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© Very Rev. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D. (Feb 2015)

I can recall every major event in my life to the month and year, and often to the day. May 10-12, 1968 is one of those dates. It was when our company and our mortars (mortars were my duty) were flown into dense jungle next to the Laotian border. We were the backup for the Green Berets, though usually they were our backup. When we exited the C-130s, 82 mm mortar rounds from the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) were coming down on us furiously. For three nights and days, we were under heavy attack. Several times I could have been killed, and several times I should have been killed, except the merciful providence of God. The enemy mortar rounds landed all around me; one at my feet with me looking right over it. It should have blown my head off, but only the 81 mm mortar barrel I was holding was dented. Rounds landed just outside my trench, right on the lip; another two inches and it would have landed on a pile of our mortar rounds. I would have been vaporized. I was to leave on the third chinook; the first two loaded with our men, took off, and were shot down. That was not a good precedent! At the last minute, after being hit with small shrapnel, I jumped on. There were no anti-aircraft guns that went off, and in about two minutes, we were clear. Of course, we lost the Vietnamese war, not to mentions that battle. Did you ever wonder why the Lord put you somewhere? There seems to be no rhyme or reason for it. You’re just a cog in an acre of wheels.

We Christians in the West have not heard much about Christians in the East, and one reason may be that we like our isolation. We tend to think that we are the epitome of Christian orthodoxy, and that others do not have much—if anything—to teach us. But that is a arrogant.

What do you think of the 21 Coptic Christians that ISIS beheaded in the last week or so? Do you think they are an offshoot of Christianity, someone we can ignore, that they need us to teach them the basics of the faith? Coptic Christians originated in the great city of Alexandria, south of Jerusalem, during the time of the Apostles. “Coptic” means “Egyptian”; they are Egyptian Christians. Early tradition says that John Mark–the writer of the Gospel of Mark– founded the church there; thus they are apostolic. They hold to the basics of the faith, such as the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation of the Son of God, His death on the cross, bodily resurrection, Ascension, forgiveness of sins through Christ, the one Church, and so forth. (By the way, if you hear that no two Christian bodies believe the same, challenge that. We all believe in the Nicene Creed, the basics just given.) My point is that these Christians are historic, in the line of the Apostles, both by ordination and by belief.

Moreover, when I was in seminary (in Dallas, TX, 1972-76), I met a fellow student named Isaac John from India. I asked him how he came to know Christ, was it through missionaries? He said, “No.” Was it by broadcast from a ship? No. Did someone give him some literature to read? Finally, he said, “I was raised in a Christian home, and grew up in sound church.” I was floored? I asked where his church came from, thinking they might need our Western help. He said, “The Apostle Thomas established our church.” With a tone of disbelief, I retorted: “You gotta be kidding me.” He kept affirming it. Finally, I went to the head of the church history department at this large evangelical seminary and asked him about it. To my utter astonishment, he affirmed the same. My church went back to Ryrie, Dr. Pentecost, and John Walvoord, all 20th century, but his church was from the Apostle Thomas! Most don’t know that there is a part of India that is Christian, not Hindu.

In 1992, my wife Ruth and I were invited to setup up a book table in Virginia for Laszlo Tokes (pronounced TÕ-kesh), who was a bishop in the Presbyterian church (Yes, that is not a typo, a bishop in a Presbyterian church!). He had written a book, The Fall of Tyrants, chronicling the fall of the Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. Tokes was a pastor under that regime (later became bishop), and had long been persecuted. Everything was coming to a head with Ceausescu’s minions coming to arrest him at his church, most likely never to be seen again. He was waiting for the soldiers when they came to get him, and to his surprise, virtually everyone in his church, and many outside his church, also showed up. They did not have weapons, but stormed the gates of heaven, asking the Lord to intervene. He did, and Ceausescu was overthrown, tried for many murders, and executed.

