Category Archives: Contemporary issues

Christ is Risen- Will We Rise Too?

There is a clarion call for divine intervention through the Church of the Living God.

A few weeks ago, Kay Coles James of the Gloucester Institute told hundreds of pro-life advocates in Tennessee that the biggest challenge we have today is to get our children involved in the work of the kingdom through active participation in public life. She told me personally at our One Night fundraising event in June last year that the biggest obstacle we have is to mobilize the church to the ballot box.

Two weeks ago, Dr. John Hammond, a physician who once performed abortions, since giving his life to Christ and rejecting abortion for the savagery that it is, told our Right To Life chapter that if we want to change laws, we really must change hearts. We must not be afraid to engage people one-on-one on the issue of life.

Senator Rand Paul recently spoke to a group of pastors, stating that the 1st Amendment does not say take religion out of government, but it does say the government is to stay out of religion. He encouraged these pastors to be involved in the public square, particularly at this time when it seems that religious freedom is being suppressed at unprecedented levels.

The need is real, and it is imminent. The people of God must speak up and speak out. We must be vocal and unashamed.

Is it really a matter of faith, what happens in our world, in government, in society, in our communities? If you could ask Christians being persecuted in the Middle East, who are watching their loved ones being killed; who are waiting for the moment that their time comes to face execution- do you think it would matter to them whether or not we fight for religious freedom, whether or not we live by our conscience, whether or not we use this God-given, Constitutionally-enshrined right to gather together and to speak out? If they had the chance to do so in their homeland, would they?

I believe the answer is, “Yes! It matters!” Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, founder of Voice of the Martyrs and a prisoner in Russian Communist prisons for 14 years, said these words:

America is the last hope of millions of enslaved peoples. They look to it as their second fatherland. In it lies their hopes and prayers. I have seen fellow-prisoners in communist prisons beaten, tortured, with 50 pounds of chains on their legs- praying for America… that the dike will not crumple; that it will remain free.

I called into a local talk radio station when Ivy Scarborough, an attorney and author, was the guest, talking about the threat of radical Islam. I asked him what can we do in West Tennessee to ensure that our community and our Christian way of life remains safe? He stated that the best thing we can do is to continue to live up to our American and our Christian ideals, and promote these ideals in our community, our state, and our nation.

There is real danger in what I am proposing here. No, we have not experienced the persecution Pastor Wurmbrand, Pastor Saeed Abedini, or countless Middle Eastern Christians face on a daily basis. There will be consequences if we keep silent, however. Christians are losing their businesses, being levied big fines for following their conscience. Instead of linking one story, just take a look at the screenshot, and search for yourself:

image

This is not supposed to happen in America. That statement is not a whine about “how the times are a’changin.” It is a call to stand up for what America was founded on- freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, and freedom to participate in the process of governance.

Will we be found guiltless if we do nothing in the face of building oppression? What if we remain silent while millions of more babies die due to abortion? Will their be respite if we don’t sound an alarm, while we have the freedom to do so with little (though growing) chance of being persecuted?

Is the Gospel really at stake in the midst of these “social issues”? If you believe that sharing the Gospel means speaking the truth in love, then yes, spreading the Gospel is at stake in the midst of these issues. Christ rose in order to call us to higher things. We must rise, too. He arose long ago. Now we have to rise to the occassion in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Uncommon Commotion Over a Common Provision- Absurd Pro-Abortion Argument in the Debate Over the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act

We as pro-life, conservative citizens have relied too heavily on the effect of a little-discussed but often crucial piece of wording that has kept abortions from being funded by taxpayer dollars since the 70’s.

The Hyde Amendment was first utilized in 1976. It has gone through several iterations. What is at issue however is that the Hyde Amendment, when attached to annual appropriations bills, prohibits federal taxpayer funding of abortion. Related to Medicaid, federal dollars can pay for abortion under circumstances of rape, incest, or maternal health endangerment. States may choose to fund abortion with the state-funded portion of Medicaid, but most do not. Of the 17 states that do fund abortions, 13 do so under a court order.

The Hyde Amendment has inspired budget riders that have prohibited abortion funding for other federal programs. So it isn’t unusual or unprecedented for Hyde Amendment language to be in a bill that involves money and potential funding of abortion, like in the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act that is being highjacked by pro-abortion democrats. Of course, these democrats, as well as the media, are touting Hyde Amendment language in this bill as controversial and outrageous. Even though the language has been in the bill since it was introduced in January, and passed through committee on a bipartisan basis, now it is being held up by a filibuster in the Senate. A deadlock is now in progress, as Senator McConnell has refused to bring Loretta Lynch up for confirmation as Attorney General until the trafficking bill is allowed to come to a vote.

