Category Archives: “Pop Culture”

Pro-Abortion: An Impossible Position

I have not written about abortion, until now. I will admit I am a bit bothered. I have had a rough week–one of my Seminary professors (Carl Stam) has had a recurrence of lymphoma; I just found out one of my favorite teachers of all time–from High School–Dr. Buck Offutt has had a stroke; and a gifted young musician, Coleman Mellett–we played in the same groups in High School–was killed in the Buffalo, NY plane crash. So, why does that prompt me to write on abortion?

Abortion is murder. Pure and simple. The end of a life without due process of law and without extraordinary, accidental circumstances is nothing more than murder.

Many have sought to quote scripture, which is extremely relevant, when writing on this topic. Admittedly, there are some who will dismiss the Bible out-of-hand. Therefore, I will make logical arguments.

Argument One:

If an embryo is not a life, why then are the embryos of endangered species protected by law?

The proponents of Abortion run into an impossible conundrum here: Why are animal embryos considered different and treated different from a human embryo? The Bald Eagle is a magnificent creature. According to the Endangered Species Act, to take a Bald Eagle egg from a nest will get you a fine of not more than $1,000 and not more than one year in jail. (source)  Yet, you can walk into an abortion clinic and pay someone to end a life (or what will become a life–in keeping with the egg of a Bald Eagle) and you and the person doing the abortion get off scott-free.  In fact, both parties will probably be congratulated on their progressiveness and how they exercise their rights.

This is especially damning to the pro-abortion position when you consider that many people will believe in the evolutionary process (which I whole-heartedly reject) and, therefore, have every reason to believe that humans and animals are, in fact, different versions of the same stuff–just differences in evolution.

So…the conundrum:  How are potential Bald Eagles different from potential Humans?  According to the animal rights and pro-abortion philosophies, they are not.  The pro-abortion proponents hold to a logically indefensible position.

Argument Two:

How can an anti-death penalty person also be a pro-abortion person?

Many of the anti-death penalty people I’ve heard stick to the party-line and they tend to be pro-abortion too.  They claim life is too valuable to be ended, even for some of the most heinous crimes.  All too often, the pro-death penalty, anti-abortion people (like me) are accused of a hypocritical position.  Here’s the pro-abortion, anti-death penalty problem:

If you believe that life is too precious to be taken, even in the face of a heinous crime, how can you believe it is OK to snuff out what will become a life (assuming for argument sake that an embryo is not a life)?

Let’s examine a progression.  If someone is sentenced to death, it means they have been tried by a jury of their peers and have been duly convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.  In addition to this burden of proof, there has been a long and thorough appeal process.

To abort an embryo, you are denying a person of this right to due process.  The embryo is being aborted when the person has done neither good nor bad (in the eyes of the law).

So, the pro-abortion, anti-death penalty people fail this test.  It is a position which cannot be logically argued.

Now, to answer the undoubted rebuttal:

How can someone who values the life of an embryo not value the life of someone sentenced to die for a crime?

Simple.  If you value life, it is impossible to require anything less than death for the most heinous crimes.  Why?  Your life is the most valuable thing you have; it is the one thing that, if you lose it, you have lost everything.  If life is not that valuable, why do the families of victims of plane crashes file lawsuits against the carrier for wrongful death?

Of course many families do file and win lawful death suits–showing that life is indeed valuable, far beyond anything else.

So how do you exact payment for a heinous crime of pre-meditated, first-degree (to be redundant) murder?  You require the life of the perpetrator.  To require less is to de-value the person who was killed and that de-values all life.

Argument Three:

How is the pro-abortion position not linked to the billion dollar abortion industry?

Planned Parenthood says that it prefers to distribute contraception and to engage in sexual education.  Their records (available here) show that 38% of their activities are related to contraception while 3% of activities are related to abortion.  However, when you look at the financial activities, there is a gross disparity.  According to teenwire.com, the average cost of a Planned Parenthood abortion is between $275 and $700. (source)  Of course, condoms don’t cost much.  So, when Planned Parenthood reported their “Health Center Income” to be 356.9 million dollars, I began to wonder if they were being honest.

