The Evangelical Herald

Commentaries on Religious Related News

June 7, 2020 -- Time -- "The Trial of Benedict XVI" by Jeff israely and Howard Chua-Egan

This article about the sexual abuse scandal and cover-up in the Catholic Church brings out the obvious and biblical truth that no man can play God -- we are all sinners.  The current crisis in leadership involving the "majestic authority of the Pope" is of grave concern to the Church if the Pope admits guilt or wrong-doing in this scandal.  This would greatly diminish "the doctrine of papal infallibility".  The editor's descriptive sub-title of the article "Why Being Pope Means Never Having to Say Your Sorry" tells us much about the erroneous attitude and doctrine of all who want to lead the Christian church with absolute power of authority -- never admitting to error or wrong-doing -- unwilling to humble themselves for fear of losing leadership power.   
(See The making of Mini Popes)

March 14, 2010 -- Los Angeles Times -- "A charitable benefit" by Stuart Pfeifer, B1,B6

This newspaper article brings out that the Salvation Army owns about $4 billion in national real estate that is for their officer's use.  Although the article fairly addresses the business advantages of ownership, we, like some quoted readers, question if this is what Jesus meant when "he charged them that they should take nothing for (their) journey, save a staff only; no bread, no wallet, no money in their purse" (Mark 6:8 ASV).  Although well-intentioned, the preaching of the gospel should never be used in any manner that the world interprets as means for temporal comfort or gain.   (See Cleansing of the temple)

December 13, 2009 -- Los Angeles Times -- "True nonbeliever" Patt Morrison asks/ Bobbie Kirkhart

Mss. Morrison's interview with the athiest Mss. Kirkhart reveals some very interesting thoughts behind the mind of an athiest.  Very typically, Mss. Kirkhart concludes that there is no god based on her understanding that  if there was a god that "God was very cruel".  This assessment of God often comes because of false religions that make of God what the creature desires Him to be.  The bottom line is that God is the Creator and He has the right to be as He desires -- we, as creatures can not play god and tell Him how He should be.  In the eternal reckoning, He will be found to be true, just and loving.    

October 26, 2009 -- Time -- "What Women Want Now" by Nancy Gibbs

This Time's special report on American's reaction to female power clearly shows the advances that women have achieved through "the forces that have rearranged family life, rewired the economy and reinvented gender roles."  The report focuses on both men and women's changed views over the last four decades on the role of women in society.  The report fails to address the effects these changes have had on society in general.  The bottom line question is "Have these changes produced a safer, more peaceful, more stable, and more loving world?"  For Christians that are not influenced by social trends moved by unknown "forces", we remain content with the unique roles our Creator has given us as equal creatures of His love as revealed in His Word.

July 13, 2009 -- Time -- "Legend" by Time reporters

The sudden and tragic death of entertainer Michael Jackson has witnessed the mourning and tributes from millions of his fans worldwide and this magazine is no exception to the tremendous  coverage given this death of an "idol".  Among the "memorial services"  that "took on the tone of a jubilant revival meeting" was one held at the First A. M. E. Church in Los Angeles, CA.  A member in that church stated, "his talent was a gift of God".  We are amazed at the worship of celebrities to the point that so called Christians can attribute the risque and sexual connotations of this entertainer's behavior to talents of God.   All God given talents and gifts are given to exult the name of Christ and build His kingdom -- any talents for other purposes come from the adversary.   

February 20, 2009 -- The Press-Enterprise  (News Item) - "Event features novelist" --  by David Olson

This news item announces a coming prophetic conference featuring Tim LaHaye, author of the "Left Behind" book series which has sold 63 million books.  Although the admission price would be free this year (last year it was $35.00 per ticket), the cost to the church holding this conference is to be about $40,000.00.  One can only wonder if this money, given by His people as a sacred trust, could have been used more effectively in the extension of His kingdom and the compassionate work in behalf of suffering mankind.  Second, one can only imagine who has gotten wealthy and is now getting wealthier in using Bible instruction as a tool to get rich. (see "Cleansing the Temple")
April, 2008 -- Christianity Today  "Heaven Is Not Our Home"  --  by N. T. Wright

Bishop Wright courageously exercises his spiritual/intellectual/wisdom  freedom to expound a viewpoint on what happens to us after death that is contrary to the prevalent teachings within the Christian church.  The first part of the article correctly cites the Biblical evidence that the first century church awaited the return of Christ as their hope of a bodily resurrection to live on a new earth.  However, the second part is an effort to get Christians involved in the actual making of a new social order on earth as it "claims this world in advance as the place of God's kingdom".  This teaching is strictly a human idea since the Bible clearly shows that Christ will intervene to set up His Eternal Kingdom Himself at His coming.

