Remember those ten plagues that came across Egypt toward the beginning of the book of Exodus, but stayed away from Goshen, where the tribes of Israel were living? If the story were from today, I wonder if the plagues would have been referred to as “variants.”
Sure, God brought these plagues upon Egypt while China, along with some funding from Fauci (among others) brought our variants. But even so, Pharaoh hardened his heart, leading to further plagues. We hardened our hearts, requiring the removal of solutions that work and instead mandating a vaccine that unleashes the next variant.
Like any parallel, this one will break down. but it is a less eskew parallel than I thought it was when this Plagues and Variants concept first came upon me. And before anyone accuses me of eisegesis in this post, allow me to be the first one to admit just that. I would not present this before a church gathering, but in a blog setting, with disclaimers in tow, I believe it to be harmless to anyone willing to read this paragraph.
Evil, foolishness, chaos, disorder. These are the signs of the works of the devil. I use biblical definitions for foolishness, so I am not saying that they are stupid. I am saying that they disregard the wisdom of living in light of the one who created you and reject the truth in their unrighteousness. And these plans may appear to be successful for a time, but they cannot hold together.
Romans 1: 21-25 ESV For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Let me know what you think. As for me and my house, we plan to remain residing in Goshen and putting horse paste on the lintel and posts of my front door, just in case you were wondering.
I remember a documentary on the History Channel about the Black Death that killed a large swath of Europe, Asia and northern Africa in the mid 1300’s. The documentary explained some of what was going on, why it was happening, what effects it had on the victims, and what lasting effect it had on society as a whole. Yes, this was from when the History Channel had actual history on it, rather than UFO and Ghost stories, so it has been a while. The fact that this series stayed with me this long is evidence that it left an impression on me that came from the many impressions the Black Death made on the survivors.
One lasting effect was the rise of the middle class. The plague killed people indiscriminately, and there were wealthy landowners who succumbed to it, including their families. There was land that was suddenly unowned as there were no remaining heirs. In many cases, former serfs occupied the land and started working it.
With all that, it may seem hard to believe but there were also positive consequences to the Black Death. Primarily, manpower was suddenly of much greater value than it had been before. For the first time in centuries, peasants weren’t available in prodigious numbers and nobles had difficulty securing the workforce necessary to sow their fields and harvest their crops. Thus, the late Medieval peasant found himself quite unexpectedly and unprecedentedly in demand, a shift which shook European society to its core.
Kings and dukes now had to bargain with their laborers over working conditions, and the under-classes were able to demand better compensation for their services. Wages rose, in some places doubling over the course of just one year. At the same time, prices were falling because there were fewer people to buy goods. So, caught between rising production costs and falling revenue, middle-class lords tried to force a price-freeze and, when they couldn’t, many gave up and sold their estates.
One family of serfs wasn’t able to maintain the amount of land there was either, so the land of one wealthy family with servants quickly became plots of land for many former servants to own and operate. These self-sufficient people no longer had to work for their former owners, some of which had survived. All of a sudden these wealthier land owners had a comparative shortage of people to work their fields. This resulted in the workers who would return to them demanding wages and conditions that were more equitable.
Having said all of that…
This virus is NOT the Black Death. Not even close. But the vaccines that are being rushed out to everyone may eventually disrupt society in a similar, though less pronounced way. Hindsight is 20/20 and the truth will one day be impossible to hide. I pray that the elevated death and suppressed birth rates from this insanity proves to be as overblown and coincidental as the Leftists in government want us to believe. But if it is true in any degree, those with (shall we say) healthier genes to add to the gene pool will multiply while those who accepted an injection financed by those who believe that the world is overpopulated will find it harder to successfully reproduce.
This strategy only works if we are willing to play the long game. It may take a generation or two, just as the Israelites had to wander in the wilderness until the faithless ones died out. To win this struggle is to do the very things laid out in the Bible. Make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that Jesus commands, which just so happens to include all that the Bible commands. Start in your household, and disciple your own children rather than allow some member of the Teacher’s Union to do that. No, I don’t care if that teacher goes to your church. They are beholden to a curriculum while in school and any Godly impact they have on your kids is the exception and not the rule.
