Friday, January 27, 2012

Should Christians Vote for Gay Rights?

Popular issues in recent years have included “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and gay marriage and adoption. Where are Christians supposed to stand when it comes to giving more rights to homosexuals, especially in light of the command to love our neighbor as ourselves?

What Christians have to realize about giving rights to homosexuals is that this is a direct assault on the family, which is something that God created and Satan loathes. Satan would have nothing more than to destroy the family unit, and he tries to negatively influence it through shows like Family Guy and Modern Family (click the show titles to read articles I have written on them).

Giving homosexuals rights is far different than the civil rights movement, for it is not a sin to be a woman or black, but the Bible is very clear that homosexuality is an abomination to God (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:26-32; I Corinthians 6:9). Why should we give more rights to help them sin more?

This is like saying you want to show love to your unsaved friend by paying for their abortion or marijuana; you cannot show them love while doing something that God hates.

I realize that their salvation does not come as a result of keeping them unable to marry, but it certainly doesn’t come by allowing them to marry either.

I also know the criticism here that Christians are the new “party of no.” I am familiar with, and disagree with, the lyric from the Casting Crowns song that says, “Nobody knows what we’re for, only what we’re against when we judge the wounded (Jesus, Friend of Sinners).” The idea is that people only know that we are against these things, but doesn’t that mean that we are for the opposite of them? I don’t mind people knowing I am for morality and for actually believing that God’s Word still applies to us today.

As I have stated here before, we don’t show love to homosexuals by giving them the right to marry, we do it by showing them the consequences of living their life apart from God. The way I came to Christ was through the preaching of His Word; the message of my sin and separation from God convicted me and exposed my desperate need for a Savior, and I chose to repent and give my life to God. That same message can lead a homosexual to repentance, and you don’t even need to mention the specific sin of homosexuality to do it.

I was sharing the gospel with a man recently, and I was using the Way of the Master method which uses the 10 Commandments to debunk the idea that we are good enough to go to heaven. Here is a sample from our conversation:

Me: Jesus said that if you look at someone with lust it is the same as adultery. Have you ever looked at a woman with lust?

Him: No.

Me: Never?

Him: Never.

Me: What, are you gay?

Him: Yes sir.

Me: Well have you ever looked at a man with lust?

Him: Yes.

Me: Now we’re getting somewhere.

I then continued sharing the gospel with him and I never made it about his homosexuality, just the fact that he was a sinner and needed a Savior. He has admittedly lusted, stolen, and lied; those sins, I pointed out, were enough to separate him from God.

But that doesn’t mean that I support his right to marry a man though.

I can show him love and share Christ with him without endorsing the legalization of something sinful.

You wouldn’t push for showing love to a child rapist by granting his request to open a daycare in his house, would you? But people will only know that we are against raping, not what we are for! We can’t legislate our anti-raping morality on them! Outlawing his daycare won’t save him!

No, it’s just a little common sense to oppose something you oppose. To quote Dr. James Kennedy in How Would Jesus Vote?, we should not “lose all moral discernment and proclaim that what [homosexuals] do is acceptable (p.167).”

So if you still think that the Bible is true and homosexuality is a sin, then cast your vote for a candidate that will protect the sanctity of marriage. 

(Read Should Christians Vote here and Part 2 here)
(Read Should Christians Vote for: Abortion or Stem Cell ResearchWar and Capital Punishment)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Should Christians Vote for War or Capital Punishment?

As a Christian is there ever a time that we can justify going to war? War obviously involves taking lives, and aren’t we supposed to be against that? What about the death penalty: isn’t killing a killer still murder?

Some Christians are opposed to these concepts, and I want to be very clear here. I am not writing this to argue with you; I respect that stance, and I am not trying to start a war of words. This is just my personal belief after studying this topic. 

At the same time, I am not a hawk when it comes to war. I do not believe in going to war for selfish reasons, like gaining territory, resources, or money.

But I do believe the Bible teaches the concept of just wars, to wit, some wars are justifiable.

But aren’t we called to be peacemakers? Yes, in His famous sermon on the mount Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9).” But this sermon was given to teach how to conduct ourselves in our individual lives; national matters are a different story.

Jesus was teaching His followers to live at peace with each other, and not to take up vigilante justice.

Remember that this Man who taught about peace making was not afraid to make a whip and cleanse the temple.

For a person to become an anti-war activist from this one verse is to also ignore a very large part of the Bible, namely Old Testament passages that are just as important as the New Testament.

Consider the fact that Solomon said that there is a “time for war (Ecclesiastes 3:8).”

The first war recorded in the Bible takes place in Genesis 14 after Lot was kidnapped. Abraham, one of the heroes in the hall of faith, gathered an army and went to war to retrieve his nephew. Does being a peacemaker mean that he lets Lot remain in captivity for the rest of his life, or even allow him to lose his life at the hands of evil men?

After Abraham was returning from this just war he meets Melchizedek, whom many people believe to be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, or at the very least a picture of Jesus (He is the “king of Peace”). Melchizedek says, “Blessed be the Most High God, who has delivered thine enemies into thy hand.” The passage refers to the battle as a “slaughter.”

Why would Jesus or a man sent to typify Jesus praise God for military victory over an evil nation if God were opposed to war?

The Old Testament is full of commanded wars, especially in the book of Joshua. In that book God used Joshua and his army to bring about punishment in the form of war. These nations were extremely pagan, and in God’s sovereign patience, it was time for their removal, just like with the Great Flood.

When you read the Old Testament how many times do you see the command from God to not leave any survivors? God did not want to leave even a trace of these pagan nations, and He used war to accomplish it.

One of those times comes in I Samuel 15, where Saul is commanded to kill all the inhabitants of Amalek. Saul brings back one survivor, their king Agag. Because Saul didn’t kill this man when the Lord told him to, God rejected Saul as king, and the prophet Samuel killed Agag himself.

But isn’t one of the 10 Commandments “Thou shalt not kill?” Kind of. A better translation would be “Thou shalt not murder.” It is interesting to note that the Bible makes a distinction between killing and murder. This also applies to capital punishment.

If taking the life of a human were absolutely wrong 100% of the time, then why would God command His followers to institute a death penalty just one chapter after He gave the commandment not to kill? In Exodus 20 we have the 10 Commandments, then in Exodus 21 God lays out six instances where people should be put to death for certain crimes.

In the New Testament when Jesus is being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter pulls out his sword and takes a swing at Malchus; Jesus then rebuked Peter and affirmed capital punishment in the same breath. Jesus told Peter that those who take up the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52); in other words, if Peter killed Malchus, then Peter would also be put to death.

Aren’t we supposed to turn the other cheek? Yes, this also comes from the sermon on the mount. Jesus said that after He referenced the old “an eye for an eye” expression. The eye for an eye remark was God’s law as given to Moses, and it referred to how punishment would be meted out under their new system. These commands were carried out as part of the legal system.

Once again, the sermon on the mount was given for instruction on living an individual’s life, not for the legal system. In essence Jesus was telling the disciples not to take matters into their own hands, but to leave those things to the legal process.

I shouldn’t get to choose who lives and who dies! So are you more comfortable with the murderer making those decisions? It isn’t our choice to make when it comes to the death penalty; God commanded it.

But the death penalty doesn’t rehabilitate people! Prison will hopefully rehabilitate many people, but not everyone is in there just for rehabilitation. The death penalty is not about making someone a better citizen, it is about justice being served. The lake of fire will not rehabilitate either; people are there for justice.

Imagine for a moment what the world would look like if we abolish the death penalty and refuse necessary wars. Do the words mayhem or chaos come to mind?

Is it possible, then, that by having war or a death penalty we are being peacemakers?

If you want to vote for a peacemaker, fine. But please make sure that it is one who realizes that peace is made and maintained by bringing evil men to justice.

