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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

I recently was pointed to the “Patriarchy Movement” by a person on another website. I found the information that I was able to find on it rather interesting. The question here is, is this Patriarchy harmful to Christian families, or to the church? Or is it beneficial?

Here is a link to a number of sermons that are against the “Patriarchy Movement.”

And here is a link to a lengthy article on Patriarchy. I’ll post some snippets here.

The Christian family, especially the role of the father, has been under relentless attack by the forces of secular humanism. Egalitarianism, though arising originally in a legitimate desire to allow all men, regardless of race, to enjoy the benefits of Christian civilization, eventually came to enthrone the will of the individual and to decry ANY differences-including biological ones. In the past fifty years women were “liberated” from the home and promised that they could “have it all” including family, career and autonomy if they adopted humanist values. However, humanism has largely destroyed the American family; birth rates plummeted to sub-zero replacement levels, divorce rates skyrocketed, and millions of children, the victims of broken homes, are now at risk of mutigenerational poverty, crime, and drug addiction; in effect becoming cultural parasites.

First, the name itself often leads some Christians to have a negative disposition before they have even considered the position. The word “patriarchy” conjures up images of stern, Old Testament figure (perhaps with a long white beard), ruling his family with an iron hand, squelching individual initiative, oppressing women and micromanaging every aspect of his children’s lives. Since most will reject that image, we then also reject the concept, without actually evaluating what a “patriarchy” might be and whether or not it is something of which God might approve.

Until the twentieth century, Americans almost universally held to this doctrine of representation in some form or the other. The reason why women were not allowed to vote had nothing to do with women being considered “inferior” or “too emotional” (these values arose during the Victorian era and were themselves theologically and socially deviant) but rather because the husband and father was ASSUMED to represent the family to the broader community. By definition, there could only be ONE representative of the family just as there could only be ONE representative of the Human Race to God!

In regards to a woman’s right to vote; if husband and wife are truly “one flesh” and the husband is doing his duty to represent the family to the wider community, then what PRACTICAL benefit does allowing women to vote provide? If husband and wife agree on an issue, then one has simply doubled the number of votes; but the result is the same. Women’s voting only makes a difference when the husband and wife disagree; a wife, who does not trust the judgment of her husband, can nullify his vote. Thus, the immediate consequence is to enshrine the will of the individual OVER the good of the family thus creating divisions WITHIN the family.

For example, biblical patriarchy never excuses, justifies or motivates godly men to devalue, denigrate or relegate godly women to “second-class” status in the home. Women are NOT inferior to men even if they are subordinate in their roles. Husband and wife are to be “one flesh;” which is more than a quaint euphemism for marital intimacy but rather a spiritual union of two individuals (1 Cor 6:16-17). Granted the wife is to respect her husband and submit to him (1 Ptr 3:1) but the husband is also required to treat her with grace, kindness and respect granting her honor as a joint-heir of the Kingdom, lest God refuse to hear his prayers (1 Ptr 3:7). In pagan patriarchy, the wife was often little more than a domestic servant and child-bearer (as in ancient Greece, the “cradle” of “democracy”) but in the biblical view, God praises the godly woman for her industriousness, creativity, aesthetics and business acumen (Pvbs 31:10ff). A wise man, understanding his duty as representative, will therefore lawfully utilize all the assets of the family, including his wife’s wisdom, gifts and concerns, for the common good of the family.

Now the question is, is this style of Patriarchy Biblical? Is it a Biblical model the family? Is it incorrect, and if it is, why?

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What’s the key to staying happy as a single, particularly a Christian single? Don’t ask me, I haven’t found it yet. I still sometimes get down about the fact that three-fifths of my younger siblings have all gotten married before me. And yeah, being single for so long in your life kinda gets old. If you’ve been single for any length of time, you’ve probably heard “So when are you going to get married?” or “Have you found anybody yet?” Yeah, that gets old after a while. And annoying. Especially when your parents are like “we need to find you a girl and get you married off.” It’s really not that easy you know. Especially when your church doesn’t have any singles. How bad does that stink eh? And if you do find someone that you may be interested in, you have to figure out where they stand on issues that you deem important. Side issues have some importance, but not as important as say, where they stand on doctrinal issues, etc. And yeah, if you’re a more modest or old-fashioned style dresser, you want somebody who’s there with you. There are lots of reasons that folks are single.

