Christian Discernment, or Civil Discrimination . . . What Secular Society Doesn’t Understand, and Gay Liberals Won’t Want to Admit

Judge not, that ye be not judged.” – Matthew 7:1

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?   Matthew 7:16

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” – John 7:24

Aside from the 23rd Psalm, perhaps the most quoted phrase from scripture this side of the moon is from Matthew 7:1.  In fact many people don’t even use the entire verse when it comes to their imperial theology. They have condensed what they believe to be the highest and most important religious doctrine in the known universe into a nice succinct statement resonating with righteousness in their voice, and holiness on their face when they say, “Judge not!”

I remember hearing Barles Charkley in a radio interview one time lambasting southern Christians because of their stand against homosexuality, and reciting this scripture like it is the trump card to end all forms of objection to the tidal wave of change in social standards.  For many people who know the Bible like the back of their head, (both within professed Christianity, and without it . . .) this is the one verse, phrase, thought, doctrine, opinion that is hoisted up the highest flag pole for all people to pledge allegiance to.

The problem is as theologian and scholar Inigo Montoya said to Vizzini in the Princess Bride . . . “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Another word or thought that keeps getting attached to Christians is this label of “Discrimination.”  In the recent attempts by Indiana and Arkansas to enact religious freedom protection laws, opponents began to ignorantly and maliciously try to frame the laws as “legalized discrimination.”  See previous Princess Bride quote.

One of the devils most effective tools is the linguistic bait and switch.  In other words society loves to use the Lord’s words, but their own dictionary.  Man is not at liberty to “define” the Lord’s terms, regardless of how far society digresses, eh progresses.  How is it that the Christian then can stand in their convictions without feeling the social heat, and label of being guilty of discrimination?

Know what Jesus said, and what He didn’t say. – The English language is a lazy language, in that one word can mean a multitude of things.  Specifically speaking the word, or idea of “judging” has two distinct and separate meanings.  One of them Jesus forbade.  One of them Jesus commanded.  To judge can mean either to, “render sentence, or declare final condemnation”; OR it can mean to be “discerning.”  In Matthew 7:1 – Jesus forbids rendering a sentence or final assessment upon someone as though the trial is over.  The fact is that one the trial is never over in this life, and two we are not in authority to be rendering the sentence to those guilty of crimes against the kingdom.  In fact the entire thought is a reminder to us that the Lord takes this so serious that He warns us that we become candidates for being a recipient of the verdicts that we render.  In verse 2 of Matthew 7,  He said, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  We do not have the ability or the authority to properly, and righteously render a final verdict upon anyone.  It is this kind of “judgment” that the Lord forbids.

But . . .

There is another kind of “judgment” the Lord commands.  What the world calls “discrimination” Jesus calls “Discernment.”  Matthew 7:16, (in the same chapter, and in the same sermon, by the way) Jesus said here is discernment.  Speaking of false prophets Jesus said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”  Furthermore in John 7:24 Jesus gave the command TO judge.  He didn’t say “Don’t Judge” He said “don’t judge unrighteously.”  He said, “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  In our own simple language Jesus told us it is not a sin to call sin, sin!  It is not a sin to see sin as sin.  It is not a sin to say that sin is a sin.  It is not a sin respond to sin as a sin.

What Christians are called to do, is to be discerning.  To recognize sin, repent of it in their own life, and avoid participating in it in other’s lives.

Now what is not Christian, is for the owner of a grocery store or restaurant to deny selling food to a homosexual, in the same sense that it is not Christ-like for him to deny selling food to a drunk, adulterer, drug addict, or a brawler.  There is no example, or command, in the Bible for Christians to refuse to basic needs in life to anyone.

What is for a Christian is to discern when they should not participate in aiding and abetting a particular sin.  It is one thing for a Homosexual to go into a grocery store and buy a cake for their so-called wedding.  It is another thing altogether to demand that the baker in that grocery store cater, participate in, and endorse their so-called wedding.  It is one thing for a drunk to come into a grocery store and buy a six-pack of Pepsi’s, and it is another thing to expect the owner of that grocery store to supply his upcoming block party with alcohol.

Discernment and Discrimination are NOT synonymous.  Neither is discernment forbidden by the Lord, but on the contrary it is commanded.  The Christian cannot fall prey to letting society hijack the Words of God, and paste them in their own dictionary.  Learning what the Bible says, and does not say for every believer and unbeliever would be a magnificent change worth making.

