Watch Aaron in the film Holy Wars

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Which one should I choose?

I receive e-mails from a lot of different ministries that want me to support or join their cause. Today I received an e-mail from two different ministries. In order to show the contrast between the two ministries, I decided to show the two e-mails side by side and ask my readers which cause I should support and why?

Below is the first e-mail sent out by Jay Sekulo from ACLJ.


Dear Aaron,

You are invited to join me and the ACLJ as we journey to the Holy Land this summer!

Jay Sekulow in Israel This is truly an unprecedented opportunity to experience Israel in a way that is not available to most visitors. You will not want to miss it.

Click here to review the itinerary, Frequently Asked Questions, and pricing for this special trip.

This is going to be more than just a 10-day tour. From June 17 through June 27, 2008, you can EXPERIENCE the rich history of this beautiful land.

The theme of this trip is ''Stand with Israel - in Israel.''

Walk where Jesus walked. Spend time with government officials, military leaders, and members of the Israeli Parliament. Get in-depth analysis and up-to-the minute information on what is taking place in the Middle East.

I will also provide you with an ''insider's view'' on how the ACLJ and our worldwide affiliates are showing support of this crucial Middle-Eastern State ... and why it is so vitally important.

Jay Sekulow in Israel Travel to one of the most strategic lands in all of history. Learn first-hand about life along the borders of Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Witness the impact of events in Iraq on this region. Be baptized in the Jordan River. Experience the holy places where Jesus taught, and absorb the rich history of this amazing land. Make your plans NOW to join me for this unprecedented opportunity! Visit our website for more information or to put your deposit down.

The price of $3,999 per person, based on double occupancy, includes round-trip airfare from New York, hotel accommodations, all meals, sight-seeing tours, entrance fees, taxes, and gratuities. (I encourage you to book your trip before February 15. After that day, another $150 fuel surcharge per person will be added to the $3,999 fee.)

The best way to stand with Israel is to stand IN Israel. Don't miss this life-changing tour, June 17 - June 27, 2008.


Now that you've read an e-mail asking me to join a political agenda, I'd like to compare it to another e-mail I received from an Iranian evangelist named Reza Safa. Here is Reza's letter to me.

Dearest Friends,



I have just returned from a ministry trip to Las Vegas, where I ministered at the only Iranian church in the area. The Lord touched many people there. About ten people accepted the Lord and many were baptized in the Holy Spirit, and the Lord delivered and healed several people. One man approached me the first night and asked me to pray for his deliverance from alcohol addiction. After my preaching, when I gave the altar call, he and his wife came up and accepted the Lord. That night he asked his wife to throw away all beer and alcohol from their house. He used to drink two cases of beer every day. The following night he came back and told me that when he woke up that morning, he was completely free from alcohol. “I feel like a brand new man,” he said to me. That night he also brought his daughter, who is facing a marital problem. She also accepted the Lord and received prayer. To God be the glory, Jesus is still in the business of delivering people. During the services, a tall and strong elderly man, who used to be a wrestling champion, helped me catch people as I prayed for them. Talking to him afterwards, I realized that although he never missed any of their church services, he was still a Muslim and faithfully prayed his Islamic prayer five times every day. I encouraged him about faith in Christ. “Every blessing of God is only in Jesus,” I said to him. I told him that God will not operate outside of Jesus, for in Him all things sustain. He kept insisting that he loved Prophet Jesus, and I kept insisting that he didn’t believe in Jesus—not the Jesus that the Bible talks about. I loved on him and told him the truth. People must know the truth, even if the truth offends them, as long as we speak it in love. He called me yesterday and left a message on my cell phone. He said that the following morning when he woke up, for the first time after fifty years, he did not do his regular Islamic prayer, and that he asked Jesus to come in to his heart. I called him back and asked him if he called Jesus Khodavand (Lord). He acknowledged and told me that he hadn’t missed his daily Islamic prayers since he was six years old. He said that he wanted to be baptized. I asked him if he felt a change in his heart. He did and he said that he felt peace for the first time in his life. To God be the glory.



Christianity used to roar with conviction and solid revelation knowledge that shook the known world of its time. Unfortunately, Christianity today appears to be a more refined version of human philosophies. It lacks conviction and persuasion. It has glamour but it lacks glory. It is bound by self-interest and fear. “Why should we confront, when we can all live together in peace!” That is the philosophy of the hour. Interfaith and political correctness are invading our societies. It is all mixed in a grey mesh. Jesus said it well, "If the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." Did you know that salt raises your blood sugar? But without it, food has no taste. Truth is hard, but without it men like this wrestler will continue to turn toward Mecca and pray to a dead god five times a day for fifty years.



