Jesus’ Justice

Jesus’ Justice – A Critical Analysis of the “Social Justice” Movement in view of the Majesty, Dignity, and Power of the Lord Jesus Christ

9781935358190_covkindleSo many of the discussions that we hear today about “Social Justice” are missing the centerpiece of everything: Jesus’ justice. This is not a trivial observation. Those who try to define justice apart from the One who is holy, righteous, and just may as well try to build a sky-scraper without a blueprint or engineer. History reveals that when mere mortals contrive their own definitions and standards of justice, grave atrocities often result, and it may be that such troubling history is about to repeat itself. Many today are proceeding as the torch-bearers of a new pathway to justice, fully arrayed with an army of academics, conference speakers, and New York Times best sellers. They are also armed with a unique, Social Justice dialect in which they dispense broad accusations of “white supremacy” and “systemic white racism” against modern society and even the church of Jesus Christ. Because of this movement’s enormity and repeated accusations, it would be highly dangerous to imagine that this ideology will go away anytime soon. For this reason, this book compares and contrasts the standards of Social Justice ideology (SJI) with that of Jesus and His holy justice. By this comparison, we will discover that the modern ideology of Social Justice blasphemously contradicts the Lord’s justice by heralding the wisdom of man above God (chapter 1); by seeking to remedy past injustices with present day injustices (chapter 2); by seeing oppression (whether real or perceived) as establishing personal merit and innocence (chapter 3); by promoting faulty views of God’s creation of the human race and therefore advancing an abundance of ignorance and racial bigotry (chapter 4); by advancing its own doctrinal creed and religious system of atonement that supplies no real solutions or true hope (chapter 5); by fostering bigotry, hatred, and resentment against others on the basis of their epidermis (chapter 6); by mutilating history to such an extent that the triumphs of the Gospel, both past and present, are grotesquely obscured (chapter 7); by replicating a racial bigotry that is comparable to some of the worst expressions of bigotry from the past (chapter 8); and by falling short of any comprehensive understanding of universal sin, systemic evil, and God’s sovereign providence over all (chapter 9).

By this comparison, we will discover the bankruptcy and dangerous nature of this man-made philosophy which has become a religion for many.  This comparison will also reveal what Scripture describes as the greatest contest in human history in which “the nations rage against the Lord and His Anointed” King (Psalm 2). And who is this Anointed King? He is Jesus Christ, the exalted  Redeemer (Psalm 110:1) and “King of Righteousness” (Psalm 110:4) who will someday judge the living and the dead in His perfect and holy justice (Psalm 110:5-6).

In the end, without a serious consideration of Jesus and His justice, nothing else really matters.

“Over the past decade or so, lots of half-baked, highly controversial notions about justice and social equity have been proposed, Tweeted, sloganized, mindlessly embraced, and endlessly echoed by evangelical thought leaders. Michael Beasley takes time to consider the biblical definition of justice with meticulous care in this extremely helpful and eminently readable work. If you are confused by all the current rhetoric about ‘social justice,’ woke ideology, and the drift of the broad evangelical movement, you must read Jesus’ Justice.”

Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You

Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-935358-19-0
Hardback, ISBN: 978-1-935358-20-6

Release date: 4.10.2022

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Sondland’s Perilous Presumption

At the end of over 21 hours of arguments presented by Democratic house managers, it has become evident that the substantive basis for the impeachment of President Donald Trump amounts to nothing more than presumption. This is not my personal opinion, it is the actual testimony of the Democrats’ key witness, Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Perhaps the most stunning moment in Sondland’s testimony before the house was delivered in this exchange with Congressman Michael Turner:

Turner: “So you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations.”

Sondland: “Other than my own presumption.”

Turner: “Which is nothing!”

I would like to draw the reader’s attention to an important detail regarding this exchange between Sondland and Turner. When representative Turner called Sondland’s presumption nothing, he was no more than half right in his assertion. I say this because, on the one hand, Sondland’s presumption does in fact offer nothing in terms of actual evidence and facts. Because of this, Sondland’s testimony is a blatant admission that the Democrats’ impeachment articles are founded on nothing – no actual evidence at all. On the other hand, presumption, by definition, is not nothing, it is something. By definition, presumption is the assertion of one’s over-confident opinion, and is rooted in arrogance, pride, and effrontery (shameless audacity, unblushing insolence). By this latter consideration, I would suggest to the reader that Sondland’s testimony unveils more than an absence of evidence, it reveals the darkness of what is taking place in our nation’s capital. This is something.

Sondland’s use of the word presumption should have triggered more alarm than it did. Perhaps this is due to the slanted reporting of the leftist media, the political polarity of our nation, or possibly even the illiteracy of many who don’t think carefully about words and their actual meaning. For myself, I tend to think that it is a twisted blending of all three issues, a subject of which I have written elsewhere. When I heard Sondland’s testimony, it sounded more like a confession in view of the wisdom of proverbs:

Proverbs 13:10: Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel.

Those who have studied the book of Proverbs are well aware of the fact that many verses in this book deal with contrasting, antithetical truths. Consider our verse under review. In the latter statement we have the presentation of wisdom: a wisdom that comes through the helpful counsel of others (…wisdom is with those who receive counsel). In the former section of this verse, we have wisdom’s antithesis: the dark reality of a presuming and insolent heart, which can only lead to strife. The contrasting thoughts in this verse convey its entire message: The polar opposite of wisdom is strife-producing presumption. The Hebrew word that is translated as presumption is zadon, which means insolence or pride. Translators vary on the connotation of this word: pride (ASV), presumption (NASB), insolence (ESV), and vanity (YLT). In the end, they all capture the core essence of this Hebrew term rather well. This Hebrew word zadon expands our understanding of the overall message of this verse. Antithetically, a heart of zadon (pride, insolence, vanity, presumption) will lead an individual to speak and act without the helpful counsel of others. This actually gets to the heart of the meaning of the term presumption. A presumptuous person forsakes outside counsel because he possesses an over-confident opinion[1] due to pride and arrogance. Wisdom humbly seeks counsel and facts (Proverbs 4:7); presumption requires neither, but is rooted in an unblushing insolence and arrogance. And what does such presumption produce? Nothing, our verse says, but strife. The inclusion of the word nothing (H. Raq) reminds us of the exclusivity of presumption’s yield. As Jesus said, a bad tree cannot produce good fruit (Matt. 7:18). And so it is that human presumption (pride, insolence, vanity [zadon]) has just one outcome and no other: strife. The word strife (H. matzah) requires little exposition: strife, contention, fighting. We are taught that the one who loves transgression loves strife (Proverbs 17:19).Thus, the contrast presented in our verse is rather clear and is affirmed as a principle throughout the Scriptures: The good fruit of peacemaking requires true wisdom (James 3:17-18), whereas infighting and strife are the perpetual bad fruits of the insolent (James 3:13-16). I say perpetual in view of the core verb which governs our verse in question: “Through presumption comes [H. yiten] nothing but strife.” The verb here employed is an imperfect verb which speaks of incomplete action and is often translated as a present verb in the English. This brings to mind the reality of unconstrained, continuing action. In view of the overall context of the verse, we could say that presumption yields nothing but strife, without end.

The reader should know that I am not claiming to have knowledge regarding the thoughts, motives, or intentions of Ambassador Donald Sondland. I am simply taking his own testimony at face value. Assuming that he comprehends his own words, his testimony reveals a particularly stark confession. And for those who wish to take issue with my sole examination of the word presumption, please keep in mind that this is not the only term used by Sondland to represent his fact-deficient testimony. As argued by Mike Purpura (Deputy White House Counsel to the President), ambassador Sondland used various forms of the words assume, presume, guess, and speculate over 30 times throughout the course of his testimony before the House. None of these terms lead us to an ounce of empirical evidence. It only supplies fodder in the canons of those who wish to weaponize impeachment as a deadly political weapon.

Finally, by presenting the teachings of Proverbs in this article, it is important to remember that our focus of study is not about any one individual, per se. Instead, when considering any principle of scripture, our first priority must be to examine ourselves to see how we (as individuals) fall short of God’s standard, and how we can improve in our obedience to what He has commanded. The sin of presumption is a ubiquitous disease. All of us therefore need to mortify this ugly beast on a daily basis.

[1] OED: The taking upon onself of more than is warranted by one’s position, right, or (formerly) ability; forward or over-confident opinion or conduct; arrogance, pride, effrontery, assurance.

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Isaac Watts: Trinitarian or Unitarian?

