Nope. The God of the Universe does not owe you a Detailed Explanation for Every Little Thing- Period

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he left, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as a stranger in the land of promise, as in a foreign land- Hebrews 11:8-9a NASB

I have observed a rather troubling trend in Church world. 

Let’s say Joe or Jane Christian does not understand a doctrine—or they don’t grasp all the motivations and/or reasons for an instruction given by God. Even just a few years ago Joe or Jane Christian would have said to themselves: “well God is God and I’m not. I will obey anyway”. Times have changed. These days Joe Christian will most likely ignore anything he or she does not completely understand. Sometimes Joe or Jane will even blame God for their disobedience because He didn’t do an adequate job explaining the reasons for the command or doctrine in the Bible. 

This is not good Joe and Jane. 

Far too many Christians have determined it is perfectly okay to completely ignore God if they “don’t get it”. I belong to a couple of online apologetics groups. The members are (for the most part) Christians who routinely study God’s word and have desire to help other people understand the Bible. All-in-all I would say the vast majority of these people take their faith a bit more seriously than the average church-goer. However, even in these groups there are Christians who have decided that if they don’t understand all the ins-and-outs of a particular doctrine (the trinity, tithing, sexual ethics, etc.) they can just throw that issue out the window and do their own thing regardless of whether or not Scripture supports their belief (Judges 21:25).

This is real. 

Creationism is a prime example. Because we live in a culture where Darwinism has been more-or-less accepted as fact by the masses many Christians have niggling questions about creationism. Rather than accept what God says as fact or do some digging into the subject. Some have simply decided because God did not do an adequate job (in their opinion) of clarifying how He created the world they are going to go ahead and accept the evolutionist viewpoint. 

What? 

Pretty much all the commands concerning sexuality are another area where Christians tend to question God’s judgement. We live in a world where the rallying cry of the masses is “love is love” and “you can’t judge me”.  Many Christians do not understand why God would take such a hard line on homosexuality, sex before marriage and adultery. Some reason because God does not explain His “no” well enough in the Bible it is perfectly okay to throw out the biblical standards because those standards do not line up with popular culture or their feelings. 

Again, what? 

Sigh. 

In Luke 18:8 Jesus asks a question:  

When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” 

I cannot help but wonder if this is at least part of what Jesus was talking about. The insistence we have to understand everything about God before we obey God is without question a serious sin of our age. It is already impacting our power to evangelize. The results of obedience to God’s commands always bring blessing and (usually) a more successful outcome. When non-Christians see Christianity working it makes them curious about God. If Christians only obey the itty-bit they understand non-Christians see very little obedience and have zero curiosity about Jesus.

So, a couple of things: 

First of all, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20-26) One of the “works” every single Christian is called to is to obey God in faith without completely understanding all the reasons why we are supposed to obey (1st Samuel 15:22, Deuteronomy 5:33, John 14:23-24, 2nd John 1:6) . It’s faith that pleases God—not picture-perfect understanding of every issue under the sun (Hebrews 11:6). 

Seriously. 

Second, no human, this side of heaven will ever have a complete understanding of God’s commands. We are simply not on the same level as God (Isaiah 55:8). Even being made in God’s image humans differ from God in significant ways (Genesis 1:27). Our understanding of God, His logic and His choices is probably on about the same level as a dog’s understanding of a human’s logic and choices. It would be insane for me to be okay with my dog peeing wherever he wants just because he doesn’t understand why I don’t want him to pee on my curtains. I have rules and boundaries around my dog’s pee-pee routines because I understand the chaos (and stench) it will create if I allow him to pee willy-nilly. My dog’s understanding is irrelevant and so is ours. Faith dictates we accept as fact the hard reality God knows more than we do about everything. Period. 

And finally, 

The more a person chooses to disobey God (whatever the reason why) the less they care about obeying Him. Every. Single. Time. When we willfully disregard God on any issue we make it harder on ourselves to hear His voice or care the things He cares about (Romans 1:18-23, Hebrews 5:11-14). Rebellion always hardens our hearts and makes us obstinate, willful and spiritually dull (Ephesians 4:17-24, Hebrews 3:7-15, Hebrews 4:7). No one who knows Jesus wants that. So, it just makes sense to remember God doesn’t owe us an explanation for every little thing and just obey already. 

How Does a Christian Make a Difference in a “Day of Evil”?

 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is- Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV

How should a Christian live? 

 It’s a critical question serious Christians have been asking themselves and each other since the dawn of the Christian age. It’s also a question I have found myself pondering more frequently and with a greater sense of urgency. Anytime I pray about the times we live in and where we are headed two words come immediately to mind. Every. Single. Time.

Short and evil. 

My gut and all indications point to the reality that the time left maybe short and the days we live in are becoming progressively more evil. I don’t know if Jesus is coming back tomorrow, two decades from now or in a century. I do know we are closer now to Jesus’ return than we have ever been (2nd Timothy 3:1-5, 2nd Peter 3:2-3, Matthew 24). It’s simply a fact that the times we live in are more evil and much stranger than they have been since Jesus left the earth (Acts 1:3-9).    

War in the Middle East, economic turmoil, increased barbarity, sexual chaos,  gender lunacy, ceaseless social skirmishes and political machinations all point to a world in rapid and possibly irretrievable decline. Every square inch of our planet is crying out for the redemption Jesus will bring when He returns and restores all things to their pre-fall condition (Romans 8:18-25). 

