The following article is an open letter to American Christians. It has nothing to do with Dementia or Caregivers. Rather, it’s about the current obsession, many Christians have, with conspiracy theories. In this letter I am calling us to leave accusations and slander behind. This is a call to prayer.
Pentecost Sunday falls on May 31 this year. Some call Penticost the Birthday of the church, others call it the day of empowerment, and still others call it the day of the fulfillment of all God’s promises. No matter what you call it, or think about it, it would do Christians a world of good to reflect upon what was the point of the first Pentecost.
Saint Luke introduces us to what Jesus expected to happen both on Pentecost and because of Pentecost. He writes, “I wrote the former account, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after he had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. To the same apostles also, after his suffering, he presented himself alive with many convincing proofs. He was seen by them over a forty-day period and spoke about matters concerning the kingdom of God. While he was with them, he declared, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait there for what my Father promised, which you heard about from me. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:1-5 NET
Do you ever get the feeling that the Apostles were a little slow to catch on to what was important to Jesus? For forty days the resurrected Jesus gave final instructions to His disciples. Wouldn’t you love to sit in on one of those classes? Can you hear the excited expectation in Jesus’ voice as He says, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait there for what my Father promised, which you heard about from me… you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Did they hear what he said? The promise of the Father was about to be theirs! They should be dancing for joy and shouting HALLELUJAH!! Instead, they want to talk about politics.
“So, when they had gathered together, they began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Acts1:6. In the first century many Jews, the Apostles included, hoped for a militant messiah who would throw off the yoke of Roman oppression and restore the Davidic Kingdom that had been in ruins since the sixth century BCE. The time of restoration has to do with the coming together of all the Jewish people under the rule of the Son of Man, spoken of by Daniel. You can’t really fault the apostles for wondering if the dream they had looked forward to all of their lives was about to happen. However, there was probably also a little self interest in the question. After all, who would rule and reign in power if this was the time? They would of course. That is why James and John had asked to sit at Christ’s right and left when he came in his kingdom. (See Mark 10:35-45.) After all, if you’re going to rule in power why not sit right next to the one with all the power?
“Jesus told them, “You are not permitted to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NET. Notice Jesus didn’t say their concern wasn’t important. Nor did he deny its eventual accomplishment. What he said is, “Don’t obsess over this, keep focused, keep the main thing the main thing.” What is the main thing? Saint Matthew tells us, “Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NET. Read the entire Book of Acts to see how they did at keeping the main thing the main thing.
Christian history is filled with movements, ideas, and objectives that became such an obsession that the main thing was completely forgotten. Usually these obsessions have something to do with political ideas that give Christians power. How often have those who claim Jesus as Lord denied everything he taught and stood for because of a desire for power?
When James and John asked for positions of power. Jesus gathered all the apostles together and taught them saying, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions use their authority over them. But it is not this way among you. Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10. Like most of us, I would rather go to a restaurant and be served than to be the one serving. Too often we’re like the two little brothers at breakfast. Mom was making pancakes but could only make one serving at a time. She said to them, “One of you will have to wait while the other one eats. It’s an opportunity to be like Jesus and let someone else go first.” Billy looked at his brother and said, “Jimmy you be Jesus today. I’m Hungry.”
By now you might be wondering, “Okay, Dave, where you going with all of this? I’m writing this because my heart is grieved over the multitude of Christians who have become obsessed with one conspiracy theory or another, especially since the COVID 19 Pandemic has broken out. One thing about conspiracy theories, they don’t need facts, truth, or enlightenment to get started. In fact, they pop up like mushrooms. Mushrooms grow best in the dark, rooted in manure. A lot of these theories remind me of a dear woman named Ruth who, suffered with paranoid schizophrenia. She would often tell you, usually in a whisper, that the government had bugged her house and were watching and listening to every word she said and everything she did. I’m afraid that the people who start these ideas are struggling with the same mental problems.
A couple of examples: 1. Did you know that Bill Gates was using his billions of dollars to develop a vaccine for the Covid virus that has something in it which will allow the government to know your every move. Not only that but to take this vaccine is the same as taking the mark of the beast, (666). 2. Did you know that the Democrats, and other socialists, are behind the Covid Virus? They plan to take away our rights and destroy the economy to get Trump out of the White House. Is this the truth? Probably not. But even if it is, what could I do about it?
