Monthly Archives: July 2019

Everyone calm down

Amazon recently pulled books about “conversion therapy” from their stores.

Conversion therapy is a behavioral modification scheme designed to “cure” homosexuality.

Denny Burk, over at dennyburk.com has warned us all that persecution of Christianity is in full swing. Soon the lions will be brought out and Christians of every stripe will be thrown into the fiery furnace.

I don’t know why we have such a persecution complex. Don’t we know that we will inherit the earth?

But that is beside the point.

Here is what we need to understand: Conversion therapy is to Christianity what iced coffee is to mole rats. Hard to find a connection? Precisely.

Conversion therapy is a dangerous practice of using behavioral modification to change someone’s sexual orientation.

Christianity is faith in our Lord Jesus, who died for our sins and gave us his righteousness so that we can stand before God as if we have never had nor ever committed any sin. From there flows sanctification, where the Holy Spirit conforms us to the image of God’s dear son, redeeming each part of us, even our sexuality.

Conversion therapy is similar to Pelagianism, and the theology of Charles Finney, but instead of the excitement of revival producing righteousness, righteousness is produced on the therapists couch.

To say that Christians are in danger because conversion therapy won’t be marketed and sold by Amazon is similar to saying that Christianity is in danger because I can’t get a Big Mac at Home Depot.

Jesus has never promised to remove every speck of sin from his children on this earth. In fact, the bible teaches in Romans 1 that we will ALWAYS struggle with this body of death until we enter into his presence.

Christianity means that there is now no more condemnation. Christianity means that we are now united to Christ and are taught by the Holy Spirit to offer the members of our bodies as members of righteousness. But we will always struggle with our lusts and our desires.

Christ has never promised to convert same-sex attracted people to hetero-attracted people. And hetero is no guarantee of purity. Hugh Hefner is not something we strive for. Christ calls us to aim higher.

So, to sum up: Conversion therapy teaches that homosexuality can be cured through behavioral modification.

Christianity teaches that we are dead in trespasses and sins unless God makes us alive.

It seems to me that Paul banned the same sort of thinking in the book of Galatians. The flesh – the bondage of the law – will always produce the same thing.

But one can’t ever pass a law against the fruit of the Spirit. “Throw those people out! They are talking about love and joy and peace!”

As a side note, Amazon is banning a dangerous and fraudulent form of therapy based on behavioral modification. They are NOT banning someone being made alive in Christ.

Christ did not die to make us heterosexual. He died to make us alive. Being alive, of course, means that we fight against sin in this life until victory is ours after this life.

As Christians, we should be against conversion therapy and support that ban. Why would we want our kids to be subjected to a false gospel and forced to submit to those whom God tells us to not submit to even for an hour? (Galatians 2:5).

By the way, whenever you hear that California has banned Christianity, or that Amazon has banned Christianity, or such like – this is usually what they mean. That the state has banned a dangerous and unbiblical practice that aims to convert our children to another gospel – one which Paul calls anathema.

That false gospel is that Christianity and outward appearance are the same, that one can be converted by the right sort of laws, and that sin is a matter of free will.

We should support that ban and calm down.

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Filed under homosexuality, sexuality

Let my people go

And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.'”
2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.” (Exod. 5:1-2)

The account of the plagues that came on Egypt is one that has occupied my mind and my imagination since childhood. Imagine how many frogs there were! And the swarms and the lice!

And you also marvel and the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart. How stupid can a guy get? Ten times he hardens his heart and refuses to let God’s people go. And even then, at the end, he changes his mind and chases after them – right into the Red Sea where he and all of his armies drown!

What kind of madness drives a man to this point, where reason and prudence go out the window? What kind of madness drives a man into his grave like this, where he would rather lose everything than concede defeat?

 

This morning, it struck me. In Pharaoh’s mind, HE was god. He was the absolute ruler, placed on the throne by the gods themselves. He made the law. He did not let Jehovah’s people go, because to do that would be to acknowledge that there is a greater god than he, a God who commands obedience, who doesn’t negotiate the terms, who doesn’t compromise. A God who simply commands and must be obeyed.

When Jehovah says, “Let my people go”, there is only one proper response.

But to Pharaoh, this was unthinkable. No one commands Pharaoh. The Israelites were Pharaoh’s people, not Jehovah’s. “I can treat them as I please, for they are mine, not yours. I have the right given to me by the gods to do as I please with what is mine.”

For Pharaoh to submit, Pharaoh would have to give up everything he believed about himself, about Egypt, about men and women, and about God.

And God didn’t negotiate it with Pharaoh. The nerve! Pharaoh tried again and again to modify the terms. “I’ll let you go a little ways. I’ll let just the men go. I’ll let you go, but the livestock stays here”.

Pharaoh was willing to treat Jehovah as an equal and compromise and come to an agreement. He was willing to use diplomacy.

But Jehovah doesn’t negotiate. The command was simple, unchangeable, and there was only one proper response. “Let my people go.”

 

As I was pondering this over my coffee this morning, I also thought of this passage:

9 “Or do you have an arm like God, And can you thunder with a voice like His?

10 “Adorn yourself with eminence and dignity; And clothe yourself with honor and majesty.

11 “Pour out the overflowings of your anger; And look on everyone who is proud, and make him low.

12 “Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him; And tread down the wicked where they stand.

13 “Hide them in the dust together; Bind them in the hidden place.

14 “Then I will also confess to you, That your own right hand can save you. (Job 40:9-14)

God is teaching Job the distinction between the creator and the creature. A creature doesn’t command all of nature (chapters 37-39) and a creature also has no ability to humble a proud heart. Pride is a monster that no man can tame.

