Is religion just a fear tactic used to control people?

screamThat is often the accusation used by unbelievers in their attempts to argue that Christianity is invalid. But is that argument itself a valid one? As any of us who have lived long enough knows, fear can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the situation. We have healthy fears that preserve our lives, such as the fear of walking into a busy roadway without looking in every direction first. We also have unhealthy fears, like being afraid of going to the doctor for checkups with the illogical assumption doctors only give bad news.

The truth is that the preaching of the genuine gospel can sometimes be a fear tactic. And that’s fine with God because the dangerous consequences of not heeding the gospel are real. God has given us license to use fear tactics when they are based on his truth in pointing people to the true and living God because God’s control of someone’s life is good control with positive end results. Since God has proven himself to be 100% righteous and trustworthy, the end justifies the means here.

According to Jude, we must depend on wisdom from the Holy Ghost with prayer, mercy, and love to know when fear tactics are necessary and when they should be avoided since God has two basic tactics of drawing people to him. Notice here what Jude says:

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

We are to go out of our way to show overwhelming compassion toward some of the unsaved people he mentions in the preceding verses (v. 15-19) because some unbelievers only require a very gentle nudge to get God’s message across. Then there are others who need to be scared straight with an urgent hellfire and brimstone message to be shown how serious their situation really is (even to the point of yanking them out of the fire) and how appalled God is at their behavior with a display of disgust at the very tools they use to promote their sin. This is what Jude refers to using the symbolic phrase at the end of v. 23 which also shows up in Zechariah 3:4.

Paul also said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” 2 Corinthians 5:11. In other words, hell ain’t no joke. Proverbs 24:11-12 also makes this plain.

If we want to be frank about fear tactics, even Christianity’s critics use them for control. Fear is used to persuade people not to believe in Jesus by making them believe the lie their lives will be over if they do or that their lives will be boring and ruined if they have to give up their pet sin (despite the fact their pet sin has already ruined their lives). Fear is used by socialists to threaten, bully, and badger people with violence and/or surveillance if they choose not to comply. Fear is used by liberals for mind control to brainwash people into thinking those who don’t think like them are out to keep them from what they’re entitled to, therefore they should envy and become a scofflaw if necessary to get what they want. Environmentalists use it. Educators use it.

Fear tactics for control are in every segment of society. So the question we should really ask is “Is this controlling fear tactic for genuine good or genuine evil?”

Rejoicing in a clear conscience of godly simplicity and sincerity

rejoiceThere’s nothing like being able to spend time with a genuine Christian who isn’t perfect but who shows that even if they face challenges they are determined to ultimately do what pleases the Lord. Based on what we see in Paul’s writings, that’s the type of person he was thanks to the Lord doing mighty works in his life. Despite his facing death threats and many other troubles, Paul was able to share these words:

12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end; 2 Corinthians 1

He was hated by many, slandered and defamed by many, attacked by many, and had many other troubles, but was able to rejoice in the fact his conscience in himself and before God was completely clear. How did he manage that? By his simplicity and godly sincerity that he had in his conversation (i.e. his lifestyle–public and private) as he submitted to the grace of God.

What was this simplicity and godly sincerity Paul speaks of? It was his inner, Holy Spirit-led determination to stay true to the Lord’s will no matter what. His simplicity meant, as explained by the 1828 Webster’s dictionary, that he had “a fair open profession and practice of evangelical truth, with a single view to obedience and to the glory of God.” Paul was so focused on the Lord that he was not double minded. He did not vacillate or contradict himself or God. He wasn’t wishy-washy with his morals. What he distinguished as sin or righteousness months before were the same things he pointed out as sin or righteousness in the present. That’s why he avoided fleshly wisdom, which is marked by contradictions, instability, and ungodly compromises.

The ability to stay focused on simplicity brought forth his godly sincerity. He was genuinely, sincerely in tune with the Lord’s wishes. Paul sincerely communicated with the Lord who sincerely communicated back to him by the Holy Spirit. He knew how to lovingly “keep it real” for the Lord’s sake and this led to his God-blessed lifestyle (conversation) of spiritual gifts to flow “more abundantly” to churches, like Corinth, that he ministered to. And that abundance not only flowed to churches back then. It flows out to us today if we follow Paul’s example, embracing and acknowledging the words he wrote by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration.

That’s how we can rejoice like Paul did in the testimony of his conscience. It’s sad to see when churches avoid these simple principles. For example, this church in Alabama, that is now suing its pastor after he admitted to having affairs with women in the church while he had AIDS and then admitted to abusing drugs. The signs of his evil doings must have been seen somewhere along the way since he was pastor since 1990. Now this pastor has gone rogue and changed the locks to the church facilities and attempted to freeze the board out of the church bank accounts. All of this could have been avoided if they had used spiritual discernment years ago.

