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The Essential Church Versus Malevolent Government

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
August 5, 2023 4:00 am

The Essential Church Versus Malevolent Government

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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August 5, 2023 4:00 am

GUEST: TRAVIS ALLEN, pastor, Grace Church (Greeley, CO)

The church is the body of true believers across the world that Christ redeemed for eternity through the shedding of His own blood in order to represent and proclaim the excellencies of Christ to a rebellious world.

The church and its message of salvation through faith in Christ is the only hope for sinners. This is why the church is essential.

Referring to Himself, Christ told the apostle Peter, “upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18).

Christ promises to build His church, to grow His body of believers, and that the powers of death and darkness (i.e. Satan) will not overpower it.

The Bible says that Satan is the god of this world and he is active in deceiving nations, governing authorities, and peoples. The church is the primary obstacle for his deceit, which is why he incites governing authorities to persecute the church and introduces “tares” (false Christians, see Matthew 13) to lead it to compromise.

This weekend on The Christian Worldview, pastor Travis Allen of Grace Church in Greeley, CO joins us to discuss the just-released documentary film, The Essential Church, which chronicles how three churches—Grace Community Church in Los Angeles and two churches in Canada—defied government mandates during the Covid pandemic, continuing to gather to worship because they understood that government does not have the God-given authority to dictate how a church worships.

We will play audio clips from the film and then discuss some current events, including how a young believer was arrested in Wisconsin without warning for preaching on the street at a “drag queen” event, while other Evangelical churches are dressing themselves up in Star Wars, Barbie, or Toy Story themes for “At the Movies” sermon series.
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The Essential Church movie:

When COVID-19 restrictions force Grace Community Church to close its doors indefinitely, the Los Angeles-based congregation takes a courageous stance and sues the government. 

This feature-length documentary explores the Church’s unwavering determination to exercise its constitutional rights and ecclesiastical authority to serve its assembly through faith and fellowship amidst government restrictions and global lockdowns.

Find a theater near you

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The essential church versus malevolent government. That is the topic we'll discuss today right here on the Christian Worldview radio program, where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

I'm David Wheaton, the host. The church is the body of true believers across the world that Christ redeemed for eternity through the shedding of his own blood in order to represent and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. The church and its message of salvation through faith in Christ is the only hope for sinners. This is why the church is essential. Referring to himself, Christ told the apostle Peter, Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. That's from Matthew chapter 16. Christ promises to build his church, to grow his body of believers, and that the powers of death and darkness, that is Satan, will not overpower it.

The Bible says that Satan is the god of this world, and he is active in deceiving nations, governing authorities, and peoples. The church is the primary obstacle for his deceit, which is why he incites governing authorities to persecute the church and introduces tares, in other words, false Christians, to lead it to compromise. So this weekend on The Christian Worldview, Pastor Travis Allen of Grace Church in Greeley, Colorado, joins us to discuss the just-released documentary film The Essential Church, which chronicles how three churches, Grace Community Church in Los Angeles and two churches in Canada, defied government mandates during the COVID pandemic, continuing to gather to worship because they understood that government does not have the God-given authority to dictate how the church works. We will play audio clips from the film and then discuss some current events, including how a young believer was arrested in Wisconsin, without warning, for preaching on the street at a, quote, drag queen event, while other evangelical churches this summer are dressing themselves up in Star Wars or Barbie or Toy Story themes for At the Movies sermon series. But first, let's get to the interview with Pastor Travis Allen. Travis, thank you for coming on the Christian Worldview radio program today. I know you recently watched the release of this new documentary called The Essential Church, which chronicles what took place at many churches around the country, but specifically for the sake of this film at Grace Community Church, where John MacArthur pastors in California, and also follows the two pastors in Canada, both James Coates and Tim Stevens, who were both arrested and put in jail for not being able to speak. So I want to start out with playing a soundbite from Mike Riccardi in the film, who was one of the pastors at Grace Community Church, as that church was wrestling with what to do when the state of California and LA County were putting all these very strict mandates on them for not being able to meet.

And if they did meet, they had to do all this, this and that. And here's what Mike Riccardi said about how the pastors and elders tried to understand what they were to do with these mandates in light of Romans chapter 13. You're bound by passages like Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 to comply with those orders because every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. There's no authority except which is of God, and those who resist authority are going to be found to be resisting God. Those commands weighed heavy on all of our consciences. Is it sin to obey this order, this mandate? I have a friend from seminary who serves as a pastor, and he would message me and say, there are a lot of people who were looking to Grace Church to sort of chart their course in response to this. He began sort of pressing me on whether it's lawful to disobey these orders.

