Archive for the ‘ Biblical Principles ’ Category

Unrenewed Minds

I don’t stun easily anymore. Yet, last Friday, while attending the commencement ceremony at my university, one of my faculty colleagues did stun me with a bit of information. We were talking about the current generation and the influences on their lives. He noted that in his classes, he asks students what they consider their main source for learning about politics and the issues of the day. He reported that the majority answered—Comedy Central.

In other words, this generation looks to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert as its fount of knowledge regarding current affairs.

This means that at my evangelical Christian university, students are getting their information from two individuals who have little or no regard for the faith they [the students] claim is the cornerstone of their lives.

It’s revelations such as this that have the power to keep me from going back to sleep in the middle of the night [which is when I’m writing this].

Is this the new Lost Christian Generation? Is this generation going to help shape the culture, or is it the other way around?

Speaking of generational shifts, on Saturday, the Senate passed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The House already had done so. It now goes to the president’s desk where he will rejoice at this blow against “discrimination” as he signs it into law. The vote in the Senate was 65-31.

One of the Republican senators who voted in favor of the repeal was Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr is normally considered a solid conservative vote. When asked why he decided to vote in favor of repeal, his answer was most revealing. He said “this is a policy that generationally is right.” What does that mean? He elaborated:

A majority of Americans have grown up at a time [when] they don’t think exclusion is the right thing for the United States to do. It’s not the accepted practice anywhere else in our society, and it only makes sense.

Look carefully at that explanation. On what basis did Burr make his decision? He voted as he did simply because a new generation now believes differently about homosexuality. He has adopted the new groupthink that those who oppose homosexuality are unjustly excluding a segment of our society from their rightful place at the table, so to speak. He looks around and sees homosexuality becoming increasingly acceptable and determines to go with the flow.

There were 31 Republicans who voted against repeal, but I’m not aware that any of them showed any backbone with respect to the moral issue involved. Their arguments against repeal were primarily tactical/practical. No one apparently wanted to cross that line into a discussion of basic right and wrong. While I still maintain there is a qualitative difference between Republicans and Democrats on philosophy of government and foundational moral values, I do fear that portion of the Republican Party that just wants to go along to get along.

The culture, in general, has made its peace with the sin of homosexuality. Sin? Why do I use such loaded terminology? I do so because I continue to stand by Biblical truth. The book of Romans in the New Testament clearly lays out the case. If you haven’t read it recently, here’s what it says:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them … [and] they are without excuse.

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools …

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. …

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper … and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

This is the passage that President Obama, while running for the office, demeaned as “obscure.” There’s nothing obscure about it. Will the new generation, particularly those who claim to be Christians, stand up for Biblical principles? The future hangs on that generational decision.

Let me close with another admonition from the book of Romans:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 1:16-22

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish  heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.

Obama's Homosexual Appointees

An Associated Press article provides the impetus for today’s commentary. Once again, I enter a minefield with what I am going to say, but I do so willingly, with eyes open.

Obama Speaking to the Human Rights Campaign, a Homosexual Advocacy Organization

The title of the piece is “Obama Appoints Record Number of Gay Officials.” Even though the president is less than halfway through his first term, the article notes, he has appointed more openly homosexual government officials than the previous record-setting president, Bill Clinton.

The article then highlights how the culture has changed since the Clinton years:

In a sign of how times have changed, few of the appointees–about two dozen required Senate confirmation–have stirred much controversy. It’s a far cry from the 1993 furor surrounding Clinton’s nomination of then-San Francisco Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg as assistant secretary for Housing and Urban Development.

Achtenberg was the first openly gay official to serve at such a senior level, and she won confirmation despite contentious hearings and Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., who denounced her as a “militant extremist.”

Homosexual activists are still awaiting the first homosexual to be appointed to a cabinet post, yet …

Obama did appoint the highest-ranking gay official ever when he named John Berry as director of the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the nation’s 1.9 million federal workers. Other prominent names include Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Fred Hochberg, chairman of the Export-Import Bank. Obama also named Amanda Simpson, the first openly transgender appointee, as a senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department.

Obama Appointee Jennings

Further, a White House spokesman says Obama “is proud that his appointments reflect the diversity of the American public.” The only controversy over a homosexual appointment has been Kevin Jennings, who was a founder of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Network. He now oversees the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.

More than 50 House Republicans asked Obama to remove Jennings from the post after reports surfaced about advice he gave more than 20 years earlier after learning a gay student had sex with an older man.Jennings conceded that he should have consulted medical or legal authorities instead of telling the 15-year-old boy that he hoped he had used a condom. The Obama administration defended Jennings and declined to remove him.

What this all amounts to is a sea change in the public’s perception of the acceptance of homosexuality. It’s not hard to understand how this has occurred. All one has to do is watch television. Homosexual characters, portrayed sympathetically, are everywhere. There is no real discussion anymore on the nature of homosexuality; it is politically incorrect even to offer an opinion that one’s sexuality is a matter of choice, not genetics—despite the fact that no genetic evidence for homosexuality exists.

It used to be an axiom that homosexuality was a sin. American society, built on a Biblical worldview, acknowledged that Scriptural doctrine, but the relentless attack on Biblical principles has undermined that view, to the extent that many who call themselves Christians no longer believe it. As for political conservatives, they shy away from any controversy about it so that they won’t lose votes or appear to be “backward.”

