Archive for the ‘David’s Blog’ Category

bathroom

Courtesy of the Christian Post

Rather than change its controversial transgender bathroom policy, Target Corporation is now planning to spend $20 million to add private single-stall bathrooms at all of its stores. The report directly cited a dramatic drop in shopper traffic, company stock, and loss of revenue partly due to the retailer’s “transgender-friendly” policy.

I shook my head while watching the Olympics last night as an announcer on NBC pointed out the man (transgender) posing as a woman (South Africa’s Caster Semenya) easily won the race advancing to the 800 m final, and stated:

It’s really a confusing issue, even scientists have not come to a consensus on it.”

Just because corporations, Hollywood, government, and the media are pushing this politically-correct immorality on America – now in the form of transgender propaganda – it doesn’t mean we have to accept it into our homes and churches. But too many people; parents, pastors, and politicians have already waved the white flag.

Tired of the cultural battles, public pressure, and the narcissism we have embraced as a society, it’s easier to look the other way than to confront others with the truth. Many people who once claimed this was all about “equality” and “love” are now admitting that they bought the lie. Do you think the left will back off its agenda of conquest and submission?

In addition to the silence from most Christians on these issues, we have not successfully defined the terms. In the most intense public debates and battles over words and meanings, what I’ve realized is we often use the same terminology, but have vastly different dictionaries!

After all, the Supreme Court basically decided marriage is whatever one wants it to be – as long as it is not limited to one man and one woman as God naturally ordained it from the beginning.

We are learning the hard way. No longer tolerated are moral beliefs and ideas that go against the pursuit of sexual satisfaction at any cost.

Another problem in our society is there is often one critical, glaring omission from the debate over sex, gender, birth, and biology: truth!

Theologian, Francis Scheaeffer, once said,

“Truth always carries with it confrontation. Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation nevertheless. If our reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong.”

Are there any fixed historical absolutes we can refer to in this battle for the heart and soul of our nation? If not, anything goes, right? Many have accommodated this new religion of sex while at the same time, failing to stand up for truth, decency, and biblical morality.

For example, are you okay with the fact your children will now be learning there is nothing permanent, definite, or unchangeable about them and that every aspect of their identity is subjective? In a way, this is encouraging kids to be their own gods.

New transgender-affirming policies are about to be implemented in public schools as kids prepare to go back to school in a few weeks. As Todd Starnes reports:

…boys who identify as girls would be permitted to participate on overnight all-girl field trips. That’s a rule sure to be a hit among the 13-year-olds. Another guideline indicates parents could be left out of their child’s gender decision-making.

Soon, your kindergartner will learn he or she can choose their own gender and corresponding bathroom based on how they feel and what they’ve been told. Soon, more boys will be girls will be boys, if that even makes sense.

If you don’t believe me, there is a radical leftist group working with the public schools and ready to unleash unprecedented sexual confusion on young people. Trans Student Education Resources (TSER) has created a gender unicorn cartoon character for kids to learn about gender identity and expression in the classroom.  They describe themselves as “an organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment.”

The make-believe character was also used to explain terms like questioning, queer, cis gender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming. I wish I were making this up. These extremists even believe the terms “biological sex” are offensive and “harmful” to transgender people. Why? Could it be because the truth points back to science, the laws of nature and nature’s God?

Christian parents, be honest about this. Can you expect your children to withstand thousands of hours of liberal, LGBT indoctrination, along with the peer pressure to conform to culture and away from anything having to do with Christ? Can you expect your kids to be strong enough to resist the ridicule, attacks, and secularism in their school?

…And it’s not just the kids.

Read more here:

free speech pulpit and micBoth sides are firing shots across the bow of their opponents in a revived First Amendment battle thanks to Donald Trump and a bizarre election cycle. This debate is absolutely necessary, but not for the reasons you might think.

Too many people have no idea what the Johnson Amendment is and why it is so important, but at least a few more are paying attention since Trump brought it up.

First, some background: Lyndon Johnson, a progressive, racist, and perhaps the second most liberal president in U.S. history was running for reelection as a Senator in Texas and he found a way to silence his enemies – Christians, conservatives, and Republicans. He slipped an amendment to limit the speech of nonprofit groups into a massive tax code overhaul bill and the rest is history. Conservative groups were campaigning against Johnson in 1954 and interestingly, they had concerns about communism at the time as well as Johnson’s big government ideology.

The freedom of religious expression was also restricted by Johnson’s shrewd, calculated move and many religious leaders were silenced – not necessarily because of the amendment, but due to their fear or ignorance of the law.

So a few weeks back, Trump rallied the base by claiming he will repeal the Johnson Amendment if elected president. Who knows if Trump would actually make good on his promise or if he will be able to get Congress to back it.

What are his motives? Did an evangelical Christian advisor convince him to talk about it in the hopes more conservative ears would perk up? Is his goal to create Christian Church super PACs?  Does he want to “politicize the pulpit” as some liberals claim?

Dusting off this debate has encouraged some on the right and infuriated some on the left, and there are many angles to discuss.

…I am not suggesting pastors and religious leaders must endorse candidates. They wouldn’t have to if they had already been preaching the whole counsel of God and speaking about sin, morality, the controversial issues of the day, and teaching on what the Bible says about each one. Moreover, informed citizens should already know where political candidates stand on issues of importance!

Sadly, we may now have one of the most distracted, disinterested, divided, and uninformed electorates in U.S. history.

…part of the new Republican Party platform states:

“Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs, and therefore we urge the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.”

Trump said the Johnson Amendment has had a chilling effect on the nation. Agreed, and most secular progressives, Democrats, and atheists love it because godlessness has increased and Christian influence has decreased. He also declared,

“Christianity is under siege. Every year it gets weaker and weaker and weaker…

Trump is correct, but it is because Christians and conservatives concerned about biblical morality have practically surrendered the public square by our silence and inactivity as well as our tendency to duck the issues of sin, repentance, and God’s judgment.

It is true the amendment has been used by the IRS and even by the Christian Left to intimidate and silence the voices of untold numbers of Americans. Isn’t this considered bullying?

Under the Obama administration, the IRS has aggressively and wrongly targeted and fined conservative non-profits including many Tea Party groups while the media collectively looked the other way. Enforcement of the law has been a one-sided effort.

