Archive for the ‘ Social pressure ’ Category

Same-sex Marriage Denied

Leadership of the Eastern band of the Cherokee Nation wants to  ban same-sex marriage within their borders. ABC News 13 interviewed Cherokee activist Pastor Bo Parris, who said, “Bottom line, there’ll be no same-sex marriages performed . . . The laws of nature are against same-sex marriage. [God] is sovereign and His laws are above every law . . .” (View the You Tube video on this event at http://bitly.com/cherokeeban.)

A federal judge forced the state of North Carolina to legalize same-sex marriage, but the Eastern band of the Cherokee issued a tribal amendment, which reads, “The licensing and solemnizing of same-sex marriages are not allowed within this jurisdiction.”

Cherokee Baptist churches have long exercised an influential voice in tribal politics. The You Tube clip of the news report features short takes of several Cherokee residents including the pastor of Big Cove Missionary Baptist Church, who appears on the video.

Proponents of gambling casinos have been quick to defend the rights of Native tribes to operate gambling establishments on native reservations despite state laws forbidding such enterprises. It should be interesting to see how “the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:2-3)

Someone in the grandstand is chuckling derisively. “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” (Psalm 2:4) Perhaps Supreme Court justices should consider that there is a higher Court, presided over by The Just One, whose supremacy will not be denied. (Acts 7:52, 22:14)

Will the Cherokee Nation win this skirmish? Time will tell. But, one thing is certain: we have yet to see exactly how the final chapter will flesh out. Still, the Bible hints that the enemies of God will ultimately be broken “with a rod of iron;” the Lord will “dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:9)

By saying these things, I do not mean to imply that God’s primary trait is vengeance. He is a merciful God (Psalm 103). He delights in showing mercy, even to those who have flaunted their rebellion. That is perhaps nowhere more evident than in His forgiveness of the thief on the cross, who had no opportunity to be baptized, to do good works, or to demonstrate his change of heart. No matter what kind of sin we might consider, God loved us so much that He sent His sinless Son to pay the penalty of our sins and crimes against Heaven with His Own precious blood. And, He offers full pardon to “whosoever” will come to Him in repentance and faith.

 

[For more information, visit www.TheBaptistArrow.com]

Grace Shines Best in Dark Times

“The impiety of the times is a foil to set off grace all the more, and give it greater lustre,” wrote Puritan Thomas Boston in his masterful analysis of Malachi’s statements (3:16-17) about the evil days after the second temple was built in Jerusalem more than 300 years before the birth of Christ. A Christian “is most lovely, when he is (as Ambrose says) like the cypress, which keeps its verdure and freshness in the winter . . . An upright man is always worth beholding . . . he is most to be admired when like a bright star he shines in the dark, and having lost all, holds fast his integrity.” (The Great Gain of Godliness by Thomas Boston, The Banner of Truth edition, 2006, p. 8)

Boston, or even Malachi, would be astounded to see the impiety of our times. Still, their observations could not be more appropriate if they were on the editorial staff of the New York Times today.

Let every believer remind himself that though we were not present to stand with our Lord in Gethsemane, nor to kneel at the foot of the cross, we have the greatest opportunity of our generation to let His Light shine. We must take time to “speak often one to another” as they did in Malachi’s era, and “behold the upright man” as the Psalmist reminds (37:37).

 

Talking to Atheists

A friend wrote to me about arrogant Atheists constantly baiting him to argue, but having no sincere interest in the Truth. In 1681, Thomas Watson wrote about God’s point of view of believers during Malachi’s era, 300+ years before the birth of Christ (Mal. 3:16-17): “The Lord was much taken with the holy conferences and dialogues of these saints . . . When others were inveighing against the Deity, that there should be a parcel of holy souls speaking of glory, and the life to come, their words were music in God’s ears.” – (The Great Gain of Godliness by Thomas Watson, p.7, Banner of Truth edition, 2006)
Let us use every means at our disposal to do as they did.

My grandfather, from the earliest age, made it his business to try to right wrongs and adopt his dad’s bitterness over injustices after his homestead was stolen by legal maneuvering and subterfuge.

Life continued to deal Granddad some very hard blows. His wife died at age 29, leaving him $60,000 in debt in 1926, shortly before the stock market crash, the great depression, and the dust bowl, which ravaged his crops.(Proverbs 19:19)

For most of his life, he could hardly speak a sentence without using profanity, vulgarity, and taking God’s Name in vain. I thank God that my mother’s prayers had a profound impact. Although I grew up on the farm spending time with Granddad every day, learning his angry vile epithets, I saw a better example in my pastors, who also influenced my dad to strive toward faithfulness in church, regular family devotions, and cleaner language.

Ravaged by emphysema, and dependent upon oxygen, my fighting Irish Granddad grew weaker and weaker. Not long before he died, he commended my desire to enter the ministry, and said, “Son, I’ve been saved a long time, but here lately, I’ve been saved to the uttermost!” What comfort that memory brings! God’s grace provided a blood sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, that paid for every sinful rage, every blasphemous oath, and every nasty rhyme and ditty.

How true it is that “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) What fools we are to allow the continual encroachment of vulgar language (lmao, etc) in personal conversation, and taking of God’s Name in vain in the media and social media (OMG, etc.) which steadily wears down strength of conviction, and undermines our children’s and grandchildren’s awareness of God’s Holiness. I hear preachers using language in pulpits for which my mother would have washed my mouth out with soap.

Surely the judgment of God is approaching, not because of our political leaders, but because mothers and dads have forsaken the Holy One. Fast food, sports, booze, recreation, and tawdry humor has replaced Sunday school, scripture memory, prayer, Bible drills, Bible quizzes, songs, hymns, spiritual songs, and sacrificial giving.

My Granddad was a product of post-millennialism, and the “roaring twenties.” Thank God, prayer prevailed and a generation or two made a serious, if not always whole-hearted, pursuit of godliness. But now, the world rushes headlong toward HELL, and the average Christian home remains mesmerized with technology and entertainment while the kids badmouth “old school,” and welcome more and more godlessness.

Granddad had a work ethic and debt-paying ethic instilled by a school system that still recited the Bible every morning. The twentieth century led Americans steadily away from the Bible and prayer. Granddad grew older and died shortly after the revolutionary 1960’s. He saw the rise of socialism and communism and warned against it. But, he waited too long to surrender his heart to the transforming Spirit of God, who could have given him a major influence, especially to the extended family.

Most of us have regrets. Most of us have suffered injustice and have struggled with bitterness. Most of us have employed some choice language that would not be welcome in Heaven. But who will beg God for tears of repentance? Who will accept the burden of being an example to the kids, and especially of bold prayer that unleashes Heavenly power to change lives and alter destinies.

Maybe my mother really believed the words of George Muller, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”

JUST GRIN

If your wallet’s kinda thin

And a heap of pain you’re in

Do the IRISH thing, pal, JUST GRIN!

 

When you’ve just confessed your sin

A peck of trouble you are in

Do the CHRISTIAN thing, Bud. JUST GRIN.

 

When you’re missin’ all your kin

They’re too busy to look in

Put a wrinkle on your lip: JUST GRIN.

 

Despite pills and medications

Supplements and pos-tive thinkin’

You can overcome depression: JUST GRIN.

 

Just grin and keep ’em guessin’

Keep a giggle effervessin’

With a wink or just a smirk

A snicker or a snort

Let ’em wonder why – you GRIN!

– by Dittydad

An Enemy’s Admiration

AN ENEMY’S ADMIRATION

by C.T.L. Spear

Commenting on the 1937 death of former Princeton professor, Dr. G. Gresham Machen, the famous writer, Pearl S. Buck, wrote, “The man was admirable. He never gave in one inch to anyone. He never bowed his head. It was not in him to trim or compromise, to accept any peace that was less than triumph. He was a glorious enemy because he was completely open and direct in his angers and hatreds. He stood for something and everyone knew what it was.”

She called him an enemy because he led Presbyterians in fighting liberalism in the denomination and at Princeton Seminary, while she followed the majority into compromise.

She wrote, “Even though it is proved in some future time that there never lived an actual Christ. . . would I. . . have that personification. . . pass out of men’s minds?” She continued, “To some. . . he is still the divine Son of God, born of the virgin Mary. . . But to many of us he has ceased to be that.”

G. Gresham Machen was one to the most gifted of the intellectual elite of Christianity. His name is heard less often today than those who have made their mark as motivational speakers, entertainers, and positive thinkers, but the great roll-call of history will rank him, perhaps, as did Dr. Caspar W. Hodges, calling him “the greatest theologian in the English-speaking world.”

