Character Reveals “Values”

(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

6 thoughts on “Character Reveals “Values”

  1. AMEN

    PS Surgery went well. Thanks for praying. Just sore and waiting on God to heal. Lord willing, I am planning on bowling next Tues.

  2. Rush Limbaugh as a conservative Christian is sometimes an odd beast but his logic is primarily biblical. The fact that he like so many would allow what God forbids is telling.  Sean Hannity however is a conservative hack, a low information conservative.  He still believes in abortion in the case of rape.  I do think that Phil Robertson, though he has a grace/law mess for a tenet of the Gospel, still sees righteousness in government as a no brainer.  He doesn’t pit his ethics in governance (politics) and ethics in his evangelism/worship against one another as so many would be prophets do.  He being a Cambellite is rather surprising as well. But he seems to be the real thing.  Does it surprise you that the Cambellites actually petitioned the Confederate government to not include members of the Churches of Christ in their military?  Religion, or whatever the hell they were about, transcended the duty to fight physically for the right. Would this kind of religion be persecuted by the wrong side? I think not.  Perfectionists and liberals, and for that matter libertarians, have the same assumptions when it comes to the question of politics and salvation don’t you think? Keith   

  3. If I understand you, I would agree–there is basically one ethic for every area of life. That ethic is God’s ethic, especially as seen in the Ten Commandments. Thanks for the comments.
    Curtis Crenshaw

  4. I did not know that the Church of Christ petitioned the Confederate Government. How very interesting! Do you think that it had anything to do with their attempted reconstruction of the early Church and the early Church’s (eventual and occasional) ruling that Christians could not serve in the Roman Legions?

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