Nothing any politician, scientist, or doctor can do will knock God off his throne. Therefore, I must strive to keep the main thing, the main thing and not become obsessed by what the winds of change are blowing in. It grieves me to listen to Christians who are more concerned over Trump’s second term than they are over Christ’s second coming. They are more concerned about the state of their political party than the state of the body of Christ. I truly believe that Christ is the only hope for America and the entire world. Sadly, the church is in terrible shape and, since we are the church, there must be something deeply wrong with our spiritual life.
To all my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, who are obsessed with these things, I want to say, focus on Jesus. After all, the truth will come out. I’m sorry this has become an obsession for you. Let it become a call to prayer, and repentance. Repentance, because this is not a time to live in sin, it’s a time to live by faith. Prayer because, the New Testament constantly calls us to prayer, especially prayers for our leaders. The Apostle Paul writes, ”First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior,” 1 Timothy 2:1-3.
If you really believe that Bill Gates is using his money to bring people into bondage to the Antichrist, what will you do about it? If what you believe is true, are you grieved to see someone in such bondage to the devil? Are you praying for his soul or have you already condemned him to Hell? If you really believe that the Democrats have caused the Corona Virus to gain absolute power over us, what are you doing about it? Have you prayed for Nancy Pelosi or do you take delight in telling everyone what an absolute evil person she is? Conspiracy theories are causing many Christians to become gossips and slanderers, sharing half-truths and sometimes blatant lies. We love conspiracy theories because they feed our pride and allow us to sit in judgement on people of the opposite party.
Beloved, I understand that Jesus warns us to watch out for false teachers and prophets. The kind of people who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. We must remember that Jesus is speaking of religious leaders. However, conspiracy theories seldom have anything to do with leaders inside the church. This is not the Holy Spirit giving us revelation to prepare us for coming persecution. Rather, it is being used by a much darker spirit to cause us to forget about the main thing and to obsess over shadows.
Who loves this kind of thing? Satan. In the book of Revelation, where Michael the Archangel had defeated the Devil, we read, “The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the ruling authority of his Christ, have now come, because the accuser of our brothers and sisters, the one who accuses them day and night before our God, has been thrown down.” Revelation 12:10. The Devil, who is the father of lies, loves to accuse us of sin. Isn’t this what we do as we share stories that are full of accusations of great evil. Stories that are full of slander and half-truths should never be on the lips of Christians. You cannot use the Devil’s tools to do the work of the Lord. When Christians become obsessed with some political movement and try to accomplish something for the Lord using the tools of the devil, it brings shame to the body of Christ and many people are driven away from the Lord.
“Who wants me to pray for our leaders? Jesus. Think about the crucifixion of Christ. Jesus hangs on the cross, condemned to die by the Jewish and the Roman rulers in Jerusalem. Does he scream and yell about the conspiracy against him? Not at all. Rather he prays, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Shall we join in the cacophony of voices screaming and yelling accusations against our leaders? Shouldn’t we rather follow the example of Jesus and pray for them?
I dearly love you, but you need to ask yourself if this conspiracy theory obsession is what God wants you to spend your time thinking and talking about. I think it leads away from Christ and makes us spiritually sick.
Pentecost Sunday is coming. Let’s focus on the main thing that we are on this planet for. We have been given the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s use it to be about the Father’s business of saving souls and praying for God’s will to be done in the affairs of men. When we do God’s will in God’s way, we are unstoppable.
4 thoughts on “To AMERICAN CHRISTIANS”
I love this post! Thank you for the reality check. I hear so many of these conspiracy theories also and it is troubling. It’s almost like Trump has become God to some Christian people I know and they spend more time defending him than Jesus himself. I think I will share your post with one friend in particular. Hope you and Harriet are staying safe and busy! We miss you!
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Thanks for the encouragement. I expected some negative feedback. It’s nice to have the first response be a positive one, from a friend.
Thank you Pastor Dave for your thoughtful post. Sometimes I feel so alienated from some of my Christian peers because I see the world very differently. I have a difficult time relating and it makes me feel even more isolated than I already am. Your post made me feel like I was not alone.
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Thanks for the response. I know what you mean about feeling alone. I don’t even like to talk about politics. Both sides seem to believe that their side will save America and the other side will bring our destruction. No compromise can be made!
I pray that we will return to sanity soon.