Blessed are the unvaccinated for they shall inherit the earth.
Me, not Jesus, so don’t call me a heretic
I don’t want to add a burden on you that hasn’t been placed there by God, so I will not condemn anyone who receives a vaccine, just as I hope to be afforded the same respect (love for neighbor) from those who disagree with me. However, the degree of faith you place in an injection or a mask to save you, compared to the scores of data to the contrary that are out there, if only we’d look, will influence how much I am willing to trust you. I say that to be honest, rather than to pretend that I am more pious than you.
If I intend to play the long game, I may as well be open about my presuppositions. I have them. So do you. We now can see how it is that a nation that can stomach the slaughter of the unborn can quickly become one that turns against its own inconvenient citizens, the way so many have in the past. We also have been able to see an alarming number of likely citizens all around us who would have turned in Anne Frank had they known her family’s location. If you have to ask, I’m talking about you.
This survive and disciple strategy is undermined by Christians who keep staring up at the sky waiting for something to happen, by the way. So many of us are caught up in the idea that Jesus is coming any minute now, resulting in some neglecting the work that Jesus has for them. There are plow lines in one direction, but they are looking in another direction, so to speak. See Luke 9:62 for context on that statement.
And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:10-11 ESV
I do not begrudge those who focus on the last part of the sentence, for it is scriptural. Jesus will return one day in a similar way as he left. I do not dispute this. But I do want to point out that these people were scolded for standing there and gawking at the sky. And I do want to suggest that we have many Christians who are still gawking.
We comfort each other with the notion that the return of Christ must now be close because it really sucks to be a Christian right now. Our children are disobedient, our government is as beastly as Rome ever was, the red light district is prospering even as our churches are being closed “for our safety” as bitter is redefined to be called sweet even as Fascism is redefined to make it OK now for governments to ask businesses to enforce illegal mandates on their behalf.
They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now!” “Great. Now we can shoot at them from every direction.”
Puller: Hero of World War II and Korea The most decorated Marine in Corps History
Christian, we have a lot of work to do. Now is the time to show that our true colors are neither red nor blue. Now is the time to acknowledge that Jesus has given us a job to do. We are not meant to gawk at the sky. We are here to make disciples and to have a real impact upon this land, even on the governance of it.
Isaian 2:2-4 ESV It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
If you believe that such a state could only come after we have let this world get so bad that finally Jesus came to rapture us into victory, I must wonder what motivation you may have for trying to improve the world. After all, if Jesus won’t come back until it’s bad enough, why would you stand in the way of those trying to make it… bad enough?
I’m playing the long game. The game that doesn’t involve gawking at the sky. The game that says to get to work doing that which you were instructed. If Jesus returns before I suspect, then let Him find me busy. But do not forget that the ten virgins in the parable trimmed their lamps to allow the oil to last FOR A LONG TIME. The master went on a LONG JOURNEY. There will be those who fall away because it has been a long time. Blessed are those who endure to the end.
Just don’t act as if the Master of the Harvest hasn’t given you a job to do. Look for opportunities to bless others. Pray for those who curse you. Make sure that their reason for cursing you is that you are remaining faithful to Jesus. There is foolishness in the schemes of the evil one. And foolishness is not able to sustain itself indefinitely. So be ready to reap where you haven’t sown. Everyone on earth was swept away in the flood. Only Noah and his family were left behind. Pharoah and his army were destroyed in the Red Sea. The people of Israel were left behind.
It is good to be left behind. Let’s stop gawking and start building something great.
Revelation 1-6 ESV “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
First a little context: Moses and Aaron had confronted Pharaoh and God unleashed ten plagues upon Egypt, showing the might of God and the impotence of the gods of Egypt, until the Israelites were allowed to leave after 400 years of slavery. Even then, Pharaoh sought to enslave them again and the Red Sea opened up to allow Israel to cross on dry land, but it closed to swallow Pharaoh and his chariots. Following that, God provided food and water for a large multitude of people. Moses went up the mountain and returned to the people with a more formal introduction from this God.
