Friday, June 24, 2011

God Isn't Divided, Why Are His Spokesmen?

In the debate about same-sex marriage, I am constantly amazed by the number of articles I read about clergy who promote it. On Monday, for instance, another article appeared in the Bangor Daily News with the title, "Some Methodist Clergy Defy Ban on Gay Marriage." The opening line read,
"A growing number of pastors in the United Methodist Church say they are no longer willing to obey a church rule that prohibits them from officiating at same-sex marriages, despite the potential threat of being disciplined or dismissed from the church."
Even if they are willing to defy their denomination, my question is, why are they willing to defy God?

The final line of the article reads,
"Hundreds of pastors from areas including Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and the northeastern New England states have signed statements in recent weeks asserting their willingness to defy the rule."
It is obvious from reading the many articles that have appeared that there are many clergy on both sides of the "homosexual Rights" movement, including the debate about same-sex marriage.

The liberal media love to quote favorably those clergy who promote same-sex marriage, while they cast doubt on those clergy who stick with the traditional viewpoint. But can both sides truly be speaking for God? If both sides are representing God's viewpoint, God must be awfully confused and not all-knowing and all-wise as we believe.

No! The truth is, God has spoken, and He has spoken clearly through His word. God's word is the Bible, the source document for our Christian faith. Those who proclaim the Bible speak for God. Those who deny the clear teaching of the Bible speak for themselves.

In Jeremiah 23:16, God said, "They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord." God is warning the Israelites not to listen to those false prophets who proclaim their own ideas. They are liars if they claim to speak for Him. Only those who proclaim the revelation of God are legitimate spokesmen.

The same warning is valid for us today. Don't listen to false prophets who proclaim their own human reasoning rather than the truth of God's word. We should never consider them spokesmen for God any more than we would consider someone a spokesman for Islam who denied the Koran. Could we even consider them Muslim if they denied the Koran? Can we even consider those Christian who deny the Bible? Yet they are precisely the ones the liberal media go to for the Christian position. I deny they can possibly speak for God.

God's word is clear. God created men and women with uniquely different bodies, which allows sexual reproduction, and with different temperaments, which allows them to fulfill their different roles as fathers and mothers. God Himself brought that first man and woman together and joined them in the first marriage.

Adam didn't need just a companion, or God could have given him a dog. Adam didn't need just an economic partner, or God could have given him another man. But in order for them to obey God's command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, Adam needed a woman. This is why the first marriage was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

God further stated His purpose for marriage in Malachi 2:15, "But did He not make them one. . .and why one? He seeks godly offspring." Obviously, this refers back to the creation account of Adam and Eve, and by implication, to us as well. And the question asked is the very one we are debating today. Why is there marriage? The answer is simple. God wants to see the birth and nurture of godly offspring. This takes a father and a mother. God's commentary of that first marriage is found in Genesis 2:24, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."

God intended marriage to be a safe place where a loving couple, a man and a woman, could bear and raise children. This has provided the definition of marriage from the beginning, and remains the definition today. Any other arrangement is not marriage - not according to God. Anyone, including any clergy, who says otherwise is speaking on their own behalf, not God's, and he is doing so in clear defiance of the word of God. They are not the voice of God. They do not speak for God. They are false prophets and shouldn't be listened to.

Monday, June 20, 2011

There's No Adult Conversations With Political Correctness

When I was a kid, when someone was losing and argument he would often resort to name calling and intimidation. It usually worked when logic wasn't on your side because few people could stand up under verbal intimidation. In logic, this is called an ad hominum argument, one that doesn't rebut the issue but attacks the person making the issue. It is effective.

That tactic is common nowadays. Anyone who would stray from the politically correct line is demonized. More and more, those attacked simply remain quiet or go along. As a result, columnist, John Hawkins has said,
"It has become almost impossible to have adult conversations about certain subjects. The moment you try to do so, legions of grievance mongers, ideologues, and bottom feeders start belting out scripted responses that have nothing to do with the topic at hand and everything to do with what they imagine your motivation to be and how ugly, stupid, and flawed they think you are as a human being."

Evan Hurst, of the homosexual advocacy group Truth Wins Out, is a good example. Hurst says of those who oppose same-sex marriage,
"They are certainly entitled to cling to backwoods, uneducated, reality-rejecting views. . . But their 'religious freedom' doesn't call for the rest of us to pretend their views aren't disgusting and hateful."
Wow! And we're called homophobes? It sounds more like he's a heterophobe. So the schoolhouse taunts of, "You Dummy," turn into taunts of "bigot, hatemonger, and homophobe."

Anyone opposing same-sex marriage, or the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), or Don't Ask, Don't Tell, is demonized. This could explain why the opinion polls show a majority of people now favor same-sex marriage; yet, every time it comes up for a vote and people can express their view in the privacy of a voting booth, it loses. Nobody wants to reveal their political uncorrectness out-loud and face that kind of scorn.

