Tag Archives: biblical
I came to West Virginia from the great state of Ohio. I’d spent most of my life in Ohio and considered Ohio my “home state.” I was not thrilled about moving to West Virginia in 2001 because all I knew about the Mountaineer state was redneck and hillbilly jokes. A “city boy” like me was bound to be out of place and have little in common with people that considered “giggin frogs” a viable weekend recreation. But I came here for family.
My dad is a pastor. He had just accepted a position with a church in West Virginia and moved when I was at a place of transition in my life. We talked about working together at this new church as a family; my brother, dad, mom, and myself. The thought of working with family was something that I would not fully appreciate until many years after it was over. But for now I was excited to be living and working around my family.
Fast-forward 15 years and I’m now pensive as I leave West Virginia.
If you didn’t know better, you would be convinced that a vast majority of evangelical Christians support Donald Trump for president. If you didn’t know better.
There is no doubt that the mainstream media is propping Donald Trump up in his bid to be elected president. No one says the crazy things Trump has said on the campaign trail and survives unless the media is helping. Liberal outlets even seem joyful in their reporting that “evangelical Christians” are lining up to support Trump. But is it true that evangelicals en masse are prepared to vote for Trump in this year’s election?
I don’t think so.
Yes, it’s true that Trump has secured (for now) a large part of the Christian vote. We could have a discussion on the difference between “self-identified Christian” and those that are truly Christ-followers, but I’ll save that for another time. For now let’s just agree that many church-going people intend to vote for Trump in November and that reality is causing a stir.
Never in my years of presidential elections have I witnessed so many prominent evangelicals vocally oppose a republican candidate. For the most part church leaders and other prominent evangelicals remain silent. Not because they don’t have opinions and prefer one candidate over another; but because they prefer to focus on the Gospel instead of politics. (That’s also another conversation.)
What strikes me about her comment is her realization that her emotions were not trustworthy. Anna seems to recognize that true love is not about feelings but choices. In our current culture love is an emotion. It’s something people feel, and, therefore, can un-feel. So it’s no surprise that people fall into and out of love. But this show a misunderstanding of what true love is. The reality is that love is a verb. Love is the decisions we make each and every day.
Anna is right that what she is going through is a betrayal, and it’s hard. But she is also correct in that if she were to react according to her emotions she would surely make a “mess” into a “disaster.” So often people turn a mess, a fixable mess that could be overcome, into a disaster. Often that disaster is permanent and cannot be overcome. They do this by reacting emotionally rather than making choices consistent with a proper understanding of love.
Let’s use this example to illustrate what I’m talking about.
How would you answer the question “What is the church?”
This question might evoke answers ranging from a building with a steeple on top to a group of people that come together to worship Jesus. Whatever your answer might be there is a chance that you have not thought through the depth and intricacies of all that the church is.
The doctrine of the church, called Ecclesiology, is a foundational and yet often neglected aspect of biblical doctrine. Ecclesiology shapes everything from the leadership of the church to the way we live out our purpose each and every week. Knowing how central Ecclesiology is to the purpose and function of the church it is unfortunate that so many established churches have not given considerable attention to this critical doctrine.
In a recent post, blogger Ed Stetzer writes that Ecclesiology “must bear a great deal of theological weight” due to its importance in shaping the church.
At one time our Founders sought refuge from government persecution for their religious convictions. They left their homes to establish a place where people could freely live out their faith in every aspect of their life. What is happening today is a return to that same government persecution that our Founders desperately wanted to leave behind.
One area this seems most apparent is in the effort to force Christians to accept homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.” Sure, there may have been a goal of simply seeing this lifestyle legitimized and legalized; but that appears now to have been a precursor for the larger goal of forcing every person to accept and celebrate it. But there can now be no doubt that seeking simple “equality” is a long forgotten idea. And the rhetoric we were fed that “no one would be affected” was nothing more than a well-rehearsed talking point in a carefully crafted campaign.
A statement in an article from a couple months ago echoes what, I believe, many Americans are thinking:
You are never going to believe this. A new study reveals a major problem among Christians and those who regularly attend church> It’s probably not what you are thinking either.
Sure, we all have problems, no one is perfect and no one goes through a day without making a mistake. But one of the biggest problems plaguing Christians right now could very well be the source of many other issues happening among the family, community, and culture.
According to a new LifeWay Research study, only about 45% of people that claim to attend church regularly say they read the Bible more than once a week. In other words, 55% of people attending church regularly don’t pick their Bible up at any other time than on Sunday. A recent article reports:
Wouldn’t it be a good idea to teach impressionable children that gender is just a construct of society and is really as fluid as they want it to be? In fact, we should teach them that there are many genders, perhaps a dozen, and let them pick and choose which they want to be.
That’s what one of the nation’s largest public school systems is preparing to teach its students via a new health and sexuality curriculum.
At a time when gender is suddenly a debatable topic – because apparently we’re not content with just boys and girls – this school system wants to further confuse the situation by affirming that people can be more than just male and female. No longer is your anatomy the definer of your gender identity, now you can choose; you can even choose to be something other than male and female! (Could someone please explain that one to me!?)
The Fairfax County Public School system is preparing to implement changes to their family life curriculum which includes teaching on gender identity that can only be described as disastrous and unscientific. A report describes the curriculum for middle school this way:
Abigail Rine is a professor of English at George Fox University. Each year she hands out a reading assignment to her gender theory students designed to provoke them. She recently decided to assign the book “What Is Marriage” by noted Princeton professor Robert P. George, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Girgis. The book is a simple explanation of the conjugal view of traditional marriage.
Rine reports that the book, which is a manual of sorts on the traditional view of marriage as it relates to procreation, was offensive to her evangelical students at her evangelical university. Let that sink in for a moment.
But Rine said something that needs to be admitted: the church helped create the effort to redefine marriage.
I don’t mean that the church altered biblical teaching or even advocated marriage redefinition. Certainly some churches have done this but the vast majority of churches today continue to adhere to traditional biblical teaching of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. What I mean is that how the church handled the issue of marriage and sexuality in past decades aided the rise of marriage redefinition efforts.
I wish I could get this article read, studied, and learned in every church. It’s not that it is some previously unknown theological truth that will amaze with its depth and riches. Quite the opposite. It’s a very simple teaching grounded in biblical truth that should be known by churches, but is, sadly, not.
The bottom line is this: the pastor/overseer/shepherd/elder of the church is answerable to God, not you.
While I love our democratic-republic form of government here in America, it has, unfortunately, caused a little chaos in the church. Many church members have this idea that everything must be voted on, and everyone has to agree. With that in mind we want to vote on who the leaders are, what ministries will and will not exist, and how every dime of “our” money will be spent. The result is a church where the biblical leaders are little more than talking heads and puppets acting on behalf of the people.
But that’s not how God designed the church and certainly not how He intended it to be operated.