We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Monday, July 30, 2012

Palestinian Liberation Theology

I just learned about this false teaching via an article by Christopher J. Katulka in the July/August 2012 Israel My Glory magazine.
I’m already familiar with Liberation Theology, and have taken a class on Black Liberation  Theology.  Liberation theology is essentially Marxism and the social gospel rolled into one, and then it gets labeled by whichever victim group espouses it with their own particular slant.
PLT is the theology taught to, and preached by Palestinian Christians.  The chief proponent is Dr. Naim Ateek, and this teaching is causing quite a rift between Israeli Christians and Palestinian Christians.  
As much as Black Liberation Theology is cultish, so is Palestinian Liberation Theology.  Ateek’s teachings include the claim that the Torah to be a “Zionist text” and he also has problems with other OT books which confirm God’s land covenant with Israel.  Katulka says of Ateeek, “He speaks of peace and nonviolence but makes no apology for Palestinian terrorism.  In fact, much of his rhetoric regarding Israel is indistinguishable from that of a Palestinian Muslim.”
When I learned that Dr. Ateek is an ordained Episcopal priest, that immediately told me why he was socialist as well as liberal in his theology. In the 1990s he also helped to found the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Sabeel Center) in Jerusalem.  
Ateek says Palestinians have been disenfranchised under the colonialist Zionist Israelis,” and that Zionist Christians have a “dangerous theology.”  It appears to me that Dr. Ateek needs to study more history and less socialism.
Katulka tells us that, “Today PLT is the primary doctrine of Palestinian Christians, rooting and grounding them in a highly politicized form of Replacement Theology.”  He also tells us that Dr. Ateek and the Sabeel Center have used the Palestinian dismissal of the Old Testament as an opportunity to propagate PLT, which desires to de-Zionize the Bible in order to promote and anti-Israel agenda.”
To better understand PLT teachings, Katulka cites the Sabeel Center’s definition of PLT:
Palestinian Liberation Theology is an ecumenical grassroots movement, rooted in Christian Biblical interpretation and nourished by the hopes, dreams and struggles of the Palestinian people.... In a situation where justice has been long neglected, Palestinian Liberation Theology opens new horizons of understanding for the pursuit of a just peace and for the reconciliation proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  By learning from Jesus - his life under occupation and his response to injustice - this theology hopes to connect the true meaning of Christian faith with the daily lives of all those who suffer under occupation, violence, discrimination, and human rights violations.  Additionally, this blossoming theological effort promotes a more accurate international awareness of the current political situation and encourages Christians from around the world to work for justice and to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”
The blatant abuse of Scripture to support this cultic - as well as unChristian - theology, it atrocious.  The total lack of any historical knowledge about the events which have taken place over the past 65 years is also demonstrated by the claims that there is even such a people group identified as “Palestinian,” a group which did not exist until long, long after Israel became a nation.  Israel is not an “occupier,” nor are they the ones keeping the area a hot-bed of violence.
PTL is nothing more than a cultic teaching which reinterprets the Bible to suit their socialist agenda, as well as their Replacement theology.  It is regrettable that a liberal Episcopalian priest has brainwashed the Palestinians who are searching for the real Christ of the Bible.  We can just pray that these people will one day learn the truth and come to saving faith in the Christ of the Bible instead of a false christ of man’s making.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Random Apostasies and Heresies

