No Apologizing

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tag Archives: Jesus

Are Christians Sociopaths?


Are Christians, particularly Christians in America, sociopathic?

What started as an off the cuff remark I made during a recent sermon at my Church (Legacy Church, in Kansas City, MO) has begun to legitimately haunt me (you can hear the sermon here)…

Christian… Sociopath… These are two words that on the surface seem completely incompatible.  Acts 11:26 tells us that the term “Christian” was first used of disciples in the Antioch church.  This was initially used as an insult in that people were saying they were “little Christs”.  In other words, they were just like Jesus, who because of His great love for people, voluntarily died to pay for the sins of the world. On the other hand – the dictionary defines sociopath as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” Another says that “Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.”

How can someone who is living a life that is reminiscent of a man whose critics admit was at least a good person and moral teacher exhibit behavior or attitudes that are patently selfish and apathetic to others? However, in spite of the apparent contradiction, I think if we are truly honest with ourselves, the answer is closer to “yes” than any of us who call ourselves a Christian would like to admit… And it tears me up inside… Let me allow this clip from Atheist Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette to begin to explain what I mean:

“How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” There is the rub… Way too many “Christians” fall in a daily routine and are comfortable to coast through life without a broken heart for their friends and family who, if what we believe is really true, are destined for an eternity without God… Well… to be honest that is the essence of selfishly living life “without concern for the effects of their behavior [or lack thereof] on others”, isn’t it???

We certainly shouldn’t be comfortable with it… But sadly I think that may just be the problem… our comfort.  Because we are relatively comfortable, especially in comparison to most of the rest of the world, we just get into auto pilot and unintentionally slip into apathy.  It’s not a conscious thing, but it occurs anyway… and it’s tragic.

Penn said “There comes a point where I tackle you… and this is more important than that.” Because people’s eternities are so important, our “social conscience” should remind us that we have a “moral responsibility” to love those around us enough to take the risk of offending them or losing a friendship to in a sense “tackle” them by sharing the truth about Jesus

Let’s pray to God for forgiveness for our sociopathic tendencies and begin to live a life that actually reflects our name-sake, Jesus… and refuse to scoot through life uncaring and unaffected by the many people we know who do not yet have a relationship with Him.

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TGIF? 2013


The Pastor of Legacy Church, Kevin Barnes wrote this post in 2010.  It is a great post that I try to put out every Good Friday.  If you happen to be in the Kansas City North area this weekend please be sure to check out Legacy Church on Sunday morning at 9:30.

 

Thank God it’s Friday? Not for these guys… Not today.  This day held more anguish, pain, panic and despair than all the days from the beginning of time combined…  Today was so indescribably bad because it was such a stark contrast with the highs they had experienced over the last 3 ½ years – especially this last week – even earlier last evening had been intimate, festive, warm and safe!

Not now… Now He was gone and they were scattered – scurrying like roaches when the lights come on, because… HE… was… DEAD… And Hope was no more.

Let me explain by backing up a bit. For centuries their people had been waiting – waiting for a man sent from God who would make everything right… A man who would restore all things to the way they should be – one who would rebuild the bridge to God that we had broken so long ago… one who would bring Freedom to the captive… Hope to the desperate… and Love to all.

This waiting wasn’t just wishful thinking. Scriptures spoke about Him over and over and over… on every line of every page.

Now He was here! They were absolutely 100% sure of it! He was born into the right family, in the right town at the right time… He was there when they most needed Him and He was doing all the things Scripture said He would! They said He would be a prophet, and He boldly taught about God’s Kingdom and fearlessly spoke of the future. The prophets said He would be a healer, and they had seen Him give sight to the blind, restore strength to the cripple, open the ears of the deaf… even raise 3 people from the dead!

But He wasn’t just any prophet… and He wasn’t a typical physician, nor was He a magician. This one had a power and air of authority they could not explain.  For goodness sakes, evil spirits and even the elements obeyed His voice!

Earlier that week, as they entered the city for the festival, people flooded the winding road that lead down the hill through a garden full of olive trees. They screamed out His name! They just knew NOW was the time He would set the wheels in motion to take His rightful place – to become King! But they didn’t understand that on this day when families across the nation would choose their sacrificial lamb, HE, the Promised One, was presenting Himself as the only sacrifice that would be needed… EVER!

