And you thought the KJV-Onlyism was bad? Well, what then should we make of the Queen James Bible, a new “translation” of Scripture claiming to be the “first gay-friendly Bible to correctly interpret the Christian Scriptures”? You can buy it on Amazon, but I’m not going to provide you a link. Suffice it to say, the small amount of the translation I’ve seen, stuff that would distinguish it from, you know, an actual translation of the Hebrew and Greek, is enough to see that this isn’t a translation, per se, but a socio-political screed. Continue reading
Barack Obama is the President of the United States, and that won’t be changing come January 20. As I type this out the President has taken a slim lead in the popular vote and will end up winning a second term with an electoral landslide of 332-206. Governor Romney is just beginning his concession speech (about an hour and a half too late).
For convictional Christians this is an awfully tough pill to swallow. To be sure, it is hard to imagine how Obama was re-elected given how under his administration the national debt has increased by over six trillion dollars (an increase of over 60%), unemployment is higher than when he took office, and a healthcare reform bill that will inevitably kill jobs and take away personal freedoms was shoved through without a single Republican vote or serious consultation.
Hard to imagine, for sure, but absolutely tragic that he has been re-elected given his unqualified support for abortion on demand, his abandonment of the biblical definition of marriage and his support for homosexual uber-rights, and his administration outright attack on religious liberty. I stand by what I said in my post last night, that it was a sin to vote for this man.
What does this say about our electoral process? What does this say about the nature of political campaigns? And more so, what does this say about the American people? Nothing good, in my opinion. Yet, while this is tough to comprehend from a patriotic, nationalistic perspective, when we look at our nation through the lens of Scripture, biblical theology, and the gospel, this is really just the natural state of man running its course. Continue reading
I had the privilege of preaching God’s word at Oakdale Baptist Church just down the street in Polkton, NC, this morning. My text was Psalm 146:1-10. As Election 2012 is now upon us, we must resist the fleshly temptation, regardless of party affiliation, to put our hope in the men and women we will elect.
Instead, with all of our lives, for as long as we live, we are commanded to praise God. I try to speak about what that means in this sermon, but ultimately I want you to realize that politicians will come and go, but “The LORD reigns forever!” You can listen to the sermon by clicking HERE.
Race has been, is, and promises to continue to be a touchy subject in America. So it’s one thing for a white pastor like me to get behind a pulpit and tell African American Christians specifically what they need to do. It’s quite another for an African American pastor to do it. I agree wholeheartedly with what Bishop E.W. Jackson, a Virginia pastor associated with a group called “Ministers Taking A Stand,” says in the following video, and encourage by black brothers and sisters in Christ to take his words under serious consideration.
The gospel was prostituted this week, and I don’t mean by Joel Osteen, some overly pragmatic megachurch pastor, or some other prosperity gospel huckster. The gospel was prostituted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for President, visited Billy Graham and his son Franklin, who heads up the BGEA, at Graham’s Montreat home last week while the former Massachusetts Governor was campaigning in the swing state of North Carolina. At the meeting, Graham told Romney that he would do anything he could to help support his election.
That apparently includes removing an article from its web site that lists Mormonism, Romney’s religion, as a cult. The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that the BGEA said the article was removed “because [they] do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign.”
That’s all well and good, not wanting to politicize something, but then I have to ask the BGEA why the Grahams would put themselves in that position by hosting the Republican nominee for President in the first place, then saying they’d support his election. The Grahams, if anyone, have taken the lead in politicizing their ministry. Of course, this is not a new thing. One of the things Billy Graham is most famous for during his ministry was being a counselor of sorts, or at least having an audience with, almost every President of the United States since the 1950s.
