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The Challenge of Choices

The Challenge of Choices

Life with my daughter has always been an adventure. When she was attending college at Oklahoma State, we began each semester with a standard procedure. I would drive her to the campus, 75 miles to the west, we would stop for lunch, I would pull out the OSU catalog, and she would choose the major du jour. The guidelines were fairly simple. No major in the sciences. I asked about political science, but that option got vetoed because “there is science in the name.” Too close for comfort. Across her long and distinguished college career, she changed majors every semester except for the last one.

I empathize. Choices come hard. Life has too many variables, too many unknowns, too much complexity, too many options, and too many hidden pitfalls.

This reality becomes problematic since life consists of an ongoing series of choices. We are constantly bombarded by the small ones: the day begins with deciding between the snooze option or actually getting up, what to wear, coffee or tea (that’s an easy one), and ultimately choosing between paper or plastic. Even more overwhelming are the bigger decisions: occupation, job change, purchase of a house or car, choice of a doctor and church. Many decisions we make semi-consciously, causing us to lose sight of the multitude of choices we make many times per hour throughout the course of a day. As I write this article I am choosing between words, which not only convey content but also color, tone, and attitude, and I even debate whether I should publish this article or write on a different topic.

The Apostle Paul recognized this challenge regarding choices in writing to the Colossians. I believe a good translation of Colossians 1:9 might read in part, “We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled by the discovery of his will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” The word I translated “discovery” also embodies the idea of “discernment.” Making spiritually wise decisions requires discovering or discerning God’s will. No simple formula exists for identifying the most productive, the wisest path forward. Rather, we must discern it.

Paul conveys the same message in Romans 12:2. The NAS translates that verse, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Merriam-Webster defines “prove” to mean, “(T)o demonstrate as having a particular quality or worth—the vaccine has been proven effective after years of tests.”

This verse indicates that this process of “proving” God’s will, requires a renewed mind, which consists of a worldview that encompasses all of reality including the spiritual dimension, as opposed to the old mind that is limited to the material realm. In our society, people seeking to discern the correct course limited to material data can’t even figure out which bathroom to use. Only as we incorporate the full range of spiritual truth into our understanding of life can we make wise decisions.

Doing so requires serious study of Scripture, the source of truth regarding the spiritual realm, which includes gaining acquaintance with all of the Bible and giving special attention to those parts particularly applicable to the choices confronting us. Developing a renewed mind requires consistent diligence over many years. We can, and need to draw on input from others who have made substantial progress down that road. However, because life confronts us with so many decisions, it is essential that we develop our own understanding of Scripture. We are blessed today to have access to free or inexpensive Bible study tools such as e-sword (, which provides both an array of powerful Bible study tools and also many good commentaries. I have made a practice of opening a Word file for every book of the Bible that I study, which has allowed me to build a repository for insights the Lord has given me. The cumulative results of our Bible study enable us to develop “the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) so that we can deal with each decision confronting us with the knowledge necessary to inform us regarding what Jesus would do.

We read about another essential requisite for making biblical decisions in Hebrews 5:14, which informs us that “…solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (ESV) “Trained by constant practice” is the translation for a single Greek word from which we derive our English “gymnasium.” Of course, going to the gym is optional. Likewise, we can make choices without going through the gymnastics of actively seeking to discern what Jesus would do. Years ago I gave a class on stewardship, which provided principles for using all of our resources optimally for the Lord. One person in the class responded that to apply such principles in making stewardship decisions would drive her crazy. In essence she was saying that she would rather not get all sweaty in the gymnasium of biblical decision-making. For those willing to do the work, however, the payoff comes in the development of discernment muscles that enable us to “distinguish good from evil.”

Life is too complex for us to apply some canned formula for making choices. Wise decision-making requires the hard work of serious study of Scripture and exercise in the gymnasium of biblical application. In the especially confusing day in which we live, survival and success depend on our development of these requisites for decision-making.

“Well, To Tell the Truth….”

“Well, To Tell the Truth….”

Time was that a person would signal that he was going to make some special expression of honesty by introducing it with that phrase. “Well, to tell the truth, I don’t think Democrats mind murdering babies in the womb.”

Maybe its time to bring that expression back. Since so much of what the media tell us is fake news, maybe they should alert us to the rare exceptions by, “Well, to tell the truth, President Trump has done a really great job with the economy.” Such warnings might prevent us from becoming disoriented—save us from whiplash. I don’t think that we would need to worry about the expression being overused.

Actually they are doing something like that on university campuses by giving trigger warnings. These are used to advise students when something offensive is about to be said. Most of the time, this verbal caution tape is wrapped around some expression of an inconvenient truth that does not fit into the fictitious worldview propagated by the university. Maybe for a trigger warning they could just use the old, timeworn expression. “Well, to tell the truth, the suicide rate among transgenders is astronomical.”

Many years ago I read about a missionary working in the jungles of South America who needed to approach one of the tribal people about a sensitive issue. In the book the missionary mentioned that the culture required him to make small talk with this tribal person for half a day before he could approach the subject. It occurred to me at the time that the further the distance of a culture from biblical Christianity, the greater the restrictions imposed on telling the truth.

Since that time America has substantially distanced itself from God, and in response we have witnessed not only placing restrictions on truth-telling but also a total ban on some truths, especially those incompatible with the ideology of the Left.

Increasingly we find content being banned by Facebook, Twitter, and Google, not because it is false, but because it exposes lies of the Left. Any vicious comment aimed at Pres. Trump is okay, but comments exposing truth regarding atrocities committed in the name of Islam are categorized as hate speech. Recently PragerU brought a lawsuit against Google for banning some of its videos, which are factual and not hateful, but are nonetheless “inappropriate” because they tell the truth.

Unfortunately, evangelicals also participate in this ban on truth. The contemporary gospel consists in large measure of telling people that God loves them and invites them to receive His love. This expression of the gospel conveniently omits the judgment of God that He will pour out on those rejecting His Son. It also excludes the many passages in Scripture that speak of the wrath of God toward them now. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36 ESV) I’m not suggesting that we make the gospel unnecessarily offensive, but in an honest presentation of the gospel we might include a statement such as, “Well, to tell the truth, Scripture conveys that God is hostile toward those who reject His Son after He died to pay for their sins.”

Believers are also objects of this evangelical ban on truth-telling. A common contemporary misrepresentation of Scripture resides in the erroneous claim that our “performance” does not in any way influence God’s attitudes or actions toward us. Many verses in Scripture expose that position to be unbiblical. For example, Peter is addressing the “performance” of believers in writing,

“For ‘Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’”  (1 Peter 3:10-12 ESV)

Though it may make us uncomfortable, pastors could enhance the health of the church by asserting, “Well, to tell the truth, God meted out sickness and even death on some in the Corinthian church who failed to show proper regard for the Lord ’s Table.”

This raises the question of how many people will read an article like this. Well, to tell the truth, a post conveying that Christianity is all about grace with no obligation to the Lord or adverse response from Him for sinful living will get a lot more readers. But then again, to tell the truth, that is not the truth.

Is Donald Trump an American Winston Churchill?

Is Donald Trump an American Winston Churchill?

This past weekend I went to see “Darkest Hour,” the movie depicting Winston Churchill becoming the British Prime Minister at perhaps the bleakest point in England’s national history and against all odds rescuing it from Nazi defeat. As I watched the movie I was gripped by the many parallels between the character and role of Winston Churchill in British history and that of Donald Trump in our own.

Perhaps the most obvious parallel resides in the unique personalities of both, neither of these men fitting the template for the consummate politician. In England, Neville Chamberlain was far better suited for that role. The problem was that his weakness and compromise had brought England to the brink of destruction.

Likewise, we could identify many American political figures far more compatible with the establishment ideal for an American president, e.g. a Jeb Bush. However, from all indications these candidates that reflect the establishment model would have failed to meet the challenges confronting us.

It seems that exceptional leaders usually march to the beat of a different drummer. Abraham Lincoln comprised an unlikely candidate. Gen. Patton, another leader who did not fit the mold, contributed significantly to the Allied victory in World War II. At a time when we cannot afford business as usual, neither can we afford a usual politician.

A second parallel between Churchill and Trump resides in the desperation of the hour confronting them both. “Darkest Hour” relates that at the time when Churchill took over as prime minister, Nazi victory seemed inevitable. Dealing with this challenge was made all the more challenging by enemies confronting Churchill within his own government.

Though America’s situation when Donald Trump became president may not have appeared as desperate, a closer look reveals that it was. Pres. Obama left our nation weak and vulnerable globally on many counts. When Donald Trump took office, China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and ISIS all posed serious threats. Pres. Obama left our economy in shambles, our military weak, our borders open, and our healthcare system broken. Under Obama’s watch the proliferation of corruption left our nation functioning like a banana republic. In addition, from all indications Hillary Clinton would have defeated any other challenger, perpetuating and deepening the profound problems listed above, which would have resulted in America’s demise. Though the enemies confronting Donald Trump are different than those encountered by Churchill, they are just as real and equally as devastating.

As with Churchill, Pres. Trump also faces domestic hostility in seeking to advance his agenda to remedy the many challenges confronting America. He must deal with hostility from the Democrats, the media, the deep state, the RINOs, and the never Trumpers.

Perhaps the most significant parallel between these two leaders resides in their strength of will to take on the fight against overwhelming odds. Rather than collapsing, capitulating, or compromising when faced with daunting opposition, Churchill became all the more adamant in the pursuit of his agenda. We see the same strength of purpose in Pres. Trump. Rather than caving under the withering assaults of his enemies in the media, the Democratic Party, RINOs and others, daily he displays the will and courage to take head on their hypocrisy, dishonesty, and failed ideas with renewed energy.

