Category Archives: Politics

A SOUTHERN BAPTIST PASTOR INTERVIEWS A HOMOSEXUAL

imagesIt was in sixth grade that I met Matt. He had moved to my hometown of Mabank, Texas from Colorado Springs. We met in band and became friends. We weren’t the best of friends, but we were more than acquaintances. Although we now live on opposite sides of the nation, through the magic of social networking we have been able to keep in touch. We regularly dialogue through both public and private channels about the cultural mood concerning homosexuality.

Matt is a homosexual, which, because of my Christian faith, is a lifestyle with which I vehemently disagree. And Matt knows this. Matt knows that I don’t agree with him and I know that Matt doesn’t agree with me. But we choose to share our opinions openly and respectfully, which is the intent of this blog.

I recently asked Matt if he would be alright if I interviewed him about his lifestyle. Matt was kind enough to oblige. The motivation behind this is inspired by comments I often read from Christians against homosexuality. Unfortunately, many Christians handle the situation poorly. While it’s okay to be outspoken against it, (and I believe Christians should be free to share their biblical convictions), it’s not okay for that outspokenness to present itself in hatred. Paul writes, “If I speak … but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1).

Needless to say, there is a lot of gratuitously loud noise on today’s social networks.

The following is the interview I conducted with Matt. I typed out the questions and sent them to him. Some of the information is also from follow up conversations. Each question includes Matt’s answer and some include my response, if it calls for it. You will notice that these are in blue.

I hope that anyone who has an opinion about homosexuality sees the respect that Matt and I have for one another in our disagreements, and that that respect is contagious as we continue to debate the issue in the public square.

PERSONAL QUESTIONS

When did you first think that you were gay?

I began to suspect something was different about myself probably in eighth grade. I remember always wondering why the guys around me seemed so interested in pursuing girls.

Are you currently in a homosexual relationship?

Yes I am. I have been seeing the same guy since I was twenty two years old. We met in college and have been together ever since. He even followed me across the country to a new job. Both of our families have met and actually rather like each other. I was really surprised by that. My Dad is someone I would charitably describe as a “Tea Party Republication”, but he has honestly shocked me with his acceptance of who I am and even the guy I am with.

What kind of social pressures did you experience in “coming out?”

My coming out was kind of an accident. I was twenty and in college and, I won’t bore you with the details, but my parents figured it out and initially we didn’t talk for 3 months. When we did start talking again, it was mostly my mom and I. My dad and I had a very strained relationship the first few years, but now everything is more or less the way I would imagine a regular person’s relationship with their parents is. I can’t honestly say, but I would like to believe that I am glad it happened the way it did, because I am not sure when I would have built up the courage to talk to them about it. Probably not until well into my twenties.

POLITICAL QUESTIONS

What are your thoughts on same-sex marriage?

This sounds so cliché, but my thoughts on same-sex marriage have greatly evolved since I first started hearing about it back in the mid-2000s. At first, I was staunchly against it, and I think a large part of that had to do with my upbringing in the church. I wasn’t, and nor am I now, against people receiving the same benefits and entitlements that marriage brings to everyone. But I was against the idea of calling it “marriage” because I felt that was reserved fully for straight people and the church. But that was back then, and this is now. I am not what you would call an activist for same-sex marriage, but I do believe now that if gay people want to get married, then they should be able too. Again, I can’t stress this enough, I really just believe that everyone should have access to the benefits that marriage provides, not the name or the title. I am sure my fellow gays won’t like hearing that, but it’s just the way I feel about the issue.

Author’s Note: Many of my thoughts concerning this question can be found in this blog: The Meaning of Equality.

Would you say that today’s homosexual movement is on par with the 1960′s civil rights movement?

Yes, most particularly with the Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia (1967), which invalidated all laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Today, we draw inspiration from that time period, to fight for what we believe should be afforded to us to be treated as equals in the eyes of the law. People today think it’s crazy that blacks and whites couldn’t get married up until forty-odd years ago, but during that time period it was a punishable offense with jail time involved.

Author’s Note: I believe that by the time I am a grandparent that it will be unbelievable that homosexuals could not marry one another, and that by the time my kids are parents that people will be amazed that marijuana was at one time considered an illegal drug, and that by the time they are grandparents that people will be amazed that polygamy was once outlawed.

What would you say to someone who argues for things like bigamy, polygamy, and incestry in marriage (as an expansion of same-sex marriage)?

I think bigamy already occurs today and has been occurring for a long time. Certainly not on any level with large amounts of numbers or data to back it up. But you always hear the story about the man with another family in the next town over.

The problem with polygamy is that it almost always means one man with multiple wives. And when that happens you take away a wife from some other man. So in a polygamous society, you would have all these young, unmarried men who are unhappy with no wives. Same-sex marriage changes none of that, it leads us as a society away from that. Gay people just want the ability to marry someone instead of no one.

Incest is something that is just wrong on so many levels as it is, it’s not even really worth arguing over.

Author’s Note: I can see what Matt is saying in this, but I find it to be pragmatic. And I think pragmatism is a poor way to make decisions, although we all make decisions based on this philosophy everyday!

For example, would polygamy then be okay if we can manufacture a society where there are no unhappy unmarried men? What if the ratio of women to men was such that every man could easily have ten wives?

The point is that the issue runs deeper than mathematics.

Do you believe that there would be any psychological affects to a child reared in a home with same-sex parents (not having the traditional male and female examples)?

I don’t think there are any major drawbacks to a child being raised in a home by two same-sex parents as opposed to a traditional family set. In this modern age, children are raised by single dads, single moms, aunts, uncles and extended family. I think as long as all parties involved really love the child, then it will turn out alright.

Author’s Note: I believe that one of the biggest problems of our day is that a large amount of children are raised in homes without a stable mother and father. I have the opportunity to counsel many individuals and I can, nearly 100% of the time, trace the issue back to the lack of a father in the home.

RELIGIOUS QUESTIONS

Do you adhere to any faith religion?

I grew up Methodist, but just sort of stopped going once I graduated high school. I think even in high school I wasn’t really into church anymore, but it was definitely the place where all my friends went and it was a good place to socialize. I do believe that something or someone exists and had something to do with where we are in the universe today. I would say that I loosely identify myself as a Christian, but more like an agnostic one.

Author’s Note: I would say that it’s oxymoronic to be an “agnostic Christian,” although I can say that I know where Matt is coming from. His upbringing leads him to hold beliefs that are rooted in Christianity, but what he believes is not best described as Christianity. He has become agnostic, which means that he doesn’t really know what he believes, although he is still affected by what he learned during his time in the church.

What do you believe the Bible says about homosexuality?

I am not a connoisseur of the Bible, so all I can really say is that I know it’s mentioned a few times, but never directly by Jesus. I did, however, find this awesome article on the Huffington Post website which sums it up much more eloquently then I can: What Does the Bible Really Say About Homosexuality?

Author’s Note: The author of this article begins by suggesting that homosexuality is not as big of an issue as modern day Christians make it, because it is addressed relatively little in comparison to other issues in Scripture. But this is like saying that prostate cancer isn’t as big of a deal as breast cancer because it doesn’t have as big of an awareness month, one that prompts NFL players to wear hot pink highlighted uniforms and people to wear faddy bracelets.

The fact is that it is discussed in Scripture, (homosexuality that is), which makes it important. And when it is discussed, it is identified as sinful. The reason it isn’t discussed more is, arguably, because of the culture in which the Bible was written, specifically the New Testament Gospels. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that homosexuality wasn’t as big of an issue in ancient Jerusalem, the holiest place in the world at that time and the place that Jesus performed most of his ministry and made most of his claims, as it is today. Rape isn’t densely refuted by Jesus either, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t wrong.

