Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is this Orissa....or Michigan???

You people have to read this. (Thanks to Glenn of Watchman's Bagpipes for sending it in). A Lansing blogger named Nick wrote it.

So, the question of the day is.....since it's the Mid-west and not the Mid-east, does it qualify for a "persecuted church" label? You decide.

I'll be back with an original entry later - off to Bible study right now.

Michigan liberals attack Lansing congregation in the middle of Sunday worship

This is what we're up against.

On Sunday morning, amidst worshiping congregants and following unifying prayers that our President-elect be granted wisdom as he prepares to lead our nation through difficult global, social and economic challenges, the Michigan left declared open war on peaceful church goers.

They did it with banners, chants, blasphemy, by storming the pulpit, by vandalizing the church facility, by potentially defiling the building with lewd, public, sex acts and by intentionally forcing physical confrontations with worshipers.

This didn't take place in some dystopian, post modern work of fiction and it didn't take place in San Francisco or Berkley. This was the scene at a Bible believing church in Lansing, Michigan.

I returned home myself yesterday, from church and an afternoon watching football with the family, to find an email in my inbox from a friend in the Capitol City. Isn't surprising to see her name in the inbox as she and I often compare notes on our Sunday services.

Truth be told, I've done my best over the last year to start a friendly little rivalry with her. My church is better than hers, I insist, and I have been known to tell her why. Hers is superior to mine, she reminds me, and lists the reasons. (I admit I'm maybe a tad hyper-competitive, but my church really is the best in the world.) Yesterday's email began with an understated proclamation; "So church today was exciting..."

On Sunday, November 9, 2008 Michigan liberals sat peacefully through announcements, worship and prayer for the sick, our nation and our President-elect before staging a coordinated, disgusting and repulsive attack on worshipers and the broader concept of the church itself at Lansing's Mount Hope Church.

The lefties were a part of a liberal organization known as Bash Back Lansing and their collection of radical blogs, including one of the state's most widely read "mainstream" progressive blogs (and none which will receive a link on this website) called on "queers and trannies" from across the state and the region to converge on Lansing for what they refer to as an "action." While many of the members claim to be anarchists (they drove on roads, ate non-garden grown foods, printed materials on products created by government protected free markets, wore clothing, talk incessantly about "organization," etc etc etc) their broader goal is stated plainly on one of their lefty blogs.

"I can tell you that we are targeting a well-known anti-queer, anti-choice radical right wing establishment."

Mount Hope, for the record, is an evangelical, bible believing church whose members provide free 24 hour counseling, prayer lines, catastrophic care for families dealing with medical emergencies, support groups for men, women and children dealing with a wide variety of life's troubles, crisis intervention, marriage ministries, regular, organized volunteer work in and around the city, missions in dozens of countries across the globe, a construction ministry that has built over 100 churches, schools, orphanages and other projects all over the world and an in-depth prison ministry that reaches out, touches and helps the men and women the rest of society fears the most. They also teach respect for all human life and the Biblical sanctity of marriage as an institution between one man and one woman.

This is what Michigan liberals label a "radical right wing establishment," and over 30 of them showed up in force yesterday. Wearing secret-service style ear pieces and microphones they received the "go" from their ringleader and off they went.

Prayer had just finished when men and women stood up in pockets across the congregation, on the main floor and in the balcony. "Jesus was gay," they shouted among other profanities and blasphemies as they rushed the stage. Some forced their way through rows of women and kids to try to hang a profane banner from the balcony while others began tossing fliers into the air. Two women made their way to the pulpit and began to kiss.

Their other props? I'll let them tell you in their own words... from another of their liberal blogs:

"(A) video camera, a megaphone, noise makers, condoms, glitter by the bucket load, confetti, pink fabric...yeh."

The video camera they put to good use as they attempted to provoke a violent reaction. The image of the pink-clad folks above is one of theirs, stating in a picture worth more than a thousand words the goals of the Michigan left.

The "open minded" and "tolerant" liberals ran down the aisles and across the pews, hoping against hope to catch a "right winger" on tape daring to push back (none did). And just in case their camera missed the target, they had a reporter in tow. According to a source inside the church yesterday there was a "journalist" from the Lansing City Pulse along for the ride, tipped off about the action and more interested in getting a story than in preventing the vandalism, the violence and anti-Christian hatred being spewed by the lefties. We'll see what he files and what his editors see fit to print.

Props were readily on display too, though some of the condoms may have been put to even more nefarious use.

