Gay Marriage and the Follower of Jesus – Part Two

27 06 2015

About three years ago, when President Obama proclaimed his support of gay marriage, I wrote the post titled “Gay Marriage and the Follower of Jesus” which I recommend you read given the current circumstances of the U.S. Supreme Court decision.  Consider this post a continuation of that earlier post.  There are several things I want to tackle in this post.  I’m going to try to get to the root of some of the surface issues I see that those in Christ are dealing with.  So, buckle up, hold on tight, and enjoy the ride.

First, let’s establish the foundation of one simple fact.  If you know the Bible at all, there is a theme you should know: that this world is not our home.  In many instances in Scripture, we are told, reminded, and given examples of this truth.  Peter calls us sojourners and pilgrims in 1 Peter 2.  The writer of Hebrews says in Chapter 13 that we don’t have a continuing city, so we look for that one to come.  Chapter 11 of Hebrews gives the example of Abraham and other patriarchs who looked forward to a heavenly city, whose builder and maker is God.  James says in Chapter 4 of his letter that being a friend of the world is to make yourself an enemy of God.  Even Jesus himself said,

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you.” – John 15:19

There are surely more examples and Scriptures to point this out, but the point is that we are foreigners in a strange land, no matter where in the world you live.  If you are in Christ, you were once part of this world, but now you are a new creation in Christ and your home is not here but where Christ is.  If you’re in Christ, you will one day be reunited with your Master and He will destroy this world and make a new one where He will be ruler and where His followers will finally feel at home beyond anything they can imagine.  As it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

Next, with that in mind, let’s tackle the decision that was handed down by the Supreme Court.  Again, with our understanding of the Scriptures, we can clearly see that our convictions are much different than of those in this world.  We are called to be different.  I want to stress that being different from the world doesn’t just mean just being nice and going to church.  The “different” I mean is what the Bible mean by being different, as in: being chaste while the world has sex with whoever, whenever they want, speaking truth when the world lies, treating people equally when the world discriminates, honoring your spouse when the world divorces and commits adultery, respecting governmental authority when the world does and says what they want, and on and on it goes.  The list also includes honoring a man and woman in marriage as God had intended when the world decides for themselves what they want to do with marriage.

So, with the foundation of the fact that this world is not our home and we are strangers and the knowledge that we are to be different from the world, why are we is such turmoil over this decision?  How does it affect your ability to marry someone of the opposite gender?  Does it keep you from doing what God calls YOU to do? The Constitution of the United States is not your Bible.  Nor was it a divinely inspired document written by the finger of God.  Whether you believe the United States was or is a Christian nation is irrelevant.  The Scripture is God’s Word alone and if you read it you will find that there is no place on this earth that will perfectly honor God, that is, if you find one that honors Him at all.  No only that, but the book of Revelation tells of a time where everyone will be cursing the God who made them.  So, you might as well prepare for it.  If our Lord was killed by his own people, why would we think this world would embrace what we believe?

I will now make a statement that may have most Christians wanting to stone me.  If you can separate the U.S. Constitution from the Bible, the world from those in Christ, and the United States from your real home where Christ is, then the U.S. Supreme Court made the right decision.  WOAH!  WAIT!!  Before you click out of this blog, here me out!!  My purpose on this blog is to challenge Christians to honor God and live for Christ.  Give me a little more of your time and then you can believe what you want.  I will deal with some of the objections in a little bit.

Yes, homosexuality is sin!  No doubt about it. But the Bible and the Constitution are two different things.  You are not a follower of the United States or the Constitution.  If you are a Christian, you are a follower of Christ and your life is hidden in Him, not on the rise or fall of the United States or any of its’ documents.  The Constitution does not say “Homosexuals may never marry.”  Even if it did, the people would have a right to change it.  That’s the way it goes.  The Constitution is not a moral document, but a document of rules on governing.  Years ago, this was never an issue because homosexuality was considered bad culturally, not just religiously.  Yet, so was abortion until the 1960’s.  Now, you hardly hear about abortion because it’s the norm.

I am not here to argue why or how the Supreme Court made the decision.  The point is: Homosexuality is sin, but the U.S. Constitution does not care about sin.  Do not put your faith in what the United States was or is, follow Christ.

Lastly, let’s consider what our response should be.  Here I will also deal with some objections and arguments that I have seen.

What should be our response?  Well, what should be our response to other sins?  How do you respond to atheists who marry?  Or better yet, how do you respond to Christians who divorce?  How do you respond to the pastor who preaches about giving and drives a relatively new BMW?

