Speaking Truth to a Sinful Culture

I was born in the 1950s, became aware of the larger world and moral issues in the 1960s (subjected as we all were during that era to the so-called sexual revolution), solidified my Christian faith in the early-to-mid 1970s, slipped away from Christian reality for a while after that, only to return to faith in the late 1980s with supreme gratitude to God for His patience and willingness to forgive my stupidity.

I was blessed to be brought back from the brink of spiritual destruction. As a result, I speak earnestly and forcefully (with love, I trust) about the need to hold fast to His truth and not allow slippage to occur, both in the individuals I have the opportunity to influence (students, in particular) and in my ongoing concern for the Christian church’s witness to the world.

When the church—which is comprised of all those who have come to the foot of the Cross, repented of sin, and received the forgiveness and grace only offered there—stops being the voice of God on moral issues, the culture degrades in proportion to the church’s apostasy.

This hasn’t happened on all issues. Take abortion, for instance. Despite the efforts of those who want to see abortion accepted as normal, great strides have been made by Christians in our nation to stem that tide. Regardless of the government’s promotion of abortion via the Supreme Court, the attitude of Americans on that issue is shifting more and more toward rejection of that horrific act.

Not so with homosexuality, unfortunately. This has become the primary issue now with the government and the culture in general (entertainment media, especially) in an attempt to overthrow Biblical morality.

Those of us who grew up in the 1950s-1970s era look around us and almost can’t believe what we see. What was once considered abnormal and not even to be mentioned publicly has become a celebration of “diversity.” Those who oppose the gay agenda are singled out as “haters,” “bigots,” and “narrow-minded.”

Same-sex marriage, from a Biblical standpoint, is an absurdity. Probably more than 90% of Americans would have said the same thing a mere twenty years ago. Now, even Republicans—you know, the “conservatives”—are on the verge of accepting it as normal. A recent poll revealed that nearly 50% of Republican voters no longer have a problem with it.

While that certainly concerns me as a conservative, the more pressing problem is the change occurring with those who claim to be Christians. The shift within the supposed Christian community is disheartening.

One Christian professor at a Baptist seminary has come up with a sad, yet from my perspective, accurate description of what is happening. He sees evangelicals moving toward the same acceptance of same-sex marriage as the overall culture.

Here are the stages he outlines.

(1) Oppose gay-marriage: Every evangelical starts here, or at the very least they appear to start here.

(2) Oppose taking a stand on the question: Persons in this stage are becoming aware of how offensive the traditional view is to those outside the church. Their initial remedy is to avoid that conflict by not talking about the Bible’s teaching on this subject. In Brian McLaren‘s case, he urged evangelicals to observe a 5-year moratorium on talking about gay marriage. For Jen Hatmaker, she advocated going “into the basement,” where we don’t talk about these things but just love people. Choosing to avoid the question is never a final answer for anyone in this stage.

(3) Affirm gay marriage: At some point during the “we’re not talking about this anymore” stage, those who used to oppose gay marriage find grounds to affirm it. Some do it by questioning the Bible’s truthfulness. Others do through revisionist interpretations of the Biblical text. In either case, proponents end up affirming what the Bible forbids.

(4) Vilify traditional marriage proponents: Persons in this stage not only affirm gay marriage. They also view traditional marriage supporters as supporting invidious discrimination against gay people. They will adopt the rhetoric of Christianity’s fiercest critics to describe believers who hold to the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexuality.

The professor then goes on to state that while it may take some time for people to go from stage 2 to stage 3, once they hit stage 3, they quite often go rapidly into stage 4.

I teach at an evangelical university. During the Obama presidency, we, along with other evangelical universities, experienced pressure to change our public stand on this issue or else our students would be cut off from getting education loans and our accreditation might be withdrawn over time.

Some may think that just because we presently have a Republican Congress and a president who curries favor with evangelicals that we are “safe.” Believing that all is back to “normal” would be the height of wishful thinking.

It is crucial for those who truly know what it means to be brought out of the pit of sinful destruction and receive the mercy and grace of God to stand firm at this time on Biblical teaching about sin.

Many will twist my words, saying they are hateful. They are just the opposite. I want everyone caught in a sinful life to be set free. I needed that in my life at one point and God graciously gave me a new life. I seek the same for others.

All sin—homosexuality included—leads to chains that bind us. When we are in those chains, we get used to them and our consciences become seared. The Christian’s responsibility is, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, to break through that seared conscience with the twin weapons of Truth and Love so that those caught in the trap will see their need and respond to God’s mercy through Christ.

To be faithful to God’s truth and to speak to our society about that truth is the most loving thing we can do.

