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TODAY’S WORLD: Led Astray

Political and religious leaders are guilty of this…..

43.135

 

The twenty-first century has witnessed dramatic changes in the western world that have been almost unprecedented in history. These changes have happened with enormous rapidity, and if people who had died fifty years ago could be brought back they would be astounded by the society in which we live today. On the one hand, these changes have happened very quickly; but on the other hand, it is possible to discover certain catalysts that have precipitated the changes by slow and subtle means.

 

 

One such example of change is homosexuality. In the middle of the last century it was a criminal offence, and conviction could lead to imprisonment. However, it has been said that homosexuality has come out of the closet and into the cabinet. No longer is the practice outlawed and “wrong”; it is accepted in society, by and large, and same-sex relationships are now officially and legally recognized in many countries. In Britain it was first legally permitted as a “civil partnership” before David Cameron turned the institution of marriage upside down by allowing “marriage” to be between two people of the same sex. Certain sections of the professing “church” have also been swayed and are doing all that they can to accommodate homosexuals within their fellowships and to allow them to occupy positions of leadership.

 

The first “Gay Pride” march took place in London in 1972. Since then, it has become an annual event in the capital. Many other cities — both across Britain, as well as in other countries — have staged “Gay Pride” events to promote the acceptance of homosexuality. Calling it a Pride event is significant too. The marchers — who now have official recognition — are proud to be out on the streets. The behaviour of Sodom is indeed declared openly in society — and with pride! No longer is there any shame or wish to hide what God calls abomination. The words of the prophet Isaiah are singularly appropriate: “They declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not” (Isa. 3:9). Deliverance from certain divine judgment can only be found when people, like Lot and his family, escape from mankind’s depraved ways. Salvation, through Christ, is only possible when a repentant sinner leaves “the world’s side” and humbly turns to God for mercy. You cannot be a true believer and a happy citizen of Sodom at the same time.

 

 

LOBBYING AND LEADERSHIP

The brash emergence of the Gay Pride movement has not come about without lobbying. Men and women have been working hard behind the scenes in order to champion their cause and bring on board people of influence. They have been extremely successful and are now strongly represented in the political arena, in education, and in the media. These, of course, are all areas of influence. It is the government that dictates, effects change, and enacts new laws. The government controls education — and this, in turn, influences how children think. If you want a “new way of thinking” to succeed, it is children who must be influenced. It is important to control their minds as early as possible so that they think in the new way and, in turn, help to establish the new society. The media is also a significant influence. People watch or listen to the news and read newspapers. “Agents of change” therefore are needed to control the media and be seen as “nice” and “normal” people. Homosexuals in such places can influence society. It is a fact that within the BBC there is an inordinate proportion of homosexual people — the ratio being higher than is generally found in society at large.

 

Lobbying is only part of the battle, however. Leaders are needed who will pay attention to them and advance their cause. This is precisely what has happened. Men and women who favour the homosexual way have been promoted to places where they can engineer the changes demanded — even if they themselves are not homosexual. Although married with a wife and family, David Cameron has proved to be an ideal ally of the cause. Not satisfied with having introduced “same-sex” marriage to Britain, his goal is now to coerce unwilling African nations into accepting it.

 

Long ago Isaiah lamented that the people of Israel were being led astray by treacherous rulers who were causing them to err. He wrote: “O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err” (Isa.3:12). Swerving from the truth, the people had found themselves in destroyed paths. No longer were they making progress. The right ways had been broken up, and they were heading in a direction that led them away from their God.

 

Picture a well-trodden footpath that has been ploughed up. No longer is it possible to trace the once familiar route that the pathway followed. This was precisely what had happened in Israel — and the very same thing is happening in Britain today. The laws of our land were once based solidly upon the teaching of the Bible. The influence of the Book could be felt in society. But those foundations have been attacked. The pathway has been ploughed over and has disappeared from sight. The leaders of our nation have caused us to err seriously. Marriage has been “redefined” by our belligerent Prime Minister who has manipulated words in a way that is tantamount to calling a square a circle! Recent events make us only too aware of the fact that Christians are under attack. While we must pray for those in authority over us, we must maintain and continue to proclaim the truths of Scripture — lost mankind’s only hope. We must not be intimidated.

 

LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH

However, it is not only leadership within the political arena that has let us down. Leaders in the professing church have had a part to play too. The opening verses of Ezekiel 13 present a very challenging scene. We read that “the word of the Lord” came to Ezekiel (v.1), instructing him to “prophesy against the prophets of Israel” (v.2). Surely this was asking a great deal of God’s servant! The prophets of Israel were a respected class who spoke with authority and were supposed to bring the Word of the Lord to the nation. The people listened to them and were guided by their pronouncements. Ezekiel might well have remonstrated with the Lord. “What is this? Am I meant to prophesy against these recognized messengers?” he could have said. “People will accuse me of speaking out of turn and of rocking the boat! Surely You are asking me to do something divisive. I am not going to be thanked by anyone for engaging in such a thing.” But the task had to be done. The men Ezekiel faced prophesied “out of their own hearts” (v.2).

 

Ezekiel is not the only man to have faced such a challenge. Throughout history there have been men of God who have had to confront the established Church and oppose the status quo. The starting point for Ezekiel was “the Word of the LORD” (v.2) which the prophets of Israel needed to “hear”. The message of the Lord GOD was that the “foolish” nature of these prophets caused them to “follow their own spirit” (v.3). True prophets were men of vision; these had “seen nothing” (v.3)! Their messages offered false hope to the people (v.6). They claimed to speak in the name of the LORD, but they had not been sent by Him. As a result they offered the people no protection against the attacks of the enemy. They were not tackling the gaps that existed or making the hedge a more effective protection (v.5). For this reason the Lord had to declare that He was against them (v.8).

 

Similarities abound when we begin to relate these verses to the day in which we live. Many today occupy the pulpit (or, in some places of worship, the stage) claiming to speak in the Name of the Lord. Their message offers a false hope because they are following their own foolish spirit and are responding to the whims of the day. The gaps are not being plugged. Instead, they are being widened by bringing in the world’s culture, music, and its entertainment ethos. The message is popular, churches are being filled, and we are told that this is the way forward. Criticism is deemed to be out of place.

 

Back in 1969, David G. Fountain wrote in the Bible League Quarterly, “Men are more concerned about reaching men with the Gospel than making sure that it is the Gospel that reaches men!” He continued, “Men have made the presentation of the Gospel more important than the Gospel itself!” If that was true in 1969, how much more it is today! His assessment can well be applied to the defective Alpha course. Methods in evangelism are all the rage. The “seeker-friendly” approach has, in many cases, ruined the Gospel message. God does not call us to be clever or impressive. Intellectual arguments may convince the mind, but they cannot convict the heart or bring new life. Entertainment may amuse, but it will not edify. God wants His servants to be faithful in preaching the Word and to leave the results with Him.

 

 

KEPT ON THE RIGHT TRACK

It is important to stay on track. Leaders both in the political and in the religious world are causing people to err. Ideas that originate in the human mind are not worth much. We must learn from Ezekiel. Instead of taking his place among the worldly and fashionable prophets of Israel, he boldly confronted them in the Name of the Lord. Such a ministry is still vital in this day of worldliness and frivolity.