The current culture exerts immense pressure in every direction with one goal: to force human beings to separate the sacred and the secular. Jesus told his disciples that their lives were never to be segregated in that manner. He said, “Be integrated, as I am integrated.” That is to say, Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. He was not part anything, and he did not act one moment as God and the next as a man.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 When the translators chose the word perfect they made a choice of a single word for a single word, but underlying the English word perfect is the Greek word teleios. That single word is better defined as “consummate human integrity and virtue,” in Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Integrity is the same thing as “fully integrated”—a man who is the same thing at all times in all places.
Human beings who receive Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and they are 100% human and 100% Christ’s people at all times. With the Holy Spirit fully present in each Christian, at all times and in all places, no Christian can say, “When I am at home, I will act on my conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, the institution designed and set in place by God himself, but when I am at work, I will support the recently-human-devised notion that a marriage can be a union of any pairing or grouping humans can imagine.” A Christian must live a fully integrated life, and that means no segregation between sacred and secular.
This is the reason Kim Davis cannot and will not participate when the culture calls a union of two men or two women a marriage. She will not participate when the federal government presumes to tell the states what constitutes a marriage. She will not participate if Kentucky passes a law that defines a union of two men as a marriage.
Kim is fully integrated.
Kim is the same person in her church building, in her home, and at her job. When you meet Kim at home, you won’t hear her disparage the phenomenon currently called “gay marriage,” and then see her go to work and sign her name to licenses that authorize that very phenomenon. She isn’t alone. There are other clerks who have chosen not to participate in sin, but Kim’s name is the one in the news. Kim was willing to endure prison rather than trade her conscience for freedom.
Freedom. Liberty. The reason the United States exists is that there were colonists who refused to give up freedoms they had enjoyed as subjects of the British Empire. They felt that the Empire had presumed to take away rights and liberty to which they were entitled by the very fact of being human. They expected the Empire to respect their humanity and the rights given to human beings at the moment each person was created. One of those rights is the right to obey God. God gives to each person the right to choose to obey him, and when any human government presumes to trample on that freedom, it is even more unacceptable than the colonists’ complaint that the Empire imposed taxes and other restrictions on British subjects in the colonies without allowing them a representative to speak in Parliament for them.
God creates every person with the freedom to serve him. He creates in every heart the power to make that choice and to follow it. The First Amendment of the US Constitution does not create that right; it protects a right that already exists.
Kim Davis is an example to all Christians. She is fully integrated. She is living up to God’s command out of the mouth of Jesus, 100% God and 100% man: “Be integrated, as I am integrated.” (Matthew 5:48)
13 thoughts on “No Segregation”
I am really grateful to live in a World for which I can choose what I believe. And I can say with conviction that my beliefs are far different than yours. Choose Love over Fear. I fully support expressions of Love in whatever shape and form it appears.
I am glad you can choose what to believe also. I hope you will always choose Truth. Perhaps our beliefs are different. That is okay. In the USA we get along even when we differ in our beliefs. I always choose love over fear. God is love, and I choose Him. Jesus is the shape and form of Love. Thank you for writing.
It saddens me to know that there are so many people that feel it is perfectly alright to push their religious beliefs onto others.
Trying to push a person’s beliefs onto others is exactly what other religions are attempting to accomplish all around the world. This country was NOT established on Christianity (though I’m sure you will disagree with that statement). It was however built on Freedoms. The first freedom, being that of religion.
Kim Davis, ran for and was elected to a public position. As with any and just about all jobs, hers changed slightly. Everyone has the choice at that point to either accept the changes or to step aside. Ms. Davis chose to push her beliefs onto others which in my opinion is the absolutely wrong thing to be done.
It would seem to me that your religion is one that is not accepting of any other beliefs. That to me is extremely sad.
I appreciate yourcomment, although I dispute some of your assertions.
Yes, I do believe that the foundations of this nation are rooted in Christian principles as understood by devoted Christians who established the nation. However, all those Christians were guided by Christian teaching to create a new nation where each citizen would actually be protected in his or her right to speak his faith or exercise his faith, even if his faith were not Christian. They understood this right to have been granted by God himself to each person at the moment of conception. You are freely exercising your right to speak and act on what you believe. That is the way our country works.
It is important to recognize the meaning of the word “exercise” with regard to religious faith. To exercise religion means to live and act on its principles. All day. Every day. Everywhere. Religion is about who we are everywhere at all times. At work. At school. In the grocery store.
That is why Kim Davis exercises her faith at work as well as everywhere else. That is not pushing her beliefs on anyone. She has not asked anyone to let her push her beliefs on them.
In the USA, we not only have the First Amendment that protects the right to exercise personal faith. We also have the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which requires that the least onerous solution to the conflict between Kim Davis’s faith principles and the government’s interests be found. That solution has not yet been laid out.
