Society Magazine

Focus on the Family, Bono, & Who is a Christian? Part 2

By Elizabethprata @elizabethprata
This series of posts will look at one issue divided into three parts:
1. Focus on the Family's increasing apostasy
2. Whether Bono is a Christian
3. Lack of discernment in Christians today/ not everyone who claims Jesus is a Christian
Part 1: looked at Focus on the Family. In that part, I'd mentioned that the Christian organization Focus on the Family (FOTF) interviewed the Irish rock singer Bono this week, and was impressed with Bono's Christian walk. Interviewer and FOTF President Jim Daly had written an opinion-editorial response to the show which was published in the Washington Post and also on FOTF blog.
I'd also mentioned that previously FOTF had displayed less than discerning attitudes when hosting occultist Roman Catholic Anne Rice on their show and refusing to call Roman Catholic apostate. They had also partnered with Catholic Mystic Roma Downey and New Age husband Mark Burnett to oversee the theology and then promote the History Channel miniseries The Bible. All these comments with links and bible verses can be seen at part 1.
Part 2: Is Bono a Christian?
The title of Mr Daly's op-ed piece about Bono is called ""Why Orthodox Christians Should Appreciate An Unorthodox Bono". This is not to be taken lightly. A mature male elder of my faith is telling me, a fellow Christian, to pay attention to the faith and works of a certain person. Therefore I do two things: I pay attention, and I test all things by comparing what this recommended person says, against the word of God.
The test came up short. Bono is not a Christian.
But what if I had not tested against the word of God? And, why is a mature elder of the faith not exhibiting more discernment? That is the problem.
Let's go to the beginning. Bono is a multi-million dollar rock star who says he is a Christian, and has for many years been involved in good causes, particularly ending poverty and bringing awareness to preventable diseases such as AIDS and malaria. The current campaign that Bono and his associates are involved in is an organization Bono started called ONE and it aims to end extreme poverty, especially in Africa, in this generation.Here is the link to the interview between FOTF and singer Bono.
U2's Bono Discusses Faith, Helping Others With Focus on the Family's Jim Daly
"Bono told Daly that he has chosen to put so much time and energy into the ONE Campaign because to him, "love is to realize the potential of others."
I'm sorry, but love is not to realize potential, because the only potential we have is to do evil. As unsaved sinners all that we do is filthy rags in the sight of God. (Isaiah 64:6). Augustine said, "Good works, as they are called, in sinners, are nothing but splendid sins." Spurgeon said, "good works come from a real conversion, brought about by the Spirit of God. Until our conversion, there is not the shadow of goodness about us. In the eye of the world we may be reputable and respectable, but in the eye of God we are nothing of the sort." (source)
Even saved sinners must do righteous works in the Spirit and not of our own motivations. The works of saved will be tested at the Bema seat. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10). So even as saved people, we have potential to do works that are in the flesh! As a Christian, Bono should know about our potential. It is utter depravity. (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9).
Love is telling people the truth about sin and the salvation from wrath for those sins through Jesus.
The article continues, "In an op-ed for The Washington Post following his broadcasted interview with Bono, Daly wrote that although many Christians may find the musician unorthodox, he believes Bono truly lives his Christian values through his love for others. Bono "chooses to go out and serve alongside other people consumed by the desire to help others" instead of "easily [enjoying] the spoils of his fame and fortune," Daly wrote."
I'm thrilled that someone who by sweat of his brow and long years of work has amassed a fortune and is willing to use it to advance causes in philanthropy. But that cannot be confused with saving faith. But I am reminded of the rich young ruler, found in Matthew 16:19-23 and explained here.
Daly is impressed with Bono's use of a verse from Luke which Bono says is the foundation of why he does what he does, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19)."
That verse in context is Jesus reading the Messianic prophecy from Isaiah, and it refers to Himself. It is Messiah's four-fold mission, not ours. Jesus isn't even talking about the economically poor in that passage, but the spiritually poor. The oppressed are the sinners, captured in sin, not the politically oppressed. The blind means Jesus will be a light to the nations to open blind eyes. Yet Bono says,
"If you’re not actively embracing this theology – “in little or large ways, you’re simply not catching the vision of how Jesus wants us to engage our world."
