Thursday, August 20, 2015
God’s Grace to You Displayed in the Hacking of Ashley Madison: “… be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23)
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
In the past, it has been a general rule that Christians are pro-life and oppose abortion. There has always been opposition to a pro-life position from outside of Christian circles, but growing numbers of people inside of Christian institutions and churches have become more vocal in their opposition to a strictly pro-life position. From what I’ve read, a common theme in pro-choice or pro-abortion arguments made from a Christian perspective is that legal abortion is an evil which is currently necessary in order to avoid a different moral or ethical problem which would be even worse.
For the record (and this is no surprise), I severely disagree with any argument that I’ve seen which attempts to justify continued legalized abortion. With that being said, what I have not seen is an argument for the sanctified beauty of having an abortion or for the sanctified beauty and Christian virtue of the abortion doctor’s activity and vocation. In other words, while various arguments are given to view the issue of abortion from a different perspective, I’ve not seen a Christian argue that it is a morally good and non-sinful thing to kill a baby in the womb.
I believe that the single greatest issue of our time is the current sexual/gender revolution. I believe this because this issue has the largest implications for the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ because proponents inside of Christendom argue that being involved in same sex relationships or embracing of gender confusion leading to transgenderism is morally good while the condemnation of the same is morally evil. I say this not because transgenderism or homosexuality are greater sins than abortion. I say this because the arguments made in favor of homosexual marriage and transgenderism are so positioning these issues as not being sinful at all. Whether it’s Matthew Vines’ “God and the Gay Christian” or any number of similarly aimed arguments, the primary objective is to sanctify an activity that, they say, has been incorrectly defined as sinful.
And therein lies the reason why this is the foremost Christian issue of our time and not merely another cultural, social, or theological issue that must be debated and hashed out. This gets at the heart of Biblical revelation and our ability to make any sort of proclamation about what is or is not sinful according to God’s Word (or anything else for that matter). Contrary to our opponents, establishing the sinfulness of homosexual activity is not done merely on the basis of a handful of “clobber passages” where homosexuality is explicitly mentioned, but it is done by taking what the whole canon of Scripture says about sex, marriage and divorce (along with a whole range of other things) in order to create a biblical view of sexuality.
If some Christians are unable or unwilling to proclaim that homosexuality is sinful, then they have cut off their noses to spite their faces because they have given over any ability to actually define sin according to what the Bible says instead of defining it according to pop culture or your own personal feelings. And if we lose the ability to define and understand sin, we lose our ability to define and understanding the necessity for a savior who bore our sin in His body on the tree. We will have lost the ability to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all dying men.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Shortly after Peter confessed that Jesus was the Son of God, Jesus said this to the disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) There are many things that one can (and should) say about Jesus’ description of discipleship, but one thing that must be emphasized is this: one of the things at the core of this discipleship is a rejection of a life focused on self-interest or self-fulfillment.
In Luke 19, we meet Zaccheus, a was a greedy man who was very good at gaining wealth by using an intentional government loophole to extort huge amounts of money from people. But when He came face to face with Jesus, he saw that so much of what characterized himself as a person was diametrically opposed to Jesus that he vowed to pay back those he’d defrauded 400% of what he’d stolen.
This is not a lone story of the radical changes in activity or lifestyle. Paul writes to a group of people characterized by their love for Christ, but who were also characterized by the phrase “such were some of you” (1 Cor 6:11). The true Christian church has always been made up of former thieves (like Zaccheus), former liars, former drunks, former adulterers, and former homosexuals.
The Bible doesn’t give us the option to have a class of Christians where someone can embrace their sinfulness as a positive Christian virtue, acceptable and endorsed as a true expression of Christianity. Scripture does not allow people embrace their sinful sexuality as an asset to their Christian life, whether they be “Christian Swingers” or “Gay Christians”. Do Christians cheat on their spouses, get drunk, steal, engage in homosexual sex, or give their affection to other gods? In short, yes. The difference is that while Christians may never be free of struggling with some sins, a true Christian is not one who embraces that sin, who attempts to sanctify that sin, and who condemns anyone for daring to say that what they are doing is, in fact, a sin.
