Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Planned Parenthood"

Over the past couple weeks it has come to our national attention what some of us have been warning of since Roe v. Wade. We who oppose abortion on demand (abortion as birth control) have long warned that not only is abortion the unnecessary killing of babies, but that we will soon devalue life so much that we would likely devolve to the point of harvesting infant organs for money. In response to our opposition we have been mocked as alarmists and as those guilty of employing the logical fallacy of "slippery slope" reasoning. Now, after brutally killing over 50 million human beings, we learn that Planned Parenthood is doing that which we warned would be done. With our tax dollars, and against the will of the people, the leadership of Planned Parenthood was caught on video admitting to the calculated late-term manipulation and harvesting of babies’ organs for cash. To all who are reading this, instead of being desensitized by over 40 years of barbaric brutality, if only for the first time, please listen to the opposition now.

It was the words of Juliet in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” who said, “What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Those are profound words and can be adapted to the subject at hand. That which we call infanticide by any other name would be as barbaric. You can't mask infanticide by calling it Planned Parenthood. What if Hitler labeled his barbaric campaign, Planned Supremacy? That sounds more pleasant than maniacal genocide doesn’t it? If you think the Hitler analogy is a stretch, keep in mind that in America alone, we have violently killed far more human beings through abortion than Hitler and his regime did. And the human beings we are killing are far more vulnerable as well. Therefore, which side of the debate promotes that which is barbaric, gruesome and utterly detestable? And, while we are listing adjectives to describe what our culture holds sacred, consider the following list of adjectives as to whether they are also appropriate: abhorrent, atrocious, awful, despicable, disgusting, grotesque, hateful, heinous, horrid, monstrous, obnoxious, offensive, outrageous, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, and vile.

Before we leave the subject of choosing deceptive names, it is one thing to deceptively choose a more pleasant sounding name in order to mask the barbaric slaughter of infants. But, as they select pleasant sounding names, they should at least have chosen a name that does not imply a function that is reserved for a Higher Power. Isn’t God the Planner of parenthood? How arrogant for man to assume God’s role albeit merely in name? Also, how perverted to white-wash the killing of babies behind such a name? Killing babies is not planning parenthood, but quite the opposite. That is like calling yourself a Wedding Planner by murdering grooms. Yes, you are determining the outcome of events in the subject area, but there is nothing noble or good about your methods and plans as your deceptive name implies.

Not only does Planned Parenthood mask barbaric infanticide behind a deceptive name. And, not only does the name they chose imply a function that rightfully belongs to God. But lastly, they distort and abuse words out of one side of their mouths, while behaving in a manner that contradicts their distortions out of the other side of their mouths. For example, they won’t use the words “baby” or “human being” in spite of the incontrovertible fact that an unborn infant clearly meets the definitions of both of those terms. No, instead they use the word “fetus”, and argue that it is just a “blob of tissue”. Well, that is from one side of their mouths. But from the other side of their mouths they are quoting prices for whole infant lungs, infant livers, and other infant organs that they have brutally harvested from these “blobs of tissue”. How is it just a fetus or blob of tissue, but from the blob we are harvesting whole human organs? Could it be because these are whole human beings? How sick are we when we lie to ourselves in order to mutilate full-term children and sell their organs for cash? By the way, America, be careful how you answer that question, because your answer describes you.

We read in the Old Testament about Manasseh and other leaders sacrificing their babies on the burned altars of Molech and other gods. And, we leave the reading of the text shocked and appalled. But, America, we are far worse than they. At least the worshipers of Molech burned the babies they sacrificed (which is still horrific). America is far more horrific than that. We gestate the babies to term and breach the delivery, all so that we can brutally kill the child and harvest its fully developed organs for sale. And, to top that off, we force our citizens to pay taxes with which we fund the practice against the consciences of the taxpayers. Then we lecture those who oppose all of the above and accuse them of conducting a "war on women". The only war being conducted on women both born and unborn is at the brutal and barbaric hands of the abortion industry and those who support it with money, energy, time, or all other means of support…including silence. Mother Teresa said, “The greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion, which is war against the child. The mother doesn’t learn to love, but kills to solve her own problems. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.” And, if you realize that what Planned Parenthood is doing is brutally horrific, it will likely get much, much worse unless we repent soon.

