And They Call Themselves Christian

Yes, they are out there, millions of people that call themselves Christians. There is no doubt that you have heard them and seen them. They have all the right moves and say all the right words. These people are very convincing if you only consider the very surface of what they say and see the feigned mannerisms of what Christians are thought to be in a society that expects Christians to be the all-accepting, all understanding, standing on nothing group of weak-kneed people that Christians are supposed to be. The problem is that these people that see Christians in this light are usually not Christians even though they may call themselves Christians for the sake of expediency.

Christians, by definition, are those that follow the tenets and teachings of Christ. This means that the Christian is one who has adopted a lifestyle of living according to the Word of God. Yet there some that choose lifestyles far from what is provided by God with excuses such as “God knows my heart” and “only God can judge me.” Well, with that being the case it becomes more than evident that those that choose to shack up rather than marry not only ignore the Word of God but also count God and His Word irrelevant and not a standard of morality for the day. Nonetheless Ephesians 5:3 addresses the matter of fornication among other things that were common then and now. The words, “but fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not once be named among you, as becometh saints” paint a clear picture of things not condoned by God yet are common practice for some that call themselves Christians.

And the discussions of sexual sins are rightfully abundant among Christian circles yet there are other discussions that need to take place that is not often heard. Consider, for a moment, some that choose to fight with the people of God. The fight need not be physical yet harm can be brought to the people of God in words and in actions. This is a very dangerous place to be in if you are the one that chooses to not only fight with but also to antagonize the servants of God. With this the principle found in I Chronicles 16:22 remains applicable today in that the text urges that the anointed of God be not touched and that the prophets of God be not harmed. Now, the anointed here is specific to those that God has placed in kingly authority such as David. The prophets are those that present the Word of God by preaching, teaching and prophesying. To harm any of these in any way can prove detrimental to the offender. Consider the account of Elisha in II Kings 2:23-25.

The list of issues that purported Christians bring to the table is certainly enough to fill a book. Many have forgotten that to be a Christian takes much more than a casual statement of belief in God. The fact of the matter is that mere belief in God is not the same as a Christian life. James states this clearly in James 2:19. The fact is that belief in God should be more than head knowledge rather the entire life of the Christian should be congruent with the teachings of Christ. This lifestyle includes not just what is done but also what is said. There are many that call themselves Christians that have no control over their tongues. James also addresses this matter by showing that “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26). The Carter Translation (this writer) would say that if any pretend to worship God and will not cease from cursing and profanities then there is really no worship of God.

The fact is there are hosts of people that hold their hands high during Sunday morning worship services yet their lives during the rest of the week are somewhat lacking. Scripture provides no recourse for lack of dedication to the Word of God. Instead, Christians are called to holiness. Holiness is not the negative attribute of being better than others with uplifted noses. Rather, holiness is the state whereby one’s lifestyle is wholly different than non-Christians. Christianity is not a popular movement backed by the mantra of political correctness. Instead, Christianity is a way of life that exemplifies the incarnate Christ. With that, if one does not adhere to the standards of the Word of God while calling himself a Christian it might well be suggested that this man’s religion is vain.

Just ‘Cause They Call it Christian

     All too often Christianity has been made to succumb to the world it sits in. This is largely because many that count themselves Christians compromise the Word of God to the extent that the Word is nearly nullified simply because of the acquiescing of the leaders of the Church. Much of this acquiescing has been in the form of calling things Christian that far fall from the standards of holiness. Christianity has been maligned to the extent that the word “Christian” has been wrongly placed on nearly everything that the world has to offer. Suffice it to say, however, that just ‘cause they call it Christian don’t make it so.

     This is one that is bound to get some fur to flying. Still the area of music must be examined. There are many forms of music available for Christians and non-Christians alike. Yet many choose to place Christianity on music simply by changing the Words of a popular tune. Because of this there are many forms of music purporting to be Christian when all it really is an attempt to change the Christian culture under the guiles of reaching the youth. This has resulted in “Christian” Rock, Punk Rock, Rap, Soul, R & B, Heavy Metal and the list goes on. God does not need the mimicking of stylistic ventures of the world in order to be worshipped. Instead He requires that the Church come out from the world and be separate (II Chronicles 6:17). And while the noted text is an Old Testament reference it holds much relevance today because it presents the idea of holiness which goes far beyond dispensational ideas.

