Welcome to Brian's Bits, where Brian gets to share at length about various topics stirring inside of him.
Christian Junk Mail, Episode 1
10 October 2014
It is a sign of the true spiritual bankruptcy of modern Christianity that I get a continual stream of “Christian” junk mail arriving in my mailbox. Most of it I simply toss without even opening. But for some reason I decided to take a closer look at this one. Once I had finished, I wished I hadn’t slit that envelope. But if through this article I can help set even one person free from their bondage to false gods, it will be well worth it!

In this first episode, I am sharing some excerpts from a letter I received recently from the American Bible Society. Bold and italic emphasis were in the original. Colored emphasis is mine. I have not quoted the entire letter, because it is simply too long. I have extracted the main points, while leaving out a lot of the details, which is about half the letter.
The Appeal
There’ a very special reason why I’m sending you a Christmas card in September. This card is for a young man or woman serving in the military far from home. I wanted you to be able to have enough time to sign the card and return it to us so that we can send it to one of them by Christmas. I also wanted to ask you if you would give a gift to send that same man or woman a Bible — today.

Today is important, because today, tomorrow, next week — and this Christmas, as you and I gather with our loved ones to celebrate the most joyous time of the year — our American sons, daughters, husbands and wives will be fighting for their lives in some of the most dangerous regions of the world. These brave Troops desperately need the strength God can give them through His Word. Please, will you give a generous gift today?

These men and women are risking their lives every day protecting our country and our freedoms ... for you and me! They face loneliness, fear and depression, especially during the holidays. But there’s a solution! You can help! Give a gift today to send them the Word of God. Give them the miracle of God’s strength and love!

American Bible Society’s tradition of delivering God’s Word to American Troops dates back to 1817. We’ve ministered to our Troops around the world for nearly 200 years, covering nine wars and countless military actions. But today that ministry is more critical than ever!

We receive requests for thousands of Bibles each month. Maybe you can help provide Bibles for 5, 10 or even 100 Troop members with your extra-generous gift today! Whatever you give would be such a huge blessing to our fellow Americans who are far from home and in harm’s way. But whatever you give, I need to hear from you immediately.

We must receive your gift NOW in order to raise the $800,000 needed to get Scriptures and Christmas cards to as many of our Troops as possible by Christmas. We don’t want even one Troop member to have to face the Christmas season without a special gift. Will you please give today?

And please join me in prayer for these brave men and women who have responded to the call of duty and are there for you ... for your children and grandchildren ... for the future of our nation. Let them know you appreciate their sacrifice by giving them a gift of eternal hope and comfort this Christmas — God’s Word.

Our Service members face uncertainty, loneliness and fear every day, far from home. But you can help them! You can give them a source of strength, comfort and peace by giving a gift to send them a Bible. And be sure to fill out and return the enclosed Christmas card, along with your very best gift of support to share God’s Word with our Troops. Thank you!

Please hurry! We must act now to make sure your gift has time to get to the Troops by Christmas.
Their Christmas Card
Here is the text inside the Christmas card which they wanted me to sign and return so it could be sent to an American solider:
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord ... Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:11,14 (KJV)

Dear Brave American: During this season of Jesus’ birth, I want you to know how deeply grateful I am for you ... a genuine American hero. May God grant you protection, hope, strength and peace this Christmas and throughout the year. Merry Christmas!
Pagan Marketing Propaganda
This pagan letter — full of marketing propaganda with a glossy “Christian” veneer — stirs up a number of emotions in me: anger, dismay, disgust, grief, pity, and more. I’m so sad to see “Christian” organization stooping so low to scrounge for money by resorting to this kind of syrupy, tearjerking, high-pressure, artificially-urgent, manipulative marketing crap! I’ve left out most of the sentimental details for the sake of time and space, but they were there, right in my face.

