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Thoughts on Tebow & Political Religious Speech

Yesterday morning I lingered at home in order to be able to watch the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. It was a somber reminder that when politicians try and speak of “religious things” the message is most always muddled at best, truth is out and out denied at worse.  I heard a lot about the “brotherhood of all men” (which is a denial of God’s truth) and that all religions have the “same basic tenets and goals . . . and the same wonderful and loving God” (again contrary to the truth of God’s word).  What really came through is that most people who live by political correctness do not have a clue as to what Christianity, nor what other world religions, really teach and believe.

There was a bright spot however, when Tim Tebow stepped to the podium to offer the closing prayer.  His first words were, “Dear Jesus . . .”.  No denial of truth there!  No compromising of the Gospel!  No political correctness to try and equate Jesus with all other “gods” which are idols and false. Thank you Tim Tebow, for standing firmly on the Gospel!!  And he closed it “in Jesus’ name.”

Speaking of Tebow, have you been following the “controversy” surrounding him and the TV ad that is to play during the Super Bowl this Sunday.  As you may know, when Tim’s mother was pregnant with him, she was advised “for health reasons” to abort Tim.  She choose instead to carry him to term and, well, the rest of the story is history, as they say.  What has been the most interesting thing to come out of this is that many of the “feminist” and “pro-choice” groups have proven that they are not pro-choice at all.  They are only pro-choice if that choice is abortion.  And that is NOT pro-choice, that is simply pro-abortion, or pro-death!!!

Even Sally Jenkins, the pro-choice writer for the Washington Post, has written a scathing article criticizing all the groups who are clamoring to have CBS cancel the ad because it goes against the liberal orthodoxy of the day.  I love her opening comments: “Let me spit this out quick, before the armies of feminism try to gag me and strap electrodes to my forehead:  Tim Tebow is one of the better things to happen to young women in some time.”

Jenkins goes on to close her article in this way:

Tebow’s ad, by the way, never mentions abortion; like the player himself, it’s apparently soft-spoken.  It simply has the theme “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life.”  This is what NOW has labeled “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning.”  But if there is any demeaning here, it’s coming from NOW, via the suggestion that these aren’t real questions, and that we as a Super Bowl audience are too stupid or too disinterested to handle them on game day. (you can read her entire article HERE)

I am thankful for young men like Tim Tebow who are willing to take a stand for right and truth, when it would be easier to just remain silent.  The church in the 21st century could learn a lot from this young 22 year old.

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Roger Nicole’s Letter to Justice Blackmun 1994

There are many things that bring joy to a pastor’s heart, but one of those is the people you get to pastor and be involved in their lives.  In 1994 I had a couple join my church in Florida that was a first for me.  Roger & Annette Nicole became members.  When I introduced them that Sunday morning, I said, “it is not often that a pastor gets to have one of his theological heroes in his church.”  And Roger was, and is, that.  Today he is in his mid-90s and still a great joy when I get to see him.  Roger is probably the leading Baptist authority on the Atonement of Christ, having written extensively on the subject.

In 1994 Roger wrote a letter to Justice Harry Blackmun, on the occasion of the Justice’s retirement from the Supreme Court of the United States.  You may remember that it was Blackmun who wrote the infamous majority decision in Roe v. Wade.  I want to share that letter with you today.  Don’t miss the “P.S.”

April 13, 1994

Mr. Justice Harry A. Blackmun
United States Supreme Court
Washington, D.C.

Your Honor:

The Orlando Sentinel reports that in the prospect of your impending retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court you are wondering what you will be remembered for.

To my mind nothing else that you ever have done can approximate the impact of your support of the majority opinion of the Court in the case of Roe vs. Wade.

This has opened the door to millions of abortions…for the sake of expediency or selfish motives. It has encouraged millions of women and thousands of physicians to participate in this murderous course.

In 4 B.C. Herod the Great ordered the killing of perhaps a few dozens of babies, but his name remains famous for this “massacre of the innocents” (Matthew 2:16).

