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All Posts Matter: Don’t Get Distracted

My first podcast (S1E1: Racism,Schmacism) is barely a week old and here we are with TWO more high profile incidents involving black folks and white folks in the US.

Racism and prejudice have, at their heart, a denial of the Imago Dei. That makes it (moreso than the very sanitized language ‘sin of partiality’) a Leviticus 19:18 issue.

Let’s bring you up to date on our three heavy hitters (and yes, there are at least three more I could bring up):

  • Christopher Cooper is a black man who likes birdwatching. He’s on the state board of directors for the NY Audobon Soceity. He was in one area of Central Park (The Bramble) bird watching. That’s it.
  • Amy Cooper (no relation) was walking her dog in the same area – off -leash (against the multiple posted signs in the park).
  • Christopher asked her to put her dog on a leash.
  • Amy, not happy about being asked to follow the rules, decided to use the fear of a black man threat and tell him that she was going to “call the police and tell them an African-American man is threatening me!”
  • Christopher told her do what you need to do and I will as well (as he begins recording the exchange).
  • After telling him to stop recording her (which he ignores), she immediately goes to the fake sympathy voice talking to the operator. It is downright demonic to watch her play the poor white girl in distress from a savage negro card.
  • Christopher carries dog treats with him (because sometimes dog owners don’t immediately like putting their dogs on a leash, but will do so when the dog goes for food) and took it out his pocket – at which point Amy puts the dog on a leash and leaves. Neither are there when the police arrive.
  • Christopher posts the video to his Facebook page.

As the video quickly made its’ rounds on social media, two men who’d walked her dog before recognized and identified her (you can read their account here). Amy previously worked as the Vice President in charge of investment solutions at Franklin-Templeton. In the past 48 hours, she’s been identified, put on administrative leave and then fired from her job and has had her life fall apart, see her face show up on multiple media outlets and has earned the nickname #centralparkkaren (with “Karen” being the current slang for an entitled white woman). Her trash-level apology (no mention of what she’s apologizing for) was given while she was on leave, but was a little too late – investors were threatening to pull their money from the investment giant (currently trading at 18.96 a share as I type this). The company fired her immediately and announced it on Twitter, stating that they had no place for racism in their organization. In addition, the rescue organization that she’d adopted the dog from took the dog back, as she was also mishandling it in the video. The only good news she’s had so far is that the police have declined to charge her with anything (though they should). Her weaponizing of Mr. Cooper’s ethnicity along with her birth-of-a-nation-esque cries for help were done to elicit a harsh and immediate response from the police, much like her ancestors did to men like Emmitt Till.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, MN, George Floyd was arrested for attempted forgery. Four videos are available online; the first shows the police pull him over and have what looks to be a fake struggle with him (his legs aren’t moving around and the police are moving and jerking him around a bit to handcuff him) to get him out of his car. The next, is the police walking him over to a wall to sit and the third is the police coming back over to him and lifting him up. In every video, he is cooperative and non-combative (the police already began circulating the lie that he was resisting arrest, even though the video shows differently).

The last video shows one of the officers with his knee on Floyd’s neck. His knee was there for eight minutes. Floyd became unresponsive after 4 minutes or so with his last words echoing Eric Garner’s (“I can’t breathe!”) and calling out to his mother for help. Floyd died during part of the video that captured the incident and was officially pronounced dead a few minutes later by EMTs. The officers in question (the three restraining him and the one standing around making jokes) have been fired. Charges are undoubtedly on the way.

In February, when Ahmaud was killed, his mother was told he was killed while in the process of breaking into a home by the home owner.

Once the video came out, this was shown to be a lie.

The story then became that he was a suspect in a string of break-ins and he was pursued and killed in self-defense.

The video showed this to be a lie AND the police said there’d been no reports of burglaries in the area for 2 months (and none of the descriptions matched Ahmaud).

Next, video of Ahmaud visiting the property multiple times was shown with the intention of trying to make it look like he’d been planning to steal something. THEN the homeowner came forward and said DOZENS of people (white, black and other) had stopped through the property before and he had no problem with it. He also condemned the McMichael.

THEN video of Ahmaud in a 2017 police stop was brought out….because they had to keep trying to make it look like he somehow deserved to be murdered.

THEN the entire story of the McMichaels and the guy who recorded it came out. They’d been chasing him and trying to box him in for FOUR minutes before they finally cornered him.

The range of reasons for them (the McMichaels) choosing to not go after any of the other people who’d stopped through the property previously is a pretty short list. And they never chased any white people off the property.

Greg McMichaels’ original police reports used all the standard “he fit the description” and “I feared for my life” excuses that have become standard fare on this topic. Of course, all of his ties to the local prosecutors came out and it became a little more obvious why this case was swept under the rug.

I’m glad the video came out. The lawyer of the guy who recorded it made a good mistake by releasing it. I’m not surprised at it (most black folks aren’t….we’ve seen this story before).

My hope is now that they appropriately charge all of the parties involved, censure or fire the prosecutors and provide some sense of justice in this life for Ahmaud’s family.

Proverbs 25:15
When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.
Deuteronomy 19:16-20
If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil person from your midst. And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you.

When folks ignore/dismiss calls for justice in this life and default back to “we’ll never get perfect justice in this life” (as though we are not commanded to do justice and deal justly), what I and others hear is folks making unbiblical, anti-human excuses for injustice. Some of those same people are quick to point out Romans 13 gives the government the power of the sword in order to uphold justice and punish evil. This is part and parcel of Americanism and of an outward false piety and spiritualism, but foreign to the Bible. It is evil. Jesus would condemn you rightly as a Pharisee (Matthew 23:23). Paul would condemn you (Ephesians 4:25). James would condemn you (James 2:8-11, 4:1-4, 5:1-6). John would’ve condemned you (1 John 3:4-15).

I’ll say it again for the folks in the back – the way we (the Body of Christ) defeat this thing is Acts 6. I said it on episode 1 of my podcast and I’ll say it here:

“Oftentimes, folks will use ‘cultural marxism’ and/or ‘wokeism’ and accusations of believing ‘critical race theory’ or other throw-away terms to dismiss legitimate concerns and issues like these in the culture of the US. This is the common tactic of many in conservative political circles of the US, but not the practice of the Bible. Acts chapter 6 is a good example of this; concerns in other parts of the body of Christ were not ignored, downplayed, denied or dismissed. They were dealt with in a manner that built trust and unity.

As a side note, cultural marxists and subscribers to critical race theory do exist. But those accusations are tossed around too flippantly by people who want to avoid hard subjects. We will actually deal with them in a future podcast.

That said, being people of truth, believers should be the first ones out front to acknowledge the lingering effects of past institutional racism on different ethnicities in the United States at the present. For example, redlining (the systemic practice by the Federal Government and financial institutions of either refusing loans or overcharging customers with high interest rates, refusing services and arbitrarily raising prices based on ethnicity and skin color) happened. In fact, the Federal Government in the US made it policy with the establishment of the Federal Housing Administration in 1934. Denying it or blaming it on laziness, poor credit scores or some other conservative-media talking point is a dishonoring of the image of God in fellow believers whose families – TO THIS DAY – have been and were impacted by this. I say ‘to this day’ because the Civil Rights Act did not magically erase racist attitudes and actions – it just made folks have to conceal them – Bank of America just settled a redlining case as recently as 2013.”

and also:

“I believe that this is the pattern and the solution to dealing with the lingering effects of racism in the United States (and everywhere else for that matter). Believers have to acknowledge, disavow and actively work against those things in the country which reek of injustice. The larger culture may minimize, dismiss or make excuses for the sins of its’ collective past, but believers are not permitted to do so. Now when we handle things this way, it should be clear that the basis for doing so is the Imago Dei. Believers should be clear that the reason for doing so is because God is a God of truth – even when it is painful truth and goes against our cultural and political sacred cows. It’s not a difficult step to say “we are doing this because the gospel states….”.

TTM Podcast, S1E1 “Racism, Schmacism” – tcdc.me/ttmpodcast

A series of isolated incidents are no longer isolated. Falcon Heights, Minnesota (where Philando Castile was murdered by a jumpy, nervous and possibly racist officer) is only minutes away from downtown Minneapolis.

Yes, it’s no longer 1961. Yes, we do capture, arrest and prosecute folks for criminal actions based out of their racist attitudes. So a few of my friends on my timeline have concluded that American must not be racist because of these things.

Here’s the point you miss: if America did NOT have a problem with racism still existing, NONE of these issues would be happening.

What’s happening now is that people are getting CAUGHT. They are getting recorded, shared, tweeted and doxxed and outed on social media. THAT is the big difference. You think black men haven’t been kneed in the neck to death until Eric Garner ? Naw…it’s been happening. YOU may not have been aware of it. You think the excuses “I feared for my life”, “he fit the description” and “I’m going to tell them it was a black guy threatening me” are new and only happened since Obama got in office ? Talk to some older black folks. It’s not ‘marxism’ or any other foolishness. It’s BEEN happening. YOU are now aware of it because it can’t be ignored anymore thanks to social media.

There IS still a race problem in America. Has it gotten better ? Yes. Laws have been changed. More people are quick to call out racism when it comes up. There are plenty of white folks who GET IT and a larger number of them as of late are conservative theologically!!!! And it didn’t require them subscribing to CRT, intersectionalism or anything else other than understanding the Imago Dei and choosing to be Christians first rather than Americans.

The Acts 6 approach works. What doesn’t work is blame the victim, plausible excuses/deniability for racist behavior, smearing the victim’s name and whataboutism. Too many folks who are supposed to be Christian (especially, sadly, in reformed circles where we should know and think better) spend more time parroting these things (hint: they come from secular post-enlightenment, moral therapeutic deism America) and shut off all critical faculties. All this does (and has done) is build mistrust, drag down the name of Christ and make the general witness of anyone in the body of Christ question the faith and its’ genuineness.

“Y’all can’t even get white and black Christians together. Y’all can’t even deal with the issues we’re having…and you want to talk about my soul ? Chile, please.”

Even with this, I firmly believe (because I am a Calvinist) that the gospel and all of the Word of God, brought to bear heavily on this situation will work. Therefore, I work. I keep speaking up, I call out (Ephesians 5:11) and expose the wickedness of racism and as needed, name names of folks who constantly step in and defend it (you need to stop it). But most of all, I continue to push forward for a better solution than colorblind ideology or intersectionalism and critical race theory. I press for biblical solutions. And you should too. It will make some of you uncomfortable. You may have to call a relative out and call them to repent. You may lose a long friendship.

But we’re talking kingdom business.