Thus the statement, “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, so it must be okay” is a weak and misguided argument.

It is also important to know that Jesus essentially did talk about homosexuality. The Bible describes him as the “Word of God made flesh” (John 1:14), and so anything that is included in Scripture is verified by Jesus. He was the living embodiment of every word of every claim of the Bible. And so if the Bible speaks against homosexuality even once, then Jesus essentially, by virtue of his nature, talked about it.

As for the rest of his article, he seems to argue from ignorance. That is, his argument is, “I’ve personally polled some scholars and commentaries and some of them say that we can’t really know the context of these passages that include language forbidding homosexuality. So, we shouldn’t forbid it without knowing the cultural implications of the day.”

This is a poor reason to refute something out of hand. He is taking shaky evidence and making what he believes is an irrefutable claim. That’s poor debate etiquette. 

Do you believe that people are born gay (is it a choice or a predisposition)?

This is honestly a tough question for me to answer. I think everyone is born with certain traits amplified and/or dampened down due to conditions in the womb/external environment, so I can’t say for certain that it’s a predisposition. At the same time, I am fairly confident in saying that it’s not a choice either. I guess I would need to see more research on the matter before I committed to saying it’s a predisposition.

Author’s Note (this is an edited excerpt from a previous blog): Scripture speaks of homosexuality as a sin (1 Cor 6:9), and therefore those that believe Scripture are simply trusting what it says. With that said, Scripture also says that sin is a “predisposition” (Rom 5). It’s something every person is born with. And as a predisposition, everybody has a “decision” to either act on it or not. Some act on it by lying. Others act on it by stealing. And some act on it by planting a bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It’s a predisposition to which every person is subjected. Thus, since Scripture speaks of homosexuality as a sin, (and since it speaks of sin as a predisposition), it is not unreasonable to say that homosexuality is the fruit of a decision rooted in a predisposed, sinful nature.

But this doesn’t mean that it’s okay. We would never, for example, suggest that rape is okay. No one could reasonably say, “Aw, leave that guy assaulting that woman alone. Stop trying to rewire his predisposition with your personal preferences. He can’t help himself.” This isn’t to say that homosexuality is on par with rape, only that a sin is a sin, and the tiniest sin is enough to separate man from God.

Do you think, from what you know about Christianity, that a person can be a Christian and live an openly homosexual lifestyle?

I think it is possible for someone to be Christian and a homosexual at the same time, yes. God created everyone the way they are for a reason, and whatever that reason is, only God knows. It’s impossible for me to say it’s a sin, because so many things that we do today are. Our culture and society is vastly different than the one that is written and talked about in the Bible. I think someone’s relationship with God, is just that. Their relationship. It isn’t up to you or I to pass judgement on the way they reach out to God.

Author’s Note (this is an edited excerpt from a previous blog): It is interesting that someone would desire to remain associated to Christianity if he also desires to refute some of its basic claims. I say this not against Matt, but to many celebrities, such as Macklemore, who attempt to do so.

There is an old illustration that describes this well. The illustration details a repair man replacing the parts of his boat. After purchasing the boat he begins to replace its every component. He switches out the motor, the hull, the deck, and the seats. Before long, there is no original element left of the boat.

Is it the same boat?

No.

Likewise, when one switches out all of the original components to Christianity, as determined by God primarily through the Bible, it is no longer Christianity.

Is there anything else that you would like to say or add that wasn’t included in this interview?

I just want to say that there will never be a time, no matter what happens, that I would actively hate someone for the beliefs they hold, or the religion that they practice. We are all immensely more complicated than these few social issues that bring out the worst in some people.

I will always be willing to rationally discuss and debate anything with someone as long as I am afforded the same courtesy. Which is why I like you so much Jared!  You are one of the few people I am still friends with where we don’t get into some heated screaming match over who’s right and who’s wrong.

Author’s Note: I believe that Matt is on to something here, and that even those that disagree with his lifestyle can learn from it. Christians should never actively hate people because they disagree with them. This is both counterproductive and unchristian. Jesus never hated those that disagreed with him. In fact, while hanging on the cross, he prayed for them. We may believe that they are separated from God, but hating them doesn’t advance the gospel. Our job is to share the truth, to share it in love, and to hope that God uses our efforts to save them and lead them to eternal life in Christ.

Final Note: I usually put the phrase “same sex marriage” in quotations, because I believe the term to be oxymoronic. That is, I believe it is on par with saying, “squared circle.” In this interview the term shows up from time to time without the quotations because it is included in Matt’s answers, and he doesn’t view it that way.

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THE TOP THREE REASONS TO HAVE AN ABORTION

babyI should probably add to the title: “And Why They Are Unwarranted.”

Some weeks ago “#praytoendabortion” became a trend on Twitter. And, to the astonishment of many, the trend lasted for a few days. These astonished individuals, considering the trend unwarranted, tweeted such statements as,

“#PrayToEndAbortion is such an ignorant trend. Women deserve the right to their own bodies and to decide what happens to their bodies.”

and,

“#PraytoEndAbortion is trending. *expletive* It’s up to every women to do what she wants to her body. Period.”

and,

“Yes, let’s all #PrayToEndAbortion. Not ending rape or sexual assault, but let’s worry about eliminating a woman’s right to choose. #prochoice.”

After evaluating the discussion, I’ve narrowed down the most common statements from today’s outspoken tweeters into three responses. I’ve also included some insights into each response.

1. A WOMAN HAS THE RIGHT TO DO WHAT SHE WANTS WITH HER OWN BODY

One of the most common phrases I hear about abortion, particularly those who have participated in it, is, “I had an abortion.” In fact, one girl actually told me on twitter that she “had an abortion two weeks ago.” I’m not sure I like this phrase. In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t like this phrase at all, not only because of what it means, but also because of what the phrase itself implies.

The phrase “I had an abortion” likens the event of abortion to getting an unwanted mole removed. A person who goes to the doctor to get a pesky mole removed from his face might be found saying, “I had a mole removed,” and would be justified in saying so. The idea is that the mole was an unwanted part of the body. It served no purpose. It was probably ugly. It might have even been cancerous. Regardless the reason, the phrase, “I had a mole removed,” is a warranted statement to detail the experience.

The same is not, and cannot be, true regarding abortion.

When a pro-life individual endorses the phrase, “She had an abortion,” that individual is essentially conceding to the pro-choice philosophy that an abortion is like having a mole removed. The statement fails to convey that a person was murdered during the process. It softens the experience to be more palatable, when the unbridled fact is that something absolutely devastating happened. The woman didn’t “have an abortion.” She didn’t remove an unwanted part of her body. She sacrificed one body to spare the inevitable effects to her own.

She committed an abortion.

A woman’s body is the only thing in this world that is capable of cultivating human life. And that’s special. With all of the advancements in science, scientists still can’t produce an artificial womb. This fact alone reveals that pregnancy is designed to be a beautiful gift, not a wretched curse. And although a woman may have the right to do what she wants with her own body, and although a woman’s body is inevitably effected by a pregnancy, her body isn’t the only one at stake, regardless of the age of the unborn child.

2. WHAT IF THE CHILD IS CONCEIVED THROUGH RAPE?

Of the various responses I hear, this one is perhaps the most unfounded, (if there is any foundation to these responses at all). This is because this response implies that a child conceived out of unfortunate circumstances is somehow less valuable than a child conceived out of fortunate circumstances.

The response implies that an unborn child might be a person, but that the person is less valuable, and justifiably murderable, because of how he was conceived.

Make no mistake about it, rape is a horrible thing. There is nothing that can be said that could justify a person forcing another person to have sex. And because sex is the way people are conceived, sometimes the act results in a pregnancy. And, unfortunately, rape, being a sexual encounter, can also result in a pregnancy. And conception through rape is always an “unwanted pregnancy.”