     The idea of holiness appears absent even in the matter of the coming Halloween festivities. Many churches will have alternative activities which serve only to promote the diabolical influences of the infamous holiday. There are many that will have a Christian form of Halloween by having congregants dress as Mary, Jesus, Moses and other biblical characters while bobbing for apples and telling not so scary stories. This is far from the pulling away as referenced earlier rather this is kowtowing to influences that should have no say in the Christian realm. Christianity should have no likeness to the rest of the world. In matter of fact the converse is true; Christians should be peculiar be reason of their stand for holiness. This because the people of God are called to be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:9). And because Christians are holy then there is no room for calling things Christian that have no likeness of holiness.

     And there are hosts of other areas that can be examined insofar as separation is concerned.  This idea is encapsulated in just a few words; just ‘cause they call it Christian don’t make it Christian. As such it is prudent that those that seek to hold up the blood stained banner hold it up without wavering. Hold up the standard without concern for reprisal. The unsaved are looking for a difference and that difference cannot be found be calling things Christian that clearly are not.

The Reason Why

     I have been told that I protest too much against homosexuality. The reason is because I am supposed to be tolerant and understanding of those who choose to live a lifestyle other than that I have chosen. After all God loves the homosexual as well as the heterosexual. Making the matter more interesting is that one person proclaiming that I protest too much is counted as Christian. And while it is certain that God does indeed love the homosexual absolute certainty provides for the fact that God hates sin.

     But as I reflect on things that Christians have been apathetic about the matter of prayer and Bible reading in school comes to mind. It was because of one Godless person that the rights of Christians have been trampled upon. Because of her arguable hatred for the country and the God of it Madalyn Murray O’Hair found reason to make legal protestations against prayer and Bible reading in public schools. In 1963 “After the Baltimore courts ruled against her, she appealed her case all the way to the Supreme Court, who overwhelmingly ruled in her favor in 1963: school-sponsored Bible reading and prayer were banned in public schools.”[1] It would seem that O’Hair had no opposition from Christians but what if Christians would have taken a stand? And while the Supreme Court did not say there could be no prayer and Bible in school many are afraid to so out of fear of retribution.

     This is the reason why I stand for the Word of God. I have worked in public schools and with many students outside the school setting. At no time did I lay aside my constitutional and God given right to celebrate Jesus. In fact I have dared to teach biblical principles because it is not possible for me to separate myself from the God I serve. As such the reason why I am so bold in my stance is because the God of gods has proven Himself to me over and over and I refuse to relent to sound of political overtures or bend to the whistling winds of destruction.  But this is just one reason I stand. Roe vs. Wade is another Supreme Court decision wherein the Court decided that it was within a woman’s right to abort children under nearly all circumstances (410 U.S. 113 (1973)).

     There is little doubt that the State of Texas fought on behalf the unborn child. But what would have happened of the Christians had gathered together and fought in light of the Word of God in respect to the sanctity of life? Would we have Planned Parenthood in place now? Now, while it appears that Planned Parenthood seeks to protect the rights of the woman its true purpose was, and may continue to be, the eradication of Blacks in the United States. But Blacks were not the only problem. Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Higgins Sanger “primarily sought to control the reproduction of immigrants, the poor, certain religious groups, and anyone else she thought was from an “unacceptable” heritage.”[2] This is the reason I fight for the lives of those who cannot fight for themselves. If they are unborn they deserve to live out their lives as God prescribed. I am diametrically opposed to the unlawful and unrighteous taking of life just because the parents choose to live recklessly outside the perimeters set by God or because a true bigot takes issue with those for whom he disapproves.

     And now Christianity is being attacked again but more vigorously than ever before. There was a time when homosexuals were ashamed of their practices because they knew it was wrong. Now it is politically incorrect to suggest that the act of homosexuality is an abomination. Yet there is an issue that many do not consider that lies side by side with this immoral conduct and that is the matter of the effeminate. Basically the effeminate, as laid out in I Corinthians 6:9, are men that take on the likeness of and act like females. This goes to the matter of cross dressing and a range of other issues. God is not pleased when mankind perverts and changes inherent conditions of males and females yet we laugh when movie stars and others wade into this category. They have made light of God and made room for the abominable acts of homosexuality.   

     It seems that everyone is now stating that homosexual marriage is acceptable and should be a legal right. One of its greatest proponents is Barak Obama who unconstitutionally refuses to defend the Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by Bill Clinton. Going against his own convictions Clinton is now having reservations about marriage being between one man and one woman. And the matter grows worse. Even “Christians” are supporting this thing that God has condemned. One prominent group is the Episcopal Church. This corpus of adherents allows “priests in the 1.9 million-member church can officiate blessings to same-sex couples who are in long-term relationships.”[3] This very idea brings to light unchecked immorality that apparently runs throughout the Episcopal Church.   

