11

More Than Conquerors

As faithful readers of this blog know,  I have often posted humorous videos from The Lutheran Satire.  The man behind the videos, Lutheran Pastor Hans Fiene, has a profound reflection on the Sutherland shootings at The Federalist:

 

So when a madman with a rifle sought to persecute the faithful at First Baptist Church on Sunday morning, he failed. Just like those who put Christ to death, and just like those who have brought violence to believers in every generation, this man only succeeded in being the means through which God delivered his children from this evil world into an eternity of righteousness and peace.

“We do not need to fear the day of persecution that’s coming to the church, because God said it’s going to come. He warned us over 2,000 years ago the day was coming. And rather than fear it, He said just endure it. Now ‘endure it’ is a hard word. ‘Endure it’ doesn’t mean that they might take your ice cream away today. ‘Endure it’ means it may be a rough day. It may be a rough few years. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.”

 

These are words that First Baptist’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy, preached on October 19, 2014—a little more than three years before his 14-year-old daughter and 25 other members of his congregation were murdered. Despite the immense sorrow he, his family, and his congregation are now experiencing, I pray they will still trust in these words.

Despite the horror that madman made the saints of First Baptist endure, those who endured it with faith in Christ have received his victory. Although the murderer filled their eyes with terror, God has now filled them with his glory. Although he persecuted them with violence, God seized that violence and has now used it to deliver his faithful into a kingdom of peace. Although this madman brought death to so many, God has used that death to give them the eternal life won for them in the blood of Jesus.

 

Those who persecute the church and those who mock Christians for trusting in Almighty God rather than Almighty Government may believe that the bloodshed in Texas proves the futility of prayer. But we believers see the shooting in Texas as proof of something far different—proof that Christ has counted us worthy to suffer dishonor for his name and proof that no amount of dishonor, persecution, or violence can stop him from answering our prayer to deliver us from evil.

 

Go here to read the rest.

 

31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”j

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,k neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither 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.

Romans 8: 31-39

 

 

15

Tim Kaine Is No Prophet

 

Faithful readers of this blog know that I am a fan of The Lutheran Satire videos.  The man behind them, Lutheran Pastor Hans Fiene, has a great post at The Federalist on Tim Kaine’s prediction that the Catholic Church will ultimately approve gay marriage.  He ends on a note of optimism that I believe is completely acccurate:

What Kaine fails to recognize, however, is that Francis is the peak rather than the beginning of liberalism’s ascendancy, that his generation’s Catholicism is in its last gasp. American cultural Christianity is in its death throes. The social mechanisms that have kept heterodox people in the pews and in seminaries are evaporating. For several generations, cultural and moral relativism-spouting court preachers in soft clothing have taught their people that the church body has nothing of substance to offer them, and our nation’s children are finally responding accordingly.

So while Kaine may feel optimistic when he sees that millennials overwhelmingly favor gay marriage, he forgets that, unlike his generation, millennials also overwhelmingly favor not bothering to change the dogma of churches they’ve already quit attending. No matter how many secular cheerleaders your side may have, it will be rather hard for Kaine’s camp to win the battle for Catholicism’s future when they don’t have any actual soldiers under the age of 50.

The future of Christianity does not belong to those who want to clothe themselves in both the robes of the church and the approval of the world. It belongs to those who gladly endure the rejection of this world to taste the kingdom of God. The future of Christianity does not belong to the hordes of aging white, liberal American cafeteria Catholics or a la carte Protestants who insist it doesn’t really matter what you believe as long as you have love in your heart. Christendom’s future belongs to the stubborn young bloods of all tribes and tongues throughout the world who will actually bother to show up because they actually believe what their creeds and catechisms confess.

In the years to come, at least in our nation, our pews may be emptier but the faithful few who fill them will be looking for genuine forgiveness instead of shallow validation. The next generation of clergymen will be far more likely to proclaim it to them, just as they will be more likely to preach genuine repentance to the next generation of Kaines and Paul Simons instead of covering their ears every time those supposedly devout Catholics and Lutherans claim to be “personally opposed” to an evil they’ve consistently worked to perpetuate.

The future of Christianity does not belong to those who are certain the pope will one day see the light on gay marriage or any other unbiblical notion about marriage. The future of Christianity does not belong to those who publicly deny the doctrines of their church bodies, but to those who will boldly confess them, thank God where they are unified with other denominations, and seek to resolve their divisions until Christ blesses us with the unity he prayed for. Continue Reading