The fact of the matter is that even though this removed article wasn’t just about Mormonism, but also including references to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, Scientologists, and others, what prompted this removal was the Grahams following through on doing what they could to get Mitt Romney elected. Quite simply, they compromised the gospel for the sake of the Republican Party. Continue reading
I did not help elect Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008. I did not vote for his chief opponent, Republican Senator John McCain (AZ). I couldn’t bring myself to vote for someone with whom I fundamentally disagreed with so much, and someone I thought would make a terrible President. Yet, even though I knew Obama would be worse, that doesn’t mean I helped elect him. The guilt trip put on voters, especially Christian voters, who by conscience refuse to vote for a given candidate or candidates because of their convictions, is spiritually harmful and encouraging something I believe Paul calls a sin. Not to mention extremely annoying. Citizenship, neither American nor heavenly, requires that we vote either/or, Republican or Democrat.
That said, I have decided to vote for Mitt Romney for President on November 6, and am increasingly comfortable with the notion of doing so. This decision has not been arrived at easily. For months, years even, I have said to others that I would never vote for him for President, but I have changed my mind.
My reticence to vote for Romney in the first place has been his sketchy position on abortion, both in the past and today. I adamantly oppose his position actually, that abortion should be okay in situations of rape, incest, or the health of the mother. This betrays a true pro-life position as it removes concern for the baby, and if I ever have a chance to tell the former Massachusetts Governor this I will. I have always maintained that abortion, and not the economy, is always the most important issue in a presidential election, and that has not changed, even if Romney and I aren’t lockstep.
So why give in and vote Romney in ’12? Well, quite frankly it is the fact that his opponent, incumbent President Barack Obama, is simply not qualified to be President on the basis of his complete disregard for human life. One of his first actions as President was to reverse the Mexico City policy which previously denied federal funding for foreign aid abortions. As a state senator in Illinois he voted repeatedly against a bill which would have guaranteed health care to babies that survived attempted abortions. This is the height of depravity on par with Pharaoh in Exodus 1. Now, in the absence of a economic record he can really run on, he has manufactured a “war on women” and has actually vigorously campaigned on his pro-abortion principles. Romney’s position is very wrong, but it’s just the fact that Obama is so much worse and is so proud of it that drive me to change my mind here and go ahead and vote Romney.
Of course, it’s not merely abortion that compels me to vote Romney. Religious liberty has been under attack since the President took office in 2009. The professing Christian who actually attended a gospel-less church that heavily promotes black liberation theology has shown enmity toward evangelicals and Catholics alike – the contraception mandate from his Department of Health and Human Services being just the most famous example.
On foreign policy, the attack on our embassy in Lybia is but the most recent abdication of presidential responsibility from the Obama Administration. Despite his assertion during the second debate that he called the 9/11 attack an “act of terror,” every statement from his administration for two weeks refused to say that, and actually blamed a YouTube video for what happened. His Ambassador to the United States went on five Sunday morning shows to make the case, which has seen been proven to be a farce, as could easily be seen from the start by a discerning citizen. Meanwhile, now he’s admitted that the attack on our embassy and resultant death of four Americans, including our Ambassador, was the work of al-Queda, all the while saying that al-Queda is in retreat around the world.
Beyond Lybia, he has not kept promises he made during the 2008 campaign. He said he would close Guantanamo Bay but didn’t (I’m actually glad he didn’t, but the fact he broke a promise he made so often during that campaign is striking). He said he would take troops out of Afghanistan and he hasn’t. They are still there (again, I’m glad). But he’s given exit dates to our enemies that serve no good purpose except to help them strategize against us. His Vice President, Joe Biden, said during the debate that troops would be out in 2014, even as the Obama State Department is negotiating with the Afghan government for our troops to remain longer. Quite simply, the man cannot be trusted with the protection of this nation, to say nothing of his treatment of our only historical ally in the Mideast, Israel.
Romney’s response to this debate question may have been the best two minutes of his entire campaign.
