Category Archives: Biblical Thinking

Pro-Choice? No. It Really IS a Baby.

1royalbaby.jpgSo what does everyone think about how the world would respond if Prince William and Kate announced tomorrow that due to health issues caused by morning sickness that they have decided to terminate her pregnancy and hope that the next try would be easier on her? (Or perhaps they discovered it was a girl and they really, really wanted a boy as heir?) Would everyone shrug their shoulders and say, “Her body, her choice?” Would they say, “It’s just a clump of cells anyone — you know…a “fetus”.” Would some publicly praise her courage and independence in reaching this decision? Would the “right to choose” remain a solemn declaration of the Pro-Abortion values set?

Nope. Nope. Nope.

There would be outrage! Disgust! Popularity would plummet. You see….everyone sees her “product of conception” as a BABY. Brits have attached their hopes, dreams and aspirations of a future monarch to this “non-person” who is less than three months beyond conception. Countless others await the royal pregnancy from baby bump to the first time he/she is held up to adoring crowds thronging the street in front of Buckingham Palace. While liberals and democrats and misogynists and racists and feminists want the world to think a pre-born child is not a human, not worthy of personhood, not filled with potential, not important enough to be nurtured and loved — thinking people, when faced with the realities of how they would respond should such a scenario transpire, must admit that it is.

 

Indeed. A. Baby.

America’s Most Biblically-Hostile President — by David Barton


This might well be the most important article written on this President during his Presidency.  Never has America elected a more virulently anti-Christian man to be our leader.  Now we are being asked to return him to office for a second term.  Please read this article (reprinted by permission) here or link to it directly at the Wallbuilders Website HERE.  This is a MUST READ.  Note the careful documentation.

America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President

David Barton – 02/29/2012
America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President
When one observes President Obama’s unwillingness to accommodate America’s four-century long religious conscience protection through his attempts to require Catholics to go against their own doctrines and beliefs, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Catholic. But that characterization would not be correct. Although he has recently singled out Catholics, he has equally targeted traditional Protestant beliefs over the past four years. So since he has attacked Catholics and Protestants, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Christian. But that, too, would be inaccurate. He has been equally disrespectful in his appalling treatment of religious Jews in general and Israel in particular. So perhaps the most accurate description of his antipathy toward Catholics, Protestants, religious Jews, and the Jewish nation would be to characterize him as anti-Biblical. And then when his hostility toward Biblical people of faith is contrasted with his preferential treatment of Muslims and Muslim nations, it further strengthens the accuracy of the anti-Biblical descriptor. In fact, there have been numerous clearly documented times when his pro-Islam positions have been the cause of his anti-Biblical actions.

Listed below in chronological order are (1) numerous records of his attacks on Biblical persons or organizations; (2) examples of the hostility toward Biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military; (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values; and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions, including letting his Islamic advisors guide and influence his hostility toward people of Biblical faith.

1. Acts of hostility toward people of Biblical faith:

  • April 2008 – Obama speaks disrespectfully of Christians, saying they “cling to guns or religion” and have an “antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” 1
  • February 2009 – Obama announces plans to revoke conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs, and fully implements the plan in February 2011. 2
  • April 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered when he is making his speech. 3
  • May 2009 – Obama declines to host services for the National Prayer Day (a day established by federal law) at the White House. 4
  • April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican; of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three. 5
  • October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions. 6
  • November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law. 7
  • January 2011 – After a federal law was passed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-erected as ordered by the Court. 8
  • February 2011 – Although he filled posts in the State Department, for more than two years Obama did not fill the post of religious freedom ambassador, an official that works against religious persecution across the world; he filled it only after heavy pressure from the public and from Congress. 9
  • April 2011 – For the first time in American history, Obama urges passage of a non-discrimination law that does not contain hiring protections for religious groups, forcing religious organizations to hire according to federal mandates without regard to the dictates of their own faith, thus eliminating conscience protection in hiring. 10
  • August 2011 – The Obama administration releases its new health care rules that override religious conscience protections for medical workers in the areas of abortion and contraception. 11
  • November 2011 – Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. 12
  • November 2011 – Unlike previous presidents, Obama studiously avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving speech. 13
  • December 2011 – The Obama administration denigrates other countries’ religious beliefs as an obstacle to radical homosexual rights. 14
  • January 2012 – The Obama administration argues that the First Amendment provides no protection for churches and synagogues in hiring their pastors and rabbis. 15
  • February 2012 – The Obama administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, but announces it will no longer forgive student loans if the public service is related to religion. 16

2. Acts of hostility from the Obama-led military toward people of Biblical faith:

  • June 2011 – The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery. 17
  • August 2011 – The Air Force stops teaching the Just War theory to officers in California because the course is taught by chaplains and is based on a philosophy introduced by St. Augustine in the third century AD – a theory long taught by civilized nations across the world (except America). 18
  • September 2011 – Air Force Chief of Staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of programs and services available to them from chaplains. 19
  • September 2011 – The Army issues guidelines for Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.” 20
  • November 2011 – The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child, a program to send holiday gifts to impoverished children across the world, because the program is run by a Christian charity. 21
  • November 2011 – The Air Force Academy pays $80,000 to add a Stonehenge-like worship center for pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans. 22
  • February 2012 – The U. S. Military Academy at West Point disinvites three star Army general and decorated war hero Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin (retired) from speaking at an event because he is an outspoken Christian. 23
  • February 2012 – The Air Force removes “God” from the patch of Rapid Capabilities Office (the word on the patch was in Latin: Dei). 24
  • February 2012 – The Army orders Catholic chaplains not to read a letter to parishioners that their archbishop asked them to read. 25