Nevertheless, Paul’s words and examples like this church can serve to encourage us that we can be better and do better with the Lord’s help.

Harry A. Gaylord

Houston’s city leaders use pro-gay ordinance to demand copies of pastors’ sermons

Houston’s city attorneys have assumed the role of Nazi fascists by using Houston’s non-discrimination pro-gay ordinance as a basis for doling out subpoenas to several pastors throughout the city to hand their sermons and all communications with church members over to the city for inspection to see what they may have said about homosexuality, transgenders, and the lesbian mayor, Annise Parker. When the non-discrimination ordinance was being discussed and promoted, assurances were given by the mayor and city leaders that churches and small businesses would be exempt. But, of course, lieberals have been known to lie to get their way. That’s what has happened in Houston.

Tacked onto the ordinance was a bathroom bill that mandated all bathroom and restroom facilities to be open for use to both men and women to accommodate transgenders. Many Houston residents then signed a petition in opposition to the bathroom bill so it could be placed on the ballot for a citywide vote. After the petition was submitted with tens of thousands more signatures than the law required, city leaders made up an excuse to toss it out and a lawsuit was filed by petitioners in response. The city council and city attorneys then decided to distribute the subpoenas to the pastors as payback, just like any devoted socialist fascist would, even though the pastors subpoenaed were not parties in the suit. Contempt of court charges with possible jail time have been threatened for any pastor who fails to comply.

The Alliance Defending Freedom issued a statement about the move, which says in part, “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.” One pastor has gone on the record stating, “We are not going to yield our First Amendment rights. This is absolutely a complete abuse of authority.” This proves once again what history has shown us–when radical socialists/atheists/progressives/liberals gain power, they trample on others’ God-given and constitutional freedoms because their deep-seated hatred prompts them to do so. Satan’s principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places have shown themselves, which means Christians must respond with prayer to gain wisdom to combat the ungodly forces and take legal action against a blatant violation of the Constitution.

Source: Todd Starnes, City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons, FoxNews.com, October 14, 2014.

Obama admin’s Susan Rice shares wrong info again–this time re:Turkey

The Obama administration never seems to get enough of sticking their feet in their mouths or not verifying info before they share it or just flat out lying. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, the one who lied to us about Benghazi, showed up on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and gave us a message of hope that later turned out not to be true. Here’s a clip of her interview:

Turkey’s so-called agreement was really no agreement whatsoever as shown here:

Although this second video is full of excuses why Turkey is reluctant to let NATO forces use its air bases, the real reason is that Turkey and other New World Order interests see ISIS as a means to an end and are secretly supporting ISIS, just like Vice President Biden stated in a speech several days ago–comments he later dialed back (guess he wasn’t supposed to let the cat out of the bag) after Turkey vehemently denied it by feigning indignance at such a prospect. Turkey has not hidden the fact that they want a Middle Eastern Union (i.e. a caliphate), a move which will serve to push the world closer to welcoming the Antichrist who I believe will come from Turkey.

The traditional news media outlets continue to give the masses reasons not to trust them with all the misinformation being bandied about. “Meet the Press” has been struggling in its ratings since the passing of Tim Russert, making changes recently to turn things around. And wouldn’t you know it? The current administration, who they have been so cozy with, has left them looking like fools. I don’t think they should count on their ratings going up any time soon if they continue to shell out this type of junk.

Harry A. Gaylord

God didn’t call us to have ‘Hebrew Roots’ to be saved

Yesterday, a comment was submitted to the “My Beliefs” page here on my blog. Laura, the commenter, had some concerns about the Hebrew Roots movement and asked for my opinions on it. For some reason, even though I had all my settings selected correctly to display all of the latest approved comments in the right column of the screen on my blog, her comment and my response failed to be displayed. So I’m presenting them here in full since this is an important topic and many in the church are buying into the deceptions of the Hebrew Roots movement.

–Laura–

‘Hi Harry, I have enjoyed reading your posts.
I have several relatives who have converted to the Hebrew Roots Movement . Do you know much about this? We have not had a close relationship with them since the conversion. They have told us the name Jesus is false and he will not hear us unless he is called on by His proper name. They celebrate the sabbath on Saturday and believe it is a sin if you do not. They’ve told us that God does not see our hearts motive until we are obedient to His laws.
I know from a life spent discovering Christ that this is false. However, the most troubling aspect of this, which makes it hard to defend Christianity, is that they always point to the fact that our translation of the bible is corrupt and false. That the gospels and particular Paul’s words were screwed by bias translators and that we do not have the correct scriptures.
I’ve done my own research on this but am having a hard time finding anything concrete to cling to.
I really am not questioning my faith through this, but it has made me desire as acurate a translation as possible.
I would love your thoughts and suggestions.
Thanks.’

–Harry A. Gaylord–

‘Hi, Laura.