The Boston Bombing: What Christians should think about the Death Penalty

Genesis 9:6  “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” 

I am always amazed at just how upside down the reason of social architects and liberal thinkers can be.  At some point I have to think if this world gets any more upside down someone is bound to fall off.  The Bible tells us that in a sense there is a degree of insanity in the mind of a man who doesn’t have the mind of Christ, (see Romans 1), and the insanity of the lost world is so prevalent that it is the societal norm.

Specifically what is astounding to me is the irrationality of those people who are against the death penalty, but for abortion.  In other words, they want to spare the guilty and kill the innocent.  With the verdict in the case of the Boston bombing surviving terrorist being rendered, it remains to be seen what the social thought is going to be about his deserved sentence.

While every case has its own set of circumstances, and every scenario its own nuances, people who call themselves Christians often still find themselves divided over the very idea or principle of even having a death penalty.  What is a Christian to think about this ever-present issue?  A Christian is to think whatever the Word of God instructs us to think.  Never think outside the book.  Every Christian is to always get their thinking from the scripture, not the culture, from the Word of God and not the world of man.

Biblically thinking, in short, as long as there is a rainbow in the sky there is a divine ordinance establishing the penalty of death upon every verified murderer.  In Genesis 9:6, the Lord inscribed in the same promise never to judge the earth with water again, the premise that murderers are in fact candidates for the death penalty.  It is not an issue of the “Old law”, nor nullified in the New Covenant, it is tied to the rainbow in the sky, meaning that it transcends all of time from then until the Kingdom comes.

Now all of that being said, it is not necessarily a “mandate.”  Moses, David, and Paul, are three murderers that come to mind, that the Lord dealt mercifully and differently with.  Every verified murderer is a candidate for the death penalty, and every authority is under the mandate to administer wise and proper justice.  What cannot and should not be is just an outright abandonment of the divine ordinance.

The great irony is that all murderers should be forgiven regardless of their punishment.  Sometimes when a murderer is being put to death there will be people waving signs, singing songs, and chanting sayings about “forgiveness.”  Someone will be interviewed who says, “God told us to forgive, and we think they should be forgiven.”  To which, I can say a hearty amen.  I think they should be forgiven before they die.  There is something right about a verified murderer dying forgiven.  Forgiveness does not now, nor has it ever meant no consequences.  Every saved man will die forgiven, but he will still die!  Death came about only because of sin, but just because I’ve been “forgiven” doesn’t mean I am no longer living under the death sentence of Adam.

As my favorite preacher, Adrian Rogers used to say, “All murder is killing, but not all killing is murder.”  That being said every case is in fact its own case.  Even as God began to lay out the old covenant, He gave different guidelines for different cases of people being killed by others; but He never removed the death penalty for cold-blooded murder, and even underscored it in Romans 13 for us.

Anytime a Christian is called upon to have an opinion about some social issue or thought, it is incumbent on them to get their thinking from the scripture.  As the dialogue over this Boston bombing case takes place over the next few days and weeks, getting our thinking from the scripture is a most needed change worth making.

Freedom of Religion and the Indiana Law: On the verge of Government Run Faith

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”  Acts 5:29

Biblically speaking, there are two times, and only two times when it is necessary for the children of God to disregard, disobey, and defy the laws of the land and simply refuse to obey their government:  1.) When the government by law forbids someone from obeying God – Daniel’s praying against the law that forbade it; 2.) When the government by law forces someone to disobey God – Hananiah, Azariah, and Meshael, (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) being forced to bow to a false god.  Only when the circumstances fit within the framework of those scriptural principles can a child of God rightly and flatly refuse to obey the laws of the government ruling over them.

I have never seen a time in our nation when either one of those scenarios were the case.  To my limited knowledge there has never been a time, when I, anyone I know, or anyone I have heard of, was forced into disobeying the God of the Bible.  Conversely, to my limited knowledge there has never been a time when I, anyone I know, or anyone I have heard of was forbidden from obeying God.  Within the scope of my vision frontwards, backwards and all around I have never seen either of those cases play out in our society . . . until now.

Though not here yet, we are standing on the cliff of Government Run Faith.  Of course we have seen government run health-care on the front porch of the evening news for a while now.  Government regulations grip every industry from education and finance to bean sprouts, pot holes, and outhouses.  If what is happening over the law being passed in Indiana is any indication of the direction and mood of those wanting the government to regulate body fat, and hairstyles, the next big thing is government approved belief.

