Christianity in Today's AmericaTweet
Posted 12/6/13 at 10:36 AM | Michael Youssef
Depending on your point of view, the deal with Iran that was crafted in Geneva last month either stinks or is rosy. But what most of the world missed was the real motivation for both sides.
On the Western countries’ side (led by the United States), there were billions of dollars to be had in the lifting of sanctions on Iran. And the Islamist “Shia” mullahs of Iran knew that only too well.
Having grown up in the Middle East, I often heard a riddle that went something like this: “Who is the god of the West?”
The answer always was: “Money.”
The Geneva accord confirmed that perception, at least to the fast-growing segment of the Arab population that no longer trusts the U.S.
The motivation of the mullahs on the other hand, who know Islamic jurisprudence only too well, can be explained by “Taqiyya.” That word can be spelled different ways, but its meaning is always clear. Its essence is this: When you are in trouble with your enemy, agree with him as much as you can, but not too much. Once you gain the upper hand, you can renege, deny, or otherwise abrogate the agreement. FULL POST
Posted 11/22/13 at 11:34 AM | Michael Youssef
Many Americans, including Democrats, are very disgruntled with President Obama. But the real blame for many of our current messes lies beyond Mr. Obama.
It’s amazing how for years people should have seen the warning signs. They saw the unscrupulous ways that Mr. Obama conducted foreign and domestic policies. They saw how he pitted classes and races against each other. They saw how he squandered people’s money on adventurous programs, such as Solyndra, not to mention his and his wife’s expensive vacations. And of course they saw how he favored Muslims over Christians; and Arabs over Israelis.
That is to say nothing of selling guns to Mexican criminals, the betrayal at Benghazi, and the mishandling of the Arab Spring.
And yet his loyal subjects followed him blindly. And his adoring media covered up for him. FULL POST
Posted 11/15/13 at 6:27 PM | Michael Youssef
We reap what we sow. That’s a biblical concept, but other religions have similar sayings. Hindus believe in Karma—"do good and you’ll get good, do bad and you’ll get bad." Even atheists say, "What goes around comes around."
However, sowing and reaping in Judeo-Christian teaching is very different. It does acknowledge the natural fact of God’s creation—namely, that if you plant cotton, you won’t get wheat. But the Bible not only affirms that agricultural principle, it goes a step further—a step that is unknown to all other religious and human endeavors.
If you sow misery, you will reap misery. But God is bigger than that simple equation. After sowing, if you repent and turn to the Lord, and if you ask forgiveness from others, then God will show mercy. Not only will He forgive, but He will help correct the misery that has been sown.
Which brings me to the Obama Administration.
For five years, the administration has functioned under an unbridled desire to fundamentally transform America—transform it from a good and decent country with a penchant for rewarding hard work and integrity, into a nation that rewards slothfulness and dependence on Uncle Sam. FULL POST
Posted 11/1/13 at 12:33 PM | Michael Youssef
That’s a startling question, to be sure. But it’s a question that haunted me during my recent visit to Australia. There, political conservatism is experiencing a revival of sorts after six years of socialist wilderness.
While in Australia, I kept thinking about a surprising statement made to me by a prominent American conservative leader during the last U.S. election. At that time, he said, “I will not support the Republican candidate. In fact, I hope Obama wins.”
When I couldn’t hide my shock, he went on to explain his perspective: eventually the socialist ideology in our country would over-tip its hand, and then the people would wake up and elect a modern-day Reagan.
Well, now a short time later, socialism has certainly over-tipped its hand. Our debt has spiraled to more than $17 trillion. Twenty percent of our economy—healthcare—is mired in the mud pit of Obamacare. Millions of dollars are spent on the entertainment of public servants. Billions more have been incinerated within expanded bureaucracies of ineptitude and government-funded companies, such as Solyndra. And all of this happened while more and more people dropped out of the workforce and the food stamp program expanded to more than 47 million people. FULL POST
Posted 10/25/13 at 12:03 PM | Michael Youssef |
Previously, I talked about the Sojourners-sponsored ad headlined "What Would Jesus Cut?" The ad, signed by Jim Wallis and more than two dozen leaders of the Religious Left, urged our leaders to ask themselves what Jesus would cut from the federal budget.
Called "the leader of the Religious Left" by The New York Times, Rev. Jim Wallis has a long history of denouncing his own country. In Agenda for Biblical People (1976), Jim Wallis refers to America as a "fallen nation." In an article in Mission Trends, Wallis approvingly predicted that "more Christians will come to view the world through Marxist eyes" and that "so-called 'young evangelicals' . . . [will] see the impossibility of making capitalism work for justice and peace."
