Thursday, October 9, 2014

Introducing Same-Sex "Marriage" to Natural Law

I am appalled at the ease at which traditionally evangelical churches have thrown aside the authority of Scripture on the issue of homosexuality. It is expected today that the first same-sex “marriage” will occur in our state of North Carolina and most of our pastors are silent on the issue. It is as if pastors have waved the white flag of defeat, naively believing this issue will not affect them or their church, and giving no thought to society, our nation, nor the Lord’s Kingdom. I was prodded to writing this today after reading a Facebook post where a fellow Baptist naively referred to same-sex “marriage” as the “new normal.”

There is nothing new about sin, and there is nothing normal about homosexuality. Let us momentarily lay aside that Scripture calls homosexuality an abomination. In fact, let us remove the teaching of Scripture from the issue altogether. I do this in hope of avoiding the attacks of being a Bible-thumping evangelical Christian, which I am very proud to be. Let us talk about “natural law” and move the debate into the realm of philosophy.

Natural law is derived from nature, with laws, rules, and moral behavior (both personal and social) being derived from nature. If memory serves me right, Thomas Aquinas argued that for any sexual act to be moral it had to be generative. Since both male sperm and the female egg are required to produce life, natural law argues that any sexual act other than male-female is immoral. As same-sex “marriages” become more politically and socially accepted, society suffers and human population is reduced. If everyone enters a same sex union, the human race would soon become extinct, unless modern fertility procedures rushes in to save the day using ancient natural law methodology of the sperm and the egg. Until same-sex relationships can naturally become genitive without medical intervention, nature declares the act unnatural.

In lovingly addressing the current events to congregations, politicians, and LGBTQIAs, let me challenge men and women of God to reach deeper than their faith and look at natural law. You will then find the strength and resolve to stand firm on the Scripture and the principles of God, for you will have both Scripture and natural law to strengthen your stance and make your message more convincing. Remember, even before Scripture, our Creator breathed natural law into existence for the created.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Finding Freedom through Slavery

“Which one of you having a slave tending sheep or plowing will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? Instead, will he not tell him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, get ready, and serve me while I eat and drink; later you can eat and drink’? Does he thank that slave because he did what was commanded? In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves; we’ve only done our duty.’” - Luke 17:7-10, HCSB

If you read First Kings 9:15-25, you will see that Solomon used slave labor in building the First Temple. Verse 15 reads, "Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted...." Verse 21 states that the descendents from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, "that is, their descendents remaining in the land, who the Israelites could not exterminates - these Solomon conscripted for his slave labor force...." Slave labor was common in both the Old and New Testament. In fact, slavery has existed through all recorded history, and more than 20 million people remain in slavery in the world to this day. We like to think that civilized nations do not enslave others; and due to American history, we prefer to ignore slavery and not to speak of it. We think of slavery as repulsive and champion a belief that all men should be free. Therefore, we find it difficult to deal with Luke 17:7-10. No wonder it would take a Nigerian to help the Western World understand the importance of Jesus’ parable.

In the August 13, 2014 issue of Christianity Today, there is a fascinating article by Alec Hill that is worth looking up and reading; it is titled “The Most Troubling Parable: Why Does Jesus Say We are Like Slaves?" This article deals with Luke 17:7-10, a parable often ignored in today's pulpits. In it, Alec Hill writes, "Because our Master is all powerful, we can lean on his strength. And because he is all Good, we can trust him to care for us. What we see as our bondage is really our freedom." Alec points out that as believers we must learn to yield control, carry out our duty, and serve only Jesus. It is only in our slavery to Jesus that we are free. This parable squares with and is consistent with other New Testament Scriptures.

Scripture teaches us to voluntarily become slaves to Christ. We are to humble ourselves to be his slaves, and in so doing find that Jesus makes us sons and daughters. However, until we humble ourselves to the point of becoming his slave, we are not treated as sons and daughters. Every person working in a church (for pay) must determine if he or she is going to be a "slave" for Christ or a "servant" for the church. These two are very different and it is very important to know where you stand with the church and with Christ.

The best I can tell, my family tree is far removed from slavery in this country and in Europe. I have been unable to determine any ancestors that were slaves, or slave owners, and yet I am most certain that somewhere in my ancient past that slavery (as either slave or owner) would have been a part of my Gentile ancestral tree. I say this, not because of my race or the color of my skin, but because I am a sojourner in this world awaiting my heavenly home going. Yet of this I am sure, I am a slave to Christ! He is my Master and he can do with me whatever he desires. I serve no other master and I am building no earthly kingdom. I have ceded control to Jesus. I work daily to do my duty for Jesus. I only serve Jesus, and give him first place in my life above all others – even family. I am his slave. Jesus owes me no thanks for the work I do, it is owed to Jesus and much more. I am his slave and I am to serve him faithfully. The fact that Jesus treats me as his brother and son has everything to do with his mercy and grace, and nothing to do with my status as slave.

Prayer: Master Jesus, you are worthy of my worship and allegiance. I owe you my very life, and I am nothing without you. Forgive me when I have grumbled and complained. Forgive me when I have failed to serve faithful, and when I have been foolish and selfish to want you to serve me. Enable me to yield all selfish ambitions, wants, and desires, and to serve you faithfully this day, Master Jesus, help me give you my best, work through the weariness of the flesh, and serve you faithfully.
I love you Master and thank you today for the privilege of being your slave. Amen.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Lamb of God

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"  John 1:29, NIV

As Palm Sunday approaches, it seems fitting to consider the rider of the colt entering Jerusalem. Who is this man that crowds swarm around singing "Hosanna!" and "Blessed is the King of Israel!" John 12:12 and following tells the story, and in verse 20 and following Jesus explains why he must die. Who are these people who sang "Hosanna" who were so quickly persuaded to shout "Crucify Him!"

The rider on the young donkey is the Sacrifice and the people in the crowd are the Isaac's of the world. Those who want to know where the lamb is for the sacrifice to take away the sin. The penalty of sin is death, and God has always required the shedding of blood for the removal of sin. Humanities sins were so many and so great that far too many lambs were being slaughters and humanity remained under a growing bondage of guilt and sin. So God, in the fullness of time, carried out His plan. He came into the world, God Incarnate, God in human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, to be the Lamb of God. This perfect God-man served as the once for all Sacrifice and ushered in a new era. No longer are the slaughter of innocent lambs necessary, for God Incarnate is the Lamb! God Incarnate is the One on the donkey. His love for us made him willing to the required Sacrifice us.

We are like the crowds who sang "Hosanna!" We sing the Lord's praises one day and curse him the next. We are so fickle, so unstable in our love for Him. Yet, he never wavers in his love for us. Today, I pray that you revel in his love for you. Pour your heart out to him and confess all your failures, and enjoy his love for you for no one loves you more than Jesus. If you do not know him as your Lord and Savior, tell him that you believe he is the Son of God and that he died for you and rose from the dead, then ask him to forgive you for all your sin and to come into your life and be your Lord and Savior.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for this great thing you did for me and for all humanity. Forgive me for being fickle and failing to praise and serve you with consistency. Enable me to better grasp the Incarnation and the love you showed humanity by coming and living among us to help us relate to you. Grant me greater knowledge for discerning the truth. Amen.