How the Acceptance of Transgenderism in Churches Mirrors a Heresy from Long Ago

There existed a philosophical idea in the ancient world which took many forms which we call today, “Gnosticism.”  It came from the Greeks and was basically the idea that the world was made up of two things—spirit and matter—spirit being good and matter being bad or at least not as good as spirit.  In fact, this idea so permeated Greek and later Hellenistic culture that one might say that it saturated the air people breathed.  Applied to man, this idea gave birth to the notion that the soul of man is good and the body bad.  Salvation in philosophical terms meant the soul’s escape from the “prison house” of the body often through ascetic behavior and ultimately death.  This understanding even came into some Christian thinking.  This is admittedly a simplistic description of ancient Gnosticism, but I hope it will suffice for this brief essay.

Though Christianity was impacted by this line of thought, particularly in monasticism, the Church as a whole rejected the idea.  God made the world and proclaimed it good according to Genesis 1.  There is no radical division between man’s body and his soul; man is a unitary being made up of body and soul.  For starters, man was created an embodied being; second, our Lord assumed a body in his Incarnation; and, third, every man’s body shall rise from the dust at the resurrection on the last day.  For these biblical and theological reasons, the Church rejected Gnosticism as a philosophical base upon which to build theology.

Now what has this to do with transgenderism?  At the heart of transgenderism is the insistence that one’s body and one’s soul do not line up.  The transgendered person claims that he is really a woman (or she is really a man) and must therefore change his or her body to match the person within.  It goes without saying that according to this understanding, the human person is not a unitary being of body and soul but a soul for which the body is incidental, the body being that which the soul wears as a garment and which may be changed according to the soul’s determination.  This betrays the very essence of Gnostic thought—which is to say that transgenderism both as idea and behavior is incapable of being reconciled with Christianity.

Moreover, I would go so far as to say (and have argued elsewhere) that not only transgenderism but any and all same-sex sexual behavior manifests to some degree Gnostic thought as such behavior must incorporate some form and adopt some means of aping the opposite sex; that is, one partner must play the role of the sex that he or she is not.  Thus, churches that condone such behavior under the rubric of love understand neither love nor what the Church has taught down through the centuries, nor even care.  Such churches openly manifest their heretical hues and their calls for peace are utterly disingenuous, and churches which cling to the word of God and hold “mere Christianity” too dear to part with will ignore these deceitful attempts to assimilate them into what is nothing less than pagan syncretism.

What’s Wrong with Millennials, Anyway?

Well, that’s easy: They were raised by Boomers. 

No, this will not be a rant about their snow-flakiness, or just plain flakiness, as the case may be.  I want to write about something which I think is a more substantial problem as it is an acid that has been eating at the core of our culture for decades.  What’s wrong with Millennials (and Gen Z for that matter) is that THEY WERE RAISED WITHOUT AN OVER-ARCHING STORY (what literary types and anthropologists call a “META-NARRATIVE”) THAT GIVES MEANING TO OUR LIVES AND OUT OF WHICH WE LIVE OUR LIVES.  This necessary ingredient that helps people to make sense of things and understand what is happening around them, THEY NEVER RECEIVED—partly due to poor parenting, partly due to their being spoon-fed the recommended daily allowance of multiculturalism, tolerance, and paeans to diversity that have so flooded and drowned our nation through public and higher (but really lower) education, media, and about every other institution of our rapidly fragmenting society.  These “values” naturally lead to a relativistic view of all narratives making certain that none becomes “meta-,” that is, the first and foremost story above all others.

Allow me to explain.  Up until, let’s say 1980, most Americans were raised in a country in which the Bible provided the overarching story for our Republic.  Together with this meta-narrative was woven a story about our nation’s founding which was largely positive.  I say, “largely,” because, regardless of what the crusaders of CRT say, even this white boy who was educated in public schools from 1970-82 in the deep South (Georgia) learned about slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement; that is, none of these are secrets that were just discovered, though I do confess that we were not forced to call ourselves racists.  (I suppose our teachers thought ten year-olds weren’t culpable for crimes their parents and grandparents committed.  How backward of them!) 

But I digress.  Millennials may be the first generation in this country who were raised with no meta-narrative, only disjointed narratives, that is, a bunch of competing stories.  I suppose the closest thing to a meta-narrative they share as a generation would be the kitch of J. K. Rowling.  But be that as it may, they certainly did not as a generation grow up with the meta-narrative of Christianity: Creation, Adam and Eve, fall, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, David, prophets, Jesus Christ, cross, resurrection, ascension, apostles, church age, return, heaven and hell.  And as far as church history is concerned, forget it, unless it’s to lay sole blame on Christians for the Crusades.  Oh, they’ve heard of Jesus, but they know next to nothing about him in a doctrinal way.  If he is a savior, it is with a little “s,” and not in any exclusive manner (such would be intolerant), and his is a story like any other, one among many, which any may choose as he shops the various dishes in the never-ending American smorgasbord.  No wonder people under forty are our most non-religious group: For them Christianity is simply another story, the one their grandparents liked to talk about.

