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Lysa said: In the last 7 years, I'm sure you guys have noticed it to but instead of becoming a humbled nation crying out to God, the Christian's have chosen Republicanism as their hope. I do not think that we should believe that our hope is wrapped up in a "Republican" package. And I blame THAT on the leaders of the organized churches.
Amen to your insight. Amen. I think knowledge is power and your recognition of it is a solid reason to rejoice.
Sidewalk, I thank you for your service for the nation of USA. But I'd be much more thankful for you to be sacrificial lover like Jesus, to serve the kingdom with sermon on the mount living.
But...since your opinion seems to be popular among American Christians, may I petition you, point by point? Without strife? I understand what I'm urging. I understand it's gravity. It's insane. But it's the reign and rule of our King, Jesus, based on His actual teachings.
Sidewalk said: But to say I live by the sword is ludicrous. Living by the sword means using deadly force to get the things a person craves in life. Spare me, this does not apply.
I disagree. It does apply. Why? because the scriptures fit, not your perspective that 'a person craves in life' but instead scriptures fit your view that a sword is permissive, when defending self or country.
Matthew 26:52-53 "When Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?"
Jesus wanted Peter to have the sword, to fulfill scripture (Luke 22:36-37). But...as we read in Matt. 26:52-53, Jesus obviously didn't intend for Peter to swing it. Jesus spoke against it.
Sidewalk said: I would rather live like Elisha than stand in the shadows believing that whatever happens must be the will of God.
Okay. I like your example. But to assume I would 'stand in the shadows believing that whatever happens must be the will of God' is where I'd have to say NO to.
I believe in activism. Dr. MLKjr and Gandhi style though. We should STAND up for our beliefs and raise war with mindsets and injustices in the world.
I don't think it's sin to vote. I'm not anti-government. But the moment we assert our moral code over someone else's is the moment our is in jeopardy.
Greg Boyd has made some points that I'd like to repeat. If the church cares about life, why is it when a baby is born out of wedlock that the church doesn't have a lot of resources to nurture that life? If we care about marriages, why aren't we doing more to celebrate that and encourage the good marriages?
I think, we, as a church, need to rise up. Celebrate our uniqueness. 1 man, 1 woman shouldn't be viewed as a chore of a moral law obeyed and punished if it's not followed. Marriage should be the witness to the world that God loves the world.
If we had NO LAW, regardless of country, Christians, whom really follow Sermon on the Mount and Jesus' lifestyle, should be envied, IMHO. We had this joy, that is Christ. We don't need to steal because He meets our needs. We don't need to have sex early because He will provide our spouse or a way out. We don't need to inact revenge or protect ourselves because He owns a cattle on 1000 hills and is my cloud by day and fire by night.
P.S. I might not be totally organized. But I tried. I look forward to this discussion.
| 2015/1/25 17:32|
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Thank you, Ron- well said.
It is quite evident from the scriptures and the reading of history that the early church, along with the rest of the entire world, had no paradigm for a society living with elected leaders. No one in the bible ever voted.
A great tectonic shift in human governance hit with the publication of Lex Rex by (Christian) Samuel Rutherford. In this work he destroyed the notion of the divine right of kings to set law arbitrarily, and declared that Law is the real king. Western civilization with equal justice under law, private property, and personal freedom sprang from that brilliant interjection- Rutherford putting God's thinking as an overlay on human government.
I groan that so many think they are serving God by putting in an hour in a pew on Sunday, then living as an obscure minion the entire rest of the week!
| 2015/1/25 17:35||Profile|
| Re: Pursuing righteousness on behalf of the unrighteous|
LMH, rest assured that I have read many times the sermon on the mount and while it is not proper for me to boast, I can give you names and emails of persons you could contact to see whether my money and mouth are in the same place. I am determined as my hero Ezra, to study the law of God, to practice it, and to teach it. I have nothing better in my schedule to do.
The difference between offensive violence and defensive violence is purely the attitude of one's heart, but you must know that the two first rules of fighting are these: The aggressor sets the rules, and the defense needs overwhelming force. But in just watching the conflict it is hard to tell the difference. But when a righteous defense is successfully mounted, as soon as the aggressor is vanquished the fight is over. As in my example from Elisha's story, there was no need to kill the Syrians because the threat was passed and it was time for mercy and rebuilding.
