March 24, 2016

Failing To Fell A Two Thousand Year Old Oak

This may or may not be the last post on idolatry. It depends on whether or not I feel compelled to write more.

For now I enter the not so favorable realm of calling to task the idolatries no one will acknowledge unless forced to. The ones that are so hard to see that are obscured by our ignorance and sin. The Great False Idol of Modern Christianity. The idolatry of the Christian Church that parrots conservative and liberal political bases and seems more aligned to a party than Jesus. The Church that forgot its purpose is spreading the Gospel, not partisan ideologies. Jesus was neither a Republican nor Democrat, Independent nor Libertarian. Jesus eschewed politics for hearts. Mercy over sacrifice. I am talking about the religio-political syncretism that passes itself off as Christianity and has pervaded the Evangelical world. It is the evangelical church that will willingly embrace a known adulterer as a presidential candidate or a known liar that continually changes face to gain votes. It is all idolatry.

I am calling to task the seeker-friendly-ism of churches that water-down the Gospel in an attempt to gain converts. The emergent nonsense that changes core truths to foreshorten the Gospel so it is more palatable to some who wouldn’t convert even if you clubbed them over the head and dragged them into the doors of your local congregation. I am talking about those that would turn Christianity into an idol thinking they fooled some to come to the Church when in reality even the densest of non-believers can see that the Truth of Christianity was compromised to win them. Invariably they realize that if this was done for them, what would the Church do to win even more reprobate people other than them? They see that you are willing to sell-out. Where is the appeal in that? Even rats can smell other rats. Hyenas and Jackals are drawn to their own. Even the hardened non-believer knows when something is amiss, they just don’t have a good name for it. Christians do…it’s called idolatry.

This last paragraph of idolatry also reeks of something else. Fear. Fear in Christianity is a false pretense of Christianity that is in reality idolatry. A Christian that says he is of the Faith and is Christian but in reality …has no faith. A faithless adherent is not an adherent. It is a person who believes themselves saved and a Christian but in reality believe in an impotent God, not an Omnipotent and Sovereign One. This is a belief in a God that is not in the Bible…hence they are idolaters.

There is then the idolatry that is entertainment for the congregation not worship directed towards God. Most often called worshiptainment. The worship that seeks to bring glory to the performer and pleasure to the audience that only marginally involves the Jesus Christ. The worship that seeks to illicit a feeling of euphoria in the participant before actually being engaged by the Spirit. The worship that is purposely used to manipulate a congregant’s emotive state to make them more receptive to a spirit rather than the Spirit moving the believer to an emotive state because a realization of the truth(s) of God and His work of Salvation. This is absolutely backwards.

The truth through the Spirit is the conduit by which the feeling should come. In other words, when the Spirit moves you to realize just how great your God is, your proper response should then be euphoria over what He has done for us. THAT is worship. It is head AND heart knowledge that comes of the Spirit and is based in understanding of the truth revealed by the Spirit. It is the work of the Spirit. 

That is why two people standing side-by-side can both hear the same Gospel and one will be saved by grace and the other will remain entrenched in their sins. It is the Spirit working in us, not the emotions soliciting the Spirit. Entertainment will move a spirit. The question that should be asked is: What spirit is it moving? If it is not the Holy Spirit eliciting the response….you had better check yourself at the door because somewhere between the sidewalk outside the church and raising those hands in false emotive supplication…you crossed over into idolatry or worship of the feelings elicited by emotive music. Bottom line ask yourself this: Is your entertainment or worship God honoring first and foremost

Then comes the hammer blows that are harder to absorb for the idolatrous heart.

When what you want outdoes what the Bible tells you, you have a problem. Do you place your needs first above others and obedience to Scripture? Are you doing what you want to do or what the Lord has called you to do? When you can say that you feel the Bible says something it doesn’t you are imposing on the Bible and making self an idol.

Believing in certain types of unbiblical Jesus’ is idolatry and these are some of the most dangerous idolatries to contend with. Which Jesus are we speaking of? Well actually, there are a lot. The Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness Jesus’ are easy targets so I will avoid them. No, let’s give some people a spiritual throttling, shall we? I am talking about the Gay Jesus. The Feminist Jesus. I’m talking about the socio-culturally acceptable Jesus. The friendly Jesus who wouldn’t offend people or the WWJDTWPI Jesus…the “What Would Jesus Do That Wasn’t Politically Incorrect?” Jesus. How about the Jesus who is the “all-love-and-no-wrath” Jesus. You know, the emergent church Rob Bell one.

Don’t people realize they are cramming Jesus into a box in these scenarios? They are literally trying to crunch God down to a pocket-sized image of what is in their mind. They are trying to frame Jesus into what they want them Him to be. They are trying to fell the mighty 2000 year old oak just to fashion an idol that is small enough to fit into their heads. Hewing the glorious image of the unseen and seen God into a false representation…making God Himself into idol.

At least they are trying to.

I guess when you have a lot of people attempting to prune and cut back the real Christianity, the real Christianity begins to become self-evident pretty quickly. Idolatry helps thin the herd I suppose. I guess this is what Jesus meant what He said we should enter through the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. The ones that find true salvation will fewer and smaller in number. The unrepentant and misled will cut away what they think is not Christianity but the truth is that a remnant will always remain that know the truth and the True God. God assures us of this in His Word. Like a sapling that rises out of the felled oak, the true Body of Christ lives on.

