Thursday, January 24, 2008

Scrimmage Game 2008

There's a time in high school football when there are two groups of players contending for separate goals, yet regardless of the score at the end of the game, the home team is always the winner. Sometimes one side may be a little better than the other. But in the end, it doesn't really matter who wins. This particular game makes no difference in the team's season record. The type of game I'm referring to is that of a "scrimmage." For those of you familiar with high school football, this isn't a difficult concept. It's simply the same team, splitting their players into separate groups, and playing each other for practice. While there may be a bit of competition going on, the guy across the line from you is your buddy. You'll both be fighting for the same goals when it really matters. In fact, sometimes these scrimmage games can determine who the "starters" are. So, yes, there's a competition there, but when all is said and done, both of these groups form the same team.

So it is in today's presidential race. When I look at the slate of candidates, by and large, they all support the same things, whether they are Republican or Democrat. Some talk a different talk. Some "change their minds" where they stand on such important issues like abortion (i.e. Mitt Romney) when it seems politically expedient to do so. But by and large a vote for any of these tricksters is going to be a vote for four more years of "status quo." That's an optimistic attitude. The pessimist side of me is concerned that the status quo will not improve, but degrade—regardless of who wins the presidency. On the issue of abortion, we see that after eight years of the Bush presidency, a baby can still be killed through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever, despite the rhetoric concerning the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. This is utterly unacceptable, considering he had a Republican Congress and Senate for half of that time. On the issue of sodomy, we see that President Bush has appointed far more sodomites to high ranking government positions and ambassadorships than President Clinton ever did. Likewise, under Bush's watch, we've seen sodomite "marriage" or "domestic partnerships" flourish in several states. Those are just a few of the social issues. On the financial side, we've seen Republicans raise taxes and increase spending just like the Democrats have done…repeatedly. Sure, Bush gave us some needed income tax cuts. But he didn't decrease government spending, but rather increased it. I'm only picking on President Bush and the Republicans because they have made themselves out to be the friend of conservatives. Yet, from what I've observed, I'd be hard pressed to say they were conservative by looking at their actions. It goes without saying that the Democrats are no saints themselves.

So, what do we do about it? There are only two candidates currently for whom I'd consider casting my vote. These candidates are Rep. Ron Paul and Gov. Mike Huckabee. Of the two, I perceive Rep. Paul to be a better agent in producing real change, though I tend to think Gov. Huckabee's position on abortion and sodomy are stronger. Short of either of these two winning the Republican primary, I think the general election is going to simply be a "scrimmage" game where no matter who wins it's the "bad guys" who'll be in power.

Friday, January 18, 2008

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 2 - Section 3

By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 2

SECTION III. – The deeply humbled soul RELIEVED with some saving discoveries of CHRIST the Redeemer.

WHEN thus the wounded bride perceives full well,
Herself the vilest sinner out of hell,
The blackest monster in the universe;
Pensive, if clouds of wo shall e’er disperse;
When in her breast Heaven’s wrath so fiercely glows,
‘Twixt fear and guilt, her bones have no repose.
When flowing billows of amazing dread
Swell to a deluge o’er her sinking head;
When nothing in her heart is found to dwell,
But horrid Atheism, enmity, and hell;
When endless death and ruin seems at hand,
And yet she cannot, for her soul, command
A sigh to ease it, or a gracious thought,
Though heaven could at this petty rate be bought;
When darkness and confusion overcloud,
And unto black despair temptations crowd;
When wholly without strength to move or stir,
And not a star by night appears to her:
But she, while to the brim her troubles flow,
Stands, trembling, on the utmost brink of woe.
Ah! weary case! But, lo! in this sad plight,
The sun arises with surprising light.
The darkest midnight is his usual time
Of rising, and appearing in his prime.
To shew the hills from whence salvation springs,
And chase the gloomy shade with golden wings,
The glorious husband now unveils his face,
And shews his glory full of truth and grace: (1)
Presents unto the bride, in that dark hour,
Himself a Saviour, both by price and power:
A mighty Helper to redeem the lost,
Relieve and ransom to the uttermost; (2)
To seek the vagrant sheep to deserts driven,
And save from lowest hell to highest heaven.
Her doleful case he sees, his bowels move,
And make her time of need his time of love; (3)
He shews, to prove himself her mighty shield,
His name is JESUS, by his Father sealed: (4)
A name with attributes engraved within,
To save from every attribute of sin.
With wisdom sin’s great folly to expose,
And righteousness its chain of guilt to loose,
Sanctification to subdue its sway,
Redemption all its woful brood to slay. (5)
Each golden letter of his glorious name
Bears full deliverance both from sin and shame.
Yea not privation bare from sin and woe,
But thence all positive salvations flow,
To make her wise, just, holy, happy too.
He now appears a match exactly meet
To make her every way in him complete,
In whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells,
That she may boast in him, and nothing else.
In gospel lines she now perceives the dawn
Of Jesus’ love, with bloody pencil drawn;
How God in him is infinitely pleased,
And Heaven-avenging fury wholly appeased:
Law-precepts magnified by her beloved,
And every let to stop the match removed,
Now in her view her prison gates break ope,
Wide to the wall flies up the door of hope;
And now she sees with pleasure unexpressed
For shattered barks a happy shore of rest.