We do know the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” People often forget or ignore that second part! This was meant to protect people of faith and their deeply held biblical convictions – and that includes when they’re outside the walls of their church!

Our Founders believed the church had a right and responsibility to influence society for good and never imagined government would be empowered to censor Christians and restrict their religious expression.

Religious leaders not only have a constitutional right to address the moral issues of the day, many believe they have a responsibility to do so.  And, pastors should have the ability to speak out from the pulpit and support or oppose a political candidate based on where the candidate stands on the issues.

History now includes the last 62 years, which, of course, tell a very different story. Hands off, big government! The state should allow the church to speak freely and let the free market of ideas decide who wins…

We know in today’s culture, political correctness trumps truth. Christians have a moral obligation to defend the truth no matter the circumstances. Regardless of what happens, let’s hope the gospel will prevail over silent compliance or compromise.

Read the entire post here:

Open pages of bible isolated on white backgroundNow after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”  Mark 1:14-15

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

In 1965 the epic religious movie The Greatest Story Ever Told was released, retelling the story of Jesus Christ from His humble birth and His teachings through the crucifixion and resurrection. The media and critics at the time gave it excellent reviews and some even raved about the brilliant and inspiring, Bible-based production. Times have changed; but the gospel has not.

The gospel, aka the “good news,” is the greatest gift God has given the church, because its message is about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the greatest treasure God has given the world. Like the apostle Paul, we are to deliver to others what we also received, because people’s salvation depends on it. No one would keep the best news in the universe to themselves – would they?

As committed Christians, our priority in this life must be to consistently believe, live, and deliver to others the message about Jesus Christ and the truth about His life, teachings, death, resurrection, and ascension. For those who have believed and have confessed Jesus as Lord, our ticket is punched and our place in God’s presence is reserved for eternity! Our faith is in Him and our hope is in heaven.

Every person alive today and who has ever lived will stand on one side of eternity or the other. The universe revolves around the most pivotal event in the history of the world: The resurrection of Jesus Christ; the eternal Son, one with the Father and the Spirit, and the exact representation of God’s nature.

… The gospel is not some formula or a simple “sinner’s prayer.” It encompasses the entire Bible as its framework with plenty of background setting the stage. Its truth can transform our lives and its power can save the worst of sinners.

With the increasing attacks on free speech and religious expression in America today, do you see how important it is for us to be able to preach the gospel? This basic freedom is affected by politics, laws, and government. Enemies of Christianity will not relent in their agenda to squelch the mention of sins they endorse, but when push comes to shove, we must obey God rather than man. Speak the truth and leave the results to Him.

Since we have received and accepted the gospel, we must reject the world because the two are in opposition to each other. This can present a problem for many of us. If we love Jesus, we will obey Him (John 14:15), but if we love the world, we will end up following anything else except Him. Because this temporary earth is passing away and we are faced with an eternity that will not wait, the choice should be clear…

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).

Where does Jesus get such authority? It bears repeating Jesus Christ overcame death and the grave and is seated at the right hand of the Father. His tomb is famous for what it does not contain. Even the Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus acknowledged His tomb was empty when they made up lies to try and conceal the resurrection.

Isn’t it interesting in their attempted cover-up, the religious leaders testified to the empty tomb? The story gets even more bizarre, because their lie included instructing the soldiers to say they were asleep instead of guarding the tomb of Jesus. This was not some small conspiracy, because in those days a Roman soldier caught sleeping on duty would have been executed.

Moreover, all other gods or religious leaders who have lived on the earth have burial sites or memorials where their bones remain. We can easily understand how some of their followers hate Jesus, because He is the only true, living God; other gods people worship are false, dead gods.

… The disciples did not have all the resources and technology we have today, and yet the early church grew in numbers day by day even in the midst of threats and persecution.

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20

Please understand regardless of whether or not you have placed your trust in Jesus and bowed before Him acknowledging His majesty, a day is coming in which every human being will bow down before Him and confess this truth – Jesus is Lord.

… Charles H. Spurgeon once stated:

My hope is not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died. My trust is not that I am holy, but that, being unholy, Christ died for me. My rest is, here, not in what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is and must be, – in what Christ did, and is still doing as He stands before yonder throne of glory.

Are we willing to preach this gospel in an increasingly rebellious culture and risk being called intolerant, narrow-minded, or worse? Are we willing to be criticized and misunderstood for delivering the truth Jesus commanded us to speak? Do we love others enough to live what we believe, expose the darkness of sin, and when necessary, confront wayward Christians?

… God’s foreordained solution (Acts 2:23) was to send His only Son, Jesus, to give His life as a ransom for us. By believing, confessing Jesus is Lord, and repenting of our sins, we are saved and have everlasting life with God. May we not muddy up the message that we are saved by grace through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8).

If the Bible is true, then this is why you and I live: To make sure the greatest story ever is told!

 

*This a book excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence. To read the entire chapter, click here:

KardashiansWe love our entertainment in America and it’s so easy to waste a lot of time. But perhaps more important is a fact most people do not seem to realize: how we spend our time affects both soul and spirit, either drawing us closer to God or further away.

It’s the ‘hours of influence’ principle which in early computer days was known as “garbage in, garbage out.” It’s easier to reprogram a computer than it is our minds, which the Bible says we are to renew (Rom. 12:2).

Christians are to be set apart, striving for holiness instead of happiness and godliness instead of ungodly pursuits. We should stand out from the world and shine light in the darkness, not participate in its deeds (Eph. 5:11).

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus:

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

With so much of today’s entertainment falling under the category of soul pollution – much of it promoting what the Bible considers to be sin – it’s no surprise American culture has gone into the gutter.

But this is where people such as Kim Kardashian and other so-called reality TV stars are taking us. This stuff wouldn’t be on television if people didn’t watch it and if advertisers didn’t make a profit.

(Lest you think I’m picking on a few people, there’s just not enough time to write extensively about the entertainment industry, the music and gaming industry, media, corporations, pro sports, and the evils involved.)

Even beyond the stunning popularity of shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, think of their negative influence on young people today: offensive language, style of (and lack of) dress, disrespect for authority, promotion of promiscuity, selfishness, and extremely liberal attitudes about sex and morality.

Not only is immorality celebrated, the message is this: bad behavior gets rewarded.