Yet another parallel can be found in the lack of appreciation for both of these leaders in their time. In retrospect, it seems almost inconceivable that Churchill lost the 1945 election immediately after he had snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat for England in World War II. Even after one year and confronted by overwhelming opposition, the Trump administration has lifted our economy to record heights, defeated ISIS, and drastically reduced illegal immigration, just to name a few of his achievements. Yet his approval ratings fail to reflect these achievements. Instead, the media, Democrats, and even some of his own party ignore or seek to diminish these accomplishments.

From all indications, Winston Churchill was God’s gift to England, to deliver it from almost certain defeat. Donald Trump also appears to be a provision of God’s grace to America, giving us one last chance to escape the wickedness and destructiveness of the Left, and return to reason, responsibility, and decency. It may take the perspective of history to appreciate what Donald Trump is doing for America. Hopefully, most Americans won’t wait that long but instead will appreciate and support him in his efforts to reverse the destruction being imposed on America by the Left.

How to Shine Light on Satanic Darkness

How to Shine Light on Satanic Darkness

Paul warns us that we are at war with satanic forces.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, NASB)

The designations he uses for these forces suggest various ranks in an army. “Rulers” comprise the highest level, the Greek term connoting that these are the generals that make plans and command their execution. Next we have “powers,” literally “authorities,” which seems to be the officers directing the war at the battalion and company levels. The bottom tier in this satanic army consists of “the spiritual forces of evil,” the satanic troops, the boots on the ground engaged in combat against good, so as to advance evil in the world.

My description of this satanic army skipped over the third tier, “the cosmic forces of this darkness.” This category comprises a special ops unit in this satanic army, assigned specifically to create darkness.

This mission receives special attention because Satan can only advance his evil agenda in an environment of darkness. Light would expose not only the wickedness of his objectives but also their foolishness. The irrationality of every aspect of Satan’s program requires darkness.

For example, “the National Center for Transgender Equality reported in 2015 that 40 percent of people who identify as transgender have attempted suicide.” By comparison, heavy smoking may cause lung cancer at the substantially lesser rate of 22 percent. Consequently, one would think that authoritative sources in our society would be warning regarding the dangers of transgender identification even more than they give warnings regarding smoking. Instead, our society enshrouds in darkness the danger of transgender identification.

This need for darkness mandates that the Left in its promotion of post-Christian culture corrupts the primary avenues of information, the normal sources of light in our society, in order to keep America under a thick cloud of ignorance.

Universities achieve this blackout of truth by banning conservative professors. They maintain the resulting darkness by assigning safe spaces where people can hide from the truth, by giving trigger warnings when the truth might appear, and barring conservative speakers or shouting them down. These universities must maintain darkness because their fraudulent positions could not sustain the light of open debate.

The monolithic mainstream media also employs a number of tactics to keep Americans in the dark. In addition to fabricating fake news, they ban valid news. Recent statistics show that 91% of their reporting on Pres. Trump is negative, despite his many achievements such as a roaring economy, the defeat of ISIS, and a low unemployment rate.

In fact, everywhere the Left gains influence, it aggressively blocks the dissemination of truth. Consider that the left-wing judiciary in California has charged those who exposed Planned Parenthood’s selling baby parts with crimes, placing a gag order on them, while failing to charge Planned Parenthood with wrongdoing.

Isaiah encountered this phenomenon in his day:

Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter. (Isaiah 59:14 NKJV)

Isaiah teaches us that a dark society where truth has fallen in the street, also eradicates justice, equity, and righteousness. Perhaps the most glaring present example of injustice is found in the exoneration of Hillary Clinton, despite a long trail of obvious crimes, while employing every dirty trick to find some way to charge Pres. Trump with wrongdoing, despite the absence of any evidence. Isaiah warns that living in darkness is not only unpleasant but dangerous.


One element of the compound Greek word Paul used to label these satanic forces disseminating darkness is “cosmos,” a term used in Scripture to describe organized evil. The effectiveness of satanic forces in maintaining darkness can be attributed at least in part to their unity and organization. For example, I mentioned above how evil judges provided the cover of darkness for Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, the evil media refused to report this travesty of justice to the American public.

How can God’s people shine light in our darkened society? We need to do so as individuals by our witness and works. The church must also do so through evangelism and discipleship. Despite the faithfulness of many individual believers and churches in carrying out these tasks, the forces of darkness continue to prevail. What is missing?

At this point we can take a lesson from the forces of evil. As just noted, they are effective in large measure because they unify and coordinate their efforts. My book, Counterattack: Why Evangelicals Are Losing the Culture War and How They Can Win, makes the case that lack of unity is contributing to evangelical defeat in the culture war. We have hundreds of evangelical organizations all trying to do good things, but those efforts are not unified and coordinated. God has given us all the resources necessary to win the culture war. However, this can only be achieved by unifying in the battle against the forces of darkness. Only by joining forces can evangelicals effectively shine the light of biblical truth and reason in our society, exposing the lies of the Left and defeating them in the culture war.

Winning the Culture War Requires Overcoming Faith

Winning the Culture War Requires Overcoming Faith

John wrote, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith.”

It seems that the perspective of evangelicals on the culture war lacks that faith.

We fight isolated battles and occasionally win some. Winning the Masterpiece Bakeshop Case currently before the Supreme Court would represent a major victory. However, the long-term trend finds us constantly losing territory. How far we have come from seven decades ago when the day in public schools commenced with Bible reading and prayer, when abortion was illegal, and when the thought of a transgender male being given entrée into a women’s shower room was unthinkable.

For evangelicals today, a return to that culture is also unthinkable. In fact, it is so unthinkable that few evangelicals even think about it. And if we don’t think about it, if we don’t view it as a possibility, then we will never pursue a path to restoring that Christian culture, which means that we will never achieve it. We will shrink our perspective on victory to include only slowing down the juggernaut of the culture of the Left and winning some skirmishes along the way. We view anything beyond that as unthinkable. We see ourselves somewhat in the same circumstances as the Jewish community bottled up in the Warsaw ghetto, with no hope for deliverance but only the prospect of forestalling defeat.

The eyes of faith are not bound by such restrictions but rather can envision actually defeating the Left and winning the culture war, restoring Bible reading and prayer to our classrooms, outlawing abortion, and restoring a modicum of truth to the news media and decency to the entertainment media. Just as Sarah laughed when the Lord told Abraham that she would bear a son at age 99, evangelicals might laugh in their hearts at the thought that such an outcome is possible.

Why should we think it is? The theological answer is that with the Lord, all things are possible. Therefore, the eyes of faith can envision such prospects.

But let me also suggest a reason from history for believing this outcome is a possibility. David Bentley Hart, in his book, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Is Fashionable Enemies, reflecting on how the fledgling early church imposed a Christian culture on the powerful Roman Empire, observes:

… Among all the many great transitions that have marked the evolution of Western civilization, whether convulsive or gradual, political or philosophical, social or scientific, material or spiritual, there has been only one—the triumph of Christianity—that can be called in the full sense a “revolution”: a truly massive and epochal revision of humanity’s prevailing vision of reality, so pervasive in its influence and so vast in its consequences as actually to have created a new conception of the world, of history, of human nature, of time, and of the moral good. To my mind, I should add, it was an event immeasurably more impressive in its cultural creativity and more ennobling in its moral power than any other movement of spirit, will, imagination, aspiration, or accomplishment in the history of the West.[i]

We not only possess the promise of Scripture that God is able to use His church to restore America’s Christian culture, but our faith is bolstered by this real-life historical demonstration of God using His church to achieve just that type of objective.

In Counterattack: Why Evangelicals Are Losing the Culture War and How They Can Win, I offer another reason to believe that God can achieve the same cultural victory today. As we assess the spiritual, human, and material resources available to the church in America, as we consider the size of the American evangelical church, as we contemplate the roots of our past Christian culture that continue to stubbornly manifest signs of life, it is evident that the evangelical church possesses the power and resources to beat back the Left and restore Christian culture to America. The book explains why we are currently failing to achieve that goal and provides a prescription for attaining it.

As noted above, all this must begin with evangelicals embracing the faith that God can accomplish this victory through His church. Only then will we be motivated to pursue that objective. Let us believe that He can and together begin to pursue that objective.

[i] Hart, David Bentley. Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2009, p. xi.

The Ultimate Importance of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

The Ultimate Importance of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

The primary issue at stake in the Jack Phillips case is whether homosexual rights trump religious rights. Does a homosexual have the right to force Jack Phillips to violate his religious convictions by using his artistic talents to celebrate a cause that he believes to be sinful? If so, fines and other punishments for not doing so would either force him to violate his conscience or go out of business.

Granting homosexuals that power would enable them to drive Christians in many professions out of business. They could demand that a Christian photographer take pictures of a homosexual kiss. They could demand that a Christian architect use his skills to design a homosexual night club or a Christian contractor to build one or Christian electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and others in the building trades to use their skills for that purpose. They could demand that Christian printers, greeting card designers, and graphic designers use their skills to publish books, leaflets, cards, brochures, and other materials promoting a cause that would violate their consciences. Christians in many other occupations would face similar threats. In fact, victory in this Supreme Court case would place a large segment of the Christian community in jeopardy of losing their businesses, depriving them and their families of their livelihood.

Adding to this danger is the reality that the homosexual movement would specifically target these people. They have no problem finding vendors who can serve them without violating their consciences. Their objective in demanding these services from Christians is to drive those who view homosexuality as immoral from American society.

Therefore, ruling against Jack Phillips would throw into chaos the lives of many Christians and cause others to live in fear. It would seriously damage the American business community and economy.

Despite the significance of these outcomes, a Supreme Court decision to give homosexual rights priority over religious rights poses an even greater threat. Identifying that danger requires a look at history.

A 1962 Supreme Court decision banned prayer from our public schools. Make no mistake about it. This was not a case of nine justices honestly seeking to apply the Constitution. Any reasonable effort to discern the intent of the founders and the meaning of the First Amendment would support the constitutional right to pray in public schools. Rather, the justices supporting this decision were imposing their animus toward God on public school children.

