Thideology news of the day

Compromising the gospel

Yesterday I briefly addressed the danger of allowing cultural influence on the church. Today I found this commentary, written by Mike Adams, that outlines how such cultural influences led to a compromise of the gospel at his church making it necessary for him to leave.

Big government on the march

typewriter3.jpgThe founding fathers advocated a small, decentralized form of federal government because they had this hunch about the nature of power. They seemed to think that once power became consolidated in one place it would corrupt those who wielded it and tyranny would result. They believed such a government would seek to dictate to everyone how they would behave, take property from citizens in violation of their rights to property, and might even go so far as to make determinations about what is and is not the proper way to think.

But that could never happen in America. Those founding fathers must not have known what they were talking about.

Ron Paul for president

Here is a little more information on congressman Ron Paul, his ideas about government, and his possible run for the presidency in 2008.

Bumper sticker of the day

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Thideology news of the day

Who to follow — culture or Christ?

It has been theorized that the cultural trends in Europe — including ideologies, philosophies, cultural ideas, fashion trends, etc. — eventually migrate to America. There is some evidence to support this. I am grateful, however, that many cultural practices of the Europeans have remained heretofore rejected by Americans. Like, for example, the French practice of eating “mature” cheese. We Americans still call it spoiled.

typewriter2.jpgNevertheless, when we see adverse cultural influences in Europe it’s at least a good idea to keep a sharp eye for them in the U.S. lest they gain a foothold. Case in point: Europe has been called a “post-Christian” culture. It is said that Europeans embraced Christianity for a while but became too “enlightened” to keep on believing in spiritual “fantasies” or “fairy tales.” This “post-Christian” culture has been influencing American Christians for some time. Christianity is deemed “relevant” only insofar as it “embraces” the culture around it.

Hogwash! Where did that notion even come from? It sure didn’t come from the Bible (which you may recall is the authority upon which Christians claim to base their faith). Here’s what Jesus had to say about our role in culture:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

— Matthew 5:13-16

It certainly appears the biblical instruction for the church is to influence culture not be influenced by culture. But we continually do just the opposite — like turn our worship services into makeshift rock concerts — in some futile attempt to remain “relevant.” The good news is Europe seems to be experiencing a bit of a shift. Apparently many Europeans are returning to the faith of their fathers. I hope it is a genuine move of God that will bring true revival. I also hope the church in America will forego the whole “post-Christian” phase, immediately repent of allowing culture to influence us, and remain faithful.

“Universal” healthcare is nothing more than socialism

As unbelievable as it sounds, it appears the 2008 presidential campaign has already geared up. The Democrat candidates are tripping all over one another in an effort to be the one to give away the biggest and best version of “universal healthcare.” They seem to think that government interference in this industry is the only viable solution for “controlling costs.” In this effort they have failed to recognize two very important things:

pestle.jpg1) Government interference in the healthcare industry created the problems in the first place, and…

2) Healthcare is not a “right.”

Remember, there is truth in the old joke, “If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait to see what is costs when it’s free.”

Just remember. The candidates touting “universal” healthcare aren’t interested in healthcare. They are interested in votes and accumulated power.

National ID cards

In case you were unaware our federal government has passed a law that will make your state issued driver’s license a national ID card. The Real ID Act says:

“…starting around May 2008, Americans will need a federally approved ID card–a U.S. passport will also qualify–to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments or take advantage of nearly any government service. States will have to conduct checks of their citizens’ identification papers, and driver’s licenses likely will be reissued to comply with Homeland Security requirements.”

This is a horrible encroachment on liberty in America that is already being resisted by state legislatures. Hopefully more states will follow suit. In the meantime I can’t help but be reminded of governments that have done this sort of thing before — which brings me to a couple more of my favorite bumper stickers…

Bumper stickers of the day

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Parents or the “Nanny State?”

Reasononline has an article entitled, “State-Based Parenting,” that discusses proposed legislation in California and Texas that seriously undermines the authority of parents. In California legislation has been proposed that would make spanking a child a criminal offense punishable, in some cases, by jail time. In Texas the notion is being kicked around to make missing a parent-teacher conference at the public school a criminal offense (unless the parent missing the appointment has a decent excuse and a note to verify it).

typewriter1.jpgLegislation of this kind is outrageous, and hopefully it will serve as a wake-up call to many that politicians are bent on controlling more and more areas of our lives. However, this little bit of news should come as no surprise. We’ve been turning over our liberties to the government at an alarming rate in hopes that the “nanny-state” will take care of us.

In fact, where our children are concerned, we long ago abdicated our responsibilities as parents to follow the biblical mandate to “bring up a child in the way he should go.” Instead, we’ve turned our children over to government schools that spend their time instilling secularized standards of “political correctness” and “tolerance” into our children that bear no resemblance to the biblical principles in which we are supposed to be training them.

That the states of California and Texas now think it is their responsibility to mandate to parents how they should discipline their children and participate in their children’s schools is merely the next natural step of a bloated government that long ago overstepped its bounds.

Bumper Sticker of the Day

I think it is a terrible idea to draw one’s theology and worldview from bumper stickers — it fosters a simplistic view of complicated subjects that deserve more than a moments consideration. But the sad reality in America is this: far too many of us no longer have the patience necessary to sit still long enough to do the reading and research it takes to actually understand some of the doctrinal and political issues before us. However, as ill-advised as it is to limit ones reading to bumper stickers, there are some that are better than others. From time to time I’ll share some of my favorites. Here’s the first…

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Creating her own “Jesus”

speedskatingsm.jpgThe Christian Post reports that a newly released novel portrays Jesus as a homosexual. The opening paragraphs of an article entitled “New controversial novel presents queer Christ,” read this way:

“Recently released Jesus in Love is said to be the first novel ever published about a queer Christ.

