When we come to the end of one year and stand on the precipice of the next, we all tend to take a moment to reflect on the previous year and to visualize the coming year. We go over what we think was “good” and “bad” from the past year and what we want to change for the next year. It is when we make resolutions and set new goals, typically focused on self-improvement. We plan to eat better, to exercise more, to forgive more and worry less. It may even include ways to improve on a hobby – become a better golfer, learn how to write better, learn a new craft, or just finish that home project.
All of those can be really wonderful things to focus on, but in the words of Charles Spurgeon, the most important thing we can do with our time in this new year is to learn about God. On January 7 in 1855, Spurgeon said, “It has been said that ‘the proper study of mankind is man.’ I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.”
For the Christian, the most important thing for us to study is God. If you believe that this God created you and all things in this world, that He stepped out of the throne room of Heaven to come down to earth (as we just celebrated for Christmas) with the express purpose of dying on the cross for your sin, and you believe that our lives here are to be lived in gratitude and obedience to this God, then this God should be what you study most.
So what can we do in this new year of 2020 to fulfill our great call to study the Godhead?
1. Make time for the things that are important
We know we should spend more time with God because it is the most important thing. Yet we find ourselves so “busy” that we don’t even have time to pray, much less read the Bible. But as my dad has always said, “People make time for what they want to do.” And that is so true. When you really want to do something, you find the time to do it.
Granted, we all struggle with this. Being a homeschooling mom of two young boys, there are days where there are several things I “wanted” to do that I didn’t have time for. It happens sometimes. But on those days that are filled with school and projects and practices and obligations – yet laundry, dishes, and cooking still have to get done, you still carve out time for what is most important to you. You will make adjustments in your routine to squeeze them in.
Are you doing that to make time for studying about God?
More importantly, are you being intentional enough that your routine includes time to study about God?
There will be those days that are extra insanely busy that disrupt all of our routine, but those should be the exception, not the rule. So think about what is in your routine that may be occasionally disrupted. That everyday routine must include a portion of time to spend studying about the Godhead. After all, that should be our most important pursuit.
2. Learning about God is how you grow
There’s a children’s song that summarizes this point. “Read your Bible and pray every day and you’ll grow, grow, grow.” It states it so simply. Spend time with God and you’ll grow in Him. Don’t spend time with God and you won’t grow in Him.
We start to become more like the things that we spend the most time with. If you’re a parent, you see this effect on your children when you look at their friends. The kind of people they spend all their time with will be the kind of person they start to become (this is why it is SO important to choose your friends wisely – for children AND adults).
This can work to our detriment if we are spending time with people who don’t value God. That is the admonition given in Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord.” It says that we would do well to not hang with people who make a mockery of what you believe about God. This might be a change you need to make for the new year as well.
On the other hand, if we are spending our time with God and learning about God, we grow to be more like Him. God desires for us to walk in fellowship with Him which means we must spend time with Him.
3. Pray that God gives you the desire to study His word
Not finding time to study about God is one area where many people struggle. However, I think the problem runs one step deeper. Sadly, I think for many people there is an apathy about learning about God.
People spend all kinds of timing reading articles about their favorite hobby, researching the best new car to buy, studying how to improve their backswing, mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds. But when it comes time to study God’s word, folks just don’t want to.
They find studying the Bible, learning sound doctrine, or researching apologetics to be a boring waste of time. It boggles my mind that people would devote so much time and effort to studying things that don’t matter in the scheme of eternity and then neglect the study of the very God who created you – and who created all things.
People are apathetic about learning about the God who gives the very breath that they take and the God whom they will stand before when He chooses to take that breath away. If you want to reject God and do you own thing, then that is your choice to reject Him. But to say that you believe God died on the cross for you yet you are apathetic about studying His word? That is illogical. That is why Spurgeon saw such importance in the believer devoting time to studying the Godhead. Every philosophy, science, and thought should be on learning about God, especially for those who call God Father.
If you fall into this category, begin praying that God will change your heart. Pray that God will give you the desire to value the most important things. Satan is good at giving us plenty of distractions to draw us away from knowing God. That is his very goal. Satan doesn’t need you to worship him, he just needs you to not be worshiping God. So he fills up our minds, our time, and our calendars with frivolous things to keep you from spending time with God. Pray that God will help you overcome those temptations and distractions.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says,
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Pray with this scripture that God will help you to lay aside every weight and sin that is drawing you away from His presence. Then take practical steps to make that happen. Make a change in your routine to replace the time you spend on those distractions with time you spend with God.