According to their own records, Planned Parenthood performed 289,750 abortions in 2006.  If we assume the average cost of a Planned Parenthood abortion to be $487.50, they would have made $141,253,125.

The numbers simply do not add up.

What is more, and perhaps more insidious, the pro-abortion lobby seeks to eliminate any “choice” from the abortion decision making process.  The so-called “pro-choice” proponents always scream the loudest when the hint of requiring that a person contemplating abortion be given the other alternatives like adoption.

Why would the pro-choice crowd not want choice?

Because abortion has never been about “choice” it has been about money.  Abortion is an industry and the pro-abortion lobbyists have done everything in their power to give themselves a monopoly in their business.

So, how can a pro-choice person be against giving all the options?  Again, this is a logically indefensible position.

Surely there could be more examples.  Sadly, the pro-choice, pro-abortion (they are synonyms) crowd will undoubtedly reap the whirlwind which they have sown.  May God change their hearts and save their souls.

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Jonathan: The Man Who Would Have Been King

I had a delightful opportunity to have lunch with one of my favorite Seminary professors. We had a great discussion over many topics. One side-topic that came up was Jonathan, the son of King Saul. In the sovereign providence of God, the Sunday School material I have been using with my men’s Sunday School class covered Jonathan and David the very week before!

My professor-friend said something quite profound. He said, “Nobody wants to be a Jonathan, but everybody wants to be a David.” This statement got us talking and, subsequently, had me thinking.

My professor friend is exactly right. You do not have to look very far today to see how much people are into themselves. It is as if everyone today (Christians included) live in such a way so as to expect the world to revolve around them.

Here is a tangible example: When was the last time you went to the grocery store? You drive through the crowded parking lot looking for a parking space. Then you notice a good spot close to the front door of the store and you go to park in that spot, until, that is, you notice a discarded shopping cart (or carts!) littering your parking spot. What makes this worse is when the cart return is just one spot over!!!!

The “I-Me” self-absorption of people today is shockingly bad. It seems that no one cares about anyone else. It is as if everyone is screaming “Serve Me, serve me–meet my wants.” It is sad to say that most people today choose churches on the basis of what they can get rather than what we can give.

When we turn to the Bible, we see a bright, shining example of what it is to put other people first. Jonathan, son of King Saul of Israel, is a great example of how we, as Christians, are to live to serve.

Israel, King Saul, and King David

Saul was Israel’s first king. The first time we see Saul is in 1 Samuel 9. Saul’s family, we are told, was wealthy and Saul, it is said, was a very handsome and tall man. Interestingly, the first time we see Saul doing something he is chasing his father’s donkeys, which had escaped.

Saul stands in sharp contrast to Israel’s second king–David. The first time we see David, he is a young shepherd and is simply overlooked by the family when the Prophet Samuel comes to visit. Samuel is looking to anoint the next king of Israel and all of Jesse’s sons, except David, pass before him, but no suitable king is found. David is the youngest (or smallest) of Jesse’s sons and he is off faithfully tending his father’s sheep. Samuel sends for and subsequently anoints David to be Israel’s next king.

Even though David is said to be ruddy and handsome, it is clear that Saul possesses all physical characteristics people look for in a king. Unfortunately, Saul possess none of the intangible qualities that God thinks are important. David possess the intangible qualities–qualities important to God.

Saul Rejected

Unfortunately, Saul’s reign is marked by failure and willful disobedience. 1 Samuel 13 and 1 Samuel 15 show Saul’s most notable failures. In 1 Samuel 13, Saul does not wait for Samuel to arrive to perform a sacrifice. Instead, Saul takes it upon himself to make the sacrifice. In 1 Samuel 15, Saul does not completely destroy the Amalekites as he was commanded to do. For these instances of willful disobedience, we are told by Samuel, God will not allow Saul or his children to remain on the throne of Israel. In other words, the throne will be given to another family.

