No defense on DOMA an offense to God… and the Constitution

Today the Department of Justice announced that, per President Obama’s order, it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (hereafter DOMA), enacted by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. DOMA, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, has been under attack from lawsuits and in liberal state legislatures for years. Today’s announcement is a major victory for proponents of same-sex marriage.

We have seen this kind of thing coming for quite some time, and others will rightly opine on how this is an offense before God. I will briefly state what is beyond dispute when one reads the Bible for what it says and holds that it is authoritative over all faith and practice. Homosexuality is a sin. Marriage is created by God for one man and one woman until one of them dies. God has ordained the governments of this world, and governments are supposed to be agents for good.

Isaiah 5:20 says,

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

What President Obama has done, essentially, is give a big “amen” to all of those who oppose the revealed will of God. It is an arrogant and egregious affront to God, who is good and defines good, to substitute darkness for light and light for darkness. God is not to be mocked, but that is what this pronouncement of inaction is, a mocking of the one true God. This is the most serious ramification of today’s announcement. Continue reading “No defense on DOMA an offense to God… and the Constitution”

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Four years ago today I walked out on an Albert Mohler sermon

Dr. Albert Mohler is President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and four years ago I was a student at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of that institution. In chapel on that chilly, drizzly Thursday morning Mohler was continuing his series on the Ten Commandments. This sermon was titled “The Seventh Commandment,” on “You shall not commit adultery.”

I’d just recently been introduced to the new hymnody of Keith and Kristyn Getty, whose song “The Power of the Cross.” They were in chapel that morning singing that very song.

Yet, as Mohler preached his sermon, four years ago at about this same time of day, my cell phone kept vibrating. And vibrating. And vibrating. I saw that it was my wife calling and at first, since she knew I was in chapel, I figured she was calling to leave me a voicemail. But as the calls kept coming my heart began to sink because I knew that something must be wrong. And what was worse is that I knew where she was supposed to be at that time? For a routine visit to her OB-GYN. We were very excited about our second child in her womb.

Very abruptly I got up from my seat about the fifth row on the right side of the chapel. I’m pretty sure Dr. Mohler and I locked eyes for a nanosecond. Nevertheless, there were more important things on my mind. The second I got out of the chapel I called my wife and by the time she answered I was always jogging/sprinting to my car, parked on the side of Godfrey Avenue by the Legacy Center. Her words on the phone, “We might’ve lost the baby,” were confirmed when I pulled up to the office and was escorted to the doctor’s office where my wife sat crying. It was official. She had miscarried.

The doctor would later call it a chromosomal abnormality, just one of those things that happens fairly commonly. She had no answers for us. The baby had not grown enough even for us to know if it was a boy or a girl.

If you are a regular reader of my blog or know me at all you have probably heard most of that story before. I’ve written about it before. By God’s grace and mercy I can honestly say that I never consciously blamed Him or, dare I say, even asked the question “Why?” The fact of the matter is that I know I have a better explanation for why 2 (which is what we call the child) died in the womb than any doctor could.

My second child died in the womb because death has entered the world through sin, and all men die, because all sinned (Rom 5:12-19). 2 didn’t ever disobey God, but the child who never made it past twelve weeks gestation was a sinner from conception (Ps 51:5). 2 didn’t die because of sins committed, but because there is sin.

I believe that God gave me a strength and peace when this happened that is otherworldly. Did I mourn? Yes. Did I cry? Absolutely. Did I ever doubt God’s goodness? Thankfully, no. In those days and weeks following the miscarriage I believe that God made me strong for my wife, who understandably took it pretty hard. Together, by the grace of God, we were able to persevere and see God’s goodness through the whole thing.

This is the first anniversary of the miscarriage in which my wife has not been pregnant, so there is a little different feeling this year than others. Until this year, ever since it happened, there has always been a baby on the way. Nevertheless, it’s not difficult to look around my house at my seven-year-old son, and the three girls who have been born to us in the last three years and not know for certain that the fruit of the womb is a reward, that children are a gift of the LORD (Ps 127).

Still, even 2 was a gift from God. While I never got to hold my child in my arms or change the diapers or feed it a bottle or even spank it, God blessed me because never before had I needed to practically rely on God as much as I did then. And God was (and is) faithful and true.

