Posted in a city upon a hill, boston, hope, missionaries, new england

Mission New England, the city on a hill where the light has (almost) gone out

A church in Gray Maine. EPrata photo

New England is comprised of 6 states: Maine, New Hampshire Vermont (northern New England) and Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut (southern New England). Five, and sometimes all six of these states are listed in surveys in the top ten most Godless states in the US.

Providence RI is listed as one of the ‘least bible-minded‘ cities in the US. This is ironic, given its name.

Portland Maine is known as one of the most homosexual friendly and tolerant cities in the US.

Spiritually, New England is dark. I know. I lived there for 42 years. For those who were saved by grace at an early age, or were raised in a Christian home or even live in the south or Midwest … perhaps this next statement will seem strange to you. But growing up in New England means that one can never go to church, never see anyone else go to church, never hear talk of church, never hear the name Jesus, never see a bible store or a Christian store. Never see a cross. As embedded as the visible Christian life is in the south, it is just as invisible in the north.

One of the oldest church buildings and the biggest, located in the most prominent place, the center of my old town, has no displayed cross outside. The Methodist Church and the Congregational Church staff female lead pastors. There is no bible store in town (no book store at all, as least as far as I know). Jesus doesn’t live in most of the people there and thus He isn’t seen in the culture.

New England needs missionaries. To that end, NETS is a church planting mission aimed at New England. Does it seem strange to you that New England is as dark as Norway? Or India? They write,

The New England landscape is dotted with white steeples and picturesque churches. But

North Yarmouth church. EPrata photo

look closer, and you’ll find pulpits that once held gospel preachers like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield now proclaiming Universalism, Liberalism and postmodernism. Halls that once echoed classic hymns stand eerily silent behind “For Sale” signs. Many church buildings have already been converted into shops and condos. And influential colleges like Harvard, Yale and Brown, founded to train gospel preachers, now lead the way into spiritual darkness. With the exception of Mormon Utah, New England is the most gospel-parched region of the nation.

Portland is one of the toughest regions to be on mission with the gospel: Some 59% of residents are considered “post-Christian.” … As shown by this homosexual publication reports that Portland, Maine is one of the top five surprisingly gay towns.

Portland Maine is on our gaydar Home to one of the biggest per capita LGBT populations on the east coast and now host of the entirely enticing Frostbite ME weekend (early March, dates TBA), a LGBT winter celebration with an alluring array of homo hijinks, activities, and events that launched in 2008, Portland is Maine’s captivating largest city (population 65,000). Portland has a venerable gay bar, Blackstones, and Styxx Video Club (3 Spring Street), where the dance floor and pool tables are popular with women on Thursdays and Saturdays.

The Portland Press Herald reported, “Maine a mecca for gay couples; Experts attribute the numbers to the state’s gay-friendly laws and its history of tolerance.”

A long-dead New England church that is now an antique store

This is the very spot in the world where European men and women of faith left all they knew to travel to a new and dangerous world, in pursuit of freedom to worship Jesus. They stepped off the Mayflower in 1620 Plymouth Massachusetts, survived, thrived, founded cities, and seminaries. Harvard College was originally a seminary institution of higher learning for men to be trained in the Gospel. So was Yale and Princeton and most other New England higher learning institutes that were founded over 300 years ago.

Harvard’s crest stated Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae (Truth for Christ and the Church) and their charter proposal read thus:

After God had carried us safe to New England and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the civil government: One of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.

And so a mere 6 years after landing in Plymouth, the Puritans founded Harvard College in 1636.

And so satan went to work.

In 1803 Harvard voted out the Calvinist President and voted in an anti-Trinitarian president. In 1869 Harvard dropped the “Christ and Church” from their motto and crest, leaving only “Veritas”, (Truth). Cementing the long, liberal decline, Harvard expanded their mission statement in 2008,

To help in building a world in which people can live and work together across religious and cultural divides, we strive to be a primary resource in religious and theological studies for the academy, for religious communities, and in the public sphere…. 

because,

A well-educated student of religion must have a deep and broad understanding of more than a single religious tradition; [emphasis mine]

Bangor (Maine) Theological Seminary is 200 years old and liberal as liberal can be. It was not always so. Like Harvard, it was founded by a conservative Calvinist minister in the Puritan tradition. Rev. Jonathan Fisher of Blue Hill Maine was concerned that there was no institute of Christian higher learning in northern New England. Then, ‘Harvard defected, and so had many other clergymen and churches.’ (source). BTS was founded. Though it started out well, it ended up committed to scholarship, just not biblical scholarship. They adhered to ecumenical learning and the ever-deadly free thought. Another New England seminary had fallen. This month, conservative New England Bible College in Maine closed its doors, for lack of enrollments. The people of New England, its churches and its seminaries reject Jesus.

