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For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. -- 2Corinthians 2: 17 (ESV)
Within the carnal world, reasonable people can disagree about the recent controversy surrounding the Executive Order to ban Muslims from this country. By the way, that is exactly what it is no matter how you try to twist and contort yourself into a pretzel over it. The ironic thing is if the cause was so righteous you wouldn't see so many trying to excuse it away. These of course are worldly considerations. This is the delicate balance between protecting the country and the spirit of the country and what we are supposed to stand for. As believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ however, we must always remember that our citizenships is in heaven. We do not have dual citizenship beloved. Our loyalties are not split. Thus when things like this happen we are to view things through the lens of the Gospel; not through the carnal lens of this world or our favored political party.
Now, I understand this is often not an easy task. We are taught so poorly these days. The majority of American churches have adopted the purpose driven paradigm that shifts us directly into the world to the point the church cannot be differentiated from the world any longer. It behaves like the world. It embraces the world. It is the world. So it is no wonder that when something so politically charged as this comes along, Christians think it is somehow appropriate as believers to respond carnally. It is not. Secondly, there are a great many in so called "leadership" within Christianity that worship this country before God. In many ways this country is their god. The Bible has a word for that and it is called idolatry. They constantly blur the lines to confuse believers. For example the Bible does say that we are to pray for leaders but that is not an entre'e into the politics of this world. The ending of the verse says we do so that we might live peaceful lives in all godliness because God wants all to be saved. It always comes back to the Gospel. There are major branches within American Christianity that espouse what is known as the Seven Mountains mandate. This teaching says the church must conquer the seven cultural mountains to facilitate the second coming of Christ. One of those mountains is government, so they use this to excuse their carnal politics. This of course is rank heresy.
With this backdrop and within the paradigm of Christo-politics, we see many "Christian" leaders selling out the Gospel for thirty pieces of political silver. In fairness to them I will assume they think they are serving the interest of Christ but employing Machiavellian philosophy is not good theology. God does not believe that the ends justify the means. In fact, any fair reading of the Bible revels that God is in control of the ends and we are to focus on the means. One such leader is the well esteemed Franklin Graham, who has always seemed more of a political operative than a reverend. Over the past few years however certain things have come to light that reveal Graham is completely compromised and has sold out the Gospel. Too harsh? Consider that today Graham is one of the staunchest defenders of the new President, no matter how unchristian his behavior has been. It was Graham that paved the way for Trump to cozy up to evangelical leaders in this country as he needed some Christian street cred after decades of being an obvious Democrat. Now granted, Graham has always tried to religiously couch this and even hide his gushing support but it has been and remains obvious. Why?
Perhaps it was the $125,000 the Trump Foundation gave to the two non-profits Graham operates?
That's right beloved. In 2012, when Trump was greasing the wheels for his 2016 run, he paid off Franklin Graham and suddenly Graham was a supporter. This is the true pay for play we have heard so much about. Trump needed Graham. He could not get into the good graces of the Evangelical leadership and he needed them desperately to have any chance of winning the White House. Now, before anyone starts to dismiss this because after all Graham is just a tireless servant for Samaritan's Purse and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association you should be aware of another fact:
Franklin Graham earns $880,000 per year in salaries from those two organizations.
Now maybe that does not bother you but it certainly should. When someone earns that much running a non-profit, the only way they justify it is by bringing in more money than their salary per year. How much more does Graham stand to make now that he is in bed with President Trump as well? How do we know these facts beloved? Because as a non-profit the salaries of executives must be released when taxes are filed. This is why Franklin just petitioned to have both of these non-profits reclassified as an "Association of Churches." Except they are not of course an association of churches. Because they are lax in these laws, he will get approved and the result? He will not have to let anyone know is salaries again! How Christian.
This brings us full circle back to the recent Executive Order from the new president banning Muslims from seven countries. Make no mistake about it beloved. This order is unchristian. It goes against the Bible, The Great Commission and very heart of God. That does not mean that as a sovereign nation, America does not have the right to do what she feels is in her best interests. Those are carnal considerations though; not Christian considerations. As citizens of heaven our duty and responsibility is to the Gospel, not the Constitution. Now as I have said, Graham and compromised Christian leaders such as him, might genuinely think they are doing the will of God by being so deceptive and the $125K? Well that is just going to needy Christian causes right? God doesn't care how we get there does He? Of course He does! So Graham took pen to paper again this weekend to rally the troops behind his new master. Let us reason together and parse out what he is actually saying:
"Some people have forgotten that the priority of the President of the United States is protecting the Constitution and the safety of Americans." -- Franklin Graham
Now the carnal arguments can be debated because many would say that he is not protecting the constitution but violating it. So far he has lost the first four legal challenges offered against this order. That is not for our consideration as Christians however. Why is someone who claims to be a Christian leader espousing carnal defenses of this? It seems as if some Christian leaders have forgotten that their priority is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"That's exactly what President Trump is trying to do." -- Franklin Graham
Really? How do you know this? Because he says so? Because he sounds sincere? What does the Bible say about the sincerity of the human heart Franklin? How deceptively wicked is the human heart? Once again however, why is an alleged Christian leader defending the motives of an Executive Order? Why is he trying so hard to defend the president that donated $125,000 to him? How much more does he stand to make under a Trump Administration? Graham continued:
"I think that a thorough vetting process really needs to apply to people coming into the US from all countries -- not just seven. We have to be sure that the philosophies of those entering our country are compatible with our Constitution. If a person does not agree with our principles of freedom, democracy and liberty, which we cherish, they should not be allowed to come. Without question, Sharia Law is not compatible." -- Franklin Graham.
On the purely carnal side Graham is wrong. There already is a rigorous vetting process for entry into this country, fear mongering aside. Once again however, we are not here to argue to carnal arguments. That is for the world to decide. We are here to represent Jesus Christ, His Gospel, and to bring glory to the Father. How in the world is any of that accomplished in this absurd statement? Franklin Graham thinks if someone has a different philosophy they should not be allowed into the country? Is the Gospel exclusive beloved? Pretty much everyone we need to reach with the Gospel has a different philosophy. And please stop with the boogeyman of Sharia Law, which most Muslims do not even practice. It could never be implemented in this country BECAUSE of our Constitution. This is the danger however when you start to parse out a purely carnal statement. You get sucked into carnal arguments. Franklin Graham sounds like a spokesperson for the administration instead of a preacher of the Gospel.
"Some are also criticizing Christians who support the president's position on immigration -- and I'm one of those being criticized. But we have to realize that the president's job is not the same as the church." -- Franklin Graham