Why Is the World So Selective in Its Outrage?

In the post linked below, Matt Walsh addresses the Bill Cosby issue and points out a double standard at work.

Why is the world so arbitrary about who and what it chooses to condemn?

Why do media “lynch mobs” so quickly arise for some alleged perpetrators but not others?

Pop culture – modern society – is indeed biased.  But God is impartial.  The difference is stark.

The world seeks its own good, but God seeks the good of others.  That is the root of the partiality-impartiality difference.

(7 min read; 1,728 words)

Bill Clinton Is an Alleged Rapist, Too. Why Aren’t You Outraged About That? by Matt Walsh | TheBlaze.com.

Samuel James versus Matthew Vines

Samuel James has written clearly and substantively (see the link at the bottom of this post) about the issues at stake in Matthew Vines’ campaign to convince people that homosexuality and so-called same-sex marriage are compatible with biblical Christianity.

(I have previously published a post about Matthew Vines here, and spoken about him in a podcast here.  I have also written about the Andrew Wilson “parody argument” which effectively shows that if the Bible is supportive of homosexuality then it is supportive of idolatry as well here.)

Matthew is deceiving others about what the Bible says on the subject of homosexuality, not because he desires to deceive people, but because he himself is deceived.  I shudder to think that new Christians might be misled by Matthew’s zeal and following.  You are therefore doing a great service with what you are writing.

I have not read Matthew’s book, but I did carefully watch the hour-long YouTube video of his church talk upon which the book was based.  His argument was billed as biblical but it was only biblical in the sense that he talked about what he considered the six “problem” verses for his position.  That discussion was framed in an argument of “1) God made me this way and it wasn’t my choice, and 2) If you are not denied sexual happiness, I should not be either.”  In other words, his argument was actually personal, emotional, and subjective – it was not biblical.

Just because Matthew Vines cites Bible verses does not make his argument biblical.  It’s not so much that Matthew’s interpretation of the Bible is wrong (though it is), but rather that he’s coming to his conclusion before he even gets to the Bible.

Bravo, Samuel!

(3 min read; 724 words)

On Matthew Vines and Telling the Truth About Dissenters.

At 30, a woman learns that her mother was raped by her father…and she was that child

Abortion is often defended by references to incest (even though a very small percentage of abortions actually involve incest).  Yet even in the case of incest, abortion cannot be easily defended.  Consider, for example, this woman who, though she hates incest, does not wish that she had been aborted.

(16 min read; 3,987 words)

At 30, I learned that my mother was raped by her father…and I was that child | Opinion | LifeSite.

William Lane Craig on Those Who Abandon Faith for “Intellectual” Reasons

I firmly believe, and I think the Bizarro-testimonies of those who have lost their faith and apostatized bears out, that moral and spiritual lapses are the principal cause for failure to persevere rather than intellectual doubts. But intellectual doubts become a convenient and self-flattering excuse for spiritual failure because we thereby portray ourselves as such intelligent persons rather than as moral and spiritual failures. —William Lane Craig

via Greg West of The Poached Egg at Ratio Christi:  A convenient and self-flattering excuse.

Beware of Trusting in a Political Salvation

America’s mid-term elections were held yesterday and the Republicans did well.  That’s better news for Christians than the alternative, but that doesn’t mean that being a Christian and being a Republican are the same thing – not by a long shot.

Let review the distinctions between our faith and other points of view:

The United States of America is more friendly to Christian values than most countries are, but that doesn’t mean we should confuse our faith in Christ with Americanism.

Conservatism is more friendly to Christian values than Liberalism (or Progressivism, if you prefer to call it that) is, but we should never confuse faith in Christ with being a conservative.

The Republican party is more friendly to Christian values than the Democratic party is, but we should never think being a Republican is by-and-large the same thing as being a Christian.

Jesus Christ is, of course, above politics.  But that doesn’t mean that serving Him will result in none of us being Republicans or Democrats.  Nor will it result in half of us being Republicans and half of us being Democrats – at least not so long as the Democratic Party continues pushing for goals that are decidedly against the will of God (e.g. abortion-on-demand, sex “education” in schools, free contraception, support of homosexuality, and so on).  There can be no reasonable denying of the fact that the Republican Party is less hostile to Christian values than the Democratic Party is.  And therefore there is no way that we can look at the two parties and say that there’s no important differences between them.