3. Acts of hostility toward Biblical values:

  • January 2009 – Obama lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, forcing taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. 26
  • January 2009 – President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state asserts that American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions and that limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional. 27
  • March 2009 – The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit. 28
  • March 2009 – Obama orders taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. 29
  • March 2009 – Obama gave $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that promotes abortion and works closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. 30
  • May 2009 – The White House budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education, repeatedly proven to increase teen pregnancies and abortions. 31 He continues the deletion in subsequent budgets. 32
  • May 2009 – Obama officials assemble a terrorism dictionary calling pro-life advocates violent and charging that they use racism in their “criminal” activities. 33
  • July 2009 – The Obama administration illegally extends federal benefits to same-sex partners of Foreign Service and Executive Branch employees, in direction violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 34
  • September 16, 2009 – The Obama administration appoints as EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who asserts that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, if they may negatively affect homosexual “equality.” 35
  • July 2010 – The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion. 36
  • August 2010 – The Obama administration Cuts funding for 176 abstinence education programs. 37
  • September 2010 – The Obama administration tells researchers to ignore a judge’s decision striking down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. 38
  • February 2011 – Obama directs the Justice Department to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 39
  • March 2011 – The Obama administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls. 40
  • July 2011 – Obama allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, reversing a policy originally instituted by George Washington in March 1778. 41
  • September 2011 – The Pentagon directs that military chaplains may perform same-sex marriages at military facilities in violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 42
  • October 2011 – The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion. 43

4. Acts of preferentialism for Islam:

  • May 2009 – While Obama does not host any National Day of Prayer event at the White House, he does host White House Iftar dinners in honor of Ramadan. 44
  • April 2010 – Christian leader Franklin Graham is disinvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer Event because of complaints from the Muslim community. 45
  • April 2010 – The Obama administration requires rewriting of government documents and a change in administration vocabulary to remove terms that are deemed offensive to Muslims, including jihad, jihadists, terrorists, radical Islamic, etc. 46
  • August 2010 – Obama speaks with great praise of Islam and condescendingly of Christianity. 47
  • August 2010 – Obama went to great lengths to speak out on multiple occasions on behalf of building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, while at the same time he was silent about a Christian church being denied permission to rebuild at that location. 48
  • 2010 – While every White House traditionally issues hundreds of official proclamations and statements on numerous occasions, this White House avoids traditional Biblical holidays and events but regularly recognizes major Muslim holidays, as evidenced by its 2010 statements on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha. 49
  • October 2011 – Obama’s Muslim advisers block Middle Eastern Christians’ access to the White House. 50
  • February 2012 – The Obama administration makes effulgent apologies for Korans being burned by the U. S. military, 51 but when Bibles were burned by the military, numerous reasons were offered why it was the right thing to do. 52

Many of these actions are literally unprecedented – this is the first time they have happened in four centuries of American history. The hostility of President Obama toward Biblical faith and values is without equal from any previous American president.


Endnotes

1. Sarah Pulliam Baily, “Obama: ‘They cling to guns or religion’,” Christianity Today, April 13, 2008. (Return)

2. Aliza Marcus, “Obama to Lift ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers,” Bloomberg, February 27, 2009; Sarah Pulliam Baily, “Obama Admin. Changes Bush ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers,” Christianity Today, February 18, 2011. (Return)

3. Jim Lovino, “Jesus Missing From Obama’s Georgetown Speech,” NBC Washington, April 17, 2009. (Return)

4. Johanna Neuman, “Obama end Bush-era National Prayer Day Service at White House,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2009. (Return)

5. Chris McGreal, “Vatican vetoes Barack Obama’s nominees for U.S. Ambassador,” The Guardian, April 14, 2009. (Return)

6. Meredith Jessup, “Obama Continues to Omit ‘Creator’ From Declaration of Independence,” The Blaze, October 19, 2010. (Return)

7. “Remarks by the President at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia,” The White House, November 10, 2010. (Return)

8. LadyImpactOhio, “ Feds sued by Veterans to allow stolen Mojave Desert Cross to be rebuilt,” Red State, January 14, 2011. (Return)

9. Marrianne Medlin, “Amid criticism, President Obama moves to fill vacant religious ambassador post,” Catholic News Agency, February 9, 2011; Thomas F. Farr, “Undefender of the Faith,” Foreign Policy, April 5, 2012. (Return)

10. Chris Johnson, “ENDA passage effort renewed with Senate introduction,” Washington Blade, April 15, 2011. (Return)

11. Chuck Donovan, “HHS’s New Health Guidelines Trample on Conscience,” Heritage Foundation, August 2, 2011. (Return)

12. Todd Starns, “Obama Administration Opposes FDR Prayer at WWII Memorial,” Fox News, November 4, 2011. (Return)

13. Joel Siegel, “Obama Omits God From Thanksgiving Speech, Riles Critics,” ABC News, November 25, 2011. (Return)

14. Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Remarks in Recognition of International Human Rights Day,” U.S. Department of State, December 6, 2011. (Return)

15. Ted Olson, “Church Wins Firing Case at Supreme Court,” Christianity Today, January 11, 2012. (Return)

16. Audrey Hudson, “Obama administration religious service for student loan forgiveness,” Human Events, February 15, 2012. (Return)

17. “Houston Veterans Claim Censorship of Prayers, Including Ban of ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’,” Fox News, June 29, 2011. (Return)

18. Jason Ukman, “Air Force suspends ethics course that used Bible passages that train missle launch officers,” Washington Post, August 2, 2011. (Return)

19. “Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion,” Department of the Air Force, September 1, 2011. (Return)

20. “Wounded, Ill, and Injured Partners in Care Guidelines,” Department of the Navy (accessed on February 29, 2012). (Return)

21. “Air Force Academy Backs Away from Christmas Charity,” Fox News Radio, November 4, 2011. (Return)

22. Jenny Dean, “Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans,” Los Angeles Times, November 26, 2011. (Return)

23. Ken Blackwell, “Gen. Boykin Blocked At West Point,” cnsnews.com, February 1, 2012. (Return)

24. Geoff Herbert, ” Air Force unit removes ‘God’ from logo; lawmakers warn of ‘dangerous precedent’,” syracuse.com, February 9, 2012. (Return)

25. Todd Starnes, “Army Silences Catholic Chaplains,” Fox News Radio, February 6, 2012. (Return)

26. Jeff Mason and Deborah Charles, “Obama lifts restrictions on abortion funding,” Reuters, January 23, 2009. (Return)

27. “Obama pick: Taxpayers must fund abortions,” World Net Daily, January 27, 2009. (Return)

28. Steven Ertelt, “Pro-Life Groups Left Off Obama’s Health Care Summit List, Abortion Advocates OK,” LifeNews, March 5, 2009. (Return)

29. “ Obama Signs Order Lifting Restrictions on Stem Cell Research Funding,” Fox News, March 9, 2009. (Return)

