Israel Always: GOOD NEWS? Who's kidding who?

Throughout history crime have been done in the name of the Christian, today we Christians must have a genuine love for others.

earl cox (photo credit: )
earl cox
(photo credit: )
I've been pondering the phrase "good news" as it relates to the Christian faith and how others understand it. For those not familiar with this phrase, we in the Christian community call the New Testament the "Good News" because it tells us about Jesus Christ and His ministry. Well, where is the so-called "good news" today? We in the Christian faith assume that everyone has at least a basic understanding of the fundamentals of Christianity, yet nothing could be further from the truth. At the same time, most Christians can't tell you much about Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and so forth. All that most of us know about these faiths is what we hear via media reports. Yet the same is true of Christianity. The knowledge and understanding many people have about those of us who embrace the "Good News" is only what the media reports - and that news has been neither unbiased nor accurate. For example, many people believe that all Christians are somehow connected to the Roman Catholic Church and thus fall under the guidance and leadership of the Pope. Of course, this has not been true since the Protestant Reformation began in the 1500s, but how would someone who has never studied Christianity apprehend this fact? In recent years, the Catholic Church has been much in the news with reports of the sexual abuse of young boys. In the minds of those who do not differentiate between the Catholic Church and other denominations, this problem is believed to be pervasive within the Christian community as a whole. Sadly, there have been other kinds of misconduct involving a small percentage of high-profile evangelical Christian leaders. Recently a prominent evangelical leader was caught hiring a male prostitute, who also supplied him with illicit drugs. He left the pulpit in disgrace. To make matters worse, several high-profile Christian leaders are currently under investigation for alleged fraudulent accounting practices, improper use of donations, and income tax evasion. Not such "good news" for these folks! While the majority of Evangelical leaders are faithful and honorable servants of the Lord, the media tend to spotlight the worst and this creates a negative image to those unfamiliar with true Evangelicals, who selflessly devote their entire lives ministering to the needs of the sick in hospitals and nursing homes, to those in prisons and homeless shelters, to the poor in remote regions, to unwed mothers in need of support and encouragement. The list of their contributions is endless, but this "good news" is not what makes for headline news. Another scandal which is still unfolding before the eyes of the world involves a cultic offshoot of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" at an isolated compound in Texas. Four hundred children have been removed from this polygamous community while its leaders face charges of child abuse and possibly other offenses. To those who have no understanding of the true Christian faith, the name alone of this Texas community implies that we are all part of the same body of "Christ followers" - even though nothing could be further from the truth. To confuse matters even more in the minds of our Jewish brothers and sisters, we now have in the news the recent brawl, complete with shouting and fist-fighting, between dozens (if not hundreds) of religious leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church and the Armenian Christians of the Old City, which took place right inside the Church or the Holy Sepulcher located in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. I was in Jerusalem at the time and what a sight that was to behold! Dear brothers and sisters in the true evangelical Christian community, in case you are still wondering why much of the world is cold toward the Christian faith, let's take a brief look at history. Many people have been tortured and murdered in the name of our faith. The Crusades, blood libels, the pogroms, the Inquisition and even the Holocaust all have links to the Christian faith. Where is the "Good News" in any of these things? Throughout history, many crimes have been perpetrated against humanity in the name of our Lord Jesus, making the concept of our "Good News" quite confusing. Now add the concept of the Trinity. We claim Christianity is a monotheistic religion yet we give praise and honor to three entities which, to those lacking understanding, seem to be separate entities. Therefore, to much of the world, Christianity is considered a polytheistic religion rather than a monotheistic one. This is a serious offense to many of other faiths, and especially to those who practice Judaism. Unless a person takes the time to study Christianity, the "Trinity" cannot be understood. One way I like to explain it is that I am a father to my children, a husband to my wife and a son to my parents. I am one person, yet I have three different roles. A tree has roots, a main trunk and branches. The tree is one tree but with three different parts. The time has come for members of the true Christian faith to be meticulous in making certain our words line up with our actions. All of us who truly love God and want to cooperate with His purposes have a great responsibility and much work to do to undo the ugliness which has been attributed to our faith and to manifest His character to those around us and to the world in which we live. We must not only speak good words, but our actions must convey a genuine love and concern for the well-being of others - placing them even above ourselves, as the Bible commands. We must live honestly and openly, walking in Truth when we know people are watching, and especially when we believe they are not. In other words, the grave times in which we're living are also an opportunity for us to be shining examples of God's love. Words are cheap. As a child, I was taught that "actions speak louder than words" - and in this teaching, there is much wisdom. Everything we do - or fail to do - has eternal consequences. While we are admonished not to judge others lest we be judged ourselves, the Bible also tells us that "a fruit tree bears fruit after its kind." As Christians, we should regularly examine ourselves and ask, "What kind of fruit am I producing? The life-producing, God-honoring fruit of the Holy Spirit or the rotten, self-serving "fruit" of a fleshly, unholy life?" Let us pray earnestly and diligently each and every day for revival in the hearts, minds, souls and spirits of all who claim the name of Christ so that our lives will reflect and exemplify honesty, purity and integrity - in other words, the fruits of the Spirit. Earl Cox, International Christian Broadcaster, known as 'the voice of Israel to the world.' He is also the founder of Israel Always Previous entries: Time is of the essence Who Would be the Best Next President of the United States? Why All The Optimism? Experience or Orator? Israel once again blamed for "Grim Conditions" in Gaza Understanding the Islamic mindset What if there were no Israel? The Land is shared in death, why not in life as well? Some Christians Still Hate Israel Palestinians. The Next Generation Who Founded Israel the U.N. or God? Didn't they used to hang traitors? Who would be the best US President for Israel? How will God handle the present-day Persian Haman? 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