Well, it has been a busy week for me, with little time at home, so I haven’t worked on any articles as I wanted to do.  And here it is already time for another “Random” collection.
First up, Tim Challies posted the second part of his review of Debi Pearl’s book, “Created to Be His Help Meet.”  Well worth reading.  As usual when dealing with false teachers, the comment string does have some supporters who think Challies is wrong in his assessment.
Erin reports on “The Resurgence” conference, which promotes Rick Warren’s “man-centered mythology.”  This is the type of stuff which is destroying the Church from within.
Speaking of Rick Warren, his self-esteem theology makes for some wonderful satire.  Apprising Ministries demonstrates this as they give an example of a daily devotion by one of Warren’s staff.
Years ago I first read Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons,” and immediately had some problems with his claims against the Roman Catholic Church.  As years have gone by I have learned much more about how poorly the book was written, based mainly on speculation and poor logic - and bigotry.  This book has become the mainstay of those who want to “prove” just how horrid Romanism is.  However, one doesn’t need to misrepresent and lie about Romanism to prove how apostate and heretical it is, so promoting the stuff in this book just backfires on those using it.  Sola Sisters has a good article about this book.
Ed Young, Jr continues to demonstrate how unbiblical he is as a teacher.  Now he is pandering for “tithes” via automatic withdrawal.  He seems more and more like the Word of Faith hawkers looking for money from the gullible.  This man is definitely a goatherd.
I’ve never been fond of Max Lucado because everything I’ve seen from him is touchy-feely, and that’s just not my cup of tea.  He also participated in the Be Still video, which has contemplative teachings.  Well, now I have another reason to dislike him:  He has now come to the conclusion that Christine Caine is just like Paul, Mary and Esther, and has endorsed her new book, “Undaunted.”   Caine’s promotion of various Word of Faith heretics certainly eliminates her from comparisons to these Biblical persons.
Roman Catholics have another recent demonstration as to how apostate they are.  It seems there is a relic of a “saint’s” heart which has been traveling around, with Catholic venerating it (read, “worshiping”).  The whole teaching of worshiping relics - including body parts - is nothing less than idolatry, as well as being totally nonsensical.

The ELCA Lutheran denomination long ago left any semblance of orthodoxy, especially when they began supporting homosexuality.   A good example of how far down to the pit the ELCA has gone is the fact that “pastor” Nadia Bolz-Weber has not been excommunicated.  This woman is a rank heretic, besides being a false teacher.
Hank Hanegraaff is really starting to bug me.  I have previously written about some theological problems of Hanegraaff’s, including his preterist view of eschatology, his support for the Local Church, and his low view of the book of Genesis.   Then there was his joining up with OWS in Iran.  Now Hank, and his cohort Gary Burge, attacks Christian supporters of Israel as being “racist and supporting ethnic cleansing.”  In this article, Hanegraaff demonstrates his complete lack of understanding of the mid-east conflict, as well as what Dispensationalism teaches about the end times.  They also have unbiblical ideas of Israel’s place in history.  Hank has been a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Rich Mouw, president of the liberal Fuller Theological Seminary, has spent too much time supporting the Mormon church.  Back in 2004 he made a stir when he suggested Christians have sinned against Mormons by exposing their false teachings.  His new book seems to be much of the same about how we just need to understand Mormons, and they really aren’t a cult, etc.  I agree with Mouw that we have to understand Mormonism in order to effectively deal with it, and the same could be said for any other cult.  But Mouw’s soft-peddling around the real issues of Mormonism, and his seeming lack of understanding of their teachings, makes his teachings on the subject dangerous.  I guess I shouldn’t expect any better from the president of Fuller.
Rob Bell once again proves he is a heretic and a dangerous teacher to follow.  He now has come out as “gay affirming,” who doesn’t see the need to tell homosexuals that their behavior is sin.

Meanwhile, the United Methodist Church has decided to take another step into the political area (aside from preaching the social gospel) and put out the call to ban all handguns. [link gone by 12/5/15]  Explain to me where in the Bible one finds God being against handguns?  Actually, I guess they have been anti-gun since 1972, but the latest shooting in Colorado is bringing them out of the closet again.  Perhaps the UMC should start reading their Bibles and leave the social gospel behind instead of promoting the banning of legal personal property.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Did They Really Say That?

The scientific fact that man and the universe are evolved from Spirit, and so are spiritual, is as fixed in divine Science as is the proof that mortals gain the sense of health only as they lose the sense of sin and disease.
Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.69
Well, I know of NO science which says the universe and man are evolved from Spirit.  Pseudo-science says man is evolved from a lower life form, and the origin or eternality of the universe is a debated topic.  Scripture says sin is a fact of life, and disease is certainly a fact of life.  Christian Science claims sin and disease are both nothing more than illusions, which demonstrates that there is neither Christianity or science in their claims.

