Saturday, November 8, 2008

Who Speaks for Those Who Have No Voice?

Sometimes giving business to antichristian organizations is an inevitable part of being in the world but not of the world (Jesus spoke of this concept in John 17:14-15). However, I find that we, the younger Christians in America have the “in the world” part down. We’re so good at this we can do it in our sleep. I wonder how far we could get with this on "America's Got Talent?"

However, it's more the “not of the world” part that we struggle with. We can learn much from Peter’s description of the Christian as a stranger and pilgrim passing through a foreign land (I Peter 2:11). One thing you can know about a foreign refugee is that they aren't the best at blending in to the crowd and obediently conforming to the politically correct, Orwellian “group-think.” It takes more time for them.

It is safe to say that we have taken the “in the world” part of Jesus’ words to the extreme. This is embarrassingly seen in how desensitized we have become to the senseless killing of more than48,500,000 helpless, unborn American citizens since Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1973.

Many estimates show that more than 90% of all unborn infants diagnosed with down syndrome are now aborted. This was brought to the fore when the Gov. of Alaska, Sarah Palin, chose to give birth to her son, in spite of this sad diagnosis. Months before she was ever picked for McCain's VP, many Christian thinkers were praising her for this compassionate decision to have her son in spite of his down syndrome. But once she was tagged by the Rep. Party for VP, it won her no friends from the world. Palin issued the following statement on April 18:

"Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed."

I find her choice to have little Trig Palin as a noble, compassionate move that truly exemplifies the love of Christ. As a fellow believer, I must say, "You go girl." Surely Twenty-first century America is excited about her decision as well. Not so much! Palin was instead mocked, and had her husband suspected of incest on SNL, in spite of their being no evidence whatsoever to support it. In short, she was denied any credit for the love reflected in such a decision. Surprisingly, the price of her shoes received much more attention by most networks than Trig Palen ever did, showing once again how akin they have become to the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984. They don't report the truth, they create it in accordance to their own power.

Should we abort children with defects? The world wants to define life in terms of Eugenics (this term literally means “good gene” and is the science of creating a more genetically fit race of people), namely those who have good genes or who can contribute to the greater good. The world now wants to play the role of God, determining who is fit for life, and who is unfit. Because an unborn child is deemed unviable, at least at the time of gestation in the womb, the child is not human and can be shamelessly discarded.

One German doctor named Bernard Moeller was recently denied permanent residence in Australia because his 13 year old son, Lukas, has down syndrome and is deemed too big of a financial burden on the Australian nanny state. This was in spite of the fact that Dr. Moeller moved to Australia to help out the country due to their huge deficit of doctors. Lukas himself was denied Australian citizenship simply because of his physical condition, reflecting the trend towards Eugenics. Oh, by the way, Eugenics is making a huge comeback after it spent years in disrepute. But you might be interested to know that the last big Eugenics experiment was Hitler's Holocaust during WWII, during which time Dr. Mengele, thought of many cutting-edge ways to help Darwin's process of natural selection along. Killing 6,000,000 Jews was the one that received the most attention, but obviously did not succeed in creating Hitler's master race.

We as Christians do not have the luxury of playing the role of God and determining who is fit for life, and who is unfit. We are told in Psalm 139:13-16, Jeremiah 1:5 and Ephesians 1:4 when life begins. It does not begin at birth, nor does it begin at conception. Instead, we are told that it begins for every one of us before the foundation of the world was laid. We were created by God and are encouraged to know that before we were even formed in the womb of our mother, God not only knew us, but charted out His plan for our lives.

Many Christians will always remember how maligned Sarah Palin was by the mainstream media. We know how powerful they have become at making or breaking someone’s reputation. It is no wonder that many Christians do not take any stand for the unborn because they are scared to death of being lumped in with the handful of misled people in all of history that have committed terrorist acts at abortion clinics.

Many Christians have studied the list of politically correct, convenient untruths and now see global warming as the more pressing issue. Young people are now wearing political agendas as fashion statements. The problem is, the Pro Life cause isn't so trendy with the Hollywood elite, or the Leftist effete, so they shuck it off for something more fashionable. We often put on the superficial façade of standing up for something important when we are really just conforming to the popular culture.

This was clearly seen in a recent poll I saw taken among young "Christian" college students, a high number of whom ranked global warming as a more pressing issue than abortion. The headline praised them in their maturity, having grown beyond the narrow-minded issues of their parents. I however, saw this poll very differently from the liberal media, sadly recognizing it as a declaration that their master is now public opinion, not the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christians have a duty to be on the side of those who have no voice, namely the unborn. Even when we are laughed at by those who claim to have more mature tastes, having matured beyond what they see to be elementary, Christian fairy tales, we must be willing to be mocked and even be counted as fools (Psalm 72:3-5, 146:6-7). God chooses, not the wise men of this world. He instead chooses the foolish to confound the wise, and the weak to confound those who are mighty (I Corinthians 1:25-26).

God is presented as one who delivers the oppressed, the downtrodden, the ones who have no voice to be heard and no vote to cast. Isaiah 58 is a beautiful description of our charitable God, who speaks up for those who are powerless and left out of the circle of power. In fact, he goes a step further, commanding us to do the same. He commands us to give our bread to the hungry, to bring the poor out of the streets and into our homes, to clothe the naked, and not to ignore our own flesh (58:7). This last command has to do with the protection we owe to our own offspring. The word “flesh”, when understood in the Hebrew language can also be translated “blood.” This clearly indicates the importance of embracing our own offspring and not casting them aside just because it is not convenient, or financially feasible. Abortion today would be comparable to what Isaiah calls “ignoring one’s own blood” in the ancient world. In fact, if you read Ezekiel 16, you will relish one of the most breathtaking descriptions of God’s love in choosing Israel. In that passage God is depicted as a man who, by chance, hears the cries of a rejected, newborn infant, wallowing in its own blood and at death’s door. God takes this abandoned child into his very own home and raises it as his own daughter. It symbolizes none other than the nation of Israel, which was rescued by God out of paganism and slavery.
If we do not follow this example by speaking up for the rejected members of the human race, speaking up for those who cannot speak, and calling abortion what it really is, "murder," then we are among those who sugar down the truth because we care more about not being an offense to sensitive ears than we do the offense they will face in Hell.

We are among those priests who were rebuked by God for telling the wicked that they were at peace with God when in reality, they were at war with God because of their sin (read Malachi 2:17).

You may counter with the common assumption that abortion advocates are standing up for the oppressed by encouraging women to have abortions. We are told that these are women whose physical lives are often jeopardized by the prospect of having a child. But this is ironic in light of the facts, which show that 93% of all women who have an abortion list “social reasons” as what drove them to have an abortion, not “health risks.”

It is also ironic when the facts show that more than half of all women who have an abortion suffer from long-term emotional trauma. High numbers also experience ongoing biological and physiological trauma, the risks of which are usually not disclosed by groups pushing abortion, such as Planned Parenthood. This deceit is unconscionable. There is no doubt, that the reasoning behind abortion is social. It is about convenience, not the health of the woman, or the child (statistics taken from

The photo above is of Samuel Alexander Armas, a child who had been in the womb for just twenty-one weeks, and was undergoing a risky surgery to correct spina bifida, a condition that develops while the child is in gestation and usually results in the child being paralyzed for life.
Samuel’s mother, Julie, believed that this child was created in the image of God, and therefore chose life over death. Instead of aborting her child because of the inconvenience he might become, she was determined to honor life and give birth to Samuel. This was a first-time operation performed at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and was risky. Yet, the results were successful. Today, Samuel is a healthy nine year old boy, who can walk with little aid.

You can see Samuel’s hand reaching out of the uterus in the photo. Many have called this the “hand of hope.” When Dr. Joseph Bruner made the incision into Julie’s uterus, Samuel, obviously sensed the opening and out of curiosity, thrust his little hand through the opening and in the process took everyone’s breathe away.

Was this just a blob of inanimate tissue as Planned Parenthood would have us think? Should it be called nothing more than the by-product of conception? I don’t think so! This was a self-aware, human life.

Even if we define life as a beating heart, the average child in the womb has a beating heart within twenty-one days of conception. On new 4D ultrasound technology, it is often seen stretching its legs, sucking its fingers, hiccupping, and even doing somersaults.

Even when the unborn child is determined to be non-human, whenever a child is aborted it always recoils at the intrusion of those metal jaws we call forceps. Aborted children suffering abortions have been filmed twitching, jerking, and fighting for their lives, but to no avail. Tell me that this child fighting for its life really has no life at all and I would like to sell you oceanfront property in Arizona.

The aborted child is a helpless member of God’s creation that was entrusted to our care, and we have shamelessly betrayed that trust.

May God have mercy on this nation and may God bring revival to a church that is lethargically teetering on apostasy.