My father-in-law, Rev. Clarence Didden, a godly and very successful pastor, grasping the spiritual implications of this decision, in response wrote a tract entitled, “The Day America Died.” He understood the immensity of America’s offense against God. After God had poured out immeasurable and unsurpassed blessing on our nation, we showed our gratitude by prohibiting our schoolchildren from praying to Him. He also understood the related truth of Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” He realized that America could not snub God so blatantly and offend Him so deeply without His retribution being poured out on us as a nation. The Supreme Court added to its affront toward God the following year by banning Bible reading from public schools.

History reveals the accuracy of Rev. Didden’s obituary on America. Five years after this decision, the hippie movement took root in our country, manifesting itself in the Summer of Love in the Haight district of San Francisco in 1967. It is a special note that those college students providing the impetus for this movement were the very ones deprived of prayer and Scripture during their high school years. It was as if God told America, “You don’t want your young people exposed to Me. Let’s see how well they do without Me.” And we did.

As those hippies became adults, they propagated their philosophy throughout our society, resulting in what today has become the American Left. Since that 1962 Supreme Court decision, America has lost ground in every element of national life: economically, militarily educationally, morally, physically, and relationally. David Barton published a book entitled, America: to Prayer Not to Pray that statistically demonstrates America’s precipitous decline since prayer was banned from public schools. Virtually every dastardly, putrefying sore experienced by contemporary American society represents the full grown fruit of the hippie movement. Slapping God in the face has consequences.

However, God is also gracious, no doubt showing mercy on many American believers who had not bowed the knee to Baal. He gave Ronald Reagan to America to at least temporarily slow the juggernaut of the Left. A few decades later, however, American society had sunk to its lowest depths ever under the destructive administration of Barack Obama. Again, God showed mercy in the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the election of Donald Trump. As with Ronald Reagan, we see Pres. Trump restoring a modicum of order and success to our society, despite the all-out effort of the Left to destroy him.

The question confronting us today, however, is how the Lord would respond to the profound insult of granting homosexuality greater importance than obedience to His scriptural mandates. Whatever damage this decision might inflict at the human level, its ultimate devastation would reside in this offense to God. We need to be very much in prayer that our Supreme Court will not dishonor God again and incur even greater wrath upon America. I have deep concern that such a decision might result in God driving the final nail into the American coffin. The good news is that a decision affirming religious rights might signal God’s continued grace and blessing on America.

The Massive Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Lives of Unregenerated People

The Massive Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Lives of Unregenerated People

Paul writes:

Ephesians 2:1-2  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience….

Some evangelicals conclude from this and similar passages that unregenerated people are totally incapable of any response to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. They are spiritually dead, and that people cannot respond.

One problem with this position resides in many teachings of Scripture that indicate otherwise. A second problem is found in the significant implications of getting this issue wrong.

First let’s consider the problems with viewing unregenerated people as totally unresponsive to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The difficulties for this position begin with the relationship of regeneration to the New Covenant, which commenced on the Day of Pentecost. Many passages of Scripture support this connection between regeneration and the New Covenant such as John 14:16-17, where Jesus promised His disciples:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

This passage tells us that the Holy Spirit was not yet dwelling in the disciples, His coming to indwell the church occurring after the ascension of Christ.

In light of this timing, concluding that people are incapable of any response to the ministry of the Holy Spirit prior to regeneration would leave us with no explanation for the godliness of Old Testament saints such as Job, Noah, Abraham, and Daniel. The same problem exists regarding people such as Zachariah and Elizabeth whom Scripture describes as “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord,” or Joseph of Arimathea, identified as “a good and righteous man.” We are also left to wonder what prompted the thief on the cross to confess Christ.

If fallen people are totally committed to selfishness and sinfulness, which Scripture teaches, the people cited above and many others could not maintain godly lives or manifest godly responses apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they must have been responsive to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, even though they were not regenerated.

We might also ask, if those who have not been regenerated cannot respond to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, why and how does the Holy Spirit “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment,” as Jesus taught in John 16:8? Numerous other problems confront the view that those who have not been regenerated cannot respond to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Regarding the problems that result from getting this issue wrong, an already apparent one consists in the confusion it causes in understanding Scripture.

It also creates problems in understanding history. If unregenerated human beings are totally unresponsive to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, this would result in every city and town that ever existed being morally equivalent to Sodom and a Gomorrah, and every civilization being as wicked as the Canaanites whom God commanded that Israel destroy. It seems, instead, that God makes moral differentiations, judging some human beings and cultures to be worse than others. This perspective is supported by the statement of Scripture regarding Sodom and Gomorrah: “Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD.” (Genesis 13:13 NASB)

Consequently, it seems that the Holy Spirit has a broad ministry among all people, with some responding to His ministry to varying degrees while others totally reject it. We hear stories of Muslims giving their lives in an effort to save Christian neighbors from terrorists. Some may try to make the case that they did so out of totally selfish motives. However, it is more compatible both with Scripture and the empirical evidence that they were manifesting the ministry of the Holy Spirit in their lives at some level.

This question regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit moves closer to the home as we seek to analyze political issues. Some may contend that Pres. Trump is as morally bankrupt as any other unsaved person, despite the fact that he has worked to keep his word to the American people more than most politicians and has sought to promote morality and Christian culture by appointing pro-life judges and encouraging people to once again greet each other with Merry Christmas.

Some may challenge this conclusion by asserting that if the Holy Spirit was at work in him, he would not have used some of the vulgar language he has been on record as employing. Those having difficulty reconciling these issues would have an even more difficult time explaining how some evangelical pastors have fallen into infidelity. In fact, as believers we should all be able to understand that the ministry of the Holy Spirit can coexist with ungodly living by merely looking at our own lives.

One aspect of the ministry of the Holy Spirit among unsaved people that I find quite encouraging resides in the assurance that as I seek to share the gospel I can be assured that the Holy Spirit is already at work in the person’s heart. In fact, the world in general looks brighter as we realize that it is not totally devoid of the presence of God, but rather that He is working through His Spirit in the lives of all humanity, and that many of those who are not believers are nonetheless responding in some measure, making the world a far more decent and pleasant place to live.

Protecting the Pristine Purity of Congress from Pollution by Roy Moore

Protecting the Pristine Purity of Congress from Pollution by Roy Moore

In a nation where indiscretion is polluting so many of our major institutions, it becomes paramount that Congress, the remaining bastion of moral purity, be guarded against the incursion of impropriety. America was shocked by the recent news that even Hollywood is riddled with immorality—who knew. It is with deep regret that the media from time to time feel compelled to report manifestations of immorality within the church. And lately we were informed that West Point is graduating communists. Where will it all end?

Congress—that’s where. Impropriety may infiltrate other institutions, but the unsullied reputation of the moral purity of Congress must be maintained at all costs. When temptation confronts children of future generations, we will be able to counter by reminding them that someday they may aspire to be elected to Congress, and therefore they must maintain a reputation of unassailable integrity so that they may qualify to enter the hallowed halls housing that paradigm of virtue.

For this reason, it is fully expected and appropriate that when the likes of Roy Moore, a scandal-ridden candidate for the Senate, the august upper house of that body mind you, dared to continue with his candidacy, that its members gather around them their righteous robes and stood with righteous indignation in opposition to the very prospect of their house being contaminated by his presence. His supporters have protested that he has been convicted of no wrongdoing and that the opposition has a record of employing similar political dirty tricks, but when it comes to protecting the moral purity of Congress, such arguments fall far short. Every suspect must be held guilty until proven innocent.

A recent Fox report divulges the extent to which Congress has gone to maintain its impeccable moral reputation. Surprisingly, this article manifests that these efforts are not aimed at actually being moral but only at maintaining that image. The article, entitled “Taxpayer piggy bank lets Congress settle sexual harassment cases in secret,” reports on a congressional law prohibiting people from bringing legal action against a federal lawmaker without first consenting to a lengthy process that includes “a written statement within 180 days of the incident, 30 days of counseling and another month or so of mediation.” The person bringing the accusation must commit herself to keeping the identity of the accused confidential, even if he is found guilty, while at the same time agreeing that her employer will be informed. If the congressman is found guilty, Congress maintains an account, funded by taxpayer money, that will pay any fines. Consequently, the person making the accusation places herself in jeopardy while the congressman, even when found guilty, is not penalized either by exposure or fines.

We may feel confident that such a provision has actually been unnecessary and there has been no need for utilizing it, especially in light of the outcry against Roy Moore. Certainly, a body so grievously incensed by even the accusation of moral infractions would itself be innocent as the wind-driven snow. Consequently, it comes as a terrible shock and disappointment to learn that between 1997 and 2014 $15.2 million has been paid out by the good citizens of the United States to cover the fines of 235 claimants.

This realization exposes Roy Moore’s real sin. He should have gotten himself elected to Congress before these women made their charges. Then his reputation and money would have been safe. No sitting member of Congress can be charged with that sort of incompetence.

My point in all this is not to condemn the sins of Congress. All of us, if we take an honest look inward, find ourselves identifying with the tax collector who, “standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” However, it is incredible that a Congress that has passed and heavily employed such a law for itself would be so quick and aggressive in condemning Roy Moore, who has not at this point been found guilty of anything. In so doing they identify themselves with the other person described by Jesus who prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” It seems that the one indiscretion that this law has not managed to camouflage is hypocrisy.

Oh, did I mention Al Franken?

What Should Be Done about Roy Moore?

What Should Be Done about Roy Moore?

What Should Be Done about Roy Moore?

About a month before the election to fill Jeff Session’s Senate seat, the Washington Post published an article in which four women accuse Roy Moore of inappropriate sexual conduct, one asserting that this occurred when she was only 14-years-old. Since then, more women have come forward.