These blogposts and long discussions on social media, bathed in scripture and prayer with the gospel and the Imago Dei as their basis for starting will yield fruit. An example of this ray of gospel hope happened earlier yesterday on my Facebook feed. I’ll leave you with a screenshot. Names and faces blurred or covered, except mine.

All Posts Matter: Expanded Thoughts Over 2.5 Years…

Originally posted October 12, 2017 on Twitter (back when we were only allowed 180 characters), my good friend Mike cut and pasted all 58 tweets  from that day into one document.  This is not just a ‘re-post’ – there’s a ton of new material added and it’s literally taken me two years to work through and write it out.

Back in early October of 2017 (almost two years ago), Lecrae dropped a brick cinderblock on the heads of quite a few folks with several interviews where he stated he was divorcing ‘white evangelicalism‘.  The October 12 article on the topic at Christianity Today gives a bit clearer insight into the issue. John Piper has a helpful (somewhat) reflection what Lecrae’s statement means as a whole to the evangelical movement in the US.  The original statement from Lecrae brought out a ton of angry denunciations in the comments sections from everyday folks (sadly, as expected). I’ve grown accustomed to seeing this level of anger whenever any black person who isn’t a Thomas Sowell follower brings up racism in culture, society and the church.

Some ‘white evangelicals’ are upset with Lecrae because the only ‘Christianity’ they’ve known is ‘white evangelicalism’ (we’ll give it a better name in a few). What Lecrae (and others) have been calling out is the fact that Christian expression in America has been shaped MORE by culture and cultural convenience than by scripture.

Some treat this as an ‘attack’ because they don’t recognize the influences of culture (good and bad) on their framework. By assuming your own cultural framework as the ‘default orthodoxy’, you may unintentionally present it as biblical truth when it is no more than cultural opinion.  The example that immediately came to mind as I typed this was the practice in the late 1800’s of having Native Americans take a ‘Christian name’ in the process of assimilation into the larger American culture (a practice which has resulted in interesting stories about multiple names in many Native families). Many members of Holiness churches in the United States have a ‘default orthodoxy’ that playing cards or women wearing pants go against scripture when scripture itself is silent on the issue (some older members are still offended when younger women come to church in pant suits). In the church we can sometimes see it expressed in music genre and style differences.

Not all cultural frameworks are bad. The Westminster Confession of Faith is a great document and faithfully represents the teachings of scripture. It was produced in a cultural framework borne out of the protestant reformation. As such, it had an understanding of the role of government different from past nation-states before it. American Presbyterians in 1747 saw the need to make adjustments to it (rightly) to reflect and comment on the society they were currently living in (which was moving away from being a monarchy). On the other hand, Jim Crow-era America wasn’t a good cultural framework; it assumed ‘whiteness’ to be orthodoxy and gave us false teachings like the ‘curse of Ham’ and warnings about the ‘errors of miscegenation’. These things shaped American culture (as a whole) and church culture (especially in conservative churches, regardless of denomination).

Secular Religious Conservativism (aka Cultural American Patriotic Churchianity) is a poor lens to view the world and one’s neighbors. At best, it comes across as uncaring, unloving, dismissive and unChristian. At worst, it comes off as racist, ethnically and culturally (and sometimes ethnically) idolatrous.

Secular Religious Conservativism is an interesting monster – Lecrae calls it ‘white evangelicalism’. It’s the default position that assumes that American cultural expressions, habits and norms are equivalent with Biblical mandates. It’s the position that assumes that 18th and 19th century hymns are God-glorifying, but theologically-sound gospel music is out of order for a church service, usually attacked via “the style of music is not appropriate” without giving an example beyond personal and cultural preference as to why. You can see multiple examples of it in Scot Aniol’s exchange with Shai Linne regarding Christian Hip Hop (a very respectful exchange by the way, so absolutely worth the read).

It’s no secret that American missionaries have, in the past, had the problem of bringing their assumptions about what ‘civilization’ should look like with them alongside of the gospel. Part of that culture and heritage may be bound up in things like a glorified (and largely fabricated) view of the South and the Confederacy (for example, check the Facebook comments on a post from Russell Moore on the topic of the Confederate Flag).

Liberals figured out this problem (sometimes called contextualization) a while ago, adjusted their speech and approach adequately in order to ‘speak the language’ of the people they wanted on their side.  As they listened, some genuinely (for non-political reasons) grew in empathy and compassion.  At the same time, liberal theology lined up (rightly) with the Civil Rights movement. Russell Moore’s historical analysis of how liberals won the day and the soul of the black community during the Jim Crow era into the Civil Rights Movement is documented in part here (check his references for more works on the topic). It is a good history lesson for both what came before and why we are where we are now (hint: it’s not ‘racial marxism’ or some other intellectually lazy excuse).

You cannot claim conservative theology and still treat your brothers and sisters with contempt. You will not believed (“if you really believed I was made in the image of God just like you, then why do you treat me as a sub-human ?”), people will call your hypocrisy a theological error and depart from you, believing that the rest of your supposedly “good theology” isn’t really that good or necessary in order for one to be a Christian because your ethics and praxis do not align with scripture. This was the error of conservatives in the US for centuries. The liberal church and liberal politicians exploited that for their personal gain. (1)

Some ‘white evangelicals’ wonder why black churches are typically more liberal, even when the black church is still mostly orthodox and conservative overall. The answer to that question is simple: during the Jim Crow-era, the majority of ‘conservative’ seminaries were holding to Jim Crow policies – if not on paper, then as general unwritten policy (for the purpose of plausible deniability). The very conservative (fundamentalist) Bob Jones University JUST (2000) reversed their stance on ‘interracial marriage’. That’s only 19 years ago (to their credit, they have publicly admitted they were wrong on this and their segregated past – see the link above). While you may find an occasional ‘blip’ on the radar (i.e. Southern Seminary with one black graduate in the 40’s), just about every ‘conservative’ seminary that held to inerrancy, the inspiration of scripture, Deity of Christ, Trinity, 5 Solas, etc…either did not admit blacks, or make it culturally and socially uncomfortable for them to be there.

“But wait! Our denomination/seminary didn’t have anything in writing with regard to Jim Crow!”

Perhaps so.  But as a matter of culture, conversations like these often happened (sometimes in print)….

“Some people are….uhmmm…. uncomfortable with you being here. We’ve had some complaints. You know how it is… things are different where they live and grew up…. we’re not saying anything is wrong with you, but maybe it would be a good idea for you to transfer to somewhere that’s a little more….friendly to your kind….we’ll give you full transfer credit…”

“While we were impressed with your academic credentials, we do not believe at this time you would be a good fit for our seminary.”

And as conservative, supposedly-bible-believing folks rejected or encouraged black folks to leave, liberal seminaries took them. Not only did they take them, but they fought against conservatives supporting segregation using conservative theological hermeneutics and arguments  – the same arguments used by abolitionists like William Wilberforce and Alexander McLeod.  That hypocrisy shamed many some of them out of their sinful habits and into repentance…..a bit late, but repentance nonetheless. Praise God for that.

We’ve heard the jokes about seminaries/cemeteries. Some of the older black folks recognized the difference in their pastors in the 40’s-60’s when they came back from these liberal seminaries, denying major tenets of the faith, but teaching a Christian moralism. In addition, the story of scripture was now being framed through culture and politics – liberation theology or the ‘social gospel’. The story of scripture was no longer centered on Christ as Savior, but on Christ as liberator from oppressive social systems. This approach acknowledged the humanity of those oppressed at the expense of other life-dependent biblical truths.

Crozer Theological Seminary produced Martin Luther King. King’s anthropology was biblical (he believed in the Imago Dei), but that fell right in line with liberation theology. King and others recognized the hypocrisy of their conservative counterparts by their denial of Lev. 19:18 and Gen. 1:26 in their practice. Unfortunately, in his seminary papers, King denied the Virgin Birth , Substitutionary Atonement (calling it ‘cosmic child abuse’), the Trinity, the Resurrection and more. There is no evidence he ever changed his mind on these views (apologies to all those who attended the MLK50 conference who thought otherwise).

As a result of these and other factors over the past century and a half, there has been a legacy of separation between black and white American Christians. That separation is social, cultural and theological; people grouped up with those who looked like them, believed like them or accepted them as equal human beings. Conservative whites who supported segregation (or didn’t speak out against it) were viewed as hypocrites; as a result, their theology in other areas was viewed as suspect. The so-called ‘liberals’ who treated black folks in accordance with scripture as full human beings were given a place at the table in black communities.

Thankfully, not all black churches went completely liberal. Quite a few stayed biblically faithful on the fundamentals of the faith, even though their neighbors down the road affirmed most of the same core doctrines but wouldn’t welcome them as brethren. The church I ‘grew up’ in was your average, biblically-solid, dispensational, inerrantist, independent baptist church. The founding pastor is a graduate of Captial Bible Seminary (one of the first if not the first black graduate) and studied under the late Charles Ryrie (at what was once Philadelphia College of the Bible). There were (and still are) many black churches in my home city of Baltimore that fit this description, despite their pastors having earned degrees from very liberal seminaries.

That brings us back to where Lecrae is now in his ‘divorce’ from ‘white evangelicalism’. The issues he mentions should be attended to. I remember when Curt Kennedy rapped at Piper’s church in 05 or 06, some of the feedback from ‘white evangelicals’ was harsh, unloving and downright anti-Christian. I remember Shai Linne chiming in on one of those conversations defending Curt and Christian Hip Hop as a whole (someone copied it in the second post on this link – the internet never forgets). Folks on the original post called it ungodly and worldly.  They did so because in their experience of ‘white evangelicalism’, there was no room for anything culturally other than hymns with an organ or piano. They equated their cultural expression of the faith to orthodoxy.

Yet, God was pleased, as Paul Washer stated, to use these men and others to go places Edwards and Whitfield could not go and reach. He still uses biblically sound CHH for this purpose today, even if folks choose not to see it or acknowledge it.

Even so, the same danger lies in wait for black Christians. Malcolm X once spoke on the difference between a wolf and a fox. The fox pretends to be friendly vs the wolf. Liberals – in general – have learned to listen to and sympathize with people of color in the US. Empathy and compassion won out. This gave liberals a foothold in black communities that remains to this day. Thus, when conservatives respond with Secular Religious Conservativism, they do more to continue the cycle of pushing people of color away from them. The bulk of people of color look at these folks and say “although we share some things in common, you do not and cannot represent me or a place I would be welcome because you speak against other core things I believe. You appear to care more about preserving the culture of the country than spreading the gospel and loving humans who look differently than you”.  An example of this can be seen in the comments section of Nathaniel Strickland’s blogpost (linked here) regarding John Piper’s comments about the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.