Monday, July 23, 2012

We Need A New Type of Preacher

If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used. If the Church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many), he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.
A. W. Tozer, The Size of the Soul, 128-129.
Reposted from 7/10/08

Monday, July 16, 2012

Random Apostasies and Heresies

To start out this issue in the right frame of mind, I direct you to Matt Slick’s article, “Eight reasons why we need apologetics.”  It is a good description of why apologists do what we do.

One charge often leveled against me (including from the individual who recently caused me to block comments) is that I do not go to the false teacher first before publicly exposing them.  I have continually pointed out that there is no biblical requirement to do so, by explaining that Matthew 18:15-17 is about personal sin against a believer and not public sin against God and the Church in the way of false teaching.  Lighthouse Trails posted an excellent article about this subject last week.
Yesterday’s Cedar Rapids Gazette had a short article which demonstrates the depravity of other religious belief systems.  The article was from Nashik, India, and I have to cite it for you to believe it:
I now pronounce you frog and wife. 
With five priests chanting scriptures, a frog groom named Punarvasu andhis amphibian bride Pushala were joined in holy Hindu matrimony by villagers hoping the ancient custom will bring monsoon rains to their drought-stricken district.
Organizer Nandkumar Pawar said thousands of people gathered Thursday in a massive tent in Patkhal village for the lavish wedding banquet.
He said Saturday that the frogs were decorated with flowers and smeared with turmeric, a holy and auspicious ointment.  A brass band played Bollywood film songs while the priests blessed the frogs.
Frog weddings are practiced in some parts of India and other areas of South Asia.
It is sad that people do such bizarre ceremonies to appease their gods.  But is it really much different from some of the “ceremonies” found in many churches today with all their screaming of “fire, Lord, fire!” or for “more” of the Holy Spirit, and their being “slain in the spirit”? The false belief systems don’t have the market on the bizarre.
Back on July 7th I told you about how the Episcopal Church was “poised to adopt a blessing rite” for homosexual couples, and that they had also passed the first hurdle for ordaining “transgendered” people.  Well, the total collapse into apostasy in the Episcopal Church took place long ago, but these latest issues have been passed and sanctified, sealing their apostate condition.  Of course there was celebrating by many sexual perverts while they blasphemed God claiming His approval.

This may turn off some of the followers of this blog who are women, but I am firm in the belief that God forbids women being elders or pastors in the Church.  Every church which has permitted this to take place has turned liberal or aberrant.  Paul said the reason for this was because Eve was the one deceived.  Women by nature are more emotion-driven than men, which makes them easier to deceive in general.  
This being emotion-driven is what has led to the “Jesus is my boyfriend” phenomenon invading the Church, with love songs to Jesus and sexual imagery in their discussions of their spiritual relationship, such as in Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts,” and Beth Moore’s claims of God calling her “honey.”  There is an excellent article on this subject over at The End Time blog.

