The controversies over the so-called Safe Schools programs in Australia are simply a reflection of a much bigger war. For many decades now activists have sought to target our children especially through the school system. Various sex education programs and the like have been used to push radical sexual agendas. All this did not just…
In 1962, the United States Supreme Court gave leftists what they wanted: the removal of prayer from public schools. So how has that worked out for us?
Beginning in kindergarten through college, our kids are poisoned with toxic liberalism. Parents are poisoned with subliminal and in-your-face liberalism 24-7 via TV, fake news, churches, movies, and so on. Suddenly, like in the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Christians, conservatives, and Republicans are stealthily transformed. They begin spewing leftist narratives. A relative whom I have known to be a strong Christian suggested that I soften my resistance to same-sex couples calling themselves married. This relative is a Christian who has surrendered to leftists’ attack on God’s plan for marriage.
Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism
Apr 16, 2018 09:50 am | Marsha West
Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry is nothing of the sort. It’s a sham. Just a way Bethel Church leaders have devised to get their hooks into people, especially undiscerning young people. If you’re unfamiliar with Bethel Church in Redding CA, the senior pastor is the notorious “Apostle” Bill Johnson. For reasons that will become clear, Bethel’s considered […]
The post Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry – Normalizing Mysticism appeared first on Berean Research.
You Can’t Love Jesus with a Heart Full of Hate: 7 Reasons to Love and Forgive Your Enemies
Apr 14, 2018 09:15 am | Marsha West
Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley offers 7 reasons God gives us in His Word to love and forgive our enemies. Here’s one example: You Can’t Love Jesus With A Heart Full Of Unforgiveness. The reason she gives is that “Your enemy – that person you hate and refuse to forgive because he hurt you […]
The post You Can’t Love Jesus with a Heart Full of Hate: 7 Reasons to Love and Forgive Your Enemies appeared first on Berean Research.
I’m old enough to remember when “evangelical” was a bad word
Apr 13, 2018 10:05 am | Marsha West
According to Jesse Johnson “evangelical suffers from an ambiguity largely owning to its diversity. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is different than the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, yet members of both would sign the Manhattan Declaration. If you believe the gospel and the fundamentals (inerrancy, virgin birth, bodily resurrection, personal conversion, etc.), does that make you evangelical? There is […]
The post I’m old enough to remember when “evangelical” was a bad word appeared first on Berean Research.
How To Do Online Discernment Ministry, part 1
Apr 12, 2018 09:20 am | Marsha West
No matter if you are in your pew listening to a sermon, choosing a book at the Christian bookstore, or reading some essays online, you need discernment to determine if what you are absorbing aligns with God’s word or is a lie designed to incrementally steer you away from the narrow path. In this 2 […]
Hybels steps down from Willow Creek following allegations of misconduct
Apr 10, 2018 10:26 pm | Berean Admin
From the Chicago Tribune: Forty-two years after founding one of the nation’s most influential evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Bill Hybels told his congregation Tuesday night that he would step down from the helm of Willow Creek Community Church six months ahead of schedule. His departure comes less than a month after a Chicago Tribune investigation […]
The post Hybels steps down from Willow Creek following allegations of misconduct appeared first on Berean Research.
Francis Chan: “God Might Kill You If You Criticize Church Leaders”
Apr 10, 2018 04:02 pm | Marsha West
During a recent speaking engagement,* popular preacher and author Francis Chan told the group that God will destroy anyone who questions or criticizes the teachings of Christian leaders. Steven Kozar of Messed Up Church has the story which includes a must watch video of Bethel’s guest speaker so that we can see for ourselves that […]
The post Francis Chan: “God Might Kill You If You Criticize Church Leaders” appeared first on Berean Research.
We all have our idols, and we all must deal with these idols. An idol is anything which commands our attention and loyalty over and above the one true God. We are too sophisticated to bow down before carved statues and graven images today, but we are just as idolatrous as our pagan forebears.
As A. W. Pink put it, an idol is “anything which displaces God in my heart. It may be something which is quite harmless in itself, yet if it absorbs me, if it be given the first place in my affections and thoughts, it becomes an ‘idol’. It may be my business, a loved one, or my service for Christ. Anyone or any thing which comes into competition with the Lord’s ruling me in a practical way, is an ‘idol’.”
There is nothing difficult about the manufacture of idols. It comes readily to us. As Calvin said, “Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols.” And again, “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”
The Old Testament speaks plenty to the issue of idolatry, and how to deal with idols. In a word, it says we are to deal with them harshly. There is to be no compromise here, no softly softly approach. We are to be ruthless and severe in our opposition to idols.
And since idolatry did involve so many statues and graven images back then, actually destroying those idols was part of the response of God’s people. That is how God told his people to deal with idols. Plenty of passages speak to this. Since I am reading through Kings right now, let me confine myself just to some of the references found there on how Israelites were to deal with idols.
Godly kings and prophets were as one in how to deal with idols. Consider the godly King Asa. We read about his resolute opposition to idols in 1 Kings 15:11-13:
Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made. He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley.
Consider how Elisha the prophet and King Jehu dealt with the evil and idolatrous King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. In 2 Kings 9:6-7 we read this:
Then the prophet [Elisha] poured the oil on Jehu’s head and declared, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anoint you king over the LORD’s people Israel. You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the LORD’s servants shed by Jezebel’.”