(Read Should Christians Vote here Part 2 here)
(Read Should Christians Vote for: Abortion and Stem Cell ResearchGay Rights)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Should Christians Vote for Abortion or Stem Cell Research?

(part 3 of the series)

In 1973 the United States Supreme Court made their controversial decision known as Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in this country. The young lady, known as “Jane Roe,” was said to have conceived after she was raped, and she wanted an abortion, which were being performed illegally at the time (called “back alley abortions”).

Ms. “Roe” (Norma L. McCorvey) has since come out and admitted she lied about having been raped, and that the child she conceived was her third out of wedlock. She is now a pro-life advocate, and her case McCorvey v. Hill (2005), sought to overturn Roe v. Wade, but was denied by the Supreme Court.

The fact that the little lady who started the big war (to use the language of President Lincoln) has been on both sides of the issue serves to typify the fact that the country itself is split. Where should Christians stand on this matter?

I personally believe that the Bible teaches that life begins at conception. In my most recent book Asleep in Heaven’s Nursery (available Here and Here) I lay out these days in the life of a developing unborn child:
    Day 1—fertilization
    Day 6—embryo implants in the uterus
    Day 22—a heart pumps the baby’s own blood
    Week 3—spinal column, nervous system, liver, and kidneys forming
    Week 4—the baby is 10,000 times larger than it was at conception
    Week 5—eyes, hands, and legs are developing
    Week 6—brain waves are noticeable; mouth, 
lips, and fingernails are forming
    Week 7—eye lids, toes, and nose are forming; he is swimming and kicking
    Week 8—every organ is in place; cartilage is turning into bone; he has unique fingerprints and he can hear
    Weeks 9-10—teeth are developing in the gums; he can hiccup
    Weeks 11-12—he can urinate and “practices breathing”; he has a full skeletal structure
    Week 12—vocal chords are complete
    Week 14—the heart pumps several quarts of 
blood per day
    Week 15—he has all his taste buds
    Month 4—his bone marrow is forming and he weighs half a pound (from chapter 3, “When does a life become a life?”
This timeline shows that the child is developing and is very much alive when an abortion takes place. In that same chapter I make the case that an unborn baby is a human in the same way that an acorn is a tree, just in its smallest form.
The pro-choice person might say that if a fetus has to develop into a baby, then it is not a baby. But I say that this change is no different than a baby developing into a toddler, who will develop into a teenager, who will develop into an adult. To cut off the process anywhere is to terminate the life of a human.
To quote Ray Comfort in his groundbreaking documentary 180, “Finish this sentence: it’s OK to kill a baby in the womb when______.” He asked that question to abortion advocates, and no one could give him an answer. Comfort pointed out that the Holocaust of the Nazi’s murdered 6 million Jews, but abortion has murdered 55 million babies in America alone.
 But more important than my book or Comfort’s documentary, consider the words of the Most High God. In Psalm 139:13-14 David says that God formed him in his mother’s womb (some translations say “knit together”), and in Jeremiah 1:4-5 we read the Lord saying those same things to Jeremiah.
If these are lives knit together or formed by God, then the mother has no right to choose if the baby lives or not. Her choice should be to not have sex if she doesn’t want a baby. Our Sex Ed classes spend all their time passing out condoms and putting them on cucumbers; maybe they should get back to the basics of the birds and the bees. No sex = no baby. (For the record, I wish these classes didn’t even exist)
Rape and Incest
I know that some women conceived against their will, and the previous paragraph doesn’t apply to them. Should we vote to keep abortion legal for these women? People running for office on the pro-choice side usually claim to only want to keep abortion legal for those reasons, and yet I have never seen a pro-choice candidate actually propose any legislation that would make abortion illegal if there were no rape or incest.
What is important to remember is that less than 1% of abortions performed annually were because of rape or incest (this is pointed out in Randy Alcorn’s book Why Pro Life?). And the notion that babies conceived in incest should be aborted because of the tendency for handicapped births? This is also something that is blown out of proportion.
Just because a woman is raped, why does the child have to die? He could be viewed as a blessing that came from a tragedy. He could also be put up for adoption, where plenty of famous people made their start, like President Bill Clinton, the late Steve Jobs of Apple, and Babe Ruth, who learned the game of baseball at an orphanage.
I sympathize with the woman who did not want a baby and conceived one after she was raped. But there are millions of families who would love to adopt your baby.
I’m one of them.
Stem Cell Research
This issue goes hand in hand with abortion because it involves terminating a tiny life. Famous people like Michael J. Fox, First Lady Nancy Reagan, and Christopher Reeve have become the faces for this cause.
The idea is that by harvesting stem cells we might make a scientific breakthrough and cure some diseases. But the media is not exactly straightforward on this issue. We must remember the difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.
Adult stem cells are collected without terminating a life; embryonic stem cells cannot be. Adult stem cells have cured dozens of diseases; embryonic stem cells have not.
Even celebrity doctor Dr. Oz told Oprah that embryonic stem cells have done more harm than good, transforming themselves into cancer in case studies. They have not, and cannot, cure diseases, he concluded on her TV show.
Matt Maher, whose opinion should never be taken seriously, told David Letterman that, because President Bush believed in God we cannot cure Parkinson’s Disease. But the reality is that embryonic stem cells had been experimented with for years before they were brought to the spotlight during the Bush Administration, and they were not going to cure Parkinson’s, or anything else.
Adult stem cells led to the cure for Polio and dozens of other things, and hopefully they will lead to the cure for cancer and Parkinson’s, and diabetes, and everything else that ails us.
What should matter to the Christian voter is that embryonic stem cells are harvested in a lab. This means that an egg is fertilized to produce the necessary ingredients, or in other words, a life is created to be destroyed for science. These embryos could be implanted into a woman (IVF) and carried to term. In President Bush’s newest book, Decision Points, he has a picture of himself with a “snowflake baby,” a child born that was once in a lab that could have been killed for his stem cells. That boy and his parents were in the White House when President Bush banned the practice of harvesting life for its destruction.

