Published by Andy Neckar
P.O. Box J Hico, TX 76457
Vol. 5, Number 3, March 1999
Inside This Newsletter
1. Religious Liberty in the Year 2000 and Beyond
2. NEW CHRISTIAN?
3. NEWS WATCH
4. CNV NOTES
Religious Liberty in the Year 2000 and Beyond
[By attorney David C. Gibbs. "Sword of the Lord" 2/5/99 edition. PO Box 1099, Murfreesboro, TN 37133. http://www.swordofthelord.com/]
What religious freedom will your children and grandchildren enjoy in the future? As America moves into the next century, the battle for continued religious liberty for Bible-believing Christians is at a watershed moment. If the Lord tarries His return, here are some of the cutting-edge religious liberty battles which churches and faith-based organizations may face in the next century.
The Freedom of Ministries to Win Children to Christ
Statistics indicate that more than eighty percent of those who trust Jesus Christ as their Savoir do so before the age of fourteen. As you think back to your own salvation experience, it was most likely in your childhood or teen years. Through the years, Sunday schools, vacation Bible Schools and Bible clubs have pointed countless millions to Jesus Christ. Will those ministries be able to exist in the legal climate of the next century?
Today, ministries are increasingly being threatened for winning children to Christ without their parents present. Many times a child is led to Christ at church and returns home to tell his unsaved mother or father of this joyous event in their life. Rather than being delighted, many parents are now suing or threatening lawsuits against the churches. Their complaints often focus on the fact that they gave permission for their children to attend church; but they claim they never gave permission for, and did not understand that their children would be encouraged to make, life-changing religious decisions.
The Freedom of Ministries to Remain Tax-Exempt
Churches and ministries are exempt from taxation in the country because our laws have traditionally recognized the existence of God. A fundamental tenet in American tax jurisprudence is the premise that only a greater may tax a lesser. The United States federal government, the greater, may tax a citizen of the United States, the lesser. The United States citizen, the lesser, may not tax the United States federal government, the greater.
The property and money of local churches and faith-based ministries have always been understood to be owned by God. Since no country, city, state or nation would hold itself out to be greater than God, the property of God was exempt from taxation because only a greater can tax a lesser.
Now in America, counties, cities, states and the United States federal Government are desperately looking for ways to increase revenue. As many in our nation no longer deem the property of churches and ministries to be owned by God, there are numerous attempts to tax ministries across a multitude of fronts.
The Freedom of Ministries to Help Hurting People
Can Jesus Christ heal the alcoholic? Can the Bible help the drug-addicted? Should churches feed and house the homeless?
The answer to all of the above questions is absolutely yes. Yet in America, as alcoholism and drug addiction are deemed to be medical diseases, questions arise as to whether individuals who are suffering from these afflictions may legally be assisted through Bible teaching or whether this would now constitute practicing medicine without a license.
Traditionally, ministries in this country have been free to address the problems in their own communities. If people were hungry, churches and ministries fed them. If people were without shelter, churches and ministries housed them. Now, many ministries attempting to serve in these ways are told that these types of ministries are illegal and are not allowed in any manner whatsoever. The concept is that the government must now regulate and control all forms of social service.
The Freedom of Parents to Make Educational Choices for Their Children.
Does the government hold a monopoly on education? Must all children be educated by the state, or do parents and local churches still have the freedom to provide educational alternatives for their children? Will Christian parents be disadvantaged for making Bible-based decisions for their children?
Recent case trends provide some very disturbing answers to these questions. For almost thirty years, courts and legislatures have protected the right of Christian schools to exist. Now a more difficult legal battle has emerged nationwide discrimination against Christian school students and graduates.
At a recent federal court hearing, the state argued that any decision made by a Christian parent that runs contrary to what the state deems best will result in the child's being disadvantaged by the state. Period. No exceptions. No flexibility. The government can punish decisions with which it does not agree.