How do we respond?  Well, how did Jesus respond to the woman caught in adultery?  How did He responded to the tax collectors, sinners, and prostitutes of his day?  Well, He simply treated them as humans beings and told them the truth of what they were doing was wrong in the sight of God and, if they repented and followed Him, they would have eternal life.  He also made it clear that if they didn’t repent, they would face the judgement of God for their sin.  So, why should we do anything else than what our Master did?

I don’t recall Jesus or any others in the New Testament making it an aim to make Rome change or keep laws to reflect their beliefs.  Instead of making laws, the focus was on making disciples by telling them the truths of the Gospel so that God could regenerate their hearts.  Our job as Christians is not to make everyone do what we would like, but to point them to God so that God can change them.  If you think it’s about legislating morality, you need to remember where YOU came from.

Paul says in 2nd Timothy 4 to

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and teaching.”

Our job is not to keep people from sinning.  That is impossible and doesn’t deal with the heart.  Our job is to tell people what God says is sin and that they will have to deal with Him.  They don’t have to deal with us, but with a God that they have deeply offended and they will one day face the wrath of.  But, not only homosexuals are in trouble with God.  A quick reading of the first few chapters of the book of Romans will clearly reveal that EVERYBODY on the face of this earth is in the same situation.  Nobody is exempt from God’s wrath.  Homosexuals and liars will be in the same hell.  Adulterers and fornicators, idolators and the covetous, murderers and haters, Muslims and false Christians, among others, will all face the wrath of a holy and just God. It’s our job to tell them the truth.

But, some may say, homosexuality is worse than other sins.  I’ve recently seen an article from a prominent ministry that made this claim.  Really?  Where does it say that in Scripture?  The only way you can make that claim is to twist scripture and rationalize your way through it.  If you quote to me the scripture that tells me it’s an abomination to God, then you better have as much fervor for lying, shedding innocent blood, or eating lobster, shrimp, or pork as you have for gay marriage.

And why is it all about gay marriage?  Why is it okay for atheists to get married?  They don’t even think a god exists.  Is God cool with homosexuals unless they get married?  I know these are silly questions, but why is homosexual marriage singled out.  There have even been instances of people being okay with baking cakes for homosexuals unless it is found out that it’s for the homosexual wedding.  Really?  Where are our priorities and consistency?  Isn’t it the homosexuality that’s sin?

Some may argue that it’s because it’s about the “sanity sanctity of marriage”.  Who decided marriage is originally between a man and a woman?  God, right?  Do they know and care about what God says?  No.  Do you?  If you say yes, then go and marry the opposite sex.  Simple as that.  Do you believe in the sanctity of marriage?  Then YOU keep it sanctified.  Do not think that sinners in opposition to God want to keep something God honoring.  Why not live out what you believe the Bible says and be a light to this dark world, instead of trying to make people submit to what they don’t believe or want.  In the Old Testament, God warned the children of Israel to not worship the idols or do the things that the other nations did, but He didn’t say go and make the other nations to the things they did.

One last argument I’ve heard is that this opens the door for other sins like bestiality and pedophilia to become legal.  Okay.  If it does, what are you going to do about it?  Don’t do those things!  Don’t do what the pagans do.  Do what God says, say what God says, and don’t expect others to care about what God says.

Only God can change the hearts of people.  But, God made the start of the process for us to proclaim His Word, not our opinions.  You can’t share with a homosexual a scripture that says homosexual marriage is sin, but you can share with him that their homosexuality, along with their lust, pride, lying, taking God’s name in vain, etc. is sin.  Once you share what God’s says, then He can convict their hearts and produce change.  It’s amazing.  That way He get all the glory, not us.

Brothers and sisters, I’m afraid that persecution is coming, but not for the right reasons.  I’ve seen the websites and Facebook posts worrying about the looming persecution for Pastors and other Christians that speak against homosexual marriage.  Yes, I guess I can see it coming, too.  But, why should it be this way?  Homosexuals are not condemned because they get married.  They are condemned despite their perversion.  They are condemned because they have lied, hated, lusted, had wrong ideas about God, stolen, have broken the Sabbath, had sex out of wedlock, divorced, called people names, have been prideful, covetous, envious, bitter, untrustworthy, unthankful, drunkards, and selfish, among many other things, just as the rest of mankind, even you and I.  It would be better if we followed in the footsteps of our Lord and those that walked in His footsteps and would get persecuted for speaking the truth about all of these wicked things that God speaks about, than to be singled out because of a stance we have on a secondary action that a certain group of sinners do.  If we keep our focus on it like we are, we deserve the persecution.