Even with empathy and compassion, when the gospel and the whole counsel of God is reduced to social justice and intersectionalism, you are left empty. There is no hope in Christ with intersectionalism, as the only thing it will produce is a new set of  oppressors and oppressed (usually, with both parties simply switching places in an attempt at ‘justice’).  There is no true God of scripture with intersetionalism, since its’ focus is horizontal relationships and not THE vertical relationship. There is no hope or lasting solution in intersectionalism for actual solutions in the long-term because intersectionalism doesn’t have a solution for the human condition. That will always be the fundamental issue.

The danger is real – black believers must SHUN and AVOID the world’s classifications of the problems that we deal with. Black believers must SHUN and AVOID the world’s solutions for the problems we are dealing with. Watching some conversations happen, I see some black believers following the world’s trends, sociological approaches and verbiage. They adopt things which have a layer or two of truth to them, but whose foundation is poison and unbiblical.  The world is not oppressor and oppressed, but sinner and sinner.  Both stand in need of redemption in Christ, no matter which ‘side’ wields power. True unity begins with the cross.

Let me be clearer on this point. Liberals sometimes get things right. The problem is that they approach solutions without dealing with the root issue: sin.

Believers of color who wish to address ‘white evangelicalism’, need to do so with scriptural solutions in hand. ‘White Evangelicals’ need to be open to criticisms and approach their brethren in a fashion other than dismissive or deflective (and yes, simply blanket-labeling everyone a Marxist is dismissive and deflective…it’s also intellectually lazy and a breaking of the ninth commandment).

Believers of color need to remember Christ’s patience with them when they were thick-headed, slow to understand and short on patience. They also need to remember that as Christ lives in the hearts of their white brethren, they need to curb the ‘anger’ approach. Yes, be angry and do not sin. So approach your brethren as brethren and not ‘the enemy’. Key word – brethren.

This requires black believers in Christ not simply to rehash old and current wrongs, but to forgive them.  You can’t hold on to anger about the past and expect to move forward.  This is not simply pretending the past never existed, but acknowledging it and all of the evil associated with it, but not holding it against those currently alive. This is what Joseph did with his brothers in Genesis 45 and 50:20.

At the same time, this also involves tell the truth about the legacy and results of institutionalized and cultural racism in the present day. Those things also exist.  We are not to back away from them or pretend that they do not exist, but point them out as issues and bring solutions to the table (more on the solutions aspect of this in a bit).  This is also what Joseph did with his brothers in Genesis 45 and 50:20.

Recently (2018), I came across a post in a well-known Facebook group, a member posted that in his observation, one of the great fears he has is that of being ‘right’. Specifically, being right about racism, right about white evangelicals and white conservatives dodging and ducking the inconsistencies in their own behavior and beliefs, purposeful (in some cases) ignorance of history, blind about their own cultural glasses that tint (and taint) how they approach scripture, culture and those who don’t look like them and so on. He noted that what has welled up in the black community is a continual anger, bitterness and attitude of  dislike and hatred toward white people. The poster also stated (rightly) that in this state, there is the danger of becoming smug and arrogant, thinking that ‘we’ have the moral high ground and turning into the very same people we argue against. “Both white supremacy and moral superiority are rooted in self-righteousness”, he wrote.  He’d had enough. Several other people chimed in and said they thought they were the only ones who felt this way.  Their common desire was to see healing and shalom for the entire situation and not a continued loop of rehashing and condemning.

When I called out James White in 2016, I carefully made it clear that I don’t believe he’s my enemy (I still don’t).  I’ve even had a recent exchange with someone regarding whether or not I think he’s racist (I don’t).  I just think he’s willfully intellectually lazy on this topic, since he insists on attacking as much ‘low hanging fruit’ as possible, while ignoring hard critiques of his position.

Still, He’s my brother in Christ. He may have missed some things I said – either willfully or on accident (his response on The DL back in 2016 half-quoted me at times, so I’m inclined to say it was willful), but that makes him a believer with a blind spot. It doesn’t excuse it. Hopefully, he’ll understand one day. If not, it’ll get resolved in eternity. I don’t believe he’s a racist (because one of his followers will come on here claiming I called him one).

I do believe that he, like many other white believers who dwell in SRC-land, is trying to navigate this discussion and is afraid of being WRONGLY labeled a racist. I also believe that he, like quite a few of his followers, view these discussions at least partially (if not fully) through the lens of SRC and mistake that for orthodoxy Christianity. Unlike many other times when he is careful and meticulous, I believe that due to the aforementioned fear, he has retreated into the quickest strawman argument he can find (the boogeymen of cultural marxism, neomarxism, racial marxism, etc…) and mostly stopped listening.  He ends up talking past the people he criticizes, since he believes (wrongly) that this discussion is about a never-ending blame game instead of addressing a real and practical issue. A somewhat recent exchange with Thabiti Anyabwile is a good demonstration of this.

Since I wrote the above paragraph in 2018 (it’s now July 2019), I’ve had additional run-ins with James’s twitter posts which seem to confirm what I’ve suspected (that on this topic, he primarily gets his information from secular conservative websites and websites pretending to be Christian that repeat secular conservative arguments, some of which are tinged with racism, but vague enough to have plausible deniability). One of my next posts will deal with this.

As a result, many black believers I’ve seen address these and other topics have grown tired (and angry) at cut-and-paste SRC answers culled from secular conservative websites. We’ve grown tired of explaining the same things repeatedly to people who should see it clearer than others.  It is indeed as though we (black and white believers) are living in two different worlds.

So both ‘sides’ come at each other like the world – angry, impatient and ready to hit the ‘post’ button. I’ve been guilty of it. The solution continues to be the gospel message believed and applied, Christ’s love & the Imago Dei as the starting point. Micah 6:8/1 John 3:4-10 is a gospel issue, not a pet social issue. But it must be handled rightly.

In the interests of moving the conversation toward action and not simply tons of blog posts and tweets designed to further resentments, I propose the following:

1. Think carefully before you post or speak. Speak graciously, truthfully and accurately. Speak truth even when it goes against your personally accepted and culturally accepted sociopolitical narratives.  Proverbs 10:19 reads “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.  This sword cuts both ways. Is what you’re saying truthful ? Is it helpful ? Is your objective to speak truth and impart grace or to be ‘right’ ? Are you seeking to win your brother/sister or win the argument ?  Are you seeking to separate  and divide or to bring  gospel repentance and gospel conformity (2 Cor. 10:5) ? Are you seeking to inflame ?  Yes, your words matter as do the intention of your words. Honest words matter. Gracious words matter. Jesus didn’t always flip tables and drive out money changers (John 2, Matthew 21).  With some, He spoke tenderly (John 4), offered grace instead of condemnation while still calling sin what it is (John 8).  Prayer, wisdom and maturity are needed to accomplish this task. Jude 22-23 alongside 2 Tim. 2:24-26 are good guidance in what to say and how to say it. Avoid simply parroting  secular websites and their approaches (conservative or liberal).

2. Acknowledge hard truths.  Listen to understand, not to ‘answer’. There are sociological and economic issues in the black community, but they didn’t develop in a vacuum. Yes, the legacy of slavery (family separations, Jim Crow/Segregation, lynchings, socio-cultural stereotypes of black folks, eugenics, domestic terrorism, redlining, etc…) still has a direct impact on black communities today. Racist socio-cultural pathologies in white communities (hate crimes based on ethnicity, ethnic and cultural superiority) didn’t magically vanish in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The ‘curse of Ham‘, for example, was still taught in American seminaries up through the 80’s (Tony Evans notes in the linked article that both the Old Scofield Study Bible and C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch’s OT Commentary published in 1987 take this position).  That goes against the accepted SRC narrative trope of ‘slavery ended 150 years ago, everything else is your fault individually from your choices ‘.  Behavior toward African-Americans is influenced by this, law enforcement policies are influenced by this, political policies are influenced by this[2]. The media  and American culture have been complicit for over 100 years in spreading this programming of fear of black people in America.

For those of you reading this who think that this is simply ‘liberal propaganda’, ‘rehashing old wrongs that have nothing to do with today’  and ‘race baiting that started under Obama’, check the research on footnote #2 above. We are living in a legacy of past decisions which included racial segregation and discrimination which does have a direct impac

These are not things which black folks have just ‘all of a sudden’ began discussing. The difference is that social media has enabled those stories to be told that you normally never heard. Remember this ? Yes, it’s from a sitcom.  Twenty-six years ago.  Yes, it was talked about in the black community regularly, but no, the topic didn’t have a national stage.  A friend of mine posted one of his DWB (Driving While Black) incidents in 2016 and asked others on his friends’ list to chime in.  The post is currently over 100+ responses with events shared by multiple people (myself included).

We didn’t all grow up in the ‘same America’ and we need to beware of the cultural/ethnic assumptions that come with this view.  The cultural divide is real, not imagined. Growing up in Roland Park is not the same as growing up in Sandtown (both in Baltimore City, Maryland). Kids in Roland Park have never known the police coming through their neighborhood, telling groups of three or more to ‘break it up’, ‘stop playing ball in the street’ or any number of other things kids do regularly as kids.  Neither have they known police to approach them aggressively and disrespectfully on first encounter, treating them like felons-in-waiting from the beginning (related note: Martin O’Malley, former mayor and governor, is largely responsible for the current mess that Baltimore City is in with regard to law enforcement, crime and the lack of community support/engagement). A family friend who works in law enforcement confirmed that different types of ‘policing’  are purposely done in different neighborhoods, mostly based on color and ethnicity (closely linked with income and influence) in order to produce the needed “Lockup Quotas” that the local governments contract with private prisons for.

These things are true. They are not simply perspective. It’s also true that black folks are no longer in the 1960’s. Despite the imperfections of the United States of America, it is no longer

3.  If you only bring up statistics to silence people you disagree with, you need to check your heart.  You care about being right, not about truth. Stay off secular websites that use this tactic (both conservative and liberal).

What’s your reason for bringing up the rate of unwed births in the black community ? Do you have a solution ? Do you plan on going into those communities, setting up a beachhead and preaching to the community ? Do you plan on going in and mentoring young black boys whose fathers may not be a part of their lives ? Do you plan on going into those communities and helping the single mothers with the task of raising a child ?

I’m serious.