30. Steven Ertelt, “ Obama Administration Announces $50 Million for Pro-Forced Abortion UNFPA,” LifeNews, March 26, 2009; Steven Ertelt, “President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation,” LifeNews, February 11, 2012. (Return)

31. Steven Ertelt, “Barack Obama’s Federal Budget Eliminates Funding for Abstinence-Only Education,” LifeNews, May 8, 2009. (Return)

32. Steven Ertelt, “Obama Budget Funds Sex Ed Over Abstinence on 16-1 Margin,” LifeNews, February 14, 2011. (Return)

33. Steven Ertelt, “Obama Admin Terrorism Dictionary Calls Pro-Life Advocates Violent, Racist,” LifeNews, May 5, 2009. (Return)

34. “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies,” The White House, June 17, 2009. (Return)

35. Matt Cover, “Obama’s EEOC Nominee: Society Should ‘Not Tolerate Private Beliefs’ That ‘Adversely Affect’ Homosexuals,” cnsnews.com, January 18, 2010. (Return)

36. Tess Civantos, “White House Spent $23M of Taxpayer Money to Back Kenyan Constitution That Legalizes Abortion, GOP Reps Say,” Fox News, July 22, 2010. (Return)

37. Steven Ertelt, “Obama, Congress Cut Funding for 176 Abstinence Programs Despite New Study,” LifeNews, August 26, 2010. (Return)

38. Steven Ertelt, “President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation,” LifeNews, February 11, 2012. (Return)

39. Brian Montopoli, “Obama administration will no longer defend DOMA,” CBSNews, February 23, 2011. (Return)

40. Steven Ertelt, “Obama Admin Ignores Planned Parenthood Sex Trafficking Videos,” LifeNews, March 2, 2011. (Return)

41. Elisabeth Bumiller, “Obama Ends ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy,” New York Times, July 22, 2011; George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1934), Vol. XI, pp. 83-84, from General Orders at Valley Forge on March 14, 1778. (Return)

42. Luis Martinez, “Will Same Sex Marriages Pose a Dilemma for Military Chaplains?,” ABC News, October 12, 2011. (Return)

43. Jerry Markon, “Health, abortion issues split Obama administration and Catholic groups,” Washington Post, October 31, 2011. (Return)

44. Barack Obama, “ Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner,” The White House, September 1, 2009; Kristi Keck, “ Obama tones down National Day of Prayer observance,” CNN, May 6, 2009; Dan Gilgoff, “ The White House on National Day of Prayer: A Proclamation, but No Formal Ceremony,” U.S. News, May 1, 2009. (Return)

45. “Franklin Graham Regrets Army’s Decision to Rescind Invite to Pentagon Prayer Service,” Fox News, April 22, 2010. (Return)

46. “Obama Bans Islam, Jihad From National Security Strategy Document,” Fox News, April 7, 2010; “Counterterror Adviser Defends Jihad as ‘Legitimate Tenet of Islam’,” Fox News, May 27, 2010; “‘Islamic Radicalism’ Nixed From Obama Document,” CBSNews, April 7, 2010. (Return)

47. Chuck Norris, “ President Obama: Muslim Missionary? (Part 2),” Townhall.com, August 24, 2010; Chuck Norris, “President Obama: Muslim Missionary?,” Townhall.com, August 17, 2010.(Return)

48. Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner,” The White House, August 13, 2010; “Obama Comes Out in Favor of Allowing Mosque Near Ground Zero,” Fox News, August 13, 2010; Pamela Geller, “Islamic Supremacism Trumps Christianity at Ground Zero,” American Thinker, July 21, 2011. (Return)

49. “WH Fails to Release Easter Proclamation,” Fox Nation, April 25, 2011; “President Obama ignores most holy Christian holiday; AFA calls act intentional,” American Family Association (accessed on February 29, 2012).(Return)

50. “Report: Obama’s Muslim Advisers Block Middle Eastern Christians’ Access to the White House,” Big Peace (accessed on February 29, 2012). (Return)

51. Masoud Popalzai and Nick Paton Walsh, “ Obama apologizes to Afghanistan for Quran burning,” CNN, February 23, 2012; “USA/Afghanistan-Islamophobia: Pentagon official apologizes for Quran burning,” International Islamic News Agency (accessed on February 29, 2012). (Return)

52. “Military burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan,” CNN, May 22, 2009. (Return)

Tim Challies on “Entitlement”

handout.jpgOne of my favorite bloggers, Tim Challies has written a great blog article on the subject of “Entitlement” as it relates to our current generation.  You’ll find yourself nodding in agreement with many things he says or uncovers and if you are like me, you’ll also have your breath knocked out of you a bit as you realize the depth and scope of this misguided belief.  As Challies notes….there is one thing and one thing only to which every person is entitled.  Hell.  Sinners in need of redemption we all are.  Take a minute and read his article HERE.  (There’s also a podcast attached if you have the time to listen to it.)

Can We Have a Truce on the “War On Christmas?”

It seems that every once in a while, I feel compelled to write a blog article that ticks off many of my “own kind”.  (By “own kind” I mean generally conservative, Bible-believing Christ followers.)  This is one of those posts.  So here I go….

I’m really quite weary of the annual hullaballoo about how the evil atheists/secularists/liberals/Democrats/communist pinkos are trying to remove “Christ from Christmas”.  Quite frankly, it has been going on all my life as far as I 000war-on-christmas.jpgcan tell.  (As exhibit one, I would use the long-debated use of “X-Mas” in place of “Christmas” which actually has quite a logical and historical explanation which one can find HERE, but which, I’m regularly told means nothing because today’s “X-Mas” users really are still trying to take “Christ” out of “CHRISTmas”.  But I digress…)  The skirmish became a “war” when FOX News talking, er, shouting head, John Gibson wrote a book entitled The War on Christmas which became a seasonal best seller.  In it, he used alleged and real incidents of attempts by whackjobs, nut cases and actual enemies of the Gospel who are trying to remove the religious significance from the “holyday”.

But sometimes, in my always humble opinion, we just make ourselves look like fools.  At least I hope it is that and not something more ethically distasteful like trying to exploit a non-controversy for the purpose of fundraising.  Speaking of that, here’s the one that lit my fuse today.

