Tag Archives: Karl Barth

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Unmasking the Enemy, Part 1

How do you make sense of a breezily written Time magazine cover entitled ‘Beyond He or She,’ in which the author Katy Steinmetz champions kids from around the country who refuse any gender identification (March 27th)? Or seventy congresspersons who are seeking a nationwide ban on an individual’s right to seek therapeutic help to make peace with the gender of one’s birth, on the basis that ‘LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for’(Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif.; Washington Post, April 27th)?

Neither Steinmetz nor Lieu recognize that they are participating in the fracturing of lives; they insist that the freedom to refuse one’s male or female self is a human right, a moral good, that must be defended as squarely as recognizing the homosexual or lesbian ‘self’. Where does it end? If we agree that ‘feelings’ about oneself and the other are the foundation for human freedom, we can only observe and congratulate a generation that seeks to transcend gender altogether.

The truth: we are witnessing the enemy of humanity robbing a generation of its fruitfulness and families of their cohesiveness. In what may best be described as domestic terrorism, parents endure one bomb blast after another as sons manifest their intention to become daughters, daughters sons, or most confusing, kids who insist on being called ‘they’ in order to keep all their gender options open. It is a new and demonic twist on the teen theme of exaggerated self-investment and experimentation: every day a new mask, a new self, a new partner for the ever evolving ‘self.’

Claiming ‘freedom’ from old traditions of male or female, these ones become slaves to their own self-interest. In search of a self, they are never able to become a whole-enough self for another, for their families, for the greater community. It is impossible. How can one become outer-directed when he or she refuses to land on the most basic level of being—the truth of one’s gender? The very powers that God gives one to create life (in his or her gendered self) now threaten to destroy that life and deaden the lives around him or her.

We have a common enemy who tries to render good evil and to enslave humanity with that distortion.

Karl Barth was right. Reflecting on gender duality as the only conclusion we can draw biblically about what it means to manifest the image of God in our humanity (Gen. 1: 26, 27), he concludes that a refusal to gender identify is a descent into inhumanity and a refusal of God Himself. God created each person either male or female. There are only two natures. When we refuse that fact, we refuse Him.

Our ‘feelings’ will not save us on the last day. In light of many desires, we can look straight in the face of the powers-that-be, be they political, journalistic, pseudo-scientific, or pseudo-religious, and declare their advocacy of LGBTQ ‘rights’ as an alliance with the dark powers governing our world today.

Turning from the enemy of our souls, we turn to the One who came down from heaven in order to rent the divide between us and evil. He descends into our very depths. Upon the ground He conquered in dying for our fractured selves, He lives in order to raise us according to His will for our gendered humanity.

‘The whole life and ministry of Jesus has been a battle with demons…This battle has been with the rulers of this world, the power structures that have organized themselves and their authority so that there is no room for God in the world. Jesus, then, has not come to offer yet one more political alternative but to break the stranglehold that the powers have on the world. He offers a new world, a new world in which God is God and human beings are set free to be human beings.’ N.T. Wright

Please join us in San Diego on June 16th and 17th for the sixth annual RHN Hope 2017 Conference as hundreds gather to celebrate how Jesus has set them free from gender identity distortions. Preview with us the first full-length documentary film ever made–Tranzfomed–on how Jesus restores the transgendered. Register here today!

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Up The Down Stairs

Easter invites us to rise with Christ and to offer our lives to those who have lost hope in His mercy. We arise in hope and become messengers of hope. Our clarity is founded on the hard fact that every other security has failed us. Resurrection demands that we admit ‘all our positions on life’s battlefield are lost and we must vacate them’ (Karl Barth). We stand in Christ alone. He shines gloriously upon us who are reduced to one thought and one prayer: ‘Jesus.’

My joy lies in partnering with persons who, aware of their brokenness, allow Jesus to become their wholeness and who live that truth in love for all who seek Him. One such person is Miguel Ramos from Puerto Rico with whom we partner in Living Waters. I just returned from his island in order to immerse myself in the healing community Miguel has established there through God’s mercy. Wow. Let me tell you about Miguel’s rising out of surrender to Jesus.

I met Miguel 4 years ago at our first Living Waters Training in Mexico. He was a well-known actor—handsome and confident– on his island of 4 million yet also reduced to Jesus in his homosexual struggle. He cried most of the training. Unable to fix himself, He entrusted himself to the One who could bring good out of his suffering. He wanted to serve others but knew he had to be reduced from the larger-than-life persona he had cultivated. He needed to get saved from himself, to come down to size in order to manifest Jesus.

