News Sat, 28 May 2016 20:09:46 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb The Spirit of the World

worldlinessThe head of a large missionary organization told me that they are being sued by two of their members. These people had earlier dedicated their lives to missions.

Now they have various ailments. One man has ulcers. A woman, who lived in the tropics, has skin cancer. A "Christian" lawyer, hearing of their problems, advised them to sue the missionary organization. Their afflictions, he says, are "job related."

The mission director shook his head. "They were willing to give their lives—but I guess that didn't include stomach and skin." The missionaries and their lawyer have been infected with what Paul called "the spirit of the world" (1 Cor. 2:12).

Despite the classic Pentecostal definition, worldliness (the Greek word is kosmos) is far more than cosmetics. It is also more than R-rated movies or X-rated prostitutes. Worldliness is focusing on the things of time rather than things eternal.

The sin of today's Pentecostal leaders is not sexual impropriety—acts hardly worth mentioning. The real problem is a life stance which focuses on the visible earthly kingdom rather than the invisible kingdom of God. It's evidenced by incomprehensible wealth, overwhelming debt, ungodly fund raising and lavish homes.

It's sad that the muted lips of the Assemblies of God were only able to blow the whistle after their former heroes were caught. Sad, because worldliness is far more than smoking and sex. Sad, because many Assemblies of God leaders were emulating the same materialism exhibited by those now trapped in their own web, paralyzing the denomination's power to police except when it came to outward acts.

Americans—most of whom are middle class and caught in their own worldliness—see us taking offerings from the poor in order to feather our beds. They call us Cadillac Christians and wonder why we don't give away more than we keep. They seem to know God has called us to walk by a different standard and are angry when we don't.

Too many of our leaders resemble the worldly sons of Eli—Hophni and Phinehas—who "treated the Lord's offering with contempt." These forerunners of today's prosperity preachers enjoyed temple living, eating the fat which should have been used as a burnt sacrifice. Because of them God put the death curse of Ichabod on the entire nation.

The "spirit of the world" has infected all of us. We see it in the struggling black churches where the poor, unable to rise from their poverty, elevate their pastors to the role of king. We see it in the once-poor Pentecostal churches which, having ridden the charismatic wave across the tracks, now rival the downtown banks and hotels in plush materialism.

We see it in the liturgical churches which have gold-plated the cross as a status symbol. Their clergymen, who are sometimes imitated by "uptown" Pentecostals, dress themselves in royal robes, title themselves as "reverends" and drive royal chariots for one reason: status.

Tell me, can you picture Jesus dressed in scarlet and wearing a dangling cross? And what about the rest of us? We spend millions on self while giving pennies to missions. Our American brand of Christianity has become a wealthy counterculture which no longer cares about the image it projects. For every soul won to Christ by our flashy buildings and multimillion-dollar television ministries, there are millions who drive by, angry at the injustice these money-suckers represent.

We brag about being New Testament Christians while living the lifestyle of Nero. We have become like Demas, who deserted Paul "because he loved the world."

I recall the opening statement made by Francis MacNutt at the Holy Spirit Conference in Jerusalem in 1976: "If Jesus were on earth He wouldn't be here today. He couldn't afford the registration."

We have forgotten who Jesus was—and how He lived. As a kid I thought the ushers took the offering up into the belfry and burned it as a sacrifice. That was before I knew about preachers who used it to buy gold faucets.

"The greatest task with which the church is confronted," Dietrich Bonhoeffer said from his Nazi prison, "is to teach people how to live in this world."

And I add, without letting the world live in us. So we have two problems: What to do with the bodies of our fallen comrades and how to keep from falling ourselves? Commenting on this, Roy Hicks Jr. of Eugene, Ore., said he was reminded of David's attitude toward the death of Saul.

He lamented his fall and sent his mighty men to rescue the bodies of Saul and Jonathan. "While we must not compromise the standards of righteousness for leaders," Hicks says, "we also must not allow the 'bodies' of those who have fallen to remain exposed for the devouring analysis of a fallen world."