Until then we are in a war for the hearts, minds and souls of people (Ephesians 6:12-13). I am convinced in the coming days the church will see a great harvest of souls in the midst of growing evil and increasing social chaos. People will come to know Jesus, lives will be changed and destinies will be rewritten. How we choose to conduct ourselves now and in the coming years will greatly impact our level of usefulness to the Lord (Acts 2:16-18). Because we live in such critical times we have a real opportunity to make our lives matter in a significant way for eternity. But, in order to do that we must wake up every day and choose to:

Live as called people-

The Greek word for church is ekklesia. Ekklesia is a compound word with a prefix and a root. The prefix is ek, meaning “out of”.  The root is a form of the word kaleo meaning “to call”. The word church literally means “called out ones”. Christians are called people. We are called by Jesus out of our old way of life into a new life in Christ where our primary function is to tell the world about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (1st Corinthians 5:17, Romans 11:29, Ephesians 4:1, 2nd Thessalonians 1:10-12). The exact particulars of how we fulfill our calling depends on our giftings and the opportunities God gives us (Romans 12:3-8) Our success or failure in the area of calling depends primarily on how we see ourselves and the purpose of our lives. Are we here to gratify our own desires and to live for our own glory? Or are we called out for the purpose of glorifying God and proclaiming His truth? 

Be ready to give an answer- 

The world is growing darker and scarier all the time. Individuals who have never thought much about God find themselves experiencing anxiety over world events and never-ending social upheaval. Many of these individuals are seeking answers from people they never have before. Christians should be ready to use discussions about current events as a jumping off place to talk about Jesus, where all this is headed, faith in Jesus and what will happen to those who refuse to put their faith in Jesus (1st Peter 4:5, 1st Peter 3:15).  God is opening doors for spiritual conversation. It is up to us to make the most of these opportunities (Colossians 4:5-7)

Leave behind pride and selfishness-

Over the course of the last few years a spirit of competitiveness and kingdom building has taken root in the hearts of Christians and Christian leaders. A spirit of unity is missing in churches. This is simply unacceptable (Ephesians 4:1-3, Colossians 3:13-14). There is simply no place for pride, jealously or selfishness in these times (Galatians 5:13-26). There is too much at stake to waste time on such short-term thinking. 

Live filled with the Holy Spirit-

The Greek word Jesus used for the Holy Spirit in the book of John is parakletos. It means “advocate”, “helper”, “intercessor”, “counselor” and “comforter”.  The Holy Spirit is a gift given at salvation. Its purpose is to teach, help, comfort and guide God’s people as they do His will in this world (John 14:26, 1st Peter 1:12, 1st Thessalonians 1:5). Sadly, many Christians ignore or minimize the importance of the Holy Spirit out of fear of “being weird”. Being filled with the Holy Spirit isn’t weird, it’s biblical (Ephesians 5:8-20). All we have to do is ask and God will give us fresh inpouring of the Spirit (Acts 4:23-31, Acts 13:8-10, Ephesians 3:14-19). Being filled with the Spirit daily gives us invaluable access to God’s wisdom, power, knowledge and insight. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live holy lives and do God’s will in our sphere of influence.

And finally, 

Be available. Our availability is what God wants most from His people right now. Be ready and willing to pray for a friend, hold a hand, answer a spiritual question, fill a need and God will use you for His glory.

Is it Stupid and Selfish to have Kids in such a Messed-up World?

You have set your glory in the heavens.Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger- Psalm 8:1b-2 NIV

In recent weeks I have come across a plethora of articles all with a shared theme. Each one features women and/or men who have either: 

  1. Chosen not to have children. These folks universally feel really awesome about their decision and think everyone should do the same.

Or 

  • Chosen to have children and wish they hadn’t.

These articles are not a once in a blue moon kind of a thing. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t see a testimonial from someone who either wishes they had never had children or someone who is thrilled beyond words to be childless. Statistics prove this trend is not a figment of my imagination. In 2021 the birthrate fell by five percentage points to the lowest in a century. The birthrate continued to drop in 2022. The 2023 birthrate appears to be on track for another drop.

There are a couple of things that trouble me about this development.  First of all, our willingness as a society to allow these articles to be published reveals a disquieting approval of both callous and narcissistic behavior.  I, for one, cannot imagine the deep personal trauma I would have experienced if I had just happened to find an article written by my mother all about how giving birth to me was her supreme regret in life. I do not think I am extraordinarily sensitive to feel this way. In a culture obsessed with personal trauma, one would think there would be an understanding that these feelings (as real and valid as they may be) should never be made public or spoken of within earshot of the child. Period. 

Furthermore, parenthood is an onramp to adulthood that causes human beings to think deeply about issues outside themselves. When a young person becomes a parent, all of a sudden they begin to care a great deal about how their beliefs, political views, relational interactions and spending habits will affect future generations. I cannot help but wonder: if a majority are no longer having children will most of society stay stuck in a state of perpetual adolescence? Will enough people be capable of thinking about future generations to keep society from spiraling out of control? Seriously. This is real stuff we should think about. 

There are some practical reasons for this trend. 

The economy sucks. Life is far more expensive than at any point in my lifetime. Many large corporations have become greedy (James 5:4, Malachi 3:5). They are cutting back on employees and expecting the remaining employees to work harder and smarter for less money and fewer benefits. Inflation has made it nearly impossible for a family to survive on one income. The cost of housing in many areas makes it difficult to survive on even a “decent” salary. 