So while we’re single, what do we do? Well, sitting around and moping about your singleness probably isn’t going to help. And neither is running after the first gal/guy who comes along so strongly that they can smell the stench of desperation dripping off of you.

Some people choose to take their time of singleness, and turn it into “fun time.” In other words, they sow their wild oats. Drugs, drunkeness, pre-marital sex, and other activities look inviting to them. They decide to settle down when they get married, but when they finally get married, they carry baggage from all these sinful activities. And this baggage carries over into the married lives, and causes disharmony, distrust, and other issues that but for the grace of God would destroy the marriages of Christians(and many times do destroy marriages).

What does Scripture say for the single Christian to do with their life while they wait? The Apostle Paul gives us some instruction in 1 Corinthians 7.

1Co 7:32-35 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: (33) But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. (34) There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (35) And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

Singles are able to serve the Lord without the distraction of families that are dependent upon them for survival. While Christians are single, they ought to use their talents to serve the Body of Christ. They ought to find a way to do something in the local church. And let’s face it, the busier that we are as singles, the less time we have to worry about our singleness and wondering if we’ll ever get married. Now it’s not really easy to do that, I know. Especially since those of us in more conservative and Fundamental churches are more likely to have some concern expressed about our singleness by individuals in our congregations. And while we serve God, it’s likely that our spouse will come along when we least expect it. Point is, for the rest of my single friends(and acquaintances, and my three enemies over there), we need to stay busy, we need to serve God, and we need to quit bemoaning our singleness. We need to accept it, trust God, and move on.

And just as an afterthought, staying pure until marriage is not a bad thing. I know for us guys, it’s hard to talk about remaining pure at our jobs(if we work in a secular environment). You tend to get made fun of that way. Other guys don’t understand it, they think you’re weird. And they’ll try to convince you that having sex isn’t that big of a deal. Just the other night, one of the guys at work tried to talk me into going to a “gentleman’s club” with him and some of the other guys. When I responded negatively to that idea, he asked me why, since it wasn’t like I would be having sex. It’s hard for some people to realize that remaining pure not just in the sense of intercourse but also in other areas can be a good thing. It’s harder for guys in our society than it is for girls. But it’s hard for girls too, I won’t deny that. Oddly enough, I’ve had some unsaved guys express privately to me that they wished that they had at least waited longer, or even until they had gotten engaged or married. Guys and Girls, when you think of it, pray for your future spouse, even if you haven’t met them yet. Pray that they will resist temptation. And pray for yourself, that if they haven’t, you can still love them and not hold it over them because you waited.

It’s okay to hope for marriage, and to pray for the day to come. It’s okay to look forward to finding that special someone. It’s okay to want and desire that special companionship that comes with marriage. But don’t make it the overriding theme of your life. Don’t become known as the single that won’t shut up about being single.

Now a special message for married couples:
GET OFF OUR BACKS!!!! Stop bothering us about when we’re going to get married. Instead of making that such a big deal, encourage singles in your church to get involved. Sponsor a cook-out at your home for singles. Pray for them, encourage them in their day-to-day lives.

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Music can be a bit of a touchy subject in Christian circles, especially in Fundamental Baptist circles. What constitutes good Christian Music? And especially, what constitutes good Christian music for church services? Now, I could be considered by some as too liberal in my music. As far as church music, I love hymns, country gospel, southern gospel, and some CCM. However, there’s very little CCM that I enjoy. And I can’t get too into some southern or country Gospel.
My personal music tastes as far as church music tends to reject music that is too loud, too rocky, or too repetitious. Much of CCM is theological fluff, and too repetitious, even if you reformat it just to be played on the piano or a guitar. And if there’s anything that I hate more than too much repetition in singing, it’s songs that are theological fluff. Allow me to post a video that explains this a bit more eloquently than I can.