This legal attach on parental choice is not limited to a few isolated incidents. Out legal missionary staff receives numerous telephone calls daily from Christian school students who are being disadvantaged for having attended a Christian school. They are being told that their credits or diplomas from Christian schools will not be recognized. Implicit in the arguments put forward by the government authorities in these cases is an alarming message parents cannot be trusted!
If a child attends church every Sunday, he/she will be under Christian teaching approximately 78 hours each year. In comparison, that same child will be taught in school 1,260 hours each year and will watch an additional 1,260 hours of television each year. It is imperative that parents be free to make decisions regarding such profound influences in the lives of their children.
Battles for Pastors to Preach
Will the preaching of the future be deemed "hate speech"? While America has become a land of "toleration," it seems that all messages are now tolerated except those based on the absolute truth of the Word of God. Once a pastor speaks from a Bible-based position on which he is not willing to negotiate or compromise, in today's climate he is often considered to a "dangerous extremist." While Christians are clearly commanded to love and not to be engaged in hate speech of any kind, there is a legitimate risk that the definition of "hate speech" could be expanded to include Bible preaching on abortion, homosexuality, or any other politically sensitive issue which may arise.
Battles for the Christian Family
Some key court decisions will be made in the next few years. Will marriage in the United States of America remain limited to one man and one woman, or will same-sex marriages be given legal validity? Will judges in divorce and child-custody hearings be ordering parents not to share Jesus Christ with their children? Will the judges declare that that spiritual training is not in the "best interest of the child." Will children be allowed to divorce their parents and choose where and with whom they will live?
Battles for Christian Free Speech
Hardly a week goes by without telephone calls to the Christian Law Association from Christians who are being told that they cannot share their faith in the public streets and parks of America. Such calls are shocking because streets and parks have always been the places where Americans have been free to gather to share ideas even unpopular ideas. Historically, courts have particularly protected the right of Americans to share their religious beliefs with others on the public streets and in the public parks of America. Such places, usually referred to as "the public square," have traditionally been considered the most appropriate place for the exchange of ideas between citizens.
It is alarming to receive calls from Christians who have been arrested for sharing their faith in public streets and parks. Desperate calls have come from street preachers who have had their sound equipment confiscated by police while all around them bands with amplifiers were "entertaining" the public with out interference. Church groups have been arrested for being "too noisy" as they distributed tracts in front of casinos and bars or at the entrances to fairs, even while the noise level of these other activities was significantly louder then the calls to salvation.
Christian Witness in the Public Schools
A second-grade child was told by her teacher that she could not distribute tracts to her classmates. The second grader was in tears, thinking that she had done something "bad" at school. Our attorneys immediately assured her that she had not done anything "bad." The fact was that the teacher had done something illegal in preventing her from passing out tracts to her friends. The literature distribution had not been done during class time, and it had not been disruptive. A legal opinion letter resolved the problem.
The little girl continued to take tracts to school. Eventually, many in her class were saved, and some of these children started attending her church. The next step was that she began to use her recess time to conduct Bible studies with her friends. Later, she was interviewed for a radio broadcast. Why had she so much wanted to witness to her friends in school, she was asked. The little girl replied that it was because she always saw her daddy winning souls to Jesus and she wanted to do the same thing!
In America, Christian children in the public schools should not have to leave their Christianity on the schoolhouse steps. All too often they are asked to do just that!
Christian Testimony in the Workplace
The Christian Law Association receives numerous calls each week from employees who have been discriminated against by their employers on the basis of their religious beliefs. These calls generally involve religious convictions against working on Sunday, or workplace prohibitions against reading or distributing religious posters and witnessing to fellow employees. In one case, while a crew of outdoor workers were taking shelter waiting for a severe storm to subside, a worker was reprimanded for reading his Bible, even though other employees were reading newspapers and other books. Such conduct is clearly unconstitutional on the part of the employer.