Before the ink dried on the Post article, multitudes, especially media figures and politicians, began pouring out vitriol on Moore, demanding he withdraw from the race. They contend that though our law declares a person innocent until proven guilty, that standard does not apply here. In other words, we should hold Roy Moore guilty before giving him his day in court.

How should American’s think about these accusations and how should the voters of Alabama respond to them?

Many, including members of his own party, have concluded that the evidence is so compelling that we must believe it. In addition, our society has advanced the principle that we must accept the word of the victim, especially when it is a woman.

At this point should we join this chorus in embracing the testimony of these women as valid and Roy Moore guilty? I believe we should not for several reasons.

First, these women may be telling the truth, but at this time no one knows the truth regarding these allegation except the accusers and Roy Moore. Therefore, no one is currently in a position to judge him.

Some may recall the classic movie, “12 Angry Men,” which revolves around a jury seeking to decide on the guilt or innocence of an accused man, whom the movie reveals to the innocent. All but one member of the jury believed he was guilty and were ready to declare him so. The lone holdout began expressing his doubts. Over the course of the movie, one by one he wins over the other 11 men.

That scenario comprises more than a movie plot. How often have we been convinced by one side of an issue, only to discover upon hearing the other side that it was more compelling? In fact, the Book of Proverbs warns us regarding this very issue: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17 ESV) Therefore, people like Mitch McConnell are being naïve in accepting accusations without formal scrutiny of both sides.

Regarding the view that we should always believe the victim, especially if it is a woman, that perspective connotes that women never lie. Though this position might seem noble, the obvious implication, that the man is always lying and guilty, is not especially charitable or realistic. The condemnation inflicted on the Duke Lacrosse Team reveals the error of blindly following this perspective. The people condemning Roy Moore may be falling into this error.

A second reason for pause resides in the timing of these accusations, coming a month before the election. The fact that Leigh Corfman had 40 years in which to accuse Roy Moore but only now feels compelled to do so gives cause for suspicion. Some publications have sought to justify this timing. For example, an article in the Chicago Tribune makes the incredible statement that “Moore has been a controversial figure in American politics for some time but mostly at the edges.” Does this writer really think that being the Chief Justice for the state of Alabama is functioning “at the edges”? This sort of attempt at justifying the timing of this accusation only demonstrates the desperation of those seeking to condemn Roy Moore.

A related reason for concern about these accusations is found in the long history of Democrat employment of these types of dirty tricks. We recall similar accusations against Herman Cain, and there was Anita Hill’s accusation against Clarence Thomas. Stories could be told of Democrat use of similar sordid tactics against Sen. Ted Stevens, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and others. Therefore, though we do not know the veracity of the women making these allegations a month before an election, the Democrat Party has given us good reason to suspect foul play.

This leads to an added concern. To those voices shouting that Roy Moore should withdraw from the election based on these unsubstantiated accusations, I would respond that demanding he do so destroys our political system. Political enemies merely need to find women willing to make an accusation in order to remove an opponent from a race. Do we really want our electoral system to come to that?

One other factor to be considered is that because Roy Moore has stood for the Ten Commandments and against homosexual marriage, he has many enemies in the media, in the political realm, and elsewhere. Therefore, many of those condemning him may be motivated more by political hostility than righteous indignation.

One last consideration is found in the double standard employed by the media and the ruling class in general in responding to such accusations. In the Monica Lewinsky case, we did not hear a course of media voices demanding that President Clinton step down. With the Hillary Clinton email scandal, and many other scandals surrounding her campaign, we heard no media consensus demanding that she withdraw. Consequently, we must assume that the hue and cry aimed at Roy Moore is largely politically motivated.

On December 12, the voters of Alabama will have to make a decision regarding Roy Moore. What should they do? I believe the just response is to judge Roy Moore as innocent until proven guilty. If he is innocent, they have avoided the harm of condemning an innocent man at the polls. If he is guilty and elected, let his accusers charge him then. One might contend that if he is guilty, allowing him to be elected is not fair. What is not fair is waiting for 40 years and then bringing accusations against him a month before an election.

A Better Strategy for Stopping Mass Shootings

A Better Strategy for Stopping Mass Shootings

Before the smoke had cleared the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the Left-Wing media were in high gear shamelessly politicizing the event. Somehow they believe that taking guns from good people will stop bad people from shooting them.

Many factors indicate that no reasonable person could embrace this logic. For example:

  • The law already prohibited the shooter, Devin Kelley, from owning a gun. Therefore, the anti-gun legislation of the Left would not have stopped him.
  • His rampage was stopped by Stephen Willeford, who had a rifle. If the Left had its way, Kelley would have been armed and Willeford disarmed, probably resulting in Kelley killing more people.
  • Studies reveal that where gun control is tightest, the crime rate is highest and vice versa. The murder rate is through the roof in cities with strict gun controls like Chicago. To the contrary, the homicide rate in countries like Switzerland where a high percentage of people own guns is very low.

For these reasons and more, the conservative cry for the protection of our Second Amendment rights makes sense. Many conservatives argue that if more people packed heat, gun crime would go down. They are probably right. If four or five of the men at the church would have been carrying, most of the victims might have been spared. If carrying concealed weapons had been more prevalent, Kelley might not have even attempted this shooting.

Therefore, of the two positions described above, the conservative position is far more logical and more strongly supported by empirical evidence.

However, neither one of these solutions grapples with the underlying issue. Why have shootings in America become so prevalent in the first place? Though the conservative approach will help protect innocent people, it leaves the American condition looking grim, with bad guys seeking to kill bunches of people, and good guys armed so they can shoot them if they try. Few if any of the pundits and talk show hosts are asking how we might address the deeper problem of minimizing the number of gunmen trying to commit murder.

Interestingly enough, George Washington told us how to do that. After serving two terms as our first President, he wrote his farewell address that included three admonitions to the nation. The first was to obey the Constitution. Then he advised Americans to stay clear as much as possible of foreign entanglements. Finally, he admonished the American people that to continue to succeed as a free people they needed to maintain their commitment to religion, which at that time in the United States was almost exclusively the Christian religion. Paul Johnson, in his A History of the American People, summarizes Washington’s thoughts on this issue as follows:

Finally, Washington—in the light of the dreadful events which had occurred in Revolutionary France—wished to dispel for good any notion that America was a secular state. It was a government of laws but it was also a government of morals. ‘Of all the dispositions and habits which led to political prosperity,’ he insisted, ‘Religion and Morality are indispensable supports.’ Anyone who tried to undermine ‘these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens’ was the very opposite of a patriot. There can be no ‘security for property, for reputation, for life if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in the Courts of Justice.’ Nor can morality be maintained without religion. Whatever ‘refined education’ alone can do for ‘minds of peculiar structure’…all experience showed that ‘national morality’ cannot prevail ‘in exclusion of religious principle.’ In effect, Washington was saying that America, being a free republic, dependent for its order on the good behavior of its citizens, cannot survive without religion.

Washington would tell us that the solution to our current shooting crisis does not rest in banning guns or carrying them, but in the restoration of our previous Christian culture.

It does comprise a rather glaring oversight that we are confronted with all of these shootings after having entered a post-Christian era, and yet few people are considering as the solution a return to our previous Christian commitment.

Acquaintances of Devin Kelley report that he was a militant atheist, and very vocal in that regard.

Classmate Nina Rosa Nava write [sic] on Facebook that the mass murderer used to rant on the social network about his atheist beliefs. She said: “He was always talking about how people who believe in God were stupid and trying to preach his atheism.”

If American culture would be promoting Christianity more and atheism less, perhaps Devin Kelley would not have been inclined to go on his shooting rampage. If the Left did not insist in stripping the Ten Commandments from public buildings, if the entertainment media would not persistently mock God, if our educational institutions would cease banning Bibles and promoting hostility toward Christianity, we might live in a cultural environment less conducive to murder and more conducive to loving our neighbors. Maybe George Washington had it right after all.

Is the World Getting Ready for Revival?

Is the World Getting Ready for Revival?

Beginning with the 1960s, a post-Christian culture has taken over American society. There have been other anti-Christian movements around the globe. Communism has dominated Russia and socialism Europe. Of late, Europe has invited in large numbers of Muslims, who are aggressively imposing their culture on European society. A Hindu political party has taken over India and is actively oppressing Christians. These and other movements around the globe give the impression that Christianity comprises a failing movement with atheism, communism, socialism, Islam, and Hinduism becoming the dominant forces.

Numerous signs, however, indicates a return to a conservative and even a Christian orientation. The most notable one in America is found in the election of Donald Trump, who campaigned on Christian values such as opposition to abortion and saying “Merry Christmas.” This trend also manifests itself in America’s current rebuff of the NFL for coddling players who disrespect the flag and the National Anthem.

Similar trends are occurring in Europe. The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, has expressed commitment to guarding its Christian heritage and has resisted the forces seeking to destroy that heritage. Recently he asserted, “Western liberalism would mean spiritual suicide for the central Europeans.” He also has opposed the efforts of the European Union to populate Hungary with Muslim immigrants and the efforts of George Soros to undermine Hungarian Christian culture.

I urge you to watch this video of a rally in Poland.

Notice the vast size of this rally. Observe also how many young people are engaged, including the girl speaking. Of special importance is her statement: “Here, Jesus Christ is our King.” This rally is not only pursuing a political agenda but also a spiritual one.

Even Vladimir Putin has condemned Western atheism and debauchery. Recently Pat Buchanan wrote, “In the culture war for the future of mankind, Putin is planting Russia’s flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity.” One might question Putin’s motives and his own ethics; however, he has publicly displayed support for Christian values, for example, opposition to homosexuality, for which he has received substantial criticism.