Then there’s the economy. Oh yes, the economy. And yes, the President entered office in tough times, but his policies have furthered our recession, not stopped it. He claims to have lowered taxes on middle class families eighteen times. That’s a blatant lie. Sometimes taxes haven’t been raised quite as much as they would have been. This does not qualify as a tax cut. He’s willing to see the Bush era tax cuts expire even in a weak economy, which is just stupid. His stimulus package did nothing to help the economy, except put some cash in the coffers of green cronies whose environmental businesses went bankrupt (see Solyndra, A123, Fister, et al). He took the unprecedented step of bailing out General Motors, which was in reality a gift to the unions which so eagerly support him. There are over eleven million more people on food stamps in this country than there were when he took office. Obama claims to have created five million jobs, but that number doesn’t include all of the jobs which have been lost. Overall, he’s still in the negative. In 2008, candidate Obama promised to lower unemployment to 5.4% and cut the deficit in half. Four years later unemployment is at 7.8%, which is itself an incredibly suspect number, and the debt has increased by over sixty percent to over 16 trillion dollars! In short, the Obama presidency is an economic disaster, and it should cause great concern to consider what we might look like four years from now should Obama be re-elected.
These are reasons why I will vote for Mitt Romney this year. Obama is just that bad, his policies that dangerous. As for Romney, he wants to lower taxes across the board. Rather than deliver guarded rhetoric about protecting big business, he has focused much attention on helping small businesses by lowering their tax rate and getting rid of over-regulation. He is a proven job creator as a businessman and a proven budget balancer as a governor. He is making energy independence a priority in his plans, because in addition to it being right, he knows it will create jobs in this country.
Plus, and this is a big one to me, he had the guts (yes, the guts), say that Detroit should be allowed to go through a managed bankruptcy, protecting pensions, so that they could come out stronger, rather than just give them a bailout, now with lots of government strings. And this says nothing of the fact that Obama’s GM takeover closed over a third of their car dealerships (killing jobs in the process). It takes guts for a guy from Michigan to write that, as he did in 2008. I respect that.
Overall, when comparing Mitt Romney to Barack Obama as to who would be a better President, it’s really no contest. President Obama has had four years, including two with a supermajority in Congress, and forced Obamacare down the throats of Americans, which, if not repealed and replaced, will kill more American businesses, and with it jobs, all the while taking away our freedoms.
He. Must. Be. Stopped.
Mitt Romney is a better choice. Not a perfect choice, but a much better choice. As believers we must remember that we are not choosing a national pastor. We’re choosing a President. And while Romney doesn’t know Christ, and while as Christians we must continue to call Mormonism what it is (a cult that will lead those in its web away from the saving gospel of Christ and straight to hell), he does have a basic sense of right and wrong that Obama has not exhibited in the last four years, in his political career before that, or in his plans for his next four years. Therefore, I’ve reconciled myself to do what my conscience will allow me to do, vote for Romney and pray that the one true God of biblical Christianity will turn his heart as it relates the Lord Jesus, the authority of Scripture, and to a real pro-life position.
Romney for President.
This is what we read in Acts 12:21-24:
On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. The people kept crying out, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.
Oddly, I find these verses very comforting on a day like today. There is suffering all around the world. Our country is in shambles and it’s getting worse. Babies are killed while in the womb by the millions every year, and Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, even counsels clients on aborting their children because they don’t want a certain gender. Christians with conviction stand up for what God says about marriage, about sexuality, and other professing Christians (the emphasis on “professing”) demonize them. And then I read these verses.
I’m not delighting in the punishment that will be meted out on those who do not give God the glory, but I do rejoice in the sovereignty of God, because His sovereignty knows no bounds. It’s not restricted by Herod, or President Obama, or by you or by me. And praise God for that! That no matter what the word of the Lord will continue to grow and be multiplied. And eventually Jesus Christ will return and take care of everything. To God be the glory! Great things He hath done, is doing, and will continue to do forever and ever. Amen.
We read this in Acts 10:34-35:
Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.
Two things I want to point out about these wonderful words:
- God is not one to show partiality. I recently heard about a small town pastor who resigned from his church. I, being a pastor looking for a church, was curious as to the reason why, and I found out that one of the reasons for his departure was his desire to partner his church with missions which included African-American believers. This is reprehensible on its face, but even more so because the church sits in the middle of a very small town which is a mission field which includes a significant percentage, perhaps a majority, of African-Americans.The truth of the gospel might be black and white, but the gospel itself isn’t reserved for black or white. Racism and prejudice is repugnant in the sight of God, and woe to those to hold onto that dreadful sin and call Jesus “Lord.” He came not just to Jews, but to Gentiles also. God is not one to show partiality, and if you claim to be His you shouldn’t either.