-- Turn off the TV earlier in the evening to read the Bible.
-- Instead of spending 30 minutes on social media, read a book on theology and doctrine.
-- Get up 30 minutes earlier to read a blog on apologetics.
-- Replace your music in the car with a sermon podcast.
These are small ways to make changes to refocus your mind and your heart on the things of God. And you’ll find that the more you do this, the desires of your heart will change to desire those moments with God.
4. Studying the Godhead includes apologetics.
I know this last point may seem controversial inside the church. For some reason the word “apologetics” has a weird connotation among many pastors and church leaders. Because of that, many lay people in the congregation don’t even know the correct definition of this word. To many, they think “apologetics” means to debate and argue with your atheist opponent until you beat them into submission. This could not be further from the truth.
“Apoologetics” simply means to use logic and reasoning to defend a religious position. You can see the early church using apologetics throughout the book of Acts as they “reasoning” from the Scriptures to bring people to Jesus. Stephen, the first martyr, was described as “disputing” with the Freedmen and “they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (Acts 6:10).
Therefore, part of the proper study of the Godhead is not just Bible and doctrine but the evidence that shows us that these things are true. This is necessary for not just strengthening our faith but for encouraging those far from faith to understand why we believe the things we believe.
It is just like Jesus did with John the Baptist in Matthew 11. John sent his disciples to ask again if Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. Instead of telling John to “just have faith” or to pray more or to not question such things, Jesus pointed to the evidence. He said, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” He told John to look at the apologetics, the logic and reasoning for believing that He is the Son of God.
This is what the study of apologetics allows believers to do when unbelievers ask why we believe in a God whom we cannot see. We point to the design in the cell, the order in the cosmos, the Moral Law written on our hearts, the historical evidence of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. These are the things that increase our faith and give us confidence that Christianity is truth. Then tell them what God has done in your life personally. These are the things that show others we have faith as defined in Hebrews 11:1 – being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Make the right improvements for 2020.
As you make a list of goals and resolutions for the new year, remember the most important things is to know God more this year than you did last year. I pray that you make the goals and changes for 2020 that will not only have an eternal impact for you, but for those around you as well.
At this time of year, we are continually reminded the Christmas season is about peace on earth. You see the word "peace" on Christmas cards, on Christmas decor, and even on Christmas wrapping paper. As we look at the beautiful lights, decorations, snow-covered yards (in places other than the South), we like to think that we have embraced the concept of peace. We envision curling up in fuzzy socks under cozy blankets with a warm mug of our favorite drink seated in front of a crackling fireplace while snow gently falls outside. And we think to ourselves, "This is what peace feels like."
But then we snap back to the real world to find our children whining again about what they did or didn't get for Christmas and fighting with each other simply because they are bored. We know there are family members who refuse to speak to one another over some grievance from years past. We turn on the news to see ruthless and hateful political arguments, protests, wars, global poverty, and abortion still taking the lives of innocent babies. Where is that peace now?
After all, the notion of peace isn't just some nicety we write on Christmas cards. It was the very message from the angels on that first Christmas described in Luke 2:13-14: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'” How is the world still in so much turmoil? Were the angels mistaken? How does this make sense?
1. We must understand what "peace" the angels were talking about
When the angels announced there would be "peace on earth" they were not talking about peace between men on earth, they were announcing that with the birth of Jesus there could be peace between man and God. Sin entered into this world through Adam, and now we are all born as sinners -- and therefore are enemies of God. As Paul says in Romans 8:7, our natural state of sin is "enmity against God," which means we are "being actively opposed or hostile to" God.
Now if you're not sure if you are a sinner, ask yourself if you have always been kind to those around you; if you have ever been jealous; if you have ever lied; if you have ever desired someone other than your spouse; if you have ever hated someone.
As children we show our sin nature as we are disobedient to our parents and even turn the concept of sharing into something selfish. From birth we must be taught how to be kind, considerate, and selfless, which means those things are contrary to our natural selves.