Those issues combined with higher societal expectations about what constitutes “being comfortable” and “financial stability” has made childlessness more attractive to many people. Others have delayed marriage to focus on educational and career goals, or because they have struggled to find a suitable partner. There is without question an expiration date on female fertility. Postponing childbearing will mean childlessness for some people. Additionally, people have become much more self-focused. Taking care of the needs of others and acting selflessly are thought to be at best, a bit silly, and at worst a sign of mental illness. Self-care, me-time and cutting toxic people out of our lives are believed to be the apex of good emotional health. Unfortunately, kids (especially young kids) are naturally kind of toxic (Proverbs 24:15, Proverbs 29:15). Furthermore, me-time is in short supply in the early years of childhood. In a civilization where selfishness is thought to be a virtue a falling birthrate is almost inevitable. 

 There is a spiritual reason as well. 

Christianity teaches every human life is sacred. Humans, regardless of age, social status or physical health are to be cherished and cared for because human beings are made in the image of God. Without the imago deo life is only sacred if we want it to be sacred.  Without the imago deo all of a sudden “being human” is a terrible thing. After all, humans are draining, they use resources and sometimes they just kind of suck. This reality makes procreation a selfish act rather than obedience to the command to “be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28). As a result, the earth becomes more important than the people on it. One of the weirder consequences of this belief system is the insistence humans do dehumanizing things in order to atone for their humanness. This is one reason why there is a demand for people to live in smaller, less comfortable conditions and eat bugs. Many believe humans are bad. Therefore, humans should be punished for being human.  Humans should live in cramped apartments, never experience the joy of parenthood, feast on creepy-crawlies and be happy about it.

Unfortunately, the anti-kid movement will only worsen the condition of our world. It will make people more selfish, less future focused and increase depression. Christians can help change this trend by celebrating children, making family a priority and flat refusing to jump on the “kids are bad” bandwagon. As we choose to live obediently to Scripture the world will see a quality of life in Christianity that will make them thirst for “The Living Water” (John 4:1-24) and giver of life.

What is Christian Freedom and why does what we do with it Matter?

  “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor- 1st Corinthians 10:23-24 RSV 

What is Christian freedom exactly? 

Most Americans tend to see freedom as a God-given right to do what we want to do when we want to do it. Freedom means making our own rules and forging our own path in this world.  Freedom is being unrestricted by tyranny and oppression. Because those definitions are relatively squishy, we all get to decide for ourselves what is and is not tyrannical and oppressive. Most human beings (myself included) tend to define anything we don’t like or want to do as tyrannical and oppressive. 

When the word freedom is preceded by the word Christian all of a sudden freedom becomes less cut and dried. Anyone walking in step with the Holy Spirit knows deep down inside, Christianity was never intended to be an “anything goes” kind of a deal. Christians are commanded to live a life of holiness (1st Peter 1:16). God’s definition of holiness inevitably places constraints on what we do and don’t do (Colossians 3:1-14, Hebrews 12:14, James 1:21, 2nd Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 5:3). 

However,

It’s also true, Christianity was never intended to be a straight-jacket of legalistic does and don’ts. Freedom is critical to Christianity because without it all the joy, beauty and fun of being in relationship with the living God is sucked out of the Christian experience. We are left with a cold, powerless religious shell that sucks for everyone. 

BUT.

 It’s also critical we understand legalism rarely happens in a vacuum.  Oftentimes legalism is a reaction to a Romans 6:1 approach some believers take towards sin and grace. There are Christians who sincerely believe sin is no big deal because God’s grace will abound no matter what. 

Sigh.  

How we parse this one out matters.

A lot. 

It matters because how we choose to use (or abuse) our Christian freedom will determine how we live. How we live will determine whether or not we make a positive impact or a negative impact on our little corner of the world. The footprint we leave on this world ultimately determines how much or how little we please the Lord and how many people we take to heaven with us (Matthew 25:14-30, 1st Peter 1:15-16, Jude 22-23, 2nd Timothy 4:1-3). 

Truth-be-told Christians are healthiest, happiest and most wise when we focus more on can and should rather than do and don’t in Christian walk. Paul says it like this: 

I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive- 1st Corinthians 10:23

Christians CAN do anything. We can sin. We can lie. We can skirt the edges of morality.  We can treat people like garbage. We can look at porn. We can go against every bit of wisdom found in the Bible concerning relationships. We can behave like absolute idiots. We can run our perfectly good lives into the dirt if we want to. If stupidity and bad choices are our jam we have the freedom to pursue that course with our whole heart and soul. God will be disappointed but He will not put up a lot of roadblocks. We might get a warning from a friend, hear a sermon that convicts or read a scripture that stings. We will feel guilty for a season but eventually our consciences will simmer down and we will feel perfectly fine with our choices. As much as God loves us and wants the best for us He will not stop us from doing what we want to do because He’s a gentleman and we have been gifted with freewill.  

Freewill means freedom. 

BUT.

When Christians choose to sin willfully there are consequences and not one of them is pleasant or life-giving. We can do anything. However, all the things we can do but shouldn’t do create pain for ourselves and others, bondage and spiritual strongholds. A stronghold created by Christian due to willful premeditated sin is always much harder to break. A non-Christian who sins out of ignorance and later repents will have a much easier time getting free of whatever stronghold was created by their sin. Its critical New Testament believers understand there was no sacrifice in the Old Testament for intentional premeditated sin (Leviticus 4:2-24, Leviticus 5:15-18, Numbers 15:22-28). Like the Israelites, Christians live in a conventual relationship with God (Luke 22:20, Hebrews 8:6-8, Hebrews 9:15). One key difference between the Old and the New Covenant is the New Covenant designed to remove the power sin has over us, the Old Covenant could only cover the guilt of sin. Christians are not slaves to sin (Romans 6:6-22). Purposefully sinning in a conventual relationship expressly created to remove the power sin has over us is stupid. 

Stupid has consequences. 

Paul says this about Christians and willful sin:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery- Galatians 5:1

The truly beautiful thing about being “in Christ” is that we have the freedom not to sin. We can choose to say “no” and avoid the pain and misery of sin by choosing to do what we should do with our lives (2nd Peter 1:5-9, Colossians 3:1-17, Ephesians 4:1-32)

Andy Stanley Strikes Again-

They do not know nor do they understand; They walk around in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are shaken- Psalm 82:5 NASB

We live in an age of crumbling foundations (Psalm 11:3-4). 

Beliefs and doctrinal views once thought to be foundational to Christianity and one-hundred-percent settled in evangelical circles are now “up for debate”.  Once trusted sources of truth are leading the way in questioning previously settled issues of the faith.  Thanks to these blind guides many Christians are asking themselves the question: “did God really say that?” about a myriad of different topics (Matthew 15:14). 

 Andy Stanley, the lead Pastor at Northpoint Community Church in suburban Atlanta is an evangelical leader who bills himself as a conservative while actively attacking foundational truths of the faith. In past statements, interviews, books and sermons he has poked at the foundation of biblical inerrancy. In my opinion he has displayed a lack of respect for the Bible, even recommending Christians minimize the use of Scripture in witnessing and church services in the name of making Christianity “more accessible” to non-Christians.

As if. 

As a general rule, I make a point of criticizing ideas rather than people. It is not my intention to pile on anyone. My aim here is to report the news and clear up any misconceptions about what the Bible has to say concerning issues. You the reader get to decide what you think about said issues.  

So here goes:

Andy Stanley’s church is sponsoring a conference billed as the premier event for Christian parents with LGBTQ children. The marketing material for the conference encourages Christians to “stop taking sides” and find a quieter “middle space” on the issues of homosexuality and gender identity. The speakers chosen for the event include two men who are married to other men and a “theologian” who has “deconstructed” his views on homosexuality and come out the other side convinced the Bible is A-Okay with homosexuality as long as the relationships are “committed and loving”. 

Here’s the thing:

There is no such thing as a “middle space” when it comes to homosexuality and the Bible.  Nor is there an honest middle space or a path to neutrality concerning gender identity. The Bible is unequivocal about a number of different topics: homosexuality and gender are two of them (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17-18, Romans 1:26, 1st Corinthians 6:9, 1st Timothy 1:9-10). 

Period. 

In recent years it has become popular to insist: a) the Bible does not really say what it appears to say about homosexuality. b) The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality. c) The Biblical text was changed by overzealous scholars sometime around 1800 to make it more condemning of homosexuality. d) Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. Therefore, it is okay under the New Covenant as long as the relationships are consensual, loving and committed.  

None of those views hold up to scrutiny. 

The sin of Sodom was a combination of sexual sin (homosexuality) coupled with a general disregard for the well-being of people (Genesis 19). Leviticus has always been condemning of all sorts of sexual behavior including homosexuality. No one has rewritten the New Testament or misinterpreted any of the Greek words. The Bible says what it says when it comes to sexual sin (not just homosexuality). It is true, Jesus is silent on the issue of homosexuality. However, to Jews homosexuality was a settled issue. Homosexuality was forbidden and the Jews universally agreed it was a sin. There was little point in discussing a settled issue the Jewish people had right. Jesus did tackle divorce, remarriage, the sabbath and myriad of other issues the Jewish people had gotten wrong.  Paul was not silent on homosexuality. This makes sense, he was the apostle to the gentiles. Many gentiles routinely practiced homosexuality. Homosexuality was far from a settled issue in Rome, Greece or Asia Minor.  For more information on these topics I highly recommend The Gay Gospel? By Joe Dallas and What does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung. Both authors treat the subject biblically while showing compassion for strugglers. 

All that being said: 

I have no idea what the unpardonable sin is. However, I do know it’s NOT homosexuality (Isaiah 1:18, 1stCorinthians 6:9-11, 2nd Corinthians 5:17, 1st John 3:2-4). God does not classify sinners. As far as He is concerned an unsaved person is an unsaved person and a repentant sinner is a repentant sinner. Christians should not treat homosexuality differently than they treat any other sin. All sinners looking for a relationship with Jesus and seeking a lifestyle of repentance should be welcomed into the family of God and loved as if they were Jesus Himself (Mark 9:41, Matthew 25:31-45). 

All that being said:

The church should never embrace an activity God forbids just because its socially expedient to do so. That just might be the working definition of giving the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27). 

And finally:

 There are few people in the church today who feel more isolated or who are more in need of love and support more than Christian parents of LGBTQ kids. I know this because I volunteer a good chunk of my time with two different organizations who offer support groups for parents with LGBTQ kids. If you are a parent with an LGBTQ child or know someone who is. I suggest you skip Andy Stanley’s conference and look up Portland Fellowship instead (www.portlandfellowship.com). Portland Fellowship offers excellent in-person and on-line Bible-based support for parents. All support is designed to help parents love their children well without affirming ungodly choices because that is the path Christians are called to.

The Good-News Bad-News about the Abortion Guy-

 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires- 2nd Peter 3;3 NIV

A couple of years back I wrote a blogpost (a true story) about a parent who legally married their biological child. Because both the father the daughter were adults and the duo had no means to conceive children (the dad/husband had a vasectomy). The state of New York felt it was entirely reasonable to bless the incestuous union between a parent and their biological child.