Ken Silva has an article, including a few short videos, about Nicole Crank as an example of why women shouldn’t be in leadership positions.  She and her husband, David, are false teachers in St. Louis.  Two videos in this article demonstrate these goatherds praising heretic Joel Osteen.  (As an aside, the third video in the article demonstrates another reason why Ed Young, Jr is bad news - he supports the Cranks!)
More and more seeker-sensitive pastors are approving of women in the leadership roles.  An example is “Pastor” Eric Dykstra, whose wife Kelly serves as with him as a pastor.  Kelly claims it was teaching from heretic T.D. Jakes who set her on her path, so that should tell you something about her theological stance.
Of course there are also women who are not in pastor/elder positions but who seem to be treated as such.  One of these women is Joyce Meyer, a Word of Faith heretic who leads thousands of people into her false doctrine.  A good example of her false gospel is discussed on Wretched Radio, as posted on this Apprising Ministries page.
Beth Moore is another woman who is treated as if she is in the pastoral role.  She is not heretical like Joyce Meyer, but she does have aberrational and other false teachings galore.  Ken Silva posted another prime example this past week.
Just in case someone is not convinced that T.D. Jakes is a top-notch false teacher, more evidence is the fact of his praising of heretics Paul and Jan Crouch on TBN! This pair are blatant Word of Faith teachers and yet Jakes not only approves of them - he praises them!
I’ve learned of another Word of Faith heretic to alert you to: Joseph Prince.  As with other false teachers of his ilk, he has a huge following for his heresy.
Sola Sisters posted an excellent article about true shepherds guarding their flocks against false teachers.  One of the things they do is NAME names of false teachers.
One thing common to all the seeker-sensitive and emergent churches, as well as many others who haven’t slid that far into compromise with the world, is a particular genre of music used in their services.  More and more it becomes self-focused rather than God-focused.  Steve Bricker has an excellent article about music in the assembly.
Someone pointed me over to John MacArthur’s blog and an article from a year ago questioning whether or not Rob Bell is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I’d say the answer is, yes, he is!
Lastly, Tim Challies posted the first part of a review series he is doing on a book by Debi Pearl, titled, “Created to Be His Help Meet.”  Challies is gracious about the little bit of good in the book, but he cuts no slack in pointing out the bad teachings.  Since the book is by Debi Pearl, I would automatically assume it was rife with bad teachings, since the Pearls are well known for aberrational and legalistic ideas. (I’ve already reported on two books by them.)  I think you’ll find the comment string to be quite interesting also.

I will be eagerly awaiting the next parts.

Friday, July 13, 2012

We Need A Savior

Thus also we who in our lives are ill of shameful lusts and reprehensible excesses, and other inflammatory effects of the passions, need the Saviour. And He administers not only mild, but also stringent medicines. The bitter roots of fear then arrest the eating sores of our sins. Wherefore also fear is salutary, if bitter. Sick, we truly stand in need of the Saviour; having wandered, of one to guide us; blind, of one to lead us to the light; thirsty, “of the fountain of life, of which whosoever partakes, shall no longer thirst;” dead, we need life; sheep, we need a shepherd; we who are children need a tutor, while universal humanity stands in need of Jesus; so that we may not continue intractable and sinners to the end, and thus fall into condemnation, but may be separated from the chaff, and stored up in the paternal garner.
Clement of Alexandria, “The Instructor, Book 1

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chief Danger of the Church

The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down. Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict. Anything is better than compromise, apathy, and paralysis.  God give to us an intense cry for the old-time power of the Gospel and the Holy Ghost

--A. B. Simpson (Preacher, pastor, writer, and promoter of foreign missions)

Hat tip to The Berean Call

Monday, July 9, 2012

Exhortation from Clement

And now the more benevolent God is, the more impious men are; for He desires us from slaves to become sons, while they scorn to become sons. O the prodigious folly of being ashamed of the Lord! He offers freedom, you flee into bondage; He bestows salvation, you sink down into destruction; He confers everlasting life, you wait for punishment, and prefer the fire which the Lord “has prepared for the devil and his angels.”Wherefore the blessed apostle says: “I testify in the Lord, that ye walk no longer as the Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind; having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart: who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness and concupiscence.” After the accusation of such a witness, and his invocation of God, what else remains for the unbelieving than judgment and condemnation?
Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Random Apostasies and Heresies