I’ve seen a number of people who speak out against so-called ‘social justice’, ‘racial marxism’ and other related topics are very apt to try to use statistics to get their opponents to shut up. A basic logic lesson for you:

  • Group A points out problem with Group B’s treatment of Group A.
  • Group B points out that Group A has a similar problem caused by other members of Group A.
  • Assumed conclusion is that Group A should focus on problems with other members of Group A first.

The problem, of course, is that Group B never addresses their own behavior; they blame shift from the original complaint and deflect off to another issue.  That is a secular tactic, but should never be the approach of the Christian. Ever.  It’s lazy, selfish and a direct violation of Lev. 19:18 and Galatians 6:2.

When it comes to abortion, you don’t only speak; you vote pro-life, you support pro-life policies, you engage in pro-life activities (e.g. volunteering or giving to pregnancy centers, counseling women and men in unplanned pregnancy situations and even adopting and fostering kids born to parents who chose life, but can’t keep the child).  In these cases, statistics (e.g. the number of abortions per day, the number of families waiting to adopt) are never used as weapons to shut people up and never thrown out to deflect away from one argument with a distraction by another. They are never used as hammers to beat people into silence.

You are a hypocrite if you preach ‘be warm and fed’ to one group while bringing food and blankets to another.

4. Don’t be an ‘ally’ – be a brother/sister in Christ.  Let me be clear: the person on the other end of this discussion is not your enemy.  Stop approaching them as such.

Ephesians 4 gives some great guidance for this and all upcoming discussions:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (v. 1-6)

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,  and give no opportunity to the devil. (v. 25-27)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (v. 29-32).

Scripture calls for a different kind of relationship when discussing areas of disagreement with brothers and sisters and that extends to the blogsphere.  We absolutely cannot operate like the secular communities which may have some of our moral/political positions in common.

This sword cuts both ways.

We cannot guilt present-day white believers into ‘feeling bad for being white because of what white folks before them did’.  Don’t get me wrong: redlining and discrimination in the 40’s definitely did give some middle and upper-middle class white families decades of advancement over their black counterparts so that the ‘starting points’ for their grandchildren in 2019 are different and disproportionate.  But that white millennial in 2019 stepping into the business world is not responsible for what his grandparents did

Neither can we ignore problems in black communities and pretend they are simply figments of the imaginations of black folks who experience them. A few

Neither can we demonize and speak untruthfully of those we disagree with. A little over a week ago, The Founders’ Ministry (a reformed sub-group in the Southern Baptist Convention) released a trailer for an upcoming documentary movie on the so-called ‘Dangers of Social Justice in the SBC’ called “By What Standard ?“. As Tony Arsenal rightly points out over at  the Reformed Arsenal blog, the video purposely uses unrelated clips to make people look like they believe something they don’t.  The music, setting, coloring, etc… are all made to incite negative feelings against those speaking out regarding social justice issues, as though their ultimate goal is to undermine biblical authority. This is blatantly dishonesty. It’s lying. It’s a 9th commandment violation.  Period. Believers are commanded to treat each other differently.

*there is an update to this section. See footnote #3 below.

5. Any and all approaches and discussions need to work toward fellowship, reconciliation and co-laboring together, not false accusations and division. That’s going to require BOTH ‘sides’ to back off harsh secular attack style tactics.  James White once (correctly) stated this:

https://twitter.com/DrOakley1689/status/1034933115553079297

Yet he posted things like this repeatedly:

Folks who normally support him (lay people) have been addressing him about it, but his response has generally been the same as you see above (additional examples aren’t needed….his twitter is still littered with them).

Let me be clear: these are the tactics of the secular conservative movement, not Christians. This behavior is not glorifying to Christ.  I *am* thankful that he has recently (late July 2019) decided to stop posting material like this on Twitter, other than show announcements and another encouraging post showing a different attitude (though it seems folks haven’t forgotten yet):

But this is after he has already produced a number of ‘clones’ who act in the same acerbic/acidic style of commenting and conversing that he has demonstrated over the past few years. I think one thing that would go far with him and others is a simple repudiation of past behaviors.

American politics and American society affect all of us, even those of us who think we are ‘colorblind’.

Why these five points ?

Simple. The church as a whole was part of the creation of the racism problem. We need to be part of the solution as well. I will say a lot more to say as this series continues. Notice, I said we. The Body of Christ.  Not simply ‘black Christians’ or ‘white evangelicals’.

I’d like to unpack a gospel-centered approach to what each of these points for moving forward look like.  In the next article, we’ll tackle point #1. Read up in Ephesians 4 between now and then.

Take care.

============
(1) For the record, all theological conservatives didn’t go along with segregation. The RPCNA rightly repudiated ‘perpetual negro slavery’ as antithetical to the gospel in the early 1800’s. Men like Charles Haddon Spurgeon spoke strongly against slavery and found themselves very unpopular in the Southern US (including standing death threats and book burnings). Men like John Brown led uprisings and rebellions over the injustice of slavery.  Unfortunately, their voices are often ignored or drowned out among the other ‘conservative’ voices that supported the practice.

(2) Literally: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_a_Nationhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/07/26/critics-say-the-media-makes-innocent-blacks-look-dangerous-heres-their-latest-example/?utm_term=.3111e5329792https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGJMgCn0fQs  for starters.  For a scholarly treatment of this subject, see these links:

(3) Within A week after I typed this section, three of the six members of the Founders’ admitted that in their conviction, the video did violate the 9th commandment (Fred Malone believed both the 6th and 9th commandments). They could not agree with the rest of the board that the video was sinful in its’ presentation, so they resigned. Several individuals originally filmed for the project have asked that their contributions be taken out of the film, Founders Min pulled the original video, edited it and reuploaded it (this time, also addressing the claims by points made by Tony Arsenal by labelling where each clip came from, even though the order of the clips makes no sense). While I believe there is a legitimate concern for intersectionalism and other unbiblical sociological tools being imported into the church, the approach of this project (based on the trailer) seems to be more about casting the folks at FoundersMin as the ‘heroes’ against an insidious foe (with dramatic music, grainy black and white-filtered video and more) rather than being a serious engagement with a desire to bring about Biblical unity.

Pro-Life or Pro-Birth ? Observations and Answers

Just a quickie.

The usual argument is “pro-lifers are really only pro-birth. they don’t care about children once they get here.

I’m sure you’ve heard this parroted repeatedly.

It’s a lie.

Repeating a lie over and over again still doesn’t make it true.

There are currently (2018) over 13,000 pregnancy centers (pro-life) across the US. Please note the comparison to the number of Planned Parenthood centers in each region.   Yes, they do outnumber them. We’ll discuss what these centers do in a little bit.

There ARE republicans who only pay lip-service to the pro-lifers they court for votes (just as there are democrats who only pay lip-service to black folks they court for votes).  Usually, when these guys do something anti-life, conservative pro-life folks call them on it.   This article from very liberal news outlet The Slate shows the reaction from pro-lifers when republicans in congress tried to scrap the adoption credit.   These quote (among others) from Al Mohler and Russell Moore summarize the issue well:

“There will be, in effect, an economic incentive to abort those babies,” the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, told listeners of his popular daily podcast on Thursday, before the reversal was announced. The Republican Party “puts its moral character at risk by putting forward of tax reform proposal that would disincentivize the adoption of children.” The Susan B. Anthony list, an anti-abortion PAC, issued a statement critical of the provision; Focus on the Family said it has “reached out to every channel available to us” to save the credit. A blogger for the conservative site Hot Air summed up the social-conservative response to the proposal: “What the hell are they thinking?”

“The GOP claims to be the pro-family, pro-life party, but they are funding Planned Parenthood and killing an adoption tax credit that literally helps families adopt children,” wrote Erick Erickson, urging his readers to “shut down Congress’s phone lines” with calls to keep the credit in place. Russell Moore, the influential policy head of the Southern Baptist Convention, echoed that argument and called the credit’s loss “insane”:

Looks like the House leadership wants to double down on removing adoption tax credit, all while funding Planned Parenthood. This move hurts children, adopting families and actually costs the govt $ in the long term. Insane.Russell Moore (via Twitter)

Notice the priorities here – not just birth, but adoption, life, decent quality of life, marriages and families.

I appreciate the article on The Slate because it’s one of the few times I’ve seen a liberal news outlet actually tell the truth about what pro-life folks have as priorities and how we decry anti-life policies even when they come from the republican party.

A quick word or three on these pregnancy centers.  Are they only concerned with keeping women from having an abortion ?  Not hardly.  They are concerned with helping the woman who chooses life for her unborn to have a decent life.  And for those women who are post-abortive and have problems dealing with their emotions and such….they offer support for them too.   A few good examples of this:

http://www.capitolhillpregnancycenter.org/services.html
http://rwcdonors.com/services/
http://www.pregnancy-options.org/services.shtml

Notice that the services offered include job and housing referrals (and placements in some cases), parenting classes, prenatal care, testing and examinations, adoption referrals, etc….. FREE.  Again… the pro-life position is and has been concerned with more than just the birth of the child.

But repeating a lie often enough…..

“Well, maybe that’s how it is where YOU are, but I don’t see that happening here.” (I’ve been told this once or twice)

My response is that maybe it’s because you’ve chosen to surround yourself with media and people who only believe what you believe and you get your information from sources that don’t tell you the truth about opposing views. This is the ‘echo chamber’ effect.

That brings up another important point: liberals (especially Planned Parenthood, NARAL and like organizations) often LIE about what happens in pro-life pregnancy centers.  Not only do they lie about pro-life centers, but since they donate heavily to democratic mayors and city council officials, they lobby to create laws which either keep out, discourage or limit pro-life clinics from opening up in the same areas as abortion clinics.

No, I’m not making these charges up. Here’s an article from 2013:
https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/05/health/pregnancy-centers-gain-influence-in-anti-abortion-fight.html

Cities like Austin, Baltimore and New York have tried regulating centers with ordinances requiring them to post signs stating that they do not provide abortions or contraceptives, and disclosing whether medical professionals are on-site. Except for San Francisco’s, the laws were blocked by courts or softened after centers sued claiming free speech violations. Similar bills in five states floundered. Most legal challenges to “Choose Life” license plates failed, although a North Carolina court said alternate views must be offered.

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll remember when Planned Parenthood tried to use anti-racketeering laws against pro-life groups who gathered to pray outside of abortion clinics.  The Supreme Court struck down this misuse of the RICO laws in 2006.

They also lie about their own services and activities. They say abortion are only a very small percentage of their services, but they come to this conclusion deceptively (a friend called it  “lying with numbers”). The procedure itself is a service, the medication is a service, the anesthesia is a service, the examination is a service, the prescription is a service….so out of those 5 things, only 1 is the abortion.

