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JESUS IS LORD!!

ASK RODGER TOUGH QUESTIONS

DR RODGER BARRIER

Roger-Tough Questions

07/07/08

Author: Roger Barrier

I am excited and deeply humbled when given the opportunity to deal with your tough theological questions. Every pastor must wrestle with questions about Biblical interpretation, Christian living and practice. What about homosexuality, pornography, church and state separation, the Trinity, the second coming of Christ or spiritual gifts? These are issues that both divide and define us. As one pastor, I have sought to find my own answers to these and other issues every Christian must face. Because I express my own opinion, I want to affirm those who have their own ideas and theological interpretations. When it gets down to it, those of us who have made Christ our Savior and Lord will stand together before the firing squad for our faith. At that moment, we will be brothers and partners and will not quibble about details. I believe there are few indisputable tenets that we must hold to be believers in Jesus. Read our Statement of Faith page on our site. You are also welcome to search our site for sermons on these topics. These essential doctrines are some that I hold dear. Let me say that to be asked to tackle your own queries is both a priviledge and a great responsibility. I am honored by your willingness to be vulnerable and discuss these challenges with me every week. Keep asking, and I’ll keep trying!!!

Roger

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Comments

My teenager started reading a book this weekend that really seems to be the rage with teenage girls. It's called Twilight. By Stephenie Meyer. I have not really looked into it yet but she tells me it's about vampires. Her friend has already read the first chapter or so to her and she tells me she's not sure if it's a book she really "should" be reading it but she is really into it now and wants to continue. She wants to know what God has to say about vampires. Could you help me here. I don't have an answer for her. Thank you, Barb

Barb Alvies , 07/22/08 01:43 PM

I have heard many creationists claim that the earth is only about 6,000 years old, a number they get by studying the bible…
However we know that there is a fixed speed of light, light can only go so far so fast.

How can all of creation be only 6000 years old when with my naked eye I can see the Andromeda galaxy 2.4 million light years away?

Joseph Holmes , 07/06/10 02:10 AM

I have a situation right now where my heart is truly broken and am at a loss for what to do. Two years ago this past February I was put into a situation between my best friend and her husband. He told me that he had fallen out of love with her as his wife but loved her as a friend only. He told me he's felt like this for a couple of years.
The gentleman I speak of is Jesse A. Smith Jr. Right now he's been involved with another woman while stsill married to my best friend. He says that his feelings will NOT change and I had better stay out of their "business" from now on. Thing is I am not the only one involved. My best friends Aunt and Cousin are also involved as well.
How can I prove to him that what he's doing is NOT what God has planned for his life at the present time? I need help. Becky

Becky Small , 07/14/10 06:13 PM

Did God say that he was a jealous God or did man say that God said it? And He did, than why did he tell us not to be jealous?

Sandy Koppes , 08/02/10 10:50 PM

As believers (adult children of the deceased) are they obligated to honor their deceased mother's oral/written request that certain siblings are not allowed to attend funeral services or view the body in privacy before burial, due to past family disagreements? As her siblings we chose not to share with her children their mother's mishandling of our elderly father's monies since our dad chose her as his Power of Attorney. We have kept it quiet so that we would not cause distress to her children and/or dishonor our sister.

PHYLLIS DURREE , 08/11/10 04:02 PM

Hey Roger!
I am dying to know your thoughts on Rob Bell's teaching. I grew up at Casas and sat under your biblical teaching. From what I've studied of Rob Bell, his theology is way off. It absolutely breaks my heart to see Casas teaching his videos and books in their classes.
What do you think?

summer murphy , 08/17/10 10:12 AM

Why won't churches engage in church discipline as specified in Matthew 18?

My ex-wife was engaged in an affair back in 2003, and I approached my church about this. Of course, the first thing I was asked was what did I do to cause her to have the affair.

After I picked my jaw up from the floor, after all, this was a well educated Southern Baptist preacher who had to know by that time (since he was near retirement) that folks choose sin, and not forced into it, and certainly not by other people.

Anyway, I asked him for help, and he simply said to be more loving. I asked for a mentor, I asked for an intervention, I asked if the church would approach her in the manner specified in Matthew 18.

I was told that they don't do that, it doesn't work.

Needless to say, I've not been back to that church and have since divorced, found a new place to worship, etc.

But I have to wonder why the church seems to be so unwilling to follow scripture. My objective was to save the marriage, not gain some sort of morally superior position. After all, my ex-wife had legitimate complaints about the marriage. However, as long as she was engaged in the affair and pursuing divorce, there was no way for me to address them. She was in the fantasy of the affair, and anything bad I had ever done was magnified 1000x and compared to the fantasy she had going on, dreaming about how life would be once she was free of me and able to be with her married other man.

If I understand the process, the sin is confronted, and the sinner has a chance to speak as well. If she had complaints about me, she would have been free to present then and list the changes she wanted.

But since no one would confront her, not the church, not her family, none but me, and she certainly didn't want me given she was so smitten with her affair partner, there was no hope.

She got the divorce she wanted, and now there is another broken family.

What struck me odd was this was when churches were so up in arms about gay marriage. Now I'm not in favor of gay marriage, but since homosexuality is about 2% of the population, should there have been 50X as much effort on saving existing marriages, instead of fighting the 2% who wanted gay marriage.

I certainly understand the valid criticism of those who are for gay marriage. We as a community of believers have done a horrible job of protecting existing marriages. The divorce stats tell the story. There is little or no difference between marriage survival rates inside as well as outside the church.

Based on my former churches response, I'm beginning to understand why. I guess this has become more of a rant than a question. If you find anything useful to spark discussion, then feel free to use it.

I guess my bottom line question is if God is so "pro family" why are his people so lousy at preserving families in the church? Tools such as mentors, loving confrontation as spelled out in Matthew 18 and other tools are available. But it seems we are looking outward, and not looking to God for answers.

Thanks for reading my rant.

Tony

Tony Bright , 08/20/10 08:45 AM

What is the biblical standpoint on hypnosis?

Kyra Bradley , 09/21/10 04:50 PM

Roger:

President Obama keeps touting about his belief in "Collective Salvation". What's the scoop? Is this a true Christian theory?

Thanks, Mark

Mark Cochran , 10/20/10 10:49 PM

Roger,

I responded to a Sunday nght sermon of yours in 1980. I asked God to make me a man after his own heart no matter the cost I had been seeing Steve Dowdle for a fear and anxiety problem at this time and was told to repeat perfect love casteth out all fear whenever fear was attacking me. I had 2 incidences on baseball fields soon after. I was filled with the increased presence of the Lord about 4 hours later it was like the Lord had left me. The only way I knew that he hadent was the way this changed my vision. Steve wanted me to read the book Hinds feet on high places. I read the book about 1 year ago now. I would like to speak with you and Steve anytime regarding my path to this point and where I am spiritually. I realize this is almost 30 years later and Steve may not remember this.

Larry Moser , 01/02/11 08:33 PM

Roger,
You probably think that me trying to speak with you after 30 years is strange. You probably dont have a clue who I am. My brother is Tom Moser and my sster is Diane Weeks. This may help. I think my dad did some upholstery for you and Julie many years ago. In 1980 I was turned on to your expository type preaching by my brother Tom. I was glued to your sermons. My wife taught school at Palo Verde Christian high school with Melony Watson. I only spoke to you 1 time that was when I was seeing Steve Dowdle about my fear of having cancer and was sure it was over. I was working as a emergency medical techinician on a ambulance and was transporting cancer patients daily. Steve told me to repeat perfect love casteth out all fear and I left his office. He said as soon as you can call Roger Barrier because he was a cancer survivor. I called right away and you answered the phone. I said roger my name is Larry Moser and I just left Steves office. I said I believe I have cancer and am dying of it. You answered in a calm voice and said have you been diagnosed with cancer and I said. Im sorry I bothered you and hung the phone up. I thought, roger must think I am a nut because I had not seen a doctor I just belived it maybe the next Sunday night is when you preached the Spiritual growth sermon One line was your suffering may last 6 months, 1,2,5,10,15,20, or maybe 30 years. When I heard this I thought this is my path, I only have to ask him to do this no matter the cost. The next day I couldn't get the 30 years number out of my head. I thought who would want to suffer this long. I even calculated iu my mind that I would be my age 54, after the 30 years. I was so desperate to be free of the fear and anxiey I had been experiencing my entire life. I said I have to have more evidence to pray this prayer. The very next day I drove to Gospel Supply to try and find a book that would give me more evidence that Jesus was like this. The first book row on the top shelf and the first book was Josh Mcdowels evidence that demands a verdict. On the cover it reads Jesus Lunatic, Liar or Lord. This made sense to me. I bought it and read about one page of evidence and I put it down and looked up to the roof of my volkswagon and said Lord, I believe, make me a man after your heart no matter what the cost. Very soon I had 2 spiritual experiences while coaching Palo verde Christian hish school baseball team. These were shared with Steve on ny next session. The next time I write I will share them with you. Love you brother and sister Julie. Issaih 40:31, Hebrews 10 and 11 and Psalm 38-40, And the best of all Psalm 40:1-3 Its coming soon I believe!!!!!!

larry Moser , 01/11/11 09:25 PM

Dear Rodger,

You all probably , have been asked the following many times before?

Why isn't there a service on Saturday night? Has anyone ever taken a survey to find out how many would be interested in attending a sat night mini service.. I realize the cost factor,,but, has it ever been tried before?

Please email at lapinks@earthlink.net

Please email me

Larry Pinkerton , 01/19/11 09:50 PM

Hi Roger,Well its been a while

Dee Anderson , 03/16/11 01:15 PM

sorry Roger I hit the wrong key.Anyway we live in Tyler Tx now and we just love it.In case you dont remember me I run the school cafe at Casa fo 15 years. What I am wondering about is years ago you was preaching a sermon and said that it takes about 20 seconds to get to heaven after you die because thats how long it took for a prayer that someone said to reach god. I dont remember who it was that said the prayer but you said you timed it and it took about 20 seconds.If this rings a bell with you could you tell me who said the prayer…Are you still living in Tucson or did you move to Big "D". Would love to talk with you again.I talked to Cathy Young last month and caught up on some of the happening at Casa.I sure enjoyed my time at Casa and loved your sermons. Dee Anderson

Dee Anderson , 03/16/11 01:33 PM

Is it nessasary to be refilled with the holy spirit once you have been filled?

paul Anderson , 06/26/11 08:51 PM

Do you believe God favors some of His children over others by the life they choose to live?

Connie Harper , 07/04/11 10:35 PM

Dear Roger,
How should we pray for someone’s salvation. Dose it even help to pray for someone’s salvation, since its that persons free will to choose to accept Jesus or reject Him?

Love,
Connie

Connie Harper , 08/25/11 10:31 AM

Dear Roger,
Please stick with this. There IS a questioin in here somewhere; one of those tough ones.

I got saved in late 1973. I've had my struggles – at times my discouragement was high and my faith low. Yet God has continually upheld me with His right hand. I've always stayed in church though and I love the Lord with all my heart today. Yet in all my time as a Christian, I have only once, recently, heard a sermon praising men. At the church I went to for many years, every Mothers' Day the pastor would preach glowingly about the virtues of women and how their husbands were to praise and love them as Christ and about the "super mom" syndrome, etc.. But every Fathers' day, it was a kick in the pants for the men and a reminder about how they have to do better. I eventually just stopped going there on Fathers' Day. I've been attending Casas for 10 – 12 years now, and I"ve never heard you say anything in praise of men either. Maybe I missed that one. I've been a good father, raising my children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, done many home and car repairs and yard work. Yet Pastors treat men as though they have no feelings – no tendency toward insecurity and virtually, no brains either. And in doing so, they promote male bashing and reenforce a negative outlook of men among the women of the church, many of whom are already under the influence of the adversary's brand of feminism, which is different from our Lord's version. I have raised two boys into fine young men and a beautiful daughter into a fine young women. I don't allow male bashing in my house (or female bashing) and I don't accept it from the pulpit either. We want fathers and husbands to stay at home but we tell them that they can't do anything right and that they aren't all that valuable or really needed. Pastors tell us to "Just buck up; tow the line and shut up!" and I reject that. It's way too imbalanced.

Here's my question: Why, when men are struggling beneath the burdens of negative perception and portrayal in the media and by feminists, many of whom simply hate men and aren't really interested in something called justice, do so many pastors treat men so unfairly? We're trying to survive, yet we get nothing but fire from behind the lines. I'm really tired of it. We are worthwhile too.

Signed,
A worthwhile, viable, imperfect but pretty good guy.

Ed Costanza , 11/28/11 01:47 PM

Greetings Roger, brothers and sisters; in His name;
Often say that if a believer had the patience of Supernanny, the courage of a Mormon to go most anywhere in the world engaging strangers, the work ethic of a Hutterite, the commitment to prayer of a Muslim, the brotherhood of a soldier, a mother’s loving care, a sparrow’s fear and could take in a homeless person as easily as they could a lost dog and their church had kneeling boards like the Catholics and the outreach capability like Billy Graham’s; that might be considered as beginning to mimic Jesus, then all you would need is God’s power to give it true Christian purpose? That being a description I’ve not come close as measuring up to yet; still transforming in Christ Jesus (Romans 12:2/2 Corinthians 3:18) as other baptized disciples God willing but along the way I’m finding what appear to be some disturbing trends with contemporary Christianity which maybe you’ve noticed too? Indeed, since the disbanding of the small church where I was baptized, the churches I’ve looked into since, demonstrated more cause to avoid rather than join them which is disturbing in itself yet growingly understandable and perhaps begs the question; is what we’re seeing in today’s churches mostly Holy or Hype?

So I was compelled to embark on a ‘seek and edify mission’ if you will, to find out what’s going on and share my concerns with brethren. Over the last few years I’ve also been online sending this letter to believers and church leaders in America and worldwide with anticipation it might also be an ideal opportunity to open a genuine dialogue and edify with believers that were previously unknown to me? Though carefully considered, this frequently edited document is lengthy so you might want to set it aside to read when you have more time? Keep in mind too that I do not claim to have all the answers either but I’m willing to face God’s truth and edify with any believer and by our discussing the issues, perhaps mutually edifying truths may be revealed, God willing? Albeit I’m noticing more of an aversion to “edify” and even just sending this letter is proving that most believers choose to shun strangers instead of trying to love thy neighbour which perhaps also speaks to what is not going on in churches and educational institutions? But how does God intend for us to edify (James 5:16) and what other issues are believers hesitant to face or not even aware of or simply avoiding? Well, for starters, take a look at these statistics I found years ago posted on one church’s website:

Quote:
In America, it is estimated there are over 200 million people who do not have a personal relationship with Christ!
Since only China and India have larger populations than this, the U.S. is the 3rd largest mission field in the world!
Nearly 74% of all Americans have no meaningful church relationship!
One-half of all the churches in America did not add one new member through “conversion” growth during the last year.
No county in America has a greater percentage of churched people today than a decade ago.
Evangelical churches have failed to gain an additional 2% of the American population in the past 50 years. In other words, we are not even reaching our own children!
North America is the ONLY continent where Christianity is not growing!