Today, as I look back on that day four years ago, I look out the window and am struck by the similar weather. I’m struck by the irony that David lost his child as punishment for adultery with Bathsheba, and I found out about losing my child while listening to a sermon about not committing adultery. But I look to the word of God and am reminded of what I believe to be true; namely, that 2 has it better than I do right now. 2 is without sin, apart from even the presence of sin, and thus is more alive than I can imagine. 2 is with Jesus, as I will be in due time. I can’t bring 2 back again, and ultimately I wouldn’t want to. I will go to 2, but 2 will not return to me. One day we will be together, though, but we won’t talk about the miscarriage. We’ll praise the name of Jesus, the One who, by God’s grace and for His glory, has saved us both.

Thank You, Father, for 2.

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Dr. Albert Mohler is President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and four years ago I was a student at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of that institution. In chapel on that chilly, drizzly Thursday morning Mohler was continuing his series on the Ten Commandments. This sermon was titled “The Seventh Commandment,” on “You shall not commit adultery.”

I’d just recently been introduced to the new hymnody of Keith and Kristyn Getty, whose wrote the wonderful hymn “The Power of the Cross.” They were in chapel that morning singing that very song.

Yet, as Mohler preached his sermon, four years ago at about this same time of day, my cell phone kept vibrating. And vibrating. And vibrating. I saw that it was my wife calling and at first, since she knew I was in chapel, I figured she was calling to leave me a voicemail. But as the calls kept coming my heart began to sink because I knew that something must be wrong. And what was worse is that I knew where she was supposed to be at that time? For a routine visit to her OB-GYN. We were very excited about our second child in her womb.

Very abruptly I got up from my seat about the fifth row on the right side of the chapel. I’m pretty sure Dr. Mohler and I locked eyes for a nanosecond. Nevertheless, there were more important things on my mind. The second I got out of the chapel I called my wife and by the time she answered I was always jogging/sprinting to my car, parked on the side of Godfrey Avenue by the Legacy Center. Her words on the phone, “We might’ve lost the baby,” were confirmed when I pulled up to the office and was escorted to the doctor’s office where my wife sat crying. It was official. She had miscarried.

The doctor would later call it a chromosomal abnormality, just one of those things that happens fairly commonly. She had no answers for us. The baby had not grown enough even for us to know if it was a boy or a girl.

If you are a regular reader of my blog or know me at all you have probably heard most of that story before. I’ve written about it before. By God’s grace and mercy I can honestly say that I never consciously blamed Him or, dare I say, even asked the question “Why?” The fact of the matter is that I know I have a better explanation for why 2 (which is what we call the child) died in the womb than any doctor could.

My second child died in the womb because death has entered the world through sin, and all men die, because all sinned (Rom 5:12-19). 2 didn’t ever disobey God, but the child who never made it past twelve weeks gestation was a sinner from conception (Ps 51:5). 2 didn’t die because of sins committed, but because there is sin.

I believe that God gave me a strength and peace when this happened that is otherworldly. Did I mourn? Yes. Did I cry? Absolutely. Did I ever doubt God’s goodness? Thankfully, no. In those days and weeks following the miscarriage I believe that God made me strong for my wife, who understandably took it pretty hard. Together, by the grace of God, we were able to persevere and see God’s goodness through the whole thing.

This is the first anniversary of the miscarriage in which my wife has not been pregnant, so there is a little different feeling this year than others. Until this year, ever since it happened, there has always been a baby on the way. Nevertheless, it’s not difficult to look around my house at my seven-year-old son, and the three girls who have been born to us in the last three years and not know for certain that the fruit of the womb is a reward, that children are a gift of the LORD (Ps 127).

Still, even 2 was a gift from God. While I never got to hold my child in my arms or change the diapers or feed it a bottle or even spank it, God blessed me because never before had I needed to practically rely on God as much as I did then. And God was (and is) faithful and true.

Today, as I look back on that day four years ago, I look out the window and am struck by the similar weather. I’m struck by the irony that David lost his child as punishment for adultery with Bathsheba, and I found out about losing my child while listening to a sermon about not committing adultery. But I look to the word of God and am reminded of what I believe to be true; namely, that 2 has it better than I do right now. 2 is without sin, apart from even the presence of sin, and thus is more alive than I can imagine. 2 is with Jesus, as I will be in due time. I can’t bring 2 back again, and ultimately I wouldn’t want to. I will go to 2, but 2 will not return to me. One day we will be together, though, but we won’t talk about the miscarriage. We’ll praise the name of Jesus, the One who, by God’s grace and for His glory, has saved us both.