In the end, if your mind’s posture is not correct, your spiritual stature will be incorrect also. A person needs to practice the thought of God constantly. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians we need to take all our thoughts captive and keep them in subjection to Christ. Otherwise we will go rouge. It’s just the way our minds have become after the Fall. 

As an old friend used to tell me: "Your attitude towards Christ determines your altitude in Christ."

March 23, 2016

A Shed Full of Wood

They say that once written or photographed stuff is on the Internet it never disappears and it’s out there forever. This bodes well for the Gospel. It bodes especially well for anything published online about the Gospel. Such as a blog. A blog like SoulJournaler. At the time of writing this post Souljournaler has now amassed a total of 1460 articles over six years and has now surpassed 2 two million (2,000,000) views since its inception.
On average each post is in the neighborhood of 2-3 book pages so that equates to approximately a 3000-4000 pages of a hardcover book. It boggles my mind that I’ve written enough to fill a 4000 page theology book with just the stuff published (not to mention the hundreds of pages in papers that remain unpublished).

I have written to teach and to edify and have found that even in my own darkest hours that my own writing has even fulfilled this for me. I often go back and read some of my older posts because I have often needed to be reaffirmed of my own faith based in earlier beliefs in my own times of distress and trial. Even in the hard times the Lord has blessed me…in some cases…by my own hand. 

Over the last six years I have slowly accumulated fuel for a fire that, now stoked, will now need to burn until I take my last breath. I am talking about the flame lit in me by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel even at risk of alienation from all I held or all I hold dear. And believe me, I have needed to go into the woodshed for fuel a few times over the last few years to draw on inspiration of former days and take some of my own advice at times off of my own blog (not to mention many other Christian web sites also).

Frankly, six years down the road from its startup I did not expect to still be writing and posting to it but life since my inauguration into the Faith, has taken many unforeseen turns. Although I have neglected it lately because of personal issues I still write and compile for possible future articles. Over time my theology has matured and changed. Because it is a blog dedicated to exalting God and the Lord Jesus Christ I am proud of this accomplishment. It was started with a simple biblical intent and those reasons remain the same today as they did on day one.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ~ “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…”

1 Peter 3:15 ~ “…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…”

There is a lot of fuel for the fire in this reserve of 1400+ posts. It is there not only to strengthen my fire but for all other takers also. So stop back often and grab what you need, its free for the taking. My thanks to all who have paid SoulJournaler a visit over the last six years as one or more of the 2,000,000 visits and pray that you will continue to return in the future….whatever that future may hold.

March 18, 2016

Laying An Axe To The Root of Idolatry

Idolatry weaves its way into nearly all other sins. One place idolatry truly prefers taking up residence is in our relational lives. Hero worship or looking to other people as if they are demigods. Sports stars, movie stars, rock stars, political stars. Stars…as if these people somehow outshine other people…or even outshine God. I have to be honest. I’ve never heard God referred to as a divine star or any kind of star for that matter. Usually he is referred to with scorn and outright distain. Humans are often referred to as stars as if they are something more than human. I believe even calling people stars is an attempt to usurp God’s throne by somehow immortalizing these types of people like the stars in the sky which were here before us and will be so after us.

Idolatry also shows up in our relational sexual sins too. I believe that is why adultery is frowned upon so fiercely by God. Adultery seeks to blow apart that which God binds together in marriage. It is an attempt to destroy the core unit of a family which is so representative of the Kingdom to come. I believe this is why divorce is frowned upon except as a last resort when one has either committed adultery or abandoned the marriage covenant. I believe also that idolatry is at the heart of homosexuality and is one of the reasons homosexuality is viewed as such an abomination by God.

Why you ask?

In the context of idolatry we begin to see why homosexuality is abhorrent to God and needs to be acted on so sternly. In rejecting God and a love for God, men (and women) literally turned to images of themselves (Romans 1:23 corruptible humanity) in a form of sexual and idolatrous narcissism. It is as if homosexuality is the ultimate form of idolatry. To make oneself (or another human being like the self, same sex and all) the sole object of worship, desire, love or lust. Homosexuals therefore not only reject God and His statutes, they end up adding insult to injury lusting and loving after the flawed created being (v.23) that has been given over to their sin (v.24). It is a self-perpetuating downward cycle of sin and depredation.

In relationships in general, when the enjoyment gleaned from the relationship becomes disproportionate to the thing that is being desired it becomes idolatry. In other words you cross the line from love/desire to obsession/lust instead of an appreciation of your mate, you’ve tripped over into idolatry. When relationships do not take into consideration other’s feelings, they are idolatrous. Relations simply become objects of desire and/or means to an end (this is a good description of a narcissist/sociopath too). To desire something that is not worthy of that desire is idolatry and that includes relationships that derail your relationship with God. Even when it is familial, even when it is a marriage. When desire leads to an expectation of self-gratification without gratefulness. When relationships and desirous people forget that all relationships and pleasure are a gift from God…you guessed it…your idolatrous. I will admit that this last paragraph has summed up about 90% of humanity, myself included. We all walk this line and no one is immune.