But even this doesn’t justify taking the life of the child. The unborn child is innocent of how he was conceived and should not suffer because of it.

When #PrayToEndAbortion was trending, I happened to get into a few discussions concerning the topic. One individual asked me, “What if it was your daughter who was raped?” The question was an intimate one, for I am currently expecting my first child, a daughter. My response was as follows: “Life is life, regardless of the unfortunate circumstance of conception.”

While I don’t have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body, and while rape is a devastating event, the fact is that such an act still doesn’t justify the murder of an innocent child.

It just doesn’t.

We should not be in the business of determining which life is more valuable than another based on circumstances outside our control. When we do, we follow in the footsteps of people like Adolf Hitler, who desired to dismantle an entire ethnicity because they did not meet his standard of life.

3. A FETUS IS NOT A PERSON

This is perhaps the most popular response for a pro-choice argument. And it is assuredly one of the most fundamental questions concerning abortion. If a person becomes a person at conception, then abortion is murder. If a person doesn’t become a person until birth, then abortion is not murder.

What is the answer?

I want to provide my insights in two ways. First, I want to address a picture I saw during the Twitter trend that one individual posted with a statement likened to, “I’m solving the issue with this single picture!” Here is the picture:

abortion-rights-choice

As seen, whoever designed this picture suggests that since an egg yolk is not a chicken, and since an acorn is not a tree, and since silk is not a dress, that a sperm-impregnated egg is not a person.

There are significant fallacies with this picture. For brevity’s sake I’ll focus on one.

Chickens can lay eggs without the egg actually being fertilized by a rooster. So the author is correct in that the egg yolk isn’t a chicken, much like a woman’s unfertilized egg is not a person. If the egg was fertilized, then it would be a chicken, albeit in an early stage.

He is right in his statement, but wrong in his conclusion.

The idea is that there is an obvious difference between a fertilized and unfertilized egg. One is a chicken and the other is breakfast, respectively. This picture actually helps disprove that which it is trying to prove, than the other way around.

Second, I would be remiss to ignore that my stance on abortion is drawn from my faith in Jesus. Quite simply, God’s Word declares that children are a gift of the Lord and that God actually knits a person while he is in his mother’s womb. For this reason alone a “fetus” is a person from conception.

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward (Ps 127:3, NASB).

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb (Ps 139:13, NASB).

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you (Jer 1:5, NASB).

WHO AM I, AS A MAN, TO WRITE SUCH AN ARTICLE?

Who am I, as a man, to argue with an abortion-minded woman against her desire to terminate a pregnancy affecting her body?

I’m an individual who cares about life, especially innocent life.

If the unsafest place for a person is inside his mother’s womb, and if we are okay with that, then we live in a culture that knowingly embraces the Holocaust 2.0.

I’m not a man telling a woman what she can or can’t do with her body. I’m a man affirming the right to life. This is something that Jesus came to give everyone, and to give it abundantly.

“The thief comes only to … kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

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THE BIBLICAL BATTLE OF LITTLE-BIG HORN: A HISTORICAL-PROPHETICAL LESSON

CHMemFace2Mike Huckabee, in his show’s October 20 opening monologue, discussed the differences between two historical battles–the Alamo and Little Bighorn. He asks, “Did the Republicans make a heroic stand as in the Alamo, or a poorly planned and executed assault like Little Bighorn?” “In the Alamo,” Huckabee notes, “men fought to the death to protect what was theirs.” Little Bighorn, however, was “a poorly planned and executed assault … which was led by a general who failed to calculate the risks, who ignored the scouting reports of the strength of the opposition, and who made assumptions of the battle that proved to not be true.”

The result of Little Bighorn was an overwhelming victory for the combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army.

American politics aside, there is something that we can learn from the historical battle of Little Bighorn as it relates to the prophetical Battle of Armageddon. The Battle of Armageddon is the final assault of the Antichrist and his armies against Israel. Like the American general at Little Bighorn, the general at Armageddon will fail to calculate the risks, ignore the scouting reports of the strength of opposition, and make assumptions of the battle that will prove to not be true.

This general is none other than the Antichrist and, ironically, the Bible describes him as a “little-big horn.”

In Daniel 7, Daniel recounts a vivid dream he had of four great beasts. Each beast symbolizes a historic world power, but it is the fourth beast that grabs Daniel’s attention. On this particular beast grows a “horn” that starts out “little,” (Dan 7:8) but eventually becomes “larger in appearance than its associates” (20). It is a “little-big horn,” and it is a symbol for the Antichrist.

Daniel says that this little-big horn “will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law” (25). The key word in this verse is “intend.” While the Antichrist will have dominion during the Tribulation (25), Daniel says that ultimately this “dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever” (26). Like the American general at Little Bighorn, this is a battle that the Antichrist–the “little-big horn”–will lose. And this will be because he, as Huckabee notes, will “fail to calculate the risks, ignore the scouting reports of the strength of opposition, and make assumptions of the battle that will prove to not be true.”

The risks are the loss of dominion of the earth (26).
The scouting reports are the sovereignty and authority of the “Ancient of Days” (9-12).
The assumptions are that he could actually succeed in “wearing down the saints” (25).

Much like the historical Battle of Little Bighorn, Daniel’s prophetic battle of the little-big horn will end in defeat for the one who planned poorly. Daniel says that it is the “Son of Man” who is deemed as the rightful ruler of the world:

And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed (14).

Mike Huckabee’s Monologue
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HATING PEOPLE WHO HATE PEOPLE, WHEN THEY REALLY DON’T HATE PEOPLE AT ALL

1362367354_305x235_Stop-Hating-640x492The other day a song came on the radio that I later discovered is named, “Same Love.” I was mesmerized by the opening line because the musician, Macklemore, raps, “When I was in the third grade I thought I was gay, ’cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight.

I intentionally decided to listen to the rest of the song and learned that it is written as a mantra against those who oppose homosexuality, specifically as it relates to “same-sex marriage.” Macklemore, according to his own lyrics, isn’t gay, but he is put out with those who oppose it.

The song includes three verses that make bold, uninformed, proclamations. Here’s a summary of them:

PROCLAMATION ONE: HOMOSEXUALITY CAN BE CURED BY RELIGION

Macklemore raps,

The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision,
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago

Scripture speaks of homosexuality as a sin (1 Cor 6:9), and therefore those that believe Scripture are simply trusting what it says. With that said, Scripture also says that sin is, and Macklemore agrees, a “predisposition” (Rom 5). It’s something every person is born with. And as a predisposition, everybody has a “decision” to either act on it or not. Some act on it by lying. Others act on it by stealing. And some act on it by planting a bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It’s a predisposition to which every person is subjected. Thus, since Scripture speaks of homosexuality as a sin, (and since Scripture speaks of sin as a predisposition), it is not unreasonable to say that homosexuality is the fruit of a decision rooted in a predisposed, sinful nature.

But this, contrary to Macklemore’s rap, doesn’t mean that it’s okay. We would never, for example, suggest that rape is okay. No one could reasonably say, “Aw, leave that guy assaulting that woman alone. Stop trying to rewire his predisposition with your personal preferences. He can’t help himself. He is God’s child.”

Macklemore is perhaps correct in suggesting that “right wing conservatives think . . . it can be cured with religion,” but right wing conservatives who think this way are wrong. Sin cannot be cured by religion. Sin can only be cured by Jesus. And while the organized worship of Jesus is in fact “religion,” it’s not organized worship that cures sin. The Bible certainly doesn’t speak of “religion” as “rewiring” our sinful natures. It speaks of Jesus as making us a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17). There is a big difference. We aren’t even the same machine after he gets ahold of us and we therefore can’t be “rewired.” The old “wires” aren’t even there anymore.