Exodus 20:1-3 ESV And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.”
This introduction begins with a showing of authority, as many covenants did in the ancient world. One king would rescue another, then they would covenant together with a preamble. “This is who I am. This is what I have done for you. Therefore, I am requiring you fulfill these terms as I fulfill my portion of the agreement.“ I know it sounds a bit odd to us in this time, but should it? We reached out to a bank because we couldn’t just write a check for our home. The bank agreed to pay for our home and we agreed to reimburse the bank, adding interest. We also agreed to protect this investment with insurance and to maintain the property. Not just because this is our nest egg, but also because the bank requires their investment not to be devalued through any malice or negligence on our part.
All agreements have terms to the relationship between the parties. In Exodus, God begins by saying that He will be the God of Israel, the God who removed the slavery status from the people and removed them safely from Egypt. Just as the people had been beholden to Pharaoh, so they were to be beholden to God. Just under different terms. And the very first term was that there was to be no worship of any deity besides the One who had rescued the people. He was to be God and there was to be no other.
Fast Forward about a millenia and a half. Give or take.
First a little context: Jesus walked on the earth and taught a message unlike anything the people had contemplated before. He backed this message up with signs and wonders. He spoke as one with authority, not like the scribes and teachers of the day. He lived the life of total fealty to God that I should have lived. He amassed a following that threatened the political figures of the day and was crucified for it, a death on the cursed tree that should have been my punishment under the wrath of God. And then he rose again on the third day, walking out of the tomb that had been guarded by the strongest empire of the time. He appeared to hundreds of people, and continued to teach his message until it was time for him to return to Heaven from whence he came. And before leaving, he introduced the marching orders for the new covenant.
Jesus was speaking to men who had walked with Him for years. They were all devoted to Him, even before His resurrection from the dead. Granted, all but one of them scattered when it looked bleak, but let’s offer them some grace here. He cemented His message by carrying the sins and sorrows of the world to the cross and then by rising from the dead. Neither the Sanhedrin nor the Romans held any power over Jesus any longer. As a matter of fact no authority was above Him. None on Heaven and Earth. And His final instructions begin with this statement of authority.
Matthew 28:18-20 ESV And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In a very real sense, the God who brought Israel up from the house of slavery is the same God who holds all authority, including the slavery to sin that once captivated us. See Romans 6 for my reason to include this concept here. And just as God included instructions of what His people would look like in Exodus, we have instructions of what we are to be about in the Great Commission.
We are to be people who:
REMEMBER that all authority belongs to Jesus. Yes, this is part of the instruction. The key part of the instruction.
Go to others both near and far to make disciples. And this looks like:
Baptizing in the name of all three members of the trinity
Teaching the disciples to observe/obey all that Jesus commanded
REMEMBER that Jesus is with us. The power to accomplish these goals comes from Him. Always.
The word translated as “Baptizing” refers to immersion. I don’t mean to spark a baptism mode debate here, but instead want to point out that a disciple is to be immersed, engulfed, in the Father/Son/Holy Spirit. We are to marinate in God. We are to desire God, to borrow from John Piper. And coupled with that, we are to teach the disciples to obey all of the commands of God. Those commands are discovered over 66 books in the BIble and not just the red letters in the gospels.
Nations are comprised of people. The people are to be reached and thus the nations will be transformed as the residents are won by the gospel through the power of Jesus, not the power of our presentations of the gospel. The Onus is never on us! The power is always from God, never sinful disciples making other disciples. God doesn’t require “winners” in any sense that we would think of. God demands faithfulness. And even when we prove to be faithless, God remains faithful. For He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13) This Great Commission will succeed! And we get to play a small part in it!