We have succumbed to the values of Hollywood and the meaninglessness of today’s entertainment, and one day each of us will be held accountable for what we did with the talents God gave us.

To end the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon stated:

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Eccl. 12:13-14)

What matters from a biblical perspective is not necessarily the massive cultural shift in opinions about truth and morality, but the fact these views are more common among professing Christians and religious Americans. I am only surprised at the speed by which these attitudes have infested the Church.

Just fifty-four percent of evangelicals now believe it’s wrong to identify as a different gender; 35 percent of Muslims and only 26 percent of Catholics agree. Religious folks are either not reading, not understanding, or not obeying the teachings in their holy books.

A new national survey was done by LifeWay Research indicating a changing worldview that is becoming more and more secular. The poll reveals an increasing percentage of Americans no longer believe in right and wrong, and don’t think there’s absolute truth.

Sixty percent believe that it is not morally wrong for individuals to self-identify with a gender that is different than their natural biological sex. From this we can conclude a majority of Americans now reject the fact that a Creator (God) gave them a specific gender that cannot be changed…

 

Read more here:

judge not signThe phrase ‘Judge ye not’ is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misapplied biblical concepts.

Rarely does anyone want to confront sin, and rarely does a sinner want to be confronted. This presents a problem.

As the avalanche of immorality in America continues consuming many professing Christians, the idea of judging has become even more unpopular. You and I have choices to make regarding how to deal with the issue of sin in our culture and sadly, there are believers who think we should never mention the behavior of others.

In that case, how are we supposed to share the gospel of Christ, repentance from sin, and the need for forgiveness from God and eternal salvation?

Rather than address sin invading the church, we open the door to even more compromise by accommodating immoral behavior because we don’t want to offend anyone. But is this what Jesus taught?

“Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:4-5

Jesus used every opportunity – including death – to warn others. I strongly suggest we not exercise our right to be silent.

How can we turn a sinner back to God if we don’t make a judgment and say anything about sinful behavior? James wrote:

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20

The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth not to associate with people who claimed to be Christians, but were living sinful lives (1 Corinthians 5:9). He urged the committed believers to judge those within the church and let God judge those who are outside (1 Corinthians 5:12-13).

So let’s be very clear on this: We are not to judge unbelievers; we are to share the gospel with them, because without Christ and the Bible they have no moral compass. We are instructed to judge fellow believers as long as we do it with a spirit of humility and love, not hypocritically.

There are two types of judgment in the Bible: krino judgment is to “try, convict and punish”; anakrino is to “scrutinize, investigate and determine”.

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”  John 12:47-48

The word Jesus uses here for judge is krino: “to try, convict and punish”.

“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.1 Corinthians 4:3-4

The word for judge in this verse is anakrino: “to scrutinize, investigate and determine”Anakrino is used 14 times in the New Testament in these ways: examine, question, discern, judge, account.

Nine times out of ten, people use the words, ‘Judge ye not’ completely out of context. Even those with limited knowledge of the Bible and Christianity have either heard or have used these words themselves. This has become laughable in a culture today that promotes the idea of tolerance, but is quite intolerant when it comes to biblical Christianity, morality, and absolute truth.

Moral relativism seems to be the new law of the land.  Everyone determines their own morality, and when man decides what is right or wrong, it becomes easier to defend the indefensible. After all, if the Bible does not apply to every person, well – then anything goes!

The people of Israel knew all about this and the result is always lawlessness.

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25

In the Old Testament, the God of creation often judged the people of Israel, and either blessed or punished nations depending on their obedience or rebellion. After Jesus Christ conquered the last enemy, death, by His resurrection, God the Father transferred all power and authority to His Son (Matthew 28:18). The deity and authority of Jesus are non-negotiable facts in the true Christian faith, and the Bible teaches Jesus will one day judge all humanity.

As believers, we have the Holy Spirit to help us discern good and evil, and the love of God should move us to compassion; to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ and to encourage and warn fellow believers entangled in sin.

This may seem obvious and elementary to some, but in today’s culture of hyper-tolerance it must be repeated: it is necessary to make moral judgments.

First, no one is without sin, and if someone says they do not sin, they are simply fooling themselves (1 John 1:8). Assuming you and I have confessed our sins and have received God’s forgiveness, we know how awful it feels to commit a sin and be distant from God, so we should help others be reconciled to Him.

Let’s be clear on another point: only God knows what’s in a person’s heart. All we can do is judge behavior according to the teachings of Scripture.

The concept taught in Matthew 7 is to judge yourself or examine yourself first, and then you will see clearly to address someone else’s sin. Some folks seem to think Jesus said never attempt to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (mention their sin).

In his commentary on this important teaching, Pastor Joe Schimmel of Good Fight Ministries wrote:

To grasp the true context, let’s take a closer look at Matthew 7:1-5:

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

If you have never read past verse 1, then perhaps you are seeing the true meaning of this verse for the first time. Notice that Jesus did NOT ever say, don’t judge – period. He exhorts us to judge with righteous judgment in John 7:24 and here in Matthew 7:1-5. He says first be sure you’re right with God before pointing out someone else’s sin, thus granting the right to judge. The correct understanding of Matthew 7:1 is that simple! Verse 5 clarifies and exposes the skeptic’s erroneous understanding of “Do not judge”, by giving the green light, if you will, to judge… so as long as it is not done in a hypocritical manner.

God hates sin, and He calls you and me to shine our light and expose the darkness of sin. Naturally then, as we continue to witness unrestrained immorality in our culture, it should grieve our hearts and make us angry. That anger, however, should be directed toward the enemy and the evil of sin, not toward those who are entangled in its web. They need our prayers.

The dilemma remains: How do we bring someone back who has wandered from the truth? Some Christians actually think that instead of pointing out a person’s sin we should let our actions speak. Okay, roll the dice and let me know how that works out.

It is true sanctification – becoming more like Jesus Christ and less like the world – is a lifelong process. That being said, mature Christians should be held to a stricter standard than new believers. If we are not ‘walking the talk,’ we have no business telling someone else to repent of their sin.

In a perfect church in a perfect world, the person you approach concerning their sin would respond “Oh, wow, you’re right and I appreciate you telling me. I sure can’t argue with what the Bible teaches. I’m going to take it to God right now and ask His forgiveness, thanks so much for caring.” (OK, stop chuckling to yourself.) There must have been someone through the centuries of Christendom who responded with an open heart like this, no?