I part with the words of Jesus. It is all in the subtleties again with this post. We say that the Bible promotes “family values”. Yes, it does…and no it doesn’t. Not always. Not when those “values” attempt to trump obedience to the word of God. Hence my parting Scripture. First, we have Jesus in Matthew 10…

Matthew 10:34-39 ~ “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

What Jesus is saying here is quite simple. Jesus indicates that following Him in normal familial and societal situation may not bring peace to a family, but may "split" it up. Those that do not follow God (Jesus) are in essence falling to the side of idolatry because they’ve put something before Him. It is literally,  "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me," of Exodus 20:3-4. Get it?

The second passage that hits even closer to the heart of idolatry in relationships is in Mark 3…

Mark 3:31-35 ~ Then Jesus's mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you." "Who are my mother and my brothers?," He asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."

Jesus clearly deems obeying God's will as more important in a personal relationship with Him than sharing biological ancestry or the familial/communal aspect of that relationship. Indeed, he defines his "significant family" in terms of those who obey God's will. This is a striking departure from popular ideas of "family values," but it makes good sense once we see that God must be put first in any of our relationships if they are to be genuinely godly and loving. Jesus is willing to let his Father's will determine even the boundaries of his "true family". Jesus’ own words here are powerful testimony to idolatry in personal relationships.

Relationships are special gifts from God but when those very relationships whether they be platonic or sexual begin to replace God and put themselves relationally before your relationship with God…you will need to to take a long hard look and possibly make a very hard decision. A decision that will not be easy nor bode well for that relationship. Nor should it bode well...because at that point, that relationship has become rather unhealthy for you mentally, spiritually or physically. It is here deep in the heart of the relational aspect of both human interaction and idolatry that we get at the "root" of the danger of idolatry.

Matthew 3:10, Luke 3:9 ~ “Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

March 16, 2016

Shaking the Tree of Idolatry

Among other things...I have been intensely studying idolatry. Some remarkable facts fall out of this sin when you shake it. Over the next few posts I will note some of those interesting things to see what falls out. So why is idolatry named first in the Ten Commandments? Why does God view it as such a heinous sin? Simply put, it is a person's mind attempting to supplant God with something of the Creation rather than allow the Creator to rule one's thoughts and life. In doing this one's mind makes God secondary. Once one does this all other sins will follow.

It is the "gateway" sin (Romans 1:18-31). It is a cascading downhill fall of dominoes. Once the first one falls it is certain the rest will also unless someone or something steps in to stop the chain of sinful events. Our minds are idol factories and will make anything an idol. A stone, a log, our job, sex, our spouse, our children, life itself. Yeah, you heard that last one correctly. That is why we are called to die to self literally and figuratively. It is also why Paul said, “To live is Christ, but to die is gain." Even Christianity itself can become an idol...well, at least a perverted version of Christianity not based in Scripture. In truth nothing is ours it is God's and idolatry is an attempt to possess something that could never be ours.

As I said nothing is ours... it is God's and idolatry is an attempt to possess something that could never be ours, only His. We are attempting to usurp God's true ownership of "it" whatever "it" is. That is why God calls us to him and only Him. Get it?

Objects or things of the Creation are only objects. They only have the value we instill in them with our minds or what value God has stated or given them. That is why money (greed) and sex (adultery and other sexual sins) are in my mind, spiritual abnormalities at heart. At the heart of these issues is a form of sin called, you guesses it…idolatry. People on the other hand are more than objects, they are relationships we are called to by God. That is why God calls use to communal behavior.

We are called to be socially interactive. In the case of people and social interaction it is just the opposite of objects like money and things but it is still a form of idolatry. In our sin, instead of instilling value in people/relationships, our minds in their sinfulness will often try to diminish the relationship aspect of communal human interaction by objectifying people. Make them resources for our own use. Use them. Control them. Make them tools, not an extension of our being or love them as we would love God or ourselves. See the subtleties people?

Certainly the Devil is a problem here but he isn’t the main problem, only an instigator and facilitator. No, the issue is your heart and your mind. Take ownership of your sin…and then seek God for forgiveness.

You need to destroy the idols in your life or they will certainly destroy you.

More on this later as I continue to shake the tree.

March 10, 2016

David’s Spiritual Wilderness-The Same As Ours

[Examination of 1 Samuel 21, Psalm 34 and Psalm 56]

Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech came trembling to meet David and said to him, “Why are you alone and no one with you?” David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has commissioned me with a matter and has said to me, ‘Let no one know anything about the matter on which I am sending you and with which I have commissioned you; and I have directed the young men to a certain place.’ Now therefore, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.” The priest answered David and said, “There is no ordinary bread on hand, but there is consecrated bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women.” David answered the priest and said to him, “Surely women have been kept from us as previously when I set out and the vessels of the young men were holy, though it was an ordinary journey; how much more then today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him consecrated bread; for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence which was removed from before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place when it was taken away. Now one of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; and his name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s shepherds. David said to Ahimelech, “Now is there not a spear or a sword on hand? For I brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s matter was urgent.” Then the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, behold, it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you would take it for yourself, take it. For there is no other except it here.” And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.” 10 Then David arose and fled that day from Saul, and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” 12 David took these words to heart and greatly feared Achish king of Gath. 13 So he disguised his sanity before them, and acted insanely in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man behaving as a madman. Why do you bring him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this one to act the madman in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?”

