Tag: power

Dear World, Franklin Graham Doesn’t Speak For Us, Or Jesus

I’ve had enough, and I’ve heard enough.

There is perhaps no greater evil upon all the earth than those who pillage the person and message of Jesus, and shroud their hate, arrogance, privilege, and imperialism under the guise of godliness, biblical faithfulness, purity, and the valuing of life.

Jesus understood there would be those who would exploit His truth and hustle a gospel that is in fact, no Gospel at all. In so doing, He asserted the importance of observing the fruit of a potential imposter’s beliefs in hopes of discerning and circumventing the cut of their spiritual claws.

Rev. Franklin Graham has become the mouthpiece of conservative Evangelical Christianity. With its deceptive mixed-message of “God loves you…but,” filled with traps, conditions, and controls, this increasingly aggressive movement within Christianity has had a long history of sowing seeds of poisoned fruit. Since the dawn of discrimination, conservative Evangelical Christianity has been a prominent enabler of racism. In fact, only in 1995 did its Southern Baptist denomination finally, but reluctantly, apologize to the black community for their intimate role in using the Bible to endorse racism and slavery. Conservative Evangelical Christianity is the leading incubator for the vile theology of Calvinism which portrays God as hand-picking some for heaven and joyfully discarding the rest to an eternity of tormenting hell—all founded by a man who murdered his disagreers. Christian conservatism has led the way in the discrimination of women in ministry, work, and home—even turning a blind eye to domestic and church abuse. Where once, Evangelical Christianity aggressively condemned the divorced to an eternity in hell, it cleverly came up with the word, “desertion,” to serve as a kind of biblical loophole, enabling those men left behind by the women who wised-up and “deserted’ them, to have the freedom to play another round. In fact, it was a conservative brand of Christianity that influenced Adolf Hitler towards Nazism and sat firmly in the hearts of those European settlers who raped the American Indian of their land, life, and culture for some kind of “Manifest Destiny.” Now, with a heart to spiritually and culturally exterminate those it deems to be sinning, conservative Evangelical Christianity is the dominant faith understanding behind the spread of homophobia and the false condemnation of the LGBTQ community, conveniently adding the word “homosexual” to the Bible, where it hadn’t appeared in any translation until 1945.

With the drastic uptick of good people leaving churches, thinking for themselves, questioning their indoctrination, and opening their eyes to the piles of carnage left in the wake of Christian conservatism, a perfect storm with a perfect kind of Satan has emerged. Franklin Graham has climbed up the cliffs of Evangelical Christianity’s fiery pit to lead the way in trumpeting their desperate call to war—a battle purposed on retaking that which they perceive to have lost as the world awakens to their evil.

Make no mistake, Franklin Graham and the perverted faith-understanding he represents is far from the heart of Jesus and many of us who follow Him alone. We deplore the nationalization of any faith, the discrimination of any person, the weaponizing of any Bible, and the condemnation of any soul. The disgusting Americanized version of Jesus and His Gospel that has given rise to Empire Christianity, church franchising, spiritually arrogant congregants and faith communities, and privileged, judging, and elitist followers makes us all want to vomit, right along side you. We are appalled, repulsed, and infuriated at was has become of the Jesus we adore and the Grace-centered faith that liberates us.

With all due respect to Mr. Franklin Graham, as good and spiritual as his ministry to the poor throughout the world appears and surely blesses, as much as he quotes the Bible and exclusively claims to possess and know its every truth, as much as his father was a beacon of faith, compassion, and a love for God, and as much as he postures himself as valuing life, moral wholeness, and biblical faithfulness, the screeching sound of his bigotry, pride, self-righteousness, mean-spirited condemnation, and imperialistic faith overtakes and overshadows all.

For where Jesus brings freedom, he seems determined to wrench down with control. Where Jesus brings Grace, he is quick to draw lines of condemnation. Where Jesus defines and redefines scripture, he worships it as perfect and claims to know it infallibly. Where God is pure Love, he claims He is not purely. Where Grace is declared sufficient, he says it isn’t completely. Where Jesus makes it personal and communal, he wants to make it political and national. Where Jesus makes it all completely free, he and his faith-understanding makes it all so conditionally conditional.