Jonathan: The Would-Be King

Jonathan was the prince of Israel. At the demise of Saul, Jonathan would have become king, had God not removed Saul. Unlike his father, Jonathan is a man of strong character and a man of unwavering devotion to God and to His will.

Jonathan the Warrior

Jonathan was known for being a warrior and he was pro-active in defeating the enemies of Israel. More importantly, however, was his attitude in battle. At one point Jonathan says, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6)

Note that Jonathan puts his fate in God’s hands. It seems as if he is willing to do whatever God will have him do and it seems that God is foremost in Jonathan’s mind. Jonathan’s attitude is similar to David’s attitude in the face of fighting Goliath. It is obvious that Jonathan is not Saul–he is much more concerned with the things of God.

Jonathan the Friend

Jonathan, being the son of Saul, would not be allowed to be the so-called “Crowned Prince.” Instead the “Crowned Prince” would be David. This is what makes the relationship between Jonathan and David seem so odd to us. Jonathan is best of friends with David–the man who would be on the throne of Israel in his place.

It is likely that Jonathan, being the oldest son of Saul, was privy to the goings on of Israel. It is likely he knew that his father (and therefore himself) was disallowed from the throne and it is likely he knew David was the new “prince,” having been anointed by Samuel.

1 Samuel 18 shows a remarkable friendship between Jonathan and David:

1 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. And this was good in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

When we read 1 Samuel 18 several things become shockingly apparent: (1) Jonathan gives David all the outward, physical symbols of being the crowned prince of Israel. It is one thing to have the presumptive new king to be a friend, it is another thing entirely to give him the symbols (your symbols!) that show him, not you, to be the crowned prince of Israel. (2) Jonathan seems to embody a phrase coined by a good friend of mine–Saul may be my father, but David is my king. (thanks Chris for this wonderful assessment!) (3) Jonathan knows his future does not include the throne of Israel and rather than try to kill David (as Saul tried to do), Jonathan seeks to protect David with his very own life.

Jonathan the Yahweh Worshiper

It is clear from Jonathan’s life that he held God and the things of God in much higher esteem than his father Saul did. Saul is the proverbial poster child for a life lived in superficial obedience or outright rebellion to God and His commands. Jonathan, on the other hand, is the perfect model of a life rightly submitted to God and His will–even if His will causes disappointment or trauma. Jonathan embodies the idea “Obedience is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).

Living a “Jonathan” life

(1) We must be God-worshipers, not self-worshipers.

Saul’s life has one stunning, overriding component: Self worship. Saul gave superficial, lip-service obedience to God and His commands. Many of us do the same thing. We are more worried about what people think of us and how they see us rather than working to live right, biblically-based, and Christ-like lives.

The Broadway show Wicked is the back story to the Wizard of Oz. In this show, there is a song that Galinda (who would become Glinda the “good” witch) sings to Elphaba (who would become the wicked witch of the west)–it is called “Popular.”

Popular! You’re gonna be popular!
I’ll teach you the proper poise
When you talk to boys
Little ways to flirt and flounce
Ooh! I’ll show you what shoes to wear
How to fix your hair
Everything that really counts

To be popular
I’ll help you be popular!
You’ll hang with the right cohorts
You’ll be good at sports
Know the slang you’ve got to know
So let’s start ’cause you’ve got an awfully long way to go

…It’s all about popular!
It’s not about aptitude
It’s the way you’re viewed

So it’s very shrewd to be
Very very popular like me!

(Source; emphasis mine)

You can see the superficial mindset in this song. As Christians, we are not to be superficial. Knowing the right people, hanging with the right people or fixing your hair is not what we are supposed to be. For the Christian, we are to measure our lives by our Christ-likeness and our “fruits” of repentance and faith. The Christian life is not a popularity contest. In fact, if you live your Christian life to be popular, you are seeking man’s approval over and against God’s approval. A true Christian simply seeks to please God by actively conforming their lives and their persons to His will and His commands, regardless of what man thinks.

