January 18, 2021

RED ALERT_COUNTDOWN 12 DAYS TIL WDC KALACHAKRA

A LESSON FROM THE  LUCKY LEPERS

By James C. Stephens

http://www.worldviews101.com

Friday, June 24, 2011

Parking is an event at Grace Community Church on Sunday mornings. If you miss the window of time and are late by ten minutes you have to park at another lot which is a ten minute walk away. I was late, so I dropped off my family and as I was walking to the church, I struck up a quick conversation with another late arriver, who happened to be seminary student.  After a couple of minutes, I asked him, “So, do they teach you how to minister to Buddhists or those in other faiths?”

He simply responded, “No. We spend so much time on Greek, Hebrew, Hermeneutics, Exposition, etc., that we have no time to study world religions.”

I then jokingly remarked, “So, I guess you’re going to be working in a rural area.”

“Not quite,” he replied. “I’m going to be working in Chicago and really do need training on how to share the Gospel in a pluralist context.”

To be fair, Dr. John MacArthur is known to do his homework and tackles difficult subjects like Islam and has addressed it on “Larry King Live” and not backed down. He has been a fierce theological lion protecting the Narrow Gate in the public square. You know where he stands. May his tribe increase! 

If men are not equipped first to properly handle the Word of God, they don’t have a leg to stand on to judge right from wrong. They can’t see.  If you can’t see, then it’s a case of the blind leading the blind. Few are equipped to contend in the public square where they are “naked” and exposed.  I don’t mean physically stripped down, but when speaking in the public square one doesn’t have a pulpit and congregation to hide behind.     

In England, radical Moslems and Christians vigorously debate in Picadelly Circus, a square in downtown London. So what do we do in America? The latest it seems finds Americans opting out for a “Chrislam”, the newest brand name for a peaceful spiritual, non-offensive, politically correct interchange between Christianity and Islam in the Churches. Remove the “offensive cross”, pull out your Koran and Bible and compare verses. Well at least the ones that are not offensive. We are the Rodney King generation, “Can’t we all just get along?” Trouble is, neither contends for their faith openly. We don’t want to offend anyone. Americans don’t know how to debate. We’ve been dumbed down. 

Apologetics is needed more than ever in the seminaries. Strike that. More than ever in the Church among the priesthood of ALL believers. But we are like the Sunday afternoon sailor who doesn’t want to sail too far away from the shore, so we stick with the cults that typically knock at our door, Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons and leave the difficult sailing to the “experts.”  Trouble is,  that we no longer live in such a simple society as our new neighbors that have moved in next door are Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs, or just plain don’t care about anything except making a dollar.

We like the old Clint Eastwood movies where the hired gunslinger comes to town harassed by the cowboy ganstas, the townspeople slap a sheriff’s badge on him and he takes the heat, while they huddle like a bunch of frightened hens in a chicken coop. He rallies them, they kill the bad guys and he rides out of town.

That’s been my experience. After twenty two years of mission work, I recognized that the Church wasn’t equipping the flock to share the Gospel in our pluralistic society and probably wouldn’t venture far from shore to do so. They do what they do best. So, here we are, doing damage control and finding little help, again, from the Church to deal with the politically correct missionary Buddhism of the Dalai Lama.

We wait for Chicken Little to run around crying, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.” And when it doesn’t fall on our head, we go about our daily routine, not realizing that the temperature of the kettle we’re in has just been raised by one more degree. You’ve heard that story about the frog in the kettle? Throw him in a five quart pan of water and slowly raise the temperature of the water and basically the frog is lulled to death, or should I say boiled to death!  A slow death.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

 Rita Mae Brown, not Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”  Haven’t read her book, don’t know who she is, but good quote. So here we are, same time, same channel. The Dalai Lama is coming to town. Sounds like the Santa Claus tune. So, everybody lines up, gets their $76 ticket, the cheapest seat in the house at Verizon Center in Washington, DC with an audience capacity of 20,000. Or you could opt for the $396 ticket. Ten days of ceremonies training them to become citizens in the Shambhala kingdom.

A few Christians see the danger, the rest are on summer vacation.   

“Who me?”

“Well, do you think it’s an issue?”

“Frankly, I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehole.”

“So you’re okay with him doing his thing in Washington, DC?”

“Yeh, I’m okay.”

“So it’s “I’m okay, you’re okay is it?”

“Why not ok? Oh forget it. I don’t have time to hear about this crazy conspiracy theory stuff!”

“Whatever floats your boat.”

“Are you being sarcastic?”

“Hey, if you want to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich, go right ahead. But don’t tell me that you weren’t warned.”

“Warned about what? The cuddly giggly grandpa type guy from Tibet that wears those sun visors and ugly brown Gucci shoes?”

“Take our course. It’s all there. First week is only $1. What’s stopping you? Too busy? Buddhism is breaking out all over like the chicken pocks. Let me ask you? Do you believe in Reincarnation? Cremation?  If you do, you’ve already been sold the goods and don’t even know it! Did you know that cremation has never been a Jewish or Christian practice? Did you also know that it was actually introduced into America by Colonel Henry Steele Olcott, a White Buddhist who fought a court case in New York over a hundred years ago to be able to do so? http://www.worldviews101.com.

……

Psalms 49:20 struck me as I thought about the popularity of the Dalai Lama.

“Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, is like the beasts that perish.”