Citizenlink.com sent out the hot story of how the U.S. Government is forbidding our elected officials from saying “Merry Christmas“.  You can find the link to the story HERE.  If you haven’t been seeing it on the conservative news networks and right-wing blogosphere, basically their contention is that a memo written and distributed this month which reminds members of the U.S. House of Representatives that the law prohibits the use of their free mail (at least free to them, it’s actually paid for by our tax dollars) privileges, also known as “franking” to wish people “Merry Christmas(or Happy Hannukah or Happy New Year or Blessed Kwanza or whatever).  This is sold as yet another overt attempt to prove that Christianity is under attack from the dark forces of the radical left and we must stand and defend our holiday or Christianity is doomed.

OK, OK…just so you know that I’ve not turned pagan and am secretly part of a conspiracy to turn Christmas back to a Winter Solstice event, let me say it here and now:  “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!”  (Yep, I said it.  Burrell Cliche’-Fest is alive and well. Now may I never say that tired, old phrase again.  Seriously.)

But FRANKLY (pun intended), the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives has a policy against wishing constituents “Merry Christmas” is NOT an attack on Baby Jesus.  You have to read the whole policy.  In a nutshell, it is to prevent (additional) frivilous use of this “perk” enjoyed by the many millionaires who stroll our halls of Congress from sending out even MORE junk mail everytime there is a holiday of any kind — be it Christmas or birthdays or weddings or retirement or Eid or deaths or divorces or any other cause for celebration.  All such franked mail is included — not just Christmas.  Can you imagine how many millions of dollars and millions of tons of junk mail could be sent out every stinking holiday if they had this privilege?  While we amass debt at breath-taking rates every single second, this is just one small area in which the government has shown a bit of restraint.  If our beloved congress people want to congratulate their constituents and wish them “Happy Everything“, they are not forbidden to do so.  Just don’t do it on the taxpayers dime!  Use that big ol’ fat campaign chest you’re sitting on (and which they can keep personally when they retire.)  I could not care less if Sue Myrick (R-NC) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC) wish me a Merry Christmas.  It’s not like they personally sign them and include their family newsletter or anything.

What really irritates me about this (and actually, there are SEVERAL things that irritate me), is that it is cynical ploy to get Believers all worked up and fuming and making declarations about the 000afraid.jpggodless Democrats and so on and anyone who has a room temperature IQ and will take 10-minutes of reading time will see that this is completely bogus.  It makes us look like fools to those who DO take the time to find out what is really going on.  We can’t scream about wanting a more fiscally-responsible government and they pitch a fit when they spend tons of cash on sending us meaningless greeting cards.  It’s absurd.  The 1st Amendment is alive and well and this is not some evil conspiracy to silence people of faith.  Far too few people actually read beyond the headline and thus draw (the desired) opinion that this is a religious liberty issue.  It’s simply dishonest to make this policy about the 1st Amendment.

Here’s the real deal… we’ve already destroyed much, if not most, of the religious signficance of Christmas.  Seriously, celebrating the birth of the Christ child is a side-bar at best in a month filled with gross materialism and consumerism, gluttony,indebtedness, insane busyness and for many too much booze.  Sure, the 3x per year church attenders get their fix of religiousity at the annual Christmas Eve Communion Service in which millions of people participate in a sacred church ordinance unworthily.  Sure, many of us set a nativity set on top of the TV or the bar.  Yep, we drop a buck in the red kettle or send a shoebox to an Ethiopian child.  But when it comes right down to it, I don’t think Jesus feels honored by the way we celebrate the alleged (and probably inaccurate) date of His birth.  He probably feels sad.

Whether or not there is a “War on Christmas” we know that there is a spiritual warfare that happens every day of the year.  It began in heaven, took root in Eden and will not be settled until the end of this age.  Everyday the genuine believer should face spiritual opposition if they are seeking to live Biblically and authentically.  Scripture tells us that the Gospel will be a constant offense to the non-believer.  It has the stench of damnation for those who the condemned.  It is a Sword and not a dove to those who reject the Bible, repentance, Jesus and grace.  That’s the real “war” we face.

We don’t need additional evidence that this country is headed to hell in a handbasket.  It is evident all around us.  So let’s quit making a big deal out of non-issues and make the Christmas season a celebration of the Gospel by sharing it with someone, not shouting at them.

On Church Shopping and Church Hopping

As we are in the midst of this season of shopping, I have recently been pondering over the tendency of so many in today’s culture of “What’s in it for me?” to engage in near constant church shifting, changing, transferring and yes, I’ll say it… “Church Shopping.”

00churchhopping.jpgOthers can’t seem to stay in the same church more than a year or two.  Something happens, someone new comes along, some slight lands their direction — and bam, it’s “On the Road Again”.  We call these folks “Church Hoppers”.  Don’t count on them…they’ll be gone the first time the road gets a little rough or something “cooler” comes along.

Oh, I’ve heard just about every excuse there is for leaving a church during my years of ministry.  “We’re not being fed” (So at what point should a Christian grow up sufficiently that they can ‘self-feed’ — not every sermon is supposed to be for every person, for the record.)  “No one called us when we were absent/in the hospital/on a trip” — (yes, and when one only attends sporadically, it’s actually quite difficult when someone’s actually absent or just out on their latest week-end junket.  Plus, we’re not telepathic just because we’re in the ministry.  If you are sick, in the hospital, laid up or whatever, how giving us a head’s up with an email or a phone call?)  “We no longer feel the Spirit” (Really, well you might want to keep in mind that the Holy Spirit lives IN you, not in the building.  This could be something you might want to check out personally.)  “God is leading us away” (Why is it we so often blame doing what we really want to do on God so often?  I had a girlfriend that dumped me that way as in ‘God has lead me to break up with you’….interestingly, He also lead her to immediately begin dating one of my friends.  It’s just so much easier to blame God and make it sound all spiritual instead of owning our own choices.)

000hopping.jpgThat’s not to say that we should never leave a church.  If you move, you gotta’ leave.  If the pastor quits teaching the Bible, head for the door.  If sin is being covered, heresy is being tolerated, Biblical principles are being violated, then you may need to leave.  But some of us approach our church family like Kim Kardashian approached her marriage to Kris Humphries — “OK, I’m bored, I’m leaving. Buh-bye!”  Seriously?  Are we to approach our church membership like a Hollywood wedding?

