Twas the Night Before Elections

 “Twas the night before elections,

And all through the blackness;

Not a Christian was stirring,

Not even a Baptist.”

Well, that may not hold the luster of the classic story “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” but it does illustrate the great anxiety that many Christians hold as we enter into this year’s Presidential election. As many have noted, there is a lot riding on this year’s election as the balance of the Supreme Court weighs in the balance. Many have postulated that America could look quite different depending on who is in office. Perhaps that is true. Throughout this year, pundits on both sides of the aisle have argued that their candidate is best. Vitriolic argumentations have been given to the point that political discussions become aggressive, if not violent, if one does not support the other person’s candidate. But for the Christian, certain truths should be remembered that will help one cope no matter how the elections turn out.

God is sovereign and can use any circumstance for His glory.

God is not a Republican nor a Democrat. A person makes a mistake by claiming otherwise. God is far higher than any political party. Certainly, this year’s election cycle has demonstrated that both parties hold major flaws. Some political pundits claim that both the Democratic and GOP parties may be on the verge of collapse. Perhaps. Nevertheless, God is sovereign. This means that God knows all, sees all, and can do all according to His divine character. God cannot do evil because He has a holy nature. Nevertheless, God can use any circumstance for His glory. But, since God is holy, why would He allow evil to take place? It seems that God would allow evil to take place if it leads to a greater good.

I have had times in my life where I wanted something to happen. I thought things would be so nice if things would go according to my way. However, I later come to find that God allowed me to go through certain difficulties to save me from greater harm. Had I been given my way, things would have become much more disastrous for me in the end. God allowed His Son to die on a cross to permit the salvation of all who would receive Christ’s atoning work. In even the most evil moment of history, God used the circumstance to bring glory. He will do the same regardless of how the election ends.

God is bringing an ultimate end that extends past the election.

There’s a lot of talk these days of people giving money to allow for certain causes. Undoubtedly, evil is abundant in our time. But since the dawning of mankind and his fall, evil has plagued the human race. For those living during the days of the American Civil War, I am certain that many thought that there was no way that humanity could survive. In the sixties, shows, such as the Twilight Zone, imagined nuclear disaster and devastation across the world. Such notions are still plausible today. Despite what has, what is, and what will occur; despite who elected and how; God is bringing an ultimate end that extends past this election. In John’s Apocalypse, the angel said to John, “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and holy still be holy” (Revelation 22:11).[1] The angel is not promoting evil. Rather, he is saying that in the end, God will bring all things to an ultimate end. After the text, Jesus is quoted as saying, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:12-13). God’s work extends past the coming election.

We must trust God even if He does not answer the way we expect.

In the book of Daniel, we are introduced to three Hebrew men known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were told to bow down before a large idol by King Nebuchadnezzar. They refused. The king, then, warned them that they would be thrown into the furnace if they did not bow to worship his idol. Their response was incredible. They said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O kin. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18). Can we say the same? It may be that God answers your prayers concerning this election. But what it God doesn’t? Will you still love Him? Will you still serve Him? God’s ways are not our ways. His insight is far greater than ours. Thus, we must decide to follow God no matter who is elected.

Conclusion

While many may worry about the 2016 election and while there has been much written about this particular election, the Christian need not worry. God is greater than the 2016 election. God is greater than any of the candidates and the gospel transcends any of the political platforms. God will not be bribed. God cannot be bought. No matter what happens, God is in control. So don’t put your trust in the elephant or the donkey, rather place your trust in the Lamb of God who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. So our poem should read,

“Twas the night before elections,

and despite the political cesspit,

the Christian found in Christ,

a sovereign and glorious respite.”

© November 7, 2016. Brian Chilton.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from the English Standard Version (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001, 2011).

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Update to SB-1146 Legislation: SB-1146 Dropped

Earlier this week, I posted about California senate bill SB-1146. As of Friday, August 12th, 2016, I am pleased to announce that California lawmakers have decided to drop California the bill. The bill would have restricted state funding for religious schools due to their religious convictions. A full report on the issue can be found at http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/august/california-drops-controversial-bill-to-regulate-religious.html. In a conversation with Biola professor of politics Dr. Scott Waller, I was reminded, however, that this is only a temporary respite. The move to drop the bill appears to have been financially motivated.

One may anticipate that California Senator Ricardo Lana will take up this issue again at some point in the future. When and if such a time occurs, it is imperative that Christians nationwide stand with our California Christian colleagues and speak out against any legislation that impedes religious expression and religious freedom. For those on the east coast, California legislation may seem unimportant to them. However, history has shown that legislation in larger areas, such as California, often influences national legislation and the legislation of other states. Thus, the church must stand together in opposing any move to impede religious freedom.

Conservative political analyst Todd Starnes noted on his social media video that he was shocked that more voices were not heard speaking out against the bill. In his words, “we were almost too late.” For religious Americans who value their liberty to worship and live according to their viewpoints, and even those who are not religious and value individual expression, SB-1146 was a shot across the bow, warning us to stand ready. This is not a time for cowardice. It is a time for bravery and courage. If we fail to stand up for religious freedoms today, our children and grandchildren may not enjoy such freedoms tomorrow.

Copyright, August 12, 2016. Brian Chilton.

Corrective Note: I was informed of a correction that needs to be made to the post. The bill itself has not been dropped, but rather the more controversial language concerning the religious freedom of universities has been erased from the bill. The bill still holds issues that is of concern to many California Christians. While we can be thankful that the language restricting religious freedoms pertaining to higher education has been modified, we still need to pray that when the bill is overturned August 31st when it comes to a vote.

I would like to thank Pastor Donald Shoemaker, Pastor Emeritus of Grace Community Church of Seal Beach, California for the correction. 

(8/12/16, 8:40 pm ET).

