Chaotic events in the world are beginning to happen at breakneck speed; like contractions during a birth. Dallas ... Nice, France ... Turkey ... Baton Rouge ... all in less than two weeks. And we are facing the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week; God help us! I fear that the New Living Translation of Matthew 24:8 is playing out: "But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come."
here for my suggestion, if you're not sure how to pray). Ask the Creator of all men to change the hearts of wicked men. Recognize Him as Jehovah Nissi, our banner or battle standard. He is our forward Guard and our rear Guard. As long as we are under his banner, our victory is always assured. If we ever depart from it, our defeat is a certainty.
We need to face it --- this Christian life is a picture of warfare. Just as in ancient battles, we are to obey every command of our King, and run to His banner, which is the Cross, when the fight becomes too much for our flesh. But we also need to realize that the battle is won in the spiritual realm, and we are to put on our full armor of God and get to the battlefront! No matter what the news says today, or tomorrow, next week, or next year ... trust in our Lord and Savior! These birth pangs will soon give way to His justice and righteousness. We are in the heat of the battle at the moment, and we need to keep drinking the Living Water that is Christ!
Over the weekend, as I followed the events in Turkey, I couldn't help but discern that God gave me a huge download of knowledge that connected more dots in the evolution of His cosmic chess match with the devil. I'm still trying to fit all the pieces together, so I hope you'll be patient with me, as I try to write this down as fast as I'm receiving it. Hopefully, it will make some sense to you, or one of you can expand on what I'm presenting.
My journey over the last few days began with receiving a book that my Spiritual Warfare mentor suggested I read, called Rulers of Evil, by F. Tupper Saussy. At the expense of offending faithful Catholics, I must recommend this book as a fascinating book of the history of the Catholic Church and its influence on the world empires, as well as the founding of America. Moreover, the author gives an intriguing account of the history of Biblical knowledge and how it interacts with the Roman Catholic papacy. PLEASE, I am not recommending this book under the pretense of Catholic-bashing! I am a lover of history and the author is able take a vast amount of historical information and present it in a chronological and coherent manner. I had barely begun reading (page 24 to be exact) when I saw a link between what happened in history to what is unfolding in Turkey and here in the United States. Let me start with the historical impetus for my "aha" moment....
As I was reading this fascinating book, it was inevitable that the conflict between Martin Luther and the Catholic Church would surface. In case you're unfamiliar with the background of this story, Luther was a Catholic monk who defied the edict of the Archbishop of Mainz against unauthorized Bible reading, and began reading the first edition of the Greek New Testament, printed by Renaissance theologian Desiderius Erasmus. That led to Luther's explosive document, Ninety-five Theses Upon Indulgences, which he promptly nailed to the door of the castle church of Wittenburg. (The historic idea of Indulgences was centered upon a grant by the pope of the remission of punishment in purgatory that was still due for sins, even after absolution. The unrestricted sale of indulgences by pardoners was a widespread abuse during the later Middle Ages ... as an example, for the payment of four ducats, one could be forgiven for murdering one's father; or Sorcery was pardoned for six ducats --- you get the picture). You can see how the ability for the common man to begin reading and understanding the Truth within the pages of the Bible could seriously erode the authority of those who claimed divine power.
But it was more than these familiar historical facts that I was seeing; I suddenly saw the collusion between Pope Clement VII, Niccolo Machiavelli, the inventor of modern political science, and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Chancellor of England. These men determined that the printing press could now be used to their advantage --- they, themselves, could produce literature that would ultimately confuse, diminish, and marginalize the influence of the Bible. Cardinal Wolsey characterized this project as putting "learning against learning". (Remember that phrase, because it is going to come back into focus as I connect the dots to what happened this weekend). The result of this vast amount of printed material was the famed Medici Library-- which opposed the Bible's teaching that man could have eternal life simply by believing in Christ's death and resurrection on our behalf, in favor of Gnostic teachings that man could achieve eternal life by doing good works (Christ-centered learning versus man-centered learning). So extensive was this Library's philosophical influence, that many scholars today consider it the cradle of Western civilization.
Martin Luther, discerning that this learning against learning philosophy was the future of Christianity, prophetically wrote in 1520, "Though our children live in the midst of a Christian world, they faint and perish in misery because they lack the Gospel in which we should be training and exercising them all the time. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount [my emphasis]. Schools will become wide-open gates of hell if they do not diligently engrave the Holy Scriptures on young hearts. Every institution where men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt". (While I also have huge problems with Luther's later opinions regarding the Jewish people, he hit a home run with this school of thought).
If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you might recognize the name of Fethullah Gulen. I wrote posts here (2013) and here (earlier in 2016), regarding this imam's influence in our American educational system. Yes, you read that correctly ... Trained as an imam, Fethullah Gulen gained notice in Turkey some 50 years ago, promoting a philosophy that blended a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue. Erdogan has long accused Gulen of plotting to overthrow the "officially secular government" from a gated 26-acre compound in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, which has a population of about 1,100. The President of Turkey is now asking for Gulen's extradition, but Secretary of State John Kerry says our government is unlikely to comply.
Why should the internal politics and history of political rivalry in Turkey be of particular interest to us here in the United States? Because, as I have made mention in past blog posts, Fethullah Gulen and his Gulen Movement (his liberal Islamic transnational religious and social movement) runs the largest charter school network in our nation - the list is at 146 to be exact, with sad to say, 45 schools in my state of Texas! How could this be, you ask? Well, he is very clever ... the name of these influential schools go by different names in each of the states. In Texas, they are the Harmony Science Academy; in Ohio, the Horizon Science Academy; in California, the Magnolia Science Academy ... you see what he's doing, right? Appealing to the ever-competitive nature of the American psyche, he promotes his schools as academies of higher learning to help Americans excel in math and science; so that students will get a higher level of education than they do at public schools. And it is a multi-billion dollar business!
And students get a higher "level" of learning alright! While the schools are not overtly teaching Islamic philosophy and religion, I contend that Fethullah Gulen's influence is predicated on eliminating and destroying Christianity's influence among our nation's youth. That's where the dots are connected! Remember Luther's concern over learning against learning? Well, we are seeing it in action before our very eyes, and we are blinded. I say that because Gulen's influence has not only infiltrated our education system, but his tentacles reach into banks, newspapers, universities, charities, research institutes, and the halls of Congress, where according to an article by Ariel Cohen, and a USA TODAY investigation, over 200 trips for congressmen and congressional staff have been sponsored by Gülenist entities.
All this being said, I have to admit that I sometimes feel like I'm shouting in the wilderness. I have written several posts now on this man, and pointed to others who have done extensive research on him, and now the name of Fethullah Gulen pops up once again in the attempted coup in Turkey. If you're tired of me harping on this subject, I apologize, but the chance that I would receive this fascinating book, and read of the anti-Bible reference to learning against learning, at the exact moment that an influential Islamic businessman (deeply ensconced in our educational system) is suggested as influencing the attempted downfall of a sovereign nation ... well, I could not ignore it.
I will leave you by repeating the words of Martin Luther ... I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Schools will become wide-open gates of hell if they do not diligently engrave the Holy Scriptures on young hearts. Do you think that the mega-success of the Gulen Schools shows us that man-centered learning is surpassing Christ-centered learning in our culture? And what happens when the Word of God is eliminated entirely, in favor of Islamic-flavored curriculum? The fingerprints of satan have been on the knowledge of man from the beginning, and this is just another of his strategies. We must be diligent in our discernment, and continue to connect the dots!
Colossians 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ."