There is One Truth – A Response to Momastery’s “I love Gay People and I love Christians. I Choose All.” and “A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On”

My wife brought a fellow blogger’s posting to my attention – in fact two such posts (one from back in 2010 and another from two days ago).

I wrote on this topic extensively a few months back, but I’m back for another crack at it because of the above two entries into the public consciousness.

What brought me back to the topic of gay marriage is not a change of opinion or heart (both of which would rely on my own faulty human emotions and reinterpretation of The Holy Word of God and the very meaning and Truth behind the words contained within).  What brought me back is the concept I see littered throughout those two pieces I linked above – that of a re-definable God.

Let’s settle something right now.

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.

Numbers 23:19

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.

1 Samuel 15:29

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

I the Lord do not change.

Malachi 3:6

God is immutable.  The God of the Old Testament is the same God as the New Testament.  God, Spirit, Son – all are the same since the beginning of the frame of existence that we call time.  The metaphysical aspect of this concept is that the Triune God exists at all points in time simultaneously so if God changes, then there can be no true god as the concept would then be bound by a dimension of the universe that he created.

The author of those pieces I linked above does not seem to understand this fundamental concept about God and is prescribing a course of behavior completely at odds with the Word of God. This is a particular dangerous thing to do.  While there are some who read what this woman writes with a grain of salt and strong understanding of scripture and are able to test what she says (and what she says is sometimes right and true, which makes it all that more insidious).  Someone without a scriptural understanding and lens to measure her opinions over, they are incapable of spotting the inconsistencies and omissions of scriptural truth.

By biggest problem lies in these quotes:

Your parents are Christians who carefully choose what we believe and follow in the Bible.

No. No. No. No! This is the biggest lie that Satan has managed to interject into the world and deep within believers that must be rooted out.  You do not get to pick and choose for yourself what is Truth.  That is your pride speaking.  That is you saying that you know better than God Himself.

What I’m trying to say is that each Christian uses different criteria to decide what parts of the Bible to prioritize and demonstrate in their lives. Our criteria is that if it doesn’t bring us closer to seeing humanity as one, as connected, if it turns our judgment outward instead of inward, if it doesn’t help us become better lovers of God and others, if it distracts us from remembering what we are really supposed to be doing down here, which is finding God in every human being…

STOP!  Finding God in every human being?  Okay… problem.  BIG BIG PROBLEM.  You can see the finger of God in every person, every creation, but you cannot find GOD Himself.  We are made in His image – that’s it.  Purge this thought from your mind now because it will grow like a cancer and pervert your understanding of God’s nature and the nature of our relationship with Him.  Do not assign your personal pride to another person.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

God gave you the Bible, and He also gave you your heart and your mind and I believe He’d like you to use all three.

Well, that almost sounds like a good idea.  I wonder what scripture says about the heart.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.

Proverbs 3:5-7

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?

“I the Lord search the heart
    and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
    according to what their deeds deserve.

Jeremiah 17:7-10

For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

Matthew 15:19

Well then, sure seems like judging by the heart is a bad idea – it is easily swayed and emotionally led.

Shifting gears here a bit – when you redefine words you change their meaning to you, but not the meaning when they were written, nor the intent of the author.  The author of Momastery relies on these redefinitions to validate her opinion.  She relies on scripture’s call to love, but she badly misunderstands the various types of love.  And here is where she falls into a terribly tenuous place for her – because of her platform and audience, you could consider her a teacher.  I have a tiny fraction of the same audience, but I hold myself as God will upon judgment – as a teacher as well, and for that reason I carefully reflect on scripture, context, and pray upon every word I write so as not to lead someone else astray unintentionally.

Let me try to set something straight here.  Like I said, not everything the author said was wrong, and that’s why it’s difficult for some to separate the truth from it and discount the rest without a strong scriptural understanding.  We’re going to head back to the immutability of God.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

This is the Gospel.  This is Truth.  God loves every one of His creations – mankind – that He Himself, through Christ, offered the only pathway to righteousness through the crucifixion and resurrection.  This God is not a different God from the one who wrote His laws in stone on the mountain in Exodus or provided the remainder of the Law.  Remember – God is constant and unchanging.  The God that rained fire down on Sodom and Gomorrah, sent the plagues on Egypt, and struck down entire armies is the same God who became man two millenia ago.  God is fearsome in His might, majesty, and absolute demand of perfect adherence to His law.  God – pure goodness, pure love, and holiness unblemished in even the slightest way – cannot tolerate sin, even the tiniest one because it is a corruption of the image of God and the bearer of that corruption cannot survive an encounter with the pureness of God.  So the author is neglecting significant chunks of scripture in order to justify their understanding of God and sin.  She discounts Levitical law and various points in the bible where sexual immorality, sodomy, and unnatural relations are expressly prohibited as sinful and meriting death, but forgets that God is unchanging.  She, and so many others, want God to change because it is IMPOSSIBLE for man to follow all of the law without Christ, and that is not unexpected – Christ never promised an easy path – but to use your public pulpit in order to spread mistruths… well scripture has a lot to say on that as well.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute….

2 Peter 2:1-2

…these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

2 Peter 2:12

they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

2 Peter 2:18-21

When you deviate from the perfection and completeness of scripture and begin picking and choosing in order to validate your own opinion, you are acting out of pride.  That in and of itself is bad, but to spread your word as truth rather than The Word and The Truth, you are supplanting God and essentially telling Him that He is wrong and spreading that understanding to others and potentially causing them to fall away from God also.

Now, I will briefly touch on a few things that she got right.

God loves all mankind. Yes, absolutely, otherwise redemption would have been withheld from us.

We are not to judge others or condemn others. Judgment is reserved from God alone and Christ alone is our intercessor.

We are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Absolutely.  We’re all in the same boat – we’re all sinners hopelessly lost and in need of the grace and mercy of God, our Father and Creator.  But the author fell short again here… I will end this session with a question – do I truly love my neighbor if I tolerate and celebrate his or her lifestyle if it is sinful?  Am I doing them any eternal favors, by not bringing them into the saving grace of Christ which will free them from the bondage of sin?

 

 

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Lust and Power

If you’ve ever watched or read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the lust for power is well imagined in the lust for the One Ring.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

The lust for the ring of power was great.  It was known to contain great power and endowed the bearer with magical abilities such as invisibility, unusually long life, and others, but at a great price.  It was a corrupting force.  Regardless of the intent of the person who possessed the ring, no matter how it was used, the ring only answered to the one who made it.

Let’s unpack the concept that Tolkien was trying to convey.  The first and most obvious layer is that power corrupts.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton

“Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778

The lure of the power in the ring was impossible to resist.  Men would do anything to gain possession of that power – lie, cheat, steal, kill.

Take a look around at all disconcerting tyrannies that I have written extensively about to date.  Those tyrannies are either aimed at obtaining, preserving, or strengthening power.

Yesterday, May 30th, the NSA’s Utah Data Center went live.  The center has the capability to capture, record, and analyze every form of electronic communication in the domestic United States every single day.

The Department of Homeland Security has expanded it’s mission from just protecting modes of travel to protecting and actively policing within the United States.

The warrantless wiretaps on the AP, the targeting of individual reporters such as James Rosen, the IRS’ unequal treatment of conservative, Tea Party, and Jewish groups are all methods being used to silence opposition and whistleblowers through intimidation.

More than 70 percent of federal spending goes to dependency programs.  The threat of removal of these programs ensures that dissension is unthinkable lest the life support that 128 million Americans rely on for subsistence be taken away.  These people have become serfs of the new feudal masters within the government (both elected and unelected).

Schools in Florida, under the guise of an insidious program called Common Core, scanned and retained the irises of school children for their “safety” and “security.”

These are just a few instances of huge power grabs, shows of naked force.  Each one by itself could be written off as nothing, an overreaction or overreach by overzealous bureaucrats, but together in concert they are much more.  They take on the mantle of a full blown tightening of the vise of tyranny on the citizens of the United States.

Now you might even be saying that I’m overreacting because I disagree with President Obama politically on nearly every issue, but it goes far beyond that.  I would disagree with these steps regardless of which party or President was in power at the time because I see these for the lure of power that they are and will be going forward.  That power becomes a drug for the person who wields it – they need it, and not to know that they have it, but they will need to exercise it in growing frequency in order to fulfill their craving for it.  The power will corrupt them.  Even if they began with the best of intentions, that power will destroy them.

The bureaucrats and politicians that come next will see the One Ring before them.  It will call to them, not with the clarion call of liberty, but with the sinister whisper of influence, authority, power, and strength, but those powers can only be wielded by the creator of the ring.

Who is the creator of the ring?

In Tolkien’s tale, Sauron, the Dark Lord, is the creator of the ring, but even he can be destroyed by it because he is ultimately dependent on it as well.  So did Sauron create the authority, power, and strength that were endowed into the ring or did he simply channel them there?  Let’s back this up to theology now… did Satan create the power that he yields?

The short answer is no.

God created Satan as Lucifer the angel.  Satan is dependent on God for his very existence.

One day the angelscame to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.

Job 1:6

The authority, power, and strength that Satan holds were benefits of his created nature and were gifts of his position in the hierarchy of heaven.  It is Satan’s intent to disobey and rebel against God that corrupts those gifts.  Just as Satan rebels and corrupts those great and mighty gifts that God bestowed on him at his creation, the government – the politicians and bureaucrats, the authorities, the individual branches and big players have intents and purposes that run counter to the Constitutionally-directed role of the government and it’s relationship with the people altogether.  The small tyrannies summed together will corrupt even the best intended of those men and women because they will beg to be used… the temptation is too great.

THAT is why we rail against these overreaches.  THAT is why we sound the watchman’s call as the abuses and usurpations mount.