According to Barna Research, of the 350,000 churches in America:
80% have reached a plateau or are declining
15% are growing because of transfer growth
5% are growing because of conversion growth

Canada: A Sobering Reality Check
Approximately 85% of all Canadians have no meaningful church relationship!
Churches are closing more rapidly in Canada than in any other country in the Western world!
According to Outreach Canada demographic research, only 16% of Canadians attend church regularly. In urban centers
like Toronto, only 5% of the population can be categorized as consistent church attendees!
Close to 250,000 new Canadians have immigrated annually during the last decade. The majority are Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist or Confucian. The United Nations called Toronto, “the most ethnically diverse city in the world.”
The mission field is here!
Unquote.

If those stats are anywhere near true, America is mostly ungodly and becoming more so. Yep, that’s right folks. Canada and the U.S. are not the God-fearing/God-loving countries which perhaps most believers used to presume. Gee I wonder why? Could it be that in The Land of the Free, there are at least five murders every day, hundreds of shootings every day, thousands of assaults every day, thousands of burglaries every day, countless thousands of homeless people without hope every day and thousands of drunk-driving deaths every year and 1.6 million Runaway children every year who are exploited and killed? That is the society we boast about to the world as The Best Place to live? A “culture” that pays Pro Football Players many more times the salary of Doctors and Soldiers/Police who sacrifice their lives to keep You safe. A “society” which sees Corporations give away millions of dollars to Game Show Contestants instead of helping the needy and homeless. This makes “us” the envy of all nations on earth? Well I, for one, am embarrassed just to admit being part of ‘that delusion’ for so long but grateful now that God shamed me into finally being embarrassed. Not to mention, that Christians are not the majority in America either according to those statistics and perhaps they never were? So instead of singing “God Bless America”, perhaps we need to be crying out: ‘God Please Save America!’? Indeed we’ve seen TV evangelists preaching “God Please Save America” though in the comfort of their multi-million-dollar lavish church buildings and imploring others to go do the work which they themselves won’t do.

If those statistics weren’t alarming enough, that may be only the tip of the iceberg? We find churches that condone adultery and tolerate all kinds of behavior which are contrary to the teachings of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) while the Catholic church pays out over $600 Million to victims of sexual immorality perpetrated by their priests. This, among other observations, tends to indicate that many believers are not only ignoring the Fundamentals of Christianity but they may not ‘get it’ at all? It’s disconcerting enough to know that we’re still seeing greed, corruption and perversion in today’s churches but also believers who don’t even want to talk about God and pastors that seem to be auditioning for “Last Comic Standing” instead of Standing for Christ. Those conditions seemingly preposterous for a ‘church’ yet true and may actually be more ubiquitous than uncommon? But then I’ve had the benefit of a perspective which has allowed me to look at things more objectively perhaps? In that, I never had a long term or serious church-going association before I was called to repent so I don’t have to defend the integrity of a church I go to and perhaps can more easily recognize a church’s strengths and weaknesses, God willing? In other words, I first studied the Word and learned what to look for in a church which best exemplifies biblical fundamentals, from the outside looking in. Whereas many believers may have been on the inside of a church looking out for so long; they’re not even aware that anything might be wrong. Indeed, even if you could expose a deficiency of a church and even if the allegation was biblically supported, it would fall on deaf ears because nobody wants to admit there could be anything out of order with their ‘own church’.

But just because people are seen coming to church and a pastor preaching a sermon, doesn’t necessarily mean everything is okay. In fact, one Christian writer described ‘today’s churchgoing experience’ saying; quote: “They are hiding behind a mask of Christian activity, going through the motions and keeping the surface rules that give the appearance of loving God. A life of loving God and honestly and joyfully wanting to do His will from the heart; is a mirage in the spiritual desert wilderness in which they live.” Is this what has happened to churches since Jesus walked on earth? Sadly, I would tend to agree with that assessment knowing what I’ve personally witnessed. Hope that isn’t the case but the believers/churches I’ve encountered aren’t remotely convincing as loving obedient followers of Christ. I’m finding believers that are mostly suspicious, impatient and wouldn’t even think to take in a homeless person as well as churches where no one kneels in prayer, nobody fears God and getting to know your fellow parishioner/brethren is practically non-existent. Not mention the ever-increasing level of ‘suspicion’ among believers and nowhere is this more evident than with the Internet and isn’t it ironic that we are supposed to lovingly engage ‘strangers’ but we’re so suspicious of viruses/spam that, instead of utilizing a tool like the Internet which enables us to ‘connect’ with more people and more effectively than ever before in history; we’ve done everything technically possible to ensure that we never connect with “strangers” by email? By the same token it also keeps brethren who are strangers, from connecting rather than bringing them together. Indeed, seemingly there may be issues of such serious significance, that I prepared the following prayer just for believers who might choose to read further?

Father, I confess to you, I have seen churches without Bibles. I have spoken to believers who denounce water baptism for the repentance of sins. I have seen believers wearing and displaying physical idols depicting your Son. There are clergy that call their self “Father” and there are even believers who call themselves Christians yet deny Jesus is your Son. I’ve seen so-called Christian churches that turn away the un-baptized and forbid the speaking and interpreting of tongue and baptize dead people. Dare I say Father, there seems to be deception in so-called Christian churches on earth of such proportion that the false believers may actually vastly outnumber Christ’s true followers? O’ God, please forgive me and grant readers spiritual discernment; for anything I write has no holy purpose without your blessing? Amen.

Continuing; is there deception in the Church? No question and the problem may also be “the believers themselves” in oblivious orchestration with the devil? Is Christianity more about Money than miracles? Are Evangelists merely Entertainers? Is Christendom hopelessly divided by Denomination? Do today’s Sermons really serve God’s will or is sermonizing merely part of a preacher’s job description? What do You think and how would you answer the following question?

If someone accused You of not being a Christian, could you prove them wrong?

Perhaps that’s a question every believer should be pondering and what about the issue of Denomination? You don’t even have to be a believer to notice that Christian religions have many different denominations. A process which began many centuries ago and perhaps innocently enough as simply distinguishing each church by location but has since become a method of ‘purposeful division’? Need proof? Try this on for size. Just ask someone which religious church they belong to and what do they usually say? Most often they will say: I am Baptist or Lutheran or United or Catholic or whatever Denomination they are but why don’t they just say: ‘I am a Christian’? No, they instinctively refer to their man-named Denomination and it’s no longer simply a matter of where your Christian church is ‘located’. Nowadays you have to dig deeper just to find out if they consider themselves to be “a Christian”. But by then it’s usually pointless because you’ve already labelled them a Baptist or Lutheran or United or Catholic or Whatever and probably view them ‘differently’? So even if they say they’re a Christian, judgment has also already begun in your mind as to whether or not they are a ‘true’ Christian? Or at the very least, you’re going to make a judgment call about them based solely on their “denomination”? This suggests that even so-called Christians insist on being different from each other, rather than being unified under One Faith. Think about that. Would a Baptist feel just as comfortable attending a Lutheran church? I don’t think so; nor will you find a Catholic attending a Baptist church service etc. etc. etc. It just doesn’t happen because believers have now ‘purposely divided’ themselves from one another. Indeed, today there is so much division among believers that nobody knows Who the real Christians are or where to find them?

Even the terms Christendom and Christianity are different just try to make a List of all the true Christian churches in America. It couldn’t be done and it seems quite obvious that so-called Christian churches have become irreparably divided by Denomination? Pick a church, pick a city, pick a Country; your guess is as good as mine and though I believe the devil is responsible for most of what affects Christianity negatively, I also think believers shoulder some responsibility too? Christians have helped to divide and conquer themselves by perpetuating a notion that “denomination” has anything to do with Christianity. We can all see that denomination has done more to destroy than promote Christian unity and this issue has been written about for centuries but believers still refuse to acknowledge that anything might be amiss. Here’s another quote:

“Many godly men have tried to bring unity to the body of Christ. Unity abides among the spiritually mature and cannot be achieved by the sole effort of any one man. Luther tried, as did Calvin, Zwingli, Wycliff, Tyndale, Wesley, Williams, Knox, Spurgen, Moody and many, many others. Each contributed new light but failed to bring any greater unity to the body of Christ. Controversy and contention followed each ray of new light and with it came further division. Again and again unity was sought but remained elusive; it soon became obvious that something was missing; we had failed to lay a foundation where unity could survive. What was lacking?

Unity can only survive among those few brethren who are yielded and mature enough to let God have His way. If we allow our doctrine to freeze in place, there remains no further opportunity to grow; we become the “frozen chosen”. Too many of us have become pillars of the church. We believe that our doctrines are the very standard of biblical truth. We become unwilling to examine our beliefs any further or to seek any truth yet unknown. We’ve become un-teachable and, like the pillars of the church, we can no longer be moved.” Unquote.

Is this happening in your church too? Or maybe Satan is that powerful and has blinded most believers from seeing any problem with “denomination”?

Well, I don’t know about You but I could no longer sit idle if there is even a remote chance that things have gotten that bad. The Red Flags are raised and I won’t indulge the devil’s fancy! If we believers are all supposed to be united as One Church In Christ under God, then it is time to start “doing” something about that. Heh folks, I’m not making this up. These are the facts: We have different Christian denominations and different doctrines and these “differences” are preventing us from becoming a truly unified Christian force to be reckoned with. Am I wrong? One could only imagine that if the various denominations made the effort to set their differences aside and came to agreement as the Bible says; what an awesomely holy force it could be, God willing? Unfortunately it is the Believers who are not willing and so why would God bless any church that seeks to be separate and unique from their brethren? But sadly, today’s generation of so-called Christians do seek distinction from their brethren and don’t even notice any Red Flags. Denominations have carved out their territories over the millennium and now even zealously guard their autonomy from other churches too. In fact, even individual churches within a denomination insist on “autonomy”. Therefore isn’t the concept of unity defeated even before it’s addressed?

I think so and how can believers divide themselves in this manner yet feign to be of one mind and purpose in the Body of Christ? I’ll give you another example of “division”. If you are a Catholic family and moved to another city, isn’t it pretty much a certainty that you will look for another Catholic church to attend? Except, if followers are supposed to be a ‘unified’ faith and in Christ, it shouldn’t matter which Christian church building they attend; right? But it does matter. A Catholic wouldn’t be caught dead in an Anglican church. Why not? Because they don’t trust that any other denomination shares the same beliefs and truths about God as theirs which means; believers from different denominations will always feel different from other Christians. You don’t need a psychology degree to notice that. Believers also feel they are a better Christian than another denomination. Who knows for sure but I don’t think God intended for true followers to separate into denominations. Doesn’t Christ do the separating? Isn’t that what our Saviour is returning to do? Isn’t Jesus going to finally “separate” His sheep from the rest of the world?

Nonetheless here we are! Completely divided by denomination, doctrine, bible versions, symbols, biblical interpretation and God only knows what else? And those are just the Christian-faith-based religions. So how do we go about becoming more unified in accordance with God’s Plan or does it even matter now? After all, if these are the end times, maybe things are as holy as they’re ever going to be on earth before Judgment Day? Sorry, don’t look at me for those answers. I’m just a messenger perhaps and I have no idea whether or not God’s Plan is to attempt to unite Denominational Christian Churches under One Name? It will likely never happen but God willing, if “that” was a worthy undertaking, I do have a suggestion or two, for what it’s worth?

One suggestion might be. If you believe division in Christendom does more harm than good, then pray to God about it. Then probably the best place to start is by talking to your Community church Leaders. In turn, these leaders then contact their church Headquarters to let them know that their parishioners want to start the process of Unifying Christian Denominations by faith, doctrine and purpose. Then your Headquarters can contact the Headquarters of the other Denominations until a consensus might be reached. This process will undoubtedly be agonizingly slow and so you might also send your concerns to church Headquarters individually as well. Just to let them know at least “You are serious” because change of this magnitude will almost certainly be met with strong resistance. But ironically perhaps, this “resistance” may serve to sort out the Pretenders from the true Followers in the process? I emailed the Vatican about this too but no reply. Gee I wonder why? But those believers whom God wants connected and working together on earth will unify no matter what the resistance. So maybe we shouldn’t give up thinking that “it’s too late or too big an undertaking”? All we can do is ‘our part’ as God planned for us perhaps? Isn’t that how it works? Anyway, ask God to guide you into unity with his elect on earth, wherever they may be? Will we see Christians discarding their denominational labels and a significant trend toward churches reuniting under One Name? Likely not; in fact the bible indicates that things will get much worse rather than getting better and in reality; just the notion of “uniting denominations” sounds preposterous but that doesn’t mean it has no divine merit?

On the other hand, the bible says there will be an ungodly unification of all Nations and Religions brought about by The antichrist and now the TV evangelist Jack Van Impe has prophesied and told the world that the Next Pope is The antichrist. Yet at the same time, Impe also praises many Catholic leaders and writers as being great Christians. Anyway, if the antichrist does come in our generation, that will essentially nullify any efforts toward denominational unification anyway. Doesn’t get any easier does it? 🙂 Whether you agree or not though, I find the issue of “denomination” beguiling since clearly there are more so-called Christians on earth than ever before in history but what good are such “numbers”, if divided? Correct me if I’m wrong but probably as many humans have been slaughtered in the last 100 years as during the previous 1900 years combined? There are more Wars going on nowadays than at any time in history and Super Powers stand ready to annihilate the entire planet at a moment’s notice and in a variety of ways. Is this is what having the greatest numbers of Christians than ever before has accomplished? This is what we call a more Christian world? More Evil and Suffering and preventable Death than ever before and this Greatest Force Ever of so-called Christians is actually losing ground? So maybe, just like God told the Israelites; that many of “them” would not remain obedient to God himself, mightn’t the same thing be happening now with Christians of today not being obedient to Christ?