Again, here’s an article on the topic from a liberal news source:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/08/12/for-planned-parenthood-abortion-stats-3-percent-and-94-percent-are-both-misleading/?utm_term=.dfdf3702879b

I assume by now you’ve checked the links above. So with that in mind, read the following:

The objective is pretty simple: liberals have always been interested in silencing opposing views. Liberalism (modern liberalism) is egalitarian on including multiple ethnicities, but totalitarian when it comes to viewpoint agreement. They don’t want to hear from opposing viewpoints (i.e. https://www.dailysignal.com/2018/06/14/california-university-refuses-to-speak-with-pro-life-group-about-free-abortion-drugs/) and will routinely commit the strawman fallacy (choosing an exaggerated or inaccurate version of view of their opponent’s view and ignoring stronger arguments that make their position look weak).  The echo chamber effect is in place for a reason – it reinforces the status quo and helps maintain political power.

Again, these are things anyone can figure out simply from general observation. The current democratic left has gradually purged their ranks of pro-life democrats since the 90’s. Any who choose to speak up get censured and marginalized.  Read here: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/03/democrats-abortion-pro-choice-life-219154

Last summer, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez publicly proclaimed that “every Democrat” should support abortion rights, prompting an outcry that the party was implementing a “litmus test.” Democrats for Life arranged a meeting with Perez shortly after the dust-up but left still feeling like the skunk at the party. Asked about the DNC’s abortion stance in the 2018 midterms, spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said the party’s top goal this year is electing Democrats and “stopping Republican attacks on women’s reproductive rights, workers’ rights and the middle class. There is no doubt that Republicans are the biggest threat to women’s health, and we will work with all Democrats to stop them.”

Anti-abortion Democrats say they—and the voters they represent—aren’t just marginalized on this one issue: They say Democratic pollsters, fundraisers and vendors don’t want to work with anti-abortion candidates for fear of losing favor and business with the rest of the party. “If you’re trying to raise money on the national level, it gets very, very difficult,” Stupak said in an interview during the Democrats for Life convention. “There will be no money. There will be no help.” Email service vendors and pollsters frequently turn down Democrats for Life, according to the Democrats for Life president, Janet Robert.

And there are Democrats who insist that anti-abortion candidates shouldn’t get elected at all even if they have a “D” after their name—or at least that the party’s members should be defined by progressive values, as Representative Luis Gutiérrez said when he endorsed a primary challenger to Lipinski earlier this year (Lipinski prevailed). Outside the Radisson hotel, Colorado state Representative Leslie Herod was among those participating in a small protest led by the liberal group ProgressNow Colorado, which set up a truck with a giant sign calling abortion access a “progressive value.” Democrats for Life’s intentions are “quite nefarious. They’re looking for ways to divide us as a party before the next election cycle,” Herod said. “These aren’t core values that you can just pick and choose.”

The DNC is perfectly fine with run down cities, crime and low employment in black neighborhoods, in spite of their normal pandering to black communities in public. Those situations make people feel desperate and when pregnancy happens, they push and encourage people toward abortion FIRST. DNC operatives and candidates swoop in with “White Savior Complex” in tow and tell black folks and other minorities that they need abortion so they can be free to provide for themselves.

That money (from abortion) feeds abortion groups like Planned Parenthood (who donate to NARAL and similar groups). PP and NARAL donate money to candidates who help keep them in business. The federal government subsidizes PP. PP and NARAL donate some of that money back to the DNC to help elect candidates who will keep them in business.  Ad infinitum, ad murderum, ad re-electium.

Blood money.

And if you’re actually pro-black (and not pretend pro-black, where you support things which negatively impact the black community), approximately 17-18 million black lives have mattered to the abortion industry as profit, not as people.

Blood money.

And if you’re a feminist (specifically 3rd and 4th wave), roughly 51% of all abortion victims are female.

It’s easy to be for abortion when you’re already born…..

(But it’s the republican’s fault.)

There’s more than could be addressed here, but I’m running into my 1800 1900 2100 2300 2500-word limit.

Reading the scriptures, what other kind of world did you expect ?  In the ancient Roman empire, newborn children (mostly boys) were thrown away into the sewers underneath of brothels because boys didn’t make as much money for the establishment. Same motivations: greed, sex and convenience. Human abortion today should be no surprise.  We’ve just sanitized the language and sought to kill them before they leave the womb instead of afterward.

Abortionists need the gospel. Women who have had abortions need forgiveness, compassion and the gospel. People who’ve promoted abortion need the gospel.  1 Corinthians 6:11 states “and such were some of you” after listing a host of sins including murder, greed and sexual immorality in 6:9-10. Think of that carefully for a moment. “Some” of the members of the church of Corinth may have been former prostitutes who killed their babies out of convenience to their careers.

Christ changes hearts and offers forgiveness for even the sin of murdering your unborn child, whether you’re the guy who paid and pressured his girlfriend/wife to abort the child, the woman who decided yourself or the doctor who performed the procedure.

Let me push the point home: sin is a violation of God’s laws for human behavior. All sin, whether heterosexual sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, greed, gluttony, murder (and abortion is murder), hatred, etc…. creates a debt between the sinner and God. God is holy and just as a Judge; He does not ‘wink’ at sin and let it slide. God being holy presents a problem for humanity. As a Perfect Judge, He will not let any sin slide. It will be punished. Hitler ? Yep. He will have a day before God and answer for his murders. The kid who lied on you in 3rd grade ? Yes, that kid too.  The woman who lied on Emmett Till and got him lynched ?  She’s 83 now.  Her day before her Creator is coming sooner than later. And all those moments you lied, stole, held hatred in your heart as a grudge against others…. you too will answer.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 remind us of this:

 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (ESV)

No one gets away with anything, even if you don’t see them get justice now. There are eternal consequences in play here.

This is why Jesus Christ came; to both live a perfect life that you and I have not lived and to die in our place as a sacrifice and payment for sin that you and I could not pay (because we’re not perfect).

The Bible calls upon the individual (you reading this) to repent (meaning turn from – the same way you’d turn from driving to Maine when you meant to drive to Florida, but you took I-95 north instead of south) and believe (place your whole faith, trust and reliance in/upon) in Jesus Christ and His perfect sacrifice as the payment for your sins.   An individual finds forgiveness for these sins by placing their whole faith and trust in Christ as Lord the same way one places their whole faith and trust in a parachute to open and keep them from dying when skydiving.  It means coming before Christ right where you sit and read this blogpost, acknowledging to Him that you have indeed violated His laws and believing upon Him as your righteousness before God the Father. When you do this, His perfect life is counted on your behalf so that when you stand before God, you will be counted as though you lived Christ’s perfect life and never sinned.

The cost ? Your life. It will no longer be your own (1 Cor. 6:19-20). You are now responsible for following, believing and obeying what He taught (Matthew 28:19-20).

In the Bible, Christ forgives murderers (the Apostle Paul consented to Christians being murdered before Christ changed His heart), former prostitutes (Mary), the greedy (Matthew), and more. Don’t let self-righteousness or self-loathing and depression (you are not the ‘worst sinner’) keep you from Christ. Repent and believe the gospel today. That’s good news.

If you need help, feel free to contact me via twitter and I’ll point you to the right people to help you out.

(2462 words in case you’re wondering)

Politics In Passing: Norman Geisler’s Flawed Attempt at Endorsing Trump

Oh no, politics.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not voting for Hillary or Trump….. onto the story.

I generally have a great deal of respect for Norman Geisler and his works over the years (at least up to “Answering Islam”).

I’m finding my same level of disappointment in his argumentation level as I did 16 years ago when I saw “Chosen But Free”.

His article endorsing Trump for President over on Christianity Today is written very short and straight to the point. Unfortunately, it also ignores a lot of what Trump has DONE and SAID in the past in order to railroad through the idea that Trump is the best candidate.  His points dealt with one by one:

Geisler begins with the ‘lesser of two evils’ fallacy. “Basically, there are only two realistic alternatives in the coming presidential election: stay on the same liberal path we have been on for years or try something new.

I wouldn’t consider Trump “something new”. Up until he became candidate for president, Trump’s views have consistently aligned with the democratic party. Even his kids forgot to switch their political affiliations for voting prior to the cut off date for changes.

Second, the “there are only two realistic options” assertion assumes that everyone or the majority of people will only vote for one of those two candidates…. because that’s what they are told they have to do. This is fallacious and erroneous reasoning. Even the once radical Bernie Sanders has sold his soul to support Hillary Clinton and drag his former supporters into her corner with the same line of argumentation.

Every election cycle, we are told the same thing: now is not the time for a protest vote, hold off, work with what we have and in a few years, we’ll work on getting better candidates.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

When will be the time ? I say the time is now. Vote your conscience, not what people tell you are your only “realistic” options.

Geisler tries to get in front of  the charge that “…..Trump is that he is a flawed candidate”, but simply repeats the two-party mantra again. Further, it’s more than just Trump being a ‘flawed candidate’….Trump is simply another garden-variety politician. He’s done the usual: lied about previous stances and views, pandered to one particular group of people , generally ignored the concerns of others and (worse), refused to deal with elements in his own support base that undermine the very values he supposedly holds to.

What people need to understand is that in order to disassemble the two party system, you have to actually elect people outside of it. It may start small. The Green Party, for example, currently has a little over 130+ folks elected locally in different areas of the country. Jill Stein’s received more press this year than in the past (she’s been her party’s nominee before that). Likewise, the Libertarian Party’s stats are slightly higher (145). Gary Johnson is currently polling around 8%.

Point is, we’re not bound to a two-party system. The two major parties have conspired together to make sure that power does not leech from the two of them to others. They put in place systems which, on an individual level, are difficult to break through. Collectively, however, it is a great possibility. The only thing that individuals need to get over is their “fear of the other guy winning”.

Geisler then makes this statement: “In politics, as in life, sometimes we must choose the so-called “lesser of two evils.” So when both presidential candidates have high negatives, we must choose the one with fewer. A friend once described his dilemma to me as a choice between “a known devil and a suspected witch.” If so, then we should choose the suspected witch!

The lesser of two evils….is still evil, Dr. Geisler. Trump isn’t a suspected witch; he has a known history with the known devil, Hillary Clinton. He has a known political viewpoint history via his own words in the past which are on YouTube and other media for anyone who takes the time to look them up.

The one point Geisler makes in his introduction that is solid and biblical is the one regarding staying home and not voting.

