Newsletter N0-160 (If you don't want to receive our "Defending the Faith Newsletter," just click unsubscribe at the bottom of this newsletter).
1. Is Gambling a Sin? What does the Bible say about gambling? 2. What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol/wine? What does the Bible say about Christians drinking alcohol/wine? 3. A Bad Trade - James Bell & Stan Campbell
4. What do you do when things don't go well, Dr. Foster Shannon 5. Not Of This World, Dr. James Dobson 6. Waiting for the Other Shoe - Supreme Court Rules on Same - Sex Marriage, Dr. Albert Mohler 7. Why Christians Must Legislate Morality, Frank Turek & Eric Shansburg
8. The 7 Deadly Habits of Truly Miserable People! Evangelist Bob Gass
9. Apostle Brian Simmons and the 'Secret Knowledge' Tactic, Apologist Holly Pivec
10. Welcome to Christian Counseling, Dr. Irene Sherman Ph.D
11. Church Service
12. Church Leadership
From the Pastor's Desk
1. Aloha & Sola Scriptura! I just wanted to remind you of our monthly men's ministries breakfast on July 13, at 7 a.m.. It will be held at the Kukuiolono Golf Course and not at the Kalaheo Cafe. This will afford us more privacy. sFor more information, call Peter Lopez at: 645-6268. The turn out has been great and you will enjoy it as the men of the Koloa is drawing closer to the Lord and one another. What a great time of fellowship.
2. Beginning this Sunday, July 7, we will begin a new class "Beginning Point," with Fred Baum. His wife and daughter moved here a few months ago and have become members of our fellowship. Fred is very mature and schooled in the Word God and also served as an assistant pastor on the mainland. He also teaches once a month in our Sunday evening worship service.
This class is must for those who need a solid foundation to build on. It will always be a time of answering questions you may have.
3. This coming Wednesday, Pastor Kilborn will conclude or expository teaching in Hosea. You don't want to miss it. The turn out has been great.
4. Beginning, July 17, we will begin a dvd series on the Gifts of Holy Spirit by Dr. George Wood. Dr. Wood is one of the great scholars of our day and has a number of books he has written. I have been to three conventions with Dr. Wood as the speaker. He is also a Lawyer/theologian, par excellence. He was also a professor at Vanguard University in Southern California. The late Dr. Walter Martin, who was considered by many as one of the leading biblical authorities in the world when he was alive, was on staff with Dr. Wood at Newport Mesa Christian Center. I have it recorded by Dr. Martin on CD, that he considered Dr. Wood to be one of the best Bible teachers in Southern California in the '80s.
5. Due to time constraints, I will continue in our next newsletter on "How To Deal With
Apologetic Website I Highly Recommend
"Controversy for the sake of controversy is a sin. But "Controversy for the sake of truth, is a divine command."
A college president recently told his graduating seniors: "It matters little what you've learned here, if in the end you can't find ways of getting along and working things out with others." Dr. William Glasser says emotional turmoil and misery come from trying to control others through:
(1) criticizing; (2) complaining; (3) nagging; (4) punishing; (5) bribing; (6) blaming; (7) threatening. When you say, "I wouldn't have this headache if you'd just tidy up around here," or, "If you really loved me, you'd do what I ask," you're practicing control. Actually, the way we manipulate each other it's a miracle we've
Where did these habits come from? We saw them practiced by teachers, parents and others, and started using them ourselves. And they
work - but only short-term, because as human beings we're all genetically wired to withstand outside pressure. What you resist, persists. When you coerce others they usually dig in their heels, or sneak around behind your back. Until you stop trying to control others, your relationships will keep ending in power struggles that make everybody miserable.
So what's the answer? Listen: "Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you." That means: (a) Admit that, as difficult as it may be, your current tactics don't work. (b) Remember, "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Pr 29:18). Take time to create a concrete, mental picture of the kind of person you
to become. (c) Work gradually on changing yourself by adopting the Scriptural principles you'd like to integrate into your life.
Question: "Is gambling a sin? What does the Bible say about gambling?"
). Gambling most definitely is focused on the love of money and undeniably tempts people with the promise of quick and easy riches.
