following Christian obligations cannot be performed: a) the regular hearing and learning of God’s Word as it is proclaimed by the divinely called ministers who are to feed the flock over which God has placed them (Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Ephesians 4:10-12; I Peter 5:2-3; Acts 2:42-47; 14:23). b) the regular celebration of Holy Communion under the loving and careful watchfulness of the divinely-called shepherd (I Corinthians 11:23-29; 10:17; Acts 20:28). c) the continuous exercise of the duties of Christian fellowship and love (I Corinthians 11: 33; 1:10; Colossians 3:15-16; I Corinthians 9:7-14; Galatians 6:6-7; Hebrews 10:23-25; Ephesians 4:3-6; Acts 6:1-6). d) the careful, evangelical exercise of church discipline as commanded by the Lord in Matthew 18: 15-17). (From “This Scriptural Position We Still Hold,” adopted and ratified by the member congregations of the Concordia Lutheran Conference, 1968)
If you think political correctness is out of control in America —and it is— Europe is even worse. A few weeks ago, the Swedish parliament passed a bill that would change its constitution to ban speech that is insulting to homosexuals or other “alternative lifestyles.” The bill passed with 56 percent of the vote, and if it passes again later in the summer, it becomes law. Now think about that. Under this Swedish law, if Pastor Sven takes the pulpit on Sunday and quotes some Bible passages from the Old Testament —you know the stuff about homosexuality being an abomination— well, Pastor Sven could be on his way to having a smorgasbord in prison, as the proposed new speech law allows jail time for convicted offenders… . (From the Albany-Democrat Herald, June 15, 2002).
Statistics from Sweden reveal that 7.6 million people belong to the church of Sweden. Less than 4 per cent of the Church of Sweden’s membership attends public worship during an average week. Only 2 percent attend regularly. About 88 per cent of the population belong to the established church, which is of Evangelical Lutheran tradition. It is a known fact that the Swedish Church does not discriminate against or condemn homosexuality. It openly allows gays and lesbians to marry in the church, and lesbian partnerships are recognized. Their use of the name Lutheran is an insult to the name of Martin Luther, who comments on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), “The heinous conduct of the people of Sodom is extraordinary, inasmuch as they departed from the natural passion and longing of the male for the female, which was implanted into nature by God, and desired what is altogether contrary to nature. Whence comes this perversity? Undoubtedly from Satan, who, after people have once turned away from the fear of God, so powerfully suppresses nature that he blots out the natural desire and stirs up a desire that is contrary to nature… For if you do away with the marriage bond and permit promiscuous passions, the law and all decency go to ruin together with discipline. But when these are destroyed, no government remains; only beastliness and savagery are left. Therefore as an example for others the Lord was compelled to inflict punishment and to check the madness that was raging beyond measure.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 3, pages 255-256). This abomination (Romans 1:26-27) is even given approval by Bishop Stanley E. Olson, a retired bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, who in answer to the question, “In your opinion does God regard homosexuality as sin?” answered, “Of course not. God could care less about human devised categories… Diversity is beautiful …being either homosexually oriented or heterosexually oriented is neither a divine plus or minus.” (Read Luke 17: 29-30; I Corinthians 6: 9; I Timothy 1:10; Jude 7.)