If you are a pro-choice or silent "christian", what will it take for you to stand with God and/or repent? How far must it go before you open your eyes to see the reality of what is taking place with your money and your approval? When will you start voting as if this is one of the most important issues? When will you start speaking out in opposition as if children's lives matter more than yours? When will you stop advocating lies that result in blood-thirsty infanticide? When will the church begin to silence its family members who openly align with that which is evil? After all, Acts 20:30 warned us, “and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Lastly, Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” That describes our abortion culture perfectly. On this issue with whom are you aligned, God or “unprincipled men”?

I will close with 2 Peter 3:14-18, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

You can purchase the book "Reason If You Will - How To Answer Questions Regarding Faith" by clicking HERE. You can also follow @ReasonIfYouWill on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Mystery of Marriage

Have you ever wondered why God took Adam’s rib to make Eve? After all, He created Adam from dust. Why didn’t God also make Eve from dust? In fact, why did God use any part of Adam whatsoever to make Eve? If you don’t recall, in Genesis 2, God said that it was not good for man to be alone. So, He put Adam into a deep sleep and proceeded to remove one of his ribs with which He created Eve. Upon awakening, Adam looked upon Eve with astonishment and declared “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” And, then God declared, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is an interesting story. But, do we really understand why God did it this way?

Today, our culture is very confused about what God thinks about marriage, even though He explicitly invented it. And, in spite of the fact that the Bible is fairly clear, we have so confused the concept for the benefit of a human agenda that we have distorted marriage beyond Biblical recognition. But, is that because we have reduced marriage to what we can see instead of keeping it vaulted to the level of what God  sees? Is there more to marriage than what meets the eye?

The most instructive passage of scripture on marriage is Ephesians 5. It is from this chapter that we receive the famous guidance for wives submitting to their husbands in the manner that the Church submits to Christ. In addition, this chapter instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed His life for her. But, this is not what defines marriage. Rather, it is how the chapter concludes that begins to reveal what the Inventor intended for marriage. Ephesian 5:29-33 says, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

How is marriage a “profound” “mystery”? Let's begin to answer that question through a series of questions. When you look at your spouse what do you see? Your best friend, your lover, etc…yes. But is that all? You see God’s temple? You see a Prince or a Princess? But is that all? Do you see God? Not just the image of God, but do you see God? Or do you see another person? Do you see yourself? When you see each other as a couple, what do you see? Do you see two people who have vowed a covenant before God and man? But is that all? What does God see? 

The problem with Christian marriages today is that we don’t see the mystery and therefore we don’t pursue the mystery. We have reduced marriage to what we can see with our fleshly eyes. We have reduced marriage to a contractual relationship or a religious civil union. Even worse, long ago we had sown government into marriage in order to control it and are in some respects reaping today what we should never have sown. If our marriage relationships are God’s mystery, how could we ever let government have a say in any of it? Lastly, we have allowed the spirit of religion (a demonic spirit) to reduce our marriages to religious relationships between two Christians of the opposite sex. But, isn’t it so much more than that? What if a gay couple gets married, makes the vows and each dies keeping the vows. How do they differ from a Christian couple in the eyes of the world? Shouldn't there still be an obvious difference even to the world? How will our marriages be different to others? They will only be different if we pursue the mystery that our marriages were designed to reveal.

Paul referring to marriage in the context of a mystery means that there is something to it that we can’t see with our eyes and can’t see even in these verses. There is something to it that we can’t sense with our physical senses. There is something there that points to God that rises above what is plain to see. The solution to the mystery is not even revealed in detail in the passage. If it were, it would not be a mystery. So, what is the mystery? The mystery is this: “two become one.” When we reduce marriage to what we can see with our physical eyes, we embrace what our flesh can feel and know; but that is not mystery. With our eyes we see two. But, God sees one. Therefore, in reality we are one. But, do you treat each other as two or do you treat each other as one? Pursuing God’s reality is pursuing the mystery.