(2) We must be good friends to our fellow Christians.

Many of us see friends get the “good” jobs or the better paying jobs or a job at the “perfect” church and we instantly become resentful and bitter. It is so easy for us to forget that God is sovereign, we are not. He is directing things for His purposes. So, when we see something good happen to our friends (especially if we were competing against them for a job) we should rejoice for them. We should rejoice that God’s will has been revealed and done.

It seems that it is much easier to cry with someone who is hurting. We are to do that, but we must also rejoice with those who are rejoicing, even if that rejoicing comes at our disappointment.

(3) We must be warriors for the things of God.

We find it easy to point out moral decay in our society and in other people, yet we rarely if ever see these things in our own lives. Why? We become warriors for the things of us, not the things of God. We must place our own lives and our own agendas aside and take up the banner of God and His agenda.

Part of advancing God’s agenda is making ourselves over in His image. We are to order our lives in such a way that we grow to be more Christ-like and we need to call others to do the same.

We cannot spend our time and efforts fighting each other over our own agendas. We must take up the banner of the Lord and advance His kingdom, not our own.

Be a “Jonathan”

Far too many of us want the limelight that David was given. Certainly, if God wills, that limelight is not necessarily wrong. Life, though, is not about limelight; life is about obedience to God and His will. Put other people first and ask yourself this question, “What can I give?” and quit asking “What can I get?” Even if God calls you to be a David, adopt Jonathan’s attitude and, as a Jonathan, be the best David you can be.

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Evangelicals, Politics, and “The Manifesto”

On May 7, 2008, a group of evangelicals issued an Evangelical Manifesto. Now, I have not had the opportunity to completely digest the manifesto–it is a 20-page PDF document that I will need to print it, devour it (using pencils and making notes), and then digest it. A recent article on the Associated Baptist Press site gives some clues to the Manifesto and its general points. Here are some excerpts from the ABP article:

The Associated Press, which attained a draft of the statement in advance of the announcement, reported May 2 that the manifesto is “starkly self-critical” of the evangelical movement for focusing on secular politics to the detriment of the gospel proclamation that is at the core of evangelicalism.

It criticizes evangelicals at both ends of the political spectrum for getting so heavily involved in fighting over culture-war issues — such as abortion rights and gay rights — that they have earned evangelicals the reputation of being little more than a political special-interest group. The document is clearly aimed at the most politically active evangelical conservatives, however.

This is an issue I have been interested in for quite some time. I have been worried about such issues clouding the Gospel and slowing the work of the church.

First, some background: Theological Liberals went off the deep-end into the so-called “social gospel.” The social gospel seeks to correct social injustices like racism, economic inequalities, and all types of oppression. Unfortunately (and un-biblicaly), there is no “Gospel” in the social gospel. So, to correct the evil of racism, for example, is a worthy pursuit, but it is not salvific; it is not the gospel.

Is racism, for example, evil? Yes. Should we all work to end racism? Absolutely! Racism, however, is not the problem–it is a symptom of the problem and that problem is Sin.

As the ABP article points out, evangelicals have long been involved in fighting the so-called “culture war” over issues such as abortion and gay rights. While it is easy to see the ABP article is not particularly friendly to the conservative evangelicals, it does present an interesting perception of politically-active evangelicals. And, I’m sorry to say, I think their perception is right.

There are persons and groups in the evangelical community who have been called by God, I believe, to engage the culture, understand the “war,” and call the rest of us (Christians) to action. Men like James Dobson come to mind. His passion is the family and his work has been exemplary. But Dobson’s work, as necessary and as important as it is, is not the mission of the Church. The Church is called to “Make Disciples,” not save the culture.

Conservative evangelicals are, perhaps, standing on the precipice leading to the slippery slope of theological liberalism and, I’m afraid, some of us are inching ever closer.

Now, I do not think conservative evangelicals will reject the virgin birth of Christ or miracles or a historical Moses. But, conservative evangelicals do run the risk of having the wonderful truths of God and neglecting the Gospel. This will lead us to see political action as the true gospel, which is, of course, actually a false gospel.

