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A 'Christian' country beset through false witness – Baptist Information International – Baptist Information International

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Opinion  |  April 27, 2022
It’s within the Bible. Actually, it’s some of the Ten Commandments: “You shall now not undergo false witness in opposition to your neighbor.” (See Exodus 20:16.)
There’s extra: Don’t lie to each other, seeing that you’ve stripped off the outdated self with its practices.” (See Colossians 3:9.)
It will get worse: “However as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their position will likely be within the lake that burns with hearth and sulfur, which is the second one dying.” (See Revelation 21:8.)
Invoice Leonard
That remaining verse gives little convenience to the majority of the human species, since someday nearly everybody “prevaricates.” (The phrase “prevaricate” turns out such a lot classier, if now not much less sinful, than the phrase “lie.”)
Whether or not we lie a little bit or make a career of it, odds are that many, if now not maximum people, fall off the reality wagon once in a while. When that occurs, we would possibly try to melt the blow through calling them “little white lies.” (That easy word is probably not lengthy for this international, on the other hand, since fighters of Vital Race Concept would possibly concern that it is going to lay “pointless guilt” on positive Anglo-Saxon college kids.)
As a historian of faith in The us, what haunts me nowadays is the expanding connection between the concept america is a traditionally “Christian country” and the expanding acceptance, even through Christians, of the politics of mendacity within the public sq.. Aren’t the 2 ideas mutually unique, biblically, if now not ecclesiastically? If the American Republic is foundationally “Christian,” then why do such a lot of advocates of that trust seem to just accept or tolerate prevarication so readily?
“If the American Republic is foundationally ‘Christian,’ then why do such a lot of advocates of that trust seem to just accept or tolerate prevarication so readily?”
On Feb. 9, 2022, Baptist Joint Committee for Non secular Liberty launched a file titled, “Christian Nationalism and the January 6, 2021, Rise up,” exploring the hyperlinks between that view of The us and the mob attack at the Capitol. Amanda Tyler, BJC govt director, writes that “Christian nationalism is a political ideology and cultural framework that seeks to merge American and Christian identities, distorting each the Christian religion and The us’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism is determined by the mythological founding of america as a ‘Christian country,’ singled out for God’s windfall with a view to satisfy God’s functions on earth. Christian nationalism calls for a privileged position for Christianity in public lifestyles, buttressed through the lively enhance of presidency in any respect ranges.”
Within the first essay, sociologists Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry cite a February 2021 survey suggesting that “the extra white American citizens confirm signs of Christian nationalism, the much more likely they’re to disclaim Trump’s culpability within the riots and the much more likely they’re to confirm debunked conspiracy theories concerning the involvement of Black Lives Subject and Antifa.” They notice: “Fresh analysis demonstrates that white Christian nationalism is in detail intertwined with (false) conspiratorial considering — similar to QAnon — and white supremacist ideology.”
Katherine Stewart, creator of The Energy Worshippers: Within the Unhealthy Upward push of Non secular Nationalism, observes that during a lot of Christian nationalism-related meetings she attended the “audiences had been advised, heatedly and again and again, that The us is and at all times has been a Christian country, that the Bible is at the verge of being outlawed, and that the 2020 election was once corrupt.” All the ones assertions are false.
In her concluding article, Amanda Tyler references evangelical leaders who perpetuated falsehoods after the Capitol revolt, writing: “The Rev. Franklin Graham, a outstanding evangelical chief, and the Rev. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist, Dallas, each referenced Antifa in public statements following the assault. Eric Metaxas did the similar, pronouncing on Twitter, ‘There’s no doubt the election was once fraudulent. That’s the similar nowadays as the day prior to this. There’s no doubt Antifa infiltrated the protesters nowadays and deliberate this. That is political theater and any individual who buys this is a sucker. Combat for justice and pray for justice. God bless The us!’”