In the Ephesians 5 passage above why does Paul quote Genesis 2? Genesis 2 begins to declare through marriage the mystery of the union of Christ and the Church. Almost everything about Genesis 2 points prophetically to Jesus. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it this way, "Woman was made at the beginning as the result of an operation which God performed upon man. How does the church come into being? As the result of an operation which God performed on the First Adam, His only begotten, beloved Son on Calvary's hill. A deep sleep fell upon Adam. A deep sleep fell upon the Son of God, He gave up the ghost, He expired, and there in that operation the church was taken out. As the woman was taken out of Adam, so the church is taken out of Christ. The woman was taken out of the side of Adam; and it is from the Lord's bleeding, wounded side that the church comes." The Bride comes from Jesus for the purpose of being united with Him. And, the two become one. As it is between us and Jesus becoming one, so it should be in our marriages.

Jesus completes us and we complete Him in His body – This is the mystery of which Paul speaks. Look again at Ephesians 5:30, “because we are members of his body.” And Ephesians 1:22-23 says, “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Jesus, our groom, yearns for the reunion of us to Him, and we should likewise yearn for our reunion with Him just like a betrothed virgin couple yearns for their wedding night.

To that point, the phrase “the two shall become one flesh” is too often confused with sex. Animals have sex, but they will never reveal the mystery of God to which Paul refers. Rather, God always uses physical symbols to reveal to us a higher spiritual reality. In truth, sex is one of those physical symbols, but it is not the spiritual reality. It points to a spiritual reality. There are other examples of symbols pointing to the mystery of the Gospel. God uses baptism to point to the mystery of spiritual rebirth in Christ. God uses the Lord’s Supper to reveal the birth of the Church through the symbolic consumption of a representation of the body and blood of Jesus. It is the same with marriage. In fact, God created only two institutions to reveal His mysteries – family and the Church. To that end, there are no mentions of wedding rings or marriage vows in the Bible. That is because God’s symbol for marriage is sex – sex is God’s wedding ring. And, that is why it should be reserved for heterosexual, monogamous marriage.

If you are not married, are you promoting what God has strictly created and prescribed to reveal Himself. Or do you advocate for its distortions? If you are married, are you living out this mystery of the two becoming one in your marriage? Or, are you ignoring this mystery? Did you come to the altar to dive into mystery? Consider this: Would we need vows if the two became one? Is it the vows that make us one? In fact, vows sound an awful lot like a contract, which are almost always broken (and, contracts recognize two opposite parties not the unity of them). It will take so much more than our vows being kept in order to reflect God’s mystery. But God’s Spirit is never broken. Therefore, it is not our vows but the Holy Spirit enabling that will fulfill and reveal this mystery. Revealing this mystery is humanly impossible without God.

Just like in God the three are one (the Trinity), so are we – husband, wife, Holy Spirit. Just like God is the three in one, we, in our marriages are called and entrusted to project an image of the mystery of two becoming one by actually becoming one - and do so as unceasing as possible. This is the mystery that Christian marriage was meant to pursue and thereby reveal. In doing so, we will reveal the mysteries of God in ways that no other forms and distortions of marriage can.

What are ways that we can pursue the mystery of two becoming one? When was the last time that you felt most like one? How about when God spoke to both of you in the same way? Have you ever felt more like one than that? How about walking with God together, praying together, reading His word together, serving His Kingdom together? How about not dividing each other through disagreements, but racing each other to the low place. How about compete with each other in nothing except humility (remember Ephesians 5:21 precedes Ephesians 5:22)? If we become one, doesn’t love and respect, submission and self-sacrifice just flow? If we focus on the mystery of God, the mystery of God in us, the Holy Spirit knitting two into one, don’t you think the world will notice...God?

In the words of the Casting Crowns’ song, “Broken Together”, “Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete.” Rather, maybe we as one are meant to be complete as we together are completed in Christ’s Spirit and He in us. Christian, may our marriages reveal the mysteries of God as God designed them to. May we lose each other in our unions. Isn't that much more worthy of our energy towards marriage?

You can purchase the book "Reason If You Will - How To Answer Questions Regarding Faith" by clicking HERE. You can also follow @ReasonIfYouWill on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Love Unites

Have you ever seen your reflection or the reflection of others in a carnival mirror? If not, a carnival mirror is typically several feet tall and is severely distorted so that the reflection is similarly distorted. By making the mirror with large waves in certain places, the images come out pretty funny. The reason the distorted reflections are funny is because you are seeing the real person in a distorted reality (a false reality). In many cases while the head/face of the reflection is accurate, the body is either made much larger, much skinnier, or just plain wavy. When you see your face on a distorted body wearing your clothes, and mimicking your motions, it looks pretty funny as we allow the reflection to mock its subject. However, there is one person whose image when distorted is not the least bit funny.

