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Archive for January, 2013

Newtown: not the worst tragedy

The horrific December 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, captivated our nation for at least a couple of weeks. Twenty little children and six adults were mercilessly slaughtered by a socially inept twenty-year-old known for playing violent video games. Hour after hour beamed video of the lives lost and the gunman’s past. As expected, liberal politicians, celebrities, and the mainstream media set its sights upon the National Rifle Association and the gun industry.

The whole thing was and continues to be emotionally draining. One cannot help but grieve over the event of that fateful December day. And yet little displays the ungodliness of collective culture than the coverage of the Newtown school massacre.

How so? Consider this: according to the US Abortion Clock. org (http://www.numberofabortions.com), over two thousand abortions were performed today. The lives of over two thousand unborn children were end today, and it is completely legal. That’s over one hundred times as many children killed as those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook. Over 1.2 million unborn babies lost their lives this past year as the United States abortion industry reaps huge profits from this evil and godless practice. The lives of almost fifty-six million unborn children have been ended since 1973 when the merciless Roe v. Wade decision was handed down by the U. S. Supreme Court. How many stories by our mainstream media covering this national shame have you read or heard? Yep, that’s what I thought. A godless media informing a godless culture do not grieve over the unborn. Rest assured that the fortieth anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision will be widely commemorated this year as a necessary protection of women’s “rights.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian who was hanged on April 9, 1945, by the Nazis for being part of a conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler (Hitler committed suicide three weeks later). While I have some major disagreements with Bonhoeffer’s theology, I admire his understanding that one’s theology must impact one’s day-to-day living if that theology is truly believed. Bonhoeffer wrote this about abortion: “Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder” (Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Kindle Edition [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010], 472). Our president, his political party, the national media, and our culture at large exhibit their ungodliness with the promotion of this murder of the unborn. Bonhoeffer had it right.

We certainly are grieved over the senseless loss of life at Newtown, but where are the tears for the millions who lose their lives each year without the opportunity to see sunshine, green grass, or a parent’s smile? The financial cliff gripped America’s attention a weeks back, but we jumped off the moral cliff forty years ago.

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It’s refreshing to see common sense coming out of academia: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/harvard-law-prof-marriage-not-two-people-who-are-just-tennis-partnershh

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The Associated Press welcomed us to January 9 with this bit of news: “The Washington National Cathedral, where the nation gathers to mourn tragedies and celebrate new presidents, will soon begin performing same-sex marriages.”

We aren’t surprised. Its denomination, the Episcopal Church (the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America) has been a leading voice for decades for professing Christians who reject the Scriptures. In 2003, for instance, the Diocese of New Hampshire elected the Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly homosexual priest lauded for his “long-term committed relationship,” as Bishop.

What is particularly disheartening is the scriptural justification put forth for performing same-sex marriage. The Very Reverend Gary Hall, the dean of the cathedral, maintained that “performing same-sex marriages is an opportunity to break down barriers and build a more inclusive community ‘that reflects the diversity of God’s world.'” The article goes on to say: “‘I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do,’ Hall told the AP. ‘And my reading of the Bible leads me to want to do this because I think it’s being faithful to the kind of community that Jesus would have us be.'”

The Rev. Hall lives in a state of self-delusion. He doesn’t read the Bible seriously at all. A serious reading of the Bible reveals homosexuality as the height of human rebellion against God and as a judgment from God:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:24-27)

The only sexual relationship which God condones is between a man and a woman within the bond of marriage (Matthew 5:27-28; Matthew 19:4-6; Hebrews 13:4). And the only homosexual whom God receives is akin to the only thief, the only liar, the only adulterer, the only murderer (or whatever sinner one may be) whom God receive: the one who repents of his sin and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Christ who voluntarily suffered divine justice on behalf of those who would repent and believe upon him (2 Corinthians 5:21). To bless homosexuality is to scoff at the cross of Christ.

The AP story closes with this: “‘For us to be able to say we embrace same-sex marriage as a tool for faithful people to live their lives as Christian people,’ [Hall] said, ‘for us to be able to say that at a moment when so many other barriers toward full equality and full inclusion for gay and lesbian people are falling, I think it is an important symbolic moment.'” Rev. Hall will find himself applauded by millions of Americans for his bold declaration seeking to aid homosexuals “to live their lives as Christian people.” The general public usually applauds those who condone what God condemns. The world loves apostates.

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Life in a world marked by death

Little reveals the love of living as the struggle to keep breathing as death approaches. There is within our being the longing to live.

And yet so much of our culture unwittingly goes out of its way to promote death. President Obama and his Democratic allies made a woman’s right to an abortion an emphasis in his campaign for reelection. No true Christian could support such a position. The taking of innocent life flies in the face of the biblical teaching of the sanctity of life.

Doubling down in promoting death was the President and his Democrat allies’ promotion of homosexual “marriage.” Little reveals an unwitting reveling in death as does homosexuality. No life can proceed from such a union, and no true Christian could support such a position that the Bible denounces as the depth of depravity (Romans 1:26-27).

Such is the state of our culture, but there is really nothing new. Since Adam sinned in the Garden, death has been the lot of man, and death is intrinsically linked with sin. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come” (Romans 5:12–14, ESV).

Consequently, all sin is a glorying in death. Abortion and homosexuality happen to be the two which our culture celebrates, but all sin is related to death. While we rightly condemn the taking of an unborn baby’s life and engaging in sexual relations by same sex couples, we should just as strongly condemn all sin, including our own. The apostle Paul’s words convict us:: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19–21, ESV).

We too often fail to recognize that sin amounts to open rebellion against God. It is rebellion not merely because sin contradicts God’s commandments. It is rebellion because it contradicts the very nature of God himself: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9, ESV). Sin is death, and death contradicts the nature of God.

Consequently, a culture which sees children as a burden and not a blessing is a culture set against God. A culture which flaunts and glorifies sin, as seen in so much of the entertainment industry of our day, is a culture in open conflict against God.

To such a world, though, Christ came. The One whose incarnation we recently celebrated came to bring us to God. His purpose was not merely so that we could enjoy the bliss of heaven. It was to make us acceptable to God, that we may have and know life: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1–4, ESV).

Alexander Maclaren [1826-1910], renowned Scottish expositor, made this observation: “Well then, looking all round our horizon there stands out one path for aspiration which is clearly blessed to tread—one path, and one path alone. For, oh brethren! there are needs in all our hearts, deep longings, terrible wounds, dreary solitudes, which can only be appeased and healed and companioned when we are pressing nearer and nearer God, that infinite and divine Source of all blessedness, of all peace and good. To possess God is life; to feel after God is life, too. For that aim is sure, as we shall see, to be satisfied. That aim gives, and it is the only one which does give, adequate occupation for every power of a man’s soul; that aim brings, simultaneously with its being entertained, its being satisfied; for, as I have already said, in the one act of faith there lie both these elements of blessedness—the possession of, and the seeking after, God.”

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