How Jesus wants us to engage the world is through Matthew 28:16-20,
"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
That is the theology we are told to cling to.
Here are more specifics on what Bono believes. Bono said in an interview with his unbelieving friend Michka Assayas:
"It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma. You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, so you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff."
It sounds Christian, and it almost is. I understand that Bono is referring to the law of what you reap, you will sow (Galatians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 9:6). Sowing and reaping is a law of the spiritual world, but it is not karma. It confuses people to use a Buddhist & Hindu term for the sowing and reaping. If Bono wanted to discuss sowing and reaping, he should have used the bible verse and explained it.
Equating this law to all religions is unwise. Other religions have nothing to commend themselves to God. Other religions in the bible are spoken of by God as false, gangrenous, pagan, adultery, spiritual prostitution, and a whore. (Ezekiel 16:28, Revelation 19:22 Timothy 2:17, Lamentations 1:10, Hosea 4:12 Ezekiel 43:9). Christians strive to be different and peculiar, not to spread Christianese laws like butter over other religions' philosophies to blend them together. The Christian religion is distinct from and different than all other religions.
Jesus is the center of the Universe. (Colossians 1:16-17). Not karma.
"Interviewer: "I was wondering if you said all of that to the Pope the day you met him."
"Bono: Let’s not get too *** the Holy Roman Church here. The Church has its problems, but the older I get, the more comfort I find there. The physical experience of being in a crowd of largely humble people, heads bowed, murmuring prayers, stories told in stained-glass windows."
"Assayas: So you won’t be critical."
"Bono: No, I can be critical, especially on the topic of contraception. But when I meet someone like Sister Benedicta and see her work with AIDS orphans in Addis Ababa, or Sister Ann doing the same in Malawi, or Father Jack Fenukan and his group Concern all over Africa, when I meet priests and nuns tending to the sick and the poor and giving up much easier lives to do so, I surrender a little easier."
Bono equates Catholic good works with salvation. This is incorrect. Catholicism adheres to a works-doctrine of salvation. Seeing others' works is not the basis upon which we should surrender our lives to Jesus. Belief and faith in Him is the reason we surrender.
Bono describes himself as a "half-Catholic", and in visiting the Pope (in 2002) he said "I was very glad to be in his presence", and "I felt he has very sincere beliefs. And even if they're not popular, at least they're sincere."
At one of his concerts, Bono called out the name of the Pope , - "John Paul" to the crowd and described him as "an Italian who knew the right person to get into heaven."
"Bono said in his NAACP award acceptance speech, "God is with the poor and God is with us if we are with them...we can be the generation that ends extreme poverty." He founded ONE, and advocacy organization to end extreme poverty, and says ONE is "proud to work alongside incredible allies in the faith community – NGOs like World Vision, Catholic Relief Services, American Jewish World Service and Bread for the World; churches like Willow Creek, and leaders like Rick and Kay Warren and Archbishop Desmond Tutu."
All those that Bono mentioned are not in the faith community because they are not Christian. A Christian with discernment should see that.
What is confusing about Bono is that he claims Jesus as Savior and then mixes familiar Christian-ese language into his statement of faith. Like this: In his book-length conversation with friend and unbeliever Michka Assayas, Bono said, “I wish to begin again on a daily basis. To be born again every day is something that I try to do. And I'm deadly serious about that.”
I can't "try" to be born again. Being born again is a one-time event which the Savior performs after the Spirit drew the person to the Father. (John 3:3-7). It is also known as justification, where God declares a certain sinner righteous, and sees them as so through the imputed righteousness of Jesus. (Romans 5:1). It has nothing to do with my efforts. After the one time justification enacted by Jesus (born again) we spend our lives in Holy Spirit empowered sanctification, seeking it fervently. (1 Peter 1:15; Hebrews 12:14). Perhaps this is what Bono meant. But we cannot be born again more than once.
Bono freely talks about Jesus's death on the cross was to atone for His sins and that without that atonement Bono would reap an obvious death, and that he believes Jesus is the Son of God. He quotes the bible, then says "But the one thing we can all agree -- all faiths, all ideologies -- is that God is with the vulnerable and poor" and then he quotes the Quran.
Bono is not a Christian.
God is God on one faith. All other 'gods' are false.But that is not what Bono believes.

