Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Men No Longer Know How To Treat Women

One of the casualties in the culture's war on Complementarianism is that men no longer know how to treat women. Embracing Egalitarianism, the culture for the most part now recognizes no gender-based limitations of what functions or roles each can fulfill in the home, the church, the military and society. As a result, young men brought up under this worldview no longer know how to treat a woman.

And women generally don't like it.

I know a young man in his late 20s that desperately "wants a girlfriend." He's a nice-enough, good-looking, young man, with an engineering degree and a good job. But he doesn't have a clue how to treat a woman. On one of his first dates where he asked a woman out to dinner, he ordered separate checks at the conclusion of dinner. Needless to say, that was the last time that particular woman went out with him.

On another occasion, he took a flight to a distant city with a different woman for an event. They were staying in different hotels (he didn't want to stay at her hotel because it was "too expensive") and they shared a taxi from the airport. He had only one bag and she had a large suitcase, a garment bag, and a carry-on. He had the taxi take them both to his hotel, from where he expected her to walk to her own hotel (close-by) with all her luggage. And he wonders why she ultimately rejected him. He's been rejected by every woman that he tried to establish a relationship with.

He's not alone. Many young men I observe don't open doors for women, don't pay the check, don't buy women gifts, don't compliment women, don't do the heavy lifting, don't feel an obligation to protect a woman, and aren't interested in what SHE wants to do. Being taught there is no difference between them and a woman, they consequently treat women as just another guy - and are then puzzled why women want nothing to do with them.

The truth is that while men and women are created equal in value, each is better at some roles than the other.  Men and women simply do not do everything well despite the claims of the culture. Men are better than women at some things, and women are better than men at other things. Anyone with a lick of common sense knows this. The best resource I've encountered on this subject is Wayne Grudem's Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth. Strongly recommended.

Many young men are not honoring, cherishing, sacrificing for and respecting women today. They merely echo the values of their dying culture:  selfish, self-centered, and narcissistic.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.  1 Peter 3:7 [ESV]

Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't Be Afraid To Stand Contra Mundum

Sometimes, as the culture descends deeper into darkness, it will seem as if the whole world is against you if you take a stand for righteousness and orthodoxy.

One of the greatest theologians of the early church, Athanasius, was born in AD 298 in Egypt and became the bishop of Alexandria on June 8, 328 at the age of 30.  He died on May 2, 373 at the age of 75. He is best known for his lifelong battle articulating and defending Christ's deity and worshiping Christ as Lord and God. There were times when it seemed the whole world had abandoned orthodoxy, giving rise to the phrase "Athanasius contra Mundum" (Athanasius against the world). He stood steadfast against overwhelming defection from orthodoxy.

Athanasius fought a war for orthodoxy lasting 45 years - all his life.  The orthodox victory was just over the horizon when he died in 373.  Although he didn't live to see final victory, history records that Athanasius clearly was the sword God used win that particular victory for orthodoxy. The outcome was the result of his courage, consistency, thoughtful work and writing. No one comes close to his influence in the cause of biblical truth during his lifetime.

A. W. Tozer wrote, "So skilled is error at imitating truth, that the two are constantly being mistaken for each another. It takes a sharp eye these days to know which brother is Cain and which is Abel."  Ultimately, the sign of an apostate church is that it departs from the truth of God’s Word and His righteousness. Once a church abandons the truth of Scripture, the acceptance of sin is not far behind. As churches deny the truthful witness of Scripture regarding God and the unique atoning work of Christ, bowing before cultural trends is inevitable:  embracing homosexuality, condoning abortion, proliferating divorce, etc.

We need to remember that our actions in this life will echo on long after our death - either for good or evil.  The life of Athanasius still powerfully resonates for good an astounding 18 centuries after his death.  This is certainly one of the reasons that God reserves final judgement for everyone until history is consummated at the return of Christ. Our lives can continue to bear fruit - good or bad - after death.

Don't be afraid to stand Contra Mundum for Christ, just as Athanasius did.  The cost may be great but your impact will be incalculable lasting well beyond your death.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." Matthew 5:13  [NIV]

Monday, August 19, 2013

When Should A Christian Say "Enough" And Leave?

