By Eric Barger
The writer (Julie) had heard a sermon on this passage in a local church and was disturbed in the way the passage in Matthew 25 was used so as only to further the concept of social justice. She wrote: “I felt that the whole message was to make the point that those who do good deeds would be welcomed into God’s Kingdom. I know that Christians are suppose to love thy neighbor and faith without works is dead. But I thought the reason behind the separating the sheep from the goats was about salvation – those that are saved and those that are not. People can reason that you don’t have to be religious to help those in need. Some might argue that they see more non-religious people do more good things than some Christians they know. Anyone can put out food and clothes . . . . but what about the saving of the soul? Please explain this scripture to me. Is it being used for the cause of ‘social justice?’ Thank you.”
As I’ve reflected on Saturday’s show, I can’t help but think of the Israelites worshipping the golden calf after the exodus from Egypt. I used to think the Israelites understood the calf as representing a deity other than Yahweh. However, as some scholars note, they likely viewed the calf as a representation of Yahweh. They simply were trying to appropriate the idol worship they had learned in Egypt for worship of the one, true God, whom they barely knew.
This seems much like what Christians are doing today with yoga. We are not worshipping God in spirit and truth. Instead, we’re trying to worship Him through an idolatrous practice that emerged from a lie about His nature. But, just like God called the Israelites to be separate from the idolatry surrounding them, He calls us to do the same today.
It seems somewhat ironic that in the year that we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a leading Protestant would reject the central tenet of the Reformation, Sola Scriptura, and join the Eastern Orthodox Church. Hank Hanegraaff, known to millions through his radio program, The Bible Answer Man, converted to Eastern Orthodoxy on Sunday, April 9, 2017 in the Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I cannot say that I know Hank personally, though I have met him casually many times and appeared on his radio show perhaps 20 years ago.
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told a packed house at the opening of the 6th Global Forum on Combating Antisemitism that a “new” antisemitism, characterized by “the irrational, deceitful, and insidious vilification of Israel and its supporters under the guise of political commentary” worries him far more than the “old” antisemitism.