I could be wrong!

In fact there is a good part of me that hopes I am wrong.  Let me back up a little, in fact to really be thorough, honest and academic we will need to back up at least 100 years (if not a couple thousand).  What I am talking about is a subtle agenda being pushed to the fore by many very talented and gifted communicators in various forms to include TV, media, books and movies.  I’m speaking about universal salvation as well as several other beliefs which seem to be commonly tacked on to the coat tails of universal salvation.

In short, universal salvation, or Christian universalism, is “a school of Christian theology focused around the doctrine of universal reconciliation – the view that all human beings will ultimately be restored to a right relationship with God” (Wikipedia).  Naturally and closely associated with Christian universalism is the belief that there is no eternal physical punishment (a burning hell).  There are numerous other practices or beliefs which follow closely behind these 2 schools of thought such as acceptance of gay lifestyles in the church, a de-emphasis on chastity as well as embracing a philosophy of never judge and always include.  But for the most part I will only offer some thoughts on Christian universalism and hell.

Let me first say, as I hinted at earlier, I completely understand the appeal of Universal Salvation and the absence of a physical and eternal hell.  I have many family members and friends who do not profess Christ and who would benefit from an eternity lacking a permanent physical punishment and the opportunity to be reconciled to the Father beyond the grave.  That would be wonderful on so many levels even if mildly disconcerting to me and my, before the grave, efforts to embrace the cross and commands of Christ.  However, the above views are not what I see in scripture, but if I’m wrong it’s still a win win for everybody.  Yes I, and many like me, may have endeavored to live more circumspectly in this life to no real avail, but in the end, that end being eternity, there would be no real down side to having been wrong and having lived a life of discipleship and devotion to Jesus.

Here is my concern and caution with the increasing evolution of some mainstream Christian beliefs and the direction in which they are moving.  These beliefs, theologies and practices did not follow 50 – 100 years of respected Christian theologians from the most respected Christian seminaries beginning to question and debate the possibility that we may have been wrong about salvation and hell.  In fact the opposite has happened.  Secular philosophies of “if it feels good – do it” and other related beliefs which were introduced in the 60’s ultimately carried influence into the walls of an insecure church desperate to “stay relevant”.  This was closely followed by accusations of intolerance and hate towards anyone or any church/denomination which dared to hold onto traditional beliefs instead of getting on the “right side of history”.  Barbie and I have even had very dear friends with whom we have discussed some of these issues pull back from relationship, cut off relationship or “unfriend” us because we are the ones perceived as narrow and intolerant – I trust you see the sad irony there.

So, in what I believe to be a misguided effort, many churches in recent decades have embraced the all inclusive universal salvation position complete with setting aside significant moral prohibitions in what can best be described as a “land for peace” deal with secular society.  I will be the first to admit that it appears compassionate and inclusive to promote universal acceptance of varying cultural practices.  This is especially effective when combined with the elimination of hell as a place of punishment.  And perhaps if I had sat under different teachers in my life I might easily go there as well.

As I said earlier, if I am wrong there is no real downside to me or anybody else to having held fast to traditional beliefs of what it means to be like Christ and to hold traditional views of salvation and hell.  However, and this could be the costliest however in the history of the church, if these highly influential teachers, church leaders, movie makers and book writers are the ones who are wrong then 100’s of millions of lives could be forever separated from the Father.  That is a down side none of us should consider as an acceptable risk.

http://babylonbee.com/news/progressive-criticizes-jesus-not-christlike/

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Let your light shine???

Some blogs I write and then some blogs write themselves as is the case with the most recent actions of Pastor Karl Lentz, the senior pastor of Hillsong NY.  I’m certain that the accompanying picture (which I had to edit) to this blog is not what Jesus meant when He exhorted us in Matthew 5:16 to “let our lights shine before the world in such a way that they would see our good actions and glorify our heavenly Father”.

let your light so shine

I don’t care who you are, where you pastor, where you work or minister, as Christians we are portraying Christ to the world 24/7.  The most important question we MUST ask ourselves in light of that fact is “what is the world seeing?”.  I read well over 100 comments attached to the original article as well as subsequent Tweets about the pictures seen here of Pastor Karl Lentz and Justin Bieber.  Not one, I repeat, not even one came anywhere close in anyway to defending or giving the benefit of the doubt to Pastor Lentz’s display.  They were fraught with mockery or sensual comments from girls & men.  I will let Twitter comments and the comment section of AOL Entertainment speak for what the world (and perhaps many Christians) thought.