There are many “dangers, toils, and snares” in this issue. First, political action, even if it leads to laws against sinful behavior, does not deal with the main problem of sin. In this sense political action is absolutely superficial because it does not deal with the root-cause of the problem–Sin. As we know, a law does not, in any way, guarantee acceptance or adherence–just look at the speed limit or so-called gun control laws.

But, even if passing a law guaranteed adherence, what good would that do? Do we believe in a works salvation? Certainly not! Even if you outlaw a sinful behavior and actually get sinners to stop doing the behavior, it gains us, and more importantly them, nothing, for it does not deal with their heart issue–the issue of their sin nature.

Political action does not equal evangelism because political action does not engage individuals with the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is about people, not parliaments. The Great Commission is about people, not political systems. The power of the Gospel is what changes hearts and without a change of heart (which is only accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit) any change of action is useless–because it does not deal with the problem of sin. Worse yet, adherence to laws may give non-Christians the false and spiritually-deadly impression that they are heaven-bound because of what they do or don’t do.

Second, the church is called, by God, to police the church, not the world. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 says:

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

In this letter, Paul is addressing a situation of gross immorality in the Corinthian church. He makes it a point to tell the Corinthian Christians that God will judge the world but it is up to us (Christians) to judge those inside the church (that is, the local church where we are members).

As evangelicals, we must concern ourself with the purity of our churches. Many well-meaning (but dead-wrong) evangelicals think that America is the new Israel. I’ve heard many pastors relate the responsibilities of Israel to America. At one point, I heard a preacher, while preaching through passages in Judges, rant and rave about the state of Israel and the current state of America.

America is not Israel. If there is a correlation between the Nation of Israel in the Old Testament and any group today, the correlation must be made to the Church. While Israel and the Church are somewhat different, they are certainly heirs of the same promises.

The problem we have, now, is that the church is barely distinguishable from the world, if at all. This is a huge problem, scripturally speaking. As evangelicals, we must first concern ourselves with reforming and purifying our churches and our people before we worry about cleaning up the world.

Third, the idea the “government” is responsible to solve the issues of the people is nothing more than Marxism. Today’s Political Liberals act in such a way as to show what they think: Government must solve all problems. Just look at Sen. Obama’s recent comments:

“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not.

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” (From foxnews.com; read the article here)

It is clear that Obama, a political and theological liberal, thinks that Government is the solution. Religion is only to be clung to when the chief-religion of the government has failed to supply the people their opiate. This is Marxist thinking–the State is the object of religious devotion.

Evangelicalism must not go down this road or, for the sake of our own superficiality and our own expediency, we will lose everything we are called to be.

So, what should we understand about the intersection of Evangelicalism and Politics?

(1) The Gospel is about God’s work in Christ to save individual sinners. Since this is the case, conservative, Bible-believing, Bible-living evangelicals must care more about engaging individuals with the claims of the Gospel and of Christ than passing laws compelling adherence to biblical standards.

(2) The Gospel is about God changing the heart of individuals to desire to serve and please Him. We cannot do this (only God can) and we must not try to substitute adherence in outward actions only for true heart change.

(3) It is important for Christians and churches engage in social action. But, it must be realized that social action is to be done because of the gospel (as a means of common grace and to have an opportunity to share the gospel). Social action is not, has not been, and will never be a substitute for the Gospel.

(4) Evangelical churches must pursue the purity of the local church and purity of the people in the local church. We must make disciples and, in doing so, when necessary, we must engage in restorative church discipline (see Matthew 18:15-20).

(5) Evangelicals must keep their eyes on the things of God. In doing so, evangelicals will realize that a pure local church with pure people rightly bearing the name of Christ is a far more important prize than a dead, hell-bound nation with “good” laws and forced adherence. After all, we want our church members to be part of the “every tongue, tribe, and nation” of Revelation, not just “America” or another earthly nation.