Roger-Tough Questions

07/07/08

Author: Roger Barrier

I am excited and deeply humbled when given the opportunity to deal with your tough theological questions. Every pastor must wrestle with questions about Biblical interpretation, Christian living and practice. What about homosexuality, pornography, church and state separation, the Trinity, the second coming of Christ or spiritual gifts? These are issues that both divide and define us. As one pastor, I have sought to find my own answers to these and other issues every Christian must face. Because I express my own opinion, I want to affirm those who have their own ideas and theological interpretations. When it gets down to it, those of us who have made Christ our Savior and Lord will stand together before the firing squad for our faith. At that moment, we will be brothers and partners and will not quibble about details. I believe there are few indisputable tenets that we must hold to be believers in Jesus. Read our Statement of Faith page on our site. You are also welcome to search our site for sermons on these topics. These essential doctrines are some that I hold dear. Let me say that to be asked to tackle your own queries is both a priviledge and a great responsibility. I am honored by your willingness to be vulnerable and discuss these challenges with me every week. Keep asking, and I'll keep trying!!!

Roger

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Comments

My teenager started reading a book this weekend that really seems to be the rage with teenage girls. It's called Twilight. By Stephenie Meyer. I have not really looked into it yet but she tells me it's about vampires. Her friend has already read the first chapter or so to her and she tells me she's not sure if it's a book she really "should" be reading it but she is really into it now and wants to continue. She wants to know what God has to say about vampires. Could you help me here. I don't have an answer for her. Thank you, Barb

Barb Alvies , 07/22/08 01:43 PM

I have heard many creationists claim that the earth is only about 6,000 years old, a number they get by studying the bible…
However we know that there is a fixed speed of light, light can only go so far so fast.

How can all of creation be only 6000 years old when with my naked eye I can see the Andromeda galaxy 2.4 million light years away?

Joseph Holmes , 07/06/10 02:10 AM

I have a situation right now where my heart is truly broken and am at a loss for what to do. Two years ago this past February I was put into a situation between my best friend and her husband. He told me that he had fallen out of love with her as his wife but loved her as a friend only. He told me he's felt like this for a couple of years.
The gentleman I speak of is Jesse A. Smith Jr. Right now he's been involved with another woman while stsill married to my best friend. He says that his feelings will NOT change and I had better stay out of their "business" from now on. Thing is I am not the only one involved. My best friends Aunt and Cousin are also involved as well.
How can I prove to him that what he's doing is NOT what God has planned for his life at the present time? I need help. Becky

Becky Small , 07/14/10 06:13 PM

Did God say that he was a jealous God or did man say that God said it? And He did, than why did he tell us not to be jealous?

Sandy Koppes , 08/02/10 10:50 PM

As believers (adult children of the deceased) are they obligated to honor their deceased mother's oral/written request that certain siblings are not allowed to attend funeral services or view the body in privacy before burial, due to past family disagreements? As her siblings we chose not to share with her children their mother's mishandling of our elderly father's monies since our dad chose her as his Power of Attorney. We have kept it quiet so that we would not cause distress to her children and/or dishonor our sister.

PHYLLIS DURREE , 08/11/10 04:02 PM

Hey Roger!
I am dying to know your thoughts on Rob Bell's teaching. I grew up at Casas and sat under your biblical teaching. From what I've studied of Rob Bell, his theology is way off. It absolutely breaks my heart to see Casas teaching his videos and books in their classes.
What do you think?

summer murphy , 08/17/10 10:12 AM

Why won't churches engage in church discipline as specified in Matthew 18?

My ex-wife was engaged in an affair back in 2003, and I approached my church about this. Of course, the first thing I was asked was what did I do to cause her to have the affair.

After I picked my jaw up from the floor, after all, this was a well educated Southern Baptist preacher who had to know by that time (since he was near retirement) that folks choose sin, and not forced into it, and certainly not by other people.

Anyway, I asked him for help, and he simply said to be more loving. I asked for a mentor, I asked for an intervention, I asked if the church would approach her in the manner specified in Matthew 18.

I was told that they don't do that, it doesn't work.

Needless to say, I've not been back to that church and have since divorced, found a new place to worship, etc.

But I have to wonder why the church seems to be so unwilling to follow scripture. My objective was to save the marriage, not gain some sort of morally superior position. After all, my ex-wife had legitimate complaints about the marriage. However, as long as she was engaged in the affair and pursuing divorce, there was no way for me to address them. She was in the fantasy of the affair, and anything bad I had ever done was magnified 1000x and compared to the fantasy she had going on, dreaming about how life would be once she was free of me and able to be with her married other man.

If I understand the process, the sin is confronted, and the sinner has a chance to speak as well. If she had complaints about me, she would have been free to present then and list the changes she wanted.

But since no one would confront her, not the church, not her family, none but me, and she certainly didn't want me given she was so smitten with her affair partner, there was no hope.

She got the divorce she wanted, and now there is another broken family.

What struck me odd was this was when churches were so up in arms about gay marriage. Now I'm not in favor of gay marriage, but since homosexuality is about 2% of the population, should there have been 50X as much effort on saving existing marriages, instead of fighting the 2% who wanted gay marriage.

I certainly understand the valid criticism of those who are for gay marriage. We as a community of believers have done a horrible job of protecting existing marriages. The divorce stats tell the story. There is little or no difference between marriage survival rates inside as well as outside the church.

Based on my former churches response, I'm beginning to understand why. I guess this has become more of a rant than a question. If you find anything useful to spark discussion, then feel free to use it.

I guess my bottom line question is if God is so "pro family" why are his people so lousy at preserving families in the church? Tools such as mentors, loving confrontation as spelled out in Matthew 18 and other tools are available. But it seems we are looking outward, and not looking to God for answers.

Thanks for reading my rant.

Tony

Tony Bright , 08/20/10 08:45 AM

What is the biblical standpoint on hypnosis?

Kyra Bradley , 09/21/10 04:50 PM

Roger:

President Obama keeps touting about his belief in "Collective Salvation". What's the scoop? Is this a true Christian theory?

Thanks, Mark

Mark Cochran , 10/20/10 10:49 PM

Roger,

I responded to a Sunday nght sermon of yours in 1980. I asked God to make me a man after his own heart no matter the cost I had been seeing Steve Dowdle for a fear and anxiety problem at this time and was told to repeat perfect love casteth out all fear whenever fear was attacking me. I had 2 incidences on baseball fields soon after. I was filled with the increased presence of the Lord about 4 hours later it was like the Lord had left me. The only way I knew that he hadent was the way this changed my vision. Steve wanted me to read the book Hinds feet on high places. I read the book about 1 year ago now. I would like to speak with you and Steve anytime regarding my path to this point and where I am spiritually. I realize this is almost 30 years later and Steve may not remember this.

Larry Moser , 01/02/11 08:33 PM

Roger,
You probably think that me trying to speak with you after 30 years is strange. You probably dont have a clue who I am. My brother is Tom Moser and my sster is Diane Weeks. This may help. I think my dad did some upholstery for you and Julie many years ago. In 1980 I was turned on to your expository type preaching by my brother Tom. I was glued to your sermons. My wife taught school at Palo Verde Christian high school with Melony Watson. I only spoke to you 1 time that was when I was seeing Steve Dowdle about my fear of having cancer and was sure it was over. I was working as a emergency medical techinician on a ambulance and was transporting cancer patients daily. Steve told me to repeat perfect love casteth out all fear and I left his office. He said as soon as you can call Roger Barrier because he was a cancer survivor. I called right away and you answered the phone. I said roger my name is Larry Moser and I just left Steves office. I said I believe I have cancer and am dying of it. You answered in a calm voice and said have you been diagnosed with cancer and I said. Im sorry I bothered you and hung the phone up. I thought, roger must think I am a nut because I had not seen a doctor I just belived it maybe the next Sunday night is when you preached the Spiritual growth sermon One line was your suffering may last 6 months, 1,2,5,10,15,20, or maybe 30 years. When I heard this I thought this is my path, I only have to ask him to do this no matter the cost. The next day I couldn't get the 30 years number out of my head. I thought who would want to suffer this long. I even calculated iu my mind that I would be my age 54, after the 30 years. I was so desperate to be free of the fear and anxiey I had been experiencing my entire life. I said I have to have more evidence to pray this prayer. The very next day I drove to Gospel Supply to try and find a book that would give me more evidence that Jesus was like this. The first book row on the top shelf and the first book was Josh Mcdowels evidence that demands a verdict. On the cover it reads Jesus Lunatic, Liar or Lord. This made sense to me. I bought it and read about one page of evidence and I put it down and looked up to the roof of my volkswagon and said Lord, I believe, make me a man after your heart no matter what the cost. Very soon I had 2 spiritual experiences while coaching Palo verde Christian hish school baseball team. These were shared with Steve on ny next session. The next time I write I will share them with you. Love you brother and sister Julie. Issaih 40:31, Hebrews 10 and 11 and Psalm 38-40, And the best of all Psalm 40:1-3 Its coming soon I believe!!!!!!

larry Moser , 01/11/11 09:25 PM

Dear Rodger,

You all probably , have been asked the following many times before?

Why isn't there a service on Saturday night? Has anyone ever taken a survey to find out how many would be interested in attending a sat night mini service.. I realize the cost factor,,but, has it ever been tried before?

Please email at lapinks@earthlink.net

Please email me

Larry Pinkerton , 01/19/11 09:50 PM

Hi Roger,Well its been a while

Dee Anderson , 03/16/11 01:15 PM

sorry Roger I hit the wrong key.Anyway we live in Tyler Tx now and we just love it.In case you dont remember me I run the school cafe at Casa fo 15 years. What I am wondering about is years ago you was preaching a sermon and said that it takes about 20 seconds to get to heaven after you die because thats how long it took for a prayer that someone said to reach god. I dont remember who it was that said the prayer but you said you timed it and it took about 20 seconds.If this rings a bell with you could you tell me who said the prayer…Are you still living in Tucson or did you move to Big "D". Would love to talk with you again.I talked to Cathy Young last month and caught up on some of the happening at Casa.I sure enjoyed my time at Casa and loved your sermons. Dee Anderson

Dee Anderson , 03/16/11 01:33 PM

Is it nessasary to be refilled with the holy spirit once you have been filled?

paul Anderson , 06/26/11 08:51 PM

Do you believe God favors some of His children over others by the life they choose to live?

Connie Harper , 07/04/11 10:35 PM

Dear Roger,
How should we pray for someone’s salvation. Dose it even help to pray for someone’s salvation, since its that persons free will to choose to accept Jesus or reject Him?

Love,
Connie

Connie Harper , 08/25/11 10:31 AM

Dear Roger,
Please stick with this. There IS a questioin in here somewhere; one of those tough ones.

I got saved in late 1973. I've had my struggles – at times my discouragement was high and my faith low. Yet God has continually upheld me with His right hand. I've always stayed in church though and I love the Lord with all my heart today. Yet in all my time as a Christian, I have only once, recently, heard a sermon praising men. At the church I went to for many years, every Mothers' Day the pastor would preach glowingly about the virtues of women and how their husbands were to praise and love them as Christ and about the "super mom" syndrome, etc.. But every Fathers' day, it was a kick in the pants for the men and a reminder about how they have to do better. I eventually just stopped going there on Fathers' Day. I've been attending Casas for 10 – 12 years now, and I"ve never heard you say anything in praise of men either. Maybe I missed that one. I've been a good father, raising my children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, done many home and car repairs and yard work. Yet Pastors treat men as though they have no feelings – no tendency toward insecurity and virtually, no brains either. And in doing so, they promote male bashing and reenforce a negative outlook of men among the women of the church, many of whom are already under the influence of the adversary's brand of feminism, which is different from our Lord's version. I have raised two boys into fine young men and a beautiful daughter into a fine young women. I don't allow male bashing in my house (or female bashing) and I don't accept it from the pulpit either. We want fathers and husbands to stay at home but we tell them that they can't do anything right and that they aren't all that valuable or really needed. Pastors tell us to "Just buck up; tow the line and shut up!" and I reject that. It's way too imbalanced.

Here's my question: Why, when men are struggling beneath the burdens of negative perception and portrayal in the media and by feminists, many of whom simply hate men and aren't really interested in something called justice, do so many pastors treat men so unfairly? We're trying to survive, yet we get nothing but fire from behind the lines. I'm really tired of it. We are worthwhile too.

Signed,
A worthwhile, viable, imperfect but pretty good guy.

Ed Costanza , 11/28/11 01:47 PM

Greetings Roger, brothers and sisters; in His name;
Often say that if a believer had the patience of Supernanny, the courage of a Mormon to go most anywhere in the world engaging strangers, the work ethic of a Hutterite, the commitment to prayer of a Muslim, the brotherhood of a soldier, a mother’s loving care, a sparrow’s fear and could take in a homeless person as easily as they could a lost dog and their church had kneeling boards like the Catholics and the outreach capability like Billy Graham’s; that might be considered as beginning to mimic Jesus, then all you would need is God’s power to give it true Christian purpose? That being a description I’ve not come close as measuring up to yet; still transforming in Christ Jesus (Romans 12:2/2 Corinthians 3:18) as other baptized disciples God willing but along the way I’m finding what appear to be some disturbing trends with contemporary Christianity which maybe you’ve noticed too? Indeed, since the disbanding of the small church where I was baptized, the churches I’ve looked into since, demonstrated more cause to avoid rather than join them which is disturbing in itself yet growingly understandable and perhaps begs the question; is what we’re seeing in today’s churches mostly Holy or Hype?

So I was compelled to embark on a ‘seek and edify mission’ if you will, to find out what’s going on and share my concerns with brethren. Over the last few years I’ve also been online sending this letter to believers and church leaders in America and worldwide with anticipation it might also be an ideal opportunity to open a genuine dialogue and edify with believers that were previously unknown to me? Though carefully considered, this frequently edited document is lengthy so you might want to set it aside to read when you have more time? Keep in mind too that I do not claim to have all the answers either but I’m willing to face God’s truth and edify with any believer and by our discussing the issues, perhaps mutually edifying truths may be revealed, God willing? Albeit I’m noticing more of an aversion to “edify” and even just sending this letter is proving that most believers choose to shun strangers instead of trying to love thy neighbour which perhaps also speaks to what is not going on in churches and educational institutions? But how does God intend for us to edify (James 5:16) and what other issues are believers hesitant to face or not even aware of or simply avoiding? Well, for starters, take a look at these statistics I found years ago posted on one church’s website:

Quote:
In America, it is estimated there are over 200 million people who do not have a personal relationship with Christ!
Since only China and India have larger populations than this, the U.S. is the 3rd largest mission field in the world!
Nearly 74% of all Americans have no meaningful church relationship!
One-half of all the churches in America did not add one new member through “conversion” growth during the last year.
No county in America has a greater percentage of churched people today than a decade ago.
Evangelical churches have failed to gain an additional 2% of the American population in the past 50 years. In other words, we are not even reaching our own children!
North America is the ONLY continent where Christianity is not growing!