  • Papi,
  • God Bless,
  • what religion is this:)
  • if that’s his “pastor/boyfriend” no wonder he’s so f…… up!
  • Whose man is this???
  • Jesus!
  • Daddy Lentz! Sprinkle you holy water on me!
  • Everyone who is a parent in this church needs to watch their kids,
  • Well, it looks like he lost the “cloth” somewhere.
  • A pastor running around showing darn near his private areas?
  • Holding JB like he’s a female around the waist?
  • What’s wrong with this picture?
  • Looks like JB is a choir boy and pastor a molester.
  • No straight pastor would walk with his shorts hanging down his legs like that!

And these were the nice comments.  I have no idea what either of them (Karl or Justin) were thinking or what is in their hearts but I can say, as plainly as James – “these things ought not be!”

justin & Karl

Brian Houston, the founder of Hillsong, has made statements in the past as to the challenges Pastor Lentz has created for leadership.  Much of this has been in the position Karl took in refusing to take a stand on gross sexual sin even when present in some levels of leadership in the church (feel free to read my blog entitled “Did another one bite the dust?  We’re not quite sure” from Aug. 6 2015).  I believe it is time for him (Pastor Houston) to take what action he can to remove Karl Lentz from any leadership role in Hillsong in an attempt to possibly regain or salvage some level of integrity at the church in NY.  Believe me, the world is watching and even the un-churched understand enough of the bible to know when things have gone horribly wrong.

10 Suggested “commandments” of respectful Facebook etiquette

#1 – Your business is NOT you. If you have a business you should ALSO have a Facebook page for your business and invite people to like/friend your business page. To mix your personal and business post on the same personal page is to presume upon others an interest in your business. Most of you know that Barbie and I make almost 100% of our income from our online business and apart from a rare update (maybe 3 or 4 times a year) you do not endure daily, weekly or even monthly business post for our lock company. If your business is indeed legitimate then you should conduct yourself accordingly and invite friends to subscribe to your business page and let them make that choice instead of making it for them and everybody else who sees their thread.
#2 – Think twice before liking something which is not of a personal nature. All of us like stuff. But all of us do not necessarily like ALL the same stuff. Limit your likes of random non personal stuff like the most recent gadget, political, religious or vacation spot. Just this week I scrolled through almost 30 “likes” in a row which had nothing to do with me or my interest.  Most of us do want to see your personal pictures, plans or passions but not necessarily your most recent shopping or restaurant experience.
#3 – I love scripture, God and Godly exhortations. But sharing a bunch of spiritual memes, pictures of Jesus in the clouds with a scripture or pre-packaged motivational messages often (actually almost always) feels impersonal and trite. If you have an encouragement feel free to IM a personal note or at least take the time to write it out yourself instead of just clicking like or share on something canned.
#4 – Please consider carefully when you share something with curse words, gross or vulgar images. Not everyone is as mature as you in their ability to handle that type of stuff (read sarcasm).
#5 – We get it, you exercise. We do not, however, need to know every time you go to the gym. You can also substitute various other repetitive activities to this rule i.e. eating out, shopping, golfing, etc.
#6 – We get it, you are against (fill in the blank) and you are in favor of (fill in the blank). We do not need to be reminded daily or multiple times a day of these facts.
#7 – Take the time to check the validity of something before you share it. There are lots of bogus stories, fake pictures, scam free stuff etc. etc. out there. PLEASE, the old adage still holds true today, “if something sounds (looks, feels) too good to be true is probably is.” Google stuff or check it out on Snopes.com before you pass on questionable stuff.  Oh, and for the record, the gargantuan cat hedge sculptures are photo shopped, Mel Gibson was never attacked and beaten in his youth and Mercedes is NOT giving away 10 cars.
#8 – As a general rule, try and stick to making comments about your own country. I really don’t think Americans should be giving strong political critiques of another countries election, immigration policy or other cultural practices and I believe the same should be true about other nationalities towards America. I am not speaking about expressing sympathy for tragedies or promoting positive or interesting news.
#9 – Don’t request or share stuff with the expressed desire for it to “GO VIRAL”. Going viral is a spontaneous explosion of interest or activity about a video or product not manufactured interest because you “begged” for it to go viral.
#10 – And last but not least, Do NOT, I repeat do NOT try and test or define any friend’s friendship with a challenge to like or share a post.  Really???

Off “Message” – Biblical principles and social media – Eugene Petersen test case

Many are aware that about a week ago Eugene Petersen was “put on the spot” by the question of whether he would perform a same sex marriage.  Eugene answered in the affirmative and thus ensued 24 hours of social media backlash against this oft revered pastor.  So, as is so often the case these days with politicians, reporters, entertainment or sports figures, Eugene walked back his comments saying “on further reflection and prayer, I would like to retract that”.  The fact that Eugene “saw the error of his ways” garners little respect from me since it took an almost overwhelming flood of reaction to cause his eyes to be open to what is already clearly pronounced in “The Message” (with full double meaning!)

