Monthly Archives: September 2015

Lifestyles of “Death”

“Culture of Death” is a phrase used at least as far back as the early 90s by Pope John Paul II in a particular encyclical.

http://www.solemncharge.com/post/2012/10/19/What-is-the-Culture-of-Death-The-Catholic-Meaning.aspx

The above link mentions the Didache, also known as “The Teachings of the Twelve Apostles”, and was a document written by the early Church. That text begins: “There are two ways, one of life and one of death;” the modern use of the phrase “culture of death” fits in well with one part of the Didache’s division of “two ways” and also with the Church’s understanding of the character of a person’s lifespan which had been highlighted with the ministry of Christ. This recognition, which spans nearly two millennia, is that a person’s time on earth reduces to a simple binary set of propositions, “actions of life” and “actions of death”.

And this goes way beyond what we may think when we read these terms, in other words, “life” is not just that action and result which occurs when we come into this world through our mother’s womb, nor is death that final act when we are returned to “dust”. These terms also can characterize and describe our thought processes, actions, motivations, our laws, our politics, especially now in this political season, and lends insight as well to the kinds of solutions society searches for to solve certain problems. The terms “life” and “death” actually cover the whole of human experience from birth to death.

These distinctions about “life” and “death” were sharpened with the Advent of Christ and his salvation message. As the disciples and the later Church influenced society over time, the different conceptions of “life” and “death” began to be contrasted in an objective manner and it also brought attention to the spiritual aspects of these things, which actually is the main driver of much of mankind’s acts.

Something finally reached a pivot point in the 20th century which caused the Pope back in the 90s to condemn what had become a “culture of death”. Abortion and euthanasia were the main targets of that condemnation, but today, the “culture of death” can be extended even further.

What we need to understand is that the underlying mechanism for much of life and which acts as a “causal” factor, is the spiritual state of mankind. In our society, here in the US, the rejection of the Judeo-Christian worldview as the primary source of our ethics and values has coincided with the rise of this “culture of death”. It has to, if spiritual forces are the main drivers of humanity.

As they say, “nature abhors a vacuum” and value systems are no exception. We always need some kind of organized system to provide some kind of “centering” and guidance. If not, even the atheists recognizes that anarchy serves no purpose! And so when the Christian value system began to be dismantled, something had to replace it.

So a question emerges in two parts: first, what has replaced the Christian worldview and, secondly, why is it characterized, among other things,  as a “culture of death”.

The first question could have many itemized ideas and thoughts, but they all can be summarized by the fact that the changes and actions these labels would convey are those things which are contrary to the Biblical teaching in many respects. Rejection of God leads to rejection of many of those things associated with  Him.

The second question can be answered by noting how so many of those actions which our society, and world even,  have embraced and which has subsequently changed our society radically, center around physical death! Also other actions take a direct attack against the designs for society which God had instituted. These other actions illustrate a spiritual”death”.

This characterization of “death” as an attribute and adjective for life is highlighted by the verse in Romans 6:23 which says:

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And this “death” began with Adam when God told him:

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Adam ate anyway, and he didn’t physically die right then, that came later, but the spiritual death did occur immediately, which was separation from God. From that point on somehow sin affected the human race and all are born sinners as a result! Death affected man’s whole being! The problem then became the management of that sinful tendency with the desire and need to have a somewhat stable social structure.

Sin has always been around but there seems to be a attitude about it today. Sin has been managed by and large, we won’t be totally free until the next life, but a different emphasis has arisen which involves the reinterpretation of sin as “good” and the characterization of actions considered off limits as those which actually indicate a positive kind of freedom. If an individual made these characterizations, we would understand it a as kind of self-justification, but when a whole society does this–that is a major upheaval of values! Many of these things which have severely disrupted society are what makes up that “way of death” in the Didache, and the “culture of death” mentioned by the Pope.

What makes up those actions which comes under the umbrella of “culture of death”?

One action is euthanasia. Euthanasia is one of the things which has emerged as a new kind of “right” and hence a freedom. We can sympathize with the many diseases which can debilitate someone and the end of a person’s life is not always as we want it. It can be very heart-wrenching watching loved ones suffer. And while people have found many ways and opportunities to commit suicide, what is different about our times is that this desire to “die with dignity” has risen to a human rights claim, something which should be codified by law and assisted by various social mechanisms.