History will long remember that following the defeats of Hitler and Japan in WWII the United States did not subdue and punish those countries but invested heavily in their reconstruction. I might be so bold as to suggest it was the lingerings of our Christian heritage that demanded that. I feel an obligation to the sacrifices of those who fought back then to work today toward electing leaders who might continue that kind of political virtue.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach on any people.
Still wondering what might have happened to Sodom if ten righteous had been found within her?
| 2015/1/25 18:01||Profile|
| Re: Pursuing righteousness on behalf of the unrighteous.|
| 2015/1/25 18:05||Profile|
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InTheLight (Ron) wrote: Because of these truths some Christians then think that political involvement is a waste of time. I would disagree that it is a waste.
InTheLight (Ron) wrote: To ignore our responsibility to morally instruct people based on the authority of the Bible simply because it is labeled "politics", is negligence.
I quoted both of these back to back because...I believe the battle isn't won with law. As Paul puts it, "No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise[d] from God, not from people." (Rom 2:29; NLT)
"For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are." (Rom. 3:20; NLT)
And all throughout the Letter to the Romans Paul makes the case of faith and grace. That freedom and grace is better than law.
I propose to you, Christian laws enforced by the government don't make Christians. It's the person of Jesus that does.
The moment we believe that law, within the government, or for that matter ANY law, could convert someone, is the moment we go back to the Old Covenant. But...I implore you, that there is a better way. That way of living your life like Christ and telling others of the glorious riches found in Him.
Sidewalk (Tom C.) wrote: I groan that so many think they are serving God by putting in an hour in a pew on Sunday, then living as an obscure minion the entire rest of the week!
I may not agree with your other points but this point I wholeheartedly agree. We as a Church should walk as a bride of Christ 24/7, not only when it's convenient.
Sidewalk (Tom C.) wrote: The difference between offensive violence and defensive violence is purely the attitude of one's heart
To repeat my other point, Jesus wouldn't agree with your point according to Matthew 26:52-53. Peter used the sword as a defensive. The scripture applies to defensive 'violence' and how we, as believers, are to respond.
Sidewalk (Tom C.) wrote: History will long remember that following the defeats of Hitler and Japan in WWII the United States did not subdue and punish those countries but invested heavily in their reconstruction.
History. Hmm. Sounds like your cares and concerns are for this world. The only history that matters is the history that God writes. The Lambs book of life and the other books that He records. You may say that the Allies against Hitler and Japan were 'God writing history' but...Jesus showed us to NOT call fire down from heaven. Or...to apply this to even the situation of WWII....
And he sent messengers before his face: and going, they entered into a city of the Samaritans, to prepare for him. And they received him not, because his face was of one going to Jerusalem. And when his disciples, James and John, had seen this, they said: Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them? And turning, he rebuked them, saying: you know not of what spirit you are. The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save. And they went into another town.
The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save.
To repeat, and to hopefully emphasize.
The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save.
I implore you brethren. Cast aside the weapons (laws and guns) of this world. And grab ahold to the all powerful King and Ruler of our hearts. He and He alone can true a heart of stone into flesh. He and He alone can forgive the impending destruction that the sinners of this world are sowing. Let's look to the King, act like the son's of the King, and maybe one day we will reign like Him.
| 2015/1/26 11:57|
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As usual, love soaks our discussion as it should.
I lovingly agree to disagree in part with my brother, Sidewalk, about political involvement. I see the strength of his arguments and his dedication to the truth of the gospel. So, to that extent, I lovingly refuse to disagree but to rather agree with his heart for Christ.
My point in the post was less about political involvement and more about the church's surrender of biblical marriage on its own turf. About 11 years ago I prepared an outline of what I planned to write as a legal article and Christian argument about the inevitability of our courts coming to recognize homosexual marriage. That outline never developed into an article, but I have gone back to it a few times to simply nod on each point that the courts consistently and nearly unanimously have checked off as reasons for their decisions. This was never not going to happen.
Meanwhile, the rhetoric of opposition from Christians was mainly political rather than Constitutional. Let me say that again. Christian rhetoric opposing gay marriage has almost always been political rather than Constitutional. And, frankly, it has been weak because as "equal rights" jurisprudence has developed, no one who understands the law ever seriously believed that the courts would not eventually come to the point where they are today.
In light of weak rhetoric at a table (political) that we never had a chance at in the first place, the rank and file "conservative Christian" voter simply amen-ed the rhetoric as if preaching to the choir was enough to win the legal fight. And, when the whole thing began to unravel in the courts, the reaction was shock, then defiance and anger, and we have now come to what is more or less the acceptance stage.