But God “loves all his children,” right? That’s what the Bible says, is it not? Actually, no. It says quite the opposite. While God indeed loves people, all people are not his “children.” Only those that claim Jesus as Lord–and believe everything that comes along with this claim–are considered his “adopted children.” The Bible records Jesus, God’s Son, telling a group of unsaved individuals that their “father” is “the devil” (John 8:44). In other words, God is not their father and they are not his children. But I’m probably just paraphrasing a really old “book” and we all know that if something is old, regardless of what it says, it’s out-of-date, out-of-style, antiquated, and obsolete. Out with the old, in with the new, right?

The Bible is so two-thousand and late.

More on this later.

PROCLAMATION TWO: SOCIALLY, “GAY IS THE NEW BLACK”

In his second verse Macklemore raps,

It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself

Here, Macklemore essentially says that “gay is the new black,” meaning, that those who oppose homosexual behavior are on par with those who opposed the abolition of slavery. But I don’t see signs in restaurant bathrooms and over water fountains for “homosexuals” and “straights.” I don’t see schools for “homosexuals” and schools for “straights.” I don’t see straight people forcing homosexuals to sit in the back of the bus. In fact, I see quite the opposite. Ryan Anderson for example, a proponent for traditional marriage, was recently interviewed (or attacked) on Piers Morgan’s show for his beliefs. Piers and Suze Orman (a lesbian) both sat at the central table whereas Mr. Anderson had to sit with the audience. No doubt this was because of his stance on “same-sex marriage.”

Christians, at least those with the right state of mind, aren’t telling homosexuals that they have to sit at the back of the bus. They are standing up for biblical rights as dictated by Scripture.

Macklemore suggests that everybody deserves human rights, to which a Christian should agree. Everybody deserves basic human “rights.” But Macklemore, along with countless other “left wing liberals” (to parallel his title), misunderstand what a human “right” is. Marriage, for example, isn’t a human “right” so much as it is a God ordained institution (Gen 2) to which one can be privy if he abides by God’s standards. And God defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman. To make it anything else is to alter the very meaning of the word, forcing it to become something entirely different. We might as well call walking, running, say that 2+2=5, or remove other standards like the unlawfulness of incest or polygamy.

Redefining marriage is to take a God-designed institution and manipulate it into something that we want it to be. It’s telling God that we don’t want him, but we do want his ideas so that we can manipulate them into things that fit our personal preferences. We are throwing out the baby and the bath water, filling the tub up with something else, then calling it the same thing.

PROCLAMATION THREE: ANYONE WHO OPPOSES HOMOSEXUAL LOVE IS A HATE MONGER

Macklemore also raps,

When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned

The most curious element to Macklemore’s song is its citation of the Christian faith. It is baffling that someone would associate himself with Christianity, as Macklemore does, if that person denies all of its claims.

There is an old illustration that describes this well. The illustration details a repair man replacing the parts of his boat. After purchasing the boat he begins to replace its every component. He switches out the motor, the hull, the deck, and the seats. Before long, there is no original element left of the boat.

Is it the same boat?

No.

Likewise, when one switches out all of the original components to Christianity, as determined by God primarily through the Bible, it is no longer Christianity. And Macklemore’s statements that the Bible is merely a “book written thirty-five hundred years ago” hints to his feelings that his contemporary thoughts override its ageless truths.

“God, I know you are all powerful and stuff, but you need to get with the times. Allow me to contemporize your truth.”

The context of Macklemore’s rap suggests that anything that might hurt someone’s feelings is considered “hate,” and this is not “anointed.” But what if we turned around the line? What if a “right wing conservative” suggested that it was hateful to force one’s homosexual agenda upon him? Why can it only be a one-way street? Would this not be the homosexuals employing the “hate that caused war” onto us? Isn’t that what Piers and Suze did to Ryan during their interview? Isn’t this, as the title states, hating people who “hate” people?

But what if the initial “haters” weren’t “hating” at all? What if there was a good explanation for why they believed the way they did about homosexuality?

One of the clearest passages in Scripture describing homosexuality as a deadly sin is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Paul writes, “Do not be deceived; homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.” This is a way of saying that homosexuality is contradictory to God’s standards and that it is evidence of a life that has not been redeemed by Jesus. The result is no inheritance of God’s kingdom, or no eternal life in what most call “Heaven.” Thus, if you claim any association with the God of the Holy Scriptures then you must abide by this standard, otherwise you are building a new boat.

This is an important verse because it reveals the devastating reality of the sin of homosexuality. I don’t oppose homosexuality because I am a stubborn-minded bigot who is simply regurgitating what I was taught or what my environment imposed on me. I oppose homosexuality because God opposes homosexuality. I also oppose it because, according to Scripture, it is a lifestyle that reveals that one has not been redeemed by Jesus, and this lack of redemption will ultimately result in an eternity separated from God. And I personally would rather nobody experience such an afterlife.

Macklemore, please know that I, and I know I speak for many other Christians, don’t hate homosexuals. I hate their lifestyle. And I hate their lifestyle because God hates it. His word is clear on this and although it may be a tough pill to swallow, God can grant everlasting life to those who turn from their sin and towards his son Jesus, regardless of what the sin is. We speak out because we love, not because we want to be right, or because we are close-minded imbeciles.

Now, for a rap of my own:

Jesus is the best and I’ll tell you why
He came to earth to live and then to die
For you and me because we were lost
God sent his only son to die on the cross
Word.*

*Stolen from a VBS rhyme.

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THE TRUTH TEST: WHY TRUTH SHOULD DICTATE BELIEFS AND NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND

Crossing-Fingers-copyOn March 30 an article appeared in the Odessa American entitled, “The Meaning of Equality,” in which I argued for the “traditional” definition of marriage. To this a reader responded by submitting a letter to the editor, which appeared in the April 14 edition of the Odessa American with what I consider largely an ad hominem response, an argument that is against the debater instead of the issue being debated. With this said, there were some statements in the letter that deserve a response, if not for any reason except that believers need to know that we have a justified place in the arena of debate, so long as we enter that arena with love and not malice.

The individual’s letter can be read here: Letter to the Editor

While I could spend my time answering and responding to a variety of things in the letter, I felt that my time would be best spent respectively responding to the individual’s final sentence, which essentially outlines one of the foundational differences between the two of us. I am accused of “circular reasoning” essentially because I am a Christian, although my article doesn’t quote or refer to the Christian faith in any capacity. It argues for what is known as the traditional definition of marriage, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, which, while is certainly a Christian belief, is not solely restricted to this faith. In fact, many argue in favor of this traditional definition of marriage without citing the Bible, the source for Christian beliefs, at all.

The best example is the book, What is Marriage, written by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and Robert George.

The fact that this is indeed the traditional definition of marriage is obvious in the fact that the Supreme Court is currently considering redefining it to include other integers. If it were not the traditional standard, then there would be no current debate. My argument is simply that marriage, by traditional definition, is between one man and one woman and that to change that definition is to change the meaning of marriage, causing it to become something entirely different.

The following comprises my response that I plan to submit to the Odessa American for this weekend. My hope is that readers will see that there is such a thing as truth, that it should dictate what we believe about life, and that we can unapologetically communicate it with confidence and love.

“I always lie.”

This is a curious statement. Another way of saying it is, “The truth is that I never tell the truth.” Therefore to say this is to tell the truth, thus making the statement, “I always lie” false. This is because the statement is fundamentally self-defeating. It doesn’t pass it’s own test. The pathological liar cannot describe his incessant lying without lying about lying, thereby telling the truth.