In today’s culture we throw around the word “love” in the most distorted ways. However, as Christians, we must realize that God is love (1 John 4:7-12). God does not love just because that is something He does. He loves because that is who He is - He is love's definition. And, like God’s love for us, true love is a permanent and irreversible decision not a feeling that we can "fall in" and out of (as our culture tries to deceive us into believing). For these reasons, true love always unifies eternally and decides to bind ourselves to others, but always in a way that honors God (Love) truly. And, as long as love is centered on God, the only true definition of love, it will last forever. All other loves are distorted reflections of the real thing and will not survive very long at all.

As we examine varying reflections of God/Love, some look beautiful and others don’t. That is because some reflections of love, or definitions of love, are postured towards God while others are postured away from Him. Logically, if a brand of love is postured towards God it is a beautiful reflection. In contrast, if a brand of love is postured away from God it has no other logical choice but to be rather distorted and ugly.

And yet, some, even Christians, remain confused about which definitions or reflections of love are good and which are not. Too often we worship human definitions of love instead of worshipping the One who is Love. And, the worship of human love over God is very ugly indeed. Another cause of confusion is that so many double-minded “Christians” celebrate a brand of love in the name of God while they openly align with the willful rejection of God’s designs and wishes. Just because a love is declared in God’s name does not make it a good and honorable reflection. A love declared in God’s name can only be good when it truly worships God as God. When a brand of love declares itself to be Godly but rejects God in any way, it is worshipping self and not God – again, that is ugly because it is idolatry. In fact, God likens opposing Him in any way to witchcraft in 1 Samuel 15:23.

Even though there is confusion for some Christians, it is very simple to determine which reflections of love are of God and which are not so worthy. It is by the fruit of each expression of love that we can determine its beauty, not by its self-declarations. For some, this is easy. If a brand of love openly violates God’s wishes, then rebellion is its fruit. This is ugly and not love at all. To the other extreme, like God, true love is eternal and will survive long beyond this life. Therefore, any love that lacks such an eternal quality from the outset is a bad reflection. More practically, in today’s culture, the fruit that exposes distorted reflections of love is that which is intended towards division and rebellion against God. Expression of true love is intended towards Godly unity, not ungodly division. Therefore, for our love to truly win, it would not prevail itself upon or at the expense of others. In fact, if any action by any person is intended at the expense of another, it is certainly not love, even if committed by a Christian. For example, those who are practicing true love would not seek or support the open persecution of Christians in any way. That is a violent intent to divide. That is truly hateful and truly ugly. That is not a worthy reflection of love in any way shape or form. If their brand of love were true, the opponents of Christians would treat Christians as God would, not as God's enemies would. They would openly decide to forbear, embrace and defend Christians (not hate them). Wouldn't that actually unify? However, today’s culture and its twisted brands of love are totally incapable of doing what is right because they have departed from the Source of all right and leave themselves to their own corrupt devices.

According to 1 Corinthians 13, true love of others that is postured towards God is characterized by the following (a.k.a. fruit):

  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Does not envy
  • Does not boast
  • Not arrogant
  • Not rude
  • Does not insist on its own way
  • Is not irritable
  • Is not resentful
  • Does not rejoice in wrongdoing
  • Rejoices with the truth
  • Bears all things
  • Believes all things
  • Hopes all things
  • Endures all things
  • Never ends

According to this list, do some Christians need to show a more genuine love to some non-Christians? Yes, of course; many need to do a better job as we are all works in progress. But we should never attempt to reflect love at the expense of disagreeing with God about sin and persecuting those who genuinely agree with Him. Christian, as you celebrate "love" with others, no matter what brand it is, measure that love against God’s list above before you choose to celebrate. If the love you are observing lacks these characteristics, it will divide because its fruit is obvious. Such a love should not be celebrated by servants of God. But, if the love you observe yields the above fruits, it will unify men in a posture that worships the only One worthy of worship. Not all forms of love are good and worthy. And, the truest Love is God. Therefore, true love unites us to honor Him in every way. Anything short of that is worth less.

You can purchase the book "Reason If You Will - How To Answer Questions Regarding Faith" by clicking HERE. You can also follow @ReasonIfYouWill on Twitter.