Paul warned us about times like this and the way people – including those claiming to be professing Christians – would act.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away,” he writes in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

And a chapter later (2 Timothy 4:3-4) adds: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

I strongly believe Paul had in mind the kind of people who run major Protestant denominations like the United Methodist Church.

Today, at an event in Fort Worth, Texas, leaders of the denomination, which boasts membership by President Bush and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, will consider divesting from all companies that do business with Israel.

To say that even considering such an action is hateful, unbiblical, anti-Christian and evil would be an understatement.

It’s not even understandable except in the context of the kind of morally blind apostasy described by Paul.

Nevertheless, because so many people in our world do not know better and could easily be fooled by such discussions, let me explain in simple terms where the Methodists, and the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ before them, are going wrong.

By calling for divestment from one nation in the world, the Methodists are suggesting in the strongest terms possible that Israel is the worst of the world’s nations with regard to human rights.

As far as I know, the Methodists have no similar divestment plans for Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Zimbabwe, Cuba, China or any other of dozens of tyrannical hellholes I could name. Israel is their only target.

That in itself is unbelievable. It shows how perverse this action really is. You have to believe up is down, left is right, black is white and right is wrong to accept such a bizarre concept.

The problem with these people is not that they don’t understand the Middle East. It is simply that they are no longer able to tell right from wrong. They are no longer able to distinguish between good and evil. They are no longer able to see the difference between freedom and tyranny. They are no longer able to judge between criminal and victim.

They have, in short, completely lost their moral bearings.

This is no longer a church; it is an organization of misguided political activism. This is no longer a house of God; it is a mad house. This is no longer part of the bride of Christ; it is a whore to the world.

I know these are tough words, for which I am sure to be criticized by some of my Christian friends.

Let me say this. We have many problems in this country that need to be addressed first and foremost by the church. So often, I hear church leaders say that their commitment is exclusively to spreading the Gospel, not in making moral pronouncements, not in teaching right from wrong, not in applying the lessons of Scripture to the direction of our nation and world.

Too often the church allows itself to be intimidated by the world, subjugated by tax laws, seduced by government, cowed by the doctrine of feel-good liberalism.

That’s what has happened to the Methodists and the Presbyterian Church USA and some other major denominations.

I would urge anyone still associated with the Methodists to divest yourself and your family from this institution. Divest it of your tithes and offerings. Divest it from your last will and testament. Divest it from your time and volunteer work. Divest your children from its Sunday school classes.

For those pastors leading Methodist churches who understand where your denomination is heading, it’s time to pack up and divest yourself of links to the denomination.

The biblical principle at stake is the one about avoiding relationships in which we are unequally yoked. As Paul would say, avoid such people and institutions that have turned their backs on God, on the Bible, on what is right, on what is moral.

It’s separation time.

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