What Is The Answer
According to the Word of God, the answer for our country is not in the courtroom, the legislative hall or the ballot box. The answer is in the home, the church house and the prayer closet. Second Chronicles 7:14 commands God's people to humble themselves, pray, seek His face and turn from their wicked ways. It is only when those conditions are met that God promises to heal their land.
Religious liberty in the year 2000 and beyond will be determined by our level of obedience to His clear command. The religious freedom enjoyed in the future will be the result of spiritual decisions made today.
Every Christian Should Seek The Answer To This Question.
Lord, What Wilth Thou Have Me To Do? Acts 9:6
Your Life Truly Begins Anew.
You have repented of your sins and trusted Jesus Christ and received Eternal Life. Now you are ready to start living a life that pleases God. You want to be a successful Christian.
This month shall be unto you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you. Exodus 12:12
HERE IS HOW YOUR LIFE BEGAN
1. You Were Born-Again, Hence You Became:
A babe in Christ. I Peter 2:2
And a Son of God. John 1:12 and John 3:3, 5, 7
2. This Salvation Came Not:
By your own goodness or morality.
By your keeping the Ten Commandments.
By your observance of the "Golden Rule."
By your participation in the "Lord's Supper."
By your joining the Church.
3. This Salvation Was:
A Gift of God.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8, 9
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1 "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." Romans 10:17
By Believing with the Heart.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9, 10
4. This Salvation Is:
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:28
You can never lose it. (Read Romans 8:35-39)
You can, however, lose the JOY of it.
"Restore unto me the JOY of thy salvation;" Psalms 51:12
You need to know how to get the most out of your Christian Life. "I am come that they might have LIFE, and that they might have it more ABUNDANTLY." John 10:10
STEPS TO A HAPPY CHRISTIAN LIFE
1. PUBLIC CONFESSION of your faith in Christ as Saviour.
This means that as quickly as possible after salvation, you should take your stand publicly in a regular church service declaring that you have been saved.
a. This is usually done during the "invitation hymn" that is sung at the close of each service.
b. This is done in obedience to what Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:32
" whosoever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed." Romans 10:11
c. This will not only help you and bless your life, but it will be a testimony to others who need to do the same thing, and will influence those about you.
2. BAPTISM .which is Immersion in water of one who has already been saved.
a. Baptism is a picture of Christ's death, burial and resurrection.
b. Baptism is an outward picture to the world of what has taken place in your own heart and life.
Death to Sin.
Burial of the Old Life.
Resurrection to walk in newness of life.
c. Baptism is the answer of a Good Conscience toward God.
"The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the puffing away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." I Peter 3:21
d. Baptism is the door to the Church.
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Acts 2:41
Though Baptism does not save you, nor help save you, nor keep you saved, it is a vital link in a happy Christian life.
Scriptural Baptism requires:
1.A Saved Candidate.
2.The right method - immersion.
3.The right motive-act of obedience to God
3. REGULAR AT'TENDANCE at services of a local of the Church.
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
a. It is here that your soul is fed.
b. It is here you are surrounded by fellow Christians who can and will help you.
d. It is here you are constantly reminded of what Christ has done for you, and your heart is kept warm and grateful.
e. It is here you will be able to serve Him who loved you and died for your sins, for the Church is His body, and He works in and through His body of which He is the Head.
4. PRAYER LIFE
This means to talk with Him anytime and anywhere. "Pray without ceasing." I Thessalonians 5:17
a. Prayer is the "sincere desire of the heart."
b. Begin every day with Prayer.
"Whisper a prayer in the morning,
Whisper a prayer at noon,
Whisper a prayer in the evening,
To keep your heart in tune."
c. The gate of Prayer is NEVER SHUT.
Start now to form the habit of a daily quiet time. Decide on a time, preferably in the morning.
Decide on a place, where you will be alone and uninterrupted.
d. To Pray is the greatest thing you can do; and to do it well there must be CALMNESS, TIME and DELIBERATION.