My role as pastor has provided me with a unique perspective on a variety of human traits. Among the most frustrating things in my life is the constant parade of people I observe who are quite content to live superficially, unBiblically or both even though they profess to have a real, substantive relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m reminded of Paul’s concern regarding our tendency to be “hearers” rather than “doers” of the Word of God.

Pastors minister via “ideals”, but we constantly live in “reality”.  Sure I want folks to come to church for “good” reasons, spiritual reasons, etc… I want them to make decisions based on Bible principle, sound philosophy and good reasoning, not experience, or convenience or trendiness. But the reality of real-world living is that the vast majority of folks prefer and use the latter criteria more than the former. At the same time, God has called me to minister to “All”, not just the spiritually mature or discerning. So how does a pastor reach the immature and superficial so that they can minister to them with a desire to see them become mature and substantive?

Some time ago I read an article by a religion reporter who noted that the most heartfelt e-mails (he) received came from folks searching for a faith home. I would note that he wrote in a paper located in a city with over seven hundred houses of worship. Several quotes from that article and comments I’ve heard or read over the years, triggered some thoughts for me on the matter of what do people want from a church?

As one who has served many years in pastoral miknistry, I am intrigued by the kinds of questions people ask of me when considering joining our church. Let me give you a sample:

What programs do you have for children?
Are you part of a denominational association?
What style of music do you use in your services?
How long is your typical sermon?
What sort of fellowship groups do you provide?

The article had some interesting comments as well:

One lady said, (quote)”We do not want a church that is about `absolutes’ and being `saved,’ nor are we looking for a charismatic or fundamentalist church. We would like a Christian church that offers contemporary services, social gatherings and family programming.”

One e-mailer cited in the article suggested that (quote) someone put out a church guide listing everything anyone would ever want to know about a congregation, from music to ministries to dress code. If she had had such a Charlotte guide, the e-mailer said, “I wouldn’t have sat in a church parking lot noting that the congregation wasn’t carrying in their Bibles — a wasted Sunday for me and a waste of time for them contacting me …”

Many pastors experience additional feedback that relates to the temperature of the auditorium, the convenience of parking, the volume of the music and the rapidity with which hospital visits are made. But all of it seems to miss the key points what is MOST important?

Not one of these individuals asked what I would consider to be a vital question. What do they use for their standard of truth? What is the basis for their faith? Does the pastor preach from Scripture or his own opinions? Will I be spiritually fed at this church? Does this church have an area in which I could be a blessing or encouragement?

I pose this question, Do we really go to church for activities and events, convenience and comfort, to have our egos stroked and our desires met? Do we never consider that the church might need us? What part should each of us play in the health, growth and ministry of the church?  Is church shopping and church swapping simply a matter of wanting a place that provides us with a since of being ‘spiritual’ but does not require that we think, respond, receive correction, get provoked with Truth and actually make investments in something that does not give us direct and immediate benefit?  Have we developed a mentality that says, “If this doesn’t work for me, I’ll just split and give it a shot somewhere else?”  Has a church home become “all about me?”

000churchhopping.jpgWhat if people found a church and joined it with an attitude that says, not every sermon must be for me, not every song must be my style, not every activity has to be one that I would join. Instead, Where can I serve?, Whom can I assist?, Where could my spiritual gifts be best put to use?

What if they approached it like a marriage and determined to work through dry periods, refuse to walk out when things don’t lean our direction, to give others the benefit of the doubt, to forgive, to be patient, to demonstrate loyalty and perseverance?

Churches ought to be more like families than amusement parks. Everyone should join in for the good of the family and each member realizes that it can’t always be about them. Some churches are struggling and an infusion or a core of committed, positive people who are more interested in giving than taking could spark them to a renaissance. Some churches have a dearth of teachers or musicians and the addition of someone with a talent in those areas could be a blessing to the church and the pastor.  When we leave a church and walk away from our ministry, what do we communicate to those who served?  Isn’t it like abandoning people that have been depending on us?

So not everyone is carrying their Bible to church? How about setting the example? How about using your influence to encourage the pastor to deliver messages that challenge the people to not only bring, but USE their Bibles.

The world has enough self-centered critics. No church is perfect, just like no family is perfect. Maybe it’s time we quit asking what’s in it for us and start asking, “What can I do to serve?”  A church shouldn’t be about attire, convenient service schedules, worship styles or personal preferences.  A pastor can’t always be a motivator, a professor, a financial expert, a counseling guru, a leadership expert, a bedside comforter, an organizer and a musician.  We need to have reasonable expectations of our church and its leadership.

It should be about being a called-out community of believers who are committed to using their God-given gifts for His glory and our good. When we find a church that is built on a Truth and a pastor that is committed to teaching, preaching and modeling it — then more times than not, we need to stay put and find a place for service.  As I often say, “Those that are rowing the boat are usually a lot less likely to be found rocking the boat.”

A Worthy Article on the Topic of Missions

I’m always hesitant to write much about missions as I have SO many dear friends who are missionaries and it’s almost impossible for me to write anything substantive about missions anymore without it appearing that I’m taking a swipe at the idea of missions, missionaries in general or missions agencies.  Some day when I’m temporarily insane, exceptional bored or just feeling like laying it all out there, I’ll share my thoughts perhaps.  Until then, I just happened on this blogger’s article and I’d recommend you read it.  Feel free to discuss below.

A Deficiency of Love at Penn State — A Sermon Worth Reading

For some reason, I’m having trouble getting past the scandal that occurred at Penn State.  On one hand, that’s good.  Sometimes I fear that having had to deal with so much tragedy and reading so much about the effects of sin and wickedness as a Pastor for 25 years, I might have grown numb and calloused at the horror of depravity.  Apparently, I haven’t.  On the other hand, every time I think of that little 10-year-old kid who thought somebody just loved him because he needed to loved and ended up being violated unspeakably by this vile future roommate of Gacy, Dahmer and their ilk in hell, it about makes me crazy with rage and sorrow.

Some one posted THIS ARTICLE on Facebook today. I’m not sure who the guy is that wrote it, but it’s worthy of your read.  It’s painful to complete and if you are sensitive about the details of sexual abuse — then pass on this.  Trust me.  But he’s done an excellent job of focusing on something from which we can all learn.