May, 2008 -- Christianity Today  "Imperial Decrees" (Pop Culture) news item pg 16

True to our suspicions, this news item reports the conflict within a family between father and son due to conflicts of interest in their Christian musical "business" -- to the point of sueing one another.   Money and big business is definitely involved -- sad to see that supposedly ministries to honor our God bring shame and dishonor to His Name.  (see Cleansing the Temple)

January, 2008 -- Christianity Today  "Spiritual Consumerism's Upside"  -- by Richard Mouw

Mr. Mouw's seemingly encouragement of the "consumerist" approach to spiritual fulfillment is surprising considering that he is the president of a leading evangelical university.  Not only does he not approach the subject with any "thus sayest the Lord" authority of the scriptures, but he dares to compare the supernatural encounter of a born-again experience of a young lady to a young Catholic who experiences a personal renewal that leads him to a Benedictine monastic vocation.  Given his arguments for a "needs" oriented church shopping, it is no wonder that he is co-chairman  of a dialogue involving the Roman Church with four denominations in the reformed tradition.  Any spiritual fulfillment will come through the direction of the Holy Spirit, sincere Bible study, and self sacrifice of one's natural desires and intellect -- not through one's personal likes and dislikes that attract us to different churches.

November 6, 2007 --  Time  "Religion -- Going After the Money Ministries"  -- by David Van Biema

Preachers of the "Prosperity Gospel", under the pretext  that Jesus wants all Christians to be victorious in life, focus on the material blessings of faith living.  As seen in this article, material blessings in the form of extravagant houses, planes, vacations, commodes, etc. to these preachers are at the expense of gullible people that are also focused on the temporal things of this world.  What a contrast to the teachings and instructions by our Savior to His messengers of the true gospel, "He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff -- no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts" Mrk 6:8 NKJV.  (see "Cleansing the Temple")     

November, 2007 -- Christianity Today  "Getting Back on Course"  -- by Ajith Fernando

How refreshing and praise worthy to read Bro. Fernando's call  "for a fresh commitment to proactive evangelism".  The church has indeed neglected to live up to its calling "to proactively go after the lost and proclaim the gospel".  As Bro. Fernando states, "One generation neglects the belief; the next generation rejects it".  It is due to this neglect that many seekers of truth and life have left the church and sought after sects that are interested in their eternal well-being.

August, 2007 -- Christianity Today  "What Did Paul Really Mean?" -- by Simon Gathercole

This article, dealing with the "New Perspective on Paul" illustrates clearly the ever present danger of scholarly theologians trying to make a name for themselves.  Every so often there appears a "new idea" that only the very elite in religious circles can play to exercise their intellectual powers.  Mr. Gathercole well concludes this current thought game with the simple truth that all true believers need not be theologians to understand, "At its core, the doctrine of justification says that sinners can be miraculously reckoned righteous before God."   Let the learned religious leaders play among themselves, but for those of us who have experienced the truth of justification by faith, let us not be confused with their entanglements as they exercise their intellectual vanities.   

July 21, 2007 -- Los Angeles Times  "Column One" --  by William Lobdell

Religious reporter Lobdell's personal journey of faith is a sad testimony of the present understanding of the religious conversion or "born again" experience.  As he states, his journey of faith started at a alter call by raising his hand to accept Jesus.  He then goes on to say that his life changed for the better; however, his honest desire to report religion in a positive light slowly deteriorated to the point of losing his faith.  Without passing judgment, his story reminds us that a faith that is based on the benefits that God can give us by means of a "second chance" in our temporal world  is a faith founded on very shifting sands.  In his acceptance of Jesus, nothing is mentioned of his lost eternal condition and the eternal salvation and hope that Jesus provided.  A true "born again" experience is based on a restored relationship with an eternal God that keeps us looking for our complete restoration in His eternal kingdom.  Unjust circumstances of this present evil world should never lead us to lose our faith in an Almighty Creator who has an eternal plan of redemption.       

