Tuesday, December 30, 2008

St. Theophilus was the sixth Bishop of Antioch. He became bishop in 168 AD and was an important leader in the early church. It is known, from Eusibius and other early church writers, that Bishop Theophilus wrote a very early commentary on the Gospels and a number of other works defending the faith recieved by the Church of Jesus Christ.

All of this godly bishop's writings have since been lost except for his apologetical writings to his friend Autolycus. Autolycus was a good friend, but a pagan, who looked down on his friend's faith in Jesus Christ.

In his first book to Autolycus, Theophilus says, "you call me a Christian, as if this were a damning name to bear, I, for my part, avow that I am a Christian, and bear this name beloved of God, hoping to be serviceable to God."

I find this quote interesting, I also find it to be very modern. Today, as for as the secular elite are concerned, one of the most embarrassing names that you can take is that of Christian. Unless, of course you are a "christian" who denies almost every tenant of the traditional faith of the Christian Church. A good "christian," according to secularists, is one who is a near socialist, approves abortion, gay marriage, and other loves of secular, post-Christian culture.

Conservative Christians, be they Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, are anathema in to our culture's secular elite, as were Christians like Bishop Theophilus of Antioch in the second century Roman Empire. We have come full circle; it is once again, in the eyes of a large segment of modern American culture, and the Biblical faith of Christians is something to be scorned and hated.

According to our cultural elite, it is evil, bigoted, and a matter of hate for a Christian to believe that homosexuality is a sin or for a Christian to oppose gay marriage. In the mind those same elites the title Christian is "a damning name to bear."

The Christian faith was once the cultural norm here and in Europe. Those days are long gone. Today, our land has no cultural norm, In some places in our country, the old Christian norms still have a toe hold on the culture, in other areas those old norms are viewed as stupid bigotry and are despised.

At some point we may find ourselves caught up in a French Revolution type blood bath. I don't think such a thing can happen today, but we are moving in libertine direction and that is what is needed to bring about the conditions that allowed the French Revolution.

No matter, the God of Scripture is the Lord of history and we can trust in Him.

Coram Deo,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dr. Greg Bahnsen died in 1995, before then he was one of 20th century's greatest defenders of the Christian faith. I have read a number of his books and listened to countless hours of his lectures as well. The clip below is from a tremendous debate that took place between Dr. Bahnsen and Dr. Gordon Stein. It is worth every minute that it will cost you to listen to it.

You can listen to the whole debate by going to this LINK.

Coram Deo,

Monday, December 22, 2008

I am an unapologetic Christian. I believe in the triune God of the Christian Scriptures. I believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, that He lived a sinless life, that He died on a cross outside of Jerusalem, and I believe that He rose again on the third.

Was Jesus born on December 25? Probably not, but it does not matter. Far more then a millennium ago Christians chose to celebrate the birth of our Lord on this day. I believe it is good that we do so.

It is necessary to celebrate Christmas? No. It is not, as St. Paul wrote, "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. " (Rom. 14:5-6)

There are "Christians" who condemn and try to tear down the celebration of Christmas. If they can not celebrate this day in good faith, than they should not do so, but neither should they try to drag others into their weakness. They are free to not celebrate, just as I have liberty in Christ to celebrate his birth near the winter equinox as most my Christian brothers and sisters have done for more than 1500 years.

We have liberty in Christ in matters such as this. It is sad to see people bind their own consciences so that they can not enjoy Christ in His fullness.

Coram Deo,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren, Prayer and Hate

Homosexual groups are upset because Rev. Rick Warren has been asked by President elect Obama to say the opening invocation at his inauguration. Pastor Warren accepts the Bibles teaching that homosexual relationships are sinful. On this point he stands solidly within the mainstream of the ancient and common Christian position on the subject.

Today on the news I heard claims that Pastor Warren promoted "hate" against homosexuals, because he opposes the legalisation of homosexual marriage and believes homosexual acts to be sin. This is an interesting argument. Let's see carry out that line of thought.

Christians, following the Bible, believe that adultery is a sin.

Does that imply that we "hate" adulterers?

Christians, following the Bible, believe that sex outside of marriage is a sin.

Does that equate to hatred by Christians for heterosexuals that are sexually active?

Christians, following the Bible, believe that it is a sin to steal?

Does that mean that we "hate" thieves.

The answer to all the above questions is a simple "no." Christians believe, in line with the Scriptures, that we are all sinners. As St. Paul wrote, "all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God." St. John, following Jesus, agrees with St. Paul when he writes, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us."

Christians can not claim sinlessness. We know that we are sinners, but we do believe that it is wrong to legalise a form of sexual sin by law and put it on par with the biblically condoned position of heterosexual, monogamous marriage.