If you think that your vote for a candidate will not affect this issue, consider that the absolute first thing President Obama did in office was overturn the Bush decision on embryonic stem cell research. I only say that to caution the voter: know where the candidates stand on this issue.
So how should a Christian vote when it comes to abortion or embryonic stem cell research? The Bible shows us that life begins at conception, that even a baby in a womb or a lab is still a life. To vote for a candidate that will keep these practices legal is to share in their judgment.
Each president will have a say in how this issue plays out. I always hear people say that we shouldn’t care so much about this issue because no president can overturn Roe v. Wade. While that much is true, consider what the last three presidents did on this issue.
President Bill Clinton signed partial birth abortion into law, which allowed for 3rd trimester babies to be aborted by the cruelest of means.
President George W. Bush immediately banned partial birth abortion, and it took the Supreme Court years to uphold his ban. He also banned the harvesting of embryonic stem cells for research.
President Barack Obama overturned the Bush decision on stem cells. He also has allowed for our tax dollars to pay for Mexican abortions, and Obamacare will will use tax dollars to make abortion free here. 
What will the next president do? You better know before you vote for one. Also consider that the Supreme Court Justices are appointed by the president, so you should know what kind of judges the candidate will appoint, whether they are pro-life or pro-choice.
If the bench had 9 Justices that were pro-life, then McCorvey would have gotten her way and won her case to undo the first case she won. 
To stop abortion and embryonic stem cell harvesting, cast your vote for someone who will work to end these practices. 

(Read Should Christians Vote here and Part 2 here )
(Read Should Christians Vote for: War and Capital PunishmentGay Rights)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Should Christians Vote Part 2: Aren't All Leaders Appointed by God Anyway?