In the Civil War of 1861-65, one of the bloodiest on record in terms of the size of the armies involved, there were perhaps close to 500,000 casualties. But Roe vs. Wade has made already 30 million victims since 1973, and this number grows every day.

In World War II, the USA suffered somewhat more than 400,000 deaths due to the conflict: this is only 1/75th of the number of the abortion hecatomb*.

In the Viet Nam hostilities there were some 60,000 fatalities. You would need 500 Viet Nam walls, enough to encircle the whole of D.C., to record those put to death by abortion.

The infamous holocaust engineered by the Nazis brought death to some 6,000,000 Jews and other innocent people. The name of Hitler is inextricably associated with this monstrous atrocity. Yet Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, Treblinka and others together exterminated only one-fifth of those whose life was snuffed out before birth by Roe vs. Wade.

The Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor cased the death of 2,300 Americans, and President Roosevelt, who surely cannot be accused of being politically right wing, stigmatized this occasion by calling it “a day of infamy.” Now two “decades of infamy” have cost our nation a loss as great as 13,000 “Pearl Harbors.”

Rest assured, therefore, your Honor, that this legacy of yours will ever be remembered and that your name will be associated with it. And unless you repent, when you appear before the Supreme Court of God you may well hear the verdict, “Your brothers; [and sisters’] blood cries out to me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10).

Sincerely,
Roger Nicole, Ph.D. (Harvard)

P.S. If your parents had practiced what you believe, you might have been aborted, and the United States might have been spared this abomination. If my parents had practiced it, you would not receive this letter.

* hecatomb = the sacrifice or slaughter of many victims.

(HT: Bayly Blog)

There Are Some Things I’ll Never Understand

truth-project-square

In our study at Grace Baptist of The Truth Project one of the clearest warnings that we see in the Scripture is not to be led astray by “the lie.” Perhaps the greatest struggle for the church, and for Christians, is to not be shaped by the world rather than shaped by Christ. Satan is so clever in convincing us that we need to look like the world, think like the world, and live like the world. But God has called us to be peculiar people — children of light in a world of darkness.

I am committed to the sanctity of human life . . . for the simple reason of the Imago Deo — all humans are created in the image of God. Thus it grieves me to see people who masquerade as Christians, even ministers of the gospel, who completely deny this truth and offer a “religious defense” to the taking of human life. Such is the case of the new president and dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA, “the Reverend Katherine Hancock Ragsdale”. Ragsdale has been serving as director of Political Research Associates, a left leaning lobby group. She also has served on the board of directors of The White House Project (a radical feminist organization), NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (both radical pro-abortion groups). She has been the vicar (read pastor) of St. David’s Episcopal Church since 1996.

Now you may ask, “what does that have to do with us, we are Baptists or Presbyterians or whatever.” I tell you all this to show you how deceptive Satan can be. And how far people who claim to be Christians can go from God’s word and truth. In 2007 Ragsdale preached a sermon in Birmingham, AL against the pro-life movement. You would expect her to defend abortion in the usual cases commonly used, i.e. in the cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. But she shows just how much she is committed to the pro-death philosophy that is captivating many in liberal mainline churches (if we can even call them that) today. Hear just three statements she makes in her “sermon”:

When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.

And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion – there is not a tragedy in sight — only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.

These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. (If you feel you need to read the complete sermon to see the context, just click HERE) (The “reverend” Ragsdale must have been getting some heat on her blog where she posts her sermons and she has removed the page with this sermon.  You can find the text however HERE)

Do you hear the “hiss” of the serpent? Calling the death, the intentional death of a baby, a blessing!! It sounds very much like the words of the Devil in the garden, “Did God say you would die? You surely won’t die, but you will be like Him.” The words of Isaiah 5:18-21 seem to be screaming at this generation — “Woe to those who drag iniquity with the chords of falsehood, and sin as if with cart ropes . . . woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness . . . woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!”

The reason we are spending so much time on The Truth Project is to protect us from slipping in areas just like this. Some will say this will never happen. But I have the feeling a generation or two ago many in the Episcopal Church said the same thing. Paul’s warning to us is worthy of hearing: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” (1 Cor 10:12). In other words, never say never. Unless we stay vigilant for the truth we are walking on dangerous ground.

