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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Real Debate Behind Prop 8

For full disclosure I should say that I am a Christian theologian who believes that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God; that God and Christians love gays; and that I have not just contradicted myself. There are many voices in the gay marriage debate. It is my goal to give voice to the biblical arguments in favor of Proposition 8.

Jesus taught, “[God] who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’” It is clear that what Jesus says is what Proposition 8 means: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” In citing the creation mandate, Jesus confirms what God has required of all civilizations—that marriage be defined as being between one man and one woman.

Consequently, premarital, extra-marital, incestuous, polygamous, pornographic, and homosexual sex are all sin (Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Thess 4:3). Few problems have wrought more havoc than sexual desires loosed without boundaries. Therefore, real love sets protective limits over passions. God’s love is no exception. God gave the greatest gift, His Son, to guilty sinners in order to save us from the eternal consequences of our sin. To all who turn from their sin to trust in Jesus, God offers full reconciliation, forgiveness, and adoption as sons and daughters. Yes, God loves the people of the world, and Christianity is the record of the greatest love story ever told. So to fight fairly, proponents of gay marriage need to stop using straw men arguments e.g., true followers of Jesus are homophobic.

The real debate behind Proposition 8 is this: Is it morally right and responsibly sound to reject a reliance upon the Bible and in its place adopt a secular humanistic perspective as the basis for governance of our nation (Prov 14:34)? This is the real debate because the Bible is clear that God, who is love, opposes gay marriage, and gay marriage proponents openly reject a literal adherence to His definition of marriage.

So this great debate has led us to a fork in the road. With no pun intended, I pray that we will go straight. We have long historical precedence for relying upon biblical principles to determine matters of jurisprudence and governance. Consider the convictions of our founding forefathers:

  1. “Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid . . .” The Mayflower Compact (Written by the first Settlers in  in November 1620, this is the first/founding governing document writer for our Nation). 
  2. “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports,” George Washington (From his farewell address, September 17, 1796; quoted by Johnson, George Washington the Christian, pp. 217-18).
  3. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other,” John Adams. Quoted in War on Religious Freedom (Virginia Beach, Virginia: Freedom Council, 1984, p. 1).
  4. “Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God,” Gouverneur Morris (writer of the final draft of the Constitution and author of the phrase “We the people of the United States”). Quoted Gouverneur Morris in America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations p. 455 & Christianity and the Constitution John Eidsmoe, p. 188 note 34; Notes on the Form of a Constitution for France, uncertain date, Life of Morris, III: 483.
  5. “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord,” Abraham Lincoln (Spoken on the National Day of Prayer, March 30, 1863). 
So what does America lose if gay marriage wins? She loses much. She loses the brilliance of what has made her great—the basis for her moral reasoning; the guiding light of revelation, which has led her safely through many dark nights and perilous storms; the connection to her founding roots that has enabled her to withstand the strongest tempest-winds; and most tragically, the blessing of the One who has made her the greatest nation on earth—God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With all due respect, I pray America recognizes, as her founding fathers did, that Jesus is wiser than even the wisest American judge, and that she will reaffirm the definition of marriage given by God to all people throughout all of history that marriage is the union between one man and one woman bound in a covenant commitment of companionship for a lifetime.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Please Teach Your Children to Swim!!!!!

I'm not sure I've ever read a more tragic story.  Six black teens drowned trying to save each other with 20 family members watching. None of them could swim. Please pray for their broken families.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My Legacy Conference 2010 Purity Workshop Notes

The content for this workshop (and post) "Igniting the Passion for a Radical Revival of Purity" was taken largely from the book Secret Sex Wars: A Battle Cry for Purity of which I am the general editor. For a fuller discussion of the issues covered in this workshop, I strongly recommend that you get the book. 

Second, to those who attended this workshop, God used you to encourage my soul. I thank God for your tender hearts towards God's call to holiness and pray with you that God will ignite a passion for purity in your heart and use you to spark a revival of purity throughout our urban centers. 

Finally, to Brian Dye and the entire Legacy staff, Christ was honored by your vision, servant's hearts, administrative excellence, and commitment to proclaim the truth of His Word.

