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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Is Today Yesterday—America and Corinth

Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Eccl. 1:9 NKJV)  When it comes to human behavior it is hard to argue that anything has changed since Solomon’s day well over 2,000 years ago.  Human pride and arrogance just seem to roll on from one generation to the next endlessly.  I was reminded of that today (4/6/2015) when I was reading from 1 Cor. 5, Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth.

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!  And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.”  (1 Cor. 5:1-2 NKJV)

While America is certainly not a church it seems it has much the same attitude toward sin that the church at Corinth was displaying.  There is no mourning in America today over adultery, homosexuality, fornication, lying, deception, malice, drunkenness, you name it.  In fact, for some politicians their sins make them more popular with the public.  Bill Clinton was one notorious example of that.  Bill Bennett’s book, The Death of Outrage, was written as a direct response to the public’s reaction to that sordid episode.

Being caught in a lie no longer disqualifies one from holding even the highest office in the land.  We have lied so much and for so long people no longer think much about it and it no longer seems to taint your character in the eyes of the public at large with but few exceptions.  Harry Reid, the senator from Nevada, just admitted lying about Mitt Romney not paying any taxes for 10 years but where is the public outrage?  There is very little of it.

There is little difference with other sins.  The quickest way for an actress to gain fame and fortune seems to be to take her clothes off and display herself publicly, maybe even get into pornography, and as for drunkenness why everyone does it do they not?  There is no shame in America anymore.  If you are on your fifth live-in arrangement so what?  Who really cares? We will tolerate anything in America.  Sounds like Corinth to me.  We will in the name of toleration tolerate the very things that will lead to our personal and national destruction. 

What outrage we do see today is against Christianity, not against sin and evil doing.  We are experiencing the evolution of morals in America where we now call evil good and good evil.  It is a destructive evolution for God has said, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” (Isa. 5:20 NKJV)

But why have we become this way?  I think the following remark from Bill Bennett’s book, The Death of Outrage, is on the mark:

Why have we been drawn toward a culture of permissiveness?  My former philosophy professor John Silber was correct when he spoke of an ‘invitation to mutual corruption.’  We are hesitant to impose upon ourselves a common moral code because we want our own exemptions.” (Page 120)

We in America like to blame our leaders for our problems as a nation but the problem lies within us, each of us.  We have become proud, puffed up much like the Corinthians.  Add to that we enjoy our own personal sins and do not want to give them up.  Living righteously no longer matters to us and we no longer demand it of our elected officials, the invitation to mutual corruption, and then we wonder what has happened to our country.

The answer to our problems lies within each of us.  While it is true “there is none righteous” (Rom. 3:10 NKJV), we are not righteous on our own, don’t you think we might all be better off and our nation be better off if we made an attempt to live righteously?  The desire to do so has been lost but God has given us free will.  We can change if we will just will to do so.  With God’s help, it is not impossible for men and women to live godly righteous lives.  If there is not a change, a sort of national repentance, we are doomed and on a personal level Jesus put it bluntly, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3 NKJV)    

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Real Motive Behind the Indiana RFRA Protests

The state of Indiana has been in the national news spotlight in recent days over the protests of Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.   The protest began in earnest this past Saturday, March 28, 2015, with a march in Indianapolis and has since spread nationwide with businesses threatening to pull out of Indiana and/or boycott the state.

The law attempts to provide some degree of protection to Christians, in particular Christians who run businesses, who due to religious beliefs do not want to be forced by law into taking part in things that would violate their conscience, things like gay marriage.  The protestors claim the law gives a license to discriminate against gays by refusing them services that a business would provide to others.

The truth is no Christian who reads the New Testament and actually believes what it says (there is some who no longer believe) is going to be willing to aid and assist anyone determined to commit sin when he realizes that is what is happening.  The sin does not matter.  It could be homosexuality, adultery, theft, deception, whatever the sin might be.

If the homosexual is discriminated against because the Christian will not help him sin, if that is your definition of discrimination, then by the same standard of reasoning the adulterer, the thief, the deceiver, and all others are likewise discriminated against by the Christian who lives his faith.  The Christian faith does not allow facilitating sin.

A Christian who aids and abets one determined to sin is little better than Balaam who Jesus said, “Taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.” (Rev. 2:14 NKJV)  Balaam was going to help Israel commit sin via Balak. 

The agenda, the real motive behind the protests, is to drive Christian faith into silence and out of the public sphere, to marginalize it and make it as insignificant a part of American life as possible.  There have already been a few instances nationwide where small Christian businesses have been sued successfully for their failure to provide services for those gay couples planning weddings.  When court costs, fines, etc. are figured into the equation such suits essentially destroy the tiny family-owned business and threaten even the financial survival of the family that owns it.  

This is really a matter of vengeance against those of faith.  How hard is it to get a wedding cake made or a photographer in to have pictures taken?  Would not the loving thing be to just take the wrong and go on?  It would if they were Christians which they are obviously not.  “Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong?” (1 Cor. 6:7 NKJV)  Of course, this is not to say the one who refuses to bake the cake for a gay wedding ceremony is in the wrong but only that the Christian thing to do is to refrain from suing.  But, there is no Christianity in gay marriage. 

Those who oppose this Indiana law on the basis that they think it discriminates against gays feel that such discrimination would be wrong—in their eyes sinful, evil.  That is strange, almost inexplicable, coming as it does from those who have rejected God’s word on the subject of sin.  How do they define sin if they are not going to use the Bible to do it?  How do I know what is sinful and what is not apart from God’s word?

If it had not been for the Bible the word sin would never have been in man’s vocabulary.  The word “sin” is first used in Gen. 4:7 where God is speaking to Cain although sin itself was first committed by Adam and Eve.  John the apostle defined sin as “the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4 KJV), the law being the law of God.    

The gay lobbyists have rejected Rom. 1:24-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:9-10, and Jude 6-7 so I am sure they are not willing to take the Bible’s word for what constitutes sin nor are they willing to let God define love.  “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” (1 John 5:3 NKJV)  If they do not like what a passage teaches they just put it into a category like foot washing, confine it to the first century, or make it figurative.  They cannot endure a literal interpretation of the word.

It is not that hard to reject God’s word, if you are so inclined, and still claim Christianity which is the very thing many of the non-atheists among them do.  Of course, many among them are outright atheists and none will accept the word of God as is.  You will hear much about love from them but be aware and be certain they will get to define it, not God.

It is a smorgasbord man-made religion that supports these protests but the kind of religion a secular world desires if they must endure religion at all.  If this group believed God meant what he said and believed it was applicable today they would have no part of Christianity, declare God the sinner, and become God-haters.  Their Bible has been made flexible so it’s meaning changes with the changing cultural seasons of society.  They alone will decide what is sin?

So what is the standard that man uses to determine right from wrong, righteousness from unrighteousness, when one has rejected literal New Testament texts on sin?  If the word of Christ is not reliable, where is the text that is reliable, that provides a standard for judging right from wrong?  Without a standard who dares make himself God and declare for all men what is righteous?  The answer is the gay lobbyists, at least on this and related subjects.

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