Sunday, March 25, 2007

I Pledge Allegiance?

Derek Webb wrote a song whose chorus goes:

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it's to a king & a kingdom

Wow. Here's a question for you: Where is your first allegiance? Is it to your state, your country, your political movement, or your God? Our first allegiance as Christians should be to God and his kingdom. This song ties in nicely with what Francis Schaeffer wrote in The Christian Manifesto:

"God has ordained the state as a
delegated authority; it is not autonomous. The state is to be an agent of justice, to restrain evil by punishing the wrongdoer, and to protect the good in society. When it does the reverse, it has no proper authority. It is then a usurped authority and as such it becomes lawless and is tyranny."

This brings us to an interesting turning point: if the government legislates evil, what should Christians do? This is not an abstract possibility: as the bill on homosexuality under debate in England shows, Western democratic governments are not afraid to limit the rights of Christians. If a similar bill was passed in America, would Christians be brave enough to continue to denounce homosexuality as sin? What if it was made illegal to evangelize? Would Christians continue to spread the Word of God? In both of these examples, it would be necessary to use civil disobedience so we don't disobey God. So my answer to my first question would be: disobey, flee, and--if necessary--turn and fight. If the government uses my tax money to sponsor embryonic stem-cell research or to keep an abortion clinic going, I shouldn't pay my taxes. This is just my theory: feel free to correct me and play the devil's advocate.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Witness Like Paul

I was reading 1st Corinthians today, and found this great verse: "And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." (1st Corinthians 2:4-5, italics added)

Paul used miracles to show the Corinthians the power of God and the Holy Spirit. But it doesn't take a miracle to show power. One of the greatest miracles of Christianity is the change in our hearts when we are saved. If we live to be like Jesus, our witness can show unbelievers the power of the Spirit. I think this might be one reason for the Church's decline in Europe and America. When a nonbeliever sees poor people starving on Skid Row just miles from Orange County, where Christians drive Porsches and watch cable TV on their plasma TVs, he can't help but see the hypocrisy of our uncompassionate use of wealth. Perhaps if more Christians used their wealth (trust me, if you're on the Internet reading my blog, you're wealthy compared with the rest of the world) compassionately, our witness would help show nonbelievers the power of God. As it is, we try to use "the wisdom of men", not "the power of God" in our evangelistic outreaches.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Beginning of the End?

I found this article, initially written by Chuck Colson, on one of my small group's blogs.

Homosexual Practice Trumps Religious Belief

You may think the day would never come when preaching the Gospel would be illegal in a Western country—when governments would restrict what Christians can teach.

You would be wrong. The persecution against the Church has taken a decisive turn in the cradle of civil liberty—the United Kingdom (UK). And it will happen in America, also, if we do not wake up to the danger.

In London last month, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights recommended regulations that would make it illegal for private, religious schools to teach that homosexual conduct is immoral. The committee claimed the regulations are needed to combat discrimination against homosexuals.

And we know about this. Last summer, the British government closed down our IFI unit because we teach that sex should be limited to heterosexual marriage. And if these regulations violate the rights of Christians—what does the government say? “Too bad.”

Luke Gormally, a fellow at London’s Linacre Centre, a Christian bioethics institute, put it this way: “The Committee could not be clearer in saying that they believe the freedom to live a practicing homosexual lifestyle trumps the freedom to live a religious lifestyle.”

The committee explicitly said that no exemption should be made for Christian schools. So, unbelievable though it sounds, Gormally notes, when it comes to sexual morality, the committee would make it illegal for Christian schools “to teach that Christianity and its principles are ‘objectively true.’”

Christian schools will not be alone in seeing their religious freedom stripped away. If this law passes, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for ministers to share the Bible’s teachings on sexual morality. Property owners who do not want, for moral reasons, to rent property to homosexuals will be breaking the law. So will Christian printers who refuse to print pro-gay literature.

Last Thursday, a House of Commons committee met to decide on the Sexual Orientation Regulations. Many MPs protested the Blair government’s refusal to allow a full debate in the House of Commons. And despite repeated appeals for a postponement, the chairperson insisted on taking an immediate vote: The regulations were upheld.