To conclude, I write these things to somehow help and challenge us.  My heart breaks over what we do in the name of Christ and what we’ve become as a “Church”.  We uproar about homosexuals marrying because marriage was God’s idea.  Yet, we let divorce happen in the Church for foolish reasons about just as much as it happens in the world.  Is God happy with this?

Personally, I will treat a homosexual as a real person, like Jesus did to prostitutes.  Yes, I make that analogy because prostitutes were highly frowned upon in those days, yet He ate with them and taught them the truth.  I also will tell them the truth as I should with everyone.  I will not tell them the truth just because they are homosexual and they need it more than others nor because they are married.  Everybody needs the truth.  If someone rejects the truth, I can also do what Jesus did and let them alone to their destruction.  Jesus did not beg others to believe and even left when He was asked to leave (Luke8:37).

I’m not a Pastor, so most that I talk to don’t think much of what I say.  That’s okay because nobody is accountable to me.  They (and you) are all accountable to God.  I know I will be accountable for what I have said and done.  Don’t even take my word for it.  Don’t take a Pastor’s or anybody’s word for it.  Get into your Bibles and read the examples of Jesus and the Apostles and what they said yourself.  There you will find ultimate truth.  There you will find ultimate freedom.  There you will find ultimate life.

Jesus said to follow Him!

Advertisements




Mothers are awesome, Fathers can do better

11 05 2013

No, I am not dead.  I am still blogging.  I’ve just been, well…quiet.

With Mother’s Day here and Father’s Day coming up soon, I just wanted to share and question some observations that that seem quite common in churches in this day and age.

I would not have believed it if not for hearing other people mention it in the blogosphere and then hearing it with my own ears last year.

Mothers Day in the U.S. (for those from someplace else) is a special day in May set aside to honor all mothers.  It is a Sunday that you can have on the calendar to intentionally plan to maybe visit her, spend time with her, talk to her on the phone, take her out to dinner, buy her a gift, tell her “I love you”, or whatever you would like to do to honor her.  To those that have been blessed with a “normal” mom, she raised you, changed your diapers, wiped your butt, kissed your boo-boos, put up with your crying and whining, among other things.  Mother’s Day is the day to give some appreciation for all she is doing or has done for you.

So it is in many churches today that we show appreciation to all mothers.  What is done to honor them depends on the church.  Some may give them flowers as they come in to the church.  Some may have all mothers stand and a little speech is given to thank them for all the wonderful things they do.  Some even spend that Sunday preaching a whole sermon about mothers.  Rightly so, for they deserve appreciation for what they do as mothers.  I feel sorry for those who did not grow up with a loving mother or father in their lives.

Fathers Day is a special day set aside in June to do the same thing for our fathers.  However, most really don’t care for flowers, so a day out fishing, a sporting event, dinner, a gift card to the home improvement store might fit them a little better.  After all, he may have had to do some of the things I mentioned above about mothers, like wipe your butt and put up with your crying and whining.  Whatever you do, take time to honor him and return a little of the love that he has given to you if you’ve been privileged with a loving father in your life.

The problem I see, however, is that Fathers Day is much different in church than it is on Mothers Day.  While mothers get showered with love, thanks, and appreciation, as they should, Fathers Day gets a mention of that and then goes into how fathers can do better.  It doesn’t seem that bad on the surface because, frankly, mothers deserve appreciation and fathers can always do better.  However, the opposite, that fathers deserve appreciation and mothers can always do better, never seems to be said and when that becomes normal, as it has, fathers are seen as the only one with problems that need to be fixed.

While you may not see it, this is a major issue.  It is bad enough that the “battle of the sexes”, feminism, and gender “equality” rages on in our country (and probably in many countries).  I can deal with that…it’s the world.  I expect blatant disobedience to God in the world.  However, it is very disheartening to see it in the churches where the leadership of men is preached to the point of exhaustion, whether it be in sermons, books, or movies (think Fireproof and Courageous), but the submission of women is barely touched upon or mishmashed into “mutual” submission.  I am not here to get into this subject too deep in this post, but just wanted to touch on it since, to me and to others I have read, it seems that this happens on Mothers and Fathers Day as well.

So why do we do this?  Why does it seem perfectly fine to give so much praise for mothers on their day and not tell them to be better?  Why do we use Fathers Day to challenge fathers to be better?  Why do we tell mothers they are wonderful, but not tell them that they need to be better mothers and wives?  Why can’t we do the same for both on the respected days, either appreciate them and/or challenge them both?