What is wrong with gambling? Gambling is a difficult issue because if it is done in moderation and only on occasion, it is a waste of money, but it is not necessarily evil. People waste money on all sorts of activities. Gambling is no more or less of a waste of money than seeing a movie (in many cases), eating an unnecessarily expensive meal, or purchasing a worthless item. At the same time, the fact that money is wasted on other things does not justify gambling. Money should not be wasted. Excess money should be saved for future needs or given to the Lord's work, not gambled away.
While the Bible does not explicitly mention gambling, it does mention events of "luck" or "chance." As an example, casting lots is used in Leviticus to choose between the sacrificial goat and the scapegoat. Joshua cast lots to determine the allotment of land to the various tribes. Nehemiah cast lots to determine who would live inside the walls of Jerusalem. The apostles cast lots to determine the replacement for Judas. Proverbs 16:33 says, "The lot is cast in the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord."
What would the Bible say about casinos and lotteries? Casinos use all sorts of marketing schemes to entice gamblers to risk as much money as possible. They often offer inexpensive or even free alcohol, which encourages drunkenness, and thereby a decreased ability to make wise decisions. Everything in a casino is perfectly rigged for taking money in large sums and giving nothing in return, except for fleeting and empty pleasures. Lotteries attempt to portray themselves as a way to fund education and/or social programs. However, studies show that lottery participants are usually those who can least afford to be spending money on lottery tickets. The allure of "getting rich quick" is too great a temptation to resist for those who are desperate. The chances of winning are infinitesimal, which results in many peoples' lives being ruined.
Can lotto/lottery proceeds please God? Many people claim to be playing the lottery or gambling so that they can give the money to the church or to some other good cause. While this may be a good motive, reality is that few use gambling winnings for godly purposes. Studies show that the vast majority of lottery winners are in an even worse financial situation a few years after winning a jackpot than they were before. Few, if any, truly give the money to a good cause. Further, God does not need our money to fund His mission in the world. Proverbs 13:11 says, "Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow." God is sovereign and will provide for the needs of the church through honest means. Would God be honored by receiving donated drug money or money stolen in a bank robbery? Of course not. Neither does God need or want money that was "stolen" from the poor in the temptation for riches.
First Timothy 6:10 tells us, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." Hebrews 13:5 declares, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" Matthew 6:24 proclaims, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
Background: The following post features the fifth and final part of an exchange between me and Apostle Brian Simmons, the translator of a "New Apostolic Reformation" Bible called "The Passion Translation." See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
The exchange occurred after I wrote a critical review of his translation at Amazon.com (see the discussion thread here and notice that he has since deleted his response to me). I feature our exchange here because it shows the types of illogical argumentation, deception, and poor scholarship that characterize many of the written works produced by leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement.
I want to highlight another tactic used by Apostle Brian Simmons to get people to buy his new Bible, The Passion Translation. I call this tactic "secret knowledge."
This tactic-used frequently by apostles and prophets in the NAR movement-is the attempt to gain followers by claiming that they possess important spiritual information they alone are privy to.
Simmons implies he has secret knowledge when he claims he used Aramaic manuscripts to produce his translation, yet does not identify those manuscripts. Nor does he identify the discoveries that supposedly show that the manuscripts he used are the earliest manuscripts. Thus-by appealing to obscure, unnamed manuscripts-he is essentially claiming that he alone has knowledge of what the earliest manuscripts of the Bible said.
Yet, interestingly-when I challenged him on the soundness of using Aramaic manuscripts-he initially downplayed his dependence on the Aramaic. But he didn't downplay it for long. Notice how he quickly turned around and continued to argue for the Aramaic.
Here's what I said that started our exchange.
In the introduction to this book, Simmons admits that much of his translation is based on Aramaic manuscripts of the New Testament rather than Greek manuscripts. The problem with basing a translation on Aramaic manuscripts is that the earliest Aramaic manuscripts are from the fifth century. Thus, he has not based his translation on the earliest and most reliable manuscripts, which date centuries earlier. In contrast to Simmons' translation of the New Testament, the standard English translations are based on much earlier and more reliable Greek manuscripts.
And here's how Simmons responded.
And here's what I said.
Simmons appears to back pedal on comments he made in his "Translators Note" at the beginning of Letters From Heaven by the Apostle Paul. In this note, he said, "When there is a vast difference in meaning, many times I have resorted to using the Aramaic alternative."