John Winthrop was the long term original governor of Boston, the first city of Massachusetts Bay Colony after Plymouth. He preached to the Puritans as they emigrated that theirs was a holy endeavor and they would found a holy “city upon a hill”. This was his famous “Modell of Christian Charity” sermon. Winthrop wrote it aboard the ship Arbella, (I edited the language from 1630 to today’s)

Winthrop: 2nd, 6th, 9th, & 12th Governor
of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when he shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it likely that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill.”

The city upon a hill was from Matthew 5:14. Winthrop was so right in his next paragraph-

The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.

Because Jesus IS hope … rather than lament the loss of our original Christian identity, one pastor in New England (a friend of mine) wrote this week an encouraging message. The decline we are seeing, the degradation of the name of Jesus in the wider community, is nothing new. It is nothing unexpected. Knowing this, we can persevere in joy and hope! He wisely wrote:

—————————–

As many families and church families struggle to meet their financial obligations amid an uncertain economy and an increasing global conflict, major changes are affecting everyone. Some folks may even sense a spirit of discouragement or worse, despair. Some folks simply dismiss what is happening in our world, as they are tired of all the bad news. Hmmm, it reminds me of the times Habakkuk lived.

God told the prophet, Habakkuk, that Israel’s worst and most fearsome enemy was coming to destroy the nation and carry off many people into captivity because of Israel’s idolatry and sinfulness. While Habakkuk wrestled with God on this issue, the prophet came to understanding that “the just shall live by faith” (2:4). As a result, Habakkuk accepted the inevitable judgment of God upon Israel by offering up praise to God.

As I close this email with the prophet’s words (3:17-19), remember, that no matter how difficult the times may get for our lives, our families, our church families, and our nation, God will be your strength as you walk with Him.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet, I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s
he makes me tread on my high places.

————————————-

Oh Puritan New England, what happened? Satan happened!

The great preacher George Whitefield preached about satan’s schemes.

But Satan is most known for his remarkable ability to use his cleverness against mankind. Since he is not given power from God to take us by force, he is therefore required to wait for opportunities to betray us, and to catch us by the use of deception. He, therefore, made use of the serpent, which was the most crafty of all the beasts of the field, in order to tempt our first parents; and accordingly he and his accomplices are described in the New Testament as being cunning and crafty in their deceitful scheming. In the words of our text, this morning, the Apostle says, “We are not unaware of his schemes:” thereby implying, that we are more in danger of being seduced by his system of deception, than overpowered by his strength.

The people of New England throughout the recent centuries were overpowered by stealth. Little by deadly little, they succumbed. Satan entered into their minds, and led them away from the pure doctrines of the bible. They were not vigilant! Satan seduced them into installing women pastors. He slithered in to its seminaries and lured them into ecumenicalism. He is the angel of craft and subtlety. No guns were needed. No swords were drawn. The battle has been long, and it has been silent, but it has been a success. They forgot Jesus. Veritas. But no Christo.

But Jesus does not forget them! He raises up faithful pastors to staff solidly biblical churches there! He sends missionaries to plant churches in its frigid mountains where hearts need the light of God! He sustains the beleaguered congregations persevering in a place that is as corrupt as Corinth! God is good. Our High Priest, Jesus, ministers to the hearts of those who love Him, few as they may be in that northern place.

Pray for our stalwart missionaries, pastors, and brethren who dwell in a place where once the lamp was shining on a hill, but now shines only dimly in laboring flickers here and there.

No matter where we are in the world, spiritual decline is inevitable. Fear not! The world hates Jesus. (John 15:18). No matter what the type of beginning a nation had, high or low, sacred or profane, all will fall. All parts of all nations will fall. Satan is working mightily to try and overthrow heaven’s gates. The areas we hold dear, where we grew up, or where we live now, will some day be renewed! Every Christian who dwells in the places that are so dark now, will cry with joy when the Light comes. Jesus will revive every ember, bursting into glory light of pure and holy truth.

