Saturday, December 5, 2015

Judging God and Blaming Him for Terrorist Attacks: "God Is Not Fixing This!"...

Our nation's latest homegrown act of terror, the San Bernardino shooting spree by a Muslim couple, has produced an interesting little "meme" with a decidedly anti-Christian flavor. This conversation already has a catchy name. Known as "prayer shaming", it goes something like this: "Those stupid Christians are once again calling for us to 'remember the victims in our thoughts and prayers'. Well guess what, people God is not fixing this and those Bible clingers should be joining us secular liberals in our fight to enact gun control laws that WILL fix this problem once and for all".

Of course, this bigoted line of anti-Christian rhetoric is absurd on its face both from theological and socio-political standpoints.

From a theological perspective, we can say that this is nothing new for God. The Old Testament carries within it a dominant theme of His people the Jews* repeatedly falling away from faith in God and His promised coming of the Messiah and being harshly and violently punished for their lack of faith. How? By God's unleashing of brutal wars and hardship upon them as a people and upon their nations of Judah and Israel, largely by non-Jews. There is a fairly sound argument that this is happening now. Unlike during the aftermath of 9/11/2001, our victim nation does NOT appear turning to God in response to the latest waves of Muslim terror.

In fact, our faith as a nation has sharply waned since 9/11, according a recent Pew Research report only 56% of millennials identify as Christian, as opposed to 78% of baby boomers.

The trend is obvious and harrowingly portentous. Progressively fewer Americans are being raised in a Christian setting with each passing generation. All this while Islamist terrorism is clearly ascendent against the traditionally Judeo-Christian west. It is mandated in their theology. (For more on this topic, see Erwin W. Lutzer's insightful book, The Cross and the Crescent.)

Terrorism is designed to divide its target nations. But the greater reality and, yes the biblical one is that the goal of Islam is specifically and actively to destroy Christianity. They are succeeding by violent and manipulative means that exploit the good but ill-informed intentions of secular and christian liberals, alike.

So, then what about the socio-political or secular realities of this growing menace? The stark reality is that we are in the midst of a shooting war with Islamic terrorists. They are gaining strength at present and we are not meeting that strength. One can argue that the we gained the upper hand in that war with The Surge in Iraq but that battlefront, having been neglected along with a similar neglect on domestic security, namely at our borders and in other areas, has spawned a global caliphate and a wave of attacks in various western countries that is now beginning to gain steam in earnest. In the U.S. and Europe, where gun control laws abound, most of which are largely unenforcible, terrorists are gathering strength in numbers as well as weaponry and we will see more and more of these attacks on soft targets. An organized web of secrecy and deception can easily circumvent laws that realistically only stop law abiding citizens from obtaining weapons with which to defend themselves. For instance, online "chatter" is no longer a reliable source of intelligence, as ISIS and Al Qaeda are now in possession of advance encryption technology.

Gun control laws will not minimize or expose terrorist cells who are rapidly gaining expertise while we attack each other over gun control and other indulgent, contrived and illusory social issues such as gay marriage, ethnic "micro-aggression" and transgenderism. Sharia law will have a short conversation with transexuals and same-sex couples and it will be terminal. This is not about hunting or target shooting. This is about survival in the face of unpredictable, cunning and implacable immoral evil.

Thus we all as a nation, enjoying the fruits of Judeo-Christian liberty whether faithful or not, have a profound vestiture in attacking both the underlying ethic, theology and violence of Islamism by any means necessary or we will be faced with an increasing grim and lurid scenario akin to hell on earth. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, indeed. Or at least don't keep it from the hands of the good guys.

Amen.

*In this context the Jews means the pre-Christian Jews of the Old Testament. The Jewish religion of the Old Testament no longer exists. But that is a topic for another entry. Fundamental Muslim theology hates contemporary Jews and Christians equally. It overtly hates the Judeo-Christian ethic. Islam's God, Allah, is not the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac. That is why it is called the Judeo-Christian ethic and not the Judeo-Christian-Islamic ethic.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What if The Passion Had a Sequel?

Mel Gibson or someone should make a sequel his movie, The Passion of Christ.

Even though I have been studying scripture and attending church service anew for about 25 years now, I was taken aback by our Bible reading on the 3rd Sunday of Easter (May 4, 2014), Acts 2:14 and 36-41.

The full sermon from that day is here:  http://www.messiahseattle.org/sermons/2014/5/may-4-2014-third-sunday-of-easter

Sometime after Jesus's crucifixion, Peter is preaching to a gathering of Jews and says, "Let all the house if Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ this Jesus whom you crucified".   We expect and argument to ensue, for as many in that crowd said on the day of His sentencing, "let his blood be in our hands".