 

Why California SB-1146 Should Matter to Non-California Residents

Recently, I spoke with Dr. Scott Waller. Dr. Waller is the Chair of the Political Science Department at Biola University and is Assistant Professor of Political Science also at Biola. Dr. Waller and I spoke about the newly imposed California state Senate bill, aptly named SB-1146. The bill strips away the standards of religious schools and universities to set sexual expectations for its students and staff, especially as it pertains to same-sex relationships. This is not only a concerning precedent for evangelical schools like Biola University, but also for Roman Catholic schools and the other nearly 50 schools in the state of California that hold to the concept traditional marriage. But, one might ask, “How does this legislation affect individuals outside of California?” Dr. Waller noted, “As goes California, so goes the nation.” The precedent set by SB-1146, if this law is allowed to stand, causes great concern for any religious school in the nation. Dr. Waller is right! If SB-1146 is allowed to stand, other states could implement similar legislation. Furthermore, the federal government could possibly allow for similar legislation nationwide. From my conversation with Dr. Waller and being a non-Californian, I was left with three areas of great concern about the impact of SB-1146 and how it could affect other states if left intact.

SB-1146 Affects Religious Action.

SB-1146 does not force one to believe a certain way. Advocates of the bill will use this as a case for SB-1146. However, the bill does alter the way a person’s belief is set into practice. Beliefs lead to actions. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:21-22, HCSB). In other words, what a person takes in determines what a person will do. Ideas influence actions. The makers of SB-1146 have their own beliefs which led them towards certain actions—namely, the implementation of the bill. However, their beliefs have led them to the conclusion that Christian beliefs cannot lead to actions. But how exactly is this freedom of religion? Freedom of religion entails not only the freedom to believe as one chooses, but also to live as one chooses. Certainly this is the subject of further debate. Nevertheless, a dangerous precedent is set by SB-1146. Essentially, the bill limits the religious actions that institutions can take.

SB-1146 Affects Funding.

Most directly, the bill will affect funding. Schools that do not conform to the edict set by SB-1146 will not be allowed to use state funding, or rather students will not be allowed to use such funding. Poorer students in California will not be allowed to use state funds to attend religious schools like Biola for any type of program. If this legislation goes through, it seems to me that private institutions like churches would need to set aside money for scholarships so that Christian youth could still attend Christian universities. For me, I would like to think that there would be options available so that individuals could still attend schools like Biola. However, SB-1146 would certainly make it more difficult. Suppose legislation like this goes to the federal level, could student loans be influenced to religious schools that do not abide by rulings such as these? I suppose it may be wise for upcoming Christian students to evaluate other means for future funding.

SB-1146 Affects Future Legislation.

For me, the scariest aspect of SB-1146 is the governmental overreach into the area of religious freedoms. There is no doubt that this bill will be challenged. Not to be doom and gloomy, but let’s just suppose that the bill is allowed to stand (which is a possibility). What future legislation possibilities are opened by the existence of this bill? Pandora’s Box will be opened. Just how far will this overreach extend? How far will it go?

Conclusion

Here’s a novel idea: if a person does not like the beliefs or standards of a particular school…then DON’T GO!!! Allow them to be. I am an evangelical Christian. If I do not like the standards of a Buddhist school like say Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado (which I am sure is a fine school), I would choose not to attend instead of forcing the school to conform to my beliefs. It seems to me that there is a lack of maturity in our culture. Many desire to force others into a “politically correct” mold instead of respecting our differences. The glue that unites all the traditions and cultures of the blending pot that is the United States of America is the freedom of conscience, the freedom of religion. If that glue is allowed to melt away, the democracy of the land is lost and is replaced by something far different.

What can we do? We must have a voice! We must make our concerns known. For those in California, speak up and speak out! For those outside of California, we as a collective people of faith need to pray that God would help us, protect us, and grant us insight. These are perilous days. We need Christians of character and courage so that future generations can know about the Savior’s love and salvation.

See the site http://www.opposesb1146.com/ for more information.

Listen to my conversation with Dr. Scott Waller at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pastorbrianchilton/2016/08/08/sb1146-and-the-threat-to-california-religious-liberties-w-dr-scott-waller. 

© August 8, 2016. Brian Chilton.

Where is Your Ultimate Authority Found? The 7 Loci of Authority

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).[1] Jesus’ classic statement is found in his famous sermon named the “Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus says that whatever is most central to a person will control that person. That central focus serves as a chain reaction which penetrates every aspect of a person’s life. So what controls your life? At the time that this article was written, I have over 12 years of ministry experience under my belt. That being said, I have found that seven categories normally serve as the central focus for a particular person. The central focus determines how the person views the world around them and how the person processes information. We will call these seven categories the “locus of authority.”

1) The Locus of Authority in the Self.

Many in the secular humanist camp places ultimate authority in what a person can know or do. Ultimately, the authority is found in the self. When one holds the self as one’s locus of authority, everything in the world revolves around the person’s ego. It is a self-obsession. However, can truth be found only in the self? Ultimate truth cannot be determined only by the self. It exists beyond the scope of person’s opinions.[2] 10 times 10 will always equal 100 regardless of a person’s being. Also, the person will find that there are times when he/she must depend on someone outside of oneself. Therefore, the self is a poor avenue to find one’s locus of authority.

2) The Locus of Authority in the Family.

Some place the locus of their authority in their family. Obviously, one should care for the needs of one’s family. A person’s family should hold a high value to them. However, often people will demote truth claims and one’s moral convictions if a person’s family member is involved in some false or immoral behavior. The person who holds the locus of authority in the family will use excuses like, “Well, he couldn’t help that he robbed the bank. Others made him do it. He is really a good boy at heart.” Or, “Well, she has cheated on her husband five times. But, her husband is a lowlife anyhow.” Or even, “That video may show my son attacking that other person. But, I think the video lied.” In such cases, truth and morality are lowered or eliminated to excuse the bad behavior of the member of one’s family. This is why many change their outlook on particular issues if a member of their home is engaged in such an activity. Problematically, such a mentality actually enables further bad behavior from the family member.

3) The Locus of Authority in the Culture.

Some hold the locus of their authority in their culture. This is far more prevalent than one might think. Throughout history, people have left their morality and truth behind just to gain popularity with those nearest to them. Churches have allowed errors and even perhaps heresies in their midst all in the name of tradition. Churches that hold an “us versus them” mentality are especially prone for this mindset. Lynchings, slavery, and other egregious actions have been permitted, sometimes even in the name of God, only due to the person holding their locus of authority in the culture. But what if the culture is engaged in immoral activities? In such a case, culture fails as the ultimate authority.

4) The Locus of Authority in Entertainment–Sports/Hobbies.

For some, the locus of their authority is found in a far baser genre—that of entertainment. Some will shift their entire schedules around in order to participate in a particular sport or hobby. Their authority is found in the governing bodies of particular sports. If everyone in the sport chews gum, the person will chew gum. If everyone chews tobacco, so will they. If everyone free falls off a cliff, they will join the flight. In schools that hold entertainment as the locus of their authority, athletes will be held to a far lower academic and moral standards than the regular student. Entertainment should not serve as the locus of one’s authority as it is flimsy and holds few standards.

5) The Locus of Authority in Academics/Science.

For some, the locus of one’s authority is found in the established acceptance of particular theories and models. However, John Lennox warned in a conference a few years back that one should “remember that at one time academia thought that the world was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth” (Lennox 2012, NCCA). While discoveries and the like should be accepted and understood, it must be remembered that in the wise words of Frank Turek, “science doesn’t say anything, scientists do. Scientists are the ones who must gather the data and interpret it properly. Science doesn’t do that” (Turek 2014, 146). It is important to note that data must be interpreted and that theories often change. Thus, there must be a more stabilized form of authority for a person’s life.

6) The Locus of Authority in Politics–National/Government.

For many, the locus of one’s authority is found in their political system. Atrocious activities throughout history have been permitted from national and political regimes without as much as a peep of disdain from the faithful. Even now, people allow for the murder of innocent babies and immoral behaviors all in the name of politics. If one allows a political system to hold the locus of authority in one’s life, rest assured that such an authority will not afford ultimate truth and morality.

7) The Locus of Authority in God.

Thus far, one has found bad examples of ultimate authority. Luckily, there is yet another category. This is the authority to which Jesus was directing his hearers, as he does today. The ultimate authority for a person’s life should be found in Almighty God. God is the best basis for one’s locus of authority. First, God is unchangeable. The writer of Hebrews notes that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:9). Malachi speaking for God writes, “For I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6). James notes that good gifts come from God “with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). Second, God’s morality does not change as he is the ultimate good. The psalmist writes that God’s “steadfast love is good” (Psalm 109:21). On certain occasions someone will acknowledge God in a tripartite “holy” which demonstrates God’s ultimate goodness (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8).

Conclusion

When one seeks to find an ultimate source of authority for one’s life, the authority should be unchangeable, eternally true, and morally perfect. God is the only being in heaven or on earth or under the earth that could ever meet such a standard. All other standards fail and falter. Let God be the locus of authority for your life. As Norman Geisler said, “An ultimate commitment to anything less than ultimate will not ultimately satisfy” (Geisler 2015).

Copyright. October 19, 2015. Brian Chilton.

Sources Cited

Geisler, Norman. “The Idea of God.” National Conference on Christian Apologetics. Lecture (2015). Calvary Church. Charlotte, NC.

Lennox, John. National Conference on Christian Apologetics. Lecture (2012). Central Church of God. Charlotte, NC.

Pascal, Blaise. Pensees and Other Writings. Translated by Honor Levi. Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Turek, Frank. Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014.

 

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture comes from the English Standard Version (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001).

[2] Blaise Pascal holds a wonderful point on this matter. He writes, “I feel that I might never have existed, since my self consists in my thinking. So I who think would never have existed if my had been killed before my soul had been created. So I am not a necessary being. I am neither eternal nor infinite. But I can certainly see that in nature there is an essential, eternal, and infinite being” (Pascal IX.167, 44).

King Dethroned

This past week, I was disturbed to hear about the defeat of what has been a 3-year battle for the religious right of expression. King, North Carolina may not be a town that is familiar to many of our readers. However, it has been the epicenter of an intense battle over religious expression. King, a small town just north of Winston-Salem was challenged by one Michael Hewett. Hewett, a U. S. Army veteran was offended that the town allowed Christian flags to fly in a local cemetery and had also allowed the presence of a statue of a soldier kneeling before a cross. Hewett challenged the town’s right to allow these Christian symbols. Powered by a secularist agency, Hewett sued the township. But here is the most troubling problem of the whole affair: the township decided to surrender their case due to financial issues. The council members were advised that they could not win the case, so the community was wasting money in the case. It is reported that the case could accrue a hefty price tag of $2 million. Thus, to the great disdain of the community, the council members voted 3-2 in favor of settling the case and thus remove the flag and statue. But I have a few thoughts concerning this case.

christian_flag

What is so offensive?

The first question I hold is to Michael Hewett. What is so offensive about the Christian flag? What is it about a flag white flag, bearing a blue square and a red cross that you find so offensive? This flag does not degrade you in any way, shape, or form. This flag, unlike some secularist symbols, does not seek to make anyone feel ignorant. If you are an atheist, then the flag means nothing to you. As far as the statue, it was provided by private donations. If you had a statue you wanted to present, why not present your statue instead of bullying the city into action against the majority of the citizens who approved the statue? I feel that Hewett’s lawsuit is a microcosm of something bigger going on in our world, especially in the United States. That is, tolerance has been replaced by militancy that is leading this land down to road toward socialism. It is easy to point fingers and issue blame. But, the bottom line is that this land is undergoing a moral shift. Unfortunately by the time the story of the United States is complete, it may be that the United States of America may be comprised of the Socialist States of America unless there is a drastic change in the hearts and minds of the American people.

What happens now?

Another question that presents itself is this; what happens now? Will the people of King accept this ruling? Will the people seek the council of the fighters of religious liberty like those of the ACLJ and other such organizations? The final outcome essentially finds itself with the Christian citizens of King.

Conclusion

So much could be said about this issue. In fact, the lack of tolerance and the lawsuit happy nature of the populace is not uniting the nation, but rather dividing it. Are we coming to a point in time where religious expression is a criminal act? What will solve this divide? In fact, America is following a path that can be seen throughout history and especially in the Old Testament. America is becoming more and more secularized, which is a fancy way of saying that America is turning its back on God. However, history has demonstrated what happens when such a turn is taken. America will find itself in trouble and will need divine assistance. Then, God will show up and deliver the land. Revival will break out and the hearts of individuals will turn to God once again and the land will be transformed. Or another scenario is that the nation will continue to rebel and will find itself desolate. The answer to these problems is found in God. It may be that the land has to reach “rock bottom” before it sees the “heavenly heights” of God’s glory. King, North Carolina may have been dethroned in their fight for the freedom of religious expression, but King’s faithful Christian citizens serve the King of Kings who will never be dethroned.