But that doesn’t mean millennials don’t like stories; on the contrary, they love them, which stands to reason given that they have no over-arching story.  Theirs is the sad and befuddling search for a meta-narrative in a nation where the elite refuse to let them have one.  Oh, I’m not arguing that they know they’re searching for one; I ARGUE THAT NO ONE CAN LIVE AND NO NATION CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT ONE.  Each person must live his or her life out of some narrative to make sense of reality; we used to call them myths.  Besides the contemporary myths standing in for creation (evolution) and the end times (environmentalism), multiculturalism, diversity, and tolerance leave nothing in the middle to live by but disjointed, one-size-fits-one, stories that offer nothing in the way of personal fulfillment but only a God-sized hole that autonomous, empty individuals fill with their own delusional, manufactured, and perverted identities. 

To sum, the vast majority of people under forty in this country—and sad to say, even those raised in a church—have no idea who they are, where they are going, where they fit, how they fit, what their purpose is, or why they were even born.  Tolerance, multiculturalism, and diversity neither make nor build a people.  They are intentionally empty terms so that one may then define himself according to his own passions, and so long as he does not judge anyone else or break a law, his passions may be as base as he pleases.

This is what happens when a people abandon (even crush) their own meta-narrative—an overarching story that defines them and out of which they live as individuals and as a body politic.  I do feel very badly for young people, for I do not see things getting any better—which means they will continue their gloomy outlook on life identifying themselves as victims while our nation continues to fragment into literally millions of competing stories.  Those churches which still cling to Scripture and the teaching delivered once for all to the saints will have to create their own subculture to survive by staying close together, educating their own children so that they know their meta-narrative, and keeping them close by.  But I tackled that in another essay a few months ago.  For now, I remain your humble scribe.

Why Men Feel Uncomfortable around Men of Unnatural Desire–And Why This Feeling Is Completely Natural

We’ve all heard it said before, “If a man feels uncomfortable around a gay or effeminate man (or any number of the sexual permutations the so-called LGBT’s invent by the hour), it’s because he’s insecure in his own masculinity or sexuality.  A strong, well-adjusted modern man will readily embrace those men…uh, I mean, people…and feel just as easy with them as anyone else.  And even if he did feel a hint of attraction towards them, why that’s only a sign of his own personal growth and latent sexual maturity.”  Hogwash!  Normal, well-adjusted, healthy men feel uncomfortable around such men BECAUSE SUCH FEELINGS ARE NATURAL AND RIGHT.

And now I’m going to tell you why.  But to explain this discomfort which men naturally feel around GBT’s (I haven’t heard if men can be L’s, but then one never knows these days), I have to explain one of the primary differences between men and women.  To do that, allow me, if you will, to go back to my childhood, specifically my grade school years.  I remember quite vividly that during recess, the boys would go one way out the door and the girls another—which is quite natural at that age.  Rarely did we play organized games; we were generally allowed to roam freely about the playground.  And what did the boys do during those blessed reprieves from books and pencils?  Oh, we jumped and ran and played; but mostly, we wrestled and fought and pushed and shoved one another.  Yep!  And right in plain sight of the teachers who were mostly middle-aged and old ladies.  No one ever warned us about throwing punches to the face; we sort of instinctively knew not to do that.  We weren’t really looking to hurt each other.  And no one stopped us.  I surmise those teachers, who came from another era, were wise enough to know: 1) If they were to ever get any school work out of boys, they’d have to first rid us of our boyish aggressions by letting us take them out on one another; and, 2) Fighting, wrestling, in short, competing in some physical manner with one another is the way boys at that age play and, most of all, EARN RESPECT FROM ONE ANOTHER.  And that makes those old ladies wiser than most educators today.

And this is my point: Manhood is earned; womanhood is not—or at least not in the same way.  A boy must earn his manhood by proving himself; he can’t just grow up!  He must fight and compete with other boys in the pecking order.  Compete for what?  Whatever they’re fighting over.  And at some point, he must learn a skill and earn his living with that skill.  He will eventually pursue a woman, marry, provide and protect.  And through these basic and universal means, he will become and earn the right to be called a man. 

It is not the same for women.  A woman may become President of the United States, CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, a world-champion boxer (Ugh!), or any number of things—but none of these accomplishments will make her more of a woman than she who stays home with her children.  The reason for this is as basic as anatomy and physiology: simply put, a woman is naturally connected to her body in such a way that a man cannot be connected to his, with the result that a woman instinctively measures her womanhood by her natural interconnectedness with her family—an interconnectedness which comes through marriage and childbearing.  This is why the attempts of our contemporary barbarians to reconstruct the family will eventually fail: Mother and child at the breast will forever remain a primal image in humankind.  A man, however, is not anatomically constructed so as to rely on his body for his manhood; to earn his manhood, he must “go outside himself” which is why God has endowed men with the desire to pursue, provide, and especially, protect. (This difference between how men and women measure manhood and womanhood is wonderfully expounded upon in the work of Anthony Esolen.)