Machen wrote Christianity and Liberalism, The Origin of Paul’s Religion, and most notably, The Virgin Birth. For his unflinching stand against modernism at Princeton and in the Presbyterian Church in the USA, he was tried and defrocked while denied the right to defend the doctrinal convictions which led to that position. It proved to be the turning point in mainline Presbyterianism: toward modernism and away from the Bible as its standard of faith and practice. Trends in that movement have continued ever farther from Machen’s orthodoxy.

Like Christ Himself, Machen’s treatment by the Religious Denominational Establishment was patently prejudiced and unfair. Liberals outside the denomination judged it so.

Albert Diffenbach, Unitarian religion editor of the Boston Evening Transcript wrote, “Here is a man of distinction in scholarship and of unquestionable devoutness who for twenty years. . . declared that those who control the power. . . have repudiated the authentic. . . Presbyterian faith in favor of a modernistic emasculation of the pure Gospel of the Bible and the Reformation. It is a dramatic. . . reversal of the usual. . . doctrinal conflict.  It amounts virtually to this: one man is declaring that. . . his whole church has become heretical.

“Was Dr. Machen’s trial a fair one?” asked Dr. Daniel Russell, Moderator of the notoriously liberal Presbytery of New York, “there are doctrinal differences that run into the heart of the. . . problem. These the accused was not permitted to discuss in the defense.”

An admittedly sympathetic evangelical, Dr. A.Z. Conrad, minister of Park Street Congregational Church exploded, “Not for a generation has anything so high-handed, so unjust, so utterly un-Christian been witnessed as the trial of Dr. Gresham Machen in the New Brunswick Presbytery.

Most of his enemies, including those who presided at the trial, have faded from memory. But, those who cling to a Biblical faith will champion Machen’s name with apostles, reformers, apologists, evangelists, Christian scholars and martyrs.

Machen himself wrote, “a revival that does not stir up controversy is sure to be a sham. . . not a real one. . . A man who is really on fire with a message never thinks of decrying controversy but speaks the truth that God had given him to speak without thought of the favor of men.”

(Quotes taken from G. Gresham Machen, A Silhouette, by Henry W. Coray, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1981.)

A Buddhist Ordination

Christians nearly always face “dangers, toils, and snares” of various kinds in the process of taking a stand for Christ and establishing their personal testimony among family and friends. A missionary in Asia sent this slightly edited experience of some new converts:

The formerly Buddhist parents of a lady co-worker live in a rural village eight hours from here. Visiting their daughter two years ago, they attended church for the first time and trusted Christ!

We found no church in their area and no Christians in their village, so they have little opportunity to fellowship or receive Bible teaching. Obviously, we are concerned about their spiritual growth.

Recently, their son who lives in Bangkok and is nearly thirty, decided that he would become a Buddhist monk for a while to “make merit” for his extended family. A man is usually ordained as a monk at about twenty years of age.

We began praying for the parents, since we knew it would bring unusual tests for them. It is customary for parents to play a central role in the ceremonies.

The daughter traveled to the ordination to provide moral support to her parents, since they three are the only Christian believers in the family.  Before the event, they discussed what to do, and decided to face it together rather than leave during the ceremonies. Nearly 800 people attended. The Master of Ceremonies asked the father to speak to the crowd.

He said, “I am a Christian and my wife is a Christian. We really have no part in these proceedings, but we wanted to greet you.” He introduced his other children and when he came to his daughter, he told the crowd that she is a Christian, lives in another city, works with a Christian ministry and likewise has no part in the ceremony. He was bold but respectful. When he finished, the people applauded. The young Christian daughter was shaking because she did not know what he was going to say. It was an unexpected, unlikely turn of events at a Buddhist ordination.

Prior to this, they were quite anxious, but afterward, both parents seemed very relaxed , demonstrating the Lord’s calming hand upon the father and the situation. Cultural relationships and obligations impose social restrictions that require great strength and courage to take such a public stand, especially as three lone Christians, reminiscent of three Hebrews in the Fiery Furnace. Indeed, few would be eager to speak to a crowd of eight hundred, in any society.

The trial of faith is not over. The mother became violently ill that evening after she drank something which was supposed to be water. Something else was in the glass.

To see the Lord work in new converts is such a blessing! If a missionary had tutored them in how to handle it, the work of the Holy Spirit guiding them would not be so apparent. God showed himself mighty despite their lack of training although we might have supposed they were unfit for such a test.

(Adapted from the Tom Gaudet Update)