Somehow, people I knew in VA had invited him over. I had already read his book so I was anxious to meet him. Ruth and I enjoyed his fellowship for about a week, and found him to be humble but strong in faith. He and several others spoke about what they experienced and how the same tyranny could (and probably would) come to America. Here is my point. At the question and answer time, someone asked Bp. Tokes what we (Western Christians) could do for him. With humble spirit and gentleness, he said something like this: “We Christians in Romania are strong in faith; the Christians in the West are weak. Maybe we could do something to help you.”

The person who asked the question did not mean to sound arrogant, and most likely meant how may we financially help, but Bp. Tokes was saying that money is a problem only if it dominates our perspective. I was greatly humbled, and tears ran down my face. What a man of God he was, and what weaklings we are. It is not that money is evil or righteous—we all need it as a tool—but where does our trust really lie? Are we possessed by possessions, or are we possessed by the Creator who made everything and will give us what we need (Matt. 6:33)?

Another matter. I don’t like to suffer, and I bet I can “prophesy” about you: you don’t like to suffer either. We do not know that suffering puts us into hyper-growth mode spiritually. Our faith is built strongly during those times. Do not think that Romans 8:28 is only for “normal” times, and it is not just for individuals, but that “all things work together for good to those (plural) who love God, to those (plural) who are the called according to His purpose.”

Just as the sufferings of Christ have meaning for us, so our sufferings are sanctified to us by His grace. We grow in hyper-mode during those times as the great Lord of the Church makes us grow in grace and knowledge, whether we want to or not! Notice the opposites in these verses:

 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory18 while we do not look at the things that are seen, but at the things are not seen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:15-18)

Now, what about those Christians who are being martyred by ISIS, what happens to them, their families, and to the countries that persecute them? The irony is that we Christians win at every level. Those who are martyred go home to be with Christ. (By the way, those 21 Christians whom ISIS recently martyred said as they were dying: “Jesus, help me.” That sounds like faith to me.) Their families suffer their loss for a little while, but as C. S. Lewis once said, “Christians never say goodbye to Christians but see you later.” We must get over the Hollywood syndrome that death is the end. You can see it in their movies when a hero is killed–all hope is gone. They lament that they will never see their loved one again, which is patently false for Christians. Other actors in the movie will say such nonsense things as, “I know he sees me. I can talk to  him all the time.” Heaven and hell are left out. Why do we not believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead? When I go to or preach a funeral, I walk up to the casket and say, “Death, you don’t win. Jesus won at His bodily resurrection, and He won for us. (Call deceased by name) I’ll see you later.” If the person was not a Christian, then I can’t say that. I just don’t say anything, but we Christians must get over the defeatist attitude that death has conquered us. He sanctifies to us our deepest distress because His sufferings were meaningful, both for Him and us. Death is home-going for the Christian, nothing less. Believe the gospel! One of the deepest verses in the Bible and most encouraging to me, is this:

who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Heb. 5:7-8)

May the Holy Spirit burn His words just quoted into our souls. Here are some verses on death and the Christian.

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Heb. 2:14-18)

May the Holy Spirit burn His words just quoted into our souls.

Thus, in persecution, we individual Christians win, whether we live or die, we are His and nothing can separate us from His presence and love. Christians never die alone.

32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:32-39)

As for the Coptic Church that was so numerous in Iraq and Syria, they have diminished by about 80% as they are martyred and leave their country for safer places. Is that not a defeat for the Church in that area? Not really. The church is like a gas fire: stomp it, and it spreads; leave it alone, and it burns out. The Coptic Church will be strengthened, in the long run, and their faith will grow greatly.

But does that not mean that ISIS has won? Not really. They are removing the light from their countries, so they will fall ever more into darkness and self-destruction. They are removing the salt, so they will become putrid that much quicker. One cannot prosper by disobedience to God’s law (murdering others) but will self-destruct. They will turn on one another. Moreover, we don’t know what the Ascended Sovereign Lord will do, but He could grant ISIS either a great revival or some kind of devastating judgment. He is only limited by His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. (For the slow of wit, that means He is not limited!)

