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(© 2014 Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

Will Houston officials order Christian ministers to turn over their sermons to be censored for hate speech? Who is King around this planet? Will preachers be so cowardly to submit the word of King Jesus to the tyrant Caesar? But see what the Lord God said in David’s time:

JESUS IS INSTALLED AS KING:

1 Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed [Messiah], saying, 3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the LORD shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: 6Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.”

7 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Psalm 2)

In Psalm two, we see the nations rebelling against the LORD and His Messiah, but God rules over them through His Messiah—now. The Lord Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, now (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5). Notice that the Psalm is in four stanzas, and reveals that God’s law is for the nations of the world. In the first stanza, the nations rebel against the Lord and against His Messiah. In the second stanza, God laughs at such rebellion, for He is absolutely sovereign, and has installed His Messiah as King of the world. In stanza three, the Messiah speaks, saying that the Father has given Him the nations to rule. In the final stanza, the nations and leaders are commanded to repent, to kiss the Son, less they perish. Remember that this Psalm was written by King David almost 1,000 years before Christ came.

This Psalm shows there is spiritual warfare regarding who rules the world. The nations of the earth claim that they will rule, and so they rebel against God the Father and His Son, but the Father responds—too bad!—He has already installed His King, the Son, and that the nations must repent He will destroy them. Repent means to turn from sin, and in this Psalm sin is rebellion against the LORD and His Messiah.

 

WE HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE:

We see the same Messiah as Lord in the New Testament. Consider Romans 10:9:

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

As Greek grammarian Daniel Wallace has pointed out,[1] there are two issues with this verse. First, does it mean “confess Jesus as Lord” or “confess the Lord Jesus”? Wallace says the grammar is clear that it means “confess Jesus as Lord.” Second, what does “Lord” mean? In the context, Paul is quoting Joel 2:32 where “Lord” means the Old Testament LORD, Yahweh, the God of the Jews, and now of the Christians! In other words, the God everyone is to confess, is Jesus!

Caesar or Christ?

Furthermore, why did the Apostle Paul choose the expression “Jesus as Lord”? Was there something in Paul’s culture that needed to be addressed? The history of the expression “Jesus as Lord” was a powder keg.[2] The Roman emperors Augustus (31 B.C.-A.D. 14) and Tiberius (A.D. 14-37) rejected the expression “Lord,” but Caligula (A.D. 37-41) accepted it. The Roman Caesar, Nero (ruled A.D. 54-68), under whom Paul was executed, is described in an inscription as “Lord of all the world.” The title “Lord” was very common both of Nero and of Roman emperors subsequent to him. In fact the same Greek grammatical construction “Nero as Lord” is used in writing on the papyri (paper) and on ostraca (pottery) of Nero’s time. Once a year, all people under Rome’s authority were required to offer a sacrifice and confess “Nero as Lord.” “It was against such a religious claim, which demanded so much of the burdened conscience, that the Christians turned and rejected the totalitarian attitudes of the state.”[3]

Here is the point. The Roman emperors did not mind its citizens worshipping any god they chose as long as once a year they proclaimed the Caesar god as the ultimate Lord, meaning that Caesar was the lord of lords. And the emperors did not think of the divine title “lord” without the implication of obedience and worship, for if this had been so, why did they murder so many Christians for refusing to worship them? The ultimate lawgiver had the right to demand obedience over all other lawgivers. Caesar claimed ultimate lordship, ultimate obedience, and thus the right of absolute obedience, which directly conflicted with the authority of Jesus. To put it bluntly, every law enacted by any authority is an application either of God’s law or an act of rebellion. (If there were ever a time to read this book, get it nowNOT Ten Suggestions.)

Our own government is making the same claim today, not caring what god one worships as long as its citizens give ultimate allegiance and confession to the Caesar. Thus, Jesus allegedly has no jurisdiction in the public arena such as in political elections, in government, in our schools, over the officials we elect, in the laws of sexuality and abortion, or in the forced redistribution of wealth through some taxation that is wrong. (We Christians do believe in paying taxes.) It is allegedly a confusion of Church and state for the Church or for Christians to “force” their morality on society, but it is acceptable for the secularists to force their morality on the Church. They are confining Jesus to an ever-diminishing private Church. It is politically correct to be religiously “neutral” about all religions except Christianity. One can bash Christians and Christianity with approval. Can you imagine the Houston authorities telling Imams to submit their sermons to be censored before they deliver them? Islam believes in the death penalty for LGBT.

The reason Christians are hated is still the same: We recognize no ultimate King but Jesus, which means the government and the public ethics of abortion, sexual disobedience, can be judged by Jesus, which is intolerable today. The ACLU insists that the Jesus God stay out of the public arena under the mistaken guise of separation of Church and state, misinterpreting the Constitution to mean freedom from religion rather than freedom for religion. But the Constitution itself is under, not over, King Jesus and His law. Christians are allowed, for now, to confess Jesus as Lord privately but not publicly. “There is nothing new under the sun.”

The issue, however, is not sincerity but truth. We are tolerant personally, and we are non-violent, loving our enemies, but we are lovingly intolerant regarding the truth of Holy Scripture. Jesus is the only way to God because He said so: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ ” (John 14:6). And this salvation is free for the asking, so why would one turn down a free gift of such magnitude just because it is the only gift that brings salvation. It is unimaginable to say, “I reject the gift because it is the only one.”

There are no generic gods, brothers and sisters, we must stand and fight with our spiritual weapons of the gospel, not with violence! Beware of the wrath of the Lamb, for judgment begins with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17).

 

WE CONQUER BY THE PREACHED WORD:

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Rom 10:14)

These words with a line through them indicate not a good translation. What the Apostle Paul means is that when preachers preach the true gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus the Lord, people are hearing HIM! If they reject the word so preached, THEY REJECT HIM! Moreover, read what the Apostle Paul said about our preaching:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

 

 WE MUST PREACH GOD’S LAW, HIS TEN COMMANDMENTS, AND THE GOSPEL:

That means preaching His morality, such as the sins of our culture (LGBT) and the gracious forgiveness of Jesus the Lord. We must not be cowards (Revelation 21:8). Of course people will not like to hear about God’s gracious commandments, designed to protect us from ourselves. If you don’t order the book above (NOT Ten Suggestions), at least download chapter 2 from the book in pdf. Here is the complete book’s cover:

PREACH THE LAW:

NotTenSuggestions_frontcover-2

Remember that the law leads us to Christ for forgiveness, and Christ leads us back to the law to please Him.

PREACH THE GOSPEL:

Cross_1

Death of Lamb for Our Sins

 

Bodily  Resurrection of the King of kings

 

Ascension

Ascension and Enthronement of the King of kings

AMEN. Ώ

 

[1] Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996), pp. 187ff.

[2] The history is from: Adolph Deismann, Light from the Ancient East (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978), pp. 350-357; Colin Brown, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971), 2:511-515; C. E. B. Cranfield, The International Critical Commentary: The Epistle to the Romans (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1979), 2:526ff.

[3] New International Dictionary of the New Testament Theology, 2:511.

(Rev. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D. © 2014)

Perhaps you saw on the news that the Supreme Court would not rule on the definition of marriage, thus allowing about 30 states to keep their current laws that gays can legally marry. Thus, the Supreme Court has promoted immorality passively. Other federal judges, both at the local level and at the appeals level, have forced most of those laws on the people, for the people had mostly voted against same sex “marriages,” passing bans against same sex “marriage.” That will make it a state matter and much easier when (not if) the Supreme Court does rule in favor of such marriages. There will not be much uprising among the people since it will already be legal in most states. Thus, it seems a political ruling, to me. That the LGBT community is so excited about this only reveals that we think that God’s law is out and man’s law is in. Moreover, this will put millions more on welfare once one’s “spouse” is declared legal and thus can receive benefits.

I saw on the news a couple of years ago where two “married” lesbians wanted a baby so they hired a man to impregnate one of them. (Male prostitution?) He signed a contract that he would have nothing to do with the baby once it was born. The lesbians got a bitter divorce; and when the judge found out that the man had sired the baby, he made him pay the child support!

The destruction of the family is accelerating in the West, especially in the USA. Abortions are rampant, especially in minority communities, which is what Margaret Sanger wanted when she started Planned Parenthood. Also, as Bill O’Reilly has reported on Fox News, 75% of babies born in the black community are out of wedlock, having welfare babies so they don’t have to work. Mothers are on drugs, giving births to babies who are hooked or have mental problems. Children are not taught basic morality as in the Ten Commandments. The public schools are full of drug pushers, and subjects are not taught well. In the public schools, the Triune God is pushed out, and His authority is not honored so that students threaten teachers. (You cannot teach without godly authority.) All these students go into society and dumb it down even more, not only mentally, but also morally. Students don’t even know who George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Christopher Columbus were. (Get my booklet, Keeping Covenant and Educating Our Children.) And federal judges, along with the Supreme Court, are promoting such problems.

With heterosexual couples, a new person can be created in the image of both parents. This is one of the most profound acts of love the Lord Jesus has given us. With homosexual couples, we only have reciprocal masturbation with no possibility of reproducing. Thus from nature itself we learn that same sex unions are not right since the species cannot propagate itself. If all were gay, the human race would become extinct (reductio ad absurdum argument).

Then will male gay couples pay others to have someone’s seed implanted into some woman to have a child for them? Will that be renting wombs and selling babies by the ones who carry the babies? Will female gay couples have someone’s seed implanted into them, perhaps simultaneously, to have children, and who will decide what donor’s seed? In either case, if they “divorce,” whose children will they be?

Moreover, these same sex unions do not usually remain monogamous, which can mean the spread of AIDS, and if there are children, they will adopt the same lifestyles. Indeed, Ellen and Portia have “separated” several times, and are they counting on a baby to keep them together? Tammy Bruce, a former gay, atheist insider, reports that male homosexuals “have hundreds of sex partners a year while spreading an incurable disease or two.”[1] Blood banks will not allow male homosexuals to give blood even if they have had only one encounter because of the high risk of diseases. Tammy Bruce reports that the word “bareback” refers to male homosexuals having unprotected sex, which they brag about. This adds to the instability of home life for those involved and especially for the innocent children. From rectal and oral sex, there is infectious hepatitis, which increases the risk of liver cancer, fatal rectal cancer, not to mention HIV and AIDS, and a 30 year decrease in life expectancy.[2] “The American Psychiatric Association Press reports that ‘30% of all 20-year old gay men will be HIV positive or dead of AIDS by the time they are age 30.’ ”[3] Add to this the demand that the government pays for all these diseases, and we have an economic meltdown, not only from the medical bills but also from the decreased productivity in the market of those who cannot work, those who must take care of them, and the benefits paid to one’s “spouse.”