That night, they retired to an adjacent town to spend time with friends – It was an exciting day and a restful and refreshing evening. The next day as they made their way into the city He cursed a tree for having no fruit… this was just a precursor to the events later that day… Oh, how encouraged they were as they watched Him enter the religious center of the nation and clean house… He drove out the corrupt merchants who were using the people’s religious hopes as an excuse to turn an unfair profit… and then He healed the sick there… The people were amazed, grateful and sang out His praises, but the leaders were enraged… His followers could scarcely contain their joy – the revolution MUST be beginning!

After another wonderful evening with their gracious hosts, they returned to the city to find the cursed tree was dead – What power! What a King! That day, they spent quite a while with Him on a special mountain overlooking the metropolis. He spoke about the coming destruction of the city – Could it mean that He was planning on mounting a rebellion against their oppressors? Could it be now?! They could only assume they would play central roles in the coming new order… They knew it was coming because they were confident in His right to rule and His power and authority to make it happen! They also knew that they, His chosen few, would get the privilege to eat with Him at a very special occasion tomorrow!

They did share that meal with Him… but before that He washed their feet – to them, it was like being knighted – What an honor and pleasure to be so favored by this soon to be crowned King. During dinner He prayed for them and made them new promises of how God would see and relate to them. They were confident in Him and His promise, but there was an air of sorrow in His voice and a look of grief in His eyes.

After the meal, they went back to the olive grove where He had spoken of the city’s destruction the day before – this time they went to pray. Then, one of their own, one they had hardly noticed had left during supper, showed up with a troupe of men armed with weapons and torches. As their friend greeted Him with a kiss, the guards seized their Lord!

What could be happening?!?! Chaos and panic set in… One of His followers drew a sword and cut off a guard’s ear. But the Master demanded they stop, and He even healed the man – Why was He letting this happen? The group of soldiers moved to arrest them all, but everyone but Him ran… one only escaped by slipping out of his clothing!

They could not understand; their heads were spinning! Through the fog of adrenaline and fear each of them did their best to lay low while keeping tabs on what was happening to Him – He had to be okay… How could they go on without Him?

He was put through trials by several religious and political figures. A few of the trials were illegal… all of them were rigged – they were shams. None of the inquisitions showed a shred of evidence proving Him guilty of ANY wrong doing – Yet, through it all He was punished and tortured and beaten to the point one could no longer tell He was even human. Then, the people who earlier had cried out His name in triumph shouted for His execution!

They marched Him naked through the streets forcing Him to carry His own instrument of death. But, as they were slowly killing Him, He begged God to pardon them. As He breathed His last, the sky darkened, the earth shook, the temple was damaged and the hearts of His followers melted and their hopes evaporated into mist… Sorrow reigned.

The next day’s headlines would not sing to the world the news they had hoped: A NEW REIGN AND RENEWED FREEDOM. Instead, they would be replaced by an obituary:

At the age of 33. Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, King of the Jews, has passed. He died outside Jerusalem on Golgotha by crucifixion – Executed by the Romans at the request of the Sanhedrin for treason against Caesar and spreading subversion throughout the land. Death was confirmed by spear thrust through the heart. He was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod the Great. He spent His early life as a carpenter, but gained fame in recent years as an itinerant rabbi. The body is being held in the tomb of a friend, under Roman guard. Funeral services and body preparation are scheduled for after the Sabbath. He leaves behind a grieving mother, Mary; a Father, God… and many followers whose dreams were shattered, whose expectations were crushed and whose optimism was gone…

All because He… was… DEAD…

The Bible…Review 3


So…before I get to what everyone is talking about this week let me give my quick two second review of this last weeks episode.  Once again, I feel like they missed a big opportunity by skipping two critical points in the Bible.  For anyone who has read this blog you would see that I am a big advocate of the idea that the Old Testament points to Jesus.  The Bible missed on a huge opportunity to demonstrate this by skipping over the book of Isaiah and his prophecy of the suffering servant.  Additionally, did anyone else notice that they tried to pass off the prophecy of Jesus onto Daniel?  For some reason that stuck out with me.  It would appear that the producers of the Bible wanted to get into the whole prophecy thing but then gave the viewers the cheap and watered down version.  They passed on Daniel’s 70 7’s prophecy which is an incredible prophecy that was fulfilled to the day!  Again…here they can demonstrate the absolute power of God, and pass on it.

Oh and by the way…for a more realistic look at the 3 wisemen READ THIS POST.  I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the producers…probably didn’t do their homework.