"If you are too busy to Pray, you are too busy!"
e. Anything that is big enough to concern you, is not too small a matter for which to pray.
f. To live without prayer, is to live without His power.
5. DAILY BIBLE READING
The Bible is God's personal letter to YOU. His WORD
It is a " Light unto our feet." Psalms 119:105
a. When you read the Bible
Remember that God is speaking to you.
Believe what God says.
Do what God commands.
b. Read slowly --"tasting the words."
c. Underline passages that impress you. Note passages you need to have explained.
d. Meditate daily upon what you read, recalling it many times during the day.
e. Every chapter in the Bible is a finger of God pointing out the way of life and the path of duty.
"Blessed Bible, sacred treasure,
Precious Book of all the best
There is Comfort, never failing
And a calm abiding rest."
"Read with reverence, and commit it,
Verse by verse, and day by day
It's the Word that God has spoken
And it shall not pass away."
f. Reading the Bible will be one of your most interesting experiences.
START BY READING:
The Gospel of John.
I John (to gain assurance).
James (to teach us how to live before men)
Psalms (Devotional reading)
6. CONSECRATE YOUR ALL.
"My life, 0 Lord, I give to thee,
My talents, time, and all;
I'll serve Thee Lord and faithful be,
I'll hear thy faintest call."
a. Give a portion of your income to the support of your local church
Every Scripture that commands or invites us to give, promises us greater material prosperity.
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38
b. Strive to live a CHRIST-CENTERED LIFE.
Let your MIND be one through which Christ thinks.
Let your HEART be one through which Christ loves.
Let your VOICE be one through which Christ speaks.
Let your HAND be one through which Christ helps.
Let your FEET be those through which Christ walks.
Let your EARS hear for Christ.
Let your EYES see for Christ.
Strive to be more patient, kind, loving, joyous, and unselfish day by day.
EACH NIGHT survey the day's activities. Profit tomorrow by today's failures.
IN A QUESTIONABLE SITUATION ask yourself:
"What does the Bible teach?"
"What does the Holy Spirit say?"
Never do that which you know the Bible forbids.
Remember--in all things God said, " my grace is sufficient for thee." II Corinthians 12:9
c. Be a SOUL-WINNER.
He Saved you, He can Save Others.
Any Christian CAN win souls.
Every Christian SHOULD win souls.
Do not wait for people to come to you.
"Go ye therefore ..." Matthew 28:18 " and ye shall be witnesses unto me..." Acts 1:8
Start NOW by telling your family and friends that you are a Christian. Give your Personal Testimony as Paul gave his on numerous occasions.
"Give me a faithful
Like to Thee,
That each departing day
Henceforth may see
Some work of love begun
Some deed of kindness done,
Some wand'rer sought and won,
Something for Thee."
Make this the motto of your life:
"Only one life
'Twill soon be past;
Only what's done for Christ
"I expect to pass through this world but once;
Any good thing, therefore, that I can do,
Or any kindness that I can show to a human being,
Or a word that I can speak for Jesus,
Let me do it NOW: let me not neglect nor defer it."
For I shall not pass this way again.
I. Other Christians are praying for you, and we have confidence that you will be a great Christian and a faithful soul winner for Jesus.
2. If you do yield to temptation and do that which is not right, turn to: I John 1:9
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
3. In most cases the Pastor/Pastors (those who oversee the assembly) is willing, ready, and able to help you with your spiritual problems, large or small. Go to him; confide in him. He will give you Bible answers. He will join in prayer with you. He will encourage you in your service for Christ.