You know, I would say, well, this is the order from the government. It's not sin to not meet for this defined period of time. And so we're not being asked to do it as sinful, at least that's our conviction. It's not sinful. And so if they ask us, it would be sin because it would be in violation of Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 to go against those orders. And he was saying, I don't think that's what those texts say. And I'm just saying, well, why not?

Show me where my error is. Like, it seems fairly plain to me. And so he would make his case and I remained unconvinced. He says, you've got to read Martyn Lloyd-Jones's commentary on Romans 13.

And so I had the set and started reading and started to go, okay, I see why this is compelling for them. I don't necessarily agree yet. What I was finding out as I was reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones was that I had a functionally Erastian view of the relationship between the church and state without having ever heard of this guy named Erastus or the movement that there are these institutions that God has instituted, the church and the state. And where Papism said there's God and then the church who rules the state, Erastus said, no, there's God who has ordained the state and they rule over the church. And that became known as what is called Erastianism.

And I'm just finding these to be convincing. There is the civil sphere, there is that which belongs to Caesar, and then there is the spiritual ecclesiastical sphere, those things that belong to God. And Jesus says, give the one to the one and the others to the other. So it's not God, church, state. It's not God, state, church. It's that God has instituted the state and the church to be coordinate institutions with respect to one another. And of course, each subordinate to God. But what happens is we think that one of these two coordinate institutions has to subordinate the one to the other, and that's where problems all throughout history have ensued. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was helping me see we need to be neither Papists nor Erastians, but we need to see that the church and the state are coordinate.

I and some others began to speak up and say, hey, I think that there's a better argument for why we don't have to pay attention to any of this. And that is the government really doesn't have any authority to tell the church how we can worship. So, again, that was Mike Riccardi, one of the pastors at Grace Community Church, and that was Phil Johnson, the director of Grace To You at the very end of that sound bite. So, Travis, could you explain this a bit more in that Mike Riccardi was saying it's not God at the top, and then the state over the church, and it's not God at the top with the church over the state, but it's God at the top with two coordinates.

In other words, equal institutions or agencies, the church and the state, who govern different realms. Yeah, sure, David, I'll try to take a stab on that. First of all, let me just thank you again for bringing me on to the Christian worldview. It's always a pleasure to be talking with you in this forum and appreciate your ministry very much. I also appreciate the ministry of John MacArthur, Mike Riccardi, and others at Grace Community Church. We at our church were able to screen the essential church at our church. They were gracious enough to allow us to do that without charge and just so much appreciated that because it was a real benefit to all the people who showed up at our church to be able to screen that movie. And I do recommend everybody everywhere to go and take a look at that. The essential church, it's a fantastic survey of what happens through the pandemic and what John MacArthur and Grace Community Church went through and also James Coates and his church and Tim Stephens and their church, what they went through.

It's a fantastic story and really will strengthen the confidence of Christians. We as a church had to struggle through this as well in thinking through where the responsibility of the government and the responsibility of the church were intersecting and how there was an encroachment of the government into the church's realm of authority and responsibility. This is way oversimplified, but I'll make this oversimplification just for the point of how we explained it to our folks. You could say that the state is overseeing matters relating to people's physical bodies or their physical life and the church is overseeing things that pertain to the immaterial part of man, people's spirit. For us to be human souls means that we are composed of both body and spirit. So we have a material part of us and an immaterial part of us and those two together are what it is to have a human nature.

It's to be a spirit that is joined together to a body. So the government oversees things that pertain to the material self, the material body. And what the government was doing is just with a kind of one track in their thinking that we need to protect physical life no matter what. And I'm thinking the best of the government here, but they were wanting to make sure we protect and preserve physical life and wellbeing. They have no concern about the immaterial part of man.

The government doesn't care at all. Many of them don't even believe in the immaterial part of man, but they were disregarding the church's role in ministering to the immaterial part of man. And that is where the church need to step up and say, you know what, actually you're stepping into when you're telling us we need to mask up and we need to not sing in church and we need to maintain this strict distance between people.

That's not how the ministry of the local church is conducted. And so the elders of each church need to say, well, before God, we need to make sure we're singing because that's commanded. We need to make sure we're doing the one anothers. We need to make sure we're communicating with one another, encouraging one another in order to encourage one another.

