Tag Archives: truth

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Truth Ascending

‘When He comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you into all truth.’ (John 16: 13)

 

weddingringsGod has a lot of nerve. He comes and He goes with only the promise of an unseen Spirit to remind us of His truth (John 16). I know, the Holy Spirit is awesome but we are weak and fickle creatures more inclined to spiritual dullness than acuity.

Yet Jesus trusts us with His truth; His ascent to the Father declares: ‘Listen to Me, My Spirit is speaking and you can hear Him; submit to His lead and I will guide you; as My Spirit advocates for your dignity, advocate for the dignity of others.’ What a God! What trust He places in our responsiveness to Him and His truth!

Like you, I look upon many indignities in our world today, especially those concerning the dull and irrational misinterpretation of homosexuality. That has resulted in ‘gay marriage’ victories from New Zealand to France, and in several states in the USA.

Amid the deadening clamor to redefine marriage, the voices of the faithful can also be heard. Are we listening? I have been amazed in the last several weeks as I have heard those who listen to the Spirit and who declare His beauty in marriage.

The Church of England recently defied its Prime Minister’s drive to legislate ‘gay marriage’ by insisting: ‘Marriage is a gift from God, not a right granted by the state or a cultural construct…It is an expression of the human nature which God has willed for us and which we share.’

Flatirons, the largest congregation in Colorado, defied its ‘hipster’ status by declaring unashamedly ‘God defines marriage, and no human institution can change that; we can only choose whether we want to acknowledge it or not.’

Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann spoke beautifully for his state and God’s heart when he said last week: ‘Cultures and societies place themselves at risk when they no longer recognize the importance of marriage as an enduring, committed relationship between one man and one woman…this is primarily about the well-being of children’ who result from such a relationship.

Catholic Bishops throughout the USA are united in their stand for marriage as an expression of the dignity of all persons, especially children who have no voice. The bishops declare together: ‘Redefining marriage says…what adults want trumps what a child deserves and has a right to.’

Jesus ascended and left us His Spirit. In spite of the dreadful drive to disintegrate marriage, let us advocate for what He advocates for in us: our dignity, our creativity, our capacity to make and keep promises of love that dignify all involved, especially children.

Please join us as we join prayerfully with the Catholic Bishops on behalf of marriage, June 21st to July 4th. For more info, visit www.Fortnight4Freedom.org

“He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; He gave gifts to men. What does ‘He ascended’ mean, except that He also descended into the lower regions of the earth? One who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.” (Eph. 4: 8-10)

 

 

 

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Authentic Drivel

GriefWith grief I consider the irony of Exodus’ response to John Paulk’s immersion in gay culture (Exodus Blog, April 22; Paulk presided over Exodus in the nineties). Exodus used to focus on how Jesus leads persons out of homosexuality. Now Exodus appears to celebrate those who return to it.

Exodus VP Randy Thomas just wrote a glowing account of Paulk’s renunciation of his ‘ex-gay’ status. In the spirit of Exodus new ‘radical’ grace message, Thomas ‘agrees with 95%’ of what Paulk confided in him, commends him to us as ‘one pursuing the true meaning of grace’, and describes John as ‘a man without guile.’

Yet Thomas omits the fact that Paulk’s choices violate his vows to his wife and three boys who as teenagers need their father more than ever. Exodus seems more concerned with John’s authentic gay self than with the needs of his wife and kids.

If I was married to a SSA-struggler tied to Exodus, I would jump out of my skin. Dabbling in idolatry, even if married, now appears to be covered by Exodus’ ‘grace.’

Ironically, Thomas notes that Paulk ‘got very emotional talking about young people.’ Maybe father Paulk could stop grieving for gay teens and attend undividedly to the teens he sired. Maybe he could be encouraged to cry tears of repentance and return to them.

Perhaps John grieves for himself more than for anyone else. Such is the narcissism that drives any ‘ex-gay superstar’ as well as the ‘ex-ex-gay’ who cries victim rather than takes responsibility for his own bad choices.

The narcissist is usually winsome in his confession; Thomas sure seems taken by Paulk’s. But confession, when not in the service of repentance, remains in the service of sin. What a novel idea: that Exodus or any ministry claiming to be Christian might discern the difference between authentic drivel and a heart turning back to Jesus.

Only repentance will do—the desperate ache for Jesus, and desperation to repair what one has destroyed. Only then can real grace meet real sin and overcome it.

 

 

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Lent Devotion 3: True Worship

‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ (Matt. 6: 21)

heal

A few years ago, my teenage son told me that the largest evangelical church in our city was winning over many of his friends. His concern? Those new converts continued in sexual immorality as the church ‘did not make a big deal about premarital sex.’ Later I read one of the pastor’s books in which he conveyed quietly that Christians had to become ‘gay–affirming’ if they wanted to be relevant to a new era.

Last month that pastor presided over President Obama’s inaugural prayer breakfast. Barack’s first pastoral choice had been cut at the last minute when it was discovered that he had a ‘homosexuality, sin, and healing’ sermon in his preaching history.

What we worship will be reflected in our sexual ethics. Such was the case for the
Church at Pergamos, the third church Jesus addressed in Revelation (2: 12-17).

