"The Open Hands Trust has been granted £446,626 after receiving support from Voluntary Action Leicestershire (VAL) with their bid for Big Lottery Reaching Communities funding." http://www.valonline.org.uk Release date 12th of November 2013. Open Hands Trust is a project founded by Trinity Life Church (TLC) in Leicester which is part of the Assemblies of God (AOG) Pentecostal denomination in the UK.
"Over the past 15 years, Lottery distributors have awarded at least 139 grants worth more than £3.1m to evangelical, Pentecostal and conservative Christian groups." http://www.theguardian.com
This is a very critical debate which I believe is significant in our time. We may rightly pose the question: Should those who claim to be Bible believing fundamental Christians pursue secular funding for church projects? Lottery money in particular has extremely negative associations with gambling, and so we can legitimately say that from a biblical perspective it comes from an “unclean” source and that it is money tainted by sin. An inevitable consequence is that the church loses its right to speak against the evils of gambling if it is advertising, benefiting from and accepting the proceeds of gambling.
The social evil of gambling is rooted in greed and idolatry; its addictive nature and the misery that it causes to some people in society is very well known. For the Church to raise money from this source is pure hypocrisy. Critics say that the lottery exploits the poor and gives them false hope; it is said to be a tax on the poor, and those with little cash to spare are more likely to buy a £2 ticket than high earners. Is it right that those who call themselves Bible believing Christians should benefit from such wickedness?
Biblically money obtained through the sinfulness of gambling is an abomination; it will not bring the blessing of God but rather His curse. The ethical question of how money is obtained is a critical one because we cannot honour God with our substance unless it has been honourably and honestly acquired.
You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 23/18)
In the Old Testament, nothing unclean was ever allowed into the temple because the Glory of Yahweh dwelt there. God is holy and He cannot dwell in a defiled temple. What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." (2 Corinthians 6/16)
The lambs and other animals offered as sacrifices in the Old Testament were to be without blemish (Exodus 12/5; Leviticus 22/19-21). Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf. (Leviticus 22/20) Good works done with unclean lottery money in God's name are indeed defective offerings.
Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you..... (2 Corinthians 6/17; Isaiah 52/11 )
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1/5)
A great deal of casuistry has to be applied to justify the pursuit of unrighteous lottery funding:
TLC: “We are privileged to show the love and compassion of Christ to some of the most vulnerable people in our city with Isaiah ch58 vs6-12 very much being our heartbeat.” http://www.trinitylifechurch.org.uk
In context, Isaiah Chapter 58 addresses the internal sins of the house of Jacob and calls for their repentance (Isaiah 58). For instance, the Israelites were unjust and oppressed all their workers (58/3). This is not to say that Christians should not help the poor and needy, but it should not be done with money gained by wickedness.
Whatever happened to trusting God for provision?
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4/19)
The underlying issue is whether such schemes, programmes and building works are really in the will of the Lord. Are these plans and activities really in the will of God or are TLC empire building in the flesh?
How many hoops have TLC had to jump through in order to receive this money?
Lottery funding comes at a terrible cost: THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.
“Lottery distributors' rules make a distinction between religious activities and the community projects churches run. They say: "The project outcomes are key, rather than the non-project activities and ethos of the organisation. Crucially, the activities undertaken with lottery money cannot promote religion or belief." http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/
TLC: "Compassion is at the very heart of God and the very heart of TLC. The challenge of Isaiah 58 and Matthew 28. Through our compassion charity Open Hands we are privileged to show the love and compassion of Jesus to some of the most vulnerable people in our city." http://www.trinitylifechurch.org.uk/compassion/
And Jesus came and said to them,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28/18-20)
Here we have a dilemma: Either TLC together with Open Hands are promoting Jesus Christ or they are not. The above statement by them seems to indicate that they are, albeit in a very clandestine way. Here we have a double compromise; firstly the compromise of selling the gospel down the river; secondly the compromise of applying for lottery funding under false pretences. You cannot please two masters (Matthew 6/24)
Critically, the Bible puts preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ as the first priority as against good works and helping the poor. According to Lottery rules, TLC are not allowed to preach the gospel to those it helps.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10/14-17)
If TLC believe that they can somehow win people to Jesus Christ without preaching the gospel, they are not only breaking Lottery rules, they are deceiving themselves and more importantly they are dishonouring the Lord. TLC have in effect yoked themselves together with unbelievers and are prevented from doing the very thing that Christ told Christians to do i.e. engage in The Great Commission, that is to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28/19). That of course brings a price which these days few are prepared to pay.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6/14)
.....and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6/19-20)
…..preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4/2)
woe to me if I do not preach the gospel..... (1 Corinthians 9/16)
An insipid message has come from the Evangelical Alliance on this subject - we should not be surprised:
"A spokeswoman for the Evangelical Alliance – condemning the lottery as ‘a thinly disguised and unjust tax’ – says, ‘there is no biblical basis for relying on chance for income, either through gambling or applying to an unjust structure for monies.’ She echoes the view that funding streams have shifted to the lottery, and says the alliance does not advocate a hard line on lottery applications for social projects." http://www.lottery-monitor.com
LOTTERY EQUALITY VALUES ARE INCOMPATIBLE WITH BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY!