Some of you will answer, “It is because men are called to be the leaders.”  Yes, and men can always be better leaders. They are not perfect and never will be.  Their wives are also called to submit to their husbands in everything (Eph 5:24).  Yet, we do not hear challenges on Mother’s Day for them on such things, even in parenting their children.

Some of you will say, “You are against women.  You are a legalist.  You don’t know the Bible.  Blah, Blah, Blah.  That is why you are writing these things.”  Nonsense!  I write this, and my whole blog, to challenge those stuck in Churchianity, those just going through the motions of church instead of what the bible says.  There are some things and traditions done in churches today that do more harm than good and we don’t even realize it.  We are to follow Jesus Christ.  He is the head of the Church and everything must be subject to what the Bible says.

So, I challenge you to pay attention to what is said in your church on these days.  If you are in a different country and have days like this, listen and see if it is the same as it is here in the U.S.  If your church doesn’t do the above things, good for you.  You are one the lucky ones, I guess.  Anyone else notice this before?  Comment about it.

No matter what is said in church, just make sure you appreciate your mother and father if you have one.  Don’t go to them and say, “Thanks for being my parents, but you could be better.”

Now, for all you mothers and fathers out there:  Thank you!  Thanks for being there for us and for all you have done for us.  Thank you for the sacrifices you had to endure for us.  Thank you for helping us with our homework, teaching us life skills, loving us, and laughing with us at our silliness.  You are not perfect and neither are we or will we be.  Let us forgive the faults and sins toward each other as Christ has also forgiven us.  If you are Christians, thank you for leading us in truth the best you could.  None of us are wonderful or awesome and we are called to be humble because He is the one that is wonderful, great, and awesome.  Thanks again.  We love you!

Jesus said to follow Him!





What Happened in the Garden of Eden?

2 09 2012

What happened in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time impacted everything else after that.  God had pronounced curses for men, women, and even creation itself.  However, there seems to be some differences spoken as truth as to what happened during the fall of Adam and Eve.  I began to ponder this as I was “unknowingly swallowing the red pill”.  I mean, the creation and fall of mankind only covers three chapters of the book of Genesis.  Man and Woman are created – God tells them not to do this one little thing – they do it – sin enters the world – they get cursed…end of story, right?

It was a little over six years ago when I started premarital counseling with a pastor.  At this time, a little more depth of what had happened in the Garden of Eden was made known to me and applied to the marriage relationship.  It was an “Oh, I never thought of it that way” kind of moment.  It made a lot of sense and I have since heard it by other pastors and teachers.  They do not all give all of these conclusions.  I may be mingling teachings together from several teachers.

The scenario goes a little like this:

The one sin – After the creation, God tells them to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (2:!6-17)

The serpent comes to Eve – The reason for this is that Adam is the head of the relationship.  The serpent goes over the authority of Adam to tempt Eve. (3:1-5)

The temptation of Eve. – Eve was tempted just like Jesus and as all of us are in accordance with 1 John 2:16.  She was tempted and saw the tree was good for food (desire of the flesh), delight to the eyes (desire of the eyes), and could make one wise (pride of life) (3:6)

The fall – After hearing the serpent, the woman takes and eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  She then gives the fruit to Adam, who is right next to her while she is tempted and sins, and he eats it. (3:6)

The call – They both hide and God calls out to Adam.  This is, again, becasue he is the head of the relationship and brings him to account for what has happend. (3:8-9)

The curse – This seems self-explanatory.  The serpent is cursed by slithering on the ground and is given a Messianic promise.  The woman is cursed with painful childbirth, a “desire” for her husband, and the husband will “rule” over her.  The man and nature are cursed together.  The man will now work harder to get any food and return to the dust in which he was formed. (3:14-19)

…and they lived sinfully ever after with a promise of a Redeemer, right?

While most of what is commonly preached and portrayed from the first three chapters of Genesis is obviously correct, there are issues to be dealt with.  These issues are not minor ones either because they have to do with how we, as Christians, view each other, our marriages or relationships with the opposite sex, and everyday life itself.

We don’t know every little detail of what happened back then in the Garden of Eden.  However, what we do have at this time is what God has decided to reveal to us.  The problems come when we try to think too deep on what MIGHT have happened and try to make doctrines out of it and ignoring what we need to learn about what HAS been revealed.  Unfortunately, if we don’t understand what IS revealed and add or replace it with our own thoughts and ideas of what COULD have happened, it still affects the way we live and think about life.

Here are some things that seem to be an issue with the common thought of what happened in the Garden of Eden.  Study it for yourself and correct me if I am wrong.  I could wish that none of these things matter much.  Some may not seem like a big deal.  However, some of these points may just link into other points or even different areas in life that have a major affect on our thinking.

