California Schemin’

First, let me ‘fess up to shamelessly borrowing stealing the title from Marshall Art’s place.  That song is one of my all time favorites, and I can actually play it on the guitar.  Sort of.

The California Supreme court “same-sex marriage” decision was predictable though unfortunate.  I usually avoid bits on news that everybody is blogging on, but here are a few thoughts.

These judges over-rode the will of the people.  It is as simple as that.  Hopefully this will get California and other states to pass marriage amendments and get people behind a Federal Amendment as well.

“Same-sex marriage” is the oxymoron of the decade: A same-sex union of a man and a woman. 

The precedent isn’t that one man can also marry one man, or that one woman can also marry one woman.  Rather, it is that marriage is no longer just between one man and one woman.  The judges redefined marriage to mean that it can be anything we want it to be, including polygamy, incest and bestiality.  They didn’t spell that out, but it is the logical consequence of the “decision.”

As usual, the pro-gay media emphasized that this was about “love.”  Nonsense.  No one was preventing these people from loving each other before, or even getting married.  It just means the government must recognize the unions.  Does anyone seriously think that a role of the government is to get involved with love?  Government primarily gets involved in marriages because by nature and design marriages produce the next generation. 

I mainly feel sorry for the California school kids, who will have more of the GLBTQ “normalcy” crammed down their throats, just like in Massachussetts.

I encourage you to speak out against it while you still can legally, because by granting civil rights to deviant sexual practices it proclaims that quoting certain parts of the Bible are legally bigoted. 

Here’s a piece I wrote last year:

u-turn.jpgSome random thoughts on same-sex unions . . .

Basics

The definition of marriage has always been a union of one man and one woman, so “traditional marriage” is a redundancy and “same sex marriage” is an oxymoron. But current events have forced the added words.

Claiming that marriage can be for two men or two women isn’t a little different than saying it is between a man and a woman, it is the opposite.  It is claiming that marriage is not just between a man and a woman and that “marriage” is now whatever we want to define it to be.

Valid issues 

I am sympathetic to hospital and estate issues of gay and lesbian couples, but I think they can be addressed without redefining marriage and generating a slew of unintended consequences.

For example, estate taxes should be done away with altogether.  The government should not profit when you die, regardless of your sexual preferences.  And hospital patients should be allowed to have anyone they like visit them. 

I am also sympathetic to how gays and lesbians feel about many churches being soft on divorce, heterosexual adultery and fornication but not on homosexual behavior.  But the answer is not to lower the bar further, it is to get back to the Biblical model of human sexuality.

Equal rights? 

The issue is often framed as if gays are being denied something.  Gays are free to marry in this country and they do it every day.  Some apostate churches will be glad to perform the ceremony.  Whole industries are set up to help you plan and execute the festivities and set up a household.  The debate is whether the government has an interest in recognizing these unions. 

By nature and by design, homosexual unions cannot and will not produce the next generation.  It is only by exception that these relationships involve children.  Therefore, the government has no reason to interfere with or regulate those relationships.  (Please spare me any arguments that heterosexuals must have kids for this reasoning to be valid.  We’re talking rules, not exceptions.)

Sometimes the “but they love each other” argument is used to support same-sex unions.  I realize that some gays and lesbians love each other.  So what?  What possible reason would the government have to be involved in a relationship just because love is involved?  Plenty of marriages don’t have love.  Many marriages in the world are still arranged. 

Aside from the marriage question, remember that adding sex to a loving relationship doesn’t make it better.  There are plenty of loving relationships (parent/child, siblings, pastor / parishoner, teacher / student) that are made worse by sex, not better.  Whatever happened to just having friends of the same sex?

I realize this isn’t satisfying for them, but gays and lesbians have the exact same rights that heterosexuals do: They can marry someone of the opposite sex.  Heterosexuals can’t marry someone of the same sex either.

Also see Denying Same-Sex Marriage Isn’t Unequal Protection.

Why it matters 

People often wonder why same-sex unions are met with such opposition.  The main reason for me is that when governments recognize same-sex unions then they have given civil rights for sexual preferences.  This leads directly to radical changes in what children are taught in schools, and it shuts down debate.  It will ultimately result to an attempted silencing of the church.  All these things are either happening in the U.S. or other countries already.  It has already impacted the adoption process.

