The Myth of Neutrality

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"He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me, scatters abroad" Matthew 12:30

War Against God

We are involved in a world war of worldviews, a clash of civilisations. There is a systematic war being waged against Christian standards and our Christian heritage. Education has become a battleground. Entertainment and the news media are battlefields in this cultural war. This battle for the heart and battle for the mind involves far more than religious freedom and freedom of conscience. The future of Christian civilisation itself is at stake. Ultimately this is a war against God.

The Idolatry of Compromise

Yet we live in an age of compromise and tolerance of evil where neutrality has been deified and lifted up as an idol. Some recent bizarre examples of why we need Reformation today include: St. Georges Cathedral, the premier church building in central Cape Town, advertised for Reformation Sunday - an interfaith service! This service included readings from the Qur'an and prayers by a Muslim Imam and a Jewish rabbi.

The Prophet Elijah challenged the people: "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." 1 Kings 18:21

Celebrating Evil

A prominent church in Cape Town advertised Nightmare - A Halloween party for youth at their Sunday evening service! At a major Evangelistic conference in Cape Town, the Dean of the Cathedral greeted the people with the Islamic greeting: "Salaam-Alaikum"! and one of the youth choirs sang a hymn of praise to Nelson Mandela, along with clenched fists!

Choose This Day

Joshua challenged the people to: "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" Joshua 24:15

The Mouth Speaks What the Heart is Full Of

At the end of last year I attended a graduation service of a Christian university, where the biggest, longest and most repeated quotes were from Martin Luther King Jnr., Nelson Mandela, Voltaire, Ghandi, and even from the atheistic, anti-God poem, Invictus! "I am the master of my fate! I am the captain of my soul!"

Who is the Master of Your Fate?

The full quote by William Ernst Henley, in that fourth stanza, reads: "It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul!" It seems incomprehensible how any Christian can want to quote from such an obviously anti-Christ and anti-Biblical poem as Invictus! It is clear that the straight gate Henley is referring to is Jesus Christ, who is the Gate. The scroll that is charged with punishments is plainly the Bible.

Who is the Captain of Your Soul?

What Christian, understanding the depravity of man and the Sovereignty of God, can dare to declare: "I am the master of my fate! I am the captain of my soul!" Yet, that was the quote given by the Chancellor of this Christian university to the graduating students!

"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of this world, and not according to Christ." Colossians 2:8

Who are we Honouring with Our Words?

During that three-hour graduation service, of what is meant to be a Christian university, I did not hear a single quote from a Reformer, a Church Father, Christian Theologian, a Missionary, or even from our Lord Jesus Christ, or His Apostles! The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2

Conformed to the World

In so many places we see evidence that, rather than changing the world, the church is being changed by the world. Instead of being transformed by the Word of God, all too many Christians today are being conformed to this world. At what are purported to be Christian colleges, I have frequently heard reinforced stereo-types, well-worn socialist mantras being repeated, tributes paid to modern political idols, stock phrases strung together with predictable, unimaginative jargon and repetition, of what you could get in any secular college, or for that matter, in a Hollywood film.

Inconsistent Neutrality

Officials involved in this Christian university declared that they are "neutral" on the matters of abortion and creation. Yet they include faculty members who are pro-choice on the matter of abortion and who subscribe to Evolution. Despite their claims of neutrality, a highly qualified individual was rejected from consideration for the faculty because she was, in their words: "a Creation theorist"!

The Urgent Need for Reformation and Revival

These are just a few sad examples that underline and highlight how desperately our churches need a Back to the Bible Reformation and a Heaven-sent Holy Spirit empowered Revival.

Who is to Blame?

With all the moral chaos in our society, it is tempting to place most of the blame at the foot of Hollywood. The godless distortions of history and blatant promotion of perversion and blasphemy, from all too many of the studios in Hollywood have certainly played a major role in corrupting the morals and confusing the minds of multitudes. However, it would appear that godless humanism has done even more damage to the minds and morals of our population through the secular humanist schooling system.