Focus on the Family, Bono, & who is a Christian? Part 2

Vertigo Tour, U2/Bono, Source

Bono/U2's Vertigo Tour was built on the theme of CoExist, the people in the 'three Abrahamic faiths', that is. Kevin Hutchinson wrote in 2005, "The stringing together of three religious icons to spell out the word "coexist" has been a crucial part of the Vertigo Tour since its opening night. ...The sign is a crucial element of one of the most emotional and memorable portions of the Vertigo show: U2 concludes the heart-wrenching "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own," and with the show's mood growing increasingly intense, a white headband appears on Bono's forehead for the opening chords of "Love and Peace or Else." The headband bears the handwritten message "COEXIST" with the Muslim crescent symbol representing the "C;" the Jewish Star of David, the "X;" and the Christian cross, the "T." As the next few songs progress, Bono kneels down, wrists crossed above his head, conjuring images of a hostage, now blindfolded with the CoeXisT band covering his eyes. In the European shows, the CoeXisT sign dominates the giant screen behind the band. And in the midst of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (which, according to Bono, doesn't just belong to Ireland anymore) Bono points to each religious icon and declares:
"Jesus, Jew, Muhammad, it's true...All sons of Abraham. Father Abraham, speak to your sons. Tell them, No more!"
Wikipedia notes,  "He brought his Christian views into harmony with other faiths by noting that Christian, Jewish, and Muslim writings all call for the care of the widow, orphan, and stranger."
And Mr Jim Daly of Focus on the Family is promoting Bono as a Christian? Where is the discernment?
The thing that mixes people up in the case of Bono is that most folks acknowledge God but live lives devoid of fruit. Those are easy to tell are not Christian. (Matthew 7:16). Some people mention sin. A very few talk about Jesus. So when they do mention Jesus people get all excited, thinking that this must mean the person is a believer! Jesus is so marginalized in culture by now and excluded from church so often (Revelation 3:20) that when someone says they believe in Him, their discernment goes out the window and they cling to their statement as if it is a mantra or an abracadabra magic word and they are welcomed with open arms.
Bono's ONE organization believes in social justice for the poor, and later on down the page on their website, likens social justice with equality. This is socialistic wealth redistribution, and communism at its root, and it shows a flawed attitude toward Jesus. The poor will always be among us, He said. ("Mark 14:7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.")
Worse, Bono's ONE organization admits that ONE is not about charity. It's not charity, it's justice, their website says. Jesus said to be charitable but focus on Him, as stated in Mark. He said to be charitable and leave the justice to Him.

Focus on the Family, Bono, & who is a Christian? Part 2


Social justice for the poor makes a flawed secular assumption. It assumes the poor got that way because the wealthy oppressed them. Not so in every case. Our energies are to share the gospel so that when this vapor of a poor life is over, they will enjoy an eternal inheritance.
Did you know that the ONE organization only sent one percent of its total donations to intended destinations? (also reported here). Imagine if the amount donated to ONE in 2010 (£9.6m/$8M) went to support missions!!! Gideons!!!! Bible translation efforts for unreached peoples!!!
Can a man who claims to be half-Catholic, lauds the pope, substitutes Karma for Jesus as the heart of the universe, quotes the Koran, says that all religions are a faith community, wants to eradicate extreme poverty in this lifetime by redistributing wealth in a carnal act of self-proclaimed justice, and builds his life on a misunderstood piece of scripture, be a Christian? No.
How can this be so?
Many, many believe by mental assent, not heart-repentance and faith in the invisible God. Their works stem from an intellectual acceptance of and agreement with some scriptures.
Jesus said that many who do works in His name are not believers. Matthew 7:22 says, "On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’"
"You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!" (James 2:19).
The blending of Christianese into people's faith statements is increasingly difficult to parse. It did throw me for a loop to read in an interview that Bono believes Jesus died for his sins...but then I read that he believes Jesus's sacrificial act broke the karma on his life and we share the same root of faith as Muslims. It will only get harder from here on out, as the one world religion blends itself into a amorphous ball of clay that hides the corrupt center.
The lesson for us ... will be discussed in part 3.

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