This, unfortunately, is just another example of how social pressure is dictating church policy and practice in a modern world controlled by the click of a mouse or the posting of a poignant mem.  The church is losing respect and participants in droves today and it’s not for the reasons one might think.  Society is not impressed when Christians “get on the right side of history” by acquiescing to rapidly changing social practices any more then ISIS is impressed with efforts to appease their message of hate.  Giving in like this makes us (the church) look like spineless milquetoast minions with no guiding principles – and who wants to be a part of that?

I believe principled people who practice their beliefs with grace and kindness will be the ones looked to for guidance and wisdom for the seismic challenges in the years to come as well as being pleasing to the Lord  – if that even matters anymore!

https://www.eternitynews.com.au/opinion/eugene-petersen-affirms-traditional-marriage/

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

History can teach us if we let it! (Captain obvious)

Although I am a Christian, with scripture and the laws of God holding a prominent place in my heart and life, you don’t actually have to be a believer in order to make certain choices given our extensive knowledge of history – unless of course you are intent on repeating it which seems to be the status quo most of the time.

Although some may not view Leviticus as a historical book I am going to “enter into evidence” Leviticus 18 for your thoughtful consideration for the purpose of this blog.  In that chapter God indicates actions which have caused judgment to fall on all the former inhabitants of the lands, which in this particular case refers to the land to be given to the descendants of Abraham.

The actions identified in Leviticus are of two specific categories.  One is sexual activities ranging from adultery and incest to homosexuality and beastiality and the second is killing or burning the innocents (babies) which in that day were an offering to the god Molech.

At that point in Leviticus we have a minimum of 1500 to 2000 years of recorded history to verify that no people group survived who began to practice these types of activities.  And now here we are with an additional 3500 years of history to seemingly confirm that any country which was given over to sexual or social activities which did not align with the more conservative Judeo/Christian ethics (and again although I am referencing religion I am doing so in regards to recorded history) have not survived long historically.

I recognize and understand to some extent the laws of physics such as gravity, Newton’s law of motion and others.  But what if what we have seen in history is another level of laws for the physical earth which were also set in place from the beginning which cannot be ignored any more than you could ignore gravity regardless of whether you believe it or not.  In Leviticus God refers to the land “vomiting out” people groups who participate in the practices listed earlier as if the actual physical land may have some involuntary gag reflex that plays a role in cleansing itself of people who violate these laws.  And He promises the same judgment for the Israelites if they participate likewise.  And our recorded history really does seem to confirm this to be the case.

gravity

So why should any country or people group today expect that they have somehow learned the secret of immunity to the moral laws of the universe which seem to be just as unbreakable even if somewhat less predictable in the timing or means of execution (double entendre).

So whatever you want to call it, free sex, choice, abortion, “love wins”, MYOB, equal rights, gay or women’s rights; history and the laws of the universe will not be changed or persuaded by some progressive school of thought.  I find it especially ironic that many progressives call it “being on the right side of history” to give in and practice such activities.  Have no doubt, history (and God) will not be mocked.

Not my (kind of) president!

Trump is not the kind of (read character/personality) president I would prefer.  But then neither was Kennedy, Nixon, Bill Clinton or Hillary (if she had been elected).  Personally, I think Ford, Carter, Reagan, the 2 Bush’s and to some extent even Obama conducted themselves with a demeanor that honors the office.  I’m not sure I see that happening with Trump.  He, unfortunately, is another in a category of what appears to be self serving, and, with Trump in particular, generally not presidential (my opinion).  But alas all those mentioned before, and now Trump, were and are our (speaking of the citizens of US) president.

Was he (Trump) locker room boasting or has he actually grab women inappropriately?  I don’t know and I suggest neither do you.  To talk that way is wrong and insulting to women and to actually act out that way is criminal.  I will tell you that I am VERY glad that hidden microphones were not around for some of the hurtful things I have said to Barbie and she feels the same way about some of the things she has said to me.  We have truly done more damage to each other by some of our unrecorded words that anything I or Trump may have boasted about in the “locker room”.  In fact as I have asked around, most admit that we are fortunate microphones were not hidden in various places for some of the worst things we have said.  This in NO WAY excuses what I have said to Barbie or the demeaning way Trump spoke about women.  But it is disingenuous for most of us to have some huge moral outrage at Trump while at the same time thanking our lucky stars under our breath that some of our “locker room” outbursts were never recorded.  It is at this point I want to apologize to all women for any of the untoward things I have spoken in the past which were insulting towards women.  I am glad there were not many, but I am guilty.  I am far sorrier for how I have hurt my wife with my reactive or cutting words which actually did damage.