The same principle applies to a statement written by a reader in response to my March 30 article, “The Meaning of Equality.” In a letter written to the editor, a reader writes, “Let’s not assume something to be true unless it’s proven to be so.” This is a statement that essentially suggests that truth doesn’t exist unless it passes a “truth test.” It must be “proven to be so.” However, this statement is itself a truth claim, and an “untested” one at that. It suggests that, “The untested truth is that truth claims should not be believed unless they pass a test.”

Therefore, allegedly every other truth needs to be proven true, except for this particular statement.

This reveals that this statement is fundamentally inaccurate. It is a self-defeating statement that, like our imaginary pathological liar’s claim, fails its own test. It also reveals that there is such a thing as stand-alone truth outside of it being “proven to be so.” In epistemology, the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of knowledge, this is called a priori knowledge. A priori is Latin for “from what is before,” and suggests that there are things that people just know to be true without the need to be “proven so.” They are known ‘prior to’ experience or some other test for truth.

This is a foundational principle and to deny its existence is to commit epistemological suicide.

Another way of analyzing the aforementioned statement is to consider by what standard a truth claim is tested. To argue that truth doesn’t exist unless it’s proven to be so is to suggest that there is some standard of measurement that will determine whether the potential truth is either true or false. But from where does this standard derive? Has it itself been tested? If so, by what standard of measurement? Is it, as some might say, by popular opinion? Did the earth used to be flat because it was what the majority believed? Of course not. It was spherical all along. Even if the whole world, by popular opinion, believes something it doesn’t mean that it is true.

This is because beliefs do not dictate truth. Instead, truth should dictate beliefs. People are either right or wrong about what they believe based on if it is true or not.

Allow me to illustrate.

For the past few weeks a story has decorated the social networks concerning a doctor named Kermit Gosnell who is on trial for eight counts of murder, (although it should be a great many more). In a documentary about the story entitled “3801 Lancaster” (3801lancaster.com), we learn that Dr. Gosnell not only aborted the lives of thousands of babies, but that some of the abortions took place after full-term. Moreover, Dr. Gosnell collected pieces of these babies as his personal trophies.

Dr. Gosnell’s practices do not need to be tested to “prove” they are morally wrong. Instead, there is a transcendent standard of truth that tells us that it is absolutely wrong to snip the spinal cord to a baby and to collect, as a personal accolade, his feet in a jar.

This is because there is a moral standard of truth that does not need to be tested and this standard is not determined by popular opinion, nor does it bend by cultural epochs. It is an unchanging principle that was superimposed onto the heart of man by, in my conviction, the hand of God. And this is but one of many available examples.

We have “the work of the Law written on our hearts, our conscience bearing witness and our thoughts alternately accusing or defending others,” as Paul writes (Rom 2:15).

To the reader I quoted, I want to say thank you for both reading and taking time to respond to my article.

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THE MEANING OF EQUALITY

redbox1-600x600A homosexual should have the right to get married . . .

(Keep reading)

. . . so long as he understands that marriage is between one man and one woman and that to enjoy that right he must submit himself to that traditional understanding of the institution.

Therefore, it’s not even necessarily that a homosexual should have the right to get married as much as it is that a homosexual currently does have the right to get married.

This is because marriage is a term that means something and to participate in it one must follow the inherent principles of the term’s definition. For example, “walking” is defined as “advancing on foot at a moderate pace,” while “running” is defined as “going quickly by moving the legs rapidly.” Walking is not running and running is not walking. Therefore, to participate in the activity of walking is not the same as participating in the activity of running. Moreover, one can easily differentiate between the two activities based on the inherent principles included in the definitions of the terms.

Marriage is defined as a union between a “husband and wife,” which means a “male and a female.” Therefore, a homosexual male can only participate in marriage so long as he marries a woman, and a homosexual woman can only participate in marriage so long as she marries a male, just as I can only perform heart surgery on a patient if I have credibly earned a medical license or cannot perform heart surgery on a patient if I have not credibly earned a medical license.

Actually, I could perform the surgery, but it wouldn’t make me a heart surgeon. Moreover, it would be dangerous and harmful to society.

This is because functionality, or the right to participate or not participate in certain actions, doesn’t mean inequality. It merely means that there are standards applied to certain rights and these standards are applied for good reasons.

One would never argue that people should be able to perform heart surgery on other people without a license, citing that it is a breach of equality to suggest otherwise.

The current debate on “same-sex marriage,” which is the equivalent of saying “the current debate on square circles,” argues on the platform of “equality,” but there has been a serious misunderstanding as to what “equality” is. Equality has nothing to do with the right for every person to participate in every action. It is the balanced and tested result of multiple, defined integers. Therefore, an unlicensed individual plus a scalpel doesn’t “equal” a heart surgeon anymore than a man plus a man “equals” a marriage.

Certain factors need to be present for a certain summation to take place, and in the case of “same-sex marriage” it is the opposite gender.

In order for homosexuals to participate in “same-sex marriage,” the integers of marriage would have to be redefined. And redefining integers always equals a different summation. But this is not what proponents for “same-sex marriage” want to do. They want to redefine the integers but keep the same result. They want to redefine the number two, but still suggest that, “two plus two equals four.” They want redefine the principles of walking, but still call it walking when they might actually be running.

If the Supreme Court of the United States votes in favor of “same-sex marriage,” then they have essentially voted that “two” can mean “three, five, or one-hundred and ten,” but that adding “two and two” still equals “four.”

Suggested Articles:

Read the Fine Print Before Supporting “Marriage Equality.”

How Not to Have a Debate About Gay Marriage

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WHAT GOD THINKS ABOUT THE UNITED NATIONS’ RECOGNITION OF PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD

UN-LOGO copyLast week the United Nations overwhelmingly voted to recognize Palestinian statehood within the state of Israel. While this vote holds about as much “official” weight concerning ownership of the land as a feather among a rack of dumbbells, the vote does reveal that the world, even after thousands of years, is against the Jews and their occupancy of Israel. It moreover places pressure on Israel to resist the efforts of others from seizing what is rightfully theirs.

God once told Abraham–the father of Israel–that he would “curse the one who curses you” (Gen 12:3), conveying that anyone who “votes” to remove Israel’s name from the map will be cursed of God.

It is my conviction that many nations voted for the curse of God last week.

Many years ago God provided three metaphors to his prophet Zechariah concerning what would happen to those who attempted to remove the Jews from their land. Each metaphor reveals a frightening picture of what life looks like when you antagonize God through those whom he calls the apple of his eye. While the metaphors contextually concern the final years of the Tribulation, they still provide deep insights into God’s present heart for Israel.

1. ISRAEL IS A CUP THAT CAUSES REELING

“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around” (Zechariah 12:2)

This word “cup” in Hebrew suggests a “deep bowl” or even a “basin.” This means that there is plenty of whatever is in Israel’s cup. The passage reveals that the cup is full of something that causes “reeling” to those who attempt to drink it, which in Hebrew comes from a root word that means to “shake” or “quiver.” This implies that anyone who drinks Israel’s cup will “shake.” Some scholars note that the picture given is that of a drunken fool who wonders aimlessly after emptying his cup of alcohol into his bloodstream. He enters a state of drunken stupor and secedes his ability to function properly, laying down his natural defenses.

Those who drink Israel’s cup will be like a drunken fool to God, and drunken fools usually make a mockery of themselves.

2. ISRAEL IS A HEAVY STONE THAT CAUSES SEVERE INJURY

“It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples” (Zechariah 12:3).

The word “injury” here refers to a “cut.” Since it is “severe,” it refers to a “deep cut,” much like a laceration. The picture here is powerful. It communicates the difference between lifting a heavy object in order to build strength and lifting an object that is simply too heavy to lift. In one instance muscles rip and tear in order to get stronger. In the other instance muscles rip and tear because of injury. This is because the object is simply too heavy to lift.