Antifa was once now not concerned within the Jan. 6 revolt.
Tyler insists that whilst “Christian nationalism isn’t Christianity,” it nevertheless “is determined by Christian imagery and language” to make its case for privileging Christianity as the unique religion round which the rustic was once based. She concludes: “Christianity does now not and can not unite American citizens underneath a countrywide id. Our nation is marked through powerful spiritual pluralism, permitting many religions to flourish and making sure folks of no religion have equivalent rights. A renewed dedication to the values of spiritual freedom for all — now not simply enhance for a majority spiritual id — can convey in combination all American citizens, irrespective of spiritual ideals.”
“Jan. 6, 2021, got here and went, however Christian nationalism and false witness proceed.”
Jan. 6, 2021, got here and went, however Christian nationalism and false witness proceed, documented over again in a New York Instances front-page article on April 25, 2022, titled “The Stolen-Election Falsehood Is going to Church.” Creator Charles Homans observes that whilst many evangelical congregations have lengthy expressed opposition to abortion and homosexual marriage, “now, a few of the ones church buildings have embraced a brand new reason: selling Donald J. Trump’s false declare that the 2020 election was once stolen.”
Whilst those are most definitely a minority of American evangelical congregations, they continuously are exceedingly vocal in protecting lies of a stolen presidential election, infrequently growing venues for the evangelists or politicians selling them. Homan cites a find out about from the Public Faith Useful resource Institute indicating some 60% of “white evangelical respondents” affirmed stolen election falsehoods.
In a up to date Atlantic article titled, “Why the Previous 10 Years of American Existence Have Been Uniquely Silly,” Jonathan Haidt makes use of the Babel biblical tale as a metaphor, stating: “It’s been transparent for rather some time now that crimson The us and blue The us are turning into like two other international locations claiming the similar territory, with two other variations of the Charter, economics and American historical past. However Babel isn’t a tale about tribalism; it’s a tale concerning the fragmentation of the entirety. It’s concerning the shattering of all that had gave the impression cast, the scattering of people that have been a group. It’s a metaphor for what is going on now not simplest between crimson and blue, however throughout the left and inside of the proper, in addition to inside of universities, firms, skilled associations, museums, or even households.”
If crimson/blue The us is fragmented, so are their church buildings. Obviously, Christian nationalism and rampant false witness problems are problematic in and for American congregations and denominations, establishments swamped through inner divisions over politics, theology, doctrine and tradition. Externally, church buildings confront the truth that one in 5 American citizens declare no discernable spiritual association, and the ones professing Christianity have dropped from 75% to 63% within the remaining decade. It sounds as if, many American citizens, knowingly or unknowingly, want a new sense of the church’s witness. And it higher now not be false.
What are we to do? Reflecting on that, I ran again to Roger Williams and Jesus of Nazareth.
Williams, erstwhile Baptist and spiritual liberty recommend, units forth his place on Christian nationalism in his 1643 masterpiece, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution, for the Explanation for Judgment of right and wrong:
First that the Other folks (the Authentic of all unfastened Energy and executive) aren’t invested with Energy from Christ Jesus to rule his Bride or Church, to stay it natural, to punish Opposites through drive of Armes.
Secondly, that the Trend of the Nationwide Church of Israel, was once a None-such, unimitable through any Civil State, in any or all of the Countries of the International beside.
In John’s Gospel (18:37-38), Jesus, on his approach to Golgotha, tells Pilate, the Roman governor: “For this I used to be born, and for this I got here into the sector, to testify to the reality. Everybody who belongs to the reality listens to my voice.”
Pilate requested him, “What’s reality?”
Two millennia later, we ask that very same query.
Or we’d higher.
Invoice Leonard is founding dean and the James and Marilyn Dunn professor of Baptist research and church historical past emeritus at Wake Woodland College College of Divinity in Winston-Salem, N.C. He’s the creator or editor of 25 books. A local Texan, he lives in Winston-Salem along with his spouse, Candyce, and their daughter, Stephanie. 
 