Now, not all CCM is theological fluff. Some CCM songs contain great theological truths that put them on the same level as the great hymns of the faith. These songs contain great truths about who God is, what His attributes are, and how Holy He is. Much of CCM is man-centered however, it’s about what “God has done for me” and never gets beyond that, or it focuses on “what I do with God.” And I think in some cases, this reflects where somebody is in their spiritual walk. If somebody never moves past the songs that are spiritual pablum into music that has theological depth, can it really be said that they are maturing as Christians? Now, we must be careful not to judge someone’s spirituality based on what type of Christian music they are listening to in their car. It could be that they are going through a rough time, and God is using that song in their life. Christian music can play a great part in the life of the believer, and so we must be careful that we are not listening to theological tripe.

An example of theological tripe that has made it into CCM music. The following song is done by Brooks and Dunn, a country music duo. But this song is now being covered by Contemporary Christian Musicians. The song is theologically inaccurate, and nothing more than tripe. You can watch the video below(it has rather soft music in comparison to a lot of CCM songs if you’re not sure if you should listen to it or not). If you’d prefer not to watch the video, the lyrics can be found here.

In opposition to a song like the above, we have the song “In Christ Alone” which was written I believe by Keith Getty. This song is much more theological in nature. It’s lyrics contain great depth into who Christ is and what He did for us. Listen to it below, accompanied only by the piano, and read the lyrics here.

In Christ Alone stands in striking contrast to much of what is churned out by CCM musicians today. Of course, when many of the hymns were written, there were other songs put out during those times that were considered theological tripe and that did not stand the test of time. We do not today have the whole of the songs that were sung by Christians throughout the ages, but much of what we do have has stood the test of time and has proven itself to be an asset to the church. Of course, we do have some hymns that really need to be kicked out of the hymnal, since they are theological tripe. While perhaps having some value as folk songs, they don’t deserve to be in the hymnal. I’m sure you’ve heard the following song before. I don’t necessarily have a problem with the song for camp-meetings or what-not, but as a church song? What precisely is it’s value to the church that it gets included in a hymnal? Lyrics here.

In short, Christian Music should first and foremost be theologically correct. It should also contain theological depth, particularly when used for congregational singing. It probably shouldn’t be overly repetitious, as that’s just boring. I’ve watched people’s faces many times as we’ve sang a song that had 7 words sung 11 times, and they just look bored to tears. I know I am. I don’t want a congregational song that’s going to go on for seven and a half minutes because the song leader wants to keep going and going like the Energizer bunny. Use songs that are tried and true, and be wary of the newer music. Listen to it, and match it up to Scripture.

As a parting bonus, here’s one of my favorite hymns of all time. It’s sung by an English singer named Michael Ball here. This is a shorter version of the hymn, but nonetheless very beautiful.

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If you watched the special on ABC News the other night, you may have caught the documentary “The Outsiders” which covered young Amish people who are trying out the “English lifestyle.” If you watched the show in it’s entirety, you may have caught a man who is a missionary to the Amish by the name of Joe Keim. Joe Keim has been a missionary to the Amish for several years. He and I spoke briefly about his work a few years ago. His own website can be found here. Joe Keim has a great ministry that attempts to reach the Amish, and help them cope with the outside world when they finally make the choice to leave. Pray for Joe Keim and those who work with his ministry, and for those that they are reaching through their ministry.

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A new Georgia law is preventing convicted “sex offenders” from participating in church activities. Anything from singing in the choir to preparing a meal in the kitchen is now off-limits to sex offenders in the state of Georgia.

ATLANTA — Five sex offenders filed a lawsuit Tuesday claiming that a tough new Georgia law that bans them from volunteering at churches also robs them of their right to participate in religious worship.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Rome, claims the Georgia law effectively “criminalizes fundamental religious activities” for sex offenders and bars them from serving as a choir member, secretary, accountant or any other role with a religious organization.

“Even helping a pastor with Bible study or preparing a meal in a church kitchen will subject (sex offenders) to prosecution and imprisonment,” the complaint said.

To begin with, when did it become legal for the government to begin telling the church how they could conduct religious activities, and who could participate? The Constitution clearly prevents the state from interfering with religious activities, so long as there is no harm being done by religious activities. The big question here is “does the government have the right to legislate who and who may not engage in either voluntary or paid religious activities?”

Secondly, how exactly are we defining “sex offender” here? Are we limiting the religious activities of somebody who thirty years ago as a twenty year old boy had sex with a seventeen year old girl? Or how about somebody who didn’t even commit a sexual crime, but under highly idiotic laws gets slapped onto the sex offender registry anyway?

