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Rage, rage against the dying of the light...

by Jim Fletcher


Dylan Thomas once said the right words, for a different reason. I think, though, that they can apply for the place in which Methodism finds itself. The place of lengthening shadows.

Yesterday, I heard President Clinton speaking about gun control. He said that he wanted to save children.

Utter, blind madness has enveloped our society. With more and more coal being shoveled into the ovens of abortion mills, our nation's leader says he wants to save kids.

A few years ago, my son's high school science teacher told the class that space alien's heads are bigger than ours because their brains have evolved more. This came out of a discussion over creation and evolution. I guess no one noticed that there exists no evidence at all to back up such mind-blowing nonsense as that of speculation on alien's cranial capacities.

In 2000, a six-year-old boy who was hanging to freedom by his fingernails is hurled into the arms of a brutal dictator by the world's most famous democracy.

As I rabble-roused yesterday, we find ourselves in these extraordinary situations because the Bible's truthfulness has been undermined in the minds of millions upon millions of people.

Diversity is a cornerstone of the American experience. It has done many good things. Where we have failed to unite is around the only issue where diversity of opinion is untenable.

To repeat, because we have taught our people that the Bible is a collection of myths, superstitions, legends, and outright lies (see commentaries on Daniel, etc.), media representatives can listen to a wholly pro-abortion president say that he wants to save kids. In her famous book, It Takes a Village, Hillary Clinton says that we have to make sure that every pregnancy turns out well. Of course, murder hardly turns out well.

Has the country lost its mind?

And yet, we must focus on the reasons why people sanction the killing of innocent life. Do you believe that our nation's leaders sat in church as youngsters and heard about a real, loving God who created the world and will rescue it from the lethal effects of sin and death?

Or do you believe, as I do, that most of them heard about the mistakes in the Bible, the beauty of evolution, the utter symbolism of predictive prophecies occurring in front of their noses?

The latter scenario is how we got to A.D. 2000 with our discernment left in A.D. 1900.

Notice what the liberal does right before he takes a knife to God's word:

Skillfully, the liberal Bible commentator praises Scripture effusively. Then he attacks it with the savagery of a Jack the Ripper. Mad with hate, he tears at the flesh and hacks at the bones until nothing recognizable is left. Finished with his grisly re-telling of history, he thinks he has got rid of the word that has been forever settled in heaven.

The tragedy is that millions of people then begin to feel that the Bible is not trustworthy. If an elementary chronology of history is really just the primitive evolution of man's search for religious meaning, then how dependable is Christ's offer to take away our weariness? Of what value is John 3:16 if a supposedly loving God is so limited that he can't come up with a better creative process than billions of years of suffering and death, trial-and-error?

This is the point at which our breathtaking God becomes a pacifist, hippie revolutionary from Nowheresville Nazareth who got himself killed in some political feud.

And we wonder why we can't make a youth group out of two bored teenagers who can't wait to get a driver's license so they can get the hell out of their parent's stupid, irrelevant church.

We should be in a rage against the dying of the Gospel light in so many of our churches.

Instead of carefully explaining that God first created a perfect world so that He could love his creation, and that it was then marred by man's voluntary rebellion, our clergy love to quote Marxists and Socialists. Why is it that the laity tolerates a pastor who is a Che Guivera groupie?

Kids and adults alike have no understanding of reality or history when confined in a liberal congregation. They are spoon-fed a carefully crafted revision of the Bible:

  • Man couldn't write until 1000 B.C., so Genesis was a product of oral tradition. Of course, this led to mistakes, but we retain the beauty of the truth in the myth.

  • Isaiah wasn't a prophet of unparalleled insight and heavenly eloquence, who gave us a preview of God's marvelous plans for those who love Him. Isaiah was a collection of stories that only appear to have been prophecies. The hopeful promise of a new creation is just some pie-in-the-sky Hebrew gobbledegook.

  • Jonah wasn't miraculously preserved in the great fish for three days by a God who controls everything, no matter how naturally powerful and scary. He was really a fictional character created to encourage ancient Jews.

Let's at least be honest about the differences we have. If the liberal wants to turn sacred ground into a leftist thinktank, then get out of the great United Methodist Church. But he won't do that.

We must understand that Paul, Peter, and John weren't blowing smoke when they warned that heresy would enter the Church like fast-drying cement. This is that day!

Why do we let our teachers tell us that the Bible is a collection of lies and mistakes? Don't let the false flattery of a liberal commentator fool you: he really hates the Bible and wants others to follow him.

The liberal doesn't want to point out to people who are already non-readers of the Bible that the Psalmist quotes Christ on the cross 1,000 years before the event! This is amazing confirmation that the Bible is a supernatural document.

No, we'd rather present the Psalms as squishy affirmations that bore congregations senseless.

Do we serve a God who taught Jonah the importance of obeying Him? Or do we serve a god who is taken completely out of the equation by a bogus story? That latter scenario will really encourage a searching kid in Peoria, huh?

Our teachers tell us, really, that the Writer of the Bible is on the same level as Tom Clancy. Their god could do a book signing at Barnes & Noble. However, he certainly couldn't part a sea. He couldn't save you from a horrific eternity. He couldn't feed thousands with a few fish. He couldn't promise to be stronger than death. He couldn't give peace to a single mother trapped in exhausting jobs. He couldn't burn up wood, stones, and water on a pagan altar. He couldn't heal your husband of cancer.

How long will we medicate the symptoms without eradicating the cause?

Don't you think Job would be surprised to hear that he didn't really exist? He just thought the sores on his body hurt. Fortunately for him, we have modern liberal scholars who wrinkled their noses and made him fictional–like Huckleberry Finn.

In fact, for all practical purposes, Job might as well be rafting down the Mississippi with Huck and Jim. He's certainly not in our Bibles anymore.

I just finished reading the Interpreter's Bible commentary on why Daniel is fiction. Page after page of absurd reasons why Daniel, set in Babylon in the sixth century B.C., was really written Somewhere in Israel, circa 164 B.C. (Hint: this eliminates the astounding predictive prophecies in the book).

At a meeting of laity and clergy I attended last fall, no one talked about this. They only talked about gimmicky programs to attract more people. They talked about apportionments. They talked about how the — sniff — Pentecostal churches down the road were bulging and embarking on building programs.

We must dig out good scholarship and tell our people again that all men are liars, but God is true.

We must tell our people that Job was right when he said that even if God kills us, yet will we trust him.

We must tell our people that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Martians didn't seed our planet with evolving life pods (see Mission to Mars).

This will transform congregations and turn hearts of stone to hearts of flesh.

In Christ, Jim Fletcher

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