I was recently made aware of various questions and concerns regarding Isaac Watts’ views of the Trinity. The charge that is most commonly circulated is that Watts, the man who is often called the “father of English hymnody,” is said to have abandoned an orthodox view of the Trinity for that of Unitarianism towards the end of his life. When I first heard this charge, I began researching the matter for myself. It didn’t take long to realize that this entire matter would require a significant amount of time to evaluate. Thankfully, I came across an excellent article (and video, below) produced by Dr. Scott Aniol which surveys the matter very well:

Dr. Aniol serves as the Associate Professor and Chair of Worship Ministry at Southwestern Seminary, and has written extensively on the subject of worship and church hymnody. I believe that his summary of Watts is sound, reasonable, and effectively vindicates Watts in the end. In view of his careful treatment of this matter, I would like to offer some additional observations and warnings:

1. The Dangers of Celebritism, Past and Present: In 2015 I wrote a book entitled, My Banner is Christ, in which I address the grave dangers of “celebritism.” It should be noted that celebritism is merely an invented word that I use to describe the toxic realities of Evangelical-celebrity worship. Not only must we avoid the sin of exalting Evangelical leaders in the present day, but we must shun such celebritism with respect to the renowned saints of yesteryear. The sin of exalting the creature above the Creator is the same whether that creature is in glory, or still here on earth. I must confess that, when I first heard about the controversy regarding Watt’s view of the Trinity, I was filled with incredulity over the matter. This was primarily so because of my familiarity with the excellencies of Watts’ hymns, but there was also a tinge of personal deference towards Watts which made me want to disbelieve the matter immediately. Yet such personal deference must never stand in the way of the pursuit of objective truth. In view of this, I found Aniol’s mention of Douglas Bond’s cursory treatment of the controversy surrounding Watts quite interesting. Whatever can be said about the thoughts and intentions of Bond in the matter, he did his readers no favors by saying so little. We are called to exalt Christ, not mere men. If our careful examination of the celebrated saints of yesteryear leaves us with disappointment and disgust, then so be it. In the case of Watts, a deeper investigation by Bond would have issued a more cogent vindication of this father of English hymnody. In any circumstance, we should apply diligence when exploring the details of church history as best as possible, even if our discoveries are discouraging. Such experiences should remind us of our own creaturely frailty and, therefore, our great need to be watchful and vigilant guardians of our own life and doctrine on a daily basis.

2. The Dangers of Unjust Deconstructionism: As the reader already knows, the Internet can oftentimes be as helpful as it is dangerous. As it relates to the subject of history, some of the more dangerous elements of online media have recently surged via the Social Justice movement, replete with its Critical Theory deconstructionism of the past. Today, historic memorials are being toppled, and once respected theologians are readily vilified as madmen by a generation that has been led to believe that “the system” is out to get them, however one defines “the system.” This procedure is typically carried out without the requisite aid of historical context. The regular production of such “history” has effectively dulled the senses of many, such that any dark discovery from the past (whether real or imagined) is now the new, expected, daily norm. Within such a pessimistic environment as this, it becomes much more difficult to offer careful and nuanced analyses of history without sounding like an advocate of archaic thinking; especially when your presentation of history doesn’t square with what is deemed as vogue at the time. As this relates to Watts, I would suggest that a more careful analysis of the world in which he lived would help us understand his struggles over the use of creeds in explaining the Trinity (to which Aniol alluded). In Watts’ day, there were some who placed a stilted emphasis on historic creeds, thereby adding fodder to non-conformists who were concerned about retaining fidelity to Scripture. These pendulum swings have existed throughout church history, and they offer an important context to our comprehension of the various contests that arise in the church, past and present. In the end, neither celebritism nor unjust deconstructionism will help us in our pursuit of history. Instead, we are to seek out what facts are available to us objectively, without the intent of buttressing or demonizing those whom we evaluate, all the while heralding the authority and glory of Christ above all that is evaluated.

3. Church History is Fallible History: If you want infallible history, read your Bible. Everything else is subject to serious scrutiny with varying degrees of uncertainty. We often speak with such certitude about the saints of yesteryear, and yet this often belies the extent of our actual knowledge. By contrast, even the people we know personally we can only know within the context of our human frailty and personal limitations. As for individuals from the past, whom we have never met, all we can say is that we know of them by means of various historic texts that are available. Moreover, not everyone’s recorded history is necessarily as robust as we would prefer. In all of this we are left with an important principle as it relates to assessing the lives of historic figures: First, we must remember that “…the Lord knows who are His…” (2 Timothy 2:9) in a manner that we cannot. We cannot claim to know people (spiritually or otherwise) to the degree that Lord knows them, and thus we should be guarded with humility when seeking to describe the spiritual condition of others. Second, we are enjoined not to “exceed that which is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6) in Scripture, and such wisdom has its application in the use of extra-biblical history. We humans are often tempted to fill in the blanks of what is not plainly revealed (whether in Scripture or otherwise) because we don’t like having unanswered questions. Yet the plain reality of life is this: God knows all things, and we do not. Such an obvious confession isn’t always easy to make, especially when we pridefully think we are on the cusp of connecting the dots between two unknowns. Like many things in life, our observation of church history must never exceed the written record of it, remembering that such history is fallible and subject to scrutiny itself. Wherever we find uncertainty in life (whether in Scripture or otherwise), we can leave the matter in the hands of God who fully knows all things and will reveal all things in the end.

For most years of my life in pastoral ministry, to varying degrees, I have actively been involved in leading music before God’s people. It is a most serious task which must uphold and buttress the ministry of the word and prayer when the saints assemble for worship. As I contemplate these priorities, I often find that there are songs in our hymnal that are worthy of enthusiastic promotion, while others are used minimally or not at all. There are also hymns that are generally sound, but might require a simple redaction or modification. Some hymn stories, regarding the hymn and the hymn writer, may be encouraging and uplifting for the flock; whereas others are best left alone. And as for Harry Emmerson Fosdick’s hymn, God of Grace and God of Glory (The Christian Life Hymnal, #337), I refuse to sing it in view his horrific mockery of Scripture and the glorious Godhead. These are the choices that fallible men must make when sorting through a fallible hymnal, written by fallible people. There will always be choices to make regarding a hymnody which exalts the Lord most, seeing that it is our calling to give Him those gifts of praise (Hebrews 13:15) which honor and magnify our great God.

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500th Anniversary of the Reformation


In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we are introducing a new book entitled, Internet Inferno for just $0.99 in addition to 5 Kindle books for free from Sunday October 29th to Tuesday October 31st:

Here are the 5 free titles:

9781935358022medcov1. Indeed, has Paul Really Said? – A Critique of N.T. Wright’s Teaching on Justification: It was Martin Luther who said that the doctrine of justification by faith is “the doctrine by which the church stands or falls.” In reflection of this reality, Indeed, has Paul Really Said? is set forth as a modern-day defense of the crucial doctrine of justification against those who seek to undermine it by means of the theological innovations of men like N. T. Wright. In particular, Indeed, has Paul Really Said? is a directed critique of Wright’s own work: What Saint Paul Really Said (Eerdmans Publishing, 1997). But rather than perusing every nuance of Wright’s position, this book simplifies matters by revealing the Achilles’ Heel of Wright’s teaching regarding the expression – the righteousness of God – through four comprehensible and reproducible evaluations regarding: 1. A Lexical Analysis of the terms – righteousness, justification, and the expression – the righteousness of God; 2. The forensic [judicial] connotation of these terms; 3. The relevance of Paul’s background as a Pharisee; and 4. The manner in which justification is revealed within the whole counsel of God’s Word. The appendix contains five critical responses from N.T. Wright, including his statement of having “significantly” influenced John Piper’s work, The Future of Justification, before it was published. From beginning to end, Indeed, has Paul Really Said? clearly reveals that the doctrine of Justification requires the strongest possible defense that can be afforded by those who seek to herald the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Anything less than this will prove to be a great danger to the church. This is true for our generation, just as it has been in every generation. Copyright Year: © 2008

mbicsmall2. My Banner is Christ: An Appeal for the Church to Restore the Priority of Solus Christus and to Mortify the Idols of Celebritism and the Fear of Man: The church is called to be the pillar and support of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15), not the pillar and support of Evangelical celebrities. Unfortunately, this plain and obvious truth has fallen on hard times within modern Evangelicalism.
When the church becomes more enamored with popular individuals, or things that are deemed as “trendy,” she enters into a dangerous flirtation with man-centered priorities. The church is not called to imitate the world which demands that it have its various celebrities and idols (professional athletes, pop icons, movie-stars, internet-idols etc.). Instead, she is called to a much different standard – the higher standard of exalting Christ and His authority alone (Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura).
Modern Evangelicalism has a great need to be restored to the priorities of Solus Christus and Sola Scriptura. The Reformers heralded these priorities for a very important reason – if Christ is not the church’s first love and sole authority, then all is lost. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the idea of celebrating God’s grace in the lives of godly individuals and their ministries, there is everything wrong with the idolatry of celebritism: the act of exalting men in a way that diminishes the glory and sole authority of Jesus Christ. It is important to recognize that the sin of worshipping the creature rather than the Creator is as natural to human nature as is breathing (Romans1:25). In light of such human frailty, the church must mortify the temptation of heralding mere men above their station, whether by fear or fawning devotion. In order to accomplish this goal, God’s people must remember that they are called to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ, alone (Ephesians 5:21). We can be sure that, wherever such reverence and adoration for Christ waxes hot, man-centered idolatry will wane and die. In the end, the church is called to exalt and magnify the risen and returning Savior, while raising the very banner of truth which He has entrusted to those who adore and fear Him (Psalm 60:4).