God says that Israel is an object that is too heavy to lift. When people try to remove it, severe injury will occur. The metaphor is likened to one who pulls his back out after his attempt at lifting a heavy object.

3. ISRAEL IS A FLAMING TORCH AMONG THE SHEAVES THAT CONSUMES

“I will make the clans of Judah like a . . . flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples” (Zechariah 12:6).

The final metaphor given is the simplest. It doesn’t take an arsonist to understand what happens to a flame in a parched field of grass. The dry grass serves as a fuel that is not satisfied until everything has been turned to charred dust.

This is the picture given to those who “vote” against Israel. They will be consumed by a fire and translated into a heap of ashes.

That the Jews have returned to their homeland is the birth pangs of what is to come. There was a time when people wondered if the Jews would ever occupy Israel again. The Jews had to come back after the diaspora, however, in order that the final prophecies can unfold. Prophecies such as these in Zechariah 12 reveal Israel containing a Jewish population. Nations cannot experience reeling, injury, or consummation from a nation that doesn’t exist.

Last week’s vote is evidence of this. The earth is pregnant with the second coming of Jesus and nations rising up against Israel are the early signs of this pregnancy. Jesus himself said, “These things must happen first” (Luke 21:9).

In the meantime, we should make sure that we are doing everything in our power to bless the nation of Israel, for it is God’s holy land indwelled by his chosen people. It is the land in which Jesus will reign as our Lord and King in his earthly kingdom that is to come.

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SHOULD AMERICA STAND WITH ISRAEL?

On October 22, 2012 President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney met for a third and final debate prior to the 2012 presidential election. The topic was “Foreign Policy,” a topic that, in light of Benghazi at that time and Israel now, is hotter than a West Texas summer.

In that debate Bob Shieffer asked this question: “Would any of you be willing to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States?” Obama responded, “If Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel.” Romney responded, “If Israel is attacked, we have their back.” After Obama’s initial answer, Shieffer reasserted his question asking, “So you are saying we have already made that declaration?” Obama replied, “I will stand with Israel if they are attacked.”

While it is safe to suggest that both candidates answered positively, it is also safe to suggest that both candidates expressed weakness in their assertions. It seems to me that if one desired to communicate, in the strongest possible sense, that America “stands with Israel,” that repeating Shieffer’s words (“an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States”) would have been the most potent way to do so, or to at least say “Yes, I am willing to say that.” But neither candidate did. Their answers were like drinking non-carbonated Dr. Pepper. They just weren’t as strong as they should have been.

There is an important question that needs to be asked at this point. It is a question that precedes Shieffer’s question. The question is not “if” America should respond to attacks on Israel, but “why” America should respond to attacks on Israel. Some would say that it is because Israel is “our greatest ally in the region.” This is what our President says. I contend that it goes much deeper than that. I contend that America should stand with Israel, the home of the Jews, because we have a biblical mandate to do so. This mandate is found in Genesis 12 when God told Abraham, the father of Israel, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse” (Gen 12:3).

Biblical history details that God is keenly interested in Israel, especially the city of Jerusalem. Zechariah 1:14 says, for example, that God is “exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem.” Zechariah 2:8 says, “he who touches you [Israel], touches the apple of his eye.” In chapter eight of the same book, the prophet reveals that one day “men will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (8:23). In chapter nine, a prophecy is given of a handful of cities surrounding Israel which the Lord is “against” and that they would all be destroyed. Many conservative scholars believe that this was a prophecy of Alexander the Great’s 4th century conquest, one that overthrew every city surrounding Jerusalem but spared Jerusalem itself.

Alexander the Great was one of the most fear-mongering kings to ever live. He was undefeated in battle. Josephus writes that during his conquest over the city of Tyre that he requested provisions from Israel, but they refused because of their allegiance to Persia (the empire who had allowed them to return to Jerusalem after Babylonian captivity). This made Alexander angry and only fueled his passion to wipe Israel out as he passed through to Egypt. Zechariah 9:8 records, however, that God would “camp around [his] house. . . because of him who passes by. . . and no oppressor will pass over them anymore.” Josephus records that Alexander had a dream that inspired him to spare the city of Jerusalem, therefore rendering this divine “camping trip” as fulfilled. In the midst of the rise of the Greek Empire in which every surrounding city was conquered, God spared the tiny city of Jerusalem.

God’s jealousy for Jerusalem will eventually spur the second coming of Jesus Christ. An eschatological argument can be made that in the final moments of the Tribulation that the Antichrist makes one final push to destroy Jerusalem forever. It is at this moment that Jesus Christ returns and stands on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:11; Zech 14:4). He splits it in two and then proceeds to set up his millennial kingdom in Jerusalem, where he reigns as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

In light of this, it is my conviction that believers in America should indeed “stand with Israel,” for it is God’s chosen nation which houses his chosen people. This is also why we should “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps 122:6). It is more than a political piece of real estate; It concerns the second coming of Jesus Christ and his reign that begins in this holy city.

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HEAR LIES, DEMOCRACY: WHAT FOUR MORE YEARS OF OBAMA MEANS FOR AMERICA

No, the title is not misspelled. It is as intentional as the media bias towards Obama. Hear the lies, democracy, because it won’t be long until we are etching these words into our tombstone: “Here Lies Democracy.”

If you are a conservative Christian, then it is likely that your expectations for “hope and change” were not met last night. That is, your hope for a change simply did not happen, and this is cause for concern.

It is important to note that I understand that whether a donkey or elephant occupies the White House, that I still have a lamb that reigns in heaven. I get that, I really do. I also get, however, that because Jesus reigns that I shouldn’t be apathetic about what is going on around me. The fictional Batman character Rachel Dawes says it well: “What chance does Gotham have when the good people do nothing.” Christians are supposed to be the “good people” of “Gotham.” Jesus calls us the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” A modern-day way of saying this is that we are the “refrigerators” of the earth. We are supposed to keep it from spoiling, but we often act like we are unplugged (liberal) or in the least, running warmer than we should (moderate). Either way the product (in this case, earth) spoils. Therefore, relinquishing your concern for earthly leaders is an unbiblical mindset (placing your hope in earthly leaders is where the problem lies). Instead, because you have a lamb reigning in heaven, you should be concerned about the donkey or elephant in the White House. To suggest otherwise is to dilute much of the purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection. He didn’t die and rise again so that we can be apathetic; he died and rose so that we can keep the people of earth from spoiling. We are to give “Gotham” the hope of Christ.

This is a difficult task under a government that diametrically opposes godly principles.

For full disclosure, I expected nothing less than a Romney victory last night. Needless to say I was shocked at the results. Romney not only lost the election, but lost decisively. My shock is not the result of some mathematical bulletproof concoction I formulated based on some elite political skills I obtain. My close friends will tell you that I am a poor predictor (I pick the Dallas Cowboys to win the Super Bowl every year. Seriously, I do.). Moreover, I am not really a political guru. My interest in politics begins and ends under the banner of my relationship with Christ. Instead, my theory was based on the simple fact that I thought America wanted something that she doesn’t want. I thought America wanted democracy. It turns out she doesn’t.

As far as I can tell, Obama has convinced America of three lies and that these will lead us into a “better America.” I think they will lead us to socialism, which is a worse America.

LIE ONE: A BIGGER GOVERNMENT IS A BETTER GOVERNMENT

Last night, before the election results started to come in, Bill O’Reilly noted that the American demographic is changing and that this is not the America our fathers knew. This is a demographic that “wants stuff,” O’Reilly noted. O’Reilly moreover noted that “people feel that they are entitled to things” and that the election will be determined by “which candidate, between the two, is going to give it to them.”

O’Reilly was right. I would only add that America has changed, not that it is changing.