As for me, I will eventually need to write about this myself.  If I don’t, I’m going to explode.  But I just can’t do it yet.

I’m not finished crying.

On Pregnant Teens and Baby Showers — From my Facebook Wall

A few hours ago, I asked the following question on my Facebook wall:

Hypothetical for discussion: You are a pastor. In your church is a young girl age 15 who is very rebellious and doing her “own thing”. She ends up getting pregnant. Abortion is out of the question and she refuses to consider adoption, so she decides to parent. The kids in the youth department want to throw her a big baby shower on a Wednesday night as the due date approaches. As pastor, what do you do? Discuss among yourselves and no breaking the furniture when I’m out of the room.

Within less than 2 hours, well over 100 comments had been posted, arguments started, debate was had, some got upset, others got disgusted, some did the knee-jerk response of “look at these hypocrites” and “judgementalism is alive and well”, etc…  But hopefully EVERY ONE was required to think.  That’s what I do as a professor and having been a pastor, I will tell you that every pastor faces dilemmas like this one many times each year.  It’s a HARD job and someone is ALWAYS mad at you for any decision that you have to make.  Sometimes, it’s good to think of responses before they are presented.

So…at this point, I’m going to offer my thoughts.  No doubt, some will disagree with them and that’s OK.  But don’t just say “you’re wrong!”  And don’t you dare say something like “I feel…”.  As I say in class constantly, “I don’t give a rat’s behind what you feel.  Tell me what you THINK and WHY you think it.”  Preferably, build on Scripture and don’t twist it out of context.  You may be worn out by now and if so, that’s OK.  Please know it wasn’t my intention to drag up old wounds for some or to make anyone feel bad.  This is real life.  I teach graduate students Christian Leadership for Liberty University.  This is what I do for a living and because I love it.  Tough questions, tough choices, tough positions.  Hopefully, in the end, even if you disagree with my position, you won’t be upset with me because of my disposition.  Think Biblically above all else.

So here’s my reply….

I want to thank everyone for participating tonight.  I may be a sadist, but I enjoy exercises like this.  The unexamined life is not worth living according to one philosopher.  Those who have had me in a live-class setting in one of the colleges where I teach or have taught, know that throwing a question like this out into the middle of the class is how I often like to start a class or new section.  Most of us want simple, clear, black and white answers.  Better yet, many of us want someone else to make the tough decisions for us.  That doesn’t work in the real world.  We each have a responsibility to learn to think on our own and to think Biblically – not with just our hearts, but with our heads AND our hearts, but keeping Truth paramount.

As for the question I posed, many of you – if not most of you – were in my opinion grasping onto core Biblical principles including justice, grace, repentance, compassion, confrontation and mercy.  I’d give everyone a passing grade and I thought it was good to see some of you adding caveats and adjusting your perspective as the debate raged on.

I’ve had similar situations in every church and school with which I’ve been affiliated to the one I cited, but none just like this.  Some of the finest people I’ve ever known and that I love dearly made a mistake (both girls and guys) similar to the one of the hypothetical girl and they grew spiritually as they recovered from the consequences of their sin.  Today, the are sweet friends who are making a difference in the life of others.  Their life is not defined by a period of rebellion.  Indeed, their life — like all of ours should be — is a celebration of God’s grace.  Because whether or not they are obvious (like a pregnancy out of wedlock) or not as obvious (like being addicted to porn or alcohol or simply being a critical, bitter, self-righteous shrew) — we all have nasty, disgusting sins in our lives.

And yes,  getting pregnant out of wedlock (or simply having sex out of wedlock) is a sin.  Let’s not candy coat it.  We should not be surprised when humans…aka SINNERS, sin.  (Rom. 3:23, etc…)  I didn’t handle all of the situations perfectly as a pastor, though I tried to handle them sincerely and carefully.  Another note – pastors aren’t perfect and it is a mistake to hold them a standard of perfection OR have an insistence that they always agree with YOUR perspective all the time.  That isn’t going to happen and if you leave your church every time you disagree with something, you’ll be in a new church every week.

But here are my thoughts…

1.      1. The sin occurred while and because the girl was in rebellion.  This cannot be ignored.  This wasn’t a rape.  This was intentional.  Thus, sin has to be confronted.  While some will say that not every sin would be confronted – that is true.  We won’t and can’t know every single sin.  But this sin WAS known and it shouldn’t be ignored simply because we don’t “catch” all the sins.  We are only accountable for what we know.  But Matthew 18 and also Galatians 6 has a formula for confronting sin that begins with the personal visit and concludes as a last result as a corporate action.  The Bible warns us that rebellion is like witchcraft and sorcery – we should not ignore it.  So as soon as the sin was discovered, the process of confrontation that will hopefully lead to repentance and then to restoration needs to occur.  Without that, we start off incorrectly.

2.      2. In my opinion, baby showers and youth groups don’t mix.  That should have been a pretty easy one.  Teenagers can get married and when they do, they need to leave the youth group.  But unless they are married, teens shouldn’t be having sex and they shouldn’t be making babies.  So baby showers and youth groups just don’t mix.  There are some things that the youth need to leave to adults until they have attained sufficient maturity – counseling, marriages, being a deacon/elder and yes….Baby Showers.  If Baby Showers are necessary for anyone – single, married, young, whomever – let the older women of the church sponsor those.  It solves problems before they happen to have that as a policy or standard.

3.      3. Showers are celebrations by design.  I’ve never seen a somber shower.  There are games, refreshments, laughter, balloons, etc…  Offering a party in the middle of the Matthew 18 restoration policy sends the wrong signal and confuses the process.  It shouldn’t happen.  The attention should be on the spiritual healing that is necessary.  Her family should make sure she is getting prenatal care, is physically cared for, etc…  In the absence of a supportive family, then she should be assigned to a church family who should take her in and minister to her – providing that she is engaged in the restoration process.  In my opinion, it would be wrong to honor someone who is in the midst of recovering from a moral failure.  Her soul is more important than her feelings and how she perceives us and whether she is happy and excited.  Let’s focus soberly on the spiritual issues – that’s the foundation.  (Before you get angry and stop reading, let me say that I’m not done yet…hang in there and stay with me.)