With those sins within us, we are unable to be in the presence of God on our own. There is not peace between us and God - there is open hostility and opposition to God. Many people may not think they are openly hostile to God, for many people are just apathetic to God. They think if they aren't worshiping Satan then they're not opposing God. Or maybe they acknowledge there is some Higher Power and think that is not being in opposition to God.
But Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, "He who is not with Me is against Me." That means if you are not standing with Jesus declaring Him as Lord and Messiah, then you are against God. You are an enemy of God - hostile towards God - and unable to be in the presence of God. God's perfect holiness cannot tolerate the presence of sin, and sin cannot tolerate the presence of God's perfect holiness. It would be utterly destroyed.
Notice how even when God spoke with people in the Old Testament there was a separation because of their sin. Moses had to remove his sandals to stand before the burning bush because it was holy ground. When Moses asked to see God's glory, God said to him, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” (Exodus 33:18-23) Moses had to be tucked away in the rock and only see the back of God's glory.
When Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on the throne, he said, "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips!" (Isaiah 6:5) An angel had to touch his lips with a coal from the altar to purge his sin. If men like Moses and Isaiah were unable to withstand God's glory and presence because of their sin, do you think you will be able to?
This was the terrible predicament mankind was in; sin separates us from God and we can't fix that in our own strength. There was not peace between man and God -- until God came down in the flesh to live among us, to walk beside us, and to die for us. Only then could there be peace between man and God.
Although the angels announced peace on earth at the birth of Jesus, they were looking forward to when that peace would be realized at the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The peace they announced was a peace between sinful man and holy God that can only be gained through the work done by Jesus on the cross.
This is why we celebrate His coming to earth. It is not just the miraculous birth, or the incredible fact that God took on flesh, it is because we now can be at peace with God.
2. There will not be peace on earth among men until Christ returns
Peace on earth among men is certainly something good to strive for, but we must be honest with ourselves. It is not attainable until Jesus returns -- and He promised us that. In Luke 12:51-53 Jesus says, "Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Most people ignore this portion of Scripture. Jesus is warning that He did NOT bring peace on earth among men; rather, there will be division among people over who He is. Yet a few verses later He tells the people to strive for peace among each other. And in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers!"
He said the greatest commandment is to love God and love others. He said that His disciples would be known by their love. Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. How can He command that yet it not bring peace?
Jesus loves all people and desires for us to love all people. But He also knew His name would divide people. Believers from all walks of life - different nations, languages, ethnicity, socio-economic background - will be united under the name of Jesus as one in the body of Christ. However, the name of Jesus will divide those who believe from those who do not believe.
Like Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, "He who is not with Me is against Me," and thus against those who are also with Jesus. Jesus warned His disciples as such, the servants will not be treated better than the Master. And Jesus said, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you." (John 15:18) Why? Because His followers are not of this world. So there will not be peace between those who claim the truth about Jesus for their own salvation and those who reject Jesus.
The name of Jesus is divisive among people and it always will be until the day spoken of by Paul in Philippians 2:9-11, "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Until then, let us sing, "Glory, hallelujah! Jesus has been born to bring peace on earth between man and God, an everlasting peace that will never fail."
Will you take part in the true, lasting peace between man and God brought by the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus?
The more I see headlines about drag queen story hours at public libraries, the more baffled I become with our society. It is especially unnerving when you see several stories like this, where the drag queens are also convicted pedophiles. For most of the nation, the reaction is that this is just some new crazy trend in California or New York, but I’ve now seen an ad for a drag queen story hour in my neighboring city in north Alabama – what used to be considered the Bible belt. The ad stated there would be cookies and milk “for the children” complete with a photo of a drag queen holding a young child, who quite honestly looks terrified. I wanted to offer a few things to consider as we watch our nation somehow embrace this awful idea of a drag queen story time.
1. Does anyone remember the purpose of the public library?
I love the public library. Granted I am old enough to remember the library being a necessity for completing high school and college. There was no online encyclopedia, Google, or Wikipedia so we had to physically go to where the books were kept. I spent many Saturdays at the library finishing research papers, scribbling down sources on notecards.
Now, I love the library because I’m able to check out books for my kids without having to buy every book they read, the added bonus being if it’s not a good book, you simply return it without having wasted money on it.
Guys, THAT is the purpose of the library. I know we have the world of books at our fingertips on the internet, but the purpose of the library ultimately is to provide books. The purpose of the library is not to promote someone’s political, religious, or social worldview, especially since public libraries are on the public’s dime. I do not pay my taxes for the library to promote an agenda – regardless of whose agenda it may be and whether I agree with the agenda or not. My tax dollars go to the library for them to provide books.
And this “story time” is not about promoting books. This has nothing to do with reading; it has nothing to do with promoting good children’s literature. It has everything to do with subjecting children to one faction’s particular ideology of sex. I highly doubt that a child is suddenly excited about checking out books because a man dressed as a woman finally read them a bedtime story.
And I get that libraries serve as community centers. It can be a great meeting place for any group in the area who wants to gather with like-minded people, and yet have those meetings open to the public for anyone to join. But this isn’t a support group for drag queens, or even an informational meeting about how to be a better drag queen. This is pitched as a children’s reading event while neglecting both of those things – the reading AND the children.
2. Regardless of your stance on the LGBTQ+ issue, you should find this appalling.
When you see articles like this  where a drag queen has allowed children to climb all over him, it should horrify everyone, regardless of your thoughts on drag queens or anything to do with the LGBTQ+ movement. I would be equally appalled if they brought in a heterosexual female prostitute and allowed children to lay on top of her. I would be equally horrified if a grown man, dressed as a man in a three piece suit, allowed children to crawl on top of him. In fact, if we heard of that happening, we would immediately call the police and have him arrested as a sex offender.
I would be horrified for any adult of any gender or sexual persuasion to encourage random children to lay on top of him or her. That is simply inappropriate, regardless of anyone’s sexual orientation. What is so disappointing is that those claiming the LGBTQ+ movement care so little about children and their mental health that they would promote this kind of event. This is honestly abuse for these children – and it has nothing to do with the sexual confusion or orientation of the drag queen. It has to do with inappropriate exposure of children to adult things. Which leads to my next point…
3. Stop sexualizing children.
These programs are just one of many ways our society has decided to sexualize children. California sex-ed programs  are “educating” elementary school children by having them put condoms on fruits and vegetables, including a "race" where 10- and 11-year-old girls are required to put condoms on these items in front of male classmates. Another school program  is teaching 6-year-olds how to masturbate. A Texas mom is trying to chemically change her elementary-aged son into a daughter. A first-grade classroom in the UK  has asked its students to write love letters to an imaginary same-sex partner. Those children don’t even know what a love letter to a heterosexual partner would be, why in the world are we asking them to do this for a homosexual partner?
What happened to this world to think this is acceptable to do to children? Children should be left to be children without having to process through an adult’s gender identification and sexuality issues. Drag queen story hour is no exception. I don’t want my children to see men or women dressed in this way. So again, it quite frankly doesn’t matter to me what the story time reader’s sexuality is, please don’t dress provocatively in front of my children and introduce them to sexual concepts. This should be seen as child abuse, not education.
Besides, a child is just as prone to claim they want to grow up to be a cat and then pretend all day they are an invisible snake as they are to understand what sexual orientation they are. But instead of using age-appropriate events for these children, our society is forcing children to wade through sexual orientation issues at the same age they are trying to figure out how to eat green beans without gagging at the table and how to use a tissue to wipe their own noses.
Drag queen story hour, sex education, and gender reassignment are not age-appropriate things to force on our children. In every other area we recognize that children and adolescents are not capable of making sound decisions on their own. A person is not mature in their decision-making faculties to rent a car until they are 25, to drink until they are 21, to vote or carry a pistol until they are 18. Yet we are forcing 6-year olds to change their gender; we are telling pre-teens their sexual orientation. How about we let our children be children? Why are we intent on stealing their innocence?
What purpose are libraries serving by forcing these issues on young, susceptible children – because we all know it’s not about books and reading. It is about normalizing this behavior to children. One drag queen openly admits , “This is going to be the grooming of the next generation. We are trying to groom the next generation.” That is what this is about. It isn’t about the children, it is about the LGBTQ+ movement stealing the minds of the next generation by grooming them to think this is normal, acceptable behavior – for adult and child alike. This is not education, it is abuse.
It is actually dangerous for our children to have them link play-time, dress-up, and pretend with sexual orientation. In one city, the public library has promoted  its drag queen story hour as something to “capture the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood.” They mention giving them queer role models who provide makeup tutorials and a safe space for them to express whatever gender they like.
