Diane Feinstein – As libs, we must have our cake and eat it too!

Well, that’s not exactly what she said in the Neil Gorsuch hearing but it might as well have been.  You see when questioning around the subject of abortion Feinstein said that she probably will oppose Gorsuch because he believes “the intentional taking of a human life by private persons is always wrong.”

Does anybody else see the absolute pure and unadulterated hypocrisy in that statement?  Was it intentional, was it a Freudian/Feinstein slip or did her true color get exposed?  You see, we actually do have laws on the books as it relates to the intentional taking of human life by a private person.  And when you exclude the right for self defense, you are left with only one thing and we call it murder.  Feinstein didn’t say that Gorsuch thought the taking of a mass of cells or a fetus was wrong, she referred to it as the “intentional taking of a human life” and according to our laws, that is always called murder.  So wouldn’t that fall into the plus column for Gorsuch to always follow the law by seeing the intentional taking of a human life as always wrong?

These people who support the killing of babies are simply messed up in the head and it comes out in their inability to even get their terms and stories straight.  So eat that cake up baby killers, but just know that it’s going to eat you up in the end.  God will NOT be mocked!

eat cake

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Convert or Die – In Reverse

My title may sound like a follow-up to my last blog about the 21 Christian brothers who were beheaded in Libya this past weekend and in a weird twisted way it may.  But no, this is about a 5th column within the church itself which is growing ever stronger advocating the church “get on the right side of history” or become irrelevant and die.

From what were we saved and redeemed?  This may sound like a rhetorical question.  Light was shown on the sin of man by the giving of the laws of God.  This was done in order for him to realize his need for God and the need to be cleansed from the curse of sin.  It’s not like sin is simply some bad habit we should eventually be rid of, but more like some agent of death we must be rescued from lest we be destroyed in hell.

Wow, that last line makes it sound like there is some Holy God out there who will cast us into outer darkness unless we convert to His way of thinking.  Yea, pretty much.  But unless you come to the realization He loved us so much He sacrificed His only Son in order to make it possible for that to not happen, it can be made to sound really intolerant and judgmental.

In 2011, Rob Bell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.  Just a few of years earlier he was named one of the 10 most influential Christian leaders by The Church Report.  For some time Rob has been leaning heavily towards the universalism tenant that there is no eternal physical punishment (i.e. hell) and more recently he has fully embraced same sex marriage.

I am only somewhat familiar with Rob Bell, but there are millions who hang on his words.  So when he says ‘the Church will “continue to be even more irrelevant” if it continues to cite the Bible’s prohibitions on homosexual behavior’ referring to the Bible as some “letters from 2000 years ago”.  I guess there are a goodly number of people who stand up and take notice, especially when he says it shoulder to shoulder with the Big O herself (Oprah).

And here is where it really gets twisted.  In referring to the church’s battle against same sex marriage his wife states that “there are churches who are moving forward and there are churches who are almost regressing and making it more of a battle”.  Rob followed with “I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work. … You sort of die or you adapt … we have supported policies and ways of viewing the world that are actually destructive. And we’ve done it in the name of God and we need to repent.”

So, brothers and sisters, 2000 years after “those letters” were written to encourage us to repent of our destructive sinful ways, follow Christ and be saved from eternal punishment, it is now we the church who, Rob Bell claims, must repent of our commitment to that holy living and revert back to a time before those thousands of years when living sinful lives was vogue ——- or die.  In other words, what was considered destructive and sinful living for 2000 years has all of a sudden become not sin and any commitment advocating the avoidance of sinful living has been turned on its head and has now become the destructive thing?

And it’s not just from former “old letter” believers where this is coming.  Just this week a judge in New Jersey declared any counseling for, even requested, conversion therapy to be fraudulent and prosecutable.

So, after what did happen with the 21 CHRISTIANS in Libya this past weekend, you thought your commitment to Christ mite at the worst put the choice before you to convert to Islam or die with the name of Jesus on your lips.  No, brothers and sisters, it’s much, much worse than that.  In order to “get along” in this generation, you will have to deny over 2 thousand years of church history, deny those faded “silly” letters, deny the testimony of the saints, deny your own experience with God and even deny the purposeful sacrifice of Christ.  Or become irrelevant and die.

But you don’t understand, my problems are worse than a martyr’s – Said Nobody EVER!!!

I have not yet watched the video of the beheadings of 21 Egyptian brothers.  I am very conflicted as to whether I will on not.  Part of me wants to and part of me is loathe to watch it and I have no particular “spiritual” reason for either.  But I have read accounts of a father in Egypt having to stop watching it after seeing his son crying out the name of Jesus Christ just before his beheading.  Other reports are of many of them proclaiming Jesus as their only savior as the knives come out.

I have seen a picture of the sea turned BLOOD red and I can just imagine the chorus of their blood crying out from the sand and the sea.