Physical death is a reality we all will face and it has been faced, no matter how heart-wrenching it had become. Society wants a shortcut, and though the motivation may be in the right place, killing innocent people and helping innocent people die is beyond the limits of our rights God has given us. As a society we basically accepted these limitations but now society has changed and one of the solutions being touted for mankind involves premeditated and organized “death”!

A second action is the rise and legitimization of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. This is another kind of death represented as a spiritual death. The death of what, one may ask? The spiritual death of family, the institution which God began at Creation and which has undergirded society everywhere since then. That family is between a man and a woman whose union is paramount to the bearing and raising of children.

Consider that two men or two women in a relationship automatically negate the ability to bear children and raise children in the unique way in which a married man and woman can. Even though science can do things in such a way and in a creative way, to allow those couples to have children via other parties, the “death” aspect continues to extend to the atmosphere of those kinds of families. The correct nurturing atmosphere for children is a male and female influence mutually supporting and affecting the early life of the child. They bring in a masculine and feminine influence which does not occur in same-sex relationships. Only time will tell the destructive aspects society will feel from this change!

A third major action is abortion! We have seen the many Planned Parenthood videos showing how the abortion industry has created an extensive and profitable “body part” machine. It shouldn’t be surprising, after all, if the baby in the womb is only physical material with no moral significance, then who cares what you do with that material! But when actual abortions are shown and clear conversations are heard about these actions, the cold, hard reality of what is happening comes through. The philosophy behind the justification of abortion falls away as nothing when one sees those actual human babies are being slaughtered! Pictures are absolutely worth a 1000 words!

But this is women’s freedom they tell us! The right to choose, whether or not to bring the baby to birth! And though men have largely disappeared, having bought into the idea of this right, so they go their own way and leave the women to their “choices”. But that choice is still a choice of “death”. And it is not freedom when so many millions of children have their lives cut short! It would be overwhelming to see what the impact on humanity has been with all those children being removed from this earth!

And now there is a push-back against those who want Planned Parenthood either defunded or actually closed down. The push-back is happening through Twitter in a campaign called “#ShoutYourAbortion”, in which women give the positive aspects of their abortion.

http://www.wnd.com/2015/09/women-celebrate-shoutyourabortion-on-twitter/

Somehow the idea is that a certain amount of testimonies will in some way “correct” the images and dialogues which the PP videos have shown. Maybe this should be called the “life through death” campaign.

One of the Twitter feeds said this: “My abortion was in ’10 & the career I’ve built since then fulfils me & makes me better able to care for kids I have now”.

Where do you start with this kind of reasoning? Loose translation: “I can better take care of my kids now because I killed my kids before!” A whole separate article could be written about the illogic of the “culture of death” reasoning!

And so there it is–the “culture of death”! What new actions will the “culture of death” encompass later? Only time will tell, but our present trajectory ensures that it will be widened in its scope! We have reached a point in which we encourage women to celebrate abortions, how much worse can we really get? Unfortunately, we will probably find out!

Politics and Spiritual Evil

Election season has surrounded us again! With Donald Trump on the scene, this political season has definitely become a “spectator sport”.  And while we joke and  find humor in various political scenarios, this is a serious business on many levels. Now, most people understand this, but what I have in mind at the moment is the spiritual aspect, that realm which lies beyond our physical senses but still operates in profound ways. Everything on this planet is affected by the spiritual, even politics.

Societal wise, this fact is extremely important since the governance exercised by our leaders upon society will be influenced by the spiritual world, whether we realize it or not. What part of the spiritual world is the question, because there is good and evil operating at cross purposes to each other!. Analyzing this from the spiritual is particularly important today given the many spiritual changes this society has endured, mostly negative when judged from a Biblical perspective! Whether those changes continue to evolve according to its logic, which would be dangerous to our social welfare, or whether those changes can be stopped, may hinge upon the next group of elected leaders. Ephesians 6:12 says this:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Paul was writing about the individual Christian and the personal battle which follows when one decides to follow Christ. The Christian fights against an organized enemy which is spiritual in nature. The following verses instruct the Christian to become equipped with spiritual armor to withstand these assaults. The fight a Christian endures is rooted in the spiritual realm. We can’t see into that realm, we don’t understand exactly how the strategies of those unseen wicked forces are formed or how it unfolds in the human realm or how it influence a human subject.