According to Barna Research, of the 350,000 churches in America:
80% have reached a plateau or are declining
15% are growing because of transfer growth
5% are growing because of conversion growth

Canada: A Sobering Reality Check
Approximately 85% of all Canadians have no meaningful church relationship!
Churches are closing more rapidly in Canada than in any other country in the Western world!
According to Outreach Canada demographic research, only 16% of Canadians attend church regularly. In urban centers
like Toronto, only 5% of the population can be categorized as consistent church attendees!
Close to 250,000 new Canadians have immigrated annually during the last decade. The majority are Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist or Confucian. The United Nations called Toronto, “the most ethnically diverse city in the world.”
The mission field is here!
Unquote.

If those stats are anywhere near true, America is mostly ungodly and becoming more so. Yep, that’s right folks. Canada and the U.S. are not the God-fearing/God-loving countries which perhaps most believers used to presume. Gee I wonder why? Could it be that in The Land of the Free, there are at least five murders every day, hundreds of shootings every day, thousands of assaults every day, thousands of burglaries every day, countless thousands of homeless people without hope every day and thousands of drunk-driving deaths every year and 1.6 million Runaway children every year who are exploited and killed? That is the society we boast about to the world as The Best Place to live? A “culture” that pays Pro Football Players many more times the salary of Doctors and Soldiers/Police who sacrifice their lives to keep You safe. A “society” which sees Corporations give away millions of dollars to Game Show Contestants instead of helping the needy and homeless. This makes “us” the envy of all nations on earth? Well I, for one, am embarrassed just to admit being part of ‘that delusion’ for so long but grateful now that God shamed me into finally being embarrassed. Not to mention, that Christians are not the majority in America either according to those statistics and perhaps they never were? So instead of singing “God Bless America”, perhaps we need to be crying out: ‘God Please Save America!’? Indeed we’ve seen TV evangelists preaching “God Please Save America” though in the comfort of their multi-million-dollar lavish church buildings and imploring others to go do the work which they themselves won’t do.

If those statistics weren’t alarming enough, that may be only the tip of the iceberg? We find churches that condone adultery and tolerate all kinds of behavior which are contrary to the teachings of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) while the Catholic church pays out over $600 Million to victims of sexual immorality perpetrated by their priests. This, among other observations, tends to indicate that many believers are not only ignoring the Fundamentals of Christianity but they may not ‘get it’ at all? It’s disconcerting enough to know that we’re still seeing greed, corruption and perversion in today’s churches but also believers who don’t even want to talk about God and pastors that seem to be auditioning for “Last Comic Standing” instead of Standing for Christ. Those conditions seemingly preposterous for a ‘church’ yet true and may actually be more ubiquitous than uncommon? But then I’ve had the benefit of a perspective which has allowed me to look at things more objectively perhaps? In that, I never had a long term or serious church-going association before I was called to repent so I don’t have to defend the integrity of a church I go to and perhaps can more easily recognize a church’s strengths and weaknesses, God willing? In other words, I first studied the Word and learned what to look for in a church which best exemplifies biblical fundamentals, from the outside looking in. Whereas many believers may have been on the inside of a church looking out for so long; they’re not even aware that anything might be wrong. Indeed, even if you could expose a deficiency of a church and even if the allegation was biblically supported, it would fall on deaf ears because nobody wants to admit there could be anything out of order with their ‘own church’.

But just because people are seen coming to church and a pastor preaching a sermon, doesn’t necessarily mean everything is okay. In fact, one Christian writer described ‘today’s churchgoing experience’ saying; quote: “They are hiding behind a mask of Christian activity, going through the motions and keeping the surface rules that give the appearance of loving God. A life of loving God and honestly and joyfully wanting to do His will from the heart; is a mirage in the spiritual desert wilderness in which they live.” Is this what has happened to churches since Jesus walked on earth? Sadly, I would tend to agree with that assessment knowing what I’ve personally witnessed. Hope that isn’t the case but the believers/churches I’ve encountered aren’t remotely convincing as loving obedient followers of Christ. I’m finding believers that are mostly suspicious, impatient and wouldn’t even think to take in a homeless person as well as churches where no one kneels in prayer, nobody fears God and getting to know your fellow parishioner/brethren is practically non-existent. Not mention the ever-increasing level of ‘suspicion’ among believers and nowhere is this more evident than with the Internet and isn’t it ironic that we are supposed to lovingly engage ‘strangers’ but we’re so suspicious of viruses/spam that, instead of utilizing a tool like the Internet which enables us to ‘connect’ with more people and more effectively than ever before in history; we’ve done everything technically possible to ensure that we never connect with “strangers” by email? By the same token it also keeps brethren who are strangers, from connecting rather than bringing them together. Indeed, seemingly there may be issues of such serious significance, that I prepared the following prayer just for believers who might choose to read further?

Father, I confess to you, I have seen churches without Bibles. I have spoken to believers who denounce water baptism for the repentance of sins. I have seen believers wearing and displaying physical idols depicting your Son. There are clergy that call their self “Father” and there are even believers who call themselves Christians yet deny Jesus is your Son. I’ve seen so-called Christian churches that turn away the un-baptized and forbid the speaking and interpreting of tongue and baptize dead people. Dare I say Father, there seems to be deception in so-called Christian churches on earth of such proportion that the false believers may actually vastly outnumber Christ’s true followers? O’ God, please forgive me and grant readers spiritual discernment; for anything I write has no holy purpose without your blessing? Amen.

Continuing; is there deception in the Church? No question and the problem may also be “the believers themselves” in oblivious orchestration with the devil? Is Christianity more about Money than miracles? Are Evangelists merely Entertainers? Is Christendom hopelessly divided by Denomination? Do today’s Sermons really serve God’s will or is sermonizing merely part of a preacher’s job description? What do You think and how would you answer the following question?

If someone accused You of not being a Christian, could you prove them wrong?

Perhaps that’s a question every believer should be pondering and what about the issue of Denomination? You don’t even have to be a believer to notice that Christian religions have many different denominations. A process which began many centuries ago and perhaps innocently enough as simply distinguishing each church by location but has since become a method of ‘purposeful division’? Need proof? Try this on for size. Just ask someone which religious church they belong to and what do they usually say? Most often they will say: I am Baptist or Lutheran or United or Catholic or whatever Denomination they are but why don’t they just say: ‘I am a Christian’? No, they instinctively refer to their man-named Denomination and it’s no longer simply a matter of where your Christian church is ‘located’. Nowadays you have to dig deeper just to find out if they consider themselves to be “a Christian”. But by then it’s usually pointless because you’ve already labelled them a Baptist or Lutheran or United or Catholic or Whatever and probably view them ‘differently’? So even if they say they’re a Christian, judgment has also already begun in your mind as to whether or not they are a ‘true’ Christian? Or at the very least, you’re going to make a judgment call about them based solely on their “denomination”? This suggests that even so-called Christians insist on being different from each other, rather than being unified under One Faith. Think about that. Would a Baptist feel just as comfortable attending a Lutheran church? I don’t think so; nor will you find a Catholic attending a Baptist church service etc. etc. etc. It just doesn’t happen because believers have now ‘purposely divided’ themselves from one another. Indeed, today there is so much division among believers that nobody knows Who the real Christians are or where to find them?

Even the terms Christendom and Christianity are different just try to make a List of all the true Christian churches in America. It couldn’t be done and it seems quite obvious that so-called Christian churches have become irreparably divided by Denomination? Pick a church, pick a city, pick a Country; your guess is as good as mine and though I believe the devil is responsible for most of what affects Christianity negatively, I also think believers shoulder some responsibility too? Christians have helped to divide and conquer themselves by perpetuating a notion that “denomination” has anything to do with Christianity. We can all see that denomination has done more to destroy than promote Christian unity and this issue has been written about for centuries but believers still refuse to acknowledge that anything might be amiss. Here’s another quote:

“Many godly men have tried to bring unity to the body of Christ. Unity abides among the spiritually mature and cannot be achieved by the sole effort of any one man. Luther tried, as did Calvin, Zwingli, Wycliff, Tyndale, Wesley, Williams, Knox, Spurgen, Moody and many, many others. Each contributed new light but failed to bring any greater unity to the body of Christ. Controversy and contention followed each ray of new light and with it came further division. Again and again unity was sought but remained elusive; it soon became obvious that something was missing; we had failed to lay a foundation where unity could survive. What was lacking?

Unity can only survive among those few brethren who are yielded and mature enough to let God have His way. If we allow our doctrine to freeze in place, there remains no further opportunity to grow; we become the “frozen chosen”. Too many of us have become pillars of the church. We believe that our doctrines are the very standard of biblical truth. We become unwilling to examine our beliefs any further or to seek any truth yet unknown. We’ve become un-teachable and, like the pillars of the church, we can no longer be moved.” Unquote.

Is this happening in your church too? Or maybe Satan is that powerful and has blinded most believers from seeing any problem with “denomination”?

Well, I don’t know about You but I could no longer sit idle if there is even a remote chance that things have gotten that bad. The Red Flags are raised and I won’t indulge the devil’s fancy! If we believers are all supposed to be united as One Church In Christ under God, then it is time to start “doing” something about that. Heh folks, I’m not making this up. These are the facts: We have different Christian denominations and different doctrines and these “differences” are preventing us from becoming a truly unified Christian force to be reckoned with. Am I wrong? One could only imagine that if the various denominations made the effort to set their differences aside and came to agreement as the Bible says; what an awesomely holy force it could be, God willing? Unfortunately it is the Believers who are not willing and so why would God bless any church that seeks to be separate and unique from their brethren? But sadly, today’s generation of so-called Christians do seek distinction from their brethren and don’t even notice any Red Flags. Denominations have carved out their territories over the millennium and now even zealously guard their autonomy from other churches too. In fact, even individual churches within a denomination insist on “autonomy”. Therefore isn’t the concept of unity defeated even before it’s addressed?

I think so and how can believers divide themselves in this manner yet feign to be of one mind and purpose in the Body of Christ? I’ll give you another example of “division”. If you are a Catholic family and moved to another city, isn’t it pretty much a certainty that you will look for another Catholic church to attend? Except, if followers are supposed to be a ‘unified’ faith and in Christ, it shouldn’t matter which Christian church building they attend; right? But it does matter. A Catholic wouldn’t be caught dead in an Anglican church. Why not? Because they don’t trust that any other denomination shares the same beliefs and truths about God as theirs which means; believers from different denominations will always feel different from other Christians. You don’t need a psychology degree to notice that. Believers also feel they are a better Christian than another denomination. Who knows for sure but I don’t think God intended for true followers to separate into denominations. Doesn’t Christ do the separating? Isn’t that what our Saviour is returning to do? Isn’t Jesus going to finally “separate” His sheep from the rest of the world?

Nonetheless here we are! Completely divided by denomination, doctrine, bible versions, symbols, biblical interpretation and God only knows what else? And those are just the Christian-faith-based religions. So how do we go about becoming more unified in accordance with God’s Plan or does it even matter now? After all, if these are the end times, maybe things are as holy as they’re ever going to be on earth before Judgment Day? Sorry, don’t look at me for those answers. I’m just a messenger perhaps and I have no idea whether or not God’s Plan is to attempt to unite Denominational Christian Churches under One Name? It will likely never happen but God willing, if “that” was a worthy undertaking, I do have a suggestion or two, for what it’s worth?

One suggestion might be. If you believe division in Christendom does more harm than good, then pray to God about it. Then probably the best place to start is by talking to your Community church Leaders. In turn, these leaders then contact their church Headquarters to let them know that their parishioners want to start the process of Unifying Christian Denominations by faith, doctrine and purpose. Then your Headquarters can contact the Headquarters of the other Denominations until a consensus might be reached. This process will undoubtedly be agonizingly slow and so you might also send your concerns to church Headquarters individually as well. Just to let them know at least “You are serious” because change of this magnitude will almost certainly be met with strong resistance. But ironically perhaps, this “resistance” may serve to sort out the Pretenders from the true Followers in the process? I emailed the Vatican about this too but no reply. Gee I wonder why? But those believers whom God wants connected and working together on earth will unify no matter what the resistance. So maybe we shouldn’t give up thinking that “it’s too late or too big an undertaking”? All we can do is ‘our part’ as God planned for us perhaps? Isn’t that how it works? Anyway, ask God to guide you into unity with his elect on earth, wherever they may be? Will we see Christians discarding their denominational labels and a significant trend toward churches reuniting under One Name? Likely not; in fact the bible indicates that things will get much worse rather than getting better and in reality; just the notion of “uniting denominations” sounds preposterous but that doesn’t mean it has no divine merit?

On the other hand, the bible says there will be an ungodly unification of all Nations and Religions brought about by The antichrist and now the TV evangelist Jack Van Impe has prophesied and told the world that the Next Pope is The antichrist. Yet at the same time, Impe also praises many Catholic leaders and writers as being great Christians. Anyway, if the antichrist does come in our generation, that will essentially nullify any efforts toward denominational unification anyway. Doesn’t get any easier does it? 🙂 Whether you agree or not though, I find the issue of “denomination” beguiling since clearly there are more so-called Christians on earth than ever before in history but what good are such “numbers”, if divided? Correct me if I’m wrong but probably as many humans have been slaughtered in the last 100 years as during the previous 1900 years combined? There are more Wars going on nowadays than at any time in history and Super Powers stand ready to annihilate the entire planet at a moment’s notice and in a variety of ways. Is this is what having the greatest numbers of Christians than ever before has accomplished? This is what we call a more Christian world? More Evil and Suffering and preventable Death than ever before and this Greatest Force Ever of so-called Christians is actually losing ground? So maybe, just like God told the Israelites; that many of “them” would not remain obedient to God himself, mightn’t the same thing be happening now with Christians of today not being obedient to Christ?