We need we have to see each other's faces because so much is communicated, not just in voice or tone of voice, but by facial expression, by body language. So we have to be together, minister together. Preaching needs to be done in person, live. That's the environment.

That's the format. And we are commanded to do that, to minister to the immaterial part of man, to educate, inform the spirit in order that we can be obedient and righteous before the Lord. So that's what the ministry of the local church is. And I do agree that there is the state, the church, there's a coordinate plane there, but they must respect one another's realms and spheres of authority.

Pastor Travis Allen with us today on the Christian worldview. So, Travis, was this a bit of a pivot for Grace Community Church's interpretation or understanding of Romans chapter 13 and the Christians responsibility to government? It did sound a little bit from the Essential Church movie that Grace Church may have changed its positions on Romans 13. I don't think that there was a change in interpretation of Romans 13.

I think John MacArthur and many at Grace Community Church and the elders there understood the interpretation of Romans 13. But I think what we have all had to adjust to is there has been a government that's been fairly hands off with regard to the local church. I think that over the past number of decades, we kind of got used to a fairly passive approach from the government, fairly innocuous laws and policies and those kinds of things.

But as COVID revealed, it really was the great revealer. 2020 was definitely giving us a clear vision of what the government was up to and what many in the government, they want to shut down churches, they saw an opportunity for greater government authority and reaching out and overreaching government authority. Once the government takes authority, they don't give it back.

And so I think that there are many in government that like the intrusion of the government into all aspects of human life. And I think the churches have had to adjust to that. So seeing the implications of Romans 13 and Acts 5, 529, where Peter says we must obey God rather than men, very clearly the religious leaders were telling them, you cannot teach any more in this name. If our government said to us, you can't teach any more in this name, the name of Jesus Christ, we would clearly respond by saying we must obey God rather than men. What the government did is say, oh, yeah, you can teach in that name. You just can't do it in person. You just can't sing about that. You just you have to keep your distance if you're going to come back.

You have to do outdoor services. There was a greater and greater encroachment. And certainly Mike Riccardi and the folks at Grace Community Church unpacked the onerous laws and policies and restrictions that the L.A. County and the city started to put in place that effectively they were saying you can no longer teach in this name. So I think every church needs to determine before God in their conscience, before him, they're going to give an account. Hebrews 13, 17 says they're going to give an account for the souls that they have to oversee to God and to the Lord. They they have to determine in their conscience. Are we obeying God rather than men?

Or are we going to obey men in this case and stop teaching because they tell us to? It's just understanding the implications of Romans 13, Acts 5, other passages as well, understanding how to apply it in this changing climate of government overreach and intrusion. I think that that's what Grace Community Church had to adjust to. And they also bring out in the film, Travis, just the duplicity or the hypocrisy of these mandates and that while they were telling the church that you can't meet liquor stores were open, casinos, big box stores and so forth.

Black Lives Matters, riots and stuff were going on. That's right. Exactly. So they begin to understand what's going on here. This isn't equally mandated across the field here.

And that was part of their understanding that this was more than just, you know, we're trying to protect your health. Now, as a contrast, Andy Stanley, the well-known pastor in Atlanta during the pandemic, went on CNN for an interview and said that the gathering of believers on Sunday at church is not essential. We'll get to that soundbite next. You are listening to the Christian Real Review.

I'm David Wheaton. There is a war ongoing. There are two sides in this war. There are those who are with Christ and there are those who are against Christ. And sometimes it's not always easy to see the difference. But as we go through this information about the great reset, I think you'll find out very quickly what side these great resetters are on. Their own words condemn them. Know that this has implications for everything.

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I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianrealview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Our topic today is the essential church versus malevolent government. Pastor Travis Allen is our guest. Andy Stanley, who is a very well-known pastor in Atlanta, North Point Church, a multi-site church, had a completely different response to these government mandates to lock down churches and so forth.

Here is what he said in a CNN interview around this time. One of the largest megachurches in the country, North Point Ministries, has just said that it is suspending all in-person worship for the rest of the year. This is a church with seven locations in and around Atlanta, ministering to more than 30,000 people every Sunday. It does not go unnoticed when a pastor with your reach says that he can't keep his congregation safe.

What are you seeing that led you to this decision? The context of our decision was we want to love our neighbors, we want to be a good neighbor, and we want to love our neighborhoods. We're for our communities, and we don't want to accidentally do something to our communities.