And now to the contreversy of the week…

Well...it is a little odd to say the least.

Well…it is a little odd to say the least.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know if this is intentional.  It’s hard to believe that the producers of the show were sitting in a room saying…”He doesn’t look enough like Obama.”  Look there is no way that Obama is the anti-christ.  If you have read my posts you know where I stand on both the men pictured above.  But I will have to say…that the likeness is…well…funny.

Host a Bible Study Group….GO TO JAIL!


That guy must be hosting a small group

That guy must be hosting a small group…

I just stumbled across this story today.  I have to say I am just sitting here shaking my head.  Here is the simple breakdown:

–          Family hosts small group at home on a regular basis of about 15 to 20 people.

–          City deems this to be a church numerous fire hazards due to meeting at home.

–          Family builds 2000 sqft building for meetings.

–          City raids the building and home, arrests the father.

–          Father will go to jail for about 60 days.

 

Here is a link to the story:  http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/man-facing-jail-for-hosting-home-bible-study.html

So I read this story and see two things.

  1. I am mildly upset at the perception of silly business on behalf of the pastor that was arrested.  This appears to be a big gotcha and perhaps a thumbing of the nose to the city of Phoenix by the associate pastor.  The city does have city ordinances that must be followed on the construction of the new buildings, and he clearly did not follow them.  That being said…
  2. The city has no reason/defense against what they have done.  My family and I host small groups fairly regularly.  We have on any given small group night as many as 18 men, women and children in my tiny abode.  We could be affected by this.  In order for the City of Phoenix to demonstrate that the application of the law is not specific to small groups (Christians in other words) they would have to target groups of guys who get together to watch Monday Night Football on every Monday night at someone house.  How about any regular get together with families?

I fully believe that the officials involved with this from the city of Phoenix are targeting this man and his family because he is a “religious zealot” (this is what atheist’s and liberals like to call committed Christians).  The one that really gets me is having the police called on them, BY THE FIRE DEPARTMENT, while eating a meal in the back yard with their friends.  This is a clear indication of some sort of persecution.  However, this pastor should have gone out of his way to either continue to have the meeting in his home, backyard or following the city code with the construction of the new building.

Thoughts?

The hurt of suicide


This week was the first time that my life directly intersected with the hurt of suicide.  It will not be soon forgotten.  At first I wasn’t sure how to process what had actually happened.  As I slowly started to digest these events I came to the most inevitable question that those close to a suicide (or even who spectate from afar): Why?

Most will typically commit suicide because they feel there are no other solutions and no hope.  I found one description online saying that the reason could stem from either financial or personal (relational, low self-esteem) difficulties.  I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of hopelessness that one would have to feel to wake up one morning with the desire to end it all  – much less follow through with that desire (especially one that has a loving family).

Adding to the hurt of the act itself, is a frequent religious response to the act.  It is my understanding that the particular family impacted by this was Catholic.  This compounds the hurt because according to that religious tradition is the teaching that they are damned to Hell solely because of this decision.

There are two questions that need to be answered when discussing suicide, particularly of one who has claimed to be a Christian.

First, is suicide is a damnable (i.e. unforgiveable) sin in and of itself?  In other words, will a true Christian who commits suicide be barred from Heaven.  Second, is what does the Bible offer to those who are so hopeless and feel so helpless before the suicide ever happens?

Can suicide alone automatically condemn someone to Hell?

This is an issue that must be addressed due to the religious doctrine of the Catholic Church.  For hundreds of years they have created a stigma around suicide that it is a sin that will not be forgiven and thus anyone (Christian or not) who commits suicide will be sent to Hell.  There is no biblical support for this opinion.  To the contrary, there is ample evidence to support that once a Christian possess salvation, they have been absolved of all sin!  This would include the sins you have committed in the past, the sins you are committing now, and the sins you will commit in the future.  There are many scriptures that support this doctrine (Eternal Security/Perseverance of the Saints) let me briefly call out three:

Colossian 2:13-14:  When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 

Notice the use of the word “all.”  It does not say that God forgave us of the sins we did commit only, but ALL sin that we have and will commit.  There is a finality to this verse that indicates that the sin we have and will commit was nailed to the cross.  As Jesus said…IT IS FINISHED!

Romans 8:38-39:  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If the Colossians verse does not do it for you then perhaps Romans 8 will.  Could Paul have been any more explicit?  Nothing can separate a Christian from God, NEITHER PRESENT NOR THE FUTURE!  Notice the Paul specifically mentions death.  Not even death is powerful enough to separate us from the Father and the Son.

