Archive for the ‘ Christians & Culture ’ Category

Arrogance Is not a Christian Character Trait

When we elect someone to public office–a public trust–it is essential that the person have the character to go along with that trust. Arrogance is not one of those traits we should desire. Yet look at what we have done.

It has often been stated, and truly, I believe, that an elected official is a reflection of the people who have elected him. In the same vein, many have commented that a nation deserves the government it chooses. If that is true, we deserve what we are currently experiencing.

This situation can be reversed, but only if the Christians in the nation decide to be consistent and vote for policies that are based on Biblical principles and individuals who exhibit the Christian character that must undergird those policies.

Jesus & Obama–Community Organizers?

Jesus continues to be created in the image of man, and Obama continues to be compared to Jesus. The actress Susan Sarandon recently commented,

He [Obama] is a community organizer like Jesus was, and now we’re a community and he can organize us.

The foolishness of such a statement nearly defies analysis. That’s why Jesus came to earth–to organize communities! How could the church have missed that for the past two centuries? And was Jesus’ economic prescription for society the idea that government spending, which then allegedly will help individuals spend more money, will lead to a new era of prosperity? It must have been, since that is Obama’s message.

Jesus never said any such thing, of course. He had a different prescription for “organizing” society. It starts with each individual, called upon to do the following: repent, stop sinning, exercise faith in God, and continue in obedience to His laws. That prescription applies to all of society, including economic policies.

The "All Roads" Philosophy Is Still Strong

Polls for everything abound these days. There’s a new one out recently from the Pew Research Center that says most Americans who claim a religious affiliation take a non-exclusivist view of salvation, with 65% saying that many religions can lead to eternal life, while less than one-quarter say theirs is the one, true faith leading to eternal life.

That’s among all religiously affiliated Americans, not just Christians. Among those who claim to be Christians (which includes the mainline denominations that have gutted the true faith), a 52% majority believes that some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life.

The good news, if you wish to call it that, is that among both white and black evangelical Protestants, the percentage who believe that Christianity is the one true faith has risen in the past year. Should we rejoice that now 49% of evangelical whites and 45% of evangelical blacks actually believe the Christian faith is the only way to salvation? Less than half of both groups believe this.

Here’s the big question: if you call yourself an evangelical Christian, yet don’t believe Jesus’ words that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him, how can you call yourself a Christian at all?

And we wonder why our nation is in trouble.

God Is in Control (Part III)

The Scripture to the left is often invoked to say that everything will work out alright regardless of what men choose. “Don’t you know,” we are told, “that God works all things together for good”? That’s called “selective reading” of a Scripture.

Look closely. For whom do things work together for good? The promise is for those “who love the Lord,” the ones “who are the called according to His purpose.”

This is not an outright promise that all things in this world will work out okay. The promise is conditional. If we love [present tense, continuous action] the Lord, and we are called for His purposes, then—and only then—does the promise become active.

If a nation makes poor choices for its leaders, there is no guarantee that things will be fine. On the contrary, unbiblical policies will undeniably lead to bad consequences. Can those consequences be moderated or even changed over time? Absolutely. If those who do love the Lord are faithful both in prayer and in action, God can move on behalf of a nation. But if we think we can avoid all consequences, we are only fooling ourselves.

So, when Christians say “God is in control,” they need to stop and think about that statement. Shutting one’s eyes and ears against painful realities is never God’s way, and it is not the genuine faith He wants us to model to this dying world.

God Is in Control (Part II)

Although God calls the shots for the overall direction of His creation, He has given each of us a wonderful, and simultaneously frightful, gift—the ability to make choices in life. Our choices are the real thing, not simply illusions. 

Moses by Michelangelo

Moses by Michelangelo

As Moses stated to the children of Israel in the desert,

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life. (Deut. 30:19-20)

He was telling them that after they entered the Promised Land, the key to their being blessed by God was their obedience. It did matter what they decided.

Jesus later looked out over the city of Jerusalem and, with pain in His voice and His heart, cried,

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Luke 13:34)

Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus

Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus

Jesus’ pronouncement makes it abundantly clear that even though He [God] wanted to bless the people, He could not. Their disobedience sealed their fate. Now, some people might consider it ludicrous that God can be prevented from doing what He wants to do. Yet here is clear testimony to that truth. In fact, any time a person sins, God’s will is not being done. Every sin is a deviation from the clear will and purpose of God.

But doesn’t God work all things together for good? Won’t everything be fine in spite of what men do? That question will be answered in the next post.

God Is in Control (Part I)

Even before the presidential election, I heard so many Christians say, “Well, no matter what happens, God is in control.”

Do not number me as one who denies God’s sovereignty. He is the Lord of the universe and omnipotence is one of His natural attributes. He will determine when this whole earthly experiment has run its course, and one day everyone will have to stand before Him to give an account. Further, He decides the eternal destiny of each person. So, yes, in that sense, He is in control.

But some use that phrase too casually. Is the earth merely God’s chessboard? Does He move us around as pawns? Do we have no ability to affect the future? Can we not make really bad decisions that hurt others?

If we are going to assert that God is in control, we need to explain the assertion more clearly. There are some Christians who honestly do believe that everything that happens ultimately is God’s will. I am not one of them. In millions of ways every day, God’s will is not being done. Every time someone sins, that is decidedly not God’s will. And all sin leads to deadly consequences.

Our choices do make a difference. He has given us, as part of His image, the ability to choose whether to follow Him or not. Our choices affect our culture overall, and they do lead to the government policies under which we all will have to live.

I would urge Christians to stop using that phrase, “God is in control,” simply because it promotes so much misunderstanding. He never excuses us from our responsibility to choose wisely; neither has He promised that we will escape the consequences of our choices. I’ll give some Biblical examples in the next post.

Change of Heart

This political cartoon leads me to say something that I have only hinted at, but need to emphasize.

I have been highly critical of the views of our new president, and will remain so. Yet, as a Christian, I believe that even the worst of sinners can change. The apostle Paul started as Saul, the persecutor of Christians. John Newton was a slave trader who was converted and became the writer of “Amazing Grace.”

Can Obama change his views? Yes. Will he? The “odds,” if that is the right term, are against it. He has held these views all of his life, and he was fed a constant radical worldview in college and in all those years in Jeremiah Wright’s “church.”

Yet I cannot close the door to the possibility that God’s Spirit will break through all of those presuppositions. The only way this can reasonably happen is if Christians pray for a true change of heart. We must be faithful to that mission. If Obama does not change, we are in for a very rough patch over the next 4-8 years. That’s why we must concentrate on praying for godly enlightenment.

This does not preclude criticism of his policies and his attitudes. We need to see the reality. There is another reality, however–one that is hidden from human eyes. God is still God. We need to work with Him to see His will done. Isn’t that one of the key provisions of what we call the Lord’s Prayer?

For those of you who are Christians, I urge you to pray for the change of heart that is so desperately needed–for the sake of the unborn, for those who desire to teach Biblical principles, and for the nation as a whole.

Christians really are supposed to be salt and light to this world.