You understand this, your viewers understand this. We have to go to the grocery store, we have to go to the drug store, we have to go to work. We don't have to go to church. We have chosen to bring church to the people in our community, actually people all over the world. This is a temporary shutdown, but the church isn't shut down. It's just our Sunday morning services. This really was about the health of our congregation, but not just our congregation.

This was about the health of our entire community. I have heard other faith leaders, early on in the pandemic especially, saying that churches are essential services. You must have Sunday worship, your doors must stay open. What do you say to those faith leaders? A church is an essential service, but a one-hour worship service with hundreds of people, or in our case, thousands of people all crammed into a room is not an essential service.

That's one of the things people need to understand. Our church and our staff are actually busier maybe than we've ever been, because we've reallocated assets, personnel, to serving in the community, so we're not closed. But a one-hour worship service, hey, we can do that at home, and as everybody listening understands, we can worship wherever we choose to worship. So the worship service is one facet of a healthy church, and we've just decided to suspend that one facet of our local churches. Again, that was Andy Stanley in an interview with CNN about why they chose early on to close their church for the remaining part of the year. It was about loving our neighbors, loving our communities, and it's not essential that we meet in person as a church. So Travis, could you explain this contrasting doctrinal worldview where Andy Stanley doesn't see the church as essential to meet in person? Well, I think he's got an aberrant view of the local church, and that is one of the great problems in our time, one of the great challenges in our time is how many people say that they're Christians.

They have no idea that they have been fed and they have swallowed a sub-Christian gospel with a sub-Christian understanding of the church itself. Jesus said he basically came to die for the church. He came to set up this institution called the church that he loved from before the foundation of the world, that the Father gave him from before the foundation of the world. All these names that are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, he died for their sins. He died to make them his own, and then to organize them into a church in ecclesia, called out of the world.

There are metaphors in scripture, they're called God's building, God's temple, the body, the body of Christ with Christ himself as the head. And each person, each blood-bought Christian that's a part of a local church is a member of a local church body. Each member of that church, regenerate, transformed by the Spirit, transformed by God, united to Christ by faith, united by the baptism of the Spirit into the church itself. Each one of those people are essential to that local church. One of them has a gift that's to be ministered to others in that church. And so a biblical ecclesiology means you have a high view of this local church, the gatherings, the body, Ephesians 4 talks about how important the leadership is to the church to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. There are so many one another commands in the New Testament, and one of them is from Hebrews chapter 10 in verse 24, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.

And he doesn't make provision for doing that just through online chat groups. He says in verse 25, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near. There is such a low view in our time of local church gatherings. And I think it's because there's a sub-Christian gospel many people have swallowed. There's a sub-Christian, sub-biblical understanding, an aberrant view of what the local church is. People do not understand the biblical doctrine of the local church. And so for many of these churches, mega churches, and Stanley has basically come out on record and said, hey, our meetings aren't essential.

I just have to, in that sense, agree with him. Meeting at his church is probably not essential because it's really not a church. And there are many churches that are following the Andy Stanley route that they are basically disqualifying themselves as a church. They would be one of those in Revelation 2 and 3 where Christ says, I'm going to remove my candlestick, my witness. You're no longer.

You may put whatever you want to up on the sign out front on your property. You may have some kind of online presence. And many people may be, quote unquote, attending by clicking in and joining some live service sitting in their living room. But whatever you say about yourself, it doesn't matter because I never knew you. You're workers of iniquity. You are no longer one of my churches. Travis Allen is our guest today here on the Christian Real Views. We talk about the Essential Church. He's the pastor of Grace Church in Greeley, Colorado. We have links to his church at our Web site, thechristianrealview.org. I just want to play a couple more sound bites from this documentary film, The Essential Church, Travis, because there are some very, very powerful moments in this film that are particularly important for us to understand. In the day and age in which we live in this next soundbite from the film comes from one of those pastors in Canada, James Coates, who was arrested for continuing to meet as a church by the Canadian government. He was in jail for like thirty five days for holding church services. And then Vody Baucom was a well-known preacher as well, commented on this.

And so listen to this soundbite and then I'll follow up with a question. I think Christians need to realize that governments aren't neutral, that governments aren't even necessarily good. God has ordained them and they serve a good purpose.