Everything Jesus stands for, Franklin Graham seems to stand so firmly against—a sermon on a Mount, apparently makes little-to-no difference.

For where do we see him serving the LGBTQ community? Where do we see him truly loving the enemy? Where do see him refusing to lean on his own understanding, and instead displaying a spirituality of listening? Where do we see him washing the feet of people who are transgender? Where do we see him laying down his life to escort one safely into a bathroom? Where do we see him truly loving his neighbor—Islamic, Atheist, Progressive, or even Illegal Alien? Where do we see him fighting for the rights of the marginalized, discriminated, and even those with whom he disagrees, instead of vehemently gripping onto the privilege of the privileged? Where do we see him rationalizing, excusing, and giving grace to sin on behalf of those who sin differently than he, instead of only doing so for those from whom he can gain power, influence, and the furthering of his faith ideology? Where do we see him trusting the Spirit to guide people in all truth instead of trying to control, contain, and conform them?

We don’t.

So, why should I give care and credibility to the sin he claims to see in me, everyone, and everything, when it’s clear he’s entirely oblivious to the storehouse of depravity to be seen right within his own being? Why should I line up to be assimilated into his spiritual Borg and learn the marching steps of his creed, when it’s become so blatantly clear it’s a faith understanding that doesn’t want to just normalize hate, but give it spiritual necessity? Why should I bow down to his biblical interpretations, faith perspectives, and God teachings when it all seems to desire nothing more than to control, condemn, and conform me into his image and faith collective?

Make no mistake, I refuse and resist with all my being in becoming anything like the King of disowning. My soul, worth, and value is not, nor will ever become, the imminent domain of any self-righteous, faith ideology.

The true message of Jesus is that God is proud to belong to me and every other, especially in all the places and ways that Franklin Graham and conservative Evangelical Christianity despise me and all others.

Dear world, Franklin Graham is not our leader, not our pastor, not our spokesperson, nor our example—and with all due respect, in my personal opinion, he’s nothing like Jesus.

No Longer

 

What church, ministry, religion, trying, striving, and rule-keeping could not accomplish, Grace has.

Because of God’s pure Grace through Jesus Christ upon my life, I no longer…

-believe God’s love is anything like that of my father’s conditional love.

-see spiritual growth as a process of working on my sin, but rather of knowing my righteousness in Christ.

-become unraveled by what people think or don’t think of me.

-worry about my health and future

-need to validate my worth by becoming a celebrity pastor

-succumb to certain sins and temptations

-live ruled by shame, guilt, and a consciousness of sin and rule keeping.

-am inspired by messages to “be a better Christian”, “do more for Jesus”, or “get your life together”

-feel an obligation to isolate, condemn, and speak against people who sin differently than me.

-can overlook the religious spirit prevailing in church-world today.

-feel a need to compel people to be interested in my life who don’t want to be.

-am intimidated by people who disagree with me

-concentrate on what I dislike about a person.

-look down on people who don’t seem as spiritual as me

-read the Bible apart from the context of the new covenant of God’s Grace through the Gospel.

-assume that what people need is more church and to do more spiritual things.

-have to fake my love for Jesus while being suspicious of His goodness

 

What has God’s Gospel of Grace caused you to no longer…

 

 

The Power of Ignorance

Find me a place in your life (or mine) where Satan is having his way, and you will have found of place where likely there is ignorance. Hard to hear, hard to say, but true.

I have long believed that if you get the first couple chapters of the first book in the Bible right, much of your life will go right also. Unfortunately, most people don’t get the first 3 verses quite right, let alone the rest. Admittedly, this was the case for me for many years, so don’t feel bad if it’s true for you too.

Genesis 1:2-3 reads…

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

There are three problems this scripture identifies that existed at the beginning of creation. We can know this by digging under the surface to the deeper Hebrew meanings of three of the words.

