Archives For Christian Liberty
Last week a federal judge ruled that the State of Alabama’s constitutional ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. A constitutional ban that was approved in 2006 by 81% of Alabama voters. As an American I’m extremely troubled that activist judges are ignoring the will of an overwhelming majority of Americans. However, that’s another subject for another day.
I will approach this article primarily by responding to things I have heard from those who support homosexual rights.
1. If you don’t support gay rights you’re a hate monger. I agree that there are people in our country who hate gay people but those people do not represent all of us. I also acknowledge that there are people who call themselves Christian who are full of hate. They are not Christians. I believe that same sex relationships are a sin but I DO NOT HATE HOMOSEXUALS. I’m sure that some will read this post and respond to me with anger and even hatred but I refuse to hate you back. I do not hate you and God does not hate you. God hates sin but not the sinner.
2. I was born this way. Ok! I don’t have a problem with that statement and I may be one of the few conservative Christians that you will hear say it. Here’s why I don’t have a huge problem with the statement. The Bible (my authority) says in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. I was born a sinner too. Let me give you an example. When I was three years old I lied to my mother. I was a three year old liar. No one taught me to be a liar, it came naturally. I was born that way. God’s word teaches us explicitly that we should not lie. When I became a follower of Christ, part of my growth as a believer was to overcome my “tendency” to lie. So maybe you’re not a liar but you do have a “desire” to have a gay relationship. If you are a follower of Christ you should be seeking the healing and deliverance of God to change you’re desires and overcome them. I stopped lying years ago.
I have a few questions:
- If a man is born with a desire to kill should he have the constitutional right to do so because he says that he was born that way?
- If someone wants to have sex with children and their argument is “I was born a pedophile” does that make its ok?
- If a man gets married but then discovers he likes having sex with multiple people should the constitution protect him from his spouses desire for a divorce?
3. People who use the Bible to support their belief’s are “Bible Thumpers.” Ok again. I believe the Bible. I have been a student of the Bible for almost forty years. Reading the Bible and accepting it by faith is part of my faith. However as I am referring to it I’m not angry nor am I foaming at the mouth. In addition to accepting the Bible by faith I also see the Bible being fulfilled throughout history and even today. It’s real and it is the inspired Word of God. As a Christian I have to believe that. If I don’t believe it, then my Faith in Christ comes into question. The Bible is my final authority on all matters. If you don’t believe the Bible, Ok but don’t hate me because I do and I want society to reflect it.
4. God doesn’t care about homosexuality. You have to ignore the Bible to make that statement. Scriptures are replete with passages that show God’s disdain for homosexuality.
Leviticus 18:22New International Version (NIV) “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
Leviticus 20:13 New International Version (NIV) “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. Note: Because I understand scripture and understand that Leviticus is the law, I’m not suggesting that God wants us to put homosexuals to death. All I’m doing in sharing this verse is to show you that indeed, God does care.
New International Version (NIV) 1 Timothy 1: 8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
Look at this passage of scripture from Romans 1
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
I’ve given you just a sampling of scripture. There are many more. My only motive is not to “Thump” the Bible but to show you that God does care and that God does not approve of homosexuality.
If you have made your mind up about this matter I may not change it. But if your trying to decide what you believe then take my argument to heart and mind. If you call yourself a Christian but support the gay rights issue I’d love to have you hear my heart.
If you feel trapped by a desire to be a homosexuality, there is deliverance.
As I close I’d like to reiterate that I don’t hate you if you disagree. I love people, even those who do not agree with me. I love you!
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Every year during the month of January many in Christian churches spend time fasting as a first fruits offering, a way to give God the first of the new years. The church where I serve has done this for many years. I thought I would share with you two, only two important points about fasting, points that will help you.
One: It’s not supposed to be hard. Our bodies need food and when we don’t give it to them they rebel with hunger pangs, dizziness and other negative side effects. In addition to the need to have food for health and survival we Americans are accustomed to eating, eating a lot and eating a variety. Our social lives surround food. We sit at the lunch table talking about what we will eat for supper. It’s harder in our culture because food plays a bigger roll here than in many places.