To start out today’s post, there were two articles in the Cedar Rapids Gazette today about the Episcopal Church, demonstrating the apostate condition of that denomination.  The first article, by David O’Reilly of the Philadelphia Inquirer, reported that they are “poised to adopt a blessing rite for samesex [sic] couples wishing to wed.”  This will be a full liturgy, which is already written, including the “I dos” and exchange of rings.  Yet they claim it will not confer marriage on the couple.  This is about as disingenuous as one gets.  The article reports the claims from the church commission that the Biblical passages against homosexuality are all interpreted wrongly by those who think homosexual behavior is a sin.
The second article, by Susan Guyett of Reuters, reports:  “A proposal to expand the U.S. Episcopal Church's non-discrimination canons for the ordained ministry to include 'gender identity and expression' passed its first hurdle on Thursday, when it won committee approval at the church's General Convention.  The move comes nine years after the Episcopal Church, part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, approved its first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, sparking the departure of conservative parishes. The church now allows gay men and lesbians to join the ordained ministry. ...The resolution on gender, which would prohibit the exclusion of transgender Episcopalians from the lay or ordained ministry, will next be considered by the House of Bishops, which could come as soon as today, a church spokeswoman said.”
Is there any sexual perversion that the Episcopal Church will not sanction?!
Moving right along, last week Apprising Ministries posted another article in regards to “The Harbinger,” and its author Jonathan Cahn.  Cahn claims his book is 90% non-fiction.
More and more evidence pops up confirming just how heretical T.D. Jakes is (as if we need more).  Oprah Winfrey will have a program with T.D. Jakes and new age guru Deepak Chopra [link gone by 12/16/16] bringing their “spiritual insight” to Oprah’s audience.  Why is a supposed Christian even bothering with being associated with Oprah, let alone appearing with Chopra!?!  I wonder if Jakes ever read 2 Corinthian 6:14?
With so much proof that I have posted on this blog, demonstrating the fact that T.D Jakes is a false teacher and heretic, you’d think it would be obvious to any good teacher that they should’t recommend Jakes or support him in any way.  Yet, as I have reported in previous “Random” posts, Jams MacDonald is doing just that!  And even more than that, MacDonald hobnobbed with several other false teachers at Jakes’ 35th Anniversary bash, giving tacit approval to them!  My wife and I used to appreciate MacDonald’s teachings, and his “Walk in the Word,” but I could never again recommend him without his repentance.

Wretched TV has a good commentary on some of the nonsense going on in seeker-sensitive and emergent churches - stuff you need to be aware of and stay away from.  The video he starts with is one I had previously linked to in a past “Random” post, but that link is now broken.
Remember those various videos from North Point church to which I linked at the Museum of Idolatry?  It should come as no surprise that their pastor - correction, goatherd - has now resigned due to “moral failure.”  In my opinion, his first “moral failure” was those videos and his false teachings!  He never would have reached this point if he hadn’t been given support by all his non-discerning followers; they are to be blamed for continuing to accept him as a leader.
Then there is another “prophet-fuhrer” of the seeker-sensitive apostasy in the apologetics news this past week - Perry Noble.  This man is really bad news, and is leading his followers into spiritual danger.  Now he has reached the point of intimidating his followers into giving him lots of money!  He appears very much like WOF charlatans. 
Anddddd, then we have another goatherd in the news again: Steven Furtick.  He has a wild claim about how he started his “ministry” - a sentence from a book by Christian charismatic mystic Jim Cymbala.  Furtick makes lots of claims to direct revelation from God, as is so common with his ilk.
If you can stomach listening to false teacher and WOF heretic Kenneth Copeland, Apprising Ministries has a short video of Copeland mocking those who dare criticize him.

Beth Moore has finally crossed the line in regards to women’s roles in the Church. While she has previously been teaching men in a non-church setting (which can be argued whether it does fall under Paul’s prohibition in 1 Timothy), now she has actually taken the pulpit to teach at an assembly gathered for worship.  In this article by Sola Sisters, they even point out that Pastors John Piper and Tim Keller recommend books by women “pastors, which is why Moore is so easily accepted in a pulpit (While Keller has a low view of Scripture and can be expected to compromise here, Piper has always seemed to me to hold a high view of Scripture, which makes his sanctioning of a woman “pastor” - as well as previously expressing how he can learn from Beth Moore.)   Apprising Ministries also covered this situation, and they report that Rick Warren’s wife took the pulpit at his church earlier this year.  Seeker-sensitive churches seem to be more and more apostate as time goes by.
Now for a couple of good things to leave you with an up-beat attitude: 
I came across a good booklet (in pdf format) this week, titled, “How to Identify a Dangerous Religious Group,” by Martin R. De Haan II.  The  booklet has been around for many years, but I don’t know how long it has been available for download.  It is a very good reference source.
Albert Mohler had a good article this week about how we can know if God has called us to a ministry.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Can Satan Read Our Mind?

