Monthly Archives: June 2015

How to Have the Gay Conversation

I really do doubt if you can change any mind these days.  Older people are set in their ways and the younger people don’t have minds to change.  But every once in a while you can penetrate the dormant lump of grey matter, left by our atheistic educational system and make people consider that their view of the world is not all together sufficient to explain how things work.


Young people, now known as the ‘millennials’, are very temperamental.  They are waiting to go off.  They don’t debate or argue, they don’t ever use logic, especially when they can use emotion, they are simply programmed to react.  If they hear a tone they don’t like or even a word, they will explode, like a vested ISIS member when he sees a cartoon of Muhammed.   If you use a metaphor with a term they don’t like(see last sentence), they will explode.  If you say something that they heard someone say, that they think is cute or like for some other reason, they will explode.  If you make it seem like you are better than them in any way—you know the drill.  It’s really annoying but they love personal stories.

image_1435636947602The Situation:

Someone posts or says to you that they are so happy for their gay friend because they now have equality.  Or they are free to love whomever. . . or some such lie from the pit of hell.  First I guess you should calm down.  Anger can be a good motivator, but if you resolve to act out of love you should probably wait until you are not doing it out of anger.  What you can get away with is directly proportional to how well you know the person, I say push as much as you can.


The Tactic:

Questions are very powerful.  The  goal is dependent on the person.  For Christians you should try to get them to see the truth in Scripture.  Sure you will get all sorts of wacky interpretations , but if they claim to be a Christian you can let the Bible speak to them.  Ask questions about the definition of love and how it’s not about feelings, it’s about obedience(John 14-21-24).  There are plenty of verses about the wrongness of sodomy (I Corinthians 6:9, Romans 1, I Timothy 1:10, Jude 1:7, Mark 10-6-9) And don’t be afraid of the Old Testament (Genesis 13-19; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13-15) Also, don’t give into the “well the Old Testament also says ‘homosexuals should be stoned”, or whatever the verse.  If the verse they say is in the Bible, don’t disavow it.  It was there for a reason, it was a blessing to God’s people just like the rest of the Bible.  If understood in context you should absolutely believe it was true and appropriate, when given.  It might apply slightly different today, but don’t fear these verses or agree that they are wrong.  If you do you undermine your whole argument.  Study them out.

If the person is not a Christian, ask questions to undermine their source of authority.  Everyone has a source of authority, everyone believes in right and wrong, and everyone believes in forcing their views on everyone else.  That’s just the way God made us.  Though it is not fashionable to admit it these days.  For most people today their source of authority is themselves or what they feel or have determined with those feelings.  For some it’s a collective, things are right because the majority believes it, or because a group of scientists believe it, or something.  On homosexuality almost every majority be it tradition or actual votes, is strongly opposed.  Gay marriage goes down every time it’s voted on except for Main, Washington and Maryland. So ask questions to reveal what that authority is.  If it’s themselves then playfully threaten to steal from them, if one opinion is as good as another, how can they object.  They can’t criticize you for criticizing people.  They can’t make ultimate statements, because your beliefs and feelings are just as much of an authority as theirs. Watch for the inconsistencies because they will always be there.

If their authority is some sort of collective, list off the collectives that they might find evil.  Hitler was voted into power.  Most Germans had no problem with what happened.  Or maybe a tribe of cannibals, who think eating people you conquer is fine.  Or maybe just the Muhammedans and good old fashioned female circumcision.  This might generally lead to them being upset that you called them a Nazi, again the metaphors and logic are difficult to get across.

As Christians our authority comes from the Word of God, it is fixed because it is based on the character of God.  By believing it you are free to criticize other belief systems without hiding behind statements like “who are you to judge me” because the Bible tell you exactly who you are.  You are a child of God sent to be the light to this person.  You are free to believe in the punishment of evil, and actual justice.  Everyone else is just evolved slime trying to figure out why we are here, yet pretty sure it’s to get along and be at ‘peace’.  Very confusing, and they think Christianity takes a lot of faith.   How can they criticize anything, if it’s all about equality and getting along and ‘love’?  If you get them questioning the Bible, it will only be rebellion. Ask them “If Christianity is so wrong and God doesn’t exist, why are you so mad at him?”.  They know they have got nothing.  Josh MacDowell has lots of excellent material on the rock solid authoritative nature of the Bible.


Other directions:

There is no such thing as gay. There are actions that you do, some are fine and some are sin.  You are not the actions you do or your past.  This is a lie from Satan to trap people.  You can point out that the child molester thinks he has a disease too.  Or whatever other evil they would object to, I know there aren’t that many left.  Freedom comes from realizing that you are free to act apart from your lusts or fate or whatever.  You can choose a different life.  You don’t have to escape yourself by associating with some deviant community, you can escape into Jesus.  They don’t need to escape into some deviant behavior, they can escape by being reborn and casting their past life, and all their garbage at the cross of the Christ.


Many people who are actually a part of one of these debhilitating sins actually have traumatic stories.  Girls whose fathers abused them perpetuate further sin by seeking solace in women instead of men.  Or boys become just like their abusive father and become homosexuals as a sort of power trip.  But generally they accuse you of being abused and that’s how you ended up so close minded.  Accusations reveal a lot.


But after all this work, they might blow you off and never speak to you again.  Generally even if they do have an epiphany they won’t admit it.  So don’t give up, or think you are a failure.    Also, don’t be afraid that speaking up will affect your status, your job/business, your social life, or whatever.  God takes care of the birds, won’t he surely take care of you?  Fearing men instead of God is idolatry.  So get out there and shine the light.  If we don’t, who will?


Further Study:

This is a great seminary class on how to preach to the new generation.  But most of is it just basic rhetoric.  Lectures 24 and 25 lay out how to understand another perspective, which is very helpful here, when we have raised up a generation of fools in rebellion.


Like snow in summer

“Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
so honor is not fitting for a fool.”

Like a fork in the eye or a taser to the groin
so the judge who thinks he is God.

“Like one who binds the stone in the sling
is one who gives honor to a fool”

Like one who jams a rock in his gun barrel
is the nation who voted for Obama.

“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen”

It’s over America, unless you fall on your knees and repent. I don’t mean repent of voting for the wrong party or repent for your neighbor, cry out for your people, for your nation, repent of all the evil that you love. Repent of all the sexual immorality, for killing inconvenient infants, for blaming everything on someone else, for the gluttony, sloth, anger, the love of money, trying to get rich quick, repent of ditching your spouse, repent of watching TV instead of raising your own kids, repent or this peak of civilization, is over.

The Mark of the Beast

666People have always been fascinated with the mark of the beast, 666.  They are always attempting to fit current politics into the mold cast by the passage from Revelation.  They didn’t really have symbols for numbers as we do, so they used letters.  The manuscripts from Revelation actually denote “χξς” , Chi, Xi, Vau.  Which comes out to 666 or 616.  It is most likely a cryptic way of saying Nero.  Which makes the most sense in context.  But while this is all very interesting, it is to miss the actual point of the verse.  Nero conquered Jerusalem, and was dead and gone long ago, but the battle between good and evil rages on, even in the Church.

The purpose of the mark was to identify those who were sympathetic to the emperor.  Those who  refused, would not be able to buy and sell.  Essentially, you worship the emperor or you won’t be able to participate in commerce.  You would probably lose your job and you wouldn’t be able to buy any food.

Those faithful Jews would be forced to make a choice, reject your faith, bow down and glorify Nero as god, or be killed.  Of course the whole problem took place because the Jews didn’t embrace their king when he returned to his vineyard(Mark 12:-1-12).  And so God was judging them.  And so every Jewish rebellion was put down, ending with the siege of Masada.

Those faithful Christians at the time had a similar choice; reject King Jesus and bow down to Caesar, or be killed.  Which is why Prophet Jesus told his disciples to flee to the hills when they saw the abomination of desolation(Matthew 24).  Leave the country, so you won’t have to make the choice.  God gave his faithful the wisdom to escape the judgement prepared for Apostate Israel.