Until then, pray for New England.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading:

US History: Massachusetts Bay Colony, the City upon a Hill

John Winthrop: A Model of Christian Charity

The First Baptist Church in America: in Providence RI (1638)

Posted in a city upon a hill, kentucky

Focus on the Family/CitizenLink- What Once Was Ordinary" Student prayer at Graduation

Beautiful!

Article here for those who can’t watch video

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16)

Posted in a city upon a hill, bible jesus, prophecy, wyoming doomsday bill

Wyoming advances doomsday bill

This news excerpt is from the Wyoming Star-Tribune. It is not a spoof.

Wyoming House advances doomsday bill
“CHEYENNE — State representatives on Friday advanced legislation to launch a study into what Wyoming should do in the event of a complete economic or political collapse in the United States. House Bill 85 passed on first reading by a voice vote. It would create a state-run government continuity task force, which would study and prepare Wyoming for potential catastrophes, from disruptions in food and energy supplies to a complete meltdown of the federal government. The task force would look at the feasibility of Wyoming issuing its own alternative currency, if needed. And House members approved an amendment Friday by state Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. David Miller, R-Riverton, has said he doesn’t anticipate any major crises hitting America anytime soon. But with the national debt exceeding $15 trillion and protest movements growing around the country, Miller said Wyoming — which has a comparatively good economy and sound state finances — needs to make sure it’s protected should any unexpected emergency hit the U.S. Several House members spoke in favor of the legislation, saying there was no harm in preparing for the worst.”

More at link

This reminds me of Daniel 5:1-5. Here is a portion:

“Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.”

I like John MacArthur’s sermon title for this scripture, “Divine Graffiti: The End of an Empire

If you look at the verses immediately prior to when the King’s “loins were loosed” (KJV) you will see the several egregious sins that the King was engaged in. He desecrated the Temple artifacts. He was having a drunken orgy. He was worshiping idols, and not just worshiping idols but worshiping them with the Temple artifacts. It is a mini-abomination of desolation. God intervened. The Babylonian Empire fell.

The chapter of Daniel 5 is a good look at what causes the end of an empire. When does God’s patience and longsuffering run out? As Pastor MacArthur describes the cycle, “civilization follows the very same pattern. It rises to its heights. At its height, it is filled with pride. In the midst of its pride, and self-indulgence, and materialism it begins to descend into degeneration, and debauchery, and evil. And as it descends, it comes closer and closer to its destruction.”

America is following that cycle. It is obvious that America is sliding fast downhill to the dung heap of former empires, former great kingdoms. In Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells his listeners, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” As the Puritans came to America and founded our nation, John Winthrop said on board the Arbella in 1630–

“For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.” Winthrop closes with this:

“But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it. Therefore let us choose life, that we and our seed may live, by obeying His voice and cleaving to Him, for He is our life and our prosperity.”

These words are so true! They are mirrored in Belshazzar’s actions, his squandering of the gifts and opportunities God had offered. King Belshazzar’s heart had turned away from God, was seduced, sought pleasure and profits, and he perished out of the good land. It is the same with America, and with any nation that follows this trajectory.

Back to Wyoming. By now in 2012, who doesn’t see the writing on the wall? Hollywood certainly does. Every other movie that emerges from the movie city is an ode to evil and doomsday. The hearts of Christians all around the world certainly see the writing on the wall, knowing God’s heart and His justice. Even the lost are also seeing the writing on the wall, as the legislators in Wyoming demonstrate. Though the article quotes “University of Wyoming political science professor Jim King said the potential for a complete unraveling of the U.S. government and economy is “astronomically remote” in the foreseeable future” we know different. Even the lost do. Belshazzar didn’t know what the writing said at first, but he certainly understood its general meaning! His bowels loosed, his face went pale and his mind went blank. Initially he didn’t have to know what the writing said to spiritually understand that it meant something very, very bad was about to happen.

When does God end His patience and then turn to justice? “In Psalm 19:7, it says, “The wicked shall be turned to hell and all the nations that forget God.” The doom of a nation is spelled when it forgets God,” preached MacArthur.