Initial explanation:  When talking about Satan, I mean Satan and the demons.  Since Satan and the demons were created as angels - albeit now they are fallen angels - they are not able to be in more than one location at a time.  So when the name Satan is spoken, it refers to Satan and the demonic realm, with Satan recognized as the leader.  (In the same way we say General Patton won many battles, we recognize that Patton personally wasn’t the one doing the fighting, but he was the leader and, by referring to him, we mean all those who were under his leadership.)  So I will only say “Satan,” but mean the entire demonic realm.
Also, since Satan is an angel, he has great intelligence and great power.
Questions to consider:
1.  Can Satan plant thoughts in our mind?
2.  Can Satan read our mind?
If Satan was able to plant thoughts in our minds, then he would indeed be able to make us sin, but there no place in Scripture where we see Satan making people sin.  Even Adam and Eve were only tempted by Satan, but it is human free will choice that leads to sin, by choosing that which is against God.
The Scripture in many places speaks of the demonically-possessed.  In these people the demon does exercise control to a great degree, but there is no indication that Satan plants thoughts in their minds, rather he uses the people as channels to express his own thoughts.  
Contrary to much false teaching, a Christian cannot be possessed by demons because a Christian is in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit.  1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:17, 19; 2 Cor. 1:22; 2 Thes. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:18.
Since God imbued man with a free will to choose between good and evil, it is not necessary for Satan to place thoughts in our minds.  All that is necessary is for him to observe human behavior with his great intelligence and place known temptations in the path of mankind.   After all, he has been observing humans for 6000 years!
 Eccl. 7:29 says, “God made people upright, but they pursued many schemes.” (HCSB)  James 1:14-15, in response to whether God tempts people, says this:  “But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires.  Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.” (HCSB)  These passages certainly demonstrate that we don’t need Satan planting thoughts in our mind!
Can Satan read our minds?  NO.  This is not a power angels have been demonstrated to possess in Scripture.  God has the ability to do so, and we know this from many passages of Scripture, but God is omniscient while Satan - as an angel - is not.  However, since Satan is an extremely intelligent being and has been watching mankind for 6,000 years, he has great understanding as to how mankind thinks.  He knows what can be used as temptations to awaken sinful desires in man.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thought-Provoking Hymns

Our opening and closing hymns yesterday are the type which most modern stuff can’t compete with in regards to making us think about our faith.  While these two didn’t have any specific doctrinal teachings, they were food for thought nevertheless.
The opening hymn is one I’m sure is sung in many churches the week of Independence Day, since that is the celebration for which it was written over a century ago.  The first time I ever heard this one, when I was a teenager, was just the instrumental version played by Cities Service Band of America on an old record my father had, and the trumpets at the start, as well as between each phrase, were quite stirring.  It was many years later, after I became a Christian, that I finally heard it as a hymn.  It is called a “National Hymn,” which I suppose expresses the purpose of its origin.
At any rate, while singing it yesterday I couldn’t help but think what a great nation we could have if as a nation this was our prayer.
God of our Fathers (lyrics by Daniel C. Roberts)
God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.
Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.
From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
Our closing hymn, one which I never heard of before, was essentially a reminder as to what our lives should be like as ambassadors for Christ.  (Unfortunately, some may see the lyrics as being in regards to the social gospel, but I don’t see that as the intent.  Perhaps I’m wrong, but I certainly don’t take them that way!)
We Are Called to Be God’s People (lyrics by Thomas A. Jackson)
We are called to be God’s people, showing by our lives His grace,
One in heart and one in spirit, sign of hope for all the race.
Let us know how He has changed us and remade us as His own;
Let us share our life together as we shall around His throne.
We are called to be God’s servants, working in His world today; 
Taking His own task upon us, all His sacred words obey.
Let us rise, then, to His summons, dedicate to Him our all, 
That we may be faithful servants, quick to answer now His call.
We are called to be God’s prophets, speaking for the truth and right;
Standing firm for godly justice, bringing evil into light.
Let us seek the courage needed, our high calling to fulfill,
That we all may know the blessing of the doing of God’s will.