There's an intriguing article about Californians leaving the state in droves for Texas because of high taxes, bad business climate, oppressively bad government, ridiculously encumbering laws and increasing persecution of Christians.  California state lawmakers introduce an astounding 2,000 new laws each year.  Examples of the ridiculous laws from an out-of-control state government:
  • In Ventury County, California, cats and dogs are not allowed to have sex without a permit.
  • In California, dogs may not mate within 1500 feet of a church, tavern or school. 
  • In San Jose and Sunnyvale it is illegal for grocery stores to provide plastic bags.
  • You may only throw a frisbee at the beach in Los Angeles County, CA with the lifeguard’s permission.
  • Women may not drive in a house coat.
  • In Carmel, a man can’t go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that do not match, and women may not wear high heels while in the city limits.
Christians increasingly feel unwelcome in California.  As one departing Christian said,

"You could have a friendly, productive, deeply spiritual conversation about the monkey god Hanuman, but you could not talk about Jesus Christ.  Buddhist, Hindu, whatever - 'yay!' Christian - 'boo!'"

This raises an important but difficult question.  When does a Christian say "enough" and leave?

Some would argue that it is "never" time to leave and that Christians have an obligation to stay and be a witness (i.e., Dietrich Bonhoeffer who did not leave Nazi Germany during WW2 and was martyred for his faith.)  But to apply such a mandate carte blanche to every Christian in every situation is both unwise and unbiblical.  While there are obvious arguments for sometimes the need to stay as a witness, there are also some strong counter-arguments that at a certain point, it is time to leave - especially if others are involved for whom you are responsible (i.e., your children).

In 70 AD, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman legions of Titus after a devastating, protracted siege of the city.  Josephus records that more than 1,100,000 Jews were slaughtered and nearly 100,000 were taken captive.  Of those spared death: thousands were enslaved and sent to toil in the mines of Egypt, others were dispersed to arenas throughout the Empire to be butchered for the amusement of the public. The Temple's sacred relics were taken to Rome where they were displayed in celebration of the victory.  The Jewish temple was burned and completely destroyed.  Josephus also records that the famine was so severe during the Roman siege that mothers were reduced to eating the deceased remains of their own children.

Yet, the Roman historian Eusebius records that virtually all of the Christians fled Jerusalem before the Roman legions encircled the city:

"The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella. Here those that believed in Christ, having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of Judea; the divine justice, for their crimes against Christ and his apostles finally overtook them, totally destroying the whole generation of these evildoers form the earth." (Eusebius, 3:5.)

Epiphanius of Salamis records:

"The Nazoraean sect exists in Beroea near Coele Syria, in the Decapolis near the region of Pella, and in Bashan in the place called Cocaba, which in Hebrew is called Chochabe. That is where the sect began, when all the disciples were living in Pella after they moved from Jerusalem, since Christ told them to leave Jerusalem and withdraw because it was about to be besieged. For this reason they settled in Peraea and there, as I said, they lived. This is where the Nazoraean sect began." (Panarion 29:7:7-8)

"Their sect began after the capture of Jerusalem. For when all those who believed in Christ settled at that time for the most part in Peraea, in a city called Pella belonging to the Decapolis mentioned in the gospel, which is next to Batanaea and the land of Bashan, then they moved there and stayed.." (Panarion 30:2:7)

"For when the city was about to be captured and sacked by the Romans, all the disciples were warned beforehand by an angel to remove from the city, doomed as it was to utter destruction. On migrating from it they settled at Pella, the town already indicated, across the Jordan. It is said to belong to Decapolis " (On Weights and Measures 15)

In the Old Testament, Lot chose to stay in Sodom despite gross iniquity that ultimately resulted in the judgment of God.  As a result of his decision to stay, while he and his daughters were saved, they literally lost everything:  their possessions, his daughters lost their husbands and Lot lost his wife.  Why did Lot stay?  One can only surmise that Lot stayed because he did not want to give up the financial prosperity that he apparently enjoyed there.  Genesis 13 chronicles that Lot chose to live in the regions of Sodom because of the rich grassland that was there before the region was destroyed by God.  The New Testament records that Lot recognized the sin of the city and was distressed by it (2 Pet 2:7-8), but apparently not enough to leave.  Lot stayed - when he clearly should have left - and it cost him dearly.

