And to think that in our country the beautiful grin on this unborn baby could be turned into a shocked scowl of pain as he is willfully murdered by the hands of selfish adults, with the full approval of our laws, right up to the moment of his birth. . . And we thought the ancient pagans were barbaric!
The UMC has brought all this on itself by its abandonment of the authority of Scripture and its toleration of immorality in its ranks. It already allows churches to hold "blessing" ceremonies for same-sex relationships. That in itself is a flagrant rejection of Scriptural authority and a full embracing of apostasy from "the faith once delivered to the saints." Whether or not it allows for the performance of same-sex 'weddings' is really a mute point once you allow for "blessing ceremonies" honoring relationships based on acts that God calls an abomination. Apostasy is in full flower when men officially abandon the moral standards of Scripture. Organizations that go on pretending to be Christian churches once they have forthrightly rejected the plain and unequivocal teaching of Jesus on marriage and sex fool no one but themselves. A church that rejects all moral definition that makes it recognizably Christian has no right to expect others to go on accepting it or regarding it as a Christian church.
This is an utterly contemptible action by a spineless Supreme Court that is trying to take the coward's way out on a defining issue of our culture, first by refusing to hear challenges to rulings by federal judges that overturn state marriage amendments; then by lifting a stay on so-called "same-sex marriage" in Kansas. The Court does not want to actually rule on marriage, but at the same time, they want to manipulate the situation in a passive aggressive manner to insure a certain outcome. Sort of like Pontius Pilate arranging for Jesus' murder by washing his hands of the whole affair. They want to avoid taking responsibility for any ruling on a hot button issue, while at the same time, insuring that leftist federal courts, rather than the people, have the final word on how marriage will be defined in the states. 78% of the people of Kansas voted on a state marriage amendment; now one federal district judge, togethe with the Supreme Court, are doing what they can to insure that the will of the people does not prevail over the ideology of leftist elites. What a deplorable lack of character from the highest court of the land. They will be held responsible, even though they want to avoid responsibility for crucifying marriage in America.
Kudos to this Christian couple for refusing to be bullied by homofascists into an action which violates their religiously informed conviction of conscience. There is only one proper response to tyrants who seek to force citizens to comply with laws that violate God's law-- pray for the tyrants, and disobey their mandates out of respect to the higher laws of God. That has always been the response of God's elect to human tyrants, as testified by the Hebrew midwives, Daniel and his three friends, Esther, and the apostles of Christ. Civil disobedience in the fear of God, out of love to Christ, is an honorable course of action by God's servants, when executed in a spirit of humility before God and respect toward those in positions of authority.
I am disappointed with what I have read so far about this conference. I fear that Southern Baptists are beginning to identify as "redneck theology" strong denunicatory speech concerning sodomy and sexual perversion-- the type of speech we find in Scripture-- not only in Leviticus, but from the lips of the apostle Paul, Jude and Peter, as well. Paul described homosexual lust as a "vile passion" and homosexual acts as acts "contrary to nature" that result from men exchanging the truth of God for a lie, the glory of God for an idols, and God handing them over to burning, unnatural passions as the "due penalty of their error." If upholding such truths makes me a 'redneck' in the eyes of some, then so be it. It is not unloving toward homosexuals to speak in strong, denunciatory terms (as the Bible does) about the sinfulness of homosexual practices. It is biblical to affirm that there are some sins more shocking to mention than others, because they are usually done "in secret." "For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret." (Ephesians 5:12). Let us not be deceived into equating kindness toward people who are tempted to certain sins with "softness" in speaking about those sins. People must be loved, but sin must be denounced in the strongest terms.
Michael Hranek wrote: Martin Thanks for the post back Would it be safe to say we need both Jeff Durbins and William Wilberforces? And in this we need humility and wisdom big time so that we indeed are about what God leads us to be doing and encouraging, not hindering others from when God is leading in different "expression" of a faith that serves and follows the Lord Jesus Christ.