So I get it, Trump is not my kind of president either, but he IS my president.  And I actually held my nose and voted for him as, given the candidates we were afforded, I was driven to a single issue and that was abortion.  This single issue is defining and dividing our country more than race, gender questions or cake baking.  It is an issue that gained significant traction out of the free love generation of the 60’s and the lack of wanting to take responsibility for what all that unaccountable sex produced.  Just to be clear, this is a maturity and a responsibility issue not some benign choice issue.  A majority of Americans oppose abortion on demand.  Science has learned so much since the early 70’s to include the awareness of immense pain the not yet born baby can feel after just a few weeks of growth.

Consider this, we would all be outraged if somebody cut open a beautiful Labrador dog, pulled half a dozen puppies out and cut them into pieces.  In fact that person would be arrested and prosecuted for animal cruelty and would likely spend time behind bars.  But do the same thing in a PP office and a million people marching for women’s rights will cheer as if that act somehow preserved civility and rights.  Or the fact that the majority of women who identified as pro-choice, once shown an actual video of a C&D or partial birth abortion change their position right then and there.  My son Chad and I were discussing this subject this morning and he said that a nice white sanitary veil has been hung up to obscure the reality of what is actually happening behind the closed doors of abortion clinics and that people have bought into an idea of freedom, choice and rights that is actually anything but.

I had a close and long time friend write something on facebook this past week to the effect of “if my friends who voted for Trump don’t get it, then just listen”.  So this past Saturday, my wife and I watched and listened to CNN and other mainstream media outlets as the “march for women’s rights” events were televised.  Maybe it is just us “stupid rural” folks, but to watch Ashley Judd’s rant or Elisabeth Warren describe the things she wants to fight Trump about was to end up very confused.  I will just put Ashley Judd aside as I don’t even know what to say about her, but I did not hear very much of what Elisabeth Warren was fighting for that Trump would disagree with or that Trump has not already joined in the fight for.  In addition to listening, we also watched.  And what we saw confused us even more.  For a crowd that was (in truth) protesting Trump’s disgusting antics as much or more than they were advocating women’s rights, we were frankly disgusted by many of the vile signs, costumes and gestures.  Remind me – what was this march about???  We saw signs covering the gamut of subjects, most of which had little or nothing to do with women’s rights.

Now top all that off with the fact that if you were a Trump supporter or a pro-life woman, your rights were not to be included or protected in this “noble” cause.  In fact, you were not welcomed and if you did show up you were threatened and actually chased from the parade route.

So after actually listening and watching Barbie and I did in fact learn a few things.  We learned that well over 50% of the women in America were simply “not welcomed” to this party supposedly promoting all women’s rights.  We learned that Ashley Judd is just plain crazy.  We learned that many people are, justifiably, upset about Trump’s foul mouth and perhaps actions and are willing to get out and march about it.  We learned that the “everyone is welcomed to join” does not actually mean everyone.  We learned that if Trump voices support for something it is ignored but if Elisabeth Warren is for the same exact thing everyone cheers.  We learned that Madonna wants to “blow up the White House”.  We agree that it’s wrong for Trump to say disgusting things but don’t understand why countless people wearing vagina costumes out in public is somehow ok.  We learned that an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel Palestinian woman was one of the main organizers of the march which doesn’t sound very inclusive.

Most of these fears being expressed appear to be red herrings to me.  I haven’t heard Trump or anybody he has appointed wanting to invalidate gay marriages, destroy the arts (although in my opinion government has no business spending tax dollars there but that is not an attack on the arts), undo LGBTQ rights or in any way destroy education (although this should only be handled at the state level in my opinion).  And even though Trump would be called a climate denier, to a person, everyone he has appointed who has been asked in the vetting hearings, agrees that climate change is real.  I have not seen any suggestion or indication that any US citizen might be marginalized because of race, gender or religion in fact, Trump has a better record of equal pay in his businesses than Hillary did among her own staff.

Bottom line, listening should be a 2-way experience.  But we have learned that it is not always that way.  We also leaned that to be included, welcomed or not ignored means something very different with those who lean left than those of us who lean further to the right.  It is normally portrayed that the left is the inclusive and non judgmental crowd but this past weekend would suggest the opposite is actually true.