Would You Ever See This from a Group of Evangelical Leaders?

Gospel opposition to homosexuality & transgenderism

This weekend, white nationalists homosexuals & transgenders will descend on Tennessee, in both Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, for a “White Lives Matter” rally  “Gay pride” parade. As Christian leaders in Tennessee, we declare ourselves in resolute opposition to this expression of racism and white supremacy  distortion of God’s good design for human sexuality and we denounce and repudiate white supremacy  homosexuality and transgenderism as a work of the devil, designed to dehumanize and divide. Ideologies that declare the white race as superior  homosexuality and transgenderism as legitimate are an assault against the Word of God, which declares that every human being is created in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26-27; 1 Peter 2:17; James 3:9). These ideologies stand in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which reconciles, in Christ’s body, people from every tribe, tongue, and nation (Ephesians 2:15; Galatians 3:28; Revelation 7:9) every sinful lifestyle (I Corinthians 6:9-11).

Racism and white supremacy  Homosexuality and transgenderism are, sadly, not extinct but present  promoted all over the world in various  white supremacist civil rights movements, sometimes known as “white nationalism” or “alt-right.diversity or anti-hate movements. History shows that indifference, by the church, allows such evil to flourish. We must not only declare racism homosexuality and transgenderism to be wrong, we must oppose specific acts and movements that would degrade and dehumanize our brothers and sisters in Christ. allow such things to gain acceptance in our culture and in the church.

We call every follower of Jesus in the state of Tennessee to speak out against white supremacy  homosexuality and transgenderism in all of its forms, and to pray and work for racial unity a restoration of biblical sexual morality in our communities. We also pray for those who advocate racist ideologies homosexuality and transgenderism and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of these hatreds  sins and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God.

Gospel Opposition to White Supremacy

On the Church and Her Priorities

On the Church and Her Priorities“If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

The above quote, attributed often to Martin Luther though his authorship is questionable, is nevertheless an important one for the church in our day. If we fight yesterday’s battles, we will lose today’s.

Consider what we’ve seen in just the last few months:

And this is not an atypical few months with regard to gender and sexuality in our culture or in the church.

Over the same past few months I’ve also noticed:

  • Zero mainstream publications trying to convert teens to white supremacy.
  • Zero high profile Christians publicly waffling on whether racism is a sin.
  • Zero professing Christians aiding the implementation of government imposed segregation policies.
  • Zero churches taking action to be deliberately more inclusive of those who identify as white supremacists.
  • Zero taxpayer money allocated by Republicans or anyone else, to re-segregate the military.

So, in which of these areas does it appear the “battle rages?” On which of these topics should the church be speaking the loudest and the most often? In which area should we be concentrating the limited time and treasure the Lord has given us? On which topic should there be conferences and denominational resolutions (provided those actually accomplish something other than virtue signaling)? Which one should be called “Satanic” openly and often?

I get it, there are people who are appalled at how the church conducted herself on the issue of race in the mid-twentieth century and before; I’m one of them. Some people, I believe, like to think if they’d only been there, things would have been different they wouldn’t have refused to stand up. Now, in positions of power and influence they’re determined to make that clear. Trouble is,  it’s not Selma, 1965; it’s Sodom & Gomorrah, 2017.

If you want to prove you would have stood firm where the church faltered in the past then stand firm where she’s faltering today. Fight today’s battles, not yesterday’s. Battle reenactment is for hobbyists. Does racism still exist, yes, even when properly defined. But, to say it’s the or even an overarching problem for the church and must be given the same level of attention as the sexual revolution or something like abortion is simply not true. Confront it if you see it in a fellow believer but don’t pretend it’s larger than it is. To do so may win you attaboys from the culture but it won’t take the fight to the battle at hand.