 

Praying for the citizens of King while serving THE KING,

 

Pastor Brian

 

Copyright. Pastor Brian Chilton. 2015.

 

For more information, see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2906238/North-Carolina-city-removes-display-soldier-kneeling-cross-sued-Army-veteran.html and http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/01/11/north-carolina-city-removes-sculpture-soldier-kneeling-before-cross/

 

Laying the Smackdown to Austin’s Worldview

stone cold

If anyone has ever watched professional wrestling, then the name ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin has probably been heard more than on one occasion. Steve Williams, who later legally changed his name to his stage-name Steve Austin, has launched a podcast called the Stone Cold Steve Austin Show-Unleashed! Austin made waves recently when he expressed his opinion on same-sex marriage. Austin is reported as saying,

“I’m for same-sex marriage. I believe that any human being in America, any human being in the world, that wants to be married…if it’s the same-sex, more power to them…What also chaps my ***, some of these churches, have the high horse that they get on and say ‘we as a church do not believe in that.’ Which one of these ************* talked to God and God said that same-sex marriage was a no can do? Can you verify? Can you give me some background on that 411?” (Ranter X 2014, RantSports.com)

Austin goes on to say that he disagreed with the idea of Christian forgiveness. He said that he did not see how someone could do something horrible, say a prayer, and all be counted good with God. Despite his vulgarities, Austin actually brings to light some common misunderstandings that individuals hold concerning the Christian faith. This article will not discuss the issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Lord knows that there is plenty of information out there on both sides concerning the topic. This article will, however, handle the three deep problems that Austin possesses in his worldview and argumentation outside the scope of the more controversial same-sex issue. The first problem will address a flaw in Austin’s argument. The second two problems will deal with misunderstandings that Austin holds with the Christian worldview. So to keep with the pro-wrestling theme, let’s lay the theological and philosophical smackdown!!! Are you ready to rumble?

  

Problem of Self-Refutation

When one enters the philosophical “squared-circle” (yes I know that a squared-circle is an impossibility), a person should evaluate any claim by its’ own standards. For instance, if a person says, “I can’t speak a word of English,” one can know that the statement is false as the person is speaking in English. Or if one says, “WordPress does not allow Pastor Brian Chilton to post articles,” one could easily know that such a statement is false as the reader is reading this article by Pastor Brian on WordPress. Austin claims that he is “chapped” over churches being on their “high horse” and claiming that “we as a church do not believe in that.” But, hold on! Isn’t Austin doing the same thing? Isn’t he saying that individuals can do a particular thing which he deems appropriate? What does it mean to be on one’s “high horse” anyway? Well, the phrase is normally used of someone who possesses “a haughty attitude or temper; a contemptuous manner” (Dictionary.com). “Haughty” means that one is “arrogant” or “proud” (Dictionary.com). Well now wait a minute! Isn’t Austin acting somewhat haughty in his approach to the traditional Christian? So, in a sense, isn’t Austin acting like he is on his own proverbial “high horse”? As the old saying goes, “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” So Austin’s claim concerning Christians actually backfires as he is guilty of the same thing! So while this backfire does not disprove his claim, it weakens the claim quite a bit. It could be that some churches get on their “high horse.” Quite frankly, some of them do (e.g. Westboro Baptist Church). But, the problem is that Austin’s claims are employing the same tactic, so philosophically speaking, it doesn’t appear that the accuser would have as much a problem as was presented.

Austin is also guilty of employing an “ad hominem” attack. An “ad hominem” attack is when one uses personal assaults in order to argue for a particular point. It may be good in its entertainment value, but does very little in regard to the presentation of the facts on a particular issue. Everyone needs to get to the point where we stop yelling and accusing one another and start discussing the issues at hand. Austin’s comment shows just how heated certain issues become in the arena of ideas. Regardless of where one stands on an issue, there needs to be a level of decency. But, decency is a lost art in a culture full of hate and bitterness.

  

Problem of Revelation

Austin asks for some “411” on how Christians know that God gave particular “dos” and “don’ts”. Well, as Jesus would say, “ask and you shall receive” (Matthew 7:7). How do Christians know that God gave a set of standards? We know because of particular events throughout history when God made Himself known. This is what is termed revelation. There are two forms of revelation: general and special. General revelation is described by Norman Geisler as,

“God’s revelation in nature as opposed to his revelation in Scripture…More specifically, general revelation is manifest in physical nature, human nature, and history. In each case God has disclosed something specific about himself and his relation to his creation. General revelation is important to Christian apologetics, since it is the data with which the theist constructs arguments from the existence of God…Without it there would be no basis for apologetics (Geisler 1999, 670).

In other words, everyone has insight to God’s existence. No one would accept that something can come from absolute nothingness except when it comes to the most complex system ever known…the universe and everything in it. Whether individuals realize it or not, every person can know that God exists if they use a little common sense. But at the center of the problem is a heart of rebellion over an intellectual issue when it comes to knowing God. But, another form of revelation exists known as special revelation. Geisler describes special revelation as,

God’s revelation in his Word (Scripture), as opposed to God’s revelation in his world…Special revelation may have originally been given orally or some other way (cf. Heb. 1:1) but has subsequently been written down and is now found only in God’s written Word, the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16–17).

God’s special revelation has been confirmed by miracles…This is how the canon of Scripture was determined (Geisler 1999, 674).

 In other words, special revelation occurs when God Himself DOES appear to humanity and gives them the 411 on how they should live. Ultimately, the greatest form of special revelation came through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus performed miracles in the first-century and still does today. In fact, Jesus has healed many people through the two millennium of Christendom by simply calling upon His name. Lazarus is a good example in the first-century. Lazarus had died, but Jesus raised him back to life (John 11). Today, there are instances where individuals have been healed by the name of Jesus. Now, I am not referring to fake healers, but true miracles. I witnessed a miracle many years ago while in Bible college. A woman was playing in her yard with her kids. She reached down to pick up a baseball when she snagged her eye on a stick. The stick went deep into her eye. The doctors said that it had ripped her optic nerve and that she would never be able to see again. I joined many others who began to pray for this woman. Her husband was in chapel a few days after the event. He said with tears in his eyes,

“Everyone. My wife was not able to see after the accident. The doctors said that she would never see again. However the other night, she called me and said, ‘I am beginning to see black and white images.’ Yesterday, she began to see things in color out of her eye. We went back to the doctor and he said that somehow her eye had been completely restored. I am here to tell you that she can see better now than she did before the accident.” (Student at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, circa 1997).