God is good at that. Miguel returned annually to the training in Mexico with fresh need for healing and encouragement. He confessed church trouble and woman trouble and how God seemed to honor his efforts only to frustrate them. Miguel persevered. He knocked on new church doors and poured out ‘living water’ on any who were thirsty. Relational tensions rose and fell away until he landed in a church family that asked of him only that he become small and serve. He began to run our groups there and found deep common ground with the pastors and a vision of integrity: the express goal of that church is to impart wholeness to the inner man in order to reach the world with Jesus’ transforming power. Miguel found ‘home’ where he is helping others to come home.

We visited Miguel last weekend in his church where we taught and healed. His people testified mightily of the hope they have found in Jesus’ mercy. And Miguel found there a beautiful woman—Ruth– with whom he is partnering in love and service. The high point of our time together? In the unexpected absence of a worship leader, Ruth picked up the microphone and began to lead us in a beautiful worship set; she was soon joined by Miguel who joined her in the most sumptuous of harmonies. Together, the two took us to heaven. Hail the fruit of surrender. Jesus opposes the proud but raises the humble (James 3:6). Gloriously.

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Enkindling Hope Andrew Comiskey

Enkindling Hope

‘A person’s resurrection is no personal privilege for himself alone. It contains within itself hope for all, hope for everything.’ Dorothy Soelle

Like you, I tend to fear what may come out of my mouth in ‘polite’ society. A fire burns in me constantly that longs to enkindle the hope of transformation for anyone serious about Jesus Christ. Good news yes, and scandalous too.

While at a well-heeled Christmas party with new neighbors last week, the subject of a particular Catholic theologian—Richard Rohr– came up. Rohr lost my respect a while back when he shifted his anthropology and began to recognize the ‘LGBT’ set as an ethnic group in need of rights rather than repentance unto the transforming love of Christ Jesus.

This theologian has now unwittingly blocked the way for men and women to open themselves to the new life Jesus has for them. Instead, his worldly thinking limits them to sexualizing their own gender, a direction that forever frustrates God’s will for their good lives.

In a flash, I thought of all the young women and men with same-sex attraction whose aspiration to walk in chastity is hindered by churchmen like Rohr who have become worldly in their thinking. The path of a generation needs to be cleared! We remove the weeds through the fire of truth, spoken in love. When well-aimed and timed, such fire enkindles hope for a life that surpasses ‘gay love.’

Fire burned in me. Amid the tinkling of wine glasses and well-tailored holiday wear, I knew that I had to basically undress and tell the whole truth of what Jesus can do for persons like me. I gently broke into the conversation and said that while I appreciated much of Rohr’s work, ‘I fear he is blocking the way for a generation to know the truth that can set them free.’

The woman, a college professor, interrupted me with some bogus worldly wisdom—‘Since the beginning of time, there has been the same % of gays everywhere on the planet…’ I quietly refuted her (such data does not exist) then redirected the conversation back to the truth of the Gospel—‘Jesus opens a door that cannot be shut for persons who knock for a way out of homosexuality and this is how He did so for me…’ Because my tone was respectful and my content deeply personal, she listened and left with ‘I see this now in a whole new light.’

That light is nothing less than the Gospel, which will remain hidden toward persons who will perish (2Cor. 4:3) unless people like you and me enkindle hope with the truth Jesus has entrusted to us.

Theologian Karl Barth says it best: ‘Something often flames up in our soul that we would like to call out to all people—a question, a complaint, a word of defiance, a rejoicing, a stark truth—something of a sort that a person cannot keep to himself once it is there…It saddens us to see people coming and going, all in so much dullness and error when we have something to tell them that would help them…Our talk is such a wooden, dead talk. Fire will not break out in it, but can only smolder in our words…Whatever does not grow out of God produces smoke, not fire. But that which is born of God overcomes the world (1JN 5:4). We need only to speak with our fellows on the basis of faith. As long as our words do not arise out of faith in God’s power, we will remain mute. Only faith can speak. But faith can speak! Our ears must be opened then our mouths.’