Pride is an ugly thing and we all deal with it at times.

Though most Christians may have good intentions, some choose to justify depravity by arguing against judging rather than promote biblical Christianity – and it is mind boggling.

Others are in the “hey, we just need to pray for them” camp. Okay, let’s pray for them. Then what? Too many people think that commenting on someone’s sin is never acceptable.

This accommodation of sin and refusal to judge and preach repentance – the main message of Jesus and John the Baptist – is a result of our silence and has led to our present culture of compromise. The sad thing is many Christians have been duped into believing that being silent is more loving, when, in fact, the exact opposite is true!

Our concern should be to encourage others in the faith knowing we are all sinners ‘working out our salvation. Galatians 6:1 states:

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Restoration is a good thing! But how can we restore a sinner if we cannot even address the sin? It is foolishness; it’s worldliness to think this way.

Believers are obligated to live by the light of God’s Word. The apostles refer to their former condition (before Christ) as darkness, because those living in sin cannot see where they are going. In the Zondervan Matthew Henry Commentary, Ephesians 5:11 (exposing darkness) is explained:

We must have no fellowship (association, communion, participation) with sin or sinners. Sinful works are works of darkness. These works of darkness are fruitless deeds; there is nothing gained by them in the long run, whatever profit is pretended by sin, it will by no means balance the loss. We must therefore have nothing to do with these fruitless deeds. If we share with others in their sin, we must expect to share with them in their plagues. Rather than being partners with them, we must expose them. We must witness against the sins of others, and endeavor to convince them of their sinfulness in our words; but especially by the holiness of our lives. Reprove their sins by abounding in the contrary duties.

Making judgments in a biblical manner doesn’t need to be confusing if we understand God’s word. But we are in a time in America when the church is afraid to offer a moral judgment on anything. One thing is certain; we had better examine ourselves first and make sure we are true to the faith and Word of Jesus Christ!

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

Thanks to the Holy Spirit, Christians have spiritual discernment nonbelievers do not have access to, particularly related to biblical truth. In 1 Corinthians 2:15, the apostle Paul says those who are spiritual should judge all things. One of the many promises from God is that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. God gives us a greater capacity for applying His wisdom and discernment to everyday life.

Christians are instructed to examine everything carefully and cling to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We do this by holding all things up to Scripture, the ultimate standard and truth detector.

The Word of God encourages Christians to remain in Him in order to produce good fruit in our lives. But how do you determine the good fruit from bad fruit? The Apostle Paul lists the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Fruit is that which comes from our actions and words, hopefully pointing others to Christ and influencing our culture for godliness. Similar to Matthew 7, the gospel of Luke includes the same lessons from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which he warns believers about false prophets and teachings, as well as about judging wrongly. Luke 6:43-44 states:

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.

You and I will be judged by what our lives produce, whether good or bad. This judgment will include not only what we did and said, but also what we approved of and did not say. Each of us will be held accountable for our actions, words, and lack thereof on judgment day.

Silence never saved anybody.

Do you really believe in your heart that Christians should have no input in matters of moral importance in our culture?

A religion professor at Charleston Southern University, Peter Beck stated:

I am greatly grieved by those who call themselves “Christians” yet constantly cover for the very wickedness and sin that they are supposed to shun and flee from. They embrace the very sinful people who have clearly transgressed God’s commandments, laws, precepts, directives, and requirements …You must understand, my friends that while you are so concerned with … creating an environment of love and peace, [lasting] peace is neither possible nor probable without the end coming first. Jesus Christ is the only One who can and will bring us eventual peace … when God sends Him back to earth as the King of Kings to reign forever and ever!

If we love those who are in bondage to any sin, we will tell them about the forgiveness of Jesus Christ and encourage them to repent. A Spirit-filled Christian with the proper love and motives will seek God’s approval, not the world’s approval.

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul writes: All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable … for correction … Wait, “correction”? How can we as Christians correct anyone if we are not supposed to make a judgment on right or wrong? This misguided argument can make a person’s head spin – and we’ve all heard it. God’s correction is good and sometimes He uses other people in the church to get through to us.

The church is in some ways a hospital for those who know they are sick.

Pastor John MacArthur said:

A church that does not discipline a sinning member is like a person who has good reason to believe he has cancer but who refuses to go to a doctor – because he either does not want to face the problem or does not want to face the treatment. If he waits too long his whole body will be permeated with the disease and it will be too late for treatment to do any good. No church is healthy enough to resist contamination from persistent sin in its midst.

We also need to be wise and discerning about church leaders and teachers. Your pastor or ministry leaders are human, and they are just as susceptible to sin and temptation as you and I.

Throughout the Bible are warnings about those who purposely stretch or twist the gospel, apparently to deceive and lead others astray. Matthew 7:15-16 states:

Beware the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves, you will know them by their fruits.

John writes to Christians in 1 John 4:1 saying:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

The better we know the Word of God, the more we will be able to discern what is ungodly. If we know the truth, then we will be able to expose a counterfeit.

Another response you may have heard when reacting to a Christian’s judgment might be, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” Implying that Jesus taught us not to judge is ludicrous. This verse is also misused and often taken out of context.

The passage in John 8:3-7 is about a couple caught in the act of adultery. It is interesting to me the Pharisees brought only the woman to Jesus. If she was “caught in the act,” then the man must also have been caught. Where was the man? The Law of Moses required both the man and the woman to be stoned to death, but the religious leaders didn’t care about technicalities. They had a different agenda: It was a set-up to test the Lord Jesus.

Notice Jesus didn’t tell them not to judge; He knew the wicked hearts of the Pharisees as they confronted Him with accusations. Jesus responded with, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her (vs 7).” Since they all had sinned, each of them dropped their rocks and walked away one by one (John 8:9). The Lord then acknowledged her sin, forgave her, and warned her to go and sin no more.

Andrew Murray said:

“To convince the world of the truth of Christianity, it must first be convinced of sin. It is only sin that renders Christ intelligible.

What a good juxtaposition. The very truth about sin can be what leads to understanding the solution God provided through the Savior. Apart from explaining sin’s consequences, the crucifixion makes no sense.