And that is what he did. In 2 Kings 10:1-17 we read about how Ahab’s family was killed. And in 2 Kings 10:18-36 we read about how the ministers of Baal were all killed. Verses 25-28 say this:
As soon as Jehu had finished making the burnt offering, he ordered the guards and officers: “Go in and kill them; let no one escape.” So they cut them down with the sword. The guards and officers threw the bodies out and then entered the inner shrine of the temple of Baal. They brought the sacred stone out of the temple of Baal and burned it. They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day. So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel.
And for this God praised Jehu: “The Lord said to Jehu, ‘Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation’” (2 Kings 10:30).
That is some pretty severe action taken against idolatry and the idolaters. Another faithful king was Jehoiada. In 2 Kings 11:17-18 we read about the actions he took to deal with idols:
Jehoiada then made a covenant between the Lord and the king and people that they would be the Lord’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
Finally consider another great king – Josiah. After finding the Book of the Law and coming under great conviction, he took hardcore steps to deal with all the idolatry in the land. We read about this in 2 Kings 23:1-20. After Josiah renewed the covenant, he took strong action. We read about just part of this in verses 4-7:
The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. He did away with the idolatrous priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem—those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the Lord to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people. He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the temple of the Lord, the quarters where women did weaving for Asherah.
As is apparent, the people of Israel were not to pussyfoot around with idols. They were not to tolerate them or put up with them. They were to strictly and sternly deal with them. Christians are also to deal harshly with idols today. However, let me offer two caveats on how we are to go about this.
First, I am not saying we should go around blowing things up today. What we find in the Old Testament is primarily the kings or prophets of Israel dealing with idols in their own land. We are not in that place today. But at the very least, we need God’s attitude on these idols. The Apostle Paul is a good example of this.
When he walked through the idol-filled Athens, we read about what he thought of it all: “Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible. While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols” (Acts 17:15-16).
We too should be greatly grieved and bothered by what grieves the heart of God. He loves us too much to allow us to continue in our idolatry. This is as true of Christians as of non-Christians. As C. S. Lewis put it, “Images of the Holy easily become holy images – sacrosanct. My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast.”
Second, what I am especially saying here is that Christians should be ruthless with idolatry, primarily in their own lives. The obvious place to begin is with ourselves. That is where we must start as we engage in search and destroy missions against idolatry.
And if we are honest and open before God, we will know that we have plenty of such idols to deal with in our own lives. As John exhorted us: 1 John 5:21, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” Individuals and churches both need to heed this warning.
All this is not to say we cannot and should not call out the idols of our age. We should speak out against them of course. But our role is not to try to physically tear them down (eg., seeking to demolish the MCG or other sporting shrines). Our role as Christians is to be salt and light in society.
We should be speaking prophetically against the idols of our day, be it power, or success, or sex, or greed, or materialism, or what have you. We are to share God’s heart on the idols all around us, pointing people to a better way – to the one true and living God.
So we begin by being ruthless with the idols in our own hearts, and then we have a prophetic ministry in showing a needy world where our loyalty and devotion should lie. And the only way we can really spurn false gods and useless idols is when God breaks through in our life. As R. C. Sproul put it:
Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power. The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol made by our own hands. Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him… To love a holy God requires grace, grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our moribund souls.
Sarah Cook, senior research analyst for East Asia at Freedom House, said the sales ban “is an important example of how internet censorship intersects with restrictions on religious freedom. … Sensitive religious topics and groups are among the most censored in China,” she said. “In our research we found the Chinese authorities increasingly using more high-tech methods to control religion and punish believers — including surveillance and arrest of believers for sharing information online.”
The Bible appears to have been removed from online marketplaces in China, as Beijing clamps down on how its citizens practice religion.
China has always controlled sales of the Bible, only allowing it to be distributed and printed by state-sanctioned churches, but in recent years it had been available to buy online.
That loophole now appears to be firmly closed. Searches for “Holy Bible” did not return results on JD.com, and results on Amazon.cn did not include the main text, but did include study guides and the Koran.
On Taobao, China’s biggest online marketplace, a search returned results for the “baby food bible” and the “autoimmune disease healing bible,” but not the Christian scripture, though some related products such as an illustrated set of children’s Bible stories were still available.
JD.com, Amazon.cn and Taobao did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Thursday was a public holiday in China.
Two online merchants told CNN customers may still obtain copies of the holy book from them through private messages, but public listing of the Bible is now impossible on Taobao.
Sarah Cook, senior research analyst for East Asia at Freedom House, said the sales ban “is an important example of how internet censorship intersects with restrictions on religious freedom.”
“Sensitive religious topics and groups are among the most censored in China,” she said. “In our research we found the Chinese authorities increasingly using more high-tech methods to control religion and punish believers — including surveillance and arrest of believers for sharing information online.”
Religious practice in China is tightly controlled by the government, with the five recognized faiths — Chinese Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism and Taoism — supervised by official organizations such as the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church or the Buddhist Association of China.
According to a recent five-year plan on Christianity in China, published by the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), maintaining the “principle of independence and self-management” is important due to the “humiliating history of the Chinese people” and the use of Christianity by the powers of “colonialism and imperialism.”
Chinese Catholic bishops are not appointed by the Pope, which has been a key sticking point between Beijing and the Vatican since relations broke down in 1951.