The problem with this new demographic mindset is that it is a misguided one. That is, a bigger government does not equate to a better government. Contrary to popular opinion, bigger is not always better (and this is coming from a guy born and bred in Texas, where “everything is bigger”).

This, in my conviction, is why last night’s election results are a cause for concern. Barack Obama is not just a poor president. We didn’t merely re-elect a guy who is making a few bad decisions that may or may not hurt the economy. While tedious, America can overcome such obstacles. The concern is found in that we re-elected a guy who is sewing new threads into the fabric of our country, when it probably only needed to be dry-cleaned.

Dinesh D’Souza released a film earlier this year entitled 2016: Obama’s America. In this film D’Souza proposed a theory that Obama is anticolonial and that his philosophy for America is to essentially weaken us in order to make a more even playing field for the rest of the world. In my estimation, this is the best theory I have heard explaining Obama’s decision making. It’s not, as some pose, that Obama hates America; it’s that he wants us to have less. D’Souza notes that for Obama, “. . . it’s better for America to have a smaller footprint, because it’s been stepping on the world.”[1]

The problem with shrinking our shoe size is that the rest of the world isn’t shrinking theirs, especially the Middle East. D’Souza notes that if Obama is re-elected that there is a good chance that Islam can rise to be a global power again, something that we haven’t seen in 200 years.[2]

Regardless of what happens in the other parts of the world, the philosophy that a bigger government is a better government is a bad one. Consider the new healthcare mandate, one of the more prolific issues of the election. The reform is but one step towards a bigger government. Whether you are in favor or against “Obamacare,” the fact is that it sets a new precedent for bigger government, and people want this. People prefer granting the government more power and control, which dries up the roots of democracy. This much was determined last night.

My wife asked me the other day, “What kind of government do you think God prefers?” It was a good question because believers often raise democracy up as if it is God’s chosen government. It’s not. It has it’s issues. It’s a great government style, but it isn’t perfect. I would say that God prefers a theocracy, because that is what his kingdom will be. I would also argue, however, that a democracy inherently obtains certain elements that reflect God’s character for life on this side of heaven, something that other governments do not include. This is a government where people receive what they earn instead of receiving that which they have not earned. This is biblical:

For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and earn their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good (2 Thess 3:10-12).

This of course doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t help others in need. It merely means that we shouldn’t aid the “undisciplined” who want handouts.

O’Reilly hit the nail on the head. America is full of people who “want stuff,” and they voted for the candidate that they felt would give it to them. Obama is without question that candidate and he will only reinforce and expand the nation’s dependence on government.

LIE TWO: A LIBERAL GOVERNMENT IS A LEADING GOVERNMENT

I once had a professor who said, “I hate that the word liberal connotes the left agenda. They stole our word and I want it back!” This is because, at its roots, the word “liberal” means freedom, which should be a good thing.

It is true that the word, when applied to the left, is accurate in so much as it refers to pure, unadulterated freedom from restrictions, but logic reveals that even freedom needs boundaries. What would a basketball game look like if it didn’t have an “out of bounds” or referees? We saw a good example of this earlier this year when the NFL used “replacement officials” to monitor their games. It wasn’t good. In one instance one team was granted a victory they did not earn. Likewise, a government that functions in such a way will grant people “victories” which they didn’t earn. Even freedom needs healthy restrictions by which it can operate.

The point is that freedom needs boundaries and the best boundaries are found in Scripture. Boundaries such as the value of life, family, and marriage have all been laid out for us in the pages of the Holy Writ. When we adopt freedom from these things, this is where the word “liberal” takes on a dangerous meaning.

Last night the states of Washington and Colorado voted to approve the use of marijuana for any purpose. Maine and Maryland voters approved same-sex marriage. They were the seventh and eighth states to do so. What is even more concerning is that Obama’s redefinition of marriage earlier this year revealed no change in the polls, further emphasizing that our country’s demographic has changed, not only that it “is changing.”

What does all of this mean? It means that God has given America over to her depravity. That is, it’s not only that we are losing our freedom, it’s that we have lost God’s favor and historically, this is not a good thing. Consider this example from the scriptures:

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the  men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own person the due penalty of their error (Rom 1:24-27).

In 1 Timothy 1:18-20 Paul shared that he handed over Hymenaeus and Alexander to Satan “so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.” This was because they failed to “keep the faith with a good conscience.”

Who can forget (although many have) God’s dealing with Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19)? These twin cities were completely destroyed by fire and brimstone because of their abhorrent sin against God. They were given over to their depravity and the result was destruction.

Israel is perhaps the best example of this. God provided a clear conditional covenant with them stating that if they honored him that they would be blessed and if they dishonored him that they would be cursed. Two thousand years ago they refused to accept God’s Son. Today, their Temple is occupied by an ungodly people and they remain blinded. Paul writes:

God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day (Rom 11:8).

Am I suggesting that Mitt Romney would have solved all of this? Absolutely not. He was never the answer. He was a better answer than Barack Obama, but he wasn’t the answer. What I am saying is that the evidence is clear that God has given America over to her depravity. These trends of adopting same-sex marriage and the use of drugs are only the beginnings of the “better America” that Obama has promised. The problem is that this “better America” will eventually become a “blank America.”

If this is not bad enough, the early knee-jerk reaction of the Republicans is to begin straying away from topics such as abortion and same-sex marriage. That is, to firmly adopt a more liberal strategy in order to regain the White House. The problem with this is that it means that there is no reason for such a party to exist. If the Republicans really do begin moving left (they already have in my estimation), then we essentially have adopted the old adage, “If you can’t beat em’, join em’!”

Again, “What hope does Gotham have when the good people do nothing?”

Make no mistake, the United States of America has been given over to her depravity. The Obama decade will be the decade that my generation will tell our kids and grandkids about. It is the decade on which we will look back and know that there was a paradigm shift that we could never traverse.

LIE THREE: A GODLESS GOVERNMENT IS A GREATER GOVERNMENT

It was in the not-too-distant past that messengers at the Democratic National Convention booed the acknowledgment of God on their platform. The image of people frantically waving their arms against such a thought are forever burned in my mind. Then, to force the acknowledgment of God back in was worse, if, for any reason except that God would never honor a platform that is in favor of the murder of unborn children. This is not the kind of government God honors. Romans 13 is more than clear about this. If loving an unborn child does not qualify as “loving your neighbor,” then I don’t know what does.

My conviction is that we are no better than the Canaanite religions that sacrificed children to their gods in Joshua’s day.

Obama consistently affirms that he is a Christian, but his definition of Christianity differs vastly from the Bible’s. For Obama, God can be found through any religion but the scriptures are clear that there is no other way by which man must be saved except through Christ (Acts 4:12). In other words, Obama has manipulated the very definition of God, thereby suggesting that God and his moral standards are not too important.

The scriptures are clear that when a nation refuses to acknowledge God that he will refuse to acknowledge the nation. God once told Zechariah concerning Israel, “just as [I] called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen” (Zech 7:13). Moreover, “I purposed to do harm to you when your fathers provoked me to wrath” (Zech 8:14).

We have refused to acknowledge God and we should not be surprised when we begin to notice that God has refused to acknowledge us.

HOW NOW SHALL WE LIVE?

So how are followers of Jesus Christ supposed to live knowing that we are functioning under a government that diametrically opposes God and in a nation that God has given over to depravity?

FIRST, remember that God is still on his throne. This is the most important truth on which believers can hold, for everything else falls under this banner. The lamb still reigns, whether America “votes” for him or not.

SECOND, we must pray for our president, the government, and our nation. We must remain as salt and light in this spoiled world. Romans 13 is clear that we are to submit to our governing authorities, but we must also remember that we “ought to obey God over man” (Acts 5:29). This means that we will continue to preach God’s Word until we die, snatching as many people out of hell as we can on the way out.