The fact that miracles still take place in Jesus’ name demonstrates the power of God. It also demonstrates the fact that God has made Himself known. Many may find characteristics of love and kindness as weak. But, meekness is NOT weakness. In fact, it takes more strength and courage to love one’s enemies than it does to speak spitefully about them. Hopefully, this article does not come across as spiteful. If so, I would be counted out. This brings us to our final problem with Austin’s statements…problems with reconciliation.

 

Problem of Reconciliation

Austin later indicates that he has issues with forgiveness. Does any person deserve forgiveness? No, the person does not. But here is the problem, when one evaluates God’s standards that person will find that NO ONE would ever be able to live up to that standards that are required for one to get to heaven. Not only does a God exist who gives “dos” and “don’ts,” a God exists whose standards are so high that it would be impossible for anyone to earn a status in heaven. That is why God devised a plan to demonstrate mercy. This mercy is undeserved but given because of God’s love. The Apostle Paul writes “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). He goes on to say that “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant” (Romans 5:20). The great hope is found in that “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:9-10). But unfortunately, “not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, ‘LORD, who has believed our message?’ So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ” (Romans 10:16-17).

This does not indicate that someone can be forgiven and continue to live a life of sin. In such a case, no repentance has occurred. One who is transformed by the power of Christ has repented of their sins (turned from their old life) and trusted in Christ who brings forth a new life. As Paul says to the one who has been transformed by Christ, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2). So, in this case, one will find themselves pinned as no one is worthy of God’s grace and mercy.

 

Conclusion

Austin probably came to his conclusions by the political jargon of the day. As mentioned earlier, this article is not intended to defend or attack same-sex marriage; for there is something larger than the issue of same-sex marriage going on in our culture. The greatest problematic issue, in this writer’s opinion, is the assault upon religious freedoms. One might say, “Well Austin simply was presenting his opinions.” Yes, he was. However, ideas have consequences. If all of society begins turning on a particular group of individuals for their beliefs, history demonstrates that bad things eventually occur. Look at the ideology of Hitler who saw the beliefs and ancestry of Judeans as a thing to be cast aside. Or look at Pol Pot who had no use for those who disagreed with his agenda. Do we need to mention the Stalins or Mussolines? Wherever one finds themselves on the issues, let us not lower ourselves to ad hominem assaults and group-hating. Let us explore the issues with intellect and compassion. And yes…this goes for the Christian as much, if not more, than those who are opposed to our cause. In fact, many Christians have been guilty of standing upon their high-horses without concerning themselves for others. We may not agree with others, but let us not see anyone regardless of their religion, gender, race, or sexuality as an enemy. We may not agree with that person on the issues (let it be known that this writer accepts the Bible’s standards for morality), but remember that Paul indicates that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Stand for the truth! But, let us remember the words of our Lord, “love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44)! May we all pray that Austin’s eyes, and all those who hold an anti-Christian view, will be open to the truths of the Gospel message. For “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

With all due respect to Mr. Austin…that’s the bottom line….because Jesus said so!!!

 

Bibliography

 All Scripture, unless otherwise noted, comes from the New Living Translation, 3rd Edition. Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007.

Dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/. (Accessed June 1, 2014).

Geisler, Norman L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999.

Ranter X. “Steve Austin Supports Gay Marriage and That’s the Bottom Line.” RantSports.com. (August 23, 2014). http://www.rantsports.com/pro-wrestling/2014/04/23/steve-austin-supports-gay-marriage-and-thats-the-bottom-line/#C7HXBFHa0DC8YBXf.99 (Accessed May 28, 2014).

Austin’s podcast can be heard at http://podcastone.com/Steve-Austin-Show. Be warned: it is explicit in nature.

The Value of Life and the Errors of the Pro-Death Movement

life

Recently, a woman by the name of Emily Letts posted a video on YouTube (found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxPUKV-WlKw) that positively promoted the abortion of her baby. While it is concerning that a woman would desire to destroy the life of her child, what really set this video apart is the fact that Letts sought to demonstrate that her abortion (i.e. the killing of her child) was a positive experience. In addition, another YouTube vlogger by the name “NaturalMomma” posted a video on how she supported Letts abortion in a video entitled “I Love Abortion” (found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHUPCobxOyY). The most disturbing element of this video was that while “NautralMomma” was addressing the glories of abortion, her children are heard playing in the background.

The real problem with both of these posts is not in the blatant promotion of the pro-choice agenda. No, there is a darker, more sinister attitude growing. This attitude is not necessarily found in every pro-choice individual, but it is found in the ideology of Letts and “NaturalMomma.” It is an attitude not of a pro-choice movement, but of a pro-death movement, although some may rightly argue that a pro-choice decision is pro-death advocacy. “NaturalMomma” and Letts both seem to find themselves more closely aligned with Bill Maher’s “pro-death ideology” (as seen in his interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqMSPooXJIk). In fact, the mentality found in these three indicate what I call a Pro-Death Movement. There are three main problems with this mindset:

 

  1. What is the value of life?

In the Letts, “NaturalMomma,” and Maher’s definition of life, there is no value. Life is expendable. Maher would claim that human life is equivalent to a dog. But in the grand scheme of things, even dogs have value. Let’s be honest, Michael Vick was condemned due to his exploits of animals, yet according to “NaturalMomma” the slaughter of innocent children is “nothing to be ashamed of” (NaturalMomma, YouTube). There cannot be a “positive abortion story” (NaturalMomma, YouTube) because in every abortion there is a victim…the child.

However, for the Christian, there is value to all life as opposed to Maher who sees no value in any life. In Genesis, it is recorded that God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Every human being has a purpose. Emily Letts, “NaturalMomma,” and even Bill Maher’s life holds value. And let it be said that just because I do not agree with these individuals does not indicate that I hate them for the very reason of Genesis 1:27. All life has value…even a fetus.

 

  1. Who decides when life is valuable?

Another problem is this: who gets to decide whose life is valuable? Here there are serious consequences to the Pro-Death Movement. Adolf Hitler saw the lives of Jewish individuals as expendable…and anyone else who disagreed with him. Joseph Stalin had no problem executing anyone who crossed his path. The same can be said of those of those ruled throughout history. For Bill Maher, I would probably be expendable.