The story of the most famous shipwreck of all - Titanic - is especially tragic when you understand that it did not carry sufficient lifeboats for everyone yet most of the launched lifeboats were not full as the majority of the passengers were initially reluctant to leave the warm, comfortable ocean liner for a rickety, open, small lifeboat adrift on a freezing ocean.  For instance, the first lifeboat to launch, Lifeboat 7 from the starboard side only carried 24 people, despite having a capacity of 65 (two additional people later transferred to Lifeboat 7 from Lifeboat 5). However, it was Lifeboat 1 that carried the fewest people - only seven crew and five passengers (a total of 12 people) despite having a capacity for 40.  Some 1500 perished when a significant number of those could have been saved had they recognized it was time to leave.

Unquestionably, the decision to leave can be difficult, especially if one has been there a long time - perhaps even their entire life.  But to simply accept a constantly deteriorating cultural environment without ever prayerfully considering if/when "it's time to go" is unwise.

Romans chapter 1 indicates that people (and by extension, cultures) can reach a point in their willful rebellion against God where He "lets them go" to bear the full fruit and consequence of their insurrection.  Noteworthy, it highlights homosexuality as a key signpost that a person/culture is in the endgame of their apostasy.  Unless God has clearly and unequivocally made clear in protracted prayer that one should stay, continuing to sojourn in such an environment is foolhardy - especially if one is responsible for others.

Our children are now grown and married with children of their own.  All of them attended public school in the United States and I've always been a proponent of the need for Christians to be a witness for truth and light in public schools.  However, today, I would not let my children stay in public school in California.  When state law mandates that "transgender" students can use the restrooms and showers of their choosing, when homosexuality is celebrated as a lifestyle, when Christians are ridiculed by teachers for their faith ... it's time to leave.

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Prov 22:3 [NIV]

UPDATE:  08/23/13  A Wisconsin school district will teach 4th graders about such topics as masturbation , sexual intercourse, sexual orientation, abortion and contraception.  "Students, according to the handbook, will “be encouraged to talk to parents in order to help them develop their own values and beliefs about masturbation.” " ...... uh yeah .....  Time to leave.

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's A Battle For Islam - Not Democracy

The vast majority of Western politicians and journalists gullibly believe that uprisings such as the Arab Spring will result in the ascent of peaceful democratic Islamic nations.  In fact, the uprisings in the Arab world have nothing to do with democracy.  Rather they ominously signal the awakening of a potential restored Islamic Caliphate.  The last Caliphate was located in Istanbul, Turkey where for 400 years, Istanbul was the political center of the Muslim world.  From there, the Turkish sultans ruled the Ottoman Empire as caliphs from 1517 until the empire fell after World War I.  In 1924, the Turkish leader Attaturk abolished the Caliphate and established a secular government in Turkey. Since then, many Muslims have dreamed and worked for the return of the Caliphate.  The major aim of a restored Caliphate is for Islam to rule the world under the leadership of one caliph through jihad.

The Muslim Brotherhood, now so prominent in Egypt was established in 1928, four years after the disbanding of the Muslim caliphate by Ataturk,  Their specific mission was to restore the caliphate just four years later and they have been pursuing that mission ever since.  Their goal remains to set up a one world Islamic government.

Fighting between the Egyptian military and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood this week to date left hundreds dead and thousands injured.  Some Middle East experts are now predicting open civil war in Egypt is inevitable.  Andrew McCarthy is one of the few western journalists willing to pull the mask off the real face of Islam, chronicling the torching of Christian Coptic churches by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt..  He reports,

"In the familiar pattern, the Western media are focused on the military raids against Islamic supremacists in Egypt but ignoring the latter’s use of violence and of women and children as human shields. After all, the “protesters” say they are “peaceful." ....... The Brotherhood is not “retaliating” against Christians. Islamic supremacists are persecuting Christians . . . which is what they do in Muslim-majority countries."

Regarding the situation in Egypt, Mike Evans (with astute political incorrectness) insightfully observes,  "This is a battle for Islam.  It's not about Democracy.  It never was."  Not pulling any punches, Evans goes on to note the current American President Barack Obama "wants Islam to have their equal rights" but "doesn’t understand what they will do with those equal rights."

