Photo by Chad Runge / Creation Swap

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Church Lost its Witness in the Election

Depending on your perspective, this past election was one of surprising jubilation, extreme disappointment, or quite possibly a mixed bag. For me, it was the latter.

On the one hand, Democrat candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was beat convincingly on her platform of murder, deceit, and corruption. We don’t have to go through the litany of Clinton’s misconduct as Secretary of State or her history in government service to know what kind of president she would have been. Because her character and ideology were defeated at the ballot box, I am quite pleased and, dare I say, proud that America rejected her and those like her.

It was such a shock to the main stream media, the Hollywood types, and political pundits, it would take amazing self-restraint to not bask in their disappointment. That’s wrong of me, I know. As a Christian, I should be gracious and humble. The Bible says in Proverbs 24:17-18, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.”

I admit this is difficult because America defeating Clinton and her ilk was such a surprising turn of events. Defeating evil is always a good thing. However, our attitudes ought to be of love and compassion even when the opposition has been soundly defeated. The Bible says to “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Picture by Julie Ayers

What is good? What is bad? Who determines these things?

We live in a time when what seems good is no longer.

Morals. Ethics. Principles. Character.

These are concepts that are long forgotten in our current climate. The Bible warned us of this. Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

The question is what is good? Obviously, good can be a relative term. God’s Word tells us that none are good and all have sinned. Romans 3 goes into great detail about this. But basically the gist is that only God is good. People on the other hand, not so much.

So when we’re talking about what or who is good, it’s more about people who seek to do what is right in God’s eyes. Essentially, good is a characteristic of God and He imputes His goodness onto mankind.

Is it possible for people who don’t know God or want God in their lives to do good? Yes. God has given each of us as human beings a conscience. This is a distinguishing feature in each person that helps us to make choices between right and wrong. But that’s primarily because God is present in the world. A more in-depth discussion about this was written by Aron Wall. It’s worth noting, though, that God is the center of all that is good and He is the One who created us and brought goodness into this world.

So, as we grow into adulthood, we mature and make choices and are ultimately accountable for those choices. Sometimes those consequences are immediate. Other times they may not show up for years. Although it may not be a hard and fast rule, those who push God away are generally those who slowly fall away from doing good. In some instances, they may even begin to call what is evil good.

That is the problem we have in this sinful world. More and more people are not drawn to what is good and right but to wickedness. John 3:19-20 tells us, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.”

Who will disagree that we are seeing this today? It’s bad enough that the world seems more corrupted and dark than ever before. But now we see people distort what is good and evil. In twisting the reality of these terms, people in general are unable to distinguish what is real anymore. What happens then is that Isaiah 5:20 comes to life and people begin calling what is evil good, and what is good evil.

There are many examples of this that come to mind.

There are good people who disagree with sinful lifestyles and are essentially being harassed by society and the government because of their convictions.

There are sinful people who force others to accept their views and behaviors through whatever means necessary.

And then there are those who are guilty of serious crimes but are given a pass because they are highly powerful and influential.

Up is down, down is up. No wonder people are confused today. People are forced to live outside the realm of what should be “normal”. But what is normal? Normal should uphold morals. Normal should promote ethics. Normal should value principles. Normal should pursue character.

Normal, however, is being redefined by godless people in our culture. People are being told that a man with the physical characteristics and anatomy of a male can actually identify as a woman. People are being told that violent men who are raised within the Islamic religion and traditions are not really associated with Islam when they commit jihad and kill hundreds of innocent people. People are being told that climate change is the greatest threat the world faces when in reality we see how abortion kills millions each year, how Islamist terrorism is on the rise, and how domestically, angry citizens use race as a means to amp up murder sprees throughout the country.

Again, the Bible warns us that we will encounter problems such as these in our culture. God anticipated that we would experience a culture that we wouldn’t understand. It seems counter to the way things are supposed to be. We live in a world that is antagonistic toward good and righteousness. We live in a world that is self-serving and wants nothing to do with God and our Creator. Scripture tells us that before Jesus returns, this is the way the world would be.

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

We live in a world that is increasingly distorted and confusing. There is, however, truth and reality found in the God and Creator of the heavens and earth. Through the Apostle Paul, God gives us a prescription in how to deal with this kind of distorted reality.