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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

Embracing True Friendship: The Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother

Friendship is a valuable asset that enriches our lives by providing companionship, support, and a shoulder to cry on. But have you ever had a buddy who goes above and beyond—someone who remains closer than a brother? In a world where relationships can be fickle, a friend who sticks by us through thick and thin is a rare and priceless gift.

More Than Just Blood Ties

Consider the tie between siblings, which is based on blood and shared history. Consider a buddy who is more than just a family member. “One who has untrustworthy friends soon comes to ruin,” says Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This verse describes a friendship that goes beyond basic conditions. It’s a bond founded on trust, loyalty, and real concern for one another.

Continuous Support

Consider a buddy who is present not only during happy times but also during difficult times. This type of friend is unconcerned about changing circumstances or personal gain. They provide their presence, encouragement, and steadfast support.

Jesus expresses the core of such friendship in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. This selfless affection serves as the foundation for a lasting connection.

Journeys Together

Consider a friend you’ve shared many stages of life with—the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This shared experience forges a link that extends beyond surface-level exchanges. The value of companionship is brilliantly captured in Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 (NIV): “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother is someone who goes beside us through life’s ups and downs, lending a solid hand and an ear to listen.

A Mirror of God’s Love

As a symbol of God’s love for us, consider the buddy who sticks closer than a brother. God Himself offers an unbroken, unchanging, and everlasting companionship. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” says the Bible in Romans 8:38–39.

God’s love is the ultimate paradigm of true friendship—a love that is not conditional but remains faithful regardless of what happens.

Conclusion: Value true friendship.

A friend who sticks closer to you than a sibling is a treasure to be treasured. This type of friendship is founded on love, trust, and mutual care rather than convenience or shared interests. May we seek to be that sort of friend to others in our lives, just as God offers us His unfailing love.

In a world where relationships can be fleeting, let us create friendships that will endure. Let us be the sort of friends who are present in both joy and sadness, who offer unconditional support, and who mirror God’s unfailing love. We are reminded of the beauty of true friendship, which clings closer than a brother, as we welcome and cherish these unique and valuable ties.

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The Just God

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The Just God

The Just God: The Divine Balance of Justice and Mercy

The concept of justice is intertwined with the fabric of human society. We seek justice, responsibility, and reparation for wrongs done. But have you ever pondered a God who is not only just but also perfectly just? The Just God is a lighthouse of truth and righteousness, providing a profound awareness of justice and kindness that transcends human comprehension.

Justice in Pursuit

Consider a world where wrongdoers go unpunished and the disadvantaged have no recourse. The pursuit of justice is a natural human goal that reflects a feeling of rightness and order. And if we as humans value justice, how much more should the Creator of the universe, who is completely just?

According to Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV), “He is the rock; his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. He is a loyal God who does no wrong, who is straight and just. This verse reveals God’s character, which is characterized by unwavering justice.

Justice and Mercy in Balance

Consider yourself in front of a judge who holds you accountable for every action and decision you make. Imagine that same judge showing mercy and giving you a second opportunity despite the evidence against you. The just God is kind as well as just.

This delicate balance is captured in Psalm 103:10–11 (NIV): “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our iniquities. For his love for people who fear him is as high as the skies are above the earth. God’s justice is balanced by his unending love and kindness.

The Redemption of Justice

Consider a debt that you will never be able to repay—a debt of mistakes and wrongs that weigh heavy on your soul. In His perfect justice, the just God provides a solution. God provides a mechanism for justice to be served and redemption to be offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Romans 3:23–24 (NIV), “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This is an example of justice being met via the redemptive act of Christ’s sacrifice.

A Call to Justice

Consider a society in which justice is not simply a notion but a way of life. In our interactions with others, the just God calls us to exemplify justice. Micah 6:8 (NIV) states unequivocally, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. What does the Lord expect of you? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Living justly entails treating people with fairness, compassion, and respect, as the character of the just God requires.