Thank You, Father, for 2.

RELATED LINK: What happens to babies that die?

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The Canon of Glory: Leviticus

Leviticus ranks as one of the most difficult books of the Bible to read for most people, mainly because there is so little narrative. There are not many stories, but the ones we do have are very instructive. Most of Leviticus is instruction from God to Israel on how they are to live and worship Him.

However difficult the book may be to some of us, though, or how obscure we may be tempted to think it is, Leviticus has been a surprisingly influential book throughout history. Many of the laws we have today can trace their roots back to Leviticus. The Liberty Bell even takes its name from Leviticus. There is an inscription on the bell which reads, “Proclaim Liberty Lev 25:10.” Leviticus 25:10 in the King James reads, “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”

Still, the book can be difficult, cumbersome, yet all the same it is God’s revelation of Himself to His people, and thus in the book of Leviticus we discover the glory of God, and I hope to contend that, as we have seen in Genesis and Exodus thus far, the glory of God is revealed in Leviticus best in salvation through judgment.

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In Mark Dever’s sermon on Leviticus from the book The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made, he draws an illustration from Romeo & Juliet. There might not be a more famous play written in all of history than William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. It’s a story that captures so many real human feelings, emotions. There is love. There is hate. There is tragedy.

In the last act of the play Romeo is going to buy poison so he can reunite with Juliet, who he thinks is dead. It’s illegal for the man to sell Romeo the poison, but the man is pretty downtrodden. Romeo offers forty gold coins and says, “The world is not thy friend or the world’s law, The world afford no law to make thee rich; Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.”

The world is not thy friend nor the world’s law. It strikes me as we come to the book of Leviticus that, as Dever writes, “this world and its laws will give you no answer to life’s great questions.” So to find the answers to those questions we have to turn somewhere, or rather, to Someone otherworldly… Someone not subject to the world’s laws, but has His own.

Enter YHWH and enter Leviticus. Continue reading “The Canon of Glory: Leviticus”

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Why Wisconsin matters (a lot)

I am of the opinion that what is happening now in Wisconsin, and whatever resolution comes about, is the most important political event of my lifetime, and the most important political event since January 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion. I do not make this statement lightly.

In case you have been asleep at the wheel, for the last few days thousands of protesters, many of them teachers in Wisconsin public schools, have practically taken over the state capitol. This as the state senate was prepared to vote (and presumably pass) a bill that would not crush unions or collective bargaining, but rein in their power and their ability to continually overburden the taxpayer. This is seriously needed in a state with a massive budget crisis.

In November Wisconsinites elected Scott Walker, a Republican, as Governor, and elected a Republican legislature. Perhaps more than in any other state, this was a sign of the level of voter outrage at President Obama and the Democratic Party’s policies, because for Wisconsin to go so Republican is a very big deal. After all, as Alice Cooper so eloquently informed us in the movie “Wayne’s World,” Milwaukee is the only major U.S. city to elect three socialist mayors.

Now Walker and the Republicans are trying to do what they said they would do when the people elected them: help alleviate massive state economic problems. What they are getting in return are petulant, vitriolic protests. Walker is being compared to Hitler by men and women who teach school children (rock on, public schools!). The leader of the AFL-CIO is there to rally the troops, as is Jesse Jackson, trying once again to become relevant.

None of this compares, however, to how President Obama has interjected himself into the fray. In an action almost unprecedented since Abraham Lincoln, Obama is speaking out against the elected officials of Wisconsin and showing where his true allegiances lie (as if it weren’t abundantly clear already). He is not a Muslim, as so many misguided people like to allege. And I do not believe him to be a believer in Jesus Christ, no matter what he may call himself and no matter what other Christians may attempt to defend him (I’m comfortable that God will correct me in due time if I am in sin here). No, the President is just being who he is, and who he was when he campaigned: a secular humanistic socialist with heavy ties to unions.

When the President won election back in 2008 he repeatedly told whoever was listening to him that “elections have consequences.” The American electorate, for the most part, closed their eyes and ears to who the President so clearly was and is and voted him into office, and the consequences have thus far been disastrous for the country. Although, let it be also said that the current state of affairs in this country economically, militarily, and socially are by no means solely the blame of the current President. We’ve been on this road for over 100 years now.