And to the extent that they're faithful to that purpose, they are good. But we have to be cognizant of the reality that we should see the spirit of Antichrist at work in the government. And so when the government goes to war with the church over a matter like COVID-19, we need to understand that that's that's not a neutral thing, that the spiritual battle is taking place at that level as well. Many Christians don't see Marxism as an issue of spiritual warfare because we don't really understand what Marxism is. They don't really understand that to the Marxist Christianity is the enemy.

Unless you understand that, you don't get the significance of the spiritual warfare that we're dealing with. Marxism is a statist ideology. For the Marxist, the state has to be the vehicle through which all things and people are controlled. When people think about Marxism, they think about classical Marxism. So they think about Karl Marx, economics, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. What they don't tend to think about is neo-Marxism being more of a cultural revolution, changing a culture from within the idea that the world is divided between oppressors and oppressed groups. And then the film goes on to show how this Marxism is communicated by the governing authorities, with the health commissioner in Los Angeles saying this.

Within the challenges that define our health care system today are enormous opportunities to fundamentally shift our focus from disease care models to prevention and building health equity, from primarily fixing people to also fixing systems. If you are going to take over cultures and take over power structures, you can't have a formidable ideological opponent. And religion in general, and Christianity in particular, represents a formidable ideological opponent. Again, that was James Coates, the pastor who was arrested and jailed in Canada, followed by Pastor Vody Bockham, talking about how governments are often very oppositional to the church because of this Marxist worldview.

Travis, what are your thoughts on that particular soundbite from the film? What both those men are pointing out, and I think it's a very true point, is that we can't just look at Romans 13, seeing that God has given government to us as a gift, seeing that the role of government is to be a minister of God for righteousness. We can't just leave it there. It is true that God has given government as a gift. The government is on the shoulders of Jesus Christ. He himself is the head of that millennial government, the millennial kingdom.

He will rule and reign throughout eternity as well. Government is a good gift from God, and yet we realize that here in this fallen world, in this time, in the end of the age, we have human governments that are made up of humans, and they are made up of fallen human beings. As Ephesians 2 says, they are under the influence of the spirit of power of the age, the spirit that's working in the sons of disobedience, and so those people who are occupying positions of government are going to eat, sleep, breathe, drink, all of the spirit of this age and the spirit that's blowing through the age.

And so those are doctrines of demons, those are antichrist spirit. Governments can be on a sliding scale of more righteous to less righteous. We're living in a time right now that's less righteous time, and I think it's heading in an even lesser righteousness time. Christians need to be braced for impact on all this, and I think we're learning that. We need to realize, I think, that as Paul says in Ephesians 6-12, we don't wrestle against flesh and blood. We wrestle against the rulers, the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. I think it's a sweet instinct of every true Christian that we have a desire to submit to the governing authorities. We see them as God's ministers, ministers of righteousness. We have a love of law enforcement, a love of the military, a love of even government bureaucracies and how they help and aid everything from water rights to property rights.

We understand the good that government brings, and we have an instinct to want to submit a desire to obey the governing authorities. At the same time, we cannot turn off our brains. We need to realize weapons of our warfare, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10.

They're not carnal. They're mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, and we need to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring into captivity every single thought to the obedience of Jesus Christ. That's our own thoughts, certainly, but it's also the thoughts of and ideologies of the world around us. And certainly those in government have thoughts and ideologies that are contrary to God and contrary to Christ, contrary to the church. So we just need to be thoughtful, aware Christians that navigate through this world, informed by the scripture, certainly informed by a sound biblical ministry, a deep theological ministry of our local churches, and navigate through this world with wisdom, pursuing righteousness. We're very grateful that you do that at Grace Church in Greeley, Colorado, Travis, where he is the pastor.

You can find out more at gracegreeley.org, or it's linked to our website, thechristianrealview.org. I would like to play just one more audio clip from the film The Essential Church. Again, we encourage listeners to watch this film. It's in theaters right now, and you can go to our website, thechristianrealview.org to click on the link to the film to find out if and where it's showing in your area. We need to pause briefly for some ministry announcements, but coming up, one of the more powerful moments in the film that leads to a question of self-examination.

Am I willing to die to follow Christ when government intrudes? If you are listening to The Christian Worldview, I'm David Wheaton. You may recall that last year, The Christian Worldview had the opportunity to expand to new markets, such as Salem stations in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., life-changing radio network in the Northeast, and American Christian network. We expanded for one purpose, to reach new listeners with the biblical worldview and the gospel. If you listen to the program on one of these stations, we are asking for your help, as we are well behind recouping our cost of airtime through listener support. We are praying for new Christian worldview partners who will help us remain on the air in these markets.

