All posts filed under: Opinion

Iran? Russia? and maybe China? What is happening to our world?

The news is getting scary. You have probably heard that people in Iran are demonstrating against their government, and things are getting violent. The news, where I live, is that an army base has been attacked. In Russia, there are other problems. We know about the Russian army attacking Ukraine, a close neighbor. It’s now a complicated story, and the Government of Russia is bringing compulsory military service, to keep their effort going. Apparently, people in Russia are not happy about this, and they are demonstrating in the streets. Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of landmass. In China, things seem to be more peaceful, and there doesn’t seem to be a violent crisis. COVID lock-downs are still happening, but young adults are not getting married and having babies, and the population is declining. A younger generation of new adults is distracted by the stress of living, in their country. This may seem trivial, but over time, a smaller population will mean a smaller economy, and that will be a smaller …

Is organized religion dead? Are Christians history?

Have you heard that organized religion is in decline, at least in North America? Apparently, we are witnessing a huge increase in people who claim to have no religious membership, especially in the United States. This increase in “nones”, people with no religion, and a decline in religious memberships has been happening for at least twenty years. This is a cultural trend, and the decline may be happening in other parts of the world. In 2014, Rowan Williams the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury said that the United Kingdom was a post-Christian society. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, where organized religion also controls the government, a young woman, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, was arrested recently, by the religious Morality Police. She was not wearing a head covering. She was supposed to wear a correct head covering, as a Muslim woman, but many women in Iran want to drop that requirement from their lives. Mahsa was arrested and detained, and somehow, she died in custody. Possibly, the police were too aggressive. Apparently, the reaction against that expression …

Seven Steps to Help Unite the Church of America

By Dr. Michael L. Brown

It was Jesus Himself who said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25) The same applies for the Church: If we are divided against ourselves, we will be ruined and we will not stand. And if we, the people of God in America, will not stand, neither will our nation. But how we can unite when there are such deep divisions and differences among us?

Short-Term Gratification vs Long-Term Satisfaction

By Dr Michael L. Brown

A few years ago, I was buying some new clothes to wear on a series of episodes on Christian TV. The salesman, a seasoned pro with a very good eye, picked out some blazers, slacks, and shirts, and after trying them on, I made my final selection. It was only then that I discovered the prices on these items, expressing my surprise out loud. In response, the salesman said something that stayed with me. Allow me to share it with you here.

The 3.5 Percent Principle. Are you tired of being ignored?

Do you have an opinion, about something? Do you feel like you are not being heard? Do you know how to make a difference? Use the 3.5 percent principle. There is an old saying, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Those are important words; if we don’t have a vision or goal, we are just wasting our time. We are going nowhere. Actually, the problem is worse than that. Without a vision, we perish. We do go somewhere; we travel backward to our own destruction. That old saying has been with us for thousands of years, in the Proverbs of the Hebrew Bible (Proverbs 29:18) If your life is not going somewhere, it is going somewhere else. You were born with a direction and forward motion. On the other side, what is the point of believing anything? Check the news feed on your phone. How many opinions do you see? How many of those ideas were not popular, a few years ago? We are flooded with opinions and radical ideas, and new moral …

Can church make us rich? The prosperity in the Gospel

We don’t hear the words “Prosperity Gospel” much anymore, but the idea is still with us. You might have heard the story of the pastor in Kansas City, who recently berated his congregation because they didn’t buy him an expensive watch. He asked in November, and he still didn’t have the watch by the following summer. One of his statements was like, “So I’m not worth your McDonald’s money?” He specifically asked for a Movado watch. I don’t operate at that economic level, and I had to read more to get the picture. A Movado is a very expensive watch. As a minister of the Gospel, the pastor believed he was entitled to some bling. Prosperity is a good thing, for God’s people. These days, there is always a person with a camera that can record videos. That’s not even a luxury anymore. The pastor’s lecture was recorded, and it went viral on the internet. He also apologized, a few days later. This is a lesson for us all; we can’t get away with anything: …

Camels on the Horizon? The Eve of Destruction?