The confused folks of this culture—who judge us by the behavior of a few—are looking for a breed of people who are different, who are not in bondage to the world as they are. The only way we will ever restore our lost credibility is to pick up our wounded, renounce what we have become and recommit to be like Jesus.

From 1979 until his death, Jamie Buckingham (1932-1992) wrote the "Last Word" column for Charisma magazine, which originally published this article. He was the editor of Ministry Today magazine at his untimely death in February 1992—more than 20 years ago.

]]> (Jamie Buckingham) News Thu, 29 Nov 2012 18:31:36 -0500
Pastors Urged to Join Pulpit Freedom Movement

Jim Garlow

The future of religious freedom could depend on a free pulpit to communicate fundamental, biblical principles to congregations across America. Pastors, led by Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in San Diego, Calif., are being asked to join a growing movement to preach biblical truth about candidates and elections from their pulpits this Sunday.



]]> (Gina Meeks) News Fri, 05 Oct 2012 19:00:00 -0400
Did You Miss This in the News?

charisma-news-appCheck out some links below to recent stories from Charisma News that you'll find interesting and informative. You can also sign up to receive stories on your smart phone by signing up for the free app Charisma News by clicking here.

Same-Sex Marriage: A Child's View

Trump: Obama's Foreign Policy is a Disaster
Free Abortion Clinics Coming to a High School Near You?

Gay Marriage Vote Humiliates Same-Sex Marriage Proponents in Australia
Banned: Religious Expression Criminalized on Bourbon Street
Chick-fil-A Says 'Corporate Giving Mischaracterized' After Anti-Gay Funding Flap

]]> (Gina Meeks) News Mon, 24 Sep 2012 20:20:00 -0400
Did You Miss This in the News?

charisma-news-appCheck out some links below to recent stories from Charisma News that you'll find interesting and informative. You can also sign up to receive stories on your smart phone by signing up for the free app Charisma News by clicking here.

Are Todd Akin's 'Legitimate Rape' Comments Forgivable?

Same-Sex Marriage Thought Police?

Cancer-Fighting Couple Thanks Ron Phillips Ministries

Study: Shocking Spike in Full Nudity on Broadcast TV

Photog Who Refused Same-Sex Wedding Assignment Gets Day in Court

]]> (Gina Meeks) News Tue, 21 Aug 2012 18:42:21 -0400
Join in on Conference Call With Harry Jackson Aug. 21

bishop-harry-jacksonWould you join me and Bishop Harry Jackson on a conference call on Tuesday, August 21, at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST. Dial (530) 881-1000, code 760660#. I estimate the call will take 30 minutes. Bishop Jackson can explain it better than I can. However, he explains a lot in his letter below.

I’m writing this because I believe you are as concerned as I am about the way our nation is going. One of the most serious threats to our religious liberties and also an indication of the state of the moral decline of our culture is the fact that President Obama has come out in favor of same-sex marriage. I believe that if he is reelected he will take it as a mandate to push legislation to approve same-sex marriage.

I’ve come alongside Bishop Harry Jackson, who has a strategy that he believes will swing enough votes in seven key states to keep from electing Obama. He would reach out to black and Hispanic ministers who had previously supported Obama with the idea that the president has finally gone too far and that supporting same-sex marriage is too serious to support him again.

Bishop Jackson was successful in 2008 in helping us get the marriage amendment passed in Florida with 62 percent of the vote. The critical votes came from African-Americans who supported marriage at the same time that they voted for Obama. A similar strategy worked in California. So I believe that it can work again.

I’m looking for 100 people who will, like me, help Bishop Jackson raise some money to fund this effort. As you can read below, he needs $1.5 million. We are creating a Team 100 of people who will either raise or give $15,000. This is a small sum considering the importance of the issue.

Like me you probably feel tapped out. You’re probably involved in other campaigns. You probably also give generously to other political campaigns. However, this is an issue that if we lose it this time it is going to be extremely difficult to ever change it, so we must act.

