The Bible vs Women In The Pulpit – Division

We Baptists, particularly conservative Associational Baptists, lay claim to the Bible as our sole foundation for belief and practice. Of course, we have stretched some aspects into tradition, but the foundation we try to keep is Scripture.

Yet one denomination of Baptists is about to pull itself apart (and I fear others that have historically held to an even more conservative reputation) over Scripture – including 1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6, et all…

And at the epicenter of this division today is a woman named Beth Moore.  Mrs. Moore is arguably the most successful woman writer of Bible literature, books, etc.  Indeed, at one time, I would not have had serious concerns about her or her materials beyond its general shallowness (theoretically in an effort to make it uplifting and encouraging).  But if one pays attention to both her writing and her public speaking (as well as her social media), one can see a dramatic shift.  From moving away from and ultimately rejecting the biblical view of homosexuality, to working with and endorsing some of the biggest names and figures in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), prosperity gospel, charismatics (particularly Joyce Meyer)moorelead11102018a1. I believe this shift has been fueled by financial success, popularity, and a hyper-inflated ego that has driven her right off the tracks of biblical orthodoxy. Her current positions span the map of currently-trending false gospels and doctrines.  She promotes direct, ongoing, verbal revelation (prophecy given to her), all caged in language that sounds more like a boyfriend that the almighty God, to having her materials  edited to specifically remove homosexuality from the references to the need to repent. Further, in her rush into the Social Justice Movement, she basically launched the #ChurchToo hashtag – the church version of the #metoo movement to claim sexual abuse (even if via being “Oppressed”). Yes, Beth Moore has also joined the ranks of Feminism – which brings us to her position currently in the shakeup of the SBC (and to other Baptist denominations). Beth Moore is now promoting and encouraging women to not only preach in church (in direct contradiction on the matter found in the Scripture passages listed above). And when many addressed her bragging on social media, she again played the victim and stirred up her cult-like following.

Fast-forward to a recent conference where Dr. John MacArthur, a many who has spent more of his life studying, preaching, and doing theology than many of us have been alive, who has dedicated his life, his ministry, and his efforts at proclaiming and standing on the Bible, was being questioned in a somewhat light way. From this came a now infamous quote “go home”. EHHdZsHXkAAb0q_This quote was associated with the questioner’s throwing out the name “Beth Moore”.  You see, Dr. MacArthur is among hundreds of pastors and preachers who have been calling Beth back to the Bible, praying for her to find her way back to Scripture and out of her derailment – and most recently – to quit promoting a radical form of egalitarianism that promotes women preachers in violation of Scripture. She has repeatedly mocked Dr. MacArthur as well as many who have attempted to address her errors. MacArthur’s response, in-context, refers back to the entirety of her departure from Scripture, but with a focus on her claims to being a preacher (and her efforts to promote other women to do the same, and to even bill themselves as pastors). Beth Moore – go home.  Drop these unbiblical aspirations. Drop the efforts to usurp authority that is not yours (something you formerly use to actually respect – but have since thrown under the bus). Beth go back home to the truth – where you don’t partner with and endorse radical heretics. Beth Moore… go home.

And now we have a wide gambit within the SBC and other Baptist groups (mind you, Dr. MacArthur is not a Southern Baptist) casting Dr. MacArthur under that same bus – dismissing everything he has done for many decades for the cause of Christ, the thousands of pastors and preachers he has had a hand in nurturing and educating, and his unwavering stand on the Word of God.  And I suspect it is this latter that has caused the real stir. You see, John MacArthur has been a champion against the growing cancer of the Social Justice movement (a false gospel by any definition). He has stood on many a hill for the sake of truth and in the face of dramatic opposition. And more recently, has apparently lost some long-time friends who themselves have become infected by the insidious tentacles of false Social Justice gospel and the #wokechurch it creates.

And sadly, the most outspoken against Dr. MacArthur and his “go home” comment, remained completely silent as Beth degenerated from the Bible, as she drifted into full derailment. Indeed, they helped her along by their unwavering support and endless promotion.  They bought her books and reviewed them as near-Scripture jewels. And even has her doctrinal fallout began to directly contradict their own doctrinal positions – they simply promoted her more aggressively.