An Obama Review

Every once in a while, in the midst of a heated campaign, we need to be reminded that we have a president already who is doing his best to ruin the country. As we wind the clock down on the Obama years, there will be many reviews of what has occurred during his two terms. May I begin that review today?

Let’s start with the economy, which was rather broken when he took office. He immediately rushed into that arena and made matters much worse.

They'll Get Full

How does a nation go from $9 trillion in debt to about $20 trillion in seven years? Most would have thought that impossible, but Obama has achieved it.

Then there was his signature piece of legislation: Obamacare. As state exchanges collapse and major insurers start a stampede for the door (e.g., United Healthcare), I think it’s about time to make a judgment on the efficacy of that radical makeover of the healthcare system:

Obamacare Coyote

That probably illustrates its status as well as anything I’ve seen lately.

We’ve also become rather confused morally and culturally in the Obama years, from same-sex marriage to acceptance of transgenderism. Obama himself has been the chief cheerleader toward his image of a Brave New World.

Seven Years

Hey, we’re now free to “self-identify” as anything we choose to be. Perhaps we can extend that philosophy to the rest of creation also:

Trans-Kitten

If you think that’s ridiculous, just take a moment and ponder how ridiculous it would have seemed if, seven years ago, we had been told that we would now have people boycotting North Carolina because the state took a stand on men and women using their own separate bathrooms. Would you have believed it?

With the total destruction of our societal norms and the basic Biblical worldview that used to inform it, we can add the rise of ISIS (due to a rapid and disastrous pullout in Iraq), the marginalization of Israel, and Obama’s cozying up to to communist dictators (just to mention a few of the international messes he has created). I can understand why he might want to divert our attention elsewhere:

Change the Twenty

Nothing can be more important than changing the face on the twenty-dollar bill, right? For the record, I don’t mind Andrew Jackson being removed; he’s not on my list of favorite presidents. And while I might have other worthy suggestions for his replacement other than Harriet Tubman, I have no problem with a brave Republican woman who helped undermine the slave system being recognized instead.

How to summarize the Obama administration thus far?

Work Here Is Done

I sincerely hope he’s done with his “accomplishments.”

Kim Davis vs. the Real Lawbreakers

Kim DavisSo Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who doesn’t want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is now in jail, put there by a federal judge who previously forced high school students into diversity training to try to convince them that opposing homosexuality is wrong.

This is all part and parcel of how our world has turned upside down.

Davis, a Christian who simply doesn’t want her name on the licenses as the government official authorizing same-sex marriages, is allowed no accommodation at this point. The radical agenda cannot brook any opposition, so it’s off to jail she goes.

This is the most egregious example of selective outrage and hypocritical use of penalty that I’ve witnessed in quite some time.

I do understand the argument that the rule of law must be obeyed. In fact, I’m one of the staunchest supporters of the rule of law that you can find. However, which law has been broken here? Has she gone against Kentucky law? Not at all. The voters in Kentucky, in a referendum, approved the traditional Christian concept of marriage by a majority of 75%.

You say she’s violating the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell? Yes, that is true, but is that really a federal law based on the Constitution?

I’ll come back to that.

First, though, let’s look at the way the Davis case is such a stunning example of selective outrage and punishment.

When Obama took office, he directed his attorney general, Eric Holder, to defy federal law when they colluded on not defending the Defense of Marriage Act, duly passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996.

What happened to Obama and Holder when they refused to uphold a federal law? Well, you know. Nothing. If justice had been carried out at that point, impeachment proceedings against the president would have begun immediately.

Defense of Gay Marriage Act

Do you realize that the harvesting of fetal body parts is prohibited by federal law? What’s being done about Planned Parenthood’s defiant actions in ignoring that law? President Obama has come out in favor of that organization’s continuance in its horrific practice. The Democrats in Congress have rushed to Planned Parenthood’s side in an attempt to silence the protests against its policy of infanticide [let’s call it what it really is].

Then there are those sanctuary cities, in which mayors, governors, and state attorneys general, openly flout federal laws. Has anyone called them to account for their lawlessness?

And we shouldn’t forget Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server that was against the rules for federal employees and that put national security at risk. The height of hypocrisy in that situation was her stern warning to everyone else in the State Department not to use private e-mails for public business. Does anyone think she is going to be held accountable for her lawlessness?

Yet Kim Davis is in jail for maintaining that she is supposed to carry out the laws of the state in which she lives.

Constitution BurningThe real lawlessness has been at the top of the federal government, both in the executive and judicial branches. The Obergefell decision, which said that the Constitution somehow provides for same-sex marriage, is simple judicial fiat. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his dissent, this decision really had nothing at all to do with the Constitution. What we have in Obergefell is five justices imposing their personal beliefs on the entire nation without any constitutional authority to do so.