10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Paul lays out the prescription in verses 14-16. He tells us that it’s through knowing God’s Word that we can discern right from wrong, good from bad, and moral from immoral. If we study God’s Word, we can know how to navigate through the misinformation the world gives us. Scripture teaches us how to be wise and how to live. Scripture teaches us the truth about morals, ethics, principles, and character. God’s Word is the true source of how to apply these concepts.

In effect, God describes right and wrong by providing us specific characteristics and contrasting them in Galatians 5.

The Bad
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Good
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

The world will continue in its decline and will only get worse. The culture will continue to push God away. Why? Because if they allowed God in the course of their discussions, in the middle of their lives and circumstances, they would have to face the ugly truth about the sin they adamantly embrace.

Truth is an amazing thing. It brings clarity to what is wrong in the world. The world wants to keep people from knowing the truth so it continually provides obstacles from people knowing it. That may be why so many atheists are trying to scream “separation of church and state” when they push against God and Christianity.

Our hope, however, in not in this world. Our hope is in a living Savior, in the person of Jesus Christ. If we want to know the truth, it’s Jesus that we seek. In fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus is the Truth. John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

The world will continue to disappoint, distort, and mislead. But Jesus offers us hope for a future with Him instead. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Yes, the world will continue down this spiral of pursuing evil. And they’ll even call evil good and vice versa. But you don’t have to follow that pattern. We have a choice. We can choose the world’s way or we can choose God’s. God’s will is that we would seek Him with all our hearts. And the good? God will reveal the Truth of Jesus to us and we can finally know what is truly good and do it.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Why Christian Leaders Are Wrong To Support Trump

Donald Trump is a force. When radio commentators, TV personalities, political pundits, and the media alike are stumbling over themselves to hear what he has to say, good or bad, Trump has truly become a force to be reckoned with.

It is somewhat puzzling to understand the phenomena of Trump’s success in this political run for President of the United States. But what is even more than puzzling, distressing actually, is that Donald Trump is swaying professing Christians to disregard their faith and values and vote for him while holding their collective breaths.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Who Should Christians Vote for President?

With all the talk about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, one would think these two were the only ones running for president. Of course, they are the two high profile candidates of which one…

Source: Who Should Christians Vote for President?

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Response to White America

Picture by taliesin

This is a letter in response to George Yancy when he wrote a letter to White America in The Stone. Yancy wrote this letter in an apparent attempt to attack racism in America. However intended, Yancy has perpetuated the internal struggle America has endured over the past two centuries. This response is to provide an alternative perspective and solution.

You can read George Yancy’s letter here.

Dear Mr. Yancy,

I have, with great apprehension, opened your gift that you dropped on the doorstep of White America. I looked at it intently and tried to consider if this gift was relevant or deserved. I even wondered if this gift was something that I wanted to keep or throw away. I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted to take this gift and readdress it to not just White America but to the human race. And yes, this gift is being regifted back to you, Mr. Yancy, although slightly modified.

In your gift to White America, you are right on several points. I will admit that. There is a deeply rooted problem in America that stems from years of slavery, persecution, and discrimination. That problem still exists today. I would, however, try to direct your attention to a much larger issue. You bring up two very serious issues that plague America. You accuse White America of racism while admitting your own sexism. I would argue that there are a myriad of societal ills that plague America. I could list all the “isms” here but that list would be too long for this letter.

America has many issues that plague not just the black community but many segments of society. This is where I am regifting your very thoughtful gift to White America. I believe you’re being too narrow in your view of these issues. Mind you, I am not a highly paid or educated philosopher as yourself. So please bear with me as I bring out ideas that come from my own rambled, incoherent thoughts.

First, I want to address this racism issue. I find it interesting that you would argue that all of White America has benefited from racism. Can I point out the obvious? While I find this point argumentative, and especially debatable, have you not benefited, if one truly can benefit from such a notion, from racism as well? You call yourself a philosopher, someone who investigates truth, and yet how do you miss a vital part of your vocation? You derive a living on the subject of racism. You write on such subjects as “Black Bodies, White Gazes”, “Look! a White!”, and “Dear White America” for goodness sake.