Matthew 5:11-12 ESV “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I’m opening this post with the end of the Beatitudes. No, this isn’t a part of a series. No, you haven’t missed the ones before this. It’s just something that has been on my brain back burner for a bit and I figured I’d share some thoughts about it. Opening up the thoughts, it is best to be familiar with the context. This is part of a larger section. That section is part of a larger sermon. That sermon was presented to many people toward the earlier part of Jesus’ ministry, though sections of it and possibly all of it were likely shared in other settings as well. It is recorded most famously in Matthew 5-7. That is a great three chapter section to read every day for a period of time. Truly immerse yourself in it. But for today two verses are on my mind.
Jesus tells us that we are blessed, fortunate, even favored when others revile and persecute us. In certain situations. For certain reasons.Here in the USA, we are told that we do not experience any reviling or persecution. I reject that notion outright. We may not have the same intensity of persecution that they have in other places in the world, but that is not to say that we do not suffer from the attacks of the enemy here. Satan has many tools in his toolbox and he knows how to go after both groups and individuals. Look at the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, chapters 2-3. Different churches face different challenges.
Some face physical attacks.
Some have economic penalties for following Jesus.
Some are being challenged to put a stop to sinful behavior from within, rather than try to find some kind of compromise as they had been doing.
Some are so prosperous they have wandered away from their desperate need for Jesus to sustain them.
Some of them are just going through the motions, hoping their fellow church members don’t notice.
All of these are ways that Satan persecutes the church, not just through burning buildings down and killing anyone who calls on the name of the Lord. The best tool is used for each job, and all of the jobs are one form or another of persecution. You may recognize some of these tactics in the churches near you. Perhaps even your own. It happens, and Jesus does give His commands on how to address these situations. To do anything less than what Jesus commands is to assume that your way is more loving than the one who gave His life for you.
There are ways to stand against the attacks on your church. There are right ways. There are wrong ways. The right ways involve prayer and a multitude of wise voices. The best ways remember that we are blessed WHEN we are reviled and persecuted. We don’t pursue abuse for the sake of a blessing, but the blessing gives us hope to endure. If you orchestrate some persecution for yourself and live-stream the persecution, hoping to go viral, congratulations. You already received your reward in full.
It is good to look at all of the words Jesus says here. When people say or tweet mean things about us, we shouldn’t automatically begin the persecution party (Acts 5:41). Let’s look at the qualifiers that Jesus gives to help us determine when we are blessed. For your sake, I’ll share the verses again. It’s also for my sake so I don’t have to scroll my screen or switch tabs so often. Don’t make this awkward. Read it again!
Matthew 5:11-12 ESV “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
When you (individually or collectively) are suffering, it is not a bad idea to examine yourself. Is this slander true or false? Could it be an honest misunderstanding? Did someone accuse your church of misusing funds? Double check to be sure everything is on the up and up. Did someone say that you hate other people because you don’t accept the spirit of the age? Examine yourself and see if you do hold hate for people. While you’re at it, make sure that it is correct that you reject the spirit of the age. Make sure that your communication regarding the matter is filled with gentleness and respect while honoring Christ as holy (1 Peter 3:15). And also notice that Jesus said we were blessed when the slander is false AND when it is on His account. That means that even when an accusation is false, you can’t yet dance a jig. Was the action against you done because you were doing what Jesus would have you be doing?
Churches have been fined and shut down for meeting together during a time when the government objected. SWAT teams have been involved, dressed in riot gear. In the Western hemisphere, this has been well documented in Canada. The Bible is very clear about the need for Christians to meet together. Jesus is Lord. Lord of the Church. Lord of Lords. The government can claim authority, but ALL authority has been given to Jesus. Faithful churches who reopened and suffered for it are blessed! It doesn’t always feel that way when the pastor is in jail, but the Canadian pastors who suffered are merely following in the same footsteps that the Apostles walked in. And when your footsteps match the Apostles and the Prophets, you can take that as a sign that your feet are facing in the right direction.
