Rock the Boat

Matthew_21_12_13These days, being polite is a big deal. After all, no one wants to hurt anybody’s feelings. Everyone just wants to get along, or something like that. Unfortunately, this attitude has invaded church pulpits across the United States.

Recently, research guru George Barna discovered that most conservative pastors in the US aren’t interested in rocking the boat. Apparently, “Many theologically conservative pastors agree the Bible speaks to key issues of the day, but research indicates only a handful of them say they will speak to it.” Call me crazy, but every now and then, it’s good to have a little holy boldness. Certainly, Jesus thought so.

Indeed, Jesus frequently spoke about the issues of His day, and He didn’t pull punches. For example, in Mark 12:14-15, Jesus was asked “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” He didn’t duck the question. He responded “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). Although most people wish He gave a different answer, He at least gave an answer.

Likewise, in Matthew 19:3, Jesus was asked “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” He said “what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). This didn’t satisfy the Pharisees, who responded “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” (Matthew 19:7) Jesus answered “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 19:8-9). That’s not exactly what they wanted to hear, and it definitely flies in the face of popular opinion to this day.

Ultimately, you’re either for Jesus or against Him (Matthew 12:30). If pastors don’t deal with the significant issues of our day, churchgoers will accept what the world says about them. Silence on homosexuality, fornication, pornography and other sins will be interpreted as support, and supporting sinful behavior leads people trapped in lifestyles of sin away from Christ. Isn’t the truth of the Gospel more important than a preferential tax status? Jesus never backed down from causing a commotion, and He wasn’t interested in cutting deals. Just ask those moneychangers (Matthew 21:12-13).

The Bible says “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). It’s time to stop making everyone happy. It’s time for some holy boldness.

Mum’s The Word

Matthew_25_32_46Just about everybody loves fun facts. With that in mind, did you know that Antioch, which is in modern-day Turkey, is where followers of Jesus were first called Christians (Acts 11:26)? Who knows, it may help you win a game show someday. Unfortunately, this fun fact has a not-so-fun aspect to it: there aren’t many Christians in Antioch anymore.

In fact, there aren’t many Christians in the Middle East at all these days. Recently, Canon Andrew White said that the end of Christianity could be “very near” in Iraq. What has the response been from the United States? To put it mildly, it’s been a little underwhelming. The collective shrug of the shoulders even led Congressman Frank Wolf to wonder aloud why people aren’t talking about it. What gives?

Well, in Iraq, things were going pretty well for Christians under Saddam Hussein. Obviously, he wasn’t the nicest guy, but he tolerated Christians. Since the US removed him from power, and things aren’t going well for Christians in Iraq today, it’s inconvenient for American politicians to discuss the matter. Is their silence an admission of guilt, or is it nonchalance?

If it’s the latter, I’m afraid I have bad news. Whether you’re a Christian or not, the way you treat followers of Christ matters. 1 John 4:20 says “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” In other words, if you claim to be a Christian and the blood of Christians is on your hands, you’re not a Christian. On top of that, Jesus cares a lot about how you treat His followers. He went so far as to say “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40).

Based on this passage, you’ve probably been taught that when you do something for the poor, sick, hungry or imprisoned, you’re doing it for Jesus. With all due respect, that’s wrong. This passage is describing two groups: sheep and goats (Matthew 25:32-33). Jesus is determining if they are worthy to enter His kingdom at the end of the age. What criteria does He use? How His brethren were treated. Who are Jesus’ brethren? He said “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50). In addition, when Saul was murdering Christians for sport (Acts 9:1), Jesus appeared to him and said “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4) Clearly, Jesus’ brethren are Christians, and He doesn’t take kindly to their mistreatment.

The Blessing of Borders

Blessing_of_bordersAlthough many American politicians and misguided Christians think otherwise, God likes borders. Don’t believe me? The Bible says “Cursed is he who moves his neighbor’s boundary mark. And all the people shall say, Amen” (Deuteronomy 27:17). No, God doesn’t just support private property. He’s a big fan of boundaries between nations. After all, He invented them.