Do we really think that the King of all the ages and His Holy Spirit are losers in history? How incompetent do we think Christ is? Do we think that He cannot lead His people to personal and corporate victory and destroy our enemies? Is disobedience to the Triune God successful while obedience leads to destruction? Have we forgotten that He said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church (Matt. 16:18)? Remember that gates were a defensive structure around a city to keep the enemy out, which means the Church is on the offensive to conquer Satan and his minions (Rom. 16:20, look it up). The devil is defensive. Under the King’s authority, as we truly worship and serve Him, we are invincible! In life, we win. In death, we win. Individually, we win. Corporately, we win. Our enemies think death is the end for us, but we know better. We switch locales, from earth to heaven, but we still win, and we still pray for victory:

 9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:9-10)

Heads we win; tails they lose.  AMEN. Ὡ

 

 

Holy War

© Very Rev. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D. (26 Feb 2015)

Some years back I watched a sci-fi movie where earth was invaded by a fleet of alien ships from outer space. Nothing any country on earth did militarily made any difference; the aliens were too much for us. Finally, the US President asked by a radio device what the aliens wanted; surely, we could get together and meet their needs without all the bloodshed. (The old liberal solution for everything: talk it to death.) The response was one sentence and ominous: “We want you dead.”

Likewise, our President and other left wing liberals, along with most conservatives, do not understand ISIS or Al Qaeda, or other super-committed Muslims. Since the West does not think in terms of a holy war, they assume the East does not as well. If we could just reason with them to see what they want, maybe we could give it to them. But ISIS and other Muslims are engaged in a very offensive religious war (as if there were any other kind), and nothing will satisfy them except our death. They think their god wants us infidels converted or dead, and there are no other options. I’ve even read recently where they say we must have Sharia Law or no other law, for there are no other options. We Christians should be saying something similar: either God’s Ten Commandments or no other law, for there are no other options.

Every once in a while I think I’ve heard the ultimate in liberal ignorance and arrogance, until this morning (26 Feb 2015). Marie Harf, Deputy State Department Spokeswoman, said something like this:

“What makes a 17 year old pick up an AK-47 instead of starting a business? We need to get to the root of the problem. We (USA) need to help Muslim young men find jobs, help them improve their government, . . .”

In other words, the lack of money is the root of all evil, contrary to St. Paul who said who said “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). And then we see the arrogance of so many people in the USA: We can improve their government—but who will improve ours!

We in the USA do not have a commitment to anything to the death, but we want convenience, peace, prosperity, sex, drugs, and other idols. We panic when any of these gods is missing. It does not compute that someone could actually believe in Allah and the Koran and be willing, indeed, excited, to die for their false god and idols. We would not even die for our little children, and we murder them by the millions in abortion mills when they interfere with our lives. We want war at a distance, through drones, bombs, but no boots on the ground (I’m not arguing for that), because our commitment is so minimal.

We can see how minimal our commitment is when an American is beheaded and Obama, the leader of our country, says a few nice words, and then plays golf. Some were incensed at his cavalier attitude, but then what do we want to give up? Definitely not TV.

Am I saying that if we engage in military action things will get better here in America? No, I’m not saying use or not use military force, but I’m screaming that we need genuine Christians to pray and worship, witness to others, and understand that we’re engaged in a holy war, with the Church versus Islam. Consider how many Christians have been martyred recently by ISIS, heads cut off, and crucified. Bill O’Reilly was incensed that they murdered them simply because they were Christians, which means Bill does not understand the nature of the war. It is Satan against Christ, Satan’s minions against the disciples of the Great King. Bill thinks the war is only unrighteous humans (ISIS) against the righteous Americans. Why would any civilized people decapitate Americans, decapitate Christians, burn their own religious Muslims at the stake, crucify women and children? “There is no logic to this,” Bill maintains.

But Bill, they interpret the Koran literally, and they think they are pleasing Allah in doing so. I’m not saying they are right, but how many Christians take the Triune God and the Bible that seriously? It has often been said that one is not prepared to live until he is prepared to die. ISIS followers are prepared to die for a false god and heinous theological error; why can’t we Christians die for the true and living God and His infallible written word, the Holy Scriptures? In our hypocrisy, we get on our high horse about those savages who murder innocent people, especially those who behead Christians (and we should), but in our hypocrisy we overlook or justify the millions of babies we chop to pieces and throw in the garbage cans, and call that “pro-choice.”

