Archive for the ‘ Christians & Culture ’ Category

The Oscar Culture

I really had no desire to watch the Oscar extravaganza last night—so I didn’t. But I see that Sean Penn won the best actor award for his portrayal of a San Francisco homosexual who was assassinated. Hollywood strikes again. It is a self-contained community that rewards its own who have the “correct” values.

Penn took advantage of the recognition by chastising California voters who recently made the radical declaration that marriage should be between a man and woman exclusively

Of course, what is just as bad is that there were protesters outside with anti-homosexual signs. Ostensibly Christian, they accomplish nothing of eternal value with this display. While I stand forthrightly against homosexuality and view it as a sin, their methods do nothing positive for the kingdom of God. Our primary message should be that there is redemption from that sin.

Of course, the whole Oscar thing itself is an exercise in self-glorification. I use Mallard Fillmore cartoons frequently to illustrate what I am thinking. This one expresses my views precisely:

Lest you think that I don’t like movies at all, keep in mind that my B.A. was in radio, television, and film production. I got into history later. I believe movies can be a tremendous vehicle for manifesting God’s truths. It’s just that not too many of them do.

More on Obama's Priorities

When you peruse the White House website and look at the President’s agenda items, often the language is rather vague, allowing one to read into it what one prefers. Yet, on some issues, the wording is quite clear. For instance, when addressing the stem cell research issue, it states,

Obama is a co-sponsor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which will allow research of human embryonic stem cells derived from embryos donated (with consent) from in vitro fertilization clinics. These embryos must be deemed in excess and created . . . solely for the purpose of fertility treatment.

It is quite clear that he intends to promote embryonic stem cell research, thus reversing the policy of the Bush administration. This section, by the way, is found in the “women’s issues” part of the agenda. Immediately after the paragraph on embyronic stem cells, the site deals with abortion in this manner:

[President Obama] has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Adminstration. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in that case. [italics mine]

So there is no vagueness when it comes to taking the lives of innocent children.

But isn’t Obama a man of Christian faith? After all, didn’t he speak to a major evangelical group to reveal his Christian values? The exact wording is,

In June of 2006, then-Senator Obama delivered what was called the most important speech on religion and politics in 40 years. Speaking before an evangelical audience, then-Senator Obama candidly discussed his own religious conversion and doubts, and the need for a deeper, more substantive discussion about the role of faith in American life. [italics mine]

My first question, after reading this, was, “Who, precisely, called this the most important speech on religion and politics in 40 years?” We are not told. Are we to believe that Ronald Reagan, for instance, in his “Evil Empire” speech, said nothing significant about religion and politics? I encourage everyone to read that one.

Second, what “major evangelical group” did he speak before? It turns out it was a conference sponsored by Sojourners, a liberal organization that is more Social Gospel than Gospel. That’s the only “evangelical” group Obama would have felt comfortable addressing.

Christians need to be informed about the worldview of this administration. I will continue to do what I can to pass on that information.

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.