In spite of negative campaigning by Romney and Paul, Newt Gingrich wins Tea Party Patriots straw poll – latimes.com.
Newt Gingrich is the Winston Churchill of the second decade of the 21st Century. If Newt does not win the 2012 nomination and if Obama is voted another four years, we will experience what England would have experienced had Winston not been head of the nation under the threat of the Third Reich.
Our threat? Islamization and a nuclear Iran.
Honestly, does anyone truly believe that Obama is a strong enough President and historian to face down and defeat the threats facing our nation? Would Ron Paul? He’s the MOST clueless with regard to foreign policy. He’s actually bizarre and frightening. He’d legalize drugs, withdraw from humanitarian efforts overseas, and so drastically cut our military that he would invite attack. One wonders how he gets a following.??
We may fall because of what liberal education has done to reconstruct history, but I’m hoping that enough Americans still understand real history and will recognize our danger and the solutions for our times.
Photograph © 2011, David C Alves
I despise religion. I despise all dead religion wherever it is found. Let’s define our terms so that if you’re still reading, we’re talking about the same things. Be courageous and stay with me to the end. Be open and honest and you may find that you agree.
Religion–man’s attempt–apart from God–to appease or serve a deity/deities through rules, lifeless rituals, regulations, empty traditions, and vain babbling (empty repetition). Religion enslaves. Dead religion inoculates against relationship. And the TRUE GOD is all about relationship from beginning to end.
Despise–means intensely dislike and have no use for, to count as worthless.
It’s OK if you don’t agree with me, though I wish you would. Then you’d be tracking with God, because I’m agreeing with God. God–Yahweh–HATES religion too. He despises it. God is being quoted here by the prophet Amos:
“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. –Amos 5.21(ESV)[emphasis mine]
So does Jesus as he speaks to the Pharisees and teachers of tradition:
41 . . . We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” –John 8:41–47 (ESV)
It helps to know where you stand when you substitute religion for relationship–loving Jesus and Yahweh. There are only two Fathers. One is the father of lies and religion. The other is the Father of Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah and of all those who have been transformed supernaturally by the power of the living God.
The Apostle, Paul summarizes a section on empty religion by saying:
20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. –Colossians 2:20–23 (ESV)
You notice that God actually uses BOTH words “hate” and “despise” in the Amos passage. WHY?
“Religion” is a man’s or woman’s attempt to placate some god, or practice some rituals to make them feel closer to their imagined view of a deity or spirituality of some sort. Hinduism has millions of these gods. Pagans worship mother earth, Sophia. or darkness itself. Monotheists have ONE God (though–contrary to modern opinion–not the same one). For example, contrary to ex-Presidents, and nominal Muslims, the god of Islam is not the God and Father of Jesus–Yahweh. They have diametrically opposed values and character (if Mohamed is any indicator of the type of leader Islam produces). Read the history of the Ottoman Empire. Read a life of Mohamed and see if you can honestly say that he knows the biblical God of Love and Life–the Father of Messiah, Jesus. Read A God Who Hates by Wafa Sulton. The God who hates people and the God who loves people are not the same God. The Muslim who must model his life after its founder must love what he loved; he must love violence, hate and demean women, be duplicitous (loves lies) and embrace evil. These character traits come from the father of lies, Jesus pointed out when He said:
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. –John 8:44 (ESV)
Couldn’t someone say the same about Yahweh–that if the Inquisition and Crusades are an example of the kind of believer the biblical God produces then He is not the true God either? One could, except that according to the Apostle John, those who committed those acts were clearly serving religion. They were obviously not in relationship with Jesus or His Spirit:
4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. –1 John 2:4-6(ESV)[emphasis mine]
For in Jesus, we see the kind of person that IS in relationship with Yahweh. He walked in love with God and people. Even his anger served Love. Those who walk in the same way He did, know God, the Father. And throughout history, those few have been treated with contempt and treachery even from so-called “Christians”–the keepers of dead Orthodoxy–both Roman Catholic and Reformation Protestant. Dead religious Christianity is no better than radical Islam–and both will one day see the demonic principality behind their systems.