Justice Scalia’s dissent in that same case drew attention to what he called “the Court’s threat to American democracy.” He went on to say, “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans is a majority of the nine justices on the Supreme Court.”

Anyone who has ever read the Constitution with an open mind has to legitimately wonder where a Supreme Court justice could find a right to same-sex marriage within that document. It’s probably in the same place as the “right” to kill innocent unborn children.

Mike Huckabee has been the strongest of the Republican presidential candidates to speak out on the absurdity of thinking the Supreme Court is the final word on everything. As he so poignantly put it, the Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being.

Does anyone remember the Dred Scott decision, which effectively ruled out any rights at all for a black person in America, whether slave or free? The Republican party at that time publicly repudiated that decision and stood firmly against it.

How about Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 case that declared separate-but-equal facilities was acceptable public policy? That pronouncement was later overturned by the Brown decision in 1954.

In both cases, the Supreme Court itself was the source of lawlessness, blatantly disregarding the Constitution. It has repeated that lawlessness with Obergefell, and action against that lawless decision is just as valid as action taken to overturn Dred Scott and Plessy.

It would be nice to think that all conservatives would unite in tackling this breach of the Constitution, but, sadly, that is far from the reality. I’m grieved over how many public conservatives either seem to support the same-sex marriage fantasy or pass the buck by simply saying this is now the law of the land, so leave it alone—it’s a done deal.

Some of the Republican presidential contenders have adopted the “done deal” approach. Those who have surrendered on this crucial issue have lost my support.

So it comes down to this: it’s going to have to be the faithful Christians who still take God’s Word seriously who will make the stand. This is a battle that falls to those who are the remnant. We are reminded that Christ called us to be salt and light. We must now fulfill that calling.

Christian Colleges–Are They?

I’ve been involved with Christian higher education for a long time; I’m beginning my 27th year of teaching next month. I can’t imagine trying to do what I do in the classroom in any other setting than a Christian college or university committed to upholding Biblical standards.

CCCUThe primary organization that acts as an umbrella for these Christian educational institutions is the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). All Christian colleges that are part of this organization are supposed to maintain a basic fidelity to the essential teachings of Scripture regarding Christian faith, committed to a high view of Biblical authority.

Now, two of those institutions, Goshen College in Indiana and Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, have decided, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, to alter their view of Biblical marriage. Both are now allowing same-sex married couples to be on the faculty.

This is a radical departure from Christian orthodoxy. One would assume these institutions would immediately be suspended from the CCCU, yet the official statement from its board of directors is that they will continue deliberations.

What is there to deliberate?

The rationale for suspending judgment on the matter is that all member colleges and universities will be contacted and consulted first. I am trying to give the benefit of the doubt here, but if an organization that says it is committed to Biblical authority cannot emphatically declare from the outset that what these two institutions have done is clearly unbiblical, one must be excused for having doubts about that commitment.

The CCCU may come to the correct conclusion after all its consultations and deliberations. Goshen and Eastern Mennonite may no longer be part of the organization as a result. Yet I cannot help but be dismayed by the slow nature of decisionmaking on a subject that should not be a matter of debate.

Christian EducationI’ve had my concerns about Christian higher education all along, primarily the willingness on the part of some of these institutions to show a Christian face to prospective students and their parents, while allowing some of their faculty to teach on the fringes on genuine Christianity—and in some cases to hold forth blatantly unbiblical positions.

Do I have a problem with academic freedom? Not at all. I want to be able to teach what I believe to be Biblical without undue scrutiny. But there is a limit when you agree to a statement of faith before being hired. If you then teach contrary to that statement of faith, you have demonstrated infidelity and a distinct lack of integrity.

Christian education needs to be uniquely Christian. We are here to serve the Lord and help lead our students into a Biblical worldview. If we do anything less than that, we are unfaithful to the One who called us.

Is This America?

Is this America?

Aaron & Melissa KleinFor two years, Aaron and Melissa Klein have been living a nightmare. Owners of an Oregon bakery, they had the audacity to refuse to bake a cake for a “gay wedding.” By the way, I continue to put that phrase in quotes because I find it so antithetical to common sense and one of the classic oxymorons of our time.

I have commented before on this case because of the gaystapo tactics of the state of Oregon. Now, not only have the Kleins been fined $135,000, they have been given a deadline of this coming Monday to pay the fine or lose their home. In addition to that threat, they have been ordered not to speak at all publicly about the case. In effect, they have been unconstitutionally gagged.

The Kleins are appealing the ruling, so we don’t yet know the final decision. The trend of the nation, however, is against them.

What I appreciate most is the outstanding witness they have been to their Christian convictions. They have always been willing to serve anyone, regardless of a person’s lifestyle; what they refused to do is what any genuine Christian should refuse—participation in a ceremony that mocks God’s institution of marriage.