We have a similar situation today.  You bow down to the gods of atheistic multicultural humanism or you will lose the ability to buy and sell.  Mobs of fools might storm your business, or a cacophony of internet tweets might shame others from darkening your door.  People will unfriend you on Facebook and family members will refuse to be at the same family gatherings as you are.  Granted, not quite as bad as losing your life at the hand of a Roman army, which is why it’s so sad that so many are caving in so quickly.

It’s the same old choice, do you fear what men can do to your body or do you fear the commands of the Lord God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth?(Matthew 10:28)  Sure it might be difficult, but do you really think God will not save his people?  And if not. . .   Besides we deserve it.  We, the people of the Church, have sat around on our hands for generations allowing this to happen.  We didn’t speak the truth of God even to our own children, as we sent them off to the World to become worldlings (Deuteronomy 11:19; 6:7).  And so, suffering is ahead.  But it’s nothing compared with the suffering of those who reject the commands of God, even on this earth (Romans 1).

So every time you are tempted to like your gay friend’s post about how they have now crossed the Jordan and entered the promised land, realize you are glorifying evil, you are bowing down to Caesar.  You are saying that three deceived women, a Clinton hack and a Judas, in black robes are Lord over your life and not Jesus, you take the Mark.  Every time you consider the earthly ramifications to you, or even your family, and put those concerns above pleasing God, you take the Mark.  Every time you put the life of your business above the life of God’s word, you take the mark.  Every time you even let people think you are going along with this insanity, you take the Mark.

We are the Church people, and if we don’t point people towards the light, and towards repentance, it will only get worse (Matthew 5:14-16).  Worse for us, I’m not that concerned for the Kingdom of Heaven, it is flourishing quite well in China.  And maybe this is what we need, ‘Christians’ are falling away in droves and it makes it easier to see who the real Christians are.  Unfortunately they are the ones holding the coats while our true brothers and sisters are cut down for their faithfulness (Acts 7:58).  Can’t we all just get along?  No, not while some love darkness rather than the light.  So stand up and be counted amongst the faithful.  Refuse the Mark of the Beast, the 666, the rainbow of lies.

Burning Birdbrains

As it turns out there was a big movement at the time of Israel’s captivity in Babylon to get along with the emperor.  They were called the syncretists.  They believed that since they were the chosen people and God was going to rescue them and return them to Jerusalem in 70 years, anyway, that they should wait around for the rapture, I mean restoration.  So they tried to glorify every abomination that the people of Babylon participated in, including the worship of Nebuchadnezzar.  They figured that God was all about love and after all Leviticus says “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself” so they did everything they could to get along.

The Four Fools, burning for their legalism.

They knew that they would be killed if they didn’t worship the emperor, and how would they return to the land if they were all dead?  Some of the Israelites were great painters so they painted pictures of the Babylonian orgies.  Some of them were great at preparing food, so they made food to honor the Babylonian gods.  It was wonderful.

There were some men who rebelled,  they were the legalists.  A few in particular started a violent rebellion, and were burned alive.  I think their names were, Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael and Daniel.  They believed that God wanted the people to repent and obey his laws, before he would restore them, what idiots.  So, eventually the people were restored, Babylon burned and they all lived happily ever after, except for Hananiah and his friends, they were all dead.

Observing Palm Sunday

I am constantly struck by the difficulty of maintaining goodness.  Good habits are easily broken or turned into bad ones.  Things we like are easily idolized we can make anything about ourself.  It is so easy to push ourselves into texts or even the words of other people as they come out of their mouth.  Taking a lot of time to really observe texts and ask a lot of questions can really help us to get outside of ourselves.

The Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, Louis Felix Leullier.  19th century.

The Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, Louis Felix Leullier. 19th century.

So some questions about Mark 11:1-11. Why do we always talk about Jesus riding a donkey when Mark says ‘foal’?  Why did Jesus choose this animal?  Has this ever happened in Scripture?  Why did they shout Hosanna?  What did they mean by the kingdom of David? Why did Jesus leave Jerusalem, this and the following nights?  What is the greater thread that compels Mark to include this in the text as he does now?

