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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why Marriage Should Be A Man/Woman Union, In Illinois.

Typical of shady politicians and shady Illinois politicians, in particular, the Democrats along with some Republicans of the Illinois legislature are making a move to amend the Illinois Constitution as soon as January to allow for gay marriage. 

(Illinois recently legalized civil unions for same-sex couples).

While pro-marriage advocates are facing an uphill battle, I do not believe the fight stop the redefinition of marriage in Illinois is over and I am personally willing to do what I can as an Illinoisan to see that marriage remains the union of a man and a woman in my state.

However, it must be admitted that the pro-marriage crowd hasn't done the best job of making a positive case for man/woman marriage, making efforts to preserve it that much harder.

I'm going to try and put forth three secular reasons why I do not believe the legislature should amend our state constitution, redefining marriage as the union of two persons, rather than a man and woman.

My proposition is as follows:

The government has a public purpose in preserving and promoting marriage as a unique and gendered union.   

(Reason 1.) Male/female unions are the only unions that can create new life.

While not every heterosexual couple can or will have children, every person, man and woman, is the product of a male (a father) and female (a mother).

This is the wonder of human biology. 

It seems obvious that the government has public purpose in preserving and promoting the only unions that can naturally produce and replenish it's citizenry, while maintaining a stable matrix for child rearing and said pro-creative acts.

A state (or country) with a low birth rate will soon be a state (or country) in peril (the present birth crisis in Russia is attestation to this fact).  

If the gender requirement is removed from marriage, the government would no longer be able to treat marriage as a unique and life-giving union that connects mom's and dad's to their kids, for to do so would be to discriminate against same-sex married couples, who cannot have children naturally. 

This is not a case with marriage of older and/or sterile couples because that is only an exception to the rule of human biology (ie: that man/woman unions, alone, create new life)

Thus, redefining marriage would be a public ill, in this sense.

(Reason 2.) Male/female marital unions connect mothers and fathers to their biological children.

(This next argument has been advanced and defended most recently by such notables as Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse and summarized here by me. I take no credit)

Marriage serves a public purpose in this sense by providing a suitable framework for parenthood.

Who would deny that attaching moms and dads to each other and to their biological children should be promoted, as much as is possible and responsible?

By way of the presumption of paternity, natural marriage connects parents to each other and to their biological children.

The presumption of paternity simply means that a woman's husband in presumed to be the father of any children she has.

As one natural marriage advocate explains, "the presumption of paternity, combined with a social and legal norm of marital sexual exclusivity, means that marriage routinely and systematically attaches children to their biological parents" (emphasis mine).

Redefining marriage directly leads to redefining parenthood, replacing the presumption of paternity with a presumption of parentage, meaning that a child born to a couple in a same-sex union is presumed to be the child of both partners.

This directly undermines the biological basis for parenthood, getting rid of the idea that a child is entitled to a relationship with his biological parents.

We've already seen this applied broadly in Delaware to both same sex AND opposite sex partners, where a live in, cohabiting, opposite sex partner who is neither the parent by biology or adoption (ie: non-parent) of their partner's child, may be awarded parental rights, by way of the presumption of parentage.

This means that we are attaching parental rights to non-parents and the redefinition of marriage, by removing the gender requirement from marriage and then trying to keep everything equal, will be the vehicle by which this is accomplished and applied broadly.

 Dr. Morse explains:

"By redefining marriage we are undermining several principles of law and social practice that are currently widely accepted and understood."

These include...

(1.) The right and general entitlement of children to have a relationship with both of their parents.

(2.) That mothers and father are not, in general, interchangeable.

(3.) The long assumed biological basis for parenthood. 

(4.) The current relationship of the state to civil society, where instead of the state simply recording parenthood, it creates parenthood.      

Do you think that a normative function of the government should be to create parents?

This will surely be the reality if gender neutral marriage replaces gendered marriage and the presumption of paternity replaces the presumption of parentage, as our frame of reference for understanding parenthood.