As for your insistence that she resign, you should realize that the people who elected Kim Davis to her job are no more happy with the issue that has beset her than she is. They all voted their conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. That is the law Kentucky wanted. The people who “hired” Kim by electing her are pleased with her job performance. She is not disobeying her “boss.”
As for my religion, my religion does not accept any other beliefs at all. I believe that Jesus is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Word. The fact that my religion is an absolute, exclusive truth does not mean that I hate or scorn people who believe something else. Jesus teaches me to love everyone, and I do. I also very much pray that people who do not know Jesus will come to know him, because he is the only Way. Kim believes the same thing, and that is why she believes that she must obey God rather than human beings.
Kim proposed a solution to the conflict in which she finds herself. It might work if anyone tried it. I guess we must all allow some time for such conflicts to work out. Kim is not the only person affected, although she seems to get all the news.
God bless you and give you peace. Thank you for writing.
Just found your site today, great stuff!
As a born and bred Englishman, it is obviously insulting to me to have two hundred year old histories brought up within comments on contemporary culture. Having said this, I do agree that we have little to boast of in that period and believe what you say to be correct. Unfortunately, you must realise that your country no longer has a Christian government; although it might often pay lips service to Christian principles if it suits them, either internally in order to gain votes and prestige or globally to make admissible the expansion of its capitalist ethics and economies. Where ethics are concerned I see very little difference with that of our Government here and we have most certainly been completely absorbed into economic systems based upon yours. As it is, the governments of both countries are being undermined by big global corporate business anyway, and both cultures have been ethically corrupted by contemporary critical thinking; perhaps worse here among the populous, as the decay in Christian thought, (as you have mentioned) has been happening for a longer time.
The problem I find myself faced with in terms of remaining fully integrated, is the fact that I cannot earn my living without partaking in an economic system that is wholly un-Christian. I was educated in 70’s and 80’s within the socialist created Polytechnic System, and studied art at degree level. This was extremely academic and had a very strong Marxist bent. The idea was that we, the working class, should be made fully aware of how culture works and how art is instrumental in changing society. This all changed under Margaret Thatcher in the late 80’s and since our art education has been reduced to something very ugly and due to this our culture is now suffering enormously. This to all extents and purposes has lost me my audience/clients, and so my livelihood. It was because of this disruption to our culture in about 1990 that I fully embraced the Christian message; rejecting both capitalism and Marxism, I had been floundering for a long time in the more spiritual side of things.
I have recently qualified as a teacher of English as a foreign language and sought Christian organisations to work for including voluntary groups. To my horror I have found that these organisations rather than promoting Christian values, attempt to assimilate people such as refugees into the dog eat dog madness of our capitalistic society. They work hand in hand with liberalistic secular bodies and promote the ethics of these. If I were to teach in a secular school, I would be teaching wealthy foreign immigrants who have turned their back on their own societies and desire the glitz and vulgar aspects of the West.
Personally, I find the notion of a Christian national state, very problematic as ‘many are called few are chosen’. I was reading Jurgen Habermas recently and it is interesting to note that in his opinions against ethical relativism, he recognises that it is necessary, as a secular commentator, to have a belief system that lies outside of laws made by mankind; if democracy were to work – yes, give him a banana! – but the point is this, religion works on two levels one as an ethical ground for political organisation and two as cosmological belief and personal change through faith. These two items are very difficult to reconcile as can be seen throughout the history of Christianity; since Constantine the Great at least. It seems to me that now secular society has moved almost completely away from the Modern period of the 20th century it is time for a new reasoning on the part of true Christians to really ascertain what it means to have ‘consummate human integrity and virtue’ in the face of the beguiling and often confusing age that we now find ourselves in, not to mention the future! You see in my country any connection between state and Christianity has long been severed and our views are just completely ignored – does being ignored count as a form of martyrdom, i don’t know?
Gary, you give me a lot to think about. Since you said that you agree that the things I said about the British Empire under King George III were probably correct, I won’t delve into that issue. It is not central to this particular conversation. I completely agree with you that the US government is not Christian and moving farther from that standard every day. If you read some of my other posts, you will see that point discussed.
I completely understand your comment about the setting for your work. This issue has beset Christians ever since the first century. We live in the world, but we are not of the world. We live in tension all the time. You could go to work for the little old lady who chairs the Altar Guild at your church and discover that there is some corner of her business that is not managed by Christian ethical principles. We are all sinful saints and saintly sinners.
We agree that the notion of a Christian state is problematic. In fact, going back to Israel, Saul and David, it is easy to see how impossible that whole idea is. Nevertheless, humans need government, because of sinful human nature, and in the book of Romans, Paul makes some important points about government, specifically that God wants us to have good government.
