The sermon on the Sunday after the Supreme Court legalized so-called “same-sex marriage” everywhere

The following is the audio and transcript of my sermon this morning from Romans 1:18-32, given the Lord’s Day after the Supreme Court made so-called “same-sex marriage” legal in all fifty states.

Father, You know the burden upon me this morning. I pray You might guard my heart, my mind, and my mouth right now. I want my words to be Your words, my thoughts Your thoughts, my heart Your heart. Help me to speak truth, and truth only. Help me shepherd Your people by turning our hearts toward You, the Good and Perfect Shepherd and Guardian of our Souls. Where repentance is needed, may it be. Where confession is necessary, may it be. Where a shake-up of the way we think has to happen, I pray it will. Above all, though, Father, I pray You might be glorified, and as a result, Your people be strengthened. May grace and truth win the day through Your Son Jesus, in whose holy name we ask this. Amen. Continue reading The sermon on the Sunday after the Supreme Court legalized so-called “same-sex marriage” everywhere

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I cannot pledge my allegiance

I love my country. Let me make that clear. If you know me in the least you are more than aware I am not part of the hate America or blame America wing of the political spectrum. On the contrary, I am a patriot. I love my country.

Should we take the pledge?I love its flag. Our flag. I love how it represents men who fought that I might be free. I love how it represents men who died to set other people free. And if you want to get silly, attach the flag to any sporting event and the chances of me getting interested increase exponentially. I love that Superman’s outfit deliberately includes American colors. Captain America is even my favorite Avenger.

I love my country. I love the flag.

I just can’t pledge allegiance to it any longer.

Some Christians do not say the Pledge because, as Paul writes in Philippians 3:20, our citizenship is in heaven. I understand that point of view and, to a degree, sympathize with it. However, I also understand that as Christians, while we are on this earth, we have a dual-citizenship. We are not to have friendship with the world, for that is enmity with God (Jas 4:4). We are not of the world, but we are in it (at least for now). My home is with Christ and that is much to be desired, but for now I am also an American. So that’s not why I can no longer say the pledge. Continue reading I cannot pledge my allegiance

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Esse quam videri: Why Southern Baptists’ declining numbers isn’t all a bad thing

ncsealcolorAs a child matriculating my way through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system, I learned the motto of my beloved home state was Esse quam videri, which is Latin for To be rather than to seem. It seems to be a good choice for a state which grew up situated between our big bad, powerful colonial neighbor to the north — Virginia — and our uppity neighbor to the south with a (pardon the anachronism here) Napoleon complex — South Carolina. North Carolina was the humble colony (then state) in the middle, content to be what it is rather than seem more than it is. Whether that remains true today is a matter of opinion, but the state motto does seem fitting. To steal an oft-used phrase from a former head coach of the Carolina Panthers, when it comes to North Carolina, “It is what it is.”

SBC LogoWhat the Southern Baptist Convention is remains a matter of opinion as well. Numbers released the week before our Convention’s Annual Meeting, concluding in Columbus, Ohio, as I write this, have received a great deal of virtual ink from bloggers and pundits. And while I haven’t been able to watch or listen in to all of the goings on in the Buckeye State (We are first in flight!), I’m sure the numbers have been discussed from the podium and in the convention and exhibit halls as well. I know because I’ve been to those meetings before. Continue reading Esse quam videri: Why Southern Baptists’ declining numbers isn’t all a bad thing

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Imago Dei: Man as God Created Him to Be (Gen 1:26-31)

Author’s Note: I am preaching through Genesis on Wednesday nights. Here I will present edited notes in blog form. You can access the audio of this sermon here. May God be glorified and His people edified. Comments below if you like.

In our previous three looks at Genesis — here, here, and here — we looked at the who, when, what, how, and why of creation. However, more time needs to be devoted to the thing which, after God created it, He was finished and declared all He had created to be very good. That “thing,” of course, is man. Us. You. Me. So in this study we’ll look closer in Genesis 1 at the creation of man in Genesis 1:26-31.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;  and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Now we didn’t even read all of what God created on day six. Sometimes we forget He made the animals the same day He made humans. Even so, there is still more space devoted to the creation of man than anything else, and it’s fitting, since man is the pinnacle of God’s creation. Continue reading Imago Dei: Man as God Created Him to Be (Gen 1:26-31)

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The What, How, and Why of Creation (Gen 1:1-2:3)

Author’s Note: I am preaching through Genesis on Wednesday nights. Here I will present edited notes in blog form. You can access the audio of this sermon here. May God be glorified and His people edified. Comments below if you like.

The late Carl Sagan was famous for saying, “The cosmos is all that is, ever was, or ever will be.” That is the necessary result of Darwin’s theory of evolution. It requires a closed system, where there is nothing outside of the system. That system may be as big as the universe, but it’s closed. There is nothing outside of it. And if nothing exists outside of the system, everything must be in the system, which leaves no room for a Creator who created the system. Thus, you have naturalism, the view that everything comes from natural processes. The supernatural is excluded. And, of course, out of that comes evolution.

In the past few decades some have tried to interject God into the equation. Some very respected thinkers in Christianity have attempted to reconcile the biblical account of Genesis with what has become accepted science. I mentioned John Stott, who wrote that Adam and Eve were two-legged creatures, hominids (ape-men), in whom God put His image. Still others affirm what is called theistic evolution, an evolutionary process where there is God somewhere on the outside in control of the evolutionary process. One such group is Biologos, which purports to be reconciling the Bible and science, but every time it’s reconciling the Bible to science.

Those trying to reconcile the beginning of Genesis with science do so in various ways. One of the most popular is to assert the word day is referring to an age in Genesis 1, even millions of years at a time. But in this series we’ve already addressed the word day, yom in Hebrew, and how it is always referring to a twenty-four day when coupled with words like night, day, evening, morning, or a number like first or second and so on. It’s not honest with the text to say it means something else completely in Genesis 1 when it is used consistently in a different way throughout the rest of Scripture. That’s eisegesis, reading something into the text, and it is to be avoided.

Still others assert Genesis 1-2, and really all the way to chapter eleven, is allegory and shouldn’t be taken literally. But read through it and tell me if there is any indication within the text itself why that should be the case, or why the opening chapters of Genesis were the basis for many things Jesus said and taught during His ministry, and why He sure seemed to consider it literal history, and not allegory?

The ultimate issue on how we read Genesis 1, 2, and so on, is an issue of authority. What are we going to submit to as our authority? A book we affirm as the real word of God? Or the scientific theories of fallible men?

If the word of God really is our authority — our only infallible, perfect, authority in all it says — then we can know, and we do know, the who of creation — God, and we know the when of creation, about 6000 years ago. And we know where the first whateveritwas came from. We know from Genesis the what and how, and even the why of creation. In this session we see that beginning in Genesis 1:1, going all the way to 2:3. Continue reading The What, How, and Why of Creation (Gen 1:1-2:3)

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