Thursday, December 25, 2008

The True Meaning of Christmas

I am willing to bet that as Christmas 2008 comes to an end, many of us are sitting back with our bellies full going over what we got and what we didn't thinking about how great, or how not so great, this years Christmas went.

For us, this was our firstborns first Christmas. Therefore, he has been the center of attention - and rightfully so. Furthermore, this is my first Christmas at Goshen Baptist Church and I have done more funerals that I had wished. It is a reminder how difficult Christmas can be for many of us as we find our mourning while the nation celebrates. But thankfully, even though we might find ourselves mourning over death, Christmas means that we can celebrate because of birth: the birth of Christ.

What is the true meaning of Christmas? We ask ourselves that question every year and it seems to fall on deaf ears. We'll say things like, "Jesus is the Reason for the Season," and yet turn around and fight over the latest video game or baby doll because our children have to have this or that gift. Have we made Christ the reason for the season?

Dr. John MacArthur is reminding us what the true meaning of Christmas is. It isn't about shepherds, a manger, Wise Men, a star, or anything like that. Christmas is about something much more...:

Christmas is about a cross, a substitute that has taken our punishment for us so that we won't have to. We can't save ourselves, only God can. Therefore, let us spend the rest of our lives reflecting on the thought that Christ paid a price He did not owe, because we owe a price we cannot pay!

Merry Christmas . . . And Happy Easter!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The (In)Tolerance of the Homosexual Movement: A Response

I want to take some time and respond to some of the issues that have been brought up since posting my last article on the homosexual movement and their reaction to the passing of Proposition 8. To begin, there is no way I can deal with every issue brought up by others, but I will try. My goal is not to start an argument or to spew hateful words, but rather to face reality and engage the culture on this issue. I am not interested in name calling for that is childish and solves nothing.

To begin, a couple of things should be pointed out. First, my previous post does not characterize all homosexuals. I do not believe that all homosexuals are violent, molesters, or hate Christians. In fact, most aren't. It is a small majority of homosexuals that have rioted, assaulted, and committed this crimes.

However, we must not, at the same time, just right these instances off as the result of a just a few persons. Hatred towards Christianity due to issues like this comes from many people and not always in forms of violence. All one must do is look at the West and survey what happens to people who oppose gay marriage once it is passed. Hate speech. Hate crimes. Hate laws. Anyone who opposes gay marriage now becomes guilty of a crime. That is the suppression of freedom.

Democracy cannot thrive on such legislation. I am all for others disagreeing with me. That is how democracy works. As an American, I am against denying people the right to have their own opinions and as a Christian, I believe that God has laid out what is right and wrong. Therefore, I will stand on my convictions. This is no different than the other side. They have their convictions and they stand on them. That's democracy.

My problem is whenever things like these riots which show an ugly side of the issue go ignored by the culture and written off as the actions of a just a few. In fact, it seems they are understood and perhaps even excused.

"Sow oppression, reap retaliation." Do we really mean this? Think about how many people are really oppressed. Is it really oppression to be denied the right to do what is wrong? If so, then all forms of retaliation can be excused as long as it is out of "oppression." I know this sounds extreme, but take the argument to it's logical end.

If oppression reaping retaliation is an excuse for the actions taken by this angry mob, then who else can we expect to retaliate? Who will retaliate next? Who else can take a shot at those who disagree with them? This is the problem I have with redefining marriage. Once we begin to redefine marriage, will we ever really define it?

For example, why is polygamy wrong? If Proposition 8 had lost, marriage would have been defined as being between 2 persons, whether the same sex or different sexes. But why only two? Why can't persons with multiple spouses be married? Isn't it wrong to deny them their rights? Would that fit in the 14th Amendment too? How could we deny them their rights? They have rights too don't they? These are the same arguments made by the homosexual crowd.

What about lowering the age of consent? How could we deny the right of a couple in love, regardless of their age, to engage in sexual activity if it is consensual? If two people are in love, how can we deny their right to marry? Shouldn't we "stay out of the bed room?" Same argument. Same problem.