Judgement Must Begin in the House of God

However, having said that, it is my conviction that the real problem is not so much these external evils. Without in any way minimising their serious threat, secular humanism, communism, radical Islam and other false religions and ideologies are not really our main problem. The catastrophic collapse of Christian civilisation in recent years is probably far more to be laid at the steps of a backslidden, distracted, apathetic, compromising, worldly and, in all too many cases, apostate church.

Defeat and Retreat

If the Christian Church was doing what our Lord Jesus Christ has plainly commanded in Scripture, then these false religions and anti-Christ ideologies would be in defeat and retreat. It is the basic failure of our churches to make disciples, teaching obedience to all things that the Lord has commanded, that lies at the root of this catastrophic situation. The salt has lost its savour. The light is being hid under a bushel. The last Command of Christ is not the first concern of most churches. The Great Commission is not the supreme ambition of most congregations.

The Curse of Cowardice

Compromise and cowardice are pervasive. Evading controversial issues and seeking to please men, rather than God, has become the norm. It is the disgraceful failure of most churches that has enabled this triumph of secular humanism and paganism to hijack what were once great Christian colleges and countries.

Come Out From Among Them

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the Temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore come out from among them and be separate', says the Lord 'and do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters', says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Double Standards

We are told to be tolerant of homosexuals, radical Islamists and abortionists, and then we are subjected to intolerance for holding to Biblical standards! The double standards and blatant hypocrisy of those who claim to stand for tolerance, yet exhibit incredible intolerance for Biblical Christianity is astounding!

The Birth of a New Religion

We seem to be seeing the beginning of a new religion in our day. Songs of praise and hymns glorifying Nelson Mandela are being sung by choirs and taught to schoolchildren. The ancient pharaohs were worshipped as gods. The chairmen of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, were elevated to cult status, particularly in the case of Vladimir Lenin, whose tomb continues to be a site of pilgrimage. When Joseph Stalin was dictator of the Soviet Union the cult of the chairman reached new heights, or rather depths.

The Ceausescu Cult

In Romania, Communist Party General Secretary,Nicolae Ceausescu, became the focal point of emperor worship, such as the world had not seen since the days of the caesars. Over 8,000 hymns of praise were composed, honouring the communist dictator Ceausescu. Literally millions of his pictures adorned homes, offices, schools and government buildings.

Celebrity Cults

Hollywood certainly has produced many celebrity cults. However, the extravagant praise and idolising of Nelson Mandela, even in churches, as a hero/martyr and ideal example, has exceeded all bounds. The mythology and idolatry surrounding the Mandela cult is startling.

The Mandela Cult

Choirs have sung songs and hymns in praise of Nelson Mandela at major events. Concerts and events have been organised in his honour. Massive posters have been erected on civic centres. The Department of Education has apparently replaced education - teaching children how to think, with indoctrination - teaching children what to think.

Publicity Stunts

In order to enable Nelson Mandela to be entered into the Guinness Book of Records, various publicity stunts have been promoted by the Department of Education. This has included requiring children of all ages, in the classroom, to write birthday cards to Nelson Mandela and to sing Happy Birthday to him on 18 July, to create new records.

An Abuse of Education

School children have been required to write tributes and dedications praising Nelson Mandela. Despite the Ministry of Education admitting that over 90% of their schools are effectively dysfunctional, where entire provinces have not even received their textbooks in a whole year, it is extraordinary how they manage to give such high priority to Mandela worship when they are failing to teach even basic educational skills in thousands of broken down and dysfunctional state schools.

Ignoring the Abortion Holocaust

The Mandela cult is deeply disturbing on many levels. Are pro-life Christians expected to put their values to one side and deify the man who rammed through parliament, against all opposition, his Bill legalising abortion in South Africa? Over one million babies have been killed, officially, legally, in South Africa, with taxpayers money, since Nelson Mandela signed the Termination of Pregnancy Bill, 1 February 1997. Life begins at conception. Abortion is murder.