That's why, we are told, certain topics are off limits, because they show us to be bigoted and brain dead. For instance, we can never talk about what homosexuals actually do, or whether homosexuality is an unhealthy lifestyle. We can never talk about the reason God created marriage between one man and one woman. We can never talk about how being pro same-sex marriage is incompatible with being a Biblical Christian. We can never talk about what open homosexuals in the military will do to combat readiness. That would be hateful to talk about,we are told. Those issues must be avoided.

Those who do speak are made to pay. Anyone who follows the news has heard the stories. Olympic Gold Medal gymnast Peter Vidmir was pressured to resign as chief of mission for the 2012 Olympic Team because he publically supported California's Proposition 8. Under pressure, Atlanta law firm King & Spalding pulled out of the case representing the U.S. House of Representatives defending DOMA. Pro athletes and comedians are made to grovel publically over gay slurs. Military officers have had their careers ended because they publically opposed the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The list goes on and on.

Quoting Richard Barnes of the New York Catholic Conference,
"We are unjustly called 'haters' and 'bigots' by those who have carefully framed their advocacy strategy. The entire campaign to enact same-sex marriage is conducted under a banner of acceptance. . . Yet, behind that banner of tolerance is another campaign - of intimidation, threats and ugliness."

Because of this, too many Christians have backed off, preferring to accommodate and appease those who would destroy the moral fabric of our country. They have acquiesced to the political corrctness forced on them by the liberal elite.

But we don't have to. Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and co founder of the National Organization for Marriage, says,
"The power to intimidate people, to make them fear they'll be called a bigot or be denied opportunities for jobs, only works if people allow themselves to be bullied."

Proverbs 28:1 says,
"The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion."
We stand for truth. We should not be ashamed of it. But in doing so, we must also obey the command from Jesus in Matthew 5:44,
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."
We must always speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

It is not the Christian who is a homophobe or a hate monger, not if he is a genuine Christian. Real love doesn't look the other way when someone is about to hurt himself. Real love desires the best for the other person.

We may not win every argument, but we need to stay part of the conversation. Why can't we return to civility and discuss issues as adults?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Leaving Our National Debt to Our Grandkids

In my writing, I've always tried to stay away from politics considering myself, as a pastor, more qualified to address moral issues. But House Speaker John Boehner argued that the debt crisis our country faces is indeed a moral problem. It got me thinking.

In Proverbs 13:22, Solomon writes, "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children." If that is true, what does it imply about the man who doesn't leave his descendants anything? Obviously, he's not a good man. Let's take that one step further. What would this imply about the man who, instead of leaving his grandchildren an inheritance, leaves them a whole slew of debt - more debt than they could ever repay? That man must be downright evil.

But isn't that exactly what we are doing as a country? We've once again reached our legal debt limit at over $14.3 trillion, and the battle rages to raise the limit to accommodate another $1.65 trillion deficit this year with trillion dollar deficits predicted every year into the future. I can't even get my mind around numbers that big.

What I can understand is when our National Debt is divided by the number of citizens. Now I can see my share. By the way, that share is $46,224.58 for every citizen. That is how much of the National Debt my six year-old son owes, and my twelve year-old son owes, and my fifteen year-old daughter owes. Don't forget about my wife and I, we each owe a share as well. My family share is well over $230,000, and it only keeps going up.

That makes me pretty nervous. I don't make very much as a poor preacher. I will never be able to pay back my family's share, not this side of the grave. All that debt will be transferred to my children and grandchildren. That is immoral. As a country, we are willing to do it to our grand kids so we can have the benefit of more government than we can afford.

Everyone seems to know we can't keep on going on this way, but few seem to want it changed. Yes, we all want the benefits of cheap atomic power, but don't put the reactor in my backyard. Yes, we want the budget cut, but not if it involves cutting any of my benefits. But, don't worry. Our grand kids can figure it all out.

President Obama formed the National Commission of Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to study the issue, but both he and congress ignored their recommendations. Yet the commission did bring attention to the crisis. Erskine Bowles, chairman of the commission and former Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, told congress in March,
"I'm really concerned. I think we face the most predictable economic crisis in history. . . The fiscal path we are on today is simply not sustainable. This debt and these deficits that we are incurring on an annual basis are like a cancer, and they are truly going to destroy this country from within unless we have the common sense to do something about it."

That's just the problem. Quoting Tim Wildman of the American Family Association,
"Liberal politicians are absolute tax and spend addicts. They cannot control themselves. They are checked only by conservatives, and when there are not enough conservatives to stop them, they act like children in a candy store with no adult around."

Following Obama's State of the Union Address in January, the liberal Washington Post wrote,
"The White House may have decided that debt reduction is so tough it has to await what officials, speaking not for attribution, have termed 'a forcing event.'"
Who knows what that could be, but it sounds like a financial meltdown.

Tim Wildman further states,
"It could be that a lot of liberal politicians know that what Erskine Bowles is saying is true. But these politicians figure that they are not going to be around anyway when America's financial system comes tumbling down so why go through the pain of telling people they can't have what they've always had, compliments of the American taxpayer."
That is dereliction of duty. That is immoral. We must stop voting for the very ones who got us into this mess.