He also indicated that new discoveries are showing that the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic, not Greek. He said:
"Many new discoveries are being made regarding the original documents and manuscripts that have been compiled to form our Bible, especially the Aramaic manuscripts of the New Testament. ... For centuries, it has been believed that the New Testament was first written in Greek. ... Some scholars now lean increasingly towards the thought that Aramaic and Hebrew texts of the New Testament are the original manuscripts, and that many of the Greek texts are copies, and a second generation from the originals! This is radically changing translation concepts, and will result in many new translations of the New Testament based on Aramaic."
I find it very curious that after making so much of the Aramaic manuscripts in his introduction, Simmons then downplayed his dependence on the Aramaic manuscripts in his response to my review.
I also feel the need to comment on Simmons' statement that "Jesus spoke Aramaic and every one of his teachings have been translated into the Greek." This statement seems to reflect a confusion on his part about how the New Testament was produced. While Jesus may well have spoken Aramaic, the manuscript evidence indicates that all the New Testament books-including Jesus' teachings in the Gospels-were originally written in Greek. Thus, the relevant question is not what language Jesus spoke, but what language the New Testament was written in.
In short, it seems-from his back pedaling-that Simmons recognizes the weakness of the Aramaic manuscripts. But he is unwilling to give up defending them because they are the source he appeals to for the "secret knowledge" that gives his translation the edge.
- By Holly Pivec
A Bad Trade
James S. Bell & Stan Campbell
Character is always lost when a high ideal is sacrificed on the altar of conformity and popularity
Business consultants describe a common phenomenon in many organizations. Ayoung person is hired who has an instinctive ability to motivate people by treating them with respect. The employees in turn produce well for the new supervisor. Naturally, this person quickly climbs the corporate ladder and is pegged as upper management material. But there's where "the change" often occurs.
As a lower-level employee, the person succeeded because of his or her unique outlook and high ideals. Yet once the leap is made into management, conformity suddenly takes precedence. Dress, language, and even ideas quickly adapt to those of other executives. The mosttragic result is that the manager forsakes a previous high ideal of the potential and value or people in exchange for "bottom line" concerns and personal advancement.
There's nothing wrong with conformity or popularity. The problem is in sacrificing high ideals to get there, for the loss of character is almost never regained. After Lancelot slept with Guinevere, the glory of Camelot quickly came to an end. When Judas betrayed Jesus, a crucifixion and suicide followed within hours.
If you don't want the insurmountable task of trying to re-assembleyour good character, the secret is to do whatever it takes to keep from sacrificing it in the first place.
What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol / wine? Is it a sin for a Christian to drink alcohol / wine?
Question: "What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol / wine? Is it a sin for a Christian to drink alcohol / wine?"
What God commands Christians regarding alcohol is to avoid drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18). The Bible condemns drunkenness and its effects (Proverbs 23:29-35). Christians are also commanded to not allow their bodies to be "mastered" by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19). Drinking alcohol in excess is undeniably addictive. Scripture also forbids a Christian from doing anything that might offend other Christians or encourage them to sin against their conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9-13). In light of these principles, it would be extremely difficult for any Christian to say he is drinking alcohol in excess to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Jesus changed water into wine. It even seems that Jesus drank wine on occasion (John 2:1-11; Matthew 26:29). In New Testament times, the water was not very clean. Without modern sanitation, the water was often filled with bacteria, viruses, and all kinds of contaminants. The same is true in many third-world countries today. As a result, people often drank wine (or grape juice) because it was far less likely to be contaminated. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul was instructing Timothy to stop drinking the water (which was probably causing his stomach problems) and instead drink wine. In that day, wine was fermented (containing alcohol), but not necessarily to the degree it is today. It is incorrect to say that it was grape juice, but it is also incorrect to say that it was the same thing as the wine commonly used today. Again, Scripture does not forbid Christians from drinking beer, wine, or any other drink containing alcohol. Alcohol is not, in and of itself, tainted by sin. It is drunkenness and addiction to alcohol that a Christian must absolutely refrain from (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 6:12).
Alcohol, consumed in small quantities, is neither harmful nor addictive. In fact, some doctors advocate drinking small amounts of red wine for its health benefits, especially for the heart. Consumption of small quantities of alcohol is a matter of Christian freedom. Drunkenness and addiction are sin. However, due to the biblical concerns regarding alcohol and its effects, due to the easy temptation to consume alcohol in excess, and due to the possibility of causing offense and/or stumbling of others, it is often best for a Christian to abstain from drinking alcohol.