We are also finding conservative political trends in nations such Great Britain with the passing of Brexit, in the Czech Republic where Trump-like Andrej Babis is now Prime Minister-designate, in Austria, where conservative 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz recently won the election for the head of the government, and in France and Germany where conservative parties continue to gain strength. Though these elections do not directly reflect growing support for Christianity in these nations, they do suggest that these populations are moving toward more conservative positions, which creates an atmosphere more conducive to Christian revival.

Evangelical Christianity continues to gain momentum in South America and Africa. Report regularly emerge of unprecedented numbers of conversions in some Muslim countries in the Middle East. The evangelical church in China and South Korea continues to expand,

Together these trends suggest a growing global weariness of these worldviews with their tyrannical tendencies, irrational positions, and failed policies. Some populations are already pursuing the Christian alternatives while the vacuum left in others provides a prime opportunity for Christian expansion.

At this point, it is difficult to predict the ultimate outcome of these trends. However, American spiritual leadership probably comprises a major factor in future global revival. A healthy and growing American evangelical church would provide a major impetus for a new wave of Christian expansion around the world.

Currently, however, the evangelical church in America is neither healthy nor growing. Counterattack: Why Evangelicals Are Losing the Culture War and How It Can Win, explains why the contemporary American evangelical church is sickly and shrinking. The book also provides a prescription for the church’s health and a strategy for its growth. I would urge you to read this book and share it with your friends. The vitality of the American evangelical church and its development of an effective strategy are of ultimate importance not only to American but also global spiritual well-being. Currently, our nation and our world are at a crossroads. Opportunity is ripe for national and global revival. The great question of the hour is whether the American evangelical church will possess the vitality and strategy necessary to seize the moment.

“This Generation is an Evil Generation”

“This Generation is an Evil Generation”

These are the words of Jesus recorded in Luke 11:29. We find God making a similar assertion in Deuteronomy 1:35-36,

Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to give to your fathers except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it, and to him and to his children I will give the land on which he has trodden, because he has wholly followed the LORD!

How would we assess our current generation? A quote by Bert M. Farias will help us with our analysis. Though this quote is slightly outdated, and trends have become even worse, he summarizes succinctly the moral decay in our society since the 1960s as follows:

The divorce rate has doubled, teen suicide has tripled, reported violent crime has quadrupled, the prison population has quintupled, the percentage of babies born out of wedlock has risen sixfold, couples living together out of wedlock have increased sevenfold, and gay marriage is now a legalized reality in a number of states, with many believing the end is not in sight….

There has never been a society in the history of mankind whose moral values have deteriorated so dramatically, in such a short period of time, as those of Americans in the last 50 years.[i]

These trends and Farias’ summarizing statement make the conclusion inescapable that ours also constitutes an evil generation.

We can also derive the same conclusion from the speech by Gen. John Kelly last week in which he observed:

You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well.

Nor should we mistake this moral degeneracy as mere human inclinations toward waywardness. This societal debauchery has been intentional—the product of the post-Christian worldview our nation has adopted. From its inception in our society in the sixties, it has flaunted licentious living as its defining characteristic—sexual promiscuity and drug use constituting its hallmarks, with abortion as a byproduct. And though the hippie movement lasted only about five years, it has managed to pass this immoral culture along to our society in general as its lasting legacy.

So what can be gained by such a negative and inflammatory observation?

First, everything worthwhile must begin with truth. Knowing how to live in and respond to this generation requires facing head-on what we’re dealing with. It is too easy to think of America in terms of what we used to be, the noble society that we once were, instead of the moral cesspool that we have become. Therefore, it is healthy for us to reassess our perspective on the United States. We have become the divorce capital of the world and the primary global propagator of abortion, homosexuality, and illicit sexual entertainment. In short, currently our nation is a moral disgrace. That truth needs to provide the starting point for our response.

And what should our response be? We find some surprising guidelines in Scripture, ones shocking to the contemporary evangelical.

  • Psalms 97:10 ESV O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
  • Proverbs 8:13 ESV The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
  • Amos 5:15 ESV Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Recently in a message exchange, an evangelical pastor who was struggling with my reference to a culture war asserted, “I am not at war with the culture.” I have been perplexed with his position ever since. Can he peacefully coexist with a culture that is murdering innocent, unborn babies? Is he really okay with a culture that has taken over our public schools and universities and using taxpayer money to successfully brainwash our young people with an ungodly worldview? Does it not bother him when he sees degeneracy being normalized: homosexuality viewed as a diversity to be celebrated, cohabitation accepted as a legitimate arrangement even among many Christians, biological men in women’s bathrooms, etc. My concern is not so much that pastor as with the significant contingent of evangelical leadership and lay people that he represents.

If God hates evil, one wonders why so many of his children, especially those in leadership positions, are not stirred to action by it, but instead accommodating it—living in a state of detente, even as it closes in on us on all sides.

But there is good news. Though the culture described above is the prevailing one, our presidential election just passed shows that there is an awakening contingent of Americans who are rejecting our dominant post-Christian, anti-Christian culture. The question is whether the Left will succeed in aborting this movement or whether it will give birth to the restoration of America’s Christian culture.

In large measure that depends on whether evangelicals effectively engage in the culture war. Doing so will require that evangelicals implement three initiatives, which I described in the book, Counterattack: Why Evangelicals Are Losing the Culture War and How They Can Win: 1) ridding their worldview of secular concepts and recommitting themselves to Scripture; 2) uniting in their efforts to engage in the culture war; 3) developing and employing an effective strategy for winning.

The evil generation addressed by Jesus at around 30 A.D. continued in their evil practices until in 70 A.D., about 40 years later, they suffered horrible destruction. If the evangelical church does not engage effectively in the culture war against this evil generation, we can expect the same outcome, perhaps also after about four decades of decadence. I wonder how many of those decades we have already used up.


The Death and Resurrection of Honesty: There Are Dumb Questions

The Death and Resurrection of Honesty: There Are Dumb Questions

“There are no dumb questions.” We know that because secular culture has told us so. This affirmation of the secular faith requires that parrot-like we precede our response to every query with, “That’s a good question.” “What name should I give my transgender cat?” “That’s a good question.”

Apparently, no one told Jesus that there were no dumb questions. When Peter asked Him to explain one of His sayings, Jesus responded, “Then are you also without understanding?” (Mark 7:18) Jesus seems to be saying, “Peter, that is a really dumb question.” Mark reports that on another occasion, “(T)hey did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him” Mark 9:32 ESV, suggesting that Jesus did not take kindly to dumb questions or respond with, “That’s a good question.” In fact, no one in all of Scripture ever used that response.

Our culture forbids such honesty, instead mandating affirmation. In fact, when honesty and affirmation conflict, affirmation wins every time.

Our culture bans honesty in the discussion of the most salient issues confronting us, causing untold harm to individuals and our society.

  • Recently, a university decided that a study of the wellbeing of transgenders who decided to revert to their original gender should not be permitted because honesty on the topic may not fit the liberal template. Honesty regarding the wellbeing of transgenders in general, the suicide rate, etc., is not allowed in polite company, and certainly barred from any classroom discussion. Such honesty would spare many individuals of untold heartache.
  • If Sixty Minutes ran a segment telling the truth regarding the homosexual lifestyle, the number of partners, the diseases, the lifespan, the length of the average “committed relationship,” we might not view this aspect of diversity as a cause for celebration. But doing so would require too much honesty.
  • Or imagine if they did a segment on late-term abortion, including sonograms revealing that abortionists are murdering viable babies in cold blood, with all the attendant suffering. What if Sixty Minutes divulged the negative physical and psychological impact of abortion on women? That much truth would comprise just too much information.
  • Likewise, if the New York Times, offering all the truth that’s fit to print, would find it fit to be honest about the relationship between gun ownership and safety, this information would put a silencer on the dishonesty of gun control proponents.

So the list could go on ad infinitum and ad nauseam of issues in our society in which honesty is verboten. Think, for example, the almost total ban on honesty on university campuses. In a recent post entitled “The Silencing of the Right and the Christian Solution”, I described the successful attempts of the Left to silence the voice of the Right. A major element of this agenda resides in disallowing the telling of truth on critical issues.

Evangelicals, influenced by secular society, have joined the ban on honesty.

They permit discussion of only the happy aspects of the nature of God and Christ, screening out biblical truths related to holiness and judgment.

They limit the gospel message to “God loves you,” excluding honesty with the lost person regarding the bad news that the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36) It is little wonder that evangelicals are so evangelistically ineffective.

The contemporary evangelical gospel also lacks honesty regarding the conditions related to salvation, conveying that receiving a gift and praying a prayer will secure heaven for the seeker. It excludes honesty regarding the need for repentance and submission to the authority of Christ. This gospel comprised of half-truths is leading many to believe that they are headed for heaven when in fact they are doomed to eternal destruction.

Evangelicals assure the believer that he need not “perform” to please God, an assertion that lacks an honest exposition of many passages of Scripture that say otherwise such as1 Corinthians 10:8-11:

We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. (ESV)

How can honesty be resurrected? That happens to be a good question.

First, we must return to Scripture where we can rediscover the nature of biblical culture that requires honesty. There we find Jesus telling a gathering of Jewish people:

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 ESV

If Jesus were speaking in a contemporary mega-church, would He be invited back? That probably is a dumb question.

Paul instructs Timothy:

One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith…. Titus 1:12-13 ESV

Apparently, Paul was absent on the day when his college professor covered multiculturalism.

I am in no way suggesting, nor is Scripture, that we should seek out opportunities to be offensive. But neither should we avoid being honest just because the truth is not affirming or politically correct. Only as we develop an evangelical culture that promotes honesty about the nature of God, the gospel, scriptural mandates related to Christian living, and the full range of biblical truths will the church possess the purity and power to be effective as salt and light in our society.

