Judging Others - Matthew

Who's supposed to do the Great Commission? Christians or the government?

Who’s supposed to do the Great Commission? Christians or the government?

Every Christian should know what the Great Commission is.  And pretty much everyone in the U.S. probably at least heard of separation of church and state.  So when someone receives an award for “Selfless and Steadfast Service in the Lord’s Vineyard” I expect them to understand the relationship between the Great Commission and the idea of separation of church and state.

Instead, we read a headline like the one of foxnews.com:

Barr says ‘notion’ of separation of church and state misunderstood because of ‘militant secularists’.

Trump religious freedom initiative

Trump’s New Religious Freedom Initiatives – what do they mean?

Trump Announces New Religious Freedom Initiatives.  And Evangelical leaders cheer.  But let’s be honest.  Exactly what do those religious freedom initiatives accomplish?  Oh yeah – businesses are going to be involved too.  Huh?  “Freedom of religion and belief can contribute to a rich pluralism that is itself associated with economic growth.”  Again – Huh?  And since the announcement was at the United Nations, they chimed in as well.  “The UN secretary-general António Guterres, seated to Trump’s right, thanked the President for his focus on religious freedom and praised the recent efforts of Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyib, to promote religious peace and fraternity. He announced two new UN initiatives to support religious freedom—a strategy against hate speech and an action plan to protect houses of worship.”  One more time – Huh?

I’m sorry but, is that what religion is really about?  Pluralism, a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., coexist?  Really?  Contributing to economic growth?  Really?  Religious fraternity?  Really?

Any Christian should be asking, what happened to salvation?

Blessed are the poor in spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit.  Seriously?  The poor in spirit are blessed?  That sounds so backwards!  It’s even more strange when it’s translated as happy are the poor in spirit!  It seems like it should be blessed are the rich in spirit.  And yet, that’s not what Jesus said.  So what did Jesus mean when He said what we now call the first of the Beatitudes?

Mt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When we read the whole verse, it sounds even more backwards.  How can the kingdom of Heaven be for those who are poor in spirit?  Isn’t it for the “good Christians” who are “rich in spirit”?

The problem of “Ask and you will receive”

Yes, John’s Gospel really does record Jesus saying “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete”.  And you know what?  If that was the only thing Jesus said – it might even mean what too many of us think it does / should mean.  But there are two problems with that line of thinking.

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I footnotes