(There is much more to be said about the loss of shock-value in a culture that celebrates violence and vanity to the point that nothing bothers us anymore. To be shocked at anything is to be thought naïve. Drawing on a message by Francis Schaeffer I would like to examine whether or not this is a healthy trait of our culture and more importantly, what it has done to the church.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eleven Practices for Parents to Persevere In:

When my baby girl was born and I finally met her live and in person, I sang the words of King David: "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. . ." (Psalm 8:1-2).

Everytime we behold the miracle of new life coming into the world we are witnessing a reminder of Christ, who through the miracle of childbirth entered our world and chose to establish His strength in shuting the mouth of every foe (Hebrews 2:14-15). We witnessed a beautiful reminder of His strength at 10:44 p.m., August 28, as my wife, April, gave birth to a beautiful 7 lb. 6 oz. baby named Kiersten Eliana Blythe.

I have prayed long and hard recently about the challenges of raising a child to glorify God in this godless age. Ironically, as a pastor, I find myself offering counsel to parents, who like myself, are faced with the same challenge, but who are much further along in the experience of raising a child. What you are about to read are some points I think are crucial for any Christian parent to be convinced of.

Remember, while I have been a student of the Bible for some time and hope these points carry helpful insight, I have only been a club member (parent club) for a month. That being said, if you have a word of constructive criticism concerning the following eleven points, it will be welcomed with listening ears.

1. Sit down as parents as soon as possible and decide what type of discipline will be properly tailored for your child: We know from Scripture that failing to discipline your child is not an option if you care anything about his soul. Solomon clearly links one’s eternal destiny to a matter as simple as whether or not he was disciplined as a child. “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod you will save his soul from Sheol” (Proverbs 24:13-14). It is vitally important that as parents, you intentionally sit down and discuss how this important practice should be implemented.

2. Make sure discipline is both positive & negative. Effective discipline cannot consist only of punishment. This will only discourage your child. Make sure it consists of both punishment and reward; punishment to deter wrong behavior and reward to promote proper behavior.
Positive: Make a chart with all seven days of the week on it. Place it on the refrigerator. List underneath it some of the good things your child can do. Whenever they do something good; place a star on that particular day. When they earn ten stars, reward them by taking them out and buying them a gift. This will promote good behavior in addition to offering your child due attention for doing what is right.

It is important, however, to teach your child that they should obey God’s law regardless of whether they get a reward. The Bible commends the idea of giving rewards (Proverbs 3:27), but also teaches us that we should do good, not to be praised by men, but to honor God. Teach your children that God sees what is done in secret, not what is done openly for the applause of men (Matthew 6:1-13).

Negative: Children usually misbehave in order to get your attention. Whenever they act up, remember that the most effective punishment consists of taking attention away from them, not giving more. Putting children in time out is surprisingly effective when followed-through by the parent.

3. Never discipline a child out of anger! Always affirm your love for your child even when they are being punished. If you are angry, remove yourself from the situation until you have prayed and have a clear head. If you find yourself guilty of punishing your child out of anger, or of yelling at your child, go to them and ask for forgiveness.

(If you struggle with anger issues, read Proverbs 16:32, 25:28, Ephesians 4:26, and James 1:19-20).

4. Be honest about your sin nature: If you show your child a parent who is a sinner seeking to bear the fruits of repentance, they will grow up to humbly admit that they too are sinners who need repentance. When you are willing to humble yourself and go to your child for forgiveness, this helps them see a parent that is real and human just as they are.

Admitting that you are not perfect is important in getting your children to relate to you. They will never relate to a parent that seems perfect and will only reject the Christian faith, deeming it a religion beyond their ability to live up to. Letting them know we are real people; and have all fallen short of God’s glory is key. This will point them to Christ, who alone lives up to perfection (II Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15). On the other hand, if you lead your child to think you are perfect, the day will come when they will inevitably see your imperfections exposed and be shattered. Having placed you on a pedestal as the model Christian, they will reject Christ because they were wrongly led to believe that a follower of Christ is to be perfect.

5. Never give punishment without first giving understanding! Sit down with your child before you discipline them to explain why what they did was wrong and why it deserves punishment. When possible, show them from the Bible why their actions deserve punishment. Let them know for example that stealing is wrong because the 8th Of the Ten Commandments is: “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15).

6. Be consistent! First, never say you are going to punish your child and not follow through with it. Be a person of your word. Second, if you punish them for a particular offense once, do not let them get away with it the second, third, or fourth time. If this occurs, when you finally to get around to punishing them again they will only be confused, not knowing if their actions are wrong or right. If you let your child get away with something just because you are too tired to deal with it and then punish them randomly, this will only provoke your children to anger (Ephesians 6:4). Most visibly, however, they will become beyond your ability to control because you have taught them by your inconsistency that you cannot be taken seriously.

7. Make sure both of you are on the same team! Don’t play good cop bad cop! You should never allow yourself to be the stiff disciplinarian to make up for a spouse who is too laid back. Nor should you let your children get away with everything to make up for a spouse who only lays down the law. This will confuse your child because they will see two conflicting standards for right and wrong. Mom says one thing and Dad says another. In the end, the child who is confused about what is right and wrong will become lawless, not knowing the difference between the two. Kids often play one parent’s word against another. They will ask one parent’s permission to do something and if they do not get the answer they want, they go to the other parent hoping to get it. This type of manipulation is dangerous for two reasons. First, it will destroy your child’s conscience. You will allow them to grow up believing that there really isn’t a universal standard of right and wrong; only one person’s opinion against another’s. Second, it will foster the notion that they can always manipulate to get whatever they want. If this becomes a pattern they may never learn to develop lasting relationships because they will be too selfish to put the other person’s desires above their own.

To guard your child against this destructive tendency you must be quick on your feet. If your child asks permission to do something, ask them if they have talked to the other parent. If they reluctantly admit they have, ask them what the other parent said. In this scenario the answer will obviously be the one your child did not want to hear. What do you do? Simple! Always back up your spouse.

But wait a minute! What if you ask your child what the other parent said and find that their answer is one you cannot accept? This scenario should be extremely rare. But if it happens, do not say anything that conflicts with what your spouse has already said. Whatever you do, do not talk negatively of your spouse in front of your child. Instead, tell your child that you and the other parent will have to discuss your decision privately.

If you are the one with the stronger will you must go out of your way not to strong arm your spouse into agreeing with you. In these matters, some parents completely relinquish their responsibility as parents by letting their spouse make all the decisions (more often than not it is the father). Do not let the lazy parent off the hook. Take time to affirm them and let them know that it is important for them to care about this decision making process. Be sure to discuss both angles and reach a consensus based on what you are both convinced is most biblical. Then, when you have come to a consensus answer your child as one voice.

8. Never put your child above your spouse: (Usually it is the mother, through her God-given, nurturing instinct that has this propensity). This is really one and the same with the idea of being a team. Always back up your teammate and never let your child hear you denigrate them! Having two parents that are in love with one another is essential for a child’s proper development. It gives them the security of knowing there will never be fear of a split, leaving them with the broken pieces of a shattered family. Remember, the way you as parents treat one another may be the only model for marriage your child will ever learn. Not surprisingly then, the way you treat your husband or wife is likely the way your child will treat their own future spouse. Therefore, to fail as husband and wife is to fail your child (Read Ephesians 5:22-30 concerning God’s design for marriage. What does it mean to cherish one another as one cherishes his own flesh in verses 28-30?)
If you put your child above your spouse and everything else, you are giving them a distorted view of reality. You are teaching them that the whole world revolves around them. This will set them up for failure because when they get out into the real world, they’ll find out too late that such is not the case. They’ll be aghast that everyone else is not clamoring to give them the attention they thought they were entitled to and will act out in unhealthy ways, often manipulating people to get it.

In the end your neglected spouse is not the loser. Your child is! Whoever enters a relationship with your child in the future will likely give up on them for two reasons. First, your child will remain egocentric, demanding that everything in the relationship be done with only their welfare in mind. The other person will constantly have to fill the role of parent, or even entertainer rather than companion. Second, they will never develop the ability to truly love someone, not for what they can give, but for who they are. Selfless love is not something your child is born with. It must be learned as your child matures to understand that there is more to the universe than them only. They must come to the realization that they and all creation were formed for the purpose of bringing God glory, not the other way around (Read Isaiah 43:6-7 and Revelation 4:11).

9. Model for your children what it means to love God by loving His Word: For your child to grow up with a good understanding of right and wrong, give them one standard; God’s Word. Also, make sure that both of you as parents are of one heart and one mind, united in upholding the standard of God’s Word. In the end, your child will believe the Bible because it was the standard they always knew growing up.

Parents are commanded to have three priorities in Deuteronomy 6:5-9. First, love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. If we love God this intensely the second and third priorities will naturally follow. Second, hide God’s Word in your heart by meditating on it day and night. Third, don’t keep it hidden. Teach God’s Word diligently to your children. Moses understood that children pay little attention to beliefs we rarely, if ever talk about.

History proves that if our beliefs are treated with such unimportant status they will only be mocked. However, if we love something with all our heart, soul and might, it will be obvious! Our children will know it when they see us light up with joy whenever that thing is discussed. They will know it when they see us push everything else aside to spend time, money & resources on that thing. After telling us to teach God’s Words to our children, Moses tells us, “Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut. 6:7). He is telling us that God’s Word should be the thing we push everything else aside for.

Children know that no matter how busy we are, we’ll make time for what we love (a relationship, our favorite team, musical artist, etc). It is no wonder that when people have told us they just don’t have time for us we knew they were really saying: “get lost.” Hence, Moses is telling us that the only way our children will know we love God, especially when we are busier than ever is when they see us go to the extreme, keeping God in the rank of Number One.
In an age of shameless hypocrisy the greatest legacy you can leave your children is to love God . . . and really mean it.

10. Deter wrong behavior by modeling the right behavior: The word “discipline” comes from the same root as the word “disciple.” It means to teach them how to be a disciple of Christ as one who submits to Christ’s Lordship. Learn to teach your children the way Jesus taught his disciples: through example. When Jesus’ first disciples came to learn from him, they asked, “Master, where dwellest thou.” Jesus replied, “come and see” (John 1:38-39). They went on to dwell with Jesus for the rest of the day and watched the way He lived. The way He lived served to back up His every word.

Most children learn to act out in negative ways because it is learned behavior. They may throw temper tantrums because of a father or mother who loses their temper and does the same. They may want to argue and yell because they learned it from a parent who argues and yells, etc. Model for them the right behavior and they will naturally learn the right behavior. Remember, your children are still very impressionable; they will learn more from your actions than they ever will from your words (II Timothy 2:1-2 on the meaning of discipleship).

11. Don’t throw in the towel: Never give up on proper discipline. Following all of these steps will not turn your child into an angel over night. Discipline will take love, energy and consistency. To give up on proper discipline is to give up on your child because we are told clearly in God’s Word: “Discipline your son while there is hope; don’t be intent on killing him” (Proverbs 19:18). There are two truths in this verse that cannot be ignored. First, if you are asleep on the job when it comes to discipline, there will come a time when there is no longer hope and his ways will be incorrigibly set. Second, for you not to lovingly discipline your child would have much the same affect as killing him; the only difference is: killing your child is quick, but neglecting the task of discipline is slow and painful.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is Quoting the Reformers Risky Business?

I was recently asked by a good friend whether Christians risked creating a modern day Talmud by quoting and revering the Reformers. The Talmud is a collection of Jewish writings which give interpretation and commentary on the Old Testament Law. Many who have studied the Talmud, known as the Mishnah in its writtin form, would say that it was became stricly adhered to that it came to be viewed on equal par with the Law (as if the 613 commands in the Old Testament already wasn't enough already). Dealing with this question of whether or not we risk inadvertently adding to the Law of God through quoting the Reformers is an important one to answer; especially for those of us who are influenced by the Reformers and consider ourselves Reformed.

If comparing those who study the Reformation to those who studied the Jewish Talmud sounds absurd, the following question will make a lot more sense. Were those who erected theological systems based on the writings of the Reformers guilty of deriving such systems from the Reformers while neglecting a close investigation of God's Word? (We all know that the Five Points of Calvinism were drawn up without Calvin. He was dead! They were instead drawn up in what people believed to be an accurate sumation of Calvin's Soteriology).

We as Reformed thinkers must humbly ask, "how did I arrive at this Theological system?" If we can honestly conclude that it was from our own illumination into God's Word, then we are not just Reformed; we are biblical. However, if we arrived at this Theological system simply because it was "cool" in the circle we ran with at the time, or if we arrived at it based on our reading of the Reformers, we may be guilty of erecting what the Reformers sought to tear down. Namely, an extra-biblical authority no less severe than the Jewish Talmud.

Creating an authoritative tradition similar in extent to the Talmud was the exact opposite of the Reformer's intentions. Their intention was to decry any authoritarian voice that would claim a monopoly on truth, or executive power on interpreting Scripture.

Many people deride the fact that there are so many denominations today. But this diversity in the church is largely the result of the Reformers, who'se doctrine can be boiled down to two ideas:

1. The Priesthood of the Believer: This doctrine affirmed that each believer is
their own priest and can approach God without any human mediator but Christ
alone (I Timothy 2:5.). This was revolutionary because it did anything but set
up ecclesiastical authority. It began the long process of dismantling
ecclesiastical authority. The Catholic church today is a nominal, weak belief
system because the Reformers were successful at questioning and
challenging the authority of Rome.
2. The Perspicuity of the Scriptures: This affirmed the biblical understanding that
because each believer was indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they had the
illumination to interpret the Scriptures for themselves, without having to defer
to church tradition (I John 2:27). It was this hallmark doctrine that opened the
door to Scriptural translation. Many Reformers, such as: Jon Huss of and
William Tyndale, of England, were burned alive for believing
that each believer could be trusted with his own personal copy of the Word of

If it were not for the Reformers of the Sixteenth Century, it is almost certain that the hegemony of the Catholic church would have continued to wax stronger in quelling any freedom of thought through the ongoing Inquisition. It is also probable that there would have been no ensuing Enlightenment. This is a valid point because if it were not for the Reformation, there would have been no rebirth of literacy based on the drive multitudes had to read the Scriptures in their own tongue. There also would have been no precedent set making it acceptable to question authority as the Enlightenment did. Guttenburg's invention of the printing press was largely spurred on by the same sentiments knowing how influenced he was by this movement. The writings of the Reformers being launched into orbit by the printing press became the catalyst in teaching common men to read. If there were no rebirth of literacy, the framework would not have existed for the French philosophers to transmit their thoughts effectively via the printing press.

There is no equivalant to the Jewish Talmud today in the Protestant church. You have to understand that the Talmud dictated the Jewish way of life down to the minute detail. For example, there are twenty-four chapters in the Talmud just dealing with Sabbath laws alone, dictating what it was lawful, or unlawful to do on the Sabbath. The Reformers never came close to this type of imposition in the everyday affairs of life. Instead, they sought to do away with this form of legalism that had gradually crept into the Catholic way of life.

The question still remains, what about those who quote the Reformers today and wind up deriving their Theology from these men, rather than the Scriptures which drove these men. If such is the case; if today's teachers are guilty of erecting theological systems based on the teachings of the Reformers and not directly from the Scriptures, then one thing is certain; today's teachers have had to climb over the Reformers to erect such Theology. The Reformer's last intention was to draw the most avid adherents to themselves, they sought to point adherents to the Bible, often spilling their blood to do so.

The Protestant movement heralded freedom of thought when studying the Scripture. In fact, the freedom we as Christians have today to apply the Scriptures to our life situations is not a freedom that any Jewish or Catholic adherent could ever celebrate. The Jews had their own doctors of the Law who dictated it's meaning. The Catholics have their own clergy who are alone bequethed with the privilege of interpreting texts.

Notice how Luther supported the use of reason when responding to dr. Jan Eyck at the Diet of Worms. Remember, Eyck demanded that Luther fall into line with the Church's doctrine and recant all of his writings. In response, Luther uttered words that would drop like a bombshell on everyone's Theological playground:

"Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, I do not accept the authority of Popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe-- Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."

Notice that Luther did just the opposite of paving the way for a new Christian Talmud or Mishnah. He dismantled any framework for defering to tradition by questioning the authority of tradition. Even in the face of death, Luther sought to strip authority from the Catholic Church and placing authority within every reasoning Christian as they are individually held captive to the Word of God.

Think about it! The freedom we have to question and critique Luther, we owe to Luther. He was ranked as one of the top ten people of the Millenium by Time Magazine because even in Liberal circles today, Luther is associated with sparking the freedom of conscience that led not only to the Protestant Reformation, but also to the Enlightenment of France in 1789.

One of the best books I have read by Luther is The Freedom of a Christian. If you read this book you will hear the heart of a man who's motives are far superior to any revisionist thinker of the Twenty-first century who would seek to impugn him. His major thesis of the book is profound as it set forth the freedom of a Christian as no one had articulated it before:

"A Christian is a perfectly free Lord of all, servant to none."
"A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, servant to all."

Luther, more than any other defended both the believer's freedom, not only from the condemnation of the law, but also from the papal hegemony of those who would strip him of the ability to think as his own free moral agent.

Bringing the Reformation home to the Twenty-first century. I don't think they would mind being quoted because they themselves began drafting the chatecisms as a means of teacing Christian doctrine. These chatecisms were meant to be memorized as didactic devices, much like the two lines I previously quoted above.

However, these same chatecisms were never meant to be viewed on par with Scripture because they themselves were written to affirm the sole authority of Scripture.

We should never assume that when somoene quotes a Reformer or a chatecism written by a Reformer that they are somehow adding to the Scripture as the Talmud did (read Mark 7:6-7, Jesus referred to this tradition when he spoke of the rabbis "teaching for doctrines of God the commandments of men.") The Talmud originated as commentary on the Law, but soon became viewed on par with the Law, setting forth its own laws. One could even say they were adding to Scripture. However, if someone quotes a Reformer or chatecism, or statement of faith, they are affirming the Reformers belief in the sole authority of Scripture.