The controversial novel, published by AndroGyne Press, a new queer studies press in Berkeley, Calif., was written by a lesbian Christian who said she met the queer Christ in the depths of her own heart.”

Okay, let’s just hold it right there. This “homosexual Jesus” is the product of her heart? Um, there’s a problem here. You see, the Bible says that the “heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked,” so any “Jesus” you happen to “meet in your heart” you might want to subject to a little biblical scrutiny — you know, just in case. Alright, let’s continue with the article…

“Kittredge Cherry [the author of the book] turned to Christianity during a journalism scholarship to Japan. There, she ‘felt God reach out to me, just as I am, lesbian and all.’”

Now it is true that God reaches out to sinners. In John chapter 8 a woman caught in the very act of adultery was brought to Jesus. He told her that he did not condemn her and then he told her — and this is a really important part — “go and sin no more.” Her sins were forgiven but they were never condoned. One more excerpt…

“‘As soon as I knew there was a God, I knew that God accepted homosexuality because otherwise God would not have bothered with me,’ Cherry says in her new book.”

It may be that Miss Cherry is the product of false teaching. There are a great many “churches” out there that advocate the acceptance of behavior God has deemed sinful under the guise of “God’s love.” One such “church” is the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) — for whom Cherry once worked. It “ministers” in the homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual “community” and essentially offers people an excuse to continue in their sin without guilt. But that’s not how the gospel works.

Consider this passage in Jude:

“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”

If Kittredge Cherry thinks God reached out to her just as she is “lesbian and all” in a way that condones her sinful lifestyle then she is sorely mistaken. Rather, she is changing the grace of God into a license for immorality and denying the Jesus of the Bible for an idol she created in her heart (which, as we saw before, is deceitful).

You see, while it is true God’s grace is offered to all (including homosexuals), it is also true that God’s grace is marked with repentance. We are not allowed to remain unconvicted in our sins. We are called to repentance. When Christ’s forgiveness comes upon us we are called to “go and sin no more.”

Dan Phillips, a regular contributor to the Pyromaniacs blog, addresses this very subject in an article entitled “Misreading God.” I wish someone would recommend it to Miss Cherry.

Thideology News of the day

shieldtypewritersmall.jpgWorldnetdaily.com reports that approximately 3,000 people place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and are saved everyday in China. This is happening despite fierce government persecution on the Church. Read the story entitled, “3,000 Christians added daily in China,” and see how God is not only calling out His own but how He is gifting them with the faith necessary to deal with their circumstances. Remember to pray for our Chinese brothers and sisters.

Meanwhile the United States congress is looking to pass legislation to criminalize its critics. Worldnetdaily’s article, “Congress preparing to criminalize critics,” reports that churches and Christian organizations could be impacted at one of the grossest attempts ever to violate the first amendment. This legislation actually provides for prison sentences for people who dare exercise their freedom of speech. Unless the lovers of liberty stand up and hold congress accountable for their illegal actions the Church in America could well find itself in the same boat as the Church in China.

May God be glorified either way.

General vs. Particular

Upon discovering that I believe in God’s absolute sovereignty in salvation (you know, election) many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have engaged me in discussion on the topic.

“How can you believe in a God that picks and chooses who is saved?” They will ask with the typically over-simplistic view of the Doctrines of Grace.

shieldboxingsm.jpgI assure them that my sinful nature recoiled at the notion when I first considered it. I did not like the idea, any more than they, that I could contribute nothing to my salvation. In the end, I tell them, I conformed my beliefs to Scripture and believe in election because it is contained therein.

It’s at this point they typically uncork John 3:16 with extreme emphasis on the words “world” and “whosoever.” I agree that the gospel message is to be proclaimed to the whole world and that “whosoever believes in Him shall not perish” but John 3:16 says nothing of man’s ability to believe. It is absolutely true that whosoever believes will be saved but Scripture also indicates that apart from God’s intervention on behalf of the sinner nobody will believe because it is contrary to our sinful nature.

Thus the debate over general vs. particular atonement rages. But wouldn’t you know it — a real theological heavyweight (respected by Christians of both theological persuasions) has weighed in on the subject. And so I direct your attention to the Pyromaniacs blog and defer to the text of a sermon preached by none other than Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Enjoy.

Thideology News: Weekend Update

To Congress the Constitution isn’t so much a restriction on their power as it is a nice wall decoration suitable for framing

photo-nancy-pelosi.jpgNewly elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has introduced legislation that would greatly restrict American’s freedom of speech. Oh, she doesn’t call it that, of course. No, no, she calls it “lobbying reform.” Under her new reforms churches, pastors, religious denominations, public interest organizations, civic organizations and other nonprofit groups could be labeled “grassroots lobbying firms” subject to congressional regulation.

Never mind that Amendment I to the United States Constitution (the very first bill in the Bill of Rights) says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

It’s that part about “abridging the freedom of speech” that sticks out here. You see the word abridge means, “to reduce in scope or diminish.” Subjecting the speech of anyone to congressional review reduces that speech in scope and diminishes it. This is a clear violation of the Constitution but Congress will push forward as if they have the authority to do such a thing.

Just thought you might want to know.

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