This would open up parenthood (which precedes the advent of the state) to a kind of unprecedented intrusion into our lives.

 (Reason 3.) While retaining the current laws on marriage doesn't affect the protection of same sex persons under the law, removing the gender requirement from marriage may subject citizens with religious objections to same-sex "marriage" to criminal penalties under the law.   
Already we have seen Christian wedding photographers, cake decorators, and chapel owners sued for refusing to acknowledge same-sex unions.    

Others are being forced quit their jobs, as opposed to violating their faith in notarizing same-sex marriages or issuing same-sex marriage licenses.   

I could give more and more examples of this is on-going and dangerous trend which can only get worse if same-sex marriage is made the law of the land.

The government can keep the peace by recognizing and protecting same-sex civil unions under the law, with special protections for people of faith, and by keeping marriage the union of a man and a woman.
In conclusion, these three arguments, combined with a number of negative arguments, give us a strong basis for affirming the above proposition that the government has a public purpose in preserving and promoting marriage as a unique and gendered union.   

This is not an emotional, heart-tugging case, but a case based on logic and fact, as any good argument should be.

It is my hope that people would take hold of good arguments for preserving natural marriage and speak out boldly and frequently to their friends, neighbors, and public representatives. 

Together we can curb the tidal wave against man/woman marriage.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I Don't Need the Bible to be Good: A Straw Man Answered.

I am a (theologically) conservative Christian, which means that when I approach the Bible, I do so with the intent to try to understand and conserve the original meaning and purpose which is being conveyed in a given text.

This is opposed to someone who may want to liberate the text of Scripture from its "sexist", "homophobic", and otherwise benighted context, to try and find whatever relevant gems still be applicable for us Christians today.

I "out" myself as a conservative to make it clear that I don't just tolerate or "deal with" the text of Scripture; I wholeheartedly believe in it's message.

I recently  listened to a Youtube video where a former Christian, an apostate from the faith shared with his viewing audience a sort of "revelation" that he had concerning the Bible.

It is as follows:

  I don't need the Bible to be a caring person. I don't need the Bible in order to be patient. I don't need the Bible in order  to be able to love someone unconditionally. I don't need the Bible in order to be kind to people. I don't need the Bible to tell me that these are qualities that I need to have. 

I think that people can be loving, caring, patient, compassionate, [and] merciful without the use of a holy book: the Bible.

This is simply a straw-man argument.

While I hold that the Bible gives us invaluable information on how people should express such virtues as the ones above to the ultimate glory of God, I agree with the general sentiment that neither the Bible nor any special revelation, is necessary in order to know what is good or to do good in a most basic or fundamental sense.   

Ironically, this is a biblical concept.

See Romans chapter 2:

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

It is God who has written His moral law on the hearts of all men, so that they, we, are without excuse, having a kind of instinctive grasp on what is right or wrong.

This is not an indubitable, infallible, all-encompassing moral sense, but one that functions in such a way that men can rightly be held accountable for their actions, completely apart from the special revelation of Scripture, et cetera. 

So we see that if this confused post-believer would have actually studied Scripture, it would have answered his misconceptions about the very thing which he had a misconception about in the first place. 

In the Bible we have a written standard that bears testimony to the moral sense that God has given us, which can help draw to God a person who has seared their conscience, suppressing it by their evil will.

The Bible tells us that the law (the thou shalts and shalt nots) was given to us a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24).

In Scripture we read what God's holiness and justice requires, our inability to live up to those requirements and, hence, our desperate need for a Savior.

The non-Christian shouldn't boast of his knowledge of good and evil; it's what first condemned Adam and Eve and would condemn the rest of us too, if not for Jesus! 

However, without the Bible we would only have a basic knowledge of good and evil, enough to condemn us for doing wrong when we knew to do right, but not enough that we could have an abundant, God-honoring life that comes with keeping His commandments and orienting our lives after God. 