9781935358138 _covRGBFLATSMALL3. The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism – An Analysis, Critique, and Exhortation Concerning the Contemporary Doctrine of Fallible Prophecy: This book examines Wayne Grudem’s controversial teaching on fallible prophecy in view of various lexical, exegetical, and historical points of analysis. It also addresses the teaching’s popularity and continuing advancement through many charismatics within the “New Calvinism” movement. The doctrine of fallible prophecy is neither benign nor harmless, rather it constitutes a troubling strange fire for the body of Christ and continues to spread through the advocacy of popular continuationists like Wayne Grudem, D.A. Carson, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll:

“Not only does fallible prophecy have no real value, it is dangerous and can lead the gullible to take very unfortunate actions…since Grudem is the Neo-Calvinist theologian leading the charge in attempting to develop and defend the position of fallible prophecy, Beasley primarily interacts with his writings. His carefully presented argument leads to the conclusion that Grudem is reasoning from both ignorance of New Testament times, as well as from silence. Beasley has done the church a wonderful service by producing this volume. My hope is that many will read it and absorb its contents.” Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel, Springfield, Il

tfponcespLRG4. Los Profetas Falibles del Nuevo Calvinismo: Un Analisis, Critica y Exhortacion a la Doctrina Contemporanea de La Profecia Falible: Este libro examina la controversial enseñanza del Dr. Wayne Grudem sobre la profecía falible considerando los diversos puntos de análisis léxicos, exegéticos e históricos. También se ocupa de la popularidad de la enseñanza y su progreso continuo a través de muchos carismáticos dentro del movimiento del “Nuevo Calvinismo.” La doctrina de la profecía falible no es ni benigna ni inofensiva, sino que más bien constituye un fuego extraño inquietante para el cuerpo de Cristo y continúa propagándose a través de la promoción hecha por los continuistas populares como Wayne Grudem, D.A. Carson, John Piper, y Mark Driscoll. Al reestructurar el significado y la definición de un concepto tan central como la profecía, la enseñanza de la profecía falible crea una serie de problemas doctrinales y puntos de confusión dentro de la iglesia, que plantea interrogantes sobre la naturaleza de Aquel que promete que Su palabra revelada no volverá a Él vacía sin haber realizado lo que Él desea ( Isaías 55:11 ).
“La profecía falible no solo carece de algún valor real, es peligrosa y puede llevar a los incautos a tomar acciones muy desafortunadas….puesto que Grudem es un teólogo Neo-Calvinista que encabeza el intento de desarrollar y defender la posición de la profecía falible, Beasley interactúa principalmente con sus escritos…. Beasley ha hecho a la iglesia un maravilloso servicio mediante la producción de este volumen. Mi esperanza es que muchos lo lean y absorban su contenido.” Gary E. Gilley , pastor – maestro de Southern View Chapel en Springfield, IL.

aauad5. Altar a un Amor Desconocido: Rob Bell, CS Lewis, y el Legado del Arte y el Pensamiento del Hombre: En marzo de 2011 el libro de Rob Bell, Love Wins (El Amor Triunfa), suscitó una gran polémica entre los evangélicos. Sin embargo, esta polémica no fue una simple molestia, sino que continúa ofreciendo una oportunidad crucial para la iglesia. Hay una historia muy importante y no contada detrás de todo el debate de Bell que se debe tratar por el bien de las generaciones futuras. El misterio y la singularidad de este conflicto han puesto de manifiesto un problema sistémico – uno que es mucho mayor que las protestas prematuras que rodean a Bell. La cuestión central que se plantea en Altar a un Amor Desconocido es la siguiente: si las opiniones de Bell son problemáticas, entonces ¿qué vamos a decir de su mentor teológico sobre el tema del infierno: CS Lewis? –
“Love Wins (El Amor Triunfa) de Rob Bell : Un libro sobre el Cielo, el Infierno y el Destino de Cada persona que Ha Vivido, ha sido condenado por los evangélicos que son, al mismo tiempo, admiradores declarados de autores de quienes Bell ha sido atraído, a saber, George MacDonald y CS Lewis. Beasley cuestiona la consistencia de este procedimiento, y si su libro se toma en serio – como se merece – debe promover más controversia, porque MacDonald y Lewis son figuras muy respetadas. Una presentación reconstruida del amor de Dios – que se puede encontrar en todos los autores que Beasley está criticando – produce una enseñanza que no lleva una ofensa al hombre natural. ¿Qué es más ofensivo para el hombre natural que la verdad en relación con la justicia de Dios y su ira contra el pecado? Pero esa ofensa se elimina por la enseñanza subjetiva y centrada en el hombre que se revisa aquí. Sin embargo, en lugar de comenzar con la Escritura, Lewis creía que tener en cuenta el amor en el hombre puede ayudarnos a entender el amor de Dios. Una parte importante de Altar a Un Amor Desconocido es una refutación de este error. El amor que se encuentra en el hombre no regenerado es el amor propio – el amor centrado en torno a la búsqueda del placer e identificado por los griegos (y por Lewis ) como eros . Pero el amor de Dios (nunca llamado eros en el Nuevo Testamento) es totalmente diferente, y no se conoce hasta que una persona ha nacido de Dios ( 1 Juan 4:7-10 ) . A nuestro juicio él demuestra el argumento de que Lewis es ahora tan ampliamente aceptable en el cristianismo estadounidense, debido a que las ideas no bíblicas no están siendo reconocidas como lo que son. Una destreza en la escritura, una narración efectiva, con una mezcla de ‘referencias y pensamientos bíblicos desconectados,’ son capaces de alcanzar gran éxito en un día en que la discriminación ha cedido el paso al gusto popular.” Reverendo Iain H. Murray, Ex Director Editorial y co-fundador de The Banner of Truth Trust

Here is the newest book on the Kindle format, available now for just $0.99:

9781935358152SMALLERInternet Inferno – A Contemporary Warning and Reminder Regarding this Ancient Truth, “The Tongue is a Fire, the Very World of Iniquity, and is Set on Fire by Hell” James 3:6. Here is a summary of its contents:

While the Internet is a helpful tool in many ways, it has also become a cesspool for all forms of gossip and malicious slander. Many who use electronic media today seem to have little regard for the damage that can be done to the reputation of others through the issuance of lies and deception. What is especially troubling about this problem is that few today are aware of the divine judgment that awaits all those who bring about such destruction by their words (Proverbs 6:16-19, Revelation 22:15). Whether you are a Christian or not, this subject should give everyone serious pause regarding their conduct, thoughts, motives, and their every typed or spoken word. Though men may think nothing of slandering another human being, who is made in God’s image (James 3:9), the Creator does not share such indifference. One day His justice will come and everything that has been said in secret will be made known before His holy tribunal (Luke 12:2-3). Thus, Internet Inferno has been written in order to issue a contemporary warning and reminder of this ancient truth:

James 3:6: “…the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.”

What James sets forth in this passage is quite grave and sobering. By it he seeks to awaken us out of the dangerous indifference that often prevails in our communication. Of course, the tongue is merely a vehicle of communication and nothing more. In the end, the tongue is not the principal danger, it is the human heart that has the dark capacity to unleash hell, or, as Jesus said: Matthew 15:19: “…out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:19, 12:34). It is for this reason that all communication provides us with the opportunity to consider the motives and thoughts of our hearts, to the end that we might also contemplate the eternity of our souls.

May these titles be a help and encouragement to you all. Soli Deo Gloria

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Internet Inferno – Coming November 3rd, 2017

Internet Inferno
A Contemporary Warning and Reminder Regarding this Ancient Truth –
“The Tongue is a Fire, the Very World of Iniquity,
and is Set on Fire by Hell”
James 3:6

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhile the Internet is a helpful tool in many ways, it has also become a cesspool for all forms of gossip and malicious slander. Many who use electronic media today seem to have little regard for the damage that can be done to the reputation of others through the issuance of lies and deception. What is especially troubling about this problem is that few today are aware of the divine judgment that awaits all those who bring about such destruction by their words (Proverbs 6:16-19, Revelation 22:15). Whether you are a Christian or not, this subject should give everyone serious pause regarding their conduct, thoughts, motives, and their every typed or spoken word. Though men may think nothing of slandering another human being, who is made in God’s image (James 3:9), the Creator does not share such indifference. One day His justice will come and everything that has been said in secret will be made known before His holy tribunal (Luke 12:2-3). Thus, Internet Inferno has been written in order to issue a contemporary warning and reminder of this ancient truth:

James 3:6: “…the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.”

What James sets forth in this passage is quite grave and sobering. By it he seeks to awaken us out of the dangerous indifference that often prevails in our communication. Of course, the tongue is merely a vehicle of communication and nothing more. In the end, the tongue is not the principal danger, it is the human heart that has the dark capacity to unleash hell, or, as Jesus said: Matthew 15:19: “…out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:19, 12:34). It is for this reason that all communication provides us with the opportunity to consider the motives and thoughts of our hearts, to the end that we might also contemplate the eternity of our souls.