At the time, I really could not imagine:

A. So few people would seem to care. I anticipated frothy moral outrage. I envisioned enraged individuals protesting angrily in the streets with pitchforks and torches. It didn’t happen. It turned out to be a great big nothing sandwich from a moral outrage perspective. 

Or that,

B. Society could possibly hit a lower low. I figured that was it. Jesus would either show up in no time or society would implode and we would have to start over. I immediately began hording food in anticipation of the apocalypse. I still have the food and Jesus has yet to appear.

Or

C. We would hit a new low in record time. 

But we did it.

Last week, a news outlet aired a video of a man sharing his fondest wish with the world. This man dreams of medically transitioning into a woman, having a uterus and ovary transplant, then conceiving a child. He is not interested in experiencing the miracle of pregnancy or the joy of giving birth to a child. Nor does he care anything about having a sweet little tyke of his own raise. He just wants to be the first trans woman to have an abortion. He sincerely hopes his plan will leave “all the transphobes and homophobes scratching their heads”. 

I have no doubt it will. 

The good news is his fantasy is just that: a sad, little fantasy with no basis in reality. At this point, it is medically impossible to do what he wants done. The bad news is there is zero doubt in my mind that there is a squad of doctors and scientists working around the clock to make his dreams come true.

Sigh. 

I had an argument with God over whether or not to write about this particular topic. I felt a nudging I was pretty sure was from the Holy Spirit, but to be perfectly honest, I just didn’t want to. Mostly because I’m tired of writing screeds about the moral collapse of our dumpster-fire culture. The lack of moral outrage over clearly outrageous situations and the continuing downward spiral of society is discouraging, to say the least. 

I would rather just about the Bible. 

However. As I was praying/arguing with God about this week’s topic, it occurred to me there is an irrefutable bright-side to this ugly Romans 1:18-32 story. This guy who wants to become a girl so he can have an abortion has laid the groundwork for a very cogent argument for why God prohibits sexual immorality. 

When our culture eagerly hopped on the sexual revolution bandwagon back in the early 1960’s no one could have possibly predicted we would end up here.  Don’t get me wrong. This is not the end. God has a long history of being slow to judge even the most horrifying cultures (Genesis 15:12-16). Consequently, I have a hunch there are many more (and much weirder) stops on the road to hell we have embarked on.  I do know that without God’s intervention we can absolutely, assuredly expect more, not less of this sort of moral chaos.  

However. 

This development makes a great case for biblical sexual ethics. Even many non-Christians who are resolutely pro-abortion find the idea of anyone becoming pregnant for the solitary purpose of aborting the “product of conception” morally repugnant. It’s just skeezy and depraved. The lengths this man fantasizes about going to takes the skeeziness to a whole new level.  

This ugly muddle creates a spiritual opportunity.

This is the perfect time to help our unsaved friends and family understand two things. First, God is smarter than we are. Second, God didn’t forbid sexual immorality because He’s a killjoy jerk. God forbids sexual immorality because He can see the end from the beginning. Therefore, He understands way better than we do that immorality is always progressive (Romans 1:17-32). Once the depravity train leaves the station it just keeps rolling and there’s no telling where the conductor (Satan) will take it. In ancient pagan cultures people would commit sexual acts as a form of “worship” and then burn the children who resulted from those acts on an altar to the god Moloch.  God knew way back in the 1960’s when the arguments for loosening moral restraints around sexuality were being made we would eventually land us here.

This dumpster-fire culture will not be changed through legal means. That ship has sailed. The Dobbs decision proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that rolling back a law changes nothing.   No manmade edict can or will change anyone’s heart or mind on sexuality (homo or hetero), abortion, gender or any other moral or cultural issue. 

However.

We can have conversations with our friends, family and colleagues about the wisdom of God and where ignoring it inevitably lands us. Who knows enough of those conversations and we might see a glimmer of hope shining through the madness?

Our World is a Busted up Mess-What can we do to fix it?

Your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I- Isaiah 58:8 NIV 

Our world is awash in what can only be described as systemic brokenness.   

Individuals are broken. Families are broken. Culture is broken. Political systems are broken.  

It’s really kind of gross.  

The collective brokenness has led to an epidemic of sexual deviancy and gender confusion, personal woundedness, political bedlam, cultural decay, addiction, offense, psychological damage, loneliness and wrecked relationships.  

Sigh. 

On a practical level this means most folks don’t even know which bathroom to use anymore and biologists are the only ones “qualified” to define what a woman is or isn’t anymore and some of them struggle.  Politics are so fractured the two sides cannot even have a rational discussion anymore. Few bother getting married any more and half of marriages end in divorce. Public schools are propagandizing kids with sex education so weird and revolting it would have been considered hardcore pornography just a few years ago. Sadly, people have become so isolated the government is thinking about ways they can help solve the burgeoning loneliness problem. 

 Everywhere we look people are separated from God and each other. 

 It sucks. A lot.  

Followers of Jesus sincerely believe God has a better plan for this world than what we are seeing and experiencing at this moment in history. One fundamental facet of Christian theology is the belief Jesus came not just to seek and save the lost— but also to bind-up the broken hearted and bring beauty from ashes (Luke 19:10, Psalm 147:3, Isaiah 61:1-3). Christians believe redemption is about more than just individual people getting into heaven. Salvation is about redeemed people experiencing abundant life as we journey our way to heaven and bringing heaven to earth with our actions and attitudes (Matthew 6:10, John 10:10, Matthew 5:13-15).   This faith we have in Jesus’ ability to repair, rebuild, heal and transform should drive us to be a part of the change we want to see in our culture, our educational structures, our political system and in the lives of the people we love.  

Sometimes we struggle with the how.  

 I don’t know everything there is to know about everything (clearly). Nevertheless, there is one thing I know for absolute certain: we cannot lead anywhere we refuse to go.  Therefore, there will be no healing in our world without some heartfelt and brutally honest self-examination on the part of all Christians. Even those who sincerely FEEL they are doing just fine from a spiritual perspective (2ndCorinthians 13:5). I know this is a wildly unpopular perspective in the church, however, I have come to believe with all my heart, mind, soul and strength that the one thing holding the world back from a real and much-needed revival are Christians who are reluctant to admit there might possibly be sin in their own lives.  

Seriously. 

God will not transform our sin-sick culture until Christians get their own houses in order (1st Peter 4:17) and not a moment sooner. This means we must recognize that no matter how good we are or how far we’ve come God wants to take us further and make us better. Growth and personal transformation prepare us to lead others out of their brokenness.  

Prayer is a critical step in any process of transformation.  There are some things that cannot happen without serious prayer (Mark 9:29. Daniel 9:3, Acts 14:23) Sadly, numerous studies reveal the typical western Christian prays a grand total of three minutes a day. Seriously. It’s true. Three minutes. We spend five hours a day on our phones and three minutes a day in prayer.  I assume those who read this blog are above average in this area. Which simply means we need to be praying all the more for our average and below average Christian counterparts. God moves when His people want Him to move. Prayer is the way we show God we’re serious about wanting Him to move.  

If we are going to fix our mess we must look for areas of brokenness in our little corner of the world and then chip away at the ugliness we see with equal measures of grace and truth (Ephesians 4:32, 2nd Timothy 4:2, 1st Peter 4:10).  When we make space in our lives to get to know a single mom or engage with a homeless person, or simply take time to talk with our neighbors it gives us the right to speak truth into people’s lives (Ephesians 4:15). No matter how we choose to do it, it is critical we seek the Lord for creative ways to engage the messy, broken, difficult people in our world. Christians were saved to be salt in our world. Salt is a preservative, it keeps things (and whole cultures) from going bad. However, salt cannot preserve anything it doesn’t come into contact with (Matthew 5:13). Relationships are a messy but necessary piece of healing brokenness.  

As we prayerfully engage others, it’s equally critical we understand our role. Our role is to do our part and trust God to transform people. We must constantly remind ourselves God is God and we are not and fight the inclination to try and control outcomes. We cannot make anyone do anything. Outcomes must be left to the Lord but He moves when we move.  

Where we’re at with the Gender Debate-

 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.Let all that you do be done with love- 1st Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV 

Satan is alive and well and partying it up on planet earth.  

This spring at a YMCA in Springfield Illinois, sixteen-year-old Abigail Newton became uncomfortable with a transgender female (biological male) using the same women’s locker room as her girls’ swim team.  When her parents expressed concern over the situation YMCA administrators dismissed their objections and Abigail was suspended from the swim team.  

Meanwhile in Washington State: 

A bill has passed into law allowing children as young as twelve to live in tax-payer-funded youth shelters while receiving tax-payer-funded “gender affirming care”. This “healthcare” (hormones and surgery) can be accessed without parental consent or even notification.  In the once great state of Washington, it is now “abusive” for parents to object to or attempt to interfere with an underage child’s gender transition. 

These situations are not isolated occurrences of lunacy.  

This is because most public universities have been teaching gender theories (multiple genders, we are the gender we think we are etc.) as fact for decades. As a result, there has been a “trickle-down effect” in education. The idea there is a smorgasbord of genders to choose from is now taught in public schools beginning in the pre-school and elementary years because that’s what teachers have been learning in college for more than a decade.  Fewer teachers in red states advocate for radical sexual propaganda to be taught and the ones who do are quieter about it than in blue states. Nevertheless, that does not mean gender is not an issue everywhere.  

Gender propaganda is impacting public policy on every level. Women are forced to compete against biological men in women’s sports, anyone who sees this as unjust is written off as a bigot and snubbed in polite society. Pronouns are a huge deal these days, using the wrong one or “mis-gendering” someone, even on accident can cost you a hefty fine in many cities. Forty-four percent of young adults believe mis-gendering someone should land a person in jail. In eighteen states anyone can use whatever restroom they wish. Men can identify as women capriciously, making it possible for men to enter female-only spaces anytime they wish, regardless of how they are dressed or whether or not they have fully transitioned.   

Here’s the thing: 

This is the new normal and things will likely get worse before they get better. This because gender ideology has deeply spiritual roots. Anytime human beings in large numbers begin to ignore the evidence for God found in creation they eventually fall face-first into idolatry (Galatians 5:19-21). When this happens the whims and wishes of fallible human beings take the lead and God’s wisdom is either disregarded or treated as “damaging”. This inevitably leads people down a rabbit hole where their thinking becomes confused and darkened (Ephesians 4:18, Romans 1:18-32, 2nd Timothy 3:1). Wrong thinking inevitably leads people to embrace strange ideas about life and sexuality.  

This is where we’re living right now.  

Modern-day idolatry is focused almost entirely on the worship of self. Every aspect of our culture encourages people to do what feels good and to accept, nurture and embrace with open arms their most “authentic self”. Unfortunately, because humans are fallen beings our most authentic self is typically confused, chaotic, sinful and prone to believe all sorts of deception. The things that feel best to us are often the most detrimental to our mental and spiritual health. 

