This is a page that focuses on religious and theological issues, as well as providing comprehensive teaching from a classic Catholic perspective. As you read the articles, it is my hope they will educate and bless you.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Persecuted for Righteousness' Sake

In this day and age we live in, a lot of things are assaulting our culture, and more now than ever before we see some things happening among professing Christians that would have been unthinkable only 20 years ago even.   As a result, many sincere believers who have made a strong stand against some things that are contrary to Scripture are all of a sudden finding themselves in violent firestorms of attacks coming from "friendly fire."  However, this should not be surprising, as Scripture itself has foretold some of this, and therefore I feel it needs to be addressed.

I have a very good friend, Johnny Lee Clary, who is a wonderful man of God and a great warrior for the faith.   Johnny has quite a turbulent past, as at one time before the Lord transformed his life he was involved in one of the most evil groups of people, the Ku Klux Klan, and even was a high-ranking member of the organization in his home state of Oklahoma.  However, through the fervent prayers and intercessions of a godly Black Baptist minister, Rev. Wade Watts, Johnny Lee was touched by God and was born again.  And, when Johnny was born again, he gave up that horrible past and became truly a new creation - today he is a vibrant minister of the Gospel and is an ordained elder in the Church of God in Christ.  And, Johnny is a voice of truth against some of the apostasy and false teaching that has infested the Church today, which has of course brought him some opposition from some of the apostates who try to drag up his past and discredit his ministry.   Yet, I have known Johnny as a friend and brother in Christ for about 4 years now, and I can personally say he is a man of great integrity and sincerity, and God indeed will have great reward for him one day for standing for the truth.  I too have endured slander, persecution, and outright hostility for standing up for the truth, and at times it can wear you down.   It isn't enough that the world around us often hates us, but with this laxity in the American Church today, it seems like there are many accusers among the brethren who, for some reason or another, find it necessary to accomodate the world and sin, "baptize" it into the Church, and then try to compromise the truth of God's Word to fit their image.   These people honestly make me sick - I expect, and even at times am thankful, for the fact the non-Christians do that, but for a professing Christian to do and say such things is unthinkable yet it happens.  There are so many other cases of this too - recently, a number of good prophecy teachers were blackballed from the Trinity Broadcasting Network for taking a stand against Islam and the heresies perpetrated by false teachers like Rick Warren, and the "officials" in the Catholic Church - mainly so-called "directors of vocations" - have been denying orthodox Catholic postulants the privelege of studying to pursue the calling God laid on their hearts to be priests.  And there are others whose ministries have been attacked, misrepresented, and maligned because they stood for the truth - men of God such as Bill Keller, Mike Warnke, Bob Larson, and others come to mind here.   Yet, as I read Scripture, this is unfortunately a sign of the times, and I now want to examine some of those verses to show what I mean.

Matthew 5:10 is the first verse that comes to mind, as it says that those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness are blessed of God.   John 16:2 states that many of the persecutors will put people out of the churches and think they are doing God a service (sounds like Rick Warren's "Purpose-Driven Church" program don't it - read up on that some more and you will see what I am talking about).  I Thessalonians 2:1 talks also about a "great falling away," or an apostasy, taking place in the latter times just before the Antichrist "("man of sin") appears on the scene, and a lot of Catholic saints and visionaries over the centuries, including Pope Leo XIII, noted this happening in the future.   That "falling away" is also alluded to in Revelation 3, where Christ addresses the Laodicean Church (which is also a picture of the latter-day Church) and rebukes their lukewarmness - I have been saying in my teachings for many years that the Laodicean church of Revelation 3 is the precursor of the "Mystery Babylon" religion it talks about in later chapters, and complacency is indeed the road to apostasy.  Take all of these Scriptures now, tie them together, and then compare it to recent trends you see in the American Church - the similarities will scare you.  It is amazing, for instance, at how things that were once preached against in many churches - meaning conservative ones too - are all of a sudden not only tolerated, but embraced!  You have heard me talk before about these things, as I mentioned the New Ageism that courses through both Rick Warren's material as well as this new "Emerging Church" movement, and therefore you can reference that from my earlier articles.  What I didn't go into however was how many of the forces behind that are the same people who persecute the Remnant Church - the splits, divisions, and general mayhem caused by churches of all denominations adapting this Rick Warren nonsense cannot even be covered in the course of a short article like this, but the stories testify to the fact that many faithful, Spirit-filled people who are the pillars of what used to be strong and vibrant congregations are now being forced out of churches they have invested time, resources, and sacrifice into all because of some faddish, stupid Rick Warren crap (excuse the veracity, but this is a sore subject with me) that attempts to deconstruct Christianity, re-create it in its own image, and then use it to boost butts in the pews and bucks in the minister's pocket (not to mention boosting Warren's book sales - talk about the ultimate con job!!).  Lord help us all!  But, especially help those of us who, in standing for the truth, have found ourselves fired upon by those who are supposed to be our fellow brethren.   However, the reality of the situation is this - if they hate the truth and those who proclaim it, they are not our brethren, but are rather apostate and the "wolves in sheep's clothing" the Bible talks about.   And, we as true believers are to have no fellowship with them - we love them, pray for them, but they are not fellow believers and cannot be treated as such (remember, Satan believes in God too, so believing in God is no litmus test of true Christianity).   That being said, let me now offer up some encouragement to those who are being persecuted for righteousness and standing up for the truth.

First, we who do believe in the truth of God's Word need to mutually support each other and give encouragement, because the battles we face can burn us out quickly if we try to go them alone.   We need to work - see Romans 12:4-5 - together as a Body of the Remnant Church, and support financially and spiritually those ministries who are laying it on the line for God's Word every day.   The Holy Spirit is the tie that binds us all together, so we need to stay strong in the Spirit in order to stand our ground.  If we do that, one day Christ Himself will reward our faithfulness.   Therefore today, if you are one of those warriors for the truth, be encouraged that you are not alone - there are more of us out there, and we will stand with you.   God bless you all, and until next time may God Himself endow you with His strength and peace in Christ's name.  Amen.