When a nation not only forgets God, but mocks God, tests God, and desecrates God, they have sealed their own doom. Will a “Doomsday Bill” stave off the effects of what is coming? Babylon thought itself impregnable. It was a huge city, 15 miles square. Its walls were 87 feet thick. It had trained soldiers upon the towers to look out. The city had the Euphrates running through it so there was a fresh water supply. They thought they had made all the preparations necessary. If they had a legislature they would have passed a ‘doomsday bill.’ They were “prepped.”

But Cyrus and the Medes/Persians were encamped outside. The King was having this drunken orgiastic God-mocking festival in the midst of armies surrounding the city, but all Cyrus had to do was dam the river and as the water levels fell, the scouts advanced into the city, killed the guards, and threw the gates open. Done.

Remember, the best preparation, the ONLY preparation, for the future is to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you confess your sins to Him in repentance, acknowledging Him as the risen and living God whose substitutionary death on the cross and accepting God’s wrath for sin, made it possible for us to know Him as friend and not an enemy, you are prepared! Relying on a Doomsday Bill isn’t going to cut it.

When the nation falls it falls fast. Though Babylon’s slide was long and slow the end came quickly. The empire fell that very night. America’s slide has been long and slow. Those who know God and even those who do not know God understand the writing on the wall has appeared. We don’t know what will be the precipitating event to cause God to say His cup of wrath is full, but we do know one thing. No amount of preparing, no amount of doomsday bills, no amount of blue-ribbon task forces will withstand God’s anger at a nation whose light has gone out.

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Posted in a city upon a hill, china, end of days. prophecy, end time

America’s light on the hill is going out- part 1

In Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells his listeners, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” In John Winthrop’s 1630 sermon “A Model of Christian Charity”, Winthrop told the future Massachusetts Bay colonists (Puritans) that their new community would be a “city upon a hill”, watched by the world. Winthrop’s sermon and subsequent likening of America to that city upon a hill, gave rise to the firm and generational belief in Americans that the USA is God’s country because metaphorically it is a Shining City upon a Hill, an early example of American exceptionalism. Or rather, it was.

In last Saturday’s Prophecy Newsletter (email me to sign up) I spent a good deal of time in the opening segment setting a context for the decline of America’s hegemony (influence). I defined hegemony, and I spent noted the fact of it happening and the possible outcomes of such a decline. It was a prescient piece. Today in the Financial Times of London, a similar article appeared. Here is part of what I wrote in the Newsletter about hegemony, and in the next part of the blog entry (Part 2) I’ll offer excerpts of the Financial Times’ analysis of the global economy on a precipice with America’s decline, the Orient in prophecy, and I’ll also share some astounding news about the rise of China, in America.

————-America’s Hegemony and Decline————

Hedge-EM-onee

Wikipedia does a decent job of defining hegemony. “Hegemony is the political, economic, ideological or cultural power exerted by a dominant group over other groups. It requires the consent of the majority to keep the dominant group’s leader in power. The term is often mistakenly used to suggest brute power or dominance, when it is better defined as emphasizing how control is achieved through consensus, not force. … hegemony describes one state’s predominance over other states.”

It can be said that America has wielded —

–political hegemony, diplomatic influence to determine a course of action. America has been the singular hegemonic influence of the Middle East peace process since 1948 but that hegemony is almost gone now. The US wields almost no influence in diplomatic arenas any more.

–cultural hegemony, “the imposition of its way of life, i.e. its language and bureaucracies (social, economic, educational, governing). When the Coke logo shows up on pygmy men’s tee shirts in interior Papua New Guinea jungle, you know the hegemonic influence is complete.

–sociological hegemony: The US’s version of English is known and used worldwide, in many cases as a default language. An example would be aviation, in which the default language worldwide is English. All air traffic controllers speak English on the job. In English is the lingua franca in Europe’s business landscape, firmly entrenched nearly everywhere as the international language of business, finance, and technology.

For decades, for all of my generation and perhaps the one before, the world bowed to the American brand. America’s hegemony was understood to be the default condition in all spheres of life, including cultural, geographic, sociological, diplomatic, technological, economic and financial. America was it! Capitalism and liberal democracy swept the world, if not in fact at least in ideals. However, since the economic crash of 2008, we begin to see a post-American world in which the US is no longer the world’s only superpower. In this 2008 article asking the question of whether America’s hegemony in economics and finance will be crushed by the 2008 crash, “The critical point here, and the one which could bear significant consequences, is the existence, within the US economy, of structural weaknesses that enhance the current distress and limit the scope for future policy action.”

