Salvation

By Jon Kauffman

“What’s more important here is not saving the country, it’s saving your soul,” Al Kresta, Ave Maria Radio.

How does this Salvation of the soul happen?

When I was a teenager I had a radical conversion experience. I was saying the Lord’s Prayer. Previously, I was having a disagreement with a friend and was angry with him. The prayer says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I asked Jesus to help me forgive my friend. My heart was filled with joy and peace. Before this experience I was terrified of dying. Jesus took away my fear of death. I know forgiving others is part of Salvation.

Pastors of the Salvation Army may say that believing that Jesus rose from the dead is an important element of Salvation. Romans 10:9. They may say confessing your sins to one another, or a pastor or God is also a necessary element of Salvation. I John 1:9. Or confessing that Jesus is Lord or King or ruler of your life is a necessary element of Salvation. Romans 10:9.  They may say this turning over your life to Jesus, or a radical conversion experience is a spiritual rebirth as described in John 3.

The Salvation Army pastor may say that once one has believed in Jesus, evidence of that Salvation will include, as the Apostle John says, that we love our brothers and sisters. I John 2:10. Or we live as Jesus lived. I John 2:6. Or if we do what is right we know we are born of God. I John 3: 7. Or that the Holy Spirit will witness to our hearts that he lives in us.  I John 3:21-24. Or that we will follow the Sermon on the Mount and love our enemies. Matthew 5:43.

The Salvation Army Pastor may say that one who has experienced the rebirth will feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty and visit those in prison. James 2:14-17. The one who has this Salvation will avoid lusting or committing adultery or obtaining divorces. Matthew 5:27-32. The one who has this Salvation will give to the needy. Matthew 6:1-4. Salvation Army pastors may say that one who has Salvation will find ways to be reconciled to those with whom they disagree.  Matthew 5: 23,24.

When we receive this Salvation, we will be able to see the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:22-24.

Catholics such as Al Kresta may add that Salvation includes baptism, which he considers the new birth, confirmation which he says is receiving the Holy Spirit, confessing our sins to a priest and attending Mass every week.

The Salvation Army and Mennonite pastors and Catholics would agree that if we do not want to follow Jesus, we may give up that Salvation and live for ourselves. On the other hand forgiveness is always available from Jesus when we fail. I John 2: 24,25. Some protestants may say we can never lose that Salvation.

If Jesus rose from the dead and if He will give us the wonderful future he has promised, then following Jesus is our most important priority in our lives. Nothing else matters.

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Why I Can’t Thank Veterans

By Jon Kauffman

I can’t thank veterans for their military service.

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44,45a, NIV

How do we love our enemies?

How do we love the children, innocent women, and innocent men the US has killed with drones?

How do we love fellow Christians and other refugees whose homes have been destroyed in Iraq, Libya and Syria because of faulty US foreign policy?

30 years ago I was broke, without a job or medical insurance and supporting two children. Many suggested I join the military. I told my wife that I could not in good conscience join the military. She said God would take care of us. God has blessed us greatly.

If I am unwilling to kill to protect our country, why should I expect someone else to do it? If I am unwilling to kill innocent civilians to prevent a future attack that may or may not happen, why should I expect someone else to do it for me. If I am unwilling to kill to protect US oil interests and military weapons maker’s interests, how can I ask or expect someone else to do it? If I say “Thank-you” to a veteran, he may think that I think he was doing the right thing by joining the military.

True patriots question failed US foreign policy. The ends do not justify the means. Wouldn’t it be better to lose our lives, our wealth, our freedom, our country, our homes and our families, but follow the teachings of Jesus?

Christians from the early church often refused to serve in the imperial army of Rome. They felt service in the Roman army conflicted with the teachings of Jesus. St. Marcellus was beheaded for refusing to serve.

One of the biggest mistakes of the church was to accept “Just War” theology. Each side feels their side is right and commit atrocities against the other. Then they each feel more justified. Catholics and Protestants fought each other for hundreds of years in Ireland. The Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France fought the 100 years war. The US has been at war in the Middle East for nearly 40 years. Everyone claims their war is just. How can it be?

