Friday, August 16, 2013

[Book Review] 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped

10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped by Jared H. Moore is a short read, but it's one that opens up dialogue in the Church about some issues that we tend to hold sacred in the American Church. It is only about a 15 minute read, and it is more or less a compilation of blog posts from this past year, but I believe it is something worth reading and exploring. First of all, who is Jared H. Moore? From his website:
My name is Jared Moore. I was dead in my sin and God raised me to life in Christ Jesus. Because of Him, I will live forevermore. I’m 32 years of age, and have served in pastoral ministry in a Southern Baptist context for 13 years. I pastor New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. I’m happily married to Amber and have three children: Caden, Ava, and Ian. I’ve authored two books: 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped and The Harry Potter Bible Study: Enjoying God Through the Final Four Harry Potter Movies. In addition to writing at this site, I’m also a regular contributor at SBC VoicesServants of GraceChurch Leaders, and Sermon Central, and I occasionally write for Speculative FaithGospel HusbandsSBC Focus, and Credo Magazine. I have a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Trinity College of the Bible, an M.A.R. in Biblical Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, an M.Div. in Christian ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), a Th.M. in Systematic Theology (ABT) from SBTS, and I’m currently a PhD Student in Systematic Theology at SBTS.
 Now that we got that out out of the way, on to the book. The book is broken down into 10 chapters, looking at each of the 10 "sacred cows" that Moore is targeting. These are:

  1. Entertaining Sermons
  2. Anything for Souls
  3. Numbers Equal Revival
  4. Experience-Centered Worship
  5. Nostalgia
  6. Relevant Sermons
  7. Relativistic Interpretation
  8. An Easy Life
  9. Tolerant Love
  10. Successful Ministry

A number of these, I would have targeted too. A few of them, I've seen in Biblical churches that maybe need to revisit the way they do things. Each chapter is short (1 or 2 pages), but is written in an easy to understand way. Perhaps a failure in this book is that there is not enough. As I stated earlier, it is a compilation of blog posts from his blog. In putting it into book form, I would wish that Moore had expanded each chapter, and opened the dialogue further. While he did not do that, I do believe that this is a book that needs to be read by Christians. We get too far off Christ and too much on what we hold sacred. I also don't believe that this list is exhaustive. There are too many "sacred cows" to even list here. This list also applies mostly to the American church, I believe. Moore should make that clear somewhere. Overall, it's an enjoyable and quick read, able to be read again quickly.

Note: I received a free PDF review copy and was not paid or compensated for an honest review.
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Transgender and/or Homosexual Children

Portal of the Church of Pilgrims, in Washingto...
Portal of the Church of Pilgrims, in Washington, DC, with a LGBT banner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Every day, there seems to be news reports about children as young as 2 or 3 "choosing" to be either the opposite sex or homosexual. Now, I don't know about you, but I quickly become skeptical about these claims. A 2 year old boy wanders into the room and sees his sister's Barbies™ on the floor, and picks them up and plays with them. Does that make him want to be a girl? If you leave him alone for a few minutes, I'm pretty certain that the Barbie play could turn violent (as in head pulled off, etc.). What about boys wanting to wear girl's clothes? Really? Can a 2 year old understand those types of decisions? What about parents not wanting to reveal their children's gender, allowing them to choose their gender at some point?

To me, these are silly scenarios. I can understand a child being born either genderless or with parts of genders. That is another more-complicated issue that I cannot go into in this post. However, this media-driven and society trend toward pushing children to choose transgenderism and/or homosexuality is ridiculous. California signed into law this week a bill allowing children to use whatever restroom they feel like they should use. The Girl Scouts (an organization that gives to Planned Parenthood to help support abortions, by the way) allows boys into it's organization now.

So, can someone explain to me how a 6 year old boy chooses to be a girl? What have the parents been teaching this child, or have they? Society is saying that it's not about choice, that it's about what they were born, but God says that he created male and female (Genesis 1:27). A boy born with boy parts as a boy, and vice versa. Yet, our society continues on this downward spiral of calling evil good and good evil. I very likely will be called a homophobe and/or racist for writing such a post. There is something inherent within us that causes us to choose sin, and that's called sin.

When a homosexual chooses to engage in the act of homosexuality, he is sinning, because that's what his nature tells him, due to the fall of the human race in Adam. The same goes for a murderer, a liar, and a thief. They choose to be those things, because of sin. We don't see society quite saying that a murderer was born that way or a liar was too. Even though, technically they are born that way. We all were born that way. Lady Gaga is right in her song, to an extent.

