Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, consultant, practitioner, and scholar whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition. His articles are published by numerous international media outlets and routinely ricochet across the net globally.
Dr. Mattera is renowned for addressing current events through the lens of Scripture by applying biblical truths and offering cogent defenses to today’s postmodern culture. Dr. Mattera has a Doctor of Ministry in Christian Worldview from Bakke University; was a PHD candidate with the Oxford Center for Mission Studies (OCMS) and has a THD with Antioch University. To order his bestselling books or to join the many thousands who subscribe to his acclaimed newsletter, go to www.josephmattera.org.
This About That - Joseph Mattera's ThoughtsThe following articles are provided by the Author and may not represent the feelings or ideals of GetMyNewBook.
Eight Steps Towards Evangelical Church Compromise (Joseph Mattera)
Posted on: May 16, 2023The evangelical Church plays a crucial role in society, influencing individuals and communities with its teachings and values. However, sure signs indicate a potential compromise within the church. By recognizing and addressing these signs, church members and leaders can take proactive steps to preserve the integrity and mission of the Church. Let’s explore eight key areas where attention and improvement are needed:
1. Raising the standards for those who serve.There is an emerging trend among evangelical churches to allow individuals “seeking” to serve during church services, regardless of their sexual identity, lifestyle, or belief system. While proponents argue that this engagement fosters commitment, it is essential to exercise proper vetting. Allowing individuals who are yet to be followers of Christ to serve in supportive roles, such as background musicians or bookkeepers, after careful evaluation, may be acceptable. However, assigning someone in a prominent public role representing the church, irrespective of their overt lifestyle, crosses a line. If this trend continues, it may promote individuals with contrary views to influential positions, causing division and compromising the Church’s mission.
2. Addressing controversial issues from the pulpitPastors who avoid preaching on controversial topics like human sexuality, abortion, and racism, neglect their duty to teach the congregation how to apply scripture to contemporary culture. By avoiding these important discussions, church leaders inadvertently allow unbiblical values and practices to take root among their members. To equip the Church with a biblical worldview and ethics, pastors should courageously address these subjects, providing guidance and clarity based on God’s Word.
3. Emphasizing Christian worldview trainingChurches, whether through small groups or formal institutions, should prioritize offering Christian worldview training to their congregation. Investing in training young people before they reach high school and college is especially crucial. The current world system often conflicts with Christian values, and with comprehensive training in biblical principles, young individuals can defend their faith when faced with opposing ideologies. Organizations like Summit Ministries are an excellent resource for training young people.
4. Balancing numbers and discipleshipWhile it is essential to reach out to the lost, seeker-friendly churches must not neglect their existing members’ spiritual growth and discipleship. Overemphasizing attracting new individuals, without providing robust discipleship programs, can result in a congregation filled with compromised and spiritually immature Christians lacking discernment. Striking a balance between evangelism and discipleship ensures that the church remains firmly rooted in biblical truth.
5. Prioritizing expository preaching over mere motivationMany evangelical churches experience significant growth due to the exceptional rhetorical skills of their pastors. However, congregants may need a proper understanding of biblical ethics, especially if their sermons primarily focus on motivation without sound doctrinal content. Pastors must engage in expository preaching, carefully unpacking and explaining the Scriptures so members can grow in their knowledge and application of God’s Word.
6. Strengthening the Church through protective bylawsGospel-preaching churches must protect themselves legally by incorporating specific positions on key issues within their bylaws. Addressing matters such as binary gender, traditional marriage, and human sexuality, safeguards the church’s ability to maintain biblical standards (Genesis 1:27, Matthew 19:4-6, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). By including these positions in their constitution and bylaws, churches reduce vulnerability to potential lawsuits aimed at forcing the acceptance of individuals who violate biblical morality. Organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom are an excellent resource to aid churches in this matter.
7. Cultivating a focus on seeking God and holinessChurches must prioritize seeking God’s presence and cultivating personal holiness among their members. It is crucial to emphasize corporate and individual prayer, worship, scripture reading, personal holiness, and spiritual formation, regardless of the outward metrics of church attendance and finances. The Scripture is clear that believers are called to be holy as the Lord is holy (1 Peter 1:15). By fostering an environment that encourages spiritual growth and transformation, churches can ensure that their members are equipped to live out their faith in a world that often challenges biblical values.
