Socio-Political

MESSY GRACE

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“Messy Grace” is an unusual story

The author, Caleb Kaltenbach was raised by a militantly lesbian mother and a homosexual father.

“Messy Grace” is an unusually helpful story

Caleb helps us to think about how Christians come across to those who are outside the church community. You will be challenged in how God uses you in the lives of those who are broken.

“Messy Grace” is an unusually powerful book

If you have a heart to reach people with abundant grace and uncompromising truth, this book will help you. And if you are not interested in those things, then you probably should read it twice!

I benefited by reading “Messy Grace” and I have been recommending it ever since. One of my small groups found that this book stimulated wonderful and needed conversations.

Buy it

Read it

Use it

MY ELECTION DAY MUSINGS

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When I am in Belarus, people are fascinated by American elections. During each election cycle, I have many people ask for my opinion about the various candidates.

It amazes them that candidates can openly criticize and even mock the sitting President.

Our system is rather messy and in many ways I believe it is seriously flawed. Yet, in the context of world history, the American presidential election is strikingly special.

Our voting privilege is a responsibility to be taken seriously. We should vote and we should use discernment as we vote.

There are no perfect candidates and sometimes the choice is harder than others. The best practice to my understanding is to vote for the candidate who will represent your values.

Two significant factors to include in our decision making:

1.  Which voices will be influencing the candidates?

2. What type of people will the candidates be putting into positions of power? This includes cabinet level offices, but most concerning is who they will be appointing to the Supreme Court.

The warning I give at election time is to recognize that if you think the person you vote for will solve your problems and those of the world – you are greatly mistaken.

The problems of the world and the great needs of our life are met by the person who went to the cross for us. Jesus Christ is the ultimate problem solver. Outside of him, the significant burdens of humanity are a hopeless mess.

If this election is depressing to you, take heart – the kingdom we hope in is not our country, it is the kingdom of Jesus Christ which cannot fail. That kingdom is not only our shining hope, it is our eternal home

AS GOOD AS A BOOK

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This month rather than recommending a book, I am recommending a website. AlMohler.com is the home of Dr. Al Mohler’s articles and podcasts.

In my opinion Al Mohler is the preeminent evangelical voice commenting on socio-political issues today.

Mohler’s website has helpful articles and his daily podcast commenting on the news from a biblical perspective is exceptionally insightful.

A bonus at this time of year is Mohler’s annual summer reading list which is geared for those who love history and biographies.

Dr. Mohler is President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Mohler not only leads this seminary well, by God’s grace he rescued the seminary from liberalism and almost single-handedly turned it into one of the strongest biblical seminaries in the world today.

I have heard Al Mohler a few times and met him once briefly. In additional to having a brilliant and thoroughly biblical mind, he is an engaging and gracious man. You will benefit by listening to and reading what he has to say.

 

HOW DO WE ENGAGE ROTTENNESS?

When I was a small boy, we had trash cans and a separate garbage pail for food scraps. I hated opening the garbage pail because of the noxious odor that came out and the disgusting writhing mass of maggots on display in it.

That childhood memory comes quickly to mind when I think of the course of our “culture” today.

There is a lot of discussion about engaging our culture, but I think I find more agreement with Carl Truman who recently pointed out that we no longer have a true culture to engage!  He writes,

Let’s face it: We now live in a world where refusing a man the right to expose himself in a woman’s toilet is enough to risk your city losing the right to host a football game.

Trueman who is a world class theologian and an excellent writer, refers to this problem as “The Rise of the Anti-culture”, which is also the title of this article.

The answer is not to withdraw our voices, but the Church needs to think more clearly about what it often calls cultural engagement. Too often this simply means trying to look enough like the world that they are comfortable with us. But how can we consider trying to be comfortable with a world whose values are looking more like my childhood garbage pail?

We cannot lessen our engagement with people despite their sin or brokenness, for Christ came to save them – and only by grace are we still not one of them. But the world has drawn lines of anti-culture that we cannot even come close to mimicking, let alone crossing.

If by engaging the culture, we mean talking to them about light – truth – and the gospel; then engage with all the gusto you can muster. But if by engagement, we think we can mix biblical truth with current cultural perspectives, we will end up with a confused mess of ‘spirituality’ rather than gospel clarity.

This is a confusion we cannot accept, for the gospel in its glorious purity alone has the power to save!

ADAM4D NAILS IT

 

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There is endless discussion and declaration on this issue which tries to sound so logical and justifiable. But in one comic strip Adam4D strips it all away to what we should see – the truth!

Follow this link to get the whole sequence.

 

GOD IS NOT CUSTOMIZABLE

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Have you ever noticed the way people who leave God on the periphery of life feel free to tell Christians how we are following God incorrectly?

They blithely declare how the church needs to act differently in terms of support for social, political, economic and even sexual issues. They will even go so far as to accuse Christians of this head scratcher: we are being unchristian, if we will not agree and go along with other religions.

Accusations such as these reveal that the accusers don’t believe God is real, and they don’t believe His Word has any authority.

Sometimes they will throw out a broad and out of context biblical statement as to justify their accusation, but generally their opinions rest simply on the fact that they want Christians to think and act different.

G Shane Morris wrote an interesting article on this topic for The Federalist entitle “Dear Media: Stop Trying to Teach Christians Theology”.

We shouldn’t be surprised when unbelievers act this way, people will always be desperate to silence the voice of God from their lives.