I no men and women who have committed adultery ( or are doing so now). I do not hate them for that, but I can not say "what your doing is OK or good" because it is not. Sex outside of marriage is sin. I do not hate the single men and women I work with that are engaged in sex outside of marriage. But when the subject has come up in our conversations, I have not dodged the issue. They all know what I believe and why and we are still friends. None of them believe that I hate him or her. I don't try to brow beat my friends and I don't march around them with a sign saying "Turn or Burn" either.

I pray for my friends. I pray that the Lord would give them the grace to repent and turn from their sinful lifestyles.

I am a sinner. I sin daily, one way or an other, in thought, word and deed. I sin positively when I do, think are say sinful things. I also sin by not always doing, thinking or saying what I should say.

Where is the "hate?"
Disagreement does not equate to hate. As I said before it is dangerous to teach that opposing "gay marriage" equals hate. Many in the Gay Rights movement believe that disagreement on the issue is a form of hate. That is, at best fallacious, thinking. It is impossible to reason with someone who is unreasonable and equates disagreement with hate.

I am sure Rick Warren prays for gay people. He would have to deny the Scriptures and the Christian Faith to do otherwise.

Coram Deo,

Saturday, December 06, 2008

For many decades the political left and Hollywood elite have laboured to convince us that homosexuality is a legitimate and acceptable lifestyle. This issue, like abortion, sets much of the the political left and most of Hollywood in opposition to what we know to be "traditional moral values" and the teachings of the historic Christian faith.

The Western world is presently in a cultural civil war. The Christian Faith played a major part in the foundation and development of Western Civilization. But today much of the cultural leadership of the West has abandoned the Christian faith and are they are hostile to the faith that we have inherited in the West through the Church of Jesus Christ.

I just watched a video on the web titled Prop 8: The Musical. It stars a number of Hollywood heavyweights including Jack Black and John C. Reilly. The musical equates opposition to legalization of homosexual marriage to hate. Reilly joins the musical by singing, "Look no body's watching. It's time to spread some hate and put it in the constitution." How is hate to be put in the constitution? By voting for Proposition 8. The Proposition has now passed and it did away with California's judicially imposed legalization of homosexual marriage.

According to this little musical that if you hold to the traditional Christian position, and oppose the legalization of homosexual marriage, you are now, according to much of the left and Hollywood, a promoter of hate. I assume Christians also promote hate when the speak-out (in a proper godly manner) against adultery, bestiality, and other forms of sex outside of marriage which we belief to is between a man and a woman.

I know people who are adulterers, I have unmarried friends who engage in sex outside of matrimony, and I know people who are homosexual. I think all three of these types of sexual activity are, according to the Bible and the Christin Faith, to be sinful and they condemned by the Word of God. I would oppose any attempt by the state support any of these sexual activities by sanctioning them in law.

Does this mean that I hate my friends who are engaged in sexual activity that the Bible condemns as sinful? Certainly not. I disagree with the sexual lifestyles of many people that I consider to be close friends. I do not hate them, even though I believe sex outside of marriage is a sin.

Political and social disagreement does not come close to implying hate, however these days disagreement with the political and cultural left is not allowed by many on that side of the cultural divide. For me to have a philosophical, theological, cultural or political disagreement with many on the left is, from their perspective, a form of hate.

That is scary, because you don't tend to communicate very well with people that you believe "hate" you. Since the French Revolution, it has been fairly common for left wingers when they come to power, to support the elimination of those that philosophically oppose your believe system. The left wing French revolutionaries killed tens of thousands of those in France with whom they disagreed with. Beginning in 1917, the left wing Russians did the same thing, as did the Nazis, who held to a twisted, nationalistic form of left wing (socialistic) thought.

Equating philosophical or political disagreement with hate is very dangerous for any society. Today, in the United States, an important segment of the political and cultural left have crossed that perilous line. That is very scary. Such rhetoric tends to bring an end to civil disagreements, and can bring destroy thoughtfulness and the ability to sound reason. It can also lead to blood shed.

Like I said, it is a very scary turn in the the Culture Cold War that is raging around us.

As to hate, Christians are sinners. There is no sin or sinful lifestyle out here that some Christian has not been guilty of or is even know struggling with. We are all sinners before God. We all need forgiveness. Every Christian in the world has to repent of a multitude of sins every day. Many Christians have been involved in many forms of sexual sin, many more struggle with some type of sexual sin daily.

I do not hate those promoting sinful lifestyles, what I do is pray for my fellow man, who like me is made in the image of God, and like me needs to repent and turn to the forgiveness that is to be found in Christ alone.

Coram Deo,