What do you do when things do not go well? You have a big day ahead of you, and you don't feel well and you don't want to do anything! You have made careful plans for your day, and there are at least six unexpected events that delay you and distract you. You have an appointment to make and forget about it-or someone has an appointment to see you and they fail to come. You promise to do something for another, and you run out of time and it is not done. Someone makes a promise to you and fails to fulfill it. Or you read the morning news and wonder who will help us out of the messes that we are in?
READ Psalm 77
The psalmist is hurting. He prays to God, and he is not sure that he is being heard. When he looks out at the day he sees trouble, and he finds no comfort. He thinks of God, but he is so troubled that he cannot speak. He remembers better days. He feels that God is against him. In a way he is asking if he has missed the train of faith and trust in God. Then in verse 10 he wakes up.
He recognizes that the problem is not God-but his grief. Out of that realization regarding himself, he finds the resolution: verses 11 and 12, "I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; yea, I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate on all thy work, and muse on thy mighty deeds. Thy Way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?" The psalmist's plight and resolution remind me of two passages in the New Testament. "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well." (Matthew 6:33) "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set you minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." (Colossians 3:1,2)
The conclusions come to the Psalmist. "Your way is holy." (perfect) There is none other like You. You are the God who works wonders and redeems your people. Our God is always to be first in our hearts! Our Savior is always there to help us.
This psalm should remind us of those practices that will help us:
Turning our attention from ourselves to God
Reading the Bible daily
Being pro active for the Lord; engaging in his service; helping someone else
Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments by typing the address below into your mail program:
NOT OF THIS WORLD
Dr. James Dobson
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Does it feel like you have a tougher job raising children than your parents did, or certainly than your grandparents did? If your answer is yes, there's a good reason for it. It's probably true.
As one columnist noted, the problem for parents in this generation "isn't that they can't say no. It's that there is so much more to say no to." She went on to write that parents used to raise their children in accordance with the cultural values voiced by ministers, teachers, neighbors, and leaders. But in the 1990's the messengers were "Ninja Turtles, Madonna, rap groups, and celebrities pushing sneakers." Today it's even worse. As a result, parents face a daunting and often discouraging task.
It's not a new challenge, though. Even in biblical times, the apostle Paul advised that "the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight" (1 Corinthians 3:19). Wise men and women-including fathers and mothers-have never set their hearts or hopes on the warped values of contemporary culture. Instead, they fix on the eternal values of the world above, knowing that "the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25).
You can win the battle for your kids. A good start is to focus on the eternal goal and enlist the mighty power of God in persistent prayer.
Before you say good night...
What parenting challenges do you face that your parents didn't?
How can you help each other guard your family from inappropriate messages in the culture?
Heavenly Father, we do become discouraged at times in saying "no" so often on behalf of our kids. Encourage us to never waver in seeking the best for our precious children, and may we always stay fixed on the eternal goal. Amen.
Seven Bitter Fruits of Sin
Pastor Colin Smith
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan... 2 Thessalonians 2:9
If sin is the secret activity of Satan at work in the soul, what does it produce in a person's life?
1. Deception-with all wicked deception... (2:10)
Evil deceives; that is its nature. Where you find sin attractive, that is where Satan deceives.
2. Perishing-for those who are perishing. (2:10)
For those outside of Jesus Christ there is an unraveling of life that is going on, a taking down, a becoming less. By nature we are perishing.
3. Refusing-because they refused to love the truth... (2:10)
The greatest barrier to faith lies not in the doubts of the mind, but in the desires of the heart.
4. Pleasure-All... who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2:12)
"Had pleasure in unrighteousness" explains why they "did not believe." Where the heart loves wickedness, the mind cannot embrace the truth.
5. Delusion-therefore God sends them a strong delusion... (2:11)
When a person keeps resisting Christ and pushing him away, God eventually gives him or her over to what he or she desires.
6. (False) Belief-so that they may believe what is false. (2:11)
When a man feels that he is his own God, his own law, and that he stands on his own goodness, you know he has swallowed the lie.
-All [will] be condemned who did not believe the truth... (2:12)
This is why we need a Savior, and why we rejoice in these words: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"(Romans 8:1)!
Waiting for the Other Shoe" - The Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Marriage
On the last day of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today on two same-sex marriage cases. Both are important cases, and both will go far in redefining the most basic institution of human civilization. The Court knew it was making history. A majority of the justices clearly intended to make history, and future generations will indeed remember this day. But for what?