When I think about the Bible and the content therein, my mind always goes to one of my favorite psalms:  
The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19)

The Bible is an epic tale of creation and redemption, with a multi-faceted purpose. 

What a shame it would be if we let our own ignorance obscure the very Words of God to us.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The End of World as We Know It: The Coming Christian Persecution.

It seems every week, more and more gutless politicians and talking heads, formerly sympathetic to the pro-marriage cause, have traded on those of us fighting to keep marriage a man-woman union, in favor of political expediency.
This trend, while sad, is not surprising.

It must be understood that opposing gay "marriage" is no longer considered a noble fight or even a reasonable one. 

If you choose to lobby for natural marriage, you will be harangued as a bigoted bully, a hateful homphobe, and a whole host of other titles that good manners prevent me from typing out!

Various homosexual and liberal activists  groups have already seen to the decimation of private citizens who have dared to exercise their religious freedom by refusing to "play pretend" by recognizing gay "marriage" as legitimate.

Christians, even Evangelicals, have withered under pressure from friends and popular culture, deciding that while this may have been their grandparent's fight, it's not theirs.

They misguidedly think that if they leave the gay marriage issue alone, they will have a better chance at reaching homosexuals for Christ.

Of course, this idea would only appeal to those who have not followed the broader debate on the ethicalness of homosexual behavior.

I doesn't matter if you are on a gay pride parade float, waving a flag for marriage redefinition; if you hold to the biblical (yes, I said the "b" word) notion that homosexual behavior is an abrogation of God's creative purpose for sexual relationships, you will upset, even turn off, those very people whom you are compromising to appease.

I think Joe Dallas (a recovering homosexual and Christian activist) summed it up well:

No one can deny the country is shifting towards solid, widespread approval of a redefinition of marriage to include same sex unions....Simultaneously, those resisting this redefinition are, more and more, seen as bigots who resist equality, similar to the racists of the 60’s who resisted civil rights. That is the direction we’re taking...

We must wake up and realize that the campaign for gay marriage and homosexual normalization is being heralded as the "new civil right movement" with graphics like the above being circulated on Facebook and other websites.

How, I ask you, did we treat those who fought against racial equality in the 50s and 60s and who ultimately lost?

Did we shake hands and say, "well, you fought hard and lost. Now, we'll live alongside each other in peace, in the hopes that you adopt our point of view"?

As if.

What we did was pass all kinds of laws to eradicate racial inequality in the public square.

We treated the KKK and racist people as social pariahs who only needed to be silenced, not reasoned with and certainly not tolerated.

We're already seeing Christian organizations and individuals blacklisted for their support of other Christian organizations deemed hate groups for their support of pro-marriage legislation.

The actions taken against segregationists during the Civil Rights era were good and necessary, and, since this is the frame of reference for "gay rights" debate,  you're only fooling yourself if you don't think the same kinds of actions will be taken against Christians who support monogamous heterosexual marriage over and against any other kind of marriage.

How I read the Bible, with respect to the end times, is that Christians will be persecuted in very large numbers.

This is already happening all over the world.

And while record numbers of people are coming to God every day all across the globe (not at all surprising given the power of the gospel), we are seeing the political and social powers of the world --secularists in Europe, liberals in America, Islamists in the Middle East, etc--doing everything they can to silence Christians and hinder the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Not to spoil the ending, but Jesus will be victorious.

This fact, however, is not an excuse to be slothful, unaware, OR cowardly, because it's only going to get nastier as the time of Christ' return draws near.

So, for the sake of the gospel and those desperately in need of it, don't give up!

Don't give in!

Hold God's standards high!

It's all we have in a world that is sprinting to hell.

We can almost see the finish line, so,  by the grace and power of God, stay strong!

And remember that when they come after you and your family and all that you hold dear, you may count yourself blessed to suffer for the sake of the One who suffered and died for us.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why I Am A Christian: A Story of Faith.

