Many of us who read the outstanding articles that are published on the BNG website are perplexed by some of the newsworthy events of the past several years. Some events serve as sources of encouragement and comfort. However, too many events are distressing and discouraging.
As Christians, we subscribe to the New Covenant as revealed in the New Testament of the Bible. We testify that we have come under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Yet, we behave as if we never heard of the New Testament.
Even though Christ came to fulfill the Old Testament law, he came to bring a New Covenant. This New Covenant is one of agape between all members of his church. Christ has revealed the “be attitudes,” which are those characteristics and traits that his followers should possess. Other New Testament Scripture presents additional human characteristics and traits that Christians should possess.
If we truly believe in the ultimately victorious Christ, why do so many Christians express defeat, fear and hostility? I cannot fathom why professing Christians wear Christian symbols and carry weapons to a “peaceful” protest or political rally. I force myself not to judge the professed Christianity of such persons, while they seem more than willing to judge me as a non-believer just because I may have voted for someone other than their choice.
I can honestly state that in my 77 years on this planet, I never once have thought about either writing or making a call that contained threatening and obscene language to anyone. Not once have I thought about breaking into any building. It takes a certain kind of person who is willing to threaten someone’s life, make obscene telephone calls, send threatening and lewd text messages, carry weapons to a rally or demonstration, and so forth. For the life of me, I fail to see anything Christian connected with such things.
Maybe I’ve been extremely lucky up to this point in my life, but I have had no need to own a firearm of any kind. Only when I served in the military was I ever in charge of a weapon, for only limited periods of time. My concern is for my fellow Christians who seem to have no problem with the issues I have raised in this opinion piece.
This leads me to a New Testament dilemma: the Antichrist. A guest preacher stated that the Antichrist is a counterfeit Jesus. He further explained that it was like trying to distinguish between a fake $20 bill and a real bill. Discerning Christians would be able to know the Antichrist and not follow and worship him.
“Jim Jones’ followers were willing to follow him to death. It seems that Donald Trump’s followers are willing to do the same.”
I have accepted this explanation without much thought until now. I believe the term “Antichrist” is inadequate when describing him as a counterfeit Christ but means “against” or “opposite to” Christ. This person would possess those traits and characteristics that are totally different to those of Jesus. Any Christian should be able to recognize the Antichrist as being the imposter without any doubt.
However, Jim Jones’ followers were willing to follow him to death. It seems that Donald Trump’s followers are willing to do the same. I question the religious beliefs of both of these persons. Surely, neither man either followed or follows the teachings of Jesus.
For me, I know I could not sit calmly in an arena where someone is spewing forth lies, obscenities and pugilistic verbiage for hours, much less for minutes, without walking out. I know I would not be found at a rally where people are being encouraged to hate others and to break the law. It is easy to say that there could not be any Christians who attended the Jan. 6, 2021, rally followed by the storming of the U.S. Capitol. Yet, many there not only were wearing and carrying Christian symbols, they were wearing and carrying anti-Semitic symbols and weapons.
And to think that our country is about evenly divided between those who would destroy our country for power and those who seem to think that democracy with all of its warts is worth having. Amazingly, the New Testament does not consider abortion, gay rights, prayer in schools, the Christianity of America, and so forth as major issues, if discussed at all. The New Testament deals with human attitudes toward God and toward fellow humans.
“Fully one-third of a human’s traits that God hates involves human lies.”
In preparing for a Bible study lesson recently, I was referred to Proverbs 6:16-19. Within the six things that God hates, two involve “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who utters lies.” Fully one-third of a human’s traits that God hates involves human lies. Why are my fellow Christians who are attached to Trump willing to ignore God? Shouldn’t we “hate” what God hates?
My prayer for 2022 is that Christians can come together to defeat the heresies that are Satan inspired and tearing us apart. Not to put too fine a point on this dilemma, but can you imagine a Christian church welcoming Satan within its doors to talk to an adoring congregation? We live in interesting and perilous times.
Earl Chappell lives in Virginia Beach, Va., and has been a member of First Baptist Church of Norfolk since 1977.
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