With such an argument, it becomes excusable for the Islamic immigrant who has multiple wives to retaliate because he has been oppressed by being denied the right to remain married to his multiple wives? Should we allow the riots of polygamists against those that disagree with them? We are standing on shaky ground. To excuses the actions of the angry mob who assaulted and attempted to molest the Christian worshipers because they were outraged over a vote is very dangerous ground.

And why shouldn't the Christians be allowed to retaliate? If their views are oppressed, shouldn't they then be excused to retaliate? If their convictions are denied, why can't they fall in line with others who have retaliated because of oppression? If "oppression reaps retaliation," is excusable, then it must apply both ways.

Let me add a footnote here: those who are using the argument that oppression reaps retaliation are not trying to justify the actions of this angry mob. I am not arguing that. They are just as opposed to the violence and the sexual assault as I am. However, to say that "Christianity would merely be reaping what it's sown," is in essence excusing, not justifying, the behavior of this mob. It's a way of saying, "I don't blame them. I would do that too if I were them." Rather than condemning violent retaliation as always wrong, some have excused it. I have a serious problem with this.

The argument continues: "failure to understand the natural yins and yangs of human behavior is purely ignorant. Virtue ethics ought to be tempered with consequentialism and many Christians seem to be notoriously bad at that." So would it be OK to to retaliate, as I have just argued, if the tables were turned? Let's say Christians lost an election over an issue, would people excuse their retaliation as consequentialism? Should we simply ignore or excuse the actions, even if violent, of some based on consequentialism?

My original point was dealing with the issue of tolerance. My main point was that those who claim to be champions of tolerance are nothing more than hypocritical bigots. I admit that I am a bigot, as defined as being unshakable in my opposition to something. I am against gay marriage. I believe that homosexuality is wrong. By definition, that is intolerance and bigotry. All truth is intolerant. My problem is not with persons who equally admit their own intolerance by disagreeing with me. My problem is with persons who scream "Intolerant, bigot fundamentalist" at me and yet never realize that such words are in itself intolerant. My point is that if a person is truly tolerant, as defined in our postmodern culture, then they should embrace my intolerance.

One last point. To argue that Christians aren't being persecuted by homosexuals and their supporters is preposterous. How can one deny persecution whenever an angry mob enraged over an election result goes out and pours hot coffee over those who voted differently and believe differently, and then take their Holy book and proceed to beat them with it, and then try to molest them? How is that not persecution? Oh yeah, I forgot, it's not persecution, it's "oppression reaps retaliation."

I am not saying that if homosexual marriage is made legal nationwide that every Christian will be arrested or abused. However, the trend that we have seen in other nations who have passed gay marriage and some of the trends I see here in America show that Christians will, in some sense, be denied their right to disagree. How so? Pastors will be denied the right to say that homosexuality is a sin in the pulpit. The Bible will likely be considered hate speech. Couples wishing to adopt who consider homosexuality to be a sin will be denied. Persons who put ads in papers arguing that homosexuality is a sin could be arrested or fined. Etc.

This is the type of persecution I am referring to. I am not saying that every Christian will have hot coffee poured out on them. What I am saying, as I said in my original post, is that once man has rationalize sin, he will legislate sin and legislate against anyone that stands in their way and this has been the trend in the West over this issue.

I am not offended by people who disagree with me. If I were, I would never have posted anything on such a controversial subject. I encourage dialogue and an honest discussion. Please refrain from name calling and personal attacks. If you disagree, then say so and explain why. But we get nowhere whenever we just call each other names and attack one another.

I hope this clears some things up and adds to the conversation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The (In)Tolerance of the Homosexual Movement: See, I Told You So

Over the past few years, our culture has raised the issue of hate crimes, hate speech, and the rest. In truth, such legislation is geared towards Christians who stand firm on the conviction that some things are right and some things are wrong. Our culture calls this bigotry, intolerance, and closed-mindedness. But it seems that the more I analyze and examine our culture the more wrong this stereotype is.