– God doesn’t command both Adam and Eve directly to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  God tells ADAM not to eat of the tree.  He tells this to Adam before Eve was even formed (Gen 2:16-22)  So what, right?  Maybe it isn’t a big deal.  Yet, we cannot read into the Scriptures what is not there.  How did Eve come to know the command?  Did God tell her or did Adam?  No one really knows the answer except God and, for some reason, He did not decide to reveal that to us.  What we DO know is that Eve knew the command and she decided to disobey it.

– Do we really know when Adam was “with her” during the fall?  Many would like to give this verse (Gen. 3:6) for the justification that the sin of Eve was really the sin of Adam because he was there all along and didn’t do anything to protect Eve.  After all, it was “though one MAN sin entered the world” (Romans 5:12).  Indeed sin entered the world through one man.  The man was given the command directly from God and he disobeyed.  Not only that, but Eve was formed from the man.  Adam was “with her”, but it doesn’t say Adam was “with her” until AFTER she ate the fruit (Gen. 3:6).  Scripture does not tell us that Adam was there during the temptation nor while she was eating the fruit.  Again, this may not seem like a big deal, but what you think the Bible says will affect how you live.

– God is very specific to Adam as to his sin.  To those that would say that Adam’s sin was letting Eve be tempted and fall because he was not assuming his “headship” or “leadership” responsibilities by not “protecting” her, I can only clearly point them to Genesis 3:17 where God tells Adam,

Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you…”

Those are the two ways God says that Adam sinned.  Adam listened to the voice of his wife instead of what God had commanded.  We do not know what Eve may have said or done or nagged.  Whatever she did, Adam disobeyed the command to not eat of the tree that God directly gave to him.  If God made it a point to let Adam what his sin was, would it not have made sense for God to also tell him, “Because you have not protected Eve and have let her eat of the tree…”?  But this was not the case.  Eve sinned on her own accord as did Adam and they were both cursed individually.

To bring all of this to a summary:  In the days when I just took in what was preached and agreed with most of what those that I trusted taught, I came across what was being taught about the relationship between a man and a woman, especially in marriage and it seemed to make sense.   What happened in Genesis is sometimes brought up when fundamentals of marriage are taught since Adam and Eve are considered the first marriage.

There are some that want to teach that Eve’s sin was Adam’s fault because he didn’t do his job properly.  They want to take this along with other Scriptures to blame men for what women decide to do.  Eve decide for herself to eat the fruit and so did Adam and were both held accountable to God individually.

That is all I’ll say for now.  I will go more into this some other time.

I’ve heard this quite a few times and just went along with it until I got to the point where it was just not making sense.  The questions of “What are you doing to make her do that, or not do this, etc.” are just old now.  Men and women have their own roles and they will both be held accountable by God individually for them.  Nobody can make you sin and one is not required to keep the other person sinless.

With that said, someday I plan on tackling Ephesians 5 since this seems to be a tension point with people as well, and mingles with what I’ve brought up in this post.

Remember, Jesus said to follow Him.





Links – First Edition

9 08 2012

I started blogging about six months ago.  I’ve dabbled in reading blogs a little before that.  Since I took the Churchianity “Red Pill“, I must say that I have come across some real gems. It’s nice when you realize you are not alone.  Some blog posts have made things I was already pondering more concrete.  Here is a list of some of my favorites in the last several months.

(Note:  This is not an exhaustive list of all the blogs I read or all the posts I liked.  Some of these blogs I follow, while some posts I just happened to stumble upon.   These are some that stood out to me and wanted to share.  Enjoy!)

Christian Uprising – I have not been “following” this blog, but I should.  I’ve come across posts through keywords on my blog reader.  I have been enjoying the posts I have come across.  It kind of goes along the lines of my own blog.

Please do me a favor and stop calling it “church”  

Who needs honor, wisdom and experience when you have a seminary education?

The unwritten mission statement of most “churches”


Society of Phineas – Good Christian blog challenging common “Churchian” thinking.  Some very valuable posts.

Marriage 1.0 – Christ and the Church

Marriage 1.0 – The Submissive Wife

Marriage 1.0 – The Sacrificial Husband

Marriage 1.0 – In The Church

Misvalued Creation

Worldly Justice and Worldly Mercy

“God’s Just Not Fair!”


Dalrock

Firebombed  – A Must read if you’ve watched the movie “Fireproof”

Reframing Christian Marriage  

Reframing Christian marriage part 2: rebelling wives aren’t to blame for their own rebellion. 