Islam successfully continues to pull the wool over the eyes of the church, the current American administration, and others in the west.  To wit - British Schools will be required to incorporate Islamic teaching in their history curriculum beginning in 2014 according to PressTV (Iran's 24-hour English language news organization.)  This is more ongoing successful soft jihad on the part of British Muslims.  Responding to the report of Islamic history to be incorporated in the British curriculum, an ex-Muslim at Islam Watch wryly predicted,

"As things continue as it is now, we foresee that the Quran will likely become a mandatory subject in school curriculum across Europe in next 10 years. And in another 20-30 years, things may turn out as it is now in Pakistan, Egypt or Somalia -- mass unrest, bombings, beheadings and much more."

It's not that Islamic history should not be studied; the problem is that the Islamic "history" to be taught in British schools will certainly be the fanciful Islamic version - based not on historical fact - but Islamic deceit.  (Islam is the only major religion in the world that permits its adherents to practice deceit.)  For examples on how Islam revises history, check out the truth on numerous claimed Islamic inventions.  One of the most notorious examples of their historical revision is Islam's repeated (even comical) denial that a Jewish temple ever existed in Jerusalem - an assertion clearly refuted in both archeological and secular historical records..

In the United States, a group calling itself  the "American Muslim Political Action Committee" (AMPAC) is planning a "one million Muslims march" in Washington D.C. on September 11th of this year. The march is scheduled for the anniversary of the worst domestic massacre in American history perpetrated in the name of Islam (the 9/11 attacks).  In typical Muslim fashion, portraying Islam as the victim, AMPAC issued the following "demands" to the American government:

"We at AMPAC (American Political Action Committee) are planning an historic event for 9.11.13 where one million Muslims will march to Washington D.C. and demand that our civil rights be protected by our government.

We are demanding that laws be enacted protecting our 1st amendment . We are asking President Obama to fulfill his promise from his first campaign for Presidency of a transparent government. Lastly we are asking for the release of the 9/11 commission report to the American people."

AMPAC goes on to claim that the media has been lying to the American people with regard to the role Islam played in the 9/11 attacks:

"On 9.11.01 our country was forever changed by the horrific events in New York. The entire country was victimized by the acts done on that day. Muslim and Non Muslim alike were traumatized but we as Muslims continue 12 years later to be victimized by being made the villains. To this day every media outlet and anti Islamic organization has committed slanderous and libel statements against us as Muslims and our religion of Islam.

Yet our Government either sits idly by and does nothing to protect our freedoms or it exacerbates the problem with its constant war on terrorism in Islamic countries, congressional hearings on Islam in America, and its changes to the NDAA law.

These lies told to the American population has made it impossible for us to do true Dawa. Why do we have to defend our religion while doing Dawa? Why can’t we just share the perfection of the Quran and the beauty of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SWS)?"

This is nothing new.  In the Muslim mindset, Islamic Jihad is always the fault of the unbeliever.

In 2010, Joe Hargrave posted on the American Catholic an accurate editorial entitled, "Enough is Enough: The Crusades & The Jihad Are Not Equivalents".  It's recommended reading for those interested in the historical truth versus the propaganda disseminated by Muslims and the politically-correct hogwash of the mainstream media.

We ignore at our own peril the clarion call sounded by Erwin Lutzer in his new book, "The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent: An Informed Response to Islam's War with Christianity",

"Only the church possesses moral and spiritual resources to stand against the rising tide of secularism and false religions that are engulfing us.  Very likely the next generation will be even more overwhelmed, unless the levees remain strong and unyielding.  I write this book for the current generation of Christians in America, but I am more deeply concerned for the generation that will follow us.  Out children and grandchildren will most assuredly fight battles that we've only heard about in other parts of the world but have never had to confront.  The legal and social restrictions to prohibit us from exercising our faith are growing continuously, and the battle will only intensify in the years ahead.  The day of casual Christianity is rapidly coming to a close, and the call for Christians to display courage is becoming more pressing than ever."