When I was eleven years old, I was baptized into Christ at my home church in Mahomet, Illinois.

The formal cause for this occasion came about after I had a lengthy conversation with a non-Christian friend about the important connection between baptism and salvation, only to remember that I, myself, had not even been baptized.

Being raised in the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ (and being convinced by Scripture), I believed that baptism is the final step in accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, so this was no small issue for me.

However, the real or material cause for my baptism was much deeper.

I was adopted at a young age by Christian parents and ever since then, I have been surrounded by all things "Christian".

However, going to Christian "things" and having Christian parents does not a Christian make.

I have always believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that the Bible was the Word of God, but even the demons believe (and they tremble; James 2:19).

I remember confessing my sins to God and "asking Jesus into my heart" after an "Unshackled" radio drama, but I was plagued with worry about the effectiveness of my prayer because I didn't feel like a weight had been taken off my back, which was how the experience had always been described on the program.

 I have long since moved past that bad theology; praise God!

 So, knowing my need for a Savior and the truth of Jesus' divinity, I trusted in Him for my salvation, confessed Him as Lord, repented of my sins, and was baptized.

My testimony is hardly cool or exciting, but it is very special to me. 

As a person who has long struggled with not measuring up, I am thankful to know that I don't need to try to "be something" in order to approach the cross and have a relationship with God.

To sum things up, if I could cite three reasons for why I am a Christian, they would be the following:

            Observational Confirmation

Seeing the absolute coherence, rationality, and sincerity of Christian faith has been an enduring testimony of its truth to me.

I love what C. S. Lewis said about his faith in the faith:

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. 

By seeing godly men and women live out the biblical faith in their daily lives, I cannot doubt that the Spirit of God is truly working in them and through them.

                   Internal Confirmation

The witness of the Holy Spirit to my heart has been a testimony to me of God's existence and activity in our world.

(I believe that God has hardwired us all for belief, but that man  suppresses this innate knowledge through sinfulness [Romans 1:18]).

There's not much I can say about this, except that for me the witness is more than a "burning in the bosom", is closer to what philosophers a "properly basic belief", and even closer to an eternal truth, whispered in your ear by the most trustworthy person in the whole universe

   Evidential Confirmation

While too lengthy and outside of the scope of this blog post to explain fully here, I believe that the proposition "God exists" best explains the origin of contingent beings, the existence of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, the reality of objective moral values and duties, and the very idea of God, as well as the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and more.

The explanatory power of Christian theism is, I believe, unparalleled in scope and power.

You can see more about that here.

 In closing, I am very aware of the fact that I am still young and it seems everyday my faith is changing and growing as I learn more and try to better conform my life and doctrine to the Truth. 
 It gives me supreme joy to call myself a follower of Jesus and I consider it a privelge to share my faith with others.   

                  One More Thing

A Restoration Movement initiative
In addition to being a proud Christian, I am also proud to belong to a movement of churches which I believe best exemplify the biblical model for how the local church is supposed to look and act.

 You can read more about this fellowship of churches here.

Also feel free to leave a short testimony of how you came to Christ in the comment box below.    

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why I Thank God for President Obama.

 It's been almost a week since the United States re-elected President Barack Obama for a second term as president of our country.

And, like all conservatives, I was initially left reeling and dejected knowing that I had another four years of one of the most radical, anti-business, anti-life, anti-free market presidents our country has ever seen.

I mean how much worse could things get?

Planned Parenthood (the nation's largest abortion chain) is receiving millions of tax-payer dollars each year, the bloated and job crushing "Obamacare" legislation seems to be a forgone conclusion, religious business leaders all across the country are being forced to violate their consciences with respect to their views on life (via the HHS mandate) and marriage (via gay activism and legislation thereof), and religious apathy seems endemic both in and outside the Church.

Christians see America (and the world) slowly going downhill in more ways than we can keep track of and are asking ourselves, 'what's a believer to do?'