Available on the Amazon Kindle format, due out (Lord willing) on November 3rd, 2017.

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The Nashville Statement: Why I Didn’t Sign

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Some Thoughts on Brannon Howse, Janet Mefferd, & James White

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Presidential Elections & the Danger of Pastoral Endorsements


Every election cycle I find myself reconsidering several scriptural principles that offer crucial insight regarding our freedom and right to vote. Amidst this confounding election season, the intensity of this review has grown steadily each and every day:

1. The Disease of Ungodly Fear: The psalmist gives us a clear warning regarding ungodly fear: “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing” (Psalm 37:8:). David’s important instruction in the eight verse comes on the heels of his introductory commands where he says: “DO not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers…” (Psalm 37:1). Contextually speaking, David is reminding us that ungodly fear is a deadly disease: one that only leads only to evildoing. We must not miss the force of the Hebrew asseverative particle (ak) which points to a certain outcome of evil (ak lehara’) – “only leads to evildoing.” This passage, and many others like it, reminds us that we are all distracted from the priority of fearing God when we give in to the fear of men. Such ungodly fear leads to internal division, confusion, and eventual compromise. However, godly fear brings unity and peace to our hearts when the majesty and sole authority of God remains our focus: “Teach me Thy way, O LORD; I will walk in Thy truth; Unite my heart to fear Thy name” (Psalm 86:11). The relevance and application of this principle should be quite clear. Our nation has been descending into a downgrade of evil with an unimaginable, accelerative force. However, should we focus on this deluge of evil too much then we will lose sight of the immutable sovereignty of our Lord and King (Psalm 29:10); and such a distraction as this will lead only to ungodly fear and fretting. In the end, whatever choices you make in the upcoming election, remember to fear God rather than men (Matt. 10:28), lest your thoughts and actions enter into the realm of evildoing.

2. The Danger of Human Presumption: Up to this point we have all heard, ad nauseam, the political pontifications and promises made by each candidate. What is so stunning about their confident promises is the fact that they all speak with such certitude about the future that you would think that they were claiming the gift of prophecy. While we can assume that their descriptions of the future are designed to convey a spirit of confidence and certitude, it really smacks of plain human presumption: James 4:13–16: 13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.”16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.” To be frank, American elections tend to degrade into boasting matches between individuals who haven’t the humility to say: if the Lord wills. Amidst the fervent contest of winning the American voters’ confidence, these candidates shamelessly trample over James 4:13-16 in their dusty Bibles. We shouldn’t be surprised when unbelievers (religious or not) engage in such evil-boasting, but when professing Christians join the chorus and repeat the shallow boasting of such presidential candidates, they enter into a dangerous and compromising partnership.

3. The Danger of Evil Partnerships: It is one thing to enter the space of a voting booth and vote one’s conscience as a private choice before God, but when individuals make the decision to become a public advocate of their candidate, they enter into a form of partnership with that candidate. Clearly, there will be degrees of such affiliations, from those who join the campaign trail to those who remain grass-roots supporters. In the age of the Internet, we are only a click away from offering political promotions to the entire globe. Whatever the degree, such a choice of public advocacy means that an affiliation is being made in the public view and, for Christians, this choice must be taken seriously. While Scripture is silent concerning the matter of political elections (biblical history is filled with judges, kings, despots, and dictatorships – not democracies), it is not silent regarding the nature of our associations. When warning the Corinthian church regarding the danger of her worldly associations, the Apostle Paul issued this command: 2 Corinthians 6:14–15: 14 “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 15 “Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” This warning of Paul’s against the Corinthians’ flirtations with worldliness is not at all new. Of course, he is not arguing for a complete avoidance of the world, which is impossible (1 Corinthians 5:10); instead, he is arguing against entering into dangerous allegiances with unbelievers that will corrupt our Gospel testimony. John Calvin helps us to understand the scope and intent of Paul’s instruction: “[v. 14] ’Be not yoked’… The word that Paul makes use of means — to be connected together in drawing the same yoke. It is a metaphor taken from oxen or horses, which require to walk at the same pace, and to act together in the same work, when fastened under one yoke. When, therefore, he prohibits us from having partnership with unbelievers in drawing the same yoke, he means simply this, that we should have no fellowship with them in their pollutions. For one sun shines upon us, we eat of the same bread, we breathe the same air, and we cannot altogether refrain from intercourse with them; but Paul speaks of the yoke of impiety, that is, of participation in works, in which Christians cannot lawfully have fellowship.“ Calvin goes on to point out that many believers utilize this text as a warning against marrying unbelievers. While Calvin is quick to point out that this is not the particular focus of Paul’s instruction, the prohibition of unequally yoked marriage constitutes a valid application of the text, in view of the principle it teaches, that is, we must forsake any close association which makes us partners with idolatry. When considering the importance of such a passage as this, I must express great concern regarding the eagerness of some believers to partner themselves with ungodly men and women for political purposes. If our heavenly citizenry holds any precedence at all, then our earthly politics should reflect this. I sense the gravity of this principle especially as a pastor. If I made the decision to yoke myself with an unbelieving candidate, offering my advocacy in public and telling Christ’s sheep that they too should vote in alignment with my choice and preference, then this would be a most disturbing choice. As a minister of the Gospel, who is called to preach the word and nothing else, it would be an act of abject intemperance to pressure God’s people into making such an allegiance. Men who do this often seek to shame those who believe that their better choice is to vote for a third party, or not at all. Remarkably, Thabiti Anyabwile has recently promoted the idea of voting for the “predictable evil” of Hillary Clinton, while Steve Camp publicly confronts those who seek alternatives to Trump (e.g., Twitter):


Public shaming such as this is often followed by the desperate illogic of: your vote for candidate “C” equals a vote for candidate “A.” Such reasoning hardly merits a response, however, it should be clear that the believer who votes his conscience (despite the fearful pressure around him) is the one who is leaving the matter of election in the sovereign hands of Almighty God.

In the end, I am thankful that when I enter a voting booth, it is private. As a matter of conscience before God, I often have to make choices that are quite difficult knowing that I am voting for flawed and imperfect people whom I do not know personally. Even if I did know them personally, such knowledge is still limited. When Christ announced to the disciples that one from their number would betray Him, the disciples had no sense of who it would be. We should learn an important lesson from this. If the disciples could not discern that they walked with the “Son of perdition” all those years, we should be even more temperate in our judgments about people, especially presidential candidates whom we have never met.


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Free Excerpt from the book: Indeed, Has Paul Really Said?

Indeed, Has Paul Really Said?
Appendix, Part 5 (excerpt)

9781935358022_frontcovThough this section is the last in the series, it is a response to Wright’s first critique of my original manuscript. I have chosen to save this matter for the conclusion of the appendix in view of its more sensitive nature. I say “sensitive” because it is my conviction that much of modern Christendom has entered into the dangerous realm of hero-worship, especially when it comes to their favorite Christian personalities. This issue has become so endemic within the Christian culture that very few perceive its influence. Let me qualify this point before proceeding, and before the reader assumes too much by what is being said in this section: we can thank God for those humble servants whose writings and examples of life are worthy of our time and imitation, however, such servants must never become the objects of our adoration or devotion. Even the Apostle Paul had the restraint and wisdom to offer an equitable rebuke to a church that was being corrupted by a similar problem:

1 Corinthians 1:12-13: 12. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13. Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