However, we can see the results of those actions after they have occurred, just consider the many lives who have been ruined by particular sinful behavior! Sometimes when the person knew better! Evil has a way taking us captive and trying to ruin us. And the problem is that this structure of evil is not just arrayed against the Christian, but the world at large, that is, everyone! In II Corinthians 4:3-4 references the reception of the Gospel by individuals:

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The god of this world is Satan, who has been allowed to work on humanity for a certain amount of time. The battle a Christian faces is rooted in the desire by the god of this world to hinder the light of Christ reaching an individual.

The organization in Ephesians is the structure that Satan and his angels use to thwart God’s workings in society. This may sound like a fairy tale, but that is partly due to the spiritual changes our society has undergone in which the Bible and its understanding of the world has been rejected. And referencing some spiritual structure of evil operating behind the scenes runs counter to a science-dominated society which relies and trusts more what the eyes can see rather than what the heart may whisper!

But if society at large has refused to listen, at least the Christian can understand and respond, and that is important since evangelical Christians in particular, have been an important voting block, and so we need to make sure that we don’t perpetuate the kind of activities which the god of this world can use.

Evil is a pervasive entity, it can affect an individual, a small group, and larger groups all the way up to whole nations. The book of Daniel gives insight to the influence over national entities in Daniel 10:13 :

13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

The context of this verse surrounds a prayer made by Daniel. God heard his prayer a dispatched an angel to Daniel with a message. This “Prince of Persia” of v.13 withstood that angel from God and it took Michael the archangel to intercede against the evil angel so the message could be delivered to Daniel. This played out in the spiritual world and was revealed to Daniel afterwards.

One of the important insights about the organization of spiritual evil is that a special demonic entity was assigned to a nation. Clearly evil has an organized structure in which to antagonize humanity. Ephesians 2:2 also mentions a particular entity who is in control:

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

This verse not only articulates another particular spiritual individual connected to evil but also highlights the fact that it works in the children of disobedience, who in the context of this chapter, are those people who haven’t received Christ.

The world, biblically speaking, is basically divided spiritually into two groups, those who are following God through Christ, ands those who aren’t. Christ even told the Pharisees in John 8:44 :

44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Christ declared that the Pharisees, who supposedly were the spiritual guides for God, instead had lost their spiritual status and were now aligned with the Devil. We have to understand how this works, this doesn’t mean they were possessed of the Devil, or worshipped the Devil or even thought positive of the Devil, they were automatically in this position due to their stance on God.

One of  the problems of evil, not including the “why” evil occurs,  is recognizing it and doing something about it! We also need to be aware that the purpose of spiritual evil is to keep mankind under the power and force of sin and to prevent any and all actions which may direct someone to God. This includes redirecting a national emphasis towards God towards something else altogether different, which is occurring here in our society!

Christians may not like the fact that our Christian heritage can be overturned and changed so easily, but that is the reality we face. Somehow our government bodies have cultivated a viewpoint which falls right in line with the goals of the organized evil which is working behind the scenes. Can we articulate a complete cause-effect formula showing how this came about? No! Much of that lies in the spiritual realm, but we can see the effects caused by those decisions. Our societal spiritual changes are a testament to the success of this “god of this world”!

What are Christians to do? We have to maintain our personal witness through the activities of Church ministries, personal witnessing, etc. But what about the political process? At what point do we have to accept that our political process has become something similar to the Roman Empire which the early Church had to contend with. They did the the bare minimum of citizenship, such as rendering what is Caesar’s to Caesar, but not much else because that would involve things their conscience wouldn’t allow? Can we recognize when our government and its political underpinnings function similarly as the Roman Empire?

Do we have the ability and wherewithal to recognize when the United States has become so anti-Christian that we can no longer participate in the political process? One of the main things we have to rethink is the voting process, since that is one of the main ways Christians participate and is one of the easiest ways to send the kind of message society may need to hear. We need to realize that there is a point when a cast vote could represent an overt approval of some principle God is absolutely opposed to!

For example, if two candidates by the name of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were running, could we vote for either one? That is farfetched, but another example is closer to home, consider, from an evangelical viewpoint, this scenario: candidate #1 believes in partial-birth abortion, and candidate #2 is a KKK member in good standing. Who do we vote for? Either one, at least I think it would, represents things in an individual which should make it suspect that they could be an effective leader. And if we vote for that individual, haven’t we lost some of our moral ground in condemning some of the things we don’t approve in the candidate? I think we have, if those things we don’t approve of but still accept, are particularly important to God. We need to understand what those things could be!

We like to claim the lesser-of-two-evils mantra, but we are living in a day and time in which the lesser of two evils may still be too evil. Can we recognize that? Do we have enough courage to recognize this? What then? Christians need to rethink everything about our role in the political process!

Spiritual evil has affected our Branches of government in a major way and we have to do something differently. So another example, maybe the KKK candidate is viewed as improbable . Here is another one even closer to home than the previous example: candidate #1 believes in partial-birth abortion, and candidate #2 believes in abortion only in the first 6 months. What is the lesser of two evils? Is that acceptable or is that now too evil? I think the lesser-of-two-evils breaks down here–we can’t accept a governance which allows the destruction of our children! How can governance really be principled when it stands by and allows the murder of innocents!

We could also create hypotheticals about same-sex marriage or the persecution of Christians. But the question remains–at what point does the Christian finally say “Enough!”, participating any further in the political process becomes counter to the Christian message?

One of the roles which attaches itself to the Christian lifestyle is the prophetic role. The prophetic voice raises a voice towards those government entities and highlighting the sins which put us in jeopardy as a nation before God. Not every sin does this, after all, we live in a fallen world and everything is done through the imperfect actions and desires of fallen, sinful mankind. So there will always be imperfectness. But there are some things which God looks at as particularly troublesome and if not changed, then consequences will result! These are the things that a Christian has to consider.

Consider Romans 13:1-4 and the role of government:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good.

Government is ordained by God, supposed to not be a “terror to good works”but what if that power has become that terror? Should we participate in the same way, which would then result in the continual promulgation of those wrong government actions? We shouldn’t, and that is the challenge of today’s Christian political activity! Where is the line which we just can’t cross any more! I don’t think a lot of Christians even think there is a line such as this.

We need also have to keep in mind our true affiliation, which is above. Earthly citizenship is secondary, at best, to the spiritual.  Phil. 3:20 says:

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Our first allegiance is to Christ and his commands. This plays out in society as we interact in many ways, including politically. We don’t show our commitment to reaching the lost by participating in all the sins of the lost. Politics is no different. We may not realize it but the continual participation in some of these political actions are, at the same time, restricting our own Christian witness. It is like we are committing spiritual suicide and don’t even see it! At that point we have become helpers of that same sinful force which separates people from God and so it is paramount that we learn to recognize this and make appropriate corrections.

Politics, in many instances, has evolved as the handmaiden of spiritual evil, and this evil is organized! Politics has always been pursued by imperfect people who accidentally and purposefully done evil, that is the imperfectness associated with any enterprise done by mankind, but we have entered into a time now when politics has taken on a deeper, more powerful role. Society can be made to change in profound ways and very quickly too. And unfortunately most of these changes represent a spiritual catastrophe as far as Christianity is concerned. We need prophets! And we need prophetic voices! As such, we shouldn’t shun our responsibility to “dare” to go against the grain, politically, if we have to, even when it comes to voting. Where is our line? The question also is rather we have the nerve to find it and act accordingly!

The Desire for Truth?

In “Beyond Good and Evil” there is a profound quote given by Friedrich Nietzsche. My source for the quote comes from the book “Nietzsche: The Man and His Philosophy” and is based on his translation. It follows: “What is it in us that really wants the ‘truth’?…Granted we want the truth: why not rather untruth? and uncertainty? Ignorance, even?—The problem of the value of truth stepped forth before us.” This from a man who gave up on Christianity early in his life and wanted to recreate a new moral system. He found that after all, there is a profound need within mankind for something solid and definitive. The question is–what could that be?

This reminds me of Pilate in John 18, when Christ was brought before him leading up to the crucifixion. Pilate asked Christ if he was a king, and while Christ didn’t answer absolutely yes, he did deflect to the purpose of his ministry which was to bear witness of the truth. Upon which Pilate responded with the famous phrase: “What is truth?”. Some feel Pilate was making fun, others think he was being made aware again of a deeper philosophical question of life, but didn’t have the tools to judge what actually is truth. That second idea does make sense from a Christian viewpoint, since Christ is the “truth” and “truth” was right in front of Pilate and he just failed to recognize it. I personally think, in the context of the remarks of their conversation, that Pilate was indeed sincere, but over his head. He didn’t know how to judge what constitutes “truth”.