(1) John i. 14.
(2) Heb. vii. 25.
(3) Ezek. xvi. 6, 8.
(4) Matt. i. 21.
(5) 1 Cor. i. 30.
(6) Col. ii. 9, 10.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Christian Patriarchy

What exactly is Christian Patriarchy anyway? I’ve heard some crazy ideas about people’s misconceptions of what that term entails. They speak of men with harems, utter despots in their homes waiting for their wife and children to wait on them hand and foot. I’m not sure where they get their information, but that is certainly not Christian Patriarchy. Christian Patriarchy is simply “servant leadership.” It is a man sacrificing his own hobbies and interests, his own “life of luxury” for the good of his family. It is a man who will not only die for his family if necessary, but he will daily die to his own selfish desires in order to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He is a manly man who will protect his family from an evil world, while bathing them in the truth of scripture. A Christian Patriarch does not dishonor his wife. Rather, he loves her more than himself. True Christian Patriarchy emulates Christ. Is Christ our leader? Certainly. Does He set rules for His family? Absolutely. Is He a tyrant walking all over His subservient family? God forbid such blasphemy. Here is the pattern:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
(Eph 5:25-29)

Those who know me know that I love to read and quote men who lived long ago. However, for a nice change of pace, I’m going to quote a poem written by a man who is very much alive today. Doug Phillips is a Christian leader and a father of eight children. This poem comes from his book, Poems for Patriarchs available at:

The Patriarch
by Doug Phillips

More noble than the valiant deeds of shining knights of yore,
More powerful than earthly plights that make the rich man poor,
More kingly than a royal throne or a lion with his pride,
Is he whose babes sleep well at night sure Daddy will provide.

There is a spirit in this land and Jezebel’s her name.
She’s calling you to leave your home for power, fun, and fame.
She wants your wife, your children too – she’ll never compromise,
Until your house is torn in two by listening to her lies.

But though a hundred thousand million men may fall prey to her lures,
And wives en masse leave home in search of “more fulfilling” chores,
Though preachers praise, and friends embrace, her pagan plan of death,
Stand strong and quit you like a man with every blessed breath.

Stand strong and rise, O man of God, to meet this noble call,
The battle is not new you see, it’s been here since the Fall.

Your wife is your helpmeet, my friend, and not another man’s,
So care for her and keep her far from Mistress Jezi’s plans.
Protect, provide, and give to her your undivided life,
This is the dear one of your youth, your precious bride, your wife.

And rally to those tiny ones who trust you for their care –
A lifetime spent discipling them’s a lifetime pure and rare.
For when they put their hand in yours and know a Daddy’s love,
You’re showing them a picture of the Father from above.

Look not toward worldly goal or gain, or for your liberty,
Look only into their sweet eyes to find your ministry.
Devote your heart and sacrifice and make your manly mark –
There is none so great as he who finds his call as patriarch.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Little Boys and Keys

Over the weekend we bought our six year old, Justin, a new pair of tennis shoes. Included was a little gimmick miniature flashlight keychain put there by marketers to make sure a child will hound his parents to buy the shoes. In any case, he had fun with it on the way home in the back of the van. There was one thing that puzzled him, however. What was that little metal ring attached to the chain for? After we got home, Justin asked me the question. I responded that it was a keychain, and I proceeded to show him the little metal rings on my own keychain. Then he started in on how he wanted keys like Daddy. He also wanted two of those little key fobs just like Daddy. I told him those were for my car and the van and he didn’t need them until he was old enough to drive.