(6) It is much more important to engage in personal evangelism than it is to engage in political action.

(7) As Christians who are also Americans, we must vote in such a way as to properly reflect our Faith. So, when it comes to things God condemns (like Abortion, Gay Marriage, Racism, etc) we must use our vote to fight against these things. Similarly, we must always stand up for and fight for our place in the “free market place of ideas” in the public square.

When you think about it, laws rarely, if ever, change the hearts of people. Usually, all a law does is inspire a half-hearted response of almost-conformity while still bucking against the law itself. On the other hand, history shows good examples of people with changed hearts working in such a way as to correct social injustices because of their changed hearts (William Wilberforce comes to mind).

It is much more important that our people not want to engage in sinful things like Gambling or Homosexuality, than to legislate laws forbidding the actions but neglecting the heart. If the people of our churches were properly discipled in the first place, no casino would long stay in business and abortion doctors would need to find extra work to put food on the table. Our problems are of our own making in this regard and discipleship, not political action, is the solution. Rightly engaging the culture requires Christians engaging the people of the culture with the Gospel and having God, through the Gospel, bring people to Himself.

So then, as evangelicals, we must dedicate ourselves to the local church and her people being everything that Christ has called (and died for) her to be. When we get that right–when are churches are more pure, when our people are more Christ-like, when our people live lives dedicated to the glory of God–then we will have an army of heart-changed people willing to sacrifice their lives to share the Gospel with the people of our nation. That will so change the face of our nation that we will not need to seek political means to change the actions of the people.

May God grant us the grace to share the Gospel as the primary means of engaging our culture and may He grant us the grace and strength to stand up (even in political arenas) for what is right according to Him and His word.

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On the lighter side…OF STUPIDITY!!!

I just had to address this, it’s way too good. The stupidity of some people seems to have no end.

A foxnews.com article tells of an ongoing protest in Berkeley, California over a U.S. Marine recruiting station. This station has been in the news since earlier this year when the City of Berkeley City Council sent the Marines a letter telling them they were not welcome. (Read the articles here and here)

Now, they’ve resorted to witchcraft. The group calls themselves “Code Pink.” Here’s an excerpt of the article:

Members of the women’s group unfurled a pink banner and posted placards outside the center Friday, where later, they are expected to rally, armed with spells and pointy hats for a “Witches, clowns and sirens day.”

“Women are coming to cast spells and do rituals and to impart wisdom to figure out how we’re going to end war,” Zanne Sam Joi of Bay Area Code Pink told FOXNews.com

Now, I do not believe witchcraft can in any way trump the sovereignty and power of God. However, witchcraft does play with demonic forces and, in that sense, it is dangerous. But, God is sovereign over the demons too.

Allow me, if you will, to be presuppositional for a moment. Let’s say the Code Pink personnel are casting spells on these Marines so that , through the spell, the Marine (or other Marines now serving in Afghanistan or Iraq) are injured, wounded in action, or killed. Does this not show intent to do harm? Would it matter if they used a baseball bat or a gun as opposed to a spell? If some horrible harm befalls the Marines at the Berkeley recruiting station, would not Code Pink be liable?

Well, the legal system probably won’t prosecute the casting of a spell, and they probably shouldn’t prosecute such silliness. But, the casting of spells does show what these people think about the U.S. and her Marines.

You know what ticks me off the most about this? If Berkeley, California were invaded by Chinese, Mexican, or Canadian armies, or people from Mars, these very same Marine-haters would be the first to complain that the Marines didn’t do enough quick enough. They’d complain the loudest about them needing the most help.

In the excellent movie A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson’s character, Col. Jessup (who is not a character to be emulated), chastises Tom Cruise’s character for basically accepting the gift of freedom at the hands of the U.S. Marines but then denounced the way in which the freedom was provided.

I wonder if it ever occurred to these Berkeley wackos that if it were not for those Marines, they would not be have the freedom to protest in the first place.

To the men and women of the U.S. Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard, we all owe a hearty “Thank you.”