My big purpose in writing this post is this- whether due to being reduced to a weak minority, or due to perceived pubic support for such obstruction, or due to definite big-money organization support of such obstruction (by Planned Parenthood), the Democrats are fighting tooth and nail to see that abortion is paid for by service providers utilizing public monies from the Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund. More broadly than this, the Hyde Amendment is in danger even when applied to the annual appropriations bill, if Democrats continue this push to kill more babies and our supposed pro-life leadership in Congress allows it.

Federal tax dollars, our federal income tax dollars, are not forever-and-always prohibited from being used to fund abortions. It is a constant fight, year by year, to make sure these dollars do not fund the death of innocent children. If the battle of the Justice for Trafficking Victims Act is any indication it is going to get harder and harder to keep winning those battles.

Provoked: A Call to Extraordinary Good Works

(Image via Twitter. An upside-down flag is a distress call. Orwell speaks for himself.)

I’m sending out a call. A call to extraordinary good works.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works… (Hebrews 10:24)

A provocateur of love and good works for the people of God is what I’m called to be.

Now, just what these good works will look like is getting harder and harder to say these days. Consider that people who live by their biblical morality are finding it more difficult to do so without intrusion. Good works might not look so good to people around us.

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

Because our first love is to the Lord Jesus Christ, we obey Him in all things. If we seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness, then all these other things will be added to us. We can’t attract sinners by making them feel good. Our kindness will prick their hearts, and our refusal to conform to the world will be an assault to them.

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. (‭Acts‬ ‭4‬:‭25-26‬)

Our good will be evil spoken of, our love will be rejected. The heathen will rage.

Let us be sure that we are citizens of the heavenly kingdom, that needs no patriots to stand up for it, that is ruled by a righteous King and is in danger of no tyrant. Then let us work with all the power Christ has given us from heaven through His Holy Spirit within us, to knock aside every obstacle that would prevent the lost from coming to Him. His kingdom come, His will be done.

Jesus has won the war, but we can’t lose the battle. Lest you think I’m too political or earthly-minded as you read my exhortations, read how Jesus was in constant defiance of the political structure; John’s gospel in particular details many times the Pharisees sought to take Him, taking up rocks to stone Him, but He escaped. And how the apostles regularly testified of Christ before councils, declaring the gospel and exerting their conscience in the face of opposition and tribulation. And remember that Paul’s end-run mission was to go before Caesar in order to talk about Jesus. Paul exerted his right as a Roman citizen in order to do so.

Under an oppressive regime, our apostolic forefathers had no Congress or Legislature to appeal to for just laws. They did not have the right to vote for strong moral leadership. I’d like to think that if they had such rights and opportunities, they would have taken them in order to spread the gospel and obey their conscience in the Lord.

Make no mistake- the source of our rights and righteousness is not government, it is God.

For nearly 200 years in the history of the United States, our laws established justice based on the moral law of the Bible. Not simply because the Bibles said so, but because living by the Word of God works! People who murder innocent people should be tried and found guilty, then punished. As a pro-life man, I simply want out laws to condemn murder and our courts to try murder and convict those who are guilty. I’m not looking to government to legitimize life in the womb, God has already done that. I just call on our government to establish and enforce laws to reflect the fact that life is precious, intrinsically valuable, and worthy of protection.

Marriage needs no government to legitimize it. The Bible defines marriage as God established it- between one man and one woman. Our laws have recognized this for the majority of our history, because it is good for society. I call on our government to continue to do what is best for our society and continue to recognize the true definition of marriage in spite of the loud calls of a vocal minority.

These are but two of the issues we as Christians need to be beside ourselves about, to the point of speaking and acting out in every way possible. Endure the verbal attacks and name-calling. We won’t endure anything worse than what the apostles endured, certainly nothing worse than what Christ endured. Take the softball approach to winning souls? We don’t have time for that. We can stand for truth AND draw lost and vulnerable people to Jesus. Don’t think that it is impossible. Our stance may not be popular, but we stand for an enduring covenant that will not pass away, one to which all are called to take part.

The time has come for us to stand up for matters of righteousness that are at stake in the world today. If we the Church will not, who will? The crucial balance between pleasing God, reaching mankind, and enduring hardship, at such a time as this, is what makes for extraordinary good works in public life.

On the Occasion of Netanyahu’s Speech- Israel has a Right to Self-Defense

I’m studying in the topic of national sovereignty, and while I don’t have all of the know,edge I want on the topic yet, I’m confident enough to say this- Israel has the right to protect herself.