Yet, on this day, as Peter preaches, scripture goes on to tell us that "when they heard this they were cut to the heart" (as their eyes were opened by God to the true divine nature of Christ).  Because their eyes were opened and God removed their defenses they said to Peter and the apostles, "What shall we do?"  How can we ever repay this horrible thing that we have done?

Peter gave them the same advice that all of us for whom died, that is all of humanity... "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone for whom the Lord calls to himself."

As it turns out, according to the same reading, "about 3,000 souls were added that day".   Meaning 3,000 folks became Christians.  Implicit in our text is that most, if not all of these souls were Jews and most, if not all were in the mob that, days before, called for Christ to be hung on the cross.

There are many messages in this text about the meaning of Christianity, including the important one that NO sin is beyond the reach of God's salvation through Jesus Christ.   If murdering Christ Himself is forgiven than what is beyond forgiveness?  Nothing, of course.  A repentent Adolf Hitler or Charlie Manson could be headed to the comforting arms of Jesus Christ to await the Judgement Day and face that day in the peace of salvation unto eternal life.

But, particularly poignant to me, having many Jewish friends and a Jewish stepfather, is the core message of salvation also intoned by St. Paul in Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:11 that neither Greek nor Jew nor slave nor free man is excluded from salvation, if one only just believes in Jesus Christ as the one true living God.

So, if you think that you are somehow excluded by birth or religious upbringing from either salvation or from the requirement of faith in Christ for salvation, you are plainly wrong.   3,000 Jews, directly involved in the crucifixion of Christ (as is all humanity, btw) were saved on that day by repenting, believing and being baptized.  Again (just so it sinks in) ...regardless of your ethnic heritage or theological upbringing, you atheist, Jew, Muslim, Mormon, lapsed Roman Catholic, agnostic, Moonie, Buddhist, etc., you can also be saved by faith in Christ.  Salvation is at your fingertips.  Do not let it slip through.  Eternal life is a big prize to gamble away by earthly doubt or social conformity.  The alternative is too harrowing to even contemplate.

Amen.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Cult of Ignorance...

Watch this video and reflect upon how Unitarianism and liberal protestant theology is theological multi-culturalism.
If everything is everything.  Nothing is anything, as I am fond of saying...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K26kKDCCV9g


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dual, Related Links from LCMS...

Below is the LCMS's position paper on last week's Supreme Court ruling.

http://blogs.lcms.org/2013/saddened-by-ruling-in-marriage-case

And, in a related, perhaps more anticipatory commentary...

Free to be Faithful!

http://www.lcms.org/freetobefaithful

Blessings,

Your COL

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ELCA Losing Members Concurrent with...

The liberal Lutheran denomination know as the ELCA, has lost members at a sharply increasing rate, concurrent with their recent decision to ordain openly homosexual pastors, culminating in the the election of its first openly homosexual bishop.

Liberal "lutherans" from the ELCA, which has recently considered merging with the liberal Episcopal Church (see my blog below on their openly gay bishop) often cop out on taking communion openly and unrepentant homosexuals by saying, "hey not my problem it's between them and God".  This attitude goes to the most interest point made in the comments of this article in First Thoughts.  To wit, communing, ordaining and electing as high officers folks who are embracing a sinful lifestyle is not the cause but rather the symptom of a long, deep slide from scriptural orthodoxy in the ELCA.

Lutheran historians more astute than I will point out that it started with redefining communion itself, ordaining women as pastors and moving to less doctrinal hymnal.  At each pivotal juncture in this long slide into contemporary secular humanism, the ELCA has suffered a hemorrhage of members.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Sins of the Father/Faithful Servants for Unfaithful Ones...

Perhaps most of you don't know that I am an avid fan of Mad Men.


Why?

So many reasons.  I spent the first twenty years of my professional career selling radio advertising, calling on ad agencies in San Francisco and around the big ad markets of the country on behalf of the San Francisco stations that I represented.  Mad Men invokes the culture of mid-century Madison Avenue.... the ad scene, the mad scene of big time commercial advertising.

Reaching deeper into my past, the adult characters in Mad Men are exactly my parent's age. Therefore I am around the same age as there kids, like Sally, who is building up a head of steam to launch the same rebellion against her parents as I did against mine.

Why?

