C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Painting a Colored Picture

According to the WashingtonPost.com, the following apparently comes from Rev. Lowery's Inaugural Benediction for President Barack Hussein Obama.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around...
... when yellow will be mellow...
LOWERY: ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

1. black will not be asked to get in back
2. brown can stick around
3. yellow will be mellow
4. red man can get ahead
5. white will embrace what is right

As one who sometimes writes poetry, I realize within written lyrics there can be both a face value and deeper meaning behind the mindset of the author. I also understand that as a reader of such poetry, we can sometimes attribute meaning beyond that which the author originally intended.

With that said, I can’t help but wonder what exactly Rev. Lowery was trying to express with these words, and if they would have been equally accepted had they been spoken by the yellow, red, or white and changed ever so slightly.

I find it interesting that even in times of claims of calling America to unity, there yet remains a clear division of colors. For where we could suggest that America be a nation where no one is asked to get in back, where all can stick around, where each of us will be mellow, where each man can get ahead, and where we will individually embrace what is right…we would rather keep reminding each other to continue dividing ourselves into individual Crayola crayons.

We’re Painting a Colored Picture; we’re just on different sheets of paper.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Color of Change

Today, Barack Hussein Obama II becomes the forty-fourth American President. One of the most often heard statements of this election has been and continues to be, ‘Barack Hussein Obama will be the first African American to be elected President of the United States.’ Indeed, today marks a historic point in American history.

My concern is that we as Americans are placing too much emphasis on color concerning the well-being of our country. Comments like, ‘This country has been run by Caucasian men for so long and look where its gotten us, now is the time for an African American President to bring great change to all Americans.’ If you are looking for this exact quote you won’t find it, but the premise behind it has spread all through the media and persons I’ve heard talk here and there.

The truth is, the color of Barack Hussein Obama’s skin (noting he is actually both black and white) does not ensure, in and of itself, that America will somehow miraculously rise to some new heights in morality, economics, etc. simply because he takes office. I pray that he will show integrity of character, make good decisions, and will ‘abhor that which is evil, and cleave to that which is good,’ but pigment (the amount and type of melanin) alone will make President Barack Hussein Obama no better or worse than his predecessors.

As with Christianity, our talk is merely breath upon the breeze if done without action. It is our walk that actually produces a positive change; as it is written, ‘faith without works is dead… I will shew thee my faith by my works.’

The next four years will declare unto the American people the faith and character of President Barack Hussein Obama, just as our daily lives expose as much concerning ourselves to those around us.

Pray for America, pray for her President, and pray for her people.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Purity For Sale

A friend of mine sent me a link from the LA News, talking about triplets that work at McDonalds in Forth Worth.

To my dismay, on the side panel labeled Most Viewed News, there was an article entitled ‘Dad Sells Girl, Calls Cops to Complain He Wasn't Paid’ and another titled ‘22-Year-Old's Virginity Auction Bids Hit $3.7M’.

As a father, whether Christian or non, is there not something in everyone of us that desires to protect our daughters? Or, has this world become so entangled in self-gratification that we no longer care for anyone but ourselves? Apparently the father of a fourteen year old girl attempted to sell his daughter ‘for $16,000 and 100 cases of beer, along with several cases of meat and other items.’ Is that all his precious daughter’s purity is worth to him? May the God of Heaven never allow my senses to desensitize to such levels concerning my children.

From there we move to the girl who would sell her purity to the highest bidder. Has she no self respect or self merit, as concerning the value of her abstinence of fornication and the keeping of herself a virgin for the future husband worthy of her purity? Does her father find himself in prayer and weeping, as she looks to guidance in that ‘her sister was able to pay for her college education after prostituting herself for three weeks?’ How is one that wishes to fulfill their ‘advanced degree in family and marriage therapy’ able to offer their most blessed possession so frivolously to any man with the most money? May the Spirit move upon her heart, to have her see the folly of such a proposition.

Heavy upon my heart are these stories, having a daughter myself. What then were the things which led these people down these certain paths? Have they ever been told of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the blessed hope of the forgiveness of sins? Do these stories bother you? What are we doing about it, concerning our witness to our own children?

Unfounded Perverted Thoughts of Christ

It is amazing just how far some minds wish to twist and misconstrue the things of Christ to somehow prove a point that makes no sense whatsoever.

Regarding my last post entitled, Should One Really Visit ‘The Shack’, with my mentioning of my dislike of the author’s use of a woman called Papa for God the Father, one of the commenters has apparently went off on a tangent concerning Christ and homosexuality. Thus, I have moved this out of context discussion to its own post.

