DOMA, Marriage, and the the Image of God

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”  (Proverbs 24:10)

The church which embraces “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) has always had to contend for it against those whose eyes are still blinded by the god of this world.  Today two of the flash points in the battle are abortion and same-sex ‘marriage.’  These are deemed ‘social issues’ which are mostly matters of ‘politics’ to the dominant voices in our American culture, thus relegating them to matters of mere opinion.  However, the unavoidable message of God’s perspective is that these are matters of fundamental importance: both of them are at the core of who He is and what He has done in creating man (more…)

When People No Longer Believe Anything, They’ll Believe Anything

From early through mid-twentieth century, Evangelical Christians were derided as intellectual lightweights at best and ignorant fools at worst. They, the Evangelical Christians, insisted on hanging on to impossible-to-believe dogmas such as the Virgin Birth and the bodily resurrection of Christ. Anybody who delved into the supernatural would be laughed off the stage.

Nobody believes that stuff anymore in this “enlightened” age of science. Modern science will, don’t you know, follow where the “facts” lead. Eventually they will take everyone else with them like a mother dragging along her recalcitrant child.

Fast forward to the present day. Consider the actions of New York real estate firms having difficulty moving high end apartments. They routinely hire an “exorcist” to go in to these difficult to move apartments. This person will assess the “vibes,” burn incense and perform whatever necessary incantations to remove the “obstructions” to the apartment being rented.

Isn’t progress wonderful!

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

“And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27, ESV).

It is amazing to me how difficult it is for people to understand why Jesus had to die.  When I pose the question a typical answer is, “to show how much he loves us.”   I then ask, “What kind of love is it for a father to subject his son to such a cruel death?  What kind of love is that?”  I’m talking about people who claim to know Christ as Savior.  It is not unusual for my  questions to be met with silence.

I also ask, could God have accomplished our salvation some other way?  After all, he is all powerful and he can do anything. The answer: technically, yes, in actual fact, no.  Our resurrected Lord expected the two on the road to Emmaus, who knew the Scriptures, to understand why the Christ should suffer these things.

The actual but elusive answer is, to satisfy divine justice.  When God said to Adam about the forbidden tree, “In the day you eat thereof you shall surely die,” the course was set.  Adam sinned.  He was guilty.  “The soul that sins, it shall die.”  “The wages of sin is death.”  We, who have inherited Adam’s sin nature, are guilty by nature and by choice.

Jesus had to die because justice had to be satisfied.  Sin is not excused, the penalty must be paid because God said it and he doesn’t change his mind.

When I encounter Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, or Muslims, I ask, “What can wash away my sin?”  You can be sure, in the many and varied responses, there is nothing about the satisfaction of divine justice.

Well, what can wash away my sin?  Only the blood of Jesus!  Praise God, he was raised for our justification.

Must we Always Comment on Life?

For our table devotional reading, we dusted off, Jim Elliot’s, Shadow of the Almighty, a book that I read nearly 50 years ago!  I’m amazed at how articulate this twentieth-century martyr was in his early twenties.  I share this excerpt.  Bob Hall

“Must we always comment on life?  Can it not simply be lived in the reality of Christ’s terms of contact with the Father, with joy and peace, fear and love full to the fingertips in their turn, without incessant drawing of lessons and making of rules?  I do not know.  Only I know that my own life is full.  It is time to die, for I have had all that a young man can have, at least all this young man can have.  If there were no further issue from my training, it would be well.  The training has been good, and to the glory of God.  I am ready to meet Jesus.  Failure means nothing now, only that it has taught me life.  Success is meaningless, only that it gave me farther experience in the great gift of God, Life.  And Life, I love thee.  Not because thou art long, or because thou hast done great things for me, but simply because I have thee from God.”

The Gift of Time

The gift of time is second only to the gift of Life itself.  To have time, to use time, is a treasured privilege given to the children of the Timeless One-in-Three.  The Beginning and the End has intersected Earth’s timeline, drawn and directed by Himself alone, and so given infinite significance to each tick of man’s measurement.

“This Is The Day…” is more than a pep song; it is a profound theological statement giving worth to each moment, each life. There is time…time to love, time to serve, time to give, time to receive, time to speak, time to listen–time to do everything  our Lord has given us to do.  The Giver of time, of our time, will also give us wisdom to utilize it wisely.

originally written December, 1989

On a Different Level

When we entered the Federal Court building last Monday to hear the oral arguments in our case with the DOE, we were met with an impressive figure, presumably representing “Justice.”  Holding the scales of justice in her hand, she is blind-folded to ensure the message of the courts’ neutrality is clear for all to see.   This building, built in 2000 A.D., was the product of the expertise of a technologically advanced society and this statue is the expression of a philosophically enlightened culture.  The belief in the innate goodness of man, and his ability to be above any bias, following only the best results of science, informs this modern testament to man’s self-adulation.

I was immediately reminded of another statue of “Justice,” but from another era and another place, before the accelerating de-Christianization of our culture.  The Bronx Supreme Court building on 161st Street and the Grand Concourse stands guard over “The House that Ruth built” just a few blocks down the hill.  Its massive white limestone walls and imposing columns are impressive landmarks which have housed the halls of justice for almost 80 years.  However, the casual observer may miss a subtle but telltale feature emblematic of our cultural decline during its watch.  Between the portico and the long incline of steps, facing each other across the portal through which all visitors must pass, are two larger than life statues.  On the west is “Justice,” holding a scale balance in her hands.  She is looking straight across at a bearded figure with stone tablets under his arms: Moses.

Unlike the Enlightenment’s anthropocentric ideal of “blind justice,” this view is rooted in the biblical truth that justice must  be informed by the Law of God.  No looking within the mind or heart or experience of humanity to find a basis for equal treatment under the law: reliance must be on the revealed standard of truth which stands apart from and above man for there to be any hope of an approximation of justice.  The myth of an unbiased perspective is rejected for the manifestly obvious truth that all judgments are made from an unproven and unprovable perspective.   Pure neutrality is an illusion that only justifies bias in the name of objectivity.  God’s Word, his perspective, protects man from himself by standing over all humanity, the educated and uneducated alike, and provides a standard independent of man’s ideas and prejudices.