How NOT to Have a Baptism!

Every once in a while it is appropriate to present a negative example in order to illustrate how not to do things.  This applies to our spiritual lives as well.

In the clip below we see the opposite of how a baptism should be done.  It serves as a reminder that there are “Christians” who practice a godless form of Christianity, who have no idea what things like baptism mean or what they stand for.

Ridiculous but actually…  funny.

 

The New Normal: Recreational Marijuana

On Tuesday, the voters of Colorado took to the polls and voted an unprecedented amendment, one which legalized the personal growth, production and use of pot.  You may say it is not a big deal… there are other states in the Union who have legalized “medical” use of marijuana.

The issue here is that Colorado already had a law in place allowing the use of pot for medical purposes.  The new law enacts the legality of recreational use of this mind altering drug.  It is now OK to get high… or stoned… or whatever they call it.

How is this going to improve the lives of Colorado’s citizens?  It is not!  Rather, this is one of the many symptoms of a disease called moral decay, which is taking a hold of our society.  This may be the beginning of the process of legalization of other drugs of abuse.

Preventing driving “under the influence” and keeping kids off drugs will be this much more difficult to accomplish.  What kind of message are we sending our kids?  The message is clear: it is ok to use drugs and pollute one’s mind with psychedelics.

The spiritual implications are paramount.  The desire for an altered mental status whether that is accomplished via alcohol, marijuana, narcotics or other agents is an unholy desire from the bottom of hell.  Here is what Scripture tells us in Galatians 5:19

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The word sorcery in verse 20 is translated from the word pharmakeia according to Strong’s Concordance.  It refers to the use and administration of mind altering drugs, poisoning and magical arts in general.  This is why a child of God cannot participate in such practices.  We are specifically forbidden by God to even attempt to alter our state of mind by the use of marijuana, or other drugs for the purpose of so-called recreation.

On the contrary we must follow what Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:8-9

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith…”

How America Made an Ungodly Choice

America voted and the results were not only wrong and unwise, the critical choices made were ungodly. In most situations where a vote hinged on biblical principles, America decided to go against God.

I do not pretend that this is Christian country or that it ever was, but America was founded on Christian principles, and we have a large population of Christians. But their voice was drowned out by an increasingly secular majority.

Here is a list of what I mean:

1. Colorado has legalized the recreational use of the psychedelic drug marijuana. It is now legal to get high in the mile-high city. Three other states legalized marijuana for medical use.

2. Massachusetts joined Oregon and Washington in allowing assisted suicide, also known as euthanasia.

3. Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington all voted in favor of gay marriage. This was a huge sweeping victory for LGBT activists in four out of four states. They succeeded in elevating this issue to the level of civil rights.

4. America re-elected Obama, who supports the pro-abortion agenda, the forced contraceptive mandate, the desecration of the traditional family, and has taken an anti-Israel stance on multiple occasions.

But ultimately we know that God is in control of past, present, and future, and everything that happens contributes to His mysterious plan.

He states: “for I am God, and… …‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:9-10

We will now wait and see how His mighty plan will unveil itself in these last days.

Voting and the Principles that Guide Us

What are we effectively doing when we cast a vote for an office, a measure, or a proposition?  We are in fact saying that we agree with the principles on which a candidate stands, or the proposal put forth.  We are not necessarily saying we agree with a candidate’s religion but with the principles he will draw upon to govern.

I have heard multiple objections with respect to Mitt Romney’s LDS theology and how he negates the Divinity of Christ and the Trinity the way orthodox Christianity proclaims it.  But let’s suppose Romney was a self-professed born-again evangelical who believes in universal atonement applied to all humans, and the fact that hell does not exist, along the lines of Rob Bell and Brian McLaren’s theology; or suppose he was a hyper-calvinist who discourages evangelism under the pretext that God can save without human participation… Wouldn’t those issues be almost as problematic?

That is why we must pick a candidate who stands on principles important to our Protestant faith, not necessarily his theology.  We must support a candidate who will have a pro-life stance.  We must vote in support of  traditional biblical marriage.  We must support family values set forth in the Bible.  We must support freedom of speech and religion.  These are the social and spiritual principles we must stand on and Romney, generally speaking, supports them.

However, it has been deeply disappointing to see how Obama’s administration has weakened each one of the above principles, and has elevated the LGBT lifestyle choices to the level of civil rights.  Furthermore, disguised under “hate speech” terminology, pastors and churches who proclaim biblical truth are labeled as intolerant, and potentially dangerous.  This assault will not let up in a potential second Obama term, but it will get worse.  As John MacArthur put it, he was shocked to see that the democratic national convention re-inserted God back into their platform, because their platform is a polar opposite to anything godly.  He labeled it the “Romans 1 platform,” and I agree with that.