Romans 8:1-2:  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Again Paul could not have been clearer.  As Christians we face no condemnation and are free from the law of sin (and death).  The outworking of the law Paul references here is the condemnation that we all would face from God were we not in Christ Jesus.  This ultimately results in spiritual death- eternal separation from God.

The final picture that is painted… Once we have accepted Jesus’ payment for our sin (which places us “in Christ”, we have been forgiven for them ALL, past present or future, we will not be condemned.  At the moment one is joined to Jesus in this way, there is nothing they can do to separate them from God.  Suicide, being a sin, cannot separate a Christian who commits that sin from God.

There is something else that needs to be discussed here and that is the stigma associated with Christians who commit suicide.  There are many would make the argument that “true” Christians cannot commit suicide.  The premise of this argument is that “true” Christians find their hope in Jesus.  1 Peter 1:13 tells us explicitly to set your hope on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  If a Christian has lost hope then it would appear that the only way it could be rationalized is that they never had hope, and were never really saved.

This thought process is a fundamental breakdown of the basic understanding of sin and the role it plays in our life.  If you conclude that suicide is a sin, then it must be considered in the same light as all sin.  We as Christians will still struggle with sin until we reach Heaven.

We are to strive to become more and more Christlike, but we will fail at different points in our life.  With that in mind one must conclude that there is NO difference between a Christian who lies, and a Christian who commits suicide, or a Christian who commits adultery in their heart and one who commits suicide.  In the eyes of God there is no difference.  James 2:10 states this as directly as possible “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”  In the eyes of God there is no difference between the one who commits suicide, and the one who lies about why they were late to work.  Many may scoff at this notion because in their eyes it may represent an extreme.  However, God does not  think like us  He deals in perfect judgment.  There is no difference in His perfect judgment between the two.

I believe the reason for this stigma is the finality of the sin.  In suicide we see the ultimate in finality.  It’s a permanent “solution” to a temporary problem.  We see the hurt caused to the family of someone who commits suicide.  The emotions involved, both anger and grief over the action are on full display.   The Bible states that there is only one sin that is unforgivable and that is the denial of the Holy Spirit (i.e. never believing in Christ – cf. John 3:18).  Nowhere does it mention that suicide is an unforgiveable sin.

What hope does the Bible offer?

Suicidal thoughts can end up enveloping someone just as quickly as adulterous thoughts do.  The Word of God is designed to offer instruction for life and comfort in our time of need, no matter the circumstances of that need.  Without exception, we all hit a time where we are depressed.  We hit a point where we believe nobody gets it.  We hit a point where we feel like we are alone on this planet.  As I write this I am reminded of the footprints in the sand poem.  What a simple but powerful demonstration of how God works in our lives.

Psalms is truly an incredible book in the Bible.  In it we get a candid look at the prayer life of David and others.  It includes bouts with depression.  Take for example Psalm 31:9-13: Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.  My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction,  and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends— those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear many whispering ,  “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life.

This is the reason that I love Psalms.  It is David being completely honest and open with God.  WHO HASN’T FELT THIS WAY?!  What we see in the book of Psalms is that David wasn’t afraid to say out loud everything that he was thinking:  All of the pain, all of the anguish, all of the anxiety, and all of the hurt.  But David always had one more thing to say with each passing moment that he was in aguish… he knew that God would sustain him.  Verse 14 of Psalm 31… “But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ’You are my God.’”

1 Peter 5:6-7 sums up the Psalmists’ experiences in two verses:  “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may Exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”

There are a number of verses that can help you in your time of need.

Psalm 9:9, 22:24, 27:4-5, 46:1, 56:8, 116:1-2

This is a great sampling from the direct and honest prayer of David.  These come from the depth of his soul as he cries out in anguish to God.

Finally, if you are reading this and you are thinking about suicide, or know someone that is, please call for help.  Call a pastor of a local Bible-believing church and speak with them. www.iamsecond.com can point you to one.  You should know that God loves you.  We are not talking about the kind of love that is fleeting, or abusive, or anything like that which may have exacerbated your present circumstances.  His love is perfect.  He will never abandon you.  He will always love you.  If you don’t have a relationship with God, know that He wants one with you.  Hebrews 13:5  – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

We are not talking religion, we are talking a personal one on one relationship with the creator-God of all of the universe.