After the Flood, God commanded Noah and his family to spread out and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1). Noah’s descendants disobeyed. They said “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4). God didn’t approve. He looked at the city and tower, and said “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them” (Genesis 11:5-6). Translation? Without boundaries separating sinful human beings, there’s no limit to the amount of evil they will commit.

So, God confused their language, scattering them throughout the earth like He had commanded (Genesis 11:7-8). The judgment at Babel was very loving, and naturally, Satan has never been a fan of boundaries. He’s been working to unite the world under his authority for quite some time. Eventually, he’ll get his one-world government, but only for a short time (Revelation 13:5) and only because God will allow it (Revelation 17:17).

Until then, Satan will continue deceiving people into submitting to his will. He disarms people with something innocent, and once they let their guard down, they’re totally under his power. For example, under the guise of helping children and the poor, Satan has made many people sympathetic to the destruction of the US border. Unfortunately, with a porous border, it’s easy for criminals to come on in and begin stealing, raping and killing. Of course, people don’t think about that, because they’re too distracted by “the children.”

The only purpose of government is to protect God-given rights (Genesis 9:5-6), and the Bible says “whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God” (Romans 13:2). The only exception is when obeying the government gets in the way of our obedience to God (Acts 5:29). Considering the blessing of borders, why would I support trespassing?

South of the border, there’s a cool saying which goes something like “Agua le pido a mi Dios, y a los aguadores, nada.” Translated, this means “I ask my God for water, and I ask nothing of the water carriers.” In other words, I only ask God for help. He will provide for my needs. Like Jesus said “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

Breaking the law to improve my material position, whether it’s robbing someone at gunpoint or illegally crossing a border, illustrates a lack of trust in God. Without question, Christians should help people with their needs. Yet, while trying to meet their lesser needs of food and water, let’s not endorse their sin by forgetting their primary need: trusting in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. Do not be deceived.

Evolution Is Politically Incorrect

John_14_6When it comes to explaining how we all got here, most people believe in evolution. Curiously, many of these same individuals support gay “marriage,” abortion and are strongly opposed to racism. Apparently, they’re not aware of what evolution actually teaches.

After all, evolution doesn’t support homosexuality. Quite the opposite, the supposed point of evolution is to pass our genes on to the next generation. This is often described as “survival of the fittest.” Well, last time I checked, homosexuals can’t make babies. Sure, there’s in-vitro fertilization, but it’s costly, usually unsuccessful and it involves a whole lot more effort than the old-fashioned way. That’s not exactly what I’d call a “reproductive advantage,” and naturally, it still involves a man and a woman. Incidentally, if there is a “gay gene,” evolutionists would view it as a harmful mutation. Talk about being politically incorrect!

To make things more uncomfortable, evolution is also strongly “anti-choice” regarding abortion. Indeed, if life is all about passing our genes on to the next generation, killing babies would amount to “devolution” in action. That said, evolution did lead to the explosion of the eugenics movement in the 20th century. Hitler and other supporters of eugenics thought abortion was acceptable for killing “undesirables” to help speed up the evolutionary process. Obviously, that’s not politically correct, and it’s an embarrassment for most self-respecting evolutionists to this day. Of course, there are a few exceptions. A few years ago, biologist Richard Dawkins said “if you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability?” (Cited in Hilary White, Anti-religion extremist Dawkins advocates eugenics: says Nazi regime’s genocidal project ‘may not be bad’, 21 November 2006).

Finally, if evolution is true, the different people groups of the world ‘evolved’ separately over thousands of years. This has given rise to the belief that some ‘races’ are more ‘evolved’ than other ‘races.’ Even the late Stephen Jay Gould, a proud evolutionist, once admitted that “Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory” (Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Belknap-Harvard Press, pp. 127–128, 1977). Clearly, evolution isn’t politically correct on this point either.

Ultimately, if you believe in evolution, you’ll have a tough time finding reasons to support gay “marriage” and abortion. While Christianity doesn’t support them either, it does say there’s only one human race (Acts 17:26), and we’ve all sinned against God (Romans 3:23). Everyone needs a Savior, and Jesus is that Savior (John 3:16; John 14:6). While that may be politically incorrect to most people, it pales in comparison to evolution.