The central issue in those shouting the accusations of discrimination is the fact that they cannot and will not stand for someone believing a particular behavior is wrong.  As one commentator said, “No one would dare expect a black baker to prepare cupcakes for a KKK rally.”  Why then on earth would someone expect a Bible believing Christian to endorse a gay marriage?

Regardless of how loud it gets said, how long they say it, or how many people chime in, in agreement, the scenario they present of a Christian florist refusing flowers for a gay couple is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be discrimination.  It is discernment, conviction, and belief based on the Word of God not to aid and abet a sin that has always been, and always will be a sin.  It is not bigotry, it is not hatred, it is not intolerance.  We do not provide alcohol to alcoholics, we do not carry people with gambling problems to casinos, we do not drive get away cars for bank-robbers.

Acting upon homosexual attraction is not acceptable to the God of creation. It is not okay, it is not to be embraced, applauded, aided or abetted.  From what God has said to man, it is morally illegal, it is spiritually illegal, it is eternally illegal, it is outright bona fide, sin.  Period.  That is the end of the subject for Christians, and it will never, ever, ever, change.  As I have said before, if God said something different, then every Bible believing Christian in the world would say something different.  We do not take our cues from “how we are born” we take our cues from “What God has said.”

If those who’s tolerance is a one-way street would speak in plain honest language, what they would says is, “You are not allowed to believe what you believe, and you are not allowed to behave according to that belief.  You cannot believe the Bible, you cannot obey the Bible, and you cannot proclaim what you say the Bible says.”  Of course that’s my words in their mouths, but that is what I’m hearing from those who have more heat than light.

According to the direction of the mood of this country, the heart of their heat, and their hate is aimed at regulating what Americans are allowed to believe. It is not socially acceptable to “believe gay marriage is wrong.”  If that course of thinking continues to be fertilized and fed, it will not be long before it is not legally acceptable to continue to “behave” with the conviction that gay marriage is wrong.  Changes are definitely coming, and they are the kind that are not worth making.

The Biblical Proof of the Biblical: Empirical Evidence of God

And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” – John 14:29

Historically one of the common assertions that theologians make with a well-intended motive is a nominal concession that the Bible never makes any attempt to prove the existence of God.  Many teach that the Bible operates from the standpoint that God is, and that everything that He has said in the Bible is self-evidently true, and observable from the ontological argument reasoning that creation by intelligent reason, demands a creator.

While it is true that the Bible is self-evidently true to those with spiritual awareness; and the truth within it is observable with intelligent thought and reason;  it is not quite so true that the Bible makes no attempt to prove the existence of God, or to prove that the Bible and the Bible alone is His revealed Word.  The truth is that God has told the intellectual mind where to find a clear and undeniable proof, not only of His existence, and not only of His Power, but that the Bible is His Word.  It does stand to reason that if we want to see with our own two eyes with crystal clear clarity we need to look where the Bible tells us to look.

The empirical evidence of God that the Bible tells us to look for is not in the fossil record of the earth (though some may be there); neither is it in the cosmic radiation of space (though some may be there); nor is it in the radio carbon-dating of bones.  The evidence that the Bible tells us to look at is not in the dirt, but on the calendar.

It is not an overused concept, but rather it is the Biblically accurate premise that prophecy is a fundamental, undeniable proof that God is God, and the Bible is His book.

As Jesus said in John 14:29 “I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.”

The prophecies of the Bible are nothing more than history before it is revealed.  To overstate this, I’ll say it like this . . . the future is already history to God, and He has proven that He is beyond time, space, and matter, by telling us the history before it happens.  We aren’t just speaking of “spiritual” prophecies, or “religious, mystical prophecies” but rather plain simple blatantly secular prophecies visible throughout all of history.

From the naming of Cyrus, the king of Persia, multiplied decades before he was born, to the revelation of the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome; the Bible spoke into world history before it was world history. The Bible is saturated with historical events, before they were historical.  Now that being said, it is this fact that God says is His intended proof that He is, and that the Bible is His book.

What many, most, and practically all of those men and women who refuse to believe the Bible refuse to investigate honestly is the Bible’s account of history, back when it was prophecy.  One of the most mind-boggling mysteries to any Christian thinker is the fact that some people readily admit the historicity of the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ, yet they pass over, refuse to see, will not admit, or do not discuss the historicity of the prophecies about his birth, life, and death.  In the same vein no one with two brain cells to rub together deny the history of the four world empires, and yet they often pretend that the history of the prophecies of the four world empires doesn’t exist.

