For Your Edification (5.11.12)

BIBLE

Reading the Bible Through the Jesus Lens.  Here is how Michael Williams explains  the main emphasis of his new book, How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens.   This is one of the books that I am commending for our church to read this summer in our “Summer Biblical Triathlon.”  It looks to be a great resource and help for seeing how all the pieces in the puzzle reveal the face of Jesus Christ.  Take a listen.

THEOLOGY

Ian and Larissa.  Will your view of God sustain you in the face of cancer, heart attack, or brain damage?  The story of Ian and Larissa testifies to the power of a vision of God that sees him as good and glorious in all circumstances.  The book that they reference is called This Momentary Marriageand it is grounded on the singular premise that “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him” (John Piper), a truth that is wonderfully put on display in John Piper’s book Desiring God.  Ian and Larissa’s story is unique because of what God has given to them–yes, given to them (Phil 1:29)–but it is not unique in the sense that every child of God will be given opportunities to suffer and bring glory to God in the process (cf 2 Cor 1).  The video is worth watching a couple times and will need a box of tissues.

FAMILY, LIFE, & MINISTRY

May 9, 2012: A Dark Day for Marriage. Albert Mohler provides a very helpful podcast analysis of President Obama’s renewed commitment to supporting “gay marriage” in law and in our land.  Mohler is one of many voices who have reacted to our president’s recent announcement.  Below I have included Mohler’s written response, as well as, a number of other faithful responses.

Evolution’s End? President Obama Calls for Same-Sex Marriage by Albert Mohler

Five Reasons Christians Should Continue to Oppose Gay Marriage by Kevin DeYoung

How to Win the Public on Homosexuality by Collin Hanson

Marriage and the Presidency  by Ryan T. Anderson, Robert P. George, and Sherif Girgis

The Blasphemy of Barack Obama by Joe Carter

President Obama, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Future of Evangelical Response by Ed Stetzer


May these resources serve to edify you this weekend and spur you on towards love and good deeds in Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

Hollywood and the Holy Word: Substance, Supplication, and the President-Elect

What if Barack Obama were white?  Would he have been elected by such a large margin?  I am doubtful.  It is interesting that this election was decided as much, if not more, by the color of Obama’s skin than the content of his character.  Not that he has no character, many people have spoken highly of him, but from the polling data broadcast tonight, it seems that many people voted today for Barack Obama for the sole reason that it is high time to elect an African-American president.  But if that is the singular reason, it mutes the political, ideological, moral, and even theological issues at stake.

(Interestingly, if people only voted on the superficiality of skin color, it is the converse of MLK Jr’s famous speech, which advocated human appraisal based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin.  With that said, let me affirm that I rejoice that an African-American man would be elected to the Presidency.  Barack’s election is a milestone inconceivable 100 years ago and unforeseen even within recent decades.  Thus, today’s election stands as a victory for civil rights).

Nevertheless, in opposition to those who laud Obama with Messianic ascriptions, I am concerned about the substance of his character and what he stands for in his personal morality and in his political agenda(s).  He is smooth talker, an ear tickler, and a heart warmer, but is he a man of righteous character, integrity, and political justice?  Time will tell.  Every tree bears fruit.

But time has already begun to tell, and much observable fruit has already fallen.  So that in electing Obama as the 44th president, the American people have willfully elected the most pro-abortion, pro-homosexual (and thus anti-family) president in the history of the United States.  Barack’s unwillingness to defend the unborn and his positive affirmation of homosexuality do not just invite the Lord’s wrath they extend it (cf. Rom. 1).  The judgment of God has already been at work in our nation, as more than 40 million children’s lives have been snuffed out since 1973; likewise, the increase in homosexuality is a demarcation of a people that has lost its moral compass and has embraced a pernicious kind of lifestyle.  Abortion and sodomy do not only solicit solicit, they are in themselves part of God’s judgment.  Consequently, unless Obama’s stance on these issues changes radically, I fear that his rule will only further a culture of death and sacrifice decency and life on the altar of autonomous liberty and freedom of expression.  This is not true freedom (cf. John 8:31-32; Gal. 5:1).

His culpability is not isolated, however.  Since the American people hold in our collective grip the sword of government to defend the innocent and to promote justice, we as a nation will give an account to God for our disregard of His standards of justice and law, written on the hearts of men (cf. Rom 2:14-15).  Therefore, America as a whole, is responsible for the election of public officials who use the God-ordained sword of he state to shed the blood of those they are responsible to protect (cf. Rom. 13:1ff).  Sadly, based on previous statements and voting records, our president-elect will move ahead to deny life to the unborn and will promote legislation to obscure God’s design for marriage–hence implicitly distorting the gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. Ephesians 5:32).

As I reflect on the events of today, I am more convinced than ever that the American people are deceived by what they see and by what is put before their eyes (cf. 2 cor. 4:4).  The polls today reflected what I would call the “Hollywood Effect.”  Because Barack Obama looked presidential, the American people type-cast him for the role.  In this, the voters acted less like a responsible republic and more like a studio casting agency.  Obama’s speech, his demeanor, his poise, and his looks won him the part.  Compared to the track-record of John McCain, Barack’s political history lacks substance, but his crowd-pleasing performances captured his critics glances and overcame his diminutive experience.  In a world of special effects, scripted speeches, cyberspace, flash photography, and sound bites, our next President is a Hollywood star.

So, substance? Doubtful. Time will tell.  But, screenplay?  Absolutely.  The audience at home has voted.

While I am concerned with the next President of the United States, I will pray for him.  1 Timothy 2:1-4 tells me that God wants me to pray for rulers, that they might come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.  I have been convicted by this.  My own lack of prayer for political legislation and political leaders has become increasingly evident as election day arrived.  I have, myself, too often lacked substance in my life–looking spiritual but failing to lift holy hands and prayer.  Yet, in response to recent events, that must change.  I do not want to be a Hollywood Christian, one who could be typecast for the part; I want to be a genuine believer shaped by the Holy Word.

As we close this day and begin a new season in he life of our country, may Christians redouble their prayers for the new president.  May we pray for his salvation and that God would change his mind about abortion, marriage, and other issues of justice.  May we cry to the Lord for mercy, because we are who turns the sword on its own children, who glories in the shame of same-sex unions, and rejoices in both as autonomous freedoms and cultural rites of passage.  May we, the people of God, cry to God for mercy so long as these Christ-rejecting evils persist, and may we pray that our next President not add to the horror but wield the sword well.

Sola Deo Gloria, dss