A tale of two Christians


There are perhaps hundreds of examples (or even thousands or even hundreds of thousands) of when two Christians come to a different conclusion on the same topic.  Some of these differences could be as simple as disagreeing on who wrote the book of Hebrews, or something as complicated as the creation account in Genesis.  Having been in the apologetics game for a little over two years, I have had my share of disagreements with Christians on some theological matters.

Over the last two months we have had the ability to literally watch this unfold on national TV.  It was so subtle, that I doubt many of you tied these two events together to compare and contrast these two Christians.

What am I talking about?

About two weeks ago, President Obama, declared to the world that, based on his understanding of his faith, he believes homosexuals should be allowed to get married Here’s exactly what he said:

And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others.

But, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.

Compare and contrast this to Kirk Cameron, who stated the following when asked about same-sex marriage:

I believe that marriage was defined by God a long time ago. Marriage is almost as old as dirt and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve: one man one woman for life – ah till death do you part. So, I would never attempt to redefine marriage and I don’t think that anyone else should either. So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No I don’t.

Could there be a sharper contrast between two people when it comes to applying their faith?

One Christian is saying that same-sex marriage is okay because the Golden Rule says to treat others the way you would want to be treated, while the other affirms that marriage is defined by God, and is between one man and one woman.

These are mutually exclusive ideas, so one has to be right and the other wrong.  How are we to gauge which one is correct?  Since both claim to be Christians and because the Christian faith is rooted in the Bible we should look to what the it has to say about the topic, right?  Additionally, we have to assume that both hold the Bible to have some sort of authority, since both quoted it.

According to scripture (Specifically Acts 17:11) we should be like the Bereans and test everything that is taught against scripture.   Based on that, we have 3 specific points that we must review in order to come to an educated conclusion about these two different viewpoints: 1. What does the Bible say about homosexuality; 2. How does the Bible define marriage?, 3.  What does the Golden Rule mean?

So what does the Bible say about Homosexuality?  How does it describe God’s thoughts on it?

Lev. 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

Lev. 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act”

1 Cor. 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Rom. 1:26-28, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”

So here we have two examples, two from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament.  All provide a clear example of what God thinks about homosexuality.  Please understand that I am not passing judgment on those that are homosexual.  This is God’s Word.  God’s Word is pretty clear.  Homosexuality is a sin, an abomination, and a detestable act.  There doesn’t appear to be any gray in this area.

How does the Bible define marriage?

There are several (and when I say several I mean numerous) Bible verses that speak directly to marriage.  A quick sampling includes Genesis 2:22 – 24, Proverbs 5:18-19, Proverbs 12:4, Matthew 19:4-6, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16, Ephesians 5:22-23, and Colossians 3:18-19.

The one that really sticks out is Hebrews 13:4 where the author writes Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

According to the author marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure.  God will judge those that do not keep it pure.  This includes those that are adulterers and the sexually immoral.  Adulterer is a fairly well defined and specific term.  Sexually immoral however, appears to be more general or a more encompassing phrase.  What does it refer to?  In the New Testament it typically refers to any sexual sin.  This would include homosexuality.  Here the Bible appears to be very clear that all must honor marriage (clearly defined as man and woman throughout the Bible) and to keep the marriage bed pure (excluding all sexual sin including homosexuality).

What about the Golden Rule?

This verse can be found in Matthew 7:12.  A basic summation of the Golden Rule is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  This is exactly as the President stated.  But what does it mean?  I found a great explanation of this in a commentary written by Matthew Henry.  From the golden rule we can derive 3 things: 1. We must do that to our neighbor which we ourselves acknowledge to be fit and reasonable; 2. We must put other people upon the level with ourselves; 3. We must, in our dealings with others, suppose ourselves in the same particular case and circumstances with those we have to do with and deal accordingly.

So what does all of this mean?

As Christians we are called to obey the word of God.  The Bible is considered the word of God thus we are called to obey it in its entirety.  This means that a Christian’s response to gay marriage must encompass all of the above, and not just one component.

