In late June the Supreme Court issued a religious freedom ruling that took many by surprise. The case involved Trinity Lutheran School and the state of Missouri. The school applied for a state reimbursement grant for their playground. The state denied the school, citing the establishment clause to the Constitution. The state said that it would not “support religion” by awarding the grant to the school because it is owned and operated by a church. The school responded that the school is not open only to church members and that many of their students are not members of the church. The school also said that the playground is open to the community and not open solely during school hours. The state continued to deny the school the grant.
The school then enlisted the help of Alliance Defending Freedom in bringing a religious discrimination case against the state. The case made its way to the Supreme Court where, in what some call a surprise ruling, the court ruled in favor of the school.
The Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling is important for several reasons. But, it must be noted that while the addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch was welcomed in this case, it appears that the court would have sided with the school without the vote of Gorsuch. Only justices Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and Sonya Sotomayor ruled against the school. This means justices Steven Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Anthony Kennedy sided with the conservative justices in ruling in favor of the school. That’s important.
Canada has ruled that sexual acts with animals are legal providing there is no penetration involved. This ruling was handed down by the Canadian Supreme Court after a convicted sexual predator, found guilty of assaulting his stepdaughters, appealed the charge and conviction of bestiality.
I really have no intention of going into the lurid details of this court case. But I do want to discuss the moral, cultural, and biblical implications of this case and how Christians should think about such issues.
From a cultural perspective, a single statement by the director of Animal Justice was very interesting and should be carefully considered. After the Supreme Court ruling, Camille Labchuk made the following comment:
“As of today, Canadian law gives animal abusers license to use animals for their own sexual gratification. This is completely unacceptable, contrary to societal expectations, and cannot be allowed to continue.” Continue reading
One transgender person wants everyone to know that a menstrual cycle does not take away from his manliness.
Imagine you are in a schoolroom anywhere in the country. You are teaching biology to inquisitive young mind. You are explaining the difference between men and women. You talk about the physical differences, including muscle mass, the “Adam’s Apple” only men have, and the fact that women store more fat than men (it’s a childbirth thing). You then talk about how only women have a uterus and can give birth. It’s a fairly normal conversation in which you share biological facts.
A hand goes up and one young pupil asks the question, “Can a man have a period?”
What do you do?
Well, most of us would find this to be an easy question to answer. We give the scientifically accurate answer: no.
That’s how the scene would play out if you care about those pesky scientific facts and tell the truth about the difference between men and women. But, as we all know, we live in a culture that is seeking to blur those lines beyond rational possibility. To that end, a young woman in the UK recently shared that despite having her period she is no less a man? Continue reading
It seems LGBT activists are always talking about diversity and inclusion. They want everyone to feel welcomed, accepted, and supported. Whether you are male and identify as female, or you are attracted to both sexes, or you just have questions about your gender and sexuality; everyone is welcome.
Well, everyone except Christians.
The LGBT pride organization Pride St. Louis is crying “foul” over the decision of the St. Louis Cardinals to host former player Lance Berkman for their annual Christian family Day. The group says that Berkman, an outspoken Christian, made comments they don’t like and therefore, should not be allowed to speak.
The issue started when Berkman voiced his opposition to a Houston city ordinance that would allow transgender people to use whatever bathroom they wish, regardless of their biological gender. Berkman shared his concern by stating the position held by a majority of Christians, and even many non-Christians in the U.S. He said: Continue reading
The question that arose in conversation is whether taxes are appropriate or whether they are theft. Some subsequent conversation is whether Christians should stand against taxes and oppose any form of taxation or dutifully pay our taxes.
There’s one perspective that says: the Bible says theft is sin, taxes are theft, and therefore taxes are sinful.
Though this is a simplification of the position, it is a good summary and starting point for the discussion. This position says that God never ordains taxes and never gives the government authority to impose taxes. Because all authority is derived from God and God never gives explicit authority to impose taxes, taxation is theft. And since theft is a violation of God’s moral law (10 Commandments), any government imposition of taxes is theft and should be opposed.
The questions we have to ask are, “are taxes morally appropriate for the government to levy?” This question is followed closely by “should Christians pay taxes?” Continue reading
Question: what happens when a sitting U.S. Senator appears to give a “religious test” to a candidate for public office?
Surprisingly, even in this strange political climate we live in today, it causes an uproar, and outrage. And what is exactly what happened when Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders attacked the Christian faith of Russell Vought during his hearing to become the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Let me set the stage for you.