Francis Schaeffer believed Christians in general are avoiding the cultural battle and allowing its downward slide. In his book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Schaeffer wrote:

It is my firm belief that when we stand before Jesus Christ, we will find that it has been the weakness and accommodation of the evangelical group on the issues of the day that has been largely responsible for the loss of the Christian ethos which has taken place in the area of culture in our country over the last forty to sixty years.

Full obedience to the Word of Christ obligates us to speak. We are to be on the lookout as watchmen on the wall because if God judged Israel for not repenting, how do you suppose He will deal with America?

Culture reflects the strength or weakness of the church which reflects the strength or weakness of individual Christians. In Ezekiel’s case, there was a specific message the Lord instructed him to preach and yet, the principle applies to believers today:

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself. Ezekiel 3:16-21

How many more warnings do we need in order to repent and/or get others to turn back to Jesus as well? Sometimes we need stern warnings and other times we need to be the ones speaking up to warn others. God works through us to reach people, and those whom He finds faithful will receive their reward.

You never know, one day someone may thank you for caring enough to tell them the truth.

God will make the final judgments on all creation. We are His messengers, and our goal is to point people to Jesus Christ – and in many cases, back to Christ!

For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. John 5:26-27

baby sonogram mom

William Wilberforce once said, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” Please don’t look away.

A life is eliminated every 26 seconds and since 1973, Americans have – by our silence – given the abortion industry our stamp of approval along with our tax dollars. The result is over 1.2 million abortions in the United States every year.

Americans have become so busy, comfortable, self-focused, and desensitized that human life has been devalued right under our collective noses.

…a new, deceptively marketed (as the ultimate chick-flick) Hollywood film, Me Before You, aspires to be sweetly romantic, but (movie spoiler alert!) ends up being a vulgar, maddening, frustrating movie that endorses euthanasia. Strong advocate for life, quadriplegic Joni Erickson Tada stated:

“This whole push to legalize assisted suicide across the United States is actually a push to radicalize individual rights and… take the moral component out of rights… People who are weak and infirm have never fared well in societies that have lost their moral center… Because we live in such an entitlement society, we already see no virtue in suffering.”

In Utah, high school students are being taught that aborting preborn children with Down Syndrome is the only option and the right thing to do. What did the ACLU and Planned Parenthood say about this? “You can’t discriminate against a fetus.”

The word “fetus” actually derives from a Latin word meaning “offspring,” or “little one” in the sense of being “newly delivered.”

So, what then if the “fetus” is black?

Contrary to the socialist, leftist-funded Black Lives Matter movement, the ironic and sobering truth is black lives don’t really matter, nor do white or Asian or Hispanic lives – unless they are adult liberal elites. More black babies are aborted than born in New York City, and 82% of all abortions are on black or Hispanic (minority) babies.

Was it a coincidence the very first “birth control” clinic Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger opened was in Harlem, NY? Other states such as Mississippi have bought the lie, and about 72% of black babies are aborted there.

Laws exist protecting many species of wild animals – including turtle eggs, but what does it tell you when people get more upset about endangering or killing an animal (a gorilla perhaps) than a life God created in a Mother’s womb?

Few remember the media boycott of the biggest and most callous serial killer in U.S. history, Kermit Gosnell. The murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell cemented forever the fact the pro-choice media has chosen ideology and politics over truth and journalism. Here are a few facts about the Gosnell clinic to refresh your memory:

    • The remains of 45 babies were found by authorities at the Philly clinic.
    • Gosnell preyed mostly on poor and minority women.
    • Flea-ridden cats defecated freely, including in procedure rooms.
    • One 41 year-old victim of a botched abortion, Karnamaya Mongar died because the clinic was so crammed with junk, it took paramedics 20 minutes just to find their way out.
    • Gosnell collected baby feet in jars.

To you and me this is horrific. To Gosnell and abortion defenders, he was just doing his job, ‘helping’ women, even underage girls, dispose of the developing life within them at any stage of development.

It is interesting doctors now give babies in the womb pain medication during surgical procedures due to medical research proving babies feel pain in the womb. Moreover, if a person kills a pregnant woman they will be convicted of double homicide.

Gosnell and Planned Parenthood simply follow the agenda set by staunch feminist, Margaret Sanger…

She “is in large part responsible for the deaths of millions of unborn babies, the normalization of premarital sex, the creation of generations of unwed moms who spend much of their lives on welfare, and the rampant spread of venereal diseases.”

Most everyone would consider Adolf Hitler pure evil, and yet few people know he was encouraged by the eugenics movement in America in the 1920’s thanks to Margaret Sanger. The following is from a chapter in my book, Blotting Out God in America:

“Eugenics is the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) OR, encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics). Hold on to your coffee while we connect some dots.

In her 1922 book The Pivot of Civilization, Margaret Sanger wrote:

“Constructive Eugenics aims to arouse the enthusiasm or the interest of the people in the welfare of the world fifteen or twenty generations in the future. On its negative side it shows us that we are paying for and even submitting to the dictates of an ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all…”

Sanger’s publication, The Birth Control Review, was founded in 1917 and through the years, she often published articles from eugenicists such as Ernst Rudin.

“Ernst Rudin (1874-1952) was a psychiatrist who worked as Adolf Hitler’s director of genetic sterilization and founded the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene, which was Germany’s racial purity program.

But what most people fail to realize is it was the United States that led the forced sterilization movement which began on the mentally ill and on prisoners. Between 1907 and 1939, more than 30,000 people in twenty-nine states were sterilized, many of them unknowingly or against their will, while they were incarcerated in American prisons or mental institutions. Nearly half the operations were carried out in California…

Read more here:

spiritual warfareHe said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. Matthew 16:15-18
 
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3-4

Why does it seem Christians are almost always on the defensive rather than preaching the gospel, influencing culture, and standing up for Christ and His truth? Jesus Christ enlisted us in active service, and we are to make it our goal to obey and please Him (2 Corinthians 5:9). As soldiers of an eternal army, we cannot afford to be indifferent or ignorant about the intensifying battle all around us. When we are silent and fail to engage in warfare, we become ineffective for God’s kingdom including the important work of making disciples.

Here’s an excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence (chapter 14).

This epic battle between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of darkness is real whether you believe the Bible or not. Jesus came to earth to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and when He returned to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to help us fight (John 14:12).