In the first decision handed down today, the Supreme Court found that the Defense of Marriage Act, passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, is unconstitutional. Specifically, it found that the federal government's refusal to recognize a same-sex marriage that is legal in a state to be unconstitutional. The Court left in place the DOMA provision that protects states from being required to recognize a same-sex union that is valid in another state. In the Proposition 8 case, the Court's majority held that the plaintiffs in the case, representing the people of California, lacked legal standing to appeal the lower court's decisions that found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. In 2008, a majority of voters in California passed a constitutional amendment that defined marriage in that state as the union of a man and a woman, effectively overturning a California Supreme Court ruling that had legalized same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in that case today means that the decision of the Federal District Court stands, presumably meaning that same-sex marriage will be legal again in California. This is presumably the case, but not necessarily, because of disputed provisions in California law. Courts in that state will have to sort out those issues.
Of the two decisions handed down today, the DOMA decision is, by far, the most important and wide reaching. In the Court's majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court has ruled that Congress was motivated by a specific moral animus against homosexual marriage and homosexual citizens when it passed DOMA. As such, the Court ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional.
Is the DOMA Decision a New Roe v. Wade?
It is virtually impossible to exaggerate the future impact of the DOMA decision, but it is not yet a new Roe v. Wade. Instead, it sets up a future legal challenge from any citizen in any state that does not have legal same-sex marriage. The Court's decision in that future case, surely not long in our future, will be the new Roe v. Wade - a sweeping decision that would create a new "right" that would mean the coast-to-coast legalization of same-sex marriage. Today's decisions do not take us there, but they take us to the precipice of that sweeping decision. That is especially true of the DOMA case.
Striking at the heart of DOMA, Justice Kennedy wrote: "The history of DOMA's enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence."
As evidence of this judgment, Kennedy cited a document from the House of Representatives in 1996. That statement proposed that DOMA expressed "both moral disapproval of homosexuality, and a moral conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional (especially Judeo-Christian) morality." That document went on to state that DOMA would protect the government's "interest in protecting the traditional moral teachings reflected in heterosexual-only marriage laws."
In the view of five justices, that meant the death of DOMA. They ruled that the only reason that Congress passed DOMA in 1996 was because it wanted to single out same-sex couples to be denied access to marriage, and it did so on moral terms. As Kennedy argued in his majority opinion, "The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the states." In doing so, he argued, the Congress had passed a law that "violates the due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government."
Nevertheless, even as Justice Kennedy castigated Congress (and presumably former President Bill Clinton) for making moral judgments, he could not resist moral judgments of his own. He wrote of our society's "evolving understanding of the meaning of equality and declared that the states have the right to confer on same-sex marriages "the equal dignity" of a mariage between a man and a woman. By finding that the moral judgment of Congress in opposing same-sex marriage was wrong, he asserted, quite forcefully, that opposition to same-sex marriage is rooted in animus or hatred. In other words, Justice Kennedy, joined by four other justices, believes that opposition to same-sex marriage is wrong. In condemning a moral judgment, he arrogantly made a moral judgment.
While the immediate effects of the striking down of DOMA's federal definition of marriage are not specifically clear, it does mean that the federal government will now be required to recognize any same-sex union declared to be legal in any state, extending full recognition and extending all federal marriage benefits to that same-sex marriage. The Obama Administration will have to make a myriad of decisions about how this is to be done. Interestingly, this will put President Obama, who last year "evolved" into full support for legal same-sex marriage, on the hot seat once again.
Scalia the Prophet
Back in 2003, when the Supreme Court struck down all state laws against homosexuality, Justice Kennedy also wrote the majority opinion. That opinion, in the case Lawrence v. Texas, set the stage for today's majority opinion authored by the same justice. In 2003, Justice Kennedy argued that laws restricting homosexual acts and relationships were driven by moral animus against homosexuals and homosexuality. He acknowledged that this moral judgment is both venerable and deeply rooted in the moral traditions of Western civilization, but he condemned such laws and, writing for the majority, struck them down. He employed the very same logic today in striking down DOMA.
Back in 2003, Justice Antonin Scalia issued a scathing dissent to Justice Kennedy's majority opinion: "Today's opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as a formal recognition in marriage is concerned. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is 'no legitimate state interest' for purposes of proscribing that conduct ... what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples?"