Even today, when synonymous questions are asked such as: “What is the meaning of life?”, “What purpose do I have in life?”, “Is this all there is?”, these are all questions which reflect a desire to understand the foundation of things, “truth” if you will! People sense that if the world we live in can somehow be put into some rational order, even in the context of much evil, that the information provided by that would serve as an effective backdrop to live one’s life. But there has to be more than just some system cobbled together which can answer many of the basic questions people have. As Nietzsche found out, it is not just a good “story” which will convince, but it has to reflect something valid. Why is that? Because no matter what Nietzsche thought about Christianity or any other religion or system, people don’t search for things arbitrarily. That is why, unless one is very disturbed, we don’t search for more “untruth”, more “uncertainty”, more “ignorance”. People intuitively understand that there is something better than that, more cohesive and more positive, they just may not know exactly what that is.

This also reminds me of the futile quest of the atheist who would like nothing better than to have religion affectively eliminated, looking upon religious thought as ignorance and a hindrance to true progress. Even under embarrassing and criminal acts committed in the name of religion, people still migrate to religion and want something foundational! The question now becomes, “Why hasn’t atheism just naturally swayed the masses as religion has?” Why is it so hard to absolutely convince people that there is no God. What is striking is that people may not understand who God is in their thinking, or explain what they think God should be like, but the idea that there is a God of some sort is virtually hardwired into our minds and hearts. It is hard for the atheist, and Nietzsche in his time, to escape the fact that religion is where “truth” seems to be found. Which religion is the question and in my view Christianity has the best answer for ascertaining “truth”. The predominance of religious viewpoints, though differing in many points, indicate to Christians that mankind was created to worship God, we can’t get away from that, and mankind irresistibly has to seek “truth” in some form!

With all the public comments and positions proclaiming the dangers of certain religious ideas and the assertions that religion has no place in the Public Square, etc., I think most people, if given a chance to reflect without any kind of pressure, still understands that there is “something” behind all this, “this” referring to existence, and that religion offers the key to that “something”!

Even atheists betray their own tenets when they do things as setting up “Godless churches”, where atheists can meet, sing and do things somewhat similar to other religions, primarily Christian church services.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/04/godless-church-services-for-atheists-go-global.html

Why in the world would atheists set up a service which mimics a Christian worship service? They aren’t really mocking things in this as blatant act, but they seem to think there is something worthwhile in this kind of “imitation”. I agree that social interaction is a good and fun and enjoyable thing, but these kinds of atheistic actions really show the underlying impulse which every person, even atheists,  on this planet will feel in one form or the other–there has to be something deeper. The atheists, in order to become relevant and possibly draw others into their group, have to act like a church to appeal! There is some irony in that! Even atheists can’t really get away from the religious impulse! I would posit that if atheists’ gatherings began to lose the “look” of a religious gathering, then the appeal would fade. I really wonder if there really are any true atheists! Or are they really just religious people in atheists garb who deny their inward “searching voice”?

The world is divided up into many religions, most of the world is religious actually!

http://ecentrify.com/discuss/religion/3statistics.htm

Various sources will give similar kinds of numbers–people are religious! That is disappointing to atheists and I assume would have been to Nietzsche if he was here today. This desire for “truth” which Nietzsche admits is “in us”, I believe is connected irrevocably to religion. If we were created in the image of God, as the Bible states in Genesis, we will have some reflection of that in our minds and hearts. We may not be able to put words to it, or accurately describe it. We may be on the wrong path in the search, but it is being searched! It may only be a sense that there is something more beyond our emotions and understandings. But it is deep and very resistant to removal. For Christians, the prevalence of the religious impulse in so much of the world through most of recorded history, at least the parts which we have some access to, is indicative of the state of mankind in his fallen state. Christians believe the Bible which says mankind fell in the Garden of Eden through the decision of Adam and Eve. We were cast out of the Garden and have been trying to find our way back to God ever since. The problem is sin. Sin darkens our understanding so that we can’t properly apprehend what we desire to see, which is God. That is why there are so many religions and so many paths, people have to search!

I believe Nietzsche had the right idea about “truth”, we do want it. But it is to be found in a religious milieu. I believe the proper milieu is Christianity! That has been and will continue to be debated but one thing is for sure, the desire for truth is in us!!