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Heath Ledger–Part II

One of my friends sent me a link to a foxnews.com article saying that the people of Westboro Baptist Church (in Kansas) were planning to picket Heath Ledger’s funeral. The people of Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) have become famous for their “God Hates Fags” vitriol. I have visited their site (which I DO NOT recommend) and let me say this: Any church website that has a “Picket Schedule” should be ashamed of themselves. According to the article the WBC crowd is upset because Heath Ledger played a homosexual in Brokeback Mountain.

There are many issues to address, but there are too many to address them all. First a few statements:

  • I do not condone homosexuality. It is a sin which, in the Old Testament, required the death penalty.
  • All of us are sinners. The people of WBC seem to have forgotten that.
  • Except for God’s intervening grace, we would all be destined for an eternity in hell.

Now, to address the WBC issues.

  • Since homosexuality is a sin and speeding on the interstate too is a sin, does WBC picket the funerals of those who died in car accidents?
  • The people of WBC claim their picketing is “Preaching the Gospel.” It sounds to me that their “God Hates Fags” rants are not the Gospel. The Good News of the Gospel is that, though we are all sinners justly deserving Hell, Christ offers us salvation.
    • Have the Bible-toting people of WBC conviently forgotten what 1 Corinthians 5: 9-13 (ESV) says: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    The above passage makes it quite clear that homosexuality in a church is a huge problem and the church must judge the person. However, notice Paul’s unwillingness to “judge outsiders.” Who is it that will render final judgment? It is God and Him alone.

    Now, through the Bible, God has revealed to us what He thinks about certain issues. Homosexuality is called an abomination. But this sin, and it is a sin, is no different than premarital heterosexual sex, adulterous sex, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. Sin is sin. Sure there are different levels of sin, but essentially all sin is the same in that sin separates us from God and makes us all deserving of God’s eternal judgment in Hell. And Christians too are sinners. Christians are just forgiven though the death of Christ on the cross.

    If you are a Christian and you are reading this post, this is what you need to understand:

    • God will judge all sin, not just Homosexuality
    • The sin of Homosexuality does not have a place in the Church
    • As Christians, we must demonstrate our love for homosexuals by telling them that their lifestyle is sinful. It would actually demonstrate something other than love if we were silent and left them ignorant in their sin.
    • We must “Speak the truth in love” and saying “God Hates Fags” is not speaking the truth in love.
    • Rather than picketing funerals of homosexuals and U.S. Service Men and Women (who, ironically, by there service allow WBC members to have free speech), true Christians are to go and share the Gospel with all types of people (including homosexuals). It does no good to picket funerals if you have not, first, shared the truth of the Gospel, in love.

    Now, if you are a non-Christian reading this post, please understand this:

    • WBC is not an accurate representation of what it is to be a Christian. Saying that they represent Christianity is like saying The Pope represents what it is to be a Muslim.
    • The WBC people are darkly and deadly wrong about the nature of the Church’s mission.  From reading the blog on their site it is obvious that they revel in so many things a true Christian would not revel in.  A true Christian would weep bitterly about the state of their nation, not lash-out with pseudo-bible-babble which discounts the notion of “Speaking the truth in love.”
    • While WBC is right that Homosexuality is a sin, according to scripture.  But they must understand that they are to clean and purify their own fellowship and leave the “judgment” to God. His judgment is far more severe than any picketing they might do.
    • While WBC does not represent Baptists or Christians, they do represent the worst of humanity and you should not lump true Christians in with their depraved lot.
    • Christians should demonstrate our love for homosexuals by telling them that their lifestyle is sinful. It would actually demonstrate something other than love if we were silent and left them ignorant in their sin.
    • We must “Speak the truth in love” and saying “God Hates Fags” is not speaking the truth in love.