If he or any Buddhist doesn’t know the LORD, they’ll perish. So what are you doing to be equipped to share the Gospel with your neighbor? What’s the great Commandment? “Love your LORD, your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

If you don’t know what they believe, you’ll never know how to share the Gospel with them. You’ll just be another ignorant Christian to them that doesn’t know the difference between an apple and an orange.

I remember a friend telling me a saying his Dad used all the time, “The one-eyed man is king in the valley of the blind.” 

I think that the real issue here is that people are lazy. They don’t study, they just talk about things which they have to do that day, or plans they make for the weekend.

Trouble is that it really doesn’t matter what you think is truth, if it is false, someone is going to get hurt, and hurt badly. Think Bernie Madoff here, or the banks. Where were the whistleblowers? The Gatekeepers? Many people are kicking themselves now, but “it’s too late baby.”

Last night, I was wrestling about this whole initiative. Attempting to get down to what it is that we’re facing here. I went to bed late, was exhausted, and totally spent. I asked Abba for His grace and healing. I’m done without you. Few are responding to the call to deal with the Kalachakra event in Washington, DC. I didn’t want to write this blog anymore, except if Yeshua wanted me to.

 When I awoke this morning, I was much refreshed even after little sleep. After coffee, I opened the Word to 2 Kings 6:1-7:20. Just what I needed to hear from Abba.

The Prophet Elisha was busy counseling the king of Israel who was at war with the king of Aram. Elisha was so right on in his prophesies and counsel that the king of Aram wanted him captured. So he sent an army in the night and surrounded the city in order to capture the Prophet. His servant was basically freaked out when he saw all the chariots and soldiers and asked his master, “What shall we do?”

Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

“As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike these people with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” (Him of course!) So he leads him into the city, asks the LORD to open their eyes and where do they find themselves? Yep! In the city of Samaria facing the army of the king of Israel.

The king asks Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

Elisha says, “Do not kill them.” I mean really are you going to kill men you’ve already captured? Feed and water them and send them back to their master.’

Well, these kings are not too smart. Really, check it out. After all that, Ben-Hadad decides he’s going to take the city. Things weren’t going well there. Food prices were out of this world. A donkey’s head was selling for a king’s ransom. It was expensive!  Two women were arguing about whose kid they were going to eat tonight for dinner!  I don’t mean a goat, I mean whose child!  It’s not really funny, but you get the point. And if it wasn’t rough enough for the Prophet Elisha, his own king is ticked at him, gone insane and rips off his clothes, and decides he wants to take off the prophet’s head.

Elisha gets wind of him coming and tells his servant to block the door. The king’s messenger knocks at the door and relays the king’s question: “this disaster is from the LORD. Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?”  Elisha knows the kings right there ready to take off his head when the door is opened. But says, “Hear the word of the LORD. This what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the  gate of Samaria.’

I mean, ‘such a deal!’ But the king’s messenger, unbelieving jerk that he was spouts off and says, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of heaven, could this happen?”  In modern vernacular, “In your dreams!”

Elisha said, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it.”

Change scenes.  Four lepers sitting at the entrance to the city gate. Starving. And talking with one another about their situation. Hey. Look. We’re going to die of starvation here. So, we’re just going to sit around waiting for a handout? In the city they’re fighting over whose son they’re going to eat for dinner. We’re not getting any scraps believe you me. So, I tell you. The enemy camp is looking real good. Hey, if they don’t feed us, they kill us! Such a deal. We’re going to die anyway. So whaddya say? Let’s take a chance and hit up their camp.

Leper’s Luck.

So they head off over to the enemy’s camp, looking for some leftovers. And did they find leftovers?! Not one of the enemy was there. All the pots were on the stove, full of the best Aramese cuisine.

Doesn’t look like they’d mind? They’re not around. Whaddya say? Wow, this is awesome! I’m full. Hey, where are they? This is weird. Some type of alien abduction? (not really they wouldn’t say that, just kiddingJ) So they look around and see some pretty nice boom boxes, clothes, and the like and take what they need, not too much mind you, just enough, hide it and say, “You know something? This isn’t right is it?’ I mean they didn’t decide to unhide their spoils, but they were good lepers, and said, let’s let our people know, pots on the stove! And the enemies gone!

So they go back, tell the king and his chief gatekeeper. But they are not too sure they’re not being set up for an ambush. So they send out scouts and find, all of the enemy has fled, leaving their food, resources, armour, shields and spears behind. “Something” has scared the dickens out of them and they ran for their lives. So the scouts come back with the good report, the king of Israel tells his chief gatekeeper to watch the front gate and then he let’s the people know “Chows on!” Ever seen a run on a Christmas sale? I mean that’s nothing. All these people were STARVING! The chief gatekeeper who didn’t believe the prophet Elisha never saw it coming. Poor dead gatekeeper. He was run over by a starving Samarian stampede.

Moral of the story? Listen to the True prophets.

About jstephens

James C. Stephens was a graduate of a Buddhist Study Academy and a Buddhist leader for fourteen years (1970-1984). In 1978, he married Elizabeth, a Jewish Buddhist at a Buddhist temple. Following an accident in Japan in 1981 while on a Buddhist pilgrimage followed by an intense three year spiritual search through various other faiths and practices, James and Elizabeth made the decision to become disciples of Jesus Christ. James graduated in 1999 with a MA in Intercultural Studies from Fuller School of Intercultural Studies and in 2010, launched http://www.worldviews101.com/ which offers a twelve week course "A Christian Perspective on the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism."

He and his wife enjoy Landscape architecture, gardening, making kombucha and kefir, film, screenwriting, literature, and music.