I’m so glad you asked.  In answering these questions I came up with some answers from other texts.  Well, mark says ‘colt’ but John and Matthew say it was the cold of a Donkey.  As it is written in Zechariah 9,

Behold, your king is coming to you;

righteous and having salvation is he,

humble and mounted on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey

. . .

and he shall speak peace unto the heathen:

and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea,

and from the river even to the ends of the earth.

There are so many passages in the Old Testament that had to have the disciples slapping their heads, when they realized how thick they had been.  We think of the Old Testament as an archaic theocracy where people were forced to follow a bunch of rules until a king would come and kill everyone and the Jews would rule the world.  But it’s right here he would speak peace to the heathen and his dominion shall spread over the whole earth.  Which has basically happened.  Christianity is still the fastest growing religion and there are Christians in almost every corner of the earth.

But back to donkey’s.  Donkey is a very common word in the Old Testament.  They were the basis of much case law, seemed to be ridden by women frequently and even spoke in one instance.  Judges 5:10, 10:4 and 12:14 all show royalty riding donkeys.  I Kings 1:33 shows king Solomon riding David’s mule to his coronation.  The people had to be seeing the comparisons here.  Solomon was the ultimate philosopher king, by any standard.  Yet he failed greatly now Jesus would take his place riding his donkey to his coronation to a kingship that would look strange at first but would conquer the world, and he would reign forever.   Also interesting we see Jacob associating a colt with the tribe of Judah, in the last days.  That’s a whole study in itself, but the passage connects the vine and blood with a donkey(Genesis 49:8-12).   From these verses and other customs of the time we see that leaders would often ride donkey’s when they meant to announce peace.  A king declaring war and leading an army would enter a city on a war horse, but Jesus is seeking to make peace with all men, peace between sinful men and God.  So Jesus chose a donkey. I get the impression that the colt’s owner recognized the disciples.  No doubt they had made a big raucous in Jerusalem, and we later see a servant girl recognized Peter (Mark 14:66).

Now, there is really no reason to suspect that the people who welcomed their king, were the same ones yelling crucify him.  The fact that Judas had to betray Jesus to the religious leaders, late at night in a secret place indicates that the people were on Jesus’ side.  I’m sure after his crucifixion, many people doubted that he was the messiah.  But after the resurrection the church grew and was present until the Muhammeda conquests shortly before the first crusade.  How did this common idea start? I imagine that this idea was the brain child of a winsome pastor who made the comparison.  And being the overly humble, people waiting to be told how bad we are, that we are, we picked it up and repeat it to this day.  Similar to the way we can be so defeatist about the real spread of his kingdom, on this earth, this very day.   The people loved Jesus.  But there were some holdouts, the temple mount held by the religious leaders.  And so we see Jesus set up camp outside the city, as if he were laying siege.  And he then comes into the city, into the temple and attacks the religious leaders until in Mark 12:34 it says “And after that, no one dared to ask him any questions.”.  Jesus had vanquished his enemies completely he had done what the nation Israel had failed to do when they entered the land.  In a few days he would complete his work, and establish his throne in the line of David forever.

Skirts and Pants

“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”  -The Lord God of Heaven

I have heard it said that this doesn’t mean women shouldn’t wear pants because at some other point in history men wore dresses and women wore something like pants.  This is like saying that if the meaning of a word has changed it might as well have no meaning.  So feel free to use the N-word liberally.  Also use the word gay to mean happy or whatever you want.  Jesus and his disciples also wore thongs.  This is silly.  In our culture dresses are clearly associated with women.  Except of course, as Chesterton says, when men want to rule.  That is priests, judges, etc wear dresses as a sign of authority and respect.  We even recognize this which is why we wouldn’t like it if our pastor wore a robe, we love the casual.  But the fact remains that pants were developed as technology enabled them to be girded clothing, for work, for function.  In our cultural language dresses are clearly associated with women, and pants with men.  Long hair is clearly associated with women and short with men.  So why wouldn’t you want to be as careful as you could?  God says it is an abomination.  Make the lines as clear as you can.  As someone raised in the church, I love dresses on women and it saddens me that they are going away.  What are we trading them for? Convenience?  Our personal comfort?  Why not make the very small sacrifice and make God’s created order shine to the World even brighter?