PersecutionIf forced to pay the fine, they should be able to do it, since people have come to their aid. The last I heard, more than $200,000 has been collected on their behalf. However, they will also have attorney fees and other expenses, not to mention the loss of their business. They are being persecuted for what they believe. They truly are suffering for their faith in Christ.

There comes a point where Christians may have to just patiently endure the suffering, knowing there is no recourse for them in a nation that has set itself against God, but that time has not yet arrived. There still are avenues to follow to fight for justice. I applaud the Kleins for taking a stand. They do this not only for themselves, but for all of us who may have to walk the same path.

This is not the America I’ve known for most of my life. We can be discouraged or we can take a stand for righteousness. I choose the latter.

The Latest Threats to Education

The fallout from the Supreme Court same-sex marriage pronouncement continues. I’ve often commented on how education will be affected, all the way from elementary school through college. Two examples.

NEA LogoFirst, the National Education Association (NEA) held its annual meeting in Orlando this past week. That organization is far more associated with radical ideology than genuine education, and has been for most of its history. For years, it has advocated every Leftist idea and has trashed Christian beliefs.

This year, a resolution passed that called upon its state affiliates and members to develop educational materials to counter all religious freedom restoration acts. The goal is to brainwash the children into the new “truth” of acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and to portray Christians as the primary opponents of equality.

Also at this meeting, one of the speakers, a woman, used her time at the microphone to propose marriage to her female partner.

No alternate voice was allowed to be heard at any time during this annual meeting. That’s not unusual for the NEA. It’s not really an educational organization; it’s a lobbying group bent on destroying what education ought to be.

Barry LynnThen, on the college and university front, Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State came out in favor of eliminating all federal student loans and other federal government funding to Christian educational institutions that don’t make provision for housing same-sex couples.

Lynn stated,

I would not want to be a person at a fundamentalist academy who is trying to defend the practice, that is taking a reasonable amount of government funds and refusing to allow a same-sex married couple to live in the married student housing. I think even now, that would be on the edge of the indefensible.

Lynn, by the way, has been around a long time and uses his credential as a minister in the United Church of Christ as leverage to get what he wants. For those who are unfamiliar with that denomination, it is one of the most liberal in existence, and has cut itself off from real Christianity.

Personally, I don’t think Christian colleges and universities should be part of a government funding system anyway. However, this is a direct attack, knowing that since most of those colleges have decided to wed themselves to the system, it will lead to severe economic hardship and the closure of many of the colleges.

That is the ultimate goal.

These are only the beginnings of what we will see in the coming days. It is a time of testing for Christians. We will find out who is really part of the Bride of Christ and who is only a wedding crasher. Only those truly devoted to their Savior will stand.

Orders from the Brave New World

In case you missed it . . .

Supreme Court 2At the Supreme Court last week, as lawyers argued the same-sex marriage case, one of the justices, Samuel Alito, asked the government’s attorney, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, a striking question. What was even more striking was the answer he received:

Looking ahead to a possible constitutional right to same-sex “marriage,” Justice Samuel Alito asked a key question: “In the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax-exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?” With chilling honesty, Verrilli admitted, “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is — it is going to be an issue.”

Translation: If churches, religious groups, schools, or nonprofits won’t surrender their beliefs on marriage, the government will make it hurt.

Further translation: if you don’t bow to the new “truth” of same-sex marriage, we will take away your tax-exempt status, thereby singling you out as enemies of our brave new world.

Then there was a speech delivered by Hillary Clinton at the Women in the World summit in which she stated categorically that “religious beliefs . . . have to be changed” to ensure “reproductive health care,” the polite phrase for abortion on demand.

In other words, no one should be allowed to believe that abortion is sinful, and that it takes the life of an innocent person. Those of us who hold to the view that abortion is against God’s righteousness must now adapt to the new way of seeing things.

If Hillary Clinton should make it to the White House, she will do all in her power to ensure this is carried out.

Dear Leader

In both of these cases, we see Biblical morality openly challenged. Abortion and homosexuality are the cornerstone issues for the Left in this country. Dedicated Christians stand in the way of their achieving all their goals. Therefore, we must be sidelined, punished, ridiculed, and made to seem irrelevant to the glorious progressive pathway to the New Future that awaits.

The good news is that all this opposition to basic Biblical beliefs is rallying those who are committed to Biblical truth. We were never promised lack of opposition; we’ve always been promised that our way is the narrow one that few will find palatable. We are called to be faithful to the One who sacrificed everything for us, and not for us only, but for all who will respond to His message. May we remain His committed followers in the coming days—days that may determine the fate of this nation.