Let's look at the recent election specifically the passing of Proposition 8. The passing of Proposition 8 in California overturned the courts decision to legalize gay marriage. Let us look at the reaction of the election results, specifically the passing of Proposition 8 and the (in)tolerance from the left and pro-gay movement in California (and in America in general).

If a Christian, a Christian group, or Christianity in general raised up a mob, raped, assaulted, abused, and threatened to kill those who disagreed with them (let's use homosexuals for example) what do you think the repercussions would be? Arrest. Chastisement. And more legislation. Why? Because even though one might disagree with another, violence is not the same as free speech.

But what if I told you that such things did happen. However it wasn't from the actions and words of Christians but of homosexuals? If our culture was truly consistent, wouldn't we treat them the same? Isn't that what they are wanting? They want to be able to get married like everyone else. They want to be recognized like everyone else. They want to be accepted like everyone else. They want to be treated like everyone else. However, they do not want to be held accountable like everyone else.

Some homosexuals have gone so far as to rape and assault some Christian groups. A group of Christians were praying and were then assaulted and raped by pro-homosexuals. The mob covered the Christians in white sheets and then poured hot coffee on them. The angery crowd used the Bible as a weapon and began to kick some of the Christians. Not to mention the many threats, such as "We're going to kill you," and blasphemous charges that "Jesus was a homo."

Can anyone say hate crime? We don't even need to go that far, why not arrest those guilty of attempted rape and assault. But since they are homosexuals, this is not hate, this is an exercise of freedom. The police did help protect the Christian group, but even that did very little. Rather than prosecute those who committed such heinous crimes, the city does nothing as if nothing had happened. (Click here for more information and to watch the video of the assault)

Once the votes were counted, the legislation should have begun, but it hasn't. The will of the people has been handed over to judges and lawyers who care nothing about the will of the people. The intolerant pro-homosexual movement doesn't want equality. For it they did, they would lick their wounds and move on. They want dominance. The gay movement is more than just about equal rights. If it were about equal rights then there would be no effort to pass hate crime and hate speech laws.

It is amazing how far man will go to rationalize their sin. This is no longer a democratic process. Loosing an election matters nothing to persons who wish to normalize, or in reality, enforce their sin in society and onto others. If this was about equality, then why the show of force? Why throw condoms at churches? Why the assault? Why the rape? Why the violence? Why the bigotry? Why the anger? If this had been the actions of Christians, they would have been jailed and it would have been front page news. But a culture obsessed with rationalizing sin refuses to demoralize it's own agenda.

It is time for Christians and for our culture to wake up to the threat we face today. This is no longer a nation where everybody shares their opinion in the public arena and contributes to societal dialogue. This is about control. If such movements like the homosexual movement do not get their way the traditional way, then they are willing to force their wills and agendas on us, even if it takes assault, molestation, threats, violence, anger, mobs, and anything else.

Previously, I pointed out the dangers that redefining marriage presented. I argued that if homosexual marriage is allowed and becomes wide-spread, this nation will see persecution against the Church in ways unimaginable. The actions taken by these groups have not happened in a vacuum and it seems that my prediction was right. Well, partly right. I should have seen that it wouldn't take the legalization of homosexuality to persecute the Church, just the possibility apparently is enough to assault the Church.
We are not living in the same country we were decades ago where freedom flourished and dialogue was encouraged. Now, the "tolerant" are celebrated bigots while those who hold convictions contrary to the social norm are abused, persecuted, and if their will be done, prosecuted. When will America wake up and realize that bigotry is alive and well in our nation, but those accused are not the one's most guilty. It is one thing to disagree with an election (I certainly have), it is another thing to take that disagreement, form a mob, assault those who disagree with you, while at the same time declare yourself open-minded, tolerant, and against bigotry.
As Christians, we must not be surprised. The world hates us. But let us remember, it first hated Jesus. And if the world wanted to kill Christ, it will stop at nothing to eliminate us. I fear that we are only seeing the beginning. Who knows what will happen in the next decade or two. Will my children be considered enemies of the state because they disagree with the culture? I pray that my fears are not realized, but in the meantime by the looks of everything, we better brace ourselves for the worse.