Ignoring the Pornography Plague

The UN General Assembly may speak of Nelson Mandela's "promotion of the rights of children and other vulnerable groups", but under his presidency, pornography was legalised. The South African Police Services, Child Protection Unit, reported that child rape increased over 400% as a result.

Ignoring Support for Tyranny

The UN General Assembly may claim that Nelson Mandela "contributed to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world", yet he closed down South Africa's embassy in the Republic of China on the island of Taiwan, and opened up South Africa's Embassy in Communist China, a one party dictatorship with a brutal human rights record.

Ignoring Support for Dictatorships

Nelson Mandela welcomed to South Africa the longest reigning dictator in the world, Fidel Castro, and gave him the highest award this country could offer. Mandela also assembled both Houses of Parliament for Fidel Castro to address. A rare privilege. This, despite millions of Cubans having fled the oppression and tyranny of Castro's dictatorship. As president, Nelson Mandela uncritically supported some of the worst dictatorships on the planet, such as Castro's Cuba, Mugabe's Zimbabwe, Communist China, Gaddafi's Libya, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and numerous other states notorious for their human rights abuses.

Ignoring the Exploitation and Abuse of Women for Profit

The General Assembly Resolution may speak of Nelson Mandela's "dedication to the service of humanity... gender equality...", yet under him, pornography was legalised and prostitution effectively decriminalised. Human trafficking exploded in South Africa. Incidents of rape exploded exponentially as sex shops and pornography were, for the first time, allowed in South Africa.

Ignoring the Crime Wave Unleashed

Under Nelson Mandela's presidency an average of 25,000 people were murdered each year. Yet, to celebrate his birthdays, Nelson Mandela would regularly open prison doors and set many convicted criminals, including armed robbers, murderers and rapists, free. Some of these were murdering and raping within 24 hours of being released! Well over 110,000 people were murdered under Mandela's term as president.

Cowardice and Hypocrisy

However, we are meant to forget all these facts and shelve our pro-life, pro-family, moral, Christian convictions and bow before this new idol, singing a politicians praises and effectively burning incense before the image of this new caesar!

Christian Conviction and Courage

Historically, Christians have refused to bow before any idol, nor give the worship due to the Creator alone to anyone else. Daniel ended up in the Lions Den. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace. Countless Christians were thrown to the lions in the arena for refusing to engage in the worship of the state leader of their day.

Indoctrination

It would appear to be an abuse education to require students to write a positive tribute, or dedication, to any political figure whom they, and their family, may have serious reservations about. Education is teaching one how to think, critically. Indoctrination is teaching one what to think.

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." Ephesians 5:11

Refusing to Worship the State

It is worth noting that Christians were not persecuted by the Roman Empire for worshipping Christ. The Roman Empire was polytheistic. They had many gods. Christians were persecuted by the Roman state for refusing to worship Caesar!

Worship God Alone

If the early Christians had operated by the standards of many modern Christians they would not have been persecuted at all. However, no Christian, in good conscience, can participate in idolatry. God, our Creator and Eternal Judge, is the only One who deserves our worship, praise and adoration.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm them, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery... you, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Galatians 5:1-13

The Worst Century of Persecution

More Believers have died for Christ in the 20th century than in all the other 19 centuries combined. Over 42 million Christians were killed for their Faith during the 20th century, most by secular humanist, communist governments.

The Disgrace of Silence

The most disgraceful aspect of recent Church history is the neutrality of much of the Church during this war against God. It is not just that most Christians have been guilty of silence during the decades of vicious persecution, it is the enthusiastic way many church leaders have publically supported communist dictators! Even sung of their praises!

Collaborators with Communism

Romanian, Polish, Angolan, Mozambiquan Christians, have often complained to me of the treachery of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC). "They sympathised with the communist persecutors - not with the persecuted Christians."; "They seek to make collaborators out of the church!"; "They betrayed the uncompromising believers and collaborated with our persecutors."