But sexuality and sexual experience should never be mixed with a child’s playtime and imagination. It sets the stage for adult predatory behavior. This article  explains that “sex play for kids opens the door to predatory behavior by adults and much confusion for kids. Sexuality is not glitter and rainbows, it’s not about unicorns, puppets, and makeup tutorials. It is serious, and children are too young to understand how serious.” It states that this is far worse than just sexualizing children. This actually grooms children to be sexual objects. Children are drawn to unicorns and glitter, but they have no way of grasping the dangers that lurk around the corner with an all-too-willing adult to “help” them in this game of sexual experience. But this is not a game. This a child’s life – that can be scarred and damaged.
4. Who are these parents taking their children to these things?
Granted, the government, schools, and special interest groups will always be foisting some kind of agenda on us. However, attendance to a drag queen story hour at your local library (or your local brewery as is the case in north Alabama) is voluntary. This is why it leaves me scratching my head that people are attending these things.
If a place wants to host something like this, they are free to do so (as long as they aren’t using my tax dollars to do so), but it doesn’t mean people have to or should attend such a thing. What should happen is a place decides to do a drag queen story hour; people see the promotions and say, “What a horrible idea! I’m not taking my child to that!”; no one shows up; venue decides to not try that again. So I really want to know – who in the world is taking their children to these things? And I ask because of all the things I pointed out above.
Whether you are a lesbian couple with an adopted child, or a single homosexual dad, or a married heterosexual couple with children, why are you taking your children to such a thing as this? The only reason why is so you can “embrace” the LGBTQ+ movement, but instead you are harming your child by unnecessarily exposing them to sexual perversions under the guise of “reading” and “acceptance.” If you want to support and embrace dragu queens, go for it, but leave you children to be children. If you want your child to read a book, just go check out a book for them. They don’t have to watch a grown man dressed in drag in order to appreciate reading.
As parents, our job is not to use our children as a political statement. Our job is to protect our children as well and as long as we can. The world is messy and disturbing enough for an 18-year-old when they walk into it. Why are rushing our elementary age children into it? This is a dangerous and harmful thing for our children and it needs to stop. We may not be able to talk sense into the libraries and private institutions to not host something as atrocious, but we certainly don’t have to attend.
If you have confessed Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, what would your response be if your pastor announced that he was having an extramarital affair? Would you stand up and applaud him for his bravery in announcing that? And then reaffirm his decision, encourage him to continue his work as a pastor while he has a mistress alongside his wife and family? Would you tell him to just do whatever makes him happy? Or what if the children’s minister at your church announced that she is an alcoholic? Would you drink a toast to her for having the courage to come forward with that? Would you cheer her on and say, “You go girl!”? What if your Bible teacher, being single, told you he brought home a different girl every weekend? Would you tell him those desires were just how God made him so he should keep it up? When he posted on social media about his exploits, would you give it a thumbs up and tell him you had never seen him so happy? Or would you say he needs to find a church that approves of what he’s doing so he can still “serve the Lord”?
Would you encourage these individuals in these areas of their lives?
I want you to really think about what your response to each of those scenarios would be, especially where each scenario involves a Christian engaged in a lifestyle of sin. My guess is you would not affirm their decisions to live like that. I bet that you would say it was wrong to do those things, and maybe, just maybe, you would say they needed to stop those activities. But why? Is it just because there is a social norm that says having an affair, being a drunk, or being a womanizer is not good? No, it’s because we know that is not the behavior a professing Christian ought to have. The reason for that is because someone who is committed to following Christ is supposed to “deny themselves, pick up their cross” and follow Jesus. That means we are to deny our desire to have an affair, to drink too much alcohol, and to be sexually immoral. That is not so that we trade in all the “good” stuff here on earth so we can have “better” stuff in heaven. It is because Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep my commands.” And this is how He commanded us to live – because He knows what is best for us. Therefore, to demonstrate your love for Jesus, you are to keep His commands. You are to abide in His word. You are to hear and follow His voice.