Vought is an evangelical Christian. As such he dares to hold the audacious view that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. Though this is the “enlightened” 21st century, Vought is so “narrow-minded” and “intolerant” as to believe what the Bible says about salvation and what 2000 years of Christians have continued to believe: Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. He even made this mind-blowing statement:
“Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”
Can you believe this man would dare assert that Muslims refusing to acknowledge that Jesus is divine and a co-equal part of the Trinity are not, in fact, redeemed and currently stand condemned? Who does he think he is? He acts as if his “theology” is the truth and all others are wrong. He acts as if the Bible and the historic, evangelic Christian faith are truth and anyone not adhering to these doctrines are wrong, condemned even! Continue reading
Maddi Runkles is graduating from high school this year. In fact, at the time of this posting she has already graduated. Unlike her classmates, Maddi did not participate in the commencement ceremony at her private Christian school. The school, where her father was previously the president of the board of directors, decided not to allow Maddi to walk and participate in the school’s graduation ceremony.
The reason Maddi has been prevented from taking part in the school’s graduation ceremony is because she is pregnant. The school has a covenant that prohibits students from being sexually active before marriage. The school said that since Maddi broke the covenant, she is not eligible to walk in the ceremony.
Abortion advocates have blasted the school for this decision, saying the school pretends to be pro-life, but then punishes one of their own that chooses not to abort. The school is being accused of hypocrisy. Continue reading
Any parent that has lost a child will immediately want to know whether their child is in Heaven or not. They will ask the pastor doing the funeral, or the devoted family friend, they will ask anyone that they think might be able to give a concise, simple answer to this question. Parents want the peace of knowing that in the midst of their tragedy, there is hope for their lost child.
I can understand wanting a measure of peace during a difficult time. It’s human nature to ask these questions and seek such peace and comfort. It is also human nature to offer such peace and comfort to grieving parents and family. We want to alleviate the suffering and grief of parents by assuring them that their child is now “in a better place.”
While we may have good intentions for our efforts to comfort grieving parents, Christians must make sure that their intentions, efforts, and words are based solely on Scripture. There is no real comfort in telling someone what cannot be supported by Scripture. So before we tell parents that their child is now in Heaven, we need to examine Scripture to determine whether that is true or not.
Let me start by saying I love the differences between men and women. I know that’s probably not a popular thing to say in our culture as we are supposed to downplay the differences between the sexes. Not me, I like the differences and I like celebrating our differences.
Up until about 10 years ago it was normal, popular even, to celebrate the differences between the sexes. Routinely within our culture we praised men for certain things and women for other things. This, despite the growing assault of the feminist movement, was nothing that would capture headlines.
Then things changed.
Suddenly, gender was not as binary as people thought. You weren’t just a man or a woman, you were, potentially both, or neither. Maybe you even experienced life as both on some days. Social media sites, attempting to placate the cries of a few radicals, adopted numerous gender options for people to “identify” with in order to make sure everyone was included. And life as we know it, man and woman, has never been the same.
Now you can truly be “anything you want to be.” That no longer just applies to your “dream job,” it applies to your gender. Are you a man that really wants to be a woman? No problem. Are you a woman that wants to be a man and a woman? Sure. Are you gender fluid, moving seamlessly between man and woman on a daily basis? Cool. In fact, you can even be non-binary. That just means you don’t identify as male, female, or anything else, you just…exist.
We’ve certainly come a long way. Continue reading
A recent article highlighted once again just how dangerous it is to take part of a verse or a single verse out of its context and attempt to make it bend to our predetermined thought. This has been done for centuries and, I suspect, will continue to happen. After all, what would the prosperity preachers preach if they could not utilize this tactic?
For those of us seeking to be faithful disciples and followers of Jesus however, cherry-picking Scripture is to be avoided at all times.
John Hendryx, writing at Monergism.com, responds to a commenter that cites Scripture in his opposition to the “biblical view that, due to a corruption of nature, fallen man has no free will to come to Christ.”
The view concerning man’s will is one of debate among Arminians and Reformed theologians. Arminians believe that man has the ability, the free will, to choose Christ. Reformed theologians believe that due to the bondage of the will to sin, man does not have the ability to choose Christ without the regenerating work and effectual calling of the Holy Spirit. This distinction has been the source of much debate between these two theological groups.
Before moving forward, it is important to understand that it is a universally agreed upon fact that man has a will and can make choices based upon that will. However, what is not true is that man has the ability to freely choose Christ based solely upon his own free will. Let me explain the difference. Continue reading