If you love kids – and by love I mean that you have their long term best interests at heart – you won’t support civil rights for sexual perversions, because this will lead to more sickening things being pushed on innocent children.

Civil unions are just a smokescreen for eventually getting “same sex marriages” to be legal everywhere.  It is a two-step ploy: 1.  Gain Civil Union status by acting as if they would be satisfied with all the rights without the legal recognition and associated societal approval of marriage.  2. Point out how there is no difference with the rights of Civil Unions and marriage so we might as well make “same sex marriage” legal as well. 

“Same sex marriage” already resulted in radical changes to adoption and parenting laws. Who is looking out for the children?  Sexual preference with respect to partners is considered immutable and paramount – i.e., a gay guy can never change and he has to have another gay guy as a partner.  A masculine woman just won’t do, nor will a biological female who thinks she is really a male. 

But sexual preference with respect to parents is supposedly irrelevant – it doesn’t matter if a child’s parents are M/F, M/M or F/F (or who knows what combination).  They are all supposedly equal in value.  Let’s put the interests of the children first on this one and not repeat the big lie that adults are vulnerable but children are not. 

Who is being divisive?

Charles Krauthammer said, “Until the last few years, every civilization known to man has defined marriage as between people of opposite sex. To charge with “divisiveness” those who would do nothing more than resist a radical overturning of that norm is a sign of either gross partisanship or serious dimwittedness.”

Polls continue to show that the vast majority of Americans disapprove of “same-sex marriage,” even when the wording of the questions is skewed to favor it.  Even Massachussetts was afraid to let the people have a say in the matter.  That speaks volumes.

The Democratic party has flailed around on this issue. Apparently they haven’t noticed that every state that has voted on the topic has affirmed traditional marriage by an average of an 70/30 ratio, because they are once again in bed (so to speak) with the gay lobby.

Howard Dean, head of the Democrats, hypocritically said that his party supported traditional marriages then back-tracked after catching heat from the pro-gay groups. He then said they wanted to leave it to the states. Now it turns out that they wanted to work behind the scenes to oppose state efforts to affirm traditional marriage. Here is my favorite part of the Dem’s 5 point plan to fight for the homosexual marriage that they supposedly weren’t fighting for:

Labeling efforts to ban homosexual marriage as “divisive” ploys by the Republicans and others to deflect voter attention from other important issues, including “the Bush’s administration’s failed policies.”

Let’s see – marriage is clearly defined as being between a man and a woman, the vast majority of Americans agree, Democrats want to change that, so the conclusion is . . . Conservatives are the ones being divisive.  Of course.

Church issues

I half expect the culture to come up with such ideas, but I’m disgusted at how the apostate churches and false teachers the churches have let in are pushing for same-sex marriages to be normalized.  Pro-gay theology falls apart at every turn, but people continue to mock God with it.  I’m hoping the Episcopal fallout emboldens Bible-believing Methodists (and those in other denominations) to stand firm in the face of the movement.

Miscellaneous 

If I were black I would be really irritated that the gay rights lobby was co-opting Civil Rights language for their cause.  This is a very simple proposition: There is no moral component to skin color, but there is a moral component to sexual behavior.  

Don’t forget the push for polygamy and multiple gay couples raising kids.  These are logical consequences of Civil Unions and/or “same sex marriage.”

Proverbs 17

pr17.jpgGreetings!

17     Better a dry crust with peace and quiet

than a house full of feasting, with strife.

That speaks volumes about how important wisdom is in decision making.  You can marry all sorts of people and be within God’s moral laws, but there are many ways to choose unwisely.  Several Proverbs point to the folly of marrying just for beauty.  If your spouse has an ugly character you will soon regret your decision. 

2 A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son,

and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.

3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,

but the Lord tests the heart.

That reminds me of Psalm 139:23-24 (Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.).  We can fake it with family, friends and the world but God knows every thought.

4 A wicked man listens to evil lips;

a liar pays attention to a malicious tongue.

We should be very careful with what we listen to.  It is so tempting to listen to gossip, but how many times have you found that the information was inaccurate and unnecessary?

5 He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;

whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.

That verse convicts me when I think of people I have looked down upon.  It is so easy for me to forget who made them.

6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged,

and parents are the pride of their children.

Not in our culture!  We live in a culture of death, where abortion is seen as a good option for many.  Parents and grandparents pay perfect strangers to crush and dismember their unborn children and grandchildren.  Mercifully, Jesus can provide forgiveness and healing for these people, but shame on us for letting this procedure be legal.

7 Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool—

how much worse lying lips to a ruler!

8 A bribe is a charm to the one who gives it;

wherever he turns, he succeeds.

This isn’t encouraging bribes, just noting that they can be effective.

9 He who covers over an offense promotes love,

but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

10 A rebuke impresses a man of discernment

more than a hundred lashes a fool.

A key success factor in life is being coachable.  I do better learning via reading and Podcast sermons and shows rather than via input from others, though personal advice can be invaluable.

11 An evil man is bent only on rebellion;

a merciless official will be sent against him.

12 Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs

than a fool in his folly.

 That sounds like hyperbole, but consider that at least you know to run from the bear.  Too often we can be influenced by fools, media, entertainment, etc. because we let our guard down and think it is safe.

13 If a man pays back evil for good,

evil will never leave his house.

14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;

so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—

the Lord detests them both.

People often refer to God’s justice only in the sense of ensuring that the innocent are not punished.  This is critical, to be sure, but God doesn’t want the guilty to be acquitted.

16 Of what use is money in the hand of a fool,

since he has no desire to get wisdom?

17 A friend loves at all times,

and a brother is born for adversity.

18 A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge

and puts up security for his neighbor.

 If a loan expert thinks your friend or relative can’t pay back a loan, he/she is probably right!  So why should you sign for the loan? 

19 He who loves a quarrel loves sin;

he who builds a high gate invites destruction.

20 A man of perverse heart does not prosper;

he whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble.

21 To have a fool for a son brings grief;

there is no joy for the father of a fool.

My daughters tend to make good and wise decisions, and I am continually grateful for that!

22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,

but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

23 A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret

to pervert the course of justice.

24 A discerning man keeps wisdom in view,

but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

25 A foolish son brings grief to his father

and bitterness to the one who bore him.

26 It is not good to punish an innocent man,

or to flog officials for their integrity.

27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,

and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,

and discerning if he holds his tongue.

The Bible has so much to say about our words and their power for good or evil.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

EXPELLED II – The Tables are Turned

circle-slash.jpgThe title of this post is the hypothetical theme for those complaining that I moderate their comments. 

I pride myself on being pretty generous with new folks.  But if I’m having to repeat myself and they are silly or off-topic then they go in the moderation queue, where they may or may not surface from.  The next step is the sp*m filter.

A few commenters seem to consult their Big Book O’ Atheist Objections for some random dig against Christianity and expect me to let it post and respond to it.  No deal.  I like blogging, and am glad to refute atheist dogma, but this isn’t a full time job for me.  I’d rather spend more blog time encouraging believers. 

So I don’t hesitate to moderate.

I figure it is a win-win: I save lots of time, and they get martyr status.  They can go off convinced that they’ve stumped the dumb Christians.  They can complain how they were censored and then release some of those endorphins that just happened to have evolved over the years. 

Whatever you do, don’t be offended.  Think of it as a cross between your own blog, where you can say whatever you like, and your local newspaper, where you may get a comment in every few months. 

Also, given the theme of EXPELLED, consider the irony of you complaining about moderation.  After all, I’m not impacting your career in any way or getting in the way of scientific progress.

And of course, in your nothingness-to-molecules-to-man universe, there is no foundation to say that any kind of censorship is immoral. 

Cheers!

Weekly roundup

Try finding this image of Obama’s buddy Ayers on Google.  Given how well known this shot is, you’d think it would go to the top of Google searches for “Ayers flag.”  It is nowhere to be found.  Is Google evil for hiding this?   Hat tip: Stop the ACLU

Theologian Michael Scott, from The Office: “If there isn’t a God, then what are all these churches for?”

The intolerance of the pro-GLBTQ movement – it is a one-way street.  No discussion allowed.  I thought the media reporting was surpisingly balanced.

The untold story about Sally Kern- the Oklahoma State Representative was demonized for comments she made about the pro-GLBTQ movement.  It was illogical and unfair to begin with, but even more so when you learn a little more about her.

Good video on the global warming hoax.  We are fortunate the many errors have gotten exposed so thoroughly and quickly.  How long will it take to change the public opinion?  It is so sad that kids were forced to watch An Inconvenient Truth without any balance whatsoever.

Some good pro-life progress from the United Methodist General Conference.

Jonah Goldberg addresses Jeremiah Wright’s lie that the U.S. government “purposely infected African-American men with syphilis.”  He also points out the irony that those using this example are pro-big government – the very government they claim they can’t trust:

But the idea that the Tuskegee experiment somehow validates the deranged, paranoid view that the U.S. government created AIDS to murder African-Americans — in one of the most hideously painful, drawn-out and expensive manners imaginable — is a riot of ridiculousness and a maelstrom of mendacity. And yet, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard guilt-ridden white liberals say exactly that. “Considering what we did at Tuskegee,” they opine, “who can blame them for being distrustful of government?”

Well, as a conservative, I have no problem with distrusting government, nor can I fault the descendants of slaves or the victims of Jim Crow for distrusting government more than most.

But why blacks remain the most reliable voters for the party of ever-expanding government power is something of a mystery.

Woo-hoo!

money.jpgMan, I am so lucky.  My wife informed me that she actually prefers e-cards over the paper kind.  She thinks they are funnier and prefers that I not pay the $4-5 the regular ones cost.  I am thrilled.  I hate standing around looking at cards, trying to find something that isn’t too lame.  This will save time, stress and money.  It is eco-friendly, too.

I use Hallmark e-cards.  They have lots of free ones to choose from.  The Hoops and Yo-Yo cards are funny.

The best part is that you can have the cards delivered at any date in the future, so you can sit down at your PC and do your cards for a whole year.

I love technology (sometimes).

Psalm 45

ps45.jpgGreetings!  This is a Psalm for a king about to be married.  It seems to portray the ideals of a king, or to be pointing towards traits of Jesus, the King of the universe.

Psalm 45

For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song.

1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme

as I recite my verses for the king;

my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

2 You are the most excellent of men

and your lips have been anointed with grace,

since God has blessed you forever.

3 Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one;

clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.

4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously

in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness;

let your right hand display awesome deeds.

5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies;

let the nations fall beneath your feet.

6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;

a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.

7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness;

therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions

by anointing you with the oil of joy.

8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;

from palaces adorned with ivory

the music of the strings makes you glad.

9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women;

at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.

10 Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:

Forget your people and your father’s house.

11 The king is enthralled by your beauty;

honor him, for he is your lord.

12 The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift,

men of wealth will seek your favor.

13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber;

her gown is interwoven with gold.

14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king;

her virgin companions follow her

and are brought to you.

15 They are led in with joy and gladness;

they enter the palace of the king.

16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers;

you will make them princes throughout the land.

17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;

therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Bishop follows his heart, not the Bible

From TODAY show interview:

Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson knows he is inviting death threats by entering into a civil union with his gay partner on the eve of his church’s biggest ecclesiastical conference. And he says it is worth it, because he is doing what God asks of him.

When God “asks” you to do something you need to test it in light of scripture.  Otherwise, we could rationalize all sorts of evil.  Of course, this is the main problem with cults and pro-gay theology: Abandoning the authority of scripture.  (That doesn’t justify death threats, of course.)

We always need to remember Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Robinson claims that “The table that God invites us to includes everyone.” That is wrong, of course. God invites everyone who repents and believes in Jesus. Robinson is still in rebellion. It is repulsive to see him equate himself with Jesus and to play the martyr role, all the while helping to destroy his denomination and to bring discredit to the church.

He brings up the pork/shellfish red herring and other distortions:

It is called an abomination for a man to lie with another man as with a woman, but, he writes, the Bible also says it is an abomination to eat pork or shellfish, to wear clothing made of two different fibers, or to sow two different types of seed in the same field.

“We’ve often misinterpreted Scripture,” Robinson told Lauer. “We’ve used Scripture to justify slavery; the subjugation of women. And now we’re realizing that what the Bible initially seems to say about same-sex relationships is not actually what we’re talking about today — faithful, monogamous, lifelong-intentioned relationships between people of the same sex.”

That is what frustrates me the most. Anyone in his position should know better than to trot out the lame shellfish argument (actually, anyone with some basic Bible study skills should know better).  Ironically, he is misinterpreting scripture at the same time he speaks of others misinterpreting it.  In a media moment going mostly to unbelievers Robinson has perpetuated myth and arrogance about the Bible. 

Actually, the eternal word of God was not silent on this topic.  Consider these facts:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

I wish the best for Robinson and pray that he will one day repent of this rebellion. Too bad the article didn’t focus on what appears to be the root of his problems: His parents wanted a girl and thought he wasn’t going to live, so they named him Vicki Imogene and never changed the names.  Do you think that might have caused him some identify issues?  If the Episcopals wanted to provide him with free counseling, that would be great.  But to make him a Bishop, especially after leaving his wife and kids?  What a huge mistake.

Psalm 44

ps44.jpgGreetings!  This is a unique Psalm in that the people are crying out under oppression but don’t know why.  Often they would face the consequences of breaking their covenant with God.

They remind themselves of past victories where God led them.  They declare their faith even though they don’t understand the situation, as Job did (Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.).

Sometimes we suffer as logical consequences for things we have done (e.g., smoking causes health problems), or in receiving a due punishment.  Sometimes it is the results of a fallen world (weather related problems).  And other times it is due to the sin of others.  Do you turn to God in all of these situations and remember what He has done for us in the past?

Psalm 44

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil.

1 We have heard with our ears, O God;

our fathers have told us

what you did in their days,

in days long ago.

2 With your hand you drove out the nations

and planted our fathers;

you crushed the peoples

and made our fathers flourish.

3 It was not by their sword that they won the land,

nor did their arm bring them victory;

it was your right hand, your arm,

and the light of your face, for you loved them.

4 You are my King and my God,

who decrees victories for Jacob.

5 Through you we push back our enemies;

through your name we trample our foes.

6 I do not trust in my bow,

my sword does not bring me victory;

7 but you give us victory over our enemies,

you put our adversaries to shame.

8 In God we make our boast all day long,

and we will praise your name forever. Selah

9 But now you have rejected and humbled us;

you no longer go out with our armies.

10 You made us retreat before the enemy,

and our adversaries have plundered us.

11 You gave us up to be devoured like sheep

and have scattered us among the nations.

12 You sold your people for a pittance,

gaining nothing from their sale.

13 You have made us a reproach to our neighbors,

the scorn and derision of those around us.

14 You have made us a byword among the nations;

the peoples shake their heads at us.

15 My disgrace is before me all day long,

and my face is covered with shame

16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,

because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.

17 All this happened to us,

though we had not forgotten you

or been false to your covenant.

18 Our hearts had not turned back;

our feet had not strayed from your path.

19 But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals

and covered us over with deep darkness.

20 If we had forgotten the name of our God

or spread out our hands to a foreign god,

21 would not God have discovered it,

since he knows the secrets of the heart?

22 Yet for your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

23 Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep?

Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.

24 Why do you hide your face

and forget our misery and oppression?

25 We are brought down to the dust;

our bodies cling to the ground.

26 Rise up and help us;

redeem us because of your unfailing love.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Are Mormons really Christians? Are Christians really Christians?

book-of-mormon.jpgA Mormon friend said that Mormons were Christians and I chuckled because I thought he was kidding.  He wasn’t.  He is very active in his church and in evangelism, so I assumed that he knew the distinctions.  I pointed out that a foundation of Mormonism is that it is the true church and we are not a part of it. I said that I wasn’t offended that Mormonism says we’re different, so why is he?

Does Mormonism condemn other religions, including Christianity?  Yes.  Here’s just one of many examples:

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right — and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt . . . (Joseph Smith, “History of the Church, Vol. 1, page 5-6.)

Got that?  He must “join none of them” [other sects of Christianity] . . . they were all wrong . . . all their creeds were an abomination in [God's] sight . . . those professors were all corrupt.”  There are many other clear passages like this in the Book of Mormon and in other writings.

I encourage people to read the comment thread at this post about Mormonism relative to Christianity.  There was an extended dialogue between a Mormon and several Christians that highlighted many of the key issues. 

The Mormon would go in circles quite a bit, claiming that Mormons are Christians and that we are as well, even though he said we don’t have the same access to God and the founders of his faith completely disagreed with him.  It is the basic theme they usually come with: Mormons are Christians, but Christians aren’t Christians.  After all, if we are authentic Christians, why do we need to join their organization to be right with God?

The other commenters did a good job of pointing out how Mormonism and Christianity start with radically different views of Jesus (i.e., eternal creator God vs. a man who became God and is the spirit brother of Lucifer) and that we can’t both be right. 

The Mormon also said that “The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is not another gospel. It is the same gospel of Jesus Christ that has been revealed from heaven and preached by holy men since the world began.”  But if it is the same Gospel preached since the world began then why does it need to be restored?

The Mormon would eventually fall back to the “I know Mormonism is right because God told me so” line, which of course could be used by any religion or cult.  Christianity, on the other hand, points to reason and historical evidence.  The Mormon ignored that whoever told him that might not have been God:

Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

As always, if Mormonism is teaching the same Gospel as Christianity then it is redundant at best.  If it teaches a different Gospel then we must heed the warning from Galatians 1.  Since there are so many clear foundational differences we can be assured that it is the latter.

Here is a brief but excellent piece on the difference between the LDS church and Christianity

Home churches

church.jpgI’ve heard that home churches are gaining in popularity.  I’ve heard concerns that there could be doctrinal issues given the lack of seminary-educated leaders, but with so much bad doctrine being pumped out of so many churches it is hard to imagine the problem being worse!

What do you know about home churches, and what is your opinion of them?  What is the Biblical view of them?  Are there resources to help them be doctrinally sound and effective? 

And no, I’m not thinking of starting one.  I don’t have the energy or the expertise.

Psalm 43

ps43.jpgGreetings!  The author thought he was being unfairly treated and asked God to intervene – yet he feels rejected by God. 

How often do you think of God as a joy and a delight (v. 4)?  He praises God despite his troubles and tells himself not to be downcast.  Sometimes just reminding ourselves of who God is and what He has done puts things back in perspective. 

Psalm 43

1 Vindicate me, O God,

and plead my cause against an ungodly nation;

rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.

2 You are God my stronghold.

Why have you rejected me?

Why must I go about mourning,

oppressed by the enemy?

3 Send forth your light and your truth,

let them guide me;

let them bring me to your holy mountain,

to the place where you dwell.

4 Then will I go to the altar of God,

to God, my joy and my delight.

I will praise you with the harp,

O God, my God.

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

The Ultimate Christmas Tree

This will give you plenty of time to get ready for the holidays.

1. Get a Charlie Brown Christmas tree

2. Take pictures of all your ornaments and load them on a digital photo ornament.

You’ll never assemble / cut a tree again or have to take out your ornaments.  It will saves lots of time, space and frustration!  Environmentally friendly!

My wife has been buying loud, manly ornaments (think superheros, Godzilla, rock-n-roll and such) for our nephew (her godson) for 18 years.  She figured that a digital ornament with pictures of all those crazy ornaments would help make him more marketable marriage-wise.  (“There is no way those ornaments are going on our tree!”  “But my Aunt gave them to me, and she’s coming to visit!”)

3 John

3j.jpgGreetings!  This is one of only 2-3 personal letters included in the Bible. 

The elder,

To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Verse 4 is one of my favorites.  I know he meant metaphorical children – i.e., those he had discipled in the faith.  But I like to think of it in terms of my own children as well.  See friends and loved ones walking in the truth of God brings me great joy.

5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.

9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 10 So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

As noted in many places in the New Testament, the early church had its problems just like our churches do.  Gossiping and in-hospitality are poisonous.  Diotrephes appears to be a church leader gone wrong, and John is trying to correct the situation and encourage those who are doing right.  There are so many false teachers in churches today.  It is hard to know who is just a little off track (we all have our blind spots) and who is truly an enemy of the Gospel.