You might have heard about the camels on the horizon. Lots of people are talking about it. The story is; that a Sheik in Dubai in the Persian Gulf region gave his opinion, in an interview, and his words of wisdom have caught the attention of people around the world. In summary: Hard times make resilient people, and those people fix social problems and make a better society. That easier life produces soft and whiny people, and they make things worse. It’s a cycle of repair and decay. Prosperity and good times, lead us to decay and destruction. People who like this message generally think we are in the soft and whiny stage, and destruction is near. Apparently, many Christian preachers are interested in the message. The Sheik of Dubai is like a wise prophet, to some people. Social cycles are normal, and predictable. And if that is true, we may be at the end of a prosperity peak. We may be on the eve of destruction. What do you think? I’m a Christian, and …

Back to basics

Well, it finally happened, I got COVID. During a heat wave in August, I am well ….. sick! I now understand what the phrase ‘fellowship of His suffering’ means. So on my way to the Futon, I randomly grabbed one of my martial arts books off our bookcase. Just something to read and get my mind off the ugh… I have found it strange, that I have had very few prophetic words concerning direction during this pandemic, but I got a word for the church while reading this ‘random’ martial arts book. The book by Richard Kim, called ‘The Weaponless Warriors,’ is a series of stories about an Okinawan Karate master from the past. Reading a book, while your eyes feel like they are running with what appears to be gorilla glue, is not fun. But I randomly read one chapter and could not see past the goo to read anymore. I initially thought this would be a good story to share with my karate class. Then I felt like God saying, how about sharing …

Reincarnation? UFOs? Ghosts? Do you believe?

1) Do you believe in reincarnation? I know a man, and when he was born, his grandmother held the new baby and said, “This one has been here before.” I don’t think there has ever been evidence to support that belief. He has never mentioned memories of a previous life, for instance, but the family remembers that story. His grandmother believed. Many people believe in reincarnation, or at least they are interested enough to investigate: 2) Do you believe in UFOs? When I was a boy, my big brother was very serious about UFOs. We called them flying saucers, and my brother found some interesting books. I was a good reader, and I learned a lot about UFOs and the people who believe in them. One Sunday, the pastor of our church told us all that those ideas were not true and that we shouldn’t believe in them. I think my mother put him up to that. We kept our ideas quiet, after that, but I did see ET when it came out. I also …

Uncivilized

By Rick Renner

The material I am about to present concerns a subject that I normally wouldn’t write about. However, it provides a powerful illustration of the depravity Paul prophesied would occur during the last days (see 2 Timothy 3:2,3), and I believe it serves as a wakeup call to the Church. Sometimes we need a stark reminder of the rapid degeneration of society’s moral fabric that is occurring all around us at an ever-increasing rate so we don’t grow complacent and just “go with the flow” of society’s downward moral spiral. As the Church, we have a vital role to play in these perilous times as standard bearers of truth. So bear with me as I take on that role to share some disturbing but important information, and you will understand my point.

Justice vs forgiveness

Several years back I stumbled upon a conversation a couple coworkers were having in the coffee room of the place I worked. One was asking the other who was a believer about a Bible discrepancy. How come the Old Testament talks eye for an eye and executing murderers and the New Testament talk about loving and forgiving everyone including our enemies, he wondered? These two commands seemed diametrically opposed to each other and from outward appearances a contradiction. It was a legitimate question. But we see the answer to this alleged contradiction in a recent story out of Alabama. On Thursday, July 28, 2022, Joe James was executed for murdering his ex-girlfriend, Faith Hall, in 1994. Faith, who was 26 at the time, had two daughters when she broke up with James after they had briefly gone out. James was found guilty and sentenced to death in Alabama for the senseless murder and 26 years later he had run out of appeals. But then a strange thing happened, Faith’s two daughters, now adults, petitioned the …

Did the Pope get it wrong? … or right?