Racism is a problem each and every human being has. Are you a racist? Am I a racist? Yes. And yes. “Racism is defined by the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races,” according to a Google search. Please allow me to elaborate. I may not be an intellectual but I can recognize that this is a worldwide problem. This is an issue of them versus us. I’m going to be uncomfortable around someone who doesn’t look like me, act like me, or show basic characteristics of someone like me. So, to put it in a nutshell, racism exists because we all have the propensity to compare ourselves to one another.

Racism isn’t a one-way road. But somehow, I get the sense in your writing that racism is only a condition from which whites suffer. Your entire article points to no matter how “innocent” whites appear, we are racist. There is no reciprocation from you to show how blacks and people of color, too, have this same problem. Do whites in America experience the consequences of racism in the same way as blacks and other minorities? Unlikely. But I’ve lived in a predominantly black city a number of years to get the sense of how whites are viewed within the community. I feel the anger and distrust from a number of black men and women in these urban areas only because I’m white. Is that fair? I don’t think so but I also recognize the reality of the circumstances that brought this about.

America, from its infancy, brought on the issue of racism upon itself. But let’s not be na├»ve to believe that this country is the only one in history to be burdened with this blight. Throughout history, peoples from various nations have enslaved other people groups. Isn’t it true that Black Africans enslaved White Europeans only a few centuries ago? Those could have been my ancestors. Couldn’t I have disdain or feel bitter for what happened to my people?

Racism wasn’t born in America. It has, however, been highlighted here more than any other time or place in history. However slavery has shaped this nation, it is now ours to deal with. I would like to see this country move forward in solidarity in removing the chasm that exists between the different races. What you write, Mr. Yancy, does a disservice toward that end. And I can only surmise that what you and other intellectuals teach and promote in academia only exacerbates the growing tensions in our country.

I will concede that as I write this I am responding much like you predicted, with a certain chip on my shoulder. But that is because when accusations are thrown at me that, much like every other human being, I get rather defensive. But why is that? Am I essentially acknowledging that I am a racist? I already said that I am. But not for the reasons you believe. I am racist because I am born of flesh in a sinful world that has rebelled against God.

If we’re going to really try to understand where the root of the problem exists in our society, we need to take an honest approach and open our minds to all possibilities. You use philosophy and the art of argument to dissuade anyone from having an intelligent rebuttal toward your comments. You use the techniques you’ve learned in academia, which has worked so effectively in our current Presidential Administration, to shut down any debate. You close it off as if your statements are the final word.

I contend, Mr. Yancy, that White America is not the sole contributor to the problem of race in our country. I don’t even argue that Black America is to blame. We can go down the line and look at Black, White, Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, male, female, heterosexual, homosexual, German, English, African, Catholic, Evangelical, Atheist, Muslim, and so on and so on and come to the conclusion that the problem comes from one place and one place only. The human condition. We are all sinners born into a sinful world.

Do you know why America is in the condition it is in? It’s because we have sinned against God. Romans 3:22-23 states “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” In the previous verses, the Apostle Paul quotes from Psalms:
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
It is because we are enemies of God that in our hearts we are enemies of each other. It isn’t until we reconcile our relationship with God that we can begin to have a proper understanding and relationship with other people. No amount of philosophy, psychology, or psychiatry is ever going to change the human condition. Much like a Band-Aid can only cover an open wound can any of the aforementioned studies of behavior mask the afflictions of wounded minds.

The same God who created the universe is the same God who provides a remedy for the human condition.  God sent His Son Jesus, who, according to Colossians 1:15-20, is the exact representation of Himself, to reconcile humankind to our Creator. Colossians 1:21-22 tells us this, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him…”

Our relationship with God matters. It’s a direct correlation to how we relate to each other. Peace on earth doesn’t happen until we have peace with God. So, although it appears in your letter that you intended to put White America at war with itself, I want to offer an alternative where we can all reconcile with each other instead.

A perfect world does not exist. It will not exist on this side of heaven. Even people today who put their faith and trust in the Almighty make mistakes and hurt people. Sin exists and will continue to exist until the return of our Savior in the final days. However, when we surrender our hearts and minds to Jesus, He begins the process of changing the way we think and behave. We become more and more like Him. Hopefully, over time, we begin to see how we treat each other and relationships will begin to heal and people will be at peace with one another. But this is a process and only those who surrender their will to God’s will experience this peace.