The Simple Formula for Christian Success

The Simple Formula for Christian Success

2 Corinthians 5:15 provides us with the simple formula for success: “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” The formula resides in the phrase, “but for Him.” This verse does not merely call us to do what Christ wants us to do but to live for Him personally. Success does not result from what we do but who we do it for. If I consistently live for Christ, I will succeed not only in the Christian life but in all of life.

A significant distinction exists between living for Christ and doing what is right or even biblical. Living for Christ is personal and relational whereas practicing good behaviors is not. Giving to a cause because I conclude that it is the right or biblical thing to do differs from giving because I believe Christ wants to give through me. In John 15:5 Jesus teaches, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus is describing an ongoing relationship with Him that serves as the wellspring of our actions. Of course, this relationship drives us to Scripture to determine what Christ wants us to do, but our relationship with Christ serves as the driving force in scriptural living.

This is not meant to be critical but only to underscore the distinction. Asking, “What would Jesus do?” though a great question, lacks the personal dimension. A better question, though harder to fit on a wristband, is “Jesus, what do you want me to do?” The first question takes us to the Bible, which is good. The second question takes us to Jesus first, who then directs us to the Bible.

Imagine that someone wrote a book entitled, Behaviors of a Perfect Spouse. Wanting to be one of those, you memorize the book and do everything it says. That would be good as far as it goes, but how much better first to seek to please your spouse and then perhaps consult the book for guidelines on how to achieve that.

Notice that John 15:5 identifies this relational approach to life as that which bears fruit. Several factors seem to contribute to this result. Primarily, an abiding relationship with Christ produces a totally different chemistry than merely pursuing biblical behaviors. As persons created in the image of God, functioning relationally has a transformative effect on us. This is especially the case in our relationship with Christ, which, as the verse teaches, imparts spiritual life—the power to live biblically.

Acting from a relational foundation also bears fruit because doing so guides us in determining biblical behaviors. Using the Bible as a cookbook for the recipe of life may result in our serving up some plastic food. By using a dynamic relationship with Christ as a starting point, we will do a better job of getting the ingredients mixed right. If a spouse makes a comment that irritates us, we stand a better chance of responding biblically by asking Jesus what we should do and then seeking to find the mind of Christ in Scripture than we do if our search for a biblical response is impersonal.

Doing what is biblical apart from the relational dimension can also produce pride—viewing our lifestyle as our own creation.

The challenge related to this approach to life resides in our propensity to slide back into impersonal functioning—just seeking to live biblically without consciously seeking the direction of Christ. As with success in marriage, so success in our relationship with Christ demands living within the environment of our relationship with Him.

As our lives become an outflow of that relationship, Christ assures us that we will bear much fruit. We exist to glorify God. Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.” Consequently, bearing fruit as a product of our relationship with Christ makes us a success in life.

America’s Most Consequential Divide—One that No One Ever Addresses

America’s Most Consequential Divide—One that No One Ever Addresses

Since Donald Trump’s appearance on the political stage, his supporters have taken to Twitter, often brandishing the #MAGA hashtag and other identifiers that expose their commitment to him. This group seems to consist predominantly of NASCAR and NFL fans, lovers of country music, lots of veterans, and a good segment of bikers. These people love God and country, have flags on their lawns and family Bibles on their coffee tables. They would die for their country, and God too.

However, their Christian commitment is probably more cultural than spiritual. The Bible on the coffee table or elsewhere in the house probably does not get opened often. They would more than likely employ scriptural terminology the way Harry Truman did. They may spend more time in bars than in church.

Nonetheless, if you needed it, they would give you the shirt off their backs. Many from this contingent of American society showed up in Texas and Florida in pickups and boats to rescue hurricane victims. Perhaps they might be labeled “traditional Americans.”

Another Twitter contingent is comprised of those who call themselves Christ-followers or use numerous other designations that identify them as evangelical Christians such as “believer,” “child of God,” “Jesus-freak.” etc. Often they identify themselves merely with a Bible verse. This group tends to attend church regularly, read Scripture and pray somewhat consistently, and likely listens to Christian praise music.

They tend not to be as politically engaged as traditional Americans. Many would even see political involvement as a harmful diversion from the church’s true task of fulfilling the Great Commission and spiritually ministering to the saints. Their support for Pres. Trump would on average be less enthusiastic than the group described earlier, with a contingent being never-Trumpers. Just as those in the former group are committed to God and country but invest substantially more energy in country, these evangelicals convey a commitment to God and country with their primary focus being God.

These two groups together comprise the preponderance of American conservatism. They agree in their opposition to the agenda of that Left, instead supporting traditional American values. Both groups are predominantly pro-life, view marriage as being between a man and a woman, and oppose political correctness, instead advocating for freedom to speak truth. They favor a literal interpretation of the Constitution and Supreme Court Justices that support that position.

The traditional American group gives us reasons to be concerned regarding their commitment to Christ and consequently their eternal destiny. This lack of spiritual commitment may result from their never having been exposed to a clear gospel presentation. It may also reflect an unwillingness to make a life-changing commitment to Christ, preferring instead the traditional American lifestyle and all that goes with it. Becoming a “church person” might sully the image they want to maintain. This lack of commitment to Christ results in many negative side effects from their lifestyle choices to their eternal destiny.

Another factor, however, may prevent their crossing the divide to make a commitment to Christ.

Most evangelicals by nature are patriotic and conservative in their thinking and values. In fact, while many traditional Americans were rescuing hurricane victims, a host of evangelicals was providing financial and logistical assistance to them.

However, a significant number of evangelical opinion-makers manifest a Left-leaning orientation. This slant toward the Left showed itself during the recent presidential campaign. The election provided us with a Republican pro-life candidate committed to governing responsibly on the issues of economics, immigration, and the military. The Democrat candidate advocated the continuing of Barack Obama’s hard-Left agenda. The fact that positions taken by Donald Trump were far more compatible with biblical principles than those embraced by Hillary Clinton seemed to be overlooked by many evangelical leaders who felt compelled to aggressively propagate any shortcomings they perceived Trump to possess, seeming not to notice or care about the utter disaster that a Clinton victory would have rained down on America. The fact that we were electing a president and not a pastor or bishop seemed not to have occurred to them. They accused evangelical Trump supporters of selling their souls. It seemed that these evangelical leaders could not bring themselves to adopt a politically conservative position, despite the rationality of doing so, but instead had to demonstrate that they were too intellectual, their thinking too nuanced, for that.

A similar phenomenon showed itself recently in an article presenting the perspective of five evangelical leaders regarding NFL players refusing to stand for the national anthem. Of the five, two gave what I perceived to be rational answers, identifying biblical principles these players violated. One response, though good as far as it went, avoided the issue. Two respondents sided with the players, one of them asserting their right to free speech.

It is disconcerting but predictable that the position of these last two evangelical leaders overlooked obvious rational and biblical principles: free speech must have limits; these players are ethically committed to follow league rules; as citizens they have a moral responsibility to honor the flag; they need to consider the feelings of the fans; they have many means of protest that do not require disrespect of our nation. It is not accidental that these evangelical leaders supporting the position of the players reflect the same irrational, Left-leaning orientation as did other leaders during the election. Unfortunately, these prominent leaders and others are influencing the thinking, attitudes, and values of the evangelical community in general.

Perhaps the most consequential negative result of this pandering to the Left that has pervaded evangelical thinking and living resides in its engendering a weak-kneed brand of Christianity that turns off traditional Americans. Perhaps the unwillingness of red-blooded Americans, especially men, to associate with the evangelical community is found in its unwillingness to take rational, biblical stands on the difficult, practical issues confronting our nation. If so, the Left-oriented positions of many evangelical leaders may be keeping many traditional Americans from receiving Christ. They may also be a primary factor in preventing America’s two major conservative factions from joining hands to make America great again.

The Cost of Evangelical Comfort

The Cost of Evangelical Comfort

The contemporary evangelical church bans all the unpleasantries and challenges of life, providing the attendee with a happy, sanitized environment. Let me cite four of the hard realities not permitted in church.

Brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe are being beheaded, raped, and enslaved on a daily basis. Yet, evangelical churches in America apparently view these atrocities against spiritual family members unworthy of mention in prayer or sermons. Maybe once yearly they give a tip of the hat on a persecuted Christian Sunday, or this issue may be mentioned in a generic prayer, but substantive concern for them is not part of the church DNA.

This despite the instruction in Hebrews, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” (Hebrews 13:3 ESV) If we were in prison with them, witnessing the rapes, beatings, and even more grim tortures, we would quickly recognize our current neglect of their plight.

A second element not permitted in the contemporary evangelical service is discussion of cultural decay. The words of Jesus recorded in Luke 11:29 apply to contemporary America: “This generation is an evil generation.” Though no generation is perfect, some are better than others. This one, beginning with the 1960s, has introduced abortion and the promotion of homosexuality, has created entertainment fraught with immorality, and has presided over the destruction of the family. These and other immoral developments are especially egregious since they do not merely stem from moral decline but from a philosophy that advocates these immoral outcomes.

Since these trends are being intentionally imposed on our society, since we and our children are forced to live in this environment, since they are dragging our nation to lower and more dangerous depths almost daily, since they are infringing on the liberties of the church and God’s people, and since these are spiritual issues at root, addressing these cultural trends and seeking to remedy them falls within the scope of the church’s responsibility.

Yet most evangelical churches exclude them from prayer and sermons. Perhaps we fill baby bottles with change or annually stand on the curb holding pro-life signs, and maybe a sentence is included in the morning prayer, but substantive grappling with these issues, does not constitute part of the contemporary evangelical genetic code.

A third challenging aspect of life that has been removed from polite evangelical discourse has to do with the demands of Christian living. The New Testament is replete with commands related to righteous living, the blessings attached to following them, and the dire consequences of not doing so. Obeying these commands requires the development of discipline and endurance, another topic frequently addressed in Scripture.