The leaders of the armies are Jesus Christ whom God has exalted forever far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come (Ephesians 1:21); and Satan, the temporary ruler of this world (John 12:31) whose time is short (Revelation 12:12).

God allows us to choose what part we will play in advancing His kingdom. We can choose to do nothing or we can respond to His call and fight the good fight of faith (2 Tim. 4:7). Yes, it is risky, certainly unpopular, and potentially dangerous, but without risk, we experience little reward and we often suffer repercussions for not taking action.

Lord of the Rings’ fans will remember the scene in The Two Towers in which the massive, evil army of Mordor was on the move toward Gondor in their quest to wipe mankind off the face of the earth. After being warned about the enemy advancing, Aragorn encouraged the king to ride out and face the enemy. Théoden, King of Rohan, declared, “I will not risk open war.”

Aragorn replied with truth,

“Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not.”

Instead, the king ordered the city to evacuate and retreat to Helm’s Deep, a fortress that had kept them safe in the past… As a result of not staying to fight, many more lives were lost.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-12).

Do we avoid conflict and run away when life gets difficult or when we are faced with opposition?
For some, their security is money; for others, that security comes from family, a job, a relationship, the Internet, or even church activity. Some escape to entertainment; others to whatever provides immediate gratification. Our culture will only get worse if we continue to seek comfort, worldly things, or our own happiness while avoiding the battle for souls and ignoring our mission in Christ.

…And what if people in our own church say the Bible is not inerrant, there are no moral absolutes, and we are taking our faith too seriously? Press on!

We’re not to be overcome by evil; we are supposed to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Today’s remnant of committed believers must not follow the pattern of the [lukewarm] church in the last hundred years.

I agree with Charles Spurgeon and others who believe we are foolish to expect to serve God without opposition. In fact, Spurgeon stated, “the more zealous we are, the more sure are we to be assailed …” But he always kept the victory in sight:

Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon shall be cast out and forever destroyed, while Jesus and they who are with him shall receive the crown. Let us sharpen our swords tonight, and pray the Holy Spirit to nerve our arms for the conflict. Never battle so important, never crown so glorious. Every man to his post, ye warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly!

…Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18). Think about what gates are used for. Christians will overpower the enemy’s gates in the end. Did you get that? Though Satan constantly attacks believers, the Bible never refers to the enemy storming the gates of heaven!

One of the keys to our success in spiritual warfare is this pearl of truth: Gates are defensive!

All hell should be on guard, and a strong, armor-wearing, battle-tested church should be on offense, attacking the enemy with God’s Word. Preaching the gospel is one way to stay on offense and help rescue people from the camp of the enemy.

Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Too many of us leave our swords at home on a dusty shelf. We forget Satan is a defeated foe…

Read the entire book excerpt:

bathroom confusionWe are in the midst of open rebellion against God and the rejection of His created, divine order including the most basic truths in Scripture.

Many think Bruce Jenner was the one who catapulted moral relativism into the spotlight; it was actually Oprah Winfrey. In 2008, she promoted “the first pregnant man,” but she was actually a woman named Tracey who had a double mastectomy and doses of hormones for facial hair. She did not have genital reconstruction surgery at that time and has had three children.

June is LGBT Pride Month and naturally, the President proudly announced his annual proclamation celebrating sin while suggesting bible-believing Christians are backwards in their thinking. He claims it is a fight for “dignity and equality, justice” to “forge a more inclusive society.”

He’s definitely representing the minority. Research proves most American citizens are more concerned about religious freedoms and increasing immorality. The problem is we are uncertain about truth and morality itself!

As confusion and ambiguity are promoted above clarity and truth, the tendency is to toss out biology, science, facts, history, and of course, the Bible.

God’s Word provides instruction on how mankind should live and is extremely clear about our origins, the deity of Christ, truth, morality, salvation, and sin; but by observing our culture one might conclude professing Christians are as lost as those outside the Church.

Our biblical illiteracy has been exposed because our foundations were not built on the Rock. As a result, not only is the church in desperate need of repair, but the nation is being destroyed on our watch because we’ve lost our influence.

The left however, has not lost theirs. One of its goals is to blur the lines of right and wrong via the agenda to eradicate Christianity because to them, man is god. How do we respond to this worldview?

If there’s no truth and if there are no fixed, objective, universal moral standards for all people at all times; then God, life, marriage, family, sex, justice, and gender can mean whatever culture or individuals decide.

According to new Barna research on absolutes,

Christian morality is being ushered out of American social structures and off the cultural main stage, leaving a vacuum in its place—and the broader culture is attempting to fill the void.

Most Christians say they are concerned about immorality in America, but the church has not been equipped to deal with the onslaught of evil and we have been influenced by the growing tide of secularism and religious skepticism.

A few key findings include:

  • Only about one-third of Americans believe moral truth is absolute while 59% of practicing Christians do.
  • Ninety-one percent (76% of Christians) agree the best way to “find yourself” is by looking within yourself.
  • Sixty-nine percent of people (40% practicing Christians) agree that “any kind of sexual expression between two consenting adults is acceptable.”
  • Eighty four percent of Americans agree the “highest goal of life is to enjoy it as much as possible” along with 67% of Christians.

What does this indicate about our society and the church? It reveals the degree to which Americans pledge allegiance to the “morality of self-fulfillment,” a new moral code that has all but replaced Christianity as the culture’s moral norm. The greatest good is ‘finding yourself’ and living life in pursuit of pleasure.

Since many Christians are on a happiness quest instead of a quest for truth, why should the world be any different? No wonder people are confused about the very nature and origins of humanity.

On our daily radio program, Stand Up for the Truth, I’ve said several times I don’t want to talk about issues such as bathroom laws or gender identity, but I believe it’s necessary to do so.

For years the transgender movement advanced under the radar of same sex marriage battles, for which the path was paved by no-fault divorce. So today, like frogs in a slowly-boiling kettle, we are being set up for genderless marriage in a godless society.

It’s not about “love” (what do they mean by love?) or “equal rights,” but power and control.

Wanting to live and let live, some will argue, ‘why can’t we just take care of ourselves and our families? Why should we care about the push to redefine terms and erase gender distinctions by law and through public opinion?’

Writing for the Federalist exactly two years ago, Stella Morabito cautioned:

[I]t would serve to legally un-define what it means to be human. A new legal definition of human—as neither male nor female—would apply to you whether you like it or not. Already, there is social pressure for everyone to comply with the gender theory notion that biological facts are mere “social constructs.”