About 50 years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention nearly self-destructed. The radically liberal faction had overrun the denomination, questioning then completely rejecting the inerrancy, sufficiency, and authority of Scripture. But before the denomination fell the way of so many others, faithful men set aside their theological differences on Soteriology (Traditionalists vs. Calvinists), and joined together into what became known as the “Conservative Resurgence” in the SBC. Through carefully planned maneuvers and strategic actions, those who still held to the fundamental truth of the Bible’s inerrancy, sufficiency, and authority “won the day”. That historic battle resulted in an SBC that cruised along in a relatively biblical course for decades. the “loss” was the spinoff of a group known as the Cooperative Baptists. This group were the holdout congregations that had rejected the full authority of Scripture, that had been proudly jumping into the far extremes of liberalism and doctrinal error.

Sadly, the SBC is again venturing into the dark place of liberalism but with a new name: the Social Justice Movement. Yet the root of this drift is the same as the previous – a low view of Scripture that places man’s thoughts and feelings above what God said, what God preserved, what God directly inspired.  It is the same old “I know what the Bible says, BUT…” mentality.

I know some women who can teach circles around about any man. Who have biblical maturity and wisdom beyond many pastors and preachers I have known. But they remain biblically disqualified from having authority over men (especially in the church), from “preaching”, and from holding the office of pastor, elder, bishop, etc. (or deacon, but that is another discussion). A godly woman who truly holds the Word of God in the highest of esteem recognizes her extremely important role – and that it is not, nor ever should it be, to usurp the authority over men and the offices God ordained for them.

And lest we forget, there was a time when Beth Moore spoke at conferences and events specifically for women, where men would sometimes attend – and she would clearly open with a thank-you to the men present, and strongly would say she had ZERO authority over them, and that she was speaking to and for the women’s audience.

This is the same Beth Moore who earlier this year, at a conference, commanded a man come down to the floor where she was, to get on his knees, and apologize for all harms men had inflicted on women:

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There is no biblical case for women to serve as “preachers” or pastors. Does this in any way diminish their importance, their worth, or OUR need of women in the church? Absolutely not! Quite the contrary, it ought to reinforce their value and importance that God has ordained purposes for all of His people – rightly fitted together in the local body. But Beth Moore now rejects biblical gender roles and recently made no bones about it at a conference put on by the ERLC.

Let us not reject what God has said in His Word for the sake of a politically-correct pursuit of the false gospel of the Social Justice Movement. Seek the truth. Pray for those who hold a low view of Scripture.  Pray for Beth Moore- particularly that she would “go home” – go home to the Word of God, and to repent of her prideful and radical feminism that attacks the Bible.

Pray for the Southern Baptist Convention, the BMA, and any other denomination (or independent) that needs desperately to refocus on what God has already said and laid out clearly in HIs Word.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Why Your Pastor Should Say “No Moore” to Beth Moore
Testimonies of People who have broken free of Beth Moore
Beth Moore Relentlessly Attacks Straight White Men on Social Media

 

Is Your Church or Denomination Going #WOKE?

Do you think your church is biblically-solid and that it could never succumb to modernistic adulteration of God’s Word? You might want to think again.

Just a few months ago, the Southern Baptist Convention voted to recognize and implement “Critical Race Theory” and “Intersectionality” as valid measures and procedures for measuring the denomination’s “progress”.  For more detailed definitions and explanation of these two terms, click the links above, but in short – Critical Race Theory basically defines racism as solely committed by white people towards other races, that it is always systemic and always about power. Critical Race Theory when applied to churches is an assumption that churches are equally systematically racist if they are “white”. It is a parallel to the ancient cult of Gnosticism that assumed that everything physical is, by nature, evil and everything spirit is good, but in this case – if it is white, it is systematically evil and racist.

Intersectionality deals with gender and gender roles. Those who follow intersectionality despise complimentarianism and reject biblical gender roles.