Of course that doesn’t mean we don’t mess it up. We do have pastors announcing affairs and ministers living with addictions, just as much as we have Christians in the congregation struggling with those things. The difference should be in how we respond to it. Do we cheer it on? Do we support their sin? Or do we grieve alongside of them for their failings, give them Biblical, Godly counsel, and lead them in a different direction? Maybe we should even carry out that church discipline that Jesus talked about in Matthew 18:15-19. Jesus instructs us how to deal with sin among believers (not outside of the church). He says to go to that person individually to address his or her fault. If he listens then you have won him over, but if not, then take others within the body of believers to address it with the him. If the person still doesn’t listen, then take the person before the church. If he or she still refuses to repent or change, then put the person outside the fellowship of other believers. Jesus says, “Treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
Can you imagine if a church actually followed Jesus’ commands like this? What would that even look like? The idea is so foreign to us because instead of calling on one another to walk in obedience, we support one another in our sins. We pat each other on the back and say, “It’s ok. We all fail. I do that too.” What is worse is we even encourage sin with each other! I’ve seen people cheering other people on in their sin. They get “likes” on social media and approval to continue on in what they’re doing. It is true that we all fail and we all sin, but we aren’t supposed to be proud of that! We aren’t supposed to rejoice in wrongdoing. True love as described in 1 Corinthians 13 is that we rejoice in the truth instead of evil and wrongdoing. We are supposed to strive to put away our sinful selves and make ourselves look more like Christ, and encourage others to do the same. And when we do fail, we are to confess, repent, and try again the next day through the power of the Holy Spirit to not continue in that sin. Instead, in our warped culture we brag about our sins on Facebook – and get likes for it! We define ourselves with our sin, laugh about it, and thus make a mockery of the work of Christ on the cross. Jesus took that seriously. That is why He gave instructions for how to deal with sin among the body of believers.
If the concept of church discipline is too foreign for us to understand, we can always look at how Paul exercised church discipline with the church at Corinth. There was a member of the church who was sleeping with his father’s wife, a sin so egregious that Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5 even the pagans would not put up with such things. Rather than addressing this man’s sin, the church at Corinth was not only tolerating it in their midst, but they were boasting about their tolerance! The Corinthian church was not only allowing this man to persist in his sin while remaining in the church, but they were proud of it. Can’t you see their sign outside? “We accept ALL forms of love.” What did Paul tell them to do? He said, “Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” Yeast in the Bible is a symbol for sin. Paul is saying this sin they are letting persist in their midst without addressing will eventually permeate and affect the entire congregation. So Paul told the church of Corinth that instead of boasting about accepting this man’s sin, they were to be grieved over it. They were to approach him and tell him that his behavior is not bringing glory or honor to God and it needed to change. If he refused to repent, they were to set him outside of the fellowship so that maybe the broken relationship with the church would draw his heart to repent over what he was doing, and through that his soul could be restored. After all, they have accepted the sacrifice of Christ, and Jesus did not die on the cross so that they could continue in their sins.
This describes the appropriate response to sin among the body of believers. We aren’t to go around judging superficially, but we are to judge rightly, and Biblically. And we are to hold one another to the standard that Jesus Himself called us to, not so we can earn our salvation but because this is how we demonstrate our love for Him – obedience. It’s the same way that we can’t say we love our parents and disobey them. Our love for them is what drives us to obey, and our obedience is what establishes our love. Likewise, it is our love for God that calls us to follow His words, heed His commands, and strive for Godly behavior. And it is our obedience to God that proves our love for Him. However, just like with our earthly parents, we will still disobey, but we shouldn’t celebrate our disobedience. We should acknowledge that we all struggle, but then call one another back to repentance and obedience. Yes, it is “ok” that we fail because God loves us still, but we should not be proud of it, celebrate it, or encourage it.
In light of that, what would you do if a fellow believer announced that she is a homosexual and is now officially professing her love for her girlfriend? Or a member of your Bible study has asked you to meet his boyfriend? Is that any different from the scenarios described above? Is it not equally sinful? Then why do we see fellow believers applauding the “courage” of professing Christians in announcing their homosexuality? Why do I see Christians on social media saying, “You look so happy!” to a believer posting pictures with their same-sex partner? Why are other church members giving likes and thumbs up and “you go girl”-comments to a fellow believer announcing they are embracing and acting on their same-sex attraction? Why are Christians encouraging other Christians to embrace their sin choices? We should be grieved by these sins. We should be speaking to them individually about their choices that are leading them far from the commandments of God. We should be counseling them about how to deny their fleshly desires and take up their cross in obedience unto cross – as we all must do. We may not all have to deny the fleshly desire of same-sex attraction, but we all have to deny our fleshly desires. For one, it may be denying the desire to have heterosexual intimacy with someone who is not their spouse. For another it may be to deny their fleshly reaction of outbursts of anger and wrath. For yet another, it may be to deny their fleshly desire to indulge in too much alcohol or to use words that are not kind or loving. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. We should never celebrate another believer’s choice to embrace sin – no matter the sin.