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!!!

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.

The Call of an Aborted Child

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday . . . I preached today on “Is Our Culture Committing Suicide?” I ended the sermon with a poem by one of our young people at Grace, Kayla Sweeney. Kayla is a high school sophomore and I believe touches the heart of the issue in this poem. I will write more tomorrow on the whole life issue and the coming inauguration of President Elect Barrak Obama. Until then hear carefully the words of this heart felt piece:

The Call of an Aborted Child…

by Kayla Sweeney

Can you hear my voice!?
In the wind a mere breath,
Not a name but a choice,
And I was chosen for death.
Growing and changing,
they said “its not yet alive,”
Forming light,
turned to night
In the womb I was inside.
No chance to see,
No chance to breathe,
No chance to take my heart and sing.
No chance to shout,
No chance to cry,
No chance to scream, to laugh, to sigh.
I merely had the chance to die,
not worth
the birth
or the life to buy.

Can you hear my voice?!
I’m Gods very own,
Before the coming of your choice,
I was still always known,
He knitted me,
and molded me,
and thought of me,
unfolded me, (Psalm 139)
knew in and out the whole of me,
Before the “accident” came to be.

Can you hear my voice?!
Who could I have been??
Without your choice,
If I had the chance to begin,
A Child,
A Student,
A sibling,
A Friend,
The messenger God chose to send,
More than just a breath in the wind.
A Teacher,
A preacher,
A soldier for Christ,
I guess we’ll never know…
You paid the price.

Can you hear my call!?!
I was life to be lived,
Instead killed, murdered, my future hid
I am life!
Do not remain blind,
From the beginning God kept me in his mind.

DO YOU HEAR ME?

I’m shouting,
But it all fades in the distance,
In your mind your still doubting,
my life or existence.

My scream can’t be heard,
I have no way to call,
My life has been blurred
from the start of it all…
I ask, can you hear me….
I guess you never will,
God brought life to me,
But you chose to kill.

Cultivating a People of Truth in a Culture of Relativism

A couple of weeks ago I began discussing the “10 Challenges Facing the Church in the 21st Century. These were presented in a message by Dr. Al Mohler to the Board of Trustees at Southern Seminary in 2000.

Last week: 1. “Addressing Post-modern Americans with the authentic Gospel.”

This week: 2. “Cultivating a people of truth in a culture of relativism.”

Is there any question that our culture is captivated by relativism? Everywhere we turn there are reminders that many people today don’t see life in terms of truth and falsehood. It is not uncommon to hear people speak of something being right for you but not for them. This philosophy, or worldview, is liable to show up just about anywhere. A few days back, I stopped in Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Their cups have quotes on them titled “The Way I See It.” The quote on my cup today was #293 and it said this:

“The way I see it isn’t necessarily the way you see it or the way it is or ought to be. What’s more important is that we’re all looking for it and a way to see it” (Desi Di Nardo, author and poet, Toronto, Canada)

Say what?!?! Now that may sound like so much gibberish to you, but it expresses the worldview of relativism. There is no “the” way to see things only my way and your way and they don’t have to correspond at all.

But as Christians we cannot fall for this type of faulty thinking (or lack of thinking). Truth is a basic foundation of Christianity. When Jesus stood before Pilate he was asked, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world for the purpose of pointing to the truth. He even said in John 14:6 that He is “the way, the truth and the life.”

This is the reason when we gather for worship we focus on God’s Word, the Bible, not on man’s opinion. When we select Sunday School material to study, we insist that it present the truth of God’s Word, not just fluffy, easy believism. If we are to be a people of truth then we must know intimately and apply daily God’s word. It must affect how we spend our money, how we relate to people outside the church, how we vote, how we do everything in our life.

We must realize that if something is not “truth” then it is a “lie.” Jesus is the truth and the teacher of it. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). In early 2009 you are going to hear about groups forming to become involved in “The Truth Project.” The purpose of this is to help us develop and become people of truth. When you hear about this opportunity, I hope each of you will pray about it and consider becoming a part of this important emphasis for the future of Grace.