Most of the world knows, now, that the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church has just finished a visit to Canada. He is eighty-four years old, and sometimes he was transported in a wheelchair. I live close to some of the sites that he visited, and I know, the weather was hot. Apparently, he is now talking about retirement. So, what would motivate a man in his eighties, to travel to the other side of the world, and speak to huge crowds? The stadium, where he held a mass, holds about sixty thousand, and about fifty thousand attended the mass. The local authorities warned about traffic disruptions on major highways. The motivation was clear; there is a history of church-run boarding schools for native people, and the Pope now describes that as “genocide.” He traveled to Canada to apologize for something that his church did. He believes his church was wrong. Can we judge the Pope? Was he wrong? Or was he correct? Was it important for an old man to travel so far, and …

What should we do about the homeless?

We have a dangerous cult in our society, or possibly two working together. Have you met any homeless people lately? Mentally ill, drug addicts, and criminals; that is how most of us see homeless people. I live near a city center, and homeless people are being chased out of their usual neighborhoods by new construction. I think that is why so many are moving into our community. They come with shopping carts and tents, and they settle in public parks. One couple put their tent, and large amounts of personal property, in a corporate parking lot. Imagine coming to work in the morning, and your parking spot is occupied, by a family in a tent. The ‘personal property’ was probably salvaged from garbage bins. I think the problem is growing this summer because the weather is warm. Another driver of this issue is that people, who are not good personal managers, are being chased out of their homes by high costs. When rents go up and people are evicted, they look for a new place …

This is so boring; until they come for us

Are you familiar with the term “World View”? I usually click on something else, when I hear that in the news. This is one of those sleeper topics, that we ignore, and we pay a price later. The commentator with Fox News, Tucker Carlson, has been speaking about this, recently. He believes that Christians will be attacked because of different world views. He is correct, and we should know what he is saying. Let’s analyze: When you saw the words “Tucker Carlson” and “Fox News” you had an opinion, probably. You were either happy or unhappy. U.S. politics are very polarized, these days. If you didn’t feel anything, you might be Canadian. That is a picture of a worldview. We make small decisions and they grow into an orientation. The small things that we decide make us into the people that we are, they give us a world view. So, with a world view, you admire one person from one news source, or you have strong feelings the other way and you don’t like him. …

Deconversion: Do you want to quit?

I have deconverted. As a boy, I was raised in a strict religious family, and I knew exactly how to behave. I was not a rebellious boy, and I tried to follow the rules. Sometimes I failed, but usually, I lived to the standard of a good boy. The technical word for my religious experience is “sectarian.” I was not raised in anything like a controlling “cult.” I had one problem with my religion. It wasn’t mine. I didn’t feel the need to make a decision; I only had to conform. As I grew older, I had a faint nagging sense of doubt. Something kept telling me that I wasn’t being me. I was the person other people wanted me to be. If you want to know where this ended, I found my own way. I liked the idea of following Jesus, so I did that. I didn’t like just following the restrictions and rules of other people, so I found a new church and some new friends. I am still learning to be strong, …

I Want to Be a Torch

Speaking of John the Baptizer, Jesus said, “He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light” (John 5:35). That’s my heart as well. I want to be a burning and shining lamp. I want to be a torch! In the words of Smith Wigglesworth, “O, if God had His way, we should be like torches, purifying the very atmosphere wherever we go, moving back the forces of wickedness.”