A recent poll showed that 44% of Americans continue to believe homosexuality is sinful. I’m sure that’s a much lower percentage than in the past, and that the number will decrease even more. However, I can’t base my beliefs on American public opinion; neither can I base them on any trend in the churches away from the Biblical view. I must stand on what the Scriptures teach. Only by recognizing homosexuality for what it is—a sin—can a person ever be freed from its grasp. Recognition of sin precedes repentance for that sin; after repentance comes faith in the crucified Christ for forgiveness of sin. Only then will a person have a clean conscience before God and man—and that is the goal.

Therefore, I will remain politically incorrect, which is to say, acceptable in the eyes of God. As the apostles told the authorities when they were told not to speak anymore in the name of Jesus, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Moral Choices

More insight from C. S. Lewis:

People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, “If you keep a lot of rules, I’ll reward you, and if you don’t I’ll do the other thing.”

I do not think that is the best way of looking at it.

I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before.

And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself.

To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness.

Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.

To the Evangelical Left: Please Rethink Your Principles

The presence of the Sojourners organization at the so-called One Nation rally last Saturday is disturbing to me. Sojourners says it is an evangelical organization, yet it found common cause with communists, socialists, homosexuals activists, and assorted other radicals at this rally.

The leader of Sojourners, Jim Wallis, claims to want to bring civility back into the political debate. Is that what took place last Saturday? Civility? Not by any definition of the term with which I’m familiar.

While Wallis is saying he is a voice of reason against the extremes of both sides, it turns out he is taking money from one of the most extreme players out there.

George Soros is one of the wealthiest men in the world. He’s also an atheist and confirmed leftist. He uses his money to bankroll a variety of radical organizations and causes. Sojourners is one of the groups to which he has donated money, apparently in excess of $300,000. An evangelical organization allied with George Soros the atheist? What kind of evangelicalism is that?

Marvin Olasky, the editor of World magazine, asked Wallis to come clean and just admit that he is on the extreme Left of the political spectrum. Just be honest about it, Olasky said, and acknowledge the connection to Soros.

Wallis’s response was to call Olasky a liar. His exact words were, “It’s not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living. I’m sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don’t receive money from Soros.”

Unfortunately for Wallis, the proof of the funding was found on the Internet, although it took some searching after Sojourners scrubbed its site of all evidence of the connection. Wallis was forced to apologize for his earlier statements.

I cannot look into the hearts of those who call themselves Christians yet have no problem working with those diametrically opposed to the Christian faith. I believe I know why they are pulled in that direction: first, they are overwhelmed by the needs of the poor and want to see a resolution; second, they think that government money and programs are the solution. I understand their desire to help, but they have little or no comprehension of the proper Biblical sphere for civil government. As a result, they join hands with very unsavory characters with philosophies contradictory to Biblical truth.

I urge self-described evangelicals on the Left side of the political spectrum to reevaluate their positions. Raising government to the level of man’s provider is to replace God. That was the approach taken in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, and other communist nations.

This is going to sound self-serving, but I have spent some time thinking about the proper role of government in society. I have written a book that goes through basic Biblical principles and their application to an understanding of the purposes and limitations of civil government. Don’t worry—I will never get rich selling this book, but I do commend it to you if you have an open mind and heart, and I would be happy to dialogue with you about this issue if you first take the time to read it. You can find it on Amazon.

The apostle Paul wrote,

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. … Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

By Their Fruit . . .

When the Restoring Honor rally on August 28th came to an end, one of the more remarkable features noted by those who witnessed it was the cleanliness of the grounds. Even though approximately 500,000 people had filled the spaces between the Lincoln Memorial and the WWII Memorial, the entire area was practically spotless.

Not so with the late, unlamented One Nation rally. Here is one sample of what this crowd left behind:

And another . . .

And another . . .

These pictures actually aren’t the worst of the mess. I saw a video one person took of the WWII Memorial. Participants in this rally transformed this revered site into a huge garbage pit. That says a lot about the worldview of those who attended—they have no respect for those who gave their lives to combat totalitarian fascism.

I thought these were the people who are so environmentally conscious and who want to save the planet. It looks like they are the ones from whom the planet needs to be saved.

Why did they trash our nation’s capital? I believe I have the answer:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

In my view, the leaders of this latest rally were false prophets. They spoke of peace and jobs, but they were inspired more by socialist and communist philosophies and moral perversions[see my post from Monday]. Their fruit is evident, and it is time we call them out for what they really are.

C. S. Lewis on Morality

There is a story about a schoolboy who was asked what he thought God was like. He replied that, as far as he could make out, God was “The sort of person who is always snooping round to see if anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to stop it.” And I’m afraid that is the sort of idea that the word Morality raises in a good many people’s minds: something that interferes, something that stops you having a good time.

In reality, moral rules are directions for running the human machine. Every moral rule is there to prevent a breakdown, or a strain, or a friction, in the running of that machine. That is why these rules at first seem to be constantly interfering with our natural inclinations.

When you are being taught how to use any machine, the instructor keeps on saying, “No, don’t do it like that,” because, of course, there are all sorts of things that look all right and seem to you the natural way of treating the machine, but do not really work.