These two ideologies are a part of the bigger cancer of the Social Justice Movement, one that is at its foundation, a false gospel. The Social Justice movement can take many forms, but nearly all reject biblical absolutes, diminish or even redefine sin. From “Christians” who are “pro-choice” regarding abortion, to those who support homosexual “marriage” on one end, to those who simply inject race and gender into every discussion, promoting “Justice” as the real purpose of the gospel. Many large, modern “churches” promote easy-believism for the sake of numbers, while rejecting the call to abhor sin. You generally will not hear Social Justice preachers call listeners to meaningful repentance, nor will you hear them condemn those who proclaim heresies. And the sad reality is – Social Justice #WOKE theology is rooted in Marxism, and is actually quite UNjust.

The reality is – all of these concepts and views fall under the trendy #WOKE mantra. If your pastor refuses to call sin, sin – if you have a woman who preaches or is the “pastor”, your church might be #WOKE. If your denomination is constantly apologizing for the past sins of previous generations – it might be #WOKE. If your church’s leadership refuses to call out those who are promoting and teaching heresies – they may be #WOKE. If the same people in leadership speak more of being “gentle” or the need to “tone it down” when others are addressing these falsehoods and heresies – they might be #WOKE.  If your leadership is calling for reparations for past injustices of a nation, they might be @WOKE. If your preacher constantly refers to the Gospel Coalition as a trustworthy source of biblical teaching – yep: #WOKE. If your church, pastor, or leadership consider Beth Moore to be a solid biblical teacher worthy of praise – they might be #woke.

And it is this last example that brings me to the latest Social Justice blow-up. At a recent biblical conference, Dr. John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church was ask (in the context of the above Social Justice issues – particularly intersectionality and Beth Moore’s promotion of women preachers – including bragging on her own pulpit-envy), Dr. MacArthur said that “Beth Moore needs to go home”. This has caused a giant uproar among those who hold to these Social Justice/#WOKE views. These purveyors of false gospels are attacking Dr. MacArthur as “unqualified”, and some even are calling him a heretic. Dr. MacArthur is among the most sound biblical expositors of our time who has dedicated a very long career teaching, discipling, and proclaiming the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a biblical responsibility of Christians, especially leaders, to protect the sheep by identifying and calling out false teachers. Indeed, Paul wrote to the Roman church specifically on this matter:

“Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them”. (Romans 16:17)

Simply put, we are to exercise discernment and stand for truth and abhor evil. Those in the Social Justice #WOKE vein are more concerned with numbers (and usually money). I rejoice when churches grow rapidly because of the Holy Spirit’s movement to create transformed, repentant people who love the LORD with all their heart, soul, and mind! But when growth is measured simply by bodies in the chairs (worship attendance), and sacrifices genuine heart change – there is a problem.

Christianity of today, particularly in the United States, has presented a rather weak gospel for decades, but the current #WOKE trends under the guise of Social Justice are throwing the sin-hating, repentance-bringing, heart changing gospel completely under the bus. The Southern Baptist Convention is teetering on the brink of a massive meltdown because of it – but don’t for a moment think your “conservative little denomination” is immune. I sadly have witnessed the tumors of the Social Justice movement beginning to grow in my own denomination, the Baptist Missionary Association. When respected leaders and church planters begin promoting the very tenants of #WOKE theology, and calling out genuine men of God for speaking truth – we have a very serious problem.

So what is the answer? The same that spawned Martin Luther to pen his 95 Theses: seeking what Scripture really says and taking a stand on that, not on people’s feelings. Gospel ministry is not about popularity or making friends, it is about seeking lives changed by the transforming power of the gospel! Don’t be afraid to call out those who teach another gospel (Paul said they should be accursed! (Galatians 1:9). But above all – do not let it go unaddressed! Speak up. Call them to repentance. Point them to Scripture.

Where are Your Denominational Dollars Going @SBC?

Many don’t know how most Baptist denominations work – questions such as “what is the difference between the Southern Baptists and __________________ Baptists?”
 
One major difference between the SBC and the association that the church I pastor is a part of, is how giving to the cooperative work operates. In the Southern Baptist Convention, the primary pathway to giving to the bigger work is through the state organization. The state takes a chunk of that money received and sends it on to the SBC (national) which then divides it out as the umbrella for their entire denominational machine. The local church has very little say in where their cooperative funds go, other than the two big offering events each year.
 