Now back to my original thesis: The reason why men are naturally uncomfortable around the men I noted above is because there is something UNMANLY about them.  Say what you will: I don’t care how muscular the two look, I don’t care if they can beat me up; if they are engaging in sodomitical behavior, at least one of them is assuming the feminine role.  This is why to make room for these men, feminists redefine what it means to be a man—which is always in feminine categories.  Indeed, feminism has to some extent created these men.

And it is this that men rightly resent.  They worked hard to become men; manhood means something to them.  Oh, they love their wives and daughters and mothers and sisters; indeed, they love them for that very womanhood they embody.  But by redefining manhood (and thus womanhood), these other men, feminists, LGBT’s, Leftists, et al., throw to the wind with abandon that hard-fought manhood which they have earned and which the women about them so cherish.  (Incidentally, we have all seen women giggle and wink at one another behind the backs of these women-wannabes—as well they should—liberal women, that is; conservative, biblically-oriented women are generally as uncomfortable around them as men.)

To sum: At the root of the discomfort and righteous indignation men feel towards such men as these is not some insecurity as is largely held but a deep-seated revulsion to the idea that: 1) There is no difference between the sexes; 2) There is nothing to becoming a man; and, 3) Manhood (indeed, gender differentiation itself) is a social construction as our contemporary pagans insist.  We don’t fear that any of this might be true, mind you; we simply detest the Lie.  And this is the Lie those other men so pathetically mimic with their feigned feminine affectations. 

And it is true: They make us uncomfortable, and we’d rather not be around them.  And that’s a perfectly natural response of which no man should be ashamed or need defend.  Thank you.

About the “Progressives Care More about the Poor” Myth

You hear it all the time: Progressives care about the poor and conservatives don’t.  Conservatives are rank capitalists who care only for money and what they can spend on their own families.  They oppose abortion but care nothing for children after they are born.  They oppose social programs because they don’t want to pay higher taxes.  Conservatives would just as soon see people dying in the streets. 

Well, it’s not exactly true.  On an anecdotal level and as a man who pastored churches whose members were largely conservative and evangelical, and who has worked with people of other churches, I can tell you that evangelicals and conservatives are out there running food pantries and soup kitchens and giving money towards a myriad of social service organizations both Christian and non.  And yes, they also support crisis pregnancy centers, which by the way, do not only “talk poor women into having their babies” but provide diapers, formula, counseling, and mentoring.  And the largest non-Catholic and evangelical denomination in the US, the Southern Baptist Convention, has a massive Disaster Relief ministry that partners with the Red Cross providing thousands of meals through numerous RV’s including men armed with chain saws clearing roads and properties.  On the whole as evangelical churches (and I should add Catholic as well as they are pro-life and pro-family) are more numerous than mainline Protestant churches…well, I think you can arrive at the conclusion on your own.  And just to show progressive hypocrisy on this issue, the Obama administration in 2011 denied a grant previously granted for a program of the Catholic Church helping victims of sex-trafficking simply because the Church refused to refer those women for abortions.  In other words, progressives are happy to have conservatives help the poor as long as such help is rendered according to their political and ideological demands.

But moving to a more “scientific” approach, a book written by Arthur Brooks in 2007 (Ph.D. in public policy and recently professor at Harvard Business School) entitled, Who Really Cares, explodes the myth completely.  He studied four groups: non-religious liberals and conservatives and religious liberals and conservatives.  He discovered that non-religious conservatives were the stingiest and non-religious liberals second stingiest—meaning that religion is the strongest indicator of charitable givers.  But what did he discover after that?  Which group was most generous?  Not religious liberals but conservatives!  And why is this?  Because liberals/progressives tend to think that it is the task of government to take care of the poor whereas religious conservatives think that it is their own task to do so.  And therein lies the difference between the two groups when it comes to treating the poor.

And is this not where we hear the most guff from progressives?  “Why don’t you care about increasing welfare programs, Head Start, food stamps?” and on it goes.  Well, because religious conservatives (evangelicals, anyway) want to put their money in places where the service will be given in Jesus’ name and not Uncle Sam’s—and there is a difference.  We also believe in being discerning.  The fact is that not everyone who says they need help needs help and it is precisely here that governments do such a poor job.  In short, there is no accountability, too much waste, and downright fraud.  Finally, a person who receives a welfare check from a vast bureaucratic machine has no one to thank; religious people provide faces who treat people with respect.

I might finally add that since religious conservatives both give voluntarily to helping organizations AND pay taxes, we pay double.

So, the next time someone tells you that progressives care more about the poor than conservatives, please don’t believe it.  Myths die hard, but this myth is a lie from the pit.

From Deconstruction to Reconstruction: The Change in Higher Education over the Last Twenty Years

I entered a liberal arts college in 1982 and a leftward-leaning seminary in 1986.  I entered both with much naivete looking to become a minister who would be knowledgeable about the Scriptures and theology.  In the process I double-majored in history.  I can tell you that although higher education certainly opened my mind to many new and wonderful things, the entire process was primarily an education in how to be a skeptic.  We were basically taught, both explicitly and implicitly, that there was no such thing as “Truth” with a capital “T”; there were always exceptions that belied everything I learned in Sunday School or church or any of the moral norms of my provincial upbringing.  All things were relative; there were no absolutes.  Human beings essentially lived in a vacuum where they were making things up as they went along.  All that existed were individual narratives, one as true as the next.