Is Jesus a Communist?: Join the […] revolution

Was Jesus a Communist? Some people believe that he was. You might have heard about “Liberation Theology” which was popular, and very powerful in Latin America, about fifty years ago. It existed mostly in the Roman Catholic Church, although the ideas spread to other Protestant groups. Liberation Christians tried to merge the ideas of Marxist Communism with what the Bible says about Jesus. Technically, it is impossible to call Jesus a Communist, or a political leftist. Karl Marx, who created Communism, was born in 1818, into a Jewish family that had recently converted to Christianity. He lived many centuries after the time of Jesus, and he never seemed to promote Jesus. He promoted his new idea, atheistic Communism. There is no clear connection between Jesus and Karl Marx, or the Communists who followed him. A Communist is an Atheist. Before the Communists were the French revolutionaries, who met in a National Assembly, apparently on a tennis court, around the year 1789. When the Speaker of the Assembly looked out over the members, it was clear …

Why Every Generation Must Have Its Own Experience with God

By Dr. Michael L. Brown

According to the book of Joshua, “Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel” (Joshua 24:31). After that, the next generation fell away from God. The people had not experienced His power for themselves.

Modern Morals: Yes, they are coming for the children

Are you angry? I can make you angry. Some opinions are extreme these days, and it is easy to be offended. One of the hottest new topics is the indoctrination of children to new moral standards. Our church had a summer VBS, a Vacation Bible School when I was a boy. We mostly had fun, and someone was very generous with the prizes for memorizing Bible verses. I remember large chocolate bars, that I had never even seen before. My brother told me to memorize, and memorize more, and I could have an amazing prize. I was diligent, I worked hard at memorizing, and just before I reached the pay-out day, a story broke in our city newspaper. The church was accused of bribing and indoctrinating children with unreasonable amounts of candy. In those days, that kind of influence over children was forbidden. The church immediately canceled the reward program. The issue was settled quickly, but there was one casualty of that war. One boy did not get the obscene amounts of chocolate, that he …

Repent of your white privilege: Is racism the original sin?

You have probably heard of “whiteness” the offense of being part of the dominant majority, that discriminates against minorities with different skin colors. If we consider the whole world, light-skinned people, whose ancestors came from Europe, including people who still live in Europe, form a large minority. In the world community, Asia and Africa have huge populations. I remember learning in school, about the explorers who sailed from Europe and conquered and settled North and South America, and Australia and New Zealand. The new nations that grew from this prospered and sometimes dominated the world. In the southern United States and Brazil, and the Caribbean, large slave populations were imported from Africa. From that division of society, Europeans and Africans, racism tends to be defined by skin color. The United States had a violent civil war, and many civil-rights protest movements. “Whiteness” and “White Privilege” were ideas that fuelled academic discussions. Now, with protest groups like “Black Lives Matter” that protest against “Whiteness” and try to change it, the argument has gone public, and onto …

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: What happened to kindness?

We have all heard some news about legal problems between two famous movie stars, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Before I continue, I have a disclaimer: I don’t want to criticize anyone who is involved in this trial. I feel sorry for them, and I hope they find a better way, when it’s all over. Those two movie stars have a problem that we all have, but their argument has become world news. I’m talking about the place where they find themselves because we can all go there. And the problem is; kindness is a weakness, you have to be cruel to survive in an adversarial battle. Sometimes, offense is the best defense. The lawsuits, between two rich people, have claims for millions of dollars, many millions. Also, if either career is damaged, the financial losses could be huge. The public, like you and me, won’t pay money to watch movie stars we don’t like. The stakes are high. Two people are in a legal battle where they must discredit the other. A few years …

When a Misguided Pastor Makes Threats About a Violent ‘Christian’ Insurrection

By Dr. Michael L. Brown According to his website, Greg Locke is the “Founding and Lead Pastor of Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, just outside Nashville.” But he is much better known as a controversial internet preacher with a large social media following. And in a recent message, he has crossed a very dangerous line.

Gaslighting: Are you being manipulated?

