Archive for November, 2010

Thank You, Mr. President

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Well, it’s official now.  Health care premiums are skyrocketing.  My company’s employees will pay an average of 15% more this year.  That’s the good news!  The bad news is that some employees will pay “100$ +” for their plans, if they have a PPO.  One of my HR representatives told me that one of our competitors is raising some rates as high as 488%. 

Thank you, Mr. President.

Unconstitutional Legislation

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Congress has a real problem.  Congressmen are not reading the bills that are on the floor to be voted on, and they don’t know what’s in it.  Worse than that, however, is what Nancy Pelosi said about the Health Care Bill, “We must pass this bill so we can know what’s in it.”  So, now bills are being passed before they’re written?  First they pass the bill, and then they write the bill.  The result is that they’re routinely passing unconstitutional legislation.

Indeed, the health care bill was still being refined for months after it was passed, and still nobody knows what’s in it.  I tried to read the bill, and I was unable to dig through all of the legal jargon.  I was unable to understand what was written by the high-powered (and highly paid) attorneys.  This is exactly why health care premiums are going up as much as 488% this year; i.e. the uncertainties of the New Health Care bill.

It’s no wonder that Congress is spending so much of our money.  The problem with passing a bill before it’s completed is that Congressmen and their aides interpret and refine parts of the bill, and even add high-dollar addendum to it, spending more of every taxpayer money for the Congressman’s pet project in his state.  What’s to keep a Congressman from adding these words to the end of the bill, “The personal income tax rate for all Americans is 90%?”

This constitutes unconstitutional legislation.  It’s tinkering with and changing bills after they have been passed.  That’s not the way that the Constitution says that Congress should write laws.  They’re breaking the law, and it’s costing us taxpayers a fortune.

Pastors Living, and Leading, a Lie

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

ABC News recently ran a story about two pastors who have become atheists–living a lie, although nobody knows their secret.  They spoke of their struggle in leading their congregations–one has been a Southern Baptist pastor for more than 20 years, and the other one is on the pastoral staff of a small evangelical church in the Bible Belt.  In order to better understand their situations, let’s take a closer look at some of their comments.

– “The more I read the Bible, the more questions I had.”

Well, I’m a believer, yet I often feel this way myself.  If we are to remain intellectually honest, how can we help but question things?  It is an unreachable goal for mortal man in a temporal state to try to attain the mind of an infinite God in eternity.  I believe that, as we grow in the faith, we must expect to have answered questions replaced (and perhaps even multiplied) with unanswered ones.

– One of the men said that he became bothered by “the improbability of stories like ‘Noah’s Ark.'”

Isn’t it just as improbable that a sinless man would give up His life for someone like me?  Neither can be “scientifically proven.”  The Bible hasn’t changed since this man became a believer.

– One man was uncomfortable with the attitudes expressed in the Bible regarding women and their place in the world.

Who cares whether he’s comfortable or not?  His level of comfort has nothing to do with the truth.

– “Reading the Bible is what led me not to believe in God.”

Actually, although this is an interesting claim, isn’t it an oxymoron?  If one doesn’t believe in God, then there was no God to inspire the writing of the Bible, so it is just a collection of writings by men in primitive times, about whom history offers little or no insight.  What influence should such men have on whether or not to believe in God?

– On his difficulty in continuing to work in the ministry, one man said, “I just look at it as a job, and do what I’m supposed to do.  I’ve done it for years.”

Maybe therein lies the problem.  He just looks at his ministry as a job.  It’s not something that God called him to be a part of, so it’s no different than any other job–just a source of livelihood and money.  In fact, since he’s deceiving all of those under his leadership, his job really has less credibility than most.  Due to his deception and lying, his job is really more like the kinds of “jobs” that violate other standards of morality–like maybe a bookie, or a pimp.

– One man said that his initial doubts about God came as he read the work of the so-called New Atheists–popular authors like the prominent scientist Richard Dawkins. He said the research was intended to help him defend his faith.

Ephesians 4:14 says, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”

 – “My thinking was that God is big enough to handle any questions that I can come up with, but that did not happen.”

Well, that makes me wonder what the question was that was too big for God to handle.

– “I realized that everything I’d been taught to believe was sort of sheltered, “and never really looked at secular teaching or other philosophies. … I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. Am I believing the wrong things? Have I spent my entire life and my career promoting something that is not true?'”

It sounds like man didn’t have enough training.  Perhaps he never took any seminary classes on world religions and philosophy.

– This man said that he feared for his salvation and soul. “In that point where I realized I was losing my faith yet I still feared for my own salvation, I asked God to take my life before I lost my faith.”

It must be quite painful and frightful for one who doesn’t really know what he believes.

– He now considers himself to be an “atheistic agnostic.”  “I don’t think we can prove that there is not a God or that there is a God.  I live out my life as if there is no God.”

He thinks that we must be able to prove scientifically that God exists.  This is contrary to what the Bible teaches–salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

– Both men said that when speaking to their congregations, they tried to stick to the sections of the Bible that they still believed in–the parts about being a good person. Both said that they would like to leave their jobs though they can’t afford to.

So, they’re not really preaching the Bible.  They’re just picking and choosing which parts they want to teach on.  Yes, they do need to leave their jobs immediately, whether they can afford to or not; i.e., if they have any integrity, or any sense of morality.  Then they need to apologize to their congregations.

– “I want to get out of the position that I’m in as quickly as I can because I try to be a person of integrity and character.  “With the economy the way it is, with my lack of marketable skills other than a seminary education, it has me in a tough spot.”