Yes, policy action over the last three years has been stymied by our decline in influence. So the answer to that question from 2008, is yes.

In this article from Global Geographic Times, 2009, by Zhang Wei, the statement is made in the headline: “For Humanity’s Sake, Put an End to Western Hegemony“. “Some Westerners believe that human history will eventually fall completely into a Western pattern and that in the future, the West will unquestionably lead the world. The truth is that any religion, theory, or ideology – including democracy and market capitalism – once it’s pushed to the extreme and regarded as fundamental to all else, triggers an irrational response by its followers. The outcome of this is never good, and is often crushing defeat. That is the position the West confronts today, with the plight of the Iraq War, the failure of the “color revolutions” and the financial tsunami. How can world history possibly end up following the Western model? Developing countries that choose to imitate the West have seen almost all their attempts fail. The world’s peoples continue to explore and test alternatives to development, and humanity’s exploration of the political future is far from exhausted.  “Western civilization has arrived at a crossroads. One road leads to a resentment of the world, aggression, indifference, neo-conservatism and violent liberalism. And the other road … to the building up of oneself through diligent striving, optimism, rationality, sympathy, equality, and a coherent, mutually-affirming society.” It so happens that this other road coincides with the idea of the “harmonious middle way” advocated by the Chinese.”

We ARE at a crossroads. It so happens that this crossroad is coming into view at the end of the Church Age, but it is still a crossroad nonetheless. America’s hegemony in all the arenas mentioned above is declining, as the Chinese model rises. As the world realizes that the Western model is failing, they will explore others that suit, including not only the Chinese ‘harmonious middle way’ but the Muslim jihadi way, and perhaps once again flirt with the Iron Curtain Communistic/Marxist way. As vultures and jackals circle a wounded tiger, so the nations who have either enjoyed America’s hegemony or have hated it, are now ready to pounce, stripping influence from our spheres and ripping it to pieces until only white bones are left, the meat picked clean. America is wounded, and it is my opinion that this trajectory will result in a bleached, bony carcass in the Tribulation. The results of our decline in influence will have devastating effects on the world.

The most obvious effect of our loss of influence is in the diplomatic arena and also perhaps by association, military, is that we can no longer protect Israel to the extent that we once did, even if our current occupant of the Oval Office would want to. (And it seems he does not want to, in my opinion). It is no sure thing that America’s influence of other UN Security Council permanent members against a Palestinian State, coming up in the  July-Aug time-frame, will yield any “NO” votes at all. It is obvious that our influence as a Quartet member in direct peace talks has vaporized, along with respected George Mitchell, who resigned.  Once the loss of strength is deemed to exist in the American will and execution of military force to protect our Israeli ally, then the jackals will pounce. They are circling already.

In February of this year, the voice of the Muslim Brotherhood Youssef al-Qaradawi, the Muslim televangelist whose program Sharia and Life has been the no.1 hit on Al Jazeera for the past fifteen years “Calls for Establishing a United Muslim Nations“. Qaradawi said “establishing a United Muslim Nations is the only alternative to the hegemony of the West.”

Solomon was the richest king, wisest priest, and much loved by God. His kingdom was influential and the envy of all around. It lasted 40 years, falling from its seeming permanent pinnacle to a divided land under his son. At the end of his life, Solomon wrote about the folly of earthly grasping, and wise once again but only because of the pain of wrong choices and advanced years of bitter experience, noted that-
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

America is wonderful and I love it. But America is not my church- I do not worship it. My residence is not this country. It is in New Jerusalem, where He has been preparing a place for me. It is time for us to get used to the sad fact that America’s season, long and glorious though it was, has fulfilled and is finally ending its purpose under heaven. It is time for others to rise now, to be used in all His purposes for bringing about the end of days. The Kings of the East are restless…He is raising them up even as America sinks. Rather than bemoan the fact that America’s hegemony is in severe decline, I praise Him that we were used at all for a Godly purpose, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.’ (Ecc 3:11). Friends, glory in His work, do not grasp for a temporary nation under God on a dying earth. “Better a handful with quietness Than both hands full, together
with toil and grasping for the wind.” Ecc 4:6
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