What we do with the news

As many have taken to the web to discuss the very recent announcement regarding President Obama’s new (old- renewed) stance on Gay “Marriage,” I write merely to pass on information and confirm the solid Biblical standpoint from which we as believers should approach this issue.

Contradictory statements

As Albert Mohler wrote today, our president and country are in a tight spot. With so much on the line, much care has been taken to say the “right things” at the “right times”. Mohler expands on this by exposing some rough, contradictory statements; read his article here.

How does a Christian respond?

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the central issue at hand. One is not saved by becoming straight, nor is homosexuality  the sin that seals the deal on one’s condemnation. God has made us and called us to Himself so that we might be changed to be more like Jesus. This change in Christ is, as Jesus said, taking up one’s cross and following him. If we are becoming more and more like Jesus, we are to be dying to self day by day. This is the heart of this issue, and no amount of political persuasion will change people– only the blood of Jesus does that. To this end, both Collin Hansen and Jared Wilson have offered great, moving points. Read them both, preferably before reading anything else here.

In light of what they said, what should the Christian’s response to this statement be?

Kevin DeYoung gives the following five reasons for Christians to oppose Gay Marriage which you should click the link on and read before you comment on the following list:

  1. It’s been consistently voted against
  2. It’s not for the common good
  3. The word  Marriage means something and has meant something throughout history
  4. It further normalizes what until recently was, and still should be, considered deviant behavior
  5. Cultural pressure will not stop with a victory in redefining marriage

Prove it…

The last link I’ll add is in hopes to prove that contrary to the belief of some, the Bible nowhere declares its affirmation of homosexual marriage; it does not accept it as proper and cannot be twisted to claim otherwise. There has been much reading already, but please set aside some time for this article: The Bible does not affirm Homosexual Sex or Homosexual Marriage.

Still, love and respect

Rejection of homosexual marriage does not mean that Christians should reject homosexuals in general- just as the Bible’s rejection of gluttony does not allow one to reject those who are obese. There are actual people involved, not just theories and arguments; we should be still loving, still be honest, still be compassionate, just as we are still firm on the truth in the nation where we are permitted and encouraged to vote according to concience. What we hold to be true according to God’s Word affects our lives and we are to be at peace with others so long as it depends on us (Rom. 12.18).

Come What May

I just finished watching Come What May, a movie about a Patrick Henry College student who must choose between defending the truth and continuing his enrollment at PHC. Put out by Advent Film Group, this project was thought provoking and encouraging in many ways.

When does life begin?

That is the question that Caleb, the main character, faces as he joins the PHC Moot Court team. Along with his Moot Court partner (and hopeful girlfriend) Rachel, he embarks on the quest to prove that abortion is in violation of the Constitution, namely the 14th Amendment. Meanwhile, his mother is busy in the Supreme Court arguing the right of pregnant teens to have abortions without their parent’s knowledge. What this independent film lacked in quality (being only the first film made by this group of homeschoolers) it gained in creativity and depth. Throughout the whole movie, Caleb is bogged down by the question of whether or not he should argue against Roe v. Wade in their Moot Court Competition; a decision he knows will cost him his enrollment at PHC or the respect of his peers (including Rachel) there, depending on what he chooses.

Another Christian movie

You, like me, may complain that another movie has been made that inadvertently touts a prosperity gospel (like others which end with a bald man getting hair, a team winning their biggest game, a barren woman giving birth, etc, all because people started trusting God again). However, Come What May destroyed my expectations. Here are some things that I enjoyed and found encouraging from this film:

  • The End: Without giving it away, I’ll just say that the ending was a pleasant surprise; a breath of fresh air in the arena of Christian Films (unlike the one mentioned above). It isn’t what one would expect, which pleased me.
  • The story felt like it was going somewhere. This is important in any movie, but particularly in the realm of Christian Film making. If we are trying to gain some ground with our media, we need to be sure we’re saying something with what we’re making.
  • Aside from all the technical portions of this film that made it worth the watch, the subject matter was a beautiful one. This film is about the matter of abortion and how it is immoral, but before that it’s about sticking up for what is right come what may. Thus making it more far reaching than the subject of abortion.

I would encourage you to see this movie. You may disagree with some of its stances, but overall, Come What May is worth the watch.

In addition to the trailer above, here’s a pretty decent clip from the film:

Redeeming Angels

It’s Christmas time, which means we’re about to hear a whole lot about angels.

Whether they be portrayed as women or as little children, there seems to be one reoccurring theme in the world’s (and Church’s) view of angels: weakness. This is not to say that women are weak. But what I have noticed is that the image that we see of angels is a kind, meek, wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly one.

But is that what we know about angels? Consider the following verses of Scripture:

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. (Luke 2.9 | Would you be afraid of this angel if it was a puny, glowing baby?)

And there appeared to [Jesus] an angel from heaven, strengthening him. (Luke 22.43 | I don’t think I would be incredibly strengthened by a strings playing trio of robed beings)

And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground. (Judges 13.20 | Again with fear… this angel walked into the fire of a sacrifice; without burning his ukulele!)

Besides all of these are the numerous passages in the rest of Scripture (especially the images we see in Revelation) that refer to angels as being scary beings that are created to serve God by serving man. One strengthened Jesus and another one proclaimed his birth. These aren’t weaklings, they are beautiful.