May 14, 2007 -- Time   "Time 100" -- Time's Annual List of the World's Most Influential People

Among Time's annual list, there appears a number of  religious and philosophical leaders that are influencing millions backed by their personal wealth of millions of dollars.  While there is no doubt that they can influence masses of people, there is also no doubt that millions are being led astray by their false teachings that are contrary to Biblical truths.  We only thank the God of the Bible that the true seekers of truth will not be deceived by the power of these wealthy and powerful kings of this present age.  Beware of those who are out to impose their religious ideas via money they have acquired  through the worldly system of personal greed; rather, depend on the power of the Spirit of God that freely influences and transforms people to be citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.      

April 30, 2007 -- Time  "It's All About Him" -- Editorial by David Von Drehle

Mr. Von Drehle's accessment of mass murderers like the one responsible for the massacre at Virginia Tech is an interesting insight that these acts are acts of "raging narcissists".  We must give our opinion that this self love is today reflected in our society as abuses of individualism, self expression, and self esteem.   Sadly, many in the Christian world are nurturing these abuses by focusing on the idea that the great Creator is here only to serve the needs of the subliminal self.  The remedy to this natural desire of  "meism" is to accept the message of Christ of dying to self and living for the glory of Him through the service to others.

March 9, 2007 --- Larry King Show CNN Television

Larry King's featured topic was the current rage on self-improvement, "The Secret." [The Secret  
by Rhonda Byrne (Editor)]   The old philosophical/ religious idea of the "power of positive thinking" or the "health and wealth gospel" has resurfaced with a modern twist that involves "magnetic attraction", "vibrations", and "positive and negative wave lengths."  The marketing geniuses couldn't have chosen a more sellable title than "The Secret" to make their millions.  Sadly, many will be deceived to follow its false premises as they seek their self-grandiose in their quest for temporal "success".

February 26, 2007 --   LARRY KING SHOW & ANDERSON COOPER 360  CNN Television

Television's news network CNN focused on the supposedly scientific discoveries of Jesus's tomb.  It is interesting how man uses the religious calendar to promote their wares.  Of course, the issue in these debates involves credibility in the Biblical revelation verses "scientific evidence"; which, to the admission of many scholars in this case, is purely conjecture and possibilities.  Bible believers are not "afraid" (as Larry King asserted) of true science, but we are akin to Satan's devises to cast doubt on scripture by using "scientific/fictional sensationalism."   Let us be sober, in the last days there will be an all out attack by the adversary to destroy faith in God's grand design and purpose for mankind -- and he will use those who are motivated by power, greed and fame.    

February 17, 2007 -- Los Angeles Times -- News Item by Louis Sahagun

This news feature about the Book of Revelation illustrates to a great degree the exploitation of scripture for the sake of fame and fortune.  Mss. Sahagun quotes Malcolm Yarnel, director of theological research at Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. "... if I wanted to make a lot of money in a hurry, I'd write a book saying  they (that headlines of today are mirrored in Revelation) were."  Many a writer has made his/her fortune writing on scripture themes, either as intellectual academia or pure fantasy and  fiction.

January, 2007 -- Christianity Today -- "Dethroned" an essay by David P. Gushee

Mr. Gushee's excellent essay clearly brings out the real issue of the Christian life, Who is Lord of my Life?  To truly live this lifestyle will bring to us "uncomfortable, sometimes scandalous demands", but "fame or power or education or career or success" can not be our lords.  This is especially true in the political/patriotic arena since "... no political leader, party, flag, nation, or ideology can share lordship over my life".

May 3, 2006 -- Knight Ridder Newspapers appearing in the Press Enterprise -- Editorial by Bill Tammeus

Mr. Tammeus writes in his column about a Muslim woman author of Standing Alone in Mecca: an American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam. Asra Nomani's expresses anger toward her religion of Islam as a result of its violent and terrorist activity, yet she claims that there is a side of Islam "...that doesn't have to be violent."  On this premise, she has launched a crusade to bring "a new school of law (Islam law) for the 21st century."  To the inquirer of truth, one wonders why these reformers of an erroneous religion struggle to bring peace and end violence in that religion?  If they truly are seeking a peaceful and loving religion, they need not struggle, they need not go any further then to come to Jesus Christ and accept Him as the true giver of life and peace. What hinders them?  Could it be the same syndrome that people in the western world express in their refusal to come to the author of life and salvation -- " this is the faith of my fathers, I was born in it and I will die in it"?