In the last two posts, which you can find here and here, I talked about how we are not free to choose everything just because it is a choice and that we cannot allow exceptions to taking innocent human life. But all of this discussion assumes we can sit down and discuss this issue. However, too many times the abortion supporter silences the pro-life position by challenging their right to speak on this issue. When a person voices their opposition to murdering unborn humans, they are asked whether they have ever had an unwanted pregnancy, or if they have ever lived in poverty with children to care for, or if they are even capable of having children at all. Somehow they have managed to silence pro-life people by telling them they don’t get to weigh in on this issue unless they can answer “yes” to one of those questions. They are insisting that a person is not allowed to offer an opinion on abortion because of a demographic – either economic status, age, race, or even gender. This tactic is most often applied to men. The abortion supporter reasons that men can’t birth babies so they are not allowed to take a stance on an issue involving babies (well in all honesty, men are only forbidden from offering their opinion if it is the pro-life position...).
Should our demographic preclude us from speaking out against atrocities?
But do we apply that logic to any other issue we discuss? Are only those who have been enslaved qualified to comment on the evils of slavery? Are only people who have served in combat able to decry wartime atrocities? Is it only black people who are able to speak out against racism? Of course not! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been a slave yourself, you can still state that slavery if wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never served in combat, you can still identify, be appalled by, and protest war crimes. It doesn’t matter what your race is, you can still speak out against racism. Your demographic does not disqualify you from speaking out on something that is wicked, immoral, and depraved. Likewise, just because you are not an impoverished, unwed, teen facing an unwanted pregnancy does not mean that you do not get to speak out against murdering babies.
Another way abortion supporters use this logic is to vilify Congress and any lawmaker for making laws to end abortion (although lawmakers are not vilified when they pass laws to legalize abortion…). The rally cry is “why should old, white men” be able to legislate abortion. In fact there was an article in 2019 with that very headline: 25 White Republican Men Just Voted to Ban Abortion in Alabama, as if their age, race, or gender has anything to do with wanting to make murdering unborn humans illegal. It also willfully ignores all of the women fighting to ban abortion. The article claims that these old, white men are not faced with the difficult situation of an unwanted pregnancy, so they should not be able to make abortion illegal. In reality, it is precisely because they are not currently in that position that they should weigh in on this. When a person is in a difficult situation, their judgment is often blurred. They can only see the immediate need to “fix” their situation. And because their judgment is blurred, they are not always going to make the moral decision. It takes someone outside of that situation to see more clearly, and make rules and laws that we are supposed to abide by – even when we are in those difficult situations.
Who gets to determine the law - those in the situation or those outside of it?
For example, as a teacher, I would not want the student who did not study for the test to make the rules about cheating. He is in the difficult situation of taking a test for which he is not prepared. He is going to be tempted to cheat because that seems like the easiest way to “fix” his situation. So if the rules of the classroom were up to him, he would say that it is acceptable to use your books, your notes, and your classmate’s answers for the test. But is that the moral decision? Is that the rule we want established for all students? Or do we want to have someone removed from that temptation make the rule that says you must take the test without the assistance of other people? That does make it more difficult for the student, but it is the moral action that must be taken.
Do we want the parent desperate to get her child into an elite college to make the rules about fraud (Ahem, Lori Laughlin)? Do we want the CEO embezzling in his company to make the laws about corporate finances? Those examples may seem petty and insignificant compared to the woman facing an unwanted pregnancy. But the logic is still the same for even bigger moral dilemmas. Do we want the person who has just murdered someone to determine what the punishment for murder should be? Of course not. We have people who stand outside of our personal situations to determine the laws and punishments for our actions. We even make sure the judge and jury have no connection to the defendant or the victim so their judgments are not biased to the situation. The laws in this nation are there in the hopes of preventing us from making tragic decisions that harm ourselves and other people simply because we are in a tough situation, responding emotionally instead of morally. This means that it doesn’t matter what gender, age, race, background, or whatever we have for lawmakers. They are supposed to rule so that we do not harm other people – including those who are inside the womb.