THIRD, know and remember that this is God’s design. The United States of America is not a prime player in the biblical eschatological timeline. There are several theories as to what happens to our country, but I will spare those here. I will simply note that the United States of America is not necessarily a part of the final stages of the earth. The attention is refocused to the east part of the world, therefore, America must lose her super-powered voice.

A time is coming in which the living believers will be raptured and the dead believers will be raised. The seven year tribulation will then commence, which concludes with the second coming of Jesus Christ who sets up his kingdom on earth. It is my conviction that this time is near. This is why we must passionately pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” and preserve as many people as we can from spoiling.

Hear the lies of our day, democracy, and know that it won’t be long before we say, “Here Lies Democracy.” In the meantime, let’s await that glorious moment when we will say, “Here comes the King! Confess with your tongue and bow with your knee to the King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Until that moment we will pray along with John in saying, “Come Lord Jesus, come.”

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/08/dinesh-dsouza-obama-american-culture

[2] Ibid.

CAN A CHRISTIAN VOTE FOR OBAMA?

“If you vote for Obama, you are not a Christian.”

This is a post I read recently on a social networking site. Like a flame to a parched forest, the comment sparked a fiery response. While I personally feel that the comment is unfounded, I would be lying if I said that I have never wondered how a Christian can knowingly support unchristian principles, especially in the context of something as important as the presidential election. While I would not feel comfortable making the statement at the top of this article, it seems to proceed from the same mentality.

The question on the table is: Can a Christian vote for Obama? Another way of asking the question is: If an individual who touts Christianity votes for Obama, does that reveal that that individual is actually not a Christian? In order to answer this question, we must dissect the statement’s suppositions and provide a biblical standard by which each supposition is measured.

SUPPOSITION ONE: BARACK OBAMA IS NOT A CHRISTIAN

To determine whether Barack Obama is a Christian, we must first identify what Christianity is. In the simplest definition, Christianity is confessing Jesus as the Messiah, believing that he died for the sins of the world, was raised on the third day, that he is the only way to the Father, and is coming back again (John 3:16; 14:6; Acts 1:11-12). Of course there is a lot more we can include in this simple definition, but this captures the basic tenets of the faith.

Barack Obama has, on many occasions, claimed that he is a Christian. He has also claimed, however, that Jesus is not the only way to heaven, a statement that diametrically opposes one of the foundational tenets of Christianity. He has said that Jesus is the “only way for me,” but he has also said that people of all faiths know the same god.[1]

The question therefore becomes: Does believing that Jesus is one of many ways, even if he is the way that you personally choose, result in genuine Christianity? Biblically, the answer is “no.” This is not the kind of saving faith the scriptures tout. Jesus never said, “Follow whatever god you personally choose, but they are all essentially the same.” He said, “Follow me” (Matt 16:24). Moreover, idolatry (worshipping other gods) is one of the most detailed sins in Scripture. It is the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex 20:3). God makes it clear that he alone is God and anything else is an aberration. Therefore, believing that Jesus is just one way of many is not the kind of faith he requires. He never suggested that he is one of a variety of ways; he said that he is “the way.”

Therefore, if Barack Obama indeed believes that Jesus is one of many ways, even if he personally chooses him as “his way,” then he is not a Christian in the biblical sense of the term. It is a gross manipulation of the Son of God.

SUPPOSITION TWO: CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT VOTE FOR NON-CHRISTIANS

Modern-day elections for the President of the United States offer two formidable candidates. There is a Republican candidate and a Democratic candidate. In most cases, each candidate states that he is a Christian, but we have already seen that claiming Christianity doesn’t necessarily result in genuine Christianity anymore than walking into a kitchen makes you a chef. It’s not what one claims, but if one’s beliefs align with Scripture that reveals genuine Christianity.

This year’s two candidates are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. If Obama believes what he says (that Jesus is one of many ways), then he is not a genuine Christian according to Scripture. Romney has been very adamant about his Mormon faith. Mormonism is not another denomination of Christianity; it is a manipulation of it. (For more on mormonism, I recommend this link: http://carm.org/mormonism)

While Mormans use the same terminology Christians use, they do not have the same meanings. Many evangelicals have long stated that Mormonism is a cult. Some evangelical organizations have since removed that status due to this election [2], but it doesn’t suggest that Mormonism is, in the least, a branch of Christianity. It just means that evangelicals are acting unethical and compromising their Christian beliefs, which coincidentally proves the point of this article (that Christians can make poor decisions and still be Christians).

Therefore, we arguably have two non-Christian candidates to vote for in this year’s election. I don’t think that it would be too much to assume that our original statement suggests that Christians should instead vote for Romney, but Romney isn’t any more of a Christian than Obama. Paul makes it very clear that people are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness (Rom 6). A slave to sin is someone who doesn’t confess Christ. A slave to righteousness is someone who does confess Christ. It’s that simple. Lost people, therefore, are lost people. Whether one manipulates Christianity by suggesting that Jesus is one of many ways or by creating an entirely new religion founded on Christian roots, but too far left to still be considered Christian, both are lost. There is no level of “lostness.”

Therefore, if Christians cannot vote for a non-Christian, as our original statement supposes, then we find ourselves in a very difficult position for a very important election. Christians, however, have a responsibility to vote according to Romans 13, even when we do not have the option of choosing a Christian candidate.

Moreover, it is important to understand that the president of the United States is not a religious leader. Richard Land aptly notes that the last thing we want is government sponsored religion; “it would be like being hugged by a boa constrictor.” [3]  We are not voting for a pastor; we are voting for a president. Even if we do not have a Christian candidate, however, we can vote for the candidate that best represents Christian standards because God’s standards are the best standards.

In light of this, the choice for the 2012 election is clear. Two of the most moral issues in politics are life and marriage. One candidate supports “homosexual marriage” and is pro-choice. The other supports “traditional” marriage between one man and one woman and is pro-life. Since God created “traditional” marriage and since God is pro-life, it is obvious which candidate best represents biblical morality.

SUPPOSITION THREE: CHRISTIANITY IS BASED ON WHAT YOU DO

The final supposition of our original statement is that our Christianity is based on what we do. Another way of saying this is that our works determine our faith. This supposition is based on  the notion that who we vote for determines our faith. If we make the good choice (not Obama in this case) then we are Christian. If we make the poor choice (Obama in this case) then we are not Christian.

It is important to understand that Christianity is not based on what we do, but on what God did through His Son Jesus. The definition posed earlier purports this perfectly. There is nothing about being a Christian that is based on what we do (minus your faith in Jesus, which is an unearned gift of God according to Eph 2:8-9). Everything about Christianity is based on what Jesus did. Therefore, it is unbiblical to suggest that your vote for the 2012 election for the president of the United States of America determines whether or not you are a Christian. It may reflect the maturity of your faith, but it certainly doesn’t determine the custody of it.

While your works do not determine your Christianity, your Christianity should determine your works. That is, when a Christian is given the responsibility to cast a vote between two individuals, and when one of those individuals is vehemently against biblical morality and the other individual is in favor of biblical morality, the choice for the Christian should be as clear as the Bahamian waters on a crisp, summer day. Vote for biblical morality.

After dissecting the original statement it becomes clear that while a Christian can vote for Obama, a Christian shouldn’t vote for Obama. That is, if you remotely care about what the scriptures teach on issues such as life, marriage, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, vote for the candidate that best represents God’s standards. In  my opinion, the choice is clear.

[1]http://www.christianadc.org/resources/seven-reasons-campaign/62-reason-1

[2]http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/billy-grahams-website-removes-mormonism-from-cult-list/

[3]Richard Land, The Divided States of America, (Dallas: Thomas Nelson, 2007).

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