It is clear from the scripture above that God considers homosexuality a sin.  It is also clear that marriage was designed by God to be a covenant relationship between a man and a woman for a lifetime.  We are also called to treat others the same way that we would want to be treated.  However, the way that Obama uses the Golden Rule redefines it in a way that basically says “I wouldn’t want someone else to tell me not to get married so I can’t tell someone else that they cannot get married”.  The use of the Golden Rule in this manner opens a Pandora’s box.  One could simply replace the “get married” with anything they like and the Golden Rule would apply (I wouldn’t want someone to tell me not to sell drugs to kids, so I don’t think drug trafficking should be illegal). I’m sure that President is a bright guy, but this line of “logic” is obviously absurd.

Where the Golden Rule does apply is in how we deal with those who are homosexual and support gay marriage.  We are to treat them with the same respect that we would want to be treated.  We would share a kind word with them in the same manner that we would like to have others share with us.  We would help them when they need help, be there for them when they need it…the list goes on.  Part of this includes loving them enough to tell them when they are doing something wrong.  This would be similar to a loving parent telling their child that what they are doing is wrong and they will get hurt if they continue to do it.

You see, it takes no love at all to condemn someone through silence or endorsement of something that is not good for them.  In the same way that silence can kill someone who is addicted to drugs, an open endorsement of something that is clearly wrong and sinful can be emotionally, physically and spiritually destructive.  That takes absolute love and the absolute application of the Golden Rule to tell someone that their choices are putting them in danger (see the Omega Study for empirical evidence as to why we are calling homosexuality and same-sex marriage “dangerous” – and that’s even ignoring the spiritual aspects of the issue).  The application of the Golden Rule here:  I would want/expect my friends and loved ones to tell me when I am doing something wrong, thus I would tell my friends and loved ones when they are doing something wrong.  The key here is to do it in a way that is loving and caring.  In this context a Christian who says to a homosexual, “I love you and I want what’s best for you… The lifestyle you have chosen is patently dangerous and because what you are doing goes directly against the Word of God, it is a sin…” demonstrates more love for that individual than the person who says “Do whatever makes you feel good…it’s all okay.”  The ability to stand in front of someone and state the truth is pure love and is the ultimate application of the Golden Rule.

We are not saying definitively that President Obama has rejected the Christian faith in its entirety – Whether the President is an evangelical Christian is a discussion for another time.  Specifically, in this post, we are simply pointing out that the logic behind his use of scripture as justification for affirming same-sex marriage is ignorant and misguidedly faulty at best and dangerously deceitful and manipulative at worst.

‘Occupy’ Whatever….Dismiss God?


So EVERYONE knows about the ‘Occupy’ movement.  The goal of their movement is…well all over
the place.  I just read an article that compares the ‘occupy’ movement with the Anabaptist movement…seriously.  Needless to say within any event like this the ultimate question becomes, would Jesus attend this?  Is it Biblical?  Not gonna discuss that at this point in time (maybe later this week).  Right now… I want to focus on the ideology behind this.

The primary (One of the many I guess)  goal  of the ‘occupy’ movement is to be all inclusive.  When I hear something like this, I immediately think to myself…is that even possible? Can all groups be included without excluding a group to be able to include another group?   I would argue no, it Is not possible.  Our faith whether Atheist, Agnostic  or Christian would prevent us  from doing so.  Surely an Atheist would agree with me that if
these events acknowledged a God then you would have a hard time supporting it.  Likewise, if God is intentionally excluded, I would not support this.

So if all references to God are removed, has a group been excluded?  Yes, God has been excluded.  What brings this up…Apparently  the ‘Occupy’ groups do not mention God intentionally.  Yes… in order to be inclusive to Atheists and Agnostics…they have excluded Christians.

What Pilate said to Gaius…


I heard this on the radio a couple of months back and have been waiting to post it.

