Tag Archives: marriage

Can Christians Speak Truth to the Culture?

Q. What happens when human society abandons the idea that a human ought to relate personally to a god who has authority over him?
A. The society becomes secular.
Q. Then how do we ever know what is right and what is wrong?
A. Who cares?

In the newly-released book We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage, & the very meaning of right and wrong, R. Albert Mohler chronicles what has happened in US culture over the past sixty years, leading to the decision to legalize same-sex marriage, and the questions and answers above sum up the change he describes. Mohler compares the impact of the changes in the culture to the aftermath of a direct hurricane hit. I was reminded of recent photos from Long Island in the Bahamas after Hurricane Joaquin; among those images I saw an interisland supply vessel grounded a half mile from the ocean. That hopeless image might represent confessing Christians and their churches in the aftermath of a morality revolution.

Mohler attributes the moral and ethical upheaval to the rise of secularism, which is all about rejecting any notion of God, let alone belief in him. It is also very much about demolishing any evidence that anyone ever accepted a non-human authority in human  affairs. A moral revolution parallels a sexual revolution that has brought about the normalization of abortion and homosexuality as well as a rejection of monogamy as a standard for any sexual relationships. This moral and ethical juggernaut has cut a broad swath in the culture, crushing and reshaping all notions of human gender, sexual orientation, family, and marriage.

If you feel utterly blindsided by the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, if you can’t figure out how churches can simultaneously refuse to conduct same-sex weddings and invite homosexuals into the congregation, if you don’t know what to tell your children when they come home with instructions to ask people their preferred gender pronoun before addressing them, this book will help you. You won’t necessarily be comforted, and you may even be jolted by some of the author’s recommendations. If you believe that the Bible is true and that the plain meaning of Scripture is its true meaning, you will feel confirmed in that understanding, but the author may not build on that foundation in a way that feels good to you.

I recommend this book for confessing Christians who struggle to understand what happened to the world they knew a mere ten years ago, especially if they want to find a Christlike way to deal with those changes.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 < http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Think About a Verse

Open Bible

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

  • Contemporary culture is adamant about the importance of customer service. What does this verse say to a customer who is angry that his order was not properly filled and delivery was a day late?
  • A person who supervises other people has a right to expect prompt, complete obedience to instructions. When your supervisor speaks to you with a rude, dismissive attitude and asks you to do something beneath your dignity, how does the example of Jesus shape your behavior? When you are the supervisor and an employee responds to your instructions with glib indifference, how does the example of Jesus shape your behavior?
  • What is the difference between being a servant and being a doormat? Does Jesus expect you to think of yourself as worthless?
  • Some say that marriage is a 50/50 proposition. Some say that it is more like 100/100. What does the heart of a servant say marriage is?
  • How does a servant heart affect your interaction with others when your flight is delayed after you have taxied onto the tarmac?
  • How does a servant heart affect your speech when someone cuts in front of you in the grocery checkout line?
  • How does the example of Jesus help you to teach your children to be servants of all?

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com. Watch for the release of Thrive! Live Christian in a Hostile World, planned for release in the winter of 2016.

Image: Open Bible
Source:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AOpen_Bible.jpg
By Wnorbutas (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Legalizing Immorality Misleads Children

Jesus said that someone who led children astray would be better off dead. If Jesus is who the Bible says he is, then many people would be better off dead. Those would be the people who insist not only on pretending that a union of two human beings of the same gender is a marriage, but also insist on teaching children to think that homosexuality and gender confusion are normal, all the while encouraging them to fondle themselves and learn what sexual stimulation they prefer.

Contemporary culture is a moral wasteland. The same people who police everyone’s speech and want to filter out the “N” word from conversation do not want to filter any sexual reference or behavior out of the public eye. The immorality condoned by the culture, and the advocacy for public law that condones and protects immorality owns the floor of the public forum.

People who want to pretend that homosexuality and many other perversions are merely variations on normal behavior make an issue of the fact that Jesus fulfilled all the law. They want to pretend that Old Testament proscriptions on homosexual behavior are null and void, because Jesus ended all those silly ritual rules. With regard to law, it is true that Jesus did away with food laws, and it is true that Jesus fulfilled and transcended ceremonial laws. However, Jesus did not do away with moral law; rather, he enhanced it and called people to higher standards.

Look at Jesus’s response on the subject of marriage. Pharisees asked Jesus to comment on divorce, but he answered by defining marriage: “from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:6-9). Jesus clarified that humans have two genders, and only two. He clarified that marriage is only the union of a man and a woman, that union and no other. Jesus took that definition farther than the Old Testament law, and he made it clear that a marriage is a permanent union. Jesus called people to the highest standard, with no accommodation for sin.

Therefore, those of us who have experienced divorce are guilty of sin. It is important to remember that Jesus said this. Some of us have been led down the path to the sin of divorce by other sins—abuse, for example, or adultery—but divorce is still a sin, and we still need forgiveness if we do it. A marriage that is full of sin may be so evil that the sin of divorce looks trivial by comparison, but the ultimate truth is that sinful humans constantly need forgiveness. Even when we escape the evil of abuse by running to the evil of divorce, it is all still evil. When we participate in evil, we need forgiveness.