Justice Kennedy insisted in 2003 that the Lawrence decision did not involve homosexual marriage and did not imply any necessary recognition of same-sex unions. In response, Scalia retorted: "This case 'does not involve' the issue of same-sex marriage only if one entertains the belief that principle and logic have nothing to do with the decisions of this Court." He concluded: "Many will hope that, as this Court comfortingly assures us, this is so."
As Justice Kennedy himself made abundantly clear today, Justice Scalia was right ten years ago. Justice Kennedy's protestations that the Lawrence decision did not involve same-sex marriage were wrong. It is hard to avoid the moral conclusion that he was then both intellectually dishonest and disingenuous. The decision handed down today proves Justice Scalia to have been a prophet. He told the truth, and Justice Kennedy, in his own words, has proved Scalia to have been right.
In an equally scathing dissent handed down in the DOMA case today, Scalia called the decision "jaw-dropping." He castigated the Court's majority for usurping the democratic process and for condemning all opposition to same-sex unions as "irrational and hateful."
Even though the Court did not rule today that all states must legally recognize and allow for same-sex marriages, the handwriting is on the wall. Justice Kennedy's majority opinion implicitly invites any citizen who resides in a state that does not allow for same-sex marriage to claim that his or her constitutional rights are violated on the basis of the Court's opinion handed down today. You can count on a challenge of this form arising in short order.
As Justice Scalia noted in his dissent today, "As far as this Court is concerned, no one should be fooled; it is just a matter of listening and waiting for the other shoe."
The Court's majority did not want to pay the political price that a decision as immediately sweeping as Roe v. Wade would have cost. Instead, the majority decided to send a clear signal that such a case will now be well received. It struck down DOMA by employing a logic that, as Scalia noted, cannot stop with the striking down of DOMA. It can only stop with the full legalization of same-sex marriage in all fifty states by judicial fiat.
But wait, for there are more shoes to drop. In his opinion today, remember that Justice Kennedy wrote these crucial words: "The history of DOMA's enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence."
What about laws against polygamy? Was Justice Kennedy even aware of just how sweeping this statement would be? Laws against polygamy were explicitly passed in order to "interfere" with the "equal dignity" of multiple-spousal marriages. Justice Kennedy's opinion, now the Court's decision, destroys any legal argument against polygamy.
The Christian Church and Marriage
The Christian church does not ask the U. S. Supreme Court, or any other human court, what marriage is. Marriage is a pre-political institution defined by our Creator - for His glory and for human flourishing. Today's decisions will create serious religious liberty challenges for all churches, Christian institutions, and Christian citizens in this nation. But the greatest impact of these decisions is the further marginalization and subversion of marriage. The destruction of marriage did not start recently, and it did not start with same-sex marriage, but its effects will be devastating.
Christians will have to think hard - and fast - about these issues and our proper response. We will have to learn an entire new set of missional skills as we seek to remain faithful to Christ in this fast-changing culture.
And, as warned by Justice Scalia, we do so knowing that we are waiting for the other shoes to drop.
Is Legislating Morality Biblical?
By: Frank Turek and Eric Schansberg
This article first appeared in the Viewpoints column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 35, number 03 (2012).
Why Christians Must Legislate Morality
by Frank Turek
When I have just a minute to communicate the importance of Christians being involved in politics, I call up this satellite picture of the Korean peninsula on my iPhone.
Here we see a homogenous population of mostly Koreans separated by a well-fortified border. South Korea is full of light, productivity, and the gospel. They are a free country and one of the most Christianized countries in the world. North Korea is a concentration camp. They have no freedom, very little food, and almost no Christianity.I then ask, "What is the primary reason for the stark difference between these two countries?" The answer is
. The South politically allows freedom, while the North does not.Freedom is rare in countries around the world. America is the shining exception-hence the phrase "American exceptionalism." It is not that Americans are somehow better than the rest of the world, but that our American system of individual freedom and limited government is better. Our Founding Fathers brilliantly grounded individual rights in God, without mandating a national religion, and put limits on government power, which created the conditions for a free and prosperous society.
Those conditions are eroding largely because Christians have ignored Jesus' commands to be salt and light and to love our neighbors. Unless Christians begin to influence politics and the culture more significantly, we will lose the very freedoms that enable us to spread the gospel all over the world.