Moreover, whom will the children “marry”? Where will they find “spouses” when others they associate with cannot reproduce? “Love” does not justify these relationships, for love is not subjectively defined, but is defined by God’s law. (See my previous article titled “Angry Letter.”) Will these children adopted by gays want to find out who their natural parents are? Will that be deemed unconstitutional? It irks them that every child that comes into the world is the product of one man and one woman, which is a constant reminder that they are wrong. Will there be a push to have human cloning so male gays can have children?

But only one male and one female can reproduce both their images in the new offspring. Cloning one parent will not do so. Adopting will not do so. Planting male sperm into a female egg of a lesbian partner will not do so, for the other “parent” contributed nothing. Only the one impregnated will have a natural relationship with the father, the child being in the image of the donor father and receptor mother, but not the other female partner. The female partner will have no biological relationship at all with the child, and the fact that the child does not look like the woman who did not carry the child will be a constant reminder. Two (or more) males won’t be able to receive any implanting. They will be left to cloning or adopting (or trafficking in children, paying thousands of dollars for someone else’s child).

This will be devastating to the children and family as they fight over who has the right to rear the child, to make rules, and when “divorces” inevitably occur, who will have the right to the children? As it stands now, when a man and woman marry, and if one had children before the marriage and the other one did not adopt them, if they divorce, the childless parent does not have the right to visit the child. How will this work out in people of the same sex when males “marry” and one already has a child or when lesbians “marry,” and only one gives birth, or “marries” with a child? In all cases, the children will be the victims.

On a Phil Donahue talk show some years ago, I saw three who were living together, two men, and a woman. The men were homosexuals and the woman a lesbian who had her various partners visit her. But once in a while one of the men would go to the other part of the house to have sex with the woman so they could have a child, which they did, a little girl. They did not care which man was the father. All of them claimed to be her parents. When the audience asked the three what sexual orientation they wanted for their daughter, they all said together, “happy.” That meant she was being taught complete license in her sex life; all options were on the table.

Then it becomes more bizarre with four or five having legal status as a “union.” What happens when one wants to “divorce” the others? Who will pay what alimony and child support, and who will get what children? Then we will have a completely permissive society with God knows how many children who don’t have a clue who their real parents are, and who will be taught that it does not matter. They will truly be the victims. We will be a jungle, mating like animals with no accountability. How can children honor father and mother if they don’t know who they are? With no real commitment to anyone but ourselves, we’ll sink into total narcissism (and are sinking now) and sexual “freedom” (read: “enslavement”) with the motto that “anything goes.” Pedophilia, which is already being argued for, will seem mild.

Such legal group “marriages” will essentially be farms to raise children on, with multiple partners, like farm animals that breed with one another, producing many offspring, but with no direction, no morality. Because we have lost the vertical standard with God, we have lost the ability to define right and wrong between ourselves. As soon as the Triune God is removed as the standard for morality in a society, there is no objective way to define human relationships. There will be no families, just individuals seeking their own interests, not the well-being of others in a family. And who in the world will be the in-laws to all these people? Who will be the grandparents, uncles, aunts? Millions of motherless and fatherless kids will be produced with no family ties, no moral anchor, no direction in life except to live it up for themselves.

Within “families” there will be horrendous confrontation built in between parents, between children, and between parents and children. To make matters worse, if possible, a straight couple marry and have their own children. Then one of them leaves the marriage for a person of the same sex, and gets divorced from the original marriage to “marry” the same sex partner. Now who gets the children? Judges’ hands will be tied, for the children, even of an innocent Christian parent, will have to live in a gay situation, or at least to have visitation rights. The souls of the children will be in jeopardy, for God says that those who practice sinful sex will perish unless they repent (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Will the visiting children be able to avoid same sex relations when they grow up? Then again, why marry at all? Why not just live together? Why not teach the innocent children to have sex with the same gender, then send them back to the Christian home?

Why not just have four or five living together, all having sex, and when one or two of the women have babies, just pass it around and take turns pretending to be the mom or dad? When your child grows up and goes for a job interview, and they ask for your parents’ names, just give all the names, for now a family is people living together, not a man and woman who commit themselves to one another to have and rear godly children. We are in desperate straits.

May the Triune God have mercy on the USA.

AMEN: Ώ

(This article is about the results of a gay lifestyle. But we Christians must recognize that we have a moral obligation to minister to those who are self-destructing, such as helping those who get diseases, caring for those whose lives are falling apart emotionally, and showing the love of Jesus to them. As St. Paul stated just before he wrote about the self-destructive nature of same sex relations, we are debtors to give others the opportunity to trust in the death and resurrection of the Lord for forgiveness of sins (Romans 1:14-16). We must not think we are better, but except by the grace of the Lord Jesus, we also perish.)

[1] Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003).

[2] John Stott, Same-Sex Partnerships? (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1998), p. 53.

[3] Stott, Same-Sex Partnerships, p. 63.

© Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw 2014

[This blog is in the form of a response to someone who took issue with my comments on same sex unions. My comments are in caps: CC, and the writer’s objections, who is from Duke University, are: OB (objection). My letter was dated 5/7/13.]

CC: Thank you for the reply. Sorry for my delay, but as dean of a seminary and pastor of a church, it is difficult to find time. I will make some short replies. I’ll number my paragraphs the same as yours, which were the same as mine.

1. CC: Whether people are happy or not with their transgender sexual operation is irrelevant. The questions is whether it is holy, the right thing to do. In my article I submitted that it was not right.

2. CC: I would like to see the research on some people being one gender in chromosomes and another gender in their genitals. I remain skeptical. As for being prejudiced in not wanting to attend a college where said college is justifying same sex unions with transgender operations, that is moral discernment. I would not want my kids attending such. Conversely, why aren’t you in a Christian Bible college? Moreover, you equivocated on my definitional of “prejudice.” I made it clear that prejudice, as used in our society, refers to discrimination based on color, not based on morality. For example, many black ministers, some of whom were in the Civil Rights movement with Martin Luther King, have reacted strongly against those they say are “high-jacking” (their word) the Civil Rights movement and applying it to LGBT. A large group of black ministers in Memphis, TN took out a full-page ad several times in the local paper in reaction to gays, condemning in clear terms same gender relationships, saying that did NOT represent the Civil Rights movement.

3. CC: In this paragraph, you said (OB): “Yes having children is impossible at the moment for two males [and two females]. Yes they can adopt. To be fair i guess everyone has their own standards on who should be able to adopt a child. I guess I am just silly and weird to want someone who would love the child as if it was their own and bring the child up to be a loving and caring individual who accepts everyone for who they are . . . regardless if the person doing the raising of the child is transgender or not.”

CC: You are 180 degrees out of phase with the Triune God with your answer. You are defining morality with love rather than love with morality. If “everyone has their own standards” regarding adoption, then there is nothing to debate. There is no objective morality, which could be applied to bestiality, as Peter Singer at Princeton is already arguing for (which I can document). Pedophiles should have the right to adopt because they will be “loving.” It is morality that defines love, such as what St. Paul says in Romans 13:8-10:

8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom 13:7 NKJ)

CC: Is it loving to commit adultery? Is it loving to murder? Is it loving to steal? Is it loving to bear false witness? And so on. We can see that Paul quotes several of the Ten Commandments and says those define love. If we have it your way, then if people say it is loving, they can kill one another, swap wives, steal their property, kill babies by the millions, even after they are born, and so forth, all because it is loving.

4. CC: In this paragraph, you say (OB): “Cloning what?” Here is what I said: CC: “If one had changed from man to woman, and wanted to clone to have children, would not the gender be male, thus indicating he was still a man? Would the new artificially injected hormones make any difference.” I said that cloning the “woman” who was once a male would still be a male.

5. CC: [I do not get your answer.]

6. CC: As for gender identify not being the same as body gender, send me proof. I’ve personally seen homosexuals, males, who thought they should have been women, dressed like women, wanted to have sex as a woman, but then then they were converted to Christ. Their lives were changed, the other gender orientation they had went away, and they were delighted to be males, married women, and had children. You’re arguing for psychological determination, so there went the whole world of counseling. No one can change, which extinguishes all hope. But I’ve seen the same change with women who thought they were men. Indeed, James Dobson, a Christian Psychologist who has counseled hundreds of such gay males, and written about it in Bringing Up Boys, has said that he has never seen a homosexual male who had a good relationship with his father, thus confirming that a wrong orientation is learned and can be reversed by the grace of God. But through his counseling, many of them learned to relate to God as Father, and their lives were forever changed to being what the Triune God had made them.

CC: Those who have the presence of both genders in their bodies are extremely rare, and usually correct themselves in time. One does not make the abnormal to be normal. Moreover, your argument seems to be that whatever something is, should be designated normal, which not many accept.  If we did, then Down syndrome would be normal and no birth problems should ever be researched to correct them. Also, your argument seems to be from “is” to “ought,” which is a logical fallacy pointed out by David Hume, now called Hume’s Guillotine. You seem to be saying that if something is a certain way, it ought to be that way.

CC: As for God creating male and female, we stand by that. As for defects in those born, there is original sin that has caused defects in some births, but they are the exception, not the norm.

OB: You said: “How do you know what transsexuals want? I mean honestly. How can you justify saying that. Unless you have some weird kinky thoughts of your own and you just assume transsexuals must think the same or something…” (CC: This makes no sense. I don’t know what you’re talking about.)

OB: “Who says that if LGB individuals are accepted that people will accept pedophiles? Those who act on their pedophile tendencies injure the children. In no way does that have anything to do with LGB individuals since like straight couples, LGB couples just want to be with their loved ones, their OF AGE AND CONSENTING loved ones. Totally different issues and that’s just plain fear mongering. Same with your bestiality argument. It’s not 2 consenting adults. So your argument is irrelevant.” CC: The dog may be an adult dog who consents.

CC: My response is what we Christians said when Roe vs. Wade was past that next would be infanticide and then euthanasia. The domino effect came just as we said. Gosnell is on trial for infanticide; Kevorkian spent years in jail for helping people die; and the movement spreads. In Houston recently, one of the hospitals let a woman starve to death over the objections of the family. Oregon is trying to pass a right to die law. Remember Terry Schiavo. When a culture turns from the Triune God and His commandments which are life, as ours has, there is only one option: death (Proverbs 8:36). Life now is cheap in the USA.