We must note that Paul had the humility to include himself in this list of names. We can thank God for such humility! Paul didn’t succumb to the temptation of ignoring those who were showing deference to him above others; instead he rebuked all those who had reduced their Christianity to a personal following which divided Christ and His body. It takes a mature man to refute a personal following, but this was the man who had become an Apostle and bond-servant of Jesus Christ. Men who, in the modern day, suffer from such a personal following would do well to imitate this humble leader of the 1st century church. As an introduction to this final section, I must first mention that the modern church has become similarly Corinthianized, and this is a problem that carries with it profound implications. Throughout my years in pastoral ministry I have found that when speaking to others about doctrine, it is not uncommon to find a peculiar sensitivity among those who are highly devoted to a particular Christian leader. The modern Christian culture, replete with its well advertised television, internet and radio markets, has created a potential minefield for the local church. Pastors discover this most when they present an interpretation of Scripture which conflicts with the interpretation of someone’s favorite Christian personality. When such contradictions arise, destructive and unnecessary conflicts can ensue. The solution to this problem is not to over-react by ignoring the best of what these leaders have to offer, however, one should exercise wisdom and caution when harvesting the most profitable elements of their teaching and example, remembering that they are fallible men. Ultimately, the church must embrace that Berean nobility which sends us back, not to human wisdom, but to the authority of God in the Scriptures. What I mention in this section is not rendered as a wholesale attack; instead it is an appeal to the very wisdom and discernment to which we are all called as Christians. As well, those who are viewed as being popular leaders in our day must be careful to exercise great caution when responding to controversies like NPP, or other dangerous doctrines like Federal Vision,[1] knowing that their commentary has the potential of leading others into greater discernment, or possibly greater error. All of this I mention at the outset because of who it is that Wright mentioned in his correspondence with me – John Piper. Wright mentioned that he had responded to Dr. Piper’s developing work: The Future of Justification. Wright’s response to Piper was given, as he said, at great length such that the final version of Piper’s book was “considerably modified” by what Wright said. Wright went on to say that there were still a good number of misunderstandings in Piper’s book, but that in the end – “it’s much better than it was!”[2] After these claims, Wright went on to mention another man whose views were transformed once Wright had the opportunity to sway him. Concerning Dr. Piper, only the Lord knows the full detail of Wright’s claims. The initial and final state of Piper’s manuscript, before and after Wright sought to improve it, cannot be known. However, Wright’s mention of Piper led me to read The Future of Justification. On the whole, The Future of Justification does a fair job of analyzing the details of Wright’s theology; however, I would contend that it fails to confront the implications of Wright’s errors. Additionally, his book is prefaced with commendations regarding Wright’s exemplary commitment to Scripture, the resurrection of Christ,[3] the Gospel, justification,[4] and rigorous scholarship.[5] Taking this list in reverse order, what I would affirm is that he (Wright) may be well studied in contemporary scholarship; however his secularized ideology has infected his devotion to everything else in the list. I have already addressed the question of Wright’s demonstrated view of Scripture in chapter four of this book, and would only add that a man’s professed devotion to anything is best evinced by his actions, rather than words, or as the Lord taught his disciples:

Matthew 7:20: “So then, you will know them by their fruits.”

Our Lord did not teach that we can know others by their words alone, instead, we see them best by means of their actual actions. Thus, I can profess to love evangelizing the lost all day long, but if I never tell others about the Savior then such words are revealed as a putrefying vapor. I am often reminded by others that Mr. Wright has in fact written a large work on the resurrection (740 pages). Perhaps it is on this basis that Piper affirmed Wright’s commitment to this key doctrine, I don’t know. But even the most cogent defense of the resurrection can be quickly gutted by a denial of the implications of such doctrine, and it is not uncommon to find our aforementioned problem of personality-adoration at the heart of succlip_image002[5]h a denial. As an illustration of this the reader should note that Mr. Wright has co-authored a book[6] with Marcus Borg, who serves as Professor of Religion at Oregon State University. Professor Borg denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in an interview with The Australian, Wright opined the following about his friend: 

“I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection,” he [Wright] says carefully, citing another eminent scholar, American theologian Marcus Borg, co-author with Wright of The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. “But the view I take of them – and they know this – is that they are very, very muddled. They would probably return the compliment. Marcus Borg really does not believe Jesus Christ was bodily raised from the dead. But I know Marcus well: he loves Jesus and believes in him passionately. The philosophical and cultural world he has lived in has made it very, very difficult for him to believe in the bodily resurrection. I actually think that’s a major problem and it affects most of whatever else he does, and I think that it means he has all sorts of flaws as a teacher, but I don’t want to say he isn’t a Christian.” [The Australian – Feature, April 13th 2006]

Notice that Wright charges Borg, not with outright error, but with being “very muddled” in his views. Now, if the Scriptures were not clear on this issue (the resurrection), then we would certainly have many muddled arguments over the matter, but the doctrine of the resurrection is one of the clearest and most central doctrines of Scripture:

Luke 24:36-39: 36. While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37. But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39. “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

John 2:13-22: 13 And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables; 16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Thy house will consume me.” 18 The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?” 19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

When it comes to establishing the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection, Luke 24 and John 2 (among other texts) are unavoidably clear. As in the case of John 2:21, John used the Greek word – somatos > soma – “body,” which clearly identifies the reality of a physical, bodily resurrection. Thus Christ’s reference to “this temple” clearly meant His own body, such that what would be physically destroyed through death would also be physically raised again in resurrection life.[7] Not even a mountain of modern “scholarship” can hide the clarity of that statement! It seems difficult to believe that anyone would want to defend the profession of a man who denies what Jesus Himself said He would do by His own power and authority (John 10:17). The test of Christian discipleship is not determined by what we subjectively feel, think, or believe about others, but by that which Christ taught by His own authority: “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.”[8] Sadly, Borg’s habit of playing fast and loose with the words of Christ does not end with the resurrection:

“I have learned that the message of Jesus was not about requirements, was not about here is what you must do or believe in order to go to heaven. It was about entering into a relationship to God now in the present–I see in that–wisdom teacher and a social father. And for me as a Christian what Jesus was like as a figure of history is a powerful testimony to the reality of the sacred or the reality of God. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that one has to believe that Jesus really walked on water, or really multiplied loaves, and so forth. And I think that a literalistic approach to scripture has in the minds of many Christians become a major obstacle. I think I would be willing to say that the teaching of Jesus makes profound religious sense to me, whether Jesus said it or not. I’ll simply say that I think given my understanding of Christianity there’s all the room in the world for disagreement about whether the resurrection of Jesus involved something happening to his corpse, things like that. I grew up in a tradition which stressed correct belief, and I now see it’s not about correct belief it all. It’s about, you know, being in relationship to that to which all this stuff points. I think the resurrection of Jesus really happened, but I have no idea if it involves anything happening to his corpse, and, therefore, I have no idea whether it involves an empty tomb, and for me, that doesn’t matter because the central meaning of the Easter experience or the resurrection of Jesus is that His followers continue to experience Him as a living reality, a living presence after His death. So I would have no problem whatsoever with archaeologists finding the corpse of Jesus. For me that would not be a discrediting of the Christian faith or the Christian tradition.”[9]

Despite Mr. Borg’s irreverent musings about the resurrection, the Apostle Paul settled the matter, once and for all, when he said:

1 Corinthians 15:17 “…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”

With all of this we are reminded that what is at stake is the Gospel itself, and when men obfuscate the Gospel we must be careful to expose such obfuscation and refute it. Mr. Piper is free to have whatever opinion of Mr. Wright that he desires, but I must contend that a man who is willing to sideline the bodily resurrection of Christ, as a non-essential, should not be so freely affirmed as a lover of the Gospel.[10] By the evaluation of Holy Writ, I am of the conviction that Wright’s indirect affirmations of heresy, along with his outright denials of imputed righteousness, place him in the category of those who are content to love and preach another Gospel:

Galatians 1:6-10: 6. I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7. which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! 10. For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

Even Paul had to contend with this same issue of personality adoration amidst his defense of the Gospel, otherwise why would it be necessary for Paul to add: “…If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” For the defenders of the Gospel, no amount of popularity, scholarship, or personal friendship should ever stand in the way of our defense and proclamation of the Gospel. An uncompromising stand for the Gospel will always yield polarizing results, but we must leave such outcomes to the Lord Himself.[11] In view of this, I was surprised by Piper’s comments regarding Wright, both in his book and in public…  [For more information on this title, please go to]

[1] The focus of our study centers on N.T. Wright’s teaching on justification, and the surrounding layers of NPP theology overall. Federal Vision theology, as a separate discussion, also carries with it many unsettling teachings that undermine and distort the Gospel, not the least of which is the notion of covenantal election and decretive election. These troubling matters will not be addressed here any further, but are only mentioned as a matter of record.
[2] Bishop Tom Wright, December 2nd 2007 correspondence, RE: “What Saint Paul Really Said…”
[3] John Piper, The Future of Justification, (Crossway Books, Wheaton IL), p. 15.
[4] Ibid, p. 17.
[5] Ibid, p. 25.
[6] The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions.
[7] Matthew 28:5-6: “……the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.”
[8] John 8:31
[9] Rethinking Jesus, PBS Interview (March 28th, 1997),
[10] Piper, The Future of Justification, p. 17.
[11] 2 Corinthians 2:14-17.