At this point we’re asking for no commitment—only for you to listen to Bishop Harry Jackson and then decide.

Steve Strang



6251 Ammendale Road, Beltsville, MD 20705, 240-845-0388

July 5, 2012

Dear Steve,

I trust this letter finds you and your family doing well. This is my favorite time of the year. For most of us, this is historically the season of fun in the sun and making family memories. Instead of resting, I have been preoccupied with mounting a response to the radical national attack on biblical marriage. I and the leaders signed on below, believe that a redefinition of marriage CAN BE STOPPED.

The president’s confession concerning homosexual marriage left me shocked and disappointed in our nation’s spiritual leadership. Much noise was made in the media about the black church and its political response to the president’s brash declaration that his faith was some how involved in his myopic decision to endorse gay marriage. As you may be aware, several networks sent TV cameras to record my response to the situation in our Mother's Day services. During that weekend, I realized that many Christians of all races have grown weary of fighting to defend biblical marriage.

More recently, I was shocked by the disconnect between the moral outrage of the man on the street, concerning the potential devaluation of marriage, and the general timidity of the pastors and pulpits of the land. The most shocking reports I have gotten have come from Minnesota, where highly regarded movement leaders have decided “to sit this one out,” politically speaking. This approach makes about as much sense as Nero fiddling while Rome was burning.

I have spent the last eight weeks working on a practical grass-roots plan to compel the administration and the GOP to enforce the existing DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) laws. I have pulled together a first-class team which has developed a winning strategy to thwart the attempts to overthrow DOMA and redefine traditional marriage.

The nation needs your help at this strategic time in American history. The grass-roots plan that we’ve developed focuses on bringing a “new rainbow coalition together”—the body of Christ, in all of its cultural, doctrinal and racial diversity. Importantly, we can use the visibility and support of the African-American and Hispanic churches to win this important conflict. If followed to the letter the plan can save marriage until it is ruled upon by the Supreme Court. The price tag for all of this is just $1.5 million. Neither my ministry nor the leaders at the heart of this battle can give this kind of money during the next four months without assistance. In fact, we need $150,000 immediately with bulk of the expenditures coming from Labor Day to Election Day.

What do I need from you? Just three things:

Give an immediate, substantial gift and consistent financial participation over the next four months. I need 20 large ministries to commit to raising $20,000 to $100,000 in cash or in kind services. The balance will primarily be raised from foundations and individual donors.

Mobilize both prayer warriors and volunteers to help in the flagship pastors summits and young adult rallies we will have in each of the seven swing states outlined in our strategy. Use your media infrastructure to encourage all Christians (especially in our seven swing states) to participate in our Vote Vertical Campaign.

Finally, it is obvious that America has fallen on hard times because of our poor spiritual and moral choices as a nation. We can rescue the nation by preaching the pure unadulterated gospel. Please join me taking this monumental step of faith.

Yours Because of Calvary,

Harry Jackson

Also, standing with me are these signatories:

  • Rev. Samuel Rodriguez (National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference)

  • Rev. Alveda King (Priests for Life)

  • Dr. James Garlow (San Diego, CA)

  • Day Gardiner (Washington, DC)

  • Bishop Joseph Mattera (Brooklyn, NY)

  • Bishop Joseph Garlington (Pittsburgh, PA)

  • Steve Strang (Orlando, FL)

