Archive for the ‘ Christians & Culture ’ Category

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.

My Predictions Begin to Come True

All you need to do is go to the official White House website and see how quickly Obama has moved to work on behalf of the radical homosexual movement. On the site, the section is called “Support for the LGBT Community.” The goals:

  • Expanding hate crimes statutes
  • Requiring employers to hire homosexuals or be targeted for discrimination suits
  • Promoting civil unions and federal rights for the “community” [in case you are not up on the wording, LGBT means “lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgendered”]
  • Opposing a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage [he wants to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and, despite statements to the contrary, actually believes in same-sex marriage]
  • Repealing of the “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell policy in the military
  • Expanding adoption rights for homosexuals

The cultural shift, which is already well underway, is now receiving offical endorsement from the President of the United States. Christians who voted for Obama have helped bring this to pass. It’s time to face the facts. If you say Jesus Christ is Lord, your vote should reflect His ways, not government approval for a sinful lifestyle.

Do You Want Obama to Succeed?

Bill O’ Reilly asked that question in one of his online polls. I didn’t respond. The question is too simplistic, offering no room for explanation for my answer.

I would ask instead, “Do you want the United States to be blessed by God during the Obama presidency?” To that question I can answer an emphatic “yes.” I receive no satisfaction when my nation suffers. I desire that it be an example to the world of righteousness, Biblical morality, and economic prosperity.

But that’s not the same question as “Do you want Obama to succeed?” If he models a Biblical worldview and leads us in a godly direction, then I want him to succeed. If, instead, he maintains his stated goals during the campaign, then I am not in favor of his success.

What does he wish to accomplish? He desires to overturn all laws restricting abortion; he wants to place judges in the federal courts who will treat the Constitution as a “living document,” using the court system to enact a radical liberal agenda; he is in favor of treating homsexuality [characterized as a sin in the Scriptures] as an acceptable, moral lifestyle, even to the point of endorsing same-sex marriage [if you are not aware of this, see my earlier post dated January 13]; and he relishes the idea of the federal government running the economy [otherwise known as socialism]. How can I want those plans to succeed?

My Christian faith has to inform all of my thoughts, attitudes, and decisions. Some would accuse me of being unchristian for not wanting Obama to succeed. I respond that I would be unchristian if I desired any of his plans to come to fruition. Christians need to speak out for God’s standards. I will continue to do that throughout the Obama presidency. If he should happen to put Biblical principles first, I will support him. If he dismisses those principles, I will oppose his efforts. That is the proper Christian response.

Inauguration Day

When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan. [Proverbs 29:2]

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. [I Timothy 2:1-4]