Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me. This phrase, spoken at those who intend to demean or humiliate another, are meant to say that the person verbally assaulted is secure enough to see themselves as they are, rather than as the hurtful words spoken against them. In this new enlightened age words are judged to be just as violent as the actions taken to cause actual physical harm against another. Say what you will. Those that feel the need to belittle someone else in order to make themselves feel superior does not bother the vast majority of their targets in the least. Unfortunately, those few that are actually offended and especially those that take umbrage for other “protected” classes, drive society’s attitudes. The word police are out in force as more and more words are added to the list of “hate speech” as society creates more and more protected classes. With all the “haters” that are branded by our evermore intolerant culture, it is a wonder that humanity can coexist at all. But, it is even more telling as to who, and why someone can become labeled as a “hater”. Phil Robertson, patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” reality TV show family, really stuck his foot in his mouth, according to those more enlightened than I.

Seems that stating a personal conviction, based upon his Christian faith, upholding the authority of Scripture by quoting the Apostle Paul, was beyond the pale of acceptable behavior and speech today. As our society accepts an ever expanding list of what was previously unacceptable and aberrant conduct, it casts its’ aspersions in an unrelenting wave of skepticism against those they view as naive and gullible enough to profess faith in the Risen Christ. Those enlightened in our society look at Christians as judgmental, homophobic, exclusionary, hypocritical and hateful as they stand in judgment of those who dare to hold an opinion contrary to their own. While, we as Christians, stand convicted, we have a Savior who took our sins upon His shoulders, endured our punishment upon that cross, and now sits upon the throne, advocating for us to our Father. Jesus said in Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

So, in this day and age where truth is confused and the selfish cravings of a sinful humanity overtake our society, how does a Christian maintain sanity in this upside down world? Do we simply turn the other cheek and let those who would do us harm, slap us down, again and again? Especially troubling are the supposed leaders of God’s churches that look to ingratiate themselves with the world by minimizing or disregarding His will for us. Is God’s kingdom advanced when the leaders of the ELCA continually support the terrorist regime, Hamas, and Palestine, while casting stones at Israel? Is God’s kingdom advanced when the leaders of the ELCA support a women’s choice to end her pregnancy, or what is in reality, complicity in the murder of her unborn child? Is God’s kingdom advanced when the leaders of the ELCA lift up the homosexual lifestyle while chiding those that support the sanctity of marriage and call for the protection of a family with one man as the father and one woman as the mother?

The secular world looks down upon Christians as backward dim-witted rubes, easily duped by a religion they believe is simply meant to control them, while their own religion, that is all about pleasing oneself, is acclaimed as ideal. By invoking doctrine meant to affirm the selfish nature of humanity, it would appear that the leaders of the ELCA would have their members embrace the same ideals as secular society. In Robertson’s incident, reason prevails and “Duck Dynasty” is made whole again. This all has been played out before. The ending to this story has already been written. Evil does not win. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is victorious over the forces of the evil one and will ultimately usher in a new beginning for all believers. We needn’t be concerned with the small victories that the evil one wins here on earth because he will not win the war. Proclaim the power of the Gospel throughout the world. Let the love of Christ pour out of your heart. Let everyone see Him in your actions. Let everyone hear Him when you speak. Pray long and hard for our brothers and sisters in Christ to be delivered from the clutches of the ELCA and other misguided churches. Matthew 16, 24-29, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” Stand strong for the Lord and when He comes, you will receive the ultimate reward, eternal life with Him.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Righting Wrongs

The old proverb goes, “Two wrongs do not make one right.” Stating otherwise is simply advancing a faulty argument. To advocate that when one is wronged it is appropriate to commit another wrong to that person to in order to even things out is illogical, at best. This misconception has been fully discredited since committing a wrongful action is not a morally appropriate way to rectify a previous wrongful action. Thomas Hobbes, a 16th century liberal philosopher, conceived a notion that if a moral standard or common social rule is violated enough in society, then an individual or group within society can break that standard or rule as well, because this prevents them from being unfairly disadvantaged. Apparently, Saul Alinsky was not the first to come up with rules for radicals. In the real world this way of thinking can only serve to get one in trouble. See how this way of thinking will work with your local police. “Officer, everyone else goes 20 MPH over the speed limit on this road” will not justify your actions and will definitely result in a speeding citation for you.

There are many erroneous assumptions one may make to justify wrongful conduct, but fact of the matter is, as Christians, we are called to a higher standard. Our Lord and Savior did not tell us to strike out at those that would harm us, Jesus said in Matthew 5:39-42, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Unfortunately, illogical arguments permeate our society as from those who choose to surrender to their human cravings, yet argue that those cravings, no matter how depraved, must be accepted by society and even God’s church. Murdering an unborn child becomes acceptable because a woman has the right to choose what to do with her body. Too bad the child is left without a voice in the matter. Homosexuality morphs from an abomination to a “loving monogamous relationship between two persons of the same gender.” And most troubling of all, many progressive churches have minimized our Lord and Savior and pushed Him to the back of the bus in our all-knowing, enlightened new world religious order.

The ELCA promotes a “Big Tent” embracing any number of interpretations of Scripture and welcomes diverse opinions on theology, even some that deny the very truths of the faith. Jesus dealt with those on the fringe of society, in need of healing of mind, spirit and body. He embraced those shunned by society, healing lepers, eating with tax collectors and walking with Samaritans. Each of those He encountered were made whole again, not by affirming them within their sin, but forgiving their sin, lifting up their faith and leading them to embrace obedience of God’s law. The leaders of the ELCA deceive those searching for God and craving forgiveness by reaching out with their imperfect love and affirming behavior that is prohibited by God. Instead of reaching out and leading them to Christ, they direct them to the wide road that leads to destruction. Repent is not a word that has any meaning with this heretical church. Ignoring sin while affirming the sinner is far easier, although falling membership numbers indicate that not all agree it best to deny our Savior in order to lift up the selfish desires of humanity.

The leaders of the ELCA wrong the faithful, by leading them to believe that their desires for themselves are the same as God’s desires for His children by adhering to the false doctrine of bound conscience. They further commit the gravest wrong of all to their membership when they choose to promote a social gospel rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, two wrongs do not make a right. It serves only the evil one when they promote a gospel that leads God’s children astray. Zephaniah 3:1-5, “Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning. Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law.” While these verses refer to the people in the city of Jerusalem, they follow perfectly the path that the leaders of the ELCA have chosen from their tower in the city of Chicago. How is God's sanctuary defiled by improper teaching and preaching? And how vile are the comments to those who offer correction? Who says the Bible is not pertinent to today? From this, less than well known, book of the Old Testament comes a prophesy meant for today. Continue in prayer for our brothers and sisters adrift in the apostasy that so permeates the ELCA. Pray that God opens their hearts and minds to His truth and leads them to a safe haven away from these false gospels.