I was too young to know then, but my beliefs were being subjected to what I later discovered is called, “deconstruction.”  In other words, my local, backward, and conservative ideas needed to be challenged by the cosmopolitan lights of my professors.  Now don’t get me wrong; I challenge kids everyday.  Since August, we’ve read Gilgamesh, Hammurabi, Homer (Odyssey), Herodotus, and the Greek tragedies, along with translating Caesar’s Gallic Wars.  Add to that several books of the Old Testament.  But I don’t leave kids to wallow in the mire; I help them to process information in a Christian framework.  All education happens within a worldview; the question is which one.  But back to my story.  I was challenged and “deconstructed” at schools which did me a disservice; it took me years to unlearn, not the details of the lectures I endured (which I have largely forgotten), but the corrosive habit of mind that higher education fostered within me. 

And should we now be surprised that after forty years of preaching relativism in our schools we live in a vacuum where truth is a product more of creation than discovery?  Indeed, with the advent of social media, former President Barack Obama, the Constitutional scholar, who has bemoaned “truth decay” birthed by the Internet and the multiplicity of news outlets serving niche communities, has now offered the UNconstitutional and DANGEROUS proposal that “we’re going to have to find a combination of government regulations and corporate practices that address [what’s true from what’s false], because it’s going to get worse” (“Why Obama Fears for Our Democracy,” The Atlantic November 16, 2020, digital).  Thus, Obama proposes government regulation of speech—as if the mainstream media, Twitter and Facebook didn’t fill this role already.  Well, Mr. President, our colleges and universities have sown the wind and now we reap the whirlwind.

(One might remind Mr. Obama that the Roman Catholic Church didn’t like it when the printing press was invented in the fifteenth century, but liberal societies have always argued that the good of an open and free society was worth the dangers of misinformation.  I guess we don’t believe that anymore.)

My point so far is this: in the 80s and 90s, higher education was about the task of deconstructing the provincial ideas of the kids sent their way.  BUT THE LAST TWENTY YEARS HAVE SEEN A MAJOR SHIFT: Having triumphed in the task of deconstruction and teaching amorality, higher education has now taken a 180 degree turn preaching to kids that there IS Morality, that there is Truth with a capital “T” after all; it’s just not the morality which I and the vast majority of the people reading this post (if anyone out there is) always thought it was.  To sum, all that we thought was right is now wrong and all we thought was wrong is now right—AND WE ARE THE IMMORAL ONES!  Chick-Filet has been denied doing business in several venues because their now deceased founder’s beliefs about human sexuality and marriage are “immoral.”  Likewise, a restaurant in Lexington, KY, deemed it immoral to serve Sarah Huckaby Sanders and her family dinner for the same reason.

This is all to say that after so many decades of deconstructing the usually more conservative ideas of young people, higher education is now about the task of “reconstructing” the minds of young people, and after a certain order that is contrary to the order of most Americans—and yes, including many of those who vote Democrat.  Whereas before they challenged everything that we thought was right and then left us to fend for ourselves, now they tell these kids exactly what to believe and, as several studies have shown, intimidate those students who refuse to comply.  University professors in Humanities departments throughout our land are every bit the evangelists that any evangelical Christian ever was—only worse in that they do not believe in the founding principles of our Republic!   And so under the banner of “Social Justice,” millions of young people have been brainwashed to believe that they are the unfortunate citizens of an irredeemably corrupt nation, born of slavery and genocide, which history has little if anything praiseworthy to record, and that freedom of speech and religion are “privileges” used to oppress minorities, all of which reside in a moribund eighteenth-century document that must be either shelved or reinterpreted so that such privileges are “modified” according to a more socially-acceptable agenda ensuring that no one who subscribes to the new morality is ever offended—and they’re the ones who get to decide what’s offensive.  And many of these are the young white kids leading the BLM movement.  YOU SOW THE WIND, YOU REAP THE WHIRLWIND.

So this is what I have seen in higher education in the last forty years: FROM DECONSTRUCTION TO RECONSTRUCTION along the lines I have outlined.  And that’s what has happened in higher education, and that’s what has happened to our young people, and that’s why I teach in a Classical Christian school and homeschooled my daughters in the same way, and that’s why if I didn’t believe in a sovereign God I don’t know what I’d do.

The “Equality Act” and the Future of the Church in America

I have received many compliments over the last several months over my posts in which I strive to provide a godly and biblical lens to what is transpiring in our beloved country.  But this post should be prefaced with a “trigger warning” for fellow-believers, for I have little hope for my country.

Let us be clear from the beginning about what we already know: the so-called Equality Act has nothing to do with equality.  Those of disordered affections, who go by the clumsy moniker of LGBT and now Q, are hardly oppressed.  Indeed, I know of no industry in our country that is not in their corner—education, entertainment, media, chambers of commerce, law, Fortune 500 Companies, you name it—all kneel before Sodom’s altar.  Mainline Protestant churches which have long since abandoned biblical authority march to the beat of their drum.  The only groups of people who refuse to acknowledge their lordship are evangelical and Catholic churches—and it is this which makes them seethe with rage.  Indeed, the Act’s proponents have thrown off all pretense leaving out any and all religious exemptions and conscience protections for which anyone could reasonably ask.  According to its definition of “public accommodations,” not even churches are safe from its claws.  Make no mistake, what we have is a group of people who without apology and quite shamelessly are screaming as loudly as they possibly can, “Religious Liberty be damned!”  Indeed, The Equality Act should be named the “Stamp Out Religion Act,” for that is the sole purpose of its reprehensible provisions.