But what about professed Christians, do we ever act as if the Bible’s authority over our preferences is questionable?

When believers pile up days without giving time or thought to God, how do explain the difference between our life and that of an unbeliever (many of them are nice and moral too)?

God is Creator, Sustainer, Lord of all, Almighty, Glorious and Perfect. He graciously is quite interested in hearing from us, but God has absolutely no interest in adjusting His will and Word for us.

The Bible is clear; if we love God we will bow before him and we will follow his Word. This particularly includes when God’s Word is running against our preferences.

As Shane Morris points out, God is not “customizable”.

 

Best 1.5 minute commentary on abortion ever heard on network news

Back in July it was revealed that Planned Parenthood was guilty of the ghastly crime of selling body parts from aborted babies.

In response, news journalist Brit Hume gave what Gospel Coalition’s Justin Taylor described as “the best 1.5 minute commentary on abortion ever heard on network news”.

I agree with Justin and with Brit Hume.

Since tomorrow is the 43rd Anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision which created the ‘right’ to have an abortion, Brit Hume’s commentary is worth reading:

“Whatever comes of the revelations about Planned Parenthood and its participation in the traffic in fetal body parts, those revelations will have achieved one thing: they have parted the veil of antiseptic tidiness behind which the abortion industry has for so long operated.

The sight of a senior Planned Parenthood official, and a doctor to boot, discussing the market for fetal body parts in between bites of salad and sips of wine was stomach-turning.

That’s because it laid bare the essentially brutal nature of abortion. Let’s be blunt: abortion involves the extraction and killing of a human life, which within a couple of weeks of pregnancy has a beating heart. Five weeks in, its hands and legs begin to grow.

It is these tiny creatures, and too often ones that are far more developed, that are pulled from a mother’s womb and crushed with forceps.

Oh, but oh-so-carefully, lest body parts that can be sold are preserved. This gruesome procedure shows the extent to which we, as a people, have been anesthetized by the estimated 55 million—fifty-five million—abortions performed since the Supreme Court discovered a constitutional right to that procedure 42 years ago.

Will we as a nation not someday look upon that decision and what it has done to us, not to mention the 55 million, with horror and regret? One can only hope we will.”

WHY STOP THERE?

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The true Christian community (those who believe the Creator God gave us his Word, which is the final authority on everything) has been rightly disturbed by those in our culture who want to erase God’s lines and allow truth to become what they want it to be.

The biggest area in which lines are being confused is that of sexual identity and transgender fluidity.

But now, the transgender community is flustered because someone dares to go beyond even their tangled lines of identity.

Paul Wolscht is a 52 year old Canadian man with a wife and seven children. But now Paul says his true identity is Stefonkee. And (Paul) says that Stefonkee is not only a female, she is a 6 year old girl.

As a six year old girl, Stefonkee is not interested in a gay marriage, he (I’m sticking with what God made) says he needed a new “mommy and daddy” to take care of him as a little girl. His new adoptive mommy and daddy are supportive of his dressing as a little girl and playing with dolls.

Well, the transgender movement is outraged! Stefonkee is making a mockery of being a transgender person, by throwing in his age confusion issue (transageism). I guess they think his age confusion issues are silly.

In this excellent article on the story, Carl Trueman accuses the transgender movement of “whining like a bunch of, ahem, six year old girls” (pun fully intended).

The homosexual and transgender community have wanted to erase God’s lines. But now they are angry, because once the lines are gone – once truth is no longer concrete – anything, literally anything goes.

Perhaps God knows what He is doing after all.

 

ARE YOU SERIOUS?

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On November 14, Planned Parenthood, which is the largest abortion provider in the nation, posted the message above on Twitter.

You would be hard pressed to find an emptier statement,
or one more hypocritical.

Did they not notice the irony? Do they not care?

This we do know from God’s Word, when sin is pursued, our hearts and minds not only become seared – we become blinded to that fact. This is something to be remembered when sinful habits prevail in our own hearts.

This brief Tweet also reveals Planned Parenthood is an organization which cannot be believed.

The statements they make about what they do and don’t do have no more credibility then this farcical Tweet.

The Wardrobe Door has this brief, but sharp article on this Planned Parenthood Tweet that digs a little deeper into the original Tweet by Hillary Clinton as well. The articles title is “Irony’s Dead and Planned Parenthood Killed It”.

“I’M NOT HURTING ANYONE”

“I’m not hurting anyone”

This a common defense of indefensible behavior. We have all heard it and we have all used it.

Now you may be thinking, “I have never said that”. Well you might not have said it, but we have all eased our conscience while walking into sinful territory with the thought that this activity of heart or hand will not really hurt us.

Determining the “harm” factor in moral behavior is not the clear cut and easily definable line that our culture likes to think it is. A big problem that immediately confronts us is determining what precisely is harmful!

Part of the issue in determining what hurts, is understanding the affects of behavior on society as a whole. The biggest factor is God’s place in the equation. If we were created for God’s glory, then behavior that defies God’s rule is bad and harms what He has created.

Tim Keller gives an outstanding example. If I break a watch while using it to drive in a nail, I cannot rightly then say it is a “bad” watch because it broke. The obvious reason is that watches are not made for driving in nails. The questions “Who made us?” and “For what purpose?”, are central to understanding the true morality and harm of our actions.

This excellent video from The Gospel Coalition featuring Al Mohler, Tim Keller and Collin Hanson is an interesting and helpful discussion on immorality and harm.