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

Jesus’ Kingdom, The Kingdom of God

By Jon Kauffman

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36 NIV

Here Jesus is speaking to Pilate just before taking up the cross and dying. Jesus said we also must take up our cross and follow him. Jesus had 10,000 angels who could have saved him from death and given him all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus can protect us in the same way.

The church is building the Kingdom of God on earth in the same way Jesus was building the Kingdom of God on earth. We are his servants on earth, but since his Kingdom is not of this earth, to follow Jesus we must not fight for the Kingdoms of this earth.

Many similarities exist between the Roman Empire of Jesus’ day and the United States Empire of today. Both were policemen of the world. Both were built on money and power. Rome used an open method of torture, the cross. The US uses water boarding and clandestine operations to overthrow governments.

When we join the military we are fighting for the Kingdoms of the earth. Eisenhower talked about the military/industrial complex and the huge profits made from war. If we look closely at the players in the Middle East, we see that Eisenhower’s comments are more true today than in his time.  Our foreign policy is designed to make war manufacturers and troop support businesses huge amounts of money.

In US drone warfare, estimates range from 5 to 50 innocent people killed for every enemy soldier killed. The US continues to perform signature drone strikes on a daily basis. Most of the enemy soldiers killed are defending their homes against an invading US force.

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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The War Prayer

by Mark Twain
1904

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came – next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their faces alight with material dreams-visions of a stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! – then home from the war, bronzed heros, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation – “God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!”

Then came the “long” prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was that an ever – merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory.

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher’s side and stood there, waiting.

With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal,”Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!”

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside – which the startled minister did – and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said

“I come from the Throne – bearing a message from Almighty God!” The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. “He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import – that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of – except he pause and think.

“God’s servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two – one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of His Who hearth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this – keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor’s crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

“You have heard your servant’s prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it – that part which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: ‘Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(After a pause)

“Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits.”

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

US Foreign Policy is Like Abortion

By Jon Kauffman

Natural consequences of a woman obtaining an abortion include: a multitude of physical complications or death both during and after abortion. Then she may suffer regret, anger, guilt, shame, depression, suicide, anxiety, relationship issues, alcoholism, drug addiction, and eating disorders. She killed an innocent baby.

Natural consequences for our veterans killing in a war include: death or injury in battle, PTSD, suicide, divorce, homelessness, alcoholism, and drug addiction. They kill innocent men, women and children. When they kill enemy soldiers, those soldiers are usually protecting their homes from invading US forces.

Joining our military is like working for Planned Parenthood. The President, Secretary of State and generals are like abortion doctors. Soldiers who kill are like women obtaining abortions. Soldiers who hold support positions are like fathers and boyfriends who coerce their daughters and girlfriends into obtaining an abortion and haul them off to the abortion clinic.

We must provide counseling, compassion and resources for soldiers, other victims of US foreign policy and victims of abortion. We need to provide education to help prevent abortion and US military service.

Should a Christian join a US military which commits so many unjust atrocities and does not even attempt to follow “just war” theory? The blood of the saints grows the church. What does the killing of innocent by American soldiers grow?

“The United States is the most violent country in the history of the World.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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War tears innocent men, women and children limb to limb.

Religious Terrorism

By Jon Kauffman

Atheists sometimes say, “Christians, Remember you were terrorists for 300 years, lopping off heads during the Crusades….terrorism is a product of religion. Religion is the problem.”

They are trying to prove that atheism is more rational than Christianity. Does this statement logically prove their point?

No.

They are saying “In the past Christians have been involved in war, therefore religion is the problem.” False.

A true statement is “In the past Christians have been involved in war, therefore Christians do not always follow the teachings of Jesus.”

When they are fighting in a war, Christians do not obey God’s command, “Thou shalt not kill” or Jesus’ command, “Love your enemy.”

Lenin, Stalin and Mao were atheists. They killed 60,000,000 to 100,000,000 innocent people.  More people have been killed by atheists than the number killed by any religion.

Most atheists hold to moral relativity, therefore for them there is no universal evil and there is nothing morally to hold them from doing things that various religions would teach to be immoral or wrong.

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.