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.
S.Taylor wrote: No freedom of the will = no accountability. No accountability = no condemnation. This is basic logic. We don't condemn a tiger for exercising it's nature, nor do we hold a child accountable in the same way we do an adult.
If you wrote, "No free agency = no accountability" I would agree with you. Tigers are not morally accountable for their actions, because they are not free moral agents with rational souls. They do not make intentional, deliberate moral choices that are either in line with or contrary to divine revelation concerning what is true and right. In that sense, human beings are totally different than tigers. They are not creatures of instinct, but intelligent beings who cannot commit sin except by suppressing divine revelation and deliberately choosing that which goes against the ordinance of God. That does not by any means mean the natural man has 'free will,' however-- a will freed from slavery to sin. You need to study the difference between free agency (which all human beings possess) and free will (which would mean there is an aspect of our being that does not need to be 'freed' by Christ from sin's dominion, contrary to the teaching of Jesus in John 8:34-36.)
Steve R, You do not leave your post as a gospel witness when you serve in the political process of the earthly nation where God has placed you. Daniel found a way to do both; so did Shadrach, Meshach and Aben-nego. The apostle Paul didn't leave his gospel duties when he refused simply to 'cooperate passively' with the government officials who had beaten him openly as an uncondemned Roman and thrown him into prison without trial contrary to Roman law. No; he insisted on justice. He held government officials accountable for their actions contrary to the rule of law and protested them, insisting they come and get him out of there. He also used his Roman citizenship to appeal to Caesar in his own defense-- even though it meant months of imprisonment and a long journey to Rome in chains. He did not say, "I'm a gospel preacher and I just won't make any waves with the political authorities." No; he held them to account for their actions when these were contrary to law and promoted the cause of righteous ruling by government officials.
"This is a healthy response to evil and commendable." I couldn't you agree with you more. The 'escapist, bury your head in the sand' mentality of some Christians toward growing tyranny is incomprehensible to me. The Lord calls us to stand for His truth as salt and light in every sphere of human existence-- and in the sphere of government, the truth is that no one has the right to muzzle citizens when it comes to proclaiming the gospel freely or enchaining citizens when it comes to living in accordance with Christian values in their daily life and work. While political liberty is ours, we must use it to fight against those who hate liberty and would take it away. We have a dual calling--to build the walls of Zion with a trowel in the one hand, and defend the work of wall-building with a sword in the other. That is, we are to proclaim the gospel, on the one hand, but we do not eschew involvement in the political process, on the other.
Christians have become a 'disenfranchised' minority in America, but our only response-- at the same time that we take legal action to defend our Constitutional liberties-- is to prepare for further persecution, pray for our own strengthening, and pray for God to send spiritual awakening to our land. Our calling is to follow our Savior in the path of suffering for the sake of righteousness, so we cannot expect to avoid suffering for our faith. That may involve being sued, dragged before courts of law, and at some point in the future, being imprisoned or taken to 'reeducation camps' for therapy designed to cure us of our religious 'superstitions'-- depending on how far lawless leftists are able to carry out their demonic and anti-Christian agenda. This has happened before in history in the former Soviet Union (read the Gulag Archipelago) and don't think it could never happen in America. Totally depraved human beings are capable of barbaric actions that are utterly shocking and driven by unbridled hatred toward Christ. Just look at the recent video of an unprovoked mob attack on a shopper coming out of a Kroger store in Memphis. There you see the naked face of unregenerate human nature in its hatred of God.
