Sunday, July 20, 2014

Captive to Sin

While progressive churches are engaged in a headlong rush to minimize or even eliminate sin, those of us who choose to worship in more traditional denominations, confession of our sins and the affirmation of God’s forgiveness is an important part of the liturgy. Yes, by faith alone we are granted forgiveness, but for us ever sinful Christians, it is a comfort to have God’s grace confirmed in our worship services. We are sinful human beings, held captive by our sinful desires. We cannot escape from the bottomless pit of sin without our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Try as we may to obey God’s law, we fail over and over again. I was reminded of my own shortcomings as a Christian by a non-Christian friend who pointed out that I was not always a very good example of a Christian. I agreed, and told him that is why I need a Savior. My true nature condemns me, but through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, even someone as unworthy as I am, is saved.

Many non-Christians and Christians alike, believe that being a Disciple of Christ simply means obeying the law, or, as some would say, the rules that God has imposed upon humanity to keep us in line. Many non-Christians are offended by what they consider “unfair” rules enforced by an unjust God. Believers are often looked upon as fancying themselves as belonging to an exclusive club that they believe grants them special dispensation. Yet, Christians, far too often, fall into the trap of judgmentalism, lashing out against rule breakers. I’ve often told my kids, my grandchildren and even suspects that I was questioning in my former life as a police officer, “It’s bad enough that you made a mistake. Don’t make it worse by lying about it, blaming others and/or failing to take responsibility for your actions.” We all fall into sin, over and over, and we only make matters worse for ourselves when we ignore our inadequacies by pointing out our neighbor's failings. We “good Christians” cast out our most pronounced accusations upon our neighbors that engage in the sin of homosexuality. We are quick to point out the error of the person that succumbs to desires that God forbids. And yes, God makes it plain in His Word that homosexuality is forbidden.

Jesus said that the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. Do you hate yourself when you act on desires forbidden by God, and fall into sin? Yet, we often fixate on our neighbors that succumb to their desires and engage in homosexual behavior. It’s a tangled web we weave. On one hand, as believers, we really should know better and the trap of sin should be apparent and easy to avoid. Unfortunately, this is far from reality. Paul said in Romans 7:14-25, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” When the Apostle Paul, chosen to continue His ministry by Christ Himself, continually falls prey to his sinful nature, how can we call out our neighbor while we sin so boldly?

This is not to say that we are to acquiesce to sinful behavior by our neighbor. When our neighbor does not know Christ, it is our duty as disciples of Christ to lead that person to Him. Condemning our neighbors that engage in behavior that God prohibits will likely lead those neighbors away from God and if they do decide to try and find God they will likely fall into the hands of apostasy driven churches like the ELCA. We need to plant the seed that the Holy Spirit can nurture and grow in order for our neighbor to become part of the body of Christ. Once the love of Christ fills their hearts, they will come to realize what is pleasing to God. Our witness need not be by proselytizing, we can show the love of Christ in our actions towards our neighbor, and being openly critical of their behavior is not acting in love. The law is written upon the hearts of believers and non-believers alike, but if one does not know God, the Holy Spirit does not fill their hearts. Without the Holy Spirit, one cannot come to faith. If our actions only harden the hearts of our neighbor, we fail in the most important aspect of discipleship. For the believer, it is clear that God prohibits homosexuality. For the believer, it is clear that in order to please God the believer must not fall prey to that behavior. For the believer, it is clear that it is God's responsibility to judge the actions of humankind. If God can love me in spite of my continual disobedience, I can love my neighbor in spite of their faults.  A Church of God in Milwaukee boldly proclaims in a large neon sign on their front door, ALL SINNERS ARE WELCOME! That church is welcoming without disregarding the fact that we all are sinners that fall short of the glory of God.

When our brothers and sisters in Christ, those who already know Christ, fall back to the ways of the world by willfully choosing to accept false doctrine, they must be led back to the path of righteousness. After all, it is worse for one to come to the Lord and then fall back to the ways of the world. 2 Peter 2, 20-21, "If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them." We must endeavor to correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. Our needs are to be secondary to our desire to please our Lord and Savior. Pleasing God entails following God’s will and acknowledging our innate selfishness. Prioritizing the fulfillment of human desires causes us to fall into disobedience. Sin may be pleasurable to the flesh, but it harms our relationship with God.

When a church decides to affirm sin, without repentance, it is no longer a Christian church. The leaders of the ELCA wag their collective finger at God and tell Him (or her in some of their churches) that they know better. The ELCA has abdicated its’ responsibility bring the lost to Christ and help them to travel on the path of righteousness. No one is righteous, as we all fall short, but as John wrote in 1 John 1:8-10, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

The leadership of the ELCA promotes doctrine that claims that sin is no longer sinful, deceiving their membership. The truth is not in them. Confession of sin is replaced with the affirmation of sin by this wayward denomination. The leaders of the ELCA proclaim that God is a liar as they try to rewrite His word to placate the world, rather than to bring His word to the world. His word is not in them. Continue to proclaim the truth and pray that our brothers and sisters adrift in the apostasy that is the ELCA will truly open their hearts and minds and return to the Lord. Reach out to our neighbor with the love of Christ and pray that more will come to know Him.