Because like the Mad Men characters, my parents, whose lifestyle and mannerisms resembled the Mad Men characters were inwardly sinful people who maintained a veil of outward respectability, just like we all do to one extent or another.  In other words.... sinners.... big sinners and little sinners.... just like all of us.

In this final episode of the current season, Don, steeped in the shame of a cluster of sins that are coming to a festering and undeniable head, finds himself alone, downing tumblers of straight scotch in a dive bar.  A barroom street pastor (I did not know there was such a creature!)  approaches Don and begins preaching the Gospel.  Don flashes back to his teenage childhood, spent in a depression-era brothel run by his father, and his teenage confrontation with a similar street preacher, who upon his being 86'd by Don's father, admonishes the teen Don Draper on his way out... "the greatest sin is to believe that you can't be forgiven by God".

In this instant and throughout other scenes is transmitted amidst all of the pop-culture/pop-theology of Mad Men, is a kernel of deep, Gospel truth.  The only way we can absolutely separate ourselves from God and eternal life in Him is by rejecting the gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.  Later Don begins to shed his outward layer of respectability and taps into remorse and truth.  See it.  You'll see.

We are left to wonder if there is faith in that repentance or just ego gratification of being "real".  One can be deeply remorseful, repentant and still not be saved.  Faith and repentance are inseparable, after all.

Guilty enjoyment of indulgent sins, rational deployment of survival mechanisms in the knowledge that they are not pleasing to God pale in comparison to the resolute utter rejection of God and his Gift of faith and salvation.  For once one makes that choice, his or her entire life, already one of sin, becomes one of sin for sin's sake and death is assured.  But, amazingly, while one is alive it is never too late to have faith as well as to \ repent.

And, so, prompted by Mad Men and conscious of six weeks of neglect, we come we at last to the topic of Pastor Lassman's  brilliantly delivered May 12th sermon on Acts 1: 12-16 where Judas, who betrayed Our Savior commits the greatest sin of all.  Everyone knows of "Judas Priest" (a common curse phrase during the Mad Men era, at least in my household) and his betrayal of Christ.  And most of us when prompted would count that betrayal as Judas's greatest sin.

Yet it was not.  Again, as that preacher told the teenage Dick Whitman, aka Don Draper, "the greatest sin is believe that you cannot be forgiven".  Remember?

Judas's greatest sin occurred at the last moment of his earthly life.  And it was committed not in the mirthful, indulgent manner of an adulterer reaching out to his paramour or a conniving account executive manipulating his way into a juicy piece of new business but rather by an utterly shamed and broken man ... rejected in reality by the Pharisees who egged him onto his ultimate betrayal and then, in their hypocrisy refused to take back the filthy blood money they had paid Judas to commit his heinous act.

Just as everyone in this last episode of Mad Men is steeped in regret, remorse and scrambling to find some sort of human redemption, a faithless repentance offers no salvation and, in fact seals condemnation.   As Christ intones in John 17, I do not ask for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word..."  If you turn aside the word of salvation in Christ so will He turn you aside as chaff from the wheat kernel.  Whether you are in despite or in delight of yourself.

Judas then repaired to a lonely dead tree on a forsaken plot of land to hang himself and reject himself as a child of Christ, who would have accepted even His betrayer Judas had his remorse been coupled with a faith in God's power to forgive him.  Even in selling out Jesus into the hands of Pilate and the Pharisees, Judas had not out-sinned God.  Tragically, he had only out-sinned himself.

For, although it makes no sense, defies logical and will remain a mystery until that Last Day of Judgment, we cannot out-sin God and the Son.  We can only out sin ourselves.  And by rejecting God's salvation in Jesus Christ we only reject ourselves.  God cannot, will not reject us.  But we can reject ourselves.

Salvation, therefore is a passive thing, utterly given unto us.  Everyone reading this has read and knows the saving Word of Christ and is therefore saved.  You can only be unsaved by your own hand.  And whether you do it blithely, deliberately, ploddingly, in misery, in shame or in joy YOU do it.  Just as we are saved in mirth, in misery, in joy and in all places in between.  Jesus saves you but you condemn yourself.

Even a crabby old Lutheran.

Amen.




Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Woman in Purple and Scarlet...

Read this and then Google "a woman in purple and scarlet".  Probably just a coinky =;-0).  But pretty interesting.  If you understand Christian doctrine, you understand that this woman is more than just mealy mouthed.

Coming soon or someday to your neighborhood, a world empire of false religion.  Preview now showing in Venezuela.

Whose words are being spoken through her?  The Word Our Lord or the word of the foe.  When in doubt remember that scripture interprets scripture.






Rev 17:4, "The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries."