Most Outragous Nomination to date

us-constitution-1I really do try and reserve this blog for Biblical, theological and ethical issues rather than political. It is no surprise to those who know me that I am a conservative politically as I am theologically. However, I have found myself of late reading books such as Thornton’s The Pulpit of the American Revolution. The pastors of that era were vigilant for freedom and preached sermons about “the Christian duty of resistance to tyrants” and “the true principles of government”. Theologically I may have differed with some of these preachers, but as to liberty I would wholeheartedly agree!!

As I read the arrogance of the Obama administration in their almost monarchical views of themselves I wonder if a second American revolution is not in our future. In the two months he has been in office he has changed the core of who America is . . . or has been for over 230 years. I know it is scoffed at when commentators refer to him as a socialist, but everything he does with the economy proves him to be just that, or worse. I never thought I would see the day when a CEO of a private enterprise corporation was forced to resign by the president of the United States. Or another corporation would be told by the president that it must merge with a foreign corporation or risk bankruptcy. But even this disaster is not the worst so far.

harold_kohIt has been reported in the New York Post that President Obama has nominated as the State Department’s legal adviser Harold Koh, until last week the dean of Yale Law School. The beliefs of this lawyer on the place of other nation’s laws being used in decisions in our courts, even Islamic sharia law. Please take a couple of minutes to read Obama’s Most Perilous Legal Pick and pass it along to all those you know who care about our nation. The radicals cannot win . . . there is too much at stake!!!

Many Reasons to Pray for Iraq

Each day when I engage in my personal prayer time one of the things I remember to pray for is my nephew serving in the U.S. Army in Mosul, Iraq. Patrick is there serving his country and his life is put on the line each day. I find some comfort in knowing that he is equipped for the mission he is on, and he is surrounded by soldiers who are trained to protect each other. But mostly I trust in Christ to protect him in the middle
of battle . . . But it is comforting to know it is a battle that he is trained to engage in.

You can imagine that my attention is grabbed anytime I see Mosul mentioned in a news article or anything else. I was reading a friend’s website this week who is a Chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. His name is James Gaylon and his blog is 2 Worlds Collide. On his site he related the danger that Christians in Mosul are encountering while practicing their faith in Christ. I think you need to hear what he wrote:

church-of-the-holy-spirit-mosul-iraq(Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul, Iraq)

“In December (2008) and January, over 3,000 Christian families fled from Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Mosul is currently “ground zero” for Christians in regard to persecution. The Iraqi government is either unable or unwilling to protect Christians in the city. it seems more likely that the government is unwilling since there is sympathy for radical Islamists among members of the Iraqi armed forces and police force. Christians who remain in Mosul risk certain death. Many Christ ians are being put to death by Islamic family members who are ashamed of a member within their own family being converted. Iraqi Christians face a nearly insurmountable challenge due to the number of pastors and church workers who have been murdered and targeted for murder by Islamists.

Nonetheless, Iraqi Christians are not praying for an end to the persecution. Rather, their prayer (and the prayer they are requesting) is that they might be faithful despite the oppression and to advance the work of the gospel. Please ask the Lord to strengthen the Christian families who remain in Iraq and that the Lord would use them to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Also pray for Christian leaders to be able to continue in the work of ministry in the face of ongoing persecution.”
It is easy for us to be caught up in the troubles of our daily lives and things like the economy, that we forget that we have brothers and sisters across this world that are really suffering for the sake of the gospel. Let’s remember to pray daily and diligently for those who belong to Christ and thus belong to “our” family through Him.

Contending for the Faith in a Day of Pervasive Accommodation

Continuing our series on “10 Challenges Facing the Church in the 21st Century.”

1. Addressing Post-modern American with the authentic Gospel.

2. Cultivating a people of truth in a culture of relativism.

3. Preaching the unchanging Word in a time of increasing flux.

4. Recovering Biblical worship against a world sold on entertainment

stand-firmThis week: 5. Contending for the faith in a day of pervasive accommodation.

We live in a day, sadly, when the faith of the Christian church has been mixed and mingled with all sorts of “other gospels” which Paul said was no gospel at all (Gal. 1:6-7). Whether it be through novels, television programs, magazines, or just friends “ideas” all kinds of false philosophy are entering into the church. I have often been accused (not at Grace, of course) of being too hard nosed when it comes to doctrine. I’ve been asked before, “why do you insist that everything be theologically and biblically correct?” It is almost like, for some in the church today, that a little bit of error is alright as long as everything is “mostly” right.

How would you feel if your water company sent you a letter and said “our filtration system is not working completely right at this time, but we are happy to tell you that your drinking water only contains 10% of sewage from our treatment plant. But hey, it’s 90% pure.” You would be outraged, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. Well false teaching, no matter how small, is the sewage that will destroy the church if it is left unchecked.