Husbands, submit yourselves to your wives


Chrisitan Mens Defense Network

If I Wanted to Destroy Christian Marriage

Nice Evangelical Men Need to Man Up (For Real)

The EAP Guide to Becoming Marriageable, Part 1

The EAP Guide to Becoming Marriageable, Part 2


Complementarian Loners

Functionally Dysfunctional


re:INVENTING MEMORIES

I DON’T SPEAK AMERICAN CHRISTIANESE


David S. Jesse

Magic Michelle  – A fun post.   If  “Magic Mike” is okay for Christian women to see, then Christian men can go see this.

Feminism is Empathological

Mutual Submission and “Phobia”


The Woman and the Dragon

The Two Kinds of People You Will Apparently Meet in Church: Sinners and Women

Letting ourselves go

Single, Saved, and Having Sex


The Alabaster Jar

Just Because I Submit to My Husband that Does Not Make Me an Idiot

Are You a Courageous Woman?

When Your Husband is Attracted to Other Women

A Biblical Blueprint for Married Women

After 14 Years, I Still Can’t Fit into My Wedding Dress

Top 15 Things a Woman Can Do to Strengthen Her Marriage\


The Wau Forward
– This is an honorable mention.  This is the blog of Bruce Gerencser, an ex-pastor turned atheist.  I have mentioned him in a couple of my first posts on my blog.  Although an atheist, with his pastoral background, I actually find he has better theology, and can articulate it better, than many Christians.  Some of his posts may actually challenge you to live more for Christ.  Even though I share a link to his blog I think he is wrong in his denial of  God, but that is his choice.  I request that you do not slam him with insults or Bible verses (which he already knows) to try to “win him back”.  Just don’t do it!   Here are a few of my favorite posts:

Heaven Is For Real, A Book Review

Don’t Judge BUT You Better Keep All The Rules

Dear Christian, If the Gospel is True

You Can’t Judge Christianity By Product it Produces

One Last Thing…

Just one last thing to share before I end this post.  I want to give a free advertisement for a good blog reader for Android devices. GoodNews Reader (http://www.goodnews-mobile.com/)  links up with Google Reader to update blogs for you to read.  I use it all the time.  I am not on a data plan, but what’s nice about GoodNews is that I can download updates off of Wifi from the blogs I follow and read them later when I get time.  You can even keep up with podcasts too, but I haven’t used it for that.  I just wanted to throw that out.

Remember, Jesus said to follow HIM!





Straining Gnats and Swallowing Camels

24 06 2012

I have been privileged to be able to talk to a woman at work about the things of God recently.  She is a professing believer and it has been a blast being able to answer questions or just talk about how good God is when the opportunity arises.  I feel more fellowship with her when we talk in such a way than I have at church in a while.

Well, a question came up that just put a little smirk on my face.  I didn’t smirk because it was funny or cute, but because I have had to deal with such stupidity in the past.  (Don’t get me wrong – not stupidity because she asked the question, but because such small, non-important things have become big issues in the Church.)

The question:  Something to the effect of, “Are people supposed to get baptized the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or in Jesus name only?”

Sigh.

Unfortunately, this is just one of many, many issues that people like to pull from the Bible and make a huge doctrinal issue over.  There are churches that split over silly little things like this.  There are also those who are weak in the faith who, like little children, gravitate to every word that a “leader” says.  However, if the “leader” can’t rightly divide the Word of God, those under him (or, nowadays, her) won’t be able to either.

So what to we do with topics like:

Communion: Wine or grape juice?
Music: Hymns or modern?
Marriage:  Requirement of God or stay single?
Wives:  Submit to husband?
Speaking in tongues:  Prayer language, just a sign, for today or not?
The Bible:  KJV only, NIV, ESV, ABC, and 123?

This is no doubt something the enemy loves – Christians who will argue constantly about tiny trivial things.  When they do so, they are not doing what they are called to do.  The enemy is winning.

If I took the time, I could probably list a whole lot more.  My purpose is not to answer all of them because I am right.  No, God is right and He is the One who inspired His own Word.  Ask Him what is right.  Does not the scriptures tell us that the Holy Spirit will teach us? (John 14:26)

My point is this: The Bible is not a mystical, magical puzzle that only the elite can understand.  We have the privilege of having it so widespread in our country.  Yet, we seem to be so scatter-brained with it.  Ask God for wisdom in understanding it.  He is the author.  He is THE BEST one to tell you what it means.