Well, the Bible answers that question in First Thessalonians:

"Rejoice always,  pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus".

Yes, you read that right. 

It says we are to rejoice (always), give thanks (in all circumstances), and pray (continually). 

So, that's exactly what I'm going to. 

While there may not be many reasons to be thankful for our Commander-in-Chief's re-election, there are at least few

For one, I'm thankful that those of us who were acting under the delusion that we could recreate the United States in the image of some great Christian democratic-republic must now be faced with the reality that even a country as great as America is secular and under the temporary control of the "prince of this world" (John 12:31).

Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to cultivate Christ in our culture and government, we forget that the first rule of defending the faith is to "sanctify Christ as Lord in [our] hearts" (1 Peter 3:15).

This is not at all to say that we shouldn't vote our consciences whenever able, but we must understand that real change comes by way of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit and not by governmental legislation.

In addition, the President's win has personally encouraged me to make active pro-life vigil and sidewalk counselling outside my town's local Planned Parenthood clinic a more regular activity.

While Planned Parenthood and abortion providers all across the country won big in this election, the pro-life movement has too been rejuvenated and we are ready to fight the pro-abortion forces for the next four years and beyond, defending the right-to-life of pre-born humans until the bitter end.

Another thing this election has brought about that I'm thankful for is the spotlight now being shone on the glaring unwillingness of many Christians to even attempt to bring their political views and actions under the Lordship of Jesus.

Many of the President's deeply held social and economic views are anti-Christian and whether it be due to racism (voting based on race) or a low view/ignorance of Scriptural principles, too many Christians cast their votes for Barack Obama and supported his rise to power.

However, sunlight is the best disinfectant and you cannot deal with a problem until you identify it.

We've identified a big problem, now it's time to deal with it.
In keeping with the passage from first Thessalonians, I'm also praying for our leaders (as we're commanded to do in 1 Timothy 2:1-2), including our president, and I'm praying that Christians would be renewed with evangelistic zeal for the lost and a mighty love for God, so "that by doing good [we] should silence the evil talk of foolish men" (1 Peter 2:15).

And lastly, I'm rejoicing always because I have the awesome, wonderful, indescribable privilege of knowing that no matter how bad the world gets, Jesus is coming!

And (if I'm reading my Bible correctly) things are going to get worse before they get better. 

Regardless of what happens in life, what leader is in power, or what heartache may befall our world, this thing is certain: God is still working in the lives of men and women to bring about his most glorious and holy purposes and He will see his children through to ultimate victory.

This knowledge gives us the freedom to be bold and courageous, loving and compassionate, prayerful and expectant all day, every day. 

There's still lots of work to be done, fields to harvests, love to share, and justice to champion; are you ready?

Just remember to pray, give thanks, and in all things rejoice!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Failed Attacks and False Gospels: A Response to Kluwe, Vines, and Mclaren.

In the seemingly relentless campaign to marginalize and stigmatize those of us who hold to a biblical view of sexual ethics, the militants on the opposing side are more than happy to utilize morally and doctrinally wayward "Christians" to advance their cause and to silence religious opposition to anti-biblical values with respect to human sexuality.

One such person is "gay rights" advocate, football star, and professing Roman Catholic Chris Kluwe. 

The Vikings football star (well known for his support for homosexual causes) landed himself in the blogosphere once again when he wrote an open letter to a Minnesota Catholic bishop, responding to what he called the bishop's position of  "oppression, intolerance, and fear".

What did Archbishop John Nienstedt do that warranted such a strong condemnation?

In a letter written two years ago, Nienstedt addressed a Catholic parishioner of his who expressed dissent concerning her Church's teaching about human sexuality as it pertained to her gay son. 

The clergyman implored the concerned woman to accept the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality, going as far to say "your eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversation of heart on this topic".


A Catholic bishop urging a Catholic to accept Catholic teaching!

I have my problems with the Church of Rome, but this isn't one of them.

