Archive for July, 2014

We Don’t Need Exemptions, We Need Liberty

July 8th, 2014 4 comments

gay pride1Earlier today I read a headline which concerned me deeply. It read, “Rick Warren Joins Leaders Seeking Religious Exemption on LGBT Order.” Now I have the utmost respect for Pastor Rick Warren. He is a great man of God and his impact in both the Church and the world has been nothing short of historic. However, let me explain why I believe he, and other pastors, are dead wrong in their approach to this issue.

Our president is, once again, making the law instead of implementing it. And if trampling the Constitution’s separation of powers is not bad enough, the law he is creating via executive order flies directly in the face of God’s clear teaching about sexual sin.

Let’s be clear – every American already enjoys equal protection under our Constitution. What is new here is the tyrannical imposition upon the US citizenry and the rest of the world, the belief that the LGBT lifestyle and agenda is good, normal and wholesome. Those who fail to join the parade are obviously evil, bigoted and mean-spirited. All this is driven by a twisted understanding of “civil rights” undergirded by the erroneous assumption that being “gay” is as much an inherited trait as being French.

The fact remains there has not been one scientifically valid study to support this assertion. In addition, as pastors, we have the clear teaching of Scripture revealing God’s view of sexual sin, which includes the sin of homosexuality. Homosexuality is not an immutable characteristic like gender or race; it is an immoral behavior, in the same category as adultery or fornication.

So what should be the proper response from America’s pastors when our chief executive orders people of faith to hire those whom they believe are living immoral lifestyles? I suggest we learn from those who have gone before us.

When Herod took his brother’s wife as his own, John the Baptist didn’t ask for a religious exemption, he asked for obedience to God. John went straight to the king and spoke the word of the Lord:

“It is against God’s law for you to marry her.” (Matthew 14:4)

The king was not an evangelical Christian by any stretch of the imagination. He was an arrogant, selfish, power hungry, pleasure-driven, godless politician. You see, God’s law isn’t just for those who happen to embrace it. It applies to all of His creation. The job of the Church, and pastors in particular, is to remind those in positions of authority of their duty as His “ministers” (Romans 13:4) to lead in a way that promotes righteousness and punishes evil. When leaders get that messed up and begin promoting public policy that contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture, our job is to tell them to stop, not to ask them for exemptions.

A government that has the power to grant you a special exemption one day has the right to remove it the next. This is why we must stand boldly and speak courageously for the cause of righteousness and liberty and for the protection of our God-given, inalienable rights.

We don’t need religious exemptions. We don’t need government accommodations. We need leaders who will “rule in the fear of the Lord” (2 Samuel 23:3) and pastors who will hold them accountable when they brazenly refuse to do so. Where are the modern day John the Baptists?

Why Freedom is not Doing What You Want

July 2nd, 2014 3 comments

freedomFreedom for most Americans has dissolved into a license to do whatever you want to do. We often try to make it more noble and palatable by adding the rejoinder, “as long as it is between consenting adults” or “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.”

When it comes to legislation, especially legislation dealing with those thorny “social issues,” we are told to “stop legislating morality.” For a growing number of Americans, freedom means “stay out of my life and don’t try to tell me what to do” [That is, unless you are going to give me free stuff or pay for my abortions].

Of course this modern conception of freedom is light years away from the understanding held by those who formed our great nation. Freedom was understood as the ability to make virtuous choices. Choice, in and of itself, is not virtuous. We  are capable of choosing  a host of hideous and shameful behaviors [e.g. abortion, adultery, and addiction etc.) in the name of personal liberty. It’s what we choose, and not the act of choosing, that matters.

Of course the only way to “not legislate morality” is to give up legislating altogether. Someone’s morality guides the formation of each and every statute. The question we should be asking is what system of morals leads to maximum human flourishing?

Our Founders recognized that is was God who determined the proper bounds of our liberty. Liberty without responsibility is merely a license for licentiousness. The foolish disregard of God’s clear commands was not a demonstration of personal freedom. Rather, it was, and is,  a fast track to becoming  a slave to your own selfish passions. This is why founding father, John Witherspoon said, “Whoever is an avowed enemy to God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.”

James Madison, the architect of our Constitution, affirmed, “the belief in a God All Powerful, wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the World and the happiness of man…”

Thomas Jefferson, the inspiration behind our Declaration of Independence reminded us that God was the source of our liberties. He wrote, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God? that they are violated but with his wrath?”

John Quincy Adams, our sixth president and an ardent champion of liberty, reminds us of the unbreakable tie between God’s law and human freedom. He writes,

“This principle, that a whole nation has the right to do whatever it pleases, cannot in any sense whatever be admitted as true. The eternal and immutable laws of justice and morality are paramount to all human legislation. The violation of those laws is certainly within the power of a nation, but it is not among the rights of nations.”

For America to be great, Americans must be good. For Americans to be good, we must joyfully submit to God and to His Truth. Even as the whole can be no greater than the sum of its parts, America will only be free when her citizens reject the failed ethic of irresponsible individualism and embrace the responsibilities, both God and others, incumbent upon a free people.