CC: Moreover, you are very naïve. It is not gender equality that people want; it is total sexual anarchy. They will not stop until there is nothing left sexually to explore. Mark my words: just as the murder of the unborn has led to infanticide and euthanasia, it could further lead to genocide, and the hated of Christians is already being noticed even by atheists, such as the atheist lady S. E. Cupp who wrote Losing Our Religion about the media unmercifully attacking us Christians, and Tammy Bruce, a lesbian atheist, who wrote The Death of Right and Wrong. Next, there will be three who will marry (already happening if you keep up with the news), then four, of both genders, then animals will join crowd. When one wants to divorce the others, who will get what property and who will get what children? In all cases, the children will be the losers, and pedophilia will come soon.

CC: Here is what Peter Singe, who teaches at Princeton, has said: “In a 2001 review of Midas Dekkers’ Dearest Pet: On Bestiality, Singer argues that sexual activities between humans and animals that result in harm to the animal should remain illegal, but that “sex with animals does not always involve cruelty” and that “mutually satisfying activities” of a sexual nature may sometimes occur between humans and animals, and that writer Otto Soyka would condone such activities” (at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer#Bestiality) As Tammy Bruce has said in her very readable and excellent book mentioned above, Peter Singer has made Princeton unsafe both for your child and your beagle.

CC: Then there is Judith Levine, highly respected in academia, who wrote Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex? Pedophilia is already here, dear sir, at least in academia.

OB: Then you said: “I wont touch that last paragraph since I try to be respectful of other peoples religion… even when they try to use it to shove their own personal beliefs down other peoples throats.” Of course, your statement is caustic, so you were not respectful, but I really don’t mind. You’re saying exactly what the Lord Jesus said you would say in John 15:18-22. Everyone, including you, tries “to shove their own personal beliefs down other peoples’ throats.” Every law enacted is someone’s morality or immorality enacted. It can’t  be otherwise.

CC: In your next to last paragraph, you said once again that “you cant change your mind to match your body you can only change your body to match your mind.” How do you explain those converted to Christ, who come to Him confessing their sins, and the one I mentioned in my last paragraph or my original post, who indeed did change his mind?

CC: You keep saying that I have religious reasons for my thoughts, but implying that you have reasoned ones. I think it is just the opposite. Your faith in your world view cannot be supported by reason, but ours can. Thus, we have faith based on evidence but you do not. You have so much pie in the sky and wishful thinking. Here is another book I recommend: Geisler and Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. If you’re up for a challenge, read it. And by the way, I often read books by atheists and agnostics, which are very encouraging as they have little to offer but death and circular reasoning. I even write an occasional treatise on such.

CC: You are the one, dear sir, who is caught up in an irrational religion. You are disgusted that I rely on religion, while you do the same by virtue of your world view that determines how you evaluate me and other Christians. You have compartments to your thinking, not a unified whole, of which “religion” is one of those compartments, how do you justify such diversity? What holds them together? My world view is the sovereign Creator, the Triune God, and there is nothing that is not subject to His immediate jurisdiction, whether that be logic, science, religion, morality, sexual issues, and so on. Too complex to go much further in this post.

CC: I would encourage you also to research, especially from sources that state the opposite of what you think the research is. I’ve given you one book by a Christian psychologist, and another by a Christian philosopher and a Christian theologian, and two by atheists. Read them and tell me what you think.

AMEN: Ώ

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

8 October 2014

© Rev. Dr. Curtis Crenshaw 2014

Last time (7 October 2014) I wrote that we forgive only when someone repents, but also that we must overlook most things, which is what I want to emphasize this time, lest we go around with a chip on our shoulder, daring anyone to say anything, and we jump them for their sins.

 

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression (Proverbs 19:11).

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

 

Introduction

Have you seen a nervous cat, one that hisses at everything in its path? When I grew up, people used to say, “She is as nervous as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”

A perfect illustration is the movie War of the Roses? I commend it to you, for it is a graphic illustration of how things can escalate when forgiveness is not extended for small things, peccadilloes quickly becoming Mt. Everests, thereby keeping the dominoes from falling. The stars in the movie are three who made a number of movies together: Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglass, and Danny DeVito. Turner and Douglas are married and have the last name Rose, thus War of the Roses. DeVito is the attorney for Douglass in the divorce suit between the Roses.

Initially the Roses are very happy, their spats are few and quickly gotten over, but for some inexplicable reason, their relationship gradually becomes like two cats who spit at one another every time their paths cross, with backs arching. Neither one is willing to admit any wrongdoing, not even one mite. They become increasingly irritated with one another until it escalates to horrendous proportions, one upping one another until they injure one another’s pets, destroy vehicles, and so on (see the movie). Both want the house, and neither is willing to give an inch. She wants him to move out, but he wants her to admit to wrong doing, even one little pinch of wrong doing. She refuses so he won’t move out.

Then he devises a plan for them to “share” the house: they will have certain areas that belong to each and the other is not allowed in those areas. Then each can have the kitchen but at different times. When Douglass presents this “sharing” plan to DeVito, complete with architect’s diagram, showing who gets what area, DeVito asks: “And this is a rational plan?” Douglass smirks and replies: “I have more square feet than she does.”