The UN has talked a big talk about the sovereignty of nations not being absolute in cases where genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing are incited or are occuring. They say a nation cannot hide behind sovereignty if it is not attempting to stop atrocities, but that the international community may intervene. Well what happens when the international community doesn’t intervene, and even actively incites, one nation’s desire and capability to destroy another nation? Such is the case with Iran toward Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to do what no one else is willing to do for Israel, not even her closest allies. He is working to protect his people from a nuclear holocaust that Iran has stated as its desire since the Islamic revolution of 1979. Within my lifetime, the world has gone from nuclear nonproliferation to “What’s the issue with a hostile world power having nukes (or at least the capability to produce them)?” And the prevailing sentiment all seems to hinge on who the potential target is. Since now it is Israel, it seems to be just fine. And for all the words of the current US Administration, their actions seem to be in defense of those who are anti-Semitic and Islamist.

TV shows and movies have always produced drama and action around rogue states obtaining nuclear weapons, smuggling them into a nation, usually the US, and detonating them, killing millions of people. In reality, nuclear destruction is more likely to come at the hands of a nation protected, or at least excused, by the international community and the US, that has developed nuclear capability and can simply launch a nuclear device right into another nation’s borders. All of this in spite of explicit threats to do so.

I pray for the nation of Israel today. I believe God is still with Israel and will protect them. I also fear God will punish those who perpetrate or allow destruction upon the Jewish people. The nation of Israel is a protective mechanism for a culture and a people, and to that end, God will bless Netanyahu’s nation and government.

Community organizers have their place. But the White House isn’t the place.

(image via townhall.com)

Because this is what happens when a community organizer is in the White House. Immigration is treated as an issue of social justice and not a policy issue with implications that impact American lives.

Community organizers are used to making statements about things they know very little about in order to get a desired reaction from the public. But that doesn’t work so well when you are are in a position of power such that making such ignorant statements may set your country back into the early 20th century.

Community organizers can ignore the clear and present dangers of radical Islam in the name of diversity and understanding. But American Presidents cannot, not without devastating effects.

I’m just an American citizen stating his opinion. But I am an American citizen who knows first-hand the way a social justice warrior, community organizing-type works, and who knows, as we all should know by now, why that type of person is not well-suited to ensure the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” of nearly 320 million people. “Hactivism” has no place, popularity contests have no place, and winning for your side has no place in the presidency. Because your side is supposed to be the American people, and when the American people lose, the president loses. Who is going to welcome Obama as a hero after he is done redefining American society for people who largely don’t want to see it changed?

Freedom of Speech, the Gospel, and Calling Out Evil

(image via http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Francis)

The Pope’s comments on the Charlie Hebdo massacre are disheartening because of the exception he apparently made for violence in the face of behavior that is considered insulting by others toward Islam.

The Pope said Thursday that while violence is wrong, it is also wrong for people to mock the faiths of others.
Speaking to reporters while traveling by plane to the Philippines, Francis said certain language is virtually certain to provoke an angry, violent reaction from someone.
“You cannot react violently,” the Pope said. He added, however, that if a good friend “says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. This is normal.”
Francis added that “you cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people’s faiths, you cannot make fun of faith.”
And the Pope does believe it is a “provocation” to “make other people’s religions a joke” because “things can happen” as a result.

“Why? Why is this world so messed up that I agree with Piers Morgan?”, commented one of my friends on Facebook. I can understand the angst. My belief is that, however much I disagree with Mr. Morgan’s political views, there appears to be a shred of decency in him. And the world is in desperate need of decency.

It is decency that allows someone to disagree with both parties on an issue, and yet, after one of those sides decides to commit murder, the decent person says, “The murderers are evil and wrong,” without the need to qualify anything else.

I have no need to partake of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo. They do me no good at all whatsoever. Whatever message being portrayed is lost on me because I can’t stomach the graphics used to portray the message. I’m sure I would judge many of the views the magazine expresses to be wrong, but how can I say they are wrong to express them? As a lifelong American who values the right to express myself anytime, anywhere, in any way I please, I cannot say those cartoonists were wrong.

We, as free people, understand that there is a such thing as an “off switch” when offensive content comes on our televisions. We “vote with our feet” when we enter a performance that turns out to be offensive in some way. We know we can cover our kids’ eyes and ears and go somewhere else. We don’t buy magazines that portray nudity and pornography, if that’s not what we want to look at. A great portion of the rest of the world, and way too much of America, takes no responsibility for doing what it takes to protect themselves, and instead want to cry afoul at offensiveness. Abolish offensiveness. Shout it down, destroy it (and too often the person who perpetrates it), make it “hate speech”.

I have left the realm of nudity and profanity as I write about offensiveness at this point. Incidentally, the majority of people trying to end offensiveness have no problem with those two things, and would call me a prude for saying that there is something wrong with them. That is exactly why, as much as I hate and avoid many forms of expression that are popular today in the world, I will defend the right of those who spread such filth to do so.

The fact of the matter is, I am the offensive one in the eyes of so many people today. I pray, I believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word and live by it, I’m a minister of the Gospel, I believe in marriage between one man and one woman, I am raising a traditional family (which has been declared dead, by the way), I’m pro-life, pro-protecting-my-family-with-a-gun if it comes down to it, pro-freedom and personal responsibility in this world. I live like I have a responsibility to Christ and my neighbor, because I absolutely do.