Pergamos was the Washington DC of Asia; its name allegedly means ‘married to power.’ Any citizen of Pergamos would have been surrounded by smart focused people aspiring to go places with people a little more important than they were. Power and false worship, or idolatry, go hand-in-hand. We give our hearts to what matters most to us. Social significance mattered to the Pergamons.

Pergamos led the way in worshipping false gods in the form of people. For example, the city was the first to build temples to the Roman ‘king’ Caesar Augustus. Devotion to Caesar and other deified humans often resulted in sexual immorality. One might ‘bond’ with a human mediator and so aspire to the power of the idol itself. Moral compromise became a stepping stone to power

It was costly to be a Christian in Pergamos. That’s why Jesus came with a two-edged sword in His words to wake up the church there the threat of false worship. That’s why He addressed the church in that city as dwelling among ‘Satan’s throne.’ (v.13) And that’s why He encourages them strongly to keep holding fast to His Name, even to the point of death. The church at Pergamos is the only one of the seven known to have had a martyr, namely Antipas.

But idolatry is a powerful hook, even to devout Christians. Jesus knew they were being seduced by false teachers into false worship. Skewed spiritual and sexual practices resulted. The Pergamons did not renounce Jesus; they just incorporated devotion to the sensual gods into their worship of Jesus (2K 17: 41).

St. Peter alerts us to this brand of idolaters known as Balaamites (1P 2: 13-22) when he speaks of greedy ones whose ‘eyes are full of adultery,’ ‘who seduce the unstable,’ and ‘who entice people just escaping from those living in error. Promising them freedom, [these false prophets] are slaves to depravity.’

Jesus does not seek reconciliation with the Balaamites; He is jealous for His Church and insists that the saints at Pergamos renounce all vestiges of this idolatry. He does not mince words: ‘I hate such a mixture! Repent! Remove what is true from the false!’ In other words, you should worship no other gods but Me!’

Let’s not relegate the compromise at Pergamos to the ancient world. The striving for power continues; that mixture of skewed spirituality and sexuality is growing like leaven in the church today. Might we offer ourselves wholly and only to Him, forsaking popularity for the promise Jesus gave the Pergamons?

He promised ‘hidden manna’ and a ‘white stone’ for all who forsake sexy idols. (Rev. 2: 17) Hungry, we eat the bread of Heaven and worship the One who gave all to make us His own; humbled as a stranger in a strange land, we journey to the City of God, our heart’s true home.

‘He who offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies Me, and to him who goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.’ (PS 50: 23)

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Waking Up

How do you explain a nation that resolutely opposed ‘gay marriage’ at the polls (32X) then ushered it in boldly last Tuesday?

You could cite Obama’s slide as America’s; he started 4 years ago resolute in his ‘Christian’ commitment to marriage then unraveled. He became the first US president to champion ‘gay marriage’ last May. Did he lead America into ‘gay marriage’ or just reflect the superficial faith of many? Chicken or egg: discuss.

Last Tuesday, the Church laid an egg; she chickened out, big time. How else do you explain the stats that most avowed Roman Catholics in the USA now support ‘gay marriage’? Or the evangelical drivel that ‘we cannot legislate morality’? Are you kidding? Every act of legislation is a moral decision!

We so want a tolerant Jesus that we edit the truth that He is the Creator and Redeemer of all, which implicates our gender, our sexuality and what we do with our bodies. Supporting ‘gay marriage’ declares that we have no understanding of what it means to be human, made in His image. So we settle for a ‘feel good’ Jesus who does not mess with us. In truth, Jesus messes with us at the core of our affections and motives so that we don’t mess up others, including murdering the unborn.

Jesus indicts America’s cowardice with ‘gay marriage’ and a new host of pro-abortion leaders led by Obama himself.

It’s not too late. Last Tuesday sounded an alarm. Will ‘we wake up from the dead and let Christ shine on us?’ (Eph. 5:14)

I had a dream last night of a bright-eyed young pastor serving an ailing church in Boston. Due to the pastor’s disavowal of ‘gay marriage’, the church elders took away his keys. But he had a key, shaped like a cross. His ‘cross-key’ gave him free and ready access to the church that mere men could not stop. Many joined him, and a vibrant renewed church emerged from the dying one.

My friend and colleague Josh Glazer woke up. He led his Maryland-based ministry Regeneration to pray and fast with us over these last 40-days. He writes: ‘I’ve been humbled to have my own cowardice and compromise exposed–masked as compassion, busy-ness, humility, and the pursuit of being ‘relevant’. Also, I’ve become increasingly aware of something akin to a spirit of delusion over our land, blinding us to the true fruit of the unnatural desires we’ve been embracing.

The shining moment of this fast for me was when a spirit of fear was broken. The Lord showed me my cowardice and compromise as “holding to a form of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:4). For three days following, I reveled in Hebrews 11 — reading of my brothers and sisters in the faith who have gone before me, not clinging to this country nor the approval or pleasures therein, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11:16).

As this fast concludes, whether marriage further upheld or further desecrated, I am convinced we must keep crying out for mercy and a spirit of repentance in His Church and throughout our land. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us!”

 

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