Matthew 10:16 ESV Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
Addendum: I use the name of the deceiver/accuser to refer to all of the forces he has amassed to go after the people of God. The demonic activity against you or me are probably not being done by the same one who tempted Eve in the garden. Probably not the same one who tempted Jesus in the wilderness. God can be everywhere at once. Satan cannot. Most likely, he’s never heard of you.
Before you read this post, it really would be a good idea to read this article by the same name on The Aquila Report, written by Greg Gilbert. The reasons he gives for multiple Bible versions in this article are all true and accurate. I would add one more reason there are so many English versions. That is the litigious nature of our society.
A publishing company owns the rights to the translation of the Bible that they produced or that they purchased. So when their authors write their books, citing scripture from the owned translation, there is no copyright worry. If they cite a different translation, there may be a fee requested by the owner of that translation, cutting into the profits of the book. Different publishers have different allowances for the use of their translation.
I believe the King James Version is open source, so it can be quoted without worry by any publishing company. That explains why this is the version quoted most often in movies and television shows. That also explains why you can find copies of the KJV in discount stores.
Genesis 50:20 ESV As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good
The litigious nature of American companies did play a role in the multitude of translations. And while it is not good that we are so quick to let a secular court settle differences between Christian publishing houses, God has used this to provide many faithful translations of the Bible, which can be used in a myriad of ways to build His church.
To whom much is given, though, much is required. As the body of Christ, we have resources that were unimaginable in past generations. We have a responsibility to study the word diligently, to meditate on the light that has overcome the darkness, to use these translations to the glory of God. And this message must reproduce both locally and afar.
If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
First, allow me a moment to clarify terms. I imagine we’ve mostly heard of systematic theology. That is the practice of taking a variety of topics and gathering all of the biblical data available and then reaching a conclusion about each topic. The most faithful ones will describe how the author came to his or her conclusion while presenting a fair explanation of alternate opinions. Then there is natural theology, which is derived largely from nature and reason. The phrase “nature and nature’s God” from the American Declaration of Independence looks to the order of God’s creation in contrast to the chaos of despotic rule. Biblical theology looks at the information given in the Bible with minimal input from elsewhere. What set the Pharisees and the Sadducees against each other? Biblical theology will get you the pertinent information. Historical theology studies the merging of ideas over time. Francis Schaeffer’s “How Then Shall We Live” is a fantastic look at the ideas that shaped culture in the last two thousand years. Dogmatic theology takes all of the above concepts and funnels them through an organized agreement within a body of believers. All of these are good and useful.
This post is one where I will be looking at a repeating pattern in the Bible, and it will be using a little of each of these categories. I’m not sure it fits in the dogmatic definition though. For lack of a better name, I’m going with the working title of “Macro Theology” as this takes a broad brush for the painting, again for lack of a better descriptive phrase. There is natural observation, biblical information, historical concepts, and is undergirded by a systematic study. If there’s a proper name for this, I’d love to know it.
I believe that all of history is demonstrated in the Bible with Chaos compared to Order. Wisdom vs Vanity. Good vs Evil. As fallen humans, we are prone to look at things in shades of grey. Or is it spelled gray? Anyway, we are prone to accomodate any and every stance to one degree or another, assuming that in different places and times different things are more tolerable than others. But God shows in His word that things are much more black and white. When given a look at the world through the lens of Revelation there are not varities of people on a spectrum of good to evil. There are the earth dwellers and there are the overcomers. We are not in one camp or the other because of our commitment to order over chaos. We are in the order camp because we repent and believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. The Holy Spirit is given and we begin a lifetime work of sanctification. Even as we have the righteousness of Christ from the first moment, our lives gradually trend toward that direction, never achieving perfection on this side of glory.
This order vs chaos look begins at… the very beginning. Genesis 1:1-2 states that in the beginning, the earth was without form and void. That description comes from a word that can also be translated as “confusion” or “difficult to grasp” or “chaotic.” Immediately, God brings order to the chaos by separating light from darkness. The next day, He separated the waters from the waters, sky and sea. The next day He separated the land from the sea. Once creation was taken from chaos to order, He began to populate it.