The commenter begins his tale with, ‘Remember that Jebus was quite feminine: Long hair, soft features, likes to hang around with 12 (Or 13, if you include Judas) disciples, etc, gets chased around by a naked young man, etc. I am quite positive that Jesus is in fact gay. And it wouldn't be surprising for me if God actually is a woman.

I cannot help but laugh as they have apparently bought into the Hollywood version of a Christ they have never seen nor placed faith in. Even paintings, such as some would call art, are merely the interpretations of a Christ man would have in their imagination. Isaiah declares, 'he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.' There is no reason for one to believe Christ was a man who held the appearance and characteristics of a woman.

The crutch of the commenter’s argument seems to be Mark 14, whereby he writes, ‘Mark 14:51-52 suggests a lewd appearance of a young man chasing after Jesus, which suggests that Jesus is either gay, or have certain attractive qualities which make him attractive to a gay,’ giving us the following points:

This could suggest a few things:
1. Jesus didn't disapprove of gays.
2. Jesus was gay (highly likely)
3. And if he was attractive to gays, he may be a bit of a girly like, since Jesus has always been portrayed as such since antiquity.

Although there is no mention or even a subtle hint of homosexuality anywhere within these verses, not to mention the entire chapter, the commenter reveals there is really no point to his argument but to somehow give credence to homosexuality by the misuse and misunderstanding of Scripture.

1. We know that Jesus did not approve of homosexuality, for we find that He is both God and the Word incarnate (John 1), and both God and the Word declare homosexuality to be both sin and against nature (Leviticus 18, Leviticus 20, Romans 1).

2. There is no evidence in Scripture or without that suggest Christ portrayed any type of homosexual tendencies or lifestyle. First you state, 'a lewd appearance of a young man chasing after Jesus, which suggests that Jesus is either gay.' Scripture declares 'there followed him a certain young man' not that the man was chasing after Jesus. There are countless assumptions we could make regarding the why the young man was dressed in a linen cloth or why the young man followed after Jesus, but the fact remains the act of the young man in no way declares the character or actions of Christ to be homosexual in any way. Again, feminine or homosexual paintings and imaginations of man of Christ and/or his disciples does in no way make such true concerning Christ or his disciples.

3. Second you state, 'or have certain attractive qualities which make him attractive to a gay,' which is even a more illogical argument. The definition of being homosexual is to have a desire for one of the same sex. Just as the lustful desire of a man toward a woman does not make the woman heterosexual, neither would the lust of a man toward a man make the man being lusted after homosexual. If you recall the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, there were two angels which visited the home of Lot. The men of the city lusted sinfully toward these men, and desired even to take them forcefully to do wickedly. It was not the angels, but the homosexuals of the city which did lust and 'burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly.'

You cannot blame Christ for the perversion of man, no matter how hard you try.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Should One Really Visit ‘The Shack’

The Shack
Wm. Paul Young

I have heard more than one Christian speak up concerning Wm. Paul Young’s book entitled The Shack. Even the front cover boasts, ‘This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!’ [Eugene Peterson] There was even a lady that went so far as to say that every Christian should read this book, and possibly even teach some of its principles in Sunday school. Such being said about a fictional book, certainly it perked my interest a bit. Apparently it was published in 2007, so I am a little behind the times I suppose, but I went ahead and purchased it from Walmart.

From the first page till around chapter five (5), page eighty-two (82), the book appears to resemble a dramatic story with a terrible loss in the life of a man with a family. Trying to refrain from giving too much of the story away, because of circumstances written within those pages, Mack (a man of shaky faith) returns to a location somewhat expecting to meet God there. Oddly, what he finds is ‘a large beaming African-American woman.’ Now, I would ask that the reader pay close attention to what I write here, so there will be no attempt at any accusation regarding racism.

I have no problem with the author having Mack (a Caucasian) meeting a friendly African-American woman at a cabin, but having a female represent the masculine Holy Creator God is a bit disturbing. The author even goes so far as to have this female tell Mack that she likes to call herself Elousia, but that he may call her Papa; the name Nan (Mack’s wife) called God. Then there is the casting of an Asian woman assumingly as the Holy Spirit (named Sarayu), and a Hebrew man whose common name is Jesus (but whose mother had called him Yeshua, while others had also called him Joshua or Jesse). So, in short, the author has the Almighty Father casted as an African woman and the Holy Spirit of Promise as an Asian woman, but at least he gives some similarity to our Lord and Savior with portraying Him as a Hebrew male.