The chatecisms and confessions then are a means of holding us accountable to the Word of God, not an addendum to the Word of God.

You cannot quote them wihout demoting them. That is, you cannot quote them without affirming the sole authority of Scripture, seeing that one of their main purposes is to teach the authority of Scripture. A good example is the Westminster Confession of Faith which opens with the following words:

"Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased."

A better example is question number two of the Westminster Shorter Chatechism because it was intended to be memorized. In closing, I want to reproduce it here to further corroborate that even the faithful followers of the Reformers sought passionately to point people to God's Word, not merely to theological systems:

"What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

China Welcomes all People Except...

You have heard by now that Olympic gold medalist Joey Cheeck has been denied a visa to attend the Beijing Olympics this week because of his outspoken concern for the Darfur region of Sudan, which is systematically and gradually being force-converted to Islam by the Janjaweed militia. Or more humorously, you've heard of the incident where athletes arrived at the Beijing airport with black masks, purportedly to protect them from the cities' notorious air polution.

But it may surprise you to find that Christian citizens of the People's Republic of China are not only being denied any access to the Olympics, but have been forced from their own homes and expelled from Beijing by Chinese police altogether. One Christian named Shi Weihan, was recently arrested and is currently dying in police custody. His crime? He owns a Christian bookstore, and although he has registered it with the government, his mistake is that he is suspected of distributing illegal publications that they do not want to be found at the 2008 Olympics. You don't have to rack your brain long to figure out what devious publication these might be.

Another, Hua Huiqi, who is a Christian rights advocate, had the front door of his home smashed open with hammers and all of his furniture thrown onto the street as China's way of saying, "you are the dirt that must be cleaned up before for the Olympic games can begin." He and many others have been relocated elsewhere. For more recent news on these incidents, a good website is:

All of this is taking place as Bush hob-nobs with Chinese officials in Beijing and planning to visit the proud, state-run church this Sunday. I would love to hear the eloquent sermon preached at this Chinese approved, state-run church. Every word of which will no doubt receive praise and nodding approval from the same government that is simultaneously incarcerating thousands of Christians nationwide for no other reason than that their sermons weren't so eloquent. Probably because they included the praise of one vulgar man, Jesus Christ, who embarrassingly does not meet government approval.

As a Christian, the question you must ask is, how should I react to this? Below, you will see that I have laid out five ways a Christian should respond to this issue biblically. The easiest thing to do will be to turn on the tube and enjoy the Olympics as countless other Americans will be doing. Will it be too fanatical to speak a word of criticism? Will it be too much for you to spoil everyone else's fun by saying a word to show disgust at the fallen world stage, which by their silence in the face of blatant human rights abuses, embarrassingly reveals that they are much concerned about being liked by the fastest growing world power than they are those who are unjustly having every freedom stripped away.

Proverbs 17:15 tells us plainly that to justify those who commit ungodly acts and to condemn the just is an abomination to the Lord. To “justify” means to give “approval.” But we live in a subtle, new world that Solomon couldn’t have envisioned, don’t we? Many of us gladly listen to the name of God being blasphemed as we recline in our living rooms. Yet confusingly, we would beat our kids senseless to hear them saying the very same things and would immediately order anyone else out of our homes. Are we schizoids or is this just good ol’ Twenty-first century Christianity? A Christianity Solomon just didn’t foresee.
Many of you will feel the adrenaline rush you have always felt when watching athletes and governments from all over the world gather together in unity. Only this time they gather to pour millions into the pockets of a nation that has brutally martyred Christians, Buddhists and many other religious people groups in ways some of us are too lazy to so much as pick up a book and read about; persecution that stretches all the way back to the Boxer Rebellion more than a century ago. And yet if the same thing happened in our own neighborhood we would bravely take up arms to their defense. Or so we hope.
When Jesse Owens competed during the 1936 Olympics in Germany, few people had any knowledge of the atrocities that were already being planned against the Jews. But we Christians today do not have the same comfort of ignorance. We have an obligation not to fall into the easy road of mindless, Orwellian group-think that most other Americans have indifferently resigned themselves to.
Please hear me well. I am not saying that Christians should ostracize themselves from the 2008 Olympics. Nor am I saying that we should not watch the Olympics. (Gasp! Most would think it unconscionable).
However, if you can watch it without any discomfort; without any conviction to speak on the behalf of persecuted Christians, you are either part of China’s wild fetish with sadomasochism, or you are not a Christian at all. Actually, both choices seem to fit into the “not a Christian at all” category don’t they?
I hope that with the following words I can justify such a bold indictment.
What Should I As a Christian Do?
Let me give some biblical precedent for how I believe a Christian should respond to the mindless conformity that most Americans will adhere to during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. If we’re honest, we’ll admit that it seems to be as much discomfort for an American not to be liked as it is for a Chinese Christian to be ejected into the streets.
All of us as Christians feel this pressure and therefore the temptation is to shut-up and do nothing; to indifferently go along with the multitude when Moses commands us not to follow a multitude to do evil (Exodus 23:2; this verse speaks specifically of following the multitude in perverting justice and condemning a poor and righteous man). Hence, Christians must be willing to do something that may cause them not to be liked if they are going to separate themselves from the multitude and go against the fad of the day.

First, the Bible commands us to pray for those who are being persecuted (Hebrews 13:3). We should pray that God will give Chinese Christians boldness to speak the Word in the face of prison and death. This is what the Christians of the first church in Jerusalem did when they went door-to-door with blood dripping down their backs after being beaten, preaching the same message they were arrested for preaching in the first place, and rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Christ’s name (Acts 4:29, 5:17-42). Yep! We would call these people fanatics.

Second, we have an obligation to rouse other Christians to “remember those who suffer bonds as being bound also ourselves with them” (Hebrews 13:3). There is no way possible we can be comfortable watching the Olympics when many Christians have been ejected from their homes in order to make Beijing a friendly place for the Olympics. Some, such as Shi Weihan, are languishing at death’s door in prison simply because they are the Christian dirt that had to be cleaned up before the games can begin.
I Corinthians 12:26 confirms this attitude of solidarity by telling us that if one member of the body of Christ suffers, all the members should suffer with it. Can we belt a shout of “go go go” to the American runner with all the gusto we can muster when we know the unjust suffering Christians have sustained paving the way for it to take place?

Third, Don not wear a political agenda as a fashion statement. We cannot be so deluded as to think that because we put a bumper sticker on our car that says “FREE TIBET” we are somehow helping to free Tibet, especially when we cannot even point to it on the map as many in this category have ironically proven to be the case. What this scenario reveals is that many Americans find it fashionable to sport a political view that is the current rave. They often cannot tell you any details to prove they even know what they are talking about. But it’s popular in Hollywood to jump on a cause such as, “Free Tibet” when Buddhists in Tibet are still being converted into fertilizer. We must be careful not to insult Christians in China by wearing their cause as a fashion statement in order to be thought “cool” or “smart.”
Fourth, Study! That’s right! Study up on the issues confronting Christians all over the world so that you can properly pray for them, and so you can properly inform others on how to pray for the persecuted church as well as raise awareness on their behalf.
Remember the sons of Issachar in the Old Testament. They were praised because they were men who understood the culture and political currents of the time in which they lived and were faithful to keep Israel informed (I Chronicles 12:32). Oh, how we need the sons of Issachar today who will be willing to think, and overcome the blind-spots that everyone else is unaware of.

Fifth, be angry as God is angry. Wait a minute! Christians are supposed to have a huge smile pasted on their faces at all times, right? You might be surprised to find that the Bible presents God as angry at the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). Nothing repulses the heart of God more than our rebellion and sin. Revelation 3:14-17 even pictures God as so nauseated by our sin that it causes Him to vomit. This is hardly a fat, dump and happy smile isn’t it?
What about the Christian? Psalm 15:4 says that the one who dwells with God is one who is angry at evil doers just as God is angry, and is one who honors those that fear the Lord. This should cause us to question who we set up for our children as role-models. Do you respect those that fear the Lord or are you instead excited by those that blaspheme?
Do not misunderstand God’s anger against evil-doers. This does not mean you do not love evil doers, as we all were ourselves. We should remember that we too are sinners and must pray that God will have mercy on other sinners just as He had mercy on us (Lamentations 3:22-23).
This anger simply means that you have a heart for God; you despise the sin of evil doers even as God Himself despises such evil. Fellowship with God cannot go unbroken when His law is so shamelessly broken by all men (Psalm 5:3-5).
We live in an age when everything no matter how sacred, is stripped of any sacred meaning and reduced to a joke or a skit to be laughed at on our favorite variety show. Christians have to see this blind-spot of de-sacralization in American culture and be counted as separate (II Corinthians 6:14-17).
By all means, we should laugh at entertainment that is honoring to God, although we may have a hard time finding it. But we can no longer laugh at evildoers as we have been so used to doing almost every time we have turned on the television set. We must be those who will join the heart of God in rejoicing not at iniquity, but who will instead rejoice at the truth (I Corinthians 13:6).