You have probably heard the word ‘gaslighting’ but most of us are not clear about what it means. I walked to a mall this morning, to get a haircut. On this busy day, the lady who usually cuts my hair, let me in without an appointment. That was nice. In the chair, I listened as she talked about a problem in her life, and I could relate. We all have the same issue, sometimes. She was being gaslighted. She and her husband are divorced, I think, recently. I don’t know the reasons, but he has accused her of many things and blamed the marriage breakdown on her. It gets worse when he drinks. It’s all her fault. She is sure that she did not do the things he accuses her of, but he has spread the stories to all their friends. Now, she is avoiding people because she is tired of defending herself. If she proves that she is not guilty of something, he can easily make a new story. I don’t want to take …

From Time’s “Is God Dead?” in 1966 to the New York Times’ Call to “Give Up God” Today

On April 8, 1966, the pictureless front cover of Time Magazine asked a bold and direct question: “Is God Dead?” This was just two days before Easter Sunday, and in the decades that followed, it became increasingly common for anti-God, anti-Jesus, anti-Bible essays to be featured in various secular publications at this time of year.

Religion is changing in Brazil: Where are we now?

Education is history. Most of the things that we learn are things that happened, and now we can look back and analyze them. That usually works, but some experts claim that the world population today is equal to all the people who lived before, all the way back to the Stone Age. We can’t prove that, but we are living in history, and it’s good to know how the world is changing around us. Whatever we think about religion, the old stories are being replaced by new ones. Religion, in the world, is nothing like what we saw in history. Modern people want something new now, and religion cannot be controlled. One example is China, governed by a Communist Party. In modern times, religion in China is supposed to be mostly for old people. The younger generation is supposed to be modern and secular, and mostly Atheist. It’s not easy to track religion in an officially Atheist country, but experts estimate that about eighty percent of the population practices some religion, and about seventy-five percent …

Should We Love Our Enemies Even During a Time of War?

By Dr. Michael L. Brown

Recently, some Christians in Ukraine came under fire for putting up billboards in their city with verses from the Bible, one of which quoted the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount where He called us to love our enemies (see Matthew 5:43-48). As a result, these Christians have been branded separatists and traitors, with some calling for their church to be investigated.

Prove to me that God Exists … or not

Can you prove that God exists? Did you ever have that argument, on either side? I am writing as a Christian, but I think some of the arguments miss the point. Most people in the world believe in God, or gods. Most of us are religious. Imagine an Atheist challenging anyone, in any religion with this demand “Prove to me that God exists!” Is there an answer? Anywhere? This is critically important. It’s the foundation of who we are, and we should not base our lives on something with no foundation. Some people argue that God does not exist, and they also argue that God could not possibly exist. Here is an example. Other people argue that God does exist, such as we see here: READ: Does God Exist? So, when we are challenged, what do we say? For me, “we” is mostly Christians, but anyone who believes in any god, or gods, should think about this. Why do we bother? How do we answer the challenge? Some people need to build a better foundation. …

Have you ever won a religious argument? Brace yourself.

So, have you won a religious argument lately? I have not. I grew up in a rough neighborhood and I have an aversion to strife. There are probably times when I should speak up, but I just don’t want the consequences. We live in contentious times, with issues like Climate Change, COVID, war in places like Ukraine, and what did I leave out? … maybe religion and evolution, or sexual orientation. If you are religious, you believe something. I am a Christian, and what I am, includes many things that I am not. What I believe includes things that I don’t believe. If I am everything, I am nothing. The old joke for young church women in a church to say “We don’t smoke, and we don’t chew, and we don’t date the boys who do!” That is a very old joke. If you want to see a political argument mixed with religion, here is a good example: I don’t know the political topic, but the speaker is very articulate. It is easy to disagree …

We Are Called to Be Disciples, Not Consumers: Learning a Lesson from the Persecuted Church

By Dr. Michael L. Brown

Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand were Jewish Christians from Romania who were imprisoned, mistreated, and (especially Richard) brutally tortured for their unwavering faith. They would not bow the knee to the spirit of the age. They would not submit to the godless Communist agenda (or any other godless agenda). They would only bow the knee to Jesus.