That said, Republicans are a political party and can be expected to act as such.  Therefore, Republican politicians will, sooner or later, disappoint Christians.  If we only voted for them when they didn’t disappoint us, we’d seldom vote for them.  The alternatives, however, would mean far more disappointment.  When I think of Republicans compared to Democrats and other political parties I’m reminded of what Winston Churchill said about democracy: “It’s the worst form of government ever invented – except for every other form of government.”  If a Republican won every elective office from president to dog catcher, we’d still have a hard time serving Christ in this world.  Nevertheless, the Republicans are clearly more prepared to do the right thing by God than their competitors.

Bear in mind also that I’m speaking in general terms.  It not as though every Republican politician is a superior human being to every Democratic politician.  Nevertheless, candidates seldom stray far from their party’s direction.  Therefore, if you know the direction of the candidate’s party, you can make generally reliable predictions of the direction of the candidate.  And although both parties are very adept at packaging their views in attractive marketing language, you don’t have to look too far beneath the surface to see which one is working hardest to remove the name and spirit of Christ from public life.

While being a Christian has political implications, being a Christian is not a political matter.  We who call upon the name of Christ should not be acting like a voting bloc or an interest group.  Identify politics is the bane of modern American political discussions.

Nor are we voting for politicians less hostile to Christian values so that we can have an easier time in life.  On the contrary, we vote for politicians who, as best we can tell, fear God because they will enact laws that are in the best long-term interests of the citizens of the country.  The exaltation of sexual promiscuity using the language of “freedom” and “rights” that is so prevalent on the political left today will bring destruction to Americans tomorrow.  While we cannot enact laws that make people do the right thing, we can refrain from enacting laws that encourage them to do the wrong thing.

Therefore, we can rejoice in the general trend of yesterday’s election not because it’s good for Christians but because it’s good for Americans.  Nevertheless, our loyalty is not to the Republican party, nor even to conservatism or to America, but rather to Christ our Lord.  Whether the country is on the right track or the wrong track, we will serve Him with all that is within us.  The salvation He gives us has political dimensions, but has a scope far wider than politics.  Far wider and far deeper.  And the kingdom of God is not a democracy.

 

An Open Letter to Al Mohler

You recently took issue with John Shore’s piece in Time magazine in which he proposed “a Christianity without hell.”  I took issue with him, too.  Therefore, you and I agree that John has interpreted the Bible in such as way as to render it practically meaningless, and thus proposed a Christianity which has nothing to do with Christ or the Bible.

Where you and I part company is that you cling to the traditional teaching that hell is a place of eternal conscious torment which those who have not accepted Christ in this life will enter and never be able to leave.  By contrast, I believe what Jesus described as hell is actually the judgment of God in this life on this earth, and that by walking with Him we can find salvation in the midst of these judgments.  I believe that everyone is going to heaven, but that does not at all mean that righteousness and sin don’t matter.  On the contrary, we’re all going to have to give an account up there of everything we’ve done down here.  I believe the Bible is clear about this and have written a book-length explanation of my position, accessible at the link above.

As for your interpretation of the Bible, however, I don’t even think you really believe what you say you believe, because if you did, you would talk about heaven and hell a lot more than you do.  A whole lot more.

Think about it.  If you as a Christian really believed that anyone dying without Christ was proceeding to a pit of never-ending physical and emotional torment you would do everything you could to spare them.  People are dying all the time, and I would think that you would want to spare as many of them from hell as possible.  I did a quick internet search and found from three different sources that about 150,000 people are dying every day.  That’s over 6,000 per hour, over a hundred per minute, and more than one per second.  If every day, some of those 150,000 people might be going to your version of hell, why in the world are you talking to people about any other subject on The Briefing than that?  What else could be more pressing?

On your October 30th podcast, right after you spoke about your conviction on the reality of hell you then segued to “Population control anti-natalism of cultural elite closely tied to eugenics.”  Talk about a non sequitur!  If some people are on their way to hell as you understand it, how does what the cultural elite are thinking compare to that in importance?  And then, continuing your descent from the supremely important to things which are not, you spoke about “Geographic clustering of worldview in America evidence of changing landscape of nation.”  Huh?  Who cares about “geographic clustering” if people are going to hell by the truckload?