People will know what you care about not based on some dry, dusty belief that you rarely, if ever talk about. They can only know what you care about based on your passion. They know what subjects cause your face to light up like a child’s. They also know what subjects cause your brow to furrow in disgust.
In short, you must rejoice at what is good and be repulsed by what is evil for good and evil to have any meaning at all (Hebrews 1:9, this is Christ’s example). In fact, when people see that you rejoice at what is good and are repulsed by what is evil, you will accurately reveal to them the heart of Christ because He does the same. By expressing disgust at evil, you will reveal His heart more accurately than you ever could by simply pasting that huge greasy grin on your face like so many Christians do in order not to offend. If we are not repulsed by evil how can we expect sinners to be convicted of evil? (I’ve been accused of having a greasy grin myself so don’t feel so bad).
Please do not misunderstand what this admonition is about. These thoughts are not intended to ban the Olympics. You can watch the Olympics and celebrate the athlete without celebrating the country that is hosting the athlete. However, you cannot watch it and be silent, and for you to choose not to watch it may be such a willing alteration of plans on your part that those around you will know you are serious.
Are you going to follow Christ’s example during the 2008 Olympics or will you mindlessly follow the multitude? Will you to call China out as being the fox that it is even as Christ did to the ruling king of His own day for his debauchery (Luke 12:32)?
Pray for God’s grace! Pray for His grace because you can only follow this bold example if it is Christ who animates you (Hebrews 6:3).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why Should This Christian Care?

We'll answer for the Christian to the left in a moment. But first, you ought to know this post is a follow-up to an incendiary charge I made last week. Namely, if someone calls themselves a Christian, and yet holds such an indifferent disposition about the direction our present world is headed in they have not even begun to understand what those in Antioch meant who coined the term "Christian." This disposition of indifference is often hinted at when someone says, "The world's going to Hell, thank God I'm not going to be around to see it." Or for the more sanctimonious, "I'm outa' here, Jesus could come back at any moment" I don't take issue with the biblical fact that Jesus is coming back. What I do take issue with is for any Christian to resign themselves to such a cold, callus & compassionless response to the lost condition of our world. Hear me clearly, I am not saying that a Christian should't be cold, I am saying that someone this cold is not a Christian, and. Rather, they are the reason our world is so cold at the very mention of the word "Christian." Ouch! I'm obnoxious enough to have my own talk radio show.

All of us as Americans are lurching dangerously close to falling into this category. So I must state that what I am saying is not so much a rebuke as it is a confession. We hear news items everyday that speak of tragedy: the cyclone in Myanmar, the recent earthquake in China, the flooding of the Midwest, etc. We hear these items ad nauseum. Pretty soon, we hear "25,000 killed" one second and are ordering our spouse "pass the bowl of peanuts" the very next second. we are conditioned like pavlovian dogs to be indifferent when most of what we hear has no affect on our day to day lives.

This may sound innocuous to you. But I'm going to share some biblical texts that will hopefully rouse us to the realization that to view the world as an armchair spectator is not an option for the child of God.

I'm currently teaching verse by verse through the book of Romans and have learned a lot from this book. I used to think that the hardest passages to teach would be the ones dealing with election in chapters 9. But now I've found that ironically, the hardest text of all is in Romans 8; the chapter that many point to as the most encouraging chapter in all the Bible.

This week, I examined Romans 8:16-18, whih says: "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

Notice how difficult v.17 is. Paul does not say that suffering is a sad misfortune that most Christians should never have to experience. He doesn't present God as the pansy parent who sues the school because his kid got a scrape on the playground. He gives us this black & white, conditional statement, "we are fellow heirs with Christ" . . . "If we suffer with him" (KJV). Stating it conversely we could also say, "If we do not suffer with Christ, we have no assurance that we are joint-heirs with Christ." That is a bold assertion. It is important to note that Paul does not present suffering as a precondition for salvation. Instead, we should see it as the inevitable fruit of salvation. It is the same as saying, "We do not perform good works to be saved; we perform good works because we are saved."

Paul is taking it for granted that if you are a Christian, you will suffer persecution. It's as simple as that. He corroborates this idea in many places. In particular, II Timothy 3:12, which says, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

The disheartening thing about Romans 8:17 is that it doesn't even register with most of us. We don't even know what suffering is. We may be led to think that if we got cut off in traffic today, or if we had to pay $4.35 a gallon for gas, wer'e somehow suffering with Christ. But most of us who are the sad victims of pseudo suburban suffering don't even know what Paul is talking about.

Let me give you a brief timeline of events that have already taken place in 2008 to show that many Christians alive today are all too aware of what Paul means by suffering "with Him":

-February 17, a pastor named Neil Edirisinghe, of the House Church Foundation, was gunned down and killed by two assailants outside his home in Ampara, Sri Lanka.vPastor Edirisinghe was engaged in the Lord’s ministry in Ampara for many years. The attackers also shot his wife in the stomach. At last report, she was in the hospital in critical condition. Their 2-year-old son who received a minor injury in the attack is also suffering from trauma.

-February 28
, Christians in Iraq have called for prayer after gunmen kidnapped Chaldean Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, on February 28. Three Christians were shot and killed during the kidnapping.

-March 18, Laotian officials arrested 15 Hmong Christian families in
Bokeo district, Laos. According to Compass Direct News, the arrests occurred a day
before a court sentenced nine Hmong church leaders to 15 years in prison
for ‘conducting Christian ministry and meetings that had grown beyond acceptable
levels for Communist officials.’

Compass reported, “The day before the sentencing, Laotian authorities arrived in
Bai Sai Janrern village in Bokeo district with six trucks in which they hauled away
eight Christian families. Authorities also arrested at least seven families from
Fai village three miles away.” The arrested families make up a total of 58 Hmong

-April 13, China Aid Association reports that the Chinese Communist government recently launched a strategic campaign against house churches in Xinjiang
Autonomous Region. 46 Christians were arrested by Public Security Bureau (PSB)
officials on April 13, during a Bible class and worship service in Kashi city,
Xinjiang province.

-April 15, Pastor Vic Vicera, his wife, Beth; and another Pastor were shot at when an unknown assailant stormed Pastor Vicera’s home in Mindanao, Philippines. Pastor Vic had four bullet wounds to the body and was killed. Pastor Vic got four gunshots, two at the upper part of the knees that went through his navel and two shots to the lower part of his knees, the bullets remained in his stomach. Beth, his wife, got two gunshots, one in her palm and one in her leg. Pastor Saturnino got one shot in his leg; the bullet went through his leg.” Pastor Vic was killed, and Beth and Saturnino are being treated by doctors.

-June 17, You have probably wondered who this man is that's pictured above. His name is Rachid Muhammad Essaghir, who has already been convicted of blasphemy and evangelism in two separate cases this year. Essaghir is an Algerian Christian who recently went on trial in west Algeria for a third time tomorrow, again for evangelism. An evangelist and church elder for a small community of Muslim converts to Christianity in Tiaret, Essaghir believes that local police have targeted him for his religious work. Police stopped Essaghir and another Christian in the vicinity of Tissemsilt in June 2007 and discovered a box of Christian books in their car. The two men said they were transporting the literature from one church to another. Under Ordinance 06-03 passed in February 2006, Algerians can be fined up to 1 million dinars (US$16,405) and sentenced to five years in prison for printing, storing or distributing materials intended to convert Muslims away from Islam.

(I encourage you to learn more about how Christians all over the world are living up to the words of Paul. Some good sources are: which is the official website for The Voice of the Martyrs. You can also go to:

If you continue to read stories just like these, which are popping up every day dealing with persecution in most parts of the world, at least you can begin to realize that not everybody has this idea that we should just keep our mouths shut and let the world die in their sins so we can be at least be peace with the world. The Christians we have just read about are often drug away from their homes for so much as possessing a Bible; or as a recent incident in Iran indicates, possessing a Christian music cd. The question is: why are they suffering? In short, these Christians were guilty of having their mouths open when the Word of God was a death sentence. We are guilty of having our mouths shut when speaking the Word of God might make you the joke in one of Bill Maher's endless rants. The two are hardly comparable and still the sad thing is that many Christians are bold in the face of death when many others cower in the face of laughs. We have to ask, "Who is our God?" Who are we out to please; man or God. Paul says that if our aim is to please men, we should not call ourselves the servant of God (Galatians 1:10).

Think about this; If the Christians mentioned above were concerned more about their own creaturely comforts than they were the fate of a lost world, do you think for a second that they would be so stupid as to identify with Christ?

It is obvious that when they read Romans 8:18, they see a vision of something far greater than any comfort this world could ever offer. It is the vision that Paul had when he wrote, "I reckon (reason) that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us" (v.18). These suffering Christians are able to care for a lost world because they have the leverage to reach down to pick up one who is drowning. They have he leverage to reach down and lift someone else up because something far greater is holding them up. It is the hope of glory they will one day lay hold of when they see Christ face-to-face (Colossians 3:1-4, I John 3:1-4).