Part of me cries uncontrollably, part of me wishes I could have been a sniper on a sand dune overlooking the event to take out the executioners before they could carry out their empty deed.  I say empty because I cannot imagine someone with any self esteem, worth or noble purpose in life being able to do this kind of thing.

Then there is the part of me which cries almost more intently because of my complaints to my wife, my kids (and worse yet) the Lord about my problems.  Until the last couple of days my problems loomed large and many would agree as to the severity of what I am facing.  But in light of the real life, captured on video and broadcast to the whole world, plight of these precious Coptic brothers in the Lord facing modern day martyrdom my issues are just that – temporal issues with no eternal implications.

I have seen postings of praying for the executioners.  I know I should be there, but not just yet Lord.  Please give me a few more hours of righteous indignation and desire for exacting retribution of similar fashion.  But even as I write that I hear scripture proclaiming the Father is so very patient in His return – not willing for any to perish, but that all would come to repentance.  But I don’t want them to repent!  I want them to pay and I want to be the one that makes them pay.

But then I hear the rebuking words of Jesus to James and John – “you don’t know what kind of spirit you have taken on” and all of a sudden I have become no better than those lost souls on the beach in Libya – having no knowledge of the risen Savior.  I know from how low I have been pull up and compassion begins to roll in like a flood – God, you take a pass on my problems if you can save but one.

PS – There but by the grace of God went Paul …. re-phrase – There went Paul before the grace of God!

He can do whatever He wants and who am I to complain – but what if?

Free will vs. election, pre/mid/post tribulation, eternal physical punishment vs. annihilation, Jesus is the only way vs. universalism, tats vs. no tats, instruments vs. no instruments, tongues vs. no tongues, miracles vs. no miracles, etc. etc. etc.

There have been and are many debates, controversies, arguments and downright fights out there over the subjects listed above and many more.  What is right?  Who is right? And what is my responsibility before God in all this confusion and fog?

This blog is not going to answer any of those questions, but rather offer a perspective to consider as it relates specifically to a couple of the more weighty ones.  I’m not so sure my or your eternal position will be determined by whether either of us speaks in tongues, believes in miracles, plays instruments or has a tattoo.  And, although perhaps more weighty, I not sure if my belief in when the rapture happens (if there even is one) will have any bearing on when it actually takes place.  I will even go so far as to say that when I get to the pearly gates and find out the it was free will instead of election that got me there, or the other way around, I’m not going to argue at that point which one should have been right.

There are a couple of the “vs.” above that are perhaps more important relating to eternity than the others.  Very popular movements in mainstream Christianity today are the rejection of an eternal physical punishment in hell and a significant nod towards universalism being embraced because of our abundantly merciful God.

I have my views and opinions on both of these subjects which I will only give in brief.  On the idea of eternal physical punishment in hell I will only say that the same Greek word for eternal is used for both the eternal punishment the goats are sent to and the eternal life the sheep are promised.  In faith believing I am one of the sheep, I am definitely interested in the kind of eternal life that is actually forever.  On the subject of Jesus is the only way or maybe not so much, simply put, I have chosen to follow Jesus as the only way and I try to do it the best I can.

Now, ultimately, God is going to do what He wants to do.  If that means sending sinners to the isle of perpetual tickling, totally annihilates them or gives them a pathway to redemption, who am I to say anything against that.  I may not like the idea that I worked in the fields most of the day and someone who comes after dark and after the work is completed still gets the same reward, but then I am not the land owner and I still got what was promised to me.

The bottom line for me is that He is the Owner, Master, Potter, Creator, King of the universe, He is EVERYTHING and I recognize all those attributes and no matter what His plan or what He ultimately decides to do – I’m all in with my devotion to Him no matter what the outcome.  Why?  Because of all those titles I listed at the beginning of this paragraph.  He gets to call ALL the shots no matter what, when or how.  He can change His mind even if I have long understood that He doesn’t change.  HE IS.  And because of that, I will chose and promote scriptures most “conservative” points of obedience, devotion and commitment for the simple reason of “what if?”.  In other words, what if there is an eternal physical punishment in a lake of fire, what if Jesus really is the only way and what if He really is as holy, merciful and intolerant of sin as described in scripture.  Since it is eternity we are talking about, which is a really, really long time, I am not taking chances and I’m going to encourage others not to take the ultimate risk of being wrong when there is so much at stake.

PS – inspired by a comment by my daughter Jayme – If our desire is to be understanding and compassionate, is it really compassionate to promote a certain philosophy which ignores the possibility, no matter how small, of an eternal consequence?

Muddying the Waters – “Christianity” on the far left (or right for that matter)

I was recently made aware of a social media page started by a Christian who is self described to be on the far left.  As I was reading the “About” page I found myself agreeing with some of the things they stand for – especially those based in scripture.

They believe in compassion for the poor, they are against abortion and other good to great issues.  They are also unashamedly socialistic and communistic, against the death penalty for any reason and for totally free health care.

I am not a big protestor or proponent of the death penalty.  But the Father’s embracing of the penalty of death for sin is why I have the opportunity to live forever in heaven with my benefactor – Jesus – on whom the death penalty was carried out because of my sin.

I would love free healthcare except for the fact that I had enough math in elementary school to know that something on that scale is never free and in fact if enacted to the fullest extent would financially bankrupt the entire world.

In similar fashion I would love the opportunity to live in community where we all shared in common our housing, food, work and wages.  But alas, like free healthcare, this socialistic ideal was put to the test by the New Testament church in Jerusalem and it failed miserably.  Too many were not working and just living off the common kitty.  It went so bad that the surrounding churches had to end up supporting the Jerusalem church and in the end they had to enact the “absurd” rule that if you are not working and contributing to the common kitty, you will not get any food (our current welfare system could sure learn a thing or two from this experience in the early church in Jerusalem).

As you look deeper into left wing themed “Christianity”, you begin to find conspiracy theories and staunch opposition to gun ownership, being against war for any reason and other more fringe issues that are more related to social and geo-political issues instead of biblical principles.

But the truth is the left does not have a monopoly on fringe issues.  There are plenty of extreme right wing Christians whose agendas can be just as harmful.  Although we would all (left and right leaning) like to hide when someone mentions Westboro, snake handling or clinic bombings the truth is they show up in the community of ultra conservative right wing “Christianity” and yet many of these issues have little to do with those things on the heart of the Father.

My suggestion is that we stop putting God in some of these issues and put ourselves out there in obedience of sacrificial service to the heart and message of the Lordship of Jesus in the life of the believer.  If you don’t want to own a gun – fine, don’t own a gun, but don’t make it a God issue.  If you support the death penalty – OK, but don’t put God in that box.  And if you want to handle snakes – knock yourself out (pun intended) but why not drink the poison as well as letting us see the fruit of people being healed of sickness in your midst (Mark 16:18).

On the subject of guns, the left opposes them on the grounds that they are mostly made for use in war and killing.  I am pretty sure that on any given day guns are used more for sport and hunting than for killing other humans.  But using that same logic, we should oppose the use of all airplanes as there are more military planes in the world than those used for commercial purposes and it has been that way from the beginning.

Bottom line, whether left, center or right leaning in your “political” views, I think it is safe to say that we are in almost total agreement against abortion.  We agree that compassion should be exhibited towards the poor with the difference being the left wants to give them fish and the center to right want to teach them to be responsible to fish for themselves.  Both points of view are believed by those who hold them to be the most compassionate thing to do.  Although many take positions on the death penalty, this one is not so clear.  It would be hard for me to imagine God smiling at a bunch of Christians promoting the death penalty.  But at the same time we can’t ignore that after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, the Father carried out the death penalty on two people in the church “just” for lying.

So have your soap boxes, have your strong opinions and have those groups you join who hold similar views.  But don’t invoke the name of God into your platform unless you can cite multiple chapter and verse (preferably in the New Testament) scriptures for your position.  The reason I say multiple, is because Jesus only once encouraged his disciples to sell an extra coat in order to buy a sidearm and I am not prepared to start a gun ownership movement on that basis.  But then neither can I oppose devises of personal protection because of that occasion when Jesus did advocate it (for the skeptics, Luke 22:36).

PS  My Down Under Shelters facebook page has 85 likes – almost twice as many as Left Wing Christians

The Death Penalty or the Penalty of Death

I recently read an article by Shane Claiborne entitled “If it Weren’t for Jesus, I Might be Pro-Death Too”.  I must say the position in the article is not one that I totally disagree with.  I am not some avid death penalty proponent.  If it were outlawed tomorrow I’m not sure I would lose any sleep over it.  But then neither am I an advocate for its abolishment and I cite the death of Jesus on the cross as my reason.

If not for the wage of sin being death and the fact that Jesus took my sin upon Himself and submitted to God’s eternal law requiring death for sin – then I would be still standing accused and guilty with the only eventuality being my eternal death.

If I were so inclined, which I am not, I could easily write an equally long article entitled “If it weren’t for Jesus, I would be dead”.  I think it is often all too easy to get on some band wagon because something sounds “kinder and gentler” on the surface but when evaluated on a deeper level it’s not quite so cut and dried and in fact may be counterproductive to our lives and eternity.

Frankly I wish my rescue could have been accomplished without the death penalty being carried out on Jesus.  And just so we are clear, it was not the Romans or the Jews who passed that judgment, it was God and Jesus’ plan for that death which was required to maintain the integrity of the laws of a Holy Creator.  But in the end I am so fortunate and the recipient of eternal blessings because God maintained that death penalty integrity – even though carried out against His own Son.

Ultimately, with eternity in mind, Jesus’ death was Pro-Life!  Can anyone say divine tension?  So feel free to protest the death penalty, either side, but don’t be too quick to put God in either of those boxes.