Because of their idolatry, God gave them up to . . . square dancing?!

Well, not exactly.

Romans 1 has a tightly written explanation of why homosexual behavior is an example of rebellion against God’s created order.

Romans 1:26-28 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

I am very familiar with the objections and counter-arguments about Romans 1 and have written about them in Romans 1 and natural functions and Romans 1 and temple prostitutes.  There are more responses here to pro-gay theology in general.

But I was re-reading the False Teacher Profile post and something struck me that I hadn’t noticed before.  Uber-commenter Bubba made the following observation about the pro-gay theology views of the false teacher in question (bold added):

Paul is also quite clear in Romans 1: because of man’s idolatry, God gave up the unrighteous to impurity (1:24), to dishonorable passions (1:26), and to a debased mind (1:28), leading to all manner of evil, including envy, murder, and slander. Even if one were to put a heavy emphasis on the fact that this consequence of homosexual behavior was in the context of idolatry, it’s still impossible to conclude that homosexual behavior is biblically permissible.

AFTER ALL, God wouldn’t “hand over” an idolator to behavior that is good or even morally neutral. “They were idolators, and so God gave them over to prayer and almsgiving” DOES NOT WORK as a logical progression, nor does the idea that they were idolators, and so God would give them over to morally neutral behavior like square dancing and poetry readings.

No matter how you try to spin it, God was punishing their idolatry with something negative.  No matter what completes the “God gave them up to ____” passage, it is, by definition, a negative thing.  So those who claim that the “real” sin is idolatry are missing the point.

As Bubba noted, God didn’t “give them over” to square dancing or some benign thing, He gave them over to homosexual behavior.

Yes, idolatry is a sin that we all have to fight, and there is a laundry list of sins at the end of Romans 1 that we can be tempted by.  We shouldn’t grandstand on the sin of homosexuality just because it isn’t a temptation for us.  But neither should we lie and say it isn’t sinful.  And when the world and false teachers are trying to force us to change our religious beliefs on this topic, we need to defend the truth.  They brought up the topic, not us.

God “gave up” the false teachers as well, as their idolatry leads them to sit in judgment of God and to give approval to those who practice homosexual behavior and other sins.

Despite what the media, government and countless false churches will tell you, homosexual behavior is still a sin.  It is a forgivable sin, and one that people can be rescued from, but it is still a sin.  If you can’t bring yourself to say that then Christianity may not be for you.

Satan is evil, not stupid

And he doesn’t mind being a hypocrite.

Here’s an example that gets repeated hundreds, if not thousands of times per day: Via his useful idiots in media, education and apostate churches, Satan tempts women to get abortions by filling their minds with all sorts of lies about how killing their unwanted children will solve their problems.

Then right after the abortion he’ll be glad to tell them how awful and unforgivable they are for killing their own kids.  He’ll remind them of that as often as he can for the rest of their lives.  Hypocrisy?  Sure, but what does he care?  He has helped kill another human being made in the image of God and distanced another person from God.

He’ll even entice women to have a 2nd abortion even though they feel guilty about the first one.  Why?  Because they believe the lie that anyone who had an abortion doesn’t deserve to be a mother.  Illogical?  Yes, but again, he doesn’t care about consistency.

I heard of one couple who knew they had done wrong in having an abortion, but thought that meant they couldn’t go to church.  Whose idea was that?  By definition, churches should welcome lost sinners who want to repent and be healed.

But there is good news and hope: Even people who have been involved in abortions can get forgiveness and healing through Jesus.  One of the best things that Pregnancy Resource Centers do — besides savings lives today and for eternity — is offering post-abortion trauma counseling to women who desperately need it.  And they all need it, whether they know it or not.

If you were part of the abortion process, don’t let Satan win and keep you from God.  Help is out there from people who truly care.

High pressure sales tactics or “take it or leave it?”

I’m not saying it is all one or the other, but what do you think the biblical model of sharing the Gospel is more like?

A. High pressure sales tactics
B. Take it or leave it

I submit that it is more like “B.”  Of course we pray for people and earnestly hope for their salvation, but ultimately it is between them and God.  We’re on the Great Commission, not the paid commission.

When Jesus encounters the rich young ruler and tells him what he must do to attain eternal life, the man walks away sadly.  Then Jesus runs and tackles him and preaches to him some more.

Oh, wait, that last part never happened.  The man walked away and we never hear of him again, even though Jesus loved him.

And consider Paul’s journeys.  While he sometimes stayed in the same place for a while, the typical model seemed to be: Preach, get beat up, leave.  Or, at best:

Acts 17: 32-24 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

On the flip side, the book of Hebrews does say three times that:

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice,  do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert . . .

So there is nothing wrong with conveying some sense of urgency to the appeal.

But some evangelism models involve pressuring people to decide, and they border on manipulation — or they jump across the border.  As the saying goes, if I can manipulate people into professing belief based on worldly techniques then someone else can talk them out of it.  And Satan is smarter than I am.  False conversions harm the person and the church.

Consider how few of the typical “converts” of revivals stick around:

 In the Assembly of God’s 1990s “Decade of Harvest,” out of the 3.5 million supposedly converted, they showed a net gain of only 5 new attenders for every 100 recorded professions. When one considers all of our supposed converts, including those who refuse to follow Christ in baptism and who never join our churches, our numbers are much the same. Doesn’t anybody see that there is a serious problem here?

I want to point people to the Bible and let the Holy Spirit do the work.  I reflexively work in key themes to spiritual conversations and am glad to unflinchingly affirm doctrines about the authority and accuracy of the Bible, the divinity and exclusivity of Jesus, the existence of Hell, the minimal facts, etc.  But it is all with an aim to get them to read for themselves.  I trust God to do what He promised:

Isaiah 55:10-11 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I also think that in terms of how the world views the church we come across as much more confident in our views if we just lay them out in a rational way instead of using emotional tricks.  People are bombarded with ads and gimmicks and we shouldn’t be a part of that.  2 Corinthians 4:1-6 explains this well:

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

No tricks or high pressure, just sharing the truth in love.  Only God can make spiritually dead people alive.  We just want to be obedient to his model.

Finally, there are the pearl holding / dust shaking teachings of Jesus.  He told us not to press the issue with those who aren’t interested.  We need to be bold but also to trust his timing.

If you have the gift of evangelism, then get out and preach.  If you don’t, then be ready to fulfill your jobs as apologists and ambassadors to share the truth in a winsome way to a world that desperately needs it. Don’t sugarcoat the truth, but don’t feel the need to win every soul you encounter.  You are being obedient to God regardless of whether the person converts or not.  

Said another way, if you are an Arminian then high pressure techniques are counterproductive.  If you are Reformed, then they are unnecessary.

Sex out of wedlock = sin. Getting pregnant = not a sin.

That should be obvious, right?  But think about how our society perceives it.  Being pregnant out of wedlock is evidence of a sin, but isn’t a sin itself.  Yet our culture insists that having an abortion to destroy the evidence isn’t a sin.  And countless apostate churches and false teachers agree with the culture.

Run, don’t walk, from “churches” that can’t state the simple truth that it is immoral to kill innocent but unwanted human beings.  The odds are incredibly high that they hold other false views, such as denying the authority and accuracy of scripture, the exclusivity and deity of Jesus, etc.

Always be prepared to point people in crisis pregnancies to your local Pregnancy Resource Center.  They’ll find all sorts of Bible-based support, and you may be helping to save lives today and for eternity.

Exercise instead of medicine

As Steve Jobs would tell you (uh, if he could), sometimes you need surgery and medicine, because eating and exercise won’t cure what you’ve got.

But in many, many cases some exercise and better eating will fix your health problems, give you way more energy, save lots of money and put less of a burden on those you love.

You don’t need to do extreme exercise, but here are a couple impressive success stories from people who used P90X.

http://www.beachbody.com/product/p90x-success-stories-tommym.do

http://www.beachbody.com/product/p90x-success-stories-jeremyy.do

I see a lot of testimonials posted at 24 Hour Fitness as well.  One was a grandma who was becoming a burden to her family.  After exercising she was able to do so much more on her own and to play with her grandchildren.  Another was a common one where a guy lost a lot of weight and was able to get off all sorts of medicine.

I think the key is to remember who you are competing against: Yourself.  It is the “you” who won’t do any physical activity today versus the “you” who does something — anything!  As the Bible notes, there will always be those better or worse than you, so try not to compare.  Just find something you like, no matter how minimal, and do it.

I like doing a hybrid of P90X weightlifting, some cardio (stair stepper or exercise bike) and core work.  And we go ballroom dancing several times per week.  We’ve met lots of people who lost weight and feel much better since they started dancing.  We think of dance as just a fun hobby and not exercise, but you get the benefits either way.

Roundup

In 39 months this administration has increased the national debt by $16,000 each for you and each person in your family.  Do you think it is sustainable to keep adding at that rate?  Who will pay this off, and when?

Related story: 50% of college graduates are underemployed / unemployed.

The guy they thought was the Lightbringer, the Messiah, The One, told them what their college activist ears wanted to hear, but they never took the time to transition from “fired up and involved” to “hey, would his policies actually work?”

One more thing to point out

“On the other end of the scale, the southern U.S., anchored by Texas, was most likely to have young college graduates in higher-skill jobs.”

Hmm, so, places that tend to be good Red states work best.

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Theological liberals and atheists agree: They are qualified to sit in judgment of God.

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Steve Harvey promotes 90 day fornication rule on TBN:

Actor, comedian, author, and radio personality Steve Harvey made an appearance on the Trinity Broadcast Network’s (TBN) show, Praise the Lord.  Airing May 11th, 2010 with Paula White as the host, Harvey talked about his book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” He specifically discussed the “90 day rule.” This rule tells women to put a man on probation before giving away any “benefits.” Harvey went on to state that he knows that the Bible says a person should wait until s/he gets married to have sex and he agrees with that whole-heartedly.  But he states that since people are not going to wait until marriage to have sex, they should at least wait for 90 days.  Paula White wholeheartedly agreed with him and didn’t correct him at all!  The crowd laughed in agreement.  The Bible warns us in Jude 18-19, “How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”

What a great idea!  You can also covet, murder, steal, lie, etc. — as long as you wait 90 days!

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One meme after another boomerangs on Obama.  Dog mistreatment issue?  Hey, at least Mitt didn’t eat his.  Silver spoon issue?  That ignores, as Ann Coulter called it, the silver spoon of affirmative action, and ignores Leftist icons FDR and JFK.  Attacking Romney’s faith?  Yeah, polygamy is terrible!  What, it runs in Obama’s family as well?!  Oops!  The “war on women” because you don’t want to pay for contraceptives for 30 yr. old students at expensive law schools who want to sleep around?  Uh, yeah, except the vast majority of jobs lost under Obama were from women and he has a horrible record in how he treats them (they are paid less than men in the White House).

Why doesn’t Obama run on his record instead of desperately trying to find the killer meme to attack Romney?  Oh, right . . . that record.

Hat tip for the picture: Domestic Divapalooza

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Unions are generally bad and lead to entitlement attitudes, example 752 — Wealthy Michigan Teacher Upset She Can’t Retire at 47.  Their greed would be bad enough without them being so tone-deaf.  They are so saturated in feelings of entitlement that they don’t realize how ridiculous they look.

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“Satan” thanks his “Christian” pastors who prayed for 40 days of abortion — nice satire. My comment to him:

Yes, “your” pastors are doing very good work for you! I see your hands all over their organizations, including the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice — the ones so clueless about science that they don’t even know that abortion kills a human being long after the “choice” to reproduce has taken place.

And nice work on your part to coach the Left on how to shriek about “separation of church and state” when authentic Christians point out that it is immoral to crush and dismember innocent but unwanted human beings but to be hypocritically silent when the fake Christians say the opposite “in the name of Jesus.”

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BP follow-up — anybody remember that oil spill from a couple years ago that was going to doom humanity?  It was certainly a tragedy given the 11 lives lost and the vast expenditures, but the long-term impacts seem to be minimal.  Should we be shocked that a naturally occurring resource was dealt with by nature?

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In case you missed it: “If I wanted America to fail . . .”

The basics of Intelligent Design

The ever-crumbling Darwinian evolution propaganda is so deliberately and aggressively politicized in education and the media and so venomous towards alternative theories that it is hard to have a reasoned discussion about Intelligent Design.  So few people understand the basic premise, which is simple, clear and elegant.  Via What is the case for intelligent design?

Intelligent design is a scientific theory that holds some aspects of life and the universe are best explained by reference to an intelligent cause. Why? Because they contain the type of complexity and information that in our experience comes only from intelligence.

As a result, intelligent-design theorists begin by studying how intelligent agents act when they design things. Intelligence is a process, or a mechanism, which we can observe at work in the world around us. Human designers make a great dataset for studying how intelligent agency works.

When we study the actions of humans, we learn that intelligent agents produce high levels of complex and specified information (CSI). Something is complex if it’s unlikely, and specified if it matches some independent pattern. William Dembski and Stephen Meyer explain that in our experience, only intelligent agents produce this type of information . . .

People infer design all day, every day — especially in science.  Consider forensic science, archaeology and the search for extra-terrestrial life, where constant inferences to intelligent causes are foundational.

One way to get the average person to reconsider the concept of ID is to point out examples like that.  I was talking to a friend this week who is obviously uncomfortable with Darwinism but has never been taught to consider alternative views.  In the same conversation he referenced a TV show about some highly complex ancient ruins that were were so precisely made that they “must” have been made by aliens.  That was a good catalyst for me to compare those obviously designed (whether by aliens or humans) works to something like DNA, which is not only thousands of times more complex but also part of living beings.

If people are quick to assume alien origins for something complex, or even just realizing it would have required unusually advanced human intelligence, why do they drink the Darwinian Kool-Aid and assume that the origin of life, the complexities of DNA, etc. could have arisen without an Intelligent Designer?  They just need to know the real definition of ID and the well-documented fact that materialists cheat and assume that you can’t consider the supernatural when trying to explain something like the origins of life.