Now, the Blair government is attempting to rush the law through both houses of Parliament before opponents have time to organize. The vote will take place on Wednesday.

On that day, many Christians will be found at a prayer vigil in Old Palace Yard near the entrance to the House of Lords. We need to be praying with them, because it is going to take a miracle to keep this law from passing.

We must also realize that we are going to face this same kind of persecution if same-sex “marriage” is legalized in America. It’s already begun, especially in Massachusetts, where same-sex “marriage” was imposed by judges. For instance, a federal judge recently decreed that Christian parents cannot opt their kindergarteners out of public school classes that normalize homosexuality. And last year Catholic Charities shut down its adoption agencies rather than agree to send innocent children into homosexual homes.

This is why we desperately need to be vigilant—especially our religious liberty groups. This is why, for example, we need to pass a federal marriage amendment. If we do nothing, we are going to be facing the same future that Christians in the UK are facing: a future in which preaching the truths of the Gospel is against the law.

One can see where this is leading: the outlawing of Christianity in Western civilization. This is why missionary work is so important in America and Europe.

Monday, March 19, 2007

More on the Internet

My first post on this blog was, interestingly enough, on the Internet. I've recently become more and more convicted by my wasteful use of time on the Internet. While there are many ways we can grow as Christians by using the Internet, most of what's popular on the Internet is not beneficial to our walk with Christ. It was not until recently that I began to see a lack of Christianity, in a way, in my life. I had completely separated church and Bible reading from the rest of my life. But God doesn't ask his followers to read his word fifteen minutes a day, he wants complete control over our lives. My thinking on this is that wasting time is a sin. If we're not always consumed by the gospel, we are at least lukewarm Christians, if not idolaters. So, I've decided to not spend time on the Internet. I'll still read the great blogs written by people like Dr. Al Mohler, and I'll still check my email, but if I feel like checking out the newest Diet Coke and Mentos video on YouTube, I'll read my Bible instead.

Saved to Be Holy

Romans 2:4 says, "Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" [Italics added by me]

This is a great verse I stumbled upon while I was reading the Bible just now. "God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance." I've also heard this explained like, "Saved to be Holy." As Christians, we have a duty to God to repent--literally to turn away from what is evil.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Escape from Reason

I was reading Francis Schaeffer’s "Escape from Reason" the other night, when I stumbled upon this nugget: “Today we have a weakness in our educational process in failing to understand the natural associations between the disciplines. We tend to study all our disciplines in unrelated parallel lines. This tends to be true in both Christian and secular education. This is one of the reasons why evangelical Christians have been taken by surprise at the tremendous shift that has come in our generation. We have studied our exegesis as exegesis, our theology as theology, our philosophy as philosophy; we study something about art as art; we study music as music, without understanding that these are things of man, and the things of man are not unrelated parallel lines.

This may be the high point of Schaeffer’s insightful tutorial in modern philosophy. One of his recurrent themes in his writings is that of the interconnectedness of art and philosophy, but he describes his position best in "Escape from Reason".

Friday, March 9, 2007

Do Hard Things

This conference might be just the thing teenagers need to jumpstart their spiritual lives.

Go to:

Monday, March 5, 2007

I don't usually read Karl Marx, but while looking up the Second French Empire on Wikipedia, I found this great quote from the philosopher, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce." If we accept this theory as true, we have yet another reason to study history.

Here's one example. If we allow a single man ultimate power, history has shown us he will abuse it. This is especially true when the people start a revolution so as to set their selected ruler on the throne. Look at the cases of Lenin and Hitler, two of the worst dictators of the 20th century. Lenin and Hitler were both incredibly popular with the people of their respective countries. But both Lenin and Hitler abused their position and betrayed their constituency, causing huge wars, killing millions of people, and obliterating human rights.

So there is the tragedy. Where is the farce? The farce is today. While we haven't yet allowed a single man to rule America, many people from around the world have turned to central authority to prevent anarchy and preserve freedom. But this Bonapartism is inherently flawed and will ultimately result in the same sins the people hoped to prevent.