Onto his main points:

1. A Vote for the Right to Life (followed by a short statement on how Trump is supposedly pro-life)

How many times does Trump have to contradict himself before people like Geisler will stop believing whatever his campaign says ? Trump isn’t pro-life and never has been.  If your track record doesn’t show what you suddenly hold to as a position, my bet is that you’re lying and pandering to get what you want.

2. A Vote for National Security

Geisler states: This begins with Law and Order because there is no security in an anarchy. Donald Trump promises to be “the Law and Order” candidate who will help strengthen our society and provide freedom and justice for all.

Trump can’t (or won’t) even contain or address his own people attacking minorities who attend his rallies. That’s not fairness, security, freedom and justice for all or treating all life as if it matters.  Spare me.

3. A Vote for International Respect
Geisler states: “No man is an Island” applies to our nation as well as to individuals in it. In a shrinking world, isolationism is no longer a realistic option. America is no longer feared by its enemies or even respected by its friends, chief among whom in the Middle East is Israel. Long ago, God promised (Gen. 12:3) to bless those who bless Israel. But recently, we have given support to a nation (Iran) which is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. Trump has pledged to reverse this self-destructive path.

Actually, Trump has proved the opposite in the international community. Several foreign diplomats have expressed deep issues with what type of presidency they will see under Trump and what kind of relations that means with the rest of the world.  While the US’s standing in the world has been weakened gradually since the 90’s under EVERY president since Clinton (though Clinton was much more adept at international issues and diplomacy), the last twelve years have shoved us over the edge. The last eight alone, primarily because of our own infighting and inability to produce a united front on the world scene, and our own home-grown hypocrisy regarding human rights issues  (how can you care about human rights abroad, yet tolerate discrimination and the murder of the unborn at home ?) have made many of the so-called American values a joke to non-Americans.

Let’s be honest.

4. A Vote for the Supreme Court

Spare me the Supreme Court mantras.  Plenty of people nominated to the court as conservatives, switched to be liberals.  I place no faith and value in the supreme court of the United States to hold the country back from its’ current downgrade.  Trump is only on record for conservative judges to get elected.

Besides, National Review already dealt with the “Trump Card” of the Supreme Court issue.

5. A Vote for Religious Freedom

Geisler states: “Recent liberal policies have separated these two things and have transformed “freedom of religion” into “freedom from religion.” 

Christianity thrived under Roman occupation and persecution.  I’m not worried about which candidate will supposedly guarantee freedom of religion. I have a feeling that both will press for freedom from religion. People forget (very quickly, I might add) that much of the downgrade in terms of religious beliefs having a place in the public square came about under the Bush presidency.  Much of it fomented in the background during the early Bush years and became full-blown during the latter years. The DaVinci Code (2006), Religulous (2007) and Zeitgeist (10/1/2008) were released during this time period, as was Christopher Hitchens’ book God is not Great (2007).  These media phenomena (and others) have helped to shape public opinion. In many cases, they simply gave an excuse for others to all the more “hold down the truth through their unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18-23).  These have been problems in the culture all along. They simply began bubbling more to the surface in recent times.

A real concern is in the media and entertainment arena. Much public policy and public opinion are being swayed by these things more than by politics and politicians.

6. A Vote of National Prosperity

Geisler opines: It seems to me that Trump’s policies on taxation, regulations, balancing the budget, and immigration will promote national prosperity better than his competitors. He is a proven job-creator, and his competitor is not.

Trump is also a proven life-destroyer. Anyone paying attention will notice that Trump’s consistent pattern with his business investments is to ride them until they are no longer profitable, abandon them, file for bankruptcy, avoid taxes and move on to the next investment. I don’t think this is a healthy pattern of doing business as each of these businesses he has dissolved cost some people their entire livelihood.  I don’t think it will promote national prosperity.

And of course, Trump shirts and suits and made in China and Mexico. NAFTA is good when it works for you….bad when it contradicts the politics you’re promoting.

7. A Vote against National Corruptions.

This line of argumentation is kinda laughable. Trump is friends with the Clintons.  Not just associates. Friends.

Trump’s foundation is currently being investigated.

He’s just as crooked as Hillary is.

*sigh*.

Sadly, I’ve actually spent time arguing these same points against Hillary, which goes to show that both candidates really are the same and propped by both parties in order to preserve the two party system.

For an alternative and much more Biblically-centered viewpoint, I highly recommend Darrell Bock’s article on Christianity Today. Give it a read. I will not choose between the tornado or the category 5 hurricane. Both cause damage, destroy property and lives.

Still Around. A Few Quick Thoughts on the 2012 election….

Beginning of the school year….as usual.  A few quick thoughts:

1. As I trust God more, I worry less about the culture of the US going to hell in the next election. Paul wrote in pagan Rome, where young boys were expected to be molested, there were brothels on every corner, temple prostitution was the norm (prostitution as part of a religion) and the penalty for being a runaway slave was sure death.  BIBLICAL Christianity thrived under these conditions.

2. As I watch politics more and more, I realize that both sides are simply playing the pro-wrestling game. It’s all scripted and controlled by someone(s) over both parties who will still benefit no matter which candidate gets in office.

3. As I watch the intersection of politics and theology, I realize that even well-meaning believers can be suckered in by hucksters whose only concern is to rope them into voting for them with ‘God-talk’.

4. As I said 4 years ago…no matter who wins, it will be the person that God wants in office. The same God who gave Bush, Clinton and Regan 8 years has given Obama at least 4 (and probably another 4).  Let us be faithful to worry about changing hearts and minds with the gospel message first rather than with political power and legislation.  Pray for the peace of the city, vote your conscience, preach the gospel regardless.

Twenty Observations and a Few Additional Thoughts….

The Weekend to Remember Conference gave me some needed rest and mental refueling. Crawford Loritts is really a GREAT example of a pastor and leader. I tell you the truth – this man made me want to dress up in armor and fight the invading hordes of whateverstan with nothing but a spear, sword and shield.

I got a quick chance to talk with him (originally confusing him for his son, Bryan Loritts, who made the Elephant Room comments that I disagreed heavily with) about said comments in parenthesis.  Dr. Loritts was very gracious and mentioned that the point his son was trying to make was that sometimes, when ‘our people’ (African-Americans) get introduced to new theology, there is a tendency toward ‘hero worship’ and attempting to parrot just to fit in (my words, not his).  I can agree with that to a point.  I do think that Bryan could have phrased his statements better…. but I see where he gets his ‘strong stances’ from.

Anyway, Dr. Loritts really REALLY did a spectacular job speaking at the Weekend to Remember Conference. I just wanted to push that point home.  I wish WTR would record and make his sessions available online. A lot of people could benefit from them, especially in African-American communities where the fatherlessness rate is almost double the country’s national average.

That moves me on to my FB page….and it generated a bit o’ good conversation. Here’s twenty observations I posted:

TWENTY observations:

1. If you claim to be a Christian, but don’t you’re not a member of a church family under the authority of a pastor, you ARE in disobedience to scripture and to the Lord who gave scripture, no matter how ‘good’ you think God is with your idea.

2. The number one cause of divorce is not finances. It’s selfishness. Husbands being too selfish and self-centered to communicate and wives being too selfish and self-centered to forgive…or encourage.

3. Ephesians 5:22-33 is not rocket science. Stop trying to explain it away, stop being disobedient and do it.

4. Saw this today: a wife at the WTR conference publicly apologized to her husband. He’s 6’2″. She’s 5’0″. She realized that her words cut him down way too much and too often.

5. Point #4 will go ignored by several women (single and some married) because feminism has poisoned their brains (they will call it liberation) so that they are only capable of supporting their husbands if they ‘do right’.

6. Related to point #5, 50%-50% in a marriage sounds good, but it’s a fallacy. It’s based on performance….and no one ever lives up to their own standards for ‘meet me halfway’. The Biblical model is 100% on both sides of the table.

7. Most men would love to step up and lead, but are (literally) frightened away by loud and obnoxious women who want to be their equal.

8. Most men would love to lead, but they haven’t had strong male role models to draw from….and the culture isn’t exactly man-friendly these days.

9. Speaking of the culture, there is a direct war on men and masculinity – entertainment industry only promotes hyper-male immature young boys (see most of current hip hop as an example) as role models, television has almost NO decent husbands who love their wives and raise their kids right (i.e. another Bill Cosby) and 7 of 10 commercials that have a man and woman in a humorous situation usually have the men as the butt of the joke.

10. There’s a war on women too – being LED by women. It’s more of a war on any type of woman that isn’t a career-focused, overassertive, male-with-ovaries. Hilary Rosen’s comments are only the only ones that got major press coverage. It’s not a coincidence that most ‘feminists’ (self-identified ones) seem hostile to women who are pro-life. It’s also not a coincidence that most of unborn being aborted are women.

11. Fatherlessness is THE major cause of most of the social ills in our country – from entitlement to poverty to crime. Notice – I didn’t say simply producing a child or putting in a child support payment on time. I said FATHERlessness.

12. Most of the women I mentioned in point #10 will disagree with point #11 and claim that they are the father AND mother to their kids. Sorry – you can’t teach a boy to be a man. Boys are wired differently and have different needs just like women and girls have different needs.

13. Most of the women in point #10 who are contemplating a mental response to #12 will realize their own hypocrisy at this point because they will find themselves agreeing with the statement that women have different needs (or certain needs), yet want to say they can be a ‘father’ to their kids. At this point, they’ll call me names in their heads (or in the comments below) instead of dealing with themselves.

14. Proverbs 26:4-5 dictates that sometimes true wisdom is found in walking away. Ten foolish and ignorant people patting each other on the back about how smart they are….are still foolish and ignorant. Better to nail a message to a brick wall than argue with one.

15. The longer you sit in the bathroom, the less likely you are to smell your own crap. Humility goes a long way.

16. Some people are searching for truth. Others are searching for an excuse to disbelieve (or justify what they already believe). Wisdom, time and patience shows which is which.

17. We’re all sinners. We all need a Savior. There’s only one. Unless you think you’re perfect and you are ‘good enough’ to merit salvation on your own strength and prowess. When you’re done being arrogant, the gospel will still be here.

18. I don’t have to be a woman to have a strong opinion against abortion anymore than I need to be a child to disagree with child molestation or have a vagina to disagree with rape.

19. Some people can and will find ‘racism’ in a snowstorm…simply because all the flakes are white. These same people will be hypocritical and say they agree with Dr. King’s dream (King’s dream was not to run around yelling racism constantly – but to work toward a post-racial society where people are people, regardless of skin color).

20. Some people will ignore racism unintentionally because they are genuinely trying to look objectively at a situation. They may also refuse to recognize that racism exists because they are under the illusion that just because there are no ‘white only’ signs up anymore (except that one swimming pool in Ohio), everything else is entitlement and oversensitivity.

