Posted in love

A Word Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance, Part III: A Christian’s Responsibility to Respond in Love

So far, in the two previous posts (A Word to be Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance: Part I and A Word Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance, Part II: The Issue and the Appropriate Response towards Civil Officials), I have laid out how God judged sin in the past at a national level through the use of water, fire and sword. God created mankind to bear His image throughout all creation, therefore, it is an act of rebellion—to the highest degree—to assume the authority to bear one’s own image without reference to His Law-Word. Rejecting God’s standard of holy living invites God’s wrathful judgment against mankind’s perceived versions of good and evil.

Civil governments are not above God’s retribution. They have been sanctioned to uphold good and to punish, and thereby, to purge evil from our society. In this fashion then, governments are meant to be protectors against the assault of godly (goodly) individuals. This is their duty as the Lord’s ministers and as our servants to be a defender and not an instigator of wrong. Remember they are ordained to serve the good of society by executing vengeance against evil, for, as it is written, “they do not bear the sword in vain” (Rom 13.4).

This means that they are severely limited by jurisdictional boundaries. It also means that the Christian—a member of Christ’s body, His Church—needs to recognize his jurisdiction of speaking God’s Truth into all areas of life. We speak not only to individuals, to families, and to Churches, but also to society as a whole, in particular, to the authorities above us in the civil sphere.

What of those entrapped by such lies or deceived by such sins?

Our duty is to speak the truth in love. This is a command from our Lord: “[to] teach [the nations] to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28.20; NET). Love is not to be defined by anything other than obedience (positive action) to (towards) the Law of God. Love is defined by God’s law for true love upholds it:

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1John 5.3; NASB).

The one thing that we do not want to do is be silent. For it is the Name of Christ Jesus that redeems and ransoms sinners from the depths of all sorts of depravity. This is why we must speak out against such tyranny and abuse of power as we witness in Canada regarding the new legislation C4. For it is an attempt to silence the people of Christ from speaking in His Name.

Nor should we attempt to isolate, and therefore, insulate ourselves from the world in which we live. Though it must be admitted that this has been the practice of some, we must resist this temptation. But as Christians, this is not something we are authorized to do in this instance. For we are commanded in Scripture to separate the leaven from within our midst; within the body of Christ, but not to separate ourselves from the world:

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people; I did not at all mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the greedy and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to leave the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is a sexually immoral person, or a greedy person, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or habitually drunk, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a person. For what business of mine is it to judge outsiders?” (1Cor 5.9-12; emphasis added).

Our goal as Christians is to bear witness to the world at large, to be salt and light (Matt 5.13-14). What good is light hidden or salt unspent? They are worthless. Does not the world need what we have? Were we not at one time just like those in the world? Were we not at one time guilty of the sins that we see the world committing? Even some of those things that are abominable to the Lord our God? Have we not been redeemed? Have we not experienced the love of God in Christ? Are we not adopted children of the Most High? How did this adoption come about? How is it that we have been redeemed? From where did we learn of a ransom price for our sin, for a life without lawlessness, a life filled with the Spirit and the love of God? Is it not because we were witnessed to? Did others who once shared in our lot not stoop to our level and proclaim to us the mercies of God in Christ? Were we not told by others who were once lost of the Savior’s sacrifice on our behalf?

“…Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1Cor 6.9-11; emphasis added).

The message of the cross is Christ crucified. He who knew no sin became sin so that we might be adopted as sons and daughters of God (2Cor 5.21; Gal 3.26). All of us came from a previous life of sin. We are all deserving of hell and the grave. No mercy ought to be shown to us. No compassion should have been forthcoming to us. For we have all besmirched the Name of God (Rom 3.23). And yet, though we were all vile sinners, in Christ we experienced being made clean, being set-apart, being declared “not-guilty” fully acquitted of our crimes against our Maker. For Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit according to the will of the Father made us new through His saving, sanctifying grace! And dare we deny telling this truth to others? Dare we be silent for fear from tyrannical despots that no neither their right hand from their left. Should we not preach the truth in love, demonstrating the grace of God in sharing the goodness (gospel) of Christ and His kingdom with a world of lost sinners. Confused by deceiving hearts and the false doctrines of men. Should we not cry out against the liars and the abusers, the swindler’s in the highest offices in our land, and declare with one voice:

Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, make your own judgment; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4.19).

Understand my brethren, my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, that these laws as seen in Canada and those currently coming our way under the guise of “hate speech” here in the US are meant to silence us from using the Name of Jesus (Acts 4.18), but we must not! We dare not! For I know not one, who knows Christ, who desires to feel His shame on that fateful day because we feared to speak His truth before those who can only harm the body but have no power over our eternal souls (Matt 10.32-33). Therefore, let us with one accord declare to the heads of state here and in Canada and across the West into the farthest corners of this world: God alone defines sin. God alone defines marriage. God alone defines sex. God alone determines male and female. God alone determines what constitutes the family. God alone determines right and wrong. And God alone determines salvation. Our desire is to go forth amidst the nations to proclaim the Word of God to all who have ears to hear and eyes to see, and no government, no organization, no bullying, no amount of hate or intolerance for our beliefs, no amount of phobia for the creation narrative will silence us. And those who refuse to listen, we do not judge, for the Word of Christ will stand against the unrepentant and judge them on that Day (cf. Deut 18.19; John 12.48; also see: Acts 17.30-31).

Amen

Posted in religion

Religious Recommendation: For those who believe they have an exemption

Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he observed that the city was full of idols…So Paul stood in the midst of the Aeropagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this transcription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you’” (Acts 17.16, 21-23; NASB).1

Their idols [unbelieving peoples] are silver and gold, the work of human hands…Those who make them are like them” (Psa 115.4, 8).

For they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…” (Rom 1.25a).

_________________________________________________________________

INTRODUCTION:

What is religion? What is a religious person? Are you one? Do you know such an individual? I ask because I’m convinced that many people do not know the true answer.

Over the past few months I have spent a significant amount of time attempting to provide individuals from a variety of businesses with information on religious exemptions pertaining to the medical treatment being rammed down American throats (actually jabbed in the arm) without their informed consent. I say “without informed consent” because of the strong arm tactics being used in order to force compliance. Very little information is given about this medical treatment. There is no 3-5 year safety data provided. Any data provided that is counter to the current narrative is silenced, mocked or ignored. A medical crisis is claimed but evidently not one so serious that we cannot fire a large portion of our health professionals.

The hysteria regarding this illness is disturbing. Arguments of irrationality are provided by those that pretend to be completely rational. For example, if face diapers work then why bother those who refrain from wearing them? If they cannot prevent smoke particles from getting into your lungs, then why say that they can stop viruses which are measurably smaller? If the medical treatment is safe and effective, then why not provide an ingredient list? Why suppress adverse reactions including death? If it is out of love for neighbor, then where is your love the neighbor that has legitimate concerns for not getting it? If the information provided by the “experts” is accurate and truthful, then why refuse to have an open debate in the public sphere where other “experts” in the same fields of study disagree in their interpretation of the data? Why censor rather than critically analyze? If you’ve received the medical treatment and you believe it works as intended, then why are your fearful of those who have not? If protection is truly offered, then how can you be harmed? Why are the numbers still rising in cases and deaths when more people have taken the prescribed treatment? How can the numbers be higher when the majority of the population has participated in this medical experiment?

To use a simple analogy for those uncomfortable with answering probing questions:

Automobiles travel at high speeds and people, due to human error, tend to have accidents. In the past people did not wear seat belts and as a result the death count was too high. So actions were taken to educate and enforce the use of seat belts in all automobiles. The seat belts were deemed safe and effective and the best tool available to curb the high fatality rate. Nearly 70% of the driving population was convinced that wearing seat belts was the best preventive measure they could take. The took the experts advice and did what they recommended (i.e., they followed the guidelines). But when the data came in and the numbers were crunched the fatality rate had not really dropped. The cases of seat belt fatalities was as high if not higher than the previous year. What was the problem? Why were the number still too high? Ah the reason is simple. The 30% (or less) who refused to wear seat belts were the source of the higher case load of deaths. Driving would not truly be safe for anyone, not even those who wore seat belts and were protected, until the radical 30% learned their place and submitted to the tool provided by the experts. Until they were brought in line with the rest of the safety conscious public driving would too dangerous of an activity to pursue. (Hypothetical scenario for illustrative purposes only).

Back to Religion…

Now I started off this post with questions pertaining to religion. And I made the bold statement that many people in our day don’t know the answer as to what a religion is and who is actually a religious person. I also shared that I have made myself available as a pastor to aid individuals seeking a religious exemption from their employer regarding a particular mandate coming down the pike. And I am glad to say that some of my efforts have been successful. However, I have noticed a bit of confusion on the part of many both inside and outside the Christian fellowship.

There have been those that have assumed that to be a religious person you must be associated with a particular sect or denomination or faith. Others have argued that science, medicine or politics are not religious in nature, thus, you cannot make an argument against what the “experts” are saying on the grounds of religious faith. Sadly, some notable pastors have offered this idea from one degree to another.

  • Popular pastor and author John Piper argues that in light of the evidence presented in the media by the approved experts, Christians have little reason to avoid taking the prescribed medical treatment. An act of godly love should drive their decision not peer pressure from apparently joining the ranks of those they normally oppose. After discussing the freedom we experience in Jesus Christ, Piper argues we dare not use that freedom to violate others: “But woe to us Christians if this radical freedom makes us cocky.”2
  • Robert Jeffress a pastor in Dallas, TX is dismissive of those that try to appeal to religion as a way to avoid getting the government’s medicine. He confidently asserts that you might as well avoid other medications if you’re going to be consistent, and then explains that neither he nor his staff will be providing recommendations for anyone seeking a religious exemption.3

Both men are entitled to their opinion. All people are. But the freedom to express one’s opinion is not the same thing as being right. I’m sure that both men have strong feelings about their position and would argue adamantly in defense of it. The freedom to have feelings, even very strong ones, is another right that people have, but neither do feelings, even strong ones, make the position held a correct one.

They are not alone. A large number of Christian ministers promote a similar line of thought as seen in an Associated Press article by David Crary on the Christianity Today website.4 And so, we are back to the questions of religion, who’s religious, and is this a religious issue.

Defining Religion…

According to the American Heritage Dictionary the term means, “A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.”5 The Encyclopedia Britannica (2008) offers a similar meaning, “Relation of human beings to God or the gods or to whatever they consider sacred or, in some cases, merely supernatural.”6 We could peruse other resources but the answer will be the same. Religion may be something more classically understood as a worship of some deity with various ritualistic expressions of devotion; or religion may be understood in its most basic sense as a certain set of beliefs about reality as a whole that are strenuously held to (i.e., deep-seated convictions).

Paul in Athens…

This is precisely what Paul bears witness to while waiting for his ministry team in the ancient Grecian city of Athens (cf. Acts 17.16). As he observes the edifices of their cultural commitments; seen in their architecture and argumentation (i.e., idols, buildings, and thoughts) his spirit is continually being provoked within him. And since Athenians loved nothing more than to discuss this issue or that, to pontificate on this issue or that, we find the apostle entering into the marketplace (of ideas) reasoning with all who would give him audience (Acts 17.21, v. 17 respectively). His behavior earns him further investigation into his own beliefs as he is ushered into the court of ideas, the Aeropagus, where all important matters were weighed and judged (Acts 17.18-20). Paul a highly educated man in both Hebrew and Roman worldviews understood the nature of the case better than his contemporaries. He starts his defense of the Christian faith with a pointed observation of their own:

Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this transcription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you’” (Acts 17.22b-23).

Paul understood his audience better than they understood themselves. They were very religious people. People so cautious that they made an altar to an unknown god lest they offend that which they did not know. Paul’s point was that they worshiped the imaginations of their own mind, even though they knew at least to some extent that in God all people “live and move and exist” (Acts 17.28).

Who is religious?

All people. That’s what Paul said. It’s what the Psalmist explains in Psalm 115. People who deny the God of creation mock His children (cf. Psa 115.2) for believing that He exists because He is immaterial; a spiritual Being that has no beginning and no end, and who is in fact the Author of all beginnings and ends. But it is the unbelieving world that worships the imaginations of their own hearts (Psa 115.4-8). Having denied the God above them they turn inward and worship “the creature rather than the Creator” (Rom 1.25a).

Greg L. Bahnsen makes two pivotal points in his book By This Standard. The first is repeated several times throughout, “All of life is ethical.”7 The second speaks on the ethical mindset of mankind as a whole, “Men will either choose to be governed by God or to be ruled by tyrants.”8

Meaning what? The statement regarding ethics pertains to right and wrong behavior. A system of truth, a standard that determines what people should and should not do. Ethics pertains to the law, and the question that springs from it is, “Whose law?” This leads to Bahnsen’s second point. Either people will submit (individually and corporately) to God’s Law or they will submit to the law of some other. To be governed means to be led. Either people will be led to live their life in accordance with God’s law, or they will follow the lead of one who upholds their own law.

That this is in fact a religious issue may be seen in the words of Jesus the Christ:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6.24; KJV).

Jesus loved the Father and abided in His love (John 15.10). How did He do this? By keeping His commandments. This is the same requirement of any who would call Jesus their master, for if they loved Him they would keep His commandments (John 14.15). Anyone who claims that Jesus is His Master (i.e., Lord) but refuses to keep His commandments (i.e., word) is a liar (cf. Luke 6.46).

Since all of life is ethical, all of life is religious. Either we live to serve the God who created us and gives us life in Jesus, or we live under the law of the creature; ultimately, our own autonomous hearts (cf. Rom 8.7-8).

An issue of religion?

Is the prescribed medical treatment pushed by the civil government and their experts a religious issue? How does the argument go for receiving it? Is it an “ought to do” or an “if you want to?” It seems to me that a wide variety of individuals are arguing that it is something that we “ought to do.” Meaning that various religious leaders, medical professional, scientific experts, and elected politicians are saying that we should and we are wrong if we refuse. So serious are they on the matter that they are willing to use coercion and bullying techniques to get their way. Come January anyone who refuses an attempt will be made to rob them of their way of life. People are trying to couch the issue in terms of public health policy, but in so doing they are attempting to bind your hands and feet in the process.