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M.D. Perkins' book, Dangerous Affirmation, The Threat of Gay Christianity, explains, quote, the way gay Christian activists are rethinking theology, biblical interpretation, and the nature and purpose of the Church in order to infiltrate conservative evangelicalism. The only antidote is to know and stand firm on the truth of God's Word.

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I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianworldview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Our topic today is The Essential Church versus Malevolent Government. Pastor Travis Allen is our guest. One particularly powerful and poignant part of the film is when Ian Hamilton, who I believe is from Scotland but pastors in England, talked about the period of Scottish history when the Covenanters, who were against the king's intrusion into the church, suffered some terrible persecution.

The issue at heart in conflict with the state is almost always that issue. Who has the right to govern my conscience? Who has the right to tell me how to live out my faith? You can hear the water there rolling up on the shore. You didn't know what was coming next. Well, he goes into the story, the true story, of this family and specifically two women, a mother and a daughter, both with the name of Margaret, who wouldn't recant. Joining this group called the Covenanters, who resisted, defied the fact that the king had the right to rule over their churches. They took two Margarets and they put them in a tidal estuary strapped to a post. As the tide rose, they put the mother in front, I believe, and then the daughter 50 feet or so behind her. As the tide rose, they were going to drown. They were waiting for them to recant. This was just an incredibly powerful part of the film.

If you had seen yourself in that situation, what would I do? All they had to do was say, no, the king has the right to rule in our churches. But they didn't.

Both of them ended up dying a horrific death in that tidal estuary. Travis, explain how believers can have this kind of conviction that would rather die than give in to an unjust intrusion from the state into the realm of the church. It's what the scripture teaches.

It's having a sound understanding, a deep understanding of the Bible. And I think anybody even reading the Bible can see there is a hope beyond this life. There is a belief in the things that are unseen because the things that are seen are just temporary, transient. But the things that are unseen are eternal truths that are bedrock solid.

They are not going anywhere. God himself is the unseen God. He by nature is spirit.

And yet God is unchanging, immutable, always constant, always faithful. And it is no mistake to put our faith in the unseen God and turn our eyes away from what is seen, what is temporary, what is transitory, even this physical life that we live in. And how are the two Margaret's or any other Christian going to have that kind of confidence and conviction that they will put their life on the line?

It's by the ministry of a local church. It's by the teaching and the preaching of God's word. It's by them being obedient to the commands of scripture and following the faith of their fathers, the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. When we put those things into practice in the church, what we find is our minds are renewed by the Holy Spirit through scripture. Our minds are renewed.

Our lives are transformed and they turn us. There is a power of the gospel that is undeniable. To take somebody who was once a sinner very far from God, very far from the grace of God, lives filled with sins and destructive relationships and just all kinds of baggage that people enter into the church with, they get saved. The scripture washes over their minds because there's sound preaching from the pulpit. They're obedient to the commands of scripture, especially the one anothers of scripture, giving themselves up to others in the church to disciple them and see them grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as they give themselves to one another, they find collectively and individually they grow, they're transformed.

That's an undeniable power. And when you see the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of the members of the local church, it gives you great, great confidence and assures you that your faith is real, sound, true, that this is meaningful, that this is worth dying for. That's why the local church is so essential in strengthening, solidifying, deepening the conviction of Christians. Travis Allen is our guest today here on The Christian World View. We're talking about the essential church and the conviction of those two Margaret's over in Scotland who are willing to give their lives to it. Well, there are Christians today who are on the front lines as well. We just saw recently in Wisconsin at a so-called drag show event where you have men dressed as women dancing erotically in front of children that some Christians went to the sidewalk and were actually reading from the Bible.

And here's what that sounded like before they were arrested. ...one another. For all the Lord is fulfilled in one word, even in this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

But if you by the devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another. Hey, what are you doing? What is the problem? What are you doing? What's wrong? What are you doing?

He didn't give any warning. He just grabbed the mic. Oh, this is the same one that we had in here.

What are you doing? Let it go again. Hey, you're taking away my mic. He has every right to be out here engaging in speech. I'll stop the soundbite there, but basically what happened is that the police walked up, took his microphone away, put his arms behind his back, handcuffed him, and hauled him off to the police station, just arrested him.

There didn't seem to be any warning. And listeners can actually watch the video of this incident if you go to our website, thechristianworldview.org. But the question is, Travis, as you talked about our society being more unrighteous than ever, and you could look at abortion, you could look at the transgender movement now, homosexuality, and who knows what's next?