BONUS:

1. Classism is the new racism. It’s almost identical to the old racism. White flight and black flight have produced de facto segregation in many public schools.

2. Black folk cared more about our communities, education and our image when we were ‘colored’ (when we were segregated by law).

3. The people ruining public education: non-parenting parents (only really 30% of the population of school parents) who raise and shelter their kids so they never face consequences (nothing like a 504 plan or a ‘diagnosis’ to shield a kid from reality), drive-by education specialists with doctorate degrees who haven’t spent time in the school system beyond 2-5 years, school board officials who’ve never been in the classroom as teachers, but think they know our jobs better than we do and idiotic politicians who make legislation that makes our jobs harder than they need to be….then complains when the situation THEY helped to create can’t be cleaned up.

4. Most black folk only voted for Obama because he’s black. A lot of them have since awakened to see that Bush 3.0 is just another politician that gives good speeches. At least Tom Joyner is honest enough to say that ‘we’ should vote for Barack out of loyalty to black people.

5. You may or may not agree with me on every point. That’s cool. You have a right to disagree with me. I can appreciate people with whom I have an honest disagreement with. For example, Peter Singer is an evolutionist, bioethicist, philosopher and ethicist. He’s pro-choice, pro-euthanasia and extremely utilitarian. He tells the truth when it comes to the issue – he believes that biologically, human life begins at conception and that the unborn is a separate biological entity from its’ mother. But he also believes that human beings (because he’s an evolutionist) have the right to terminate their unborn out of convenience (survival of the fittest/natural selection). I can at least have an honest disagreement with him.

I can have an honest disagreement with John Norman. He’s a synergist, panentheist and is Eastern Orthodox. But he won’t pretend that he and I (I’m a monergist, reformed presbyterian) agree and our disagreements are just semantics. I respect that. We can have REAL conversations, even when we walk away not agreeing.

Truthfulness in conversation is a lost art in post-post-modern conversation.

 

Comment below as you desire.

Why I Won’t Be Signing the Manhattan Declaration

Sproul: http://new.ligonier.org/blog/the-manhattan-declaration/

MacArthur: http://www.shepherdsfellowship.org/pulpit/Posts.aspx?ID=4444

Dan Phillips: http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2009/11/nineteen-questions-for-signers-of.html

Between these three, I believe the issue is pretty clear.

While I understand why Dr. Mohler signed it, I think his choosing to do so was a bit short-sighted….especially since he has stated that his signing it did NOT imply that he believed that Rome’s gospel and the gospel as found in scripture and held to by evangelical protestants was the same:

I cannot and do not sign documents such as Evangelicals and Catholics Together that attempt to establish common ground on vast theological terrain. I could not sign a statement that purports, for example, to bridge the divide between Roman Catholics and evangelicals on the doctrine of justification. The Manhattan Declaration is not a manifesto for united action. It is a statement of urgent concern and common conscience on these three issues — the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage, and the defense of religious liberty.

My beliefs concerning the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches have not changed. The Roman Catholic Church teaches doctrines that I find both unbiblical and abhorrent — and these doctrines define nothing less than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But The Manhattan Declaration does not attempt to establish common ground on these doctrines. We remain who we are, and we concede no doctrinal ground.

Even though the document does the very thing he says it does not:

We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered, beginning in New York on September 28, 2009, to make the following declaration, which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities.

and especially:

We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right—and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation—to speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence. It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness, both in season and out of season. May God help us not to fail in that duty.

Which gospel ?

So more than a few folks remain perplexed as to why Mohler, Grudem and a few more solid names have signed the document. We can freely pursue these causes lock-step with Catholics and the Orthodox without claiming to be all ‘Christians’, when in doctrinal practice and affirmation, we can’t claim each other (well…..protestants can’t claim Rome or the Orthodox…. Rome calls protestants ‘separated brethren’). People like Rick Warren, Colson and others, I expect to sign it, since they all tend to be wishy-washy on doctrine (and strangely, on things like THIS important doctrine).

I’ll admit: I was persuaded a bit by Mohler’s argument until I really READ the document. While I agree with its’ aims, there’s too much assumed by it in regard to the gospel. Ultimately, the only thing that will truly change the human condition from a social standpoint is the real gospel. Anything else is simply moralism and religiosity.

Bothered by The Whole Port Thingie…..

Wolves watching the henhouse.

I’ve been one to defend Bush-Cheney and some of the things administration has done over the past 5 years. But this one…. nahhh. I can’t do it.

With LaShawn Barber’s recent review of a book on securing our borders, I’m surprised she hasn’t blogged more on this, though Michelle Malkin has – and she gives much more detail.

Anyway, my recent thoughts on this….(as posted on the 5th quarter):

Someone asked me:

So Kerry, why do you think he’s so adamant about making this thing happen? I don’t ask this as an argument, I seriously wanna know, and you’re the only Bush person I know, so even though it angers you as much as it does me, I wanna know what in the world makes this so important to him, other than “being right.”

I know you’re not asking to start an argument. :) We’re on the same page here. Here’s some food for thought on the whole thing (and as you can tell, I’m quite bothered by it….really just irritated… but I’ll get over it….)

Bush isn’t stupid, but he won’t admit wrong in public (one of the things that bugs me about him). Brownie gets fired quietly, for example.

Remember the presidential debates where someone asked him what was one thing that he regretted as far as decisions he’d made ? He answered back “I regret appointing some people. I’m not going to mention them publicly.”

It’s no secret that Bush isn’t as friendly in the WH halls as he is on tv and that staff that screws up routinely gets blasted by a rather cold Bush, than the friendly ‘every-man’ Bush we see on TV.

Expect to see some heads roll over the next few months. Why’s he defending it ? He won’t publicly admit (at least not fully) all the implications of a screw up like this one. Nothing big. No cover up. That’s one part of it. The other is listed below.

To his credit, he does make a good argument. And the ‘we can’t racially profile people – even Arabs’ argument would be valid with just about any other country or nationality at any other time. I just don’t think that the argument is valid when it comes to Islam. Before Islam became an issue with terror and America, I studied it (a decade or so ago) in detail, including all factions, offshoots like the Ba’hai and so forth. The only ‘peace’ in Islam comes at the end of a sword when you confess that Muhummad is the prophet of Allah. Why do you think there is no tolerance of other religions in Islamic countries ? Surah 9 commands the slaying of ‘infidels’ (those who do not believe in Allah) – thus, in Arabic countries like Saudi Arabia, according to Sharia law, the penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity is death. Saalman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” easily got him a fatwa because open criticism of Islam is not allowed or tolerated. Public evangelism for Christianity, for example, is not allowed. The underground church in most middle east countries is under constant persecution with folks locked up, tortured, jailed, KILLED and taxed heavily – for being anything else but Muslim (especially if they are Christians or Jews).

Orthodox Sunni AND Shiite philosophy seeks to conform the entire society to Islam wherever they settle. What they do is set up community centers, organize and gradually seek to grow in influence, until they are able to ‘take over’. Why do you think, for example, France had a near-riot break out years ago when they banned Muslim headcoverings for women ? The Muslim population in France and England has quietly exploded over the past two decades. As mentioned above – there are now more Muslims in England than Baptists.

Bush’s entire approach to the ‘war on terror’ reeks when it comes to how to deal with Islam, but I know why he does it. I simply don’t agree with his approach. That’s why our soldiers are still on the defensive over in Iraq instead of whuppin’ arse and getting things done quicker. His approach (Bush’s) is to approach Islam like one would approach Christianity – and appeal to the general want for peace, safety and quiet and non-violence. The problem, however, is that from a theological perspective and a worldview perspective, that ain’t how Islam operates. But Bush seeks to make friends in Arab countries by appeasement. It’s not just him, though. Clinton, Bush Sr., Regan and others have all done the exact same thing. That ‘door’ has just been opening up more and more lately since Gulf War I.

I simply know – from studying the theological foundations of Islam (including current academics, clerics, translators, debaters, etc….) – that appeasement will NOT ultimately work. While there are a few ‘liberal’ Muslims, the bulk – even the name-only Muslims – integrate their faith (specifically the Qu’ran and Hadith) into how government is operated. Islam, by it’s very nature and from its’ very foundation, has always been militant. The ‘fundamentalist radical Islam’ nonsense that gets attacked on TV as not representing true Islam…. actually does. A lot of people just won’t admit it because it’s not politically correct. Islam does seek to ultimately take over society and impose itself on all.

That’s why, for example, though the Iraqi folks are happy Sadaam is gone, they view Americans and others as ‘occupation forces’ and would prefer them gone, even with the ‘good’ presently going on that doesn’t get reported on CNN.

A guy in my caregroup at church – http://ht4e.blogspot.com – a very proud Democrat – and I had very interesting convo the other night after care group meeting was over. Besides the fact that he says Bush is not a Republican, but really a neo-Con (and I’m starting to agree, although I said on here months ago that Bush is more of a moderate than people give him credit for), since one of ‘our’ tenets is smaller government with less spending. His solution to dealing with the war on terror had me cracking up – it was very controversial though….

US: Dear Middle East – These nutcases are your problem. Your countries harbor them, train them and encourage them tacitly. You need to stop them – and now. If we get another terror attack, here’s what’s going to happen – your SECOND most holy city – Medina – will glow in the dark for 1000 years. No joke. We’re dead serious. If things don’t change and we get hit with another attack, no one will be able to do a Hajj for the next 1000 years.

In return, if you work with us, after setting things right in Iraq, we will leave your countries. If you’re working with us, we’ll give whatever resources are necessary to help out in fighting these nutcases and then leave. Leave us alone, leave everyone else alone, we’ll both be fine.

That’s his solution.

And truthfully, I like the approach.

Of course, I know from the Truman doctrine, that none of this stuff is going to resolve the way I’d like it to, for the most part. The US is always going to be involved in world politics, with its’ hand in everyone’s cookie jar because if we stay OUT of the world scene (ala 1933-1940), eventually the world scene will affect us for not acting sooner (Pearl Harbor).

That’s my rant. I’m going to bed. :)

4 out of 5 ain’t bad….

One of my discussion board members – Searaptor22 (teenager from Indiana with a good head on his shoulders), posted a link to the Libertarian Party website and why he’s a libertarian.

http://www.lp.org/issues/lp-oss.shtml

Four of their five points, I can mostly agree with. Really, the only point I can only partially agree with is #5. 1,3 and 4, I believe in full.

The one I blatantly disagree with is #2, quoted below.