The Baptist Missionary Association (BMAA), of which FBC Cave Springs is a part of, views the various departments and ministries of the larger work as all basically autonomous – and each is funded separately via direct offerings. We as a church direct offerings specifically to BMAA Missions, or to our BMA Seminary, to our state missions, to our local missions, to our media ministry (Lifeword), to our state college (Central Baptist College), and even to specific missionaries and works in specific locations – as well as a variety of other ministries at the national, state, and local level. If at any time any of those ministries go “off the rails” or acts in a way that doesn’t represent our doctrines or otherwise goes out of line, we simply stop funding them (and also have the opportunity at our annual meetings to approve or dissolve any of them or their leadership, if appropriate). It is a safeguard that has served our organizations well.
 
We see unfolding the dangers of the large cooperative work of the Southern Baptist Convention unfolding daily. The cancer of the “Social Justice” false gospel movement is one that many of us have been warning about for a long time – a warning that is consistently answered with vitriol and hate. Among the various entities supported by the SBC cooperative giving program (with zero control of the local churches) is the ERLC, led by Dr. Russell Moore. He has become rabidly political, endorsed and promoted that members of the denomination and Christians in general vote for abortion-providing, traditional marriage-destroying, Bible-hating candidates. Their false gospel of Social Justice is one that cries that Jesus Love You – and so He doesn’t’ care if you continue in your sin – for His grace is abundant and more. (What happened to Romans 6:1-2?). Russell Moore’s gate is the wide gate to perdition – and along with him, hand-in-hand with other extremely popular “leaders” within the denomination, the charge to wink at sin for the sake of a politically-correct “social gospel” is literally rotting the SBC from the inside-out.
This department within the SBC umbrella, the ERLC (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) has buried itself in sin, and the below linked article shines a light on this horrible darkness.  I implore you – if you attend and/or are a member of a church who gives to the Southern Baptist Convention – that you take this very seriously consider if this is the stand you and your local church take on this matter.  But don’t stop there! Keep digging in to the “values” Dr. Moore and his ERLC now stand for (including women pastors and leadership), and a variety of other issues that the ERLC has taken directly contradictory positions on to the Baptist Faith and Message they are supposedly charged with keeping.
Click on the image below to open the full article. Pray for the Southern Baptist Convention. Pray for eyes to be opened to the rot growing within. And pray for your church that you would refuse to support this heretical dung heap.

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Priorities On Display

Scripture is filled with references to what can be boiled down to the term “priorities” – whether it be prayer, faith, obedience, service, faithfulness, etc. Jesus made reference to priorities in His responses to young men who came asking about becoming followers. In Matthew 19 we can read of the rich young ruler who asked what he must do to obtain eternal life. Jesus’ reply was, in essence, to “keep the law” – but the heart of the matter, after the young ruler said he kept all those things – Jesus told him to sell everything and give it to the poor… Christ’s point was to rely on HIM, not all the wealth and property he had.

In Luke 9, we read (vs. 57-60) of two who would follow Jesus – the first is warned that “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” To the second, at the call to follow, had the excuse that he had to go and bury his father (nowhere does it say his father was actually dead). Jesus’ response: “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”

And we certainly cannot leave out the words of Jesus in Luke 14:25-26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” While we know the LORD wasn’t espousing actual “hate” – He was putting an almost shocking (the term is “hyperbole”) illustrative point on His call to priorities – the love for Christ, the passion for following Him, should be such a high priority, that all else should fall well behind that.

Even the Apostle Paul had desires to visit churches and people that the LORD had not allowed him to enjoy because the priorities of God’s mission had to come first.

Priorities in our lives are put on display all the time. Whether it is the activities we engage in, the entertainment the indulge in, or the way we invest and use the time, skills, and resources (including talents) He has blessed us with.

Sadly, there has been a growing trend over the years of compartmentalizing our faith – “doing church” has become ever more a shrinking block on our busy schedules. An hour

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or maybe two each week – or for the truly “faithful” -another hour in the middle of the week.

But then what happens? Life?