The Gift of God Purchased with Money
The Brownsville Assembly of God, located in Pensacola, Florida, is famous for the "Pensacola Outpouring," but the Pensacola News Journal has revealed that the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry has featured a missionary who not only claims to have raised the dead, but who gave "how-to-do-it" lectures to students. The school sells the four-video series "Faith to Raise the Dead" in which David Hogan, a missionary to Mexico, details how he got the power to bring the dead back to life through intense fasting and prayer. "You ain't ever met anybody in our generation that has touched as many dead men and let them get up as I have," Hoga says on one of the videos (Fundamentalist Digest, 11-12/98).
[Editor] I don't put stock in Hogan's power to "raise the dead", but I do believe that maybe some of the dear departed great men of God would "turn over in the grave" if they were to witness these "last days apostasy" we are entering into.
Were the apostles "taught" or "trained" to work miracles or were they "empowered" by the Holy Spirit. (of God) I do this to remind you that there are "other spirits" at work in the religious field. Anyway-take a look at this.
Acts 8:19-23 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
The Three Persons Association
The American Psychiatric Association's board voted unanimously to reject therapy aimed at turning homosexuals into heterosexuals, saying it can cause depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior. "All evidence would indicate this is the way people are born," said Dr. Nada Stotland, head of the association's joint committee on public affairs. The American Psychological Association made a similar decision last year (Ann Arbor [Mich.] News, 12/13/98).
[Editor] Sodomy doesn't CAUSE self-destructive behavior it IS self-destructive behavior. I do admit however, that Psychiatric and Psychological treatment has no power to TRANSFORM a life. The Holy Spirit in ASSOCIATION with the Father and the Son is the ONLY help available. The THREE PERSONS ASSOCIATION method of transformation/change is this.
Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
They can be saved. (Rom 1:16).
They can be changed.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things (homosexual lifestyle) are passed away; behold, all things are become new". (2 Cor 5:17)
AGAIN They CAN be changed
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor ABUSERS OF THEMSELVES WITH MANKIND, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor 6:9-11) [capitol letters are mine, words are God's]
God did not create them this way. God calls sodomy sin.
1 Cor 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
Did God create sin? Did God introduce sin into heaven and earth, or did Lucifer, that old Devil called Satan? Is it because of the First Adam we have this sin nature?
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
By one angel Lucifer) sin entered into heaven and through Lucifer (Satan) by Adam sin entered into the world.
1 Cor 15:45-47 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
Adam was created (without a human father) sinless as Christ was born (without a human father) sinless. The first Adam failed (sinned) and the second and last Adam triumphed and paid the penalty for sin. This victory that Christ won is now imputed to those who repent and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15)
Was Adam created with a sin nature?
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: " Gen 1:26)
If homosexuals (sodomites) are created in the "alternate lifestyle" manner, so was Adam. If Adam was, then God has a sin nature, as Adam was created in God's IMAGE and LIKENESS.
PREPOSTEROUS? YES! Definitely so. But then so is the "we were born that way" claim of the Homosexuals.
Well folks, Community Bible Chapel here in Hico officially opens it's doors Sunday, March 7th. Please pray for us.
We will meet here in the garage conversion part of my home. It is sorta oblong in size. The pulpit, pews (padded chairs with arm rests) pedestal tables with plants, communion table, literature rack and table, hymnals, ect are all in place.
KJV New Testament Bibles in English and Spanish are to be offered free of charge in the local newspaper. They will be inserted with the church constitution of the Bible Chapel and stamped with the church name and phone number.
A free newspaper column for "church news" is available as it is for the other churches here in Hico. This will be taken advantage of, and church ads will be placed in area papers this week. I am kinda nervous, but I know the Lord will enable me to stand.
I will write more about the ministry workload and now the church workload next month. Please pray for me.
See you next month if Jesus tarries.
We Must Earnestly Contend For The Faith. -Jude 1:3
[The Christian News & Views is a free monthly publication of Messengers of Christ Ministries. PO Box J, Hico, Texas 76457, a nonprofit (501-(C)-3) organization registered in the State of Texas. [Articles by the editor are not copyrighted and may be used to the glory of God.] Please indicate the source.]