But let us leave The Equality Act and turn to the state of affairs in our nation.  Many of my well-meaning co-religionists are sounding the alarm over this bill as it makes its way through Congress.  I applaud their efforts—but I feel they are wasted.  Their thinking is, “If only enough Americans know about this….”  Such thinking assumes that this nation still maintains some semblance of a Christian or even a just ethos; it does not and has not for some time.  We may divide our nation into four groups: 1) The self-acknowledged and proud pagans represented by, say, the Huffington Post, The New Republic, the media, and the elite of our society; 2) the pagans who think they are Christians but who have traded the gospel of Jesus Christ for a secular gospel of inclusion and tolerance, which when put into practice is anything but; 3) Christians who are ignorant and thus think like pagans; and, then, 4) Christians who think and behave like Christians for whom the Bible is their authority in faith and practice.  The latter group is smallest by far.  In other words, even if Americans knew about The Equality Act, the majority of them would either favor it or not care.  Yes, this is the place to which our nation has sunk.  Simply look back over the last several decades—is it not a history of falling back?  Who would have dreamed of such a monstrosity as “same-sex marriage” forty or even thirty years ago?  Who would have seriously given any thought to a bill with the ramifications for religious liberty as The Equality Act twenty years ago?  But did anyone on the left raise an eyebrow when Hilary Clinton said in 2016, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”  And she and the rest of them are happy to use the coercive powers of government to help you evolve with the arc of history.

But let us (again) dispense with any further discussion of this blatant attack on our liberties by people even more shameless than the law they propose.  Let us speak for a moment about the church in America and how she should respond in the coming years.  This is where I and my evangelical friends will part ways.  Their plan is forever to engage and witness, to be lights in a darkened world.  Well, I agree that we must be lights and witness to the saving grace of Jesus Christ as opportunity permits.  But we must understand that we do not live in the pre-Christian world of the early church or the Christian world of our grandparents; ours is a post-Christian world with people who have already made up their minds about us.  We are the only group that can routinely be lampooned and demonized in the media and the entertainment industry.  The millennials are proof that the younger generations are thoroughly immersed and marinated in a pagan culture and mindset.  Our language is hopelessly foreign to them.  We are told that they are interested in “spiritual things”; no, they are interested in dark things and their worldview is so filled with relativism that ideas such as truth are to them subjective experiences.  Christians today (the fourth group above) have been carried away to Babylon without ever moving.  We live in a pagan society that intends to assimilate us.

And what does this mean for the church?  We must turn inward—yes, INWARD.  We must raise our standards for membership and train for godliness.  We must become mature Christians.  You ask, “What about ministry?”  The pagans are shoving us away.  In states such as California, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, and others, Catholics and evangelicals have been turned out of foster care and adoption ministries because they would not compromise their beliefs.  If The Equality Act passes, shelters for abused women will be closed for not allowing men who insist against biology and common sense that they are women.  Christian schools are already being targeted for the crime of hiring those who agree with their beliefs (imagine that!) as are hospitals for not providing services for abortions or “transitioning.”  Our beliefs are to them simply sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic—all those ugly words which allow them to hide behind their own prejudices while dismissing arguments contrary to their shibboleths.  Like Hilary said, we are the ones who MUST change.  They honestly do not understand us and don’t care to as their minds are so darkened.  We may be seeing our Lord’s “giving them up” described in Romans 1:18-32 right before our eyes but on a societal scale.

I do not claim to be a prophet, but I do claim to be a man with my eyes open; call me, “woke.”  I will tell you now that within ten years, church buildings will become liabilities as governments confiscate such properties through excessive fines for not performing same-sex weddings or hiring such people.  House-churches will soon be the norm as Christians will be forced to “go underground.”  “But that would look cultish,” you say.  Why yes, and that is exactly the way the early churches looked to Roman governors in the first three centuries—and we know what happened to those Christians.  In short, we will not be able to build bridges as they will demand that those bridges be built on their terms.  Instead, to borrow a different analogy, we will need to build castles with earthworks and moats with alligators. 

We must focus on integrity, indoctrination, godliness, discipline, and faithfulness in the face of fire and water.  This is the only way we will survive the coming storm.  Church consultants are always saying that we must rethink ministry.  I’ve never liked them because I sensed that all they ever meant was that we needed to incorporate more of the world’s ways and media to “reach more people with the gospel.”  They’re wrong.  We need less media, less technology, less accommodation and more ruminating on Scripture, more sloughing off of sin, more godliness, more doctrine, more encouraging one another, more soul-shaking prayer, and yes, more knowledge of church tradition and history as others before us also had to sail unchartered waters. 

