Wednesday, August 16, 2017

West Wing Bible Lesson?

President Josiah Bartlet on the television show The West Wing, from season 2, episode 3: "I like how you call homosexuality an abomination [Leviticus 18:22]. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

"While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important, because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

"Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads [according to Deuteronomy 22:9-11]?"

The God-fearing, Bible-believing Christian knows better than to get a Bible lesson from a fake president on a scripted TV show. Notice that all these arguments come from the Pentateuch, so writer Aaron Sorkin, with an agenda, ignores context and the entire biblical narrative.

The reference to slavery in Exodus 21:7 is not like American Civil War era slavery. It's protecting a woman from poverty and exploitation and giving her work. The Sabbath laws were fulfilled in Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28).

Footballs are made of cowhide, not pigskin. Google it. Leviticus 11 applied to ceremonial laws, and Jesus declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19) repeated by Peter and Paul (Acts 10:9-16, Romans 14:13-23, Colossians 2:16-17, 1 Timothy 4:1-4). A sentence of death wasn't given for planting different crops or wearing two different materials. The Israelites were to reflect holiness in all practice and life as the chosen people of God.

All the Law points to Jesus Christ, who kept the law perfectly, and lovingly gave His own life as an atoning sacrifice. Those who break God's law will still perish on the day of judgment. But those who believe in Jesus will be forgiven their sins, including the sin of homosexuality, still an abomination (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), when we understand the text.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Christians and the Environment? (Creation Care)

Hey, have you heard? The polar ice caps are melting! We're all going to drown! Aaaahhh! Wait, God already said He wasn't going to do that again (Genesis 9:11). But the consumer-driven church still gets sucked into phony environmentalism, which has been branded "Creation Care."

Zondervan has published the Green Bible, which teaches us how... creation cares for us? That's panentheism! The forward was written by an Anglican priest who says there are parts of the Bible we need to ignore. (So did Zondervan remove those parts from their Bible?) The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) has spearheaded a national "What Would Jesus Drive?" effort.

Rick Warren along with nearly 100 evangelical leaders and about 40 Christian college presidents called for federal legislation to reduce CO2 emissions because that's loving your neighbor. According to the book, The Compassionate Community: Ten Values to Unite America (pg. 195):
This same group's Evangelical Climate Initiative began running television and radio ads, stating: "As Christians, our faith in Jesus Christ compels us to love our neighbors and to be stewards of God's creation. The good news is that with God's help, we can stop global warming for our kids, our world, and for the Lord."
Uh, God is the one who cursed creation! He subjected all things to futility because of the sinfulness of mankind. But "the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God," at the return of Jesus (Romans 8:20-21).

God has a plan "for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and on earth" (Ephesians 1:10). He will wipe away every tear and death shall be no more (Revelation 21:4). But you cannot reverse the effects of Creation's decline. Who can straighten what God has made crooked? (Ecclesiastes 7:13)

God told mankind to have dominion over all creation, to fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28). That includes treasuring our resources and respecting all living creatures, there are verses about that (Proverbs 12:10-11). But the only global warming the world needs to be concerned about is the fire of God being stored up for the day of judgment and the destruction of the ungodly!
For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:5-7)
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, when we understand the text!

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Bible on Celebrities and Suicide?

Chester Bennington, lead singer of the band Linkin Park, who sold over 70 million albums, died of suicide at the age of 41. Chris Cornell, lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. He hung himself at the age of 52.

Story after story of rock stars who killed themselves or say they struggle daily with depression show that fame and fortune, attention and admiration, do not lead to happiness.

The wise King Solomon wrote, "I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted" (Ecclesiastes 1:14-15).

"He who loves money will not be satisfied, nor he who loves wealth; this is also vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?" (Ecclesiastes 5:10-11)

"There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing in all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil" (Ecclesiastes 6:1-2).

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6). "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," and all the things you need will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:29-30), when we understand the text.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Study Shows Prayer Doesn't Work?

According to a story in The New York Times, "Prayer by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found."

The study was conducted for nearly a decade, involving more than 1,800 patients. Whether or not the patients were prayed for, or even if they knew they were being prayed for, it did not speed up their recovery.

It's one of the most popular studies skeptics have used to say, "See? Prayer doesn't work!" But those skeptics, and those who conducted this study, don't understand how prayer works. There are qualifications for prayer.

Psalm 66:18, "If I'd cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened to my prayer." James 4:3, you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly. John 14:6 says that Jesus is the only way to the Father, and 1 Timothy 2:5 says he's the only mediator between God and man. So prayers to Mary or a false version of God are not received. We are to pray in Jesus name.
"The researchers asked the members of three congregations -- St. Paul's Monastery in St. Paul; the Community of Teresian Carmelites in Worcester, MA; and Silent Unity, a Missouri [New Thought] prayer ministry near Kansas City -- to deliver the prayers, using the patients' first names and the first initials of their last names," the Times reported. It's of little wonder to the Bible-believing Christian why their prayers didn't work!

But even then, the Bible does not promise that God will grant a person's wishes. The Apostle Paul prayed three times for the Lord to take away what was tormenting him. But God replied, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Paul said he would boast all the more gladly of his weaknesses, content with hardships insults, and persecutions, so the power of Christ would rest upon Him. Prayer works for God's glory before it's for our benefit. With thanksgiving to the Lord let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of Christ will come to you (Philippians 4:4-9) when we understand the text.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The REAL Reason God Destroyed Sodom?

Matthew Vines is the founder of The Reformation Project, which has nothing to do with the protestant reformation. It's an attempt to "reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity." Vines authored a book entitled God and the Gay Christian in which he attempts to argue that God is actually for homosexuality.

In his reinvention of the text, he says that Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed because of same-sex fornication. The men of Sodom wanted to have sex with the two angels who came to rescue Lot from the wrath of God upon the city. But this was a threatened gang-rape.
"God sends two angels disguised as men into the City of Sodom where the men of Sodom threatened to rape them. The angels blind the men, and God destroys the city. For centuries, this story was interpreted as God's judgment on same-sex relations, but the only form of same-sex behavior described is a threatened gang rape." Matthew Vines, from the video God and the Gay Christian: the Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Marriage

Vines says the real reason Sodom was destroyed is given in Ezekiel 16:49, which reads, "Now, this was the sin of your sister, Sodom. She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned, they did not help the poor and needy." So even though Vines acknowledges the Sodomites wanted to rape visitors, he still insists Sodom was destroyed because they didn't invite the angels to dinner.

Ezekiel 16 is one of the most shocking chapters of Scripture with its use of sexually explicit language. Jerusalem was unfaithful to God who labeled the city a promiscuous whore. In addition to being prideful and uncharitable, God said Jerusalem was guilty of all Sodom's abominations, having at one point employed male prostitutes (1 Kings 14:24).
"And your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. Not only did you walk in their ways and do according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it." Ezekiel 16:45-50

So that passage really doesn't work in Vines' favor. He also ignores other passages like in Jeremiah and Jude that mention the sexual and unnatural desire of the infamous Sodomites.
"...Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire." Jude 1:7

"But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah." Jeremiah 23:14

According to the Bible, homosexuality is a serious sin worthy of the wrath of God. But it's not an unforgivable sin. Those who repent will be washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God, when we understand the text.