That’s why I warn against TV preachers that distort and dilute the truth of God’s word; even call them by name. That’s why I can’t endorse books, no matter how much they are “only a story” if they distort the truth about God. I heard of a church in northern Kentucky that is using the current best seller The Shack as a study for their women’s Bible study. I almost flipped out. Is God really a black woman? Is there no problem with that? Is God really three people in such as way that they can manifest themselves at the same time with no unity, in a visible manner? I know that God is spirit and as such is neither male nor female, as we think of gender, but He choose to reveal Himself, in His holy word, as Father. We must maintain that expression.

I have a friend who has had to resign his church because he wouldn’t let a play be done this Christmas that was completely un-Biblical. Was it cute? Yes. Was it entertaining? I suppose so. But it distorted the message of God’s word. Again, sewage in the water of truth. We have already talked about the danger of entertainment. And when the entertainment violates truth it can be deadly.

Jude in his little epistle toward the end of the New Testament said in verse 3, “ . . . I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” That expresses my feelings completely toward the church in the 21st century. I find myself appealing in every way that we stand firm and hold fast to the faith that has been delivered in God’s word. There are too many who are ready and willing to accommodate false ideas and teaching in our day.

So I guess I will just continue on being “hard nosed” when it comes to things that pertain to the Gospel and to God’s word. And I pray that Grace Baptist Church will not surrender one inch in the battle for truth in Somerset.

Recovering Biblical Worship Against a World Sold on Entertainment

worshipContinuing our series on “10 Challenges Facing the Church in the 21st Century.” We’ve already looked at :

1. Addressing Post-modern American with the authentic Gospel.
2. Cultivating a people of truth in a culture of relativism.
3. Preaching the unchanging Word in a time of increasing flux.

And now today: 4. Recovering Biblical worship against a world sold on entertainment.

In 1986 Neil Postman wrote a book entitled, Amusing Ourselves to Death. It was published just two years after 1984 which was the title of Orwell’s novel. Postman looked at the American culture and gave an analysis in which he saw everything based on entertainment or amusement. He spoke about Orwell’s dark vision as compared to Aldous Huxley’s in Brave New World. Postman said:

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies . . .”

There is no doubt that in 21st century America we have fallen prey to Huxley’s vision in a very tragic way. We seek to only be entertained, and that entertainment must be continuous. The real tragedy is that this attitude has infiltrated the church in a major way. It is all about “me” in so many of our churches. Make “me” happy or else I will go somewhere that they will. Lost is the concept that it is not about “me” but it is all about Jesus Christ.

Postman mentioned something that took place in 1985 where many celebrities gathered in a tribute to comedian George Burns for surviving 80 years in show business. Shecky Green, Red Buttons, Milton Berle, and others were joined by Billy Graham for this tribute. Postman tells this about the evening:

“The Reverend Graham exchanged one-liners with Burns about making preparations for Eternity. Although the Bible makes no mention of it, the Reverend Graham assured the audience that God loves those who make people laugh. It was an honest mistake. He merely mistook NBC for God.”

Sadly, in many church contexts there is more of an entertainment mentality than a worship attitude. Make me feel good, make me happy, wow me with something different and unusual, and the list can go on and on. When I come to church I want to see and hear something that I can find no place else. Something that nothing the entertainment media can give me. I want to have an encounter with the God of Truth. I want to “hear” from Him from His holy word. I want to express to Him my gratitude for all that He has done to bring about my salvation in the cross of Christ.

Corporate worship is the most exciting thing in the world . . . when we approach it properly. Of course, we can worship God individually throughout the week, but when we come together on Sunday there is nothing individual about it. It is the Body of Christ gathered with one purpose in mind, or it should be, and that is to worship — To declare the goodness, the grace, the glory of the living God in Jesus Christ, our Lord. To gaze into His face as we “see” Him high and lifted up.

When we seek entertainment, we are lowering God to our level. We “make” God too small in our estimation. David said in Psalm 96:5-7 — “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary . . .Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.” Our God is a great God, a big God, the true God . . . Let us forget about entertainment and worship Him in a manner that is worthy of His greatness.

Where has our Constitution gone?

us-constitution-1It used to be that the constitution was the “law of the land,” the ultimate “decider” of all that is legal and the rights that are protected in our land. But no more!! In just two months there have been more direct attacks on the constitution than in the past 20 years combined. Buried in the pages and pages of the “Stimulus package” (which stimulates the size of government and its control and not much else) and the president’s budget proposal are attacks on our basic freedoms.

One, in the name of health care, is the attempt to remove the so-called “conscience refusal” for doctors and other health care providers to be able to decline procedures they morally object to . . . such as abortion. One of the groups that will be fighting for the free speech and freedom of religion rights of health care workers is the American Center for Law & Justice. Go online and sign a petition to President Obama letting him know of your opposition to this violation of basic constitutional rights. Sign the Petition HERE.