There is hope, however, and that hope is found in Jesus Christ. He has called us to put aside that sin that entangles us and cling to Him. He told the woman in adultery to go and sin no more (John 8:11). He did not condemn the thief at the cross who believed in him, but forgave him. Parents have caved to society's pressure to let their children be who society wants them to be. A sin has been accepted in society as not a sin, by even churches. Those churches do not deserve to even bear the name of Christ, the lies and deceit that they are teaching. I fear for the lives of these children that are being allowed to "choose" their own gender roles, even though their minds do not comprehend what they are choosing, even as young as 2 years old. I pray that they find Christ and and their parents find Christ, and their hearts are changed. Yes, I do believe that homosexuals and transgenders can change, but it's only Christ that can change them.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Race Card

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As long as God continues to delay Christ's return for His people, I believe that we will always be dealing with issues of race, especially here in America. I live in the South, where race is always a hot topic, whether it's dealing with voter id laws, or a half-hispanic man shooting a black teenager in self-defense. Those are the race topics of our day, it seems. One would think that many racial issues that divide us, might be solved by having a President who is truly African-American (having an African father and an American mother). They aren't solved, nor will they be, as long as we are human. The problem comes when we pull what is termed, "The Race Card." North Carolina recently signed into law a more strict voter id law and immediately was sued by "civil rights" groups, presumably over it being racist.

I support tougher restrictions on voting, but that's because I believe our forefathers fought for that right for the people to have a voice, and it needs to be protected from those who would wish to defraud the system. Getting a state-issued identification is not that hard, and the states that have passed such laws have put measures into place to ensure that everyone can get one, regardless of ability to pay. Most ID cards only cost $5-$10. I'm still not sure how that is racist, to begin with.

Where "The Race Card" gets pulled more recently is with homosexuals and those of other religions.  Homosexuals seem to be quick to pull it when they are being "persecuted." I say that loosely, because, in reality, Christians tend to be the persecuted ones here. And yet, a business that turns away a gay couple on religious grounds is accused of being homophobic and racist. Since when did homosexuality become a race? I've also seen people call out people for being Islamaphobes and racists when they speak out against Muslims. The last time I checked, Islam was a religion, not a race.

Where do Christians stand in all this? We should be last ones to pull "The Race Card." This is not about race. Jesus didn't make issues of race. He made a point to travel through Samaria, to show that his message was not just for Jews. He used a Samaritan to show who really could be a neighbor. Peter was commanded to go to a Gentile (Cornelius, a Roman military official). Is that racist? I live in a neighborhood where I am one of a few white families on the street, and yet, I hear about "white privilege" neighborhoods. I'm surrounded by black families and yet, neighborhoods like mine are considered to be "white privilege." My oldest daughter's best friend is black. So, what does that mean?

To be frank, I'm tired of "The Race Card." When can we move past, start talking to each other, and showing Christ? There are still many pastors around here who are racist. They would not let a black or hispanic person in their church, and yet, they might send missionaries to Africa or Mexico. It's hypocritical, but I've met some of these people, and that type of issue is not going away, unless Christ changes their hearts. I, for one, would like to see us to be like Christ, and talk to people, and show them Christ. Stop making issues of Race, and start making issues of the Gospel.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Church of England may be Sued over Gay Marriage

Window at Parish Church of St Peter, Frampton ...
Window at Parish Church of St Peter, Frampton Cotterell, England (Photo credit: DanieVDM)
I saw this article a few weeks ago, but am just now commenting on it. They said it wouldn't happen, religious organizations would be exempt on religious grounds. And yet, one gay couple in England wishes to test the limits of gay marriage equality with regards to the Church of England. The article:

Gay couple may sue Church of England to wed in church
By Trevor Grundy| Religion News Service,August 06, 2013 CANTERBURY, England — The British government’s promise that no religious organization will be forced to conduct same-sex weddings following the passage of a gay marriage bill may soon be tested.
Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 42, and his partner, Tony, 49 — millionaires who run a surrogacy company in Britain and the U.S. — have been a high-profile couple since 1999 when they became the first gay couple to be named on the birth certificate of their child. Now they have five children by five surrogate mothers. All the children are American citizens born in California.
While planning for a sixth, they told the Daily Mail they plan to sue the Church of England to get married there. “I want to go to my church and marry my husband,” said Drewitt-Barlow in an interview published Friday (Aug. 2).
“It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us.” 
So, basically, what you have here is the nation of Great Britain stating that gay marriage is now legal while giving exemption to religious bodies such as the Church of England.  The law goes into effect next year and other religious groups, according to the article, do plan on performing same-sex marriages next year. These groups include the Quakers, Unitarians, and Reform Jews.  Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court struck down a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act with regards to same-sex marriage here, but it mostly applies to marriages being recognized from one state to another. We have been warning for some time, that should same-sex marriage become widely legal here, that churches could be in danger of being sued. We've seen businesses practically shut down over the personal beliefs of their owners with regards to same-sex marriage. Now, in England, we see the possibility of the State Church under fire, for not performing what is legal under the law, despite Biblical prohibitions against it.

Gay marriage proponents in the U.S. deny that this would happen here, and yet, many churches have already capitulated to demands by throwing out the Bible. Why should the gay marriage opponents stop at businesses? Why not continue to take their fight to the churches? I don't believe they will stop until churches that disagree with them are shut down as well. Are we prepared to go underground for our faith? 
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I feel like this some about you?

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