I once heard a deacon talk about how he would be in church Sunday morning if the mule didn’t end up in the ditch. He then went on to say – everyone (including God) understands when circumstances beyond our control prevent us from assembling together with the church on Sunday, the problem is when WE PUT THE MULE in the proverbial ditch! When it wasn’t “beyond our control”, but was our own doing that set up the barrier.

A friend who is also a minister at another church got himself in a bit of hot water a few years back. He opined on social media how he had passed a soccer complex on this way to morning services – and recognized quite a few vehicles parked with participants. His post was asking about the priority given to Sunday athletic competition over assembling together with the church.

Likewise, I found myself in similar trouble in my first pastorate when I posted a cartoon that brought an interesting question along the same lines: In the single-pane ‘toon, it depicts a family. In it, the child is asking the parents “why do they cancel church every time we have family to visit?”.

It gets back to priorities. If we as parents don’t demonstrate the priority of God on the day set aside for corporate worship, we shouldn’t be surprised when our children grow up to not have God as a priority in their life at all! If your job requires you to sometimes work on Sunday, that ought to put even more weight to the priority of being with your church family on the days you don’t have work!  Further – not only do our children see our priorities in action, but so do our friends and families. If you have family that come to visit, do they see Sunday as a day to spend with you including corporate worship time at church, or have they learned that you will give up church time for them? What about friends? Do they know you by your dedication to the church and either won’t come to visit during church time on Sundays (or other ministry days), or come with the expectation of attending WITH you?

Absolutely nobody in their right mind begrudges a church member going on vacation, taking care of genuinely pressing/emergency circumstances. But do know that if you are a member of a local church (as all believers are called to be), you will be missed. Just as the Apostle Paul used the language of a physical body and it’s need for every part, so is the local church – indeed a convincing case against huge, numberless churches where people hide among the masses. We are built to come together and to serve and grow together. Our presence when we attend corporate ministry time is designed to edify others. When we miss, we leave a gap that no-one else really fills.

Let us also consider the stumbling block set in the path of our own children, families, and friends by our misplaced priorities when it comes to church attendance and participation, but the picture it paints to both fellow church members and to visitors who see your empty seat or pew.

From a pastoral perspective, I cannot help but be discouraged by those who seem to have a regular case of “mule in the ditch”. Further, when we see the far-reaching impact of being all-too-willing to set aside corporate worship, fellowship, and service for the world, it grieves me – and not just me, but your fellow church members.

Far too often, I have seen a willingness to miss corporate gatherings of the church grow to the false concept that one doesn’t “need” church at all – that they can commune with God, grow, and glorify Him and never step foot in a church building. Being a born-again, repentant, growing child of God involves active discipleship, accountability, corporate worship, and regular fellowship among the “saints” – indeed it implies such.

The writer of Hebrews laid it out as part of the picture of the “New Living Way” of those called from Death to Life:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another;and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25

Our priorities in life often speak far louder about our hearts and faith than any quantity of words. Our children see them, our family and friends see them, the local church sees it, and this lost world that is in need of a Greater Hope – sees it.

Where to our priorities come from? They come from our heart. Jesus laid out the most fundamental priority list of all when He spoke of the greatest command:

‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’  Matthew 22:37

Be an active participant in your local church. Make assembling together a top priority. Yes, every once in a while, your mule can wind up in the ditch. Just be sure you aren’t the one who put him there!

Responsibility, Decisions, Accountability, and Politics

I have made plenty of mistakes in my life, from economic to moral, from spiritual to physical. When I was a child, my parents tried to be selective in when and how they would “bail me out” of the consequences of my errors, all with the intent of guiding me to learn from my mistakes.

When I graduated high school, I was able to secure a band scholarship to the University of Central Arkansas, but I had to find funding for the rest of the expenses – from room and board, to books and additional fees. I was able to secure the old “PELL Grant” most years, but had to fill the gap with fairly sizable loans from a private fund for most semesters, and even a Federal Guaranteed Student Loan for a few semesters to make ends meet.

When I finally finished my extended undergraduate time and received my degree, I quickly learned that education loans, whether Government guaranteed, or privately-funded, remain one’s responsibility no matter your economic situation. They just don’t go away. It took several years on the relatively low income of a public school teacher to finally get those debts paid off. I often looked back at my fellow students who chose to work many long hours to pay for their education instead of taking out loans and thinking “that was what I should have done”. But at no point did I ask for or demand anyone else pay off my student loans for me. They were my responsibility.