The order vs chaos picture doesn’t come into play again until Genesis chapter 3 when the fall of all of mankind takes place. From that point forward, the chaos of fallen humanity is at odds with the order of the people of God. This order vs chaos is shown in the seven generations from Cain and Seth in chapters 4 and 5. In the flood of Noah, all of the earth (the people of disorder) was swept away. But 8 people were left behind. And they inherited the earth (the land) as their home. It is later shown in the patriarchs learning to walk by faith and not by sight, often finding that this leads to conflict with the world around them.
God gave His law through Moses so that His people would contrast from the world, and so the nations would marvel at how great their society was (Deut 4:6). The original mandate was for them to spread the name of the Lord to all the world, but they quickly looked only inward. Patterns of going back and forth between God and the allure of the sinful world are seen for the remainder of the Old Testament. After demonstrating that all of humanity was prone to such lunacy and chaos God sent His son so that the sinful heart could be addressed.
Ever since then, the gospel message and Christian worldview has been used to contrast with that of the world. We preach the gospel and know that it is a message in conflict with a defeated foe. The foe knows this, and knows that the time is short (Revelation 12:12). As time progresses, more and more chaotic worldviews will be shown for what they are as they pass away. On the last and final day, it is the people of God who will be left behind. Blessed are the meek.
1 Corinthians 15:24-25 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
We are observers and participants in this battle between the wisdom and order of God and the foolishness and chaos of the world. Many of the problems we have today are overflow events from this spiritual battle. Many competing ideas throughout the last 2000 years have been shown to be insufficient to fit within reality. Some more than a few times. Many more enemies will be revealed and placed under the feet of Jesus. Most of these ideas will be placed there after a struggle. It is the struggle that we see in the moment, not unlike Peter only seeing the chaotic waves beneath his feet when Jesus was right there in front of him.
Finally we have Practical Theology, which emphasises how you live out your understanding of any of the theologies in the first paragraph. It’s where the rubber meets the road. As you go through your day, I hope something in this post helps you navigate the storms of life and maintain your perspective on Jesus, who is reigning right now, and who will continue to do so until the end, when he delivers the completed kingdom to God the Father, having destroyed every rule, authority and power.
In my lifetime, short as it seems, there have been several occasions where Christians sounded the alarm. Some new event happened and we were concerned about the ramifications. If this were allowed to stand, there would be no logical reason for another event to be allowed and celebrated. And time after time we were dismissed as slippery slope worry warts, only interested in interfering with the “rights” of others. How hateful!
You know the kinds of occasions. Gay “marriage” was allowed in one state or another, later nationwide by Supreme Court edict, and Christians warned of logical problems with basing who you were allowed to marry by something as fickle as love. What would prevent polygamy? What would prevent incest? We were shouted down, labeled as hateful fear mongers, and told that our slippery slope arguments were illegitimate. God was seen as intolerant for disallowing certain unions as the state was interposed between God and man in order to give man a greater sense of autonomy. Which is ultimately where this is going, but then that sounds too much like a slippery slope…
I really don’t want to be the guy to say that I told you so, but… well… the slippery slope has proven to be an extremely accurate indicator of future events because the doctrine of Total Depravity has been proven time and again. Humans are fallen, and do not seek after God. (Romans 3:11) So you can look at the logical conclusions of any God-rejecting societal event in the most negative ways, and given a little time these slippery slope conclusions are what happens. Without fail. Demons can’t help but demon, if i could coin a verb here.
Do any of these shaming statements sound familiar? They were all used when gay mirage was being shoved down our throats. Christians have tried to argue against such things using secular sandy arguments like the chromosomal health of resulting children or societal norms vs “ickyness” when we should have pointed to the bedrock of the Bible as the fount of our reason to make such determinations. Do we agree with the unbelieving opponents when they say that Leviticus 20:10-16 is a hateful section of the Bible? If not, then perhaps it is time for us to stop assuming the validity of argumentation brought about by people lacking any spiritual awakening. If we have been given the mind of Christ, then perhaps we ought to try using it. Just an idea.