Roger-Tough Questions

07/07/08

Author: Roger Barrier

I am excited and deeply humbled when given the opportunity to deal with your tough theological questions. Every pastor must wrestle with questions about Biblical interpretation, Christian living and practice. What about homosexuality, pornography, church and state separation, the Trinity, the second coming of Christ or spiritual gifts? These are issues that both divide and define us. As one pastor, I have sought to find my own answers to these and other issues every Christian must face. Because I express my own opinion, I want to affirm those who have their own ideas and theological interpretations. When it gets down to it, those of us who have made Christ our Savior and Lord will stand together before the firing squad for our faith. At that moment, we will be brothers and partners and will not quibble about details. I believe there are few indisputable tenets that we must hold to be believers in Jesus. Read our Statement of Faith page on our site. You are also welcome to search our site for sermons on these topics. These essential doctrines are some that I hold dear. Let me say that to be asked to tackle your own queries is both a priviledge and a great responsibility. I am honored by your willingness to be vulnerable and discuss these challenges with me every week. Keep asking, and I'll keep trying!!!

Roger

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Comments

My teenager started reading a book this weekend that really seems to be the rage with teenage girls. It's called Twilight. By Stephenie Meyer. I have not really looked into it yet but she tells me it's about vampires. Her friend has already read the first chapter or so to her and she tells me she's not sure if it's a book she really "should" be reading it but she is really into it now and wants to continue. She wants to know what God has to say about vampires. Could you help me here. I don't have an answer for her. Thank you, Barb

Barb Alvies , 07/22/08 01:43 PM

I have heard many creationists claim that the earth is only about 6,000 years old, a number they get by studying the bible…
However we know that there is a fixed speed of light, light can only go so far so fast.

How can all of creation be only 6000 years old when with my naked eye I can see the Andromeda galaxy 2.4 million light years away?

Joseph Holmes , 07/06/10 02:10 AM

I have a situation right now where my heart is truly broken and am at a loss for what to do. Two years ago this past February I was put into a situation between my best friend and her husband. He told me that he had fallen out of love with her as his wife but loved her as a friend only. He told me he's felt like this for a couple of years.
The gentleman I speak of is Jesse A. Smith Jr. Right now he's been involved with another woman while stsill married to my best friend. He says that his feelings will NOT change and I had better stay out of their "business" from now on. Thing is I am not the only one involved. My best friends Aunt and Cousin are also involved as well.
How can I prove to him that what he's doing is NOT what God has planned for his life at the present time? I need help. Becky

Becky Small , 07/14/10 06:13 PM

Did God say that he was a jealous God or did man say that God said it? And He did, than why did he tell us not to be jealous?

Sandy Koppes , 08/02/10 10:50 PM

As believers (adult children of the deceased) are they obligated to honor their deceased mother's oral/written request that certain siblings are not allowed to attend funeral services or view the body in privacy before burial, due to past family disagreements? As her siblings we chose not to share with her children their mother's mishandling of our elderly father's monies since our dad chose her as his Power of Attorney. We have kept it quiet so that we would not cause distress to her children and/or dishonor our sister.

PHYLLIS DURREE , 08/11/10 04:02 PM

Hey Roger!
I am dying to know your thoughts on Rob Bell's teaching. I grew up at Casas and sat under your biblical teaching. From what I've studied of Rob Bell, his theology is way off. It absolutely breaks my heart to see Casas teaching his videos and books in their classes.
What do you think?

summer murphy , 08/17/10 10:12 AM

Why won't churches engage in church discipline as specified in Matthew 18?

My ex-wife was engaged in an affair back in 2003, and I approached my church about this. Of course, the first thing I was asked was what did I do to cause her to have the affair.

After I picked my jaw up from the floor, after all, this was a well educated Southern Baptist preacher who had to know by that time (since he was near retirement) that folks choose sin, and not forced into it, and certainly not by other people.

Anyway, I asked him for help, and he simply said to be more loving. I asked for a mentor, I asked for an intervention, I asked if the church would approach her in the manner specified in Matthew 18.

I was told that they don't do that, it doesn't work.

Needless to say, I've not been back to that church and have since divorced, found a new place to worship, etc.

But I have to wonder why the church seems to be so unwilling to follow scripture. My objective was to save the marriage, not gain some sort of morally superior position. After all, my ex-wife had legitimate complaints about the marriage. However, as long as she was engaged in the affair and pursuing divorce, there was no way for me to address them. She was in the fantasy of the affair, and anything bad I had ever done was magnified 1000x and compared to the fantasy she had going on, dreaming about how life would be once she was free of me and able to be with her married other man.

If I understand the process, the sin is confronted, and the sinner has a chance to speak as well. If she had complaints about me, she would have been free to present then and list the changes she wanted.

But since no one would confront her, not the church, not her family, none but me, and she certainly didn't want me given she was so smitten with her affair partner, there was no hope.

She got the divorce she wanted, and now there is another broken family.

What struck me odd was this was when churches were so up in arms about gay marriage. Now I'm not in favor of gay marriage, but since homosexuality is about 2% of the population, should there have been 50X as much effort on saving existing marriages, instead of fighting the 2% who wanted gay marriage.

I certainly understand the valid criticism of those who are for gay marriage. We as a community of believers have done a horrible job of protecting existing marriages. The divorce stats tell the story. There is little or no difference between marriage survival rates inside as well as outside the church.

Based on my former churches response, I'm beginning to understand why. I guess this has become more of a rant than a question. If you find anything useful to spark discussion, then feel free to use it.

I guess my bottom line question is if God is so "pro family" why are his people so lousy at preserving families in the church? Tools such as mentors, loving confrontation as spelled out in Matthew 18 and other tools are available. But it seems we are looking outward, and not looking to God for answers.

Thanks for reading my rant.

Tony

Tony Bright , 08/20/10 08:45 AM

What is the biblical standpoint on hypnosis?

Kyra Bradley , 09/21/10 04:50 PM

Roger:

President Obama keeps touting about his belief in "Collective Salvation". What's the scoop? Is this a true Christian theory?

Thanks, Mark

Mark Cochran , 10/20/10 10:49 PM

Roger,

I responded to a Sunday nght sermon of yours in 1980. I asked God to make me a man after his own heart no matter the cost I had been seeing Steve Dowdle for a fear and anxiety problem at this time and was told to repeat perfect love casteth out all fear whenever fear was attacking me. I had 2 incidences on baseball fields soon after. I was filled with the increased presence of the Lord about 4 hours later it was like the Lord had left me. The only way I knew that he hadent was the way this changed my vision. Steve wanted me to read the book Hinds feet on high places. I read the book about 1 year ago now. I would like to speak with you and Steve anytime regarding my path to this point and where I am spiritually. I realize this is almost 30 years later and Steve may not remember this.

Larry Moser , 01/02/11 08:33 PM

Roger,
You probably think that me trying to speak with you after 30 years is strange. You probably dont have a clue who I am. My brother is Tom Moser and my sster is Diane Weeks. This may help. I think my dad did some upholstery for you and Julie many years ago. In 1980 I was turned on to your expository type preaching by my brother Tom. I was glued to your sermons. My wife taught school at Palo Verde Christian high school with Melony Watson. I only spoke to you 1 time that was when I was seeing Steve Dowdle about my fear of having cancer and was sure it was over. I was working as a emergency medical techinician on a ambulance and was transporting cancer patients daily. Steve told me to repeat perfect love casteth out all fear and I left his office. He said as soon as you can call Roger Barrier because he was a cancer survivor. I called right away and you answered the phone. I said roger my name is Larry Moser and I just left Steves office. I said I believe I have cancer and am dying of it. You answered in a calm voice and said have you been diagnosed with cancer and I said. Im sorry I bothered you and hung the phone up. I thought, roger must think I am a nut because I had not seen a doctor I just belived it maybe the next Sunday night is when you preached the Spiritual growth sermon One line was your suffering may last 6 months, 1,2,5,10,15,20, or maybe 30 years. When I heard this I thought this is my path, I only have to ask him to do this no matter the cost. The next day I couldn't get the 30 years number out of my head. I thought who would want to suffer this long. I even calculated iu my mind that I would be my age 54, after the 30 years. I was so desperate to be free of the fear and anxiey I had been experiencing my entire life. I said I have to have more evidence to pray this prayer. The very next day I drove to Gospel Supply to try and find a book that would give me more evidence that Jesus was like this. The first book row on the top shelf and the first book was Josh Mcdowels evidence that demands a verdict. On the cover it reads Jesus Lunatic, Liar or Lord. This made sense to me. I bought it and read about one page of evidence and I put it down and looked up to the roof of my volkswagon and said Lord, I believe, make me a man after your heart no matter what the cost. Very soon I had 2 spiritual experiences while coaching Palo verde Christian hish school baseball team. These were shared with Steve on ny next session. The next time I write I will share them with you. Love you brother and sister Julie. Issaih 40:31, Hebrews 10 and 11 and Psalm 38-40, And the best of all Psalm 40:1-3 Its coming soon I believe!!!!!!

larry Moser , 01/11/11 09:25 PM

Dear Rodger,

You all probably , have been asked the following many times before?

Why isn't there a service on Saturday night? Has anyone ever taken a survey to find out how many would be interested in attending a sat night mini service.. I realize the cost factor,,but, has it ever been tried before?

Please email at lapinks@earthlink.net

Please email me

Larry Pinkerton , 01/19/11 09:50 PM

Hi Roger,Well its been a while

Dee Anderson , 03/16/11 01:15 PM

sorry Roger I hit the wrong key.Anyway we live in Tyler Tx now and we just love it.In case you dont remember me I run the school cafe at Casa fo 15 years. What I am wondering about is years ago you was preaching a sermon and said that it takes about 20 seconds to get to heaven after you die because thats how long it took for a prayer that someone said to reach god. I dont remember who it was that said the prayer but you said you timed it and it took about 20 seconds.If this rings a bell with you could you tell me who said the prayer…Are you still living in Tucson or did you move to Big "D". Would love to talk with you again.I talked to Cathy Young last month and caught up on some of the happening at Casa.I sure enjoyed my time at Casa and loved your sermons. Dee Anderson

Dee Anderson , 03/16/11 01:33 PM

Is it nessasary to be refilled with the holy spirit once you have been filled?

paul Anderson , 06/26/11 08:51 PM

Do you believe God favors some of His children over others by the life they choose to live?

Connie Harper , 07/04/11 10:35 PM

Dear Roger,
How should we pray for someone’s salvation. Dose it even help to pray for someone’s salvation, since its that persons free will to choose to accept Jesus or reject Him?

Love,
Connie

Connie Harper , 08/25/11 10:31 AM

Dear Roger,
Please stick with this. There IS a questioin in here somewhere; one of those tough ones.

I got saved in late 1973. I've had my struggles – at times my discouragement was high and my faith low. Yet God has continually upheld me with His right hand. I've always stayed in church though and I love the Lord with all my heart today. Yet in all my time as a Christian, I have only once, recently, heard a sermon praising men. At the church I went to for many years, every Mothers' Day the pastor would preach glowingly about the virtues of women and how their husbands were to praise and love them as Christ and about the "super mom" syndrome, etc.. But every Fathers' day, it was a kick in the pants for the men and a reminder about how they have to do better. I eventually just stopped going there on Fathers' Day. I've been attending Casas for 10 – 12 years now, and I"ve never heard you say anything in praise of men either. Maybe I missed that one. I've been a good father, raising my children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, done many home and car repairs and yard work. Yet Pastors treat men as though they have no feelings – no tendency toward insecurity and virtually, no brains either. And in doing so, they promote male bashing and reenforce a negative outlook of men among the women of the church, many of whom are already under the influence of the adversary's brand of feminism, which is different from our Lord's version. I have raised two boys into fine young men and a beautiful daughter into a fine young women. I don't allow male bashing in my house (or female bashing) and I don't accept it from the pulpit either. We want fathers and husbands to stay at home but we tell them that they can't do anything right and that they aren't all that valuable or really needed. Pastors tell us to "Just buck up; tow the line and shut up!" and I reject that. It's way too imbalanced.

Here's my question: Why, when men are struggling beneath the burdens of negative perception and portrayal in the media and by feminists, many of whom simply hate men and aren't really interested in something called justice, do so many pastors treat men so unfairly? We're trying to survive, yet we get nothing but fire from behind the lines. I'm really tired of it. We are worthwhile too.

Signed,
A worthwhile, viable, imperfect but pretty good guy.

Ed Costanza , 11/28/11 01:47 PM

Greetings Roger, brothers and sisters; in His name;
Often say that if a believer had the patience of Supernanny, the courage of a Mormon to go most anywhere in the world engaging strangers, the work ethic of a Hutterite, the commitment to prayer of a Muslim, the brotherhood of a soldier, a mother’s loving care, a sparrow’s fear and could take in a homeless person as easily as they could a lost dog and their church had kneeling boards like the Catholics and the outreach capability like Billy Graham’s; that might be considered as beginning to mimic Jesus, then all you would need is God’s power to give it true Christian purpose? That being a description I’ve not come close as measuring up to yet; still transforming in Christ Jesus (Romans 12:2/2 Corinthians 3:18) as other baptized disciples God willing but along the way I’m finding what appear to be some disturbing trends with contemporary Christianity which maybe you’ve noticed too? Indeed, since the disbanding of the small church where I was baptized, the churches I’ve looked into since, demonstrated more cause to avoid rather than join them which is disturbing in itself yet growingly understandable and perhaps begs the question; is what we’re seeing in today’s churches mostly Holy or Hype?

So I was compelled to embark on a ‘seek and edify mission’ if you will, to find out what’s going on and share my concerns with brethren. Over the last few years I’ve also been online sending this letter to believers and church leaders in America and worldwide with anticipation it might also be an ideal opportunity to open a genuine dialogue and edify with believers that were previously unknown to me? Though carefully considered, this frequently edited document is lengthy so you might want to set it aside to read when you have more time? Keep in mind too that I do not claim to have all the answers either but I’m willing to face God’s truth and edify with any believer and by our discussing the issues, perhaps mutually edifying truths may be revealed, God willing? Albeit I’m noticing more of an aversion to “edify” and even just sending this letter is proving that most believers choose to shun strangers instead of trying to love thy neighbour which perhaps also speaks to what is not going on in churches and educational institutions? But how does God intend for us to edify (James 5:16) and what other issues are believers hesitant to face or not even aware of or simply avoiding? Well, for starters, take a look at these statistics I found years ago posted on one church’s website:

Quote:
In America, it is estimated there are over 200 million people who do not have a personal relationship with Christ!
Since only China and India have larger populations than this, the U.S. is the 3rd largest mission field in the world!
Nearly 74% of all Americans have no meaningful church relationship!
One-half of all the churches in America did not add one new member through “conversion” growth during the last year.
No county in America has a greater percentage of churched people today than a decade ago.
Evangelical churches have failed to gain an additional 2% of the American population in the past 50 years. In other words, we are not even reaching our own children!
North America is the ONLY continent where Christianity is not growing!