4.       4. If she stays in rebellion, then the church and her leadership have no choice but to protect those who might be influenced by her on-going rebellion.  Failing to move toward repentance, she should be formally disciplined by the church ultimately leading to – as a last resort – an excommunication from fellowship.  At that point, the church has no additional obligation to her.  There are private charities and government assistance available to her and above all, her family is obligated to stay involved but also within their terms as the authority/parents.  Some rebellious teens separate themselves from their families intentionally.  Sometimes we have to let them as hard as that may be.  But by choosing to stay in rebellion, after a patient period of exhortation and appeal, she is the one who is walking away from the benefits of grace and support that a church can and should provide.  It is not the church rejecting her – she is rejecting God’s word.  We must see that.  We can’t let our hearts, sloppy agape or a need to be liked and affirmed to overrule truth.

5.       5. If she repents and desires restoration, then this is when grace and mercy and healing can flow and bless her and the church.  She should seek reconciliation first with God, then her family and then the church – all of whom were offended and impacted by sin.  Public sin needs to be dealt with publicly.  What “public” is might well be somewhat impacted by the size of the church also.  Small churches are quite different than mega-churches in terms of how news travels.

6.       6. A shower is for the mother – not the baby.  The baby does not know, nor does she care, if there is a party. So don’t try to make this about celebrating the baby.  We celebrate life – but we should do so wisely and appropriately.  But there are ways to help this young woman prepare for the costs and responsibilities of motherhood.  She needs a Godly mentor if her mother can’t or won’t provide that – so like they did in Titus, she needs to be ministered by an older lady who will love and train and teach her.  I believe, that at a time near the birth, it would then be perfectly acceptable to have some sort of care event at which time other Godly examples  of character and Biblical womanhood come together and break bread, present gifts and most of all – share wisdom.  This can be done in a joyful way without labeling it a “party”, but if it feels like a party, if there is rejoicing over grace and forgiveness and healing — then why not celebrate it?  It should drip with mercy and care and charity.  We rejoice in repentance.  We rejoice in forgiveness.  We rejoice in restoration and second chances.  But we don’t celebrate sin.  And we also guard the hearts of our young, single daughters.  They don’t need to be there.  She is now assuming the responsibilities of an adult.  Let the adults take the lead in ministering to her.

7.       7. Anyone else in the church can, and perhaps should, minister to her through providing resources and supplies.  This communicates love and reconciliation.  That might include her peers in the youth group.  But that should be a family matter.  Let them decide together what is the best response.  In the presence of repentance, we cannot Biblical refuse to help, forgive and restore fellowship.  If we fail to do so, then we are behaving unBiblically and it might be time for another Matthew 18 journey.

8.       8. Do the right thing regardless of politics.  Someone will always be upset.  There are people who are spiritually weak and immature and they will not agree.  Some will want more grace.  Some will want more punishment.  It is not the responsibility of the church to punish the sinner.  The church is to push for repentance, reconciliation and restoration.  God will take care of punishment.  Plus, sin always has consequences.  Both on the guilty and on the innocent.  In the absence of repentance and restoration, the integrity of the church must be guarded and the immature must be protected.  Thus, the unrepentant sinner must be put out.  It’s not an act of retribution.  It’s an act of protection for the church

9.       9. Finally, remember that your pastor and elders are humans, but they hold divinely assigned roles that must be honored.  We don’t have to agree.  We won’t give account to God for the decisions – they will.  It would be wrong to stir dissension, quit church, confront the pastor, etc… simply because we disagree.  If there is a Biblical issue – a CLEAR one – then there is a Biblical process for confronting an elder.  But you’d better be right and you’d better follow the Scripture.  Otherwise, you are quite wrong.  Acknowledge that some others will see it differently than you, but stay committed to Truth and the process.  Let God’s Word stand and let God be God.  Being a pastor is a heavy and solemn responsibility.  Pray for your pastors and elders.

So that’s my 2 cents.  Thanks to all of you who participated.  Feel free to continue the discussion in the comment section below.  If you aren’t a Facebook friend, feel free to friend me and go back and read the debate.  We’ll do this again sometime.

Whose View Have You? (Part 2)

This is a continuation  of the text from a sermon/lecture I give around the country on Worldviews.  If you have not read the first part, click HERE.

————————— 

So, Whose View Have You? 

moralcompass.jpgThere are only two views available to us and their roots are found in the book of beginnings – GENESIS.  From the moment Eve (and Adam) decided to listen to Satan and take “Truth” into their own hands, there have been two views of Truth.  Every false, pagan, confusing, changing or flawed worldview is born of the lineage of the Fall of Man.  Those views — whether viewed collectively or singularly — run against the absolute reality of Metaphysical TRUTH — there is a God and He matters and He IS Truth.  And whether or not we know it, acknowledge it, believe it or obey it — is irrelevant.  Truth is not dependent upon the beliefs of creation to exist.  It.  Just.  Is.

Every decision you make, where you will spend your eternity, how you live this life, where you place your trust, what you spend your time doing are all a reflection of your view of TRUTH.  Sadly, even among those who call themselves Christian, too frequently demonstrate that trusting Christ and walking in practical/functional Truth are not synonymous.  Indeed, if we were to examine the lifestyle, relativism.jpgdecision-making processes, conduct, choices, priorities, goals, attitudes, values, ethics or outcomes of the typical self-identified “Christian” — we’d see that many — if not most — live out the Worldview of moral relativism, not Biblical absolutism.

Warren Wiersbe put it this way – “Your behavior is a reflection of what you believe.” 

So let’s examine those Worldviews, beginning at a very rudimentary level. Two Views – The ABSOLUTE VIEW — The Absolutist believes that there exists in the Universe the presence of immutable, definitive, constant Truth.  From the teleological perspective then, we must ask from whence comes Truth?  What is it’s origin?  Where does it begin?  For the Absolutist, it all begins with the first verse of Scripture.  “In the beginning God…”. From there, we build out our response to Truth by remembering these things…

ü  There is a God
ü  His Word is true
ü  We are accountable to Him
ü  He does not change 

The RELATIVE VIEW — On the other hand, the Relativist believes that Truth is a construct of man or culture or society.  There is no absolute source, it continues to evolve, it is constructed to help in our evolution, it does not necessarilymoral-relativism.jpg apply the same in all places or to all people or at all times.  What may be “true” for you, may not be necessarily “true” for me.  What is “true” today, may not be “true” tomorrow.  What may be “true” in America (or even on earth), may not be “true” elsewhere.  The origin of this thought can be traced back to Satan who seduced Eve by questionning whether or not God was trustworthy.  “Did He really say what you think He said?”  “You don’t really think He meant it when He said you’d die?”  “Could it be that He is holding something even better back from you?”  Of course Scripture tells us that the root of such thinking is PRIDE and when go back to the days when Satan was a powerful angel and decided that HE had the right to be God.  Literally the fall that came to man began with a fall that began in heaven.


