June 9, 2015 1 Comment
May 9, 2015 Leave a comment
Recently the Baltimore Orioles hosted a baseball game at their home ballpark, Camden Yards, in front of no fans. Because of riots in the city, the stadium was closed and the game was played in eerie silence. Dr. David Black, a professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, had the very best take on the situation I’ve read. He posted it at his blog, daveblackonline.com. If you haven’t already, you should go visit his blog. In the meantime, take a look at what he had to say about the game with no fans…
My mind went to all of the saints who “play ball” without ever getting any attention or recognition. Many of them housewives. Friend, let me encourage you. Your time, talents, and contributions are known to God. What you do is vastly important to Him. Millions of people exist only for the praise of others. If you and I do not allow God to develop our identity, we will try to find it in people and popularity. Finding your purpose in human praise is like building your life on sand. I know of one young leader who is committed to his little flock not far from our farm. There he ministers, week in and week out, for no pay. He plays piano and leads the singing and teaches the word in what one might call “total obscurity.” The people want to make him their “pastor” and pay him but he refuses. He will never write a best-selling book or be invited to speak in chapel. But I look up to him. I’m just trying to make the point that even godly Christian leaders can turn the church into marketers and people into commodities. Grow where you are planted. Serve in obscurity if that is what the Lord has asked you to do. Be an Andrew. The most famous thing Andrew ever did was to introduce his brother Simon Peter to the Lord. What if the greatest thing you ever did was to cause someone else to be closer to Jesus? No friends on Facebook. No followers on Twitter. But what could be more epic than pointing others to Christ?
April 9, 2015 Leave a comment
Denny Burk, professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College in Louisville, KY, has written a wonderful piece about the real conflict in Indiana regarding religious freedom legislation. Here is a fantastic takeaway quote…
“America is a flash in the historical pan. Christianity is not. We will outlast you. Mark it down. And in the final analysis, the “wrong side of history” will be to Jesus’ left, and you don’t want to find yourself there (Mark 25:33).
April 2, 2015
The issue at the core of the controversy created by the religious freedom laws in Arkansas and Indiana is not simply about cakes for gay people. I have lived for extended periods of time in both Arkansas and Indiana and gay people have no trouble purchasing cake or otherwise getting served in places of business in either state.
No, the issue at the core of this whole thing is rooted in the fact that the “gay community” has been trying to force everyone to affirm their lifestyle. Furthermore, they have been trying to utilize the force of the state to do it — with a measure of success…
- A Christian photographer in New Mexico is out thousands of dollars because she could not, in good conscience, photograph a lesbian “wedding.”
- A Christian couple in New York are out more than $10,000 because they could not, in good conscience, allow their property to be used for a lesbian “wedding.” (Note: Read this story, the lesbians weren’t really interested in having a wedding there, they were interested in destroying the lives of a couple who did not dutifully affirm homosexuality)
- A pizza shop near South Bend, Indiana has been intimidated out of business by the “gay community” with death threats and threats to burn their business because they did not dutifully affirm homosexuality. All this DISPITE the fact the owners said they would be happy to serve pizza to anyone who came in, gay or not.
- Even Duke University’s head basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, has been castigated by the media. You see, his team is playing in the Final Four, which is being held in Indianapolis this year. When he was asked about the controversy he said he was only going to discuss his team and basketball in the Final Four. But the pro-gay crowd would not accept that. They said he had an “obligation to speak out on this issue” because of his platform as a well-known coach. They clearly mean for him to come out on the pro-gay side of the issue. He won’t, and they have no tolerance for anyone who does not actively support their position. Ironic.
Arkansas and Indiana simply considered legislation to protect people who have a religious objection to the concept of gay marriage. You know, to keep them from becoming the targets of the kind of intimidation enumerated above.
But the issue has been deftly managed. It’s not portrayed as a protection for religious people. It’s portrayed as an attack on gays. There are Christian business owners in both states who have no problem providing goods and services to gays. It’s really not even an issue. The key difference here is the inclusion of a wedding into the mix. That changes everything.
Weddings are inherently theological — to Christians anyway. They are a picture of the ultimate wedding between Jesus Christ and his bride (the church). Scripture speaks in depth on the roles of husbands and wives. It also speaks on the sinful nature of homosexuality. When you are asked to attend or participate in a wedding you are being asked to AFFIRM what is taking place. Your mere presence is tacit approval of the whole thing. So is your participating in peripheral ways… say, baking the cake or taking the pictures.
This is the whole reason weddings have that part about “If anyone knows why these two should not be joined in HOLY matrimony, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” This is a problem for Christians because we are instructed in Scripture not to approve of sin (Isaiah 5:20, Romans 1:32).
Personally, I hate that the whole thing has blown up the way it has. But, there is only one reason it has… the gay community forced it. Had they not been so bent on forcing anyone and everyone to affirm their lifestyle (regardless of religious convictions) legislators in Arkansas and Indiana probably would not have felt the need to protect those with religious convictions.
This has never been about cake — sorry, that just doesn’t fly. There are way too many talented bakers in both states who would enthusiastically bake a cake for a gay wedding. This has been about intimidating people who do not support gay marriage into silence. It has been about destroying those who would not be silenced.
I saw a protest recently where signs were held up that said, “Jesus loves Gays!” and “What would Jesus do? He would bake a gay wedding cake!”
Jesus definitely loves homosexuals, no doubt about it. But he did so much more than bake a cake for them. He died to pay for their sins — even the sin of homosexuality.
Both sides could get along just fine if they would not try to use government force against the other. I don’t recommend using government force against homosexuals. I don’t think it’s irrational to expect to be treated in kind.