You shall not steal.

I was invited to write this for the Stubborn Things blog and am cross-posting it here. 

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Stealing makes an unspoken yet clear and outrageous claim against God: “You didn’t order the universe properly, so I will fix your mistakes by taking what is rightfully mine.”  Therefore, it is a sin against God and neighbor.

Stealing is typically accompanied by other sins.  The root is the pride in thinking we deserve more.  Coveting leads to stealing just as unrighteousness anger and lust are precursors to the physical acts of murder and adultery and are also violations of the spirit of the law. Lying usually surrounds thefts, and the cover-ups are often worse than the crimes.  In the investigation work my group does I’ve noted that people who steal don’t mind lying about stealing.

We are often clever and subtle in how we take what doesn’t belong to us.  Sure, some steal the old-fashioned way.  I come across those people both at work, when investigating those who steal from my employer, and in prison ministry (it keeps my life in balance).  Most of us are more sophisticated, though, and pretend that we don’t steal because we aren’t physically taking property clearly belonging to another.  We use our spiritual gift of rationalization* not only to justify theft but to pretend that our vice is a virtue.

Exhibit A: Those who petition Caesar to take from neighbor A by force to redistribute to neighbor B and congratulate themselves on how generous they are.  That thinly disguised attempt at sanctified theft is so ingrained that people often use it to justify why they give so little back to God.  It is symptomatic of our decline that we must remind people that Jesus taught to give your money.  I submit, and the good folks at Dictionary.com agree, that taxes and giving have unique and irreconcilable definitions.

And yes, I used a political example.  God’s commandment against stealing and his admonitions to give presuppose the ownership of private property.  If it isn’t yours, there is nothing to steal and you have nothing to give.  Politics should be about the ethical use of power, so our biblical worldviews should influence our voting.  It is foolish to let our ideological foes tell us that parts of the universe aren’t under God’s sovereignty — especially when those shouting their misunderstanding of the “separation of church and state” issue only try to silence the religious people they disagree with.

Softballs aside, let’s look closer to home.

While Leftists steal jobs and taxes from those impacted by illegal immigration, crony capitalists are just as guilty of theft because they want cheap labor for themselves.

At a Sunday School party celebrating the birth of our Savior, a group of relatively conservative Christians lamented the fall of Napster because they could no longer download “free” music.  After all, those rich record companies could afford it.

Some Bible-believing Christians concede that Obamacare is bad for many, but it helps them so they support it.

Poor driving puts our neighbors at risk.  We steal some of their safety and well-being when we prioritize our schedules and convenience above our neighbors’ best interests.   We don’t actually announce, “I’m running late, so I’ll risk your health, life and property to make up time,” but our actions betray us.

When speaking about leadership to professional groups I ask, “What is it called when you take something that doesn’t belong to you?”  [Pause] Stealing, of course.  So what is it called when you take credit for your employees’ ideas?  [Uncomfortable pause] Yep, stealing.

How about stealing time from your employer?  Would it be ironic and hypocritical to write about stealing on work time, even if you make it up as necessary and meet all your commitments and more?  That’s a hypothetical, of course.

Then there are sins like stealing the joy of others via all sorts of selfish acts and unkind words, stealing purity via out-of-wedlock sex, stealing reputations via gossip, stealing the innocence and security of children via frivolous divorce, and more.

If we love God we shouldn’t sit in judgment of how He has ordered our lives.  If we love our neighbors we shouldn’t take what belongs to them.

Thankfully, the blood of the cross can cover our many sins of stealing. God adopts, completely forgives and pours eternal blessings on all who repent and trust in Jesus. By his spirit we can be conformed more to his likeness every day and begin to only desire that which authentically belongs to us.  We can also remember that it is only ours by his grace, and that when Jesus said to lay up treasures in Heaven it wasn’t marketing spin.

*Possibly not a real spiritual gift.

“Tithe for 90 days and God will bless you — or your money back!” and other scams

An old investment scam went like this: A stock tip would be sent to random people, but half the people would be told the stock would go up, and half that it would go down.  It was a free, no-strings-attached offer designed to build trust with whichever half got the correct advice.  This would go on for a few rounds until the remaining group thought they were getting advice from Warren Buffet himself, as in, “Wow, this guy has been right 6 times in a row!  Please take lots of my money and invest it for me!”  Of course that would be the last they’d see of their money.

I was reminded of that scam when I read about this:Texas Megachurch Promises 100 Percent Refund in Tithe Challenge if ‘God Doesn’t Hold True to His Promise of Blessings’.

Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, led by Pastor Ed Young, has launched a 90-Day Challenge, encouraging members of the multi-campus megachurch to put God to the test by “bringing their tithes and offerings to the House.” “Each of us has a unique opportunity to be a part of the incredible life change happening around us at Fellowship Church by bringing our tithes and offerings to the House,” reads a description of the 90-Day Challenge. “If you are not tithing already, the 90-Day Challenge is the best place to start. We commit to you that if you tithe for 90 days and God doesn’t hold true to his promise of blessings, we will refund 100 percent of your tithe.”

Think about it: If you feel extra-blessed during the 90 days, you’ll keep tithing, so the church will win.  And even if you don’t feel blessed and they return your money, there is no net loss for them.  You weren’t tithing before, right?  And think about how few people will actually contact the church to demand a refund even if they didn’t feel extra-blessed.  According to false teacher Perry Noble’s video, all you have to do is call God a liar and they’ll return the money, no questions asked.

Why don’t they just preach the Bible accurately and skip the gimmicks?

2 Corinthians 9: 6-7 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

There was no mention of a tithe there.  The only mention in the entire New Testament was where Jesus whales on the Pharisees for tithing on their garden spices but neglecting the weightier matters of the law.

My official stance on giving is captured in Thoughts on tithing: Something to offend everyone!, where I note that if God expected the poorest Israelite to tithe and more, then maybe 10% isn’t so unreasonable to aim at.  It is a nice round number.  In fact, most of the people reading this are in the riches 1-2% of people who have ever lived.  Yet I would never want to suck the joy out of giving, so why would I be legalistic and demand a specific percentage when Jesus didn’t do so?  These guys distract from the Gospel and make the church look foolish to non-believers.

It is pretty obvious who will really be “blessed’ by this tithe campaign.  My prayer is that those being challenged with the “90 day tithe” will take 2 Corinthians 9 to heart and give joyfully based on what they have decided in their hearts to give — but that they will give it to a ministry with sound doctrine instead of these 

Hat tip: Glenn

Planned Parenthood’s deadly argument from silence

As always, remember that forgiveness and healing are possible for those who have participated in the abortion process.

Planned Parenthood kills babies for a living, they systematically hide rape, incest and sex trafficking, they encourage kids to have all sorts of out-of-wedlock sex and pretend that it can be done without risks, they would rather destroy a breast cancer charity than part ways amicably, they commit Medicaid fraud, they teach kids the joys of BDSM, and so much more. Their leaders and abortionists get rich off* of death and misery, aided by your taxes.  They use some of that money to fund propaganda telling women that if they aren’t willing to kill their children that they can’t be equal in value to men.

But wait — they have found religion!  Rather, they have rehashed their “religious” talking points from their “chaplains.”  Their main argument is that the Bible doesn’t specifically mention the word abortion, therefore it can’t be a big deal.  And if you aren’t sure about that, they’ll refer you to one of their chaplains false teachers.  Via An Open Letter to Cecile Richards « Alliance Defending Freedom Blog.

Planned Parenthood has published a “Pastoral Letter” which tells women:“The truth is that abortion is not even mentioned in the Scriptures—Jewish or Christian—and there are clergy and people of faith from all denominations who support women making this complex decision.”It appears that this letter is no longer available on your website, but an archived version can be found here for your reference page 3.

The argument that the Bible never said anything about abortion  (or homosexual behavior, etc.) fails on several levels. If a church leader uses it you can be confident that he or she is ignorant and/or malicious.  Just because it doesn’t mention every type of killing doesn’t mean that those forms are acceptable.  It doesn’t say it is wrong to bomb abortion clinics, but I think Richards would agree with me that no one should do that.

The Alliance Defending Freedom folks had a great suggestion for Richards.  I doubt she’ll take them up on it. But they did call her bluff.  Does she really want to refer to the Bible?  We’d love to have that conversation all day, every day.

While I disagree with Planned Parenthood’s exegesis of Scripture, I am not writing to debate that point. Instead, I write to express my agreement with Planned Parenthood, reflected in the publication of this pastoral letter, that for many women their religious beliefs will be very relevant to their decision about whether to have an abortion.On that common ground, on behalf of Alliance Defending Freedom, I would like to offer Planned Parenthood one free copy of the Bible for every Planned Parenthood facility in the country. Planned Parenthood could place these Bibles in their waiting rooms and permit women the opportunity to explore for themselves what the Jewish and Christian Scriptures have to say about abortion.

There is no doubt that we are on opposite sides of this theological and moral question. But as we are in apparent agreement that Scripture and its teachings or lack thereof in your view on abortion would be relevant to many women’s abortion decisions, making these Bibles available to those women would certainly benefit your potential customers.

To allay any concerns you might have, the Bibles Alliance Defending Freedom would provide to Planned Parenthood would be new unmarked copies. For instance, we would not highlight Psalm 127:3 “Truly children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward”, Psalm 139:13 “You knit me together in my mother’s womb…”, Psalm 22:10-11 “You have been my guide since I was first formed . . . from my mother’s womb you are my God” or Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”.We would not dog-ear Exodus 20:13 “You shall not kill”. Nor would we even place a bookmark at Luke 1:41, 44 where the “baby [John the Baptist] … leapt for joy” in his mother’s womb when the baby Jesus was nearby in Mary’s womb.Rather, we would make these Bibles available, unedited and without emphasis of any kind, allowing those women visiting a Planned Parenthood facility to review them themselves.

* Cecile Richards, the leader of PP, makes over $500,000 per year.  Killing babies is a big business.

The morbid hypocrisy of pro-abortion peace advocates

Abortion is murder.  It is the opposite of peace.  Yet the most vocal of those advocating for peace are often pro-abortion*.

Here’s a recent example.  Chuck “Jesus is not the only way but He sure is a bigot” Currie of the UCC (Unitarians Counterfeiting Christ) is radically pro-abortion yet doesn’t recognize his hypocrisy when writing A Brief Word About Peace:

A Just Peace is grounded in God’s activity in creation. Creation shows the desire of God to sustain the world and not destroy. The creation anticipates what is to come: the history-long relationship between God and humanity and the coming vision of shalom.

Just Peace is grounded in covenant relationship. God creates and calls us into covenant, God’s gift of friendship: “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore” (Ezekiel 37:26). When God’s abiding presence is embraced, human well-being results, or Shalom, which can be translated Just Peace.

Note the references to creation, humanity and multiplying people.  Yet this guy supports the legal killing of any human being up through infanticide (i.e., partial-birth abortion) for any reason — and he wants pro-lifers to pay for it here and around the world with their tax dollars.

They also deny the Bible and naively think that we can completely prevent wars.  They deny original sin and every conclusion they draw gets progressively worse from there.  This is just one of many reasons that they are non-Christians.

More hypocrisy:

1. Support nonviolent direct action.

Abortion is extremely violent, literally crushing and dismembering innocent human beings without anesthetic.

5. Advance democracy, human rights, and religious liberty.

Abortion violates the primary human right: The right to life.

My default position is always non-violence. My own belief is that even with the best of intentions that use of violence always falls somewhere in the category of sin.

How ironic that a pro-abortion “reverend” could label others as sinful for knowing that the best hope for peace is through strength.

* If you vote for Democrats, you are now pro-abortion, not pro-choice. And not just pro-abortion, but pro-”partial birth” abortion (aka infanticide).  The references to the Hyde Amendment are a joke, of course, and Obama has proved beyond all doubt that he will look you in the eye and lying dozens of times.  From their platform:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

It gets worse: Obama overturned the Mexico City policy so the Abortion President could increase abortions around the world with taxpayer funds.  That’s pro-abortion.

And Obama & Co. oppose the choice of medical professionals not to participate in abortions.  That’s anti-choice pro-abortion extremism.

If you want to require taxpayer-funded to increase abortions then you aren’t pro-choice, you are pro-abortion. Forcing pro-lifers to pay for abortions = pro-abortion. Wanting to increase the number of abortions = pro-abortion.  If you are pro-”partial birth” abortion then you are really pro-legalized infanticide.

Oh, and you the worst kind of racist, because those taxpayer-funded abortions will take the 3-to-1 ratio of black abortion rates to that of whites even higher.

More on Heaven

No, not moron Heaven (though feel free to make your own jokes about that), but more on Heaven than I noted in the post about the “I went to Heaven and came back” books / movies that contradict each other and the Bible.

Coincidentally enough, today was the last day of studying Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know and our teacher had a great list of Bible verses on Heaven.

Heaven is for real, even though the movie is not.  Read and enjoy!  If you are a Christian this will be your eternal home, so what could be more logical than to learn about it and think about it now?  And if you aren’t a Christian, you should think carefully about where you will spend eternity — because everyone will spend it somewhere, and it will be based on what you say and believe about Jesus.

Matthew 25:34 (ESV)

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)

17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.

Revelation 21:1–8 (ESV)

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:22–27 (ESV)

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 22:1–5 (ESV)

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

1 Peter 3:21–22 (ESV)

21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Luke 22:18 (ESV)

18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

Matthew 6:19–21 (ESV)

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Peter 3:1–13 (ESV)

1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Isaiah 25:8–12 (ESV)

8 He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” 10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trampled down in his place, as straw is trampled down in a dunghill. 11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim, but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride together with the skill of his hands. 12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down, lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.

John 14:2 (ESV)

2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Luke 23:43 (ESV)

43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

1 Corinthians 2:9–10 (ESV)

9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

John 3:13 (ESV)

13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

Matthew 18:10 (ESV)

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

Revelation 4:1–11 (ESV)

1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” 9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

2 Corinthians 5:1 (ESV)

1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Hebrews 11:10 (ESV)

10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

Matthew 13:43 (ESV)

43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Psalm 33:6 (ESV)

6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Revelation 5:9 (ESV)

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

Revelation 2:7 (ESV)

7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Matthew 5:8 (ESV)

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Revelation 7:9 (ESV)

9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Luke 15:10 (ESV)

10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 10:20 (ESV)

20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Ezekiel 1:25–28 (ESV)

25 And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings. 26 And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. 27 And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Revelation 14:1–3 (ESV)

1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

Luke 20:34–36 (ESV)

34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Matthew 19:21 (ESV)

21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Acts 7:55 (ESV)

55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

 

Repent.

Kevin DeYoung is a terrific pastor who wrote a great piece on repentance: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand.  I encourage you to read it all.  It is a key part of Jesus’ message that is so easy to leave out.

Revelation 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

God’s word to the peoples of the world is not only an offer of grace, nor even less simply a call to live rightly, nor even less still a promise to make all our dreams come true if we just have faith. We have not heard all that God wants to say to us unless we have heard his command to repent.

Ezekiel said “Repent and turn from your transgressions” (Ezek. 18:30). John the Baptist said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Jesus said “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Peter said “Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). And Paul said God “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

Repentance has never been easy. No one likes to be told “Die to yourself. Kill that in you. Admit you are wrong and change.” That’s never been an easy sell. It’s much easier to get a crowd by leaving out the repentance part of faith, but it’s not faithful. It’s not even Christianity. Of course, there is a whole lot more to following Jesus than repentance, but it’s certainly not less. “Repent,” Jesus said, or “you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).

If you don’t repent, you will perish.

His section on how repentance isn’t remorse, embarrassment or apology is important, because we often confuse those things and think we’ve repented.

. . . So regret is easy, embarrassment is easy, and apology is easy. Repentance, on the other hand, is very hard and, therefore, much rarer. Repentance involves two things: a change of mind and a change of behavior.

Repentance means you change your mind. That’s what the Greek word metanoia means– a changed (meta) mind (noia).

You change your mind about yourself: “I am not fundamentally a good person deep down. I am not the center of the universe. I am not the king of the world or even my life.”

You change your mind about sin: “I am responsible for my actions. My past hurts do not excuse my present failings. My offenses against God and against others are not trivial. I do not live or think or feel as I should.”

And you change your mind about God: “He is trustworthy. His word is sure. He is able to forgive and to save. I believe in his Son, Jesus Christ. I owe him my life and my allegiance. He is my King and my Sovereign, and he wants what is best for me. I believe it!”

Repentance is hard because changing someone’s mind is hard. In fact, when we’re dealing with spiritual matters of the heart, God’s the only one who can really change your mind. People are simply not predisposed to say “I was wrong! I was wrong about God and about myself. My whole way of looking at the world has been in error. I want to change.” That’s repentance. And it’s amazing when it happens.

. . .

Repentance also involves a change of behavior. It’s like a train conductor driving his train down the tracks straight for the side of a mountain. It’s one thing for him to realize and admit that his train his going in the wrong direction. It’s another thing to stop the train and it get it going in the opposite direction.

. . .

If we preach a “gospel” with no call to repentance we are preaching something other than the apostolic gospel.

If we knowing allow unconcerned, impenitent sinners into the membership and ministry of the church, we are deceiving their souls and putting ours at risk as well.

If we think people can find a Savior without forsaking their sin, we do not know what sort of Savior Jesus Christ is.

There are few things more important in life than repentance. So important, that Revelation, and the gospels, and the epistles, and the Old Testament make clear that you don’t go to heaven without it.

False teacher Rachel Held Evans on World Vision

As painful as the LGBTQX debate can be, there is one significant benefit: It shines a light on who the sheep and goats are in the church.  While we don’t have a perfect view of the invisible church (i.e., the body of those truly saved by Jesus), issues like this certainly make it more clear.  While people can be “saved and confused” on some topics, for “Christian” leaders to be this far off the mark is great evidence against them.

Rachel Held Evans has had a lot of squishy, creepy, anti-biblical teachings for years, but she really came out of the closet on this one.  In Who’s this child sponsorship about, anyway?, she initially harangued existing World Vision donors to stick with WV even though they had (temporarily) taken an anti-biblical view on marriage.  Their love of the world was clear to many donors, including me.  Evans insisted that it was all about the kids and that donors shouldn’t move their funds.  But she was celebratory about the change.

Then, two days later, she went into full “Oh, the humanity!” mode and noted how “betrayed” brand new pro-LGBTQX donors must feel.  Oddly, she never thought about how Bible-believing Christians might have felt betrayed by the initial change.

UPDATE:

My sources are confirming that, after pressure from evangelicals, World Vision has decided to reverse their decision on employing gay and lesbian people.

Yes, we pressured them.  I let them know that I would finish my current commitments and then shift my giving to organizations that didn’t mock the word of God.

I don’t know what to say. I really don’t.

For those of you who donated, thank you. That money will be put to good use, I assure you. But I am deeply, profoundly sorry that I inadvertently rallied these fundraising efforts in response to a decision that would ultimately be reversed.

Is Evans so naive to think that WV did that without LGBTQX pressure?  If they caved to them, why wouldn’t the cave again when faced with the loss of funds?

Though I sincerely hope everyone who sponsored a child or made a donation will continue to support World Vision, I can see how this effort would make you feel betrayed, as though it were launched under false pretense. And I’m so, so sorry for that. I’m as surprised by all this as you are, but I take full responsibility.

Full responsibility?  She’ll be giving them their money back?

Yes, betrayal is a good word to describe the initial change.

This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken, and lost. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at the Church, particularly the evangelical culture in which I was raised and with which I for so long identified. I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under pressure. Honestly, it feels like a betrayal from every side.

No, we are just still trusting the word of God.  And we love homosexuals too much to lie and tell them to stay in that lifestyle.  But Evans & Co. love the world and their popularity more than Jesus.

Something has to change. And I’m committed to being a part of that change. But not today.

Today, I don’t know what else to do but grieve with everyone else who feels like a religious refugee today. This sucks, and I’m so, so sorry.

I hope you take some comfort in the fact that perhaps, as a result of our petty warring, some kids were sponsored today.

So it was no big deal to change to the pro-gay view, but a huge deal to switch back two days later.  Got it.

We’ve sponsored WV children for 16 years. I will continue until they are out of the program but will move my donations elsewhere after that. The local organizations do great work (we’ve visited our Kenya child 5 times and have been really impressed with the field office) but the worldwide organization is obviously troubled.  I have plenty of other organizations I can give to.

World Vision has made a big mistake: By trying to please the LGBTQX lobby and not anticipating the reaction of Bible-believing Christians, they’ve alienated both sides. That’s to be expected when you try to please the world and take anti-biblical stances.

But the good news is that no one has to wonder if Rachel Held Evans and the like are to be trusted or not.  They have made it crystal-clear that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The Methodist Bishop from Khazakhstan would be unemployable in the U.S.

This was encouraging: A Methodist Bishop willing to describe sin as sin.  Even in conservative conferences in the U.S. this guy would never be able to become a Bishop.  That’s one of the many reasons I couldn’t worship there any longer.  Via A New United Methodist Star from Khazakhstan?

The United Methodist Church may have a new star. He is Bishop Eduard Khegay of the Eurasia Episcopal Area elected to the episcopacy in 2012 to preside over the small but growing United Methodist churches across 11 times zones in the former Soviet republics, including Russia and Ukraine. . . .  His sermons and essays indicate his own boldness for the Gospel and willingness to push hot buttons.

. . .

Brothers and sisters, by faith United Methodists bring The Good News to people in our countries. By faith we overcome bureaucracy, inspections and other impediments on our way. By faith yammerers become winners, and when reaching halfway they get the second wind. By faith husbands and wives reconcile, by faith sons and fathers, daughters and mothers reconcile. By faith we offer our prayers to God about the way we see our churches and Lord is pouring His grace. By faith we are building churches, because of the evident of things not seen. By faith pastors forgive and encourage each other. By faith we are building United Methodist Church, so that it becomes dynamically growing, is accepted in the society and helps people to become devoted Christians. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. We are people of faith; we are already winners, because we are Christ’s. May we live with faith and may it grow. May our mission, evangelism and growth be filled with faith! Amen.

. . .

Bible and traditions of the church

There were many disputes on the topic of what the Bible says regarding homosexuality during last half a century. Both the supporters and opponents of homosexuality have done much work on exegesis of the Bible, studying the traditions of the church, researching the historical context. Our collective communal study of the Bible and of the church’s traditions convince me and district superintendents of Eurasia UMC that practice of homosexual life is a sin. The Old Testament calls it abomination[1]. The New Testament calls it shameful actions, unnatural, and consequence of human’s departure from God.

The term sin experiences difficult time. The secular society wants less and less to use this term. Many people learn how to be tolerant… But from tolerance to permissiveness is only one step if we push away the term sin out of our life. Sin is what separates us from God, destroys our relationship with Creator. It could be betrayal, crime, envious thought, evil word or indifferent inaction.

Our conscience still wants to wake us up and give us hope for forgiveness and redemption. But more and more we look like children of Western democracy, who try to replace the term sin with sickness, deviation, weakness, mistake, or with anything else so that not to harm our weak psyche and behave politically correct even to ourselves. I cannot imagine John Wesley who would have suggested to Methodists to avoid the term sin in the name of tolerance and political correctness and not to offend the members of the congregation. Many of us know his famous words: “Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergyman or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon the earth.” I hope that like John Wesley we, the Methodists of 21st century, would be more concerned with saving human souls and sharing faith in our loving and transforming God, and not what people might think of us. This requires to be obedient, brave and humble.

Homophobia and hamartia-phobia

It has become fashionable to use the term “homophobia” in various contexts. Many leaders and public figures became more cautious with their speeches so that they would not say anything wrong and not to invite critics to blame them in homophobia. In most cases this is a good restraining mechanism. But here is the paradox – many people who condemn sin, express their moral values, defend their centuries old family traditions, teach to respect others are now blamed to be homophobic. Too many extremes appeared.

Recently, Russia has issued new law which prohibits the propagation of homosexuality among children. I am astonished how much noise the opponents of this law have raised. It seems as though their main life activity consists of such propagation.

Secular society does not want to hear the term sin because it is not afraid of sin. At the same time it cannot solve human problems unless it admits sin and its destructiveness. I pray that the people called Methodists would instill hamartia-phobia in the society. Hamartia is a greek word from New Testament, which is translated as “sin”. But the meaning of this word is missing the mark. While ancient fathers and mothers of the church lived with hamartia-phobia, were afraid to disappoint God and miss the mark of God’s will, our society fills up with hamartia-prideful people who boast their anti-spiritual actions.

And finally he points to a way forward:

Tension exists even on the level of the Council of Bishops of the UMC. We are not of one mind. To my regret, we have to deal with situations when one bishop ignores the other breaking the Book of Discipline and ethical norms in the name of same-sex marriages. This is very disappointing.

Beware of Christian bookstores

And that goes double for newer Christians.

Why?  Because the more popular the book, the more likely it has lousy theology and the more likely they will sell it.  Lifeway, etc. are businesses.  They are sort-of Christian in that they sell Bibles and some good books, but mostly they’ll see anything with a Jesus veneer.  People gobble up the “I went to Heaven” books and other fads, not noticing that they disagree with the Bible and with each other.

Another example: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which I’ve written about previously, is a wildly popular book.  Here is the type of content that book has (the author is claiming to quote Jesus here, putting her book on a par with scripture).  Via Book Review and Serious Warning: Sarah Young’s ‘Jesus Calling’

When you are with other people, you often lose sight of My Presence. . . When you realize this has happened, whisper My Name; this tiny act of trust brings Me to the forefront of your consciousness, where I belong. (May 2)

Let Me infuse My Presence into your thoughts. As your mind stops racing, your body relaxes and you regain awareness of Me. . . . There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live. In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My presence. (May 24)

For years you swam around in a sea of meaninglessness, searching for Love, hoping for hope. All that time I was pursuing you, aching to embrace you in My compassionate arms. . . I sang you a Love song, whose beginning and end are veiled in eternity. (June 14)

That sure doesn’t sound like Jesus.  If you read the Bible much at all you should recognize how made-up her claims are.

While she tries to deny that she is putting her words on a par with scripture, the accusation stands. The title itself claims that Jesus himself contacted her.  How can she then deny that she was claiming to quote him?  Does the King of the universe make contact and then not speak clearly?  And just look at the quotes above.  They are unusually specific, telling Young about the number of dimensions in the universe.  So Jesus either really told her those things, or she made them up (or a demon told them to her).

As the link explains, there is one entry after another with New Age nonsense like that.  Any resemblance to the Bible is coincidental, but there is a strong correlation to what Young writes and what New Age mystic Eckhart Tolle writes (Oprah loves Eckhart’s teachings, if that tells you anything).

This is why understanding Decision making and the will of God is so important.  Those who claim special revelation from God are making the same type of statements that Young does, namely that God spoke to them directly with a personalized message.  While He could do that, it isn’t normative, and the burden of proof is on those who claim to have received his messages.

Avoid that book, warn others, and pretty much avoid any best-sellers at Christian bookstores (if you must go there).  Try to read more older, established books than the trendy ones.

An atheist found one absolute moral law. Guess which politically correct one it is?

Atheists often have in-house debates over morality.  Some try to pretend that there really could be objective morality under atheism (e.g., Christopher Hitchens, for all his poor reasoning, was anti-abortion).  Others are more consistent with their worldview — well, they try to be until someone does something bad to them — and insist that there are no universal morals.  They are pure moral relativists, acknowledging that we’ve (allegedly) evolved to “think” there are morals, but that these are really just personal preferences.

One of the latter group has had a change of heart.  Sort of.  Via Professor Larry Moran squares the circle:

Professor Larry Moran has recently created something which he has previously declared to be impossible: a moral absolute. Readers might be wondering: what is Professor Moran’s moral absolute all about? Is it about the inherent wrongfulness of killing the innocent, or taking away people’s freedom, or oppressing the poor, or violating a commitment one has given? Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong! Here’s Professor Moran’s new moral absolute, in all its resplendent glory:

“It is totally wrong, all the time, to discriminate against someone based on their sexual preferences… There is NEVER a time when an enlightened society should tolerate, let alone legalize, bigotry.”

The reason why I was surprised to read this statement on Professor Moran’s blog is that he has previously denied the existence of moral absolutes. Here are a few examples of statements he has made on the subject of morality, and on how we can know that something is true . . .

How fitting that he picked our society’s most politically protected sins to declare off-limits for criticism! He is a Romans 1 poster boy. He suppresses the truth in unrighteousness by denying that God exists, then “gives approval to those who practice” exhibit A in God’s list of sins that suppression of truth leads to.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

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.

You can’t make up things like this.  2,000 years ago the Holy Spirit inspired Romans 1, and here it perfectly describes this atheist.  He suppresses the truth by saying there is no God and no moral laws, then he makes up one moral law that goes against God’s first example of where suppression of the truth leads.

Atheists simply can’t live consistently with their worldview.  I hope God makes Moran and others spiritually alive so they can repent and believe.  There is a better way to live than by using the talents God gave you to shake your fist at him 24×7.

Heterosexual supporters of “same-sex marriage” are going to get mugged by reality

Here’s why: Their support for these “marriages” will also justify support for polygamy, polyamory, bi-sexual multiple marriages and more — and their spouses will have the option to participate in those without their consent.  The woman who supports “same-sex marriage” today may regret it when her husband brings home another woman — or another man — to legally share her home and finances.

Please read this post carefully so you’ll be able to show people how the pro-gay movement can have deep and personal impacts on them.  This is not a “slippery slope” fallacy, it is a logical slippery slope (or, as I like to call it, a cliff argument), where the arguments for one position automatically support another position as well.  And don’t say, “That can’t happen!,” because it is already getting mainstreamed.  

The consequences are huge and have already manifested themselves in many places.  Their agenda has and will continue to cost people their personal liberties, religious freedom and parental rights — and those are design features, not bugs.

There is a simple reason that the gay lobby focuses mostly on the “LG” (lesbian and gay) part of the LGBTQX alphabet soup: The reasoning of the rest of the acronym is harder to sell because of the logical consequences.  But if they can get the first part affirmed and codified then it will be too late to backtrack to prevent the rest from taking place.  Case in point: Have you noticed how they never talk about bisexuals and their “civil rights” to be able to marry at least one person of each sex?  After all, all the same arguments for gays and lesbians should apply to them.

We have such obvious and sound arguments on our side.  By nature and design, one man / one woman relationships produce the next generation and only those unions can provide a mother and a father to a child.  Therefore, the government has an interest in those unions, because they form the foundation of society.  We don’t even have to use religious arguments, though of course God’s ideal is one man / one woman marriages and homosexual behavior is a sin.  The Bible could not be more clear.

But our arguments have often been ineffective.  Why?  Because the foundational lie of the gay lobby works so well.  They combine a lie (“Agree with us and it will cost you nothing while helping others”) with the truth (“We will relentlessly harm you if you disagree”) and that is too much for many people to withstand.  They have made it very easy for people to switch sides and repeat false sound bites (they were born that way, Jesus never said anything about it, it prevents bullying, it doesn’t hurt you, they love each other, we shouldn’t ban same-sex marriage, etc.).  People are really good at rationalizing lies to seek pleasure and avoid pain.

So I encourage you to try this reasoning: Ask the other person if they’d mind if their spouse (current or future) decided to maintain their relationship and marry someone else of the opposite sex — or the same sex.  Would that bother them?  If so, why aren’t they living consistently — even just hypothetically! — with their own worldview?  If they claim it wouldn’t bother them, ask if you can use your home polygraph test on them.  The other person may lie to you and pretend that they wouldn’t care, but you will have given them something to think about.  Later in the post I’ll show what that conversation could look like.

The argument takes the pro-gay reasoning to its logical conclusions and shows how most people will not like the possibilities.  That should help them re-think their entire argument.

It starts by demonstrating the truth that marriage is something we describe, not define.  As Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason has noted, marriage has always described something that existed: A union of a man and a woman.  But if people think marriage is something we get to define, then anything goes.  Sure, they pretend that they just want to define it as any two adults who love each other, etc.  But why pull up the drawbridge there?  If you choose to define it rather than describe it, then why can’t others define it their way?

Then it points out the logical conclusions: If marriage isn’t just a union of a man and a woman, then why can’t it involve three people?  Why can’t it be polygamous?  Why can’t a man have a wife and a husband in two separate but simultaneous marriages?  Why can’t you marry your dog?  As Koukl notes, when the other person says those are silly examples, you get to agree with them!  Yes, they are silly — but they are your arguments, not mine.  If your position is that we can define marriage how we like, these possibilities are open for others who are more “open minded” than you are.

Here’s how that conversation might look.  Remember to be nice!  This doesn’t have to be combative.  You aren’t trying to grind them into a fine powder, you want them to see where their worldview is taking them.  Oh, and you want to work the Gospel in wherever you can.

Christian: So what do you think of this “same-sex marriage” and adoptions by gay people?

Pro-gay person: I’m all for it.  Hey, they love each other and that’s what it is all about.  You have a civil right to marry who you like.  It doesn’t hurt me or my marriage.  And the Bible never said it is wrong.

And gay people adopting is fine. Kids need love from anyone.  It doesn’t have to be a male and a female.

C: Actually, the Bible couldn’t be more clear, and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people agree that it considers homosexual behavior sinful.  We can come back to that if you like.

So do you think marriage is something you define or describe?  I mean, is marriage a thing that exists and then we describe it, or is it just a word that we can change the definition of?

P: I think we can redefine it.  It used to be that interracial marriage was forbidden.

C: But the definition was the same: A union of a man and a woman.  So if you can redefine it, I assume you are OK with polygamy, polyamory (group marriage), polyandry (multiple husbands), one or more spouse of each sex, marriages to animals, etc.?

P: Oh, don’t be silly.

C: I agree that those are silly, but they are your arguments, not mine.  If marriage is something you define, then who are you to say others can’t define it their way?  All the same things apply: It is the same love, they were born that way, Jesus never said anything about them, etc.

P: But those things won’t happen.

C: They can and they will.  The polygamy and pedophilia movements are already latching onto the gay agenda gains and using the same reasoning. ABC just ran a fluff piece on polygamy and The Atlantic is advocating for polyamory.  This is how they change the culture to accept what used to be unthinkable.  Who would have predicted 10-15 years ago where we’d be now with “same-sex marriage?”  Who would have thought that Christian bakers could lose their businesses for not baking cakes for same-sex “weddings?”

So why are you pulling up the drawbridge on these other people who want to live out the way they were born?  How do their loving relationships hurt you?  If a bisexual was born that way, how can you deny him the fulfillment of marrying a man and a woman?

And who says that you can only love one person?  Why can’t a man or a woman have two or more spouses of any gender?

Real feminists should hate where this is headed.  Women will devote their youth to raising kids, only to have their husband be able to bring another partner into the household.

P: Well, I guess . . .

C: You are married with kids, right?

P: Yes, I’ve been married to my husband for 12 years and we have 2 kids.

C: OK, so consider this: Your husband comes home and tells you he loves you and wants to stay married to you, but he has always been attracted to men as well.  And there is a man he really loves.  So for him to be complete he is also going to marry him.  His “husband” will live in your house with you and your kids and they will have sex together.    

P: That’s ridiculous.

C: But it could happen, right?  Lots of men have abandoned families for gay lovers and women have left for lesbian relationships.  Episcopalian “Bishop” Gene Robinson is a Leftist hero for leaving his wife and kids for his gay lover.  Why shouldn’t these guys stay married and just add on?

Again, I’m using your born that way / same love / etc. logic.

So what would you do in that situation?

P: But our vows were to “forsake all others.”

C: Uh, sorry, but are you not familiar with no-fault divorce?  Wedding vows used to be like a real contract where you couldn’t unilaterally abandon your obligation.  But with no-fault divorce either party can leave for any reason.  So with the political clout LGBTQ people have things like this are inevitable.

P: Well, my husband would never do that.

C: Probably not, but if he had wanted to he probably wouldn’t have told you until society and your Left-leaning church decided that “same-sex marriage” was a civil right.

Again, what would you do?  It is just a hypothetical based on taking your views to their logical conclusions, so please don’t be offended.

P: Well, I’d divorce him.  Or I’d marry another husband!

C: And what makes you think another guy would want to be involved in that?!  “Yeah, my husband married a guy that shares our bed now, so I want a second husband.”

Wouldn’t you want your husband to be happy and fulfilled and to be who he really is?

P: Not at my expense!

C: Indeed.  So if you divorced him, do you realize that some Leftist judge would probably give him parental rights? 

P: No way!

C: Way.  Think about it: You and society have decided that it is illegal for adoption agencies to “discriminate” against gay couples.  So they are “obviously” just as fit to parent your kids as a heterosexual couple.  And there would be two of them — your husband and his lover — versus just one of you.  And given how politically incorrect it would be to give custody to you, the judge would almost certainly side with them.  

So the logical conclusion of your worldview would be you — or someone else — either living with your spouse and his new spouse (man or woman) and you would have no legal control over it.

P: I still don’t think that would happen.

C: It will, because the logic is already in place once you grant civil rights to sexual preferences — whether allegedly inborn or not.  

Let’s try another example: Regular polygamy.  I picked the “bisexual polygamy” first because, oddly enough, they are ahead of the regular polygamists in getting civil rights for their sexual preferences.  But how can you argue against polygamy at all?  At least those relationships fit the original definition of marriage — that is, one man and one woman.  By nature and design they could produce children and provide a mother and a father to them.  They “just” involved more than one of those relationships.  

P: But polygamy is wrong! [Note: The Leftists may not even think it is wrong, but I assumed so in this case to make it harder to convince them.]

C: We agree, but you’ve already made the case for them: They love each other (“same love!”), they were born that way, etc.  They can even claim that there are more parents around to love the kids.  So your support of government recognition of same-sex unions unwittingly made the case for polygamy.

So here’s another hypothetical: What if your husband decides he’d like a younger wife but doesn’t want the costly divorce?  He’ll be able to marry someone whether you like it or not and bring her into your house.  She would share in all you have built up over the years and actually live with you.  Think of the guys who dump their spouses for “trophy wives.”  Polygamy may be much simpler and cheaper for them.

P: My husband would never do that!

C: But if society tells him it is OK, he might change his mind.  Remember how much people are influenced by the “if it is legal then it must be moral” line of thinking.  Even Planned Parenthood said this about abortion in a 1964 advertisement: “An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun.”  Just years later half the population thought that abortion was an inalienable right and a completely moral solution.  So give it a decade or two and it may seem natural for your husband to consider a younger model.

And even though the Bible clearly teaches that God’s ideal is one man / one woman marriages for life, it is a thousand times easier to twist the Bible to support polygamy than it is to support “same-sex marriage.”

And even if your husband wouldn’t do that, what about all the other women and children impacted by it?

Now don’t feel like you have to answer me now, or at all, but I encourage you to think carefully about these things and see if perhaps you should reconsider your views.  If you think I’ve stated something incorrectly or illogically, please let me know.  But I firmly believe that those are all logical consequences of assigning civil rights to sexual preferences. Even if gays were born that way, there are no good reasons for the government to get involved in their relationships and there are many bad things that will inevitably happen — if not to you, then to others.

And please remember what the word of God says about this:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to 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 of any kind.

God created this world and knows exactly how it works.  Living in denial of that reality is always a recipe for pain.  The Good News is that all sins can be forgiven through repenting and trusting in Jesus.

—–

Conclusion: I encourage you to try this reasoning with people who hold pro-LGBTQ views.  I think it is a provocative way to get them to quit spouting fallacious sound bites and to think more carefully about the logical conclusions of their views.  Yes, it is an emotional argument, but one grounded in facts and logic.  The Left falsely uses emotional arguments, but there is nothing wrong with use using them properly.

——

By the way, if you a conservative using this on a Left-leaning spouse, be sure to tell them these are hypothetical situations!  You don’t want them to freak out too badly.

Why is the primary lie of the gay lobby so effective?

Because they combine it with some truth.

First, the lie:

Agree with us and it will cost you nothing while helping others.

What’s not to like?  Well, lots, if you give it a little thought.

It will make you more popular with the world, because you’ll be perceived as loving and tolerant instead of hateful, but it denies the truth in many ways.  Their agenda has and will continue to cost people their personal liberties, religious freedom and parental rights — and those are design features, not bugs.

And it doesn’t even help those it claims to.  Gays have 40+ times higher rates of Syphilis and HIV, partly because 62% of men who know they are HIV-positive have unprotected sex with men. Violence is higher in LGBTQ relationships.  Even gay leaders wouldn’t want gays around their teenage sons, because they know how predatory that culture can be.  People can and do change sexual preferences.  They are not “born that way,” and even if they were it wouldn’t justify the behavior any more than being born lustful, greedy, angry, etc. justifies those sins.

And of course, that lie explicitly denies the word of the one true God.  To teach the opposite is hate, not love. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to 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 of any kind.

Then why do so many people believe the lie?  Because it is packaged with some true messages.  Satan is evil, but he isn’t stupid.  Jesus rightly called him the father of lies, but that doesn’t mean Satan won’t gladly tell some of the truth to help sell the lies.  People have known for millennia that homosexual behavior was wrong.  God specifically says that you have to suppress the truth in unrighteousness to deny his existence, and one of the ways that rebellion manifests itself in in homosexual behavior.**

See how their truth and lies combination works:

Lie: Agree with us and it will cost you nothing while helping others.

Truth: Disagree with us and we will hurt you.  We will relentlessly mock you in government schools, the media and entertainment.  Like the blind men of Sodom, we will persist no matter what until everyone affirms us.  Not just tolerates, but actively affirms.  Silence will be interpreted as disapproval, and it will cost you your job, business, reputation or even your freedom.  We will not quit until all churches must “marry” same-sex couples and hire actively LGBTQ people.  It will be illegal to quote many parts of the Bible.  It will usher in legalized polygamy, polyamory, pedophilia and more [click any of those links to see how they are already being normalized].  We pretended that we were against those but we never really cared.  We favor anything that rebels against God.  But don’t feel too threatened.  We’ll help you convince others that the Bible doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is a sin, that it doesn’t harm people, etc.

Here’s just one recent example: LGBT Activist Declares: ‘We Need to Start Making Their Lives a Living Hell’

It’s time that the LGBT community forms a new organization that targets homophobes, bigots, religious zealots, religious fanatics, and all other assholes who are against equality, and human and civil rights for all people.
By targeting these bigots, and publishing every little detail of their sex lives, or personal lives, taking pictures through their windows, and getting the pics out on the internet, showing every little thing that they do, including how they wipe their asses when in the bathroom, or for that matter if they’re wiping their asses in the kitchen — we’ve got to catch it on camera.
The time to just sit back and take it, are over with for the LGBT community. We need to get rid of bigots like these homophobic religious assholes, and if it means exposing every little thing about them, then that’s what we need to do.
We need to start making their lives a living hell by constant observation and publishing pics and articles every time they fart, or spit, or even look cross-eyed. It’s obvious these bigots only understand one thing, and that is persecution, discrimination and bigotry.
Here come the LGBT bigots, gonna prey on the religious zealots, fanatics, and bigots who think their shit don’t stink, and think they can control everyone else’s life.
LET’S GET RID OF THESE BASTARDS ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!!

Can’t you just feel the love and tolerance?  That’s just one of the countless things the mainstream media will never tell you.  If they did, do you think it just might change the support for “same-sex marriage?”

That’s their combined message, and that is why so many people conveniently believe the lie.  Don’t give in.  Or if you have given in, come back to the truth and help others do the same.  If you really love God and your neighbor you’ll speak the truth.  In the next post I’ll explain an easy but provocative way to do it.

P.S. Their agenda is propped up by all sorts of other lies as well, such as Matthew Shepard’s murder, tipping hoaxes, birthday party snub hoaxes, etc.

——–

* The three general types of pro-gay theology people:

  1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God.” (Obviously non-Christians)
  2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling the theological Left.” (Only about 10 things wrong with that.)
  3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

** Romans 1:18–20, 26-28 (ESV) 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 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. 28 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.

This what coveting looks like.

The green bars below are the percent of people in various UK political parties who would increase taxes on the wealthy even if it didn’t yield extra tax money.  That’s coveting, pure and simple.  Guess which political party had 72% who admitted to coveting?  The Labour party, the UK equivalent of the U.S. Democrats.

british-punitive-taxation-support

Think about this carefully: The Left wants to take money from prosperous people even if it doesn’t help others.  That speaks volumes about their worldview and their other policies.  

Via Most British Labour Voters Would Impose Taxes Purely Out of Malice:

Here’s the legend: Con = Conservative Party (Tories); Lab = Labour (equivalent to USA’s Democrat Party); Lib Dem = Liberal Democrat (not as left-wing as Labour); UKIP = UK Independence Party.

The esteemed countermoonbat Daniel Hannan provides some analysis:

Sixty-nine per cent of Labour supporters would want a top rate tax of 50 per cent even if it brought in no money.

That is, they would impose the tax simply to punish people for having created wealth — on moral grounds.

Politicians either know or should know that increasing tax rates doesn’t always increase tax revenues.  Even JFK knew that!  But they appeal to people’s covetous nature and want to “soak the rich,” even though they are usually remarkably waterproof.

Appealing to people’s sinful desires may help people get elected, but it is still evil.

The problem is in the church as well, where Leftist false teachers encourage people to covet.

By the way, Obama is officially on the green bar, having supported the concept of ineffective tax hikes just to support the appearance of “fairness.”

More from the link:

Theft motivated purely by maliciousness is regarded as moral by these freaks.

No doubt they would wrap their malice in rhetoric about reducing income inequality…

. . .

We can encourage by far the most common forms of legal tax avoidance: shorter hours and earlier retirement. All these things will make our country more equal. All of them will make it poorer.

Lately Obama has been demagoguing the income inequality issue like a true Marxist. Appallingly but unsurprisingly, he has revealed that he believes wealth should be confiscated even if it actually reduces government revenue, “for purposes of fairness.”

Steven Furtick = false teacher

Steven Furtick is a super-creepy false teacher.  He seems like a mean version of Joel Osteen crossed with a cult leader. This was going to just be a one-liner in a roundup post, but I kept coming across more things about this guy and rapidly growing Elevation Church.

His “Hey Haters” video is comical for its hypocrisy.

He trots out other false teachers like Perry Noble to preach sermons about how great Furtick is, all the while claiming that God gave him that text to preach about Furtick, not Jesus.

Poor guy only has a 16,000 sq. ft. house. It is sad that his “church” is growing so fast and taking in a half-million dollars in weekly donations.

His church has people pretend to want to get baptized so that it will manipulate others into doing so.

Then there is this coloring assignment for kids at the church.  Yes, it is real.  Yes, he takes a verse about government and applies it to himself.  Yes, it is cult-like.  This reminds me of the episode from The Simpsons where Homer joins a cult (“The leader is great . . .”).

furtick

Update: Furtick knew about the book and loved it.

Furtick_Tweet

He actively discourages Bible study (surprise!) so his followers probably won’t catch on any time soon.  If only they would open the book . . .

Responses to common atheist objections

I thought I’d share this thread from a recent commenter on the How many translations did your Bible go through? post.

Thanks for returning to comment. You seem unwilling to carefully study the arguments for and against your position, and you continually offer logical fallacies as arguments. The primary way you do this is by misstating your opponent’s views and then attacking that position. But that doesn’t prove anything.

You just said that the evil committed in the name of Christianity, was violating its basic tenets. Well, the same goes for atheism. Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin were just insane people, simple as that. They have nothing to do with atheism.

What grounding do you have to claim they were insane or that they did anything wrong? In a Darwinian worldview they were obviously the most fit for a time.

Also, there are a lot of atheists who haven’t killed anyone.

That’s not much of an accomplishment, but I’m glad to hear that.

The people you mention are violating atheists basic tenets as well. I’m an atheist, and I haven’t killed anyone. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are atheists, and they haven’t killed anyone. There are a lot of atheists in the world, and we’re just as moral as you are.

But atheism has no core tenets other than insisting that there is no God. We agree that murder is wrong, but your worldview can’t explain why.

This is a quote by Richard Dawkins.

“Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality, that’s just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base though (Richard Dawkins)”.

Dawkins commits fallacies similar to yours. First, the reward for being good is legitimate because it is innately tied to the act. There is a reason that students who study hard are rewarded with better grades, why employees who perform well are rewarded with promotions and raises, etc. There is nothing wrong with avoiding sin so as to avoid punishment. What could be more logical than that?

Dawkins’ argument, even if true, wouldn’t disprove God.

Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. Dawkins states that if you can only be moral because God’s watching you, that’s pretty sad.

Atheists love making the false argument that Christians love making the argument that you can’t be moral without God. There have been nearly 3,000 posts on this blog plus tens of thousands of comments. Please find where Christians have made that claim. You’ll be looking a long time. What you will find is that we say that without God you can’t logically ground morality. It isn’t that you can’t be moral if Darwinian evolution is true, it is that there would be no such thing.

Jesus did not rise from the dead. Your “evidence” aka, Bible is false and is full of contradictions.

We have much more evidence than the Bible, though of course that is part of the evidence. You have already demonstrated that you’ve never studied the Bible seriously. You are just repeating atheist sound bites. There are answers to all your alleged contradiction claims (though I doubt you could name 3 supposed contradictions without having to search for them).

Most scholars believe that the gospels are written between 70-100 A.D. That’s plenty of time to get facts wrong.

There are many good reasons to believe that the Gospels — at least the first three — were written before that. Please see http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/when-was-the-new-testament-written/ — that is, if you are truly interested in facts and logic.

And it is fallacious to say that just because things could be wrong that they must be wrong.

Also, how come there isn’t one contemporary eyewitness for Jesus Christ? Everyone claims that there are several eyewitness, yet all of the writings are after Jesus died. Isn’t that a little odd?

I don’t follow . . . if nearly 1/3 of the Gospel texts address the last week of his life and if the entire religion is based on him dying for our sins and rising again, and if the Bible records that his earthly ministry was the last three years of his life, and if the Bible records that his followers didn’t realize He’d die and rise from the dead, then exactly why would you expect the writings to occur before He died and rose again?

Atheism does have really good arguments, but you’re too blinded by your faith to see it.

I could say the same about you regarding Christianity, only I’d have the truth of the Bible to back me up: Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

But you have nothing in atheism to back up your statement. If your worldview is true, then random chemical reactions are solely responsible for my conversion from atheism to my belief in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Why be so mad at your own worldview if it is the “obvious” cause for Christianity?

It’s funny how you say that I’m the one who’s been conditioned to repeat soundbites. Christians are told from birth not to question the dogma of their religion. Even questioning their religion is considered a sin.

Once again you show that you haven’t read the book. Please note these two teachings then reconsider your statements:

Acts 17:11 (ESV) 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV) 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

Christians are specifically told to use good discernment in testing truth claims.

No, I haven’t come up with excuses to avoid the Bible. I have looked at the evidence and drawn my conclusion that the Christian God is no different than any other myth. The truth is that we don’t know what created the universe. It may have been a “God”, or something else. The point is we don’t know.

We can use logic and facts to demonstrate that it came into being at a point in time, and it is obvious that whatever created it had to be more powerful and significant than what was created.

It’s pretty sad how Christians preach about love of their God. If their love doesn’t work then they preach about eternal damnation.

That is another one of your made-up claims. We preach the entire truth of God. We do love him, and for good reasons. He is a God of love, but will also punish sin as any just judge would. And we love our neighbors, so we tell them the truth about Jesus: He died on a cross for the sins of all who would repent and believe in him. If you want to pay for your own sins for eternity, that is your option.

That doesn’t sound like a loving God to me. Why aren’t you afraid of Zeus, Allah, or any other Gods that have been worshiped throughout history?

Because I have good reasons to believe that those are false.

It’s because you have been brought up from birth to believe in a certain God. If you haven’t been brought up, you’ve been indoctrinated in some form.

Then you are an atheist because of where you were born, right? You know nothing of the Bible. I’m a Christian because God made me spiritually alive and turned me to him through his Word. He does that all over the world every day. People convert from all sorts of belief systems to Christianity.

Just because you believe in Christianity, it doesn’t make it right.

I agree with you. That is another made-up argument on your part.

Christianity is based on geography, and nothing else.

No, it is based on trusting in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and in repenting of sins. Really, read the book. Eternity is a mighty long time to regret spouting atheist sound bites in rebellion against your creator.

The incoherence of the “Christian” Left

Even if you just refer to the Tiny Bible of the Theological Left as common ground, it is easy to show how the Christian Left doesn’t understand or believe the few parts of Bible they claim to like.

False teachers from the “Christian” Left typically deny that Jesus is the only way to salvation, even though there are well over 100 passages teaching the opposite.  Here is another example of their incoherence.  They try to dismiss Paul and the Old Testament (as if that is something a real Christian would ever do!) yet claim to hold to the Gospels.

But consider what Jesus taught about parents in Matthew:

  1. He is obviously in agreement to honor your parents.  Matthew 15:4 “For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’”
  2. But you must always put Jesus over any other person, including the parents you are commanded to honor.  Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
  3. Those who do his will are really his family. Matthew 12: 46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

There is no way to reconcile those passages from the Gospel of Matthew with the teaching that other religions can lead you to salvation.  The theological Left (read: wolves in sheep’s clothing) would have you believe that Jesus taught that you must love him more than anyone else, including the parents you are commanded to honor, and be willing to give up your life for him, yet you could still worship in another religion.  You must love him much more than your parents and other loved ones, but you could love Buddha, Allah, etc. more than Jesus.

That is ridiculous, as are most things they teach.  Run, don’t walk, from any “Christian” leader who denies that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  If they can’t get the simplest essential of the faith right, then they shouldn’t be trusted on anything.  Pick almost any passage that they claim to agree with and see what I mean.  There is almost always something there that they hate but can’t see — as if their eyes hadn’t been opened to it.