Finishing: Adoring the Just God

The Just God asks us to comprehend the breadth of His justice—a justice that supports truth, requires accountability, and strikes a balance between mercy and justice. God’s justice and mercy merge in the person of Jesus Christ, offering us redemption and restoration.

May we turn to the just God as our ultimate standard as we traverse a world that frequently grapples with issues of fairness. May we seek His wisdom and counsel in order to live justly and treat others with love and justice. We find not only a paradigm of perfect justice but also an invitation to experience the transformative power of His kindness when we embrace the Just God.

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The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Pathway to Achievement

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The Joy of Serving Others: A Pathway to Fulfillment

The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Highway to Contentment

Have you ever ever felt the nice and cozy glow that effects from lending a serving to hand to a stranger, the enjoyment that lasts for days after the act of kindness? That emotion offers a way of the pride of serving to others. The straightforward act of serving to can give us a sense of function and pleasure in contrast to the rest in a society that incessantly pushes us to place our consideration on ourselves.

The Want to Serve

Believe a society the place everybody labored to fortify the lives of people of their instant neighborhood. The need to lend a serving to hand, proportion a load, and supply comfort is on the core of carrier. The instance used to be established through Jesus Himself when he stated, “For even the Son of Guy didn’t come to be served, however to serve, and to provide his lifestyles as a ransom for plenty of.” (NIV, Mark 10:45)

Serving others is extra than just a nice deed; it is a way to emulate the compassion and love that Christ proven for us.

Discovering Pleasure in Selfless Giving

Believe spending time with the aged or going to a neighborhood refuge to hear their stories and cause them to really feel essential. Those tiny acts of kindness won’t appear to be a lot, however they be capable to make any person’s day higher, create relationships, and toughen a sense of group.

A better feeling of pleasure emerges after we set aside our personal issues and be aware of the wishes of others. The Bible admonishes us, “Every of you can use no matter present you’ve gotten won to serve others, as trustworthy stewards of God’s grace in its more than a few paperwork.” (NIV) 1 Peter 4:10 We specific the particular talents God has given us through serving others, and it’s in those deeds of carrier that we discover authentic pleasure.

Have an effect on Unmeasurable

Take into consideration the impact if all of us realized to experience serving to others. If we take a bit spoil from our tense schedules to lend a hand a neighbor, supply a sympathetic ear, or donate cash to a reason we reinforce. Small acts of kindness have the facility to unfold, sparking a sequence response of generosity and optimistic exchange.

In step with the NIV translation of Matthew 25:40, Jesus stated, “Actually I inform you, no matter you probably did for this sort of least of those brothers and sisters of mine, you probably did for me.” No longer simplest can we fortify the lives of other folks we serve, however we additionally perform Jesus’ command to like and deal with the ones round us.

Development Relationships and Connections

Believe the sensation of camaraderie that comes from cooperating with others to reach a shared purpose. Folks come in combination via carrier, growing ties and friendships that differently won’t have took place. It serves as a reminder that we’re all part of a broader group, and that group would possibly take pleasure in the acts we do.

Serving others permits us to peer the arena from many angles and to realize the demanding situations and victories of other folks round us. Our lives are enriched and {our relationships} are deepened through this sensitivity.

Conclusion: Discovering Contentment Via Carrier

Every people has a skill that is able to be opened: the pleasure of serving to others. It serves as a reminder that our lives are meant to be about extra than just our personal pursuits; they’re an opportunity to fortify the lives of others.

Let’s thus embody the pride of serving to others, if it is by means of deeds of kindness, volunteering, or simply being conscious about their wishes. The easy act of serving would possibly supply mild and hope in a global that every so often turns out overwhelming. As we emulate Christ and prolong ourselves in love, we no longer simplest exchange the lives of others but additionally revel in a deep feeling of success and enjoyment that overflows into our personal hearts.

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