Rejection precedes acceptance, and suffering precedes reigning. The humble in God will be exalted by God. The rich become last and the poor first. Blessed are the poor, meek, downtrodden…for God will restore them…

The true servant of God must willingly suffer affliction with the full assurance that God is performing His purposes. Positions of prominence and prestige are not to be sought and worked for. This is counterintuitive to men but commonsense to God and things of biblical origin. Rather, the leader who desires Christ's blessing must wait patiently on Him for advancement and promotion to opportunities of greater service. It is not through our own devices or by our own volition that men are saved. It is by the Gospel. A Gospel by God, through God and for God.

In 1 Samuel David makes some grievous mistakes in his early years as a fugitive. He handled himself better as time passed yet he remained a sinner. A fairly flawed sinner. A condition which will rear its head again later in life (Bathsheba). During this time God was training and honing him like the sharp point of a sword for future service. David proceeded to explain that the reason he was alone was that he had sent his soldiers elsewhere. He intended to rendezvous with them shortly and had come to Nob himself to obtain provisions, protection, and prayer in 1 Samuel 22:10.

David's next decisions would be even more troubling in light of current duress and life struggles. From a divine standpoint or seen from a divine standpoint…they might appear to make more sense. That is…if we theologically view God working behind the scene in David’s tumultuous life. Where he would go for refuge and redemption other than God would cause him even more problems and revealed just how far David had drifted from God. There is a lesson for all to learn here. His refuge also proved to be as insecure as his thought processes. It is an enigma why David sought refuge with an enemy’s weapon (Goliath's sword) in that very enemy’s hometown. It defies commonsense.

I suspect David’s actions defy commonsense because, as a whole, to not turn to God for answers and security in turmoil is itself lacking in commonsense. We are given over to our own stupidity when we reject the knowledge of God in our lives (Romans 1). Interestingly we see an untried untempered man reaching for the warriors’ blade of known temper and durability as it had been used for battle by Goliath. In a similar way we see here a testing and tempering of the very man that was now reaching for the Goliath's sword to use it. Both are tools that will be used for God’s purpose. It just so happens that one is an untested spiritually-dulled human man.

In Gath carrying Goliath’s sword, David would therefore have stood-out like a prostitute at Sunday school.

The people of Gath identified him immediately and identified him as “king of the land” either in mockery or seriousness (v. 11). This may have been a slight but it is more probable that they may have heard of David's anointing as Israel's next king. Regardless, Achish’s advisers took David's presence as a serious political threat. David sensed his personal danger and pretended to be insane to preserve his life. Achish dismissed David as mad and deemed him of no use against Saul.

Furthermore, ancient Near Easterners regarded the insane as harbingers of evil and avoided them. In both Nob and Gath David resorted to self-reliance through deception and lying to protect himself, and in each case negative adversarial consequences resulted. He should’ve placed himself in God’s hands in faith.

That is one of the lessons to be learned here.

David eventually does rely on the Lord. He also trusted in the Lord when he wrote Psalms 56 and 34 during/after his time in Gath, according to the titles of those psalms. In Psalm 34 and 56 we see David reflecting back on the trials of earlier days. They are proof positive that bad days do not last forever. They reveal that he was trusting God at the time of the Psalms after 1 Samuel 21's
 troubles had diminished and become memories. His ultimate hope for provision and protection was not himself or the priests or Saul's enemies (other people)...but the Lord Himself.

The little faith that he did exhibit in these times undoubtedly explains the fact that God preserved him during these "lean" times and some good consequences came out of these experiences as noted in the Psalms. David had two later encounters with Achish both of which were beneficial for David. 1 Samuel 21 helps us see the mixture of right and wrong in human Christian decision-making and human actions. David's psalms clarify the proper response that the godly should make when opposition assails us from all sides with no reprieve or exit out of them.

Additionally, we see that when people refuse to submit to God's authority over them, they begin to die spiritually, socially, psychologically, and physically (Romans 6:23). We see this not only in David’s narrative but also Saul and Eli’s in this very same narrative. Eli, the priest, put his family before God. Consequently God cut off his family. God used David's folly to accomplish His will. So even in this David became a blessing to others which in turn actually helped him. Saul, the king, put himself before God. Therefore God cut off his life also even his good son Jonathan ends up dead. Saul became increasingly paranoid, isolated from others, hateful toward his supporters as well as his enemies, and guilty of shedding innocent blood.

When people submit to God's authority over them, they really begin to live (John 10:10). David submitted to God's authority over him. His sins, including deceiving Ahimelech, bore bad consequences for himself and others. Nevertheless God continued to bless and use David. He blessed him personally: David continued to rise to the throne. In David we see a man of human foibles holding on to a former life not intended for him in fear of changing. Resisting that change is not allowing him to see the grander picture laid out before him by God for use in service to Him. What we are seeing in David is an example of indiscretion and poor decision-making being the better part of valor. His indiscretion or poor decision-making looks like courage but in reality...he's just making really bad decisions without God in the picture.

We know where we stand when we ask a simple question. David learned this lesson and most likely asked similar questions to gauge his position before God. Do we seek God for guidance over the long haul or do we consistently rely on our own judgments without prayer? Where you stand with God is directly reflective of how you answer this question.

February 18, 2016

Dominion or Demonic: The Land of Misfit Genetics

Petri Dish Magic Cultivates a Modern Chimera
By: Anjana Ahuja

The chimera was a zoological monstrosity of Greek myth: a fire-breathing beast with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and a serpent for a tail. It was vanquished by Bellerophon, who dropped lead into the creature’s mouth, inducing molten suffocation. Scientists are now breathing life into the concept of chimeras by creating organisms containing the cells of humans and animals. Several teams in the US are inserting human tissue into early pig and sheep embryos...