It would seem to me that any rationally minded person who is not emotionally wrapped up in this issue would see this exchange as a mundane and normal expression of governance and spiritual admonishment by a religious authority.

And yet to the fawning praise of gay blogs and websites, Mr. Kluwe wrote a poetic and mind numbingly over-dramatic response to the bishop in which he referenced the "Crusades" and the "Taliban", accused the bishop of "denying the humanity of gay people", and even implicated him in the not-so-hypothetical suicide of gay teens.

All this because a professing Catholic was told to accept the following from the Catholic catechism:

  Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.  (Catechism of the Catholic church, paragraph 2357)

 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. (Catechism of the Catholic church, paragraph 2358. emphasis mine)

 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (Catechism of the Catholic church, paragraph 2359)

Whether one agrees with this teaching or not, these passages say nothing about the intrinsic value of the person with SSA, except to imply that he or she is so valuable as to be respected and protected from unjust discrimination.

I suppose these "finer details" must have gone over Mr. Kluwe's head.

But we all know that divergence from Scripture in this area is in no way relegated exclusively to the Roman Catholic realm, by any means.

Recently, a young man named Matthew Vines has been making his rounds in Evangelical circles boldly spreading the not-so-old heresy that homosexual behavior is not sin and should be accepted by Bible believing Christians.

Vines, who spent two years researching the issue of homosexuality and the Bible, recycled and repackaged the same old "gay theology" arguments we've all already heard (albeit, with a few new twists) and put them in a sermon that is being lauded as monumental and groundbreaking by both secular and religious talking heads alike.   

Of course, neither Vines nor his promoters pay even the slightest attention to the numerous and comprehensive refutations of all of Vine's points, widely available for years--decades even.

And even more recently, news that "Emergent Church" preacher Brian Mclaren officiated his son's bizarre same-sex "wedding" commitment ceremony hit the fan, further discrediting the minister who was already suspect due to his frustratingly vague views on many critical points of Christian orthodoxy.

Thankfully, the positions of Matt Vines, Brian Mclaren, and Chris Kluwe, mean very little in terms of signaling some grand "evolution" in the thinking of the church, except to show the increased boldness of those who have fallen prey to this modern day rotten theology.

We hope and pray that, in time, they will come (back) to the true biblical faith.

My point is not to give these men undue fame, but to respond to a common theme that seems to serve as the foundation for these men's shared heterodoxy and rejection of the biblical teaching on sexuality.

Note the next three quotes by the men themselves:

Over time, I could not square their stories and experiences with the theology I had inherited. So I re-opened the issue, read a lot of books, re-studied the Scriptures, and eventually came to believe that just as the Western church had been wrong on slavery, wrong on colonialism, wrong on environmental plunder, wrong on subordinating women, wrong on segregation and apartheid (all of which is justified biblically) ... we had been wrong on [the issue of homosexuality]. --Brian Mclaren

How can we reconcile our version of the Catholic Church as salvation to the sick, the needy, the poor, when we must also bear witness to the Catholic Church as oppressor, tormentor, and executioner? Where, in all of Jesus’ teachings, did he ever say to deny the humanity of other human beings; where did the Son of God proclaim that mortal Man knew God’s will; where, pray tell, did Jesus ever say to harden your heart against those who may not be exactly the same as you? -- Chris Kluwe

Good teachings, even when they are very difficult, are not destructive to human dignity. They don’t lead to emotional and spiritual devastation, and to the loss of self-esteem and self-worth. But those have been the consequences for gay people of the traditional teaching on homosexuality. It has not borne good fruit in their lives, and it’s caused them incalculable pain and suffering. If we’re taking Jesus seriously that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, then that should cause us to question whether the traditional teaching is correct. -- Matthew Vines

Whether they believe what they are saying or not, the argument being used by "gay theology" proponents is this: the biblical teaching that homosexuality is a deviation from God's creative purpose for human sexuality and that sexual expression thereof is sinful is inherently destructive towards people with SSA and is an attack upon their very self-worth and value.