Michael, I watched the video of Jeff Durbin, and I agree that his ministry of reaching out to women at the abortion clinic is a wonderful example of person to person witnessing with a redemptive aim. Abortion clinic ministry of this sort is really a form of evangelism-- reaching out to souls to win them for Christ. But that is not exactly what I have in mind when I speak of the church having a legitimate role in political and social reform by directly challenging unrighteous laws and unjust policies-- the type of thing William Wilberforce did when he fought slavery by political means, seeking to change the law of land through Parliament. I believe that such activity does not flow out of the Great Commission, so much as from the Cultural Mandate given to Adam before man fell into sin. It is not a redemptive, but a creative activity, 'subduing' the earth bringing social order out of social chaos. Both evangelism, such as that done by Jeff Durbin at the abortion clinic, and direct political action (writing elected officials, voting, giving money to political organizations, writing articles to protest unjust laws that promote moral corruption, violate Constituional freedoms and overthrow the rule of law)-- this sort of direct political action is a legitimate Christian activity
Michael Hranek wrote: Martin TX I've got a few minutes before I step out the door and would like to respond our witness needs to be both!
Michael, My point is that, we need to be careful not to conflate our calling as Christians to evangelize the lost with our calling as citizens to be agents of social or political reform in society. To conflate these two callings is to confuse things that fundamentally differ; on the one hand, we should evangelize the lost and make disciples in fulfillment of the Great Commission; on the other hand, we should pursue the implementation of good public policies and laws in the political sphere, as an aspect of the 'cultural mandate' given to man before the fall. Evangelism is a redemptive activity, which involves pursuing the interests of God's new creation; political action is a creative activity, which involves pursuing the interests of this present world-- the creation of a just social order founded on just laws that conform to the law of creation. No law can ever transform a human heart; but laws can restrain human evil, and for that reason, we should seek to see implemented just laws that promote the "ordered freedom" that makes societies flourish and supports the free dissemination of gospel truth.
Another problem with these Southern Baptist leaders is that they seem to confuse the evangelistic calling of the church with its calling to be 'salt and light' in society, even apart from our call to make disciples. William Wilberforce denounced the slave trade before Parliament because of the grossly evil nature of that practice. As far as I know, he didn't set his denunciations of slavery in a "gospel context" of "evangelizing" his fellow members of Parliament and calling them to Christian discipleship. His attitude was, "Whether or not you are a Christian or even desire to be a Christian, this is a gross injustice to human beings, and it has to stop!" That has got to be our approach in dealing with homofascism. This is not simply an issue of personal morality to be addressed in the context of Christian discipleship as people move from unbelief to faith in Jesus Christ. The assault on marriage and the family is a gross social evil-- like slavery or abortion-- that deprives people of God-given rights-- for example, the right of children to be raised by a mom and a dad, and the right of school children to be shielded from morally corrupting propaganda. We ought to denounce these evils as social evils, not just as matters of personal morality or Christian discipleship.
Why are we surprised at this? If millenials and college students are overwhelmingly in favor of sexual perversion being written into our legal system-- seeing nothing wrong with the trashing of God-ordained marriage and the open embrace and celebration of sodomy-based marriages and their corollary-- 'donor' parenting as a means of 'creating' children who are deliberately deprived at birth of one of their biological parents to satisfy the narcissistic longings of self-centered homosexuals-- if young people see nothing wrong with such a Huxleyan dismantling of the social order and the complete moral and cultural disintegration of society, why would would we think it strange they see nothing wrong with infanticide? Keep in mind the top priority for these young people is total sexual 'freedom.' Sexual rights always 'trump' any other human right-- the right to freedom of religion, or (in the case of babies) the right to life. Why are we surprised when the morally degenerate are incapable of seeing anything wrong in morally degenerate forms of conduct?
There is something disturbing about the approach of these Southern Baptists to homosexuality. They seem to be saying that the church has lost the culture because we have been too harsh, condemning, or 'law-centered' in our approach to dealing with sin and sinners. I believe their diagnosis is wrong. In fact, it is self-contradictory, for they say that the church has "slowly adapted to the sexual revolution," but then turn around and say the church has been too legalistic in its approach to dealing with sinners. These Baptist leaders are missing the real reason churches have been so ineffective-- a gospel of 'easy believism' that has flooded the churches with unbelievers who have no comprehension of God's law or God's gospel, a refusal to practice biblical church discipline, and a refusal to preach the whole counsel of God. It is not that God's elect have "slowly adapted to the sexual revolution." It is that churches have ceased to be true gospel churches by becoming social clubs full of unbelievers who are biblically ignorant. Moreover, Paul doesn't only denounce homosexuality in a 'gospel context.' He denounces it because it violates the law of God. Sinners must know they are condemned as sinners apart from even knowing the gospel, as transgressors of God's moral law.