Something that Piper said in his article that was spot on was that in Jesus Christ the sons/daughters of the kingdom have been set free. Free not only from sin, but free from the traditions of men. Which means at times free from the laws of men. Ultimately we live under the governance of God and not of men. Those who have received authority from on high have done so in a limited (delegated) fashion. They are charged with enforcing good and punishing evil. They are not charged with invoking their own version of good and punishing what they detest as evil.

Killing babies in the womb that is a version of the current civil government’s good. So too is mutilating young boys and girls, and allowing grown adults to play dress up and “let’s pretend.” Let us not forget about promoting envy and covetousness and calling it paying your fair share in order to rob people of their wealth and their children of their inheritance. Are those scientific issues? Are they medical issues? Are they merely political issues? Or are they at base religious issues?

No one has unlimited authority except God alone. Those in authority have limitations where they are permitted to exercise that authority, called jurisdictions. That others in power are attempting to force those underneath them to submit to their every whim is an expression of overreach (i.e., tyranny). They have gone beyond the boundaries prescribed to them by God (cf. Rom 13.1-10). Thus, attempting to force someone to make a medical decision that they are not comfortable with, or have strong convictions against, is in fact the very definition of a religious issue contrary to men like pastor Jeffress. The method or form of which is no different than what the apostles of Jesus Christ rejected in Acts 4:19, 5:29,

Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, make your own judgment… We must obey God rather than men”

Closing Remarks…

I understand full well that the nature of the case regarding this illness is driven by the religious zeal of others. All people are religious, but not all religions are equal. All people follow the law, but not all laws are worthy of consideration. Freedom comes from God who gave life, not from those who wish to call themselves gods and goddesses. The State is a servant not our Master. And if they fail to offer godly (i.e., goodly) service, then they are not worth listening to. Will their be consequences? Oh sure, you can bet on it. But their will be consequences either way you look at it. It’s really just a matter of what sort of consequences are you willing to live with?

Anyone who desires a religious exemption recommendation against what’s coming send me your sincerely held religious beliefs. Tell me in writing your circumstance, regardless of your religious affiliation and I will do my best to give you the best recommendation letter that I can.

I have been asked, “What if I’m not religious?” Which often times means, “What if I do not prescribe to any particular religion?” All people are religious there is no way of getting around that. All people have a worldview that is upheld by a certain set of presuppositions that guide their understanding of the world. Some of the founders of our nation were not Christians but were governed by and large by the biblical worldview. In our nations key documents (Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and our own State Constitutions) certain rights and privileges are recognized as coming from the Creator. The government does not give us those rights, they are established to protect them. Though Thomas Jefferson was no Christian I would have had no problem, based on the criteria I just mentioned, writing him a recommendation for a religious exemption. That is not the same thing as me baptizing him or offering him communion and in turn ushering him into membership in my church. Those things I would not do without a profession of faith, after having time to sit down with him in a ministerial fashion.

We need to keep our categories of thought separate. The government does not have the authority to inject anything they want into your body. They do not have a right to rob you of your livelihood. You can be a conscientious objector, fall under the protections of our rights as citizens, and not share my faith. I’m not vouching for you as a Christian, but as a citizen in the United States that has your religious freedoms being stomped on! If God allows unbelievers to dwell in the land (as He did in ancient Israel), then who am I to say “Nope. Sorry. You don’t believe like I do, I can’t help you.” We are called to love our neighbors, even our enemies (cf. Deut 22.1-4; Prov 24.17-18), and if I am able to help aid you in such a fashion that does not violate my Lord’s commandments… then I will. I’ve already done it for some, I’m more than willing to offer what aid I can.

ENDNOTES:

1All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the New American Standard Bible, 2020 Update (NASB).

2John Piper, “A Reason to Be Vaccinated: Freedom,” Desiring God blog, October 19, 2021, accessed October 29, 2021, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/a-reason-to-be-vaccinated-freedom.