     This is the reason why I stand for the standards set down by God. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for the very reason yet the United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments on who can constitutionally be married. The problem is that if the Court follows suit as in with abortion and prayer and Bible reading in school then this country might well find itself without the God who has been faithful to it. This is the reason why I stand because I know God’s Word to be true and I further realize that if Christians stand and hold fast to the Word of God then the immoral and ungodly agenda of reprobates and heathens will be halted. Yes, the reason why I stand is because Christ continues to stand for me. The reason I protest homosexuality is because it is abhorred by God!

 

Diametrically Opposed

There are just some things that have to be taken personally. For instance, when one goes on to marry another it is not for the benefit of the population at large rather marriage is a matter that is personally relative to those involved. Marriage is a matter of personal relationship and dedication between one man and one woman. It is a matter of personal choice to which both parties should be diametrically opposed to interference from any and all other forces. This is much like the relationship between Christ and the Church.

The relationship between Christ and the Church becomes even more personal considering the relationship between Christ and the individuals that make up the Church. It is a choice made by the individuals and Christ. It is a matter of personal choice. Yet there seem to be many that would like to intrude on the relational aspects enjoyed by Christians with Christ. With this, I must make it personal because I am diametrically opposed to those that choose to tell me how I should celebrate my Saviour and those that think it OK that I should condone things that are clearly challenges to my relationship with Christ.

One such matter is that of abortion. The Word of God clearly states that there should be no taking of innocent life (Proverbs 6:16-17; Deuteronomy 5:17). How much more innocent can anyone be than the unborn? I am diametrically opposed to the murder of those that never had the opportunity to defend themselves yet they are continually being snuffed out. Yes, I have heard all the arguments even while Planned Parenthood and like agencies really should be renamed Murder on Demand.

I know that my opposition to abortion may get some feathers ruffled so I might as well continue to ruffle feathers. My stance against sexual immorality is just as strong. I could outline a number of sex sins such as premarital sex, extra-marital sex, gender reassignment, and pedophilia but I will limit this discussion to the hot button issue of the day which is same-sex marriage. While I have absolutely no agreement with homosexual interactions I am diametrically opposed to the very notion of same-sex marriage. The very term is a paradox but that is an issue for another essay.

Yes, I have heard the bleeding hearts say things along the lines of a person’s inability to choose who they love. While I could easily take issue with that very statement I will further this discussion by saying that just because you love a person does not mean that you have to have sex with them. Nor does it mean that you have to marry them. The fact of the matter is that the Word of God clearly provides instructions stating, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). It is interesting that at no point is there a suggestion that people of the same gender should marry. Further, I Corinthians 7:2 further advises “to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” I am diametrically opposed to same-sex marriage because it tears at the very heart of Christianity. It tears at the very relational aspect of marriage between Christ and the Church.

But these are not the only contemporary matters to which I am diametrically opposed. There are some, even some so-called “Christians,” that think it OK to lie as long as it is for a good reason. Yet the Word clearly shows that “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). And the list of things to which I am diametrically opposed goes on right to the idea that all “religions” are basically the same as long as you believe in some abstract “god.” Well, once again there must be a simple reading of the Word of God which shows that there is “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:5-6). Additionally, Jesus stated, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

The thing is that I am growing weary of what some would like to see as an “anything goes” Christianity. There are some remarking that they have evolved into believing that wrong is right while right has become wrong. Others declare that the Christian, standing on the Word of God, has no compassion even though compassion is rooted in the truths of the Word of God. It is these truths to which I lay my allegiance and causes me to be diametrically opposed to anything that positions itself against the Word.

Have Some Confidence

There is much talk today about faith. People are starting groups entitled “Faith” and others suggest that their faith in God is immovable. Preachers are slamming their fists on pulpits to make the point of the necessity of faith. Yet many people still have no idea what faith really is nor are they sure how to employ it. Despite this the matter of faith is a rather simple one and one that even a baby can employ in his life.

The fact is that faith, at its simplest level, is nothing more than absolute assurance that God is true to His Word. It is the realization that God cannot and will not lie to the extent that the Word of God has never failed. Faith is knowing that no matter how long and difficult the journey God will bring it to a successful end. He has to because God has promised man that He would never leave nor forsake him. And If God will never leave man then His Word is true and has to stand on its own.

This being the case why do so many Christians live defeated lives? Why is there not only discouragement on a large scale but many Christians seem not to understand the very fundamentals of faith as laid out here? Perhaps the answer is found in Romans 14:23, “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Hereby we see the problem, doubt which sin is. But the question must be answered as to what doubt is. Specific to Romans 14:23 doubt is “to be at variance with one’s self, hesitate, doubt.”[1]

The picture of doubt here is an internal struggle. The fight is whether or not to trust God. And if God is trusted is it feasible to depend on Him? And if there is a dependency on God will He do what He says? Is what God says for me? And the questions go on and on. It is for this reason that doubt becomes strong thereby eradicating faith. The fact is that doubt is sin and God cannot operate where there is sin. This is the reason when doubt raises its head God is forced to withdraw His hand. Even so the tables can just as easily be turned.

Let not faith be a word of convenience rather it should be part of the Christian lifestyle. Faith recognizes that God is faithful that promised (Hebrews 10:23) and will do just what He says. So don’t waver because the winds blow. Instead pull your coat closer, bow your head toward the wind in prayer and continue to move toward the promise. It is there and waiting for you. Just don’t doubt. No, don’t give in and let God pull from you because of the sin of doubt. No, hold on to the promise of God and let God bring it to pass.


[1] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for diakrinō (Strong’s 1252)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 28 Nov 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1252&t=KJV

The Cell Phone Grasp

The following is an article I wrote for my newsletter The Christian Perspective. It is a type of what goes in in the world. Your coments are appreciated.

The Cell Phone Grasp

 

     It does not take much to see how much the cell phone has changed this nation. It seems that everybody and his brother has one. Even more elementary school children are seen walking the streets with these devises stuck to the sides of their heads.  Grandma and Grandpa are seen in the grocery stores with these phones as though they have had these things their entire lives. There are people on television declaring that because of their “free” cell phones they can now call their bosses, doctors and grandchildren. Yet one question has to come to mind. What did they do before these cell phones?

     But this is the best of the situation. Take for instance the early twenty-something female. On one arm swings the ever important purse or bag. Tightly clenched in her free hand is a cell phone. The young lady is not merely holding the phone but she is holding onto it as though her life is dependent on the firm grasp of the phone. Yet she is not the only one. If you are driving simply look out the car window to the middle-aged gentleman. It is obvious that the well-groomed individual is a businessman. Still he has one hand firmly on the steering wheel of the sedan while the free hand refuses to relent the phone that does everything except scratch his back. O, but wait! Look at the car on the other side and there is a middle-aged lady following suite as the gentleman.

     The point is that people treat their cell phones as though their lives depend upon their grasps. One would think that if that phone were dropped or lost that somehow the earth would stop on its axis or that the world would surly come to an end. But other questions do come to mind when the cell phone grasp is considered. For instance, what would happen if these that grasp the phone would take hold to Jesus with such vigor? How much would Christians impact the world if they grasped strongly the filling of the Holy Spirit? How much would the saints grow if indeed they hide the Word of God in their hearts? And the list of questions can go on and on.

     The words in Hebrews 10:23 are “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering…” The interesting term in the verse is “hold fast”. In the Greek this term means in part, “to hold downright, hold in firm grasp, to have in full and secure possession.”[1] With this it is encumbered upon those that call themselves Christians to remove the mantel of appeasement and replace it with the garment of holiness. Holiness means that there is taking possession the truths of God and not relenting to the whims of idiosyncratic notions posed by those that choose to live a double standard. Holding fast the profession of our faith means that the Christian must hold securely what the faith is about without allowing the dictates of secularists to present false ideologies of Christendom.

     There is no doubt that cell phones have impacted this present society in a number of ways. But the impact of the faith of Christianity has impacted millions from the birth of the Church. This is the reason the Christian might do well to let loose the cell phone and take full possession of God’s Word. Once this is accomplished the Christian will be able to positively impact those around him while at the same time growing all the more relevant for a dying world. No, there is no need to throw out the cell phone but there is a reason to hide the Word of God in the heart of the Church.   


[1] Wesley J. Perschbacher. The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (Peabody: HendricksonPublishers, Inc. 1990)

 

Trouble brings about Victory

In my book Down the Via Dolorosa I address the issue of some of the trouble Christ endured as he was en route to Calvary. He had no easy road but it was a road traveled because He had full knowledge that the end of the road was wrought with victory. What if the Christian worked with such determination?

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