Yet again, because there is value to life, people do not get to pick and choose who they randomly want to execute. That is why laws are set in place such as “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Jesus also instructed the Christian to “love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44b-45). Why? Because all human life is valuable! Yes there may be times when capital punishment and war-time endeavors are necessary. However, an innocent child meets neither of those exceptions.

 

  1. When is life deemed valuable?

Finally, the advocates of the Pro-Death Movement must ask themselves…when is life valuable? Many pro-life advocates have used the acronym SLED to demonstrate the differences between a fetus and a fully grown adult and ask the question; when one is determined human? SLED stands for:

S- Size: (Does the size of a human determine its value? If so, does a midget hold less value than a giant? If not, then why is an unborn fetus seen any differently?)

L- Level of Development: (Does the level of development determine human value? If so, is one who is handicapped in some area less than human? If not, then why does the development of a fetus dictate anything different?)

E- Environment: (Does one’s environment determine human value? If so, then is one who lives in the country less human than one who lives in the city? If not, then why does the location of a fetus indicate anything different?)

D- Dependency: (Does one’s level of dependence determine human value? If so, then does a teenager who depends on his or her parents indicate that they are less than human…or a college student? If not, then why does the fetus’ dependency indicate anything different?)

When is a human a human? The Bible makes it clear. In Jeremiah, God told the prophet, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). In Romans, Paul wrote, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29). Life begins at conception. The Bible indicates that God foreknows individuals before they are even born. People have value. There is value to life.

 

Conclusion

This article was not written to condemn those who promote the Pro-Death Movement, but rather to demonstrate the great problems associated with any worldview that demerits the value of human life. Whether one is a few days or 100 years old, humans have worth. Humans have value. I have value. You have value, too.

 

 

All Scripture, unless otherwise noted, comes from the New Living Translation, 3rd ed. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007.

Abortion: The American Holocaust

stop-abortion  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “holocaust” as either “a thorough destruction of life especially with the use of fire” and/or as “a mass slaughter of people” (Merriam-Webster, www.m-w.com). The term holocaust haunts me greatly. It does so because I have had the opportunity to meet two individuals who endured the horrors of a holocaust. I had the esteemed privilege to meet some Jewish individuals who endured the horrors of Auschwitz. My heart broke for them as I heard the ruthless antics of the Nazis led by the madman Adolf Hitler. Also, I met Siv Ashley. Mrs. Ashley survived the ruthless barbarism of Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia. As horrific as these stories are, I am met with a question in our own land. Are we guilty of a modern holocaust? This holocaust is not one in which the screams of the victims can be heard. This holocaust is occurring in every state in the United States of America. It is the holocaust of abortion. In order for abortion to be considered a holocaust of sorts, it must be asked if there is a mass killing of life going on with abortion, when does human life begin, at what point is a person considered human, and whose body is at stake when it comes to abortion.

Does Abortion Allow for a Mass Killing of Life?

 I am currently unable to report the number of abortions in 2013. The article will be updated in the event that such data becomes available. However, in 2008, it is reported that 1.21 million abortions were performed in the United States alone (Jones and Kooistra 2011, 41-50). Compare this to the 11 million people who were killed in the Nazi concentration camps, the nearly 4 million who died in the Cambodian genocide, and the 20 million who were slaughtered at the hands of Stalin. The problem with abortion is that the 1.21 million only represents one year. The overall number of deaths by abortion increases every year. Please note that I am not trying to lessen the impact of the concentration camps in Germany, Russia, or Cambodia. The numbers are used only to show the comparison between the number of deaths in these areas and the number of deaths occurring by abortion.

In my mind, a troubling statistic is found in the following: 58% of women who have abortions are in their 20s; 61% already have children; 56% are unmarried and single; 69% are economically disadvantaged; and…here is the kicker…73% report a religious affiliation (Jones and Kavanaugh 2011, 1358-1366). WHAT??? This is not occurring among the non-religious as much as the religious. This must take us in a different direction. We must answer the question about life and the body.

 

When Does Human Life Begin?

 Some will claim that life does not begin until birth. However, the Family Research Council provides the following information:

The cardiovascular system is the first major system to function. At about 22 days after conception the child’s heart begins to circulate his own blood, unique to that of his mother’s, and his heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound ().

At just six weeks, the child’s eyes and eye lids, nose, mouth, and tongue have formed.

Electrical brain activity can be detected at six or seven weeks,(CIFS 2001, 36) and by the end of the eighth week, the child, now known scientifically as a “fetus,” has developed all of his organs and bodily structures (England 1996, 350-358).

By ten weeks after conception the child can make bodily movements (Schwarzwalder, http://www.frc.org/brochure/the-best-pro-life-arguments-for-secular-audiences).

The writers of the Bible accepted the notion that human life begins at conception. God said to Jeremiah, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Therefore, God knows a person before the person is born. This gives emphasis to the notion that life begins at conception, but also to the acceptance that all human beings have worth. In the Hebrew law, concessions were made for a woman who lost her child prematurely. In Exodus we read,

“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. “But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise” (Exodus 21:22-25).

The main point of the passage is found in the recognition that life begins at conception. Life was valuable even while inside the womb.

 

Who is Human?

Is a human a human only if they are fully developed? What about those who are not physically developed…children are not fully developed as they are not fully grown. Are they less than human? Individuals who suffer from mental illness are not fully developed mentally. Are they less than human? Well, some will argue, the fetus depends upon the mother. Does dependency make one human? In that case, young adults who still live off their parents in their 20s and 30s are not fully human in such an argument. Young adults in college would not be considered fully human since some are dependent upon mom and dad for help. What about the elderly in nursing homes? Are they no longer fully human since they depend upon others? Better yet, is there really any of us who does not depend upon someone another? The bottom line: life begins at conception. Human life has value.

 

Whose Body are We Debating?