And because so much about me is so offensive to the world today, it is in my best interest to stand up for free speech, free expression, free assembly, and freedom of religion. Because if today I am able to condemn someone’s right to speak, then tomorrow I most certainly will be the one facing condemnation.

The Pope did not defend free speech in his remarks. Is the Pope’s reaction coincidental, considering that Charlie Hebdo has also mocked priests due to sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church? Or is the Pope so secure in his ability to continue speaking freely that he isn’t concerned about ramifications of limiting free speech and expression? I’m certain the Pope fears no censorship, but what about you and me?

We have had sermons subpoenaed in Texas. Conservative groups targeted by the IRS. Children and teens required to declare their religion to the government in order to be permitted to homeschool. And on and on.

Freedom of speech allows the Gospel to move. Paul utilized every right of Roman citizenship to move the Gospel across the world. Should we be concerned with being able to do this as well?

Saints in oppressed areas of the world look to the free world, particularly America, and pray that we can keep a firm foothold on the freedoms that make us utterly distinct from the rest of the world. They see our freedom as a blessing from Almighty God, to be cherished and defended.

In a country where all have the freedom to say anything they want, even if it is offensive, there is nothing that can stop the move of the Holy Ghost except our unwillingness to preach the Gospel. The Gospel has no comparison; darkness cannot handle the Light. The Light can stand for Himself and nothing can touch Him.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (‭1 John‬ ‭1‬:‭5‬ KJV)

So mock me and mock my Gospel. I’m not going to shoot you up. I won’t even try to shut you up. But I’ll use the same freedom you have to convince you that there is a better way.

I believe it is time we attack evil and leave free expression alone. It’s time we call out evil doers and have compassion on those who are victimized, not equivocate and resort to terrorshaming people who “had it coming”. Government has excused the latter and neglected the former. Only morally decent people who are not afraid can call out evil and shine light into darkness. And though we may lose our rights as free people one day, we still have the chance today to exercise free speech, defending that right for ourselves and others.

Was it wrong for the NYPD to turn their backs on their Mayor?

image via Yahoo! News

Not only is the answer, “No,” it is a firm and resounding necessity that they did so, if it was done in good conscience. Which I believe it must have been.

Turning their backs was a First Amendment right. It was an expression of free speech and of their ability to assemble. Whether politics had anything to do with it (as some are saying it did as a way of criticizing the act) can’t rightly be determined except by deciding on a person-by-person basis. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Political speech is also protected and only can be tried in the court of public opinion in the US. Thankfully these officers are not in Cuba.

Most importantly, turning their backs on an elected public official is necessary and more appropriate at this time than at any other. Protests of late have been synonymous with obstruction, destruction, and law-breaking. As many citizens have been turned off by these protests across the country as have been turned on to the injustice they were meant to highlight. They have not been protests at all really, but have been acts of retribution, which have spawned more and more talk of retribution by those who are within that camp.

In contrast to acting out against the law-abiding public, turning backs on a person who is only in power by the will of the people has spoken a clear message of dissent in the face of wrong-doing, to the face of the one who represents the wrong that was done. Mayor de Blasio isn’t the only guilty party, but he is the one that is closest to home for the NYPD, other than the police commissioner. These are the Mayor’s employees. Many of them may have helped put him in office, so protesting against him is a sound and rightful condemnation of his actions.

This act of protest required bravery. There were no national figures spearheading it. The officers were speaking truth to power without raising a voice. There were no false narratives raised and no facts distorted. It was everything a protest should be, epitomizing the concept of peaceful protest. And in the face of this, NYPD is being painted by many as moving forward to create a police state in NYC.

I believe that all of us need to make the decision to take a stand against egregious wrongs when we have the power to do so. There are significant wrongs in the world that need to be addressed. There is something we can all do. Prayer is chief among those acts we can take. Speaking up has never been easier, even if only among your family and friends. The world needs people of courage and conviction, even as the righteous in Christ are encouraged not to engage or offend. Our methods are only as good as our message, and the message calls us to accept right and spurn wrong. We have a Bible that gives us the objective truth on right and wrong, even though the world tries it’s best to water-down, debunk and replace it.

I bring up our spiritual duty to speak up because I am a firm believer that politics, political correctness, and “social justice” are primary weapons to silence the church and will grow stronger in the future. As our time in this world marches on, the heathen will rage on behalf of evil things, and the church will be suppressed to not speak out on behalf of truth. I hope we can overcome the PC pressure to be silent and not act. I hope we will align with righteous causes and forget the fear of being labelled.

God bless and protect those who serve and protect us, and be with the families of the fallen in a special way at this time.