]]> (Steve Strang) News Tue, 21 Aug 2012 18:17:52 -0400
Welcome Lindy Lowry to Ministry Today It's my privilege to introduce Lindy Warren Lowry, who begins serving as Ministry Today's newest editor with this issue. For many years Lindy served as the edi-tor of Outreach magazine, where she began as its managing editor nine years ago. She oversaw the print and digital initiatives for the magazine, which is best known for publishing a list of the top 100 largest and fastest-growing churches in the country.
A graduate from the prestigious University of Missouri School of Journalism (magazine sequence), Lindy worked for me in the early 1990s on both Charisma and Christian Retailing before going on to a successful career at CCM, Aspire, Woman's World and Outreach magazines.
"At Outreach, I discovered a deepened love and respect for the local church," she told me. "I truly believe the church is God's plan for bringing His hope to this world, and I'm passionate about coming alongside church leaders and partnering with them in His mission to rescue and restore. If I could wave a magic wand over every church and their leaders, I would want them to truly understand and act on Christ's command to make biblical discipleship the center of everything we do in our lives and churches."
Besides winning many awards as a journalist, Lindy has been married to Chris for seven years, and they have a precocious 5-year-old son who often surprises her with questions such as, "How does the sun know when to come up?" Her husband is a college professor who teaches speech and coaches the debate team.
Lindy will be directing our next issue of Ministry Today with guest editor Joyce Meyer. Also look for her work with upcoming guest editors Rick Warren, Ron Luce, John Eckhardt and Joey Bonifacio, among others. Lindy takes the reins from Eric Tiansay, who has done yeoman's work as the special projects editor for the past year as he assisted me in my role as executive editor.
We began inviting guest editors partly to give us time to find the right editor to replace Marcus Yoars, who moved on to become editor of Charisma. That search has taken us two years, but the wait was worth it. What may have started partly as a necessity has become a real blessing. I hope you've enjoyed these issues and I'm excited about the future.]]> (Steve Strang) News Sun, 01 Jul 2012 14:28:32 -0400
The Risk Factor

by Jamie Buckingham

During my senior year in high school a group of women somewhere in the nation started a movement to have all competitive team sports—especially football—removed from public schools. Team sports, they complained, were too traumatic.

Children, they argued, should not be led to believe their team could win, then suffer the trauma of losing. They should only play games where everyone wins. They did not stop to think that there can he no victory where there is no possibility of defeat.

Who among us, regardless of how we voted last November, did not hurt for Michael Dukakis as he stood with his family on election night and—in a gracious New England way—conceded defeat. Yet the man who tries, even though he fails, is never a loser.

Those women in the early 1950s were right about one thing: defeat is definitely traumatic. But so is childbirth. And graduation. And marriage. Yet all are part of life. To eliminate them simply because they are risky would mean the cessation of life.

The risk-free life is a victory-free life. It means lifelong surrender to the mediocre. And that is the worst of all defeats. In politics the risk-free life leads to Marxism—where all risks are removed.

In religion, it leads to dead institutionalism. The man who is guaranteed against failure will never know the sweet taste of success. Today's youth are deathly afraid of risk. Yet, in what must be one of his-tory's great ironies, desiring safety, they escape into drugs—which is guaranteed failure and death,

Freedom demands risk. Eliminate the risks of freedom and you establish a slave state. Even then, if the risks of freedom are banned, tyranny takes over. Ask the Poles. The Czechoslovaks. The Cubans. Today's liberal is constantly crying for justice. But the question is not justice; it is freedom. Most definitions of justice call for the elimination of risk.

Capitalists love monopolies which eliminate the risk. But in the process monopolies kill the

wonderful creativity birthed—as with team sports—through competition.

Politicians work at gerrymandering to control their power positions in government—trying to eliminate the risks of defeat. I asked a congressman friend of mine what was the first thing a president, senator or congressman thinks of after election.

He smiled sadly. "How to be re-elected." Once in office the elected official spends all his tirne building a power base to protect his vested interests. If he can eliminate risk for us by providing us with all kinds of government benefits, we, in turn, will keep him in office.

Those who have the most to lose, however, are those least prone to risks and to bold actions. Take the banks, for instance, Banks do not like risk-takers. In fact, they are constantly asking what the "risk factor" is in a loan. Therefore bankers invest in established success, which means that banks invest in the past—not the future.

Visionaries don't have a chance. I've seen the same thing with publishers. In the past, I've tried to get established publishers to innovate in new concepts of communication—such as video materials, compact discs, radio and TV. I met massive resistance.