Nevertheless, President Obama needs to consider his own mantra, that elections have consequences, and so do the Democrats in Wisconsin, who so classily high-tailed it out of the state to avoid having to vote on the bill when it came up, denying the Senate of a quorum needed to pass the bill. Can you imagine the national media’s outrage if Republicans were doing the same thing? The hypocrisy is mind-numbing. The same people who were ready to string Sarah Palin up for the Arizona shooting and campaigning for shutting down talk radio are the same ones drawing Hitler mustaches on Scott Walker. But conservatives are the ones full of hate.

But I digress. Why do I believe this is the most important political event since Roe v. Wade? Because of this: If the Democratic strategy is allowed to prevail in Wisconsin then we have found out that in America the voice of the voters really is subservient to the bullying of the unions. And that is exactly what this is: bullying. Nancy Pelosi may call it “an extraordinary show of democracy in action,” but is it democracy when the majority of voters who spoke in November are thwarted by the ultimate special interests groups? Is it democracy in action when elected officials run away to prevent a vote (literally taking someone else’s ball and going, not home, but to Illnois)?

If the unions, and thus the Democratic strategy, are allowed to prevail in Wisconsin I guarantee you that the type of behavior going on in Wisconsin right now is coming to your state next. Elections have consequences, but only depending on who is voted in apparently. The President may wrongly call the bill “an assault on unions,” but what he’s endorsing is nothing less than an assault on our democratic republic, the Constitution, the state of Wisconsin, and voters everywhere. I am thankful that my hope is in Jesus Christ and not the future of this country, because where this end should the unions prevail only God knows. In my opinion this is one of those times. Wisconsin is the line in the sand.

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I am of the opinion that what is happening now in Wisconsin, and whatever resolution comes about, is the most important political event of my lifetime, and the most important political event since January 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion. I do not make this statement lightly.

In case you have been asleep at the wheel, for the last few days thousands of protesters, many of them teachers in Wisconsin public schools, have practically taken over the state capitol. This as the state senate was prepared to vote (and presumably pass) a bill that would not crush unions or collective bargaining, but rein in their power and their ability to continually overburden the taxpayer. This is seriously needed in a state with a massive budget crisis.

In November Wisconsinites elected Scott Walker, a Republican, as Governor, and elected a Republican legislature. Perhaps more than in any other state, this was a sign of the level of voter outrage at President Obama and the Democratic Party’s policies, because for Wisconsin to go so Republican is a very big deal. After all, as Alice Cooper so eloquently informed us in the movie “Wayne’s World,” Milwaukee is the only major U.S. city to elect three socialist mayors. Continue reading “Why Wisconsin matters (a lot)”

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The Canon of Glory: Exodus – Part 2

We come to God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures teach that genuine faith in Christ results in a changed life. And we know that all those who rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ enjoy the blessings of the indwelling Holy Spirit. So we trust all the words of YHWH. We find our peace in YHWH. We enjoy the grace of YHWH. We bow low to the ground and worship YHWH. We pray to YHWH. We obey the commands of YHWH. That means no other gods. No idols. We don’t misuse His name. We rest in Christ because He is our Sabbath, and as we take on His character we honor our fathers and mothers. We do not murder. We avoid sexual immorality, including adultery. We do not lie, but rejoice in the truth. We do not steal, but give, give, give. And we do not covet because we are satisfied in Christ. In so doing we seek the glory of YHWH.

As the events of Exodus drove the sons of Israel to YHWH, the book of Exodus drives us to Jesus Christ, YHWH in human flesh.

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Our first time looking in Exodus we saw that it shares what we saw in Genesis, in that God is all about manifesting and showing off His own glory, and the very best way that is shown is in how He saves and He judges. He displays His grace and mercy on the one hand and His holiness and justice and wrath on the other, and this is seen in different ways again and again and again.

As we begin to look at the second half of the book, God is going to be merciful to the sons of Israel. He’s going to give them the Law, to both reflect His holy character and show them who they should be, and to reveal to them their need for a Savior when they realize they cannot perfectly meet the holy standard.

In Exodus 19 YHWH reveals Himself to Israel. He has freed them from bondage but it is time to set the terms of their relationship. Israel is to obey Him and they will be His own possession among all the peoples. They will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The people say they will do all that YHWH commands them to do, so He tells them to wash and consecrate themselves and He’s going to appear to them on the third day, and so He does. God puts His glory on display. Continue reading “The Canon of Glory: Exodus – Part 2”

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