Even the world’s view of women, today.

In addition this verse is talking about women putting on war clothes.  Obviously apart from the language, this is an argument from the lesser to the greater, if mixing clothes are bad, what about mixing tasks.  It is shameful for a woman to go to war, to act like a man.  It’s shameful for a man to act effeminate.  The language of how we act is just as real as actual language, and God cares about it.  And the world notices it even if they wouldn’t admit it.

So just because language can change does not mean it is meaningless.  It matters.  Just because it is a difficult issue doesn’t mean we just throw up our hands.  We are called to be wise, to rightly divide the word of truth.  We are to judge the angels.  We are supposed to do the hard work of studying the Old Testament rules and Wisdom and apply it to our lives as best we can.  Otherwise we are just taking our cues from the world and being lazy.


Again I am undone and stand as dead,
All the ends have frazzled down to a thread.

The waif was there, yet knew not she
was such as that, oh could it be?
To wander this world alone is thought to be free
but humanity, two from one created He,
and one is now but half, alone not free to be human.

And so to wander, to be unmoored but by thine own desire,
is to gape and struggle without half a life.
It is to be homeless.

And so to build a home I ply,
to rescue both she and I.
From all that may seem as though it were,
an ideal world for but half of her.

Where ere she be I have no clue
but cannot so be idle with task so true,
Stretched out ahead so unfinished
and so this word stretched out to you.

The music enters when you pass by
And thus struck within I find I’m shy.

Timothy for Us

I am very concerned for my church.  I would rather not write this, but the same theme keeps emerging from our pulpit and it must be addressed.  I am concerned that we have heaped up teachers for ourselves to satiate our itching ears, teachers to our own liking.  And what is our liking?  I see it as standard us-vs them religion of the Pharisees and all such people throughout time.  We seek the perfect system, systematic theology, that is at the expense of being and doing what Jesus commanded us to do.  And so we love teachers who spend their time criticizing and nit picking the details of every one else’s supposed belief system, instead of focusing on the faults of their own flock.

Now, there are a lot of good things about our church.  I am always surprised at the level of biblical knowledge displayed by the average person in most of the sunday school classes I have ever attended. There are a lot of very godly people living out very godly lives.  There is work being done all over the world by missionaries we send and support.   These are very good things.

The Priority of the Word?

The Priority of the Word?

But, the sermon on Second Timothy last week, was the final straw, because it could have addressed some of our own flaws and how best to fix them but instead it was another litany of, other people’s sins.   I really hoped it was going to go there, but now we are beginning a new generation of preaching, of not going there.   This book is a handing off from Paul to Timothy in some ways, and so we are seeing that hand off in our own church.  I was struck by the way Paul refers to the gospel as ‘my gospel’ (II Timothy 2:8).  We like to pretend that other churches are making stuff up, but we just let the Word speak.  It’s BS, and Paul wasn’t afraid to own his message.  Our pastors have a message and their offspring and their students will become like them, that’s just how it works.  Their children and all of our children are beginning to resemble the list of evils at the beginning of II Timothy chapter 3.  Our culture, even our very town is falling apart, for want of the Light.

I’ve heard it said that gossip is confessing other people’s sins.  I suppose the same thing can be applied to preaching.  I doubt very much if our sermons reach the ears of that many Catholics, Charismatics, or Prosperity Gospel people.  If so it’s probably the annoyed, family members of people in our body.  Which only furthers the us vs. them mentality.  Where are the sermons for us?  I don’t mean sermons to make us feel good or get us through the week with our lame problems, but the sermons to address our unique layers of self-deception, our sin. Beware the sidelong glance(Matthew 20:1-16, John 21:21-22).  God knows those who are his(II Timothy 2:19).

