By Weylan Deaver
"Same-sex marriage" may be winning the polls, but it will lose every time against God's word in the Bible. Consider several reasons. First, it fails to recognize God's role in marriage (Matt. 19:6). God does not join anyone in marriage contrary to his law, and if God doesn't do the joining, then there is no marriage in God's eyes.
In the third volume of his masterpiece, Search for the Ancient Order (p. 57), Earl Irvin West quotes from an article in the Nov. 17, 1914 issue of Christian Leader by Claude F. Witty. In it, Witty describes some advice an old Christian gave him after he preached his first sermon:
"My brother, now that you have begun to preach, the people of the world will try to kill you, the people of other churches will try to kill you, and that is not all, for your own brethren will try to kill you.
By Weylan Deaver
Bar Church is the brainchild of Southern Hills church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. The sobriquet was chosen because, starting March 24, 2013 some of their members will begin conducting worship services at a local bar called "Memories" each Sunday morning at 11:30. Both Southern Hills and the new Bar Church have websites (quoted in italics below) extolling the virtues of such a novel approach.
Two millennia ago, an apostle wrote that “the whole world lieth in the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Nothing has changed, has it? Modern American culture is dominated by the devil, nearly any direction you look. In his inaugural address earlier this month, the President celebrated homosexuality. The next day he celebrated abortion, lauding the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which ushered in the taking of over fifty million unborn Americans’ lives. The day after that, we learned the President’s administration will be recommending that women soldiers be on the front lines of combat, further eroding the God-made distinctions between men and women, and shamefully dishonoring the roles each should fill. We are saturated with the sexual, permeated with the profane, and compassed by the crude. We are enamored by all that is perverse and unholy. A diet of vulgarity and violence leaves us jaded. What once shocked, now barely raises an eyebrow. What was in the closet is on parade. Values are pushed aside that vice might have the right of way. Principles of decency, uprightness, honesty, integrity, and family that we took for granted as necessary are now deemed quaint in a civilization becoming more uncivil by the hour. How fast and how far can a society abandon God? America’s answer seems to be: “Just watch us and find out!” The road to ruin will eventually get there. Things cannot continue endlessly as they are. Something will have to give, sooner or later. The current culture is not going to save us. In point of fact, the moral climate is encouraging in the wrong direction. Only Jesus Christ can save a sick soul, or a sick society. But we have to want it. That means sacrificing our sins instead of celebrating them. It means humility instead of hubris. It means repentance instead of rebellion. Only God knows whether our culture can turn a corner, or is already past saving. But the hour seems late, does it not? “Righteousness exalteth a nation; But sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
The 2012 presidential election was a bitter pill to swallow. We oppose the President on moral grounds (e.g. his rabid support of abortion and homosexuality), but there are too few Americans who know what morality is these days. It is easy to despair with thoughts of gloom and doom, but a dose of Scripture helps put it all in right perspective. For the Christian there is not only a silver lining to a dark cloud, but a big blue sky, above which God smiles down on his own.
Our reins are still in God’s hands. “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov. 21:1, ESV). That includes the President. Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way “that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will” (Dan. 4:17, 25, 32). Jesus reminded Governor Pilate the only reason the latter had any authority was because God gave it to him (John 19:10-11). Whether we think it looks that way to our feeble eyes, God is still in ultimate control.
Our riches are still flowing. Jeremiah had to live in dark days, when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. He wrote of “my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall” and that his soul was continually bowed down (Lam. 3:19-20). Yet, in the very next verses, he wrote of hope because the “steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lam. 3:21-24). Government does affect the supply of certain things, such as money, jobs, freedoms. But God’s supply line does not go through Washington. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
Our reputation is tied to God’s family. When Paul reprimanded the Corinthian church for members suing other members, he asked, “if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church?” (1 Cor. 6:4). The residence of greatest honor is not the White House; it is the Lord’s house. And the President himself, not being a Christian (per the Bible’s definition), has no standing in the Lord’s church, which is the place where standing truly counts. The world’s power-brokers may never know our names, but God’s family has standing in God’s eyes. And that is the only reputation that will matter, come Judgment Day.
Our responsibility to government never compromises our Christianity. True, we have a duty to pay taxes (Luke 20:25; Rom. 13:7), and our taxes will likely go up next year. But, isn’t it great that God has not left us without direction when there is conflict between government and the gospel? If it comes to that, then we “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Government never trumps the Good Book. God’s kingdom comes before my country. If right is outlawed and wrong is legalized, God’s truth remains the same (cf. John 12:48).
Our resistance has not cost our blood. Some early Christians were reminded, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Heb. 12:4). We freely assemble, freely teach, freely put articles in the newspaper, and no one has arrested us, shot at us, or beat us up. Of course, if we faced those consequences, our duty would remain. So let us be glad America still has a religious freedom that Paul and the apostles never knew.
Our reasons to rejoice are better than anyone’s. John wrote that he “rejoiced greatly” to learn of faithful Christians, and wanted them to go on to “win a full reward” (2 John 4, 8). Winning that reward by far eclipses winning any political election. In fact, winning the presidency pales to insignificance next to the reward of which John wrote. How can a four-year term of earthly power begin to compare with eternal life?
Our rulers are headed to judgment like everyone else. Judgment Day is not just for the “average Joe,” which is why John “saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne” to be sentenced based on their past deeds (Rev. 20:12). None will miss that appointment, including governors, congressmen, judges (cf. Heb. 9:27). John paints a terrifying scene where the world’s elite desperately, but in vain, try to hide from divine punishment. “Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” (Rev. 6:15-17).
Our reward is safe from the wicked. As Jesus noted, our money may be stolen on earth, but treasure in heaven is beyond any thief’s grasp (Matt. 6:20). A pleasant thought, that there will be no taxes in heaven. No onerous regulations. No ruler who constantly requires more and more of citizens, giving less and less in return. The Lord observed that kings do not require taxes of their own sons, indicating that sons are “free” in a way others are not (cf. Matt. 17:24-26). As sons and daughters of God, we will experience ultimate freedom and blessing in heaven where the inheritance is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Pet. 1:4). In other words, our real wealth is off-limits to any American President or Congress. Our country has much to offer, but “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).
Aliens are ingrained in our cultural psyche. They abound in books, movies, radio, and a thousand theories about the extra-terrestrial, little green men, UFO sightings, abductions, Area 51, and Roswell.
The year 1898 saw publication of H. G. Wells’ story, The War of the Worlds, which helped pioneer the concept of aliens (and aliens versus man). It was adapted in a 1938 radio broadcast which frightened many into believing aliens were invading America. Wells was an adoring student of Thomas Huxley, who was known as “Darwin’s bulldog” due to his staunch defense of Charles Darwin’s theory of human origins.