Could you imagine the apostle Paul or any of the other New Testament authors writing such nonsense? It is even more ironic and tragic that this money-grabbing letter is from a Bible society, which, unfortunately, is wholeheartedly embracing pagan values and techniques rather than Biblical ones. Don’t they read the very Bibles they publish? Apparently not! Just today I read in The Message:
The Master’s Message, Yahweh, God of the Angel Armies.... “I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making.... Do you know what I want? I want justice — oceans of it. I want fairness — rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.” (Amos 5:16a,22,24)
What excellent timing! Obviously Mr. Peterson gave a modern interpretation to the ancient Hebrew text ... but if the shoe fits, wear it!

When I analyze my thoughts and feelings about this letter, I find that there are two main issues which really bother me.
Human Sacrifices to the God of Imperialism
The soldiers serving in the U.S. military have been duped. Rather than the government protecting the citizens of this country, for more than 200 years our leaders have offered the youth of the nation as human sacrifices to the god of American Imperialism. As I wrote in my article Unhappy Fourth of July:
From the time of the founding of our nation until now, if you take a look at America’s history of practically continuous military violence and bloodshed, you will see that almost NONE of these conflicts were defensive in nature. As I wrote in a previous article:
“For more than 200 years, U.S. military might has been used almost exclusively to further American expansionism and imperialism. Despite deceptive, virtuous-sounding rationalizations — ‘The American flag has not been planted in foreign soil to acquire more territory but for humanity’s sake.’ (President McKinley) — the American government has been, and still is, guilty of warmongering, blood-lust, land-grabbing, global despotism, and more. Let’s cut the sentimental, patriotic crap about being SO proud of our soldiers! Instead, we should be hanging our heads in shame for our unethical belligerence.
Up to this very day, the United States is still trying to bomb foreign countries into adopting our American religion of democracy and freedom! And a large number of American Christians actually SUPPORT this diabolical agenda! When will we finally wake up, open our eyes, and see this deception for what it really is?!
Contrary to popular opinion — even among “Christians” — members of the U.S. military are NOT heroes to be admired. Rather, they are VICTIMS to be pitied — offerings to the false gods of patriotism and nationalism.

Rather than participating in this idolatry by encouraging American citizens in their devotion and sacrifice to these false gods, true followers of Yeshua (Jesus) should be exposing and denouncing this idolatry. Christians should be rescuing these victims being sacrificed to the false gods of American imperialism, patriotism and nationalism — not proudly and falsely calling them “heroes.”

Have “Christians” been so deceived by Satan that they believe God wants Christians to dispatch unbelievers to Hell? Do they imagine that Yeshua would be in the military? If you will take the time to examine the New Testament closely, you will see that there is no defense for Christian self-defense.
Violent, Tribalistic, Militaristic Religion
If asked to name a world-wide violent, tribalistic, militaristic religion, many Christians would immediately point out Islam. Unfortunately, for the past 1,700 years the man-made religion of Christianity has been just as demonically tribalistic and militaristic as Islam — like Two Peas In a Pod. This is very evident today in the United States, but most American “Christians” are blind to this reality.