I have to come back and develop this amazing text in Romans 8 some more tomorrow. But it is of great importance to begin to think about Paul's words. How can Paul assume as he does in Romans 8:17 that one of the most sure evidences of being a child of God is suffering? Do not be so deluded as to think that this idea of suffering for Christ is a relic from the ancient past. There are many Christians today that care about the direction our world is headed in; Christians that prove they are children of God because they care enough to say with Paul, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (II Corinthians 5:11); Christians that can't help but speak of an awesome God even when talk of such a God is illegal, even when it is in the face of death.

Friday, June 20, 2008

If Dad is Dead, Who Will Take His Place?

If dad is out of the family portrait, it won't be long before the entire family disappears too. At least that is what studies are showing. More than half of all male and female scientists surveyed are childless, and I'm sure they're hopeful that someone out there is mature enough to raise the next generation. But we must ask, who will take their place while they're busy at the lab?

For a society to maintain its existing population, it has to have a birthrate of 2.1 children per couple. The extra fraction (0.1) is to compensate for infant mortality. With the near complete elision of family values, particularly the traditional traditional role of an involved father, the birthrates in every Western European nation have plunged drastically. The Italian birthrate fell below 1.5 as early as 1984. By now, it has probably fell below the 1.28, which was the last figure given. Germany is at 1.3, and in communities where there are no immigrants it is often below 1.0, less than half replacement rate. Spain is also at 1.2 (figures taken from Phillip Jenkins, God's Continent, Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis). To the East, in Russia, it is 1.14. One would think that Vladimir Putin would have made headlines like a corduroy pillow several years back when he offered women more than a year's salary in Ruples for having a second child. Surprisingly, this hasn't had any affect at all. In Latvia, the number of people under the age of 18 has been cut by 29% in just fourteen years, shrinking the overall population by more than 500,000 during the same time.

Inese Slesere, member of the Latvian Parliament, gives us a well-thought diagnosis of what has caused Europe's empty cradle crisis. She has said that the precipitous drop in birthrates stems from a "radically individualistic philosophy" that diminishes "virtue, character, and respect for others" within society. The result is what she calls a "culture of rejection and death" where "divorce, abortions, cohabitation, single-parent households, and out-of-wedlock births", often unwelcome births are commonplace.

So what will be the result of the birth-dearth, or what Charles Colson calls the "Demographic Winter?" If you're an Environmentalist, you're probably thrilled by such figures. Less people to suck up all the world's precious resources; expendible people vs. precious resources.

But Europe, along with no civilization ever recorded in history has had the luxury of dying peacefully without the threat of greedy neighbors. There is such a culture, newly arrived in Europe, which is already licking its chops, greedily anticipating the inheritance that is theirs just as soon as the current inhabitants keel over & kick the bucket.

I'm sure you know where this discussion is going after seeing the crescent superimposed atop the Eifel Towel. That culture is Islam. Let's compare their growth stats side-by-side with their European neighbors; neighbors by the way, who are literally next door neighbors. The average birthrate in all of Europe hovers just above 1.3, but when the Muslim immigrant population is singled out and taken alone, they are reproducing at a rate of more than 5.0 in some regions.

National Review is already advertising a "Farewell Europe" cruise as early as 2010 to enjoy European culture before Europe is veiled to be refurbished as Eurabia. The researcher, Phillip Jenkins notes, "It is almost too easy to find convenient images of the decay of Christianity,and the growth of Islam. Any traveler in modern European cities has noticed the new mosquess, the abondoned and secularized churches, some transformed into museums. In the words of former film star Brigitte Bardot . . . 'From year to year, we see mosques sprout up pretty much everywhere in France, while church bells are becoming silent because of the lack of priests."

Men who are not Christian at all may not bemoan the death of Christianity in Europe, and increasingly in the United States, which as Francis Schaeffer once pointed out, is thirty-five years behind the trends of Europe as a general rule. But listen to what Bruce Bawer, by no means a Christian, says about this crisis, "When Christian faith had departed" from Europe "it had taken with it a sense of ultimate meaning and purpose and left the continent vulnerable to conquest by people with deeper faith and stronger convictions."

You can take away an unforgettable principle from Bawer's statement: That is that history has never been ruled by majorities (A good indication of this is that the latest polls in California show that the majority of the population is against gay marriage). History, as J. Rousas Rushdoony once quipped, "has never been ruled by majorities, but always by minorities who stand unconditionally on their faith."

This is so true in that Islam is still a minority in Europe and yet almost every social change that has been made in recent years has not been made in the direction of greater freedom, but in the direction of curtailing freedom to placate Islam. Muslim men are now able to receive multiple welfare payments for bringing multiple wives to Britain. 66,000 documented cases of clitorectomies were performed on Muslim girls last year alone. It is evident that Britian is making baby steps toward Sharia holy law, and it is only a matter of time before these babies born to multiple wives take to the helm of a once Christian nation.

When Jyllands-Posten Magazine in Denmark printed its cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, the Islamic world was not chastized for the 139 Danes who were innocently killed in the aftermath by angry mobs of Muslims. It was Europe that was chastized for being so intollerant and insensitive. A satirical cartoon, intollerant? Even after Andres Serano displayed his "Piss Christ", depicting a crucifix of Jesus submerged in a fish-bowl of his own urine, or after Chris Ofili displayed his portrait of the Virgin Mary, using the medium of cow dung (paid for by the American tax payers through the National Endowment for the Arts by the way), we never had to tally up the death-toll of those were killed as a result.

Moreover, for the EU to glibly nod in agreement with the Islamic world after 139 people were killed is mind boggling. In Europe we are realizing how docile and obedient we can become to anyone who would exact blood for payment; anyone who'se convictions are stronger, and who'se beliefs are more tightly held than our own.

What happens to our men when there is no meaning but self-meaning and self-gratification? What happens when men view women not as their God-given partners to raise a family with, but as nothing more than an object of lust? What happens when there is no part of your culture or beliefs worth preserving for future genterations? The unavoidable truth is that the future will be an empty void for those who do have beliefs worth preserving. When it comes to the question of who controls our future, it is as simple as "knock knock, who'se there?" With the most popular boy's name in almost every European metropolis being . . . you guessed it, "Muhammad", the only refuge the secular European mind has is the present. The future on the other hand, won't be so promising.

I know by now I am probably being shouted down by many as a dystopian naysaer. But I want to conclude on a happier note by asking how a Christian respond to what is taking place. The simple answer for the Christian is that God is in control of history. What we are seeing take place today with the disappearing of those who believe in freedom and the rapid increase of those who believe in intolerance is to be expected. After all, God promised us that this would happen.

You might be expecting me to wrench some biblical verse out of context to address current events as so many sensational preachers have done. Sorry, I'm not a prophet nor the son of a prophet! Instead, I want to give a principle that we are given in Scripture. Because the following verse is a principle it does not directly address current demographic dilemma I'm up in arms about. However, it is intended to give a general rule for what happens to any nation or civilization that rejects God. It is in Deuteronomy 28:43-51:

“The foreigners living among you will become stronger and stronger, while you become weaker and weaker. They will lend money to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, and you will be the tail!If you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and to obey the commands and decrees he has given you, all these curses will pursue and overtake you until you are destroyed. These horrors will serve as a sign and warning among you and your descendants forever. If you do not serve the Lord your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The Lord will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until he has destroyed you. The Lord will bring a distant nation against you from the end of the earth, and it will swoop down on you like a vulture. It is a nation whose language you do not understand, a fierce and heartless nation that shows no respect for the old and no pity for the young. Its armies will devour your livestock and crops, and you will be destroyed. They will leave you no grain, new wine, olive oil, calves, or lambs, and you will starve to death."

This principle was given as a curse to the Nation of Israel should they ever forget God and begin to bow down to idols. In spite of the warning, Israel did just that and on several occasions, this curse rang true. Notice that the way God chose to punish Israel would be causing the "foreigners" among them to increase while causing the indigenous peoples to decrease. Many other passages, such as Psalm 9:17, tell us that any nation that forgets God shall be turned into hell. So we cannot apply this to Israel alone. These warnings should serve as a principle for our own culture which has increasingly become more and more secularized and more and more embarrassed if ever described as "Christian."

These warnings, however, can offer hope to believers, that if we are true worshippers of Jesus Christ, and are unmoved and stedfast in our convictions, God may very well bless our seed and heal our land (II Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 72:4-8).

I know I have only stated the problem so far. But if you aren't roused to see the problem, it is unlikely you'll ever be motivated to find a solution. I want to show that a Christian, and more particularly, Christian fathers, have a responsibility to care about where our world is headed.

Have you ever heard som self-absorbed Christians say something to the effect of, "The world is going to Hell, but thank God I won't be around when it gets there?" The more sanctimonious ones will say something like, "Jesus is coming soon; I'm gettin' outa' here," as if saying that the world can be left to wallow in its own sin and degradation without me.