Somehow, in the realities of time and space where Satan runs rampant and God’s throne is in the flawed hearts of humans, it is quite difficult to be fully integrated, or perfect, as most translations say. The Amplified Bible is helpful in this regard. It says that the perfection Jesus is mandating is “maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity.” This statement guides us in the way we can be “in and for” the culture but never “of” the culture. We look for internal integrity to deal with the utterly fractured moral and ethical character of the world around us. It hurts to observe that nobody else seems to have any integrity, and we are zinged regularly because of the disconnect that creates.
Sometimes our stance results in being ignored and sometimes our stance results in being attacked.
There are very specific boundaries that must be crossed in order for acts to meet the legal standard of persecution, so you need always to be aware that people will argue with you if you use the term “persecution” too loosely. As Jesus used the term, however, either shunning or violence can be persecution. No matter what form persecution takes, Christ calls us to be like him, to be “integrated” as he is “integrated.” Jesus said our attitude should be, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (Mt 5:11–12). In other words, if we are persecuted because of Jesus’ name, then we must be doing something right. Further, Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 5:44–45).
It seems inevitable that we will be persecuted. After the religious and government leaders in Jerusalem thought Jesus was out of the way, the believers were safe, until they started making noise about Jesus again. The Roman Empire didn’t worry about Christians, until Paul made a big deal out of speaking to Caesar and they found out what Christianity really is. If we actually live like Christians, we are sure to be persecuted. Some may shun us, because they simply want to be left alone, but those who have their own activist agenda that is in opposition to Christ will not leave us alone. They won’t shun us. They will make spectacles of us, hoping to frighten anyone else who might be thinking of opposing them.
I pray you find your way through the snarls of life with peace and blessing within, regardless of the chaos around you. Thank you for very thought-provoking comments.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Mt 5:11–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
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Thank you Katherine for such an agreeable reply, it is good to open conversation I think. It is a world apart here on the other side of the pond and it is intriguing to hear points of view from your country.
I too agree that politics are important, I guess one of the points I was making was that the stand that Kim Davis made against gay marriage could not happen in the UK; it would just simply not be taken seriously, I very much doubt that it would be taken up by the media at least. I have no great reason for expressing this apart from perhaps encouraging you to continue giving voice in the political arena.
I have made it my business to look quite deeply into things of a political nature recently and my reference to Habermas was indicative of this; there is a little book, ‘The Dialectics of Secularisation’ it is supposed to be a debate between Habermas and Ratzinger, but unfortunately, the ex-Pope’s participation is not of much interest. What it really emphasises for me is that Christian ethics were still very strong in the Modernist tradition and their effect was not only prevalent, but necessary and integral to the democratic process. Habermas as an atheist or agnostic (not sure which) makes this very clear; I have not found such a clear picture of the absurdity of secularism elsewhere, and it only heightens my recognition of how much the world needs Christianity, even if it is not in terms of faith in Christ. Habermas is 86 years old and although he takes comfort in pure thought, one cannot help but hear in his words, his fear for the future of mankind. For me, his words in this book stand for the attitude of that age group that stood up for decency; that fought against tyranny in WWII and had the courage to up hold ethics that had grown up throughout the Christian era. Sadly those days are gone and we can no longer rely on our governments to stand for even a secular humanism that at least allowed us some sense of belonging to society as a whole. More and more I hear the notions of neo-liberalism coming from the mouths of Christians in this country. It is so beguiling and often difficult to refute. Underlying this are the concepts of ethical relativism and they send a shiver up my spine; if I had a song to sing, I would sing out danger, I’d sing out warning!!!
Please excuse the hyperbole, it’s my artist nature! 🙂
The new translators are not all gifted, asyou suggest, whereas the group which translated the KJV were. In changing so many versions of scripture today we get less light and more confusion.
I am sorry, but I respectfully suggest that you investigate contemporary Bible Translators more closely. You are correct that the number of translations and paraphrases is large, and it takes attention on the buyer’s part to uncover the methodology and viewpoint of the various translators and paraphrasers. They are not all equally true to the original meaning. Some have no intention of being true to the original meaning, having concluded that human beings are smarter today than they used to be. You know and I know, that humans today are not “evolved” to some higher level than humans of the first century or humans of 1000 BC. We have a body of knowledge that ancient humans did not possess, but we are not any smarter or any less sinful than Adam and Eve.
I recommend you read the translators’ notes from some excellent translations. I would start with the notes for the English Standard Version. The New International Version has good notes, too.
I also recommend you learn the difference between word for word, sentence for sentence, and concept for concept translations. I first learned about these issues when I studied French in high school. Just as there is no word for word translation of the words English speakers and French speakers use to say, “You’re welcome,” there is likewise no coherent word for word translation of many statements in the ancient languages of the Bible to English, or German, or Chinese, or a highland dialect in Papua New Guinea.
The King James Version is a masterful, eloquent, beautifully mellifluous translation of the Bible. But many of the English words and phrases used in that translation simply do not mean the same thing to English readers today that they meant to English readers of the first folio edition in 1611. In order for contemporary readers to get the truth of the matter without needing to study Elizabethan English alongside other resources for Bible study, there must be an ongoing effort to provide translations that embody biblical truth in language that does not confuse the readers. I have met and talked with real Bible translators, and I have compared their work with the original languages and the lexicons such as Strongs’ where the nuances of ancient words are documented in depth. I assure you that while it is a fact of human nature that they are not all equally gifted and committed, it is a truth that they are as a group as richly gifted, as deeply committed, and as obviously called by God to their work as the translation team that produced the King James Version.
Another so called amplified, contemporary, and casual reinterpretation and revision of the Bible.. The Bible, for hundreds of years, flowed quite well in articulating God’s word as in the KJV, and even the NKJV, without the “Thee” and “Thou” still gets it right. “Be integrated, as I am integrated.” .??? It doesn’t sound like Jesus speaking…..just some progressive academic reinventing and reconstituting or paraphrasing a new take on the plain meaning of God’s word.
John, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but you surely must realize that the King James Version doesn’t sound like Jesus, either. Jesus spoke Aramaic. When people started writing about him, they used the language of the era in which they lived: koine’ Greek. Nothing ever written sounds like Jesus, in the sense that you seem to want.
It is my experience that the more we learn about language itself, the more we realize how inadequate any particular language is. There is no way, for example, that the words “I love you,” express the way I feel about my husband. Those words sum up a lot of things, and they get close, but they do not express all that I wish they said.
Thus, when I see or hear an exposition of language that reveals to me a new facet for understanding the Bible, I read it and study and compare it with commentaries and lexicons. That is the process that led me to such enthusiasm for the phrasing “Be integrated as I am integrated.” Our culture wants people to separate their lives into various mail slots. Secular things here. Sacred things there. God does not want us to live that way. It is spiritual schizophrenia. God created everything, not just churches, not just spirit, not just sacred texts. It all belongs to him. We have no right to do surgery on the elements of time and space as if we could reduce the scope of God’s sovereignty by defining him out of some parts of our lives.
I respect your respect for the King James translation. The men who did that work were deeply committed to preserving and presenting God’s truth for English-speaking people in their day. The fact that the language has changed does not change God’s truth or diminish the work they did. However, the accuracy of their choice of words is often challenged by contemporary readers who no longer understand those words as having the same meaning the translators used. In every era, in every place, the biblical translator strives to bring the ancient languages to life in contemporary usage. If not for gifted, committed, called translators, we all would need to learn Greek and Hebrew, and many of us either can’t or won’t do it. I am very thankful for the light various translators shine on the ancient words in order for them to bring me God’s unchanging truth in the twenty-first century.
There are those more highly academic than I am who can dispute the claims of superiority of interpretation promoted in later interpretations. The writers of the KJV also studied the Hebrew, Latin, Greek languages, and although the “King’s English” is not the exact wording used in the Old and New Testament manner of speech, they were after a close and accurate equivalency. Since it is now the custom to relegate the KJV to the dustbin of church history, every year more changes seem to be published, including study Bibles which may or may not have the right interpretation of scripture. Although I read strictly the NKJV and refer back to the KJV to explore differences, I respect the views of others who stick to the ESV or NIV, but my KJV has a power and beauty, and a feeling which none other versions have, and at almost 71 years old, it will remain on my night table and be there on the day that God calls me home.
John, I would not presume to tell you which translation to read, and I, too, revere the beauty and eloquence of the King James Bible. I do, however, use the insight I gain by researching nuances pointed up by other translations. I have a habit of looking up words such as the Greek “teleios” (which I referenced in this post) in one or several lexicons, such as Strong’s, for deeper teachings. I didn’t even take the word “integrated” as an acceptable translation until I had done such research, but the research made me realize that this particular word did, indeed, shed light on Jesus’s meaning when he spoke. I don’t know anything about Aramaic, so I cannot speculate what Aramaic word underlies the Greek. I must trust that the Holy Spirit gave the gospel writer the perfect translation, and therefore I trust the Holy Spirit to guide my studies. May the Holy Spirit be with you as you study, also. I don’t think you can go wrong in relying on the King James Version. If you have used it all your life, you probably have undoubtedly already overcome any issues related to Elizabethan English. God bless you for being so attentive in reading my post and so serious in your faith. Thank you for your comments.
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