An hour after police and security had collected and removed who they thought were the last of the liberals, a volunteer security person discovered two more, hiding, together, in a public restroom. While their compatriots engaged in openly violent protest in front of everyone these two snuck away to potentially stage their own protest of sorts, and only by the grace of God did one of the hundreds of kids at the church not happen upon that particular restroom in those moments. Precisely how long they'd been there and precisely what they'd been up to we don't know.

The church's response? After things settled down, the blasphemy ended, the lewd props removed and the families safe from fear of additional men and women running into and past them the pastor took the stage and led the congregation in one more prayer... not for retribution, or divine justice or a celestial comeuppance (that's what I'd have prayed for) but instead that the troubled individuals who'd just defiled the Lord's house, so full of anger and hate, would know Jesus' love in their lives and God's peace that exceeds human understanding.

Yesterday morning defined the difference between a church of believers and Michigan liberals. It also illustrated in shocking, painful detail precisely what we're up against.


Barbara said...

Have you seen that church's online bookstore?

Arrgh! Whatever happened to simply having mercy, loving justice, and walking humbly with our God, can we do that and not ask, "what's in it for me? Yeah, I get heaven and I get to be with God, but what else do I get if I rub the genie a special way?"

Aye yi yi yi....

Sorry. Got sidetracked when I went to their site. This stuff is not unexpected. If you haven't read John Piper's "Spectacular Sins" yet, it's available online for free on the desiringgod website and in his introduction he talks about this, including this:

"People who don't like Christians are all around us. Only a strange providence keeps our churches from being bombed. It is only a matter of time till the reality of the rest of the world comes home. And all the while we are called by Christ to go to them, love them, sacrifice for them, bring the gospel to them. The Great Commission is not child's play. It is costly. Very costly.

The coddled Western world will soon give way to great affliction. And when it does, whose vision of God will hold? Where are Christians being prepared for great global sorrows? Where is the Christian mind being prepared for the horrors to come? Christians in the West are weakened by wimply worldviews. And wimpy worldviews make wimpy Christians. God is weightless in our lives. He is not terrifyingly magnificent. His sovereignty is secondary (at best) to His sensitivity.

What is missing is the Bible. I mean the whole Bible, with its blood and guts and sins and horrors - and all of it under the massive hand of God. The hand whose fingers flick stars into being. The hand that gives life and takes it. The hand that rules everything. Everything.

And, may I suggest that when it does, those who are currently buying into the kinds of things the bookstore is selling, will need lots of love and compassion and the True Gospel and the true Holy Spirit - the one where Christ is Sufficient, and is all in all - provided with a measure of grace as they look around at their "magic prayers and incantations" and see it all crumble.

Because one hate group raising a ruckus? Is bad enough, but it's just the beginning.

Marie said...

Hi Barb,

No, I haven't looked at their bookstore or even been to the church's site, (I posted this quickly this morning when I read it), but I certainly will as soon as I'm done going through my e-mails. (No, haven't read "Spectacular Sins" yet - Piper puts books out faster than I can read them, unfortunately).

From your comment, am I to assume this is a Fred Phelps-type of hate-mongering "church"? I will check into it and if necessary, remove this entry. Thanks, as always, for your insightful comments!

Barbara said...

I kicked around the 'net this morning looking at the "other side" and the comments on some of the articles - particularly the folks local to that church. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say "hate mongering" but it would appear that they have been accused of getting into some pride marches and the like, and several have expressed disgust at a presentation they did at halloween, a HellHouse using someone dressed up like Satan performing a gay wedding.

Of course, nothing warrants anarchy or blasphemy, two wrongs don't make a right, and I've read some seriously disgusting things from churchgoers about what they would do in response if it happened in their churches. Threshing floor, anyone?

That wasn't my point though. It's an Assembly of God church, and the bookstore is full of the health/wealth/gifts/success stuff (kingdom here-and-now?), from what I can see all written by their pastor. Which is why I give the "rub the genie" reference - you know, the teachings that if I pray a certain way or do a certain thing or believe hard enough or speak a certain thing, if I rub the bottle of my prayer life "just right," the genie will come out and grant my wishes and I'll live happily ever after. All about me, all about what I get, all about what I get now. And you know as well as I do what harm that kind of teaching is going to do to people when faced with the kind of persecution that's coming.