Oh, really?  What kind of integrity and character does it take to deceive his entire congregation?  He should be less concerned about the poor economy, and more concerned about the lives of the people that he promised to shepherd.

– One of the men said that his secret left him feeling isolated but that he would certainly lose a lot of friends when he professed to no longer being a Christian.  His wife doesn’t know and he said it was possible he could lose her as well.  “It’s going to be very confusing for her.  “It’s going to be very devastating and it’s going to take us a while to work through it.”  The other man said his wife knew that he was struggling with his faith but not that he had lost it completely.

Well, I’m guessing that both wives found out when they read the news.

– “It’s a very tough situation to be in.  I can’t think of another career that is so dramatically affected by a change in one’s opinions or thoughts.”

Again, that could be the problem:  Thinking of a life in the ministry as just “another career.”

We need to pray for these impostors, and for the congregations that they should be shepherding.

Whatever It Takes

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

I’ve heard politicians defend the latest TSA security measures by proclaiming that we’ll do “whatever it takes” to make our air travel safe.  Really?  I believe that we have perverted the phrase “whatever it takes” from a rallying try to show our steadfastness in a particular cause, into a realized dispossession of everything by the government.  The government is taking over:  our money through taxation; our industry through bailouts; and, now our privacy, through body scans and pat-downs. 

This is not where the line has been crossed.  This line has been crossed for many years with rules such as not allowing us to take a small bottle of water on board, and forcing us to remove the shoes from the feet of our infant children.  Now we are offered the choice of how we want to have our privacy violated by a stranger:  through the viewing of our naked image via a full-body scan; or, a by a full-body pat-down.  Unfortunately, the government does seem to be serious about “whatever it takes.” 

Well, let’s take this approach to the extreme.  Keep taxing us until our tax rate is 100%.  Take this revenue and hire more government employees, and dream up more ways to keep us safe, whatever it takes.  Here’s one:  Have all airlines passengers step into the security and completely disrobe, and do so in front of everyone, so our fellow passengers can feel as safe as possible.  Once we’re naked, have us put our hands above our heads (like we’ve been arrested at gunpoint) so as not to conceal any bombs in our armpits.  Then have us walk from one end of the security area to the other.  Oh wait, have us twirl as we walk, to ensure that everyone gets a clear look at our naked bodies from every possible angle.  This would make us even safer, right?  Whatever it takes?

What God Doesn’t Know

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

As mortals, it’s difficult for us to really attain the mind of God (Romans 12:1-2).  We cannot even think clearly in terms of God’s environment–eternity.  In our flesh, we can’t get past the temporal restraints of time and space.  Nowhere does this truth come into play more, than in the argument of predestination.  Does God predetermine our steps, or does our free will overrule the mind of God, and His intent?

On the one hand, the Calvinist says that Exodus 5:16 tells us that it is God’s will to choose.  He chooses some for salvation (John 15:19), and He chooses some for acts of service (Acts 9:15).  He chooses individuals (1 Peter 1:2), nations (Isaiah 45:4), and the Church (Ephesians 1:4).  God is the one who chooses–not man (Romans 9:17ff, Philippians 2:12ff).  God elects the chosen according to His own will, and He even gives them the faith to believe the gospel.

On the other hand, Arminianism emphasizes man’s free will, and since free will implies free choice, each individual can choose to accept or reject God’s free gift of salvation.  Each person can resist God’s offer of salvation (1 Peter 1:10), and even lose his salvation (Galatians 5:4).  The Holy Spirit can be resisted, and God doesn’t interfere with man’s free will (Acts 7:51).  God’s choice of the elect was based upon His foreseeing into the future that they would respond to His call.  He selected only those who would freely believe the gospel, and faith is not granted to the sinner by God.  It is solely the result of each person’s own free will to decide to believe, so the ultimate cause of salvation is the sinner’s choice of Christ–not God’s choice of the sinner.

This brings us to the title of this article, “What God Doesn’t Know.”  Most would agree that God is omniscient–the very definition of deity; i.e., that He knows everything.  He created all things when He chose to speak the universe into existence (Genesis 1:3); i.e., he was able to do simply by speaking, or thinking.  He knows and understands everything about everybody–not just in our temporal state of time, but throughout eternity (again, God’s environment which is difficult for us to comprehend).

Yes, God’s omnipotence makes all of these things the same for Him:  knowing; creating; choosing; speaking; doing; determining; thinking; and, understanding.  God is immutable, and He can’t separate Himself from His deeds or His knowledge.  When He spoke man into existence, He not only knew what each man would do throughout his life and eternity, but he determined it–every single little thought or deed of every person.  How could He not know all of this when He created man?

OK, so one might then get into the argument which is characterized by the (somewhat light-hearted) question:  If God can do anything, then can he create a rock so big and heavy that He’s unable to lift it?  Can God determine things that He doesn’t know?  I propose that even if this were true, an omniscient God must somehow know even what He doesn’t know, by the very definition of deity.

However, what about forgiving and forgetting sin?  When we confess our sins, and God forgives us (1 John 1:9), how is He then able to forget our sin (Isaiah 45:23)?  I believe that this simply means that He no longer holds us accountable for that sin, not that He would be unable to recall it into His memory if He chose to do so.  That forgiven sin became a non-issue, no longer stored on the same godly hard drive as un-confessed sin.

No, there’s nothing that God doesn’t know.  That’s part of what makes Him God.  As a result, we can add another word to the synonyms for knowing, thinking, determining, etc.:  pre-determining, or predestination.  In conjunction with the work of creation by an omniscient God, predestination is a necessary part of that creation.  If He created (knew / determined) it, then it must follow that He predestined (determined) it.