Continuing to Stand

It is true that I watched the State of the Union address last evening. To say that I was impressed would not lead to the truth of what I truly felt. Nonetheless, the most troublesome thing that I heard was when our “Christian” President chose to uphold Islam and its tenants over the virtues of Christianity. Now, if one is Islamic it stands to reason that such individuals would further what he sees as just and honourable through Muslim eyes. However, when one is a Christian it should also stand to reason that such a person uphold the virtues of Christianity above all else.

The fact is that Christianity is not given to the weak and appeasing. It is not given to those that uphold its virtues so long as its standards do not offend. The fact is that the Gospel never seeks to appease. Instead, the Gospel has shown itself to be a stumbling stone and a rock of offence (Romans 9:33). This means that there are some who will not take too kindly to the standard of Scripture. Others will find reason to avoid it even if that avoidance means making cultic ventures greater than the Gospel. Well, Christians, it is time we continued to stand. It is time to take back the narrative from those who love not Jesus and stand on the very principles of the Gospel.

The hallmark principle of the Word of God is love. It was because of love that God sent His only begotten Son into the world in order to restore a broken relationship. It was because of love that Jesus humbled himself unto death; even the death of the cross in order to make things right between the Father and man. It is because of love that Christ remains on the right hand of the Father interceding for those that love Him. That love is furthered in Christendom to all that know not Christ might come to know Him. That love is extended to all – even followers of Islam. That love is perpetuated in the lives of the Christian whereby his life is one showing forth the love of God. Love is the hallmark of all that God is as God is love.

On the other hand Islam does not present in love. Now, some might say that all of Islam does not seek to be like what is counted as radical. Even so, contrary to the commandment of love found in the Holy Writ, Islam presents no such idea; not even amongst its own. Many Muslim men rape their women and other women. There are honour killings in the name of Allah for those who betray the teachings of Islamists. Many Muslim men take very young wives and often those wives are counted as property. Those counted as infidels are beheaded, burned and drowned. Yet, Islam is counted as the religion of peace even while the Prince of Peace is seen as a mere prophet to be subordinated to Muhammad.

This is not a time for Christian apathy. It is not a time to kowtow to the move of some political figures that seek to remove Christianity from the public arena. Instead, it is time to stand in the face of adversity. It is time to hold fast to the fundamental teaching of the Gospel. It is time not to give in to the feel good temporary gimmicks of the day. Instead there needs to be a continuation of the stand that was called for in Scripture. This stand is not a stand with calm waters in a peaceful pond. No, this is a stand when the wind and waters are contrary to what we know to be right. We started standing and that stand needs to be perpetual.

Ephesians chapter six uses the word “stand” three times. The idea of standing is central to the chapter and to Ephesians at large. However, the idea of standing is not specific to the church of Ephesus. Christians today are also faced with the wiles of the enemy. Christians today need to wear the entire armour of God. And, when one wears armour he, by necessity, must stand. Standing is not an act of apathy. It is an act of boldness and determination. Determination — what an idea from a determined God in order to restore broken relationships. Standing in love; what a way to present the truth of the Word of God without shame.

Relenting is Not an Option

I have to say that it is really getting personal now. The attacks on Christians and Christianity are an unbearable truth. Christians in countries highly influenced by Islamic terrorists are being killed as though they are bugs on the floor. They are being beheaded merely because they are Christians. College students are also being attacked by those seeking to please Allah. They are shown no mercy only because they have chosen to worship and serve the One and only God. All this is going on while other Christians are forced to denounce the Holy One or suffer dire consequences.

As if this were not sad enough activities in the United States are not much better. Consider the Indiana and Arkansas laws which are but a mirror of Federal law instituted about twenty years ago. The laws have nothing to do with discrimination and all to do with the enforcement of the 1st Amendment. Yet many were riled by the gross misconception (or ignoring of the facts) that the laws were the target of homosexuals. Out of this the attacks on Christians were such that at least on pizza establishment was forced to close its doors at least temporarily.[1] And there are other attacks on Christians. These attacks are legal and political and serve only to shame Christians.[2]

Well, I have had more than I am willing to take. I am weary of the President bemoaning Christians while extolling Muslims.[3] If Mr. Obama is the Christian he purports to be why does he not defend Christianity? Why is the Muslim prayer at sunset the most beautiful thing that falls on his ears?  Why, does the good President, not extol the virtues of Christianity above all? Perhaps, and only perhaps, he enjoys Islam above the teachings of Christ. Well, I have had enough and I will not relent on the virtuosity of the Gospel. Relenting is not an option!

Scriptural texts clearly show that Christians will suffer persecution. Even more, Christians are not promised an easy time. The God-head new in advance these things would be which is, in part, why the Holy Spirit was sent. Nonetheless, Christians are encouraged to stand in the face of adversity. Ephesians 6:13, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” This text clearly shows that there will be opposition to Christians. The Christian is not to be unprepared rather; he is to be ready in the face of opposition.

Consider two significant words in this text, “evil day.” There is no doubt that these are evil days. Right is wrong and wrong has become right. The less than two percent of homosexuals in this nation are all but discriminated against yet they hold themselves as being beaten and downtrodden. Frankly, I am vehemently opposed to homosexuality even while I embrace those that are entangled by this unseemly (Romans 1:27) behavior. As Christians we are called to love and love has much to do with doing what is right even in the face of apparent wrongs.

Just as it is wrong to steal, cheat, lie and commit adultery it is also wrong to commit homosexuality. Furthermore the Constitution clearly provides Christians the right to celebrate Jesus without retribution.  However this has not stopped special interest and political detractors from doing all to silence Christians. Well, I will not be silent. I will not give in to the pressures of political correctness. I refuse to lay down the standard of holiness because some choose to live contrary to God’s Word. I will not give up and I will certainly not give in. Relenting is not an option!

[1] http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/04/01/indiana-pizza-restaurant-forced-close-after-backlash-refusing-cater-gay-wedding

[2] http://www.theconservative.info/html/war_against_christianity.html

[3] http://www.frontpagemag.com/2015/dgreenfield/obama-defends-islam-attacks-christianity-at-prayer-breakfast/

Appearances, Appearances

There has been much talking here of late about appearances. Specifically much of that talk has been around President Obama and some of the latest optics of his administration. One such was the sending of three White House representatives to the funeral of Michel Brown who would have gone unknown except for the fact that he robbed a store and at minimal challenged a police officer. Unfortunately no representatives were sent to New York where two offices were killed as they sat in their car. Now there is much discussion about the recent show of solidarity against Islamic terrorism in France wherein at least forty Heads-of-State joined arms yet no one from the United States was sent to stand with the world standing against a common enemy.

There are hosts of other optics that can be pointed out such as this administration’s refusal to call Islamic terrorism Islamic terrorism. This goes to the point that appearances mean everything. For instance, if one were to go to the “block’ in downtown Baltimore around midnight and he sees a young lady scantily clad going into a strip joint (or out of one for that matter) he might deduce that the lady might be at least a dancer. Such is the case within Christianity. Appearances mean not just a temporary opinion or view but rather appearances mean everything. What one dresses like, acts like and who he associates with speaks volumes about who that person is.

For instance if a married “Christian” man were found in the same area of Baltimore without his wife and he was just a bit inebriated with young ladies on either arm it might be said that Christianity might not be his chief practice. The fact is that appearances make all the difference in the world. This is why the Christian is called to holiness. Holiness is not merely a state of mind rather it is the way of life of the Christian. This is why Christians stand in the face of that which is unrighteous and unholy. This is why preachers preach and teach against succumbing to the pull of that which turns against God. Appearances is why Christians walk and talk far differently from non-Christians.

With this Christians need to walk arm-in-arm in solidarity against the things that God calls sin and unite with the love of Christ. There are neither big sins nor little sins so that lies are just as dangerous as homosexuality. Stealing is not worse than reveling while drunkenness and the lack of a sober mind can be synonymous. These are matters in which Christians can rally together and be examples for all that choose not to celebrate the God of our salvation. Christians need to present the optics of solidarity from one house to the next so that our common enemy cannot penetrate the wall of togetherness.

It is very true that together we stand and divided we fall so Christians, I beg of you, let us stand together and present a picture of holiness which will serve only to please the Father as we continue to lock arms for the standards of holiness and against unrighteousness.

Stop the Divide

Many may remember that then Senator Barack Obama took to the campaign trail and ran in great part as the President who will finally bring everyone together. There would be no more divisions predicated upon the idea of “race” as this half Black (perhaps true African-American) and half White man would understand the plight of all and be able to find ground whereupon all would be on a level playing field. Many voted for this future President because they thought him to be the one uniquely able to unite all and that he would be the very one for the downcast, downtrodden and the broken. Many of the same voters have since had buyer’s remorse.

However this nation has not been so divided since the Civil War. Some might recall the feigned war on women fighting against those who see every human life as precious; even the unborn children. This divide was not to be outdone by those who touted the unfairness of the riches of the so called one percent causing deeper and widening divides among the populace. Our President has also weighed in on divides among the people groups of the land turning young against old and Black against White. Some might recall how one set of police In Massachusetts were said to have acted “stupidly” in one case and how Travon Martin might look like the President. Now the police are under attack by not just the President but also Attorney General Eric Holder and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Of course we can’t leave race baiters Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson from the equation. Additionally to ignore SEIU, which might be behind some of the latest protests would be remiss.