Having spent time in some of the strictest Islamic countries in the world, I experienced firsthand how Islam treats the media, the entertainment industry, women, and people of other faiths.   Ironically, many (most?) of the same people in these categories in the west rise to the defense of Islam, or at least regard it as benign, and naively welcome it with open arms.  Scripture uses a word to describe them ... fools. 

A battle for democracy?  No - it's a battle for Islam.

"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion."  Prov 18:2 [ESV]

Thursday, August 15, 2013

For Whom The Bells Toll?

When the Washington National Cathedral rang bells at noon on June 26, 2013 to celebrate the Supreme Court rulings that signified the end of the Defense Of Marriage Act and Prop 8 (rulings legitimizing gay marriage), it sounded its' own death knell.

The shocking rapidity in the rise of our post-Christian culture was born in the Biblical illiteracy of our own churches.  Shifting the emphasis from foundational theological truths to feel-good, motivational messages worthy of Tony Robbins, the church jettisoned its' anchor of truth and set adrift with the changing tides of the culture.  Afraid of "offending", the church largely abandoned objective truth and for the most part, "idiotized" itself.

Biblical literacy within the church is directly proportional to the effectiveness of its' witness.  A church with strong, solid Biblical literacy is a light in the darkness and a catalyst for positive change in the surrounding culture.  But a church saturated with Biblical illiteracy will inevitably succumb to the surrounding culture.  How ironic that in an era where the common man has unparalleled access to Scripture (printed, digital, and online), the appalling biblical illiteracy worsens day-by-day.

Our own Biblical illiteracy is directly impacting not only our own worldview, but the surrounding culture.  Dr. Woodrow Kroll, President Back to the Bible International recently observed,

"I don't believe Bible illiteracy is a problem in the church; I believe it is the problem in the church. Failure to read God's Word is impacting our view of the world around us. This year saw increases in the proportions of people who believe that cohabitation (60%), adultery (42%), sexual relations between homosexuals (30%), abortion (45%), pornography (38%), the use of profanity (36%) and gambling (61%) are morally acceptable behaviors."

Several years ago professor Gary Burge from Wheaton College reported the results of a Bible literacy test his Christian college gave to incoming freshmen.   The results were shocking because most of these students grew up in "strong" evangelical churches.  One-third of those students didn’t know that Paul’s missionary journeys were recorded in the book of Acts.  They didn’t know where in Scripture the birth of Christ is found.  He asked 45 seniors who were in an advanced class to paraphrase, from memory, the Ten Commandments. Only one student could do it.   The problem, according to Burge is the trend towards a therapeutic emphasis in preaching. He said, “There’s not an educational dimension any longer. We’re all about the experience, not the facts.”

Statistic after statistic and survey after survey all affirm the burgeoning problem of biblical illiteracy in the church today.  Secular unbelievers are not expected to know Biblical truth.  But when a study of conservative Protestant churches reveals,

“About half of their teens say that many religions may be true; more than one-third say it is okay to practice multiple religions; more than one-third believe people should not try to evangelize others; more than one-third say it is okay to pick and choose one’s religious beliefs and not accept the teachings of one’s faith as a whole, and nearly two-thirds say a person can be truly religious and spiritual without being involved in a church.”

... the bells are tolling.

Dr. Duffy Robbins, Professor of Youth Ministry at Eastern University, St Davids, PA is a 35 year veteran of youth ministry who is widely respected as one of the leading voices in youth and family ministry.  Reflecting on the possible causes of the appalling Biblical illiteracy among evangelical youth, he says:

“The church in general, and youth ministry in particular, has demonstrated more of an appetite for goose bumps than for God’s truth, more interest in how our young people feel than how they think. … But where are Christian teenagers learning basic tenets of the Christian faith? And if they don’t understand those basic truths or doctrines … then how does that impact their long-term faith? I’m concerned that too much of our teaching is reduced to what can … be communicated by a worship band illuminated by stage lighting and well-placed candles.”

We're now reaping the fruit of decades of widespread Biblical illiteracy with all manner of heterodox, unorthodox and even heretical teaching rampaging through the church.  When congregants of a Texas megachurch can be suckered into believing their pastor heard the Holy Spirit say "tell your special partners who have special transportation needs and their obedience will release favor for their needs and desires" for a “breakthrough favor” within 52 days or 52 weeks, for the low, low price of $52 ...... the bells are tolling.