Two: It’s not for your glory. If you’re drawing attention to the fact that you are fasting then you have your reward. Your reward being that other people know you’re fasting and possibly admire you or feel sorry for you. J
esus is recorded in the book of Matthew chapter six saying, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
We fast for the Glory of God. Read Isaiah chapter fifty-eight and see the results of fasting. Here is the list.
- To loose the chains of injustice.
- To untie the chords of the yoke.
- To set the oppressed free.
- To break every yoke.
- To give food to the hungry
- To clothe the naked.
- Your light will break forth.
- Your healing will appear.
- You will call and the Lord will answer.
Wow. That’s pretty impressive but there is no way a man can get or take glory for those results. The glory goes to God. If your fasting for attention or for your glory, STOP and go get something to eat. You’re wasting your time. That’s it! I believe in fasting and I believe that it brings great results in our lives. Blessings on you.
Below are links to good books on fasting.
- Fasting:Opening The Door To A Deeper, More Intimate, More Powerful Relationship With God. Jentzen Franklin
- The Fasting Edge, Jentzen Franklin
Note: As the readership of this site increases I like to perodically repost articles that received a lot of attention. This is one of them. The subject of Christians and alcohol use is a hot button, especially in my part of the country.
I’ve given a lot of thought recently about the subject of Christians and alcohol. And I want to share with you my personal conclusions. This is in no way an exhaustive paper on alcohol. It’s a brief description of how I feel.
First of all you need to know my culture and my heritage. My Spiritual heritage is this. I am a third generation Pentecostal Christian. I understand chances are that many who read or hear the title Pentecostal immediately envision snake handlers, miracle spring water and someone rolling on the floor in church. That does not describe my heritage. As a matter of fact it grieves me that most crazy, weird, money grubbing false teachers identify themselves with Pentecostal circles.
I did grow up in an environment where Christianity and alcohol did not mix. My culture is the Bible belt. I grew up and continue to live and pastor in south Alabama, which many refer to as the buckle of the Bible belt. In my culture growing up Alcohol was considered evil, a tool of the devil. I was taught that if you drank that you were living in sin and losing out with God.
In my years as a pastor I have grown in my relationship with God and have a much greater understanding of the grace of God that I had growing up.
Where in my past the subject of alcohol was a subject of heaven or hell I now understand grace and know that this subject is not a heaven or hell discussion.
I recently preached a message in my church on this subject and the line of thought in this blog follows closely what I said in that message.
I am not a holier than thou preacher and this message is not meant to be judgmental or condemning. It is not my desire to run people who drink away from my church. Our church is for everyone. None of us are perfect and all of us are still trying to grow.
The question might be posed, if your going to deal with a subject why not one that the Bible is clear on like gluttony, gossip, backbiting and sexual sins, all of which the Bible clearly deals with? Those are all subjects that preachers need to address but this blog is on the subject of alcohol. Note: IF I HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A CHURCH FULL OF GOSSIPERS OR A CHURCH FULL OF DRINKERS I’D TAKET THE DRINKERS EVERY TIME.
After giving this subject much thought, reading, praying, etc., it is my personal opinion that alcohol has become an extremely negative force in our society. In my experience as a pastor every time I’ve been told of the sexual molestation of a child, alcohol was involved. I’ve counseled with females through the years who have become pregnant outside of the bonds of marriage and most of the time they blame alcohol. Alcohol in itself is not evil. What people do under the influence of alcohol most of the time is.
According to a government web site (nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov) over 100,000 deaths a year can be blamed on alcohol. How?
- 5% of all deaths from diseases of the circulatory system are attributed to alcohol.
- 15% of all deaths from diseases of the respiratory system are attributed to alcohol.
- 30% of all deaths from accidents caused by fire and flames are attributed to alcohol.
- 30% of all accidental drowning’s are attributed to alcohol.
- 30% of all suicides are attributed to alcohol.
- 40% of all deaths due to accidental falls are attributed to alcohol.
- 45% of all deaths in automobile accidents are attributed to alcohol.
- 60% of all homicides are attributed to alcohol.
- About 5,000 teens die every year due to teen alcohol use.
When it comes to alcohol use the readers of this blog have a variety of experiences as to the use of alcohol.
