Monday, August 31, 2009

A Wolf among Shepherds

Maybe you've seen reports already about a Phoenix area "pastor" by the name of Stephan Anderson. If not, the person in question recently delivered a sermon entitled "Why I hate Barack Obama". Additionally, Mr. Anderson has stated he prays for the president's death and encourages his flock to do the same.

If you are not a Christian, people like "pastor" Anderson are probably a part of why you left the faith or chose to not accept Christ in the first place. I don't expect to change your mind in one blog. However, I cannot let this horrific misrepresentation of Christ go unchallenged.

If you are a Christian, then pay attention. It is time to get off our duffs and fight for what we believe. We (I am including myself) have too often let our faith be defined by secularists, or wolves.

Christ calls us to speak the truth in love. We do not speak the truth if we excuse behavior God has defined as sinful. We are not expressing love if we spew hate or turn a blind eye to those who spew hate and claim to be acting in God's name.

We, as Christians, are called upon to pray for those in authority over us. This is as true today in our federal republic as it was in the days of monarchs and emperors. If we if we disagree with the policies, then we should pray for our leaders to receive wisdom, or a revelation. If we perceive that a politician has been sinful, then we should pray that the be reconciled to God, not sent to stand in judgment before Him.

There is a legitimate perception among many Christians that some in our society are seeking to eradicate Christianity, to ridicule Christians into obscurity. This does not excuse hateful behavior. We are called on to pray for those who persecute us and bless those who curse us. Consider also that there are places on this planet where Christians are murdered or jailed for speaking the Word. As ugly as it has gotten here, American Christians have it good.

This brings me to the nature of prayer. It is not a magic imprecation. Nor is it a wish list sent up to a magic Santa Claus figure. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much. This is both a critique of "pastor" Anderson, and a command to those of us who see him for what he is. Pray that he receives a true and life-changing encounter with our Lord. Pray that his congregation rejects this poisonous bile and has this man removed from the pulpit until such time as he can be reconnected with He is, and was, and is to come.

I do not hold a great deal of hope for the last option. The level of vitriol packed into such few sentences is very telling. Such hatred and wanton abuse of the Holy Word cannot be an isolated incident. Thus, the people in the pews of Mr. Anderson's church have sat still, and returned to his tutelage week after week, knowing his beliefs.

I weep for the children who are being taught by this man, and "Reverend" Wright. There is no difference.

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