I don't think it is fair to lump together the statement of Dr. Carson with that of Ann Coulter, for they have a fundamentally different conception of the work done by Dr. Brantley and other missionaries who place themselves in life-threatening situations. Coulter's comments reflect her non-evangelical worldview, which has no grasp of the priority of Christian missions and which views people like Dr. Brantley as stupid. She believes he is wasting his medical gifts going to a place like Africa instead of 'serving his own country' and seeking to convert Hollywood moguls. Her viewpoint is fundamentally anti-biblical. Dr. Carson's remarks do not at all disparage Dr. Brantley's work. His remarks are limited solely to the issue of how best to treat the infected doctor in a way that will prevent the spread of the disease to uninfected populations. That is a different viewpoint than that of Ann Coulter, when she disparages the value of missionary work. I am not saying I agree with Dr. Carson's view about treating Dr. Brantley overseas, but I don't think people who feel as he does about the best way to treat the infected missionaries should be regarded as 'anti-missions.' It is unfortunate that his remarks are seen as putting him in the same company of someone like Ann Coulter.
I thought the purpose of inquiry was to find answers. But if a person begins all inquiry with an an priori commitment to eternal skepticism, then he has rejected the very purpose of inquiry. Why go on a search for 'answers' to life's questions if you believe that final answers are unattainable? From whence arises this absolute certainty that certainty is forever impossible? What this man is basically saying is that the search for knowledge must begin with the certainty that knowledge and settled conviction are forever impossible to attain. How can this man know that to be true? Simple. He knows it to be true because it is his settled conviction that it is true and because "everybody knows" that you can't know anything. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?
MacArthur is correct in his evaluation of these so-called "churches." They are obviously not Christian churches, for they reject the final authority of the Bible, while at the same time using the name "Christian" to deceive people into believing that they are something which they obviously are not. They have abandoned the ethical principle of "truth in advertising." Why should true Christians recognize any religious organization that celebrates homosexuality as having a legitimate claim to the name Christian? They have no more right to that name than does a religious organization that denies the resurrection of Christ or the deity of Christ. No one is saying these organization are not religious; they are. But the religion they represent is not what James called "true religion." It is not "the faith once for all delivered to the saints" by Jesus Christ through His chosen apostles. It is not apostolic Christianity at all, but a complete rejection of and assault on that faith.
This judge claims that the arguments of those who defend preserving our marriage laws intact "are not those of serious people"because they fail to show how the exclusion of same-sex couples has "any effect whatsoever on procreation among heterosexual spouses." Two things wrong with that statement. First, homosexuals are not being "excluded from marriage" but from this judge's redefinition of marriage as "the union of any two consenting adults." Liberals and conservatives aren't even talking about the same institution; they aren't defining it in the same way at all. Homosexuals are free to marry-- join in a union with someone of the opposite sex-- they just don't want to. Second, legalizing same-sex marriage does not affect heterosexuals' procreative activities, but it does affect the culture. By 'normalizing' what is abnormal, you will engender through the public school system lies, misinformation, and gender confusion in some young people who are insecure in their developing sexuality. Some may be recruited into a lifestyle that they might shun or avoid if the proper societal barriers were in place to discourage perversion. That the sex-drive can become perverted is clear from Sodom, a town where all the men, young and old, had given themselves over to this perversion.
I believe in having a humane attitude and respecting the legitimate rights of all people in a civil society, but that does not include affirming people with fundamentally disordered sexual lifestyles in the "rightness" or "normalcy" of their lifestyle. It does not include reinforcing sexual deviancy in the culture by legislation that seeks to 'normalize' it. By no means does respect for human rights require any society to affirm, dignify, or celebrate any lifestyle that God calls sinful. Showing love to people with anorexia does not involve agreeing with them that they are really overweight and reaffirming them in their self-destructive effort to lose more weight.
This is absurd. For any being to have a moral conscience, it must first of all be self-aware. Machines are not conscious or self-aware-- they are machines. They do not have a mind, consciousness, or the power of self-determination. Any machine, even the most sophisticated computer in the world, can only do what it has been programmed to do-- and it executes its tasks in a mindless manner, without self-awareness of its own existence. It's a machine, after all! How stupid can you get-- to impute "moral conscience" to a machine! Not surprising, though, for a military that thinks cross-dressing and transgenderism may be good for the morale, order and discipline of our troops.