According to Barna Research, of the 350,000 churches in America:
80% have reached a plateau or are declining
15% are growing because of transfer growth
5% are growing because of conversion growth

Canada: A Sobering Reality Check
Approximately 85% of all Canadians have no meaningful church relationship!
Churches are closing more rapidly in Canada than in any other country in the Western world!
According to Outreach Canada demographic research, only 16% of Canadians attend church regularly. In urban centers
like Toronto, only 5% of the population can be categorized as consistent church attendees!
Close to 250,000 new Canadians have immigrated annually during the last decade. The majority are Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist or Confucian. The United Nations called Toronto, “the most ethnically diverse city in the world.”
The mission field is here!
Unquote.

If those stats are anywhere near true, America is mostly ungodly and becoming more so. Yep, that’s right folks. Canada and the U.S. are not the God-fearing/God-loving countries which perhaps most believers used to presume. Gee I wonder why? Could it be that in The Land of the Free, there are at least five murders every day, hundreds of shootings every day, thousands of assaults every day, thousands of burglaries every day, countless thousands of homeless people without hope every day and thousands of drunk-driving deaths every year and 1.6 million Runaway children every year who are exploited and killed? That is the society we boast about to the world as The Best Place to live? A “culture” that pays Pro Football Players many more times the salary of Doctors and Soldiers/Police who sacrifice their lives to keep You safe. A “society” which sees Corporations give away millions of dollars to Game Show Contestants instead of helping the needy and homeless. This makes “us” the envy of all nations on earth? Well I, for one, am embarrassed just to admit being part of ‘that delusion’ for so long but grateful now that God shamed me into finally being embarrassed. Not to mention, that Christians are not the majority in America either according to those statistics and perhaps they never were? So instead of singing “God Bless America”, perhaps we need to be crying out: ‘God Please Save America!’? Indeed we’ve seen TV evangelists preaching “God Please Save America” though in the comfort of their multi-million-dollar lavish church buildings and imploring others to go do the work which they themselves won’t do.

If those statistics weren’t alarming enough, that may be only the tip of the iceberg? We find churches that condone adultery and tolerate all kinds of behavior which are contrary to the teachings of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) while the Catholic church pays out over $600 Million to victims of sexual immorality perpetrated by their priests. This, among other observations, tends to indicate that many believers are not only ignoring the Fundamentals of Christianity but they may not ‘get it’ at all? It’s disconcerting enough to know that we’re still seeing greed, corruption and perversion in today’s churches but also believers who don’t even want to talk about God and pastors that seem to be auditioning for “Last Comic Standing” instead of Standing for Christ. Those conditions seemingly preposterous for a ‘church’ yet true and may actually be more ubiquitous than uncommon? But then I’ve had the benefit of a perspective which has allowed me to look at things more objectively perhaps? In that, I never had a long term or serious church-going association before I was called to repent so I don’t have to defend the integrity of a church I go to and perhaps can more easily recognize a church’s strengths and weaknesses, God willing? In other words, I first studied the Word and learned what to look for in a church which best exemplifies biblical fundamentals, from the outside looking in. Whereas many believers may have been on the inside of a church looking out for so long; they’re not even aware that anything might be wrong. Indeed, even if you could expose a deficiency of a church and even if the allegation was biblically supported, it would fall on deaf ears because nobody wants to admit there could be anything out of order with their ‘own church’.

But just because people are seen coming to church and a pastor preaching a sermon, doesn’t necessarily mean everything is okay. In fact, one Christian writer described ‘today’s churchgoing experience’ saying; quote: “They are hiding behind a mask of Christian activity, going through the motions and keeping the surface rules that give the appearance of loving God. A life of loving God and honestly and joyfully wanting to do His will from the heart; is a mirage in the spiritual desert wilderness in which they live.” Is this what has happened to churches since Jesus walked on earth? Sadly, I would tend to agree with that assessment knowing what I’ve personally witnessed. Hope that isn’t the case but the believers/churches I’ve encountered aren’t remotely convincing as loving obedient followers of Christ. I’m finding believers that are mostly suspicious, impatient and wouldn’t even think to take in a homeless person as well as churches where no one kneels in prayer, nobody fears God and getting to know your fellow parishioner/brethren is practically non-existent. Not mention the ever-increasing level of ‘suspicion’ among believers and nowhere is this more evident than with the Internet and isn’t it ironic that we are supposed to lovingly engage ‘strangers’ but we’re so suspicious of viruses/spam that, instead of utilizing a tool like the Internet which enables us to ‘connect’ with more people and more effectively than ever before in history; we’ve done everything technically possible to ensure that we never connect with “strangers” by email? By the same token it also keeps brethren who are strangers, from connecting rather than bringing them together. Indeed, seemingly there may be issues of such serious significance, that I prepared the following prayer just for believers who might choose to read further?

Father, I confess to you, I have seen churches without Bibles. I have spoken to believers who denounce water baptism for the repentance of sins. I have seen believers wearing and displaying physical idols depicting your Son. There are clergy that call their self “Father” and there are even believers who call themselves Christians yet deny Jesus is your Son. I’ve seen so-called Christian churches that turn away the un-baptized and forbid the speaking and interpreting of tongue and baptize dead people. Dare I say Father, there seems to be deception in so-called Christian churches on earth of such proportion that the false believers may actually vastly outnumber Christ’s true followers? O’ God, please forgive me and grant readers spiritual discernment; for anything I write has no holy purpose without your blessing? Amen.

Continuing; is there deception in the Church? No question and the problem may also be “the believers themselves” in oblivious orchestration with the devil? Is Christianity more about Money than miracles? Are Evangelists merely Entertainers? Is Christendom hopelessly divided by Denomination? Do today’s Sermons really serve God’s will or is sermonizing merely part of a preacher’s job description? What do You think and how would you answer the following question?

If someone accused You of not being a Christian, could you prove them wrong?

Perhaps that’s a question every believer should be pondering and what about the issue of Denomination? You don’t even have to be a believer to notice that Christian religions have many different denominations. A process which began many centuries ago and perhaps innocently enough as simply distinguishing each church by location but has since become a method of ‘purposeful division’? Need proof? Try this on for size. Just ask someone which religious church they belong to and what do they usually say? Most often they will say: I am Baptist or Lutheran or United or Catholic or whatever Denomination they are but why don’t they just say: ‘I am a Christian’? No, they instinctively refer to their man-named Denomination and it’s no longer simply a matter of where your Christian church is ‘located’. Nowadays you have to dig deeper just to find out if they consider themselves to be “a Christian”. But by then it’s usually pointless because you’ve already labelled them a Baptist or Lutheran or United or Catholic or Whatever and probably view them ‘differently’? So even if they say they’re a Christian, judgment has also already begun in your mind as to whether or not they are a ‘true’ Christian? Or at the very least, you’re going to make a judgment call about them based solely on their “denomination”? This suggests that even so-called Christians insist on being different from each other, rather than being unified under One Faith. Think about that. Would a Baptist feel just as comfortable attending a Lutheran church? I don’t think so; nor will you find a Catholic attending a Baptist church service etc. etc. etc. It just doesn’t happen because believers have now ‘purposely divided’ themselves from one another. Indeed, today there is so much division among believers that nobody knows Who the real Christians are or where to find them?

Even the terms Christendom and Christianity are different just try to make a List of all the true Christian churches in America. It couldn’t be done and it seems quite obvious that so-called Christian churches have become irreparably divided by Denomination? Pick a church, pick a city, pick a Country; your guess is as good as mine and though I believe the devil is responsible for most of what affects Christianity negatively, I also think believers shoulder some responsibility too? Christians have helped to divide and conquer themselves by perpetuating a notion that “denomination” has anything to do with Christianity. We can all see that denomination has done more to destroy than promote Christian unity and this issue has been written about for centuries but believers still refuse to acknowledge that anything might be amiss. Here’s another quote:

“Many godly men have tried to bring unity to the body of Christ. Unity abides among the spiritually mature and cannot be achieved by the sole effort of any one man. Luther tried, as did Calvin, Zwingli, Wycliff, Tyndale, Wesley, Williams, Knox, Spurgen, Moody and many, many others. Each contributed new light but failed to bring any greater unity to the body of Christ. Controversy and contention followed each ray of new light and with it came further division. Again and again unity was sought but remained elusive; it soon became obvious that something was missing; we had failed to lay a foundation where unity could survive. What was lacking?

Unity can only survive among those few brethren who are yielded and mature enough to let God have His way. If we allow our doctrine to freeze in place, there remains no further opportunity to grow; we become the “frozen chosen”. Too many of us have become pillars of the church. We believe that our doctrines are the very standard of biblical truth. We become unwilling to examine our beliefs any further or to seek any truth yet unknown. We’ve become un-teachable and, like the pillars of the church, we can no longer be moved.” Unquote.

Is this happening in your church too? Or maybe Satan is that powerful and has blinded most believers from seeing any problem with “denomination”?

Well, I don’t know about You but I could no longer sit idle if there is even a remote chance that things have gotten that bad. The Red Flags are raised and I won’t indulge the devil’s fancy! If we believers are all supposed to be united as One Church In Christ under God, then it is time to start “doing” something about that. Heh folks, I’m not making this up. These are the facts: We have different Christian denominations and different doctrines and these “differences” are preventing us from becoming a truly unified Christian force to be reckoned with. Am I wrong? One could only imagine that if the various denominations made the effort to set their differences aside and came to agreement as the Bible says; what an awesomely holy force it could be, God willing? Unfortunately it is the Believers who are not willing and so why would God bless any church that seeks to be separate and unique from their brethren? But sadly, today’s generation of so-called Christians do seek distinction from their brethren and don’t even notice any Red Flags. Denominations have carved out their territories over the millennium and now even zealously guard their autonomy from other churches too. In fact, even individual churches within a denomination insist on “autonomy”. Therefore isn’t the concept of unity defeated even before it’s addressed?

I think so and how can believers divide themselves in this manner yet feign to be of one mind and purpose in the Body of Christ? I’ll give you another example of “division”. If you are a Catholic family and moved to another city, isn’t it pretty much a certainty that you will look for another Catholic church to attend? Except, if followers are supposed to be a ‘unified’ faith and in Christ, it shouldn’t matter which Christian church building they attend; right? But it does matter. A Catholic wouldn’t be caught dead in an Anglican church. Why not? Because they don’t trust that any other denomination shares the same beliefs and truths about God as theirs which means; believers from different denominations will always feel different from other Christians. You don’t need a psychology degree to notice that. Believers also feel they are a better Christian than another denomination. Who knows for sure but I don’t think God intended for true followers to separate into denominations. Doesn’t Christ do the separating? Isn’t that what our Saviour is returning to do? Isn’t Jesus going to finally “separate” His sheep from the rest of the world?

Nonetheless here we are! Completely divided by denomination, doctrine, bible versions, symbols, biblical interpretation and God only knows what else? And those are just the Christian-faith-based religions. So how do we go about becoming more unified in accordance with God’s Plan or does it even matter now? After all, if these are the end times, maybe things are as holy as they’re ever going to be on earth before Judgment Day? Sorry, don’t look at me for those answers. I’m just a messenger perhaps and I have no idea whether or not God’s Plan is to attempt to unite Denominational Christian Churches under One Name? It will likely never happen but God willing, if “that” was a worthy undertaking, I do have a suggestion or two, for what it’s worth?

One suggestion might be. If you believe division in Christendom does more harm than good, then pray to God about it. Then probably the best place to start is by talking to your Community church Leaders. In turn, these leaders then contact their church Headquarters to let them know that their parishioners want to start the process of Unifying Christian Denominations by faith, doctrine and purpose. Then your Headquarters can contact the Headquarters of the other Denominations until a consensus might be reached. This process will undoubtedly be agonizingly slow and so you might also send your concerns to church Headquarters individually as well. Just to let them know at least “You are serious” because change of this magnitude will almost certainly be met with strong resistance. But ironically perhaps, this “resistance” may serve to sort out the Pretenders from the true Followers in the process? I emailed the Vatican about this too but no reply. Gee I wonder why? But those believers whom God wants connected and working together on earth will unify no matter what the resistance. So maybe we shouldn’t give up thinking that “it’s too late or too big an undertaking”? All we can do is ‘our part’ as God planned for us perhaps? Isn’t that how it works? Anyway, ask God to guide you into unity with his elect on earth, wherever they may be? Will we see Christians discarding their denominational labels and a significant trend toward churches reuniting under One Name? Likely not; in fact the bible indicates that things will get much worse rather than getting better and in reality; just the notion of “uniting denominations” sounds preposterous but that doesn’t mean it has no divine merit?

On the other hand, the bible says there will be an ungodly unification of all Nations and Religions brought about by The antichrist and now the TV evangelist Jack Van Impe has prophesied and told the world that the Next Pope is The antichrist. Yet at the same time, Impe also praises many Catholic leaders and writers as being great Christians. Anyway, if the antichrist does come in our generation, that will essentially nullify any efforts toward denominational unification anyway. Doesn’t get any easier does it? 🙂 Whether you agree or not though, I find the issue of “denomination” beguiling since clearly there are more so-called Christians on earth than ever before in history but what good are such “numbers”, if divided? Correct me if I’m wrong but probably as many humans have been slaughtered in the last 100 years as during the previous 1900 years combined? There are more Wars going on nowadays than at any time in history and Super Powers stand ready to annihilate the entire planet at a moment’s notice and in a variety of ways. Is this is what having the greatest numbers of Christians than ever before has accomplished? This is what we call a more Christian world? More Evil and Suffering and preventable Death than ever before and this Greatest Force Ever of so-called Christians is actually losing ground? So maybe, just like God told the Israelites; that many of “them” would not remain obedient to God himself, mightn’t the same thing be happening now with Christians of today not being obedient to Christ?