And since this blog is ultimately based on biblical fealty and my love for the church, it would be out of character if I didn’t close with a few… ahem… suggestions for the church, both local and universal.
Churches and church leaders need to resign their status as marrying agencies with the state. Individuals are licensed by the state to preside over legally binding marriages, based on standards that the state chooses to recognize. You may have a marriage that was performed by your pastor in your church, but in order for that marriage to be recognized legally, the state had to approve it. So ultimately, the pastor and the church are operating as agents of the state. I am not trying to undermine the legitimacy of your marriage. I am just stating facts. My solution is simple. Your pastor should refuse to fill out any paperwork for the state and should request to have their legal standing to perform marriages be rescinded. Marriage doesn’t belong to the state, i.e. the Beast. Marriage belongs to God. Retaining a state license may be super convenient to the young lovebirds in your church, but that convenience will eventually come with the horrible price of coercion or penalty. It’s better to just get ahead of it.
Churches need to only recognize marriages that are God honoring. To hell with the emotional outbursts that will result. For thousands of years, there was no organized religion as we would recognize it. There were those who called upon the Lord and there was Melchizedek, who was given a tenth of all that Abram had after bringing out bread and wine. After that a formal priesthood was not constituted until three generations plus 400 years had passed. And yet there was marriage and giving in marriage, with the first marriage recorded in Genesis 2:18-25. Based on the universal gift of marriage from God to our covenant head, we are able to respect any marriage that meets the criteria revealed in scripture. So if an eligible couple is married before a justice of the peace, the church should honor that marriage. Likewise, if any eligible couple wishes to be married in the church the church should celebrate their nuptials. But in so doing, the couple should be told that the church is not recognized by the state. God will honor their marriage, but the state will not, so a follow up with a judge or other person with state credentials might be a good idea at some point. As far as the church is concerned, these people are not living in sin. Radical, right?
Churches need to proceed with confidence, knowing that ultimately the foes who are attacking her will not prevail over her. That’s right. Confidence. Our bridegroom sees what is being done to his bride and He is returning. Even now He is battling a foe that knows it is defeated, but rages all the more. (Revelation 12:12:) And when He comes those who have persecuted the church will know that they were actually persecuting Jesus. (Acts 9:1-6) We have confidence in the future sense, but we also need to maintain perspective that these troubles are the rumblings of Jesus placing every enemy under His feet. 1 Corinthians 15 is a chapter that deals mainly with the topic of resurrection, first of the resurrection of Jesus and then of the general resurrection. This resurrection takes place at the end of this age, coinciding with Jesus returning to deal with those who honored Him as well as those who persecuted Him. (Matthew 25:31-46) That makes 1 Corinthians 15 an explicitly eschatological chapter of the Bible. In closing, I’ll share from this chapter in the ESV, which is my preferred translation. Emphasis mine.
22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reignuntil he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
At the last day, Jesus will DELIVER a completed kingdom to God the Father. This happens AFTER he has destroyed every enemy and foe. This battle wages right now. To realize this and not expect a little blowback would be wishful thinking indeed. Also, Jesus is reigning right now and will continue to reign and to do battle until all of his enemies are under his feet (Psalm 110:1) and we will know when that battle is concluded when the final enemy, death, is destroyed. This optimistic view of eschatology does not require a steady stream of awesomeness as we draw closer to the return. It does provide a lens by which we can understand the present trials and tribulations as the thrashings of enemies who know they are defeated, and are just hoping to do as much damage as possible on the way down.
At this point, I’m only confused when I ponder whether we should refer to these pushes against Christian and societal norms as the Gaystapo or as the Rainbow Jihad. They both have such a nice ring to them.
Note to the T’s: If you change your name to appropriate the gender you are assuming, then you are agreeing with cultural norms that your new name belongs to that gender. If names weren’t gendered, if there weren’t a traditional order to them, you wouldn’t see any need to change it.