The Hebrew word for “without form” carries with it the idea of “disorder,” the word actually means this at its root. The word for “void” is the deeper word in Hebrew for “chaos.” Where there is disorder there is also chaos, the two fit hand in glove. The word “darkness” interestingly, is not the word that communicates the absence of illumination. It’s not the kind of darkness you get when you go into a cave or your closet at night. Rather, the word darkness is also the Hebrew word for “ignorance” or “without divine knowledge.”

The problems of disorder, chaos and ignorance/darkness are not from God. In fact, the Bible says the God is light, in Him there is no darkness. It also says that God is not a God of disorder nor is He the author of chaos. Rather, throughout scripture and creation, we see quite the opposite, God has put order into everything and His handwork and character can be seen in His creation. That’s because, in verse 3, God provides the solution… “light.” But it’s not the kind of light that you get when you flip the switch in your house, as a matter of fact, you may be surprised to notice that the “sun” is not given until verse 16. Rather, the word “light” is also the Hebrew word for “divine revelation” or “divine knowledge.”

So, in the Bible, where Satan is referred to as the “Prince of Darkness” it starts to make deeper sense. This reference to Satan doesn’t mean that he is the ultimate expert on how to navigate your car down a back-country road at night. The word “prince” carries with it the meaning “first to rule by.”

So Satan is the first to rule by ignorance. Very interesting.

One of the primary ways that Satan desires to rule your life is through ignorance. Find a place in your life where evil, disorder or chaos of any kind are getting the upper-hand, and I will find you a place where you are likely ignorant of God-knowledge. Either you have never received it or you have rejected it.

In the book of Hosea, the first three chapters put on display just about every problem or manifestation of evil a nation and/or a person can have in their life. The list is pretty exhaustive. Lust, corruption, depravity, violence, unrest, sin, turmoil, fear, and the list goes on and on. Yet what is so interesting is that in chapter 4:6, God reveals the root of the problem, and what He identifies might surprise you. God says, “my people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.” Really? Not sin, not Satan, our two customary excuses? It really is true, the areas where you and I are being destroyed and discouraged in our life, are probably areas where we lack divine revelation or we have rejected it. There are principals of God that would provide the solution if applied, but either we do not know the principal(s) or we have rejected them.

Let me give you an example from my own life.

For some time, I was ignorant in an area of my walk with the Lord, probably because of a combination of a lack of revelation and a rejection of it. The bottom line is for a time, I was ignorant of how important it is to be “filled with the Spirit.” I was ignorant of the plain teachings of scripture that there is a difference between having the Holy Spirit “in you” and having Him “upon you.” One you receive at conversion, the other you need to ask for, receive, and open your life to following conversion. Yet, I always thought, at conversion, you get the Spirit “in you” and that’s it, game over, mission accomplished. Wow, was I ignorant. But once I heard and received divine knowledge about what Paul taught to converted Christians in Ephesus and elsewhere in scripture “be filled with Spirit” everything changed and my life and ministry moved to a whole new level of power and purpose. Areas where I had been defeated and discouraged, I was no more. As a matter of fact, soon after, God began to do miracles in my life, even a physical healing, and now He is doing miracles through my life, and that’s just the beginning.

If your marriage is in shambles, perhaps what you need isn’t more prayer, but to discover and apply revelation from God about how to have a healthy marriage. If your finances are in disorder, perhaps what you need is not another shouting rebuke of Satan, but to pursue God revelation for how to manage your finances and then apply what God reveals.

Satan can have no more power and authority in your life than you allow him. Where he has authority and power in your life is only where you have agreed with him to have it. Adam and Eve gave Satan authority by agreeing with Satan that eating the forbidden fruit was the best/right thing to do.

And chances are, whether it be in your marriage, your self-image, your finances, your attitude etc., where you are agreeing with him, you are doing so because you either lack divine knowledge or you have rejected it.

Satan would love nothing more than to drag you and me around by the leash of ignorance.

Pray, rebuke, fast, claim, declare, but don’t forget to not be stupid.

“My people are being destroyed by a lack of knowledge…” “The earth was in disorder, chaos, and ignorance, and God said, let there be “divine revelation.”

Thanks to Miles Munroe for inspiration

© 2017 Chris Kratzer

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