One of the most life-changing books I have ever read is The Myth of a Christian Nation by pastor Gregory Boyd. Over the past few years I have written nine articles of extracts from this book. One of them is entitled American Jihad. Don’t misunderstand that title — it doesn’t mean jihad against America but jihad BY America, supported by patriotic American “Christians.” Pastor Boyd writes:
Shortly after the Gulf War in 1992 I happened to visit a July Fourth worship service at a certain megachurch. At center stage in this auditorium stood a large cross next to an equally large American flag. The congregation sang some praise choruses mixed with such patriotic hymns as God Bless America. The climax of the service centered on a video of a well-known Christian military general giving a patriotic speech about how God has blessed America and blessed its military troops, as evidenced by the speedy and almost “casualty-free” victory “He gave us” in the Gulf War (Iraqi deaths apparently weren’t counted as “casualties” worthy of notice.) Triumphant military music played in the background as he spoke.
The video closed with a scene of a silhouette of three crosses on a hill with an American flag waving in the background. Majestic, patriotic music now thundered. Suddenly, four fighter jets appeared on the horizon, flew over the crosses, and then split apart. As they roared over the camera, the words “God Bless America” appeared on the screen in front of the crosses.
The congregation responded with roaring applause, catcalls, and a standing ovation. I saw several people wiping tears from their eyes. Indeed, as I remained frozen in my seat, I grew teary-eyed as well — but for entirely different reasons. I was struck with horrified grief.
Thoughts raced through my mind: How could the cross and the sword have been so thoroughly fused without anyone seeming to notice? How could Jesus’ self-sacrificial death be linked with flying killing machines? How could Calvary be associated with bombs and missiles? How could Jesus’ people applaud tragic violence, regardless of why it happened and regardless of how they might benefit from its outcome? How could the Kingdom of God be reduced to this sort of violent, nationalistic tribalism? Has the church progressed at all since the Crusades?
Indeed, I wondered how this tribalistic, militaristic, religious celebration was any different from the one I had recently witnessed on television carried out by Taliban Muslims raising their guns as they joyfully praised Allah for the victories they believed “he had given them” in Afghanistan?
Obviously, pagans will be pagans, therefore they will be devoted to the false gods they have chosen for themselves. Even many who consider themselves “Christians” fall into this category. But those who are truly devoted to Yahweh, who are truly submitted to the Master Yeshua and are following in His footsteps, they are citizens of a spiritual Kingdom to which they give their total allegience. Pastor Boyd continues:
Most American Christians accept that the New Testament does not forbid serving in the military. While I respect that people will have differing convictions about this, I must confess that I find it impossible to reconcile Jesus’ teaching (and the teaching of the whole New Testament) concerning our call to love our enemies and never return evil with evil with the choice to serve (or not resist being drafted) in the armed forces in a capacity that might require killing someone.
Neither Jesus for any other New Testament author ever qualified their prohibitions on the use of violence.... Jesus’ disciples aren’t to love and bless those who persecute them when it makes sense to do so and to fight back and perhaps kill them when it makes sense to do so (that is, when it’s “just”) — for, as a matter of fact, it NEVER makes [human] sense to love and bless a persecutor, and it ALWAYS makes [human] sense to fight back and kill them if you have to!
However much we might wish it were otherwise, there is no plausible way to insert a “just war” exception clause into Jesus’ teachings. We are not to resist evildoers or return evil with evil — period. We are to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, bless those who persecute us, pray for people who mistreat us, and return evil with good — period.
False Gods of Patriotism and Nationalism
After Adam and Eve rebelled against God, thereby bringing sin into the world, humans have created many false gods to which they give their devotion. One of the most fundamental false gods of any people group is patriotism, and in its more extreme form, nationalism. Rather than loving, serving and worshipping the one true God, we love, serve and worship our country instead.

Unfortunately, even though many “Christians” claim that they are devoted to God, by their actions they show that they are devoted to the idols of patriotism and nationalism instead. This deception is so common and so deep that very few question it. Those who DO expose this idolatry are vilified and condemned as fanatics. Despite Yeshua’s warning (Matthew 6:24), these “Christians” imagine that they CAN serve two masters — Yahweh AND their patriotism.

The United States is NOT worth your whole-hearted devotion! This country is NOT worth dying for — neither in promoting its “interests” nor in “defending” it! There is only ONE leader worth dying for: Yeshua, who died for you so you could spend eternity in paradise with Him. There is only ONE government worth promoting and defending: Yeshua’s Kingdom, of which all of His true followers are citizens.

The kingdoms of THIS world — over which Satan is the ultimate ruler (see Luke 4:5-8) — are established, promoted and defended through violence. But Yeshua’s Kingdom is NOT promoted or defended with violence — despite 1,700 years of demonic “church” history demonstrating the opposite. Which only goes to show that the vast majority of “Christians” over the centuries have been following Satan instead of Yeshua. Tragic but true!