Thanks for sharing. The Hebrew Roots Movement is very legalistic in its teachings. You can pretty much dismiss everything they say since they believe in a works-based salvation that requires one to fulfill the law to get to heaven.

To find out about God’s word, the Bible, you can read these posts I wrote:

http://sunandshield.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/war-of-words-the-bibles-manuscripts/

http://sunandshield.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/war-of-words-saints-scribes/

http://sunandshield.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/manuscript-evidence-the-new-testaments-firm-reliability/

http://sunandshield.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/war-of-words-comparing-bible-versions/ 


 

This false doctrine has caused such an uproar that there are many other websites and YouTube videos that have debunked and exposed them if you care to research further on this topic. I found the YouTube video above by going to a search engine and typing in ‘hebrew roots movement exposed.’

 

Harry A. Gaylord

Having each other’s six in the church

i've got your sixChristian congregations were designed by God to operate like a well-trained military unit. Our strength is not only found in the Godhead with Jesus as the captain of our host, but we are supposed to spiritually and materially have each other’s six. If you know military terminology, you know having someone’s six means you’ve got their back–you’re looking out for their best interest by being prepared to sacrifice yourself if necessary.

The apostle Paul, speaking by the Holy Spirit, in several places let the church know this was how they were to carry out their mission, especially when it came to defending worthy leaders. Concerning Timothy, he told the Corinthian church,

10 Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.

11 Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren. 1 Corinthians 16

Paul instructed them to make sure they alleviated any potential fears Timothy would have. One way they were to do this was by watching his six to make sure no one despised him as he carried out the godly ministry he was called to do in the time he was at their church. Like we should do for our godly leaders, Paul expected them to do whatever was within the bounds of godliness to make sure Timothy conducted his work in peace while in their midst and as he made his way to meet Paul abroad.

Similar instructions elsewhere from Paul were also applied to other church leaders as well as to lay members. It was understood that these actions were to be reciprocated because Paul also instructed Timothy,

12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 1 Timothy 4

Churches looked out for Timothy and Timothy was supposed to look out for the churches by exercising his spiritual and material gifts to encourage the church in godly works. Not only were churches told to let no man despise him, Timothy was supposed to be prepared to defend himself under godly means by letting no man despise him. So having each other’s six takes into account both corporate responsibility AND personal, individual responsibility. The two should be in synch. Therefore,

  • Paul expected the church to give funds and material necessities to ministers (1 Cor. 9:7-11, 14), but he also had a job outside the church to pay his own way (2 Thess. 3:8-10).
  • Paul expected the saints to pray for him (2 Cor. 1:11), but he also prayed for them and for himself (Rom. 15:30, Eph. 1:1).
  • We are expected to bear each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), but also bear our own burdens (Gal. 6:5).
  • We are supposed to look out for the well-being and safety of other saints (Phil. 2:4), but also mind our own business to care for ourselves (2 Thess. 3:10-12).
  • Once we acknowledge and deal with our own sins and faults, we can point out the sins and faults of others to help them deal with theirs (Matt. 7:3-5, 1 Tim. 1:15, James 5:16).

Harry A. Gaylord

 

Porn is the elephant in the room for Christian men

“It’s abundantly clear that pornography is one of the biggest unaddressed problems in the church,” says Joel Hesch of Proven Men Ministries, a group that recently sponsored a Barna Group study of 388 men who said they were Christian.

Chained to computerThe findings in the survey were disturbing. As far as how the survey was done, I wonder if surveying 388 men is really a broad enough scope. Churches are up against a lot in these last days. It’s bad enough having to be concerned about attacks from outside the church body, but when a congregation has to deal with people in their midst and in leadership that may be secretly under the influence of pornography, how should it be addressed?

The survey reveals Christian men 18-49 are struggling with this in a big way, whether they be single or married. Here’s a sampling of the stats:

77% of the men 18-30, 55% of the married men, and 64% of men 31-49 view porn at least monthly.

32% of those 18-30 and 18% of those 31-49 admit they are addicted to porn.

35% of the married men who viewed porn said they had a sexual affair.

77% of men 31-49 said they viewed porn at work in the last 3 months.

Could it be that the influence of pornography is why evangelical and traditional Protestant congregations have problems with sexual molestation going on? Does its influence contribute to spousal abuse & emotional disengagement in marriage & fatherhood in the church? Is it a factor in those who struggle with mental illnesses like severe depression in the church? Whatever it’s negative effects may be, I believe God has given his church more than enough resources to confront this problem in love, wisdom, and grace without fear, if a congregation so chooses to put God’s resources to use as stated in the following verses:

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 1 Thess. 5

——–

12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Cor. 10

——–

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6

Source: Shocker: Study Shows Most Christian Men Are Into Porn, CharismaNews.com, October 7, 2014.

Harry A. Gaylord