The bold, enterprising and innovative work that went into the birth of computers came from young outsiders—not from those still working with pen and paper who lacked the ability to dream and the willingness to risk.

A case in point is the struggle Bob Johnson, chairman of Dominion Network, has had getting people to back his highly innovative idea of television and radio broadcasting through direct broadcast satellites (DBS).

Johnson is the only government licensee approved to launch a Christian-owned and -controlled DBS satellite. What he is doing will one day revolutionize TV and radio broadcasting. Imagine having Christian TV without government restraint.

This powerful new satellite is scheduled to be launched early this year from XiChang, China. Yet not a single Christian TV or radio network has been willing to even talk about this marvelous concept on the air. DBS is going to happen. It's the only way Christian programming can afford to stay on the air in the future.

But the fear of risk, plus what has become something of a religious pork barrel by established broadcasters—which could mean having to share both control and their financial base with someone else—could keep Johnson and his Dominion satellite earthbound.

The major political and social impact of recent years came from student movements and minority uprisings—from those who had little to lose and hence were ready to lose it. Their causes were far more important to them than any penalties that risks would involve.

Jesus was such a man. So was Martin Luther and John Wycliffe. Martin Luther King was such a man. So is Oral Roberts. All risk-takers, courting defeat while taking extraordinary risks.

To dream of a risk-free world is to imagine a creation without hell. But a creation without hell is also a creation without heaven. God has made us to be creatures who are forced to choose between good and evil—which is the greatest of all risks.

The only risk-free world is in the minds of evil or lazy men—for God is a God of great risk. He sent His Son. Even more, He's entrusted the church to us. Those who dream of a risk-free life are, sooner or later, all losers.

From 1979 until his death, Jamie Buckingham (1932-1992) wrote the "Last Word" column for Charisma magazine, which originally published this article. He was the editor of Ministry Today magazine at his untimely death in February 1992—more than 20 years ago.

]]> (Eric Tiansay) News Thu, 29 Mar 2012 04:00:00 -0400
Hope For All of Us

by Jamie Buckingham

Eleven years ago, my daddy died. It was Sunday noon. We had just come in from church and the phone was ringing. It was my mother in Vero Beach, Fla.

"Daddy has just gone to be with the Lord." As long as I can remember she had called him Daddy. The kids all called him Daddy. Only his old friends—and he had outlived most of them—called him Walter.

Jackie and I went back out the door for the 30-mile drive down the Florida coast toward the old home place. My mind was whirling. He was 87 years old. Although his mind had been as sharp as when he taught English literature at DePauw University back in 1915, we all had known the time was short.

Twenty-five years earlier, kneeling in his orange grove, his life goals had radically changed. From making money to giving it away. Now he was satisfied. He owned nothing. He was ready to go home. The week before, I had sat on the side of the bed, listening as he quoted from Longfellow:

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream!—

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

I knew, in his poetic way, he was telling me he was about to die. It didn't seem to bother him. He believed death was a beginning—not an end.

I believed that too. At least, I wanted to. But as I drove in silence, Job's question kept swirling through my mind, "If a man dies, will he live again?"

It's the question we all ask when death strikes. "Daddy has gone to be with the Lord," my mother had said. How did she know? How does anyone know where you go when you die? What's to prove you're not like ants stepped on by kids, or like leaves burned in the fireplace?

We pulled up in the carport and went inside. Mother met us in the kitchen. "He went peacefully, in his sleep. I've already had my cry. He's back there on the bed."

"I'll call the funeral director," Jackie said softly. "You go on back."

I entered the familiar room. Daddy's body was on the bed, the light tan blanket pulled up over his chest. His mouth was partially open, his arm hanging at an awkward angle off his bed.

Looking down at him I could almost hear Longfellow again, echoing in the empty room:

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.

I knelt beside his bed. His body was still warm, but his arm had already grown stiff. I bent it back under the covers, caressing his hand as I did so. For the first time, I cried.