We must close ranks and tend the sheep—or else die a slow and painful death by assimilation.  I mean it.

Why Do They Hate Us: An Exposition of Romans 1: 18-32

In Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, a letter sometimes called “The Fifth Gospel” given its clear expression of the doctrine of salvation, the Apostle uses 1:18-32 to describe the world as it is apart from Christ, man in his natural and unredeemed state—unbelieving, immoral, unjust—in a word, inescapably wicked.  And Paul expresses the fact of the matter that it is not so much that natural man does not believe the truth as that he “suppresses the truth”; that is, people do not believe the truth because they do not want to believe it: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.”  In other words, their conscience declares to them that there is a God who will one day judge the world; this they have as human beings created in His image.  But rather than embrace God, they choose to embrace evil.  And why is this?  Because “people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed (John 3:19-20, ESV).  So, man’s suppression of the truth which is both in him by conscience and around him by creation is willful and culpable before God.

Now the Apostle provides a litany of sins in 1:29-32, and no one is exempt.  But what is remarkable is that in 1:24-28, he does highlight one particular sin, not as the worst sin to be sure, but as, shall we say, “Exhibit A,” of a world which does not know God, and as the quintessential and representative sin (alongside idolatry) of the pagan world.  And that sin which Scripture calls here the exchanging of “natural relations for those that are contrary to nature,” our contemporary managers of the English language (who lack the eloquence and style of bygone generations and who think the invention of barbarisms a sign of sophistication) have dubbed, “homosexuality.” 

I have subtitled this essay, “Why Do They Hate Us?”  By “they,” I mean those who have “exchanged natural relations for unnatural,” and by “us,” I mean those who embrace, or better, have been embraced, by Christ and the faith handed-down by his apostles in the Holy Scriptures.  So why do they hate us?  We know why they wish now to place their feet upon our necks with a most deceitful Congressional bill, the intent of which is less social equality than social imperialism; to wit, they currently have the political power to load us with their burdens, if only they have the political will to foist upon us their impositions.  But why do they even wish to do so in the first place?  What is the engine behind the will to power that drives those who insist on gratifying their fruitless sodomitical desires to crush those whose faith teaches contrary to that behavior?  Why do they refuse to “live and let live” as they so plaintively pleaded only a few years ago? 

It is precisely at this place where the Apostle supplies the answer.  Natural man intuitively knows and feels his suppression of the truth, though left to his own designs he shall never admit it.  It is this knowledge within him hidden within the recesses of a darkened mind and aching heart that makes him vaguely but interminably aware of his alienated soul—an alienation from God, others, and especially himself.  And he cannot reconcile himself with himself because he yearns more for his sin than he does for himself, thereby trapping himself in an inescapable prison of self-hatred.  It is here that a decision must be made: Either he owns and admits his sin which is the cause of his alienation and self-loathing and turns to the One who can and will heal him, or he can convince himself (which he can never really do) that his sin is no sin, that good is evil and evil good, and, pertinent to this essay, seek a scapegoat to bear the blame for his inexorable feelings of alienation.  Those who decide for the former experience healing, if not completely of those desires, then at least the power to endure temptation and live a holy life.  Those who opt for the latter experience deeper alienation and further heartache, and to the extent that their minds descend into increasing darkness, to that extent do they risk that divine penalty, not once, not twice, but three times rehearsed within just five verses of Scripture’s most descriptive passage of man bereft of divine affection, “And God gave them up,” truly some of the most horrifying words in all the Bible.

And, having opted for the latter, he must continue to suppress the truth.  And an integral part of that suppression is blaming others for one’s own sin, which has been the sinner’s way since the primal transgression.  So today the evangelical Christian and observant Catholic must bear the brunt of sinful man’s furor, and currently his hatred is energetically advanced with precise legislative action followed by threatening governmental coercion.

But they can’t win.  Oh, they may rob us of our goods, imprison us, remove our children from our homes, and eventually murder us by decree, but this will not heal their conscience.  Even the very slurs they hurl at us only reveal the truth behind their lies: “breeder” only manifests the sterility of unnatural acts; “homophobic” only uncovers the universal feeling of revulsion to such behavior; and “haters” only betrays how they feel about themselves to anyone paying attention.  One cannot transgress God’s law and prevail.  Granted, sinners can and do make a mess of things and wreck the lives of others; but in the end, they know that it is their own lives they are destroying—which is then why they avenge themselves on the lives of others.  Oh how deep the mystery of iniquity!

And that, in a nutshell, is why they hate us.

The only scapegoat who ever cleansed the conscience is Jesus Christ, and he is the Scapegoat they refuse to admit, unless they can remold and reshape him in their own image.  But I also know that some of them will eventually admit him.  Ultimately, though I pray for relief from the current situation which feels like a sword dangling above my head and the heads of my children and grandchildren, I must always remember to pray that God will be as merciful to these as He has been to me. 

Yea, Lord!  For the sake of their salvation and liberty from shame and self-loathing, for the sake of the liberty to live my faith in both the public and private squares in a free republic, and most of all for the sake of Your great Glory—forgive, cleanse, heal, release, and reconcile.  For Thy sake, O Lord.  Amen.