Progress did appear to have been made in recent weeks, with some Chinese officials saying a deal with the Holy See could take place over Easter, but this did not pan out.
William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International, said the Vatican “should probably take this issue into consideration in its discussions with their Chinese counterparts — since the banning of the sale of Bibles is obviously a worrying move demonstrating the worsening state for freedom of religion in China.”
The post Bibles Pulled from Online Stores as China Increases Control of Religionappeared first on The Aquila Report.
As atheist government pledges to promote “Chinese-style Christianity and theology,” changes at JD.com, Taobao, and Dang Dang may revive debate over Bible access.
Last week, Chinese social media users began noticing that they couldn’t find Bibles listed on some of their nation’s most popular e-commerce platforms.
Shoppers who searched the word Bible on retailers such as Taobao, Jingdong, Dang Dang, and Amazon.cn began receiving a “no results” response, reported the South China Morning Post.
Search analytics revealed a significant spike in the keyword Bible on March 30. But by April 1, analytics showed a zero, suggesting that the word may have been censored, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Two days before the Bibles were banned from online purchase, the Chinese government released a document outlining how it intends to promote “Chinese Christianity” over the next five years. According to the document, one of the government’s key objectives is to reinterpret and retranslate the Bible in order to enhance “Chinese-style Christianity and theology.”
Among China’s main religions—which include Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, and folk beliefs—Christianity is unique for having its holy text banned from commercial brick-and-mortar bookstores. Until the internet, Bibles could only be obtained via church bookstores (because they lacked a barcode), a reality that in the past has dissuaded house church Christians wary of official Three-Self churches from purchasing the text.
A joint venture between the Amity Foundation and the United Bible Societies, Amity Printing Company is the only press in China allowed by the government to print Bibles.
As CT reported in 2003:
Legal Bibles are not in short supply. The Red Guards confiscated Bibles, so that after the Cultural Revolution, the most pressing need of Christians in China …
Diamond and Silk unloaded on Facebook Friday night after the social media giant finally responded to their many inquiries as to why Facebook is censoring their content and brand.
The dynamic duo boast over 1.2 million Facebook followers on their main Diamond and Silk page.
Diamond and Silk say their reach on Facebook has dramatically reduced prompting them to seek answers from Facebook.
After giving them the runaround for months, Facebook responded with, “The Policy team has came to the conclusion that your content and your brand has been determined unsafe to the community.”
Even worse, Facebook said their ‘decision is final and it is not appeal-able in any way.’
Diamond and Silk appeared on Fox News to discuss the latest development from
“We are two women of color, so how are we and our content, our brand unsafe for the community? We don’t sell drugs, we’re not laying out in the streets, we’re not thugs, we don’t belong to no gangs, so how are we unsafe to the community? It bothers me. It’s offensive. It’s appalling,” Diamond and Silk said.
“Why are you censoring two women of color, two black women?” the ladies continued.
Silk dropped a truth bomb at the end of the segment, “If a privately owned bakery has to go against their Christian values to bake a cake, then Mark Zuckerberg is going to have to suck it up buttercup and allow Diamond and Silk to speak our truth.”
The ladies did not confirm whether they are moving forward with litigation against Facebook, however; they clearly stated they will not stand for the censorship.
Diamond and Silk rose in popularity during the 2016 presidential election.
They regularly appeared on Fox News and other outlets showing their support for Donald Trump.
The two ladies were also seen on the campaign trail stumping for Trump.
YouTube also recently demonetized Diamond and Silk’s videos.
The post Diamond and Silk ‘If a Private Bakery Has to Go Against Their Christian Values to Bake a Cake Then Zuckerberg Has to Allow us to Speak Our Truth’ (VIDEO) appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.
There is perhaps no greater need today in the West than for people to be able to distinguish right from wrong. Most folks have altogether lost their moral compasses and are simply roaming aimlessly in an ethical no-man’s land. Moral absolutes have been jettisoned and relativism reigns.
This is always a recipe for disaster. And we have seen it occurring throughout human history. There has always been a connection between the abandonment of morality and the abandonment of God. When we declare the nonexistence or the inconsequentiality of God, we lose the basis for moral absolutes.
In his 2005 book Unspeakable, Os Guinness describes our modern world without God: “What was once unimaginable becomes thinkable and then fashionable. What used to be abnormal is now normal. Where we were shocked, we are now indifferent. What started as soft-core ends as hard-core.”
Here he is simply repeating the wisdom of the prophet Isaiah. Two and a half millennia ago he offered this sombre warning: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
Most of the great thinkers since that time have made the connection between God, moral absolutes, and the state of a nation. Numerous quotes could be offered here. Plato for example knew that some objective basis of morality was needed.
He wrote: “Any system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” The classical philosophers spoke of the importance of cultivating virtue, both private and public. As Aristotle said, “Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities.”
Sir Francis Bacon made this declaration: “All good moral philosophy is … but the handmaid to religion.” And John Locke said this: “To give a man full knowledge of morality, I would send him to no other book than the New Testament.”
The Irish political theorist and philosopher Edmund Burke put it this way: “Manners [morals] are more important than laws. Upon them, in great measure, the laws depend.” President George Washington said it this way: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
President John Quincy Adams concurred: “There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments.”
In 1835 Alexis de Tocqueville made this observation: “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
C.S. Lewis said this: “There is no escape… If we are to continue to make moral judgments (and whatever we say we shall in fact continue) then we must believe that the conscience of man is not a product of Nature. It can be valid only if it is an offshoot of some absolute moral wisdom, a moral wisdom which exists absolutely “on its own” and is not a product of non-moral, non-rational Nature.”
The great scientist Albert Einstein got it right when he said:
Science has provided the possibility of liberation for human beings from hard labor, but science itself is not a liberator. It creates means not goals. Man should use [science] for reasonable goals. When the ideals of humanity are war and conquest, those tools become as dangerous as a razor in the hands of a child of three. We must not condemn man’s inventiveness and patient conquest of the forces of nature because they are being used wrongly and disobediently now. The fate of humanity is entirely dependent upon its moral development.
Or as Martin Luther King Jr stated, “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”
Such quotes could be repeated at length. The wisdom of the ages needs to be applied to the modern dilemmas we now find ourselves in. Everyday individuals and high-powered leaders both need to get back to morality, which means getting back to God.
The reason I have all this on my mind of late has to do with what I read in my daily Bible reading. This morning the familiar words of Solomon struck me with renewed force. Israel’s King David had died and Solomon was newly established on the throne (1 Kings 1).
In 1 Kings 2 we read about him subduing his enemies and securing his kingdom. God then appears to him in a dream and asks him what he would like. Most of you would know how the story goes. Instead of wealth or power or other selfish things, he asked for wisdom so that he might rule his people rightly.
We read about this in 1 Kings 3:5-10:
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.
God did indeed answer this request, and in the very next chapter we encounter the very familiar story of his wisdom being applied to the case of two women and a baby they were fighting over. In 3:28 we read about the outcome of his ruling: “When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.”
And at the end of chapter four we read more about how Solomon’s wisdom became known even to the surrounding nations. As we find in verse 34: “From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.”
Wow, we sure can use that sort of wisdom today. We sure need this sort of moral discernment that can distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong. That is in such short supply today. We all need it, and our political leaders certainly need it as well.
But very few seem to have it. Part of the way to get back to greatness as a people and as a nation is to have the ability to tell the difference between truth and error, between what is right and what is wrong. Would that more people – and more leaders – make the sort of prayer that Solomon did.
We sure need it bad right now.
The post On Moral Absolutes and Discerning Right from Wrong appeared first on CultureWatch.
The Southern Baptist Convention should not want black leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want white leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want Eskimo leaders, Pygmy leaders, or polka-dotted leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should want godly leaders. And that, it seems, is in the shortest supply of all.
The Southern Baptist Convention should not want black leadership. The very idea is doctrinally bothersome, theologically incoherent, ethnically untenable, and morally perverse.
After the MLK50 veneration conference, hosted by The
Social Gospel Coalition and the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Southern Baptists are calling for the white-guilted apologies offered to the world on behalf of past Southern Baptist sins to be proven by appointing black leaders to two openings at Southern Baptist entities. Both the International Mission Board (IMB), upon the resignation of David Platt, and the Presidency/CEO of the Executive Board of the SBC, upon the resignation of Frank Page, have openings which some feel should be filled based not upon the content of one’s character, but by the color of their skin.
I’m offering a few thoughts on the subject of filling race-based denominational appointment vacancies for barter here in the Marketplace of Ideas.
First, I understand the manufactured excitement that comes from a conference like MLK50, which was organized and hosted by radical Cultural Marxists and mission-drifting Critical Race Theorists. Neither The Gospel Coalition nor the ERLC are primarily religious organizations; they are political organizations funded by leftist billionaires and unsuspecting small-time donors whose chief ambition is to radically revolutionize the way evangelical Christians think about race and to change the political alliance between conservatism and Christianity. The Gospel Coalition (TGC) was founded by Tim Keller, a Marxist who self-professes to be influenced by the Frankfurt School of Social Theory, as written about in detail in E.S. William’s book, The New Calvinists. Daily on the cyber-pages of TGC, the ideas of intersectionality, globalism, and social justice are regularly promoted. They do so in the name of Jesus and the Gospel, which I find especially repugnant. Under the guise of being theologically astute, under the faux-imagery of Gospel-promotion, TGC promotes Affirmative Action, open borders and amnesty, reparations, and even lent their blog for explicit endorsements of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. Russell Moore at the ERLC works for the George Soros-funded Evangelical Immigration Table, calls border walls a “golden calf” (likening it to idolatry), and is a former Democratic staffer who never left the Democratic party. It should only be expected that any bastardized offspring of these two organizations should bear the DNA of progressivism. Any conference hosted by the two organizations – especially that designed to venerate a Communist whoremonger who denied the deity of Christ and His resurrection, should certainly be expected to create an army of Useful Idiots eager to atone for sins they didn’t commit and vicariously apologize for sins of others. This is, after all, the goal of intersectionality.
Second, for the life of me, I cannot understand how four thousand people could gather in the name of Martin Luther King and Jesus (which is as absurd as gathering in the name of Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus) and overlook the message of King. In a disgraceful treatment of King’s actual legacy – as shameful as walking across his grave – MLK50 used his decaying, rotting corpse as a means to a political end that King himself would have opposed. Although King was funded by and sympathetic to economic Marxism, he promoted the notion of “color-blindness,” which both the ERLC and The Gospel Coalition have told us in recent days is “racist.” King, in spite of all of his theological and moral failings, taught that the difference between black and white was little more than color. MLK50 taught that racial differences were not only non-superficial but to assume them superficial is in itself racist. The greatest irony of all is that MLK50 would likely have been opposed by Martin Luther King, as much as Al Sharpton would be making King roll over in the grave, if corpses could respond to sacrilege. King wrote in his famous I Have a Dream speech:
“I have a dream, my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” and the desire to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood…And when this happens…and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”
King, of course, was paraphrasing Scripture he didn’t believe inerrant, but did look to it for a degree of inspiration. King was echoing the words of Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” King was echoing the words of Colossians 3:11, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” King was echoing the words of 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
Of course, the Scripture speaks of integrated harmony for those who are in Christ, but King’s paraphrase was not far off base. There are only two races on the planet; there is the race of Adam, in which all die, and there is a race of Christ, in which all will live. We are not baptized as black men, white men, or red men. We are baptized as men, and we are made alive in the representative of men, Jesus Christ. The very notion promoted by MLK50 and now being lauded in the Southern Baptist blogosphere is as repugnant to King as it is to the Apostle Paul who wrote those three passages.
Third, and this is the point of my contention, calling for vacancies in the SBC to be filled as proof of our repentance is morally obtuse. It is not wise, it is not thoughtful, and it is not original. It is racist. The echo-chamber and SBC pep-rally known as SBC Voices posted an article by Alan Cross entitled Why We Can’t Wait: The SBC’s Continual Need to Pursue Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Leadership. With all the short-lived but fiery enthusiasm of a youth group drop-out fresh out of church summer camp, Cross opined his thoughts after coming back from MLK50. And what did Cross come away with? Cross, proving that computers are not the only data processors that can be programmed, came away with the notion that to best live out the ethos of Martin Luther King, we need to promote people to denominational office NOT based upon the content of one’s character, but by the color of their skin. This is not genius; this is mentally deficient, morally deluded, and intellectually vapid. Cross writes:
Over the past 3 years since 2015, progress has been made. There have been more appointments, resolutions have been passed addressing white supremacy, and a heightened awareness has been raised of the need for Southern Baptists of all backgrounds to work together, serve together, and submit to one another as we all submit to and follow Jesus. We have seen progress with appointments and more of an open door for participation. I am grateful for this and what has come before. But, while good, this work is only seen as progress relative to the abysmal situation that preceded it.
Cross defeats his own argument in the course of giving it. The SBC nominated and elected Fred Luter as its first black president (largely based on the color of his skin). H.B. Charles was elected the first black president of the SBC Pastor’s Conference. Dwight McKissic – a Bernie Sander’s supporting racist who puts dead babies at the bottom of the list of his ethical priorities – strong-armed SBC leadership into condemning the “alt-right,” after holding up his own denomination in scorn to the national media as purportedly racist for not following through on his race-baiting, politically-motivated propaganda tactics. Just today it was reported that a Georgia church was unilaterally kicked out of its convention for not allowing a little black girl to use the restroom. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a Malcom X read-in this year (good grief). Southern Baptist institutions like Ouachita Baptist University have a department of Social Justice, ostensibly funded by Clinton financier and globalist, James Riady. Cross needs to understand – as do all 45 of SBC Voices readers – that it will never be enough. The goal is not equality. Blacks and Whites are equal under both United States law and Southern Baptist polity. This is an undeniable fact. What racism remains is thoroughly repudiated and regularly expunged, and in a denomination with a tent as wide as the SBC, finding a church with truly “institutional racism” is rarer than finding Southern Baptist churches who handle snakes (that is not hyperbole). Neither is it unrealistic to say that being black in the Southern Baptist Convention (or any theologically conservative evangelical organization) is a matter of extreme privilege and puts one at the front of the line to share the spotlight. The reason it will never be good enough is because the goal is political. The goal is to change our worldview, our ideological positions, and even our theology.
Fourth, acting as though appointing minority ethnicities to denominational leadership would cure racism is woefully unbiblical. It is anti-gospel. Is racism not a sin? Is righteousness legislated? Is morality induced by executive fiat? Could that change hearts and minds? The answer to these questions is that racism is a sin, righteousness cannot be legislated, morality cannot be mandated by executive decision, and that hearts and minds aren’t changed by twisting arms to put men or women of color in charge our entities. Instead, appointing a person of minority status to a denominational position would be a worthless symbolic overture we’ve already done before, and done it again and again.
Fifth, acting as though appointing minority ethnicities to denominational leadership would cure racism grossly overlooks the real reason for the deficiency of minority leadership. Here are some inconvenient facts. Black churches are disproportionally rife with liberation theology. They are disproportionally tainted by Word-Faith, charismatic, and prosperity theology that is starkly at odds with traditional Southern Baptist values and doctrine. Black churches are disproportionally rife with many of the same family and cultural plagues of out-of-wedlock births, higher abortion rates, and fatherless homes as is the black community at large. Nothing in the groveling, pleading, bleeding commie-hearts on display at MLK50 even made a tangential effort to address the reason why there seem to be so few quality black leaders in the SBC; it is not racism. It is because there is, in reality, so few quality black leaders in the SBC. To propose filling agency positions with people merely based upon the color of one’s skin is not good for the denomination and it is not good for the black community because it doesn’t address the real reasons for those deficiencies which start with character and not with color.