“.....it is equally important that when applying for lottery funding, such groups believe and abide by equality values." http://www.theguardian.com
Do TLC believe and abide by equality values? For instance, one of the criteria for equality is: Promoting inclusive communities such as other religions. Do TLC believe that other religions are equal to Christianity? It appears that they do not since they promote the exclusivity of Jesus Christ above other religions.
Another equality value is: Reducing disadvantage and exclusion. Disadvantaged groups may include lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Would TLC say that LGBT people are in God's will? Would they appoint them in key positions of leadership? Do TLC agree with same sex marriage etc?
If TLC do believe and abide by secular equality values then they have betrayed the Jesus Christ. If however TLC do not believe and abide by secular equality values then they have obtained lottery funding by deception and they have also betrayed Jesus Christ. Either way they are not in God's will!
I inadvertently attended an Open Hands presentation by Sue Smout, Senior Manager of the Open Hands Trust at Knighton Evangelical Free Church last year. It was a typical worldly TLC presentation - I might just as well have been at a slick business promotional meeting. How they love to peddle their own ideas and promote themselves above the Word of God at the expense of true worship – it was a very painful and grievous experience. We are indeed experiencing the end time apostasia (falling away) prophesied by the Apostle Paul (2 Thessalonians 2/3).
PINK ACTIVISTS ARE MORE HONEST THAN THE CHURCH!
It is amazing how God uses His enemies to accomplish his work and discipline his people if they stubbornly persist in wickedness. The Lord employed the wicked nations of Babylon and Assyria to punish apostate Israel (2 Kings 15/29; 16/7-9; 18/9-12). It appears that God is using the Pink activists of all people to put a stop to the hypocrisy of the church! The LGBT community object strongly to fundamentalist churches receiving lottery funds, and rightly so. Their arguments are absolutely correct in that the church cannot expect to get the benefits of the world if they are not willing to play the world's game. What an indictment on the church that this should be the case. I pray that these Pink activists are successful if it will bring TLC and other worldly churches like them to their senses.
Some excerpts from Peter Tatchell and the Pink Activists:
“The government and national lottery need to establish tighter controls on grants, to ensure that homophobic and other hate-mongering organisations do not get funding.” http://www.pinknews.co.uk/
LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell: "No lottery money should be given, directly or indirectly, to organisations that promote prejudice and discriminatory values." http://www.gaystarnews.com
Labour MP Chris Bryant: "I don't object to religious charities being supported by the lottery, as many churches and religions do a great deal for society. But most people would be scandalized to hear that lottery money is being used by groups that peddle fundamentalist prejudice and bigotry.” http://www.gaystarnews.com
"In a free society, extremist churches are entitled to believe that homosexuality is wrong, but they should not receive money that comes from the public and is intended to support good causes." http://protectthepope.com/?p=7285
When and not if the challenge comes, how will TLC respond when their charity status is threatened if they don’t comply to Caesar’s demand that we worship him? Will they try and wriggle around the issues and make their tenuous position before God even worse, or will they repent?
There are some ingenious worldly ideas floating around if they need any help in taking their apostasy further forward:
"While Christianity has traditionally forbidden sodomy, believing it to be parallel to homosexuality, it's been discovered in the Hebrew text and history that the word sodomy literally means "male temple prostitute", and not a translation for homosexual. Thus, homosexuality is not thought of as an act of sin in a growing population of churches today, namely the religion of Christianity." Assemblies of God USA
THE SATANIC 666 LOTTERY LOGO!
The whole world lies under the dominion of the evil one, Satan, the prince of this world (1 John 5/19; John 12/31; Luke 4/6).
Hidden in plain sight, Satanic numbers and symbols are commonly used in corporate logos e.g. Cadbury, Coca Cola and Cern amongst many many others. I have demonstrated this in my Hubpages article referenced below. By using the number 666 in some form, disguised or otherwise, Satan is marking his territory. The Lottery logo is no exception and contains a very thinly disguised 666 – any organisation receiving lottery money is to be literally saturated with the signature of Satan!
Below is an excerpt from the Big Lottery Fund Website:
"Questions about using BIG’s logo
Do I have to use the logo?
Yes - by accepting your award you have made a commitment to using our logo to acknowledge your grant publicly. This is a requirement of your grant contract. Acknowledging your grant is part of your contract with us, and not acknowledging is a breach of that contract. We monitor projects closely for acknowledgement, and contact all projects that don’t meet these guidelines.
Where should I use the logo?
All grant recipients should acknowledge the support of BIG when producing any form of promotional or publicity material, including your website, press releases, leaflets, posters, brochures, annual reports and stationery, such as letterheads.
When advertising a job funded by us, our logo should feature in the advert.
If you have a building, especially if it was funded by the Big Lottery Fund, a plaque should be installed on completion. Site hoarding stickers must be installed while work is in progress."
The Big Lottery logo is not only a thinly disguised 666, it is the image of crossed fingers, an image which has its history in witchcraft and superstition. By crossing fingers we are engaging in making a spell, albeit inadvertently. As far as the lottery goes, crossed fingers depicts “good luck”, supposedly as an aid to winning. Other meanings of crossed fingers include protection from harm e.g. when walking under a ladder. When people cross fingers behind their backs it has negative connotations with lies. The symbol of crossed fingers is the antithesis of biblical Christianity and yet TLC are obliged to have this logo plastered all over their Open Hands material!
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; (Revelation 18/4)