 

The Love of Christ is an infinitely deep thing which is beyond explanation, yet still, at the same time can be “known”. Christians recognize that our status before God are as sinners under judgment of God’s punishment, but Christ took our sins upon himself and died in our place. Hence, as we accept that sacrifice for our own sins, we can, in some sense that God  only understands fully, can walk in spiritual fellowship with Him. Love is what caused all this to take place in history, as the scripture says in I John 4:10 “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us…” (KJV). In society, as a spiritual upheaval has been occurring and changing the very face of society, Christians have been trying to keep up! The problem is that our methods of “keeping up” has involved compromise and shallow thinking, among other things.

There is a word which may help to understand the division over homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Homonym! These are words which according to Webster’s Dictionary (at least one of the versions) means: “a word with the same pronunciation as another but with a different meaning…”. An example of this in  our society would be the word “love”. Love is used many times in our society for a whole host of relationships, and we all understand that. But the “love” which is used to refer to God’s attitude is far different than human love. It is deeper, holy, complete, and pure. Our machinations of love, although with good intentions many times, is imperfect and falls far below the standard of God’s love.

But somehow in our religious discourse, especially when certain relationships are involved, we equate any expression of “love” as somehow being automatically justified and accepted by God as legitimate. One of the reasons is due to verses such as I John 4:7   “…for love is of God…”. If there is a love which mimics, as humanly possible the love of God, then it would be the parent-child relation, after all, God enacted His redemptive acts as a Father willingly sacrificing His Son! Outside of that, “love” has to be carefully delineated by God’s word!

We can never understand the absolute depth of those actions by God, but we can get a sense of it through the experience of parenthood and I know many people who expressed the newfound depth of the Love of God after having children! That is one relationship though, does that then mean all expressions of love, because it is labeled love and since supposedly “love is of God”, really reflect the kind of love which God accepts as legitimate? The way that is answered can bring understanding to many decisions being made in Christendom today and highlight the “form” of the major battle the Church is facing .

Sometime back in July, Goshen College and EMU decided to change their policies on same-sex relationships. They decided to accept teachers in those relationships. Part of the statement of EMU in a letter they distributed is:

“Therefore – as we affirm the goodness of singleness, celibacy, and sexual intimacy within the context of a covenanted relationship (marriage) – our hiring practices and benefits will now expand to include employees in same-sex marriages.”

The first part of this statement can be applied to the God-given marriage institution began in Genesis. The question is whether that same institution is properly reflected when it is two men or two women supposedly “being in covenant” together in a similar way.

One of the justifications for including same-sex couples is that two men and two women can love in a similar manner as a man and woman, and since love is of God, if love is in the context of a marriage, then it would be acceptable.

This kind of thinking has been influencing our society for awhile and though it may “feel” logical and powerful, the flaw is that these various kinds of similar expressions of love are used as synonyms, “same-sex covenant” love equals “heterosexual covenant” love. That is wrong, what we have here is a use of love which should be understood as homonyms. The same sounding word is used but the meanings are actually different.

Whatever the emotions that are attached to same-sex attraction, the Bible, in Romans chp. 1,  equates homosexual behavior to a consequence resulting from man’s rejection of God. Mankind was left to his own “logic” and hence distorted what God intended. Whatever the source of homosexual love, it is derived ultimately from a fallen relationship with God.  Christians would be wise to heed the description of Romans 1 and the destructive aspect of the rejection of God.

However sincere the expressions of same-sex love may be, according to God, it is a love which inherently flawed and doesn’t correspond with the original intention of His creation. Therefore, the love between a husband and wife was intended by God and is the bond which holds a family together, especially when children come along. The “love” which same-sex couples supposedly display is not the kind of love which God utilizes for the foundational principle of society–the family!

The lack of discernment in making that distinction between the kinds of love God accepts has led to an upheaval among Christian institutions in many ways. The EMU and Goshen decision has led to many people withdrawing support, financial and otherwise, from those institutions, my wife and I included. We will not support institutions who have openly embraced a relationship which God is against! Many others have done similarly.

The upheavals have been many and have touched many Christian parts of our society. An example is the Boy Scouts.  We remember the response that occurred when the Boy Scouts first allowed openly homosexual boys to be Scouts, a response positive and negative. We also mark well the moment when they finally allowed openly homosexual scout leaders. That response was also positive or negative based on what side one was on.