“… “It suddenly closed in on me Gaius, the impact of how trapped I was. The proud arm of Rome with all its boast of justice was to be but a dirty dagger in the pudgy hands of the priest. I was waiting in the room, Gaius, the one I use for court, officially enthroned with cloak and guard when they let this Jesus in. Well Gaius, don’t smile at this, as you value your jaw, but I have had no peace since the day he walked into my judgment hall. It’s been years but these scenes I read from the back of my eyelids every night. You have seen Caesar haven’t you? When he was young and strapping inspecting the legion. His arrogant manner was child like compared to that of the Nazarene. He didn’t have to strut, you see. He walked toward my throne; arms bound but with a strident mastery and control that by its very audacity silenced the room for an instant and left me trembling with an insane desire to stand up and salute.
The clerk began reading the absurd list of charges. The priestly delegation punctuating these with palm rubbings and beard strokings and the eye rollings and the pious gutturals I had long-since learned to ignore. But I more felt it, Gaius, than heard it. I questioned him mechanically. He answered very little but what he said and the way he said it, it was as if his level gaze had pulled my naked soul right up into his eyes and was probing it there. It seemed like the man wasn’t even listening to the charges brought against him as a voice deep within me seemed to say `You are the one on trial, Pilate.’ You would have sworn, Gaius, that he had just come in out of a friendly interest to see what was going to happen to me. The very pressure of his standing there had grown unbearable when a slave rushed in all a tremble, interrupting court to bring a message from Claudia. She had stabbed at the stylus in that childish way that she does when she is distraught. ‘Don’t judge this amazing man, Pilate,’ she wrote. ‘I was haunted in dreams of him this night.’
Gaius, I tried to free him. From that moment on I tried and I always will think he knew it. He was a Galilean so I delivered him out of my jurisdiction, but the native King Herod discovered he was born in Judea and sent him right back to me. I appealed to the crowd that had gathered in the streets, hoping that they were his sympathizers, but Caiaphas had stationed agitators to whip up the beast that cry for blood and you know how any citizen here just after breakfast loves to cry for the blood of another. I had him beaten, Gaius, a thorough barracks room beating. I’m still not sure why. To appease the crowd, I guess. But do we Romans really need reasons for beating? Isn’t that the code for anything we don’t understand? Well, it didn’t work, Gaius. The crowd roared like some slavering beast when I brought him back.

If only you could have watched him. They had thrown some rags of purple over his pulped and bleeding shoulders. They jammed a chaplet of thorns down on his forehead and it fit, it all fit! He stood there watching them from my balcony; lame from weakness by now but royal I tell you. Not just pain but pity shining from his eyes and I kept thinking somehow this is monstrous; this is all up-side-down. That purple is real, that crown is real, and somehow these animal noises the crowd is shrieking should be shouts of praise.
Then Caiaphas played his master stroke on me. He announced there in public that this Jesus claimed a crown and that this was treason to Caesar. And then the guards began to glance at each other and that mob of spineless filth began to shout, hail Caesar, hail Caesar. I knew I was beaten and that’s when I gave the order. I couldn’t look at him, Gaius. And then I did a childish thing. I called for water and there on the balcony I washed my hands of that whole wretched affair, but as they led him away I did look up and he turned and looked at me. No smile, no pity, he just glanced at my hands and I have felt the weight of his eyes upon them ever since.
But you’re yawning, Gaius, I’ve kept you up. And the fact of the matter is you are in need of some sleep and some holidays. Yes, sleep. Claudia will be asleep by now. Rows of lighted lamps line her couch. She can’t sleep in the dark anymore. No, not since that afternoon you see, since the afternoon when the sun went out and my guards executed him. That’s what I said, I don’t know how or what or why—I only know that I was there and though it was the middle of the day it turned as black as the tunnels of hell in that miserable city and while I tried to compose Claudia and explain how I had been trapped she railed at me with her dream. She has had that dream ever since when she sleeps in the dark—or some form of it—that there was to be a new Caesar and that I had killed him.
Oh, Gaius we have been to Egypt to their seers and magicians. We have listened by the hour to the oracles in the musty temples of Greece chattering their inanities. We have called it an oriental curse that we are under and we have tried to break it a thousand ways, but there is no breaking it.
Do you know why I kept going, Gaius? Deep within the curse is the haunting, driving certainty that he is still somewhere near, that I still have some unfinished business with him, and that now and then as I walk by the lake he is following me and as much as that strikes terror I wonder if that isn’t the only hope. You see, Gaius, if I could walk up to him this time and salute him and tell him that now I know that whoever else he was he was the only man worthy of his name in Judea that day. Tell him that I know I was entrapped—that I trapped myself. Tell him that here is one Roman that wishes he were Caesar. I believe that would do it wouldn’t it Gaius? I believe he would listen and know I meant it and at last I would see him smile.
Quiet tonight isn’t it Gaius? Not a breeze stirring by the lake. Yes, goodnight. You had better run along. Would you please waken the slave outside the door and tell him to bring me a cloak, my heavy one please. I believe I will walk by the lake. Yes, its dark there, Gaius but I won’t be alone. I guess I really haven’t been alone—not since that day. Yes goodnight, Gaius.”

Here we go again…ANOTHER discovery that changes everything!