Since October 30th when you made clear your conviction and concern about “Christ-less” people going to hell when they die, here are the subjects you have spoken about on your podcast (and there’s not going to be a word about hell in any of them):

  • Apple CEO proclaims his homosexuality a divine gift, revealing extent of cultural shift on issue
  • Taiwan gay pride march displays importance of theological beliefs to culture’s morality
  • Colorado governor warns rapid legalization of marijuana as too costly
  • Cultural influences creating and influencing celebration of Halloween crucial to consider
  • Tragedy of Brittany Maynard ending her life reminder humans are not self-defining beings
  • UN Climate report raises question of nature of scientific authority
  • Election day is an exercise of political and Christian responsibility
  • Election Day looms large on America’s political, cultural and moral horizons
  • Partisan divide in America points to a demographic divide
  • Obama comments about stay-at-home moms reveals priority of professional over family life
  • Population control solution to climate change horrifying example of anti-natalism

Where is your concern about hell?  Did Brittany Maynard know Jesus?  Isn’t the answer to that question more important that the circumstances surrounding her death?  According to your stated belief, if she knew Jesus, she is with Him now and forever and if she did not, then she will suffer a fate infinitely worse than the disease she feared.  And what does the “UN Climate report” have to do with the eternal destiny of the human souls of your listeners and those with whom they’ll have interactions today?  Your belief should be driving you to urge them to warn everyone.  And “Election Day” looms large?  According to your doctrine, hell looms far larger than that!  What are the results of the U.S. mid-term elections in comparison to an eternity of ghastly punishment?

Thus the problem you have with your doctrine of hell is not me, but rather your own behavior.  You are saying that people are going to hell unless they accept Jesus but you are giving the majority of your time to issues other than facilitating those all important decisions for Jesus.

I am not suggesting that the disconnect between your stated belief and your behavior is unique to you.  On the contrary, you are a representative sample of Evangelical Christians.  You claim to believe that eternal destiny matters far more than anything else, yet you want to use most of your airtime to talk about anything but that.

As for me, I believe that everyone is going to heaven, and because of that, everything we think, say, and do on earth matters.  I care about many of the same public policy issues you do, but the difference is that I can focus on them secure in the biblical assurance that everyone’s eternal destiny is heaven.  What I can’t understand is why you insist that everyone’s eternal destiny is not secure, but you can feel comfortable spending most of your time talking about issues other than helping people avoid that worst-of-all-possible outcomes.

 

What Christianity Without Hell Looks Like | TIME

While John Shore purports to describe Christianity without hell, he actually describes Christianity without lots of things.  Mainly, he’s proposing a Christianity without many of the moral standards that Jesus taught and lived.  Why John still wants to call it Christianity is beyond me.  What he’s proposing is nothing Jesus would recognize.

Because I believe that everyone is going to heaven, you might think that I’d be someone who finds some redeeming value in John’s piece.  Nope.  To use John’s word, I find what he has written here “toxic.”

I believe that the traditional teaching about hell – that it is a place of eternal conscious torment which awaits some of us after this life is over – is wrong.  However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that the Bible teaches about hell.  I just believe that the traditional teaching misrepresents the Bible.

The Bible clearly does teach that sin exists, that it is wrong, and that its consequence is death.  The Bible also teaches that the judgments of God are in the earth, and that we receive a final judgment of our lives when we die.

What’s toxic about John’s writing is that he is implicitly suggesting that God doesn’t much care what we do in this life as long as everyone’s enjoying it.  That’s not Christianity, that’s hedonism.  And it’s clear from the Bible that hedonism doesn’t bring God’s approval; rather, it invites His judgment.

As for hell, there are several problems with the traditional teaching about it.  One of the most glaringing anti-biblical is that it suggests God is so limited that the only judgment He is capable of imposing is a pass/fail grade at the end of life.  It’s like saying a college is only able to grant its students diplomas or else sentence them to the death penalty – that it is incapable of assigning grades to individual courses, tests, or any other kind of academic work leading up to completion of the curriculum.  This doesn’t fit the God of the Old Testament or the God of the New Testament.

I don’t want to take the time here to explain what the Bible actually does teach about hell.  I do that extensively at resources you can find at the link above.  What I want to do here is to go on record as saying that the thinking taught in this piece from Time magazine has nothing to do with Christ or the Bible.  It is just a regurgitation of pop culture’s moral self-justification dressed up in Christian language.

(2 min read; 319 words)

What Christianity Without Hell Looks Like | TIME.