Men can no longer be silent on abortion
So I want to take this moment to encourage any man who may be reading this. NEVER let someone tell you that you are not qualified to speak out against the evils of abortion simply because you cannot get pregnant. It is true that you will never know the overwhelming feeling of being responsible for growing another human being inside of you. You don’t have to experience your body change in ways you never could imagine, the unrelenting nausea, or the swollen feet, or back pain, or sleepless nights, or uncomfortable clothes, or unwelcomed comments on the size of your belly due to pregnancy. But you also don’t get the joy of having a human being grow inside of you, feeling them move, even feeling them hiccup. You don’t get that instant bond with a newborn for whom you provided safe housing and food for nine months. But none of that matters when it comes to your ability to identify the wickedness of destroying that human life by plucking him limb from limb, or by poisoning him so he dissolves inside the womb, or by crushing his head with forceps until his brains ooze out. No matter your gender, age, social status, ethnicity, or religion, you should be appalled at such things.
In reality, the exact opinion we need on this issue is the man’s opinion. Men, we need you to step up and defend all precious innocent life. God made you with strength and courage to defend the defenseless and protect the innocent. Yet too often men are standing idly by while the most defenseless and most innocent lives are being destroyed. We need men to stand up for those precious little lives in the womb, to protect those children who are being slaughtered for daring to exist. We need men to stand up for motherhood by encouraging frightened women facing unwanted pregnancies that they will have your support, and by reminding them that motherhood is a beautiful thing. We need men to stand up for fatherhood by encouraging men to take responsibility for their children – born and unborn. Just think of all the millions of men who have been denied the chance to raise a son or a daughter because of abortion. We need men – especially pastors – to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. This is what you were made to do, and we need you now more than ever.
What should our conversation on abortion look like?
The right to speak out against abortion is the same for all people, no matter one’s demographic. But not every conversation about abortion should be the same. In this series of blogs, I have been addressing abortion from an intellectual perspective, looking at the reality and the facts of abortion. These posts have discussed abortion as it should be discussed in the political arena. But this issue so much more than a topic for political debate or for down-selecting candidates at the ballot box. This is a very personal issue, therefore the conversation must be personalized. The topic of abortion deals with people from all different life experiences. That doesn’t change the stance on abortion but it changes how abortion is discussed. The discussion in a political debate about abortion is very different from discussing it with a post-abortive woman. And even that conversation can vary depending on how the woman feels about her abortion. Is she proudly shouting her abortion, as many feminists have done? Then she first needs to come to terms with the gravity and the terrible reality of what she has done. She has not made a “choice” for women’s freedom but she has destroyed an innocent life for her own selfish reasons. Is the post-abortive woman grieving her abortion as a terrible decision made in a moment of crisis or maybe even as a result of pressure from someone else? Then she needs to be reminded that God has forgiven even that through the work of Jesus on the cross, if she will seek after Him for His mercy and forgiveness.
The conversation would be different still if it is with a woman is currently pregnant. And even that conversation would vary based on where the woman is in facing her pregnancy. Is she walking into a crisis pregnancy center seeking help? Is she your friend standing in front of you asking what she should do? Is she walking into an abortion clinic already determined to end her baby’s life? Each of those situations will require a different conversation, a different tone, and a different approach. But one common thing for each of those situations is to begin the conversation with a celebration of life. So often we approach a woman who is facing an unwanted pregnancy with sadness and disappointment, or maybe even judgment and shame. But that response only adds more pressure for a woman to make a terrible decision to simply avoid that judgment and shame. That negative attitude towards pregnancy is what causes many women to think abortion is the better option, rather than have a baby in this way. We know this pregnancy was not part of her plan, but at this point the circumstances leading up to her pregnancy are in the past. They cannot be changed or undone. What can be changed is how we respond to an unplanned pregnancy. And I think the response should be more like the following, much like I had with a dear friend of mine recently: