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.

Please use discernment on all these Heaven books and movies!

It is so sad that people flock to books and movies like “Heaven is for Real.” Please let your friends know how these “I went to Heaven and came back” books are all false. The are un-biblical, anti-biblical and they don’t even agree with each other. If you want to know about Heaven then read the Bible and this: In Light of Eternity by Randy Alcorn. It is a terrific, simple read and thoroughly biblical.

Or least get this FREE booklet by the same author, Heaven: Biblical Answers to Common Questions.  It should be must-reading for anyone reading those other books or seeing the movies.

Please watch and share this:

Roundup

Moralism is Not the Gospel (But Many Christians Think it Is) – This is an important issue for us all, but especially as parents.  Of course you want your kids to behave well.  But you don’t just want to raise well-behaved pagans.  You want to point them to the Gospel.

We are justified by faith alone, saved by grace alone, and redeemed from our sin by Christ alone. Moralism produces sinners who are (potentially) better behaved. The Gospel of Christ transforms sinners into the adopted sons and daughters of God.

The Church must never evade, accommodate, revise, or hide the law of God. Indeed, it is the Law that shows us our sin and makes clear our inadequacy and our total lack of righteousness. The Law cannot impart life but, as Paul insists, it “has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.” [Gal. 3:24]

The deadly danger of moralism has been a constant temptation to the church and an ever-convenient substitute for the Gospel. Clearly, millions of our neighbors believe that moralism is our message. Nothing less than the boldest preaching of the Gospel will suffice to correct this impression and to lead sinners to salvation in Christ.

Is the Qur’an the Word of God?Short answer: No.  Medium answer: Because of its claims about the Bible, the Qur’an loses whether the Bible is the word of God or not (The Bible is the word of God, of course, but if the Bible is right then the Qur’an is not, and if the Bible is wrong then the Qur’an is also wrong).

 

Time to Kiss RINO Vance McAllister GoodbyeEven if he was a real Conservative we should dump him.  The guy poses as a conservative family man and cheats on his wife.  And there is no indication that this was the first or only time.  I realize that the Left wouldn’t do anything because you have to have standards to be a hypocrite.

 

Former NASA scientist: Global warming is rubbish – Yep.

In spite of the seemingly overwhelming tide of scientific opinion on the matter, there are still some who steadfastly refuse to jump on the ‘global warming’ bandwagon.

Emeritus Professor Les Woodcock is one of them. When I ask the former NASA scientist about ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’, he laughs.

“The term ‘climate change’ is meaningless. The Earth’s climate has been changing since time immemorial, that is since the Earth was formed 1,000 million years ago. The theory of ‘man-made climate change’ is an unsubstantiated hypothesis [about] our climate [which says it] has been adversely affected by the burning of fossil fuels in the last 100 years, causing the average temperature on the earth’s surface to increase very slightly but with disastrous environmental consequences.

“The theory is that the CO2 emitted by burning fossil fuel is the ‘greenhouse gas’ causes ‘global warming’ – in fact, water is a much more powerful greenhouse gas and there is is 20 time more of it in our atmosphere (around one per cent of the atmosphere) whereas CO2 is only 0.04 per cent.

 

Thinking Upside Down – The Abiogenesis Paradigm – By their own words, atheists believe in the spontaneous creation of self-replicating molecules that are chock-full of information-rich DNA.  Paging Romans 1!

Heather Catchpole: Have you put any thought into the beginning of life and into what kicked that off?

Dawkins: Not personally.  I mean, it’s increasingly clear that the big step that had to be taken – and it was probably a step that involved a large element of luck – was the origin of the first accurately self-replicating molecule.  Colloquially, you could say the first gene.  Which probably was not DNA, it might have been RNA.

That’s the step that must have been taken in the origin of life, and that’s what people are working on all around the world.  It’s hard to work on it because it happened a very long time ago under very different conditions, and it is a problem in chemistry rather than biology, it is pre-biology.

But the event in chemistry that must have taken place was the spontaneous arising of a self-replicating molecule.  That’s how I stated it in The Selfish Gene and that hasn’t changed, but people are now actively working on various theories of how that might have happened.  I’m not working on that.

 

The False Teachers: Marcus BorgTim Challies has an excellent ongoing series on false teachers, and his latest piece highlights a popular contemporary wolf.  Borg is so hostile to the essentials of the faith that I don’t even feel sorry for those who follow him.  Anyone agreeing with Borg has no business pretending to be a Christian.  I wrote about Borg back in 2006 after a false teacher in our former church was teaching a class based on a book by Borg and N.T. Wright.  Wright is generally sound but is too wimpy to call Borg a non-Christian.

 

Gay theology is as demonic as it gets – seriously.  This is the kind of thing that Liberal denominations defend. 

According to “gay pastor” Timothy R. Koch, in his article “Cruising as Methodology: Homoeroticism and the Scriptures,” the description of Elijah in 2 Kings 1:8, wearing goat skins and a leather belt, means that he was “channeling goat gods” as the scriptural prototype of the homosexual “leather” subculture. Koch also makes many other such disturbing “discoveries.” For instance, 2 Kings 10:12–17 contains an account of Israel’s King Jehu and Jehonadab taking an innocent ride in a chariot, but to Koch’s warped mind, the text is pregnant with sexual innuendo as he envisions this episode as a “clear” reference to a homosexual pleasure trip. And in Judges 3:12–26, when Ehud plunged an 18-inch knife into Israel’s Moabite oppressor, Eglon, Koch takes great interpretive liberties to distort this passage into a scene of sexual penetration by a phallus.

In the same Queer Commentary, Lori Rowlett’s article “Violent Femmes and S/M [Sadomasochism]: Queering Samson and Delilah” makes the preposterous claim that, “Delilah is a the femme dominatrix teasing and tormenting Samson, who has all the characteristics of a ‘butch bottom’” [a lesbian sexually receptive partner].

And this:

Robert E. Goss, a former Jesuit priest, abandoned his Catholic ministry to pursue a homosexual relationship. His books include Jesus Acted Up: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto and Queering Christ: Beyond Jesus Acted Up. Goss is a recognized theological “leader” in the Metropolitan Community Church, the primary “gay Christian” denomination. Goss even achieved a false air of respectability when he won the 2000 Templeton Course Prize in Religion and Science. According to Rev. Edward Ingebretsen, Director of American Studies at Georgetown University, Goss is a “preeminent” voice who fulfills a “prophetic role” for the Christian “resistance.” And what does this foremost homosexual “prophet” have to say? Goss writes: “Jesus evolved from a friend in childhood, to lover, and to the Queer Christ calling me out of the closet into the streets as an activist priest…I trace my first unspoken words of physical attraction to the crucified Jesus, wanting to strip off his loincloth and gaze at his genitals … I lusted after the figure of Christ, imagining him as the bearded hunk depicted by Michelangelo.” Moreover, this offensive “prophet” of perversion also deviously interprets the Roman centurion’s spearing of Christ as an erotic image of “a penetrated male, a bottom [the passive sexual partner in a male homosexual act].”

 

Did God say . . . that homosexuals (and other practicing sinners) wouldn’t inherit the kingdom of God?  Yes.  Yes, He did. 

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-10).

Many people – including those who claim the name of Christ – claim that Paul didn’t mean practicing homosexuals in the sense that we think of them today.  But as the link notes, even a “hostile witness” like the “encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture” concedes the point:

The bad news from the Christian Bible is that it condemns same-sex desire and same-sex acts without qualification of age, gender, role, status, consent, or membership in an ethnic community.

Once again, 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.

* 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.)

The mind-numbingly bad “gender pay-equity” myth

How many 2014 Democratic incumbents have gender pay-equity gaps? – Anyone promoting the “77 cents” argument should be ignored for at least one election cycle, because it means they are either wildly ignorant and/or malicious liars.  Republicans should fight back against this as Cruz is doing.

Cruz: “Under President Obama, 3.7 million women have moved into poverty.”

Earlier today, Glenn Kessler predicted that Democrats would find the 77-cent lie too irresistible to jettison. Perhaps a dose of their own medicine might cure them.

. . .

It turns out President Obama isn’t the only hypocritical Democrat, in fact Senate Democrats have their own problems when it comes to equal pay.  We pulled the official payroll records of various offices and calculated the average pay for men and women in each office for the most recent 6 month period available. Since some employees only worked a portion of the six month period, we calculated how much each person was paid per day in order to give an accurate representation.  Here’s what we found:

  • Mark Udall pays women 91 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
  • Mary Landrieu pays women 88 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
  • Mark Begich pays women 82 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
  • Mark Warner pays women 75 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
  • Gary Peters pays women 67 cents for every dollar that a man makes.

That means on average, these five Democrats on the ballot in battleground states pay women in their office 79 cents for every dollar made by a male employee.  All Republicans support equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender or race for working families, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers. Democrats, on the other hand, don’t practice what they preach.  They’re hypocrites.

Assuming this is accurate, only Landrieu and Udall even make it to the White House’s level of failure on the issue [see update below]. Warner (D-VA) pays less than the 77-cent bogus metric derided by the White House (using their same calculation), while House Democrat Gary Peters — who has declared his candidacy for the retiring Carl Levin’s Senate seat — falls a full ten cents below the national average.

The answer to this is, just as it is in the rest of the country, that men and women have different priorities and desires in the marketplace.

 

 

The IRS scandal isn’t going away

It is stunning how deep this is, and how Elijah Cummings (D) tried but thankfully failed to get this investigation stopped (turns out he is a part of the problem!).  Via Timeline of Targeting: The Evidence Mounts Against the IRS’s Lois Lerner.

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to recommend criminal charges against Lois Lerner.

The Committee’s letter to the Justice Department documents in detail the nefarious character of Lois Lerner’s actions.

The Committee pointed to three specific violations of federal law:

“Lerner used her position to improperly influence agency action against only conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law.  She showed extreme bias and prejudice towards conservative groups.  The letter lays out evidence on how Lerner targeted conservative organization Crossroads GPS as well as other right-leaning groups, while turning a blind eye to similarly-organized liberal groups, like Priorities USA.

“Lerner impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

“Lerner risked exposing, and may actually have disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business.”

The letter makes it blatantly clear how Lerner, influenced by pressure from the Left, cultivated a culture of bias and engaged in reprehensible behavior, violating the free speech rights of thousands of Americans.

Most stunning is her open political bias.  Not only does she clearly show animus toward conservative leaning groups, but when President Obama’s own campaign-committee-turned-advocacy-group, Organizing for America (OFA), applied for tax-exempt status, she remarked to one of her employees responsible for reviewing such applications, “Oh—maybe I can get the DC office job!”

If that doesn’t belie her true intentions, what does?  Angling for a job at OFA, using the power of the office for political gain, and putting the full weight of the most dangerously abusive federal agency on the neck of political enemies, but according to President Obama, there isn’t a “smidgen of corruption.”

The evidence to the contrary is mounting.

The House Ways and Means Committee has put together an detailed and damaging timeline of the IRS’s targeting of conservatives.

The timeline that follows is very detailed.  What adds to the insult is how Obama tries to pretend there isn’t even a “smidgen” of corruption and the media lets him off the hook.  Even Democrats should realize the problems of letting an organization like the IRS operate like this.

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.

Decision, decisions

Uber-apologist Wintery Knight linked to this last week so I thought I’d re-run it.

—–

Decision Making and the Will of God is one of my all-time favorite lessons to teach.  This is such a crucial topic, because we make big and small decisions all the time and are constantly living with the consequences of past decisions.

Does God speak to you about specific decisions when you are reading the Bible, such as whether you should pay off your mortgage, whom you should marry, what job you should take, etc.?  I think this is about how you apply the Bible to decision making and not about whether God sends individual messages through his word.

For example, if you want to know whether paying off your mortgage is the right thing to do, you have a couple options:

1. Ask God for a supernatural sign for the answer, whether it is a yes or a no (a la Gideon).  My guess is that He won’t decide for you that way, but it is always his option.  One thing we know about God is that if He wants to tell you something directly He isn’t very subtle.  There are zero examples of him trying to tell someone something in the Bible and not getting through.

2. Use the wisdom model of decision making.  You don’t have access to God’s sovereign knowledge (Will I lose my job?  Will interest rates go up or down?  Etc.).  You do have unrestricted access to his moral will via the Bible. Example: Is it immoral to pay off your mortgage early?  No, unless that means you won’t have enough money to feed your kids.  After moral considerations, look to the wisdom angle.  Ask God for wisdom, as He promises to deliver.  But as with Solomon, He doesn’t promise to decide everything for you.  Read the Proverbs (and more).  Seek the counsel of others.  Consider the pros and cons.  That’s how to make wise decisions.  Finally, provided the options are moral and wise, consider your personal preferences.  We have tremendous freedom in Christ to do many things with our time and money.  Will paying off your mortgage make you happy?  If so, then do it.

Here’s a picture of what is looks like:

Decision making and the will of God

Really short version: Aside from direct and clear personal revelation from God, you don’t have access to his sovereign will when making decisions.  Therefore you must look at other factors.  If it isn’t moral, don’t do it.  If it is moral but not wise, don’t do it.  If it is moral and wise, then use your personal preferences.

Using this model you can end up with a wise and biblical decision, but you have avoided the traps of the “God told me to ____” routine.  People who run around saying that God told them this and that convey a super-spirituality that can leave less mature believers wondering if they really have a relationship with God (i.e., “God doesn’t tell me every little thing to do, so maybe I don’t really know him.”).

The “God told me ___” routine can also be outright blasphemy, as when “Christians” claim that God is moving in a new direction counter to what He revealed in the Bible.  The United Church of Christ “God is still speaking;” theme is a good example of that.  They didn’t believe what He said the first time around, so why trust them on allegedly new revelations?

Saturating yourself in the word is a key success factor in making good decisions. If we focus on worldly wisdom things go badly:

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

But if we repent and do everything we can to see things from God’s point of view we will make better decisions.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This model will help you make good decisions in all areas of life.  You can also use it to help friends, children, etc. make good decisions.  I even use it at work as a “faith flag” at times.  If people ask career advice, for example, I pull out this diagram and share it with them (i.e., “At the risk of getting all religious on you, here’s the method I use to make decisions like that.”)

Click here to download a set of PowerPoint slides to read or to use yourself to teach others.

P.S. A kid came into my wife’s elementary school library yesterday and asked if she had any books on how to make good choices.  She thought of the diagram above and laughed.  Let’s just say I refer to this model now and then.  She thinks I should write a children’s book on decision making.  I think she is kidding.

Hat tip to Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason for much of this, including the diagram.

Disappointing: “God’s Not Dead” appears to have missed an opportunity

Spoiler alert: Skip this post if you don’t want to know too much about the God’s Not Dead movie

Note: I haven’t seen the movie and probably won’t, but this review seemed pretty thorough and came from a site that would presumably be predisposed to like a production like this.  Go ahead and see it if you like, but either way I encourage you to use it as a springboard to candidly discuss the points of the movie, the gaps and how we could be more effective in sharing the Good News.  My goal with skeptics isn’t to fully address every item in their Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites, but to give thorough, meaningful answers to a couple key questions to remove some barriers and then encourage them to read the word of God, which will do the real work.  

And remember that apologetic reasoning isn’t just important for addressing legitimate questions of non-believers as we seek to point them to the truths in the Bible, but also to strengthen the faith of believers.  So it is important to always use good arguments and to consider the counter-arguments.

 —–

When I first heard of God’s Not Dead I thought it might be a good opportunity to present some key apologetic arguments in a movie.  Sounds like the effort may end up being counterproductive.  Apparently they used arguments that weren’t fleshed out very well and that atheists could easily refute.  If Christians new to apologetics try to use the arguments presented by the movie, they will probably fail with the atheists and may end up with less confidence themselves.  Yes, we have been given the truth, but if you love people you won’t send them off with a false sense of confidence and pretend that they can be white-hot apologists in one easy lesson.

There are multiple subplots in the movie which are all introduced in its first few minutes, but not developed immediately, and it seems to take a while before the details emerge allowing the viewer a chance to catch up. However, the main story is that Josh, a college freshman, is taking an Introduction to Philosophy class from an infamously atheistic professor, Dr. Radisson (played by Kevin Sorbo who is known for his role on the TV show Hercules, among other roles). The very first class, the professor stands up and gives a short discourse about the virtues and intellectual superiority of atheism. He then gives the class their first assignment. He passes out blank papers, and demands that each student write “God is dead” and sign their names in order to get a passing grade. Josh refuses, so the professor forces him to take an alternate assignment; Josh will be given time in the next three lectures to prove the existence of God. If the students in his class are convinced, he passes the assignment. If not, he fails the semester, and thus his chances at a prestigious law degree.

This “hostile atheist professor” is a pretty common scenario, though usually not in such a heavy-handed way.  I am a big believer in equipping kids to stay strong in their faith when they leave your house.  But you can’t give them superficial or partial arguments.

And you should never expect some sort of immediate and across the board conversion of a group of people even if you make sound arguments.  The Holy Spirit goes where He will. We can honor God by stating the truth about him regardless of whether He has made them spiritually alive and they accept the truth.

I don’t want to be too hard on the movie, because there is only so much you can cram into two hours.  But it sounds like they could have used better arguments and that they made the characters and scenarios a little too extreme.  I would have stuck with things like the cosmological, design and moral arguments.  These are very sound yet also accessible to the average person.  But I would not have missed the opportunity to work in the minimal facts* arguments.  Consider the benefits of that:

  • You would be talking directly about Jesus, not some generic god.
  • You would point to facts that the history professors on that very campus would agree with (e.g., Jesus really lived and died on a Roman cross, that Paul was a convert and wrote extensively about Jesus close to his death, etc.).
  • You would be bursting the myth that we have a blind faith.
  • You would be talking about the crucifixion and why it occurred, and the resurrection and what that meant.

And I definitely wouldn’t have missed an opportunity to highlight Romans 1, which would demonstrate that in the Christian worldview no amount of arguments will work on people who are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness and that God will judge them based on Christ’s standards, not their’s.

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 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

We know why atheists hold their worldview, but all they have to explain our worldview is their beloved Darwinian evolution (however they are defining that this week). And if the manifestation of their theory is the cause of our trust in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, why are they so angry about the outcome?

Whether you see it or not, be sure to be prepared to address the topic when it comes up.  Point them to resources like Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent DesignDarwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design or Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, or to my favorite apologetics blogger, the Wintery Knight.

You can remind people that Christianity is a faith based on real events in history.  We readily concede that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then we are completely wrong about God (1 Corinthians 15).

But we have great reasons that He did rise from the dead, that He is fully God and fully man, that if we repent and believe in him we can be saved from our sins and have his righteousness imputed to us, that He is the only way to salvation, and more!  Point them to the word of God and trust him with the results.  And don’t be surprised if they dislike you even more after you share the truth in love.

———-

*Summary of the “minimal facts” approach: Nearly 100% of historical scholars from 1975 – present agree with the following statements:

  • Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.
  • Jesus’ disciples believed He appeared to them.
  • Jesus’ brother, James, went from being a pre-crucifixion skeptic to a post-crucifixion church leader.
  • The Apostle Paul believed Jesus appeared to him and he wrote most of the books attributed to him, including Romans, I & II Corinthians, Philemon and others. He converted from persecuting Christians to being the greatest evangelist ever, despite nearly constant challenges, persecution and ultimately dying for his faith.

75% of the same scholars agree that the tomb was empty.

None of the alternative theories can be true in light of these facts.  The physical resurrection of Jesus best accounts for these facts.

Schizophrenic feminism

One of the most bizarre things about radical feminism is how quickly they will abandon their supposed core ideals to support unrestricted and even taxpayer-funded abortion.

Exhibit A: Bill Clinton. The guy was everything they should hate about men, with one exception. He supported abortion, so they loved him.

Exhibit B: “Bro-choice” guys.  The real reasons lots of young males support abortion rights is to get sex without apparent consequences.  In other words, to use women.  The early feminists knew this. You should know it, too. And keep this in mind when pro-abortion people insist that men should have no say in abortion. Have you noticed that they don’t try to shut up the men who support abortion?

Exhibit C: While claiming that women are strong and wise enough to know when to kill their children they gladly accept support from pro-abortion guys saying how stupid women are.

Exhibit D: Planned Parenthood systematically hides rape, incest and sex trafficking.  They have been caught on audio and video countless times.  I mock the pro-aborts who think these aren’t real.  Do you seriously think that Planned Parenthood wouldn’t have immediately sued to shut this down if that were the case?  When Lila Rose exposed them on video it made the news for 5 minutes until they let PP pretend that those were just a few “rogue” employees.  But the cross-country evidence is there for anyone who isn’t blinded by the pro-abortion media.

Exhibit E: Planned Parenthood would rather destroy a breast cancer charity than part ways amicably.

Exhibit F: They know that Kermit Gosnell was not unique and that there are many abortionists like him, but they do nothing to try to stop them.  In fact, they aggressively fight regulations that would make abortions safer for the mothers (though, of course, they are still deadly to the children).

Exhibit G: They know that nearly all gender-selection abortions kill females for the sole reason that they are female.  In addition to killing the females, it creates many additional societal problems such as sex trafficking.  Yet pro-aborts do nothing to stop it, because fighting that would point to the humanity of the unborn, and pro-aborts avoid that at all costs.

Exhibit H: While pretending to be for the choices of all women, they viciously attack pro-life women.

Exhibit I: They discount women who regret their abortions and try to keep them from seeking the hope and healing available to them in Jesus.

Abortion is pure misogyny.

———

This is what control looks like.

This  is what hate looks like.

This  is what extremism looks like.

This  is what — as even some pro-aborts concede — murder looks like.

Pro-abortion extremists have such seared consciences that they can’t even look at what they are responsible for.

What?! AT&T did something helpful?

Yes, but they haven’t gone soft or anything.  It was just one of the benefits of capitalism.  Yea for competition!

After a couple decades of hopelessly complex and painful billing methods schemes*, AT&T now has a group plan that actually helps you.  Instead of a separate data plan for every smartphone and tablet you own, you can combine them into one.  You actually save a little bit and have the flexibility of pooled data.

We were able to add my daughter and son-in-law and my parents to our plan.  We have a 10GB data plan for seven phones and an iPad.  It helped spread our data costs a little and literally cut their bills in half.

We also get unlimited minutes (and we already had unlimited texts), so we never have to worry about those again.

* Watch your bills closely whenever you make a change.  They have a habit of “accidentally” double-charging you for the first month.  Just call and ask about it and watch how quickly they fix the “mistake.”

Good pro-life news

The abortion industry tries to discredit Abby Johnson for leaving Planned Parenthood after she saw an abortion, but it seems to keep backfiring on them.

Via Planned Parenthood guard told to watch pro-lifers, but instead he asks them to help him leave job:

A Planned Parenthood security guard tasked with spying on Abby Johnson’s pro-life charity And Then There Were None – dedicated to helping abortion workers escape the industry – was so impressed with what he saw that he asked the group to help him leave as well.

Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood facility director herself, says this isn’t the first time Planned Parenthood’s attempts to foil her organization have backfired.

“We’ve told you before about the many times workers have contacted us because Planned Parenthood has attempted to ‘warn’ their employees about And Then There Were None. They didn’t even know about our ministry until they got the email from Planned Parenthood!” Johnson wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “That prompted several workers to contact us … and eventually leave their job in the industry.”

In the case of the Planned Parenthood security guard, “Planned Parenthood gave this employee a task. His job was to keep tabs on me and our organization,” Johnson said. “He was so intrigued by what he saw, and so miserable in his job, he contacted us. We are now working to place him in another position! So, all we can say is, thank you for the referral, Planned Parenthood!”

That is so great that she helps people leave those soul-shattering jobs.

These are your tax dollars at work funding the spying, of course.

Roundup

The Addiction: Novelty; The Cure: Preach the Worddoes your church preach from the Bible or from novelty?