So I pull up my msn.com home page today to discover…that the nails used to crucify Jesus

THE nail...or just a nail?

have been found.  Incredible?  Perhaps not.  Color me skeptical here, but how does one prove that these are the actual nails used during the crucifixion?  In an interview, the Naked Archeologist Simcha Jacobovici says that these are the actual nails used… because they went (mysteriously) missing from the tomb of Caiaphas.  These nails were documented/found in the tomb.  There were two of them…so the assumption is that these must be the nails. 

I will/must grant…that I have not seen this movie yet.  However, given the history of Mr. Jacobovici I am sure that most of it will contradict the Bible in some form or another.  His “documentaries” are well known for assertions that require a leap of faith (really more heresy than anything)…so to speak.  He is after all the one who brought us the tomb of Jesus where the son of Jesus was buried with him…next to Mary Magdalene (whatever)… It would appear that this may be another publicity stunt.

On the outset Mr. Jacobovici must overcome two obstacles: 1. The IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority) has never proven that the tomb was the burial place of the Biblical Caiaphas and 2. Nails are often found in tombs. 

Really the only way he could prove beyond doubt that these nails pierced Jesus is through a DNA sample…

What is it with laminin?


In our young history we have written 127 posts.  Of those, there is no dispute as to which are our top

A true sign from God?

two.  Both of them are on laminin.  Some statistics:  Laminin has been googled between 25,000 to 30,000 times in the last 30 days.  This seems to be a pretty steady statistic even beyond those 30 days.  Both of the laminin posts are the most shared posts that we have written as well.

I look at these numbers and think… “what is it with laminin?”  Why is this protein so interesting to people?

I get it.  The first time I saw Giglio’s presentation…in combination with the Corinthian scripture, chills went down my spine.  I believe that it is an illustration of the divine inspiration of the Bible.  Think about this for a second…there is no way that Paul could have known what a diagram of the laminin protein molecule would look like when he penned the words:

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (NIV)

That being said…

There are some who doubt that the design of laminin is intentional from God.  To be honest…there is no way for any of us to know the truth behind the design itself.  This is a topic that both Kevin and I have debated pretty regularly.  I think the design intentionally points to the cross… Kevin, on the other hand, is a little more skeptical.  The basis of the argument is really as simple as this…Is it intended as a message or sign from God?  All I can say is this…as Christians we believe in an intentional design, a specific creation.  God created the laminin protein…is it really impossible to believe that the imagery people have attached to it was intentional? 

Both of us answer this question with an emphatic NO – because with God all things are possible .  God is perfectly capable of doing this and sending messages any way He so chooses.  But the question remains… why is this protein so interesting to people?

After thinking this through, I believe the answer is simple:  people are, and always have been looking for a sign from God.  While some can look to creation and see it as the sign that God exists, others need to see something more explicit.  For some a true “sign” needs to be in your face and un-deniable.  All you have to do is look at how quickly people can find signs in everyday common items…like a piece of toast.  Laminin fits this category.

Don’t get me wrong.  I will not compare the design of laminin to a piece of toast.  One was created by God specifically (whether or not it was intended to “point to the cross”), and the other… well…it just exists. 

There is power in seeing a “sign” from God.  Many look at laminin as a sign…right, wrong or indifferent.  There are two things that can happen from this point: 

The first is that they look at laminin, and see a “sign” from God, and make no substantial life change.  They see the sign and cling to it as justification of their faith. This is not a good thing as they worship an image and not God himself.

The second is that they look at laminin, and see a “sign” from God, and use this sign as the springboard to their full fledged faith.  In other words, it is the catalyst that drives them to the next level.  This is what laminin should be. 

The cross signifies the sacrifice by our divine Savior.  The legal transaction that took place on that cross represents our sins, our transgressions AND it is the point in time where Christ won victory over Satan, sin and death.  We are free from punishment, because the punishment has been dealt…as long as we trust in the divine (resurrected) Christ and repent of our sins. 

Salvation cannot be achieved any other way.  Not only would worshipping an image (such as laminin) be violating the first and second commandments, but it would also short-circuit the type of abundant life Jesus said he wants for you in John 10:10. 

Laminin can be viewed as a reminder of the transaction.  Laminin is not THE transaction itself.  So while

Kevin and I can agree to disagree on the degree to which God intended the shape of laminin molecule itself to point people to the cross, we both can agree…that whatever you believe about laminin, it is not a replacement for salvation – and that is FAR more important.

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