Probably adult child sexual encounters and so forth. Should Christians be more activist now with what the aggressive nature of our society against biblical truth? Is there more call now than ever that we need to be out in the streets doing what these young men were doing, not in violent ways, I'm not saying that, but just being out there with the truth of God's word, pushing back against a society that's bent completely on rejection of God? I don't know that I want to make a statement for all Christians. Each one of us has our gift from God by the Spirit. Each Christian truly a Christian, united to Christ, baptized, immersed in the Spirit into Christ.

Each one of us has a gift from the Holy Spirit, and we use that to minister to one another and minister the gospel. And certainly this young man, he's 19 years old, Marcus, I don't know if I'm pronouncing his name correctly, but it's either Schroeder or Schrader. He's actually a student in Tom Askell's Institute of Public Theology, Founders Ministries, and this young man is a student there, and Dr. Tom Askell knows him, and actually has been interacting with him and his father. He told me, Tom said, that the police didn't give Marcus or anybody he's with any warning, didn't ask him to lower his amplification, they said they came up, grabbed him, handcuffed him, arrested him, completely without warning. And we saw this, didn't we, when we looked north of the US border and see what happened in Canada, as James Coates hauled off to prison, Tim Stephens hauled off to prison, there were other pastors as well, hauled off to prison.

Canada is a country that's under the crown of England and the crown is actually tied to the Church of England. And so you would think that Christians preaching the gospel, I mean, what Marcus was preaching was, love your neighbors yourself. And he's being arrested for that?

He's being arrested because it's offensive to the drag queen people and the sexual morality, it's bringing conviction to the conscience. They have somehow manipulated the weaponization of the police force for their immoral agenda. That's what we're facing. What we saw in Canada during the COVID pandemic, it's all coming down south across our border and it's happening around the country here as well.

And I think it's only gonna get worse. So does that mean Christians should be more militant and more activistic? I would certainly say that becoming more serious and sober-minded is the call of the day.

We need to wake up to the kind of world that we're in. I would just like to see Christians be distinctively Christian as they speak to the public, as they speak privately, whether they speak with friends, neighbors, coworkers, whether they're out on the streets or whether they're more private. I want to see Christians be and speak distinctively Christianly. I don't want to see them cower and turn away.

This world, it really is a paper tiger. It may seem scary, but it really can be blown over with the wind of doctrine and the wind of the gospel. So what I just want to applaud what Marcus is doing out there in Wisconsin. I want to applaud what others are standing up and being bold to go to these events and give testimony to the gospel. Is every Christian called to do exactly that?

No, I don't think so. But I definitely think we need to stand with men like Marcus who are going to stand up for the faith, stand up for the truth. Yeah, very well said, Travis. There seems to be some sort of trend, and I don't know when it started, but churches across the country are doing what they call an at-the-movies series, where they take a popular movie like Star Wars or the Barbie series, or let me play an audio clip of what took place just recently at Saddleback Church. This was a church founded by Rick Warren, who's no longer the pastor there. Now it's a husband-wife-pastor team, Andy and Stacey Wood, who came out on stage in these costumes from the movie Toy Story as part of their summer at-the-movies series.

Let me play that for listeners to let them have an idea of what that sounded like. Well, hi, Bo Peep. Hey, Woody. Hello. Good to see you.

Good to see you, too. Are you at church? Yes, we are. Welcome to Saddleback, everybody. As you guys are being seated, tell your partner beside you, do you vote for Team Woody or Team Buzz?

And I better hear a lot of Team Woody out there. Go ahead and grab a seat, y'all. So, yes, we are so thankful that you're here. And if you're wondering what in the world is happening right now and what have I stepped into, maybe you're a first-time guest with us, we want to say welcome, and you have shown up for a very special weekend here at Saddleback Church. We are in the middle of a series this summer, a four-part series called at-the-movies. And this weekend, we're going to be looking at a series called at-the-movies. And this weekend, we're going to be looking a little bit deeper at the story of Toy Story. And so that is why you get to see Andy and I dressed up like Woody and Bo Peep.

Yes. So if you do happen to be a first-time guest with us, it is such an honor to have you with us. And we want to honor you.

During this series, we're doing something very special for our first-time guests, which is we want to give you a free movie ticket as our way of saying thanks for coming. Okay, I'm going to stop it there. Thank you for stopping it there.

