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BIBLE PROPHECY
A Beginning of Global Governance - #1 in a series
Prophetic Signs that we are in the End Times
The Earth Charter's Spiritual Agenda - #2 in a Series
The New Age Influence at the United Nations - #3 in a Series
Jesus is the Messiah Prophesied in the Old Testament
Like a Thief in the Night - The Rapture of the Church
The Coming War of Gog and Magog, an Islamic Invasion?
Muslim, Jewish, and Christian Prophecy Comparison
The Millennial Kingdom
There will be False Christs
Is the E.U. the Revived Roman Empire?
Should We Study End-Time Prophecy?
Apostasy and the Laodicean Dilemma
Christian Tracts
Newsletter
What We Believe
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Contender Ministries highly recommends Dr. Gary Frazier's new book "It Could Happen Tomorrow - Future Events That will Shake the World".  This is a must read for every Christian, and will be an invaluable guide to the end-times for anyone interested in Bible prophecy.

 

This book will not only inform you, it will inspire you and challenge you to increased evangelistic consciousness, greater missionary concern, and a desire to live a holy life in an unholy age.
    - Tim Lahaye, co-author of the New York Times Bestselling Series Left Behind

2004 Year End: Fighting the Grinch, But More Work Ahead


    By Ben Rast

    Contender Ministries

    December 23, 2004


 

It’s that time of year again.  The malls are crowded.  Houses are lit in spectacular Technicolor displays.  The living room smells of noble fir and a fire in the fireplace.  And the ACLU and those of like mind are effortlessly waging their judicial jihad against every religious vestige of Christmas.  This is nothing new, but the pace seems to be increasing.  Counties, municipalities and school districts are overreacting in a preemptive grinchery, banning Christmas carols, nativity scenes, and even the word Christmas itself.  Under the guise of being “inclusive”, government institutions are setting new lows in their efforts to exclude any mention of why December 25th is a national holiday.  One school district even made the decision to ban green and red apparel and dishware at the annual “winter break party.”  What’s different this year is that Christians have finally had enough.  Lawsuits filed by the ACLU on behalf of potentially hyper-offended unbelievers are being matched by lawsuits filed by constitutional law firms such as the American Center for Law and Justice, the Thomas More Law Center, Liberty Counsel, and the Rutherford Institute on behalf of Christians who are tired of having the baby Jesus kidnapped and the manger overturned.  Heroes are standing up and saying, “I know my rights and you’re not going to stop me from recognizing the Savior who gave us life eternal as well as the reason for this season!”  I doff my stocking cap to these people! 

 

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

 

 

While it is refreshing to see Christians taking a stand, not all news this holiday season is so encouraging.  Christians are taking the fight to those outside the church who want to see us all just fade away, but there are problems within the church that we must address and pursue with the same vigor and determination. 

 

With the debate over gay marriage heating up this year, a spotlight has landed on the moral values of voters.  Christians turned out in record numbers to vote this year.  In fact, Christians formed the majority segment of this year’s electorate.  Eleven states had marriage proposals on the ballot, seeking to define marriage biblically – a union between one man and one woman.  In all eleven states, these proposals passed readily. 

 

Yet some of Christianity’s “mainstream” Protestant denominations are continuing to battle within themselves over this seemingly fundamental issue of biblical morality.  The Methodists had yet another minister on trial for homosexuality.  Unlike the last trial, this one ended in a finding that the minister was indeed guilty of violating biblical principles by being an openly avowed lesbian.  The previous defendant was also openly lesbian, yet somehow that tribunal saw fit to acquit.  However, in this most recent case, the congregation of Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud’s church has vowed to allow her to continue teaching and preaching in a lay ministry role.  In other words, they saw nothing morally abhorrent about her being a lesbian.  The Methodist Church is not alone. 

 

The Episcopal Church is splitting apart over the ordination of an openly gay archbishop.  Conservative congregations are breaking away from the ECUSA, seeking to align themselves with conservative bishops abroad who are literate enough to understand that homosexuality is a violation of God’s commands.  The response?  According to Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee, the Episcopal bishop of Virginia, “If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy.”  This was reported in the January 31, 2004 issue of The Washington Times.  Heresy is better than schism?  I pray for those who are led by this man.  I wish it ended there.  The Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are having similar problems in scattered congregations.  Between the ordination of gay clergy and the performance of gay wedding ceremonies, “mainstream” Christianity is taking a big step onto the slippery slope of apostasy.  I wish the problems ended there, but they don’t.

 

According to the Bible, divorce is a sin, except when prompted by marital infidelity (Matt. 19:3-9; 1 Cor. 7:10-14, 27).  However, pollster George Barna (www.barna.org) found that divorce occurs at approximately the same rate among born again Christians as among non-Christians.  Furthermore, nearly one-fourth of born agains get divorced two or more times!  Sadly, a majority of born again Christians (52%) do not believe that divorce except for the cause of infidelity is a sin.  When we as Christians speak out on family values, we should spend as much time trying to save God’s institution of marriage from the sin of divorce as from the sin of homosexuality.

 

Barna presented additional distressing information.  His organization polled Protestant senior pastors to see how many held a biblical worldview.  The criteria: believing that God is the all-knowing and all-powerful creator of the universe who still rules it today; that Jesus Christ never sinned; that Satan is real; that salvation is received through faith in Christ, not by good deeds; that every follower of Christ has a responsibility to share their faith with non-believers; that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches; that absolute moral truth exists; and that absolute moral truth is described in the Bible.  The results are sad.  Only 51% of Protestant senior pastors agreed with those criteria.  Only slightly more than half possess a biblical worldview.  Is it any wonder our denominations are sliding into apostasy?

 

As we look at our nation and our world, it is easy to become distressed at the rapidly declining moral climate.  Yet we don’t even have to look outside the realm of Christianity to see this trend.  Like many of you, I eagerly await the return of Christ.  But there is much to be done.  We must not let our Savior find us twiddling our thumbs when He comes for us.  As in the parable of the ten minas (Luke 19:11-27), we must be actively using what He has given us for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.  If we bury our gifts and throw up our hands, what excuse will we have for the Master when He returns?  Christians are showing unparalleled resolve in fighting for moral values in our nation, and in fighting for the rightful place of Jesus in the nativity. We must show that same resolve in addressing the problems within Christ’s church.  We must commit to bringing our churches, our brothers and sister, and ourselves into alignment with God’s Word.  Finally, we must not cede the role of evangelist to paid, full-time pastors and missionaries.  The Great Commission was a command to us all.  Approximately 7% of American adults are Evangelical Born-Again Christians.  If each of us were to reach just one person in 2005 for Christ, that would result in 21,000,000 new believers next year!  That doesn’t count those who will otherwise come to Christ through being moved in Church, a concert, or an evangelistic crusade. 

 

There’s a lot of work to be done, but the Lord has gifted His people with the wherewithal to get the job done.  If we band together, united under the banner of His saving grace, we can bring our homes, our families, and our churches into a right relationship with Jesus Christ.  And if we make a point to share that faith with someone outside the fold, we can present to the Lord a bountiful harvest.