Also, while you are called to honor your Pastor, Bishop, etc., he is also not all knowing.  God is.  You job is not to take what your Pastor says for granted.   He is a human and not God.  It is God’s Word and you need to line what he says with God’s Word, not the other way around.

Imagine the Apostle Paul for a moment – major conversion, missionary, building churches, preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit, writing most of the New Testament, used by God in a might way.  He comes to a place where he preaches the gospel.  He is using the Old Testament as the New Testament is now a work in progress.  He preaches, but the people don’t take his word for granted.  No, they take what he says and line it up with the Scriptures.  Maybe you’ve read about them in Acts 17.  They were from Berea and were considered more noble because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul was saying was true.

So what about those that bring up such trivial issues?  Look at what the Bible says.  Take the arguments and line it up with the Bible.  Are their arguments what is really being said in the texts they bring up?  Was that the purpose of what was written?  Look at it for yourself.  If they are right, then you need to change.  If they are wrong, let them know.  If they will not listen to what the Word says, you just need to let them go into their merry delusion.  You cannot change them, only God can.

In the end, you need to know the Word for yourself.  Don’t follow me, your church, your Pastor, or anyone who seems to know the Bible better than you.  Because…

Jesus said to follow HIM.





I took the “Red Pill” and didn’t even know it.

16 04 2012

I’ve never seen the movie “The Matrix”.  I’ve never had a desire to…but I want to now.

It was around 15 years ago when I first was introduced and submitted to “the gospel”  Up until about a year or two ago, I have tried to be a good Christian doing things that my Christian culture is telling me I need to do because, after all, they probably know God, the Bible, and life better than me.  This attitude was especially easy to have in the beginning of my Christian journey because others were smarter and have been Christians longer than me.  However, I have come to question a lot that is within Christian culture and the American church.

This has been due to “small” experiences and questions that would pop into my mind once in a while.  Usually, I would brush them off or make a small change.  However, a year or two ago, all these “small” things seemed to pile up all at once along with some other questions that came all at the same time.  I’d have to pray and think on things I never thought I’d have to.

Go back in time with me.  I had first heard “the gospel” and “accepted Jesus into my heart”.  (The “gospel” I first heard was not one that dealt with the full counsel of God but more of “you need to do this to go to heaven”.  I would learn the real gospel a short time later.)  I started going to a church that was recommended to me.  I stayed at that church for roughly 4 1/2 years.  It was a church that “got me off the ground” in my faith.  It was especially a good church for getting together, hanging out, talking about God and what He is doing in our lives, and encouraging each  other.  This is what Christians call fellowship and it was a awesome thing.

However, in my time there, even in my “baby” Christian years,  I also came across my first experiences in questioning what was being taught and being deceived my those that were to be “leaders”.  As I grew to learn what the Bible said and truths in it that had changed me, it seemed to contradict a few things that were coming from the pulpit.  Add to that the experiences of having a handful of my fellow church-members being deceptive in their disagreements with me.  One of the most memorable was when there was a day that a classic car cruise was being held on one of the main roads in our neighborhood.  It was a time when a lot of people would come to see the cars and local businesses along the road would do special things to draw people in.  Members of my church along with a friend of mine and I had gathered in front of a Christian video rental store to share the gospel with people.  My friend and I had brought gospel pamphlets to pass out to willing people walking by.  A “deacon” of my church came to me asking if he could have a some of my pamphlets to pass out too.  I gave him some and within a few minutes I see him walking out of the Christian store with the my pastor.  The pastor comes to me and tells me I should not pass the pamphlets out.  My point here is not in what the pamphlets said, but the fact that someone in “leadership” in the church would deceive and lie to me like that.  That is just one of many instances I encountered while I was there.  It wasn’t long after that I left that church.

I switched churches and am still going to the one I changed to.  I would love to say everything is rosy at this church, but it isn’t.  The preaching and theology is a lot better, but the fellowship, care, and connectedness leave much to be desired.  I miss the fellowship of the old church because it centered around God.  For most of my time at my current church, unless in a Bible study or service, it centers around the latest movie or game, sports, or going out and doing things together without any relevant spiritual discussion.  Well, I can do that with non-Christians.

Fast forward to 2009 when a major health issue invaded my home and desired to take my wife hostage.  For six months, I endured a type of life I never thought existed.  It was not at all fun and left me questioning things that was easy to believe, until then, that God had said in His Word, the Bible.  After that, I felt my whole life collapsing.

While things got better after six months with my wife’s health, she was definitely not 100% back to normal.  Add to that issues that were coming up between us that would seem to be resolved only to come up again a short time later.  Our marriage started to deteriorate quite rapidly and so seemed everything else.