When the overwhelming majority of "mature" Christians I encounter can't give a simple orthodox definition of the Trinity, can't provide a rudimentary explanation of what it means to be justified by faith, have never even heard the term "propitiation", have no idea how sanctification works, can't explain in simple terms the Atonement that happened on the cross, cannot elaborate on how Jesus is both God and man .... the bells are tolling.

Dr. William Lane Craig, Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and one of the greatest living apologists today for Christianity, finished his doctorate in theology at the University of Munich under the famed theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg.  With his doctoral dissertation already approved, all that remained was to pass the oral examination in theology (ominously called the Rigorosum) under Pannenberg himself.  Convinced he was prepared, he was devastated when he hopelessly failed the oral examination and was denied his doctorate.  Craig spent the next entire year preparing again for the Rigorosum.  The second time he passed with flying colors and Pannenberg awarded him a Doctor of Theology, Magna Cum Laude.  Reflecting on his experience, he offers some hard-earned wisdom:

"I discovered a sobering truth. Like so many other American students, I had been woefully trained in seminary in the history of Christian doctrine. The training in systematic theology that American evangelical seminaries generally give their students is but a pale shadow of what German university students in theology receive. Is it therefore any wonder that skeptical German theology leads the world? How can we ever hope that evangelical theology will become a leading model unless we begin to train our students with the same rigor and thoroughness that characterize German theological instruction? I can say without hesitation that during that year of intense study I learned more about systematic theology than I did during my entire seminary training. So although I would never want to relive my experience, I can honestly say that I’m glad I failed. It was for the best, because as a result of that failure I became theologically equipped for the Lord’s service in a way that would never have been possible if I had passed."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * *  *

God doesn't want us to be theological idiots.

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."  2 Timothy 3:14-17 [ESV]

Saturday, August 10, 2013

His Excuse? - "Transient Global Amnesia"

Just when you thought things couldn't get any more bizarre comes this story about a male journalist who decided he was a woman and left his wife of 17 years, but then decided he's really a man who suffered from a form of amnesia.

"ABC News editor Don Ennis strolled into the newsroom in May wearing a little black dress and an auburn wig and announced he was transgender and splitting from his wife. He wanted to be called Dawn.

But now he says he suffered from a two-day bout of amnesia that has made him realize he wants to live his life again as Don."

He's blaming the whole thing on "transient global amnesia".  Rather than admitting he made a mistake and asking his wife for forgiveness, he conveniently blames his bizarre behavior on a malady that I suspiciously believe is fictitious and created to justify unacceptable behavior. While the Mayo clinic lists it as real , it also says that transient global amnesia is "rare, seemingly harmless and unlikely to happen again. Episodes are usually short-lived, and afterward your memory is fine."

Hmmmm ....... sounds suspiciously convenient to me.  It's yet another convenient (and laughable) excuse for a culture that incessantly denies the reality of sin. Most revealing is Ennis's statement that,

“Even though I will not wear the wig or the makeup or the skirts again, I promise to remain a strong straight ally, a supporter of diversity and an advocate for equal rights and other LGBT issues including same-sex marriage.”

Actually, Ennis's behavior is the logical byproduct of a society that is shredding any role difference between male and female, insisting either can perform any role as well as the other (egalitarianism). The predictable result has been increasing gender confusion within our culture of the sexes. To wit, we see such insane decisions as federal officials mandating that transgender students can use the restroom (and shower!) of their choosing.

In contrast to this, I believe Scripture clearly affirms the complementarian nature of the sexes - i.e., that while men and women are created equal in their being and personhood, they are created to complement each other via different roles and responsibilities as manifested in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and on a military battlefield.

Competitive ballroom dancing is a good analogy.  The man always leads and the woman always follows, but the dance is never about the man - it's always all about the woman who is the center of attention.  The man focuses his attention on his woman partner, being the frame for her beautiful picture.  He serves her throughout the dance.  She usually has more technically difficult moves but cannot execute them without his strength and foundation.  The man does not lead by pushing and pulling the woman around the floor; rather he dances his body and the woman reacts to what he is doing.  The better the lead, the more gentle and precise it is - but it is entirely up to the woman to follow; she is never forced.  The man and woman do not have the same steps; they have different, but complementary, parts.  The two combine their respective parts to produce beautiful movement down the floor as one.  An experienced high-level competitive ballroom couple is a sight of breathtaking beauty to behold.