I didn’t have a lot of time to write an article but I tried to take some time to comment on the article above because of its ramifications for mankind and the direction it heralds for humanity. Of all the places to find an article on the moral ambivalence of the scientific community (and the negative impact it has on society), I find it in the Financial Times. It is an article on the hideous monstrosity of Greek myth: A Chimera or a fire-breathing beast with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and a serpent for a tail. 

In essence we read of what amounts to a genetic hybrid. What we read in the article is that scientists are at a point where they are now able to create organisms that are human/animal hybrids and the only thing that stops them or doesn’t stop them is their morality. As we have seen from history both in Scripture and out of it, men left to their own devices and their own measure of morality and ethics are let loose in a fool's paradise.

As it states directly in the article:
 The idea of mixing animal and human tissue is controversial — so much so that the US’s National Institutes of Health, which controls federal spending on medical research, has refused to fund it. It is notable, then, that scientists have sought private money to carry on. The biomedical fraternity are frustrated that fundamental science is being slowed down by conservative attitudes and outlandish fears. NIH’s stance has been labelled a “threat to progress”.

 Read that again. The people that have enough sense to not tinker and dabble in the things of God in terms of the Imago Dei and have some moral restraint in the National Institute of Health are being labelled as “backwards” and viewed as conservatives and they are over-reacting. They claim there is medical progress to make here. Tinkering with basic human building blocks in genetics and creating chimera is being viewed as acceptable. How many other “controversial” things have been framed this way to shame the wise into capitulating to the depravity of the wicked under the guise of "intellectual progress" or "medical advances". The Concentration Camps and the Japanese POW's were at the root of some of the medical advances by the Nazis and Imperial Japan. Did that make it okay for them to do experiments on the Jews and American soldiers? Sometimes progress is a leap backward, not forwards.

I suspect humans mixing and matching the genetics of humans with animals might very well be one of these instances of running to stand still or like a carousel horse always running but going nowhere. Progress for the sake of progress with no moral bearing or the bearing of men whose mind’s are predominately deadened to God has never been a good thing as attested to in Scripture. 

Instead of man taking dominion over the Creation the way God has given it, in this situation man is changing the very rudimentary parts that God gave to man to take dominion over. Man is saying, "We will not take dominion of Your Creation, only ours. Yours is not good enough God." In this way man is not taking dominion over the Creation, man is trying to be God by re-creating the Creation. This is too akin to trying to be God. When men try to emulate God in ways not outlined in Scripture it is always demonic. We're to emulate God through Scripture which says we are to be like Him in His holiness. When men attempt to do it other ways we see catastrophic judgment ensue. We see it in things like the forbidding of men to consult soothsayers who can supposedly can see the future. By consulting soothsayers, men are essentially not trusting in what God has said he would do or has already done. They go to other men who claim to have the ability to know things only God could know. In the end we see it is purely demonic. 

I suspect we are doing the same as we begin to create these “manimals”. We land firmly on the Island of Dr Moreau from H.G Wells. Humans become something less than they were created to be. Humans become breeding ground for organs. We are literally farmed for body parts. We become commodities. We are somehow cheapened not just at a human level but also at a spiritual level. When we tinker with the image of man, we in some way violate the image of God. God did not create us to be demeaned, he created us in His image. We lose that if we continue down the path this article is referring to. These medical issues are not advances, they are dramatic moral jumps backward into chaos and pollution of the human image which is, in reality, Imago Dei or the God image. When we demean ourselves in this manner, we demean God. That in itself should mortify anyone but since most are at enmity with God, they cannot even see the discontinuity. Once we lift the lid on this demonic Pandora's Box...we will never be able to close it again. We will literally have released the a beast to roam the Earth and devour it. Things will become, well, contaminated even more.

There is something inherently evil in mixing man’s image with the beasts of the field. Just as the angels mixing with the daughters of men in Scripture. They left their proper positions or stations and descended into condemnation for their actions. I just do not see the difference when men attempt to merge the genes of two different beings of separate kind or species. Our technical know-how and medical science has now outpaced our morality. The truth is, it isn’t even an issue of outpacing morality. A huge swathe of society and much of science has simply left morality behind. Either that or their hearts have become so deadened to God, they don’t even realize they no longer have a moral base to work from.

The biggest problem I see now though is the timing. The article openly acknowledges that a lot of what we have feared or dreaded about genetics has already been taking place. It is now just a legality to get the restraints removed. People wished be unshackled from their restraints to do whatever they feel like doing. Yet we never seem to learn that to give or get this type of freedom is to enslave oneself to the very things that we’ve been given over to. Our sin becomes its own punishment. What monsters lurk beyond that wall of restraint I wonder? That which is born of the demonic can itself only be demonic.

In the end what we see in the article is a clear delineation between those that have sense enough not to tinker in the Land of Misfit Genetics and those that have no moral bearing because they have no moral absolute. This is not improvement, it is interference and meddling.

As it was in the days of Noah…

February 1, 2016

Sin By Any Other Name Is Still Sin

In light of what I view as a continued moral slide towards national ruin recently highlighted by court rulings in favor of homosexual marriage and a government’s refusal to defund Planned Parenthood, I felt like writing a social commentary on sin.