I won’t tell you the end, but this is what happens when things are not dealt with as we go along. After a while people are angry with one another over silly things, and don’t even remember what the original problem was.

Last time I wrote about not forgiving unless there is repentance, and I stand by that, but we must also learn to forgive in the sense of overlooking most problems without making hisses into fur ball fights. But how do we tell the difference? That is where wisdom comes to play. In my life or the lives of others, if something is not a blatant violation of the Ten Commandments, I usually overlook it.

Moreover, we must learn people. Some are naturally more forward than others and do not mean to offend. Others are more sensitive and get upset quickly. Some are transparent while others are opaque. Do not evaluate others by your standard, but by God’s standard in the Ten Commandments; moreover, we must overlook most things.

I’ve seen two people when they first meet, hiss, scratch, and mangle each other like two cats who are tied together by a small rope and thrown over a clothesline. Once again, I say don’t be angry because others sin differently and you don’t like it. For every fault we find in others, they can find something else in our lives, like not being patient and tolerant.

What is the best argument for the truth of Christianity? It is not so much the long, intellectual, sustained argument that dismantles evolution or attacks how people think, but the longer I live the more I’m convinced that it is love, both for one another in the body of Christ and for the world at large. Remember what our Lord said:

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).

Keep the peace by keeping your tails to yourself and avoiding rooms with rocking chairs. Keep short accounts; overlook 99.9% of things. Remember, just because someone else sins differently than you do is no reason to attack them in person or in private. If God has forgiven us trillions of dollars of our sins, what is it for us to forgive them a few cents?

AMEN. Ώ

 (Sweat the Big Stuff)

(by Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses (Matthew 18:35).

    14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15).)

Many people think we should forgive others even if there is no repentance, and sometimes they invoke the verses above. But if you recall the context of the first verse above, an employee is considerably in debt to his boss, more than he could pay in many years. He falls before his employer, begging forgiveness, and he is forgiven. Later, the employee had a fellow employee who owed him a very small amount, probably a day’s wages, but this forgiven employee would not forgive his fellow employee. Rather, he cast him into jail. When the employer heard of that, he took the employee he had forgiven and cast him into jail.

Notice what difference a little context makes. In the first case, the forgiven employee suddenly became unforgiven when his former repentance was seen to be hypocritical. We are not told about the second employee, but we can assume that his repentance was genuine, and so he was forgiven. Elsewhere, the Lord said, “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3). Repentance is required.

The other two verses above are from the Lord’s Prayer, and the condition for us to be forgiven is to forgive. But does this mean to forgive without repentance, without confessing one’s sins and seeking to turn from them, without making restitution? Absolutely not. How can we be so sure? The Lord Jesus said: “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Even God does not forgive unless we repent.

So if a person rapes and murders your 16 year old daughter, will you forgive him without repentance? If he laughs at you in court, and plea bargains to 15 years in jail, will you be satisfied? There is obviously no repentance. If you have an opportunity to shoot him without anyone finding out, will you?

First, let me give the biblical principle and then I’ll comment on the particulars just given. The biblical principle is that forgiveness always takes place in the context of justice. To forgive without justice is moral compromise. For example, in Romans 3:24-26 we read of Jesus:

24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom 3:23 NKJ).

Verse 26 overwhelmed me in a theology class decades ago, and I’ve been enamored with it since then, and with Jesus, my propitiation. The word “propitiation” means justice, and Paul the Apostle is saying, by the Holy Spirit, that justice was upheld by Jesus, who took our punishment, so that God the Father “might be just and the justified of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Now, let us consider the points above about someone raping and murdering your daughter—would you forgive him? Indeed, you must not without repentance, for he needs to see the justice of the Triune God to bring him to repentance. That does not mean that you’re mean to him, curse him, scream at him, or try to take justice in your own hands by shooting him. As corrupt as our courts are, they are still in charge of capital crimes, though many times the punishment is too light. You should pray for his conversion, not personally seek revenge or be vindictive. But forgiveness is always conditioned on repentance and justice. Moreover, forgiveness is more than just not seeking revenge; it means four things (see Ephesians 4:32): the particular sin is repented of (redemption); justice is upheld (propitiation); the parties are reconciled so that communion is reestablished (reconciliation); and we based those three points on the death of Jesus, both our justice and our righteousness.

Consider a true life example. Some years ago in Texas, a young woman, Karla Faye Tucker, was executed for murdering several people with an ax. She was converted to Christ while in prison by going to church service in prison that she virtually never attended and only went that night to socialize. While there, she got a Bible and began reading it. In the middle of the night, she got on her knees and asked the Triune God for forgiveness. Here is part of an interview Larry King did a month before her death.

KarlaFayeTucker

 

KING:

Does it get worse every day?

TUCKER: No. It gets a little more exciting every day.

KING: Interesting choice of words, Karla.

TUCKER: Yes.

KING: Exciting, how?

TUCKER: Just to see how God is unfolding everything. Every day something new comes up, and it’s exciting to be a part of it because there’s a lot going on, and it’s going to affect a lot of people. And it’s a blessing to be a part of it, and it’s exciting to know that God has a plan for this. [She is speaking of her soon execution.]