For this and additional titles available at, please go to

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In Memory of Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia

I know precious little about the now deceased Antonin Gregory Scalia, but it was quite apparent that during his life he held fast to the dignity of human life, the importance of the institution of marriage, as well as the value of the rule of law. Upon learning of his death, I was left to wonder if our Lord is now handing our nation over to the lawless zealots who hated him, and others, for such convictions. The sad thought of his passing also brought to mind the fact that I recently quoted him in my book, My Banner is Christ, in view of his piercing and poignant comments made in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013. I quoted Scalia in view of his expressed concerns over the manner in which the supporters of traditional marriage are rabidly vilified by many in our “progressive” society. In particular, his use of the Latin expression hostis humani generis, in reference to such vilification, brought to mind and memory a similar expression used by Tacitus when describing Nero’s intense prosecution and persecution of Christians in the 1st century. It is for this reason that I quoted Scalia’s judicial concerns in order to remind Christ’s body that the church has weathered very intense storms in the past, and may have to face similar trials in the future. Yet, believers must remember that God’s Supreme Court of Justice will prevail over the opinions of men. It is for this reason that believers must fear God rather than men, especially when faced by a society that is descending into the depths of unbridled lawlessness and wickedness. In view of this, I wanted to offer, for free, the very chapter in which I quote this former member of the Supreme Court. I believe that his concerns from the past issue a prescient warning for us in the days to come.
Dear brethren – if God is giving this nation over to greater lawlessness and darkness, then it behooves us to reverence Christ above all rather than the mere mortals of this passing life:





Like Vanity Fair, the world in which we live continues to proffer its ungodly wares, yet we must be committed to buying truth alone. It is a great challenge to discern and tease out those influences that appear to be helpful, but instead incline us to stray from God’s pathway with remarkable stealth. Whether by the printed page, video stream, or any other means, we are surrounded by countless counselors who seek to advise and direct. Whatever they have to say, we must always remember that Scripture alone must chart the course of our lives. As we press on in the Lord’s prescribed pathway, we may find ourselves losing the preferments and honours of mere men, or we may even face persecution, but such matters must never deter the soldier of Christ. Flavel well understood such trials himself:

“…there is no temptation in the world that hath overthrown so many, as that which hath been backed and edged with fear: the love of preferments and honours hath slain its thousands, but fear of sufferings its ten thousands.”[1]

In the end, our subjection and servitude in the fear of Christ must never be supplanted by our regard for mere men. As the men of this world proceed from bad to worse,[2] we must remember that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.[3] I find these reminders to be remarkably needful and helpful, especially since our nation has recently entered into a new phase of enmity with God and His word. On June 26th 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its ruling that “same sex marriage” cannot be prohibited by any state in the Union. By this single act, a slim majority of unelected judges had thereby created an impotent mandate opposing God and the first of all His institutions – the institution of marriage. While believers rightly mourned this irreverent act of rebellion against the Creator, our nation’s president, who repeatedly identifies himself as a Christian, proudly celebrated the court’s decision by having the White House lit up like a LGBT flag. What this portends for the future no one can say for sure, but it does appear that things are proceeding from bad to worse[4] based upon the trajectory of recent history. Exactly two years prior to this judgment by America’s highest court, another significant ruling was made against the institution of marriage. On June 26th 2013, the Supreme Court ruled against The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law which simply asserted that marriage was the union between one man and one woman.[5] Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a response against the majority ruling in which he rebuked the “high-handed” attitude of those who so eagerly undermined the institution of marriage:

“To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to ‘dis-parage,’ ‘injure,’ ‘degrade,’ ‘demean,’ and ‘humiliate’ our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homo-sexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence— indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostis humani generis, enemies of the human race.”[6]

Scalia’s observations are quite interesting, if not ironic, especially when we consider his use of the expression, hostis humani generis – enemies of the human race. Though he may not have intended the association, Scalia’s use of this Latin expression brings to mind a similar expression used by Tacitus when describing Nero’s persecution of the Christian community in the 1st century:

“But neither human resources, nor imperial munificence, nor appeasement of the gods, eliminated sinister suspicions that the fire had been instigated. To suppress this rumour, Nero fabricated scapegoats – and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judaea, Pontius Pilatus. But in spite of this temporary setback the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judaea (where the mischief had started) but even in Rome. All degraded and shameful practices collect and flourish in the capital. First, Nero had self-acknowledged Christians arrested. Then, on their information, large numbers of others were condemned – not so much for incendiarism as for their hatred of humanity (odio humani generis).[7] Their deaths were made farcical. Dressed in wild animals’ skins, they were torn to pieces by dogs, or crucified, or made into torches to be ignited after dark as substitutes for daylight.”[8]

Tacitus’ description of these early Christians reveals how they were poorly viewed within the Greco-Roman world as the haters of humanity. The most likely explanation for this label is that the Christian community resisted, for conscience’ sake, the hedonistic and idolatrous culture of the Greco-Roman world replete with its sacrifices to the gods and licentious living often associated with such worship.[9] Such opposition to idolatry was seen as an act of hostility against others, especially since the superstitious and pagan world believed that sacrifices to the gods were necessary for the greater good of the broader community.[10] Such opposition to pagan worship made the disciples the perceived enemies of the state. Though this reputation was remarkably unfair, it did point to the integrity of many believers who heralded a clear and strong Gospel witness in view of their unwillingness to compromise on the priority of exalting Christ and His authority. I would suggest that these historic points of interest offer a preview of what may come in the future. Apart from God’s merciful and gracious intervention in America’s apparent moral and spiritual suicide, further darkness will prevail in this land. Because of this, we must look to our Father with filial fear, lest we shrink back from the violent storms of this world, as Flavel said:

“It cannot be said of any man, as it is said of Leviathan, Job xli. 33 that he is made without fear; those that have most fortitude are not without some fears; and when the church is in the storms of persecution, and almost covered with the waves, the stoutest passengers in it may suffer as much from the boisterous passion within, as from the storm without; and all for want of thoroughly believing, or not seasonably remembering that, the Lord high Admiral of all the ocean, and Commander of all the winds, is on board the ship, to steer and preserve it in the storm.”[11]

It is for this reason that believers must be resolved to stand firm in the strength of the Lord’s might in order to fight the good fight of faith. Rather than shrinking back from the intense front lines of spiritual battle, in the fear of man, the church must press on with Christ’s banner (Solus Christus) on the basis of His authority alone (Sola Scriptura). The wicked choices recently made by our nation, though sad, should be seen as an opportunity to magnify Christ’s radiant glory amidst such a world of darkness. Moreover, the subject of marriage must not be avoided as if it were some ancillary point of doctrine with respect to the Gospel. Doing so would forsake many rich opportunities to magnify Christ, seeing that the Scriptures repeatedly associate the institution of marriage with the Lord’s redemption of His people. Should anyone doubt this statement, they must consult the prophets Hosea (Hosea 2:19), Isaiah (Isaiah 62:4-5), and Jeremiah (31:31-34); King Solomon (Song of Solomon 8:6); and the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:22-33). Moreover, John the Baptist’s confession of humility, as mentioned in the introduction, also happens to be rooted in the metaphor of holy matrimony:

John 3:29–30: 29 “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. And so this joy of mine has been made full. 30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Moreover, it is the true church’s ultimate longing to be joined with her Bridegroom in His eternal kingdom (Revelation 19:7-10). In all of this it is quite clear that, from the Old Testament to the New Testament, the doctrine of marriage is no ancillary subject with respect to the Gospel. If we follow the teachings of the Scriptures, while heralding Christ and His authority alone, then it is impossible to avoid this relationship between marriage and the Gospel. It is in this sense that our nation’s recent debates over homosexuality should be seen as an opportunity for the Gospel rather than as a reason to hide. In view of the church’s current circumstances, she will most likely face further hostility in the future, but we must not be surprised by this.[12] We must seek to be at peace with all men,[13] but never at the expense of the truth,[14] remembering that we as servants are not above our persecuted and crucified Lord and Master:

John 15:19–20: 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

The church in America has reached a new crossroads such that she must stand for truth while resisting compromise before a watching world. The lines of separation continue to be made all the more clear in our society, but this offers us an even greater opportunity to make it clear that we are citizens of heaven and soldiers of the cross.

Yet we must consider another landmark event related to the homosexual debate. This one has nothing to do with the Supreme Court, but has everything to do with the question of the church’s Gospel witness within a nation that is going the way of Sodom and Gomorrah. The event in question took place just months before DOMA’s undoing. President Barak Obama had just won his second term of office, and plans were being made for his upcoming presidential inauguration to be held on January 20th, 2013. As planning was underway, it was announced that the much celebrated pastor, Louie Giglio, had been invited to offer the benediction at the event. With the choice of Giglio, the White House had allied itself with a remarkably prominent Evangelical leader. His popularity among today’s youth is self-evident, as seen through his multiple books and DVDs which have sold in the millions; his annual and highly attended Passion Conference; and his recording label, Sixstepsrecords, which is distributed by Capitol Christian Music Group. The magnitude of Giglio’s cultural prominence made certain that many would be carefully watching his every move in association with the presidential inauguration: both friend and foe. All proceeded according to plan until an older sermon of Giglio’s was discovered in which he called homosexuality a sin. With the full force of the internet at their disposal, those who made this find broadcasted their rage immediately, charging that such a view was incompatible for anyone who would be tasked to pray at the inaugural celebration. Amidst a time when the debate over homosexuality was swelling, this event seemed to capture the attention of the nation and well beyond. Giglio’s past comments on homosexuality, delivered some fifteen years prior, were stirring important conversations about what the Bible actually says about marriage and sexuality. All of this seemed to produce the perfect storm of opportunity for Giglio to stand forth and state, boldly, what the Bible teaches on the subject of homosexuality, universal sin, and ultimately the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, what the waiting world received was something remarkably inferior. Shortly after the commotion over Giglio was stirred, he announced his decision to resign: a choice that was encouraged by the White House,[15] but ultimately made by Giglio himself. He then published a letter to his church (Passion City Church) which was made available on the church’s website and, as a result, the letter was more widely distributed to the public. In his letter, Giglio mentioned that, despite some ideological differences, he had fashioned a friendship with President Obama around the common goals of ending human trafficking. However, Giglio stated that he felt the necessity to withdraw his acceptance of the president’s invitation to pray at the inauguration, and the reason he supplied for this choice was quite striking:

“Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing, thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation.”

