Condemned by The Writing on the Door

Condemned by the Writing on the DoorI find it fascinating that one of the signs that Western Culture is circling the bowl is the current obsession with said bowl and who can use it under what circumstances. Why is the latest front in the culture war sex-segregated facilities, whether they be locker rooms or public restrooms?

Believe it or not, the Bible gives us some insight:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature,have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. – Romans 1:18-20, emphasis  mine

Paul tells us the law of God, in other words the truth, is written on the hearts of men – all men, even unbelievers. Deep down every human being knows he or she is in rebellion against God and, apart from a work of the Holy Spirit, they do all they can to suppress that truth. When that rebellion is not just against God’s standards as revealed in His Word, but against the created order as well, suppression becomes more difficult. It’s one thing to suppress the truth regarding behavior that is not in line with God’s Word, I can, after all, choose to never crack open a Bible or expose myself to Christian teaching and thus avoid being reminded of my sin. It’s quite another to suppress the truth regarding the reality of who I am. If I’m a man trying to convince myself that I’m a woman, yet every time I strip down in front of the bathroom mirror my lie is exposed (no pun intended), I have to up my suppression game. It’s not enough to tell myself the lie, I must enlist others to lie to and for me as well.

That’s where bathrooms and locker rooms come in.

Bathrooms are everywhere – in the shopping mall, at the doctor’s office, in the grocery store, at Target. Everywhere we go we’re confronted with two doors, one for women and one for men. Bathrooms are also one of the last places in our culture where the sexes can legitimately be segregated. If I’m a man pretending to be a woman, I’m reminded of my lie every time I see these two doors and realize I cannot push the one marked “Women” and walk inside. So, in order to suppress the truth welling up within me, I must demand access through that door because that tells me other people also believe my lie and allows me to further suppress the truth.

Bottom line, this is not a quest for equal rights; it’s a quest to avoid reality and silence guilty consciences. But it won’t work. In the end, no matter how many states pass laws allowing men into women’s bathrooms or how many aging celebrities cancel concerts, men will still be men, women will still be women, and God will still be God and He will not be mocked.

Photo credit: Ric e Ette via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Is Abortion Murder or Not?

Donald Trump recently created a firestorm when he suggested during an interview that women who have abortions should receive “some form of punishment” if abortion becomes illegal. Many, even in the pro-life community, were quick to cry foul. The president of the Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said she and her organization “have never advocated, in any context, for the punishment of women who undergo abortion.”  She went on to say:

“But let us be clear: punishment is solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of one life and the grave wounding of another.”

Laying aside that it was Donald Trump who said it, is it really unreasonable to suggest that a person who breaks the law should receive some form of punishment (he did not specify what) for having done so? Most people, including many Christians, have no problem with that concept regarding other issues such as immigrants here illegally. Even though difficult circumstances may have led them to enter the country the way they did, if they broke the law most agree there should be some consequences. Why is this different?

I believe it’s two things. First of all, despite our claims otherwise, we don’t really see abortion as murder.  If a woman paid her next door neighbor to kill her two-year old, would anyone seriously suggest there should be punishment for the neighbor but none for the mother? Would any life circumstance or level of desperation on the mother’s part render her above prosecution? With the possible exception of an insanity plea, the answer is “no.” And even with an insanity plea, there are still legal consequences. So here’s the question, is a child in the womb as much a human being as a two year old? I believe one of the reasons abortion remains legal is because even many who oppose it don’t really believe taking the life of the unborn is the same as taking the life of the born.

Secondly, many Christians confuse the role of the civil government and the role of the church. The civil government has been given a ministry of justice, temporal and imperfect justice to be sure, but justice nonetheless. The God-ordained job of government is to reward good and punish evil (Romans 13:1-5) and few things are considered as evil by God as the taking of a human life made in His image. For this reason God, through Noah, instituted capital punishment for murder (Genesis 9:6). I’m not suggesting, lest the firestorm begin anew, that women who procure an abortion should be executed, just pointing out the seriousness of murder in the eyes of God. Our judicial system, as did the one set up by God for the nation of Israel, recognizes differing levels of murder with differing levels of punishment. One thing it does not do, however, is have a class of murder for which there are no legal consequences.