Michael Hranek wrote: Martin Yes! I know you didn't speak against "taking a stand for Christ" I posted what I did because imho the devil wants to paint us into a corner where _ Praise God! Our LORD can split the Red Seas in our lives even as He has done for the children of Israel In humility if He is for us: Bring it on!
I guess what you are saying is that we must remember that "the battle is the Lord's" and He will fight it for us in ways we cannot anticipate. Israel thought they had only two options-- turn and fight the Egyptians, or drown in the Red Sea. God opened a 'third way.' I agree we should look to God to do above and beyond all that we can ask or think. But when a subpoena has a deadline on it, we don't have any option but to decide how to respond to it. My point is that the church has been trying to avoid a "fight" with the government. It may well be that in God's providence, He wants us to fight tyranny by condemning tyrannical mandates and refusing to obey them in a spirit of humble but firm resistance. Is there anything unChristian about that? I don't think so, for that is, in essence, what Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, the apostles, Luther, and others have done, and God blessed their firm resistance to tyranny.
Michael Hranek wrote: Martin TX Well sort of... We can in seeking God consider going the second mile and waging wonderful spiritual warfare and witness not just for an ungodly, unconstitutional mayor, but for the LGBT Community, the lukewarm synagoges of religious ease and comfort in our communities in our prayer and witness
I have said nothing against doing the additional things you mentioned, but you have completely ignored the fact that when you are issued a subpoena, you must respond to it one way or another. There are two and only two options open to you-- do what the subpoeana demands, or not. There is no third way, when it comes to responding to a subpoena. Here is where we Christians need to get off our super-spiritual high horse and wake up to the fact that we are living in a world that is coming after us in an aggressive manner, and we have the opportunity, right now, to respond appropriately on an earthly level to this assault by saying 'no' to tyrants. We respond on a heavenly level through prayer, but response on an earthly level is not optional. We must choose what earthly course of action we will pursue in response to ungodly, unconstitutional, tyrannical demands that violate the highest legal standard in our land-- the Constitution.
Jim, when a mayor subpoenas your sermons-- which is a demand in violation of the Constitution-- there are one of two things you can do: comply with the request, or not. If you comply with the request, you are conceding the right of public officials to make demands of pastors that flagrantly violate the Constitution, and that lays the groundwork for similar demands to be made by similar lawless mayors across our land, so that everything winds up in the courts, and takes months to be resolved while the forces of anti-Christian bigotry make even more outrageous demands that Christians sheepishly comply with, etc. etc. You are basically conceding that the courts are the final authority in determining whether we are going to have free speech in America or not. Americans themselves must exercise the God-given rights secured to them in the Constitution, without conceding the principle that government decides whether we will have those rights. So, pastors shouldn't turn sermons over to tyrants, even if that means jail time. It is naive to think that legal recourse alone (which implies temporary compliance with lawless demands) is all that is required of us by God. It is not. Civil disobedience is sometimes required. Now is such a time.
1517 wrote: They will either CHOOSE to follow the unlawful regulation or CHOOSE not to obey it. There is no FORCED.
You are right in pointing out that a responsible choice will be made by every church in California to either obey or disobey an unrighteous law that violates both the law of God and the Constitution of the United States. But at the same time, it is also true that the government is using coercive force to try to bully these churches into submission. That coercive force is just as real and just as physically harmful, in the long run, as if the powers that be had taken up a club with which to beat Christians on the head; for disobedience to the law will result in physical consequences-- the removal of money from church bank accounts, the padlocking of church doors, and in a worse case scenario, the imprisoning of church leaders. So they are being "forced," and the only way not to yield to that force is to resist it, and get your head bloodied in the process. But that is exactly the cost of true allegiance to Christ, sometimes-- willingness to suffer unjust penalties for His sake, by engaging in civil disobedience to Caesar.