Jackie came into the room, her hand on my shoulder as I wept. I finally stood, my arm around her waist, looking out the window at the Florida he loved so much.

"Eternal springtime," Daddy used to call it, reminding us of the harsh winters back in Indiana.

"He's still here, isn't he," Jackie said.

"I feel him, too. He hasn't left yet."

Then, in silent words, he spoke to me. I've examined that sacred moment many times since then. Was I imagining? Was I wanting to believe so desperately I just made it up? No, for when I talked to my wife later, she had sensed virtually the same thing.

"You think Florida is beautiful? What you see out the window, son, is nothing compared to what I see." There was more, but it was too personal to relate here. The important thing was this: my doubt was gone.

In its place was hope. Not the kind of hope that says, "I hope he's still alive." Rather it was the biblical kind: "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Heb. 6:19, NIV).

All that came to mind last night as I was driving home. I passed a big blue dump truck with a picture on the door—an empty cross on a hill. Under it were these words: "He is risen!"

Hope. Even on the door of a dump truck. Hugo Gryn, a London rabbi, once wrote of an experience in a horrible Nazi concentration camp—grotesquely called Leiberose, "Lovely Rose"—in Silesia during the holocaust. It was published after World War II in the German magazine Der Alorgen.

"It was the cold winter of 1944 and although we had nothing like calendars, my father, who was a fellow prisoner there, took me and some of our friends to a corner of the barrack. He announced it was the eve of Hanukkah, produced a curious-shaped clay bowl, and began to light a wick immersed in his precious, but now melted, margarine ration.

Before he could recite the blessing, I protested at this waste of food. He looked at me, then at the lamp, and finally said: 'You and I have seen that it is possible to live up to three weeks without food. We once lived almost three days without water. But you cannot live properly for three moments without hope!'"

Easter is God's message of hope to the people of this planet. "If a man dies, will he live again?" that early Jew asked. Another Jew answered with more than words—He answered with His life. "Why do you look for the living among the dead?" the angel asked gently. That day, 11 years ago, as I held Daddy's cold hand, the angel whispered again. "He is not here. He is risen!" Hope—for all of us!

From 1979 until his death, Jamie Buckingham (1932-1992) wrote the "Last Word" column for Charisma magazine, which originally published this article. He was the editor of Ministry Today magazine at his untimely death in February 1992—more than 20 years ago.

]]> (Eric Tiansay) News Wed, 28 Mar 2012 04:00:00 -0400
Choosing to Obey God

by Jamie Buckingham

I was fresh out of seminary and the new pastor of a Baptist church in a little South Carolina town when Martin Luther King Jr. led his famous march from Montgomery to Selma, Ala.

We did a lot of talking about racial segregation in our deacons' meetings those days. Everyone was defensive. "We're integrated," one man said. "When Miss Jessie died we allowed her maid to come to the funeral and sit in the balcony along with her pickaninny."

Not too far away, in Greensboro, N.C., four black college students refused to move from a Woolworth lunch counter when denied service. It was 1961. By September more than 70,000 students, whites and blacks, had participated in sit-ins.

Our deacons appointed a special committee to patrol the street in front of the church in case "the darkies" tried to get in. "They got their own churches," Harry Lemwood, a grocer, used to say. "Let 'em go there."

I groaned over the injustice, but when King marched on Selma, I did not join him—even though I knew he was right. I didn't even stand up in my pulpit and applaud him. I kept silent. I wasn't afraid of Bull Conner. Or the snarling police dogs. Or of being put in jail.

What I feared most was losing my "job" as pastor. I preached against segregation—which was acceptable because of King's sacrifice. But I knew better than to do anything rash—like marching.

I just stayed home and preached the gospel. I quoted Romans 13—that Christians should not break the law—to justify my stance. No matter that the law said blacks were inferior to whites. No matter that it was cruel, dehumanizing and anti-Christ. It was the law.