Since then, I have been in several areas of work and ministry that have truly opened my eyes to how our national mentality has shifted from personal responsibility. Just listen for a minute to many candidates for the 2020 Presidential election who are promising to “wipe out” student debt. We hear cries of those being “crushed” under the weight of 6-figure debt for relief. But we hardly hear a peep about the fact that they all voluntarily entered in to said debt. We don’t see much published about the worthless diplomas being “earned” at such high cost.

But is this really so out-of-character for our culture?

Absolutely not! Every day, it seems we see yet another demand for something to be an entitled “right” – unlimited health care (at no cost to them), handouts, panhandling by people making more than the average employee – it really is startling if you take an honest look. I cannot find the article now, as it’s been several years ago, but a local media outlet did a bit of actual journalism and found a panhandler who admitted to taking in an average of $1,500 per week simply standing on a corner with a sign asking for money. Pretty lucrative when you consider there are no taxes being paid on that!

Have you ever taken someone grocery shopping who came looking for food help, only to get to the store and they don’t want any staples and components that would stretch the dollars available? Frozen meals, name-brand products, etc. And it all has to be “heat-and-eat”.

I must admit that I have become a bit jaded when it comes to people asking for help. If you come to me asking for $10 for gasoline – and you have a lit cigarette in your mouth and a pack of cigs in the car seat – I see gas money being smoked up. If you come asking for diapers or baby food because your kids are hungry – but I see beer cans and lottery tickets on your floorboard – it is you who deprived your child of those needs via your priorities.

A tough lesson in grace…

I say all of this precisely because I have allowed myself to grow jaded, pessimistic even, when it comes to those who come asking for help. How does one balance demonstrating grace while at the same time trying to not enable and encourage abuse and ongoing defective decision making and priorities? Grace.

This is why the church I pastor sponsors what we call a Micro Food Pantry we call “God’s Kitchen”. It is a box set up outside one of our doors that is “self-serve” with the mantra “take what you need, leave what you can”. No questions are asked. No criteria or paperwork necessary. If you take from it, that is between you and God.

At the same time, we really should look at the biblical example. We can rightly look at Jesus command to care for the widows, feed the hungry, give water to those who thirst, clothe the naked, etc., but we must balance that with the Old Testament warning about those who do not work (do not eat!), as well as the “filter” given in the New Testament regarding those like widows who have other means of support (like family). And from a moral persepectiv, if you have the means or are physically able and choose to take take handouts (or even demand them), you are taking resources from those who do not have the means or ability ot help themselves.

When we have means to discern real need – exercise it diligently. When we do not have such ability, then exercise grace. Be sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. And remember – it is still about personal accountability. If they take from you but don’t really need it or are abusing it – that will ultimately be between them and the LORD, if you are simply being faithful.

Don’t expect or demand that the government/taxpayers bail you out of holes you dig for yourself. Step up, make sacrifices, and take ownership of your situation. Stop digging holes you can never fill in. Get the help you REALLY need (and it might very well begin not with economic help, but spiritual help!). Find someone to help hold you accountable.

And if you really need help – don’t be afraid to ask for it – but with the request, commit to making the changes necessary to fix the problem at hand by making the changes in priority, habits, patterns, and decision making necessary.

Immigrants, Immigration, and the Abuse of Scripture

Stop it… just stop!

What? Quit abusing Scripture to affirm your viewpoint and agenda – especially in the hot-button issue of immigration. I don’t care if your view point may very well be the “moral one” – if you are abusing Scripture to prove it – I can’t support you.

Here in the US, we have a problem – one that is growing in severity. A problem that has been rightly described as a crisis. One that side of the political isle claims is of recent manufacture (even thought their own party used the same terminology prior to our current President taking office). The problem is that of illegal immigration. You see – we hear often that America is a land of immigrants. There is some truth to that statement, and all but those who are Native Americans are at least descendants of immigrants, if not immigrants themselves. Indeed, in many ways, much of what has developed into this great “experiment” of a “melting pot” has been a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities coming together to build what was once called the ‘American Dream” – a former ideal that America was where one could come (through the proverbial front door), work hard, and become part of the culture.

But over the last several decades, an organized effort has been underway to literally stuff cities and towns with people who do not come in the “front door”, who choose to climb or cut fences, swim across waterways, risk their lives and the lives of children (in at least ⅓ of the cases, children not related to the adults they are apreheded with, many PURCHASED or abducted for the purpose– ie: human trafficking). A well-funded and organized campaign has been launched more recently by characters raging from George Soros, to state sponsors, and even a handful of US politicians – to train and equip migrants from Central America to cross the border illegally, and how to then play the system to delay deportation when caught (the word “asylum” is among the first words they teach them). These campaigns help fund busses and guides and provide aid along the way.

And as politicians from both political parties have talked big games regarding “fixing” the problem, neither seem all that willing to actually talk about it and to take real action. Those on the Left are primarily “Open borders”, no barriers, and give those who come here any way but the legal way a free pass to the front of the line, even before veterans and our own citizens who we are still falling short in helping with medical care, housing, and other needs. On the other side of the isle, we have politicians who want to build a wall along as much of the border as is possible, and to then re-build the immigration system to point all who want to come here through the front gate – like most past generations of immigrants from around the world were ushered through (think Ellis Island).

Sadly, these people – whether you see them as targets of social justice – people who should be able to come here to make a better life, or you see them in a far more nefarious light – have become political pawns. From the recruiting for the “caravans”, to the media-engineered “horror stories” of children dying in the wilderness or after being caught and detained. It is all being built up to divide, all while those who have the power to actually FIX the problem just sit back and use the issue as a weapon.

Real people, legally here or not, are suffering. Human beings – who every bit as much as I, are made in the Imago Dei – Image of God. And whether a person is here in direct violation of the law (which does make them a criminal – thus subject to criminal proceedings), or they are citizens, or they are legal immigrants – all people deserve to be treated like human beings.

That being said – there are many, especially professed Christians (or those who hate Christ, but try to use the Bible as a weapon against Christians) who are throwing Bible verses at this like a baseball bat. Sadly, they are abusing Scripture by doing so. The most common use is Leviticus 19:33-34

‘When a stranger resides with you in your land,you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.

There are many problem with applying this passage to the current immigration issue – in fact too numerous to post in a single blog post. But I will address the biggest ones:

  1. The context: This was a set of instructions given to the young NATION of Israel. This is not a blanket rule for the world.
  2. Definition: stranger -from the Hebrew word גֵּיר (gêyr) meaning most literally – “guest”. It is the same word used to describe the Hebrew people themselves when they were “sojourners” or strangers in a foreign land. This is a reference to their time in Egypt. Were they unwelcome immigrants? No – they were invited guests, by the hand of God’s Providence in placing Joseph in the highest position in the country (other than Pharoah). But in a practical application, the concept is – those who are visiting, those who are your guests (hosptiality was considered an understood trait), treat them with respect – treat them fairly, just as you would want to be treated – like your own. The point being – this passage was not about those who were not invited, those who were not welcomed guests. But there is one bit of phrase in verse 34 that DOES point to a Scriptural basis that DOES fit our situation today:

Love your neighbor…

Jesus said “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (Luke 10:27)

This goes back to what I wrote near the beginning of this – Immigrants, whether here legally or illegally, should be treated humanely. At the same time, they are violating the law, and they are not “welcomed visitors” as the term in Leviticus refers to. But prisoners also are to be treated as human beings. But breaking the law, is breaking the law. Endangerding children by dragging them across harsh wilderness and in horrible conditions is not good parenting. In fact, a case can be made that this is abuse, especially when 1/3 of the children being drug through these conditions are not even related to the adults bringing them.

So – where does this leave us, at least those of us who professed Christ? Can we find biblical prohibitions against national borders or the expectation that those entering a nation do it through the civil law of that nation? No. Is it immoral or even sinful for Christians to insist that our national borders be enforced and that said immigrants be expected to enter a nation legally, and to follow the laws of the land? No.