This apathetic attitude is totally foreign to the biblical worldview and it is a reproach to a people that were commanded by Christ to be a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. I will even go so far as to say that if you don't care where the world will be headed once your corpse becomes worm-food, you are not a Christian in the biblical sense of the word. In fact, your heart-felt concern, which doesn't extend very far beyond your immediate family, is the very antithesis of what those in Antioch had in mind when they coined the term "Christian." But you'll have to give me till next week
to prove my point.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Happy Belated Father's Day:

I know that Father's Day is over. But I was drawn to think of the importance of our fathers after reading an insightful blog by Dr. R. Albert Mohler this week ( If you know who I'm speaking of, you know that they're all insightful. So I really haven't said much.

Have you ever noticed that when you walk into Target to buy your card for mom on Mother's Day, the pickings are pretty slim? At least in my case, by the time I whisk in at the last minute to get my Mother's Day card, this is sad scenario. Yet, when Father's Day rolls around, there's always plenty to choose from. No doubt, this is a reflection of the fact that the ratio of involved dads over against involved moms leaves a huge gap to be filled. It is certainly a disparity in the favor of moms. We all know this. However, I want to take a moment to offer striking evidence that shows the very survivial of our civilization in the upcoming decades will depend on something as trivial in most people's minds as an involved dad.

For years the role of the father has been eroded by our culture of self gratification where men have been sold the idea that if your wife no longer lights your fire, you can always trade her in for a new one. This idea has been fostered a great deal through the "trophy wife" culture of some of the most influencial stars and politicians. Once you've exchanged your first four or five wives in for new ones, it isn't the same as saying you once drove a Ford Pinto, and now you've worked your way up to an Expedition. Where do your children fit into the picture when their mom is two or three wives/girlfriends back? You know you're adept at the game when you introduce your wife only to hear the exclamation, "What a beautiful granddaughter you have." As aghast as some of us are to this picture, what would repulse us seeing a eighty year old man do should be just as repulsive when seen done by a thirty year old. The infidelity that has become so accepted on the part of men has certainly given mom a greater edge when the holidays roll around, and shows why we have largely become a Matriarchal society.

A recent article Al Mohler's cites has indicated that there will soon be a return to patriarchy. Phillip Longman in the March/April 2006 issue of Foreign Policy (not at all known as a Conservative, much less Christian publication), raised the ire of many in the politically correct crowd by making this prediction. However, Longman is a renowned researcher who has much evidence to back it up, not the least of which is the evidence that shows society cannot last long without responsible fathers at the helm. To start off with you must know that the results of indolent, absentee fathers has not only led to the downfall of the people unfortunate enough to be part of their families, it has lead to the downfall of people . . . period.

Pretty soon, mom wises up to the fact that dad isn't going to be in the picture long. So what does she do? The abortion rights movement was largely based on answering this dilemma. If dad can cast his responsibility to the wind and be free, mom has the same right. Hence, almost 50,000,000 of our own unborn have been shamelessly killed through government sanctioned infanticide since 1973. So mom has it figured out. No dad in the picture will pretty soon equal no child in the picture either.

The birthrates in every developed country have fallen so low that they are below replacement rate. Japan has fewer children today because of men (and women) who place career before family than they have had since 1908. Only 11% of Tokyo's population are 14 or younger. Yet 25% are 65 or older. The elderly already outnumber chldren, 2 to 1. By 2020 they will outnumber them 3 to 1, and by 2040 they will outnumber them 4 to 1. You might be thinking, "so what, fewer people means fewer headaches." This is not the case. The aging demographics of Japan show that by 2050 their workforce will be 70% smaller than it is today, and will leave their country more vulnerable than it was when after WWII.

Of course, the population implosion is not Japan's problem alone. Europe has a birthrate of just above 1.3 children per couple, which is just above half replacement rate. In Brussels, Belgium, 55% of all infants born in 2004 were born to immigrant families, predominately Muslim immigrant families. Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark has shown that at the current rate of population decline, the Muslim immigrant population will overtake that of ethnic Danes in their own backyard of Denmark by 2060.

This situation is not secluded to Belgium or Denmark, it is epidemic all over continental Europe. Norwegian imam Mullah Krekar, told the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet in 2006. "Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children." As he summed it up: "Our way of thinking will prove more powerful than yours."

Canadian-American writer Mark Steyn, goes into more detail when predicting the coming population displacement of Europeans: "What's happening in the developed world is one of the fastest demographic evolutions in history: most of us have seen a gazillion heartwarming ethnic comedies -- My Big Fat Greek Wedding and its ilk -- in which some uptight WASPy type starts dating a gal from a vast loving fecund Mediterranean family, so abundantly endowed with sisters and cousins and uncles that you can barely get in the room. It is, in fact, the inversion of the truth. Greece has a fertility rate hovering just below 1.3 births per couple, which is what demographers call the point of "lowest-low" fertility from which no human society has ever recovered. And Greece's fertility is the healthiest in Mediterranean Europe: Italy has a fertility rate of 1.2, Spain 1.1. Insofar as any citizens of the developed world have "big" families these days, it's the anglo democracies: America's fertility rate is 2.1, New Zealand a little below. Hollywood should be making My Big Fat Uptight Protestant Wedding in which some sad Greek only child marries into a big heartwarming New Zealand family where the spouse actually has a sibling." (America Alone: The End of the World as we know it).

This phenomenon is described by Al Mohler as unprecedented. Usually for a population to go into decline there must be an inexorable force such as war, famine, infant mortality, or the plague. But when a nation such as Japan, the second largest economy in the world, chooses to quit reproducing, it is like unto a perfectly healthy man choosing to starve himself of his own will.

I am absolutely convinced that the population implosion the developed world is beginning to see, and the Islamic explosion that the West is so willfully blinded to, is a direct consequent of having lauded unfaithful men for so long, and for allowing marital infedility to become completely acceptable and even expected. Psalm 10:3 speaks well of the dilemma of praising men who the Lord abhores. Isaiah 5:19 also condemns those who call evil, good, and good, evil. That put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

I don't have time to corroborate all of this today. But let me start with this thought: The idea that every man is an island, stranded alone to find sustenance and satisfaction only for himself must lead to the starving of our future. Men everywhere must ask, "Do I really want to have a stake in the future, or is my legacy so unimportant that I can af ford to live only for today?" (To be continued! Seriously this time!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How to be Saved according to the Bible

If you aren't a church-going person, you might be asking, "saved from what?" You may have even heard a street preacher shouting "Jesus Saves" and thought to yourself, "Is Jesus a soccer goalie now?"

Thankfully, the Bible doesn't give us a solution without first giving us the problem. It answers these questions by not only telling us to get saved. It describes in detail why we need to be saved and what it is we need to be saved from. Reading the following verses will show that "saved" isn't just a churchy word, it is a thoroughly biblical word (Mark 13:13, John 3:3, 5:28-29, II Corinthians 5:10-11, I Thessalonians 1:10, II Thessalonians 1:5-10, Colossians 3:5-6, II Peter 3:10-13). These verses seem to spell out in bold terms that we are in grave need of being saved from God's wrath. So before we can begin talking about how to be saved, you need to realize that you cannot pick up the Bible and read it long without being told why you need to be saved. Contrary to what a lot of preachers may tell you not wanting to offend anyone in our politically correct climate, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).

I like to call the following explanation of how to be saved: The Radical Romans Road to Salvation because most of the verses come from the book of Romans. Even when they do not you will notice that every point is derived from the Bible. For this reason you ought to read it with a Bible in hand so that you can look up these verses and read them in their original context. This way you won't have to take my word for it (If you are too lazy to go find a Bible, just go to, and read the Bible online. Then go to "browse" and type in any verse you want to look up).

Let's say your neighbor started yelling outside your front door claiming that a hurricane was coming. You wouldn't just jump in the car and evacuate would you? Sadly to say, some of us are that gullible. But not you! You would check it out first to see if he had his facts straight via the news, the internet, reliable friends etc. In the same way, I am telling you that you need to be saved from the hurricane of God's righteous wrath. That is a serious claim. Don't just accept it, and more importantly, don't just reject it as the claim of some fanatical preacher. Take the time to read the verses I am giving you and corroborate it with Scripture.
Remember the simple acrostic: S.A.V.E.D.

"S" is for SIN
The Bible says that "All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory" (Romans 3:23). We see evil all around us and yet most philosophies blindly assume that we are all good in our hearts. However, this verse wakes us up to reality by telling us plainly that we have all messed up. We have all fallen short of the standard God has set for us. So you might ask, "What is God's standard? What does God expect from someone like me?" Jesus answers this question by saying that to break just one of God's commandments is to fall short of God's glory. God demands nothing short of perfection (Matthew 5:19-20, 48, James 2:10).
This puts all of us in a pretty tight spot because all of us have broken God's commandments at some point in our lives. However, our situation is much worse than simply breaking one of God's commands because the Bible tells us that we have a sinful human nature that impulsively breaks God's commands (Jeremiah 13:23, Matthew 15:19-21).