- Some of you have never tasted an alcoholic drink in your life.
- Some were taught to not drink alcohol. You did. You went through what you would call a rebellious stage, did your drinking for a season of life and then stopped.
- Some of you were raised in homes where alcohol was abused and it caused you to either become an alcohol user yourself or to run from it and call it evil.
- Some of you were raised in homes where moderate drinking was part of life.
I understand that for some this is a cultural issue. I also understand that in some cultures of the world that alcohol is as much a part of life that in my world drinking a glass of iced tea is.
For me the subject of alcohol is not one of sin, heaven or hell. It is a subject of what my lifestyle says about my relationship to God. What does that person who may be on the fence with God think if they saw me drinking or heard me say that I do drink? In my culture even those who do not claim to be Christians frown on Christians who drink. Does that mean that I have to let non-believers dictate how I live my life? No! However I should be concerned how my lifestyle affects those who are new in faith or those who are considering making faith in Christ their life.
If you, as a believer drink alcohol I am in no way saying that you are a sinner, calling you a hypocrite or trying to judge you. Your decision to have alcohol in your life is between you and God. As a pastor I have told my congregation that I wished they wouldn’t drink alcohol. I have also told my leaders that I expect a higher standard and that leaders at our church were not to be drinkers. If they have been drinking they are to stop with no questions asked.
Why do Christians want to drink anyway? Is it the taste? Is it an attempt to be socially accepted? Maybe it’s because they are an alcoholic and don’t even know it. Maybe it’s because they like getting even a small buzz. It could be the need to feel just a little bit naughty. I don’t know.
Question: WAS THE WINE MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE FERMENTED OR JUST GRAPE JUICE? After much research I believe that the wine in the Bible was in fact fermented wine. When Jesus turned the water into wine, it was wine. I have learned that it is believed by many scholars that in Jesus’ day that wine was diluted with water but I’m not going to try to make that my case.
Wine was wine. Yes it was fermented. Why then do I have a problem with Christians and wine? It is absolutely because alcohol plays a completely different role in our culture than it did in Bible times and like music I believe that satan has taken something innocent and perverted it for his uses.
Question: ARE THERE ANY SCRIPTURES THAT SPECIFICALLY METION ALCOHOL THAT LEAD US TO BELIEVE THAT DRINKING ALCOHOL IS A SIN?
NO! For those of you who were raised like me I hate to tell you this but I cannot find one scripture that specifically says that drinking alcohol is a sin. The Bible does mention being drunk. There are several scriptures that tell us not to be drunk.
Question: Jeff, in light of your answers to the previous two questions do you believe that Christians should abstain from the use of alcohol?
YES! WHY? Culture and the possibility that one drink could lead to destruction and your Christian witness.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death.
Every person who gets drunk starts with one drink.
- Every person who becomes an alcoholic begins with one drink.
- Every person who killed other people in an auto accident because they were drunk began with one drink.
- Conservative estimates of sexual assault (molestion to rape) prevalence suggest that at least 25 percent of American women have experienced sexual assault, including rape. Approximately one-half of those cases involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim, or both. Alcohol contributes to sexual assault through multiple pathways, often exacerbating existing risk factors.
- According to the National institute of health the consumption of 1 Liter of alcohol per year raises the chances of divorce by 20%.
In closing I want to share with you 1 Corinthians 8 from the Message. As you read it I ask that you read it in light of today’s culture and with alcohol in mind.
1-3The question keeps coming up regarding meat that has been offered up to an idol: Should you attend meals where such meat is served, or not? We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all.
4-6Some people say, quite rightly, that idols have no actual existence, that there’s nothing to them, that there is no God other than our one God, that no matter how many of these so-called gods are named and worshiped they still don’t add up to anything but a tall story. They say—again, quite rightly—that there is only one God the Father, that everything comes from him, and that he wants us to live for him. Also, they say that there is only one Master—Jesus the Messiah—and that everything is for his sake, including us. Yes. It’s true.
7In strict logic, then, nothing happened to the meat when it was offered up to an idol. It’s just like any other meat. I know that, and you know that. But knowing isn’t everything. If it becomes everything, some people end up as know-it-alls who treat others as know-nothings. Real knowledge isn’t that insensitive.