One may like to call me sexist, but there is no doubt that the God of Heaven and Earth is represented as masculine throughout the entirety of Scripture. To have such a Father portrayed as a female – even though a fictional novel – is absurd. Please note, I am not attacking the author’s sincerity of his faith, ideals, or hopes for his book, I am simply pointing out that I disagree totally with the judgment of character types used for the Godhead, along with some of the human characteristics given to such. And though the author uses the following pages to seemingly explain and make light of the appearance he chooses to portray of God – with those who profess Christianity already desiring to removed the masculinity of God from the very Scriptures in new translations, along the struggle against the feminism takeover – I believe a little more discernment may have been considered regarding the Persons of the Trinity even in a fictional writing.

I must admit I cringed quite a bit as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit became more and more human as the story continued from the end of chapter six (6) into chapter (7). Things like them all laughing at Christ for dropping things with his slippery fingers, along with the Father telling Mack that even though Christ proclaimed, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ at the cross, Jesus only felt like He was forsaken but wasn’t. So, Christ was deceived by His emotions? Maybe I’m confused. When Mack explains his conclusion that the recorded miracles performed by Christ in the Scriptures proved that He was God, ‘you know, more than human,’ the Father says, ‘No, it proves that Jesus is truly human.’ As I, Mack questions this response. God answers, ‘Although he is also fully God, he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything.’

At this I must further question the author’s premise and to what point he desires to take us. If Christ never drew from His nature as God, then is it within the power of every human being to do that which Christ did? Do we too, as professing Christians indwelt by the Spirit, have the supernatural ability to perform also the miracles of turning water into wine; casting out evil spirits; multiplying the loaves and fish; healing the blind, lame, and dumb; and walking on water? What about the forgiveness of sins? Christ proclaimed, ‘the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.’ Did the forgiveness of sins come from the human or divine of Christ? Did not even John the Baptist (no greater born among women) say, ‘one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose.’ Was it also human for Christ to declare, ‘I lay down my life, that I might take it again… No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again?’

If the above did not make me hesitate to read further, chapter eight (8) appears to dismiss the Scriptures by dismantling the structure of both the Godhead and the family. Among the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), the god of The Shack tells Mack, ‘we have no concept of final authority among us, only unity. We are a circle of relationship, not a chain of command…’ No final authority within God? Such sounds strangely familiar from the Atheists and those who profess Christ yet live as though they do not. In fact, Mack questions the ‘no hierarchy’ bit, mentioning even its use in marriage; whereby, God declares, ‘Such a waste…Hierarchy imposes laws and rules and you end up missing the wonder of relationship that we intended for you.’ Then this god goes on to basically try to explain that there cannot be a relationship if there is final authority or hierarchy, for that would be independence and ‘you become a danger to each other.’

Does the author forget the hierarchy of the Godhead, whereby the Son was obedient to the will of the Father, and the Holy Spirit obeyed the voice of the Son? What then of the hierarchy of the establishment of marriage, whereby the man is head of the wife, even as Christ is of the Church? Such cannot be so easily explained away by the telling of a fictional book, though sold as Christian literature. In chapter ten (10) the author future sews tares among the wheat of Scripture by having his jesus state to Mack, ‘The world, in many ways, would be a much calmer and gentler place if women ruled. There would have been far fewer children sacrificed to the gods of greed and power.’ Does the author honestly dismiss the reality of feminism, abortion, and the fact that attitude and climate of many women prisons surpass the filth of those of men?

The further this chapter (8) goes, the slicker the mudslide seems to become. Even here do we see god telling Mack that He (yes, the Trinity) ‘respects your [man’s] choices.’ I can’t help but ponder the conclusion of the author concerning this statement within the context of this chapter and the book as a whole. For if respect is not enough, the author bows his jesus further unto man by having him tell Mack that the Trinity is submitted to one another equally, and further states ‘In fact, we are submitted to you [man] in the same way.’ Even Mack has to question this, as most honest Bible believing Christians would, ‘How can that be? Why would the God of the universe want to be submitted to me [man]?” The author’s god’s answers, ‘Because we want you to join us in our circle of relationship.’ In Scripture, man is told to submit to the LORD, God, one another, a wife to her husband, those that rule over us, and the younger to the elder, but never once do I find God submitting Himself unto man to have a relationship. Man is always told to come on God’s terms, which is through submission and faith in Jesus Christ.

My current conclusion: This shack should be torn down and burned, not promoted and shared.

Honestly, if you are a professing Christian or not, and have read this book and believe it to have a positive message...please take a moment and share that experience with me.

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.