KING: So you’re not down?

TUCKER:No. I am not down. A little tired sometimes but not down.

KING:Not pessimistic?

TUCKER: No. Never pessimistic. . . .

[skipping part of the interview]

KING: Finally, you remain up.

TUCKER: Yes.

KING: You have to explain that to me a little more. It can’t just be God?

TUCKER: Yes, it can. It’s called the joy of the Lord. I don’t — when you have done something that I have done, like what I have done, and you have been forgiven for it, and you’re loved, that has a way of so changing you. I mean, I have experienced real love. I know what real love is. I know what forgiveness is, even when I did something so horrible. I know that because God forgave me, and I accepted what Jesus did on the cross. When I leave here, I am going to go be with him.

As she approaches the death chamber, she says to all present:

Yes sir, I would like to say to all of you — the Thornton family and Jerry Dean’s family — that I am so sorry. I hope God will give you peace with this. (She looked at her husband.) Baby, I love you. (She looked at Ronald Carlson.) Ron, give Peggy a hug for me. (She looked at all present weeping and smiling.) Everybody has been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I am going to be face to face with Jesus now. Warden Baggett, thank all of you so much. You have been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you.

Now that is a repentance and forgiven soul! Justice was upheld in the state by executing her, and upheld with God the Father by the atoning death of the Lord Jesus who took her penalty. She had genuinely repented, justice was upheld, the relatives should have forgiven her, but she still had to face the state’s death penalty. She was the first woman executed in Texas since 1863. Her last words were:

Yes sir, I would like to say to all of you — the Thornton family and Jerry Dean’s family — that I am so sorry. I hope God will give you peace with this. (She looked at her husband.) Baby, I love you. (She looked at Ronald Carlson.) Ron, give Peggy a hug for me. (She looked at all present weeping and smiling.) Everybody has been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I am going to be face to face with Jesus now. Warden Baggett, thank all of you so much. You have been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you.

She died by lethal injection in 1998.

But did not Jesus unilaterally forgive those who were crucifying Him with the words “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Was that not unilateral forgiveness without repentance? The answer is determined to some extent by those to whom He was speaking. If to the Jews, the Lord gave them 40 more years to repent before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. If to the Romans who were doing the crucifying, that particular sin may have been sovereignly forgiven. Likewise, regarding Stephen in Acts 7:60 when he was being stoned, said, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” Was that sin answered unilaterally without their (the Jews) repentance? Again, it seems that they were given time to repent regarding who Jesus was, but the majority did not, so the judgment came on them in A.D. 70, about 40 years later, when the Roman General Titus destroyed the city. Truly, if they had repented, there would have been no judgment.

But what about brothers and sisters in Christ; do we forgive them all the time without repentance? Yes, no. We are in a covenant relationship with them by faith in Jesus, and we are family, brothers and sisters. As I pointed out last time on judging, we should overlook 99.9% of problems within the Body of Christ because “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11). All forgiveness in the Body is based on the blood of the covenant that Jesus shed on the cross.:

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

(You must read the one tomorrow (8 October 2014) for balance.)

AMEN.

 (Matthew 7:1-2)

There are several verses in the Bible that everyone knows, and Matthew 7:1 is at the top of the list:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:1-2).

Some use this verse as an excuse not to take a stand against evil doers in our society or churches. If we confront them, we are judging, they say. But if we take that in the absolute sense, we would have to empty our jails and murderers would go free, for we could never judge them. Obviously, that is a distortion as Romans 13 that commands the government to judge evil doers, even to the death penalty.

Others claim that we must not judge one another as individuals, but here is the balance of the verses in Matthew on judging:

3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5; see also Romans 2:1).

Obviously, the balance of the context is not telling us never to judge, but the Lord is telling us how to judge: first consider ourselves to see what our faults are, and then we are prepared to help our brother or sister overcome a matter, which is a mild form of judging. Moreover, the idea of the verse is that we must not be putting down people around us. Politicians and our whole culture—the whole world!—are constantly bearing false witness against those around us.

One case where Matthew 7:1 would apply clearly is the recent riots in Ferguson, MO where the lynch mob had already judged the policeman guilty before hearing the matter or knowing the facts. In fact, a number of the participants were asked if the policeman should just be judged and go to jail without a trial, they said “Yes”! Rendering a moral decision against someone without knowing the facts is a violation of this verse and many other verses in the Bible. That is obviously judging in the wrong sense.

However, we who are Christians are required to judge, though not by our own standard but by the righteousness standard of God’s law:

But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one (1 Corinthians 2:15).

The idea of this verse is that the spiritual man, the Christian, discerns all things but is not discerned or understood by others outside the faith. But the general tenor of our lives is not to be picky, condemning others because they sin differently than we do, and we don’t like it. If they had decency, they would sin like we do. (See 1 Corinthians 4:5). Moreover, we all must stand before the judgment seat of God (Romans 14:10, 13).

Conclusion

Yet, not only are we required to judge, but we must do so not as self-righteous, holier than thou, or looking down our hypocritical noses at others, but solely according to God’s Ten Commandments and other moral statements He commands us throughout Holy Scripture. But I would say that 99.9% of the time, on a personal matter we should let things go:

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression (Proverbs 19:11).