I appreciate the stated concern of Piper in this article, but I disagree with his premise. I believe that he has failed to consider the religious lens that guides the interpretation of data in any field of study; including, science and medicine. Worldviews guide interpretations of all data. A persons network of presuppositions are intricate and offer a bias as to how they will reach conclusions on a variety of subjects. Suppose we took Piper’s argument and applied it to the popular environmentalism of our day. There are “experts” that the civil government and popular media use to push forward their agenda of going green. Are we to take their interpretations at face-value? Are we to assume that they have the “fact of the matter” set, and then conclude that no other interpretations are available regarding the same data? Are we to believe that their own convictions about how one should care for the world in which we live is the only possible one? We know that we have freedom in Christ, but we shouldn’t allow that freedom in Christ to make us cocky. We’ve been commanded to be faithful stewards of the earth. Evidence by the “experts” shows that we are destroying our planet, that fossil fuels are dangerous, and the CO2 levels present a dangerous hazard to life on earth; therefore, we should stop cows from farting, only drive electric cars, and each have an Asherah pole in our backyards. Okay, so that last one was a little tongue-in-cheek, but the hysteria that drives that movement (environmentalism) is similar in form to the current one regarding the illness that has been front page news for over 20 months now. You could apply Piper’s argument in the same way because stating the “facts” alone does not in fact prove anything; other than espouse the worldview of those driving the narrative. Piper fails to consider or does not care to discern the religious motivations of those guiding the current agenda regarding the espoused medical treatment he says partaking in would be an act of love.

3Joshua Zitser, “Texas megachurch preacher and Trump devotee says there is no ‘credible religious argument’ against COVID-19 vaccines,” Insider, September 19, 2021, accessed October 29, 2021, https://www.businessinsider.com/no-credible-religious-argument-against-covid-19-vaccines-megachurch-pastor-2021-9?op=1. Obviously, Jeffress does not see the current medical dilemma as a religious issue, but is he right?

4https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/april/white-evangelicals-pastors-covid-vaccine-skepticism.html.

5American Heritage Dictionary, 5th edition, s.v., “religion.” https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=religion.

6“Religion,” Britannica Desktop Encyclopedia (Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008).

7Greg L. Bahnsen, By This Standard: The Authority of God’s Law Today (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985), 13, 19, 21, 27. PDF e-book.

8Ibid, 265.

Posted in history

Day of Remembrance: Being Mindful of Past Memories in Order to have Hope for the Present-Future.

There is no remembrance of the earlier things, and the later things as well, which will occur, There will be no remembrance of them among those who will come later still” (Eccl 1.11; NASB).

Fading memories rekindled…

How much do you remember of your past? What are the events of your past that stick in your mind? Are they good memories or bad? If you’re like most people then it is probably a little of both. You remember good times, but there are also times that were bad (might even have been horrible) that stick out like a sore thumb. Those memories of the past that have crept into your thoughts in the present that you’d very much like to forget. The sort of thing that gets you to shake your head, close your eyes, and say “No, no…not that!”

When you think about it our memories are quite amazing things. Different types of stimuli bring them to the forefront of our minds; sometimes at the most inconvenient moment possible. Smells, lights, sounds, the sensation of touch all of which are used to remind us of our past as our memories come simmering to the surface. For example, the smell of freshly cut grass on a hot humid summer morning brings to mind two-a-day practices for the upcoming football season from my youth. The song by the Four Seasons entitled December, 1963 playing on the radio brings back memories of me riding in the back of a pickup truck traveling through Clearfield, PA in the winter of 1994, with snow steadily falling on the well lit streets. I can still feel my hair blowing in the chilly wind at about 35 mph.

Dark days of history…

And then there was September 11th, 2001. The day that the Twin Towers fell. The day when the United States of America was attacked by terrorists under the leadership of a man later found out to be Osama Bin Laden. Commercial airliners were overtaken by Islamic terrorists in the air and were then diverted to crash into what many recognized as a marvel of America ingenuity.

I was in Ontario, Canada on that historic day. The air was cool and crisp. A bunch of family and friends (all outdoorsy dudes) had decided to go on a two week fishing trip in one of the most serene places in North America. We were having a blast slaying fish, until a couple Canadians from the RV park where we were staying hollered at us USA boys. The scene was gut wrenching. Bile could be felt in the back of my throat. Along with a slow boiling anger in the center of my chest.

I had grown up in an era where you were raised daily to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and the republic for which its stands. “Under God” was a phrase that had real meaning, at least in a traditional sense. Like many young men from that time (I was 22 years old then) I seriously thought about signing up for military service. It was the revelation that I was to be a dad in 8 months that put that notion to rest.

Two days before the twenty year anniversary of that day, September 9th, 2021, another terrorist event occurred. This time it was terrorism of a domestic source. This time it was not buildings that were attacked, and lives immediately lost. Oh no, not that. This time it was the ability to build lives, to provide for loved ones, which has been attacked.

A few weeks back I was reading on the Department of Homeland Security’s web-page of domestic terrorism. They cited possible resistance to certain medical restrictions (you know of what I speak) by extremists of an evangelical nature, as the source of trouble. I now know why. The federal government knew what was coming down the pike. I assumed it was coming since I’ve been paying attention to other sectors of our world. Nations that are being crippled by bureaucratic terrorists under the guise of medical health and public safety, were the signal fires to us here in the United States, but just like on September 11th, 2001 we ignored the warnings around us.