…While Americans have been distracted by same-sex “marriage,” transgender activists have been quietly changing laws all across the nation to redefine humanity on their terms. In fact, the enactment of gender identity laws has in many cases outpaced same-sex marriage legislation.

Many states have already passed laws prohibiting “discrimination” based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Morabito describes how the left can “take an implausible idea and make it seem plausible” by marketing and raising its availability in public discourse. They’re masters at shaping public opinion through the usual channels—Hollywood, public schools and academia, the liberal media, social media, and so on—which paves the road to public policy.

It’s part of the agenda.

Consider these selected events:

2008: Oprah Winfrey promoted “the first pregnant man,” but it was actually a woman named Tracey who had a double mastectomy and doses of hormones for facial hair. She did not have genital reconstruction surgery at that time and has had three children.

2009: Chaz Bono announced her “transition” to the public.

2010: President Obama boasted the first presidential transgender appointee.

2012: Jennifer Braly, an Arkansas transgender student fought and won the right to use the ladies’ washroom saying the state recognizes him as a woman since he legally changed his name [and gender]. Even though he did not have surgery to complete the “transition,” Braly said, “I feel like I should be treated equally as a woman because that’s what I’m transitioning into.”

2014: The Department of Education announced a radical reinterpretation of the term “sex” in Title IX to include “gender identity.” It then began enforcing its plan to require school districts across the nation to allow students to use the private facilities of students of the opposite sex. (A biological male can enter and use the girls’ locker rooms, restrooms, and showers.) Districts resisting this agenda could have federal funding revoked.

Time Magazine ‘s cover story of transgender, Laverne Cox, announced the U.S. is at the “tipping point” of the mainstreaming of transgenderism.

The first openly transgender priest (Episcopal) preached a sermon at Washington National Cathedral.

2015: Bruce Jenner became the most famous face of the transgender movement as he changed his name to “Caitlyn.” Glamor Magazine named him Woman of the Year, and ESPN awarded him for his courage.

2016: Transgender athletes will now take part in the Olympics. Female-to-male athletes can compete ‘without restriction’, while male-to-female athletes must undergo hormone therapy according to new IOC guidelines.

States are debating the Fed over bathroom bills, religious freedom protections, gender identity, and even the First Amendment.

People have been duped into thinking the purpose of the LGBT movement is to grant equality to a minority demographic. But it’s really about changing the language which leads to changes in our thoughts and behaviors, which leads to a transformed culture and country.

Pray, persevere, and don’t lose heart. Our true citizenship is in Heaven. Bible-believing Christians should not be deceived by this moral relativistic corruption and evil being called good. Though it be uncomfortable or unpopular, let’s stand on the truth of Scripture because people need to be saved – starting in the church.

 

free speech censoredPresident George Washington once said, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” Was this an exaggeration or are religious freedoms, particularly those protected under the First Amendment, that important?

Like many modern day corporations, especially those whose owners are under 35, Facebook has a liberal worldview. So it was not surprising when several former Facebook employees recently admitted its news curators routinely suppressed conservative news on the social media giant’s trending module.

Instead of allowing content many of us want to see, Facebook manipulated its news section to reflect the biases of its young workers, many of whom are hostile toward the Christian worldview. They blatantly abused their authority and power of influence to create or hijack a trending news topic to serve their liberal bias.

Commenting on the Facebook news, Kevin D. Williamson writes:

Where the Left has power, it will use that power to try to crush dissent, debate, and criticism. And it tries to smother conservative discussions entirely. As the Facebook insider tells Nunez, the curators deep-sixed discussions about Rand Paul, CPAC, and Scott Walker. Entertainingly, Facebook attempted to suppress discussion of Lois Lerner, the IRS executive who abused her powers to try to suppress conservative groups in the run-up to the 2012 elections. That’s a nice tag-team: The Obama administration tries to silence conservatives, and Facebook tries to silence conservatives’ complaints about being silenced.

This is not just about social media or even the blatantly biased “mainstream media” and cable news outlets. It is about the Left’s agenda to change culture and reshape morality.

The labels for the Left have become somewhat interchangeable. Why? Liberals, progressives, democratic socialists, and secular liberals all have a few things in common: their worldview is based on atheism, humanism, moral relativism, environmental extremism, and/or government-supported social justice. Truth is whatever they decide it to be and they continually redefine terms and make up new rules of engagement.

In an article, Absolutely No Absolutes in the New America, Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association stated:

These people, led politically by President Barack Obama and his administration, are basically at war with 1) traditional Americans, 2) the Judeo-Christian value system, 3) common sense, and 4) millennia of history.

Most of us know the recent gender and bathroom debate seemingly came out of nowhere and now more people are confused about sex, the basics of biology and science, history, and of course, truth.

But chaos, confusion, and moral relativism only propel godlessness further down the road of destruction. Am I being dramatic?

Canada’s Liberal Party, headed up by new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, just introduced a brand new bill that would punish anyone who disagrees with gender identity or expression, classifying dissent as “hate speech.” This could land a practicing Christian in jail for two years.

At least we know exactly where he stands.

You may have also heard about New York Times writer, Nicholas Kristof, who recently admitted liberal intolerance is rampant, saying they practically demand people think like them. So much for diversity of thought. He said gatekeepers in academia and the media typically look down on those with different views. According to Kristof:

“We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table, so long as they aren’t conservatives.”

The majority of elite media, for example, are liberal with less than 7 percent admitting they are conservative. They have voted for or contributed to Democrat candidates in practically every single election. Kristof cites studies in his article showing an average of 8.5% of humanities professors and less than one in ten social-studies professors are conservative while about 20% identify as Marxists.

Though he believes evangelical Christians and conservatives deserve a fair shake, he is more concerned about the lack of quality in education today.

Add to this the propaganda permeating public schools today, it is easy to understand how Christian morality is squelched while anti-Christian views are promoted throughout society. So, speak up about the new transgender debate and you may be called “transphobic.”

During a time when young children and confused youth are questioning what they hear in culture or see via Hollywood, the truth is being censored. Why? Because the Left doesn’t want to acknowledge there is a God who created them and loves them, but will also judge them one day for their rebellious lives unless they repent of their sins and turn to Him by faith.