For many those who are against the normalization of homosexual activities, the fact that homosexual scout leaders were finally allowed was not a surprise! It was actually predicted since the Scouts lost their moral ground about such activities when they succumbed to peer pressure and allowed homosexual boys to become Scouts.  Any rational, consistent defense which the Scouts had against homosexual scout leaders was undercut and so it just became a matter of time before the Scouts would give in. They really had no choice as they became subject to pressure from many fronts!

Not long after the Supreme Court decision, three colleges came out and accepted homosexuals, whether as staff or students. The three colleges are Hope College, Notre Dame, Belmont University.

http://www.charismanews.com/us/50522-3-christian-colleges-take-shocking-stand-on-homosexual-policies

Goshen and EMU had followed that course more recently with staff hiring and the final tally will surely take some time as colleges wrestle with this issue. Colleges who are against these changes are also taking action–they are withdrawing from associations or larger groups which accept homosexuality or who are perceived as dragging their feet regarding appropriate actions towards those colleges who have accepted homosexuality.

The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, CCCU, have just lost two member schools, Union University and Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/for-conservative-christian-colleges-no-middle-ground-on-gay-rights.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/august-web-only/union-university-quits-cccu-same-sex-marriage.html

These schools perceive that the Council is dragging their feet regarding the status of Goshen and EMU, who also belong to that Council. The two schools affirm the traditional role of marriage and believe the Bible in its condemnation of homosexual practice. Their Christian witness would not allow them to be associated with a group who thought and practiced the opposite.

And this comes to the crux of this article. It’s not that some groups and schools accept or reject homosexual practice. That is not unique. What is troubling in this day and time is how it is occurring! And the Boy Scouts illustrate this exactly!

The CCCU will soon make a decision regarding Goshen and EMU, but it has taken a long time. Why? The Bible is clear, isn’t it? Well, Union and Oklahoma Wesleyan correctly perceive, I think, that a slow, deliberate process masks a motivation to ultimately bring about the acceptance of homosexuality by most of the schools in their Council.

How does that process work? By wearing out participants, by delaying so that if enough time goes by then people’s thinking gets relaxed and then initial anger goes away. While these actions tend to be justified as “listening” and “dialogue”, it is really obfuscation! As time goes on more  rhetoric, given a positive twist, from the homosexual side will have had more opportunity to convince people, etc. Also, as the delays linger, when a decision finally comes down which supports homosexuality, the amount of time may have relaxed the mind and heart so that the change isn’t seen as being so bad after all, and on and on it goes. The psychology of accepting sin in operation?

I think the colleges who left made the right choice. Don’t wait! These schools can always reconsider joining if the CCCU makes the right decision. I highly doubt it. When Goshen and EMU made their changes, the Mennonite Church USA, which the two colleges are a part of, reacted to their decision with an official response. They basically disagreed with the colleges but instead of handing down any actual punishment, they officially declared them “at variance”. Also they made a “Forbearance Resolution” which basically asserted the desire to extend grace and continue dialogue. BIG DEAL! They basically said, (my words)  “We disagree with you but basically we don’t care”. A pathetic stand by a denomination! Will CCCU do the same thing? I predict they will! Sin has a strategy, sometimes we don’t even realize it is happening. An important verse that helps recognize the danger the Church is in today is from 1 Corinthians. The church there was accepting sin and allowing it to fester. Paul said that a “little leaven leavens the whole lump” 1 Cor. 5:6. If care is not taken then sin will eventually work its way throughout the whole church body.

That is what is happening to Boy Scouts, time just wore them down, they went from boys to the leaders. Right now the Scouts allow particular churches who host Scouts to still refuse to allow homosexual Scout leaders, but the leaven of sin will eventually penetrate that exception and change it. Personally, I hope the Scouts just disappear!

The Mennonite Church USA has lost its ability to properly recognize the danger of homosexuality with their trivial “Forbearance Resolution” which really illustrates the loss of their spiritual judgment. Some of their churches are splitting away because of the Mennonite church USA complacency on this issue ana how deep homosexuality has penetrated.

Colleges in all their various organizations are also showing this ambivalence about the issue and as time goes on the “leaven” of homosexuality will permeate them as well. Colleges who disagree with these changes should withdraw now. Time is an enemy, the leavening effect of sin needs time. Regarding homosexuality and these times, time is the enemy!