Nowhere in Giglio’s resignation letter does he state or clarify what he actually believes it is that the Bible teaches on the subject of homosexuality. His silence on this matter, though largely unnoticed, was remarkably loud. For the benefit of those who had stirred this discussion, as well as those who follow his ministry, such a response would have provided a rich opportunity to address the realities of human sin, corruption, condemnation, and mankind’s universal need for Christ. To date, Giglio has offered no statement of support, renunciation, or clarification regarding his one controversial message on homosexuality from the past.[16] His eagerness to avoid controversy was readily admitted in his resignation letter, where he said:

“I’m confident that anyone who knows me or has listened to the multitude of messages I have given in the last decade would most likely conclude that I am not easily characterized as being opposed to people—any people. Rather, I am constantly seeking to understand where all people are coming from and how to best serve them as I point them to Jesus.”

Giglio’s thoughts regarding how others should perceive him are clearly a core concern of his, but should this really be the focus of a messenger of God? After all, the Apostles were riddled with faulty accusations throughout their respective ministries here on earth, but this never led them to flee from public contests. Even Christ Himself was accused of being a glutton and drunkard,[17] deceiver,[18] liar,[19] demoniac,[20] Sabbath breaker,[21] immoralist,[22] heretic,[23] and riot-maker;[24] yet our Savior unflinchingly declared truth to those who blasphemed Him. Exactly where in Scripture are believers enjoined to focus on the public’s perception of them above the priority of proclaiming the truth? While the thought of pointing others to Jesus, as Giglio mentions, is commendable, we must wonder if this includes the avoidance of opposing people – any people, as he said. The dramatic reality all believers must face is that God’s word is inherently divisive[25] in a Christ-hating world. Though this truth may seem harsh, we do ourselves and others no favors by pretending it is not real. Just the mere mention of biblical truth within this enmity-filled world is enough to provoke an abundance of hostility. Though we earnestly seek the reconciliation of the lost through the message of the Gospel,[26] we must also understand that the very Gospel which has the power to reconcile sinners to God is the same Gospel which divides, convicts, and cuts like a two edged sword.[27] Thus, to some, the knowledge of Christ is a sweet aroma. To others it is the stench of death:

2 Corinthians 2:14–17: 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

While we must guard against the introduction of any offense due to our own sin or foolishness, we must never seek to nullify the inherent offense of the Gospel. In the end, we cannot interfere with the manner in which the Spirit wields His own Sword,[28] for we have no governance over how men will respond to the truth when it is proclaimed. In his letter, Giglio rightly spoke of our nation’s need for grace and mercy, however, one must wonder how he thought this should be achieved: “Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever we need God’s grace and mercy in our time of need.” Giglio’s expressed concern over America’s deep divide and simultaneous need for grace and mercy raises further questions about his choice to resign and remain silent. Though conflict-avoidance may seem to issue such grace and mercy to this world, I must argue that it does not. As the pillar and support of the truth, the central means by which the church is to minister the love, grace, and mercy of Christ to this lost and dying world is by proclaiming God’s word abroad. And while the subject of homosexuality is not the heart of the Gospel message by itself, it is directly connected to it as is any sin.[29] For this reason, the avoidance of this divisive subject is not the solution. If we faithfully and lovingly proclaim the truth of God’s word, resulting in deep division and pain,[30] then we must accept this as a part of the Spirit’s promised ministry of convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.[31]
I would submit to the reader that Giglio’s reason for his withdrawal is deeply troubling. Before a watching world this highly celebrated pastor not only refrained from stating the Bible’s clear teaching on homosexuality, but he also withdrew from any further debate or discourse on the subject altogether. Those who shouted loudly in support of the gay agenda successfully silenced a highly visible pastor on an issue that, in fact, should be discussed for the sake of heralding Christ in the Gospel. What became a victory for the homosexual community turned into a moment of shame for the church. Giglio’s withdrawal from this controversy is also remarkable in view of a key statement he made in his Passion 2013 message, Resurrecting These Bones,

“No one does great things without going through fire.”

His above statement is quite true, yet, we must wonder about the example he has set before a watching world. Those who follow this popular pastor may very well deduce from his example that it is best to avoid controversy, especially if the controversy in question is not of one’s own choosing – as Giglio said. Yet, is this the example of the Apostles in the Scriptures? Is it not the case that the Apostle Paul was dragged into a great number of fights which were not of his choosing, and yet he embraced these conflicts as God’s providential opportunities to proclaim the Gospel – both by word and deed? Paul rightly understood that the external conflicts which he experienced in this world only served the greater purpose of magnifying the name of Jesus in the message of Christ and Him crucified. Not counting his life as dear to himself, his principal priority was not self-preservation. Contrarily, if his priority had been that of self-preservation, or conflict avoidance, he would not have been able to finish the course of his ministry. As we observed the Apostle’s words earlier: “I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”[32] A simple reading of the book of Acts should remind us all that the sparks of conflict often spread the flames of the Gospel whenever the Savior’s Lordship is magnified over all aspects of life. In fact, it was precisely when Paul suffered as a prisoner in Philippi, singing praises to God from that musty cell of his, that his true emancipation in Christ was made evident to the Philippian jailer. The Philippian jailer knew that, though he was free, he was a slave to sin; and that though Paul was a prisoner, he was the true freedman of Christ (1 Cor. 7:22). When the watching world sees a Christian standing unflinchingly in the face of ungodly opposition, they are beholding a power that is truly supernatural. But when they see men fleeing contests in order to avoid unwanted controversy, or to appease men, they are seeing what all men do by their common, fallen nature. Flavel helps us on this very point:

“…it is impossible to serve God without distractions, till we can serve him without the slavish fear of enemies.”[33]

The example set by those who serve in leadership, for better or worse, is of critical importance. Pastors will either be the fearful slaves of men, or the slaves of Christ – the choice is simple, but quite grave. They will either preach the whole counsel of God for the glory of the Master (Acts 20:27), or cherry pick messages which satisfy the expectations of this world. Should a pastor find himself among that latter category, he will have the shameful bloodguilt of men on his hands. All believers must face down the common temptation of thinking that by gaining some measure of leverage with the world, the church can minister more effectively; instead, the ultimate result is that the fulcrum of worldly evil eventually brings Christ’s body down.
As we think further about the growing conflict over the subject of homosexuality in our nation, the church should consider what her approach to this ought to be. The culture in which we live will most certainly demand that we address this subject as time continues. Homosexual sin, like any other sin, is an opportunity to explain a universal truth about all mankind:

John 8:34: Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”

This is the subject of slavery that should capture our attention the most, especially when we consider mankind’s greatest need. As the Savior teaches, all are slaves of sin, because all men sin. The good news of the Gospel is that though the natural man is a slave of sin, he can be emancipated by the One who has all power over sin and death:[34]

John 8:36: “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”

One of Satan’s great tactics is to have men believe that they are truly free when, in reality, they are not. Much of what is so offensive about the Gospel is that its message is just the opposite of Satan’s deception. Thus, the Gospel stands as an offense to the earthly and carnal desires of lost men, but if we love the lost truly, we should share the truth with them for the glory of Christ no matter what the results may be. Shrinking back from this priority is not an option for the disciples of Christ. Imagine if one were to redact the book of Acts such that every contest which Paul faced, not of his choosing, ended with his preemptive flight from such controversies. Such an approach to conflict would have resulted in the stifling of his preaching and exemplification of the grace of God[35] in the presence of men. Of course, he would have been spared from the “beatings, imprisonments, and tumults” (2 Corinthians 6:5), the very afflictions which gave his physical appearance the mutilating brand-marks of Jesus. (Gal 6:17). Yet, neither would he have carried the fragrant aroma of Christ as one who could say: “…indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2 Cor 1:9). In all of this, I am greatly concerned that the modern culture of Christendom is more caught up with mere form and fashion than it is with the brutal realities of a life that is fully dedicated to the Gospel ministry. It would appear that men today are more preoccupied with cool appearances, hipster haircuts, and whatever else is deemed as trendy within this world. As Spurgeon once said, “…we need soldiers, not fops,[36] earnest laborers, not genteel loiterers.”[37] Simply put, any shepherd who wishes to emulate the Good Shepherd in this harsh battle of life must remember that it is not an option to flee at the sight of encroaching wolves. The habit of hirelings has no place in public ministry:

John 10:12–13: 12 “He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them.13 “He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep.”