The church, on the other hand, has been given a ministry of grace. She is charged with going into all the world and preaching the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20), urging people to repent and offering the grace and peace of God to all who will come to Him. This includes murderers like the Apostle Paul, women (and men) who procure abortions and even the doctors who perform them. Not even Kermit Gosnell is beyond the grace of God. But, here’s the thing, the grace of God and temporal punishment by the civil government are not mutually exclusive. When the murderer on death row comes to Christ he’s set free from his sin but not from prison. Ministering God’s grace to people does not require that the temporal consequences of their sin be removed. Government and church operate in two different spheres with two different charges from God. And while the spheres necessarily intersect, we dare not confuse one with the other.

So what should the legal consequence be for a woman who has an abortion if it again becomes illegal? I don’t think there’s a single answer to that question. It probably should vary from none in some cases to very serious ones in others depending on the circumstances. But, that there should never be any at all, ever, is not an acceptable answer for those who claim to value the lives of the innocent.

Should Christians Buy A Lottery Ticket?

Should Christians Buy A Lottery Ticket?As the Powerball jackpot reaches new highs, so does discussion in Christian circles about whether it’s something believers can / should participate in. I’ve seen a few posts similar to Seven Reasons Not to Play the Lottery by John Piper.  Here Piper all but says “no Christian should buy a lottery ticket” and is adamant that he wants no contributions to his church from lottery winnings. But the underlying question is not “should Christians play the lottery?” but “Is gambling a sin?” If it is a sin then the lottery issue is settled. If it’s not, then rather than call it “spiritual suicide” a more nuanced approach is called for.

If something is sinful in and of itself then it is forbidden to all Christians, at all times in all circumstances. To think this through, let’s use something no one would disagree is sinful: use of pornography.

This is not a “wisdom issue.” There is no circumstance under which pornography can be used legitimately by Christians. It is wrong for all people, at all times, in all circumstances. So far so good. But, there’s more to it than that. If pornography use is a sin, then not only can Christians not use it, neither can they facilitate it. So, for example, a Christian accountant cannot keep the books for a studio that produces pornographic movies. Nor can a Christian makeup artist work on the set preparing the actors for the camera – even if he or she never watches what the company produces. The same can be said for abortion. While working for a company that provides abortion as part of its health care plan is an issue of individual conscience, working for Planned Parenthood in any capacity is a sin and should not be done by anyone who claims the name of Christ.

Now let’s apply this to gambling. If gambling is sinful for all people, at all times, in all circumstances then a Christian in Las Vegas cannot work as an accountant at Caesar’s Palace or as a maid or waiter at a casino – even if they never gamble themselves. If a Christian has such a job, they should quit and find something else, just like the accountant at the porn studio should. If someone is willing to apply the same standards to gambling that they would to something like pornography then I’m willing to entertain their argument that it is sinful in and of itself. If not, we must say, while it may not be wise in many circumstances, it is not an area where we can bind the consciences of all Christians. Can gambling be sinful? Sure. Is it always so?  I don’t believe so.

On another note, the government sponsored lottery is certainly no less evil than the government sponsored social programs which, unlike the lottery, forcefully separate people from their money to give it to those who did not earn it – also undermining the virtues of work and personal responsibility democratic societies require. More people would be helped financially by being allowed to keep a higher percentage of their paycheck than by stopping them from spending a few dollars a week on lottery tickets.

 

 

The Ten Commandments of the American Left

  1. I have no other gods before Me.The Ten Commandments of the American Left
  2. Thou shalt not make for thyself a god other than Me and My feelings.
  3. Thou shalt not take My name in vain or disagree with Me in any way.
  4. Remember January 22, 1973 and keep it holy.
  5. Honor Me that you may live long in the land and not get fired or have your livelihood threatened.
  6. Thou shalt not kill – animals. Babies, that’s fine.
  7. Thou shalt not commit self-control and personal responsibility with regard to sexual practice.
  8. Thou shalt steal from the rich (as defined by Me) and redistribute it to the poor (as defined by Me).
  9. Thou shalt bear false witness any time the facts are not on thy side.
  10. Thou shalt covet all that thy neighbor has and try to take it from him because he only has it due to privilege.

Should Christians Own Guns for Self-Defense?

Should Christians Own Guns for Self-Defense?This question has been much discussed recently because of an article written by John Piper and republished, with I’m sure much glee, by the editorial staff at the Washington Post.

In the article, Piper answers the question with a “no.” Among his reasons are that we’re not called to seek vengeance for wrongs done to us, we are told by Christ to expect persecution and this world is not our home so our hope should be in things above not things below like guns.

Piper is off base in every one of his arguments in my opinion but I’d like to deal with just the last one – the idea that having a gun to defend ourselves and our families shows that we have a misplaced hope and are too attached to the things of this world.

Continue reading “Should Christians Own Guns for Self-Defense?”