Parents and teachers have the huge responsibility to teach children what they need to know in order to live confident, blessed lives. Among the important subjects are marriage and family. Jesus told us what to teach our children when he answered the Pharisees. If we insist on teaching what Christ taught, and we refuse to teach children the current cultural notions, both we and our children will suffer cultural pressure to “fix” our “wrong” notions. If we teach them the cultural notions, however, God will punish us. Jesus himself said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42). In the vivid poetic language of the author of Hebrews, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

The culture will demand its price, as Kim Davis learned recently, but like many people who have gone to prison for their faith, she found that being confirmed in her commitment to the living God was a better thing than falling into his hands for punishment because of failure to live by his standards. God will demand his price, when people flout his law. Those who lead children to accept abominations as truth will pay a price to the living God.

God does not want to punish them, or any of us. That is why Jesus suffered and died. The people who promote and enable sexual perversion and gender confusion in the culture all earn fearful punishment at the hands of the living God. Their sins, as well as mine and the sins of the whole world, weighed heavily on Christ as he hung on the cruel cross, but he endured that suffering and endured death itself in order to redeem us from enslavement to sin. There is hope for all of us, even people who teach that sin is good behavior and that knowledge of various ways to sin is knowledge everyone needs. People can turn away from that sinful way of life and receive Jesus. They can be saved from the punishment being laid up for them by the living God. They can give up their sinful ways and give themselves to Jesus. He will cleanse them from all the degradation they have suffered. He will heal their minds and hearts from all of Satan’s lies.

The remark Jesus made about the horrific punishment in store for people who teach children that wickedness is righteousness was a warning we all should heed. I am very sure that my children heard and saw me mislead them by word and deed more than once, and I know that I only escape the dire judgment in store for people who do such a thing, because the blood of Christ has poured over me and washed me clean. The living God will judge every person who tells children that families with two mothers are normal or that it is normal for two men to have sex with each other. Science tells us that the universe is vast, and nobody knows how vast it is. That fact should give pause to everyone who contemplates the necessity of facing the one who created the universe and loves every person in it. People who are enslaved by sin earn punishment, but when they act and speak with the intent of enslaving children in the same sin, they multiply the punishment awaiting them. Imagine the additional punishment that piles up for those who go even further, legalizing immorality and making it illegal to reject immorality.

People who teach children lies are pretending that the Bible does not mean what it says about homosexuality. People who make it illegal to call homosexuality sin have gone a step further by requiring that people support the homosexual lifestyle with the skills they use for earning a living. LGBTQ activists consider themselves to be doing good work when they suppress biblical truth in public life. They invented a “right” to tell children that homosexuality and gender confusion are normal and that any Bible teaching to the contrary is ancient scribbling to be ignored by the more highly evolved human beings who live today. The activists and teachers who advocate and teach lies as if they are truth need to hope, therefore, that the Bible does not mean what it says about misleading children.

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com. Watch for Thrive! Live Christian in a Hostile World soon to be released.

What’s the Big Deal About Sex?

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 Currently, the culture says firmly that people are incapable of controlling their drive for sexual gratification. The discussion gravitates elliptically around two points—birth control and abortion. The notion that human sexuality might be about something bigger than whether intercourse does or does not result in pregnancy is dismissed as irrelevant to post-modern people.

The culture is becoming utterly chaotic with regard to human sexuality. Biologically, there are two options for gender—male or female. By the directive and model of God himself, there is one option for sexual fulfillment—marriage, the union of one man and one woman. This is the teaching of the Bible, positively established during God’s own work of creation, reinforced through history by instruction and in the prophetic revelation of God’s union with his people, and celebrated at the end of time when Christ is united with his bride for eternity.

How did we, then, come to a place where both gender and sexual fulfillment are being described in fifty different ways? How is it that we are now told people need not settle on either a single gender or a single sexual orientation? They may choose one or several and move among their choices at will. No effort is made , by the way, to explain how this explanation gibes with the equally forceful declaration that gays are “born that way.”

Those who declare that this time/space universe is all there is, the same people who declare that the universe exists by chance, life is the result of a chemical experiment, and humans are simply the latest stop in the evolution of life forms also tell us that gender and sexual orientation exist in infinite variations along a spectrum of options. Those who believe that humans are only evolved animals with a little more brain power than a chimpanzee consider sex to be a purely animal instinct and they consider it something to play with.

Why do Christians make such a big deal about sex? Pastor Tom Goodman has explained the answer to this question very well. Read his post “Where in the Bible does it say that sex should be restricted to marriage?” For human beings, sex is not merely what happens when physical sensation climaxes in some form or other. Human beings exist simultaneously in both time and eternity, and for humans, sexual relationships transcend physical boundaries. Read Tom Goodman’s post for yourself. It will put the “rules” with which Christians fence in the discussion of gender and sexuality in a much different context than sensation and risk. Human life is not limited to time and space, and neither is the experience or the effect of sexual congress.

After reading Tom Goodman’s post, how would you explain the sexual union to a young person who complains that abstinence is a silly method of birth control?