 Some will claim, “It’s my body. I can do with it as I please.” While this is true to an extent, the problem with abortion is found in the fact that the issue is not over the woman’s body, it is over the baby’s body. A person has no more right to kill a baby inside the womb than they do a child outside a womb, an elderly person in a nursing home, or a late blooming adult. Biology dictates how life is produced. Biology was established by God. If pregnancy is the issue, then there is a simple method to abstain from the problem…abstinence from sex outside the confines of marriage. It is like a person who claims, “I get so tempted to eat a donut when I go to Krispy Kreme.” There is a good solution to that problem. DON’T GO TO KRISPY KREME!!! The same analogy applies…don’t you think?

Here we must speak of the issue of rape. What about cases where a person is raped? It must be noted that less than 1% of all abortions occur due to rape. Finer provides the following information pertaining to the reasons for abortions:

  • 25% “not ready for a(nother) child/timing is wrong”
  • 23% “can’t afford a baby now”
  • 19% “have completed my childbearing/have other people depending on me/children are grown”
  • 8% “don’t want to be a single mother/am having relationship problems”
  • 7% “don’t feel mature enough to raise a(nother) child/feel too young”
  • 6% “other” (this category had no further explanation)
  • 4% “would interfere with education or career plans”
  • 4% “physical problem with my health”
  • 3% “possible problems affecting the health of the fetus”
  • -0.5% “husband or partner wants me to have an abortion”
  • -0.5% “parents want me to have an abortion”
  • -0.5% “don’t want people to know I had sex or got pregnant”
  • -0.5% “was a victim of rape” (Finer and et al. 2005, 113-114).

 

Even if rape and health concerns were the reasons why people even thought about abortion, these issues would only count for less than 3.5% of all abortions that occur. The issue of rape-based abortion is steeped with emotion. However, if we are honest, we must ask, did the baby do anything wrong? Was the child guilty of wrongdoing? Would a judge condemn a teenage boy to prison over the bank robbery committed by his father? Of course not. Then why should a young baby be condemned for the heinous crime of his/her father? I am not suggesting that this is an easy issue and obviously this would require much more dialogue than what this article can bring. Yet, the question comes back to the issue, “Whose body are we debating?” In the pro-life opinion, the child is at the center of the debate and not the woman.

 

Conclusion: Does American Abortion Meet the Definition of a Holocaust?

If human life begins at conception, which most people would concede, then a willful taking of such life is murder. There are no two ways about it. Either abortion is murder or it is not. The only way those who promote abortion can wiggle around this fact is to claim that the life in the womb is not human. However, as we have shown, a human is human regardless of dependency, level of development, or the size of such life. The Christian understanding is that all human life holds great value. Statistics have shown that over 1.2 million abortions occur on most given years in America. Therefore, it is in my estimation that our nation is guilty of engaging in a massive holocaust. The only difference is which side of the womb the victims were located when their execution occurred. The perfect solution is not necessarily a political one, but a solution that would find a transformation of society. One that would show each person the value of every life.

 please-stop-abortion-please-stop-chile-kill

Praying that America will wake up,

 

 

Pastor Brian

 

Bibliography

 All Scripture, unless otherwise noted, comes from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

England, Marjorie A. “What Is An Embryo?” in Life Before Birth, Marjorie A. England. London: Mosby-Wolfe, 1996.

Finer, Lawrence B. et al. “Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 37, no. 5 (2005): 113-14.

Jones, R. K., and K. Kooistra. Abortion incidence and access to services in the United States, 2008Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2011, 43(1):41–50.

Jones, R. K., and M. L. Kavanaugh. Changes in abortion rates between 2000 and 2008 and lifetime incidence of abortionObstetrics & Gynecology. 2011, 117(6):1358–1366.

Moore, Keith L., T. V. N. Persaud, and Mark G. Torchia, The Developing Human. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders, 2013.

Schwarzwalker, Rob. “The Best Pro-Life Arguments for Secular Audiences. Family Research Council. (Accessed January 6, 2014). http://www.frc.org/brochure/the-best-pro-life-arguments-for-secular-audiences.

The Commission of Inquiry into Foetal Sentience (CARE and The House of Lords). “Human Sentience Before Birth.” (2001): 3, 36.

Has the Dream Been Realized? Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

marchonwashington     Today (August 28th, 2013) marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.    Although it must be admitted that our society has advanced by great leaps and bounds, one must ask; has the dream been realized?  In this article, two of Dr. King’s emphases in his “I Have a Dream” speech will be examined as the question will be asked: has the dream been realized?

Kids Holding Hands

Dream of Equality

One of the core tenets of King’s speech was on the equality of all people of various races.  King stated, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” (King 1963, 5).  This is a biblical theme also.  Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).  Paul stated concerning the church, “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, NLT).  James, the brother of Jesus, even wrote, “Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law” (James 2:8-9, NLT).  Therefore, Dr. King’s voice of equality was a very biblical message.  Are we where we should be in this regard?

We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.  In some regions, the role of race is not as much a factor as it is in others.  But, let us be honest.  There are still tensions.  Perhaps the passing of time will in the future mend the wounds suffered in the past.  In order for this to occur, people must be diligent in building bridges with others of different races.  Christians should lead the way.  The evangelical Christian should realize that God created all of us.  Yes, we all have weaknesses and faults.  But, we are all creations of God and have a purpose for being here.  This should help the Christian, of all people, to understand the necessity of loving others.  If a person is loved by God, who are we to act any differently?  Yes, if a person strays, kind-hearted corrections should be given with the best interest of the other in mind.  But, nothing should surpass the love that we are commanded to possess for people of all skin tones.  As the Gospel hymn is sung, “Red, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight…Jesus loves the little children of the world” (Hymn: “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” Public Domain).  We are not there yet, but we should judge more by the “content of their character” (King 1963, 5) rather than the color of any person’s skin.

freedom

Dream of Freedom

King said, “When we allow freedom to ring when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholic, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, Free at last, Great God almighty, We are free at last” (King 1963, 6).  The area of freedom is one that brings great concern for many people today.  Are we still the “land of the free”?  Considering the fact that individuals are losing the right to publicly profess their faith, one must wonder whether the First Amendment rights of all Americans will stand after the next century has passed.

jesus-statue in Montana     In Montana, a statue of Jesus, which held significance for the veterans being commemorated, was challenged by the Freedom from Religion Foundation.  The American Center for Law and Justice reports, “Part of a war memorial on Big Mountain at Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana since the 1950s, the statue was inspired by monuments the soldiers – who were also members of the Knights of Columbus – saw in the mountains of Europe during the war” (ACLJ, “ACLJ: Federal Court in Montana Keeps War Memorial in Place – “Win for Protecting Religious Heritage and History of our Nation”).  Is this really freedom?  It seems that we have taken a different turn than what Dr. King had imagined.  King said, “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day” (King 1963, 5).  The great irony is, Dr. King, if living on earth today, might find that his dream of freedom was gained on the racial spectrum, but would be losing ground on the religious spectrum…the very fuel that sparked the fires of his bravery and fortitude.