Pharaoh would not submit to the simple command of Jehovah for only one reason. To submit to that command would be to admit he is a mere creature who cannot do as he pleases; who is created for obedience and righteousness. He is a creature created to reflect God. And he will never be an original. He will always be a copy.

For Pharaoh to set the people free, Pharaoh would have to acknowledge that he is not a god. He has no right to oppress, control, command, possess or abuse any human being, much less the people of God.

For Pharaoh to let the people go, he would have to bend the knee, recognize that the people of God are the people of God, not the people of Pharaoh and God will hold him accountable for how he behaves and how he thinks and how he acts. That he is not sovereign, independent, and has no right to do as he pleases.

And this he will not do. It is impossible for a proud man to be humble. Only God can change a heart. Job can’t do it. and neither can I.

God gave the command and he didn’t negotiate it. Obey it, or die. He repeated that command over a dozen times. he gave Pharaoh chance after chance. But he didn’t change his mind. Obey it, or die. Those are the options. And Pharaoh chose to die with his whole army rather than bend the knee.

But one time, in all of history, God gave different terms:

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. (Isa. 1:18)

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)

He has offered us his only begotten Son. He still does not negotiate with the creature. He is still holy. He still commands. He still says, “The soul that sins shall die.”

But he has given us his Son and has commanded us to lay down our weapons and believe on the one who offers his perfect righteousness for us. It is the only terms of peace with God that we will ever receive.

But in order to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you must be born again. Otherwise you will act just like Pharaoh.

“Who is the LORD? Why does he think he has the right to tell me what to do? Why should I serve him? What did he ever do for me?”

And only the LORD can soften the proud heart. Let’s face it, we humans like to think of ourselves as the Moses or Aaron of the story. But humans are far more like Pharaoh. We also, if God does not soften the heart, would drive right into the sea and drown rather than submit ourselves to the hand of God. We mock Pharaoh’s foolishness while we do the same things. (Here I am speaking of the unregenerate heart. The mark of a believer is that his heart has been softened by the Holy Spirit. If you have believed on the Lord Jesus, it is because you are no longer like Pharaoh by the grace of God).

Look around. We see how men and women destroy themselves and their families every day. They know that they are doing it, but they also know that the only other alternative is to submit to the hand of God. And that, they will not do. They would rather die.

God has offered us life, instead of death. May he grant us the grace of humbled hearts that we might learn to bend the knee and place our neck under the yoke of Christ, for “his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.”

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Filed under Sin and Grace, Warfare

Things I’ve been told

They tell me that I scold men too much.

They tell me that they feel sorry for my congregation because I lead them astray by teaching women that they are image-bearers of God with dignity and honor.

They tell me that I rob men of their masculinity by teaching them that imitating Christ means to take the lowest place and become the servant of all, including their wives. Christ did, however, give himself for his bride, the church.

They tell me that I cause divorces and wreck marriages by teaching men how to love their wives instead how to rule over them.

They tell me that I am unbalanced, and am soft on the sin of women because I teach that lust comes from the heart of man, not from the outfit of the woman.

They tell me that I am a feminist because I believe that the Bible teaches that every believing woman is also a prophet, priest and king along with every believing man.

They spit the word “egalitarian” at me like a curse because I believe women have a voice, should be treated as co-heirs of eternal life, and have a right to make decisions and use their gifts for the glory of God, just like every believing man.

And they tell me to stop. They command me to be silent. I make people uncomfortable.

And I worry sometimes.

 

And then I hear of judges who tell rape victims not to report their rape because they will ruin a good man’s life.

And then I hear of husbands punching their wives in the same room that they lead “family worship”.

And then I hear of pastors beating and molesting the children under their care. And I hear of other pastors who knew about it and gave them “a good talking to” but didn’t want to ruin their ministries.

And then I hear of youth pastors raping the children under their care, and calling it “an inappropriate relationship”.

And then I hear of women crying out to their church leaders that their husbands watch porn every night and are asked if they are satisfying them in bed.

And then I hear again of women who are beaten over and over again year after year and when they finally divorce they are excommunicated for being bitter.

And then I hear of wives who cover the altar of the Lord with tears and are told to “submit more”, “suffer a little while like Jesus suffered,” “God hates divorce”.

And then these same wives are shot by the husbands they tried to get protection from.

And then I hear of husbands threatening the wives with weapons, fists, words of hatred, vile contempt and the wives are blamed for not submitting enough, making them mad, provoking them, wanting it…

And then I hear that these are not rare occurrences. These are not unusual. These are the hidden corners, the long dark corridors, the valley of the shadow of death that are walked through by so, so many men, women and children.

I know that salvation is not the same as activism. I am not an abuse advocate. I am a minister of the word, a pastor, a preacher of good tidings of great joy. I will not get sucked into the abyss of darkness and pain nor is it my desire to draw you into it.

But as a minister, I do need to shine a light, expose evil, untwist the scripture that is continually twisted to keep the weak in bondage to the strong.

When the church of Jesus Christ becomes an institution of worldly power and money, the powerful always oppress the weak, crushing them underfoot, and they will use whatever means they can to do it.

And I love the church of Jesus Christ far, far too much to keep silent. For this reason, I will not keep silent about the horrors that so many of our brothers and sisters suffer. Nor will I allow the light of Jesus Christ to grow dim or fade, but will continue to lift the banner, proclaim liberty to the captives, and bind the wounds of the broken-hearted as much as I can.

Even though I know it will infuriate a lot of people who like being in power.

There can only, ever be one head of the church, and he will never give that honor to another.

The church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord, to defend,
to guide, sustain, and cherish,
is with her to the end;
tho’ there be those that hate her
and false sons in her pale,
against the foe or traitor
she ever shall prevail. (Samuel John Stone)

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Filed under Abuse, Gospel