Only the voices outside the city get it right–those who are standing with Jesus, living out of His Spirit. That’s why the world hates us and our voice. Jesus warned as much:
19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. –John 15:19 (ESV)
13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. –Mark 13:13 (ESV)
22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. –Luke 6:22–23 (ESV)
It’s all about relationship–ON GOD’s TERMS, THROUGH GOD’s BELOVED–Jesus. Those in the love of the Father are not threatening, not killing, not oppressing anyone. If you want to see how they live, look at their Lord, their King. They will reflect his lifestyle and values and Life, though imperfectly. But murder, torture, killing, hating, are not even named among them. I hear some “Christians” now. Well, that leaves me out I guess. Not if you have forsaken religion for Messiah Jesus. You are not guaranteed Life by being a “Christian,” only by being in a living relationship with the living Lord Jesus–the Lord of Love. And His way is narrow and few ever find it.
Let’s not make the mistake of imagining that all paths lead to the same place, or that all the waterslides of live lead into the same pool of whatever . . . That’s one of the lies that floats around. The all-paths option disintegrated when Jesus burst upon the scene and made it crystal clear, beyond a shadow of doubt that only One God was the true God–Yahweh–the Father of the Messiah. There is NO OTHER GOD. And that Jesus is the ONLY conduit to a relationship with Yahweh.
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” –John 14:5–7 (ESV)
Demons and fallen angels masquerade as gods, but they have no deity. They only seek to usurp and mimic true deity.
Are you telling me that you believe in demons? Are you nuts or something? Don’t you know that this is the 21st Century? Since we know that psychology has explained all of human behavior and demons don’t really exist, Why do you believe in them?
Well . . . a professor asked me that very question at a Christian college one day in English class. I thought about it for a moment and then the Holy Spirit gave me an answer for the professor. “I believe in them because JESUS BELIEVED in them! And I am a follower and disciple of his.” The professor had no answer. But following class, many of my classmates came and affirmed the answer, some questioned me further out of curiosity.
Jesus was not commanding psychological manifestations when he commanded legion to leave the demonized man and go into the pigs. I see more people today who are demonized, including children, but treating their symptoms by going to people who don’t acknowledge the existence of demonic activity or power so they see little freedom. This is the main reason I hate religion. Because of what religion–and the demons behind it–does to people.
The antisupernatural bias of western culture has so permeated our thinking, that few people entertain the possibility that their “issue” or “condition” could be a symptom of demonic oppression. Even among believers . . . I have seen a rush to secular answers before they explore the biblical witness. And now that this post has come out, I’ll be curious as to how many of my “friends” will distance themselves from me. But I have weighed the cost . . . and will stand with Jesus in what He believes.
It’s time to speak up and let the chips fall where they may. I have tried to be diplomatic for too long, but I’m tired of the powerlessness of a pluralism that sacrifices truth in order to seem tolerant or open minded. G. K. Chesterton once said, “An open mind is like an open mouth; it’s meant to be closed around something solid.” Relativism is not the foundation upon which I intend to build my eternal future.
I happen to have experienced demonic deliverance and have seen the freedom it brings. I have participated in seeing people healed of Aids and other hopeless diseases. I have seen the power of Yahweh in the name of Jesus and I have the Spirit of boldness upon me to BE A WITNESS to the name and work of Jesus. So . . . I’m finished with trying to couch my words and witness in nice, comfortable, insipidities that offend no one.
12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” –Matthew 15:12–14 (ESV)
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. –John 5:24 (ESV)
20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. –John 15:20 (ESV)
19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. –John 15:19 (ESV)
Yahweh is so far above and beyond any other so-called gods that other gods–in the words of God–are no gods at all. If they are no gods, and I believe God’s Holy Spirit, then those who follow or propitiate them are in bondage to beings or images that have no right to rule in their lives. Religion keeps people in slavery to earth-bound systems and powers. Most religious people are not evil, simply lost. Some are genuine seekers. Some have the beginnings of a relationship with God. Only the keepers of these systems know the truth behind them and are themselves empty, deceived and deceiving. Remember what Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day: 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” –John 8.44 (ESV)
Relationship on the other hand, brings people into close fellowship with the One who created humankind. His resurrection Life is a Way for us to know him. And in that knowing to realize that He is Love and indwells those who receive Him. That ALL his purposes for people are good and loving. He has removed our hardened hearts by showing his love. There exists NO OTHER RELIGION on the face of the earth that can claim that their God so loves us that He gave His Son to us, to indwell us. That God himself made a propitiation–a gift–for our separation from the Father.
Consider this: He did not give a gift to himself–He gave the Gift of Himself to us. Whoever receives this Gift–Jesus–has immortality. Whoever rejects the Gift has so hated God that he or she remains in alienation and death. That ends forever any talk about eternal life of ANY KIND (including in Hell). For only those in Jesus have the Life (immortality). Whoever does not have the Son, does not have the Life. (1 John 5:11)
Religion has no life, no relationship. Religion is demonic and lifeless. Religion hates God. Religion goes nowhere and takes countless millions with it.
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. –Matthew 7:13–14 (ESV)
Jesus is the narrow gate to Life. Religion–human performance and pride–is the wide and easy way to destruction, deceiving ”many.” . So, along with God, I despise religion and choose relationship.
QUESTION: How about you–have you entered the narrow gate or still within the wide. Will you make Jesus Lord of your life today. Have you forever turned from religion to relationship with Jesus and Father?
©2011, David C Alves
Did Geoffrey Chaucer know and sympathize with John Wyclif and his
Lollard disciples?[i] Was Chaucer himself a Lollard? An answer to this question is suggested by a closer look at Chaucer’s “parson” and some biographical facts. Some may ask: what difference does it make? What does it matter anyway? It matters only so far as we care to expand our understanding of the man, Chaucer, and his “parson” as the antithesis to his criticism of the established clergy—the prioress, monk, friar, and pardoner–in the “Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales. That Chaucer portrays the fourteenth-century clergy as apostate in his “Prologue,” is unquestionable; however, in the example of the “parson” he may be affirming a controversial movement of his day—Lollardy–and more specifically, genuine disciples of Christ. If true, Chaucer made, what for his time would have been, a life-threatening social statement and the Canterbury Tales spoke on the prophetic edge of the English Reformation.
Wyclif was well known by many in his time:
He was of unblemished walk in life, says William Thorpe, and was regarded affectionately by people of rank, who often consorted with him, took down his sayings, and clung to him. ”I indeed clove to none closer than to him, the wisest and most blessed of all men whom I have ever found. From him one could learn in truth what the church of Christ is and how it should be ruled and led”[sic].[ii]
Could this not have been the kind of man Chaucer would have presented as an example to the church? Due to the popularity of the Lollards, they could hardly have escaped so observant an eye. R. S. Knighton tells us that, “In those days that sect was held in the greatest honor, and multiplied so that you could scarce meet two men by the way whereof one was not a disciple of Wycliffe.” [iii]
The Lollards and Wyclif denied many of the teachings of the Roman
Catholic Church which undermined the authority of the Scriptures and the gospel of Christ and his twelve Apostles. For the first time in English history, an appeal was made “to the people, not the scholars.”[iv] No doubt, Wyclif’s ideas piqued Chaucer’s interest: “As a fellow-protégé of John of Gaunt, Chaucer must often have met with Wycliffe in that princely household; he sympathized, as so many educated Englishmen did, with many of the reformer’s opinions.”[v] Though Chaucer may not have agreed with all that Wyclif and his followers believed, his support of their cause seems likely.
The “parson” is the only idealized clerical portrait in the
“Prologue”; the others are satirized. Of the Parson it is said, “A good man was ther of religioun.”[vi] Whereas of the Monk it is said, he did not hold to St. Augustine’s work ethic for monks but preferred instead that which men of the times considered unholy for clerics–hunting:
Therefore he was a prikasour aright.
Grehoundes he hadde as swift as fowl in flight.
Of priking and of hunting for the hare
Was al his lust, for no cost woulde he spare.(105: 189-192)
A fat swan loved he best of any rost. (105: 206)
And of the Friar it is said,
A Frere ther was, a wantoune and a merye,
A limitour, a ful solempne man.
In alle the ordres foure is noon that can
So muche of daliaunce and fair langage:
He hadde maad ful many a mariage (105: 208-212)
He was an esy man to yive penaunce
Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce; (105: 223-4)
He knew the tavernes wel in every town
And every hostiler and tappestere, (106: 240-41)
To have with sike lazars aquaintaunce:
It is nat honeste, it may nought avaunce,
For to delen with no swich poraile,
But al with riche, and selleres of vitaile; (106: 245-48)
His purchas was wel bettre than his rente. (107: 258)
Chaucer also tells us that his writings are intended for “oure
doctrine”.[vii] His model-priest shares several interesting traits with his Lollard contemporaries.The Lollards were described as:
. . . bound by no vows and no formal consecration, poor, and yet not mendicant . . . barefoot with a long staff in token of their pastoral vocation . . . prelates, priests, and abbots scorned and hated them, but the people loved them and flocked around them.[viii]
Wyclif says of himself and the Lollards:
“Verily, the life of Christ is an example and a mirror to us, which we must imitate as far as lies in our strength.”[ix] This paints a humble, Christ-like picture of sacrifice and commitment.