8. Examining compromising financial partnershipsChurches and pastors should carefully evaluate the sources of funding they receive, especially from far-left progressive organizations or those with moral views that contradict historic Christianity. Maintaining discernment and ensuring that financial partnerships align with the Church’s beliefs and values are essential. Proximity to power, politicians, and money can potentially compromise the Church’s integrity and mission. By diligently assessing financial associations, churches can maintain their commitment to the biblical principles they profess. In conclusion, compromising steps within the Church often occurs gradually, like the frog in the kettle unaware of the rising temperature. By recognizing these eight telltale signs of compromise, church members and leaders can sound the alarm before the congregation loses its saltiness (Matthew 5:13). It is through intentional effort, steadfast adherence to biblical truth, and a focus on spiritual growth that churches can navigate the challenges of contemporary culture while remaining faithful to their calling. Remember, refining and strengthening the Church is an ongoing process. By addressing these areas, the Church can be a beacon of light, truth, and transformation in a world that needs it more than ever. – Joseph Mattera
10 Reasons Why Socialism and Marxism are Antithetical (directly opposed / incompatible) to Biblical Christianity (Joseph Mattera)
Posted on: February 16, 2023
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848, relating it to what they called “scientific socialism.” The 20th century and beyond are fraught with examples of the embarrassing failures of both communism and socialism (I.e., The Former Soviet Union, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, Soviet-era Eastern Germany, to name a few).
Despite this dubious history, we currently have high-profile political leaders, like congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio promoting a form of Marxism called “democratic socialism.”
The following are ten reasons why socialism is antithetical to the tenets of biblical Christianity.
1. Socialism is against the biblical view of the nuclear family.
Marxists argue that “the nuclear family performs ideological functions for Capitalism – the family acts as a unit of consumption and teaches passive acceptance of hierarchy. It is also the institution through which the wealthy pass down their private property to their children, thus reproducing class inequality.”
Hence, socialism is against the biblical principle of parental rights related to their children and the prominence of the nuclear family (Genesis 1:28-29, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 5:22-6:4).
2. Socialists claim education belongs solely to the state.
Marxist education aims at producing faithful citizens. Therefore, it is primarily an ideological tool to program children to be loyal to the state. In communist and socialist nations, education and the curriculum are controlled by the state and are not considered the responsibility of the parents. Models like homeschooling children would be illegal. This contradicts the biblical framework regarding parents being responsible for educating their children the way they choose (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
3. Socialists claim the state deserves the highest allegiance.
In many communist nations like the former Soviet Union and contemporary countries like North Korea and China, Bibles are confiscated, churches buildings are burned, and evangelism is illegal. This is because they see Christianity as a rival religion to the authority of the humanistic secular state. This goes against the biblical command to put first God’s Kingdom and worship and serve Jesus as the only true Lord (Matthew 6:33; 1 Timothy 6:15).
4. “Socialists believe in the abolition of private property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.”
This is antithetical to the biblical premise of the individual right to own private property and the command for believers to create wealth to promote God’s covenant (Exodus 20:15; Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Kings 20:6, Isaiah 65:21-22; Mark 10:39-21).
5. Socialism advocates a progressive income tax.
In a socialist system, people are taxed based on their income. This is called a progressive tax structure. As an example of the influence of socialism in the United States, “The top 1 percent (taxpayers with AGI of $546,434 and above) earned 20.1 percent of total AGI in 2019 and paid 38.8 percent of all federal income taxes. In 2019, the top 1 percent of taxpayers accounted for more income taxes paid than the bottom 90 percent combined.” This goes against the biblical principle that all people, irrespective of their income, should pay the same percentage which is a “flat tax.” (This is similar to the Biblical principle of the tithe which is 10% of a person’s income (Leviticus 27:30; Proverbs 3:8-10; Matthew 23:23).)
6. Socialism opposes the rights of a family inheritance.
In a contemporary Marxist and Socialist framework, either leaving an inheritance to children is not allowed, or the state confiscates much of the family inheritance through double taxation. This goes against the biblical principle of leaving an inheritance to children (Proverbs 13:22).
7. In socialism, the state attempts to control all communication
“In socialistic countries, centralisation of the means of communication and transport is in the hands of the State.” In communist nations, people are not allowed to have freedom of speech. Violations can be severely punished (I.e., “Meta-owned Facebook and Twitter have been blocked in China since 2009”). Since God owns the world, nobody has the right to restrict free speech, especially the proclamation of the gospel (Psalm 24; Acts 1:8-9).
8. In socialism, a utopia comes from a revolutionary change from the outside in.
“Marx’s utopianism lay in the aim of abolishing the distinction between state and civil society, and in the harmony he assumed would emerge.” This goes against the biblical principle that systemic change doesn’t start from the outside. Instead, it starts from the inside when people are born again in their hearts from above (John 3:3-8).
9. Socialism categorizes people as either the oppressed or the oppressors.The Marxist revolutions were started by inciting the so-called proletariat to overthrow the social systems of the so-called bourgeoisie, thus pitting poor and rich citizens against each other. This violates the Bible principles of justice and impartiality in which God commands us not to show favoritism to either the rich or the poor (Leviticus 19:15).
Also, a popular form of contemporary socialism called “critical theory” violates biblical principles by categorizing people based upon their sexual identity, economic status, skin color, ethnicity, or gender. Biblically, there is only one human race made in the image of God. In Christ, all the walls that divide humanity have been broken down (Genesis 1:27; Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 2:14-22).