To prove this, let's line your life up to the Ten Commandments and see how well you do:

"Honor thy father and thy mother"
(Exodus 20:12). Sure, you can say that you have always honored your father and mother, just list their phone number as a reference first. I have lived long enough to know that if you say you've always honored everything your father and mother ever said, you're also guilty of breaking the ninth commandment: "Thou shalt not lie" (Exodus 20:16). In short, if you have ever dishonored what your father or mother have said at any point in your life you are guilty of breaking the fifth commandment. We might call someone who dishonors their parents "rebellious."

"Thou shalt not murder"
(Exodus 20:13). Jesus interpreted this by saying that to be angry with your brother was to murder him in your heart. He also follows this up by telling us that to verbally insult someone was to murder them with our words (Matthew 5:21-22). We even talk of character assassination today. So if you can admit that you have ever been angry with someone without immediately going to him to be reconciled; or if you will admit that you have ever chewed somebody out, you are admittedly guilty of breaking the sixth commandment. What do we call someone who commits murder; even just one murder? A murderer, right? So far we have proven you to be a rebellious, murderer.

"Thou shalt not commit adultery"
(Exodus 20:14). Jesus interpreted this by saying that to look upon a woman in lust was to commit adultery with her already in your heart (Matthew 5:27-28). I may not be able to speak for my female members of the human race. But I am pretty confident that if you are a man you have at some point fallen flat on your face when it comes to this one. What do we call someone who commits adultery? You guessed it; an adulterer. So now we have proven you to be a rebellious, murdering, adulterer.

That is just three out of the Ten Commandments and already, every one of us has been shamefully exposed as guilty. But just in case you have any doubt as to whether anyone alive today can escape the verdict of "guilty", Romans 3:19 clearly affirms that God's law was given so that the whole world would be proven to be "guilty."
What is even more tough is that God not only demands perfection, but the consequences of not measuring up to perfection is death (Romans 6:23). Ironically, most people think God will somehow overlook the fact that they are worthy of death and slip them a Get Out of Jail Free card. But God's law isn't a Monopoly game; He takes it serious. Only when you humble yourself to understand that you are deserving of death will you ever appreciate God's gift of life.

You might use the excuse that "God made me this way. God created me with this desire to sin, therefore he cannot hold me accountable for sin." The Bible, however, removes this excuse by teaching that when God created Adam and placed him in the Garden, his nature was beautiful and upright in the sight of God: "God looked upon the man he had made and said, Behold, it is very good" (Genesis 1:31). However, when tempted to eat of the forbidden fruit, man willfully chose to reject God's law in order to set up his own law. Solomon explained this saddening event well, "Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices" (Ecclesiastes 7:29). This verse tells us that God's creation of man was not flawed. God's design for man was perfect and beautiful. Yet, it was man that turned that beauty into ugliness the moment he sinned in the Garden of Eden.

Because Adam was the first man and the father of the human race, his sin was accounted as the sin of all humanity. So inevitably All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, also 5:12). No one can exclude themselves from this group; we all bear the curse of sin.

The surest evidence of how widespread the epidemic of sin has become is death. Statistics tell us that 100 out of every 100 people die. Romans 5:12 tells us why this is the case, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because (in Adam) all sinned."
However, as bad as physical death is, our physical death is only an foretaste of a greater spiritual death to come. You might ask, "How can someone die when he has already died once?" Revelation 21:8 answers this question well: "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." The second death according to the Bible is none other than Hell.

"A" is for ASLEEP
Sin has lulled us all into a comatose sleep leaving us unable to respond to God's voice according to Romans 8:7-8. The Bible not only speaks of this condition as a sleep (Ephesians 5:14), but it also describes it as "death" because of the fact that we are out of touch with the reality of our sinful condition and prevented from being able to respond obediently to God's law (Ephesians 2:1-3). Romans 3:11 tells us just how out of touch we are when it says: "There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God" (Romans 3:11).
Contrary to this, you may have heard people claim that they are seeking to find God. But this verse tells us we are completely oblivious to God until He intervenes by waking us out of sleep and raising us from the dead. For this reason the Bible says says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you" (Ephesians 5:14). Notice that this verse speaks of sleep as synonymous with death. To be spiritually dead means that we have no ability to please God, much less the ability to save ourselves.

Romans 8:7-8 tells us that we are in such a comatose state that none of us have the ability to rouse ourselves to understanding the reality of God; we are hopelessly unable to respond to God in the same way that a dead man is hopelessly unable to respond to you no matter how loudly you may shout.

So before we come to know Christ, we must humbly admit our inability to save ourselves and confess that the only way for us to be saved is for God to resurrect us from the dead (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13, Romans 6:4). What I am saying may go against every bone of pride in your body because you have always thought that somehow you can be good enough for God. But in light of all we have mentioned, your only hope of salvation is to know that God does not accept the proud;"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the lowly" (Psalm 138:6).

"V" is for VITALITY
Anyone can receive vitality by turning to Christ. We have all been given the death sentence because of our sin according to Romans 6:23. But the same verse goes on to tell us that the gift of God is vitality. That is: "eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Before Jesus astonished many by raising a man from the dead, he said: "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25). When we believe in Jesus this promise stands true. He resurrects us from the dead and gives us new life so that we can live that life for Him. The Bible says: "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf" (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

"E" is for EXCHANGE
Salvation is really a barter or exchange. You must exchange your sin for the righteousness of Christ (Romans 5:17): The fact that Christ died on a cross is the supreme example of the fact that God could not overlook sin. The sin that all of us have committed must be punished according to Scripture (Hebrews 9:22).

Sin is such a big deal to God that He cannot simply act as if it never happened and wipe it under the rug. He doesn't let bygones be bygones. When God's law is broken the glory of His name is at stake. The bible says that His name must be vindicated (Hebrews 10:29-30).

Somebody has to suffer the punishment that for our disregard for His law That is why Jesus died on the Cross. He literally paid the penalty for sin that we all deserved. Think about how amazing this is: Instead of us dying on a Cross, or in Hell, Christ died in our place. This is exactly what the Bible tells us: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5, also Hebrews 9:22).
The burden of sin is a weight that none of us can bear; we will inevitably be crushed and spend eternity in Hell if we insist on keeping it in our possession (Luke 20:18). But thank God Christ bore that weight of sin for us when He died upon the Cross.

When you believe on His name, your sins do not just disappear; they are not swept under the rug. They nailed Christ to the Cross.

Christ taking your sin on the Cross is only the first part of the exchange in salvation. The exchange isn't complete until He gives you His own righteousness. Jesus lived on the earth for thirty three years and never sinned because He made it His joy to glorify the father (John 17:5). Such righteousness is a gift we could never earn; it is a gift only Christ can give because only Christ lived a perfect life (Hebrews 4:15, 7:25).

Once Christ completes the exchange by giving you his own righteousness, God no longer sees the shame of your sin and nakedness. He no longer sees the ugliness of your law-breaking heart; He sees only the perfect righteousness of His son Jesus Christ. There is one person in the universe that God accepts; His son, Jesus. And when you trust Christ, God accepts you just as He accepts the Son.

Romans 5:17 explains well this gift of righteousness: "For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." Sin once reigned in all of our hearts, but sin is dethroned and righteousness reigns when we receive His gift of life.

"D" is for DECIDE
All must decide (Romans 8:6). You must decide who you will serve. Jesus once said, "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other . . ." (Matthew 6:24). You cannot continue to cherish your sin and embrace Christ.

Are you going to trust Christ and reject your sin. Or are you going to reject Christ to embrace your sin?

You might be thinking to yourself, "I love my sin. I don't know how I'll ever stop doing it." Certainly, when we come to Christ there is a cost, and that cost is everything. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24). To deny yourself means that you are willing to give up everything to have a relationship with Him. It means we will view Christ and His kingdom as a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field (Matthew 13:44). All must decide; and the decision is not only between Christ and sin, it is between life and death: "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6). This verse is simply telling us that if we continue to live a life of sin our end will be death.

You can pray now and ask God to save you:
1. Admit to God that you are a sinner.
2. Confess to God that you have been asleep, better yet, dead, unable to save yourself.
3. Ask God to give you new life and vitality just as He gave Christ new vitality when He raised
Him from the dead.
4. Ask God to take away your sin in exchange for Christ's perfect righteousness.
5. Explain to God that you have decided to turn from your sin and to live for Him. (You cannot
turn from your sin by your own power. But the Holy Spirit will empower you the moment
you believe. Read Acts 1:8).

If you just prayed and asked God to forgive you of your sins, send me an email so that I can thank God for your decision. I would like to contact you and encourage you in the faith.

However, you should know that while it is important that you pray to God asking Him to save you (Romans 10:9-10), no prayer is going to be the proof that you are saved. Rather, the proof will be found in a radically changed life (II Corinthians 5:17), because if God has really entered your life you can never be the same. The sin you once loved will be the thing that you hate, and the God you once indifferently weighed as inconsequential will be the thing most essential. The Christ who died for you now gives you the Divine love not only to live for Him, but also to die for Him (Matthew 16:24).