Neutrality on Persecution

Ecumenical and denominational church conferences regularly refused to speak up against the persecutors of the Church. Evangelists visited the Soviet Union, China, Romania, Mozambique and North Korea, during times of intense campaigns of persecution, and declared that there was no persecution! They were then wined and dined by the atheist persecutors. Recent research has confirmed that, while they shook hands, laughed and exchanged pleasantries with their Marxist hosts, fellow believers were being imprisoned, tortured and killed by these Marxist dictators.

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful..." Psalm 1:1

Failure to Speak Up

Christians in Sudan asked me why it was that bishop Desmond Tutu never spoke out for them while they were suffering intense, violent persecution at the hands of the Arab government in Sudan. For five decades Christians in South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains suffered unbearable persecution which left two million dead and more than five million homeless. Yet apparently, many prominent church leaders preferred to remain neutral while Christians were being bombed and burned in Sudan.

Shameful Silence

Similarly, while hundreds of churches have been attacked by radical Islamic terrorists in Northern Nigeria, and bombed and burned in Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood, most church leaders have remained silent, passive and neutral.

"Who will rise up for Me against the evil doers? Who will stand up for Me against the workers of iniquity?" Psalm 94:16

Neutrality on Abortion

Over 50 million babies have been killed by abortion in America since 1973. Over one million babies have been killed by abortion in South Africa since 1997. World wide, this sophisticated child sacrifice of abortion claims an approximate 55 million victims - every year. You would think that all Christians would be in the forefront of the fight for the right to life of preborn babies. Yet it is shocking to find how many prominent church leaders claim neutrality on this issue of abortion. Why are Life Chains so poorly attended? Why do so many Christians sing the praises of the politicians who legalised abortion? Why do most Christians vote for political parties that support abortion? Is that not being an accessory to murder?

"Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." Matthew 25:40

Ideas Have Consequences

Anyone who believes that education can be neutral is mistaken. Ideas have consequences. Actions flow from thought patterns. Parents are not faced with a choice between sending their children to a religious school, or to a non-religious school. All schools are inherently religious. Parents must rather choose which religion will be taught to their children. Will it be Roman Catholicism? Biblical Protestant Christianity? Islam? Secular Humanism? Or something else?

Humanism is Religious

Secular humanism is a religion. It is a religion where prayer is illegal, but where pornography can be part of the sex education and values clarification syllabus. Secular humanism is a religion where evolution is an article of faith, a sacred cow. Scientific evidences for Creation are outlawed, even Intelligent Design has been expelled from secular humanist schools. All education is inherently religious, because it presents a certain perspective and selection of history, values and practices and it prescribes a worldview.

A Track Record of Failure

Secular humanist education has proved to be one of the most effective ways to produce illiterates, lower moral standards and proliferate venereal diseases. Have secular schools failed? Traditionally governments have been hostile to education. Most governments preferred to have illiterate and uneducated populations which are easier to control. Throughout the millenniums, it has been the Christian Church which has championed education for all classes and both genders. Now the state has realised that they cannot stop everyone receiving education, so they want to control it. Yet one cannot trust any state with the moulding of the minds of future voters. It was Karl Marx, in his Manifesto of 1848, that first advocated state control of schools. Not that long ago the vast majority of schools in Africa were run by missions and churches. Today most of those schools are in the hands of the state. Some have pointed out that perhaps secular schools have not failed. If their true aim and objective has been to dumb down the next generation, then they have spectacularly succeeded!

The Dumbest Generation

Dr. R.C. Sproul has commented that this could be the dumbest generation in history. To think that just a generation ago, high schools were teaching Greek and Latin. Now universities have to offer remedial English!