You don't even know where to begin. It's not funny. It's, I think, borderline blasphemous on what a church should be. The pastor and, of course, a wife as a co-pastor is so unbiblical just to start with. But after all we've gone through in this country with the pandemic and everything else that's going on, you think this is the approach that Saddleback and other churches are taking due to these at-the-movies theories. And they go into great detail with Star Wars or things hanging from the lobby of the church and spaceships.

It's hard to even understand the mindset here, how irreverent this is and how the attempts to be so culturally relevant or something. Could you just try to bring some clarity as to how we ended up like this in the evangelical church in America? Yeah, David, I just think it goes back to the, you know, some things we were talking about before where many people who call themselves Christians have embraced a sub-Christian gospel that basically says Jesus died for your sins.

That's it. So Jesus died for your sins doesn't confront your sin, doesn't recall you to repentance, it doesn't tell you that you are no longer your own, but you're bought with a price, therefore glorify God with your body. It doesn't say anything about what the church is, what you've been joined to, that you need to be in submission to the local church. I just think about Paul telling Timothy, saying in 1 Timothy 4.13, until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture to exhortation, to teaching. He tells Timothy to command and teach these things. Don't neglect the gift that you have, which was given to you by prophecy. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch in yourself and on the teaching.

Persist in this, for by so doing, you will save both yourself and your hearers. So if that's what we're to be immersed in as pastors, you gotta wonder what these, this husband and wife are immersed in. Are they immersed in movies?

Immersed in the toy story? Want to exegete movies for their congregants? Their minds, their heads are in completely the wrong thing. And I think that makes sense, because places like that, no matter what they call them, they're no longer actual churches. They have departed from what the New Testament definition of a church is. They don't actually practice these things, as Paul told Timothy.

So I think we just need to look at those examples in the culture and just say, okay, they've walked away. They have apostatized. Now it's time to turn our attention to what does the scripture tell us a church is? What are we to be? And I think we find very clear instruction on that in the pastoral epistles, 1 Timothy, Titus, Ephesians.

I mean, it's just the New Testament is replete with telling us how to conduct ourselves in the church and the household of God. Travis, we always appreciate your coming on the program, but even more, we appreciate your conviction, your commitment to God and His word, the proclamation of the gospel, the reverence and the respect with which you approach your pastoral call. So thank you for coming on The Christian Rule View, all of God's best and grace to you, your family in Grace Church in Greeley, Colorado. Thank you, David.

Once again, it's been my joy and privilege to be able to be with you again and have this conversation. So appreciate Pastor Travis Allen. And if you'd like to connect with his preaching ministry at his church in Colorado or find out about the conference they are holding in September, go to our website, thechristianreelview.org, and click on the link, which goes over to Grace Church in Greeley, Colorado. Just to conclude today, there is such a powerful testimony to Jesus Christ in Paul's letter to the Colossians in chapter 1, where he writes, He, Christ, is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him, Christ, all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

He is also head of the body, the church, and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. This Christ in this passage, the head of the body of believers, a church, He demands our complete reverence and obedience. We must obey Him over any government mandate that seeks to undermine Him or His called-out ones, the gathered body of believers, the church. So let's prepare our hearts and minds and spirits for action as governing authorities seek to eliminate the only true opposition to their God-rejecting plans, those plans that will ultimately be defeated by Christ Himself. We must obey God rather than men. But to obey, you must have the indwelling Holy Spirit to empower you. Jesus commanded, repent and believe in the Gospel.

The Gospel is the good news that you can be forgiven and reconciled to God for eternity when you trust fully in Christ's atoning work on the cross for your sin and follow Him as Lord. And as Scripture says, when you do so, you won't be disappointed or be put to shame. Thank you for joining us today on The Christian Worldview. In just a moment there will be information on how you can hear a replay of today's program, order transcripts and resources and support this nonprofit radio ministry. Let's remember that Jesus Christ is head of the church and He is the same yesterday and today and forever.

So until next time, think biblically, live accordingly and stand firm. The mission of The Christian Worldview is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We hope today's broadcast encouraged you toward that end. To hear a replay of today's program, order a transcript or find out What Must I Do to Be Saved, go to thechristianworldview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233. The Christian Worldview is a listener-supported nonprofit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian Worldview partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter or contact us. Visit thechristianworldview.org, call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Thanks for listening to The Christian Worldview.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-05 06:24:14 / 2023-08-05 06:44:45 / 21

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