Roger-Tough Questions

07/07/08

Author: Roger Barrier

I am excited and deeply humbled when given the opportunity to deal with your tough theological questions. Every pastor must wrestle with questions about Biblical interpretation, Christian living and practice. What about homosexuality, pornography, church and state separation, the Trinity, the second coming of Christ or spiritual gifts? These are issues that both divide and define us. As one pastor, I have sought to find my own answers to these and other issues every Christian must face. Because I express my own opinion, I want to affirm those who have their own ideas and theological interpretations. When it gets down to it, those of us who have made Christ our Savior and Lord will stand together before the firing squad for our faith. At that moment, we will be brothers and partners and will not quibble about details. I believe there are few indisputable tenets that we must hold to be believers in Jesus. Read our Statement of Faith page on our site. You are also welcome to search our site for sermons on these topics. These essential doctrines are some that I hold dear. Let me say that to be asked to tackle your own queries is both a priviledge and a great responsibility. I am honored by your willingness to be vulnerable and discuss these challenges with me every week. Keep asking, and I'll keep trying!!!

Roger

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Comments

My teenager started reading a book this weekend that really seems to be the rage with teenage girls. It's called Twilight. By Stephenie Meyer. I have not really looked into it yet but she tells me it's about vampires. Her friend has already read the first chapter or so to her and she tells me she's not sure if it's a book she really "should" be reading it but she is really into it now and wants to continue. She wants to know what God has to say about vampires. Could you help me here. I don't have an answer for her. Thank you, Barb

Barb Alvies , 07/22/08 01:43 PM

I have heard many creationists claim that the earth is only about 6,000 years old, a number they get by studying the bible…
However we know that there is a fixed speed of light, light can only go so far so fast.

How can all of creation be only 6000 years old when with my naked eye I can see the Andromeda galaxy 2.4 million light years away?

Joseph Holmes , 07/06/10 02:10 AM

I have a situation right now where my heart is truly broken and am at a loss for what to do. Two years ago this past February I was put into a situation between my best friend and her husband. He told me that he had fallen out of love with her as his wife but loved her as a friend only. He told me he's felt like this for a couple of years.
The gentleman I speak of is Jesse A. Smith Jr. Right now he's been involved with another woman while stsill married to my best friend. He says that his feelings will NOT change and I had better stay out of their "business" from now on. Thing is I am not the only one involved. My best friends Aunt and Cousin are also involved as well.
How can I prove to him that what he's doing is NOT what God has planned for his life at the present time? I need help. Becky

Becky Small , 07/14/10 06:13 PM

Did God say that he was a jealous God or did man say that God said it? And He did, than why did he tell us not to be jealous?

Sandy Koppes , 08/02/10 10:50 PM

As believers (adult children of the deceased) are they obligated to honor their deceased mother's oral/written request that certain siblings are not allowed to attend funeral services or view the body in privacy before burial, due to past family disagreements? As her siblings we chose not to share with her children their mother's mishandling of our elderly father's monies since our dad chose her as his Power of Attorney. We have kept it quiet so that we would not cause distress to her children and/or dishonor our sister.

PHYLLIS DURREE , 08/11/10 04:02 PM

Hey Roger!
I am dying to know your thoughts on Rob Bell's teaching. I grew up at Casas and sat under your biblical teaching. From what I've studied of Rob Bell, his theology is way off. It absolutely breaks my heart to see Casas teaching his videos and books in their classes.
What do you think?

summer murphy , 08/17/10 10:12 AM

Why won't churches engage in church discipline as specified in Matthew 18?

My ex-wife was engaged in an affair back in 2003, and I approached my church about this. Of course, the first thing I was asked was what did I do to cause her to have the affair.

After I picked my jaw up from the floor, after all, this was a well educated Southern Baptist preacher who had to know by that time (since he was near retirement) that folks choose sin, and not forced into it, and certainly not by other people.

Anyway, I asked him for help, and he simply said to be more loving. I asked for a mentor, I asked for an intervention, I asked if the church would approach her in the manner specified in Matthew 18.

I was told that they don't do that, it doesn't work.

Needless to say, I've not been back to that church and have since divorced, found a new place to worship, etc.

But I have to wonder why the church seems to be so unwilling to follow scripture. My objective was to save the marriage, not gain some sort of morally superior position. After all, my ex-wife had legitimate complaints about the marriage. However, as long as she was engaged in the affair and pursuing divorce, there was no way for me to address them. She was in the fantasy of the affair, and anything bad I had ever done was magnified 1000x and compared to the fantasy she had going on, dreaming about how life would be once she was free of me and able to be with her married other man.

If I understand the process, the sin is confronted, and the sinner has a chance to speak as well. If she had complaints about me, she would have been free to present then and list the changes she wanted.

But since no one would confront her, not the church, not her family, none but me, and she certainly didn't want me given she was so smitten with her affair partner, there was no hope.

She got the divorce she wanted, and now there is another broken family.

What struck me odd was this was when churches were so up in arms about gay marriage. Now I'm not in favor of gay marriage, but since homosexuality is about 2% of the population, should there have been 50X as much effort on saving existing marriages, instead of fighting the 2% who wanted gay marriage.

I certainly understand the valid criticism of those who are for gay marriage. We as a community of believers have done a horrible job of protecting existing marriages. The divorce stats tell the story. There is little or no difference between marriage survival rates inside as well as outside the church.

Based on my former churches response, I'm beginning to understand why. I guess this has become more of a rant than a question. If you find anything useful to spark discussion, then feel free to use it.

I guess my bottom line question is if God is so "pro family" why are his people so lousy at preserving families in the church? Tools such as mentors, loving confrontation as spelled out in Matthew 18 and other tools are available. But it seems we are looking outward, and not looking to God for answers.

Thanks for reading my rant.

Tony

Tony Bright , 08/20/10 08:45 AM

What is the biblical standpoint on hypnosis?

Kyra Bradley , 09/21/10 04:50 PM

Roger:

President Obama keeps touting about his belief in "Collective Salvation". What's the scoop? Is this a true Christian theory?

Thanks, Mark

Mark Cochran , 10/20/10 10:49 PM

Roger,

I responded to a Sunday nght sermon of yours in 1980. I asked God to make me a man after his own heart no matter the cost I had been seeing Steve Dowdle for a fear and anxiety problem at this time and was told to repeat perfect love casteth out all fear whenever fear was attacking me. I had 2 incidences on baseball fields soon after. I was filled with the increased presence of the Lord about 4 hours later it was like the Lord had left me. The only way I knew that he hadent was the way this changed my vision. Steve wanted me to read the book Hinds feet on high places. I read the book about 1 year ago now. I would like to speak with you and Steve anytime regarding my path to this point and where I am spiritually. I realize this is almost 30 years later and Steve may not remember this.

Larry Moser , 01/02/11 08:33 PM

Roger,
You probably think that me trying to speak with you after 30 years is strange. You probably dont have a clue who I am. My brother is Tom Moser and my sster is Diane Weeks. This may help. I think my dad did some upholstery for you and Julie many years ago. In 1980 I was turned on to your expository type preaching by my brother Tom. I was glued to your sermons. My wife taught school at Palo Verde Christian high school with Melony Watson. I only spoke to you 1 time that was when I was seeing Steve Dowdle about my fear of having cancer and was sure it was over. I was working as a emergency medical techinician on a ambulance and was transporting cancer patients daily. Steve told me to repeat perfect love casteth out all fear and I left his office. He said as soon as you can call Roger Barrier because he was a cancer survivor. I called right away and you answered the phone. I said roger my name is Larry Moser and I just left Steves office. I said I believe I have cancer and am dying of it. You answered in a calm voice and said have you been diagnosed with cancer and I said. Im sorry I bothered you and hung the phone up. I thought, roger must think I am a nut because I had not seen a doctor I just belived it maybe the next Sunday night is when you preached the Spiritual growth sermon One line was your suffering may last 6 months, 1,2,5,10,15,20, or maybe 30 years. When I heard this I thought this is my path, I only have to ask him to do this no matter the cost. The next day I couldn't get the 30 years number out of my head. I thought who would want to suffer this long. I even calculated iu my mind that I would be my age 54, after the 30 years. I was so desperate to be free of the fear and anxiey I had been experiencing my entire life. I said I have to have more evidence to pray this prayer. The very next day I drove to Gospel Supply to try and find a book that would give me more evidence that Jesus was like this. The first book row on the top shelf and the first book was Josh Mcdowels evidence that demands a verdict. On the cover it reads Jesus Lunatic, Liar or Lord. This made sense to me. I bought it and read about one page of evidence and I put it down and looked up to the roof of my volkswagon and said Lord, I believe, make me a man after your heart no matter what the cost. Very soon I had 2 spiritual experiences while coaching Palo verde Christian hish school baseball team. These were shared with Steve on ny next session. The next time I write I will share them with you. Love you brother and sister Julie. Issaih 40:31, Hebrews 10 and 11 and Psalm 38-40, And the best of all Psalm 40:1-3 Its coming soon I believe!!!!!!

larry Moser , 01/11/11 09:25 PM

Dear Rodger,

You all probably , have been asked the following many times before?

Why isn't there a service on Saturday night? Has anyone ever taken a survey to find out how many would be interested in attending a sat night mini service.. I realize the cost factor,,but, has it ever been tried before?

Please email at lapinks@earthlink.net

Please email me

Larry Pinkerton , 01/19/11 09:50 PM

Hi Roger,Well its been a while

Dee Anderson , 03/16/11 01:15 PM

sorry Roger I hit the wrong key.Anyway we live in Tyler Tx now and we just love it.In case you dont remember me I run the school cafe at Casa fo 15 years. What I am wondering about is years ago you was preaching a sermon and said that it takes about 20 seconds to get to heaven after you die because thats how long it took for a prayer that someone said to reach god. I dont remember who it was that said the prayer but you said you timed it and it took about 20 seconds.If this rings a bell with you could you tell me who said the prayer…Are you still living in Tucson or did you move to Big "D". Would love to talk with you again.I talked to Cathy Young last month and caught up on some of the happening at Casa.I sure enjoyed my time at Casa and loved your sermons. Dee Anderson

Dee Anderson , 03/16/11 01:33 PM

Is it nessasary to be refilled with the holy spirit once you have been filled?

paul Anderson , 06/26/11 08:51 PM

Do you believe God favors some of His children over others by the life they choose to live?

Connie Harper , 07/04/11 10:35 PM

Dear Roger,
How should we pray for someone’s salvation. Dose it even help to pray for someone’s salvation, since its that persons free will to choose to accept Jesus or reject Him?

Love,
Connie

Connie Harper , 08/25/11 10:31 AM

Dear Roger,
Please stick with this. There IS a questioin in here somewhere; one of those tough ones.

I got saved in late 1973. I've had my struggles – at times my discouragement was high and my faith low. Yet God has continually upheld me with His right hand. I've always stayed in church though and I love the Lord with all my heart today. Yet in all my time as a Christian, I have only once, recently, heard a sermon praising men. At the church I went to for many years, every Mothers' Day the pastor would preach glowingly about the virtues of women and how their husbands were to praise and love them as Christ and about the "super mom" syndrome, etc.. But every Fathers' day, it was a kick in the pants for the men and a reminder about how they have to do better. I eventually just stopped going there on Fathers' Day. I've been attending Casas for 10 – 12 years now, and I"ve never heard you say anything in praise of men either. Maybe I missed that one. I've been a good father, raising my children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, done many home and car repairs and yard work. Yet Pastors treat men as though they have no feelings – no tendency toward insecurity and virtually, no brains either. And in doing so, they promote male bashing and reenforce a negative outlook of men among the women of the church, many of whom are already under the influence of the adversary's brand of feminism, which is different from our Lord's version. I have raised two boys into fine young men and a beautiful daughter into a fine young women. I don't allow male bashing in my house (or female bashing) and I don't accept it from the pulpit either. We want fathers and husbands to stay at home but we tell them that they can't do anything right and that they aren't all that valuable or really needed. Pastors tell us to "Just buck up; tow the line and shut up!" and I reject that. It's way too imbalanced.

Here's my question: Why, when men are struggling beneath the burdens of negative perception and portrayal in the media and by feminists, many of whom simply hate men and aren't really interested in something called justice, do so many pastors treat men so unfairly? We're trying to survive, yet we get nothing but fire from behind the lines. I'm really tired of it. We are worthwhile too.

Signed,
A worthwhile, viable, imperfect but pretty good guy.

Ed Costanza , 11/28/11 01:47 PM

Greetings Roger, brothers and sisters; in His name;
Often say that if a believer had the patience of Supernanny, the courage of a Mormon to go most anywhere in the world engaging strangers, the work ethic of a Hutterite, the commitment to prayer of a Muslim, the brotherhood of a soldier, a mother’s loving care, a sparrow’s fear and could take in a homeless person as easily as they could a lost dog and their church had kneeling boards like the Catholics and the outreach capability like Billy Graham’s; that might be considered as beginning to mimic Jesus, then all you would need is God’s power to give it true Christian purpose? That being a description I’ve not come close as measuring up to yet; still transforming in Christ Jesus (Romans 12:2/2 Corinthians 3:18) as other baptized disciples God willing but along the way I’m finding what appear to be some disturbing trends with contemporary Christianity which maybe you’ve noticed too? Indeed, since the disbanding of the small church where I was baptized, the churches I’ve looked into since, demonstrated more cause to avoid rather than join them which is disturbing in itself yet growingly understandable and perhaps begs the question; is what we’re seeing in today’s churches mostly Holy or Hype?

So I was compelled to embark on a ‘seek and edify mission’ if you will, to find out what’s going on and share my concerns with brethren. Over the last few years I’ve also been online sending this letter to believers and church leaders in America and worldwide with anticipation it might also be an ideal opportunity to open a genuine dialogue and edify with believers that were previously unknown to me? Though carefully considered, this frequently edited document is lengthy so you might want to set it aside to read when you have more time? Keep in mind too that I do not claim to have all the answers either but I’m willing to face God’s truth and edify with any believer and by our discussing the issues, perhaps mutually edifying truths may be revealed, God willing? Albeit I’m noticing more of an aversion to “edify” and even just sending this letter is proving that most believers choose to shun strangers instead of trying to love thy neighbour which perhaps also speaks to what is not going on in churches and educational institutions? But how does God intend for us to edify (James 5:16) and what other issues are believers hesitant to face or not even aware of or simply avoiding? Well, for starters, take a look at these statistics I found years ago posted on one church’s website:

Quote:
In America, it is estimated there are over 200 million people who do not have a personal relationship with Christ!
Since only China and India have larger populations than this, the U.S. is the 3rd largest mission field in the world!
Nearly 74% of all Americans have no meaningful church relationship!
One-half of all the churches in America did not add one new member through “conversion” growth during the last year.
No county in America has a greater percentage of churched people today than a decade ago.
Evangelical churches have failed to gain an additional 2% of the American population in the past 50 years. In other words, we are not even reaching our own children!
North America is the ONLY continent where Christianity is not growing!