One of the arguments against Christians getting involved in the political process is that God is the one who appoints our leaders. This idea comes from Romans 13:1, which says that there is no ruler that was not established by God.

While I certainly agree with that verse 100%, that doesn’t mean that God is in favor of each ruler. Let’s revisit a dark time in Israel’s history.

Israel never had a king before because their king reigned from heaven. God had established the priesthood and His prophets, as well as the judges, to lead His people, and the last of these judges was Samuel. When Samuel was getting old and near the end of his life, the Israelites began to ask for a king.

They wanted to be just like everyone else.

Samuel asked them if they would jump off a cliff if everyone did (not quite, but it was a similar exchange), but they insisted on having a king. God told Samuel to tell them what a king would be like, and here is the description that Samuel relayed to the people:

He will take your sons and put them in his army and make them drive his chariots; he will harvest your fields for his food; he will take your daughters and make them cook for him; he will take your cattle and put them to work and use them to feed his entourage.

But the people still wanted a king. Samuel went back to the Lord, who acknowledged that the people were rejecting Him, and God told Samuel to give the people what they wanted. Even though the Lord was going to establish a king, He was going to wait for David, who was a man after God’s heart. Instead, Israel got Saul, who was a terrible king that was soon rejected by God.

So did God appoint Saul? Yes, but does that mean that Saul was God’s plan? No.

Sometimes God steps back and says, “If you want it so badly, just do it.” Just as Romans 1 records God releasing people to follow their own sinful passions, so I Samuel 8 records God giving the people the king they wanted.

If a candidate is elected with a majority vote, then the people are getting what they ask for. We can’t blame God for the poor job that Saul did, and we can’t blame Him if we elect an ungodly leader. In God’s sovereignty He allows rulers to come to the throne, but that doesn’t mean they are there with His blessing.

So get out there and vote, and realize that your vote makes a difference. 
(Read Part 1 here)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Should Christians Vote?

It’s an election year and the political scene is front and center on every news network. What are Christians supposed to do with politics? Are we allowed to vote, commanded to vote, or permitted to vote? What does the Bible say?

I am going to start a series on how Christians should vote on certain issues, but first we have to establish the fact that Christians can and should vote. I am not one of those political pastors who uses the pulpit to tell people whom they should cast their ballot for, neither am I going to address secular issues such as taxes, military defense, or the budget. These will be moral or Christian issues, such as abortion/ embryonic stem cell research, wars, and gay marriage.

Authors like Donald Miller and Shane Claiborne have made a living by accusing the church of forcing its members to vote Republican, but that is not what I am setting out to do. I simply want to show people what the Bible says about issues and what our obligation is in light of the issues.

Should Christians vote? I believe that they should. Some people believe that Christians and politics do not mix, that we have no business at the ballot box. But I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that we are told to stay out of the legislative process. Consider the fact that Jesus said to “render unto Caesar” what belonged to him, which meant that people should pay the taxes that were required of them. If paying taxes to the government were immoral, then Jesus would have taken a stand against them, and probably would have overturned a few more tables. Instead, He said to pay them (Mark 12:17), and He paid them Himself (Matthew 17:27).

Then consider Zacchaeus(Luke 19). Aside from being a wee little man, Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Part of tax collecting included known thievery, and Zacchaeus made part of his money by overcharging people. After giving his life to Christ Zacchaeus decided to repay fourfold every person that he had ripped off. Jesus never told him that repaying was a good start, but that he should also leave his government job. No, Jesus allowed him to go back to work, and to work honestly.

The same is true of the Roman soldiers who responded to John the Baptist’s preaching. Their questions was, “What should we do?” John told them to be content with their wages, do violence to no one, and make no false accusations (Luke 3:14). John didn’t tell them to leave their government posts, but to continue to serve them in a Christ like manner.

So the Bible doesn’t forbid us from being involved in civil issues. But does it command it? I believe that it does. James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” If getting involved is something good we should do, then it is a sin not to.