Photo credit: Andrew Campbell Photography via Visual hunt / CC BY

A Racist Under Every Snack

We live in interesting times. What was unthinkable even five years ago is now commonplace. I have A Racist Under Every Snackto do a double-take at least once each day when reading the news to be sure I’ve read something correctly, that it really did say what I thought it did. Such was the case yesterday when I read this article in National Review:

“Cops Called on My Third-Grade Son over Racism Concerns for Talking About Brownies”

Yes, that’s really what you just read. You did it too, right? That double-take thing.

Anyway, it seems the latest front in the war against racism is elementary school classrooms. Apparently, racism is so pervasive, so insidious that it can be found even in a discussion among third-graders about snack food:

According to the student’s mother, her nine-year-old son was participating in a conversation about the bakery treat during his end-of-the-year class party at William P. Tatem Elementary School on June 16 when another student remarked that his comment was racist. Rather than explain to the accusing student that the name of the baked good is a generally accepted term and not racially charged whatsoever, the school actually called the police.

While you can’t be a terrorist even if you want to be and announce ahead of time you are one, you can be a racist simply by being accused of such. Racism is always in the eye of the accuser.

All you race warriors out there here’s where your obsession has gotten us – not to a society where racism has ceased (which I don’t think you want anyway – it’s a job security thing) but a society where “racism” is used as the justification for sending the police to an elementary school to harass and frighten a third-grader.
 
If you are legitimately concerned about racism (not just using it as a wedge issue to garner more power), you better start putting as much effort into calling out people and situations like this as you do calling out racism because any legitimate concerns you have are going to be subsumed by the racism-is-everywhere folks who have thus far operated with impunity while sharing space under your umbrella.

 

Otherwise, when the wolf of racism really does show up, the people of the village are going to ignore your cries for help.

Don’t Know Much About History

Don't Know Much About History
Gone With the Wind premiere, Atlanta, 1939

History is a mixed bag. Rarely is a cause, a person or a nation all good or all bad. The same Roman Empire that fed Christians to the lions made possible the world-wide expansion of the gospel through the Pax Romana and the best network of roads the world had ever seen. Martin Luther who sparked the Reformation which led to the recovery of the gospel in western Europe also wrote some very troubling things about Jews. The job of a historian is to consider all the information and report it as accurately as he or she can, taking the good with the bad.

The job of an ideologue is different.

The ideologue seeks to manipulate the past to facilitate their agenda in the present. Sometimes that manipulation is subtle as in the altering of text books. At other times it takes the more extreme forms of demonization and elimination. One of the tactics of tyrants is to erase the history of a people or culture so they can remake that people or culture in their own image – in other words, control them.

Consider this from Jung Chang & Jon Halliday’s biography of Mao:

“Mao thus succeeded in wiping out culture from Chinese homes. Outside, he was also fulfilling his long-held goal of erasing China’s past from the minds of his subjects. A large number of historical monuments, the most visible manifestation of the nations’ civilization, which had so far survived Mao’s loathing, were demolished. In Peking, of 6,843 monuments still standing in 1958, 4,922 were now obliterated.”

You saw similar things after both the French and Russian revolutions and in both cases the history purgers made the abuses of the ancien regime look like child’s play. Certainly the public square should reflect different points of view and be a place where people can disagree with one another. However, when one group demands that the public square be sanitized of any historical references they don’t like –  danger Will Robinson! 

What began as a request to remove a single Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol in the aftermath of the racially-motivated murders in Charleston has turned into a full-court press to remove all references to the Confederacy from the public square.

Here are a few of the cries that rang out over the last few days:

If the new standard is that nothing should be displayed on government property that any citizen finds offensive, I need to know where to send my list.

In addition, retailers like Amazon, are removing the Confederate battle flag from sale (while still offering items with Nazi and Communist symbols on them) and Apple has removed all Civil War strategy games from the app store because they contain images of the confederate flag.

I knew we would end up here when this started – as should anyone who’s been paying attention for the last 20 years. There is no such thing as “enough” in the left’s eyes when the specter of racism is invoked. It’s the trump sin. Anything and everything can be justified if positioned as fighting racism – especially things that are purely symbolic and do nothing to actually solve the problem. I also realize most of those originally calling for the removal of the flag in South Carolina did not have this kind of nation-wide purge in mind but unfortunately knee-jerk reactions are often the mother of unintended consequences.