I thought it was over with, and it was just one of the hundreds of questions that a six year asks throughout the day. However, he came back to me later on Saturday and asked me again, “The next time you go to the store, will you buy me some keys?” He didn’t seem to grasp the concept that keys fit in some type of lock. So, I looked through my keychain and found a key that fit a lock that I had no idea where it was. He was excited to get a key for his keychain, but I made the mistake of chuckling and commenting to my wife that I thought it matched a lock that used to be on a friend’s trailer that had been stolen a couple of years ago. Justin had a confused look on his face. I hoped that I hadn’t crushed his imagination. Quickly I changed my tone and found another old house key that didn’t fit our current house and let him have it. Then I had a better idea. I went to the drawer and drew out a spare key for our current house. Of course, this tickled him. After I gave him the key, I followed it up with a lesson about how to open the door locks. He spent the next 30 minutes opening and closing the lock on the back door. Since we have church at our house, he also enjoyed the opportunity on the following day to show his friends his new house key.

I pondered what I saw in this. Why was this such a big deal to him? I have a few ideas why.

1) He got to “be like Daddy.”
Little boys have an innate desire to do manly things. Simply having a ring of keys in your pocket seems a manly thing to do since he’s always seen me with mine.

2) It was a “gadget.”
Performing a simple mechanical action of turning a key and watching the deadbolt go in and out provides hours of entertainment for an inquisitive mind who wants to know how things work.

3) It means being allowed to do something useful for the family.
Oftentimes when we come home at night after being in the van, the little ones will fall asleep. I usually have my arms full of children as I’m either carrying the baby seat carrier, holding my one year old sleeping daughter, or holding my 3 year old sleeping son. Justin realizes that he may be able to “come to the rescue” by unlocking the door when Daddy can’t get to his keys.

4) Lastly, it shows a level of trust that we’ve given him.
Having a key to the house means that he’s been given permission to unlock the doors at home. After all, we wouldn’t hand out house keys to just anyone who asks. So, it’s special that he is someone we would trust with this responsibility. We’re also teaching him that he needs to be responsible not to leave the keys outside so that anyone could come in.

5) It makes him feel more mature.
Being smack dab in the middle of seven children, Justin is in that “limbo” stage where he’s not sure if he identifies with the older children or the babies.

So, if you want to bring some joy into the life of your six year old, give him a set a keys, and make sure one of them is the key to the house.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

No Sin Greater Than Another?

Why are you judging that particular sin? After all, no sin is greater than another.

Have you ever heard anyone make that claim? What’s more interesting is that more often than not this assertion is made in defense of a “politically correct” sin. It is usually in defense of a sin that has a whole movement dedicated to promoting it and recruiting new members, for they are unable to reproduce members on their own. Yes, I speak of the sin of homosexuality.

The main verse that I hear others use when trying to justify their sin is this one:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
(Jas 2:10)

Now, this is a very valid point, and one that must be considered. After all, this scripture is part of God’s Holy Word. Can we understand James to be telling us this paraphrase:
“Don’t try to keep the law, because if you mess up and fail in just one area, it’s just like you broke all of it.” Certainly this is not what James is saying. For if you read the rest of James chapter 2, you will see a clarion call for Christians to add works to their faith, else we show that our faith is dead. (James 2:20) What verse 10 is telling us then is that fallen, unregenerate man is totally depraved. We are born into this world with a sin nature. Every transgression that we do is deserving of eternal hellfire. Therefore, there is a bit of truth when we say that “no sin is greater than another” because the sin of lying will send you to hell just as fast as the sin of homosexuality.

However, just because any sin is vile enough to send you to hell, apart from the saving grace of Christ, I want to show you that God’s Holy Word does set some sins as worse than others. Consider:

If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
(1Jn 5:16)

So, then we see that there is a “sin unto death.” This sin is so bad that John does not even admonish his readers to pray for those who have been observed in participating in it. He does not prohibit prayer on their behalf, but he does withhold his admonishment as he would admonish us to pray for others sinning “lesser” sins. At the risk of a digression, I want to point out that this “sin unto death” is the very same sin spoken of here:

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
(Mat 12:31)

This blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, this “sin unto death,” is the utter falling away from and turning against the Lord of Heaven. One such example we have from scripture is Judas Iscariot.