Just imagine that there are two people running for president. The first candidate vows to euthanize every person over the age of 65, while his opponent adamantly opposes that idea. Would you not think you have a moral right to help keep that lunatic out of office? What if you sat by and did nothing?

What if more people stood up to keep Hitler out of office?

Politics might not seem like an important issue to you, but every time we cast a vote we have a chance to keep evil people from doing evil things, and to assist good people who are doing good things. There may have been a lot of Christians that sat home that day in Germany, thinking their vote didn’t matter, or that politics weren’t important.

The issues that we will look at here will be of upmost importance for Christians to consider. I encourage you to prayerfully consider how the Lord will lead you to vote.

“It is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
John Jay
1st  Chief Justice of the  US Supreme Court 

(Read Part 2 here)
(Read Should Christians Vote for: Abortion or Stem Cell ResearchWar and Capital PunishmentGay Rights)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christianetiquette: How a Christian Should Act in an Electronic World

We used to teach our children good etiquette because we wanted them to know how to behave in public. The dictionary defines etiquette this way:

‘The form of conduct or behavior prescribed by custom or authority to be observed in social, official, or professional life.”

For years this was meant to understand that we do not talk with our mouth full, we do not interrupt, we make eye contact, we says “Yes ma’am” instead of “Yeah,” etc. When our children went off to school we expected them to put this etiquette into use. The Golden Rule of etiquette is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

But those days are long gone. This is the 21st Century. We are the technological generation. For those reasons a new word has been created: netiquette. This word came about by mixing the words network and etiquette, and it’s definition, according to, is

“the social code of the internet, because the internet is a network and etiquette is a social code.”

Among the rules of netiquette are do not type all in caps because that is considered shouting, spell check and proofread, and don’t send emails late at night because that will call your lifestyle into question. The Golden Rule of netiquette is “do unto others on the internet as you would have them do unto you.”

If someone can create a word by adding on to the word etiquette, then I think I should also be able to create a word by adding on to the created word netiquette.

So I did.

I created the word Christianetiquette, which I define as

“How a Christian should behave in an electronic world.”

There are basic rules of courtesy, like don’t text at the table, don’t interrupt a face-to-face conversation to answer the phone or check a text, and don’t wear earphones when in a social setting.

But there are also rules of morality as well. We all need to remember to respect God, respect others, and respect ourselves.

#1, respect God. Capitalize His name! I can’t stand seeing Facebook statuses that say “9 out of 10 of you don’t love jesus enough to repost this.” I want to comment, “If you love Jesus you would capitalize His name.”

Don’t take His name in vain either. OMG is taking His name in vain. You might justify it by saying that the G stands for Gosh to you, but the person who reads it isn’t thinking Gosh; that is both confusing and disrespectful.

And be consistent. Don’t post Bible verses one day, then brag about watching Family Guy the next day. Don’t “like” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “baseball players have nice butts” at the same time. I have seen both of those, and it confuses me. I can’t imagine what it does to a person who doesn’t know Christ.

#2, respect others. Don’t air your dirty laundry. Comments like “I hate fake people,” “I see who my real friends are,” “I guess some people never change,” or “Not surprised by how she acted” don’t model the love of Christ. They come off as unforgiving, unkind, and unloving, which should not be modeled in a Christian’s life.

#3, respect yourself. Respect yourself enough to not post pictures you will regret, to not “check in” places you shouldn’t be, and to not list favorite things that should not be your favorite things. Remember that as a Christian everything you say and do will either lead people toward Christ or away from Him. When you write things like “effing” in your status you are probably leading people away from Him (Matthew 5:14-16).

Have you taken your problem to God before you aired it out in public? Have you taken your problem to the person one on one before you shared it with all your friends? Consider the biblical model to follow in Matthew 18:15-20, and ask yourself if you are following that.

Do things you do glorify and uplift the name of Christ, or do they confuse people and turn them off to Christ?

Perhaps you need to edit your profile today.