Nonetheless, these types of topics have been surgically scrubbed from the contemporary evangelical service. Instead, the believer is assured that God accepts him unconditionally and that he need not perform to live in God’s favor. Mention of any demands of the Christian life is quickly branded as legalism, and any concern expressed regarding breaches of scriptural commands is labeled as judgmentalism.

This exclusion of the demands of Christian living assures the attendee of a guilt-free environment—the promise of worship in a judgment-free zone.

A fourth uncomfortable topic banned from the church entails the substantive conditions related to salvation. We understand that we are not saved by works, that is, we cannot earn our way to heaven. Nonetheless, we must somehow reconcile this biblical doctrine with the many passages asserting that becoming a believer includes a high level of commitment that transforms our lifestyle. For example, this teaching by Paul is found in the epistle that probably most stringently opposes works salvation:

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 ESV)

Explanations have been contrived to explain away this and the many other passages indicating that saving faith includes a commitment to Christ. These explanations eliminate from the church experience any uncomfortable discussions regarding whether those displaying ungodly lifestyles are genuinely headed for heaven. Consequently, attendees who believe the facts of Scripture and have prayed the prayer of salvation need not be concerned that they will be challenged regarding the genuineness of their faith.

Compelling reasons exist for including in evangelical services all four of the topics cited above. Therefore, their exclusion must be intentional and done for a reason. What might that reason be?

We find a clue in the fact that all these topics are uncomfortable and therefore would introduce discomfort into the worship experience. They would prevent the worshiper from singing happy songs, hearing a supportive prayer, listening to a comforting message, and leaving church having been blessed. Instead, they would confront the attendee with challenging real-life issues of paramount importance.

In addition, all of these issues demand soul-searching, which can produce an added level of discomfort. What should we be doing for the persecuted Christian? How should we as salt and light engage our deteriorating culture? Is my life reflecting godliness? Does my lifestyle demonstrate that I am a genuine believer?

Finally, in many cases, this soul-searching demands action, which frequently takes us out of our comfort zone. This result not only has me leaving church struggling with these issues but also compels to actually do something. Now that is really uncomfortable.

Contemporary evangelical churches spare the worshiper of those discomforts. However, this leaves the persecuted Christian languishing, the culture rotting, the Christian sinning, and the prospect of many who think they are believers actually headed for an eternal hell.

These outcomes make us wonder whether there may not be issues more compelling than comfort. One also wonders if the parishioner made to feel uncomfortable by his church will opt for a more comfortable on up the road.

Church as Theater—Why Are We Doing This?

Church as Theater—Why Are We Doing This?

Somewhere back in the 1970s or 1980s evangelical churches made the decision that the church auditorium should reflect the architecture of a theater, with theater type seating and a windowless auditorium, which for the most part makes the decor of the room invisible.

This reality struck me forcefully from the contrary perspective when I had occasion to visit a mainline denomination church. As I took a seat in a pew, the light streaming through the windows gave a warm ambiance to the sanctuary and illuminated the artful design of the decor that surrounded me. As I was smitten with the stark contrast between these surroundings and those of almost every contemporary evangelical church, it dawned on me that a half-century ago virtually every church exhibited a similar design. Consequently, the dramatic shift from this traditional motif to the contemporary one must have been intentional.

What, then, was the intent? It seems that contemporary evangelicals adopted the architecture of the theater because that motif best reflected and served contemporary evangelical culture.

This preference for a theater environment manifests itself in how attendees dress and act. Parishioners have transitioned from traditional church dress to clothing that might be worn to the movies. And as with the theater, coffee and water bottles have become accepted accouterments of the worship service. In keeping with the theater environment, applause, absent from traditional worship, now comprises a major element of the contemporary evangelical service. In the church where I attend, which seems to be typical, we clap for everything: baptisms, dynamic sermon points, when someone makes a profession of faith or joins the church, praise group numbers, etc.

The purpose of a theater is entertainment. I do not say that in a pejorative way. It is just a statement of fact. Whether one goes to a theater to hear an opera or rock group or to see a movie or play, the goal is entertainment, to give attendees a positive emotional experience, i.e. to enable them to enjoy themselves.

In the contemporary evangelical service almost everything is packaged to be entertaining. Again, that is not meant to be critical but just a statement of fact. Most praise bands and worship teams provide good entertainment. The sermons of most successful pastors are entertaining. Even announcements are packaged in a video designed to entertain.

The ultimate entertainer, however, seems to be Jesus. In many churches the congregation is called to give Jesus a round of applause. Though some may seek to argue, the reality is that in our culture applause is for performers.

More significantly, Jesus as performer is rooted in contemporary evangelical theology. We are told that it is okay to be angry with God, that is, if he does not perform according to our desires. On the other hand, we are assured that “we do not have to perform to please God.” That mantra comprises a standard in contemporary evangelical discourse. Therefore, Jesus needs to perform in order to please us, but we do not need to perform to please Him. As in the theater, the audience is not there to please the performer. The performer is tasked with pleasing the audience.

This arrangement of Jesus as performer manifests itself in the allowable topics for preaching. Contemporary evangelical sermons are designed to be “needs oriented.” This makes the focus what God can do for you—how He can meet your needs. The “needs oriented” approach to preaching sells. Attendance grows when pastors preach on how Jesus will meet their needs—will perform for them. It fits the theater ambiance.

Viewing Jesus as performer excludes preaching on sin and obligation. The assurance that we need not perform to please God eliminates both. This arrangement fits with church as theater since neither preaching on sin or obligation is entertaining. Likewise, contemporary evangelicals have eliminated genuine fear of God, which also fails the entertainment criterion.

So we enter into a sanctuary designed as a theater, dressed comfortably and carrying a water bottle, are well entertained by every dimension of the service, and are taught how God will perform for us while being assured that we do not need to perform to please Him.

The good news has been that church as theater has attracted multitudes to mega-churches, which possess the resources to entertain best. The bad news is that smaller churches, unable to compete, are shrinking and closing their doors, and overall numbers are declining, with major losses among young people. This is because church as theater with Jesus as performer offers no substantive message. Worse yet, church as theater lacks the power to function as salt and light in our society, which is resulting in America’s current precipitous cultural decline.

Of special interest is the contemporary evangelical adoption of the term “worship” to describe the music portion of the service. This term camouflages the reality that church as theater and Jesus as performer exclude genuine worship of Jesus, leaving only room for worship of ourselves. Could that be our ultimate motive for adopting church as theater?

The road back begins with a renewed focus on genuine worship. Instead of clapping for Jesus we might revert to the traditional practice of kneeling before Him. Instead of selecting themes from Scripture that entertain, we need to allow Him to address us with all His counsel. Instead of expecting Him to perform for us, we must respond to the command of Jesus to the church of Ephesus: “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”

One last note of personal preference. Since we are worshiping the God of light, the light of the world, in whom is no darkness at all, would it really be a problem to allow in a little daylight while we worship Him?

How the Crusade against Legalism is Destroying the Evangelical Church

How the Crusade against Legalism is Destroying the Evangelical Church

Recently an evangelical church decided not confront a Sunday school teacher and a member of the worship team that are cohabiting in order not to appear legalistic. This church might be characterized as the typical, fairly large contemporary evangelical church that can be found in virtually every city in the United States, this one perhaps differing in its reputation for being somewhat more conservative.

The concern of this church over escaping legalism manifests itself in most contemporary evangelical churches, revealing itself in a variety of ways. The goal is to avoid being judgmental of lifestyle choices.

This commitment to avoid legalism is rooted in the perspective that God’s grace annuls all requirements on the believer to perform in order to enjoy His favor. Any critique of a believer’s lifestyle conveys a requirement to meet some standard in order to please God. Contemporary evangelicals argue that establishing such standards is not only unbiblical but also counterproductive. Rather, the believer’s realization that he is accepted by God and fellow believers regardless of his performance empowers him to develop a biblical lifestyle.

The contemporary evangelical enthusiasm for escaping the Old Testament law tends to make morality an inconsequential element of our relationship with Christ. I can enjoy God’s favor despite immoral behaviors. The theory asserts that when God looks on me, he does not see my dirt but the righteousness of Christ. In other words, whatever moral requirements might be included in the New Testament, the cross assures that my failure to meet them does not affect my relationship with Christ in any way.

This perspective overlooks the almost ubiquitous New Testament teaching on morality. Scripture places the believer under the law of love. I explain in my book, Counterattack: Why Evangelicals Are Losing the Culture War and How They Can Win, that morality is the foundational component of love. For example, a moral society is more loving than an immoral one. Almost countless examples could be cited of New Testament insistence on moral living. Not only does it condemn fornication, adultery, and homosexuality, but it also addresses more mundane expressions of immorality such as displaying partiality toward the rich. In fact, New Testament teaching on morality permeates every dimension of life. The New Testament presents morality in it more generic form using terms such as righteousness, godliness, and holiness.

But contemporary evangelicals might argue that they are not displaying disregard for New Testament morality but rather are employing a biblical approach to achieving it. As explained above, they contend that we develop a biblical lifestyle by basking in God’s unconditional acceptance, which becomes the agent of transformation.

In reality, the New Testament not only teaches a comprehensive morality, but it also warns us in many places that failure to live morally will negatively affect our relationship with Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:30 teaches that God punished with sickness and even death those displaying selfishness in their observance of the Lord’s Table. “That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” In 1 Corinthians 9:27 the Apostle Paul acknowledges that God will remove him from the ministry if he does not maintain a disciplined life. “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

In other words, Scripture does not teach the mechanism embraced by the contemporary evangelical church that the experience of God’s unconditional acceptance will produce godliness, but rather it calls us to live godly lives in order to enjoy His favor and blessing. One is hard-pressed to find those verses that teach, “I know that your lives are riddled with unbiblical behaviors. However, be assured that I accept you just the way you are. It is only as you bask in my unconditional acceptance that you will spontaneously morph into the godly person I designed you to be.” Instead, we find many verses such as James 4:4, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Failure to maintain God’s morality not only negatively influences our relationship with Christ but also creates chaos in our personal lives. God’s approach to life works and deviation from it not only harms us personally but also everyone that our lives touch, especially loved ones.