We as Christians should seek the welfare of those apprehended until the day they are deported. WE should seek “humane” treatment, especially of the children who had no voice or choice in being brought here. But even more human would be to insist that the borders be protected and that the entire immigration system be overhauled in such a way that it encourages immigration through the legal channels, and empowers those who come legally to find their place in the “American Dream” as productive members of the society.

But please – STOP abusing Scripture in an effort to shame Christians who just want things done legally and in a way that doesn’t further promote and reward lawbreaking.

Selective Outrage is ALWAYS Outrageous!

Have you ever stopped and noticed what really causes people to become outraged? I have posted previously on the subejct – particularly on things like #blacklivesmatter, where the message is ONLY certain colors of lives matter. But it would seem that the problem is only getting more dramatic.

Now – many of the issues that cause outrage are legitimately outrageous! When we see abject injustice – that should cause a response in us. When we see horrific acts of mankind – especially towards other human beings – we should be deeply distrubed. Indeed, there are many things that happen in this fallen world that should not just upset us, but stir us to action. This is absolutely biblical. It should spur us to help feed the hungry (Matthew 25:35-36) , to visit and look after the widow and the orphan (James 2:27), to comfort those grieving… to weep with those who weep…

The problem comes in when people’s outrage is aimed at some, often troubling issues, while playing off or even supporting other, far more evil and egregious actions. Let me give you a couple:

Obviously, in this case, “John” was outraged by something. To be truthful, the article he was responding to was a sad one. It was reported by local media that three kittens had been found dead in a small animal cage. It appears they had been neglected.

Yes, it bothers me when people treat animals badly. And to be totally honest, I have found that few people who treat animals badly, treat human being much better. Does this guarantee a “reserved seat” in Hell? I can’t find that in my Bible. Unfortunately, many of the same folks who will get completely upside down in their outrage over three kittens neglected to death, turn a blind eye (or worse) to the real-life horror storries going on all around us every day.

When a young man from Mexico in the US illegally, violently rapes a disabled, wheelchair-bound woman, is arrested, but because it is a sanctuary city, is released only to return and violently rape the SAME victim three days after the first rape, and in front of her 3 year old son? – that is grouns for outrage!

Why are we not, as a people, outraged that in Memphis, US Marshalls trying to serve a warrant on a VERY bad guy, saw him ram police vehicles, then jump out of the car he was trying to escape in – and draw weapons and try to shoot the officers? Why are we not outraged that an entire neighborhood began pouring into the streets as law enforement and paramedics were arriving, and started assaulting police officers? Are violent criminal’s lives more valuable that the officers sworn to protect you?

Or how about the outrage over a baker refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex “wedding”, yet the same people are unphased at pedophile “trans” queens stripping to near-nude and erotic dancing with 8-10 year olds who have been encouraged to dress in drag as well?

Or my own personal “favorite” – those who bemoan kitten deaths, or the mean hunters shooting deer… all while comlpetely and uabashedly supporting abortion from conception to post-birth. The utter absurdity of supporting the murder of human beings form the womb, while being utterly outraged (some to the point of near-militant behavior)

How about instead of walking around outraged at everything that even remotely disturbs you – how about we take a look at what causes God outrage – what draws the very wrath of God that will be revealed against what? all unrighteousness – all wickedness. Indeed, the wrath of God has already been demonstrated – most importantly when it was poured out on His only begotton Son, Jesus Christ – who endured the shame and agony to redeem a people from their sins, from their selective outrage.

And we who are redeemed by His blood, should be outraged, not by what hurts our feelings, but what offends God. It is when you are walking closely with God, immersing yourself in His Word, dwelling in His presence via the Bible and Prayer – that we find our own outrage towards trivial things to diminish – and we begin to see the world through HIS eyes. We begin to see the actual orphans and widows who need us. We see the physical needs around us that must be addressed. We desire to see truth over lies. And we are offended at genuine injustice. And because we are new creatures who, in our former selves despised true justice, loved sin, and were participants in the unrighteous deeds of the world, we now desire the things of God, the works of God – and the goodness of God.

Save the self-righteous “reserved place in Hell” for your time in the mirror, check your heart, and pursue righteousness, including the righteous indignation that comes from growing more Christlike every day.