11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.

13 I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.

One of the great things about the body of Christ is that we instantly have the most important thing in common with all sorts of people in every culture in the world: Faith in Jesus.  I especially notice this on mission trips, where despite all of our differences we can worship freely and joyfully with people around the world.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Weekly roundup

work.jpgGot work/life balance? – If not, you need to change some things starting now, because it doesn’t come without being very intentional about it.  All your money and all your success can’t buy your kids a second childhood. 

The Danny Velasco story – a great true story of redemption and salvation.  Again and again Jesus saves those who would be considered the least likely, and He uses his followers to be part of his plan.  “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Amen!

The costs of political correctness – Black administrator fired for challenging  – as a private citizen – the idea that the GLBTQ lobby is morally equivalent to the Civil Rights movement (friendly reminder: skin color is morally neutral, sexual behaviors are not).  I hope the newspaper prints this excellent response.

Gambler’s ruin is Darwin’s ruin – note to Darwinists – please read the whole article and comment at that site.

Darwin argued that “Natural selection acts only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a great and sudden leap, but must advance by sort and sure, though slow steps.”  But that is complete nonsense mathematically speaking because of the problem of gambler’s ruin. It is not surprising that Darwin could not see the flaw in his argument because he could not even do high school algebra even after substantial effort. The lack of basic math and logic pervades his flawed theory.

The problem is that a selectively-advantaged traits are still subject to random events. The most basic random event is with whether a parent will even pass down a gene to a child in the first place! Added to that problem is the nature of random events in general. A genetically advantaged individual may die by accident, get consumed by a predator, etc.

More cat pics

2 John

2j.jpgGreetings!  This is one of the shortest books of the Bible – only one chapter.  Study it then congratulate yourself on reading a whole book of the Bible today!  He mainly reiterates themes he expressed in the Gospel of John and in 1 John.

2 John

The elder,

To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— 2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:

3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

The “chosen lady and her children” probably means the church and its members, or perhaps an individual church. 

4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

He ties love to obedience to God, just as he did in 1 John and the Gospel of John (John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”)  Doing what God commands is the right way to show love for others.

7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. 11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.

Also, he reiterates that Jesus is the only way (“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”).  He also teaches not to associate with false teachers.

12 I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

13 The children of your chosen sister send their greetings.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

United Methodist Conference wrap-up

umc-cross.jpgThe 2008 United Methodist General conference had generally good news for orthodox Christians along with some bad news.  The May 3 entry here has a good summary under the heading of Legislative Update.

The Bible lists greed, envy, gossip, slander, lust, gluttony, coveting, jealousy and more as sins (everybody squiriming now?).  It also notes that homosexual behavior is a sin.  The difference is that we don’t have groups in favor of the first list of things disrupting the General Conference and tarnishing the denomination. 

The pro-GLBTQ (gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/questioning) theology groups disrupted the conference as usual with help from some conference leaders who failed to perform their duties.  Here’s some background from news releases:

In an act of witness in front of delegates to the 2008 United Methodist General Conference, more than 200 people declared that the denomination’s policies and practices against homosexuality are “sinful” and that “sexuality is a gift from God.”

To say that “sexuality is a gift from God” and use it to support behaviors the Bible clearly describes as sinful is simply wrong.  Using that reasoning one could support every perversion known to man. 

And to say the UMC policy is “sinful” seems rather odd to me.  What is their standard for sin?  If they claim it is the Bible, how could upholding the word of God be a sin as defined by the word of God?  The burden of proof is on them to prove from the Bible  that the behavior they are encouraging is truly a “gift from God.”

The 15-minute demonstration was in reaction to the April 30 decision to retain the denomination’s decades-old proscription in the Social Principles and other parts of the Discipline describing homosexual practice as “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Delegates voted 501-417 to keep the stance and also passed a resolution against homophobia and heterosexism, saying the church opposes “all forms of violence or discrimination based on gender, gender identity, sexual practice or sexual orientation.”

One witness, speaking on behalf of the protesters, told the General Conference that when The United Methodist Church refuses to accept and honor everyone’s call to professional ministry, it refuses to abide by the rules of Methodism’s founder John Wesley: do no harm, do good and stay in love with God.

That is a non-sequitor.  There are all sorts of people whose “call to professional ministry” shouldn’t be honored.  These enemies of the Gospel speak in generalities, but if you just peel back a layer and fill in some specifics it is easy to show where their reasoning fails.  To claim that those adhering to the Book of Discipline on matters of sexuality are refusing to abide by the rules is morbidly ironic.

Krumbach declared that the “anti-gay policies of The United Methodist Church are wrong and sinful in the sight of God” and in the act of witnessing “we reject the lie that homosexuality is a sin and that by standing, we affirm that sexuality is a good gift of God.”

That is a lie.  Our policies aren’t anti-gay, they affirm gay people as having worth and decry violence against them.  The policies just line up with the Bible, which is kinda clear about homosexual behavior being sinful.  After all:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

So if you want to have a “church” based on pro-gay theology then that is your right.  Just don’t pretend to be intellectually honest and claim that you are in concert with the clear teachings of the Bible.  Part of the problem is that so many people haven’t studied the passages in question.  This is really not a difficult thing to prove.

Our pastor, Chappell Temple, was quoted at length in various articles about the conference.  He is the brilliant, loving leader of Lakewood United Methodist Church who has studied this issue extensively and has had the courage to speak the truth about it.  I pray that the apostate Bishops and leaders in our denomination will be convicted by his words and that orthodox Bishops and leaders will be encouraged to speak the truth in love as well.  Too many of our denominational leaders love the world more than the love God, and the behavior at the conference was exhibit A.  I praise God for people like my pastor.

The Rev. Chappell Temple of the Texas Conference said there were numerous delegates who were “dismayed, saddened and outraged” at the act of witness. People are questioning whether such action would have occurred if the General Conference would have changed its stance on homosexuality, he said.

Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey, the presiding bishop prior to the action, halted the legislative assembly and recessed the conference. Chappell said, “He should have said those wishing to leave can do so. We were held captive. The altar was desecrated; the singing was presumptuous, self-righteous and accusatory.”

While noting the pain resulting from the church’s decision and stance, Temple also said it was wrong to lay guilt on those trying to follow Christ and listen to Christ. “I understand that the (act of witness) was a compromise, and what was allowed was simply blackmail, it was extortion” and was disrespectful to people of different views.

“For a person to give a long, one-sided speech, and for a bishop to speak and call for reconsideration, goes against everything that we hold together and as holy covenant,” he said.

During the witness, Krumbach said the voices of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people have not been heard, but Chappell disagrees. “They have made witness the entire week,” he said. “No one is happy about where we are, and their demonstration implied that somehow we’ve heaped burning coals on them.”

Delegates, he said, are trying to hold the church together “not for artificial unity, but for a unity of heart that strikes at the very root of Christian conference.”

I couldn’t be more proud of my pastor, and I pray that God will lift up other courageous and orthodox pastors as well.  I know that will impact his popularity with many people in positions of power.

Satan has a foothold in the UMC, as evidenced by the support of so many national leaders who stood in solidarity with both the disruptive pro-gay theology groups and the pro-abortion groups.  Weak church discipline has allowed these false teachers to gain positions of authority, but it isn’t too late to save the UMC. 

I also appreciate Bishops such as Lindsey Davis:

I think the church is right. I think we are very much in sync with historic Christianity and very much in sync with 99.9 percent of Christians in the world,” he said. “I make no apology for our position. It is biblical, and it is in keeping with 2,000 years of Christian tradition.

The U.S. church continues to shrink but it is growing around the world.  Praise God that the growing African churches, for example, tend to be much more orthodox.  My trips to Kenya confirmed this for me.  We had the opportunity to worship and interact with countless Kenyan Christians and they are much more orthodox and evangelistic than the average U.S. congregation.

We need to remember that God wins in the end and our duty is to be faithful to his word today.

Additional information

Responding to pro-gay theology – the best piece I’ve read on the topic.  Very thorough, readable and compassionate.

Problems with pro-gay theology – a series I did last year on the various ways these groups misuse and/or misinterpret the Bible.