Fear of appearing legalistic has prompted pastors, Bible study leaders, and evangelical authors to avoid the many biblical texts that mandate morality. This has resulted in the metastasis of immorality within the body of Christ and the negative outcomes in our relationship with Christ and in our personal lives described above, leaving the evangelical church weak and ineffective.

Various studies reveal that evangelicals are losing market share and their young people. For example, one survey concludes that “among 18-29 year-olds, only about 8 percent currently identify as evangelicals.” Though many factors contribute to this decline, the loss of our moral fiber and the resulting impact on our relationship with the Lord and our personal lives certainly constitutes a major one. Perhaps the time has come, especially in an evangelical community in which preaching on smoking and wearing lipstick has disappeared and pornography and cohabitation run rampant, to recognize that our greatest enemy is not legalism but immorality.

The Dishonest, Deceitful, Destructive Nature of the Left and Why I Admire Them

The Dishonest, Deceitful, Destructive Nature of the Left and Why I Admire Them

The Dishonest, Deceitful, Destructive Nature of the Left

In a previous post, I described how the Left silences the Right, preventing them from voicing their position on issues, even if, or especially if, the conservative position is true. I offered as the ultimate demonstration of this phenomenon how the Left dictated to Pres. Trump what he was and was not allowed to say regarding Charlottesville.

The Left must silence the truth in order to survive. Let me offer four reasons.

It’s horrific history

Dinesh D’Souza’s new book, The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left, identifies just a few aspects of the Left’s despicable past, such as its racism and advocacy of eugenics. The big lie consists of the Left successfully accusing conservatives of practices of which liberals are guilty. A study of history reveals many disgraceful aspects of the liberal past. Consequently, the Left can only salvage its reputation by silencing any source seeking to expose the truth related to its sordid history.

It’s abominable failures

Almost every initiative of the Left has produced dismal failure. This reality can be witnessed everywhere that the Left has exercised dominance for extended periods. Detroit and Chicago provide graphic examples. Economic failure and lawlessness in these cities represent only two of the many areas in which the failed policies of the Left are on vivid display. At a national level, the liberal welfare state has not achieved its stated objectives but instead has increased misery, destroyed the family, escalated drug use, and reduced gainful employment. Any honest examination of the performance of the Left would reveal ineffectiveness and waste. The Left must prevent exposure of its dismal performance.

It’s irrational positions

The Left must also prevent the truth from being known regarding the positions it advocates. Full disclosure would reveal that many of the positions of the Left are built on the quicksand of junk science. Liberals present themselves as being the champions of science, and yet an honest scientific examination of their core beliefs would reveal their misuse of science in support of their bogus beliefs. This tendency has shown itself in the doctored data the Left uses to support climate change. The reason that liberals will not allow advocates of Intelligent Design a fair hearing in the university classroom is not because Intelligent Design is religious and not scientific as they claim, which is not the case. Rather, the Left must ban Intelligent Design because neo-Darwinian advocates that control university classrooms are incapable of providing a genuine scientific response to the arguments of Intelligent Design. Many other issues could be cited demonstrating the unscientific and irrational positions held by the Left. Opponents must be silenced to prevent the exposure of this irrationality.

It’s dishonest agenda

Rush Limbaugh has made the point many times across many years that the Democrat party must lie about its agenda in order to secure votes. “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it,” “Your health care costs will be substantially reduced,” etc. With the development of talk radio and greater availability of information through the Internet, Democrats are no longer capable of concealing their agenda to the extent that they once were. This is resulting in major losses of elected positions by Democrats at all levels of government. Likewise, RINOs, liberals in Republican clothing, must lie about their intentions in order to achieve election, as demonstrated by the dishonesty of those running on repeal of ObamaCare but refusing to do so when the opportunity availed itself.

Why I Admire Them

So why would I admire the Left, with its horrific history, abominable failures, irrational positions, and dishonest agenda?

Imagine if you were a marketing firm tasked with promoting the Left, with its terrible past, its failed and irrational policies, and its initiatives built on dishonesty. That challenge would seem insurmountable. Amazingly, the Left has devised ways of doing that.

They have achieved this by developing unity and a unified strategy.

They displayed unity, for example, in passing ObamaCare, by getting all of their members of Congress on board, even though a large segment of the American people was opposed to this legislation. By way of contrast, Republicans have not been able to achieve unity in repealing it, despite popular support and even demand. Likewise, when a liberal get himself in trouble, the Left quickly circles the wagons, providing a unified front in support of their endangered member. Conservatives, to the contrary, can’t find a microphone fast enough to deplore the actions of their embattled colleague.

The strategy of the Left has included gaining control of the news and entertainment media, our public and higher educational systems, the judiciary, and other aspects of our society that shape public option and culture and are not easily accessible to the will of the voter. By gaining almost total control of these venues they have amassed the power to rewrite history and recreate present reality, which allows them to sell their program and demonize the Right, while silencing conservatives so as to prevent exposure of their duplicity.

I admire the skill, discipline, shrewdness, and other characteristics displayed by the Left in being able to popularize their bankrupt program.

In contrast, conservatives, who possess a successful, rational agenda, which is supported by reality and consequently should be an easy sell, are constantly losing battles that they should be winning. This failure can be traced to their lack of unity and failure to develop an effective strategy.

The good news is that our program is immensely easier to sell than theirs. The bad news is that unless we soon develop unity and an effective strategy the Left will close off all opportunity to do so. If we are going to defeat them, we need to start now.

The Only but Sufficient Means of Saving America

The Only but Sufficient Means of Saving America

America’s ultimate problems are cultural, moral, and spiritual.

Culture shapes societies. Muslim societies are the way they are because they are driven by Muslim culture. Likewise with socialist societies. America displays the characteristics destroying it because we adopted the sixties culture that promotes those qualities.

The sixties culture possesses a singular moral value—the feelings of the individual. If he feels like a woman he has a moral right to access the women’s shower room. If she feels like having sex but not having children, she has a right to an abortion. If members of Congress don’t feel like adopting the same healthcare program they force on us, they have a right to adopt one that feels better to them. Considering that traditionally morality refers to obligations related to the treatment of others, this self-oriented morality not only fails to support traditional moral mandates but actively destroys them.

Our problem is ultimately spiritual since the solution to the cultural and moral problems described above consists of restoring Christian morality to our culture. Historically, though many Americans were not authentic believers, the cultural values instilled by those who were provided an environment in which government, business, law enforcement, education, and other aspects of our society could function effectively.

Our spiritual problem, however, includes an added dimension. It seems that the American evangelical church constitutes the only component of our society capable of restoring Christian culture. The evangelical church in America, however, having larger numbers and greater resources than the church in practically any other nation, should have possessed sufficient power to prevent the reshaping of American culture by secular forces. Its failure to do so reveals that it has spiritual problems of his own that are sapping its power and causing its defeat in the culture war.

An even more profound problem resides in the contemporary evangelical church’s failure to see that it has problems. This self-satisfaction undermines any genuine self-examination and correspondingly any genuine interest in change. This evangelical complacency engenders a sense of hopelessness. If the only component of our society capable of restoring Christian culture is too weak to do so and too complacent to change, the future looks dim indeed.

In searching for hope, I find the Lord taking me back to Genesis 1:2-3:

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Donald Gray Barnhouse, legendary pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, also author of a classic commentary on the book of Romans, wrote a book entitled The Invisible War, in which he postulated that the fall of Satan occurs between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Many other good Bible teachers have taken this position also.

What does this have to do with hope for America? We will see that as we further examine this passage.

If we place the fall of Satan after Genesis 1:1, then Genesis 1:2 seems to be describing the results of his fall. Ezekiel 28:13 seems to identify Earth as the residence of Satan prior to his fall. Genesis 1:2 could be translated, “And the earth became without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” This understanding of Genesis 1:2 indicates that the fall of Satan resulted in the earth becoming chaotic and dark.

The phrase “without form and void” is found one other place in Scripture, Jeremiah 4:23, where it describes the coming desolation of Jerusalem that would result from its total decimation by Nebuchadnezzar: the wall was broken down, the Temple and houses were burned, and the city was left in ruin. This use of this phrase suggests that it refers to chaos resulting from judgment. Apparently, just as God brought judgment resulting in chaos on the land of Judah, He likewise judged the Earth, the domain of Satan, after his fall. Darkness comprised another result of this judgment.

Genesis 1:2 describes the response of the Spirit of God to this scene of devastation. The translation above indicates that the Holy Spirit “hovered” over the face of the deep. This Hebrew word can also be translated “brooded.” One of the two other uses of the Hebrew word in Scripture is found in Jeremiah 23:9 where in response to the terrible depravity of the prophets in Judah and the approaching judgment Jeremiah laments, “Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and because of his holy words.” The word “broken” in this verse is the one translated “hovered” in Genesis 1:2.

Apparently the passage is saying that the Spirit of God witnessing the devastation and darkness of Earth resulting from the judgment of Satan was brokenhearted and brooded over its condition. God the Father, in response to the turmoil of His Spirit over the ruined condition of the earth, said, “Let there be light…,” thus initiating the entire creative process, shining His light into the darkness and bringing His order to the chaos.

The only but sufficient solution for America is to pray that the Spirit of God would look on the chaos and darkness that has come over our once great nation and that He would brood over it with a brokenness that would move God the Father to pronounce regarding America, “Let there be light,” thus piercing the darkness that has enveloped us and bring order to the chaos that surrounds us. That is the only hope for America.

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