 This, of course, is nothing short of a pernicious lie. 
Human sexuality is a beautiful aspect of our person and is to be expressed within the the creative framework that God has decreed.

In the beginning of the world, God made Adam, whose name means simply "man", and Eve, whose name means simply "life", and brought them together that they might love and care for each other as life-long partners.

Jesus expounded on this theme where he made the case for life-long, faithful, natural, marriage in Matthew Chapter 19 saying:
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

It was God's purpose in making two sexes that two would become one.

This is the good and proper paradigm that we as Christians should hold to, support, and defend over and against any other paradigm, whatever it may be.

However, we are told about the genuinely difficult plight of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have felt the sting of the Fall with respect to their sexuality, as we all have felt the sting of the Fall in so many areas of our own lives.

Does that mean that we reject the man-woman paradigm for relationships that God has put in place and instead craft one to our liking?

Certainly not!

The appropriate path is to come along side our brothers and sisters and help them bear their burdens as they begin to understand their desires within the bounds that God has so lovingly ordained and seek to find who they are in Christ, irrespective of who they are attracted to.

Whether they, like many heterosexual Christians, will stay single, or perhaps, by the grace and power of God, find a spouse, we hold that is not only possible, but crucial that to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ we all must submit our sexual desires to Christ as God has commanded in Scripture.

When Paul spoke to the Corinthian Church about sin and salvation, he had this to say in chapter 6 of First Corinthians: 

 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

And one invitation to enter into this new state of being is given by Jesus in Matthew 11:   

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus doesn't say that following him will be easy, he says that he will bear the burden with us as one who has "overcome the world" (John 16:33).

This, I believe, is truly a message of truth, hope, and love that all people, regardless of sexuality, can cling to.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

For the Love of God: Why Christians Should Not Vote for President Obama in November

Among those Christians who tend toward either liberalism or non-traditionalism, and especially black Christians, the "progressive" Barack Obama seems like a viable candidate for president.

I am going to do my hardest to dispel that myth

I hold that President Obama has exhibited a pattern of implementing policies that inhibit, stigmatize, or otherwise go against Christian values and thus should not get a single vote from anyone who considers himself a follower of Jesus Christ.

Let me be crystal clear that this is not a pro-Romney, pro-Ron Paul, or pro-any-one-person post.

My focus is on the president and his actions.

I believe that the issues facing our country are far too grave to simply cast a thoughtless vote for any candidate who seems good enough or has a certain letter in front of his name.

I agree with the theologian Dr. Jack Cottrell when he writes:

"The only real issue between Obama and Romney is this: which one wants government to do what God wants it to do, according to Romans 13:1ff. and 1 Tim. 4:1-4? I.e., which one wants government to protect the rights of every citizen, to defend us from those who want to violate those rights, to enable us to lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity?" (emphasis mine)

And nowhere does the president more clearly fail this test than with respect to the issue of the right-to-life.

Not only are his pro-choice views outside the mainstream of American culture, but that of biblical orthodoxy, as well.

 Scripture clearly affirms the dignity of every human person, so it is verboten for a Christian to support widespread violations of that dignity.

Here are some verses that illustrate this point:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them"-- Genesis 1:27 ( mankind is made in the very image of God)

"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets"-- Matthew 7:12 (we are to treat people in kind with how we wish to be treated)

 "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?"-- 1 John 3:17  (God's love compels is to help our brother in need)

 "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward"-- Psalm 127:3 (children are a gift from God, as opposed to a burden)

  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous"-- Matthew 5:43-45 (hating another human is not a viable option for a believer)

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world"-- James 1:27 (true religion cares for those in need)

 "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God"-- Micah 6:8 (God has charged us to be just and merciful)

With this in mind, how does President Obama's record on life square with the biblical exhortations to love, care for, and be merciful toward our fellow man?