By isolating Romans 13 from the rest of the Bible, I justified legalized sin. Today, I still feel guilty for not marching. All this came to mind recently when I talked with my friend Guy Strayhorn, an attorney from Fort Myers, Fla., Guy had just returned from Atlanta where he took part in one of the Operation Rescue demonstrations at an abortion clinic.

As a member of the bar, Guy is sworn to uphold the law. But which law? In this case he believed there was a direct conflict between God's law and man's law. He went to Atlanta in the spirit of Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives who deliberately disobeyed the Egyptian Pharaoh when ordered to kill baby Hebrew boys.

Yet by breaking the law they saved the lives of innocent babies—including one named Moses. Civil disobedience. Or as James Dobson calls it—spiritual obedience.

Guy went to Atlanta because he believes unborn babies are human beings. He went for the same reason I should have gone to Selma—to protest national evil.

In choosing to obey God rather than man, he paid the same price Daniel paid—who was thrown into a den of lions; the same price Peter and John paid—who were arrested and badly beaten.

Changes for good come because men like Martin King and Guy Strayhorn take a stand. How easy it is for us modern-day priests and Levites to quote Scripture that justifies inaction.

Charles Stanley did this when he and his deacons at Atlanta's First Baptist Church publicly condemned Operation Rescue. In his statement he did what I did 30 years ago. He quoted Romans 13:2—to break the law is to rebel against God.

Then he called Roe vs. Wade "the law of the land." But did Paul mean we should not object when unborn babies are murdered? Yet Stanley argued that if we protest, "anarchy and chaos will ultimately result, and then it will be very difficult to preach the gospel."

But a "gospel" that sanctions the wholesale murder of children is not the gospel of Christ—it is the gospel of Pharaoh and Herod. Stanley said, "Jesus advocated submission to authority and not civil dis-obedience as a means of effecting change."

He's wrong. Jesus not only advocated civil disobedience. He practiced it by disobeying the Jewish law, which was "the law of the land." Yet this was not His primary means of effecting change. Real change came when Jesus took spiritual authority over the demonic forces that put men in bondage.

In July, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision involving Roe vs, Wade. Justice Harry Blackmun, who authored the 1973 decision legalizing abortion, has predicted the new court will overturn that decision.

Oral arguments are now being heard. Although I applaud Operation Rescue for drawing attention to the horror of mass abortion, the battle will not be won on the curbs of America.

Protests and demonstrations will not sway the US. Supreme Court. Their decision will be based on each justice's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

A godly interpretation is now possible; but bank on this—Satan will throw all the powers of hell at the justices to confuse their minds. The real struggle is against what Paul calls "the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

American Christians—through fasting and prayer—can push those forces back, allowing the justices to hear from God, for some of them are praying people.

So what should I do? Sit on a curb in front of an abortion clinic? Yes, but only if God tells me. However, I don't have to ask about spiritual warfare. That I must do. That I will do.

From 1979 until his death, Jamie Buckingham (1932-1992) wrote the "Last Word" column for Charisma magazine, which originally published this article. He was the editor of Ministry Today magazine at his untimely death in February 1992—more than 20 years ago.

]]> (Eric Tiansay) News Tue, 27 Mar 2012 04:00:00 -0400
A Scout's Honor

by Jamie Buckingham

No book influenced my young life more than the Boy Scout handbook. In it I found a wonderful world of semaphore flags, sheepshanks, clove hitches, lean-tos and reflector ovens.

It was my personal guidebook from the time I was 12 until I was 16. It took me from Tenderfoot, through the exciting world of merit badges, all the way to the coveted rank of Eagle Scout.

Youth activities in our little town—aside from a spitball fight in Sunday school or a Friday night dance—were non-existent. Scouting was everything. In Scouting, I felt the tug toward manhood. Older boys discipled younger boys.

Scoutmasters took us on camping and canoe trips. I learned how to apply a tourniquet and a splint, salute my superiors, have my uniform inspected and feel pride—with hard-earned accomplishments.

As a Scout, I learned all the important concepts that would later make life rich and meaningful. I learned to relate to a small group in my patrol and troop. I learned to respect—not fear or destroy—nature.

With only a hatchet, knife, rope and compass I could live in the wilderness. I learned Indian lore, loyalty and how to be part of a world brotherhood. A Boy Scout loved God and country.

He respected his parents. He went to church. He believed in good deeds, loyalty, thrift, courage, physical fitness and—most of all—being prepared. I took a vow that I still try to uphold.

He must be prepared at any time to save life, help injured persons and share the home duties. He must do at least one "good turn" to somebody every day. But with the good times were times of disappointment—the same disappointment I have suffered in adult life and in my church.

It wasn't with Scouting; it was with Scouts. Particularly with Scout leaders. One August afternoon five of us—young teenagers—headed for the girly show at the annual summer carnival on the fairgrounds.

The sideshow barker had gathered a small crowd of mostly teenage boys. Two tired, flabby women were gyrating on the platform in bathing suits. Inside, the barker told us, we could "see it all" for 50 cents.

We gave each other knowing looks, told the ticket-taker we were "of age" (we were all 13) and entered the semi-dark tent where scratchy Egyptian music was playing. An old bump-and-grind woman came out on the tiny stage and began to strip. She finally got down to what I imagined was the fabled G-string.

Then, in a whirl and a flash, she pulled it down. Before we could blink, she looked at us, gave her hips a hunch and disappeared behind the drape. The show was over. I felt dirty. It was the first time I had seen a naked woman. I felt degraded, and yes, cheated.

I had wasted a week's allowance for a scar that would remain in my memory for a lifetime. But the worst part was when we turned around to leave. There, in the back of the little tent, was our new scoutmaster.

I knew we had been caught, yet inwardly I was relieved. I sensed I needed both punishment and help. Especially help. I didn't like what I had done and needed to he absolved. But the scoutmaster didn't see us in the dark tent. He had something else on his mind.

Walking around the inside edge of the tent, he had found the other stripper and was talking to her in a hushed conversation. We kept out of his sight, laughing quietly that we hadn't been caught—but had caught him instead.

We got down on hands and knees and crawled under the edge of the tent into the hot Saturday afternoon sunlight. Ordinarily I would have been excited by the midway: the music. the roar of the motorcycles in the pit, the whirling colors of the octopus and the tilt-a-whirl.

But I was sick at my stomach. My technicolor world had turned to gray. Overshadowing everything was a deep sense of moral revulsion—sadness—over the woman who had degraded herself in front of a bunch of teenage boys.

From my father, I had inherited such a lofty concept of womanhood. I stood when a woman entered the room. I helped my mother or my sister with her chair at the table. To have spoken harshly to a woman, much less struck her, would have been a sin of the first magnitude.

Now that pristine image of womanhood had been soiled by my first cheap glimpse of flesh—an image that remains in my mind even to this day.

Then there was the searing guilt. I had violated that deep sense of morality ingrained by the Boy Scout oath: 'On my honor I will do my best to do my duly to God and my keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."

I desperately needed forgiveness, absolution. But the only man who could give it, my scoutmaster, was still in the tent. That, perhaps, was the deepest wound of all.

I had seen the dark side of a man I looked to for light. As my scoutmaster he had been my hero, the bearer of the torch, the lifter of the standard. He was the man who challenged us to excel, to be noble, to do right. If I couldn't trust my scoutmaster, how could I ever be cleansed of my own sin?

It was my first introduction to life the way it really is—unfair and full of disappointments. But it prepared me for what I later discovered was truth It is God who cleanses and absolves—not man.

While Scouts strive to be trustworthy, God alone can be trusted. My task: to forgive and love—for love covers a multitude of sins—even the sins of leaders.

From 1979 until his death, Jamie Buckingham (1932-1992) wrote the "Last Word" column for Charisma magazine, which originally published this article. He was the editor of Ministry Today magazine at his untimely death in February 1992—more than 20 years ago.

]]> (Eric Tiansay) News Mon, 26 Mar 2012 04:00:00 -0400