It's only just begun here in the States. It was only a matter of time. But you know? It will be the kind of thing that happens all over the rest of the world: the bruised petal releases its fragrance, the false teachings will burn up in the refining fire, and the truth of the beauty and glories of God as He is and not as people create Him to be will shine forth through this and forevermore. He is gracious and mighty and good and we must be gracious and good to each other, not sacrificing the truth but not not ripping each other apart either, seeking to be more and more conformed to the image of Christ. And I'm afraid there are many who don't get that. This stuff is what people think Christianity is. Every wind of doctrine blows downwind and smells of sulfur and self....until it creeps in underneath the church door, gradually removing piece after piece of wool until the wolf stands bare and no one can tell the difference.

No one, that is, except for His own. (matt. 24)

Marie said...

Thanks Barbara.

I did glance at their bookstore after reading your comment, and you're right - I saw no actual biblical theology there, despite the blogger's claim that they are a "Bible believing" church.

Assembly of God preaching Word-Faith? Wow - we've got two major schools of aberrant doctrine under one roof. Don't even get me started on charismania/W-F heresy.

Yup, the persecution (which my friend, a native missionary in Belarus faces DAILY) has barely begun here. For that reason, I will leave this entry up, EVEN THOUGH I DO NOT ENDORSE THIS CHURCH'S BRAND OF CHRISTIANITY. It is more simply an example of "tolerance" gone awry.

Barbara said...

You've seen Justin Peters' seminar on WoF, no? - 30 minute demo of a 4 hr seminar is downloadable from his homepage, and in it the president of Southwestern Theological Seminary where it was presented said that WoF is not only crippling New Testament churches, it's crippling overseas missions efforts. I showed it to my ladies' group the first meeting I had with them - they found it very informative and helpful. I haven't bought the DVD set ... yet.

Marie said...

No, I haven't seen the seminar you mention, but I'm (fortunately or unfortunately) very "up" on Word-Faith theology. To cut a very long story short, I was semi- involved in a charismatic church for several years (I was a Pentecostal wanna-be). Trying to figure out why the women there liked Joyce Meyer so much, I researched her teaching and found it was identical to Benny Hinn's. W-F was sneaking in the back door of that church, but it took me a while to figure it out. Hanengraaf's "Counterfeit Revival", "Christianity in Crisis" and Macarthur's "Charismatic Chaos" helped me greatly.

see these articles: (be sure and watch the youTube clip - John Piper is one of the best preachers and most humble men of God alive today).


Yes, it has made MASSIVE inroads overseas, much to our shame.

For those who may not realize what we are talking about, Word of Faith teaching actually has at least 5 distinct doctrinal aberrations - briefly, 1) the "Jesus re-born in hell" doctrine (which Joyce Meyer has espoused and is the main reason some Christian bookstores refuse to carry her books anymore); 2) the teaching that physical healing is guaranteed by the atonement and must be appropriated by faith; 3) the health-and-wealth prosperity gospel; 4) positive/negative confession doctrine (which actually has more in common with the metaphysical cults than with biblical Christianity); and 5) the "deification of man" doctrine (another Joyce Meyer special) which essentially teaches that we (Christians) are gods, with all that that implies.

Hank Hanengraaf's book "Christianity in Crisis" dealt with this issue in much depth.

Barbara said...

Yeah, I remember your testimony, which is another reason why I bring up Peters' ministry. He holds two Masters' degrees; A M.Div and M.Theology. For one of them he did his thesis on Benny Hinn and he now goes around the country giving a Biblical critique of the WoF movement entitled, "A Call for Discernment" which he hopes will empower people to speak the Truth in love and steer them away from heretical teachings. He traces them back to their metaphysical cultic roots and exposes some rather bizarre fruits of their teachings and carries some of them out to their logical conclusions. Very well done. Particularly notable is his own disability - he has cerebral palsy - and his gratitude for it because through it (and not through some "faith healer") he has gotten to know Jesus in a very special way. Same as Joni Eareckson Tada, same as Gianna Jessen, same as many folks who know what it is for Jesus' grace to sufficient in and through their weaknesses, and who know what it is to share in Christ's sufferings.

And while the demo doesn't mention this, I have to think that it's an underlying concept that the constant focus on trying to remove our sufferings is actually designed to prevent that very special closeness and sweetness of Christ's presence that comes through that suffering, how Christ as rock/fortress and all else as sand becomes a very tangible reality. If the enemy can keep our focus on ourselves and on the world instead of on Christ's faithfulness and sufficiency, then he wins the battle - though certainly not the war. And the individual loses all.

Hadassah said...

Wow! I suppose it was only a matter of time. I saw that Drudge picked this story up today, after I read about it here.