Some of these moral slips towards demise?

I see a data dumps from the “cheating dirtbag” site Ashley Madison and the sheer number of profiles involved is staggering: 32 million users; 90% of which are male. That means 28.8 million men are attempting to have immoral illicit sexual liaisons or are cheating spouses. You can be assured many are "Christians" too.

I see another financial collapse in the making too only seven years after the last one. We've debased the currency in a world economy worse than it was in 2008 and even China is struggling. In Isaiah 1:22, the prophet records that in Jerusalem, "Your silver has become dross." Though this speaks primarily of the people's spiritual condition, it applied literally too. The sign of Judah's [a nation's] decline was the devaluation of her currency; money would not buy what it used to be able to purchase. The illustration pictures what had once been pure silver and of full value is now so diluted by baser metals that it is essentially worthless.

Therefore rampant sexual immorality that becomes an acceptable norm and debasing of currency becomes a recognizable precursor of decline and eventual national collapse. Isaiah 3:16-23 describes the wealth, finery, and attitudes of Israelite women as the end nears, and it does not paint a pretty picture (also Amos 4:1-3). He depicts them as "haughty" and "wanton" with more clothes, jewelry, makeup, and accessories than they know what to do with. By chapter 5 judgments of woe are placed in the nation.

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio nor Ben Carson will turn the trend around. We’re too far down the road to demise. Only God can turn the listing sinking ship around. The issue is not political although a decent Christian candidate might actually make a positive impact. No, what I see at the core of these issues is that there is nothing new under the sun as Qoheleth once said in Ecclesiastes. The only thing different between modern time and all the other eras in human history is we get the news instantly.

Adultery, Sexual Perversion, Murder, Denying God, Abortion, Corrupt Leadership, False Teachers, Haughtiness, Idolatry, Covetousness, Greed, Lust, Assault, Violence, False Accusations, False Witness, Extortion, Bribery, Blackmail, Arrogance, Sorcery, Hate, Cruelty, Hypocrisy, Disobedience, Conceit, Fraud.

These are the symptoms of a diseased and dying nation. The common denominator of all these aforementioned words is sin. Sin brought down Israel and Judah and every nation since. It will do the same to America and already is.

The word sin and the concept of sin has not only fallen off radar in our modern culture when it comes to fashionable terminologies it is denied outright by many because of its close association to Christianity. In the Universal Church’s battle over ambivalence with our postmodern culture it has become unfashionable to use words like sin, repent, apostasy, and in due course we see that even salvation is now out of fashion (as if it is an accessory or social accoutrement. The world doesn’t seem to care nor notice sin. Only backwoods “fundamentalists” use words like sin. We are sending a huge portion of our recent generations directly to Hell never having known better because many people that do know or should know do not correct misconceptions. It is all because certain words are not trendy and all because certain ideas are so “yesterday”.

People are too busy trying to make friends instead of trying to convert them and correct their misunderstandings. The churches that do bend to the trend end up first sacrificing the Inerrancy of Scripture and then all other biblical truths fall like unwanted dominoes shortly after. Most churches now merely cater to people that are indifferent to Biblical truth and are only looking for meaningless mystic emotive spirituality that has no god behind it. Some are even shallower than that, they want a god that fits their schedule and their needs so that it doesn't inconvenience them.

According to an unbelieving world, sin is no longer an issue of moral or spiritual bankruptcy, it is now a disease or a condition that is an outcropping of our ego, superego or our id (or whatever the shrinks are calling it this year). It is no longer a spiritual issue but it has been brought into the naturalistic realm and made into a medical/psychological issue. According to the medical experts it is a disorder that is not our own fault. We need not take accountability for this disorder because it was brought on by things like abusive parents or enabling environments that under indulged or overindulged us because they didn’t know any better. Good thing we do, right? Sin is now a medical condition treatable with antidepressants, psychotropic drugs or just plain narcotics to help you either forget all about it or dull your senses.

The human love affair with sin didn’t end, it just changed names. When it changed names it stopped having a relevance and connotation as something negative. It no longer required an atoning sacrifice as God has stated. No, instead we just needed to understand that we are a product of our environments or social constructs. It no longer required judgment from God to correct us. If an action really wasn’t a sin or wrong in the eyes of the people why would it need to be judged? Why would it require justice? Man defined the terms and thereby defined the meaning. If men said it was okay, then it was okay, wasn’t it? If its meaning was morally neutral who would care what you did. 

Does this sound familiar?

"It's a victimless crime. I'm not really hurting anyone"
"I'd never intentionally hurt someone so it’s not really my fault.”

Things have ceased to have any definitive meaning thereby not requiring a definitive and decisive reaction or a decisive punishment. If you haven't gotten punished then you're not wrong, right? We confuse God’s silence for acceptance. We should be realizing that the silence is in actuality forbearance and patience before a necessary punishment to level the scales of justice.

Instead our cultures twists philosophy and the perpetrators have all become victims. No one is at fault for anything anymore. Our disorders are not the by-product of our actions but rather a product of a society that neglected us or treated us unfairly. No one ever directly gets blamed at and individual level and held accountable for their actions. Only large nebulous generalized entities are blamed, "they", "them", "the right", "the left", "the fundamentalists"...and so it goes.