Conclusion

A lot of good was done on August 28, 2013.  Dr. King reminded us of the great kinship that we all hold together.  We have many problems in our day and time.  The United States of America is more divided than ever before.  However, Dr. King reminded us then, as we need to be reminded now, that we are all creations of God.  Every life has a purpose and value.  The world may look at you as a loser.  You may have been called a mistake.  But, God sees you as a winner.  God sees the person you could be.  Despite the differences that many possess, let us be reminded of the value of life as we celebrate the work and message of Dr. King.  For Dr. King reminded us of what the Christian should have already seen…that every person of every race is made “imagio dei” (in the image of God).  As God told Samuel, “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT).  As the realm of freedom is addressed, may it be reminded to the reader that true freedom comes through a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Paul writes, “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 7:24b-8:2, NLT).

free-in-christ

Seeking to love all…red, yellow, black, and white,

Pastor Brian

Bibliography

ACLJ, “ACLJ: Federal Court in Montana Keeps War Memorial in Place – “Win for Protecting Religious Heritage and History of our Nation”, (ACLJ.org, June 25, 2013). Accessed August 28, 2013. <http://aclj.org/american-heritage/jay-sekulow-aclj-federal-court-in-montana-keeps-war-memorial-in-place-win-for-protecting-religious-heritage-history-of-nation>.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. “I Have a Dream,” Washington DC. March on Washington, delivered on August 28th, 1963.  Accessed August 28th, 2013. <http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf>.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation, 3rd ed. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007.

Is God a Racist? An Evangelical Pastor’s Response to Anthea Butler

Is God a Racist? An Evangelical Pastor’s Response to Anthea Butler.

What is Still Good About America: An Evangelical Christian’s Perspective

What is Still Good About America: An Evangelical Christian’s Perspective.

What is Still Good About America: An Evangelical Christian’s Perspective

Yes, it is true that America may not be as strong as she once was.  Yes, it is true that our morals may be at an all-time low.  However, there are still many things that are good about America.  I would like to take a few moments as we near Independence Day to express some things in which America stills excels.

1.     American Freedoms

America is a land of freedom.  This is why many evangelicals and others fight so hard for the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech.  If these freedoms fall, where do people go to find that freedom?  There are many other nations that hold similar freedoms, but America has always been known as the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

As of right now, we still have great freedoms.  We have the freedom to worship as we choose.  We still have the freedom to speak publicly, even if what we say is not popular.  I may not like what my atheist American citizens say, but I defend his or her right to say it.    There are many other freedoms that Americans enjoy.  As Independence Day, may I suggest that all Americans stand up for these freedoms.

2.     American Equality

America still excels at equality, for the most part.  Even though evangelical Christians have suffered the brunt of ridicule and shame in recent years, Americans still enjoy the ability to work, worship, and live their lives as they please without persecution.  This is another American virtue that is worth fighting for.

This is a biblical virtue, as well.  The Bible says, “For there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11, NASB).  This is true in the positive and the negative fashion.  God saves all through Christ Jesus who come to Him regardless of race, socio-economic standards, or gender.  God also judges impartially, as well.

Although America has suffered from time to time in this regard, she still strives to keep this virtue.  We may many times argue what this equality entails, but I feel that all red-blooded Americans would fight to keep this standard.

3.     American Values

Although her values have been changing in recent times, America still holds to certain values.  The value of hard work is held by many Americans.  Yes, exceptions could be made.  However, I challenge you to look at the values of those working as farmers, police officers, firemen, and others.  Although there are many who do not rise to the occasion, many Americans still value things like a hard day’s work, caring for one’s family, and striving to do what is right.  These values may be dimmer than they once were, but those values still exist.

4.     American Heroics

If you do not believe that Americans are still heroic, go speak to the many Americans who exemplify heroism today.  Speak to the teacher who stood in front of her class praying that her class would be safe while the winds of an Oklahoma F5 tornado blew through her school.  Speak to the 19 firemen who gave their lives to save American citizens from the fires that raged in Arizona.  Speak to the police officer who risks his or her life each and every day when they suit up to enforce the laws so that you can be safe.  Speak to the EMS worker who takes risks to help you with medical emergencies.  Speak to the many heroes who stand up for our rights and freedoms each and everyday.  Yes, most Americans are still heroic.  When tragedies strike, these American heroes will stand up to the task.

Conclusion

America does have her problems.  As we celebrate the 237th anniversary of America, our minds can quickly traverse the problems that our nation faces as we journey the 365 days leading towards the 238th anniversary.  But as Americans, we can celebrate the good things that still exist during this time.  As Christians, we can celebrate even more.  We have ultimate freedom in Jesus Christ.  We have true equality as Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, NASB).  As Christians, we can have ultimate values as we can know the Value-Giver.  Finally, we can know true heroics by knowing the Ultimate Hero.  I know of no greater hero than that which is found in Jesus Christ.  True strength is found in the ability to love those who hate you.  As we watch the fireworks celebrating our freedoms this Independence Day, let us remember those who keep us free.  As Christians, let our minds also remember the true freedom that we have found in Jesus Christ.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Brian Chilton

Tentative Schedule for Upcoming Articles and Shows

comingsoon-in-star1

Next Week:     The Problem of God and Suffering, Part 2…Philosophical Perspective (Article pending by Drew Payne);

May 20th:      If One God is Necessary, Multiple Gods Are Not

May 27th:      Christianity in Coaching (Perspectives Learned from Christian Coach Darryl Speer)

June 3rd:        Has Professional Sports Lost Its’ Professionalism?

June 10th:     The Problem of Natural Evil and Suffering (An Interview with Cindy Smith)

June 17th:     Why is Prayer So Important?

June 24th:      Dangers of Cultic Churches: How Good Theological Churches Can Become “Cult-like”

July 1st:          Has America Become a “Post-Christian” Nation?

 

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