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Jenner: Pity Not Praise

The long awaited interview of decathlon-winner Bruce Jenner ‘coming out’ as a woman has inspired nothing but adulation in the media; our local editorialist fawned over him as ‘a superhero’, his decision (to identify as a woman) driven by ‘Olympian strength.’

Nonsense. His decision is nothing less than a grotesque expression of narcissism. Anyone who seeks to resolve such a profound identity conflict by assuming the other gender has dissociated from reality. Gender reassignment is based on a fault-line; it is a diabolical effort to repair a fractured soul that sends fissures throughout the whole of that person’s influence. I do not buy for a second his children lauding their father’s fantasy ‘self.’

Like the American public, his kids have been well-trained to bless every bizarre gender declaration as ‘justice’ and ‘authenticity’ instead of the selfish, senseless ‘solutions’ that they are. Ask any doctor who performs gender reassignment surgery. Studies show that mental imbalances surrounding the gender-conflicted are worsened, not improved, by taking on a new gender ‘self.’

Furthermore, Jenner is committing an act of supreme idolatry. Playing God, he now fashions a self in his pathetic image, not the Creator’s. He lives in darkness and leeches the light from us all by insisting that we enter his confusing universe. How fitting that he and the Kardashian-driven E! Channel will make millions as he submits every nip and tuck and new dress for public consumption.

Reflecting on the holy nature of gendered humanity, Karl Barth wrote: ‘A flight from one’s gender is a flight into inhumanity. It is a flight from God.’

More than the meltdown of a fragile opportunist, Jenner represents the meltdown of a nation. We have no fear of God, only a superficial assent to people’s bad decisions packaged as ‘freedom.’ Our freedoms are destroying good people who need truth-in-love. God gave Jenner a gender; God in His mercy can restore him. Pray for Jenner and all who are subject to the false light of his delusion.

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Fire and Fortitude

‘Go forth from the quiet of contemplation and courageously bear witness to My truth.’ (Jesus to St. Catherine of Siena)

Christ’s coming at Christmas can only be received, treasured, contemplated; manifesting the Divine Child throughout the New Year requires all the courage and fortitude we possess.

Never before has His epiphany, or manifestation, been more urgent. The battle between Christ and anti-Christ in the form of gender reconstruction has broken out into the open. (I recently read an article by popular Catholic leader Richard Rohr who claimed: ‘The gender self is the false self.’ Really?) Calling all bright and shining lamps who can testify to the glories of Jesus and His Church–how His community liberated you to resume the journey to wholeness! The Spirit is summoning you to manifest the Almighty Mercy of Jesus amid the chaos at hand.

Reflecting on 2014, I can testify to the increase of darkness over God’s image in humanity, but also of the greater grace required to stand as His gleaming remnant. I refer not only to persons with same-sex attraction but all men and women burned by lust in whom Jesus has reclaimed authentic desire. Throughout a year marked by many obstacles, Jesus reminded me of Ezra’s words: ‘God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant, and giving us a firm place in His sanctuary…God has granted us new life to rebuild the house of God and to repair its ruins. He has given us a wall or protection.’ (Ezra 9: 8, 9)

New life to rebuild His house! Truly this is the season of the Church! He shines on churchmen and women who love nothing more than releasing streams of living water among the faithful through the word of their testimony and by gathering together to make a way for others to know His liberating truth.

That requires fortitude—the virtue of ‘firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of good.’ That virtue is worked in us by Jesus Himself as we say ‘yes’ to what He loves amid a thousand counterfeits. Annette and I have never been more hard-pressed on one hand; on the other, we experience the truth that ‘enduring difficulties, neither deliverance from them nor avoidance of them, constitutes the supreme moment of God’s power.’

Many difficulties, more power. Our gleaming as simple reflectors of His Mercy requires hardship. As the way narrows, we grow more desperate for Him, our limits eclipsed over and over by His superabundance. We live for Him and through Him. Our humble bush is consumed, but it is God that burns in us, He who cannot be extinguished and who through us will vindicate His glorious image upon the earth. ‘By standing firm we gain life’ (LK 21:19), and help others do the same.

‘Let’s wait and see is a dangerous saying. Who knows if we shall be around tomorrow? Surely the Savior will be there, but what about us? Life is not a light that can be enkindled again. Life is a fire given by God to burn on earth just once and never more! Dear friends, let us pay heed lest we miss the hour of this fire right here and now. O that today we would harken to His voice and harden not our hearts!’ Karl Barth

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