I have received criticism by several Christians about our upcoming debate with the Islamic Society of Tulsa. Most of their reasoning is based on fear of confrontation by the Muslims. In other words, let us not tell them the truth because we are afraid of their responses. Isn’t that what the Sanhedrin said to the Apostles? “Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 4:18)



Jamal Badawi, the Egyptian Muslim scholar whom the Islamic Society of Tulsa invited, often argues in major events that the Bible is a corrupted book, that Jesus is not the Son of God, and that Jesus did not die on the cross for the sins of the people. While he is hindered from receiving the salvation of God through Jesus Christ, he is also hindering millions of others from hearing about that salvation. While millions of Muslims are damned for hell because of the efforts of Mr. Badawi and his organization ISNA, Christians are afraid Muslims will react and hurt them. My Bible says, “… they loved not their lives unto death.” Isn’t that what Apollos did? “For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” (Acts 18:28 NIV) Isn’t that what Paul often did? Isn’t that why he was stoned in Iconium? Read Acts 14:1-5. Paul caused uproar almost everywhere he went. Read Acts 13-20. Read about the public debates Paul had with the Jews every day for two years:



“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. Acts 19:8-10 (NIV)



If Paul lived in our day, many Christians would curse him and possibly take him to court, accusing him of creating hatred between the Jews and Christians.



No, we will continue speaking the truth boldly and lovingly because we desire to see millions of Muslims delivered from darkness and set free, just like our Iranian wrestler friend from Las Vegas who prayed in a foreign language (Arabic) to a false god five times daily, bending up and down toward Mecca. But today he is free because I told him that God would never answer his prayer as long as he is a Muslim! Wow! That is harsh! But that is the truth. And that set him free.



You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.



I hope to see you all next Friday, January 25th. I am asking our church to fast and pray that day that God would open the eyes of Jamal Badawi, hundreds of Muslims who will be there, and tens of thousands of Muslims who will watch this video on the internet. Would you also commit that day to the Lord by fasting and praying for the salvation of these Muslims? Also please be there early, the doors open at 6:00 PM.





Loving Him Forever,



Pastor Reza F. Safa


Let's see here. The first e-mail wants me to advance a political agenda. The second e-mail wants me to advance a spiritual agenda.

Which one should I choose?

Is there really any contest?

6 comments:

toby said...

one email is from a political organization and one is from a christian individual. i wouldn't call the ACLJ a ministry at all, and i don't think they claim to be. Their primary purpose as an organization is one of a political nature. it doesn't seem like a fair comparision.

If spiritual agendas are more important to you, than that's what you should choose. but i think your closing statement makes too big of a generalization.

on a somewhat related note... i have been wondering lately about this idea of christians being involved in politics. seeing as how the united states is rapidly plunging into moral depravity and there exist many anti-christian organizations and agendas and these agendas are moving more and more into the government/state organizations, how should christians respond?

obviously, there is a bias against christianity in a nation that claims equality and freedom. so far we still have the right to free speech and to be involved in government. but what do we do?

do we play the strictly spiritual card and pray but don't lift a finger to do anything about it? do we protest and run for office and try to save the united states? do we abandon our earthly cares and focus totally on the kingdom of God? any ideas? maybe this one needs it's own post.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Toby,

Your question doesn't just need it's own post. It needs an entire book! This is why I'm writing "Reformation: A Biblical Response to Holy War."

This Sunday, I will be giving a message at a church in Fort Leonard Wood that will be dealing with some of the questions that you posed. I'll be happy to send you a recording.

I think ACLJ very much claims to be a ministry. They have a highly listened to radio program and they take donations as a 501C3 tax exempt organization.

Perhaps the question was general, but that's what I intended. If you get too wrapped up in the political, then you end up developing a value system that puts a priority on Christians paying $4,300 to go and meet with Israeli military generals (a very, very, questionable agenda indeed) when that same amount of money could have been spent supporting a ministry like Reza's, a ministry that actually does what Jesus told us to do in the Great Commission.

Toby, read the first e-mail again carefully and ask yourself if Jesus would support the agenda the ACLJ is putting forth here.

Power corrupts. The gospel saves.

Pete said...

Which one should you choose? The answer is simple...none of the above. If you somehow have extra money laying around that you are desperate to contribute to a cause, I know a guy who could use it to help pay for Bible college :)
Pete

Aaron D. Taylor said...

Good one Pete.

toby said...

yeah, my question was not a simple one. guess i didn't realize the full scope of your book, but i'm glad that you're writing it. sure, i'll take a recording of your speech.

i agree that the aclj is a not-for-profit organization , but i respectfully disagree that the aclj claims to be a ministry; they are christians who are involved in politics. i used to listen to their show almost daily and if you go to their website, you will find that they refer to themselves as a political organization.

if you don't agree with their political views, ok. and if you're saying that christians need to abandon politics and focus solely on the kingdom of God, or at least re-evaluate the way that they're doing it, ok. i guess we just think of the organization differently; IMHO you're stretching it when you call them a ministry.

Aaron D. Taylor said...

"IMHO you're stretching it when you call them a ministry."

I'm not sure what you are referring to here.