By the way, for the sake of the weeping and gnashing of teeth I can already hear, there are plenty of quality and qualified men of color who could run our convention entities (in the same way there are many – I presume – “good” Southern Baptist churches comprised of primarily of black people). The argument, of course, is that raising race to the preeminent qualification for appointment is as racist as it is unhelpful.
Sixth and finally, none of this conversation – that started by MLK50 or that is being finished in the blogosphere – has been stained with the blood of Jesus. None of it. Throwing in the word “gospel” once in a while doesn’t make something saturated with the Good News. The Gospel mandates that forgiveness is given upon repentance, and with forgiveness must come restoration. The “white community” has apologized – profusely – and it needs to be said in the most pastoral way possible that making forgiveness contingent upon giving denominational appointments, scholarships or reparations is sinful on the part of the black person withholding forgiveness. Repentance does not have to be “proven,” it has to be confessed, and not to give forgiveness when it is requested is as wicked as the sin of slavery.
In conclusion, when Paul told the Colossians, the Galatians and the Corinthians that there were no slaves or free men, male or female, or Jews or Greeks, he was not implying that these “classes” or categories did not exist. In fact, Paul reaffirms these classes in Colossians and Corinthians when he orders slaves to obey their masters, for masters to be kind to their slaves, for wives to submit to husbands and husbands to love their wives. It is perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that one man is black and another is white, that Caitlyn Jenner is actually a man and if you have an XX chromosome you’re a woman. Neither was Paul arguing that there weren’t people born Jews or born Greeks. Paul’s point is that there is ultimate equality in the singular baptism that we receive in Christ, because Christ wasn’t an atonement for classes of people, but for the whole swath of believing humanity.
What should make us weep is that MLK50 and the Critical Race Theory imposed upon this generation of evangelicals through TGC and ERLC has set back a Biblical perspective of race to at least the days of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Following the ultimate prohibition of the Jim Crow laws and granting of equal rights in the Civil Rights Movement, there was a time and place (believe it or not) that the “races” (as terrible a term as that is) had far more harmony than today. What we must understand is that the Cultural Marxists who operate the ERLC and TGC are intentionally sowing discord and division between the races to accomplish their ultimate political purposes.
The Southern Baptist Convention should not want black leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want white leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should not want Eskimo leaders, Pygmy leaders, or polka-dotted leaders. The Southern Baptist Convention should want godly leaders. And that, it seems, is in the shortest supply of all.
When Psychological “Science” Defines Biblical Cosmology
The great danger is that the state, in classic Marxist fashion, and in the name of psychological science, will take on the religious role of defining the “true” mystery of human life and will impose that definition on other religious views of human life, punishing by the power of the state those who disagree. A totalitarian state always claims religious authority.
Assembly member Evan Low (D-Cupertino), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, has recently introduced Assembly Bill 2943, declaring “homosexual conversion therapy” a fraudulent and therefore unlawful practice in the state of California.
Advertising or practicing such therapy would be fraudulent practice under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and treated as consumer fraud. As a lawyer of the Alliance Defending Freedom noted, “the breadth of this censorship is staggering.” This bill not only limits personal choices at the deepest level but closes off debate regarding the nature of existence.
Speaking of fraud, the CA bill is based almost entirely on what some consider to be a fraudulent report of the American Psychological Association Task Force of 2009, entitled: “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.” (The page numbers in this text refer to the full report, which you can download here, on the right side of the webpage.)
A now deceased, highly respected clinical psychologist, Joseph Nicolosi (who saw hundreds of homosexual clients in his long career and saw many of them abandon their unwanted homosexual desires), wrote an essay on the APA report entitled “APA Task Force Report—A Mockery of Science.”
In this article he points out a series of scientific anomalies:
- The Task Force was composed entirely of activists in gay causes.
- In choosing members for this committee, the APA rejected the application of every practitioner of sexual-reorientation therapy.
- Prior to any research, the committee stated as “scientific fact” that homosexual attractions and behavior are no different from those of heterosexuality.
- The Task Force did not study individuals who reported treatment success.
This report by the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States, knew what it would find before it began and thus concluded what the members had presupposed, namely that same-sex attractions, behavior, and orientations per se are normal and positive variants of human sexuality. In other words, they do not indicate either mental or developmental disorders. This deeply flawed report recommended “that researchers and practitioners investigate…treatments for sexual minorities that do not aim to alter sexual orientation” (7). This conclusion is what AB 2943 now proposes as state law.
Denial of therapy for those who seek it is hardly “democratic,” especially since therapy works in a number of cases. Reparative therapist, Dr. David Pickup, a licensed Marriage and Family Counselor, recently declared in public that every week, at the end of the counseling process, he sees once-homosexual men delivered from homoerotic feelings. Dr. Pickup lectured at the Nov, 2017 MassResistance Teens4Truth Conference in Ft. Worth, TX.
If the bill is applied, such therapy as that of Dr. Pickup or Dr. Nicolosi will be punishable by law: such is the power of this ideology and its intention to silence all opposition. Based on a mockery of science, the bill will become a mockery of Constitutional law. Why? Read on.
Kevin Snider, of the Pacific Justice Institute, a lawyer and professing Christian, sees where all this is going. He cites Supreme Court Justice Jackman who wrote in 1943:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be the orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.
Snider concludes: “This bill will suck the state deeper into the black hole of political and religious orthodoxy.” The great danger is that the state, in classic Marxist fashion, and in the name of psychological science, will take on the religious role of defining the “true” mystery of human life and will impose that definition on other religious views of human life, punishing by the power of the state those who disagree. A totalitarian state always claims religious authority. Marx claimed that “Communism begins where atheism begins.” A few elements will show just how ultimately “non-scientific” and perversely religious this approach is.
- In its report, the APA includes a “Resolution Rejecting Intelligent Design as Scientific and Reaffirming Support for Evolutionary Theory” (19). This resolution is completely sure that there is no original divine rationality. It puts in its place chance evolutionary irrationality, and then expects one to accept this explanation on the basis of totally believable human rationality. The resolution, trying to sound objectively scientific, is in fact a religious affirmation of monumental faith, and a prodigious sign of human hubris, especially since scientists know so little about origins. How could one keep a straight face and even threaten punishment for those who refuse such a preposterously silly argumentation? As human beings, we are faced with only two logical choices: Oneism (the material cosmos miraculously, by accident, creates itself) or Twoism (an intelligent, personal Creator made the cosmos and is separate from all things created).
- A similar religious commitment is expressed in the report’s understanding of ethics. It declares that counselors “strive to provide interventions that are consistent with current ethical standards.” By this, the committee means standards based on an evolutionary, changing view of ethics. One is forced to ask: Who decides? Who establishes what is ethical? How can the notion of ethics exist in an impersonal, evolving universe? These are massive religious questions that go unanswered by the APA report.
- The APA, seeking to show a certain openness, admits that “psychology can explore and understand religious beliefs and faith in an evidence-based and respectful manner.” It even says: “psychology has no legitimate function” in “arbitrating matters of faith and theology” or to “adjudicate religious or spiritual tenets.” However, the APA report seems to weigh in on one side of the religious debate about homosexuality, arguing that while some religious options see homosexuality as a sin, a “growing body of evidence” suggests that other “religious denominations’ beliefs and practices have changed over time, reflecting evolving scientific and civil rights perspectives on homosexuality and sexual orientation” (17).
Here, we find “science” adjudicating religions according to whether they agree or disagree with the evolutionary psychology, which has “proven” that homosexuality is normal. A religion is valid if it expresses “tolerance”; it is to be silenced if it expresses “prejudice.”
The APA report, on which the proposed California law is based, does recognize worldview differences and identifies two:
- “Some religions give priority to telic congruence (i.e., living consistently within one’s valuative goals) but that life-style “produces stigma and shame” (16).
- “Affirmative and multicultural models of LGBT psychology give priority to organismic congruence (i.e., living with a sense of wholeness in one’s experiential self),” giving “priority to the unfolding of developmental processes, including self-awareness and personal identity” (17).
In some odd way, the APA report is accurate. Theologically, these two religious options are the only ones on offer. One worldview, Twoism, presupposes a world with a telos—an established goal given to it by an all-wise, personal Creator, who made human identity in his own image and for his glory. The other, Oneism, is its own arbiter, needing only to have congruence with itself. Human beings are autonomous and self-defining, unhindered by the “stigma and shame” that answering to a holy God entails. In the words of the report, this second worldview represents “Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity, including self-determination, [which] is the process by which a person controls or determines the course of her or his own life” (6).
The deep conflict between these two views of existence is more precisely and accurately described by the Bible: either people self-define by “worshiping and serving creation” or they conform their identity to God’s image by “worshiping and serving the Creator” (Romans 1:25). This is ground zero for the definition of life. You cannot get more religious than to define life! This same biblical text immediately states in verse 26: “For this reason…,” then describes logically how the practice of homosexuality, as an embodied expression of the worship of creation and the self, is the denial of God the Creator. AB 2943 is not as innocent or limited as it might first appear.
The question is not whether worldview is involved. Everyone puts the world together using a worldview based on a religious stance of faith. The report itself implies this by showing the two possible ways of approaching the homosexuality issue. “Non-religious” worldviews claim to be objective and scientific, but they are ultimately religious because they have to create an overarching view of existence that cannot be proven by our human minds. Can you get your mind around the fact that there are at least one hundred billion galaxies? We need an overarching, religious view of existence that can only be expressed in a cautious and humble way.
The question posed by AB2943 is whether the state has the right to impose on each citizen, under threat of punishment, a worldview of pure materialism. Christian believers will no longer have a legal right to their own worldview. If the state does this, we will find ourselves living either in a new form of oppressive totalitarian Marxism (a living hell), or in our ultimate state—the new heavens and new earth at the end of time, when God’s justice will finally reign. Before that time, some Christians, even here in the USA, may suffer under state oppression. We will need confidence, joy, commitment and courage. In Christ, we have already died, been raised and are glorified. Yet we live in a “not yet” stage. As we wait for his return, we must love him and others through the power of the Spirit, maintaining faith in his Word and praying for true repentance and revival. Are we ready?
 Pacific Justice Institute: Center for Public Policy, March 23, 2018.
 Paul Kengor, Takedown, (Washington, D.C.: WND Books, 2015), 21.
 See Peter Jones, One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference (Escondido, CA: Main Entry, 2010).
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We have only two choices: we either worship the one true and living God, or we worship one of our own devising. There are no other options. We either run with God and his self-revelation to us about who he is and what he expects of us, or we just make things up as we go along.
There are countless millions of people who have chosen the latter path. It is the easy path to follow. Following the true God means letting him call the shots, and recognising that we are not the centre of the universe. Following a god of your own devices is easy – you effectively are just worshipping yourself.
Even more tragic, many of these folks actually think they are worshipping the real God, and that they are real Christians. But when you reject God and his revealed truth as found in Scripture, and substitute a god who simply represents the spirit of the age, then you are worshipping an idol, a false god.
Examples of this are of course everywhere to be found. We see it happening all the time, and the social media provides us with endless cases of this. Consider just one example of this that I found on a friend’s post. He made a comment about the Israel Folau case.
It had to do with the star rugby player speaking biblical truth about homosexuality, and how repentance is what is needed to keep sinners out of hell. I wrote about that here: billmuehlenberg.com/2018/04/06/folau-and-unacceptable-truth/
But a person seeking to pass himself off as a Christian was not at all happy with this, and offered this comment in response:
“It’s not a question about voicing an opinion. To oppose same-sex marriage is voicing an opinion. To state that God’s plan for gay people is Hell, is stupid. My God teaches me love and forgiveness. My God does not teach hate and discrimination. My God does not tell me that loving somebody else is a sin.”
I offered a brief reply of my own to this fellow:
“It seems that the god you worship is really just yourself, and certainly not the God of the Bible who has made it clear what he thinks about these matters. There is no forgiveness without repentance; we are of course to discriminate between good and evil, just as God does; and God clearly does tell us that homosexuality is a sin.”
But it is worth expanding a bit more on what he said, since it is such a clear case of a person making a god in his own image, and that of the surrounding secular culture. First, how could any Christian say that what God has told us is stupid?
That hell is the destiny of all those who reject God and cling to their sin is fully affirmed throughout Scripture. So it is never stupid to simply share what God has said about such important matters. It is however stupid to imply that God is wrong, and that mere man knows better.
And notice that the God he projects is simply a partial God of the Bible. Is God a God of love? Of course, but never in isolation from his holiness, his justice and his righteousness. And does God forgive? Of course, but only when we come to him on his terms.
And those terms, as Jesus and the disciples made perfectly clear, is repentance and turning from our sin. There is no forgiveness without this. This is the heart of the gospel message, and no one honestly reading the gospels and epistles could miss this.
And does God really not hate or discriminate? Um, no. Anyone reading the Bible knows how foolish these claims are. They are patently false. God hates sin, he hates false religious worship, he hates evil, he hates that which turns people away from him.
Since we are talking about idolatry here, let me mention just one passage – of many dozens – that speak of the things God hates. Consider Deuteronomy 12:31: “You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates.”
False gods and idolatry are at the top of the list of what God detests. And because of this, God is the most discriminating being there is. He always discriminates between right and wrong, true and false. He expects his people to discriminate as well.
And when this guy keeps talking about “my God,” as if he owns God, he is making it pretty clear that he means ‘the god of my liking and my point of view’. This is a god that fully approves of and endorses everything this guy says and does. This is a god which happens to be fully in alignment with what he and the world believes.
All up, his beliefs are fairly evident here: there is no hell; god judges no one; homosexuality is just peachy; and anyone disagreeing with me is a hater. That is the god he has created – one in his own ungodly and unbiblical image. Thus when he speaks about “my God” he is really just speaking about himself.
The bitter fruit of idolatry
Idolaters love to justify themselves. It seems this fellow was another one of those trolls who just loves to argue, but is never willing to learn. He came back with plenty of comments that I and some others tried to respond to. He even asked where the Bible condemns homosexuality.
After we supplied some passages for him, he simply changed tack, and started accusing us of being judgmental and hateful. Yep, that is how the other side argues! Forget the evidence and the truth, and just lash out when people dare to differ and offer biblical responses!
Of interest, early on in his comments he even admitted that he did not know the Bible very well. Yeah, well that much was obvious. I encouraged him to spend less time in public arguments with others, and to spend more time actually reading and studying the Bible.
But it seems his preference was to do the former. As I said, he has made God into his own image, and he alone will decide what is right and wrong, true and false. That is the epitome of idolatry, and that is exactly what will send a person to a lost eternity.
So I finished by telling him it was rather futile discussing this with him any further, and that I instead would pray for him. Sometimes that is all we can do with such folks. They refuse to listen to Scripture, and they have hardened themselves to any biblical correction, so we just pray for them.
Let me close with a few terrific quotes on idolatry and why it is so pernicious. We must avoid like the plague this strong tendency to try to remake God into our own image:
“Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols.” John Calvin
“Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power. The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol made by our own hands. Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him… To love a holy God requires grace, grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our moribund souls.” R. C. Sproul
“Idolatry is of all sins the most hateful to God because it is in essence a defamation of the divine character.” A. W. Tozer
“The religions that man creates are actually attempts to escape having to face the true God. We invent religion — not because we are seeking God, but because we are running away from Him.” James Montgomery Boice
“If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.” Tim Keller
“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who has a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to exist side by side on earth, and will make no distinction between good and bad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own creation as real as Jupiter or Moloch; as true an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple; as true an idol as was ever moulded out of brass or clay. The hands of your own notions and emotions have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and aside from the God of the Bible there is no God at all.” J. C. Ryle