During the 1980s, Wallis defended the U.S.S.R. and blamed the U.S. for Cold War tensions, claiming, "At every turn, U.S. policy-makers have chosen to assume the very worst about their Soviet counterparts." He denounced the U.S. government which was trying to halt the spread of communism in Latin America in the 1980s, and supported Communist factions in Nicaragua and El Salvador. FULL POST
Posted 10/17/13 at 11:08 AM | Michael Youssef |
In part one of this series, I made clear, from the words of Jesus and the New Testament, that ministering to the poor and the needy among us is the work of Christian individuals and the church, not the secular government. Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. . . ." Today's Religious Left wants to change that to, "He has anointed the federal government to preach good news to the poor."
The Christian gospel is a message of salvation, not a message of income redistribution and raising our neighbor's taxes. Jesus said that the way to serve the poor is by giving generously of our own resources. "But when you give a banquet," He said in Luke 14, "invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
The Religious Left is very generous—with other people's money. In fact, I believe the founder of the Religious Left was none other than Judas Iscariot. When Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed Jesus with costly perfume just days before the crucifixion, Judas lectured her and said, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?" FULL POST
Posted 10/11/13 at 12:04 PM | Michael Youssef |
The headline of the full-page ad asks, "What Would Jesus Cut?—A budget is a moral document." The text continues, "Our faith tells us that the moral test of a society is how it treats the poor."
The ad was produced by Sojourners, a self-described "evangelical" organization whose slogan is "Faith in Action for Social Justice." The ad was signed by Sojourners president Jim Wallis and more than two dozen Religious Left pastors, theologians, and activists. They urge our legislators to ask themselves, "What would Jesus cut?" from the federal budget.
How would you answer that question? My answer would be, "It's a nonsense question. Your premise is faulty. Your priorities are not His priorities."
Jesus had many opportunities to confront the Roman government about its spending priorities. It was, after all, one of the most brutal regimes in history. If the question "What would Jesus cut?" has any biblical relevance, we should be able to cite instances where Jesus lectured the Roman oppressors the same way the Religious Left lectures America. FULL POST
Posted 10/4/13 at 2:54 PM | Michael Youssef |
While the temporary, partial government shutdown has riveted our nation, Christians are being martyred all over the world.
The limited space of this column does not permit me to enumerate the long list of martyred Christians and the locations where Christians continue to be killed in cold blood. But needless to say, the violence stretches from Nigeria to Egypt to Iraq to Syria to Pakistan and beyond.
The most tragic act of treachery recently committed by Islamists against innocent Christians took place in a church in Peshawar, Pakistan just a few weeks ago. There, 81 innocent worshipers were slaughtered, and many more were wounded, some permanently.
The Western press, if they reported that tragedy at all, reported it as just another “day at the office,” as if it was unworthy of much news attention. Nothing to see here; move right along.
But those of us who read Arabic and Islamic publications know that Tehrik-e-Taliban Jundullah claimed responsibility for the bombing, stating that the attack of the 130-year-old All Saints Church in Peshawar was revenge for U.S. drone strikes. FULL POST
Posted 9/26/13 at 1:14 PM | Michael Youssef
Double-talk. It’s confusing to the faithful. But more than that, it can be a jumping point for the weak and uninformed.
In my book, The Leadership Style of Jesus, I explain the critical role leaders play, especially in the way they communicate. Depending on the situation, communication can literally bring life or death.
So why then do many Christian leaders—such as the Catholic Pope, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, or many evangelical popes—not measure their words? Why do they often invoke double-talk in dealing with clear-cut issues?
Is it so atheists and agnostics will love them?
Is it so an increasingly secular society will accept them?
Is it so unbelievers will feel good about their unbelief?
Only God can judge their motives.
Take the recent statements by Pope Francis, who seemed to say that one does not have to be a believer to go to heaven. The Pope’s defenders say he means that non-believers are capable of doing good, and that the act of doing good will ultimately lead them to God. But that’s really a stretch. FULL POST
Posted 9/20/13 at 10:18 AM | Michael Youssef |
It has been said a million times (and now a million and one) that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And now, just like sixty years ago, the United States has allowed Russia to claim a great victory and become the real power player in the Middle East.
Today, the blame for that can be confidently laid at the feet of American politicians and their myopic understanding of the region’s new dynamics.
Those politicians are led by the Obama Administration, plus two Republicans, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Their obsession with achieving “democracy” in the Middle East, even through fraudulent elections, has led them to fumble the ball—allowing the Russians to recover the ball and run it into the end zone. FULL POST