Step 2. End Prohibition

Drug prohibition does more to make Americans unsafe than any other factor. Just as alcohol prohibition gave us Al Capone and the mafia, drug prohibition has given us the Crips, the Bloods and drive-by shootings. Consider the historical evidence: America’s murder rate rose nearly 70% during alcohol prohibition, but returned to its previous levels after prohibition ended. Now, since the War on Drugs began, America’s murder rates have doubled. The cause/effect relationship is clear. Prohibition is putting innocent lives at risk.

What’s more, drug prohibition also inflates the cost of drugs, leading users to steal to support their high priced habits. It is estimated that drug addicts commit 25% of all auto thefts, 40% of robberies and assaults, and 50% of burglaries and larcenies. Prohibition puts your property at risk. Finally, nearly one half of all police resources are devoted to stopping drug trafficking, instead of preventing violent crime. The bottom line? By ending drug prohibition Libertarians would double the resources available for crime prevention, and significantly reduce the number of violent criminals at work in your neighborhood.

My reasons are pretty simple – if everything is allowed, everything will be done. It’s also part of the reason why I disagree with #5 – the ‘root’ causes of crime is sin. We can blame-shift all we want, blame society, environment, etc…. but all of these things do nothing but absolve people of personal responsibility. John MacArthur tackles this point at length in his book The Vanishing Conscience. The U.S. has become a ‘nation of victims’ and everybody’s busy passing the blame for their doing wrong off on something other than themselves.

MacArthur puts it this way:

In this matter of self-examination we have to get in touch with our conscience. And I want to address that issue this morning. A couple of years ago I wrote a book called The Vanishing Conscience, which at least for me was a very, very important and foundational book. And it is still in print for which I’m grateful. But in that book I recounted a news report that I had read some years before. It was 1984 and an Avonca Jet crashed in Spain. As always after a crash like that investigators study the accident scene looking for the black box. The black box is the cockpit recorder, and that’s important so they can reconstruct the conversation as well as the electronics, the technology is recorded in that black box unit to try to determine why the accident happened.

Amazingly when the found the black box and they played the recording it revealed that several minutes before the plane flew straight into the side of a mountain, a shrill computer synthesized voice from the planes automatic warning system told the crew repeatedly “pull up, pull up, pull up, pull up.” The pilot inexplicably snapped back “shut up gringo!” and flipped off the switch. Minutes later the plane smashed into the mountain and everybody was, of course instantly killed.

When I read that It appeared to me to be a great illustration of how the conscience functions. And how a modern people treat their conscience. Conscience is the souls warning system. And it tells us when to “pull up” to go another direction, to make an immediate midcourse correction because were flying into disaster. Conscience is described for us in the second chapter of Romans verses 14 and 15. Here we learn that every body has a conscience when they come into the world, it’s a gift from God, given to every human being. The pagans called gentiles here, the nations, who do not have the law, they don’t have the mosaic law they don’t have the scripture. But they do instinctively things that are in the law. Because though they don’t have the written law, they are a law to them selves. Now what that tells us is that when God made man he made him not only a physical creature, but He made him a spiritual creature. In his physical creation man has certain capabilities, certain reflexes. He has senses, physical senses. And in his spiritual creation he has also some moral senses, some moral reflexes, some moral information. And that is the law of God written in the heart. And everybody coming into the world has a sense of right and wrong, has a built in ethical code. A built in moral compass.

In addition verse 15 says to the law written in there hearts, “there conscience bears witness.” Now that introduces us to the conscience. The conscience is a witness. The conscience gives testimony. The conscience speaks. And it speaks as to how we respond to the law. And so verse 15 says the conscience works in the thoughts alternately accusing or else defending. Now let me sum that up by simply saying, everybody who is created, comes into the world with a sense of right and wrong. That is the law written in the hearts. In addition to that, God has put the conscience, and the conscience is a warning device that sounds off when we violate that law. Or affirms when we obey it. The conscience is not that law it is merely the warning device.

As such it’s priceless to us. Because when it says “pull up, pull up, pull up!” It is giving us critical information. Warning us that continued flight in the same path is deadly. Conscience is to the soul what pain is to the body. We would like to avoid pain as much as possible but at the same time we recognize that pain is a gift from God. If you didn’t have pain you would destroy your self. Its what we learned last week, didn’t we. In studying Leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease. You are anesthetized, once your nerves no longer responded you can literally destroy your-self because you feel nothing. Pain is critical to physical preservation. And so the Conscience is critical to spiritual preservation.

Now when you come into the world with this sort of basic morality, and a responsive witness to that morality, that either indicts you or honors you, in response to how you conduct your-self according to that innate morality. When you come into the world that’s only a minimal provision by God. To strengthen your conscience, you need to continually inform it not only of that basic morality that’s written in your heart, but of that very refined comprehensive moral law recorded where? In scripture. As you raise your children you teach them the law of the Lord Deuteronomy 6 says you teach them the law of the Lord “when you stand up, lie down, sit down, walk in the way.” In other words all the time, all the time, your teaching, your teaching, your teaching, your children the law of God. Because you want that law basic law written in their hearts, strengthened and developed and built up and fulfilled and completed. And so you teach them the law of God. And the more they know about the law of God the richer there understanding of scripture, the more truth there to activate the conscience to warn them. The more information the conscience has the better.

Our society attacks that. Our society under the price of the power of the air, has two objectives. Objective number one, is destroy the moral law, so that the conscience is misinformed. Train people against what is innately the law that is in their hearts when they’re born. Give them a new morality, not the morality of the Bible not God’s law. We want people not to think biblically. We want them freed from that so we’ll construct another morality and we’ll pour that into their lives, through every means possible. That’s destructive.

http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/jm-conscience.htm

The destructive impact of recreational drugs (as well as other things such as same-sex marriage, abortion, etc….) have been well-documented. Legislating it into law may curb some of the crime rate… but you would have a whole other issue now. Keeping alcohol legal, for example, has not stopped people from driving drunk, going into insane drunken rages and hurting people or even hurting themselves. And though alcohol is a ‘drug’ that can be taken in moderation (and not to excess), legalization of things like weed, pcp, lsd, x and others are a whole other issue in and of themselves. Imagine the druken man who beats his wife, but gets stopped by a police tazer. Now imagine that man on PCP instead.

Scary enough for ya ?

They say that high folks (folks under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point where they are intoxicated with it) ‘tell the truth’ a bit more. I’ve seen this firsthand repeatedly. And the truth is… that people are sinful. I’ve seen the drunk relative rant and rave in a drunken stupor about how he really doesn’t like certain family members anyway and then proceeds to curse his own mother out. Yet, when not under the influence, he’s such a nice guy. The issue with crime, drugs, etc…. is not economic, but moral.

People don’t murder people for drugs. If drugs were legal, there’d be a whole other set of issues that people would find to latch onto and murder people, rob people and steal from people to get.

People over in African countries would consider our ghettoes to be palaces. With Somali and other warlords armed with thousands of rounds of ammunition, they’d consider the U.S.’s worst inner city to be safer. With the opportunity to work, live in your OWN apartment and not be forced to live in a shanty with 8-9 other relatives…. the chance to eat more than three times a week… many aspire to leave their countries wracked in civil war and come here.

And with these things that others don’t have… our problem of crime – especially violent crime – remain. The problem isn’t education or economics. It’s a sin issue. The fix isn’t intellectual. It’s moral and spiritual.

No political party is the solution to mans’ woes. Only Christ is. And until He returns, there will be no perfect political party.

—–

A Strong Rebuke…. Ya Think ?

I haven’t talked politics on the blog in a while because I spend most of my days talking about it on The 5th Quarter in the 5Q Lounge.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking….and in the midst of showing someone that they were busy arguing with the ‘republican stereotype in their mind promoted by the media’ and not interacting with what I was specifically saying, this all came to mind…..

Finally…….

*putting on steel toe boots*

Some folk call themselves Christian on here, but follow right along with the non-Christians on here in ‘speaking evil of dignitaries’ (Jude 8, 2 Peter 2:10). I’m not talking about legit criticism or policy disagreements – but stuff like ‘fugg Bush’ and all this other nonsense. The above passages referenced refer to things FALSE PROPHETS do. Believers, on the other hand, are commanded to:

1 Peter 2:13-17
13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

and also:

Romans 13:1-7
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

and also:
1 Timothy 2:1-2
1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Now if scripture (not Bionic’s Opinion) says you owe the king honor and you continually dishonor him in your speech, you are not contradicting me, but disobeying God. If your speech matches the speech of ‘the world’ in simply condeming, name-calling, cursing and all in regard to the leader of your country, no matter how much you ‘dislike him’ and not praying for him, you are in direct disobedience to the Word of God. Your beef ain’t with me – I’m just the mailman. You can call me all the names you want and that won’t change one jot or tittle of the scriptures’ commands to YOU.

It needs to be noted that both Paul and Peter wrote these words under the ‘regime’ of a Caesar-worshipping, hedonistic, lust-filled Roman empire. Yes, there were some laws which required believers to do things that were anti-Christian that were to be shunned and outright resisted (i.e.- calling Caesar ‘Lord’ and worshipping him). You find something analogous to that in simply treating your leader with respect, let me know. As believers, we have an example to set for the world. Some of you hollar about signs and wonders in order for folks to be saved (and Tracey, I love you for always reminding me of this, because I need it – don’t stop!), but the greatest ‘sign’ and ‘wonder’ is a changed life. God doesn’t just save us and give forgiveness of sin, but takes us and shapes us into an image of Him. that means your language – even on political issues – should be markedly DIFFERENT than that of non-Christians. And how you go about handling political issues should ALSO be different.

Good tree. Good fruit.

Perhaps the reason a bunch of you don’t feel like you’re living peacefully is because you ain’t prayin’ like scripture says you should.

Think on it.

and REPENT.

What’s very interesting – I just had some dude join my board who came over with an agenda to ‘support the democratic party’ and ‘bash Bush’ with much the same rhetoric spewed on here (though he’s white).

He recently posted something right along these SAME lines – that he was WRONG from a *BIBLICAL* standpoint – to attack Dubya personally. And I wasn’t the main person interacting with him……

thank God for repentance. :)

*takes off boots*

Closing thoughts…..

Ultimately, EVERY political candidate will fall short of the biblical standard for righteous ruler until Christ comes and rules. Putting all (or even most) of your trust in them to establish your agenda is akin to trying to build the kingdom of God on earth. It’s a fool’s errand, destined to fail as much as trying to worship a Jesus Christ who isn’t God or believing in a God who isn’t Triune.

fin