Let me explain. The LGB’s all have one thing in common. They assume a duality of gender. They may now deny it, but in so doing, they deny their very identifying characteristic, that being who they are in relation to who they are sexually attracted to. And sexual attraction requires some sort of definition if it will also serve as identification.
To be an L, you must first accept that you are a woman. Following that, you must be sexually attracted to other women. To be a G, you must first accept that you are a man. Following that, you must be sexually attracted to other men. Rocket science, right? To be a B, you must first accept that you are either a woman or a man who is attracted to both women and men. If that weren’t true, you wouldn’t identify as Bi, which is a prefix meaning “two.” Like a bicycle. Or a biannual event. Or binary code.
In contrast, the T’s reject the binaryness of sex and gender. They say that gender is on a scale that goes from here to infinity and beyond, to steal a phrase. Facebook allows you to select from over 50 genders, last I looked, and if that isn’t enough it allows you to self define your own gender. I’m a “dude” on Facebook, for example. You can look me up if you want to be sure, but don’t expect any interaction from me on there. Gab is where to go when you’re tired of being “fact checked” by people who can’t decide if they’re LGB or if they’re just on some bizarre scale of confusion.
A foundational aspect of their worldview is in dispute, not a tertiary aspect. Foundational. If the LGB’s were to reject the T’s based on this, as well as any further additions to the non-word acronym, they could reassume a level of respectability, at least in intelligencia circles. But they allow competing worldviews under their banner, a banner that is already falling to the banner of the T’s, showing the confusion they all share. This may be enough to be celebrated by our culture, but celebration is not the ultimate goal they are after. They long to be worshipped for their confusion. And that is a confusion ultimately stemming from their rejection of God and His word.
Earlier, I highlighted the factors that these people, all made in the image of God, use to define themselves. That pride of self-identification is the root of their error. Well, a root. They have redefined God, a violation of the first commandment. They have made themselves into objects of worship, second commandment. They demand that we speak untruths, 9th commandment. I could go on. Here’s the deal though. We are all created in the image of God. Our identity has always been based on that, whether we choose to admit it or not. We are all in covenant with God whether we like it or not. The only difference is whether your mediator is Adam or Jesus.
The Bible speaks clearly about those who reject the clear truths laid out in nature and in scripture. Such actions are condemned. Such feelings are a direct result of the fall and are to be contested against. The Bible also speaks with hope for ones such as these. The best story that comes to mind is that of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-38. A eunuch was someone who could be trusted completely with anything his master had, including the master’s wife. This is because the eunuch was castrated prior to puberty. This castration would result in a highly reduced level of testosterone, so the eunuch would eventually be recognized by others based on the results of this development alteration. A slight build, reduced body hair, probably also differences in voice and mannerisms. The eunuch was not necessarily trying to change from male to female, but he was dramatically changed in much the same way some evil people want to change confused children in our culture.
This eunuch was trusted by his master and had a high position in his country, but that was only because of irreversible body modifications. Many in the church today would take one of two approaches. The first would be to ignore such a person, thinking he was lost beyond any hope for the gospel. The second would be to speak out against him, though he was not an opponent or rival. In fact, this man was reading the scriptures and trying to make sense of them. It is noted that God put Philip in place to have a conversation with this man, and to explain what he was reading. And once he believed, Philip did not hesitate to accept and baptize him. A gentile with his sexual organs disfigured was loved in the same way many others were. That is how we ought to approach such people, whether they are T’s or LGB’s.
So pray for opportunities to share the gospel with whoever God has in your paths. Look for these opportunities to present themselves. Do not deny God by agreeing to the errors that contradict the word of God. Be patient, gentle and kind. Remember just how much God has forgiven and continues to forgive you.
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
“May the Lord curse you and abandon you. May the Lord keep you in darkness and give you only judgment without grace. May the Lord turn his back upon you and remove his peace from you forever.”-R.C. Sproul