So where do we go from here? Someone needs the guts to stand up and say “enough.” However, I can think of no one either in politics, business or among the evangelical elites with that kind of courage. Perhaps when other expressions of history are in the cross-hairs of the cultural sanitizers (and they will be), someone who values whatever the sledge-hammer is being swung at then will arise and stand in the gap. But I’m not holding my breath.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Twice so far this year, the nation has witnessed the death of a citizen at the hands of the police (actually, much more than twice but most were not causes celebre). First Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and now Eric Garner in New York City. In both cases the officer using deadly force was white and the victim was black. In both cases as well a grand jury returned a “no bill” removing the possibility of pursuing criminal charges against the officers.

However, that is where the similarities end.

In the case of Mike Brown, crimes against persons and property were involved – situations in which deadly force is sometimes necessary. I won’t rehash all the particulars as that’s been done ad infinitum. However, based on the evidence, it seems that the officer acted after being attacked.

With Eric Garner the situation is different. From what I can see, Garner was a threat to no person or property. He was suspected of selling a perfectly legal product, cigarettes. The problem is he was doing it in a way that prevented the government from getting their substantial cut of the transaction through taxes. The police in this case were acting as agents of the state on behalf of the state, not on behalf of the citizens of the state protecting their lives and property.

I witnessed something similar earlier this year in Atlanta but with a far better outcome. My teenaged son and I went downtown to see the Gumball 3000 rally cars arrive. As is often the case at events like this, entrepreneurial types began to work the crowd trying to make a buck or two. One was an older black man trying to sell airplane sized bottles of liquor. Most people just waved him off and said no thanks. He was hurting no one. But, because he was trying to sell liquor in a way that cut the state out of the loop, it wasn’t long before the Atlanta Police had him handcuffed at the back of a squad car. A few people in the crowd, which was a mixture of black and white, began to call out to the police to let the man go. To the APD’s credit, after a few minutes they did and the man went on his way. When he was released, the crowd clapped and cheered. Though I realize the circumstances in Atlanta are different from those in the New York case, I still think Garner’s death was a travesty and the officer should probably have been indicted (with the caveat that I’ve not seen all the evidence presented to the grand jury over several months).

But, the issue here is not racism it is out of control government and until we admit that we’ll never solve the problem. Eric Garner might be alive today not, if only he was white, but if only New York City didn’t have the highest cigarette taxes in the nation and a policy of protecting that revenue stream at all costs. Senator Rand Paul makes that point here:


According to Marxist history no matter what happens the reason for it is always class struggle. What started WWI? Class struggle. What caused the fall of the Roman Empire? Class struggle. It’s a one size fits all approach to history designed to validate Marxist policies and ideology.

There’s a similar narrative being told now in the United States. No matter the circumstances if a conflict involves more than one race, racism is automatically the cause and the solution is more government control to combat the racsim. As long as we’re baited into accepting that narrative, the state gets to continue expanding its power.

Since at least the 1960s the left in this country, with overwhelming support from the black community, has increased the size and role of the government exponentially and positioned it as the solution to all problems – supplanting the family, the local community and individual responsibility. In short, whatever the problem, government is viewed as the savior.

But when your messiah is a mere human institution, you’re asking for trouble. Though it may begin by exercising power for your benefit, it will eventually exercise it to your detriment when your goals and the government’s goals conflict – which they invariably do in societies where government is large and powerful and wants to stay that way.

You cannot simultaneously support giving government the power to solve all your problems and then express outrage when they use the power you’ve given them to take down a man selling the cigarettes they’ve decided to protect you from. Paraphrasing George Washington, government is like fire; it’s a dangerous servant at best and a fearful master at worst. And as long as that master can keep us pointing the finger at each other rather than at him, there will be more Eric Garner moments.

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