March 26, 2006 -- Knight Ridder Newspapers appearing in the Press Enterprise -- Editorial by Bill Tammeus

Mr. Tammeus addresses the struggle of separation of church and state quite forcibly, "People of faith ... should be working hard to keep government out of it (religion), except as a guarantor of religious freedom."  His editorial is a response to his perception that some U.S. Christians, fearing the immigration of multi-faiths from abroad, are reacting by trying to enact legislation to protect the "Christian God" of the historical Protestant foundation of this country.   As true Christians, we see this struggle as a non-issue.  Mr. Tammeus is correct in saying that "We people of faith will (should) worry about religion." and "Government should worry about public education, roads, civil rights and on and on."  However, we must clarify what he means by religion because religion that is based only on the betterment of temporal human affairs see their main calling as involvement with the affairs of this world (including political activism).  The religion of Jesus Christ is based on the establishment of an eternal kingdom ruled by "the Christian God" that will bring, not only "a shared national experience", but a shared universal experience of submission and glory to the Almighty Creator.

February 27,2006 -- The Press Enterprise -- Editorial by Leonard Pitts

Mr. Pitts expresses the fear of many of receiving the telephone call "when all nightmares seem possible".  He goes on to talk about such a call that made him " hate ... all my children and my wife and everyone else I love for how much I love them and for how love inevitably brings pain."  To this truth, he offers a solution " the smartest way to live is without affiliation -- no family, no friends, no children, no spouse, no pet, nobody who can hurt you" that he himself recognizes is the state of "a pathetic man who goes through life neither loving nor loved."   His honest accessment of life: "Life is a dance on the highwire above mortality.  It unfolds in the shadow of tragedies yet to come."   He concludes, "There's nothing you can do about it."  We agree wholeheartedly with this state of humanity that has no grasp of the eternal purposes of the Creator God.  Thank God, He has done something about it -- He has given us life everlasting in His Son Jesus Christ!

October 15,2005 -- Associated Press -- News Item by Tini Tran

A human interest story pertaining to faith after the Pakistan quake quotes a Moslem cleric, "All the happenings around us -- the tsunami, Hurricane Katrina -- all are part of God's wrath".  The Western world may attribute such thinking to Moslem fanatics, but the fact is that many Christians have also voiced such views.  Reactions to natural disasters vary from "I can no longer believe in a God that does such things" to "this disaster has brought me closer to God for I realized that He is in control".  Without passing judgment on these views, we opinionate that the Bible likens the natural woes of earth to birth pains (becoming more frequent and intense) -- implying that the birth of a new creation is about to take place.  Although we hurt and have compassion on the victims of these disasters, we can only say they are victims of the natural system where earth is suffering under the consequences of its rebellious condition. ( Rom 8:19, 22; Luke 13:4; Matt 24:8)

October, 2005 -- Christianity Today -- "The $65,000 Question" by Charles Colson

Charles Colson effectively brings out the truth that the value of humans is not based on dollars and cents or what they can contribute to mankind, but in the great truth that the virtue of love that is shared between humans is without measure.  We would add that the financial choices we make in our world should then be based on how we can promote a love relationship between the Giver of this virtue (our Creator) and His creatures and to extend this love throughout the world.

July, 2005 -- Christianity Today -- "Worship as Higher Politics?" Editorial

This editorial smacks right at the heart of the " conservative, evangelical, right wing, patriot" movement inside the Christian Church. The plain truth is stated in very clear language,

George W. Bush is not Lord. The Declaration of Independence is not an infallible guide to Christian faith and practice. Nor is the U.S. Constitution, nor the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights. "Original intent" of America's founders is not the hermeneutical key that will guarantee national righteousness. The American flag is not the Cross. The Pledge of Allegiance is not the Creed. "God Bless America" is not the Doxology.

As Christians, we want to be good citizens of our temporal countries in which the Lord put us to influence them for good, but we must never forget that our first priority for worship, devotion, loyalty and obedience is to our King Jesus Christ and His eternal Kingdom.  Those who dedicate their lives in the political arena to win the world for Christ without looking for the eternal kingdom and its interests are in danger of losing their loyalty to that kingdom. (see Change the World?)

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