- The second half of Peter’s statement flies in the face of easy believism. Quite simply you are not welcome to Jesus if you do not fear Him and do what is right. This is not righteousness on our merit. This is not salvation according to our works. But it is saying that the one who is welcome to Him (i.e., the one who has been made alive by God and has been granted the gifts of repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ) is the one who fears God and does what He says.Don’t think you can be your own lord and do whatever you want to do and, at the end of the day, or rather on that great day of the Lord, cite your belief in Jesus. He knows better. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus than to trust in obey.
You remember the account of Philip and the Ethopian eunuch in Acts 8? I encourage you to read it but want to quickly point out verse 36, which we find after Philip had preached Jesus to him:
As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?”
Baptism does not save, but the pattern of baptism by immersion after a confession of faith is well-established in the New Testament, and faith is certainly implied in the text in this case. For one, the eunuch was already on the precipice of faith, his heart stirred by the passage he had been reading in Isaiah, wanting to know He whom Isaiah spoke of. Also, his act of obedience that followed the faith.
In my thirty-five years of life I have heard of several reasons why people aren’t baptized: Senior ladies who would be embarrassed about the way their hair would look… people afraid of the water… all sorts of reasons. But notice that the Ethiopian eunuch didn’t hesitate to follow through with what his heart believed. He trusted in Jesus Christ and wanted to obey Him. He wanted to identify with him in believer’s baptism and so he did.
I write this to anyone professing Christ who has not followed through in obedience by being baptized by immersion. What’s holding you back? Fear? Embarrassment? Apathy? Or a view of baptism derived not from Scripture, but from traditions and/or philosophical arguments?
Whatever it is, I implore you to put away whatever is holding you back from complete surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ. You say you have repented and that you believe in the gospel. Follow through in that beautiful visible act of what Christ, the image of the invisible God, has done in you.
The first six verses of Acts 6 describe what many believers say were the first deacons:
Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.
I find the argument that these were the first deacons to be a good-intentioned and common example of eisegesis. Eisegesis is when someone reads something in a text, inserting a meaning that is not there, rather than exegesis, drawing out the meaning of the text that which is present in the text. We find the qualifications for deacon servants in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and find several references to people in churches who seem to have been official deacon servants within those churches, but I just am not buying that this is what these men were in Acts 6.
First of all, to assume these men were deacons based on a definition of deacons which came later is an anachronistic fallacy. You are taking something that came later and imposing it on an earlier event, assuming it was the same thing.
Second, the way the office of deacon is described in 1 Timothy it seems to indicate an official activity within a local body of believers that is ongoing; whereas the seven men of Acts 6 were chosen for a specific task. I would argue that they were, at best, an ad hoc committee designed to meet a specific need at a specific time.
Third, these were specifically to be men who were to be given authority to be “in charge of this task;” whereas the office of deacon is not vested any authority within in the church in the pastoral epistles. The word is literally servant. The very existence of the transliterated word deacon has, in my opinion, had a deleterious effect on the church, as it has caused much confusion as to what a deacon actually is. According to the Bible, a deacon is an official servant of the church. A servant. They an invaluable in the life of a church, but there is no inherent authority in the office.
Fourth, and related to that last thought, there were no women doing this. Paul would later write that women aren’t to teach of have authority over men (1 Tim 2:12), so again there is the idea that this specific choosing by the congregation was for these men to have authority in a certain area, authority they would need to wield over other men presumably. Women, then, would not be right for the task. Whereas, I believe there is a place for official women servants in the church in 1 Timothy 3, and I reject the “deacons’ wives” interpretation the King James Version left us with, but that’s an argument for another day.
The Bible does say these men were given this task so that the apostles wouldn’t have to “serve” tables, so in that sense, yes, these men would be serving. But I think if they were really deacons Luke would have made that much clearer, and I believe you are reading a lot into the text to make your case for deacons in Acts 6. Just my two cents.