Sigh.   

The only way out of this rabbit hole will be an incredibly far-reaching revival that impacts people everywhere, including those in the highest levels of government and education. Pandora’s box has been flung wide open and Christians need to get busy figuring out how to live in and make a difference in this brave new world.  

 So, what do we do?  

This is not the time for wishy-washy pandering to the feelings of sinners, nor is it a time for cooperation with the world (Colossians 2:8). The body of Christ cannot compromise on this issue. We must be firm that there is no such thing as a third, fourth or sixty-third gender option. God made male and female (Genesis 1:27). That’s it. Period. Christians should support public officials who embrace a traditional view of gender. We should refuse to purchase products produced by companies who openly push radical sexual views and theories. Gender ideology is a powerful social contagion that cannot be allowed to infiltrate the church. Christians should leave churches where gender theory is taught as fact or acceptance of gender theory is encouraged by leadership. 

 However.  

 It is equally as important to be kind and that we do our best to speak this hard truth with minimum vitriol (Ephesians 4:15). This is not a time for cruelty or name-calling. These issues are deeply spiritual; therefore, this is a time to set aside our own agenda and desires and make the time to pray with other believers for our culture. We must understand that for the most part, these folks really do believe what they say they believe about gender. Countless numbers of people today are victims of a powerful satanic deception. They have been taken captive in their thinking by the enemy (Matthew 24:4, 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-10, 1st Peter 5:8). We should never fault the lost for being lost (Luke 15:4).  Instead we ought to do our level best to extend the compassion and love of Jesus while we lovingly hold firm to the timeless truths of Scripture.     

How do Christians help Satan?

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord- Ephesians 3:10-11 NIV 

Satan has hopes and dreams just like everyone else.  

Seriously. 

He does.  

If a person is not a follower of Jesus his greatest hope and fondest dream is to keep them from putting their faith in Jesus. He makes this dream a reality by keeping unbelievers squarely focused on the here-and-now so they don’t think about things that really matter like life, death, morality and their eternal destiny (Hebrews 9:27, Matthew 7:13-14). He will enlist Christians to help him by getting them to do sinful, egotistical and thoughtless things that keep unbelievers from taking the claims of Jesus seriously (John 3:16, John 14:6, Acts 10:34-43, Romans 3:9-26). His number one goal is to keep a non-Christian from becoming a Christian and he will do whatever he has to do to make his dream a reality.  

Satan has hopes and dreams for Christians too. If he cannot keep someone from becoming a Christian, he will do everything possible to keep them from becoming an effective, healthy, life-giving member of God’s family. He will distract Christians with materialistic yearnings. He will tempt them to lie.  He will seek to sideline them with addiction, church hurt, lust, jealousy and unrestrained self-indulgence. He knows that if a person is bound up in those things glorifying God will be impossible. 

We are living at a decisive point in human history.  We sit on the precipice of either a complete moral implosion that will lead to God knows what or a great revival that will change the eternal destiny of millions, maybe even billions. Because this is such a critical time and so much hangs in the balance, Satan is doing a lot of hoping and dreaming these days (1st Peter 5:8). He’s hoping beyond hope Churches and Christians will be ignorant of his plans and do the following four things:   

Conform to the values of the age-  

Satan loves the values of this age and why not? Today’s values sound awesome, even kind of biblical. What kind of a nutbag would be opposed to wonderful things like tolerance, inclusion and diversity? Seriously? They all sound like the sorts of things Jesus would have been a huge fan of. These values sound amazing until one begins defining terms. Then you discover tolerance demands a wild celebration of every single thing God calls sin.  Inclusion means never saying anything negative about anyone or anything no matter how messed-up it or they are. Diversity is code for embracing insane philosophies designed to pit people groups against each other. It means submitting to the demands of the alphabet soup mafia (Galatians 3:28, 1st Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1:24-27).  It is not our job to judge non-Christians. However, we are called to stand firm against the enemy’s schemes (1st Corinthians 5:12-13, Ephesians 6:10-18). This requires we carefully examine the values of this age before simply accepting them as good and life-giving (1st Thessalonians 5:20-22, Isaiah 5:20, 2nd Thessalonians 2:15) 

Believe the culture is innocent fun- 

Satan wants Christians and Christian churches to believe today’s popular culture is no more or less problematic than at any other time in history. It is true that every culture has had issues (1st John 2:15). Sin is not a twenty-first century innovation.  However, today’s culture is aggressively intent on pulling people into sin and the bondage that accompanies sin (2nd Peter 2:19). Porn is more icky, violent and available than ever before. Television, movies and most of the internet is wasteland of stupidity, depravity and woke propaganda.  Promoters of sexual propaganda are not content with acceptance of their sexual “norms”. Activists viciously attack those who refuse to conform to their dogma. The unceasing call for individuals to focus on and serve oneself is flat-out demonic (Romans 2:8, 2ndCorinthians 12:20). It is more critical now than ever before Christians choose to intentionally separate themselves (and their children) from popular culture. We will lose the ability to think biblically if we embrace anything our toxic culture is peddling.   

Minimize the importance of community- 

 Satan wants Christians to feel isolated and alone almost as much as he wants them to feel more comfortable in the company of non-Christians. If Satan can keep Christians isolated from one another he knows they will be more likely to walk away from their commitment to Jesus and into temptation and trouble (Hebrews 10:24-25). We fight this scheme when we are intentional about reaching out to and being available for others. Routinely inviting Christians over for a meal and/or board games, taking a Christian friend a meal or visiting them when they’re sick goes long towards building the kind of community that keeps people connected to each other and the church in good times and bad.  