As His followers, Christ commands us to deny ourselves as we walk this path of discipleship. If instead we embrace ourselves in our sinfulness and attempt to sanctify our sin, we will not inherit the kingdom of God. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” (Luke 9:24)
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Thus, a local church that is filled with mature believers who are filled with the Spirit and properly using their own gifts so that the church as a whole is characterized by maturity will continue to grow less and less likely to be led astray by falsehood. And while there are probably more well intentioned and fully convinced purveyors of false doctrine than I would like to contemplate, there is also no shortage of those who intentionally use parlor tricks, argumentative trickery, or well planned deceptions in order to deceive people in order to gain for themselves whatever it is that they desire. Like a card counter or a gambler using weighted dice, it may look genuine to the untrained eye, but it is anything but genuine when examined carefully.
Monday, June 23, 2014
I am a master at really bad analogies or really bad examples (RBA or RBE for short), so I hope to not disappoint in the one that I’ll use today.
I believe that human life begins at the point when the sperm and egg join together; I believe that human life begins at conception. And when something is intentionally done to kill this new little life, regardless of how far along this child has developed or in what circumstances the child was conceived, that is a monstrously evil thing. Frankly, I’m not sure what is worse – the fact that many of the ways that abortions are done are so utterly barbaric and horrifying to think about (i.e. dismemberment, chemical burning, suctioning the brains out of a child’s head, etc.) or the fact that other – more sanitized – ways of killing children doesn’t bring about the same type of horrified reaction.
Of course I realize that what I just said has, for many people, put me on the whacko-mobile. I get it.
For years my understanding has been that conception means fertilization, and that these two concepts were virtually synonymous and there wasn’t really any debate over the definition of conception. Well, that is not the case, and apparently it hasn’t been the case for a while.
As I understand it…
Technically, conception (scientifically speaking) means fertilization. However, in medical contexts conception can refer to fertilization or the successful implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterus.
Why is this important? Well, because depending on the definition one chooses to use, you could say that Plan B or the normal birth control pill have no abortifacient effects. Because abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, and pregnancy doesn’t start before conception. And if conception means the successful implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, then medication that makes the uterus inhospitable to implantation thus causing the fertilized egg to not be implanted would technically not have an abortifacient effect.
But, if you are convinced that human life begins at fertilization, then anything intended to prevent the baby from being implanted in the uterus (oral contraceptive) or from continuing in his or her natural progression (IUD/barriers) would cause the end of that pregnancy…the death of that child…an abortion.
Tomorrow the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is supposed to give a ruling on the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act. As I understand the issue, it is not whether or an individual can buy (or not buy) various types of birth control for his or her own use, the issue is whether or not the United States government has the right to tell an employer that he or she must pay for something that he or she is opposed to on religious grounds. In other words, if I owned a business I would be required to pay for (through the insurance plan that I must provide) the very things that, if used, would or could cause an abortion.
What if this weren’t about abortion? Instead, what if George Bush had passed a law requiring all companies to provide free or discounted beef to their employees? Now, there’d be exceptions for Hindu temples and maybe even Hindu ministries, but any Hindu charities or private companies owned by Hindus would be forced to provide this free or discounted beef for their employees.
Furthermore, in proper George Bush fashion, his regime was not going to budge on this stance, and that while individuals have the right to buy or not to buy beef, a business has no such right to make that decision.
This is not about President Bush, President Obama, Republicans or Democrats. I know that abortions occur every day. I know that. I also know that money from the government to Planned Parenthood helps to fund the death of babies. I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it.
Would I love to see all abortions illegal? Absolutely. And I will use my voice and dollars to try and change the hearts and minds of Americans so that someday, hopefully, Americans will want that too. But it isn’t about this either.
This is about a law that would force me to either participate in an activity (by paying for it) that is not just loathsome to me, but participating in something that is so contrary to my religious convictions that if you don’t have the same perspective you may well not even be able to comprehend how bad it is.
But suffice it to say this, it’d be worse than requiring Peta to provide free meat, bear skin rugs, and coon skin caps to all of its employees.
Peta wouldn’t oppose being required to provide these products to their employees because they hate their employees or want them to suffer. They’d do it out of a love for the animals that would be butchered to make those products. I’m not opposed to government requirement to provide birth control to women because I hate women or want to see them suffer. I am opposed out of my love for the babies that are slaughtered and my desire to have no part in it.
But the broadside fired against evangelicals as a-contextual and a-historical interpreters of the Bible was quite bold. I suppose this attack could have lost some of its force if it hadn't came from someone whose view on LGBT issues and so-called marriage equality were changed by deeply contextual, deeply historical and a serious study of the Scriptures. I mean, how bad would it have been if she would have accused evangelicals as she did and her opinions on this subject were swayed merely by something as a-contextual to the Bible as…well, I don’t know, the opportunity to be around and interact more with the queer community. Oh, wait….