So, for the Relativist, Truth comes down to this….


ü 
There is no God and if there is, He doesn’t matter
ü  God’s word is not necessarily true
ü  We are accountable to no one but ourselves
ü  Truth is evolutionary, changing and relative  right-way-wrong-way1.jpgWe can also call these views by other names…

Absolutist vs. Relativist
Theistic vs. Humanistic
Christian vs. Anti-Christian (or Biblical vs. Non-Biblical)
Spiritual vs. Secular
 Idealism vs. Pragmatism
….and many more…  

But summed up, whatever you call it – it all comes down to this — either God is Truth or God is a Liar — and we must decide which view we are going to hold, because it is the key to how we live and ultimately where we go when we die. 

When it comes to Truth, being dogmatic is unavoidable.  Our culture despises dogmatism and those who are dogmatic.  How dare you say that there is “one way” or “one standard” or “one truth”!  How narrow!  How intolerant!  The mantra of today’s culture is “Who am I/you to say?”  Thus, everyone becomes right and the only one who is wrong is the one who is willing to say the everyone can’t be right.

But for those who believe in Absolute Truth, it is really quite easy to respond to those who believe that Truth is relative and that there are no absolutes.

Let me give you some examples of non-truth statements and how an Absolutist can respond.

The Relativist says, “There is no such thing as truth!”
The Absolutist then responds, “Then is that true?”

The Relativist says,
“You can’t know truth!”
The Absolutist then responds, “Then how do you know THAT?”

The Relativist says,
“All Truth is relative!”
The Absolutist then responds, “Is that a relative truth?”

The Relativist says,
“There are no absolutes!”
The Absolutist then responds, “Isn’t that an absolute truth?” 


The Relativist says,
“It’s true for you, but not for me!”

The Absolutist then responds, “Is THAT just true for you, or is it true for everybody?”

 

The Relativist says, “NO ONE has the Truth!”

The Absolutist then responds, “Does THAT truth include you?”
 

The Relativist says, “All truth depends on your perspective!”

The Absolutist then responds, “Is that YOUR perspective?”
 

The Relativist says, “You should doubt everything!” –

The Absolutist then responds, “Should I doubt THAT?”


The Relativist says,
“You ought not judge!” –

The Absolutist then responds, “Isn’t that a judgement?”


About then, their head simply explodes.


(For more ideas on responding to those who reject Truth, read “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Athiest” by Norm Geisler and Frank Turek.)


Copyright 2011 — by Dan Burrell.  All Rights Reserved


To be continued…..

Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol

beer.jpgPerhaps one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is “Do you believe it is always wrong for a Christian to drink alcoholic beverages?”  For many years, I taught and believed that the Bible taught unequivocally that alcohol should not be consumed by Believers.  In order to defend that position, Scripture would often be twisted to make it say things it simply did not say.  Eventually, I would reach the point when I would refuse such tactics as theologically and intellectually dishonest and philosophically unnecessary.  Simply put, I don’t believe that Jesus turned the water into Welches, but into real wine — and probably mighty fine wine at that.  I do not believe that using wine for medicinal purposes was banned…in fact, in both the Old and New Testament, there are passages that indicate that in that time in history, alcohol may have been the best “medicine” available — though one would have a hard time making that case today and still maintain their intellectual integrity in the process.alcohol.jpg

That said, I am a tee-totaler.  I simply do not drink.  I’ve been called a legalist because I don’t, but frankly, I’ve reached the conclusion that for many, any one who holds a position with spiritual overtones that is MORE conservative than them makes the other person a “legalist”.  Conversely, if it is LESS conservative, they are considered a “liberal”.  Both views are silly.  In my mind and conviction, I do not find using alcohol something that I should do.  So I don’t.  If you reach a different conclusion and don’t violate Biblical edicts regarding drunkenness or addiction or moderation, then I really am not interested in engaging you in debate.  It’s just not that important to me to insist that you agree with me.  In my own mind, I’m convinced that it simply isn’t for me.  I respect your position; please respect mine.  That includes not asking me to pay for the alcohol of others at meals out, bringing into my home or using it in front of my children.  In that area, as the head of my home and accountable to God for the influences in my family, I would ask respectful deference.  I certainly would yield to others wishes if/when roles were reversed.

However, I’m not just a person in the audience.  By virtue of my calling and public ministry, I do get asked about such things frequently.  So, in the interest of having a place on this blog to which I can refer people with questions about the topic or who are curious as to what principles I feel are in play, I will offer the following Five Reasons Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol.  Feel free to think on them, comment on them, study them for yourself and then ask yourself what is best for a Believer. vomit.png I think it is unwise to give such a topic no thought.  Many lives, homes and reputations have been destroyed by alcohol.  Even those who exercise their Christian libery to imbibe often do so for reasons that I find suspect — like to cope with stress, to relax, to unwind.  But again, I’m not interested in lengthy debates on the topic.

So, here’s my rationale….for better or worse.  Now when someone asks me this question, I can just refer them to this Blog article.

Five Principles of Discernment Regarding Drinking

1. Is this habit forming?  I Corinthians 6:12

Principle: Believers should avoid anything that results in a loss of self-control.

2. Could it lead to excess?   Ephesians 5:18-21

Principle: Believers are to be marked by moderation so that our consistency will point others to Christ.

3. Could this cause someone to stumble?   Romans 14:21

Principle:  Believers should be willing to yield their “rights” to Christ so as not to be a hindrance to others.

4. Could this harm my Christian testimony?   Romans 14:16

Principle:  Believers should guard their Christian testimony by rejecting anything that would harm it.

5. Am I certain that it is right?  Romans 14:22-23

Principle: If you are in doubt or sense conviction about something, then don’t proceed.  Otherwise, it is sin.