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Ever Get Discouraged ?

Ever look around the church and get discouraged? I do. The Enemy seems to be making gains on all fronts. However, consider how you'd feel if you were on the *other* side -- the Enemy's side. Put yourself in the shoes of one committed to destroying Christian faith. Talk about discouragement! You'd be thinking something like this:

"These Christians are a stubborn lot, almost impossible to get rid of. For 20 centuries we've tried to stomp them out, yet, in spite of our efforts, they've spread their religion to every corner of the world. It's an awfully hard religion to destroy -- you cut off a head, and twenty grow back.

You persecute them, and they go underground and develop a purer strain of their religion. You kill them and they build on their martyr's blood. Get them to water down their faith, and a little group somewhere will rediscover the real faith and they'll start over again - they have an infuriating way of regenerating themselves.

And these Christians know how to turn a negative into a positive. They turn our best laid plans upside down. Get a couple of their famous religious figures to commit adultery or visit to a prostitute, and they'll simply produce a thousand seminars and books on sexual fidelity, and the net effect will be greater morality among many of them, not lesser. It's discouraging!

Denominations are, of course, good targets. However, as quickly as one cools off, they'll start a new one. These Christians produce new denominations faster than roaches reproduce baby roaches. Same with local churches. No sooner than we get a local church to die spiritually and there'll be two brand new ones cropping up in some school auditorium across town. Its hopeless, I tell you!

A few times in history we've pretty well got the whole church to go lukewarm. But, not for long. Then along comes a John Wesley or a John Knox, and a whole nation turns back to God. Even when all of organized religion is waning, they go out and launch a new strain of pure Christianity in some religious order or para-church organization.

Make 'em poor, and they praise God. Make them rich, and someone like St. Francis will come along and teach them to live the opposite way. Get them totally absorbed with their fancy buildings and elegant worship and some Quaker-like group will sprout up and reintroduce a religion of simplicity and plainness.

Close all their buildings and lock their doors, and they'll shrug their shoulders and move into homes, declaring it an improvement. Close a nation to missionaries, and they'll just sneak in as tentmakers, and infect people one at a time. Kick out all the missionaries and suppress Christianity like we did in China, and what did we get? Twenty-five years later we got several hundred thousand committed Christians who simply practiced their faith underground. They're hard to get rid of, I tell you.

Introduce division and strife among the churches and they'll invent something like promise-keepers or these new Citywide Worship Events and restore a sense of unity. Divide them and they multiply; create strive and they make peace.

And they've got money - lots of money! They give Billions every week! That's B as in Billions, and W as in every week. Christianity is the largest single economic enterprise in the world, dwarfing pip-squeak outfits like General motors. Millions of them give 10% of their income every week. It adds up! Just think if non-believers were that committed.

And they support a zillion different enterprises: Colleges and universities to train millions of their youth, radio programs up and down the dial - even entire radio stations now, and they sponsor TV programs, bookstores, publishing houses, seminars, training programs, and even have their own full line Christian music. I tell you, its discouraging for us non-believers at times. As soon as our side gets hold of a new medium, Christians come running along second and swamp us with their Christian message. Look what they did with books, and radio, TV and even the Waterfront Hall. My goodness, who knows what they'll do on the Internet!

We do have one advantage. Christians are easy to get off track. But the discouraging thing is, once we've got them sidetracked, a whole new wave comes along and gets the church back on track -- its as if there is an invisible spirit of some sort correcting and guiding them. It's discouraging, I tell you!

How do we crush these Christians out of existence? It's hard to do, I tell you. Rome couldn't do it. The dark ages didn't do it. State religion didn't do it. Darwin couldn't either. Rationalism couldn't. Neither could liberalism, communism, socialism, democracy, nor even modernity. You can't tax them into oblivion, or legislate them out of existence. And if you ignore them, they won't go away. I tell you they're hard to beat!

Divide them and they'll unify, beat them down and they pop back up. Create strife and they make peace. Criticize them and they listen with a smile, hate them and they love you back. Take their coat and they'll give you their cloak too. Persecute them and they'll multiply, arrest them and they witness to you, beat them and they sing, kill them and they simply go to heaven! I tell you, you can't beat them!

Since you can't beat them... why not join them?"