Monday, July 7, 2014


It’s the thing that gets us to the thing. The new series on AMC, Halt and Catch Fire, uses this phrase to explain that completing the reverse engineering of a computer is simply one step that will begin to open the doors that create an opportunity to gain wealth and fame. It is not simply a task, but a plan entailing prescribed elements that must be completed in order to take the next step that eventually leads to that end goal. Each task may seem to be unrelated to the end goal, but accomplishing those necessary steps are essential to achieve the grand plan. Progressivism is overtaking much of our society. Academia, government and now the church is being overwhelmed by progressive ideals that look to destroy rather than lift up. Radical change is the goal of progressivism and conservatism is the great evil that is in the way. You see, those traditional minded, conservative based individuals champion concepts that progressives find repulsive: Traditional marriage between one man and one woman; the right to life of an unborn child; personal responsibility. the right to bear arms; enforcing the border of a sovereign nation; and especially objectionable is the concept of an all-powerful God that would not only have the temerity to have His only Son killed to satisfy His anger, but also imposes rules upon a humanity that has apparently reached the pinnacle of enlightenment.

But, progressives find many roads that lead to the achievement of their goals. The carefully calculated humanitarian crisis that has hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant children crossing the border is one example. “We must take care of the children!” “Any civilized society would protect those that cannot protect themselves.” Unless you happen to be an unborn child, or as Cass Sunstein would say, if the child is under two years of age. Think about that for a moment. Abortion, or what should be correctly called infanticide, is not enough for one of our President’s czars. He believes that a child, under the age of two, can be aborted. How can a person justify killing a living, breathing child? When one does not value life, anything goes. Back to the vehicle used to get what one wants. The progressive in government looks to that government to provide for, nurture and control the populace. In order to control the populace, having that populace beholding to a government that provides the means for their income, health care, housing and other necessary items gives that government a means to control that portion of the populace. Creating an ill- informed, permanent underclass by giving them free stuff creates a populace that tends to vote to continue their handouts. Make that number greater than half of the total population and you create a permanent majority that allows the progressives to maintain power. How better to build and maintain that voting bloc than by opening the border gates and allowing the poor and destitute to enter. Then create entitlements for those undocumented immigrants and add to those who vote to maintain those entitlements, or simply put, to continue getting all their free stuff. It’s the thing that gets us to the thing.

Make note of the professionally printed signs that most “grass roots” activists display today? Wasn’t Nancy Pelosi the one who coined the word “Astroturf” to describe the grass roots uprising by the Tea Party? Occupy, immigration, women’s reproductive health, and other progressive activist groups are very well organized. There are no spontaneous demonstrations when it comes to a progressive’s plans. Every protest, every march is dedicated to achieving the results that move them closer to their ultimate goal. The “Overton Window” shows that by simply using tactics currently employed by progressives, one can swiftly move society to accept what was once looked upon as aberrant behavior. First move the public perception from unacceptable to radical, next move from radical to acceptable. Then move from acceptable to sensible. Take the next logical step from sensible to popular. Then complete the transition from popular to policy. It doesn’t take as long as one would imagine. Abortion leapt from unthinkable to a woman’s right to choose in a manner of years. Out of wedlock childbirth went from a family disgrace to a badge of honor, once even glorified in a popular network TV show, within a few decades. And homosexuality flew out of the closet to first become hip and now applauded as “heroic” in a just a few short years.

A must read for any conservative should be Alisnky’s “Rules for Radicals“. After all, it is important to understand one’s enemy, especially one that is hell-bent at utterly destroying the competition. Is the radical Islamist the greatest threat to democracy? No, and if you truly understand the progressive, you will recognize that they pose the greatest threat to country, individuality and particularly, Christianity.

From “Rules for Radicals”

“The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

“Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

Sound familiar. The Evangelical Church in America has become quite proficient with these types of tactics. Take the time to read some of the current ELCA member comments on their own “Living Lutheran” website. Those that remain true to the authority of Scripture and believe as Luther taught are ridiculed and castigated by our ever loving, ever tolerant brothers and sisters from our former synod. As the ELCA proclaims, God’s work, our hands, their leaders push their members further away from the path God has set before them. God’s chosen, Israel is reviled by the leadership of the ELCA as they peddle outright lies to their membership to breed hatred while lifting up the plight of the very organization that wants to not only wipe Israel from the face of the earth, but also would destroy Christianity. Want to kill your unborn child? If you are employed by the ELCA, although the workforce continues to wane at Higgins Road, their insurance will pay for the procedure. Want to placate the selfish cravings of a sinful humanity and deny your Savior? All you need to do is invoke your bound conscience and you can not only have your same sex relationship recognized as a marriage by this wayward church, you can preach, unrepentantly from the pulpit as an ordained minister. These are the things that get them to the thing. And apparently that thing is elevating man above God and replacing Him with images of themselves.

Satan rejoices in the progressive movement. They are doing the things that get him to the thing he most longs for, a church that denies their God, a society that accepts murder, a society that replaces God’s will their flawed human sensibility, in fact, calling God a liar, and a church that is working to destroy God’s chosen people. With God out of the way, any perversion is possible. Jeremiah 23:25-27, “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship.” The Baal that the leaders of the ELCA worship is tolerance, acceptance and diversity. Their leaders bow in worship at the altar that lifts up the desires of a sinful humanity and leads their membership into the abyss ruled by the evil one. Remain in fellowship with the ELCA and one day you may find yourself falling into the trap of the evil one with no escape. Luke 13:22-25, Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.Pray unceasingly for the hearts and minds of those trapped within the ELCA to be opened to the truth