We need to be sensitive to the fact that we’re not all at the same level of understanding in this. Some of you have spent your entire lives eating “idol meat,” and are sure that there’s something bad in the meat that then becomes something bad inside of you. An imagination and conscience shaped under those conditions isn’t going to change overnight.
8-9But fortunately God doesn’t grade us on our diet. We’re neither commended when we clean our plate nor reprimanded when we just can’t stomach it. But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track.
10For instance, say you flaunt your freedom by going to a banquet thrown in honor of idols, where the main course is meat sacrificed to idols. Isn’t there great danger if someone still struggling over this issue, someone who looks up to you as knowledgeable and mature, sees you go into that banquet? The danger is that he will become terribly confused—maybe even to the point of getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong.
11-13Christ gave up his life for that person. Wouldn’t you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him—because, as you say, it doesn’t really make any difference? But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin! When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ. A free meal here and there isn’t worth it at the cost of even one of these “weak ones.” So, never go to these idol-tainted meals if there’s any chance it will trip up one of your brothers or sisters.
I’m interested to know what your feedback is. Good or bad! Love yall, Jeff!
God will never torment you with the truth.
Today we hear of yet another mass murder. One that again involves a school and children. If you have a heart this news grieves you.
Already the liberal, anti-gun talking heads are crying out for gun control.
The problem is not guns. The problem is sin and the rejection of God by a nation that once stood on Godly values.
There was a time (we’re told) that chewing gum was the number one disciplinary problem in public schools. Then it began.
- Prayer was removed from the public schools.
- Eventually God and any mention of Him was removed from schools even to the point that students are persecuted in many schools for their faith and threatened with trouble if they have the nerve to mention God.
- God has been ejected from the town square. Demonic organizations such as the ACLU have fought and won court battle after battle to have things such as Nativity Scenes removed from government property.
- Prayer has been removed from just about anything that doesn’t take place in the private confines of a church building.
- Wars are being raged over our national declaration “In God We Trust,” to have it removed from our currency.
- Now we hear on the news that the pledge of allegiance is bad because of the phrase ‘Under God.”
- Now Christmas is under attack because it’s a Christian Observance.
And we wonder how it is that a nation, a world has become so violent. So, anti-good.
Many churches and church organizations are not helping the cause.
- In many pulpits the Gospel has been watered down as to not offend anyone.
- Churches have become liberal in the attempt to draw the “seeker” into their church and in doing so have omitted the many times that God confronts us through His Word about our sin.
- In a time when we should be calling our Christian troops to attention and preparing them for battle we have fewer worship services because we need “family time.” I’ll tell you what we need. We need to be teaching our children the importance of the house of God and learning the Word of God.
It’s not just the liberals and the churches. Christian parents are responsible too. That’s right. It’s time we take responsibility. I understand that what I’m about to say may not be you. You may not fit the description of the parents I mention below but, you know someone who does.
- It’s more important to some Christian parents that their children are popular than Godly.
- Parents allow their children to be exposed (in the home) to music, television, internet, games and more that are violent, sexual and even perverted.
- Many Christian Parents find it easier to just ignore or look the other way when their children are going down the wrong path. It’s just easier to look away and have peace than to confront and battle the forces of darkness that are coming into their home and their family.
- Some Christian parents will spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to make sure their child excels in the world of Little League Baseball and other athletic activities. Some of these same parents will not come up with less than a hundred dollars to send their son or daughter to a Christian camp.
- They can pay for baseball gloves, tennis rackets, automobiles, popular labeled clothing and more but roll their eyes up in their heads in disgust when the kid wants to go to church camp or participate in an activity in their church and money is involved.
I could rant on and on. My point in all of this is that the lack of gun control is not the reasons we live in a violent world. This world is in a violent, ungodly state because God has been rejected and even some who claim to be Christian put just about everything above God in their priorities.
The end of time as we know it is about to be over. Jesus is coming! Are you Ready?
2 Timothy 3:1-5
3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Please pray for those who have lost their loved ones in todays horrible event.
I think it’s very important that everyone stay informed as to how the government is taking away our Christian Liberties.