10 Reasons to Love Eggs –  Mmmmmmm . . . eggs – it is unfortunate that eggs had a bad rap for so many years.

We often hear people complain that it is too expensive or challenging to eat healthily. The truth is that there are many real food options that are nutrient rich and won’t break the bank. A perfect example – eggs.  When it comes to convenient, affordable and nutritious foods, eggs deliver the perfect package. Eggs play a significant role in mind and body energy, weight management, muscle strength, brain function, eye health and more!

Here are ten reasons eggs should be a part of your daily diet:

1. Eggs are real food – They come unprocessed, in their original packaging, and let *you* decide how to prepare and eat them. Pair them with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy foods and small amounts of heart healthy oil, as part of an overall healthy diet.

2. Nutrient-dense – Eggs have an awesome protein to calorie ratio. One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids, all for just 70 calories.

. . .

9. Fast and easy – An egg meal or snack is quick and easy. Simply beat an egg in a small bowl or coffee mug, place on high heat in the microwave for 60 seconds and add it to a toasted whole-grain English muffin. Top with low-fat cheese and a slice of tomato for a balanced meal. It takes less than two minutes to prepare!

10. Eggs make cents – Eggs are very affordable compared to other high-quality protein foods. At just $0.15 each, eggs are the least expensive source of high-quality protein per serving.

‘Camp Epic’: Gay California Teacher Molested Boys as Young as 11 –  But this will never happen with the Boy Scouts, right?

Obama Regime Calls for Wooden Skyscrapers to Stop Global Warming – As Dave Barry has noted, wood is great for buildings because it can both rot and burn.  It is hard to believe anyone would even consider this nonsense. 

New study, new confirmation that dumping money into schools doesn’t fix themnot a surprise.

Evolutionary biologists say: Darwin’s tree of life “is wrong” – Hey, we agree!

Muslims Subject Christians to Ritual SacrificeYet another truth you won’t find in the mainstream media.  Doesn’t fit the narrative.

31 Days of Purity: Rejoice in the Wife of Your Youthgood message.

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:2)

We hear it all the time, practice “protected sex”! But for the Christian man, protected sex means something much more significant and wonderful than birth control. Enjoying your wife sexually (and inviting her to enjoy you!) is a God-installed sentry for guarding your heart in the fight for purity. Think of it as one of your first lines of defense. God says, “because of the temptation to sexual immorality,” I’m giving you protection—it’s called your spouse. Rather than squandering your sexual desire in pornography and lust, fulfill it by having wonderful, God-honoring sex with your wife. Love her sacrificially and enjoy her often!

A must-see about the global warming / climate change scam.

Pope Francis seems to be misunderstood quite a bit.

As if you needed another reason to dislike United Airlines . . .

After booking a trip on United Airlines using frequent flier miles they noted that the costs for the first checked bag for each person was $90 each way (the actual flight will be on their partner, US Air, whose rate is usually $25).  

If they want to devalue frequent flier miles they should just raise the rates.  Tricking you this way is the opposite of good customer service.  

We’ll be carrying our luggage on, of course.

Continental was already slipping a little bit in the customer service area, but after the United merger it has been a free fall.  If you own their stock I’d sell it.

“Forced birthers?”

One of the most popular personal attacks that pro-abortion extremists like to use against pro-lifers is “forced birther.”  They appear to like the rhetorical impact of pretending that we are forcing something on someone rather than protecting innocent life.  You have a few options when facing that challenge.

The first, and possibly best, is to just ignore them.  Sometimes letting the pro-abortionist extremists talk as long and loudly as possible does the most good for the anti-abortion cause.  When they talk of babies as intruders, parasites, etc. to justify abortion it exposes their evil to the middle ground.

But you can also turn it around on them by referring to them as “forced deathers.”  After  all, the human being is coming out of her mother one way or another — dead or alive.  She doesn’t just disappear.  We aren’t forcing anyone to give birth, we are just saying that you shouldn’t kill unwanted children in any location — even if, in warped pro-abortion extremist logic, they claim to be doing it for the child’s own good (“they might be poor, abused, etc.”).  They are the ones forcing death.

And you can also point out that anyone using the “forced birther” ad hominem argument is pro-”partial-birth abortion” (aka infanticide).  Since even the majority of those identifying as pro-choice oppose that procedure then those who use that silly term will out themselves as the extremists that they are.

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.