What the Left Will Never Understand about Christians

We are told that LGBT is a state of being; that is, that those who go by the designation of “homosexual” or “transgender” (terms of recent invention) are what they are, the same as race or sex.  A person’s sexual orientation, we are told, is fixed and irreversible, as immutable as the Almighty Himself.  As far as they are concerned people such as former lesbian, Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into the Christian Faith, do not exist. 

Religion on the other hand is a choice a person makes.  After all one may choose to be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or any number of religions, and within each of those religions exists a plethora of further choices.  A Christian might be Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, and within Protestantism are Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians…well, you get the picture.  Which is all to say that to the Left, religion is a smorgasbord offering a wide range of choices, which one may just as easily treat or not treat, much the same way as one might purchase an item at Walmart and then exchange or return that item based upon personal preference.  If the choice of religion satisfies, well and good; if not, choose another or simply go without.  The bottom line is that religion is a matter of choice; it is not a matter of who you are: One may be a Christian to the extent that one chooses, but not to the extent that it is his nature to be one.  Ultimately, as far as the Left is concerned, one cannot BE a Christian.

And this is where the fundamental divide between us lies.  The person who has been born again of the Spirit of God cannot explain to the person to whom spiritual matters are nonsense that he cannot not believe that Jesus Christ is Lord (1 Corinthians 2:14).  When I say, “I did not choose God; God chose me,” I can only sound to him as either hopelessly arrogant or insane.  Where we do agree is that what one chooses, one can un-choose.  What he cannot accept is that I cannot un-choose Christ, because he can only accept that my faith is my choice.  It is incomprehensible to him that because of God’s calling on my life my Christian faith is more fundamental to my BEING than my sexuality, manhood, or my race.  He does not—indeed cannot—understand that my Christian faith sanctifies and undergirds my sexuality, manhood, race, and all that I am.

This difference in understanding of religion between Christians and the ascendant Left in our country has profound impacts on society and illumines what we are presently seeing.  For instance, Christians are bound to lose in US courts when the issue concerns matters of conscience, and especially if Democrats pack them.  The conscience of a doctor or nurse which is shaped by their choice of religion is bound to fall by the wayside against the transgendered person whose gender with which he or she was born does not accord with the gender with which he or she was merely “assigned at birth.”  They will have to treat the patient for sexual reassignment.  Similarly, Christian schools do not stand a chance arguing that it is against their deeply and historically-held religious beliefs and convictions to admit or hire people who are, so-called, LGBT.  Why is this?  Their sexuality is who they are; your religion is a matter of choice.  For this reason, the Left can only see not admitting or hiring LGBT people as a matter of discrimination (the unpardonable sin) as they accuse Christians of “hiding behind religion” and using religion as a cloak for hatred.

Granted, the Left is not necessarily anti-religion, as long as religion is put to use in the proper way, which is for the good of society.  That one should grow in grace or godliness smacks of pious platitudes which ultimately lead to hypocrisy.  Religion for them is a tool, another wrench in the box.  They will ask such questions as, “How might we use the sayings of Jesus to combat racism, sexism, homophobia, or promote socialism?”  And to the extent that a religion or its holy book does not aid in these endeavors, then such religion or holy book is deemed irrelevant for social utility, and it is religion’s utility for society that matters to the Left. 

Oh, people may follow that religion and read that holy book and worship in those buildings—unless there is a pandemic, or as we shall soon see, any other matter our government shall decide is necessary for public health and well-being.  But if those wish to enter into the public square with their religion, they shall do so on the Left’s terms, understanding that religion is a choice which must bow before what they deem as not a matter of choice but one of nature—a nature which Scripture teaches is broken and corrupt before God.

Our Recent Election and the Prophet Habakkuk

When I was in college (which was just a couple of years ago—or so), I did an exposition on Habakkuk 2:1-4.  At twenty years of age (I told you it was just a couple of years ago—or so), I really didn’t know much about this “minor” prophet but was excited to learn.  Well, it seems that Habakkuk was complaining to God about the injustice of the leaders of Judah and desperately wanted Him to do something about it.  So, God gave Habakkuk His answer: He was going to bring the Chaldeans to conquer and destroy the nation.  Well as you might guess, Habakkuk was none too pleased with the Lord’s solution to all this “social injustice.”  He cried out: “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look on wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he (1:13 ESV)?”  In other words, “Well, yes, the rulers of Judah are wicked, but what is solved by punishing them by the hands of a people even more wicked than they?  Where is the justice in that?” 

I never entertained any illusions about Donald Trump.  He was nowhere near the top of my list of choices in 2016.  I was first for Ben Carson, the anti-Trump if there ever was one in temperament.  When He fell out, I was for Carly Fiorina.  My male persuasion salivated at the prospect of a good ole fashion cat fight between Carly and Hilary.  I knew Carly would eat her lunch.  Then she dropped out, so I went with Ted Cruz.  Finally, I had to settle for Trump and pull the lever.  Of course, I knew of his shady past, and I was uncomfortable voting for him at that time, but what else could I do?  Vote for those who condone the wholesale slaughter of unborn children with impunity? (How fitting and noxious is that word “wholesale” when one is reminded of Planned Parenthood’s business ventures.) Vote for prostituting marriage in exchange for justifying unnatural sexual liaisons? Vote for exalting self-mutilation in the vain attempt to change one’s nature? And all this while blatantly promulgating threats to religious liberty?  I have become a thoroughgoing pragmatist when it comes to politics.  I don’t like it, but it’s the hand I am constantly dealt.