The enemy is not just at the gates.

The enemy is now within the city walls.

If we do not stand and fight and defeat these self-obtained powers, then we will lose whatever scrap of liberty that we have left on this Earth except for the hope that we have in Christ.

If power corrupts, we must rid ourselves of it.  If we do not want a corrupt government controlling every step we take in our lives, we must disrupt and dismantle it’s power to do so or we will find ourselves prisoners in our own country.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

The Race

In the aftermath of yesterday, my daily life has not changed one iota.  My heart aches for the families rent apart yesterday and the people immeasurably maimed.  Right now, there is little that I or anyone else can say that will help heal the wound or patch the broken heart.  The medical care that they are receiving is about as far as humankind can provide.  The heart can only be healed by God.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

Yesterday produced moments of terror for people trapped between the blasts triggered by men bent on nothing but bloodshed and destruction of innocent life.  The murderers will meet justice eventually, but even then, humankind is only capable of a certain level of justice.

In our society, a capital crime such as a murder can only be punished once.  After the first murder, all subsequent crimes become essentially free to the murderer.  Their life is already forfeit.  While it is our right to apply the laws of our society and to prosecute the murderers and punish them in accordance with those laws, that punishment always falls short of the anguish of the imposed pain felt by the victims and the families of the victims of these tragedies.

This is the essential understanding that someone has to come to in order to truly understand God’s infinite grace and mercy.  All men fall short of the Law.  By failing to keep God’s law, we violate all of it.  Righteousness in God’s eyes is all-or-nothing. It is black and white.  There can be no gray or the very righteousness of God would be called into question.

So bringing this back to the loss of life yesterday, while I mourn for those killed and pray for those injured, the pain inflicted will far outweigh any pain that humankind can inflect in retribution.  That is the terrible fact of acts of terror – the terrorist will inevitably cause more pain than they endure in the end on this Earth.

My great fear is that this IED-style attack is just the beginning.  The attack was simple to plan and execute and few levels of interdiction would successfully stop such an attack within a free republic such as ours.  Perhaps though, this attack will prepare the people of this nation for the trials to come.

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

So what can be done in the face of terror knowing full well that our legal system, our military, our laws can only take from someone their life and that is the ultimate punishment that we can mete out?

Rise.

Stand up.

Be strong and courageous.

Yesterday, there were instances of God’s grace and mercy at work right in the aftermath before the smoke even cleared.  Men and women, immediately took up that great charge of the unorganized militia and sprung into action tending to the wounded, tourniquetting severed limbs, staunching bleeding, carrying people to hospitals, and intentionally putting themselves in harms’ way.  Those men and women were not just police and paramedics, but spectators – mothers, fathers, children, parents and the runners themselves (many of which heroically ran toward the blast site despite their exhaustion at the end of the grueling marathon course).

Yesterday there was death and despair.  Today there is hope.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

2 Corinthians 4:8-12

Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Deserved Wrath

I read a quote recently that set my mind’s wheels turning.  To paraphrase it: how better to live one’s life than to earn the wrath of tyrants.

This paraphrase can be looked at in multiple ways, but I just want to briefly highlight two of those ways.

The men that swore on their lives, fortunes, and honor to separate America from Britain centuries ago knew that they would incur the wrath of people that they considered tyrants.  The Declaration of Independence, which I have delved into previously on this blog, makes it clear why they thought this to be true and how they believe that they were justified in doing so.

If we truly believe ourselves to be patriots, then we must be willing to incur the same wrath in how we live.  If we find ourselves living under tyrants, then it is our duty to resist as Americans, as free men, and as Christians.

Wait… are we not called to submit as Christians?  Render to Caesar, etc.  Yes, if our rulers are submitting to God’s will themselves then they will not be tyrants, but will rule lightly with compassion and justice.

Now how can this be?  How can we be both obedient to those God ordains as rulers over us and yet have an obligation to resist tyrants?

Are we called to be subject to laws that violate God’s laws?

Should we obey a law that forces us to choose between God and man?  Is that not the very act of sedition toward God?

Submit yourselves, then, to God.

James 4:7

If you struggle with this idea, just ask yourself this question.

How would you justify watching as Jewish neighbors were hauled off to concentration camps if you lived in Nazi Germany?  How would you justify this to your Creator?

As I often do, let’s look back and recall the words of one man who had this entire concept figured out.  He realized that tyranny toward one man was tyranny toward all men.  That tyranny, once realized, was worth of resistance, despite the earned wrath that such resistance would cause.  Good must counter evil.

Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings….

…We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

…Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission…

…Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power….

…There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave…

…There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged!

…Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry

In battling evil, excess is good; for he who is moderate in announcing the truth is presenting half-truth. He conceals the other half out of fear of the people’s wrath.

Khalil Gibran

Stand firm.  Resist.  Defy tyranny.  Incur their temporal wrath.  Glorify God.

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