Likewise, Christian marriages that model the Biblical truth of complementarianism shine like brilliant stars in our darkening culture.  For those seeking a better understanding of this issue, I recommend Wayne Grudem's excellent book "Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth".

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  Gen 1:27 [ESV]

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Separating The Chaff From The Wheat

The Church of England is being sued for refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, less than one month after Britain officially legalized gay marriage, but explicitly excluded the Church from being forced to conduct the ceremonies.  British authorities were adamant that churches and religious institutions would not be forced to perform same-sex marriage.

That lasted all of about a month.

There's very little doubt the same thing will eventually happen in the United States.  Already florists and wedding planners in the U.S. who refuse to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies are being sued.  Given the downhill slide our culture is on, I can easily foresee a time in the very near future when churches in the U.S. who refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies will, at a minimum, lose their tax exemption.

Billy Graham is now warning the United States has become a nation in which “self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle."  Graham compares America to the ancient city of Nineveh, the lone superpower of its time.  The Old Testament records the wickedness of Nineveh was so great that its stench had gone up to Heaven, precipitating judgment.  There is a growing chorus of Christians warning of judgement upon America if the nation does not repent.

Barring a nationwide spiritual revival, the days of easy-believism for Christians in the West are rapidly fading.  Just as believers in many other parts of the world have experienced for decades and even centuries, soon it will cost Christians in the West dearly for their faith.  At first, the cost will be little more than inconvenience.  Quickly, the price to follow Christ will escalate until the chaff is separated from the wheat.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Secular Study: Ex-Gays Outnumber Actual Gays

Alan Shlemon has authored an eye-opening piece entitled "Once Gay, Always Gay."  I guarantee you won't be reading about the study data he highlights in the mainstream media from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (a project by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and mandated by the United States Congress.)  It flatly contradicts the steady drumbeat of our culture that homosexuality is genetic - that it's nature and not nurture, and that change is futile.

It's recommended reading in entirety.

Analysis by Dr. Neil Whitehead, research scientist who worked for the New Zealand government for 24 years and the United Nations for another four years, indicates that although a small percentage of heterosexual adolescents developed homosexuality, the vast majority transitioned in the opposite direction. Specifically he found adolescents  were "25 times more likely to change towards heterosexuality at the age of 17 than those with a heterosexual orientation are likely to change towards bi-sexuality or homosexuality.”  The data supports the conclusion that  heterosexuality is 25 times more stable than homosexuality.

Most remarkable is the finding that:

"Approximately 3% of the current heterosexual population once claimed to have either SSA (same sex attraction) or bisexual attractions. That means there are more people who have changed to exclusively heterosexual attraction than there are currently homosexuals and bisexuals combined. As Dr. Whitehead put it, “Ex-gays outnumber actual gays.”

In ancient Greece, Corinth was a thriving city being the chief city of Greece at that time both commercially and politically.  It was also plagued with immoral behavior.  Of all the ancient Greek cities, Corinth was the one most known for sexual immorality.  The temple worship of Aphrodite fostered religious prostitution, at one time with as many as 1,000 sacred prostitutes.  The culture in Corinth was sex-crazed. While Corinth had a reputation for commercial prosperity, it was also a by-word for evil and immoral living. The very word Greek korinthiazesthai ("Corinthianize" - to live like a Corinthian), had become a part of the Greek language, and it meant to live with drunken and immoral debauchery.  The ancient writer Athenaeus of Naucratis records about the city of Corinth:

“But that the prostitutes also celebrate their own festival of Aphrodite at Corinth is shown by Alexis in ‘The Girl in Love’: ‘The City celebrated a festival of Aphrodite for the prostitutes, but it is a different one from that held separately for freeborn women. On these days it is customary for the prostitutes to revel, and it is quite in the mode for them to get drunk in our company.’”

Some 2,000 years ago Paul the apostle penned these words to the 1st century church in Corinth, Greece:

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
1 Cor 6:9-11 (ESV)