According to Barna Research, of the 350,000 churches in America:
80% have reached a plateau or are declining
15% are growing because of transfer growth
5% are growing because of conversion growth

Canada: A Sobering Reality Check
Approximately 85% of all Canadians have no meaningful church relationship!
Churches are closing more rapidly in Canada than in any other country in the Western world!
According to Outreach Canada demographic research, only 16% of Canadians attend church regularly. In urban centers
like Toronto, only 5% of the population can be categorized as consistent church attendees!
Close to 250,000 new Canadians have immigrated annually during the last decade. The majority are Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist or Confucian. The United Nations called Toronto, “the most ethnically diverse city in the world.”
The mission field is here!
Unquote.

If those stats are anywhere near true, America is mostly ungodly and becoming more so. Yep, that’s right folks. Canada and the U.S. are not the God-fearing/God-loving countries which perhaps most believers used to presume. Gee I wonder why? Could it be that in The Land of the Free, there are at least five murders every day, hundreds of shootings every day, thousands of assaults every day, thousands of burglaries every day, countless thousands of homeless people without hope every day and thousands of drunk-driving deaths every year and 1.6 million Runaway children every year who are exploited and killed? That is the society we boast about to the world as The Best Place to live? A “culture” that pays Pro Football Players many more times the salary of Doctors and Soldiers/Police who sacrifice their lives to keep You safe. A “society” which sees Corporations give away millions of dollars to Game Show Contestants instead of helping the needy and homeless. This makes “us” the envy of all nations on earth? Well I, for one, am embarrassed just to admit being part of ‘that delusion’ for so long but grateful now that God shamed me into finally being embarrassed. Not to mention, that Christians are not the majority in America either according to those statistics and perhaps they never were? So instead of singing “God Bless America”, perhaps we need to be crying out: ‘God Please Save America!’? Indeed we’ve seen TV evangelists preaching “God Please Save America” though in the comfort of their multi-million-dollar lavish church buildings and imploring others to go do the work which they themselves won’t do.

If those statistics weren’t alarming enough, that may be only the tip of the iceberg? We find churches that condone adultery and tolerate all kinds of behavior which are contrary to the teachings of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) while the Catholic church pays out over $600 Million to victims of sexual immorality perpetrated by their priests. This, among other observations, tends to indicate that many believers are not only ignoring the Fundamentals of Christianity but they may not ‘get it’ at all? It’s disconcerting enough to know that we’re still seeing greed, corruption and perversion in today’s churches but also believers who don’t even want to talk about God and pastors that seem to be auditioning for “Last Comic Standing” instead of Standing for Christ. Those conditions seemingly preposterous for a ‘church’ yet true and may actually be more ubiquitous than uncommon? But then I’ve had the benefit of a perspective which has allowed me to look at things more objectively perhaps? In that, I never had a long term or serious church-going association before I was called to repent so I don’t have to defend the integrity of a church I go to and perhaps can more easily recognize a church’s strengths and weaknesses, God willing? In other words, I first studied the Word and learned what to look for in a church which best exemplifies biblical fundamentals, from the outside looking in. Whereas many believers may have been on the inside of a church looking out for so long; they’re not even aware that anything might be wrong. Indeed, even if you could expose a deficiency of a church and even if the allegation was biblically supported, it would fall on deaf ears because nobody wants to admit there could be anything out of order with their ‘own church’.

But just because people are seen coming to church and a pastor preaching a sermon, doesn’t necessarily mean everything is okay. In fact, one Christian writer described ‘today’s churchgoing experience’ saying; quote: “They are hiding behind a mask of Christian activity, going through the motions and keeping the surface rules that give the appearance of loving God. A life of loving God and honestly and joyfully wanting to do His will from the heart; is a mirage in the spiritual desert wilderness in which they live.” Is this what has happened to churches since Jesus walked on earth? Sadly, I would tend to agree with that assessment knowing what I’ve personally witnessed. Hope that isn’t the case but the believers/churches I’ve encountered aren’t remotely convincing as loving obedient followers of Christ. I’m finding believers that are mostly suspicious, impatient and wouldn’t even think to take in a homeless person as well as churches where no one kneels in prayer, nobody fears God and getting to know your fellow parishioner/brethren is practically non-existent. Not mention the ever-increasing level of ‘suspicion’ among believers and nowhere is this more evident than with the Internet and isn’t it ironic that we are supposed to lovingly engage ‘strangers’ but we’re so suspicious of viruses/spam that, instead of utilizing a tool like the Internet which enables us to ‘connect’ with more people and more effectively than ever before in history; we’ve done everything technically possible to ensure that we never connect with “strangers” by email? By the same token it also keeps brethren who are strangers, from connecting rather than bringing them together. Indeed, seemingly there may be issues of such serious significance, that I prepared the following prayer just for believers who might choose to read further?

Father, I confess to you, I have seen churches without Bibles. I have spoken to believers who denounce water baptism for the repentance of sins. I have seen believers wearing and displaying physical idols depicting your Son. There are clergy that call their self “Father” and there are even believers who call themselves Christians yet deny Jesus is your Son. I’ve seen so-called Christian churches that turn away the un-baptized and forbid the speaking and interpreting of tongue and baptize dead people. Dare I say Father, there seems to be deception in so-called Christian churches on earth of such proportion that the false believers may actually vastly outnumber Christ’s true followers? O’ God, please forgive me and grant readers spiritual discernment; for anything I write has no holy purpose without your blessing? Amen.

Continuing; is there deception in the Church? No question and the problem may also be “the believers themselves” in oblivious orchestration with the devil? Is Christianity more about Money than miracles? Are Evangelists merely Entertainers? Is Christendom hopelessly divided by Denomination? Do today’s Sermons really serve God’s will or is sermonizing merely part of a preacher’s job description? What do You think and how would you answer the following question?

If someone accused You of not being a Christian, could you prove them wrong?

Perhaps that’s a question every believer should be pondering and what about the issue of Denomination? You don’t even have to be a believer to notice that Christian religions have many different denominations. A process which began many centuries ago and perhaps innocently enough as simply distinguishing each church by location but has since become a method of ‘purposeful division’? Need proof? Try this on for size. Just ask someone which religious church they belong to and what do they usually say? Most often they will say: I am Baptist or Lutheran or United or Catholic or whatever Denomination they are but why don’t they just say: ‘I am a Christian’? No, they instinctively refer to their man-named Denomination and it’s no longer simply a matter of where your Christian church is ‘located’. Nowadays you have to dig deeper just to find out if they consider themselves to be “a Christian”. But by then it’s usually pointless because you’ve already labelled them a Baptist or Lutheran or United or Catholic or Whatever and probably view them ‘differently’? So even if they say they’re a Christian, judgment has also already begun in your mind as to whether or not they are a ‘true’ Christian? Or at the very least, you’re going to make a judgment call about them based solely on their “denomination”? This suggests that even so-called Christians insist on being different from each other, rather than being unified under One Faith. Think about that. Would a Baptist feel just as comfortable attending a Lutheran church? I don’t think so; nor will you find a Catholic attending a Baptist church service etc. etc. etc. It just doesn’t happen because believers have now ‘purposely divided’ themselves from one another. Indeed, today there is so much division among believers that nobody knows Who the real Christians are or where to find them?

Even the terms Christendom and Christianity are different just try to make a List of all the true Christian churches in America. It couldn’t be done and it seems quite obvious that so-called Christian churches have become irreparably divided by Denomination? Pick a church, pick a city, pick a Country; your guess is as good as mine and though I believe the devil is responsible for most of what affects Christianity negatively, I also think believers shoulder some responsibility too? Christians have helped to divide and conquer themselves by perpetuating a notion that “denomination” has anything to do with Christianity. We can all see that denomination has done more to destroy than promote Christian unity and this issue has been written about for centuries but believers still refuse to acknowledge that anything might be amiss. Here’s another quote:

“Many godly men have tried to bring unity to the body of Christ. Unity abides among the spiritually mature and cannot be achieved by the sole effort of any one man. Luther tried, as did Calvin, Zwingli, Wycliff, Tyndale, Wesley, Williams, Knox, Spurgen, Moody and many, many others. Each contributed new light but failed to bring any greater unity to the body of Christ. Controversy and contention followed each ray of new light and with it came further division. Again and again unity was sought but remained elusive; it soon became obvious that something was missing; we had failed to lay a foundation where unity could survive. What was lacking?

Unity can only survive among those few brethren who are yielded and mature enough to let God have His way. If we allow our doctrine to freeze in place, there remains no further opportunity to grow; we become the “frozen chosen”. Too many of us have become pillars of the church. We believe that our doctrines are the very standard of biblical truth. We become unwilling to examine our beliefs any further or to seek any truth yet unknown. We’ve become un-teachable and, like the pillars of the church, we can no longer be moved.” Unquote.

Is this happening in your church too? Or maybe Satan is that powerful and has blinded most believers from seeing any problem with “denomination”?

Well, I don’t know about You but I could no longer sit idle if there is even a remote chance that things have gotten that bad. The Red Flags are raised and I won’t indulge the devil’s fancy! If we believers are all supposed to be united as One Church In Christ under God, then it is time to start “doing” something about that. Heh folks, I’m not making this up. These are the facts: We have different Christian denominations and different doctrines and these “differences” are preventing us from becoming a truly unified Christian force to be reckoned with. Am I wrong? One could only imagine that if the various denominations made the effort to set their differences aside and came to agreement as the Bible says; what an awesomely holy force it could be, God willing? Unfortunately it is the Believers who are not willing and so why would God bless any church that seeks to be separate and unique from their brethren? But sadly, today’s generation of so-called Christians do seek distinction from their brethren and don’t even notice any Red Flags. Denominations have carved out their territories over the millennium and now even zealously guard their autonomy from other churches too. In fact, even individual churches within a denomination insist on “autonomy”. Therefore isn’t the concept of unity defeated even before it’s addressed?

I think so and how can believers divide themselves in this manner yet feign to be of one mind and purpose in the Body of Christ? I’ll give you another example of “division”. If you are a Catholic family and moved to another city, isn’t it pretty much a certainty that you will look for another Catholic church to attend? Except, if followers are supposed to be a ‘unified’ faith and in Christ, it shouldn’t matter which Christian church building they attend; right? But it does matter. A Catholic wouldn’t be caught dead in an Anglican church. Why not? Because they don’t trust that any other denomination shares the same beliefs and truths about God as theirs which means; believers from different denominations will always feel different from other Christians. You don’t need a psychology degree to notice that. Believers also feel they are a better Christian than another denomination. Who knows for sure but I don’t think God intended for true followers to separate into denominations. Doesn’t Christ do the separating? Isn’t that what our Saviour is returning to do? Isn’t Jesus going to finally “separate” His sheep from the rest of the world?

Nonetheless here we are! Completely divided by denomination, doctrine, bible versions, symbols, biblical interpretation and God only knows what else? And those are just the Christian-faith-based religions. So how do we go about becoming more unified in accordance with God’s Plan or does it even matter now? After all, if these are the end times, maybe things are as holy as they’re ever going to be on earth before Judgment Day? Sorry, don’t look at me for those answers. I’m just a messenger perhaps and I have no idea whether or not God’s Plan is to attempt to unite Denominational Christian Churches under One Name? It will likely never happen but God willing, if “that” was a worthy undertaking, I do have a suggestion or two, for what it’s worth?

One suggestion might be. If you believe division in Christendom does more harm than good, then pray to God about it. Then probably the best place to start is by talking to your Community church Leaders. In turn, these leaders then contact their church Headquarters to let them know that their parishioners want to start the process of Unifying Christian Denominations by faith, doctrine and purpose. Then your Headquarters can contact the Headquarters of the other Denominations until a consensus might be reached. This process will undoubtedly be agonizingly slow and so you might also send your concerns to church Headquarters individually as well. Just to let them know at least “You are serious” because change of this magnitude will almost certainly be met with strong resistance. But ironically perhaps, this “resistance” may serve to sort out the Pretenders from the true Followers in the process? I emailed the Vatican about this too but no reply. Gee I wonder why? But those believers whom God wants connected and working together on earth will unify no matter what the resistance. So maybe we shouldn’t give up thinking that “it’s too late or too big an undertaking”? All we can do is ‘our part’ as God planned for us perhaps? Isn’t that how it works? Anyway, ask God to guide you into unity with his elect on earth, wherever they may be? Will we see Christians discarding their denominational labels and a significant trend toward churches reuniting under One Name? Likely not; in fact the bible indicates that things will get much worse rather than getting better and in reality; just the notion of “uniting denominations” sounds preposterous but that doesn’t mean it has no divine merit?

On the other hand, the bible says there will be an ungodly unification of all Nations and Religions brought about by The antichrist and now the TV evangelist Jack Van Impe has prophesied and told the world that the Next Pope is The antichrist. Yet at the same time, Impe also praises many Catholic leaders and writers as being great Christians. Anyway, if the antichrist does come in our generation, that will essentially nullify any efforts toward denominational unification anyway. Doesn’t get any easier does it? 🙂 Whether you agree or not though, I find the issue of “denomination” beguiling since clearly there are more so-called Christians on earth than ever before in history but what good are such “numbers”, if divided? Correct me if I’m wrong but probably as many humans have been slaughtered in the last 100 years as during the previous 1900 years combined? There are more Wars going on nowadays than at any time in history and Super Powers stand ready to annihilate the entire planet at a moment’s notice and in a variety of ways. Is this is what having the greatest numbers of Christians than ever before has accomplished? This is what we call a more Christian world? More Evil and Suffering and preventable Death than ever before and this Greatest Force Ever of so-called Christians is actually losing ground? So maybe, just like God told the Israelites; that many of “them” would not remain obedient to God himself, mightn’t the same thing be happening now with Christians of today not being obedient to Christ?

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