The “parson”, we are told, was poor of money but rich in holiness and works (480-1); kind and diligent (485); his appearance was Christ-like, “in his hand a staf” (497); his teaching was by precept and example (520-22); ”But Cristes lore and his Apostles twelve / He taughte, but first he folwed it himselve” (529-30).
These characteristics may point to the example of Wyclif and his disciples. Add to these the “parson’s” sacrificial giving, long travels to visit his parishioners, and his reluctance to “curse” (excommunicate) for non-payment of tithes or indulgences; and, we see Chaucer reflecting the lifestyle of a Lollard through his brightly polished “parson.”
The portrait of the “parson” commends a life of orthodoxy and allegiance to Christ, not the papacy. Three times Chaucer tells us that his “parson” preached or taught Christ’s “Gospel” (483, 500, 529). This may suggest that he needed to make a point of it to his readers. We know from history that the Roman Catholic Church held tradition to be of equal import with scripture, which, over the centuries, resulted in more church tradition emerging from the clergy than scripture. Wyclif fought bitterly against this brand of what he considered to be a heretical substitution. For the Lollards, “Dogma was superseded by the Bible, which was made the sole source of faith and practice.”[x] Other imperfections cried as loudly for reform as well.
Clerical absenteeism was one of the curses of the English church. Contemporaries of that period tell us that ”the Lollards are especially vehement about absenteeism.”[xi] The “parson” would have been notably unusual for his day. We are told he “dwelte at hoom and kepte well his folde” (514). His example would easily have stirred up resentment among his, not so dedicated, colleagues. Those priests who took parishes that were wealthier or pursued vocations that compensated them more abundantly–as Chaucer refers to in lines 509-513–were labeled “mercenarius,” which meant hireling.[xii] This term immediately carries us back to the line, “He was a shepherde and nought a mercenarye
” (italics mine)(516).
More evidences of a Lollard “parson” show themselves in further study but none so potentially telling as the Innkeeper’s antagonism: “I smelle a Lollere in the wynd . . . this Lollere heer wil prechen us somwhat.”[xiii] Twice the “parson” is accused of being a Lollard; yet he never denies the charges.
Though there may not be complete proof to establish Geoffrey Chaucer himself as a Lollard or a Wyclifite, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that Chaucer sympathized with Wyclif and the Lollards, intentionally fashioning his “parson” after them. Assuming this to be the case, he commends them perhaps because of the integrity of their integration of Biblical theology and the lifestyle of Christ–living examples of the Christ they preached in contrast to the dead orthodoxy and the overwhelmingly un-Christlike, mean-spirited religion of his day.
[i] By Lollard it is not meant those of the semi-monastic settlement in the Netherlands; rather, the English followers of John Wyclif (c. 1320-1384).
[ii]” Wyclif, John,” New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1910 ed. Hereafter referred to as Ency. of R.N.
[iii] G. G. Coulton, Chaucer and his England, (London: Methuen and Co. Ltd., 1950), p. 307.
[iv] “Lollards,” Ency. of R.N.
[v] Coulton, Chaucer, p. 308-9.
[vi] Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, ed. M.H. Abrams et.al., 4th ed. (Toronto: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 1962), p. 112, ln. 479. All further references to this work appear as page and line numbers in the text.
[vii] Geoffrey Chaucer, The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, student’s Cambridge ed., ed. F.N. Robinson (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 1933), p. 314, ln.1083.
[viii] “Lollards,” Ency. of R.N.
[ix] Muriel Bowden, A Commentary on the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, (New York: MacMillan Co., 1954), p. 385.
[x] “Lollards,” Ency. of R.N.
[xi] Bowden, Commentary on Prologue, p. 235.
[xiii] Chaucer, Complete Works, p. 90, lns. 1173, 1175-77.
Copyright 1982, David C Alves