We are about to enter a nasty campaign for the White House. There will be mudslinging left and right.
Each candidate will accuse the other of being Satan incarnate, and if we do not vote for him or her, this country will go to hell in a hand basket.
Compromise and seeing the other guy’s point of view have become dirty words. Each political party has been taken over and is being steered by extremist thoughts.
Already John Boehner, former speaker of the House of Congress and member of the same party as Ted Cruz, the present, prospective presidential candidate, has called Cruz the Lucifer incarnate.
There are some people afflicted with such recalcitrant minds that they are willing to burn the house down to get their way.
Quarrelsome attitudes and unresolved disputes have been the bane of mankind from the dawn of time. Even the church has been infected with this disease.
Therefore, while on the campaign trail when they descend into their childish antics and name calling, and you are tempted to shake your head in disbelief. When you bemoan their lack of decorum and say to yourself, “why can’t they act like mature adults?”
Consider the following:
Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII was previously married to Henry’s brother. That did not become an issue until she was unable to bear sons. Henry, therefore, sought an annulment from the Pope because he ostensibly wanted to be spiritually in tune with the Bible that declares, “it is unlawful to marry your brother’s wife.”
The Pope, amenable to the idea, was between a rock and a hard place. He kept delaying the action, not out of conviction, but because Rome was surrounded by Charles V, holy Roman emperor, a cousin of Catherine and he did not want to offend him.
Now before this dust up, Henry was a faired head boy in the faith. When Martin Luther started his uprising in Germany, Henry wrote letters condemning his actions. For this a grateful Pope bestowed upon the English king the title “Fidei Defensor” or Defender of the Faith, still prominently displayed on the crest of the monarchy to this day.
Well, Henry got tired of waiting, sacked Cardinal Wolsey, the papal representative in England, formerly favored and stripped him of all his titles and lands. He discarded Catherine. He beheaded Sir Thomas More, his best friend and most loyal subject, who would not, out of good conscience, support his behavior. He took up with Anne Boleyn and declared himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England.
Unfortunately, for Anne, she did not produce the desired male heir, and was dispatched within a thousand days of becoming the replacement queen.
This was the beginning of the Anglican Church of which I was a member for a long time.
God created man in his own image. Then man returned the favor.
This denomination did not start as an inspiration from God, a revelation of truth from the word, a direction of the Holy Spirit, but because a selfish man could not get his own way to fulfill his lustful, perverted desires.
Furthermore, innocent good people caught in the crossfire and fall out, lost their lives in the ensuing mayhem. In fact, most Christian denominations were created because men had a spat, a tiff, an unresolved disagreement with other men.
There is a pernicious innate moral failing with mankind—every tribe and kindred. They think that their way, their thought, their culture, their idea is superior to that of the other guy. Hence that misguided soul must be beaten, subdued, conquered or shamed into accepting their way of life, and if not, summarily discarded or abandoned.
They set up walls, create divisions among us, and give off the impression that they have an inside track with God to the exclusion of everyone else.
Those of us on the outside track are not of God, in danger of being damned and will be assigned to hell for all eternity.
So, enter the Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, all saying different things and no one is willing to stand up and admit, “perhaps, I do not know everything about God, maybe can we sit down , discuss things and come to an understanding.”
They will try to convince you that the Holy Spirit has directed them to separate themselves from those infidels on the way to hell. They will quote scripture after scripture to convince you that it is Jesus plus the doctrine of the denomination.
But here is a prickly thorny question. Jesus said in the Gospel of John, “I pray that they would be one even as we are one.”
If we believe in one God, one Savior Jesus, one way to salvation, if we are travelers to one destination---why don’t we speak with one voice?
All these voices coupled with Rolling Stone, New York times, Time magazine, and Oprah leave you thoroughly confused. You throw up your hands in despair and exasperation and say enough,” I quit.” “You Christians are a mess, you do not know what you are all about. I am going to stay home, study by myself, worship my God alone and do my own thing.”
Satan then says, “Got ya!”
That is exactly where he wanted you and you become easy pickings for him to take you out. Floundering in uncertainty, you will fall for anything.
The result is Brad Pitt, son of devout Baptists believing in nothing. Madonna , born a Roman Catholic, now a student of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. Oprah, another Baptist, now entertains all kinds of spiritual views on Super Soul Sunday. Morgan Freeman, who played God in the movies, is an atheist.
It gets even worse.
Within the denominations, there are subdivisions and starkly different opinions.
Peter Akinola of Nigeria and Desmond Tutu of South Africa are both Africans, Anglicans and Arch bishops.
Peter Akinola believes that homosexuality is a sin and the American church is living in apostasy while blessing same sex unions.
Desmond Tutu says that he would rather go to hell than a heaven that is anti-gay.
Need we mention the carnage in Norther Ireland between Protestant and Roman Catholic?
They both profess to love God and are on their way to heaven.
It is no wonder that Martin Luther regretted the landscape that was created after his protests in Germany.
It is reported that on his deathbed, he lamented, “what have I done?”
The horse had gone through the gate, Pandora’s box was already opened, and Humpty Dumpty had taken the great fall.
It would never be the same again.
What do we do?
How do you convince a person to accept Christianity as valid and legitimate?
The message has not changed and it is still effective today.
The Bible is an attempt to explain an unlimited infinite God to a finite, limited mind.
Jesus said to his disciples,” I have yet many things to say unto you,but you cannot bear them now.”
You will never understand it all, but you can understand enough to know what you must do to make it work, and arrive alive, justified and forgiven to heaven.
Love the Lord.
Love your neighbor.
Accept his atoning blood on the cross and follow his word the best way that you understand it.
For by grace are you saved and that not of yourselves. It is a gift of God and not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
God does not read your church manual and pay attention to your doctrine of faith.
So, when the candidates start their shenanigans in earnest after the conventions, and proceed to lambast, criticize and accuse each other.
I suppose we should thank God they are only throwing words and not bullets.
Don’t blame them, blame us.
We could not get our act together.
We started this mess and are now reaping the fruits of our own failures as people of God.
V. Knowles is a husband, father and prison minister with an interest in penning issues that serve to uplift mankind. He melds his love for Classic literature, The Bible and pop culture - as sordid as it may be - into highly relatable columns of truth, faith and justice. Hence the name: Just Thinking. If he's not buried in a book or penning his next column, you may find him pinned to his sectional watching a good old Country and Western flick.