The question is, how much should Christians be involved in politics, and to what end? After all, we can't legislate morality, can we?
CAN WE LEGISLATE MORALITY?
all laws legislate morality. We go into great detail to support this point in our book
2 but to be brief, morality is about right and wrong, and all laws declare one behavior right and the opposite behavior wrong.
So the question is not whether or not we can legislate morality, but whose morality will we legislate?Legislating morality is not only biblical, it is a necessary responsibility of government. When Paul writes in Romans 13:1-8 that the ruling authorities are put in place by God to punish evildoers, he is echoing Genesis 9:6, which established that the central responsibility of government is to protect the innocent from evil. That, of course, requires the legislation and enforcement of good laws.
Wayne Grudem makes an outstanding case for Christians influencing civil governments to legislate moral good in his comprehensive book
Politics according to the Bible. Grudem cites many positive examples of biblical figures influencing civil governments-outside of the theocracy of Israel-to do good. They include Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Nehemiah, Mordecai, and Esther. "We also have as examples the written prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah," writes Grudem. "In the New Testament we have the courageous examples of John the Baptist and the apostle Paul....And we could add in several passages from Psalms and Proverbs that speak of good and evil rulers. Influencing government for good on the basis of wisdom found in God's own words is a theme that runs through the entire Bible."
4 Even Jesus Himself got involved in politics when He chastised the Pharisees-the religious and
political leaders of Israel-for their unjust leadership.
WHAT ABOUT THE "SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE"?
If we are called to legislate morality, then whose morality should we legislate? The answer our Founding Fathers gave was the "self-evident" morality given to us by our Creator-the same moral law that the apostle Paul wrote was "written on their hearts" of all people (Rom. 2:14-15). In other words, not
my morality or
your morality, but
the morality-the one we inherited, not the one we invented.
Notice they did not have to establish a particular denomination or force religious practice in order to legislate a moral code. Our country justifies moral rights with theism, but does not require its citizens to acknowledge or practice theism. That is why charges that Christians are trying to impose a "theocracy" or violate the "separation of church and state" fail.
Such objections blur the distinction between religion and morality. Broadly defined, religion involves our duty to God while morality involves our duty to one another. Our lawmakers are not telling people that they need to be a member of a church-that would be legislating religion. But lawmakers cannot avoid telling people how they should treat one another -that is legislating morality, and that is what all laws do.
To illustrate the point, let us consider two prominent moral issues in our society: abortion and same-sex marriage. First, let me be clear that I do not want the state running the church or the church running the state. But even if one were to accept the court-invented claim that the Constitution requires a strict separation of church and state,
7 opposition to abortion or same-sex marriage does not entail the establishment of a "theocracy." Churches and the Bible also teach that murder, theft, and child abuse are wrong, but no one says laws prohibiting such acts establish a theocracy or are a violation of the separation of church and state. In fact, if the government could not pass laws consistent with biblical teachings, then all criminal laws would have to be overturned because they are all in some way consistent with at least one of the Ten Commandments. The truth is, Christians do not legislate the Bible as such, but we do legislate the moral law
consistent with the Bible.
We do not need to legislate religion, but we cannot avoid legislating morality.Second, there are churches on both sides of these issues. In other words, some liberal churches actually support abortion and same-sex marriage. So if church-supported positions could not be put into law, then we could not have laws either way on abortion or same-sex marriage. Absurd.
Finally, most proponents of same-sex marriage argue as if they have some kind of moral right to having their relationships endorsed by the state. They claim that they don't have "equal rights" or that they are being "discriminated" against. Likewise, abortion advocates claim they have a moral "right" to choose an abortion. None of these claims are true, as I have explained elsewhere.
8 Nevertheless, their arguments, while flawed, expose the fact that independent of religion they seek to legislate
their morality rather than
morality.If you have a problem with
morality, do not blame me. I didn't make it up. I didn't make up the fact that abortion is wrong; that men are not made for other men; or that sex outside of natural marriage leads to destruction. Those truths are part of the "Laws of Nature," as the Declaration of Independence puts it, and we only hurt others and ourselves by suppressing those truths and legislating immoral laws.
JUST PREACH THE GOSPEL?