Founder of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham recently stated:

Without the foundation of the absolute authority of God’s Word, America is adrift in a sea of moral relativism where man makes the rules and determines ‘truth.’ What people need is not accommodation of a sinful lifestyle. They need the gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to become a new creation.

The greater issue goes beyond common sense, free speech, and battles over bathrooms and the public square; it involves questions about human life, the existence of God, and eternity as well as the value and purpose of every life.

Most of us are encountering brand new discussions related to sex and gender. Are we ready to have these important conversations, and prepared to respond with biblical, compassionate answers to those who are truly searching? As important as it is to stand up for truth and religious freedom; as important as it is  to ensure the safety of all women and young children regarding public restrooms and locker rooms, we must first seek to meet their more pressing spiritual need.

And while we look for opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and confront sin, we can expect increasing attempts to keep us quiet – or at least keep us behind church walls.

Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech. Benjamin Franklin

geneva bible“Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, againe to set their feete on the firme and stable earth … Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony.” —William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation

In the earliest days in this land, when Christians experienced hard times, their desperation caused them to rely on God. Conversely, when things are going well, we often choose to rely on ourselves. Throughout history, the Lord often allowed persecution in order to turn people back to Him. Men came to these shores hoping to establish a God-fearing settlement that would flourish on faith and freedom.

Devout Christian, Mayflower Pilgrim, and Plymouth Colony Governor of thirty-one years, William Bradford died in 1656. Near the end of his life, an entry in Bradford’s chronicle of the colony reveals evidence of how difficult it can be to avoid subtle moral erosion in a society. He saw similarities in the material success achieved at the Plymouth Plantation and the wealth enjoyed by England, both of which came at the price of spiritual decline.

Historians disagree about the reasons for Bradford’s disdain over prosperity and sin, but here is one of the final entries in his journal lamenting the dispersal of the original church community:

O sacred bond, whilst inviolably preserved! How sweet and precious were the fruits that flowed from the same! But when this fidelity decayed, then their ruin approached. O that these ancient members had not died or been dissipated (if it had been the will of God) or else that this holy care and constant faithfulness had still lived, and remained with those that survived … But (alas) that subtle serpent hath slyly wound himself under fair pretenses of necessity and the like, to untwist these sacred bonds and ties . . . I have been happy, in my first times, to see, and with much comfort to enjoy, the blessed fruits of this sweet communion, but it is now a part of my misery in old age, to find and feel the decay and want thereof (in a great measure) and with grief and sorrow of heart to lament and bewail the same. And for others’ warning and admonition, and my own humiliation, do I here note the same.

Bradford was grieved about their apparent failure to meet or live by the high biblical standards expected of them because in the early days, Christians took their faith seriously and were committed in their pursuit of holiness as individuals and as a community. Do we experience that kind of grief, sorrow, and heartache over our own sins and the spiritual condition of our culture?

On April 8, 1630, nearly ten years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, a fleet of eleven ships left England from the Isle of Wight. Carrying more than 700 Puritans, plus livestock and provisions, they hoped to begin a new colony in Massachusetts Bay, free from religious persecution by the Church of England. Understanding the dangers of such a journey and aware that half of the Pilgrims who settled in Plymouth had died, many Puritan leaders were so concerned England was declining spiritually they believed the chance for religious freedom in the New World outweighed potential hardships, including death!

Sailing west on the ship Arbella, an English Puritan lawyer by the name of John Winthrop was part of the first large wave of immigrants and a leading founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the first major settlement in New England. Winthrop would serve as governor for the first twelve years, settling in the Shawmut Peninsula and founding what is now Boston. An estimated 200 people died from disease and a variety of other causes in the first several months, including Winthrop’s son Henry. Encouraging other colonists to trust in God and work hard, Winthrop is said to have joined workers and servants in manual labor to set an example so that “there was not an idle person to be found in the whole plantation.”

It’s interesting to note years earlier in England, Winthrop was first tutored at home and was regularly exposed to religious discussions between his father and clergymen, resulting in his knowledge of spiritual things at a very young age. This led to his admission to Trinity College when he was just fifteen years old. His strong religious upbringing and education would help set the tone for America for many generations.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house (Matthew 5:14-15).

During the journey to America, Winthrop wrote and delivered a lay sermon to the people based on the above Scriptures. Entitled “A Model of Christian Charity,” he envisioned a unified new colony ordained to build “a City upon a Hill” dedicated to God. This famous work originally inspired the idea of American exceptionalism. With an emphasis on individual responsibility, integrity, and group discipline, his writing described how to keep the colony strong in faith and committed to God in the endeavor of creating a holy community…

Though Winthrop’s godly influence can be seen in the first couple hundred years in America, we now know it is much easier to slide down to the world’s ways than to stay close to God and pursue holiness.

Millions of religious people today have not had in-depth teachings on the Bible and spiritual things. How many can name all Ten Commandments or perhaps books and authors of the Bible? How many can share the whole gospel including the need for redemption through the blood of Christ? What we have is increasing ignorance of the Word of God and American history, as well as a disinterest in Christianity and spiritual things.

For many decades, the truth about our Christian heritage has been downplayed or worse, forgotten. Moreover, how can we avoid repeating the most disappointing parts of our history if cautions from our founders and warnings from Christian leaders are no longer taught and remembered?

Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.  Jonathan Edwards

One of America’s greatest theologians was Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), a Congregational preacher and missionary in New England and grandfather of Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States. Edwards was a man of hard preaching with a heart for God’s glory above all things, which is what drove him. This led him to compose a set of resolutions to guide his conduct in all areas, from his battle against sin to the use of his time.

Edward’s famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” is credited for starting the First Great Awakening in America. He wrote about the previous decade, saying it represented a far more “degenerate time” than ever before. Preaching in Northampton, Massachusetts, and Enfield, Connecticut, in 1741, Edwards delivered strong words to the Puritans at that time by saying:

Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth: yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell … The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow … and the pit hath opened its mouth under them.

…It is indisputable men of God established this nation on biblical truth as they pursued freedom from religious persecution and “the advancement of the Christian Faith,” as William Bradford stated. But since our foundations are eroding, perhaps persecution is exactly what needs to happen in order to shake us up and bring us back to God.

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(This is a portion of chapter 1 from the book, The Cost of Our Silence.)