The watching world does not need more silence from the church, instead it needs brethren to speak the truth in love, even though that truth may be hated with satanic fervor. As already noted, the debate over homosexuality is not a distraction from the Gospel. The relevancy of the doctrine of marriage and the doctrine of universal sin points to the Lord’s plan of redemption. There is, however, another point of connection between the homosexual debate and the Bible. In God’s divine providence it is profoundly ironic that the homosexual community’s banner of choice is, of all things, the rainbow.[38] I call this ironic in view of God’s purpose for the rainbow, as juxtaposed to the homosexual community’s maligned use of it. When we consider the rainbow’s origin, we find a remarkable message of God’s judgment and mercy with respect to mankind. Having destroyed the world of wickedness in a deluge, God gave Noah the promise that He would never again destroy all flesh by means of a flood. Therefore God revealed to Noah “the bow [h&Q#c#t] that is in the cloud” (i.e., rainbow) as His symbol to all of mankind that He would refrain from giving humanity what it otherwise deserves, thereby supplying a measure of mercy to the sons of men while they live on the earth. The Hebrew word h&Q#c#t is normally used in reference to a bow used in hunting or warfare. Those who have ever drawn a recurve bow know that it takes an abundance of strength to draw and sustain a bow’s tension. Releasing the bow is the easy part, but keeping it drawn and restrained for long periods of time requires significant force. I would suggest to the reader that this very concept represents two important truths: 1. God is mercifully withholding the wrath that we deserve due to indwelling sin; and 2. One day, His bow of wrath will be released in the judgment of men. It is this very picture of God’s temporal mercy upon the sons of men that is similarly unveiled in the New Testament: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36). This text in John 3 unpacks some of the inherent symbolism of God’s h&Q#c#t (bow) of judgment and mercy: His mercy is now active such that men “live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28), enjoying “rains and fruitful seasons” here on the earth (Acts 14:17). Yet, John 3:36 tells us that God’s wrath “abides” on all those who do not obey the Son. That word “abides” (menei) is a present active indicative verb, indicating a present and ongoing reality in God’s relation with this world. John 3:36 is a picture of presently restrained wrath denoting an active tension of God’s present mercy which will someday give way to the release of His just and eternal wrath upon all those who resist Him. In the days of Noah, the world of sinful men was destroyed by water, but in His final judgment the present heavens and earth will be destroyed by fire such that even the elements will be consumed with intense heat.[39] In all of this, the rainbow is both awesomely beautiful, yet haunting in light of its implied message. Overall, the rainbow is not just a fearful warning to the homosexual community, it is a fearful declaration to all men in light of God’s promised future wrath. It is a reminder that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23); and that the wages of our sin is death (Romans 6:23); therefore, apart from Christ, all men are counted as God’s enemies (Romans 5:8) and must plead for mercy and grace which is fully revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ. Like the discussion of marriage, it is impossible to discuss the sin of homosexuality without discussing the Gospel and our universal need for Christ.

If possible, as far as it depends upon us, we are to be at peace with all men,[40] yet without a shred of compromise over truth. Any peace that is achieved at the expense of heralding God’s truth and glory is no peace at all. Much precious blood has been spilled throughout history by saints who refused to shrink back from upholding God’s word in a fallen world, and for this reason we can echo the truth that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.[41] It would be a dangerous presumption to conclude that the persecutions of yesteryear could never revisit the church again. Flavel warned his readers of such a dangerous presumption, especially in view of those brethren throughout history who suffered and died in the defense of God’s truth:

“We are conscious to ourselves how far short we come in holiness, innocency, and spiritual excellency of those excellent persons who have suffered these things; and therefore have no ground to expect more favour from providence than they found…If we think these evils shall not come in our days, it is like many of them thought so too; and yet they did, and we may find it quite otherwise (Lam. iv. 12)…the same race and kind of men that committed these outrages upon our brethren, are still in being…their rage and malice is not abated in the least degree, but is as fierce and cruel as ever it was…”[42]

The Lord promises His people many things in His word, one of which is the promise given by the Apostle Paul: all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.[43] When affliction arises, we may be tempted to flee in the face of opposition, but we must resist this in reverence for Christ. John Bunyan did not write The Pilgrim’s Progress in the quietude and comfort of his pastor’s study; instead, he wrote it while serving time in jail. His “crime” was quite simple: as a non-conformist minister, he refused to stop preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for this he was imprisoned twice for a total of thirteen years. Had Bunyan wished to avoid this conflict, all that was required was his silence, but this was an idolatrous sacrifice that he refused to offer up to his earthly overlords. Instead, Bunyan retained his witness for Christ and the Gospel by refusing to seek the approval and praise of the men of this world. Understanding the corruption of seeking worldly praise and affirmation, Bunyan created the obsequious character, Mr. By-ends, who was from the land of Fair-speech. His love for worldly praise belied his professed love for Christ. Christian asked Mr. By-ends who his relatives were in the town of Fair-speech, and this was his response:

“Almost the whole town; and in particular my Lord Turn-about, my Lord Time-server, my Lord Fair-speech, from whose ancestors that town first took its name; also, Mr. Smooth-man, Mr. Facing-both-ways, Mr. Any-thing; and the parson of our parish, Mr. Two-tongues, was my mother’s own brother, by father’s side…’Tis true, we somewhat differ in religion from those of the stricter sort, yet but in two small points: First, we never strive against wind and tide. Secondly, we are always most zealous when religion goes in his silver slippers; we love much to walk with him in the street, if the sun shines and the people applaud him.”[44]

When we honestly and openly admit our imperfection and frailty as mere men, we must admit that the hypocrisy of Mr. By-ends and his kin is much closer to us all than we might wish to believe. Only by God’s grace we can resist such compromise by living as lights in this dark world.

[1] Flavel, A Practical Treatise of Fear, 277.
[2] 2 Timothy 3:13.
[3] 2 Timothy 3:12.
[4] 2 Timothy 3:13.
[5] DOMA was originally passed on September 21st 1996.
[6] National Journal: Scalia: ‘High-Handed’ Kennedy Has Declared Us ‘Enemies of the Human Race’,
[7] Scalia’s reference to hostes humani generis, though strikingly similar in meaning, is probably rooted in maritime history, rather than being a quote from the ancient Roman historian.
[8] Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1993), 365, italics mine.
[9] Minucius Felis: “You apprehensive and anxiety-ridden Christians abstain from innocent pleasures. You don’t watch the public spectacles, you don’t take part in the processions, you absent yourselves from the public banquets, you shrink away from sacred games, sacrificial meat, and altar libations. That’s how frightened you are of the gods whose existence you deny!” Minucius Felix, Octavius 8.4, 5; 9.2, 4-7; 10.2, 5; 12:5.
[10] “…The existence of the gods depends to an appreciable extent on man’s devotion to them. Varro puts this quite simply when he writes: ‘I am afraid that some gods may perish simply from neglect.’” Robert Maxwell Ogilvie, The Romans and Their Gods (New York: WW Norton & Company, 1969), 42.
[11] Flavel, A Practical Treatise on Fear, p. 242.
[12] 1 John 3:13: Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates you.
[13] Romans 12:17-18.
[14] Matthew 10:34-37.
[15]“We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection, and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this inaugural,” said Addie Whisenant, the spokeswoman for the committee. “Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.” NY Times Minister Backs Out of Speech at Inaugural, Jan 10th
[16] Prior to the writing of this book, I sought to gain clarification on his views regarding homosexuality by phone and private letter. To date, I have received no response from him, or any other leader from the church.
[17] Matthew 11:19a.

[18] John 7:12.
[19] Matthew 27:63.
[20] John 8:52.
[21] Luke 6:2.
[22] Luke 5:29-32, Matthew 11:19b.
[23] Matthew 26:65.
[24] Luke 23:14.
[25] Matthew 10:34-39.
[26] 2 Corinthians 5:20.
[27] Hebrews 4:12–13: 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
[28] Ephesians 6:17.
[29] 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 5:5-6, Romans 1:18-32, Revelation 22:14-17.
[30] 1 Corinthians 1:18-23.
[31] John 16:7-11.
[32] Acts 20:24.
[33] Flavel, A Practical Treatise of Fear, 271.
[34] 1 Corinthians 15:57.
[35] 1 Thessalonians 1:5-13.
[36] Fop: A man who is excessively concerned with his appearance.
[37] C.H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, (Grand Rapids: Zoncervan Publishing, 1996), 36.
[38] The establishment of the rainbow, as a symbol for the homosexual community, is normally attributed to Gilbert Baker – an artist from San Francisco – who first designed the flag in 1978. There is no apparent evidence that Baker was attempting to imitate the Bible’s description of the rainbow in Genesis 9. Instead, the homosexual community has used several colors (in recent history) in order to depict various aspects and perspectives of the gay community.
[39] 2 Peter 3:3-10.
[40] Romans 12:18: 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
[41] Normally attributed to Tertullian.
[42] Flavel, A Practical Treatise of Fear, p. 267.
[43] 2 Timothy 3:12.
[44] John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress.
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