I often hear Christians claiming that we ought to just "preach the gospel" and not get involved in politics. This is not only a false dilemma (we are commanded to do both); ironically, such an attitude serves to stop the gospel. How so? Because politics and law affects your ability to preach the gospel! If you think otherwise, just visit some of the countries I have visited-Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China. You cannot legally "preach the gospel" in those countries-or practice other aspects of your religion freely-because politically they have ruled it out. You cannot publish the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL in North Korea; nor can you open a church; nor can you evangelize.
In fact, politics affects virtually every area of your life including your church, marriage, family, business, school, children, money, property, home, security, health, safety, and freedom. As Christians, should we let the atheists impose their morality on us in these areas? If we do, we will continue to lose the very freedoms that have empowered us to prosper and spread the gospel.
When we fail to legislate and protect liberty, others impose tyranny. Totalitarian political correctness is already the norm in states such as Massachusetts, where the implications of same-sex marriage are legally imposed on Christian businesses, Christian parents, and even on Christian charities. There you are not permitted to run your business, educate your children, or practice your religion in accord with your conscience.9 And soon, as is the case in Canada, you may not be able to speak biblically about homosexuality. That is because the people who say they are fighting for tolerance are often the most intolerant.
One final note: if you are a pastor who is worried about your tax-exempt status, please consider these three points: (1) you have more freedom than you think to speak on political and moral issues from the pulpit;10 (2) if you do not speak for liberty now, you may soon lose your freedom to speak for anything; and (3) most importantly, you are called to be salt and light, not tax-exempt.
Frank Turek is an author, speaker, and founder of www.Crossexamined.org. He hosts "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist" on the NRB Network, Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., Eastern Time (DirecTV Ch. 378, Sky Angel ch. 126).
Legislating Morality (Eugene, OR,Wipf and Stock, 2003). For the common objection regarding prohibition, see chapter 2.
Some laws do not address moral issues but conventional issues, such as how many representatives will be in Congress, or on which side of the street we should drive. Nevertheless, we all have a moral obligation to obey those laws, especially ones where disobedience could result in great harm (such as driving on the "wrong" side of the street). Moreover, I am not saying that all laws are good or moral; I am saying that all laws legislate someone's moral position, which may actually be an immoral position. For example, legislating that a woman has a moral "right" to choose an abortion is actually an immoral position because a child is killed in the process. There is no moral right to kill an innocent human being. The right to life is the right to all other rights.
Politics according to the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 61.
See Matthew 22-23, and the fine book by Neil Mammen,
Jesus Is Involved in Politics: Why Aren't You? Why Isn't Your Church? (San Jose, CA: Rational Free Press, 2009).
This is not to suggest that every moral or political issue has clear right and wrong answers. It only means that violations of basic moral principles-such as murder, theft, and rape for example-are clearly wrong. Legislators often need to debate the level of government involvement in less obvious cases.
To see where the "separation of church and state" language (which is not in the Constitution) originated, see
Legislating Morality, chapter 5.
For a moral law and social case against same-sex marriage, see my
Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone (Charlotte: CrossExamined Press, 2008). For a Moral Law case against abortion, see my
Legislating Morality, with Norman Geisler.
See Brian Camenker, "What Same-Sex 'Marriage' Has D one to Massachusetts," Mass Resistance, http://www.massresistance.org/docs/marriage/effects_of_ssm.html.
While no church has ever lost its tax-exempt status, the Alliance Defense Fund is challenging the law. Go to www.alliancedefensefund.org for details about the law and their Pulpit Initiative.
Welcome to Christian Counseling at Koloa Church
Dr. Irene Sherman Ph.D
Professional Christian counseling is available by appointment weekday afternoons with Dr. Irene Sherman. Dr. Sherman is a trained counselor experienced in helping people work through ordinary life problems. She offers Christian counseling as a first step alternative to consulting a secular psychiatrist or psychologist, but will make a referral whenever necessary. All sessions are private, Bible-based, and strictly confidential.
For a nominal fee, Dr. Sherman provides counseling in the areas of dating relationships, financial dilemmas, marital concerns, parent/child relationships, personal problems, and low self-esteem. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 808-652-2629.
Sunday Worship Services
First Service - 8:30 a.m.
Pastor Harold Kilborn ministering the Word
(Children Church and Nursery provided).
Second Service - 10:30 a.m.
Pastor Harold Kilborn ministering the Word
Three Courses Offered at 9:45 a.m.
Traits of a Leader - Mike Wilson
The Parables - Christy Kilborn
Beginning Point - Fred Baum (A great foundational class for new believers)