The New Testament teaches that Yeshua’s Kingdom is not of this world. It is promoted and defended by our speaking the truth, living the truth, and if necessary, dying for the truth. This is the example Yeshua gave us to follow. This is the example the early followers of Yeshua lived out. Anything beyond this — and certainly anything violent — is a tactic from Satan’s realm, and NOT from Yeshua’s Kingdom.

Most American Christians insist that those in the military “defending” our country are true patriots who are providing a good, right and heroic service which is pleasing to God. Such soldiers are worthy of our respect, honor and praise. But if this is true, then it must apply to other patriots in other countries as well. Surely you can’t be so chauvinistic as to believe that only American patriots are good, and all other patriots are evil?!

Therefore, if American soldiers defending and promoting the interests of the United States are noble, righteous and heroic, so are the members of ISIS who are defending and promoting their own interests, land and people, in service to their god Allah. Likewise, the Nazis were noble, righteous and heroic as they defended and promoted the interests of the Fatherland, and gave their whole-hearted devotion to Hitler. And so on and so forth with all of the other nations of the world, both now and throughout all of history.

You can’t have it both ways! Either loving and serving the gods of patriotism and nationalism is good and right, or else it’s evil. If it is righteous, then it is equally righteous for Americans, jihadists, Nazis, and everyone else. After all, each group believes that THEY are right, and that everyone else is the enemy. But if devotion and martyrdom for the gods of patriotism and nationalism are evil and wrong for the jihadists and Nazis, then they are equally evil and wrong for Americans and everyone else. No double standards allowed!
A Better Christmas Card to Soldiers
In light of all these truths, I would like to propose a better Christmas card to send to those in the U.S. military, which is much more in line with the teachings of the New Testament than what the American Bible Society is promoting:
“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6,7a)

During this season that we celebrate the birth of Yeshua — the King of kings — and the founding of His government, may you become an authentic citizen of that government by laying down your weapons and renouncing your violent devotion to the false gods of patriotism and nationalism.

Because He lived and died for your eternal salvation, HIS is the ONLY government worth living and dying for. NO other governments are worth your devotion and sacrifice. Those who tell you otherwise are only revealing the idolatry and deception of their own hearts, no matter how “Christian” they sound.
For more Christian Junk Mail fun, don’t miss Episode 2.
This article is 55th a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
9  Nov  2008
27  Nov  2008
12  Jun  2010
9  Sep  2010
10  Sep  2010
11  Sep  2010
12  Sep  2010
15  Sep  2010
16  Sep  2010
27  Sep  2010
2  May  2011
22  May  2011
4  Jul  2011
20  Aug  2012
20  Mar  2013
2  Jul  2013
3  Jul  2013
6  Jul  2013
7  Jul  2013
9  Jul  2013
10  Jul  2013
11  Jul  2013
17  Aug  2013
18  Aug  2013
20  Aug  2013
27  Dec  2013
19  Feb  2014
24  Feb  2014
25  Feb  2014
27  Feb  2014
19  Jul  2014
24  Jul  2014
25  Jul  2014
1  Aug  2014
19  Aug  2014
29  Aug  2014
30  Aug  2014
31  Aug  2014
1  Sep  2014
2  Sep  2014
3  Sep  2014
5  Sep  2014
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7  Sep  2014
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13  Sep  2014
18  Sep  2014
23  Sep  2014
24  Sep  2014
25  Sep  2014
26  Sep  2014
Christian Junk Mail, Episode 1
10  Oct  2014
11  Oct  2014
13  Oct  2014
20  Oct  2014
15  Dec  2014
16  Dec  2014
20  Dec  2014
22  Dec  2014
27  Dec  2014
14  Jan  2015
15  Jan  2015
18  Jan  2015
26  Jan  2015
3  Mar  2015
19  Aug  2015
4  Sep  2015
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