It is difficult to let the Scripture speak for itself, when you take such small portions of it, so let’s bite off a larger piece.  You can read the whole book in about twenty minutes, so I suggest you do it.  There are a lot of good things in there, and a lot of repeated themes.  Paul an older Christian is exhorting his student Timothy in what he needs to know to continue faithfully in the work of spreading the Gospel.  There will be suffering, it will be difficult, but it is worth it.  There are also a lot of details about people we know nothing about, people who have left the faith, people who have remained faithful and a some wanted parchment and a cloak.

There are exhortations to Timothy for being bold and full of love and self-control. There are a lot of action words, “be strong”, suffer as a soldier, compete as an athlete, work hard like a farmer.  Cleanse yourself, by living a pure life, so that the Lord can use you. Paul’s credentials and his exhortation are not just about proper theology, they are about obedient living.  There are two exhortations to avoid vain babblings, but it’s not about refusing to engage in theological debates, as much as it is to avoid preaching which does not lead to proper living.

Then we get into our passages, the stuff we love in chapters three and four.  “In the last days. . .” everything will go to hell, except for the few, the proud, the members of Grace Bible Church.  We love this stuff.  We can tally up all the evils of the world and conclude that the rapture is at hand  and we just have to stare at our Bibles until it comes.  The only problem is that there has been 2000 years of church history, and it didn’t get worse that whole time.  Paul’s ‘last days’ were probably around 70A.D. and not necessarily 2015A.D..  We are fortunate as to be the results of a Puritain cleansing and a few Great Awakenings and even locally a legitimate revival, which led to the founding of our church.  Those were times when it got better.  Timothy is not exhorted to let it get worse, he is told to get out there, live a good life and fight for the same thing in other people, “reprove, rebuke and exhort”.  We shouldn’t pride ourselves in the fact that our children are “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self- control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power”, we should be taking responsibility and finding leaders who have proven they can reproduce the faith of Paul and Timothy.  Leaders who’s houses are in order (I Timothy 3).

Then our seminal verses.  We are after all a Bible church.  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  But do we really believe this?  Take into consideration that Paul is here talking about the Old Testament.  When was the last time you heard a sermon on the Old Testament?  When was the last time our pastor preached through a book of the Old Testament?  Paul says the Old Testament is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ”.  The Old Testament! It was all in there.  The focus exclusively on the New Testament has led to a great many errors.  The New Testament was commentary, slightly modifying the Old, even the words of Jesus are mostly from the Old Testament.  The Sermon on the Mount reads like Leviticus.  Most of the images of Paul are borrowed.  The focus on the New Testament and the unique events that centered around the Life of Jesus without the Old, is to dwell on the infant stage of the Church, without the mature words which are able to make you wise.  We are always children, longing for persecuted early church, instead of the Church spread to the wold world.  Every knee will bow(Philippians 2:10).

I was struck in Timothy by a couple of passages connecting the Old and the New.  Paul tells Timothy to continue in what he has learned and connects it to his childhood(vs. 3:14,15).  If you do the math Timothy was about 30-40 at this point and so he grew up before Christ died and Christianity was a thing.  Earlier Paul referred to the faith of Timothy’s mother Eunice and grandmother Lois.  I don’t think he is referring to the fact that they were baptized into Christianity first.  There is a long tradition of faithfulness in Timothy’s family.  Faithfulness of the kind we see in John the Baptist and his family, or in Joseph and Mary. Or the faith of Simeon the priest(Luke 2:26).    There is a continuity between the faith of Old and New Testament.  We are reading the last chapter or perhaps the footnotes of a book we know very little about.  And what’s even worse, we pride ourselves in how much better we know the Scripture than all the other churches.  Shame on us.  We need to start by purifying ourselves.  Then correct our opponents, as Paul says, so that the might be saved.

I love how Paul doesn’t have all the false humility we pride ourselves on today.  He knows he has completed the work God gave him to do. And he knows he will be rewarded.  He doesn’t spend the whole time wondering if he should be speaking so boldly and saying things like ‘who am I to say?”.  He gets it done courageously.  And so should we.