The terms change and out goes division and divisiveness, and in comes diversity. Out goes God’s grace and mercy and in comes man’s “rights” and boasting. Out goes love for your neighbor and in comes “every man for himself”. Out goes optimism and in comes cynicism and skepticism. Love is out, hate is in but hate is called tolerance. Tolerance is acceptable but only until you start infringing on my opinions, my life and my well-being. The "I" and "me" are more important than the "you" and the "we".

In our consumer society we must always have the “newest” everything even the newest terms, slang and jargon. The problem is that these new “buzzwords” are in actuality misnomers or deliberate misuse of terms to affect and desired end. Verbal propaganda so to speak. Unfortunately, along with these terms come ideas that are destroying us and doing it with a smile. Diversity, fairness, tolerance, rights, women’s choice and marriage equality are some of these new terms to name a few. These terms in many cases were originally created and used for good purposes but like everything else Satan has gotten a hold of they have become twisted and misused.

It is just like a consumer society to toss something in the garbage can after it has lost its appeal or perceived relevance. When something is worn out or deemed old it is thrown out and replaced. These current terms will change again in the near future. Evil never rests and continues to change and morph so to be unrecognizable except to an extremely discerning eye. We as believers must stay vigilant and call people out when we know what somethings is. This is especially true when our culture tries to call it something it is not and mislabel it purposely to serve their own end. Evil is still evil even when it wears a mask.

"Woe to those that call evil good and good evil" Isaiah 5:20

It may have a thousand other "nicer" and "trendier" names or technical diagnoses but a sin by any other name…is still sin. If it is sin and it is not repented of…it accumulates God’s wrath, therefore judgment against you.

It’s like the three monkeys holding their eyes, ears and mouth. You can pretend sin doesn't exist, you can pretend not to hear it, you may deny speaking it, or seeing it...but it is still there. We as humans must come to grips with the fact that wickedness dwells in the hearts of all people. What makes the difference is if we allow it to stay there or if it gets replaced. What we replace it with is crucial. If we replace it with more things of the world (therapy, psychoanalysis) we doom ourselves. If we replace it with the things of God, with Christ, with the holy things we are on our way to true recovery and true deliverance.

January 23, 2016

A Thief Breaking Into A Prison

I like paradoxes in the Scriptures. I like earth shattering paradigm shifts. If the Scriptures contain anything they are filled with beautiful twists of circumstance that could've only been God working behind them in His sovereign will. So when I read the Bible and see them it overjoys me and fills me with awe. It is one of the few joys I get in this life. When I see them where few have seen them before...I know it is the work of the Spirit revealing it to me.

So, let’s talk about The One. Let us talk about Jesus. The Monogenes/μονογενής. The Only Begotten Son of God. Let us look at His emotion. Let us look in particular, His indignation or disgust. Let us look closely at His humanity in all its variation while he was still an earthbound man and the Son of God. While he was in a human body and divine simultaneously.

Jesus is in Gethsemane; being God He knew of the crucifixion that loomed on His horizon so we have the incident recorded in John 12:27.

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.

“Now is my soul troubled,” he cries. It is a remarkable confession of what is transpiring emotionally inside of Jesus and it appears physically at least momentarily in His spoken words. For a second it looks as if Jesus is shrinking backward at the prospect of His death. In a closer examination of the event, in reality I believe he is shrinking back from something in revulsion the way a man would from a mutilated corpse. Something clearly draws Him forward to examine in morbidity but at the same time the corpse is an object that is off kilter from its surrounding. Death among life. A death that will become life. An oddity in all of time and Creation. It will only happen once and it will never be again. From the death of One and His Resurrection, life will come for all who accept it.

Jesus is not submitting to death here in an act of surrender. Instead we need to see this as a vigorous embracing of the Father’s will. Remember? Jesus is predicating His own death here. What did he say earlier in the passage? He emotionally shudders and steels Himself in fortitude for the ordeal He is about to face. Deep inside He is reconciling the absolute truth of why His death is necessary and frankly, it angers Him.

John 12:23-26 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

What immediately follows Jesus admission of His soul being troubled is a rhetorical question and then a profound statement of Jesus whole reason for coming as human in the first place. Please note the emphasis in the English with the exclamation point.

“…and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

He had come into the world to die and He knew it. As a human/divine  He vividly had to realize what death would entail and what it would be to die. For goodness sake, He created the physical body of man. He could be forgiven if the shrinking back had been because of the fear of the pain (the sting) of a torturous death. No, there is something more going on here. Something within Jesus rises to the surface that is in conflict with the death and what it represents. It surfaces momentary and it is again repressed by the will of God. It is a momentary state of mind best described as agitated, not so much troubled and this emotion is at odds with a God that is in control and is so even now.

It is disquiet of the soul of Jesus. It is only attributed to Jesus three times in Scripture and they are in sequential order in John. All related. All clearly put here for us to read for a reason. Firstly it is in John 12:27. It is in John 11:33 at the tomb of Lazarus…

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

Finally in John 13:21 in Jesus pronouncement to the disciples that one would betray Him (Judas obviously):

“After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

Every single time Jesus experienced this disquiet of His soul it is when He is in a direct head-to-head confrontation with death/death personified. Is Jesus afraid of death or what is behind death at its source? No, of course not. I don’t believe for a second that God is shrinking from death or acting out in fear of death. Not a chance. This disquiet is not a distress, it is an agitation over the distress that death is causing in the world and the fact that it is negatively affecting His Creation. Why? One needs to ask themselves something about the Kingdom and God and about humanity. What constitutes the Kingdom? People. What is an attempt to destroy the Kingdom? Death. Until this time God’s plan to overcome death once and for all hadn’t taken place in Jesus’ death, burial and Resurrection.