Avoid the right kind of offense-  

Christians should never be jerk. However, Satan loves it when we are so concerned about “being offensive” we keep quiet about Jesus. Satan loves it when Christians love their friends and family into hell. 

 And finally,  

Satan hopes more than anything Christians will be content with going to church rather than doing the hard work of being the church (John 13:34-35, Romans 15:7, 1st Corinthians 1:10, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 4:32). His dreams come true anytime our Christian walk is limited to private devotions and church attendance only. We come against his schemes and overcome when we choose to speak truth, love deeply, live righteously and form close and lasting bonds with other believers (Revelation 12:11, John 16:33, Romans 12:21).      

How Should we Respond to the Sparkle Creed?

Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unscrupulous people and lose your own firm commitment,but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ– 2nd Peter 3:17b-18a NASB

Every once in a while, I have to decide whether or not I’m going to hop on a bandwagon and write about something that’s getting a lot of attention in the news cycle. 

 As a I general rule I just say “no”. 

Angry ranting about the unrelenting moral decay in our world feels really good.  However, eventually it gets super old and kind of tedious. Peevish complaining helps no one and changes nothing. Furthermore, bitter ranting has a way of transforming Christians into a weird cartoony version of our calling (Matthew 5:13-16, 1st Corinthians 13:1-3).

Sigh. 

This week I decided to break my rule and rant a little before offering a response. 

It all started when I saw a report on secular news channel concerning a church trend I had never heard of before this week: The Sparkle Creed.  Apparently, the Sparkle Creed has been a thing in a number of progressive churches for a couple of years now. It is the brainchild of Satan and the Reverend Rachel Small Stokes. 

This is it in its entirety:

I believe in the non-binary God whose pronouns are plural.
I believe in Jesus Christ, their child, who wore a fabulous tunic and had two dads and saw everyone as a sibling-child of God.
I believe in the rainbow Spirit, who shatters our image of one white light and refracts it into a rainbow of gorgeous diversity.

I believe in the church of everyday saints as numerous, creative, and resilient as patches on the AIDS quilt, whose feet are grounded in mud and whose eyes gaze at the stars in wonder.
I believe in the calling to each of us that love is love is love, so beloved, let us love.
I believe, glorious God. Help my unbelief

 Amen.

The Sparkle Creed is a steaming pile of bad doctrine wrapped up in woke twaddle. One need not be a Pastor, Bible scholar or even necessarily a Christian to see and understand this so-called creed is a total departure from historical, biblical, orthodox Christianity (1st Timothy 4:1). 

Sadly.

The architect of the Sparkle “Creed” is a member of and a teacher in a denomination that exchanged the truth of God for a giant pack of lies years ago (Romans 1:18).  Therefore, her teachings should shock no one. This is simply what happens when a “Christian” pastor or teacher has no connection to spiritual reality, biblical truth and/or Jesus (Colossians 1:15-20, Colossians 2:10, Colossians 2:19). When human beings lean on their own limited understanding of life and faith things are bound to go south and they clearly have (Proverbs 3:5-6).

The Sparkle Creed is the byproduct of apostasy (Jeremiah 8:5, 2nd Thessalonians 2:3). There are two types of apostasy. The first is the one most Christians think of when they think of apostasy. It’s when an individual professing Christian turns their back on the church, ditches sound doctrine and goes off do their own spiritual thing. Whether or not these folks ever really knew the Lord at all is open to debate. Different schools of thought (and theology) have differing opinions on the subject. In one sense it doesn’t really matter. What matters, is that these folks have departed from the faith and are no longer a functioning part of the body of Christ (1st Timothy 6:20-21, 2nd Timothy 2:17-19).  

The other type of apostasy happens when the organized church of Jesus Christ leaves sound doctrine and loyalty to Jesus in the dust to follow deceitful spirits and teach things that appeal to the unredeemed (1st Timothy 4:1). This is not the first-time in history churches have become apostate. The same thing happened in the Middle Ages. That apostasy eventually led to the Reformation. 

The church was designed to be a preserving influence in the culture (Matthew 5:13-16). Therefore, apostasies always affect more than just the church. When churches depart form truth it impacts everything. Crime goes up, governments go bad and people in general, become much ickier and more violent. 

It’s just what happens. 

The question for followers of Jesus is: what do we do about it? Do we clutch our pearls in horror? Do we lament the loss of biblical truth?  Do we weep and cry and wail over the moral drift? Do we scream and yell about all the dirty rotten heretics who are attempting to take over the church? 

Yes. 

All of those are acceptable responses. For a minute. 

Then it’s time to get a grip. We must remember the Church of Jesus Christ will never be defeated by anyone or anything including woke pastors and the Sparkle Creed (Matthew 16:18). Jesus is still firmly in control. There will always be a remnant who love Jesus and stay faithful. Period. 

However. 

It is critical we do our part. Our part is to know truth, live truth, love biblically and stand firm against the encroaching madness (Colossians 1:13-23, Romans 12:1-2, 1st Corinthians 16:13, Ephesians 6:11). 

Doing our part might mean having an uncomfortable conversation with a Christian brother or sister who’s being pulled into Sparkle Creed kind of thinking. It might mean leaving a church that’s in the process of going woke.  It might mean rethinking how we educate our kids. 

It definitely means loving messy people who need Jesus. 

When we choose to do those hard things, we become pleasing to Jesus and the solution to all the confusion in this world (Matthew 25:21, Matthew 5:11-12, 1st Corinthians 3:13-15)