We never grieved, though. The church has never grieved itself about its own sinful refusal to heed the Word of God about marriage. We allowed political and legal proxies do our fighting for us in what has always and only been (truthfully) a spiritual battle. If we were unwilling to look at ourselves as the perpetrators and accomplices of a low view of marriage in society generally, are we any more likely to view ourselves as culpable now that the proxies have failed to carry the day? No, we're not.
Here's what you can expect. Pouting, resignation and accommodation. Pouting that the world has done this without taking responsibility. Then, resignation that this is just the way things are. Then, accommodation. This has begun in many pockets. The church will ultimately redefine marriage to meet the culture's definition of it, and we will sanctify it as "illumination".
My challenge in the post is simply this: confess and repent. Confess our sin about marriage. Confess our sins in our marriages and our divorces and our remarriages. Confess our full on refusal to see what marriage really is from the perspective of Scripture, and our marring of the image of God that He intended to be shown to the world through the marital bond. Ask God to forgive us. Plead with Him to speak to the church about how to go forward in obedience to what has already been revealed in the pages of Scripture. This will require real revival in the hearts of men, women and young people too. Refuse to continue our sin. Refuse to acknowledge the new legal paramaters of marriage and refuse to allow any authority or influence besides Scripture and the local church to inform us of what marriage is and is not. This has far reaching implications.
May I give an example of this? I practice law. I do divorces. If a person comes to me about divorce, I find out what their religious beliefs are. I ask probing questions about their lifestyles to determine if they are living for Christ. If they do and if they maintain that their spouse does, I do not do the divorce without insisting on counseling. Sometimes (rarely) this has worked and couples reconciled. Other times I lose the job and they get another lawyer. Yet, if I determine they have a false profession by their lifestyle or no profession of faith in Christ, I will proceed based on my own understanding that if both are unbelievers or only one is, and either of them refuses to remain with the spouse, the unbeliever is not to be judged (as an outsider to the faith anyway) and the believer is not under bondage if the unbelieving spouse leaves. If the spouse who sees me is a believer and the "other side" is an unbelieving spouse, we walk through the reasons for it; most of the time, there is an unfaithful spouse on the other side, sadly. Not always. Sometimes it is a question of the well being of the children of the couple.
I admit imperfect judgment about these things.
But, my point in elaborating on that is that there IS a biblically acceptable reason for divorce. I can refuse who I do not want to represent for these reasons, and have.
Yet, if gay marriage is made legal and a homosexual spouse approaches me to represent him/her in a divorce, I will not. WHY NOT?! (I know you wonder that!) Because they are not married in the first place before God. If I represent anyone in a homosexual divorce, I approve the notion of a marriage in the first place. The law may recognize it. God does not. You can't divorce what was never married.
Two obvious opposing responses to that: 1. Divorcing would potentially put them in a position of repentance before remarrying as a homosexual. Perhaps, but "marriage" or no, they are promiscuous in any event. Marriage nor marriage dissolution will not keep them from sexual relationships with same-sex or opposite-sex partners not married to them. If they can repent at all, it is no barrier to divorce one whose eyes have been opened to the truth; the homosexual who converts while "married" can simply go through the legal motions for divorce. This will be very rare, perhaps non-existent. 2. You are violating their civil rights. And, I say, so be it. Their civil rights never trump the commandment of God.
This is a question I'm prepared to deal with. But, watch and see whether the culture at large will not jump on someone who doesn't toe the line of the law on it when Christians follow the kind of thing I've outlined. It will be short-lived, though, because not many will resist. It stands to present as a temporary curiosity rather than a real, deep Holy Ghost laying down of our lives to stand on the Word of God.
We are all going to have to deal with this issue sooner or later. Having surrendered so much truth to conventionality of society and culture, we have not much left to stand on unless we repent.
| 2015/1/26 12:54||Profile|
| Re: Nothing Left To Do But Refuse To Obey|
In looking at this homosexual issue, coupled with the rights of people to refuse to accommodate them, my mind goes back to the abortion issue.
We all know the long and hard fight many have engaged in hoping to limit, outlaw this awful procedure in our land. As one who has worked in the pro-life ministry for 15 years I learned a few things. One - this fight will never be won in the courts or in the legislature. If one looks at the stats for those who have abortions you will find a lot of religious folks having them, even people who at one time were adamantly against it. (Stats won't tell you that - you have to work where the rubber meets the road to learn about this.)