It is quite clear from Scripture that Jesus did indeed die on the Cross and was Resurrected the third day in accordance with Scripture. I cannot help but feel though that during these three preliminary run-ins with death, the effects of sin and their inevitable consequence of death helped kill off a piece of the human side of Jesus. It is as if in these instances a little piece of Him chipped away and He figuratively died a little inside from the heartbreak of sin taking its toll on His beloved children.

Death appeared to have had an upper hand but it is all about to be inverted upon the death and Resurrection of The One that could do the inverting. In Jesus, after the Resurrection of Jesus, not even men would fully fear death because those that would see what Jesus was about to do would realize that death was all bluster and noise but little substance on the eternal scale. Therefore it behooves us to realize, that if we should not fear it as both Jesus and Paul told us, how much more would Jesus not have been phased by the specter of death? Death is temporary. No, the troubling here in the very core of Jesus is a troubling about what lies behind death and the effects it has on His beloved children He came to save.

He is unsettled because the state that death plunges other into that are left behind. As they say, the dead feel no pain, it is those the dead leave behind that suffer. This is why Jesus is “emotional” when he sees Mary and her companions lamenting Lazarus’ death. It is why he is “anxious” at the thought of the betrayal of Judas close to Him that would lead to His death. It is not so much His impending death that stirs Him up, it is the damaging irreversible effects sin that leads to death has on others as we saw at Lazarus’ tomb. It is the tremendous troubling of his children in the face of death that works under Jesus’ skin agitating the living daylights out of Him. 

I guess today we call it chomping at the bit. He knows His crucifixion is coming and He also knows the new day that His Resurrection heralds and it has almost come to fruition. It is agitation coupled with anticipation of an eternal plan that had long been in the works and the glory of it was about to burst forth like blinding white light in a pitch black world. It would bring glory to the Father. Jesus has said as much in the very same verse as His statement about His agitation.

“…it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

He was not recoiling from the prospect of death as a physical experience or the terror of dying. He was literally recoiling from the repugnance of the idea of death and its slithering debased corruption. A repugnance so profound that the closer he Himself would come to it, the more the reality of its evil would seize upon His chest in flesh. Hence His verbal lament recorded by Scripture.

Death…it wasn’t supposed to be here in this world. Death through sin, it wasn’t supposed to be here this way. It had intruded on reality. It was like an artist who had spent so much time on a beautiful sculpture only to have their child come over with a hammer in hand and smack the sculpture right in the middle cracking the surface. It was repairable but not without great time and expense from the artist…and discipline for the child.

The Curse caused by man’s sin is what brought "the crack" here to Earth in the first Adam and now the Second and final Adam would remove it. In death Jesus saw the thing that had control through fear over the minds of mankind and He loathed it with righteous abhorrence. Behind death Jesus saw right through to the very thing that gave it it’s power through fear over man. Evil masked behind Death's face. Jesus’ holy nature balked at it in disgust. It is exactly why he would allow Himself to be swallowed by it in the end at least temporarily. He would to literally go inside the belly of the beast to literally turn its guts inside-out rendering it powerless. For now was turning Jesus' guts or turning His stomach.

He would allow the very powers of evil to inflict upon him the precise penalty of human sin...death. The penalty so greatly feared by man that it ruled men through fear. Jesus would bow his head to this enemy and suffer the greatest indignity and then would definitively show that it held no power over Him. To kill the very thing that has killed all, Jesus would first need to allow it to kill Him. Lowering to be raised. Humbling to be exalted. A divine paradox.

As Paul said: It would be like removing the sting from death. He would defang a crushing its head completely. As we would better understand today Jesus took the bullets out of the gun so it could only fire blanks. The thief thought he broke into your house to steal you life but he fails in his effort. Why. It is because he wasn't breaking into your house...the thief broke into a prison of his own design. Jesus would by choice would bow his head in humility which is exactly why He came in the form of a servant. The role of a servant would be the best role to fulfill submission temporarily to death.

Philippians 2:8 …and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross!

John Calvin did not stammer in his writings of the Gethsemane incident in his writing. He said the powers and pains of Hell attacked Jesus previous to His death there. The Gospel writers spared no expense and nearly exhausted the resources of the Greek language to convey to us some conception of our Lord’s mental anguish and agony. The better understanding is the Greek words Mark used for it in Mark 14:33 when he said “overawed” and “despondent” in Gethsemane. Overawed was a form of consternation. Death was closing in on Jesus’ physical being and there was clearly no escape. There is a mental pain that comes with being backed into a corner…even if you’ve allowed it. There would be no immediate physical defense against it. Would Jesus’ eventually overcome death? Yes. 

Would it be painless? No. 

He was human after all. Sometimes those tortured will reach a point of envying the dead to end the pain. I believe that was Jesus’ consternation…but not over His inevitable death. No, I believe Jesus looked forward to that hour and what it finally represented. It represented glory. Glory to the Father. Jesus knew it for a fact...and now we do too.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...