Why? How? Because we were then and are now consumed with our own lives. Selfishly driven, selfishly motivated, giving little care for anything other than our own creaturely comforts.

Historic day that shone…

But rather than beat on that drum, I wanted to speak on another September 11th from history. One that shows the concerns and convictions of the many who fought for the freedoms that we are currently allowing to be stripped from piece-by-piece. So different were the thoughts of those that have gone before us. So different were their priorities than the many that now share this soil.

Benjamin F. Morris writes,

“The breaking out of the Revolution cut off the supply of ‘books printed in London.’ The scarcity of Bibles also came soon to be felt. DR. PATRICK ALLISON, one of the chaplains to Congress, and other gentlemen, brought the subject before that body in memorial, in which they urged the printing of an edition of the Scriptures.

“On the 11th of September, 1777, the committee to whom the memorial was referred reported as follows—

“Thursday, September 11, 1777—The committee to whom the memorial of Dr. Allison and others was referred, report, That they have conferred fully with the printers, &c., in this city, and are of opinion that the proper types for printing the Bible are not to be had in this country, and that the paper cannot be procured, but with such difficulties, and subject to such casualties, as render any dependence on it altogether improper; that to import types for the purpose of setting up an entire edition of the Bible, and to strike off 30,000 copies, with paper, binding, &c., will cost £10,272, 10, which must be advanced by Congress, to be reimbursed by the sale of the books; that, in the opinion of the committee, considerable difficulties will attend the procuring the types and paper; that, afterwards, the risk of importing them will considerably enhance the cost, and that the calculations are subject to such uncertainty in the present state of affairs, that Congress cannot much rely on them; that the use of the Bible is so universal, and its importance so great, that your committee refer the above to the consideration of Congress, and if Congress shall not think it expedient to order the importation of types and paper, the committee recommend that Congress will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different ports of the States of the Union.

Whereupon it was moved, That the Committee of Commerce be directed to import 20,000 copies of the Bible.

On this motion New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, voted in the affirmative; New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, voted in the negative.

So it was resolved in the affirmative.”1

Meaning what? That during a time of war, when people were fighting to protect their homes and livelihood from tyranny, from despots that were trying to force submission on the citizens in this land from across the pond, their leaders primary concern was the spiritual well-being of the people here. It was understood that God’s Word provided not only the foundation of all of life, but gave beautiful meaning to concepts such as freedom for which they were fighting for. It is the Christian faith birthed from the precious Word of Christ—what we call our Holy Bibles—that sparked the ideals that formed this nation. The fact that we are now under threat from terrorists from within and without as seen in our past (twenty years ago: Sept. 11th, 2001; and just yesterday: Sept. 9th, 2021) ought to serve as a warning to remember our roots.

We were victorious at our nation’s founding not because we were the greatest in number or strength or military prowess, but because we had entrusted ourselves unto the Lord of Hosts. Tyrants who supposed that they were god-in-the-flesh failed because of this basic principle:

Unless the Lord builds a house, they who build it labor in vain; unless the Lord guards a city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psa 127.1).

The Shining is not over…

In time, history will show that the present day that we face birthed tyrants destined to fail (Rom 19.17). For it was for this purpose that they entered this world…that the glory of Almighty God might shine through all the earth (Exod 19.15-16; 15.11-16). Do not grow weary in hope, for it is in the Lord Jesus Christ that all shall bow and through Him peace shall come; in history, not outside of it (Phil 2.9-11):

For [Christ] must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is clear that this excludes the Father who put all things in subjection to Him [the Son]. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all” (1Cor 15.25-28; cf. vv. 20-24).

If we remember what happened in the past because of God’s sovereign providence, then we have no need whatsoever to ever fear what tomorrow may hold. For all tomorrows are in our Father’s hand. Oh, that we would remember these truths and believe them!

ENDNOTE:

1Benjamin F. Morris, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, Reprint 1864 (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2021), 252-253. Emphasis Added, All Caps in original.

Posted in history

Political Tyranny and the Story of Henry Box Brown – The American Vision

I’ve been working on the topic of Civil Disobedience for a talk I’m giving at a conference in LaGrange, Georgia, on October 1. There are too many Christians who believe they can win a shooting war with the United States government. Pres. Biden was right. To take on our government, we would need “F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.” This was a terrible thing to say. It gives the impression that Pres.
— Read on americanvision.org/posts/political-tyranny-and-the-story-of-henry-box-brown/

Sage wisdom from uncle Gary DeMar

Posted in Truth and Error, Uncategorized

Warring for Truth: “I AM A CHRISTIAN”

John MacArthur writes,

“Every true Christian should know and love the truth. Scripture says one of the key characteristics of ‘those who perish’ (people who are damned by their unbelief) is that ‘they did not receive the love of truth, that they might be saved’ (2Thessalonians 2:10). The clear implication is that a genuine love for the truth is built into saving faith. It is therefore one of the distinguishing qualities of every true believer. In Jesus’ words, they have known the truth, and the truth has set them free (John 8.32).”1

Though MacArthur’s words ring true the tendency of some is to position the concept of truth into the spiritual realm. That is to say, they make it an issue regarding religion rather than something that pertains to all of life. This attitude is prevalent even within the domain of the Church; the body of Christ.