The issue is sin. That is all. For many it includes immorality, others abandonment or refusal by the dads to accept the responsibility to his wife. Simple. If the people who call themselves Christians would repent of ALL sin, there would be much fewer abortions - so few it would not be a profitable business.
How many pastors are willing to cleanse their 'temple' of all immorality? Might find himself being excommunicated?? or at least his secretary...
The problem and the solution resides in the heart of man and his willingness to repent and forsake sin. Laws/legislation can never succeed in accomplishing this.
Having said all this how do I regard the political activism of the pro-life lobby? It may work to keep this issue alive in the minds of people given to relativism...dunno. Or, at least it may shine a light onto an issue that will trigger the conscience of an person who does not know the LORD.
In any case, I see the homosexual issue as one that is characterized by what Paul describes in Romans 1:18-32:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
I see no difference between the homosexual issue and the abortion issue.
In brief, these are people who have spurned the call of God on their lives so he gave them over to perversion. Now one can see, understand the status of churches who embrace this perversion - they are not Jesus' church. In my mind I see the modern, popular church hopeless. Wish I would be wrong...
My understanding, perspective.
| 2015/1/26 13:19||Profile|
Phoenix, Arizona USA
| Re: |
I quoted both of these back to back because...I believe the battle isn't won with law.
LMH, I think we can all agree that the battle is not won with moral legislation and I stated that that is true in my first post in this thread if you care to reread it.
However, this does not mean that there is no responsibility on our part concerning instructing others from the Bible, even in the "political" arena. The Gospel is not communicated in a political and cultural vacuum.
| 2015/1/26 18:44||Profile|
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Dolfan, you are going to be so sued when you refuse to help homosexuals get their divorces! Just as you so eloquenly explained the progression of the law, and just as cake decorators, private venue owners, and soon preachers will be forced to violate conscience to give these people what they demand, can Christian lawyers escape?
Homosexuality and abortion are abominations causing desolation, no wonder they are the sins on steroids, the darlings of Satan's master plan.
LoveMeekHope, please re-read my point on the events surrounding the response of the United States following WWII with Germany and Japan. The point had nothing to do with caring about the world, but rather the unique difference in the way a nation rooted in Christian values was able to make decisions of mercy and love for its now vanquished enemies. Hitherto, and despite the plea from some for scorched earth, it had always been common for the victor in war to utterly annihilate the hated loser. My point was simply that because of our Christian traditions we did not do that. We could have, we chose mercy instead.
Admittedly, those values are seriously eroded today- we don't even remember how to win a war in the first place!
As to other points and Peter's sword, I will refrain from controversial argument. I do agree that Jesus needed to nip in the bud any notion held by Peter or the other disciples that they were about to embark on a military or governmental mission to proclaim the gospel. It was not a sword based endeavor.
| 2015/1/27 1:04||Profile|
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There are many 'branches' of these issues I could go down (based on your responses) but I hope by choosing this one branch it can all bring unity.
ginnyrose (Sandra) wrote: The issue is sin. That is all.
ginnyrose (Sandra) wrote: The problem and the solution resides in the heart of man and his willingness to repent and forsake sin. Laws/legislation can never succeed in accomplishing this.
Dolfan (Tim) said: Confess our sins in our marriages and our divorces and our remarriages. Confess our full on refusal to see what marriage really is from the perspective of Scripture, and our marring of the image of God that He intended to be shown to the world through the marital bond. Ask God to forgive us. Plead with Him to speak to the church about how to go forward in obedience to what has already been revealed in the pages of Scripture. This will require real revival in the hearts of men, women and young people too.
These three quotes, to me, sums up the entire issue and it's solution. We, as believers, should lead the way. In our own hearts and lives. I try. I struggle. I fail. But I still strive for God's better way. I ask for repentance when I screw up. Sometimes things bubble up in me that I never thought were there. I believe legislation is utterly powerless in 'training', in addition how can we 'train' the unbelievers when we can't even keep the church clean by the blood of the lamb (priests molesting children, pastors cheating on their spouses, swindlers, etc). May God cleanse us of our sin. Let the Church shine as a great example. Let the unbelievers turn away from their wicked ways and obtain a new heart from the Lord.
| 2015/1/27 12:19|