This holy war is not being fought with the proper weapons:

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s (2 Cor. 10:4-7).

Let us not forget the battle is not to the strong humans and not to those who have much military might, but it is to the Sovereign King of Kings who can wipe us out in a moment or give us a revival that has never been seen on planet earth:

15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-18).

We are not having Elisha’s result because we are not walking humbly with our God. This ideological battle cannot be won by the secularists because they deny it, because they don’t understand it, and because they hate the Triune God.

So why does ISIS not stop? Why are they so committed to our destruction? Why do they sacrifice themselves in death for their cause? It is not money, women, or murder that drives them, but it is pleasing to Allah, they think.

Why is it that they are willing to die—all of them—including those in Iran? What logic is there in total self-destruction, like lemmings over the cliff? Are they mad? Young people join them to have a cause, to have fellow believers committed to something because toys, drugs, and sex do not satisfy. That is all the West and the Church of the West has to offer them. People will die for a cause if they think it is right. They have a sense of mission, of doing something to help the world.

And there is another matter that drives them immeasurably: their view of end times, what we call eschatology. They believe that according to the way they interpret the Koran, what they call literal (!), demands that they give themselves for Allah and his cause. They think the anti-Messiah (we say antichrist) is due to come to earth to stop all the ways, and that is coming is real soon. And guess who will lead the armies of heaven to set up a kingdom and rule it? Jesus, yes, you heard me correctly, Jesus! Of course, it is not the Jesus of the Bible who is creator and equal with God the Father, savior of the world! Rather, he is under Mohammed, of course.

Their eschatology drives them, and even if they sacrifice their whole countries and all the people in them, they do it for Allah! Talk about commitment. . . That level of commitment is what the West does not understand, and they think that end time talk is just plain weird.

But consider that these radical Muslims have an eschatology of victory, and they are willing to sacrifice everything, to “pledge to each other [their] Lives, [their] fortunes and [their] sacred Honor.” If you think you’re going to win in the last inning, and you are playing in the eighth inning, nothing matters but winning and going all out for Allah. That is why if (when) Iran obtains nuclear weapons, they will use them, for their eschatology demands it. It does not matter that they will be annihilated also, for Jesus will come and make everything right.

But most Christians today, especially those called dispensationalists, have an eschatology of defeat, thinking that Jesus will come back in the next few years, and they are not willing to sacrifice anything. They also interpret their holy book, the Bible, literally. According to these people, we lose, so why worry about anything. They have a defeatist attitude.

But the Lord Christ has asked the Father for the kingdoms of the world, and God has granted them to Him and us; therefore, let us fight with an attitude of faith and hope and victory. Though we do not know when the Lord Jesus will return (and no one does), yet we are to engage the cultures of the world for Him. I’ve read the end of the Book, and statements about the end in the Book, and we win! Here are some of them:

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 2:8-12). (Jesus has all the kingdoms of the earth now.)

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Rom. 16:20) (We crush the kingdoms also, in this life, by the power of the gospel.)

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matt. 28:18-20) (Jesus rules the world and expects His followers to conquer by the Gospel.)

If He owns it all, we must take it for Him by spreading the good news. For centuries Christians have tried to evangelize Muslims, but their culture and strong stand against anything Christian has stood in the way. Now we have the opportunity to evangelize them here, on our turf, in the USA. Let us not squander it, for this is how we’ll win the war with them. We serve “The Blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” (1 Tim. 6:15-16). AMEN. ω

 

© Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

Two years ago I sent out a pastoral letter saying, “Obama Won—So What?” The issues are the same; namely, we can’t claim a country for Christ just by politicians, especially those who think virtually nothing of the Triune God: “God is not in all his thoughts” (Psalm 10:4). The difference between Democrats and Republicans is only degree, not kind.