AMEN. Ώ

(See my book, NOT Ten Suggestions.)

 

 

 

(by The Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.M., Th.D.)

(12 Sep 2014)

Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with tablets of stone in hand, and announced to the children of Israel:

“I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that I got God down just to ten rules. The bad news is that adultery is still in.”

What is morality about? Does it come from abstract principles or is it imposed by persons? If imposed by persons, is this arbitrary, or is it based on someone’s character? If from character, who is its source? We do not naturally think of God’s law as His gift to us, but since His commandments reveal His holy character, He is giving Himself in them. Moreover, He knows us better than we know ourselves and only desires the best for us; thus, He has given us His commandments so we can live well, much as we give our children rules for their own protection.

The problem is that people don’t want Him. Since we are born in sin, we humans naturally hate Him who is holy. Remember the very insightful lines from the movie Tombstone where Val Kilmer played Doc Holliday (his best performance of all his movies, in my humble opinion). Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) asks Holliday questions, as Holliday lies sick in bed. They are fighting the cowboys, and their new leader is Ringo. Earp has to face Ringo soon in a shootout.

Wyatt Earp: “What makes a man like Ringo, Doc? What makes him do the things he does?”

Doc Holliday: “A man like Ringo has got a great big hole, right in the middle of him. He can never kill enough, or steal enough, or inflict enough pain to fill it.”

Wyatt Earp: “What does he need?”

Doc Holliday: “Revenge.”

Wyatt Earp: “For what?” (The camera closes in on Doc, and he pauses to emphasize his answer.)

Doc Holliday: “Bein’ born.”

That’s it. As we’re born into the world, we hate righteousness and therefore hate the Triune God. We are sinful at birth, and the political God-haters hate that idea with an unholy passion. We think we’re born good. We want our own way, not His way. We want to commit sexual sins, murder babies and others, steal, lie, and so on because we love it. We don’t want anyone telling us we are not good. Moreover, we’re at war with God, and rebellion is the only way we can attack Him. Here is what the Lord said:

19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God (John 3:19-21).

So what is the “light”? The light is the Triune God Himself and his holy character. Moral principles do not exist in the abstract. The reason we’re having so much inner turmoil in the USA today is that we have relative values versus God’s unchanging character. Satan’s seed reveal his character, and they want to do the will of their father, the devil (John 8:44). Likewise, we Christians want to see the character of our Father, the Creator of all that is, lived out as revealed in His Ten Commandments. Thus, we’re at war, the Triune God verses Satan, Christians vs non-Christians, the seed of the woman vs the seed of the devil (Gen. 3:15). It will not end until the Second Coming, but we Christians will gradually conquer (1 Cor. 15:24-27), and then the Second Coming will occur.

There is no political solution for our nation, except that of repentance, confession of our sins, and coming to the Triune God through the Son of God. Anything short of this adds more fuel to the fire of our judgment. Both sides of the aisle are given to idolatry. Both believe that a few tweaks of the political process will cure our problems. Both believe that new management is what we need, not a radical confession of sin, and turning to God through Christ.

Some will call what I’m saying a “religious” solution, and as a result they will easily dismiss this article (to get the book this article comes from, go here.). My response is that any solution is necessarily all these: political, religious, moral, etc. It is impossible not to have a religious solution, for every solution either invokes God (religious) or rejects Him (religious). Every solution assumes some view of some god, some view of morality with some authority behind that morality, either by might or by votes. Some of the most religious people I know are atheists who are very committed to their faith and worldview. (Read the very insightful book by Christian philosopher and scholars, Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.)

Others will object that we’ll never get enough people to agree with that. In other words, the answer is allegedly how many people will sign off on God. But that is precisely the problem; they don’t believe that God is the answer but people. We don’t need millions of Christians to turn the nation back, though that would be ideal, but we need a few who believe God. Remember Gideon in the Bible who defeated 120,000 men with only 300 (Judges 6-8), but the Triune God was on his side, of better Gideon was on His side. It is not that the Triune God and one are a majority; God is the majority—period. But He normally uses humans to accomplish His will, so we just need a few people who have faith in Him. Will you be one of them?

But political conservatives think that conservative politics is the answer to our moral decline. Some otherwise conservative Christians make the USA and its Constitution their religion with liberals and those in power (conspiracy theories) as their enemy. The religion of politics will not save our country, not even conservative politics.

But there is a dark and very powerful mind behind the events of radical Islam, behind our moral decline in the USA, and behind our financial problems. There is only One who can—and has—defeat him. We Christians will not turn to Jesus without severe pressure, probably in the form of some judgment—bomb attacks, germ or biological attacks, chemical attacks, and so on. I’ve heard several times on interviews of high ranking military personnel saying that cyberspace attack would be devastating because our whole country runs on computers and internet access, such as financial institutions, power plants, and so on. But I can think of something just as bad, if not worse. If those who hate us just fly to the USA, perhaps sick persons but with no visible symptoms, and fly all over the country spreading an air borne disease that incubates a few weeks, they could disperse it everywhere. No one would know he had the disease until millions had it. The hospitals would be full, and if no cure, where would the hospital staff get a cure for themselves?

Christ is the only answer, and we must confess our sins to Him, turn from our “values” to His unchangeable law-word, trusting in the free gift of His salvation from our sins.. This is our only hope. AMEN. Ώ

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