Unfortunately, we live in a world today that is increasingly hostile to God. People are not only turning their backs to God but are raising their fists to Him. Again, I go back to the fact that our relationships with each other are a direct correlation to our relationship with God. That is why we see so much anger and hostility toward each other, between countries, between races, even between families and marriages. The world is hurting because we are far, far from God.

The other side of heaven is a completely different story. In Revelations, Scripture tells us that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. There will be no sin and the divisions that exist today between people will not exist then. Relationships between people will be perfect because the relationship between God and people will be perfect.

Don’t get me wrong. Not everyone will get to experience this perfect relationship as it pertains to God. Many people have made decisions, and continue to make these decisions, to leave God out of their lives. The Bible makes it clear that the “the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” It is unfortunate that many do not want a relationship with God. And God will not force Himself upon them. Ultimately, it is still a choice.

I did read and hear what you said in your letter, Mr. Yancy. I did read with the goal of understanding your point of view. However, what I didn’t read is your solution. You wanted me to read and bear the brunt of your accusations without rebuttal. If I attempt to say that I agree with you, it would still bear no fruit in your mind because I’m still a middle-aged white male living in White America with my white privilege while living in the comfort of my racism. As you say, “Being a ‘good’ white person or a liberal white person won’t get you off the hook.” (Interesting that only a liberal white person is someone you mention as if good and liberal automatically go together.)

It seems, to me, as if there is no redemption for White America. We are prejudiced and racist and we should wallow in the muddy waters of our white identity. We are who we are. Never mind that many white people, like my ancestors, came to America after the Civil War. We had no part in slavery but because we’re white we find ourselves guilty by association.

You do propose, interestingly though, that we should love black people. And you mention black people like Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice among others as examples of black people we should love. Should we love black people without regard for their actions and attitudes toward us? If we feel the weight of black prejudice being thrust upon us, should we love them the same?

I’m not trying to suggest that White America shouldn’t love black people. I’m only trying to point out that your letter is deficient, void of a cohesive objective. It doesn’t provide a direction where we can go forward. To quote a section of your letter, you write:
I can see that this letter is being misunderstood. This letter is not asking you to feel bad about yourself, to wallow in guilt. That is too easy. I’m asking for you to tarry, to linger, with the ways in which you perpetuate a racist society, the ways in which you are racist.
So the question is if White America seriously considers how they have perpetuated a racist society, and are in essence racist, what is it that you want us to do? You don’t want us to feel guilty but you don’t offer a way for us to make amends.

Well, I want to offer a solution. I want America, and the rest of society, to move forward. But that requires something even deeper and painful than what you prescribed for White America. What this requires is a commitment. Not for a day, a month, or even a season. It’s a life-long commitment. Please consider not my words because my words are trivial. My words can be misconstrued and misleading. My words hold no weight to the balance of the matters of life. No, I ask that you listen to the Words of God. I ask you to read the Scriptures, from the Law and the Prophets, to the Gospels, to the letters written to the churches and the saints.

But I only wonder if you will read and hear what God has to say. You ask America to listen to you, but would you consider listening to God? Would you open His Word and consider His commandments? Ponder upon His laws and precepts. How do you measure up to God’s standards? Would you acknowledge that as flesh and blood you are incapable of being good and righteous before a Holy God? Would you consider that only God can provide a way of redemption through His Son, Jesus? Would you be willing to see what Jesus did for you and me at the cross of Calvary? Is it possible that you could see that Jesus died for your sins so that you could receive forgiveness and be redeemed through His blood?

Would you give it some thought about surrendering your will for His will? Would you allow Jesus into your heart to allow Him to begin the transformation to make you into a new creation created for His glory? Could you see how you’ve sinned against Him and repent of your sins? Could you deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus every day? Could you do these things despite the intense and increasing persecution being brought upon the followers of Jesus because the world hates Him?

You asked White America to talk to their children, hold their children tight, and look upon their children fondly while all the while imagining their children as black. But what if we considered another way? What if we challenged ourselves to see each other and our children as we are through God’s eyes? What if we considered that the only way society can move beyond prejudice and bigotry is by identifying ourselves with Christ? What if Jesus is the only way that we’ll ever see each other as more than race, gender, or national origin and see each other as people saved by grace. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. in his famous speech acknowledged:
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
                Free at last! Free at last!
                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!