Christians who made Jesus the Lord and Center of their lives cannot support such principles.  If they had reservations about Romney’s theology, it would be infinitely better for them to abstain from voting, than cast a vote for Obama, a professed “Christian” who believes that Jesus is not the only way to salvation, and who has advanced the abortion and LGBT agenda.  Here is what Paul tells us about people who support such an agenda:

Romans 1:32 “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

God forbid any Christian give support to a “Romans 1 platform.”

How Should Christians Vote?

By tomorrow night or early Wednesday we will know who the next president of the United States will be.   When we go to the polls tomorrow, how should we cast our vote as Christians? Should the candidate’s faith or lack of faith be a concern for us?

Here is an excerpt from the Christian Post opinion page by Eric Metaxas on how Billy Graham and Chuck Colson view the issue:

“Billy Graham also has strong views about voting for the best candidate no matter what his private beliefs are.   A few days ago, the Rev.  Graham took out newspaper ads in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch urging people to vote for candidates who supported biblical teaching on some of the great moral issues of the day.

As Graham put it, “We are at a crossroads, and there are profound moral issues at stake. I strongly urge you to vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and woman, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedoms.”

Chuck Colson also held strong opinions on the issue of voting and I was a bit surprised by his position with respect to the candidate’s faith:

“Chuck also quoted Martin Luther, who reportedly said he would rather be judged by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian. He meant that he’d prefer to choose the best qualified leader available than vote for someone less qualified who happened to share his religious beliefs.  We do this in other areas of our life all the time.  For instance, if you needed to undergo brain surgery, would you choose a Christian surgeon, or the best surgeon available no matter what his beliefs?

Chuck felt very strongly about the duty of Christians to vote-and to vote for the best qualified candidate no matter what his personal religious convictions.   He considered voting a spiritual duty.  On BreakPoint, Chuck noted that as voters, we are to choose the most competent people to be God’s magistrates to do justice, restrain evil, and preserve order.  He pointed to Exodus 18, where Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, told him to select men of good moral character who were competent to help judge the people.

I agree to a certain extent with Billy Graham, and Colson, who when it comes down to it… really are casting a vote for the lesser of two evils in order to support biblical principles.  But  we should always keep in mind that there are nonnegotiable issues Christians must endorse, like freedom of religion and speech, the sanctity of life and the institution of traditional marriage.

Now go vote! 🙂

National Tragedy: Children Born Outside of Marriage

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released a report about birth data in the US.  Beside the finding that the birth rate is currently at the lowest point ever recorded in the US, the most shocking statistic was buried in a table at the back of the publication:  40.7% is the overall percent of American children born out-of-wedlock!  They further break down the numbers of  babies born to unmarried moms by race: Asians 17.2%, Whites 29.1%, Hispanics 53.4%, American Indians 66.2%, and non-Hispanic Blacks 72.3%.

These are absolutely staggering statistics about the deterioration of family values in our culture.  Looking at America through a biblical filter or a Christian world view, it is not too difficult to see the symptoms of a decaying family structure, for example:  extremely high divorce rates, single parent homes, the redefinition of marriage, the adoption of young children in nontraditional family structure, and many others…  These are symptoms of a deep moral depravity that has corrupted us to the bone.

But the numbers quoted above are not just symptoms… These are the results of our society’s actions and their lack of the ultimate moral compass: God’s Word.  This is the result of departure from God as a society.  It is absolutely heart breaking to know that many of these children will not have access to a father figure to complete their family structure as ordained by God.  The Church needs to realize that this is a rebellion against God and His commandments, and a great tragedy which appears to grow unchecked.

Let’s remember that the Word of God is clear when it states that in the last days there will be an increasingly clear distinction between right and wrong, righteousness and wickedness, holiness and evil, and that we as believers need to differentiate ourselves from the wickedness of the world:

Revelation 22:11  “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” 12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.”

Perspective on Halloween

Most people view Halloween as innocent entertainment and fun, and some even make the argument that it is a “Christian” holiday by invoking the Catholic celebration of All Saints’ day.  In 835, due to Germanic and Irish influence, All Saints’ day (All Hallow day) was moved by Pope Gregory IV from May 13th to November 1st.  Therefore, on October 31st the world celebrates the All Hallow’s Eve or commonly known in modern times as Halloween.

But the truth is that Halloween symbols and rituals are deeply rooted in paganism and occultism.  The carved and lighted pumpkin, references to witchcraft and broomsticks, superstition about bats and black cats can all be traced to western european occult practices which survived in parallel with Christianity over the years.  It’s no wonder that October 31st is an important date in the Occult calendar of Druids, and witches, Satanists, and Pagans mark Halloween as one of their most “holy” days.

The Bible is very clear in asserting that children of God cannot associate themselves with the darkness found in things like Halloween rituals.  Apostolic teaching often uses antonyms such as “light” and “dark” to make the case that we are designated as holy and separated from the things that God abhors. Apostles Paul and John both make strong references to this:

Ephesians 5:8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

1 John 5:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

May God keep us in the light!