The fact of the matter is that this country cannot be destroyed from the outside. It must be destroyed from within. In order to fundamentally change this country there must be multiple divides and attacks against the very founding of this country. The pretense that our Founders were racist from the onset and that equality for all meant leaving out certain others does very little to bridge real gaps in this wonderful country. Most people in this nation are not racist rather are a loving people that want nothing more than to live peaceably with all in as much as possible. This sentiment has been made evident by many yet there are those such as Sharpton that make a living by dividing an otherwise loving people.

It is past time this country began to lay aside the resounding hateful rhetoric of those that seek only riches by dividing the masses. It is time that all men, women, boys and girls reach for the reality that they, as individuals, are fearfully and wonderfully made. These United States are one nation under the True and Living God and this nation cannot and should not lay down its Judeo-Christian founding and values. Instead individuals need to reconcile with God and serve God without fear of a tyrannical government that further seeks to divide a Christian nation from the God of all. As a nation mere idiosyncratic ideologies need to give way to the freedom provided by the Constitution with a limited government. This is to say this nation needs to return to the roots of freedom provided by biblical and constitutional standards.

The fact is that divides seek only to destroy a people. Consider, for instance, divorce. This is among the most hateful divides against any people. It tears at all involved normally because of selfish reasons. The hurt and pain can last for years while tearing at the family economic status. Things are not much different when a nation is torn apart. Very few prosper when a nation tears from itself. The converse is that when a nation comes together many good things happen. Love begins to abound while those that seek hatred are minimized. People work together no matter the complexion of their skin. Peace becomes the order of the day while families and communities grow stronger because of a diminishing divide.

So, Mr. Sharpton, Mr. Jackson, Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Holder and Mr. President you are urged to stop the divide. Your words and actions have been divisive at the very least. This country needs leadership that will strengthen the common factor we all enjoy. That factor is freedom. We need the freedom of the law, which is the Constitution to let this nation stand. We need the freedom of worship. We need to be free from the false narrative of all things racist so that we can all join hand-in-hand as a people indivisible standing for the liberty that Christ has prepared for us all.

Enough Already

     The past few years in this country have caused me to wonder if I still live in the United States of America. It appears that there is division on every hand. Everyone seems to be angry with everyone else and all for false reasons. This is rather disconcerting because President Obama was lifted as some sort of messiah who would heal all. He would be the one to bind those that were pulled apart by reason of scandalous racial issues because he would be the post-racial president. Unfortunately the racial divide has only broadened since Mr. Obama has taken office.

     Blacks have been pitted against the Whites while Hispanics abhor Asians. Jews are against Gentiles and the Polish disdain the Italians. Further divides are evident as in the phony war against women. As such females have been pitted against males. The young are angry with the old. The rich and the poor seem to have nothing in common. Yes, this is the most divided nation since the Civil War. The difference is that then Abraham Lincoln was torn as to how to bring the people together while Mr. Obama seems to seek division on every hand. Enough already!

     And the “church” seems to be acting no better. It has been said that Sunday morning is the most divided time of the week. There are so many divisions it is not certain that all the breaches can be mentioned in this article. Still the racial divide cannot be ignored. There are “Black” churches and “White” churches. The “Chinese” and Korean” churches cannot be ignored. And while on the subject we might as well get to the “Hispanic” and other racially divided churches. But, the list goes on as to divides. There are Holiness churches and Pentecostal churches. Then comes the Baptist churches and the Freewill Baptist churches. Enough already!

     I Corinthians chapter twelve highlights some divisions that were in the early church. Paul sought to correct this heretical practice by showing that even though there were different administrations and gifts in operation in the Church all should be accepted as long as these works are indeed ordained by God. Verse twelve states that “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” This statement clearly shows that divides in the church are not acceptable and that such divides should be healed. Further Paul makes it clear that there are many parts to the body but that they all work together for the good. Versus fourteen through twenty-one read:

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

     Paul seemed to be saying enough already. There is no cause for divisions predicated upon superficial ideologies that serve only to bolster hatred. Even more these divides, by extension, exclude those that are seeking Christ but are turned away merely because they do not fit into the norm of the small society seeking only those that neatly fit into their shoebox of ideas. This is not of God and needs to be stopped immediately.

     God is a God of love and not of hate. It is impossible to love God while pulling away from the multiplicity of people that God has placed in the Church. Hatred is not an option and must be abhorred. God loves the world and all that are in it. It is for world that Jesus died and at no point does He suggests any divide. Enough already with this racism and divide in the house of God! It is past time we joined together with one voice in worshipping God and in serving humanity irrespective of nationality or skin tone.