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up." Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Blasphemous Neutrality

When the Hollywood film, Jesus Christ Superstar, was first released in the mid 1970s, it was banned in South Africa. However, in 1983, a group of South African Council of Churches ministers saw the film at a special showing and urged that it be released! Many Christians were astounded that any ministers could endorse a film that portrayed our Lord Jesus Christ as a hippie, involved in an adulterous affair with Mary Magdalene, and with a denial of the Resurrection! In Cape Town I was shocked to see a large blasphemous distortion of The Last Supper artwork prominently displayed at the head of the stairs in the central area of what is meant to be a Christian university.

Pornographic Neutrality

Like the South African Council of Churches, the American National Council of Churches (NCC), considers itself neutral on pornography and blasphemy. However, the NCC has gone even further and has spent much of its time, and church funds, promoting abortion (especially through its Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights - RCAR), and even the blasphemous, Last Temptation of Christ, which, in pornographic scenes, portrayed Christ as a coward and an adulterer, and Judas as a hero!

"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26

Tolerating Propaganda for a Rape Culture

Many Christians condemn human trafficking, but claim to be neutral on the issue of pornography and prostitution. However, those who condemn human trafficking should also condemn the pornography which is propaganda for a rape culture. Indeed, pornography markets and creates the demand for prostitution and human trafficking. Pornography is the theory. Rape is the practise. No civilised country can tolerate the exploitation of women's bodies for profit through pornography and prostitution. All pornography is hostile to morality and law. The Bible teaches that we are our brothers keeper. Christians need to use their free market choices to influence economics - by avoiding shops that peddle porn and by supporting pro-family stores that are not only concerned with profits, but also principles.

"It is impossible that no offences should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a milestone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him." Luke 17:1-3

Neutrality is Not an Option

When the exiled people of Israel were facing a time of great crisis and danger, Mordecai reminded Queen Esther that she dare not choose to be neutral: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace... for if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise... from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

The Choice Before Us

Almighty God is sovereign over the affairs of men. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. His ultimate victory is certain. We can choose to be part of His victorious army, or we can perish in disobedience.

Walking By on the Other Side of the Road

Our Lord Jesus Christ made it clear, through the parable of the Good Samaritan, that neutrality is not an option. You cannot walk past an accident victim who is bleeding by the roadside and claim neutrality! Even if we decide to neither pass by on the other side, nor to make an effort to help, we cannot pretend to be neutral. Standing by while a person bleeds to death is not neutrality. Our passivity and inactivity can cause harm (Luke 10:25-37). "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing!"

The Will of Man Vs. the Word of God

The Biblical doctrines of the Sovereignty of God and the depravity of man prove that neutrality is not an option. Jesus is Lord over all areas of life. In a fallen world, there can be no neutrality between the will of man and the Word of God.

Expose Apostates

In the Lord's letters to the seven Churches of Revelation this point is emphasized time and again. Our Lord commended the Christians at Ephesus, because:

"I know your works, your labour, your patience and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars... but this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." Revelation 2:2-6. The Nicolaitans taught that you could sin in the body, yet remain pure in the spirit.

Idolatry and Immorality

The Church at Pergamum was rebuked by the Lord: "But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Baalam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth." Revelation 2:14-16

Do Not Tolerate Evil

To the Church in Thyatira, the Lord declared: "Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds." Revelation 2:20-22

Be Loyal to God

The key message in these letters is the demand for loyalty and obedience. Compromise and tolerance of evil is condemned. Any possibility of neutrality is ruled out by our Lord.

The Lukewarm Laodiceans

Those who seek to be neutral in the battlefields of life degenerate to the level of the lukewarm Laodicean church whom the Lord rebuked: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth... As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent." Revelation 3:15-19

What issue are you trying to be neutral on?

What battlefield is God calling you to enter?

What stand is God calling you to take?

"But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33

Dr. Peter Hammond

Livingstone Fellowship

P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725

Cape Town South Africa

Tel: 021-689-4480

Fax: 021-685-5884

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: www.livingstonefellowship.co.za

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The audio CD of the full message as preached at Livingstone Fellowship on Reformation Sunday, is available from www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.

You can also listen to the message on Sermonaudio.com.

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa info@christianaction.org.za - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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