SteveR wrote: She wasnt depending on civil disobedience, rather the Grace of her husband
I would say rather, she was depending on the grace of God, whom she hoped would work in the heart of her sinful husband to spare her; but that doesn't change the fact that she acted in disobedience to the law. The law did not say, "You may lawfully approach the king on your own initiative, but understand that is a dangerous thing to do, for he may arbitrarily order the execution of all comers." No. The law said, "You may not lawfully approach the king on your own initiative; you will be killed if you do so as a penalty for breaking the law." Since the king was viewed as having supreme authority over the law, however, he could overrule the law if he chose to do so, by granting clemency to lawbreakers. Esther acted in civil disobedience out of obedience to God, and trusted in the grace of God to bless her act. I believe that is what these pastors in Houston are doing by refusing to comply with the subpoena issued by the City of Houston. They recognize that such a subpoena is unconstitutional, so they refuse to comply with it. They are trusting in God to bless that act of civil disobedience, just like Esther.
SteveR wrote: Indeed,let me clarify Esther never engaged in non compliance, she knew the risk of entering the Kings Court without summons. Esther COMPLIED with the law."
SteveR, Esther did not comply with the law. The Bible says that explicitly. Look at the text. She said to Mordecai, "I will go to the king, even though it is against the law." There it is in black and white. Esther broke the law, and she did so out of respect to God's higher law which required her to break man's law. Civil disobedience is sometime required of Christians. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with taking our stand on the U.S. Constitution, if that is the highest human law in our nation and it is being violated by lawless officials. The apostle Paul appealed to Roman law when it was being violated by lawless officials, and he demanded that they comply with Roman law, just as we should demand that our officials comply with the Constitution (Acts 16:35-39, 22:25, 25:11).
This is sheer,unadulterated, unequivocal rejection of the first amendment by elected officials who are cultural Marxists determined to abolish religious liberty in America. However much I disagree with the concept of "wedding chapels" and ordained women pastors, I nevertheless uphold freedom of religious exercise for all Americans. And this cannot be interpreted as anything other than an abolition of free religious exercise. The time has come when Christians in this country must become much more vocal in their public opposition to the Communist takeover of America and willing to engage in acts of civil disobedience in fighting these domestic enemies of the United States, even at the cost of personal loss (through fines, job loss, imprisonment, etc.) By civil disobedience, I mean acts of non-compliance with the law, such as Esther's, Daniel's, and the apostles non-compliance with unrighteous laws in their day. We must learn how to look government officials in the face and say to them, it is better to obey God rather than men, thus defying their unlawful demands. Not to do so in some cases may well be evidence of sheer cowardice and disobedience to God. We can no longer avoid direct conflict with these cultural Marxists in public office who are destroying our nation.
s c, What did I say that gave you the impression I support the idea of evolution? I said that I believe that a Christian worldview "recognizes the reality of natural law," but it doesn't elevate that reality to the level of an immutable principle. What we call natural law is simply a way of speaking of God's ordinary providence, the predictable patterns by which He normally upholds the universe in its regular functioning. But these "laws" are descriptive for man, not prescriptive for God-- that is, He is free at any moment to suspend His ordinary pattern of working and do something totally different, as we see, for example, when Christ changed water into wine quite apart from and outside of any known natural law. What Christ did by miracle "mimicked" the effect of natural processes, so that no scientist could have told the unique, miraculous origin of the wine by studying its properties. There may be many such objects in nature, supernaturally created. For the record, I do not believe in evolution, and the reason I do not is that evolutionary theories rest on the assumption of pure naturalism (naturalism elevated to an absolute principle) which I see as contrary to a Christian world view, that holds to God's miraculous divine interventions in earth's historical past.
What is truly blasphemous is to elevate "natural law" above God Himself, so as to say that God Himself, throughout the whole of cosmic history, has been bound to work always within the framework of natural laws that we observe in the world today which give fixed rates to things like the speed of light, the law of gravity, the rate of radioactive decay in rocks, etc. It is blasphemous to place 'chains' on God by saying that He could never, at any time in the cosmic past, have suspended such laws. That is pure naturalism, which is contrary to the Christian worldview. A Christian worldview recognizes the reality of natural law, but it sees that as existing within the context of the inherent supernaturalism that permeates a God-created, God-ruled universe. Who knows what events in past history-- perhaps at the time of the fall, or the worldwide flood, or Joshua's long day, etc.-- may have altered the fixed constants we see at work in the world today, throwing off the careful calculations of scientists who are developing their theories on the assumption of pure naturalism. Pure naturalism is blasphemous; but there is nothing inherently blasphemous about belief in a young earth, if someone holds to that belief out of respect for the supreme authority of Scripture.