But not like Jesus

One thing that we must remember in addition to this is that they are created beings just like us. God desires worship from us; worship that must be reserved for Him alone. Let us not forget that as we rejoice in His blessing of mighty helpers to aid us.

They are mighty indeed, and serve as one more reason to rejoice in our creator.

PS. This is my kind of angel (except, without sometimes being small)!

How real are we?

I was cleaning out my bookmarks this afternoon and I found this article. In it, the author writes about the CCM (Contemporary Christian Movement) that has been prevalent in the Church for a few decades now. She writes about being raised as a Christian and her slow, steady conversion to secularism. Here are her thoughts on the Church now (emphasis mine)-

When I finally stopped (calling myself a Christian), it wasn’t because being a believer made me uncool or outdated or freakish. It was because being a Christian no longer meant anything. It was a label to slap on my Facebook page, next to my music preferences. The gospel became just another product someone was trying to sell me, and a paltry one at that because the church isn’t Viacom: it doesn’t have a Department of Brand Strategy and Planning. Staying relevant in late consumer capitalism requires highly sophisticated resources and the willingness to tailor your values to whatever your audience wants. In trying to compete in this market, the church has forfeited the one advantage it had in the game to attract disillusioned youth: authenticity. When it comes to intransigent values, the profit-driven world has zilch to offer. If Christian leaders weren’t so ashamed of those unvarnished values, they might have something more attractive than anything on today’s bleak moral market. In the meantime, they’ve lost one more kid to the competition.

It is incredibly worth reading the whole post. I agree with her last point, the Church needs to regain its authenticity. Many have lost sight of the Gospel being the true power of God for the salvation and discipleship of the lost. This means that we are honest with our sin and do well to glorify God in all things. When we do this, we are more able to effectively minister to those around us and save others (1 Timothy 4.16). But what about our music? Do we get rid of all our music and revert back into our corners, shying away from the world? No. Do we need to trash some of our music? YES!

This is a call to wisdom. Music is not the only area that the Church needs to improve in (in fact, it often becomes the unnecessary sticking point with Churches) but it can be a great tool. Let us ask ourselves: what honors God? Does our music actually put Jesus and His Gospel above all else? Is it clear that I am singing about God? And equally important, is my music edifying the Church that is in my context or am I attempting to save people through my singing? We are called to build one another up (and can even use songs, hymns, and spiritual songs!) so let’s do so in the love and grace of Christ.

I’ll be here

In the past few months there has been increased talk regarding the supposed upcoming “Judgment Day” that has been proposed by some false prophets of our day. They claim that May 21 is going to be judgment day and that our world will be destroyed five months later, on October 21. As I don’t wish to aid in this deception, I won’t post the group’s website, this article should suffice.

A few things to ponder

Although the group claims to have the 411 on Scripture, their attempted denial of Christ’s words in Mark 13.32 is laughable, as is much of their handling of the Word. They claim to pay attention to context, but neglect that 2 Peter 3.1-10 is more about God’s faithfulness to His Word, and less about when judgment will occur; all the while, claiming that it supports a more spiritual reading of the account of Noah (which is how they calculate the “end of the world”).

It should also be noted that, according to the article above (and many other sites including Harold Camping’s own book) he has said this before regarding the year 1994, but according to their own site, he now believes that 1994 was when the first part of the tribulation ended and 1988 is when the Church age ended.

Our Role

As the title alludes to, I believe that we’ll still be here on May 21. But what should we do and say in regards to this claim? Three things:

  • Be bold | We need to be firm in the truth of Scripture. Jesus told us that the only thing that matters is Him and his kingdom and that it is not for us to know times and seasons (Acts 1.7), and we are to be faithful to him. So we need to boldly proclaim that Harold Camping and others that follow him are liars. Period.
  • Pray | Pray for Camping and his followers to turn back to the truth. Pray for everyone who has been and will be mislead. Pray for the Church in general, that she will be faithful under the trial that will come as a result of Camping’s false predictions (as many in the world have taken to it and it could be a grand smear against the name of Christ). Also pray for those who don’t know Jesus, that they will look past this fringe group and see Christ.
  • Go about your business | In 2 Thessalonians 3.6-15, Paul told the Thessalonians to continue working while they waited for Christ’s coming, that is the same command we have now, and a great proof against this liar. If we knew when the date of Christ’s return was, would we still apply this passage to our lives? Why not just buy some groceries for the rest of the week and not bother with doing anything? As believers, we need to just keep living our lives in godliness and pursuing the truth of Christ, not the lies of others.
Pray daily.

A test of context

Regarding the post from Wednesday, I’d like to give an example of an improper interpretation. Watch the video below, then read the comment I found underneath it:

The comment:

I seem to be both, I believe in a few traditions, that should stay, but at the same time many need to go (cough cough hymns)

A couple of things to note:

  1. Driscoll wasn’t talking about getting rid of traditions versus keeping them, he was talking about being a believer in Christ and how easy it is to fall into religion or rebellion.
  2. Traditions aren’t evil in and of themselves, we are evil in and of ourselves.

I don’t stand behind everything that Driscoll says, but I do enjoy it when people actually understand what others are saying and don’t simply say the first thing to come to mind. And thus, the circle is complete, back to the first post on this topic.