Faith, Assumptions, and Matters of Chance

Mayfield, Kentucky tornado damage

Photo by Dave Malkoff – Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Christians are people of faith. The Scriptures are very clear that it is “impossible to please [God]” without faith (Hebrews 11:6), that we cannot obey the gospel without faith (Mark 16:16), and that we are “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1). More than anyone else, we should recognize not only that God exists, but that He “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

At the same time, while God has the power to do more than we could imagine, the Scriptures also indicate that there are times when things happen as a result of chance or happenstance. The wise man wrote, “I saw again under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). When a race, battle, or some other event turns out unexpectedly, that does not necessarily mean that God was directly involved in the outcome. The wise man did not say that “the hand of God” or “the will of God” produced the unexpected result; rather, it was due to “time and chance” which God allows to happen in this life.

As I am writing this article, clean-up and recovery efforts are ongoing following a tornado that went through Bowling Green, Kentucky (and several other areas). Many homes and businesses were destroyed. Several people lost their lives and many more have been deeply impacted by losses sustained in the storm. Thankfully, our family was out of the path of the tornado. However, not far from us there were people who lost everything.

Following events like this one, it is natural to wonder why some were spared and others were not. Why did some lose all of their earthly possessions – or even their lives – while others suffered little or no damage? Was this simply a matter of chance or was it something more? As we contemplate questions like these, it is important that we understand the difference between conclusions that are matters of faith and ones that are simply assumptions.Continue Reading

Purity, Temptation, and Sexual Fulfillment

Man praying in the forest

Recently a young man was arrested and charged with killing eight people after opening fire on three Atlanta-area massage parlors. Naturally, this horrific tragedy made national news. As is typical in cases like this, investigators, reporters, and news commentators have sought to determine the motive of the killer. According to the Cherokee County sheriff’s Captain, this man claimed to have a “sex addiction” and “wanted to eliminate” the temptation that existed for him in these locations.

Predictably, many were quick to use this tragedy as an opportunity to push certain talking points. Rather than simply condemning the one who committed the murders, blame was spread to the denomination to which he belonged; this then turned into charges of “racism and sexism” in churches. There have even been claims that “purity culture” in churches (which has been described in part as an emphasis on modesty in women in order to not cause a temptation for men to lust) would lead religious people – especially those who are socially conservative – to blame this crime on the victims and not the gunman.

Every reasonable person – Christian or non-Christian – should be able to immediately agree that what this man did in murdering these eight women was wrong and that the authorities should see to it that he is tried, convicted, and strongly punished for this. Yet this tragedy has been turned into an opportunity by some to attack religion, Biblical morals, and modesty.

I will not defend the reprehensible actions of the young man who murdered these women, regardless of his motive. It is also not my intention here to defend the denomination of which he was a member or any group with which his church was reportedly affiliated. However, I do believe it is important for us to understand what the Bible teaches about purity, temptation, and sexual fulfillment. This story, along with the reactions to it, make it evident that many do not understand these topics.Continue Reading

Pray for Leaders During the Spread of the Coronavirus

Prayer, Coronavirus

The topic that has everyone’s attention this week is the spread of the Coronavirus that has turned into a global pandemic. I discussed this topic previously on the podcast, focusing on some things that we as Christians need to do during this situation. One of those things is prayer.

In this article, I want to expand on the need for prayer – particularly the need to pray for our leaders (civil authorities) as this crisis moves along.Continue Reading

“Chaste and Respectful Behavior” in Our Modern Age

Kendell_Jones

Kendall Jones, a teenage girl from Texas, has recently received some attention over pictures that have appeared online from her hunting trips to Africa, showing her with various animals that she has killed. Understandably, people will have different opinions about whether someone should be hunting such animals. However, some of the reactions to these pictures are disturbing to say the least.

One of the disturbing reactions has come from Mike Dickinson – a Democrat politician running for Congress in Virginia. He has offered $100,000 for nude photos or videos of this teenage girl.
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After the First Openly-Homosexual NBA Player, What Do We Need to Remember?

Jason CollinsNews broke yesterday that Jason Collins, a professional basketball player and twelve-year veteran of the National Basketball Association, has announced that he is a homosexual. With public opinion shifting more and more toward the acceptance of homosexuality as a moral and common practice, an announcement like this was inevitable. Now that Collins has come out about this, we can probably expect more professional athletes to do the same.

Whether we like it or not, professional athletes, like other celebrities, can have a big influence on the thinking of people in society. This announcement will only further the efforts to normalize the practice of homosexuality in people’s minds. In light of this news, it is important that Christians remember a few things.
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Does God Want Us to Be Happy?

Ohio Senator Rob PortmanOhio Senator Rob Portman wrote an editorial that was published on March 15, 2013 in which he announced his change of position on same-sex marriage. Previously, he had been against such “marriages.” Now he believes “the government shouldn’t deny [same-sex couples] the opportunity to get married.”

In the editorial, he explained the reason for his change of heart. Two years ago, one of his sons informed him that he was a homosexual. After learning this, Senator Portman began re-evaluating his stance on same-sex marriage and eventually changed his mind on the issue. He said he is “a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love.” Couple that with his statement about “the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God,” and we see one who has tried to find a way to harmonize – in his own mind – faith in God and man’s desire to be happy.

His statement about wanting all of his children to be happy seems reasonable to a lot of people, even among those who are religious. Many people believe that God would want them to be happy. Therefore, if something like homosexuality makes one happy, they conclude that God must accept it and that we should accept it, too.

So we should ask the question: Does God want us to be happy? In answering this question, we must be sure that our conclusion comes from the Bible and not our emotions.
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Should Preaching About Homosexuality Be a Priority?

Louie Giglio, pastor of the Passion City Church in Atlanta, was invited to deliver the benediction during the President’s inauguration. He has since withdrawn from participating in the event after some “gay-rights” advocates protested. The following quote was included in the article linked above. It is from a sermon of Giglio’s from the 1990’s and was the cause of the opposition against his participation in the inauguration.

“If you look at the counsel of the word of God, Old Testament, New Testament, you come quickly to the conclusion that homosexuality is not an alternative lifestyle… homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin. It is sin in the eyes of God, and it is sin according to the word of God. You come to only one conclusion: homosexuality is less than God’s best for his creation.”

I know nothing about anything else Giglio teaches or has taught, but his remarks above about homosexuality being a sin are exactly correct. In every dispensation, homosexuality has been an abomination in the eyes of God. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were utterly destroyed for this sin (Genesis 19:4-13; Jude 7). The Law of Moses clearly condemned the practice: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22; cf. 20:13). Even in the New Testament, homosexuality is said to be “unnatural,” “indecent,” and “contrary to sound teaching” (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Timothy 1:10). Paul told the brethren in Corinth that the sin of homosexuality, if not repented of and abandoned, would prevent one from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9).
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