The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
(Mar 14:21)

Here is an example of a man who walked daily with Christ for over 3 years. He heard His teaching. He saw His miracles. Yet, he showed himself to be a vile betrayer of the God Man Jesus Christ. No one can convince me that Judas Iscariot was forgiven of the sin he wrought against God.

So then, we have seen that there is at least two “levels” of sin; sin unto death, and sin not unto death. Do we see any scriptural examples of levels of sin in those sins that are not unto death? I declare to you that we do.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
(Mat 5:19)

Here we see someone described as breaking “one of these least commandments,” then teaching this to others. He is still described as being in the kingdom of heaven, though he is called the “least” in the kingdom of heaven. I would point out once more that the only reason he’s still “in the kingdom of heaven” is through the atoning blood of Christ. Because, remember, without the blood of Christ the very least sin will send us to hell.

To get back to the premise of this article, let us ask ourselves: Is the sin of homosexuality worse than other sins? Is it worse than lying, for example? To answer that question, let’s read what the Bible has to say about sexual sins in general:

Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
(1Co 6:15-20)

So then we see that fornication and adultery are worse than other sins, because they are sins against our own bodies, which are the temple of the Holy Ghost. So, certainly if we are not to “join ourselves” in illicit heterosexual relationships, we can easily apply this passage to homosexual behavior as well.

So, let’s recap what we’ve seen so far. There is a definite distinction between the sin unto death and sins not unto death. Within the sins not unto death, we see that sexual sins are worse in that they are sins against our own bodies. Do we see any scriptural justification for homosexuality being worse than illicit heterosexuality? Read with me from Romans chapter 1:

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
(Rom 1:26-28)

We see in this passage homosexuality described as “against nature.” Certainly illicit heterosexual sin is condemned in the scripture. However, in passages such as these, the Holy Spirit speaking through the Holy Word of God condemns homosexuality in very strong language. We read of the utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah over the sin we know as “sodomy” today because of their wicked ways.

So, when you wonder why Christians like myself “harp on” the sin of homosexuality, and why we aren’t out decrying the sin of gluttony, for example, perhaps you will now understand that God has given us in His Word examples of sins for which He has judged nations and cities. In modern society, we see groups organized to promote the sin of homosexuality declaring it to be “normal.” It is a spitting in the face of God. It is calling Him a liar, for to say that homosexuality is normal is to contradict Romans 1. Therefore Christians *must* oppose this abomination. We must refuse, as much as in our power to do so, to allow it to be rooted in our society.

Friend, are you entangled in the thralls of homosexuality? While this sin is an utter abomination in the eyes of God, I have shown in this article that it is not a “sin unto death.” There is forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. Read what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
(1Co 6:9)

But he turned right around in verse 11, with:

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
(1Co 6:11)
(emphasis mine)

There is hope. You may turn to Him for forgiveness and salvation. Christ has promised that He will not turn away any who come to Him.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Dominicum Servasti – Have you kept the Lord’s Day?

I just finished listening to a very well done teaching series on the Lord’s Day. Dr. Matthew McMahon does a very good job of showing from the scriptures of why we worship on the first day of the week. He answers the question of whether the fourth commandment is part of the moral law, or simply part of the ceremonial law that was done away with at the resurrection of Christ.

Dr. McMahon is a paedo-baptist Presbyterian. Although I disagree with him on infant baptism, I have found his handling of the Word of God to be quite good. To hear a very good teaching on this subject, visit his website at

One point that he mentioned that I had never considered before is that in the creation ordinance of a Sabbath day rest, we are never told that the day is actually Saturday (or the ancient name for that day). The Israelites recognized this day as their Sabbath when the Lord brought them out of Egypt by His mighty hand. The next day was the Sabbath day, and it was kept holy to the Lord.

For the Christian, Christ has brought us liberty from the bondage of sin. Therefore we worship Him on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day. It is the Christian Sabbath, the keeping holy of this one day out of seven unto the Lord.

Check out McMahon’s series. I enjoyed quite a bit.