And I freely admit, his swagger bothered me.  And I so wished he would be more Presidential in his demeanor.  Even Rush Limbaugh of all people told him that he need not answer every loon who attacked him.  But that wasn’t Trump’s way.  He is the quintessential fighter.  I wish I had more of that kind of spirit in me, though not to his extent.

Well, I have to admit that the day after the election was a huge let down for me.  Though I prayed for God’s will to be done, I honestly thought Trump would win.  When I considered the booming economy before Covid (I believe Ronald Reagan said, “The best form of welfare is a job”), the shameless weaponizing of the virus by certain politicians to the point of destroying the economy and our lives which depend upon it—so desperately blinded by hate were they to defeat him—and then the violence in our cities that has cost numerous lives, billions of dollars in damage, livelihoods destroyed, the attacks on our police—and on top of all of this to see politicians either turn a blind eye or even act as apologists for this barbaric activity—well, how many evenings did Americans sit around their dinner tables shaking their heads in disbelief saying, “I never thought I’d see the day when….”  It seemed that God had sent the Chaldeans on us again.  So yes, I was surprised, though not completely—as a Christian, I never underestimate the brokenness of the world nor the sinfulness of man.

But this is where the Prophet Habakkuk makes his appearance.  Having complained to God about both the predicament of Judah and His “solution” to the problem, the Prophet climbs a watchtower to see what God will answer next.  And again, God’s answer probably was not what Habakkuk wished to hear, but it is the answer that rings through the corridors of eternity which the faithful hear and treasure in their hearts: “The righteous shall live by his faith” (2:4). 

This is the message that I need to hear.  Believe me: I’m worried; very worried.  “Progressives” (what a misnomer that is) have made it clear that they want to remake society, and they have no respect for the convictions of evangelicals which are to them hopelessly retrograde.  They have also placed our schools in their crosshairs.  As a teacher in a Christian school, will I even have a job in a few years?  I don’t know.  But worse than that, what kind of nation will my grandchildren inherit?  Will their Christian faith be for them a pox and justification for persecution?  But even if it were, should I not rejoice that my posterity should take their place in the roll call of martyrs, joining millions under the altar who have gone before them (Revelation 6:9-11)?  And should I not wish the same for myself?  I am so weak, but I’ve only myself to blame; it is my sin that has crippled me.

As this post grows too long, I shall end with Habakkuk’s immortal words of faith: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places” (3:17-19).  Amen.

A Biblical Explanation of the Election of 2020 from Luke 16:8

“The sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light” (Luke 16:8).

We’re bound to lose, you know.  It’s baked in.  No matter how close we get, no matter how hard we strive to preserve what’s left of public morality and common decency in this crumbling pagan society, we’re not going to win.  And the reason for this is revealed in the quote above right from the lips of our Lord: They’re simply better at it than we are.  “Better at what?” you ask.  Navigating the world, manipulating processes, and reaching predetermined ends (recall our Lord’s trial).  The “sons of light” are either ignorant of how such things are done or live by rules that preclude behaving in such a manner.  They know that ends do not justify means and that they cannot do evil to bring about good.  The “sons of this world” have no such scruples.  But they are shrewd enough to know that their intentions must be covered.  Though their minds are darkened unto righteousness, they are “enlightened” unto evil, and so their proud and impenitent hearts are ever manufacturing new ways to craft deceitful schemes.  The sons of light simply can’t catch up, and do not wish to.  AND THIS IS WHAT IS PLAYING OUT RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES.

“So what are the sons of light to do?” you ask.  We can’t adopt their tactics, for in doing so they win in the worst way.  What then?  And here is the bad news: We shall ever lose in this world.  And I fully believe that such is our Lord’s intention.  His desire is that we look to Him, not the ballot box.  Oh, we should continue to vote, assemble, and bear witness to what a truly just society would look like—of which today’s self-(un)righteous “social justice warriors” know nothing.  But we must understand that this side of heaven, the deck is stacked against us.  In a real way, it’s proof of our divine citizenship and of the justice of our cause—as if protecting life from the cradle to the grave and religious freedom needed vindication. 

We’ve read the Book.  In this world, the sons of light lose.  We often do not understand.  We ask ourselves, “How could God let this happen?  We must always remember that the clay doesn’t talk back to the Potter; the clay finds its strength resting in the Potter’s hands.  Moreover, because we have read the Book, we also know that ultimately, the sons of light do win—AND WIN BIG!

“The sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.”  This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this happen; it won’t be the last.  I really don’t mean to trivialize this.  It’s infuriating.  But I just mean to say, look to the One who will one day right all the wrongs.  And in the meantime, let us be sure to keep our own hearts pure and always live as “sons and daughters of light.”