Now that the Republicans won by a landslide–and at every level, state, governor, districts for the House, and senators for the Senate–everyone is very optimistic about the future, BUT which Republican winners called on the nation to repent? Which ones made abortion and LGBT THE major issues? These are easily laid aside as “social issues”. The number one issue, Republicans stated, was jobs, money, filthy lucre, the love of it. Baby citizens and sexual self-destruction of the family can wait. Meanwhile, Obama keeps on destroying the nation, even willing to make a nuclear deal with Iran. Since he has been in office, he has been in self-destruct mode: disarming our nukes, scaling back the military, destroying our money so that we’re now a second rate credit risk with the world, and too many things to write.

Some say the mandate—if one can define it—was jobs. Others say it was to stop Obama. But what about righteousness?

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 13:34).

And who defines righteousness? The Triune God does in His law-word, especially the Ten Commandments. Consider these ungodly agendas:

  • Obamacare, the destruction of our health system
  • EPA holding us back from oil progress
  • Public education is without the Triune God and producing illiterates
  • Obama bailed out the banks, but did you get bailed out?
  • Benghazi, the Americans who were allowed to die and the cover-up
  • IRS scandal. In 1989 when our Presbyterian church was attacked by the IRS, we kept telling people and our fellow ministers that the IRS was making tyrannical efforts to attack conservative groups, especially churches, our church. No one believed us; our presbytery basically abandoned us, and no one stood with us. We were tried for 4 ½ months, four and five days a week, six to seven hours a day. We won everything: all counts on all defendants. Now people are beginning to wake up—if it is not too late—about a tyrannous agency of government that can steal your money from your bank accounts without a court order.
  • It took me two years at VA to find out if I had osteopenia. I had a colonoscopy without medication except for a mild sedative that did nothing. I had a kidney stone and went to VA emergency for an x-ray. After waiting all day, they gave me a normal x-ray. I told them that would not work, but they said that is what is required. Now they would make an appointment for the more powerful x-ray, which would be in about six weeks. I said, “I’ll be dead by then from kidney stones.” In about two weeks, my VA primary care physician called to say the x-ray did not show a stone. I said disgustingly, “I told you a normal x-ray would not show it. I had a cat scan at a civilian doctor, and I had a passable stone, which is now gone!”
  • The NSA allowed huge secrets to leak out, and the government is snooping on us, especially online.
  • What is the truth of “Fast and Furious”?
  • What about the key stone pipe line? I had two oil men in my former church who said in a few years the USA would be an exporter of oil if Obama and the EPA would leave things alone.
  • Why does Obama and fellow conspirators want so many illegal aliens to come into the USA. I can assure you it is not out of goodness of their sweet little black hearts. It is for more votes.
  • Obama is promoting LGBT strongly
  • Obama is promoting abortion and Planned Parenthood with fiendish zeal
  • So far, Obama has increased our debt to 18 trillion dollars. A close friend sent me these figures: all the gold every mined in the history of the world comes to 6 trillion dollars, and we’re in debt three times that! It is not mathematically possible to recover. He has stolen the purchasing power of our money. Now at almost 70 years old and no debt, I still have to work to bring in money as my retirement accounts are not large enough to sustain me. Since Obama has been in office, my accounts have shrunk about 12-15% in purchasing power. “Thou shalt not steal.”

But we must remember that the Republicans are not far behind. They have lost their zeal against killing the unborn. Standing up for the family against LGBT is too controversial. Saying “God bless you” is acceptable but saying “The Triune God bless you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” is unpardonable. It would blaspheme good atheists; offending God is acceptable. The new president in 2016 should lead the whole nation in repentance with public confession of sin and then attacking the ungodly sins of our nation. Who is our hope and our God, government, or King Jesus? Yet we must sing a new song:

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:8-10)

His sovereignty rules now, whether we like it or not. Christians like it.

But don’t misunderstand me. I’m grateful to the Triune God for the new people going to Washington, many of whom are pro-life, pro-family, and fiscally conservative. Let us continue to pray for such people and may we Christians vote God’s righteousness, not our wants. AMEN.

 

(© 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

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