Everything “little” that happened to me in the past, the questions that I had that only seemed to increase in number, and the craziness that was happening at that moment seemed to pile on me all at once.  Here I was wondering what in the world was going on.  What happened?  I was in a 1,000 member church but having no fellowship and not even one real friendship.  I was in a marriage that I stayed pure and trusted God for and it was crumbling and my “helper” seemed like my enemy.  God seemed to be nowhere.  The Christian life was not working the way it should be.

In the last couple of years, I have had to do a lot of soul searching and God searching.  Things have not really gotten any better, but I think I am in a place where I need to be right now.  I say that because I have learned a lot in the last couple of years.

Many bad attitudes and actions have come out the last couple of years.  It has shown me some of my own depravity.  I have found it easy to not care about anything when things get hard in life.  Yet, God has been using that to reinforce a care of the things that are important and to throw off caring about what others think of me.  My life is not hidden in others, not even in my wife, and what they think of me.  My life is hidden in Christ and I need to live for Him.

This time of trial has helped me to question and see some parts of American Christianity (or Churchianity, if you will) that desperately need work.  You can have the best theology, but if you are not living it, what good is it?  Yet, how can you know God and how He wants us to behave if your understanding of Him is so shallow?  The American Church, for the most part, seems to be a place where you have fun and hang out with people that believe just like you.  If you don’t believe just like us, there is another church for you down the road.  Even within an individual church, there seems to be cliques that form that have little room for others that are not just like them.  This time has also helped me see just how feminized the Church and the gospel has become.  I could go on and on about many areas of American Christianity here, but that is mainly what this whole blog is about.  So, let’s move on…

The struggle in my marriage has brought me to my knees as well.  It has made me question my role as a husband and what it means to “love my wife as Christ loves the church”.  It has also opened my eyes to the role of a woman and wife.  Unfortunately, the husbands role as a leader is most often and comprehensively preached from the pulpit.  The role of a wife is most often vaguely mentioned.  Even when it is mentioned, a lot of times it is not brought out of the text as it says in the Bible.  (Okay, I need to stop getting on my soapbox and stick to the issue in the post.)

This time of testing has also taught me a lot about being a man.  As a Christian, I am called to follow Jesus the Christ.  Jesus was no sissified wuss.  He was a man that said things that bothered people.  He called people names and was sarcastic for the glory of God.  While being loving, it didn’t keep Him from being truthful and showing “tough love”.  I am also called to “be an imitator of God as a dear child” (Ephesians 5:1) who “resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).  Most of the time, you hear of the feminine Jesus who wants to have a relationship with you, help you with your problems, and leads you to heaven because He just loves you so much.  You don’t hear much of the masculine Jesus who calls you to leave everything to follow Him, deny yourself, called a woman a “dog”, didn’t care about being offensive, tipped over tables, made a whip to drive out people in the temple (premeditated),  and who conquered sin and death.  He was a man.  Yes, even a “manly” man.  Actually, the manliest man there ever was since He was God in a body like our.  He spoke manly, got angry manly, and loved manly.  He was a leader, not a pushover.  I want to be like Him just as I am called to be.

I have just recently come to the place that I can actually thank God for the last three years of trial that I have gone through.  It has not been easy.  I have wanted to yell at God at times.  I am so glad that He knows my weaknesses and where I am at.  The trial may not be over.  I don’t know.  Things I mentioned before are not “fixed”.   But I do know that I can learn more if the trails aren’t over and I am willing to learn if it will bring me out more refined than before.

As for the “Red Pill”:  Like I said, I’ve never seen “The Matrix”.  I guess there is a scene where a man had the ability to take either a red or blue pill.  Taking the blue pill would leave him where he was.  Taking the red pill would open his eyes to things he didn’t know before.   (Pardon my ignorance.  You can view the scene here.)  The first time I heard of the red pill/blue pill thing is in seeing the term in some “Manosphere” blogs and articles (both Christian and secular) that I had come across not too long ago.  A little research led my to the Matrix clip linked above.

So, in my trials, I seemed to have swallow the “Red Pill” without knowing it.  The Lord has been opening my eyes to things and teaching me things I never had seen or knew before.  If these trials continue, though it might not be fun, I look forward to more things that will teach me and bring God more glory.

Whoever you are who is reading this: Don’t put your trust in yourself or other people, but trust and follow God.  He has given His Word for you to get to know Him and to live by.  Seek to learn it for yourself and not only to depend on others to teach it to you.  Trials are good, though not fun.  They are there to test and refine you.

Remember, Jesus said to follow Him.