As seen in the words of Pilate during his interrogation of Jesus on the day of His crucifixion:

Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews? ...Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm. Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’” (John 18.33-38; NASB; emphasis added).

Pilate’s response was based on the pluralism and relativism of Rome. There were many roads to “god” all of which measured the “truth” as the individual saw it. Pilate’s rhetorical question demanded a negative answer: “There is no truth.” For truth is what we make it, nothing else. And so, many who profess the name of Christ compartmentalize the concept of truth to fit their own preconceived scheme. Their own view of reality. One that does not encroach upon their freedom to determine what truth is, and what it is not.

And yet, we are confronted with the reality as God sees it. Truth is defined by Him, because He is the author of reality. What things are, what things come to be, they are what they are because God has determined them so. It is said of Jesus that “in [Him] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2.3). Consequently then, we are commanded to “…examine everything carefully; hold[ing] fast to that which is good [or true]” (1Thess 5.21). Notice that both Colossians and Thessalonians stress two universal categories of truth: all and everything. The believer is to take into consideration all things that are presented as truth and to examine them thoroughly, and retaining only that which is good. Meaning that in our effort to examine the “thoughts of men” we are to cast aside the “vain” ones in our desire “to bring all” teachings under Christ’s feet (cf. 1Cor 10.3-5).

Responses…2

Typically there are various responses given when one is confronted with the truth. We have various examples from Scripture that we might draw from on this point. We’ve already looked at one. I would classify Pilate’s as the passive denial: “It may or may not be a truth, but either way I am going to ignore it for who can truly know?”

Another is the denial of sorrow:

And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ And he said, ‘All these I have kept from my youth.’ When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich” (Luke 18.18-23; ESV).

When confronted with the truth, when confronted with the reality that he still was not serving God with all his heart, the man went away sorrowful. Why? Because the truth was presented that it was either all for Christ or none. There cannot be any other ties that bind us to this world. It is not that wealth is wrong. Nor, is it that we must be poor in order to be saved. But, if we are to have Jesus, if we are to follow Him, then we must be willing to lose it all for His namesake. This, the ruler could not do. When confronted with the truth he went away sorrowful, having denied what he’d heard.

Then there is the response of pride:

Jesus heals a beggar who was born blind. When news spreads of the sign performed in their midst, the man is questioned by the religious leaders. Some of the Pharisees denied that Jesus was from God. However, when they asked the man about what had occurred, how he received his sight they refused to believe what was reported to them. After questioning the man’s parents (for they did not believe he was really born blind), they once again brought him before them to challenge him.

So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, ‘Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.’ He then answered, ‘Whether [Jesus] is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ So they said to them, ‘What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?’ He answered them, ‘I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples, do you?’ They reviled him and said, ‘You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.’ The man answered and said to them, ‘Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hear him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.’ They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and you are teaching us?’ So they put him out.” (John 9.24-34).

When confronted with the truth—right before their eyes, pun intended—they failed to see it for their own foolish pride blinded them. How could a man born blind, a man who begged for his living know anything about God or His Word since they were teachers in Israel? Men who had been weaned on the Word from their youth.

There is the response of blind and deafening rage:

You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it. Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him” (Acts 7.51-58; ESV).

Rather than hear the truth. Rather than see it as it was laid before their eyes. They shut their ears and eyes in anger. How dare they be challenged. How dare they be confronted. And so in rage against the clear testimony of Stephen, they murdered him.

Finally, let us look at the response of humility:

There are several examples that we might draw from in Scripture that illustrate this point. We might point to the man who beat his chest, refused to look towards heaven because of his shame, and cried out for the mercy of God to fall on him a sinner (cf. Luke 18.13). We may look at the disciples confronted with a truth that caused many in their numbers, many in Israel, to grumble against the clear teaching of Jesus, but in humility of heart they confessed with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6.68; ESV). Or we might turn to a man caught in his sin that he had covered up so long, who was confronted by a cunning word from the prophet Nathan. Nathan tells the story of a richer man stealing his neighbor’s little lamb. A lamb that was dear to the previous owner, for he loved it. But the rich man was not satisfied with the life God had given him, and so sought the life of another. When David first hears the story he is filled with indignation. Who would dare do such a thing? How vile! How evil! To take the life of another so that your life might be blessed!

Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hands of Saul. And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites…David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord’” (2Sam 12.7-9, 13a; ESV).

If we want to see how contrite of heart David was, then all we need to do is turn to Psalm 51 where a song and prayer shows the misery of heart that brought him to his knees before the Lord of Hosts.

David, like so many of us at times, failed to see his sins in the proper light because he had hidden them in the dark. We are tasked with bringing such things into the light so that they may be repented of. Do not think that this is limited to our personal sins, but the sins of a nation as well (cf. Dan 9.1-19).

Where evidence leads…

Evidence can lead no further than the mind that is dragging it in the direction they seek. It is akin to asking “Let us follow where this rock leads us” and yet, we are the ones tugging on the rock with an invisible string made up of our own presuppositions. Evidence does not lead because it cannot. Neither does evidence speak, for it does not have a voice.

The reality is that we follow people, not evidence. It is the interpretation provided that offers a voice to our ears. It is the interpretation given by a person or persons that makes us see this or that. Facts are what they are. Our conclusions about them are derived from the governing worldview that directs our thoughts in this life.

Greg L. Bahnsen wrote,

“The problem is not that we…believe things without evidence, the problem is that the [person in question] doesn’t like the kind of evidence we have.”3

Gary DeMar adds,

“The mind is designed by God to (1) reason, (2) test, (3) investigate, (4) examine, and (5) accumulate knowledge through the study of the Bible, creation, history, experience, and everything else but with certain interpretive first-principles called presuppositions.”4

God has blessed mankind with the ability to think and draw conclusions about reality. This is meant to be done in a God honoring fashion, which requires a Scripture first approach. If reality is God’s then all of reality is what God says it is, and it the human’s responsibility to learn after God; to think His thoughts after Him. We see this in the beginning with Adam in the naming of the animals. Adam did all the things mentioned above as he viewed the evidence of God’s other creature made on the 6th day of creation. He observed the details before him, he reasoned through them, he tested certain characteristics he witnessed through his five-senses, he investigated and examined the animals thoroughly, and then after accumulated as much knowledge as possible from what God had given, he named each animal according to its kind.

We live in a world where we are told that we need to follow the facts. We are currently living in a time when we are also being told that certain information is false and should not be looked into. “MISINFORMATION” is the scare word of our day. If you don’t follow who the government deems as experts, then you are in a world of hurt. You will hurt yourself, others, even your country, and quite possibly every one else in the known world. You are being told to submit to the reasoning, testing, investigation, examination and knowledge of others, rather than trusting your own ability to do these things in a God-honoring fashion. You are being herded to think according to an accepted paradigm (worldview), and to throw out all other considerations as heretical.

There is a war for the truth going on in our nation.

“The war is not between reason and faith; it is between faith and faith…one which admits a word from God while the other does not.”5

What we must remember is that

“There are high level emotional stakes here because, depending on the answers, people will have to change their lives and maybe their professions. They’re going to have to see the world differently. And when it comes to those sorts of things, the facts don’t always move people.”6

But, Christ’s people are called to maturity. To carry one’s cross also means to not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. We are to weigh all teaching, all evidence, all presuppositions under the light of God’s Word. We are to be slaves of Christ, not the powers that be. We are to bring every idle thought under Jesus’ feet, regardless of where the thought might originate. The war for truth is a war for God’s reality…not man’s.

I want to close with the following excerpt from John MacArthur’s book Slave:

“As one historian explained about the early martyrs [Christian witnesses]:

‘They [would reply] to all questionings about them [with] the short but comprehensive answer, ‘I am a Christian.’ Again and again they caused no little perplexity to their judges by the pertinacity which they adhered to this brief profession of faith. The question was repeated, ‘Who are you?’ and they replied, ‘I have already said that I am a Christian; and he who says that has thereby named his country, his family, his profession, and all things else besides.’

Following Jesus Christ was the sum of their entire existence. At the moment when life itself was on the line, nothing else mattered besides identifying themselves with Him.”7

ENDNOTES:

1John MacArthur, The Truth War: Fighting for Christianity in an Age of Deception (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007), xi.

2This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of responses, but is illustrative of typical reactions by persons when confronted with truth.

3Greg L. Bahnsen, Against All Opposition: Defending the Christian Worldview (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2020), 31, PDF e-book. This work is the transcribed work of the late Dr. Bahnsen’s lectures at “American Vision’s first Life Preparation Conference entitled Pushing the Antithesis” (p. xxi; italics in original).

4Ibid., xiv.

5Ibid., 34.

6Ibid, 53.

7John MacArthur, Slave: The Hidden Truth about Your Identity in Christ (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 8-9.