Part 1: Putting Sexual Sin to Death
Colossians 3:5-7

How can a Christian live a pure life in our impure world? Here’s a key: we have to develop a biblically counter-cultural radical passion for purity. In order to do that you must embrace two biblical truths about purity.

The 1st Biblical Truth You Must Embrace is that You Can Put Sexual Sin to Death

Let’s seek to understand this command to put sin sexual to death by first clarifying what it does not mean.
  1. It doesn’t mean that you hide it.
  2. You cannot put sin to death by internalizing it.
  3. You have not put sin to death just by exchanging it for another sin.
How then do you put sexual sin to death?
  1. You must hate sexual sin passionately.
  2. You must fight sexual sin violently.
  3. You must deal with sexual sin decisively.
And in order to do those three things:
  • You must fight it spiritually. (Eph 6:12)
  • You must fight with faith in God (Col 3:5).
  • You must finally fight it with fullness . (Eph 5:18; 3; Col 3:16)
The 2nd Biblical Truth that You Must Embrace is that You Must You Put Sexual Sin to Death

There are four fundamental reasons why we must put sexual sin to death.
  1. We must put sexual sin to death because the Word of God commands it, Col 3:5.
  2. We must put sexual sin to death is because the nature of sexual sin demands that we put it to death (1 Pet 2:11).
  3. We must put sexual sin to death because it brings the wrath of God, Col 3:6.
  4. We must put sexual sin to death because the grace of God has already come, Col 3:7.

 Part 2: Living Radical Pure Lives in the Will of God
1 Thess 4:3-8

In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, the Word of God charges us with three commands followed by three reasons to love radically pure lives in the will of God.

I. Three Commands for Sexual Purity, 1 Thess 4:3-6a
  • Command #1 Abstain from Sexual Immorality, 1 Thess 4:3
  • Command #2 Learn How to Control Your Body in Holiness and Honor, 1 Thess 4:4-5
  • Command #3 Don't  Transgress and Defraud Your Brothers and Sisters, 1 Thess 4:6a
There are four categories of relationship we have with people of the opposite sex.
  1. Familial: brothers and sisters, 1 Tim 5:2
  2. Threats: seducers and seductresses we must avoid, Proverbs 7:5, 26-27
  3. Potential Dangers: The unsaved we are called to reach, Jude 23
  4. A Spouse: Being a One Mate Kind of Person, 1 Tim 3:2
II. Three Reasons for Sexual Purity, 1 Thess 4:6-8
  • Reason #1 God Abhors Immorality, 1 Thess 4:6b
  • Reason #2 God Calls Believers to be Pure, 1 Thess 4:7
  • Reason #3 God is Holy and He Helps Christians to be Holy, 1 Thess 4:8

Part 3: Lesson from the Fall of King David (Covered on Friday)
2 Samuel 11-12 and Psalm 51

To avoid succumbing to sexual temptation that is all around us, every Christian should carefully consider the lessons from the fall and recovery of King David.

Lessons from His Moral Failure
  1. Undisciplined Leisure Time Will Lead to Moral Failure, 2 Sam 11:1
  2. Looking Will Lead to Moral Failure, 11:2
  3. Pride Will Lead to Moral Failure, 11:3
  4. Lust Will Lead to Moral Failure, 11:4
  5. Lying Will Lead to Moral Failure, 11:5-13
  6. Abusing Ones Authority Will Lead to Moral Failure, 11:14-21
  7. A Calloused Heart Will Lead to Moral Failure, 11:22-25
  8. Concealing Sin Will Lead to Moral Failure, 11:26-27a
Lessons from His Recovery
  1. You Must Fear God, 2 Sam 11:27b
  2. You Must Listen to God's Rebuke, 12:1-15
  3. You Must Accept God's Discipline, 12:16-23
  4. You Must Confess Your Sins before God, 2 Sam 12:13; Ps 51:4-5
  5. You Must Plead to God for Forgiveness, Ps 51:10
  6. You Must Re-Commit Yourself from that Sin 1 Kings 15:5