 (1.) According to the Washington Post fact checker, then Senator Obama voted "present" twice on a vote to ban partial birth abortion 1997, during his time in the Illnois senate.

The partial birth or D&E method is described as such:

This procedure is used to abort women who are 20 to 32 weeks pregnant -- or even later into pregnancy. Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist reaches into the uterus, grabs the unborn baby’s leg with forceps, and pulls the baby into the birth canal, except for the head, which is deliberately kept just inside the womb. (At this point in a partial-birth abortion, the baby is alive).

A partial-birth abortion portrayal.

  Then the abortionist jams scissors into the back of the baby’s skull and spreads the tips of the scissors apart to enlarge the wound. After removing the scissors, a suction catheter is inserted into the skull and the baby’s brains are sucked out. The collapsed head is then removed from the uterus.

Does it sound caring, loving, or merciful to suck out the brains of a baby who could at that moment be delivered and survive outside the womb?

Certainly not.

Understandably, such a procedure is illegal in many states.

(2.) In 2001 Senator Obama voted "present" twice on bills that would require parental notification before a minor could receive an abortion.

Is it too much to ask that a parent be informed about a major medical procedure that could fundamentally change or even ruin the life of their under-age child and kill their grandchild?
(3.)  Even more horrifying is that twice as a senator, Obama voted "present" on a bill that would give proper medical attention to babies born alive due to an abortion procedure gone wrong.

This is simply beyond the pale.

We're not talking about a baby in the womb, but a baby that has survived a botched abortion procedure and, like any newborn, is in need of basic care.

In my state of Illinois such children were left to die, and the President, then a senator, didn't care enough about those babies to vote a simple "yes" on the bill.

 You may think that President Obama should get a pass because he voted "present" on those bills rather than "no".

However, it is common knowledge that voting "present" (especially in Illinios) was/is an admitted  political tactic to keep politicians from being marginalized and stigmatized come further elections, not a moral decision.

Will believers cast their vote for man who puts party and politics before the lives of newborn children?

God forbid it!

(4.) As Commander-in-Chief, President Obama opposed a bill that would ban abortions being conducted on the basis of sex, as we often see in China.

(5.) The Patient Affordable Care and Protection Act or Obamacare has in it provisions for tax-payer funded abortions.

(6.) In addition the Obama administration's Health and Human Services mandate would force religious institutions, such as Christian hospitals and schools, to cover the cost of abortion inducing drugs.

To recap:  The president opposed bills that would...

  -Allow infants born alive after a botched abortion procedure to   receive medical attention.
  - Ban the grisly partial birth abortion procedure 
  - Grant parents the right to be informed of and give consent for their minor's abortion.
  - Ban sex-selective abortions.

And instituted legislation that would...

-Force tax-payers to fund abortions and embryonic stem cell research.
 - Force religious institutions to cover the cost of abortion causing drugs.

This abject disregard for human life cannot be reconciled with the God's high view of human dignity.

The two are totally contradictory.

I thought long and hard about other issues that I could write about that show President Obama's disregard for Christian faith and values, but if believers cannot be persuaded to not vote for a man who's moral compass would not compel him to speak or vote against infanticide then nothing will.

Whether it be his irresponsible use of drones in the Middle East, his derision of traditional marriage, his restricting of religious freedom in the military, or open mockery and misrepresentation of the Word of of God, this President has shown himself to be an enemy of those who seek to better know and follow God and who wish to see themselves fairly represented at the highest level of the U.S government.

And so armed with this knowledge, we have a choice before us this election: to support life and liberty or President Obama.

Our Christian belief extends to all areas of our life, including politics, which means even our vote must be brought under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

So if you love the Lord and His commands,  I pray you will abstain from casting your vote for President Obama this November and encourage other believers to do the same.

For God's sake and for the sake of all of us, who will reap the repercussions of for more years of President Barack Hussein Obama.