Too many people have fallen into backwards thinking.  For example, many deny Genesis 1:1 because they have not seen the miraculous, nor can they put the ten plagues under a microscope for examination.  In other words, since they cannot repeat the miraculous, see the miraculous, or naturally explain the miraculous, then Genesis 1:1 can’t be true.

The reality is, that if Genesis 1:1 is true, then that is the explanation for every miraculous claim the Bible makes.  If Genesis 1:1 is true, we don’t have to dig up dirt, look in the microscope, stay glued to a telescope or dissolve dirt in a test-tube in order to explain the parting of the Red Sea, or expound on the construction of Noah’s Ark.  If Genesis 1:1 is true then everything from Adam’s botched apple-pie, to the demons in revelation to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is at it says it is.  Right and wrong is as the Bible says it is.  Judgment and Eternity, sin and salvation, all things then are as the Bible says they are. We haven’t even mentioned the history, existence, persistence, and survival of the nation of Israel.  That will be for another time.

How then do we know Genesis 1:1 is true?  God has essentially said, “Here’s how you know I am, and that this is my book, and Jesus is my Son” (from strictly a naturally intellectual standpoint), –  Isaiah 48:3 “I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass . . .” – Isaiah 48:5 – “I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.”  – Isaiah 42:9 – “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

If a man or a woman is going to give an honest evaluation of the history of humanity the only way he or she will be able to do so, is to give consideration to the Biblical prophecies within that history.  Ignoring them is dishonest, denying they exist is delusional, attempting to explain them away is disingenuous, but admitting they exist, and seeing them for what they are will be a change worth making.

 

 

Israel, Iran, and the Powers that “Think They” Be

When it comes to the nation of Israel, the United States, and the kingdom of Persia (Iran), the only thing settled about all that is unsettling, is really that all things are settled.  While those who pay attention to international affairs ride the emotional and intellectual see-saw being played out on the evening news over the issue of Iranian nuclear weapons, those who pay attention to the information given to us from the Word of God have cause to stay calm during a wild political stand off.

I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I don’t have to be to know that after the sunset this evening there is a 100% chance of darkness.  Furthermore, I don’t have to be a prophet to know that what is really at issue, is whether or not Iran will ever possess the capability to wipe themselves off the map, and whoever it might be that they take with them.

The real issue that Christians might wonder about is not whether or not Iran will ever be able to destroy Israel, but who is going to go down with them when they try.  Whoever winds up helping Iran light their own fuse is in as much danger as they are.  The settled and unchangeable fact remains that Israel will remain.

Without question, Iran may damage Israel, but they will not destroy it.  Furthermore, the ultimate danger to Iran, or any other country for that matter that attempts to destroy Israel will call down the thunder on themselves, and lightning on those who help them.  For over 4000 years, empires greater than Iran, men more wicked than Ali Khameni, more liberal than Obama, and dumber than Joe Biden have launched full scale industrial strength efforts to make sure there was no Israel, and through it all, the Lord has kept His Word.

Iran will not destroy Israel.  Period.

Iran may wind up committing suicide in their attempt; they need our prayers.

America can do nothing for Israel, or against Israel; however America behaves toward Israel is one factor in how God behaves toward America. (Genesis 12:3)

The irony of it all is that “the powers that be” are not really the “Powers That Be.”  As the nations go, they cannot break the revealed history of tomorrow, they can only prove it.  The Bible teaches us that the nations of the world will “come against Israel” and without fail, they will fail.  Any country that tries to break that truth merely winds up proving that truth.

Some men look at the word and term of “Prophecy” with a cock-eyed look and a roll of the eyes, as though it is some hokie pentacostal fringe idea that is anti-intellectual, and flat out non-sense.  The truth is that prophecy is revealed history before it happens.  In an oversimplification of terms, in one sense, “the future has already happened” and prophecy is God’s telling us about tomorrow in the same way He has told us about yesterday.  He is beyond time, “declaring the end from the beginning.”  Jesus is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.  He has seen “TIME” in it’s fullness and completion.  He sees all time at the same time, and has told us about it.

Pertaining to our subject we need to know what He’s told us about it . . . Israel wins; and whoever comes against them loses.

The powers that think they be would do well to look to the Powers that really are; doing so would be a welcomed change worth making.