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July 10, 2020

6/23/2020 2:25:00 PM
Response to "Don't be deceived"

Dear Editor:
I'd like to respond to John Ihde's letter entitled "Don't be deceived."
First off, I would like to apologize to John (and all readers) for any abuse or violence inflicted upon him (and them) by someone who professes to be a Christian. I am a 29-year-old man who grew up with very little interest in Christ and was often disturbed by those I knew who professed to be religious and lived terrible, abusive lives. I agree with the writer that "just because someone volunteers at a food bank does not mean they can't be charged with assault."
The one who taught me this point was Jesus Himself, who said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV). The atrocities of the Inquisition, collusion with the Nazis, and child abuse, are all things which Christ Himself would have no part of.
Let all readers know that there is a difference between professors of Christ and possessors of Christ. Some profess to know Him and are self-deceived, because they haven't received a new heart. Others actually possess Him in their hearts, and are true followers of the Way. It doesn't matter the denomination - Protestantism, Catholicism, Eastern-Orthodoxy, and everything in between - have had occurrences of both crime and indecency. True possessors believe that, "Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:10 NKJV).
In response to the writer's solution, that the human heart is just fine without true Christianity, I submit to him the opposite. Don't be deceived! The real issue of our day is this - at the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. Until we admit this, we will continue to see greater moral decline in society. As the prophet Jeremiah said, "The [human] heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jer. 15:9 NKJV).
By ourselves, each human heart is morally lost, and our holy Creator is the only One who can fix it. Jesus Christ, God incarnate, declared to the world that He came to "seek and save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10 NKJV). He alone lived the life of perfection, and offers that new life to all who will turn away from their rebellion, and welcome Him into their hearts. My desire is for John and all to see this joyful truth and be reconciled to their Creator before this short life transitions into eternity.
Pastor Alexander Ruggieri
Dodgeville, WI

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