    Now, I believe in the 1st amendment, in free speech. I believe they have the right to do what they wish. But true Christians also have the right (and I’d argue the responsibility) to tell the WBC crowd that they are a bunch of idiots, and so does anyone else for that matter. I seriously doubt whether the people of WBC have ever truly trusted in Christ for anything, and as such, they too must be confronted (in love) with the truth of the Gospel. To me, it seems that they hate homosexuals and have used the Bible (which does condemn Homosexuality) to bludgeon people, while conveniently forgetting that we, as Christians, are to be salt and light while sharing the good news of the Gospel that God offers us forgiveness from all our sins, not just Homosexuality.

    Well, that’s what I think….

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    Filed under "Pop Culture", Deadly-wrong Theology

    Heath Ledger

    Ok, so I don’t usually comment on “Pop Culture.” In fact, I will have to add a new category for this post, the afore-mentioned “Pop Culture.” I only knew Heath Ledger through his films, most notably The Patriot. I thought him to be an excellent actor with a great presence on the screen.

    I either read an article or heard somewhere where he and Michelle Williams (of Dawson’s Creek fame) had a daughter together. As a Christian, I must not condone Mr. Ledger’s nor Ms. Williams lifestyle–they were never married and had a daughter. However, today I felt myself feeling sorry for that little girl (having a four-month-old myself), that she would never get to know her dad–except what he looked like, and that on TV. The world is full of father-less children and now it has one more. Psalm 68:5 calls God “A Father to the fatherless.” Well, I hope this little girl will be turned to Him so that God, in Christ, will be her Father.

    The events of today’s news cycle have almost been hijacked by the story of Mr. Ledger’s passing. There are many things to learn from his all-too-short life.

    If you are a Christian and you’re reading this blog, this is what you need to understand:

    1. Not one of us is guaranteed one month, one week, one day, one minute, or one second. Your life (my life too) can end before you finish reading this sentence. God may take our lives or He may grant us decades more. Life is in His hands, not ours and no matter how young and vibrant we seem, it could all end in a heartbeat.
    2. Nothing on this earth is permanent. Mr. Ledger probably had countless millions of dollars in his bank account. I’m sure that money now seems quite worthless. Whether a person has 1 dollar or 100 billion dollars, at death we all become bankrupt.
    3. The blessings of this life must be used to further the Kingdom of God. Everything God has given us by His grace is, ultimately, His and therefore must be used to His glory. God has given to many Christians a decent amount of resources–financial resources, time, talents, etc. Since these resources must be left here, transfer them to Heaven by “Laying treasures up in Heaven”

    If you are a non-Christian and you are reading this blog, you need to understand that at the moment of death you will pass into eternity and that eternity is either with God in Heaven or apart from God in Hell.

    • God is a Holy God and cannot abide sin, which is rebellion against Him and His Law.
    • Rebellion, which we live in a state of, makes God very angry with us and He demands that we pay for our sinful rebellion. Our rebellion makes us slaves to sin.
    • Atonement is the way to pay for our sin. God demands a payment for your sin and no amount of good works will pay the debt our sin has caused. Since God is eternal, the punishment for sinful rebellion is severe–an eternity of punishment in Hell.
    • Christ offered to pay your atonement for you. Through His substitutionary life and death on the cross, you can have your sins paid-in-full so that you won’t have to pay your own atonement in Hell for all eternity. Because of God’s gracious gift of salvation, Christ will take the penalty for your sinful rebellion and will give you all His righteousness He earned during His perfect, sinless, and un-rebellious life and set you free from slavery to sin.
    • Eternity with God (the Lord of the universe) is the destination of all who trust in Christ to be their Savior, their Substitute. Instead of being a servant or a slave, God Himself offers you to be adopted into His family–as a son or a daughter.

    Another way to remember this offer is this: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

    As a result of God setting you free from sin, you will serve Him and live your life as an act of worship. And rather than amassing money in your bank account or seeking fame for yourself, you will want to use everything you have and everything you are to worship God and to lay up your treasures in heaven.

    If, as a non-Christian, you’d like to know more, leave a comment with your e-mail address and I’ll e-mail you and we can talk more.

    Blessings,

    Archangel

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    Filed under "Pop Culture"