“Certain people on the sex offender registry should not work with children in a church setting or elsewhere,” says Sarah Geraghty, an attorney with the center. “But criminalizing the practice of religion for all 15,000 people on the registry will do more harm than good.”

The group’s lawsuit centers on five sex offenders who fear the new provision, which goes into effect July 1, will ban them from participating in many religious functions.

Among them is Omar Howard, a 33-year-old who is on the registry after he was convicted of false imprisonment of a minor during a 1993 burglary.

He got involved in a Christian ministry during his 14 year prison sentence and he became an active volunteer at several churches after his release last year. Now he’s not sure whether the law will allow him to help prepare for revival meetings, serve on church committees or sing in the choir, which he feels is part of his calling.

“What really can I do? This law cripples me. All I can do is go to sermons and leave. Why am I a threat to exercise my faith?” he said.

Let’s take a look at the crimes of some of the volunteers who would no longer be allowed to work in the church under this law.

Andrew Norton: Andrew Norton, now 25, is on the registry for a crime that occurred at age 12. Mr. Norton, his wife, and two daughters are devoutly religious. Mr. Norton volunteers as part of a ministry to spread word about his church and to pass along the message of Jesus. He is not involved in any church activity that involves unsupervised contact with minors.

Lori Collins: Lori Collins is on the registry for statutory rape. She completed the Georgia Department of Corrections Faith and Character Program and is now an ordained minister. Since Ms. Collins’ release from prison, she has been active in prison ministry outreach and regularly attends Mt. Paran Church of God. None of Ms. Collins’ volunteer activities with the church involve being around minors. She only wants to continue to serve God by spreading his Word and being active in the life of the Church.

Angela Coffey is on the registry for having sex with a 17-year-old student in her class. Ms. Coffey went to prison for this offense, and was released this year. She is a churchgoer and would like her daughter to be raised in the church. Because of the extremely harsh penalties imposed by this statute, she is fearful of participating in activities that might be considered “volunteering” such as Bible study, serving on church committees and helping to prepare for church gatherings.

Here are the crimes of the plaintiffs in this case.

Omar Howard-Never convicted of a sexual crime. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, false imprisonment, armed robbery, and other crimes related to a burglary. Because one of the individuals who was falsely imprisoned was a minor, he is required to register as a sexual offender.

Andrew Norton-Committed an undisclosed crime at the age of 12. He is required to register as a sex offender. None of his volunteer activities involve him working with minors.

Lori Collins-Convicted of statutory rape with a 15 year old minor in 2002. She is now an ordained minister through her denomination, and volunteers in prison ministry. As of July 1, 2008 when this law goes into effect, she will no longer be able to work in the prison ministry. Nor will she be able to help prepare for prayer meetings, revival meetings, seminars, or other church activities.

Angela Coffey-Convicted of statutory rape of a 17 year old minor in 2007. Now attends church with her 13 month old daughter. She desires to be active in her church, but under the new law would be prevented from doing any volunteer work in her church.

And here is the declaration of Rev. Floyd Rose, who stated that in his opinion this law would prevent individuals from participating in their church fully as believers.

This law, according to the motion filed to put an injunction in place against it, would require someone who broke this law to spend a minimum of 10 years in prison, and a maximum of 30. And that’s only for volunteering in a church! Many sexual offenders get less jail time for raping or molesting their victims.

This law is clearly overstepping the bounds of the government, and is interfering with religious freedom. The church has a duty to protect it’s most vulnerable from predators, yes. However, the church also has the duty to help believers find their gifts and engage in ministry. The government has no right to intrude on the church in this manner. And certainly not without clarifying who the bill is meant for, and what they’re prohibited from doing.

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If pulpit committees and churches would look below the facade of scare-tactic accusations and warnings being rolled out like taffy at the Mississippi State Fair, they would discover something healthy and very desirable in the men and the message preached of those against whom they are warned. The twentieth-century slide into liberalism rode on the back of a growing indifference to the doctrines of grace, because the doctrines of grace are tied vitally to more biblical doctrines than just perseverance of the saints. The recovery of a fully salubrious evangelical preaching ministry depends largely on the degree to which the doctrines of grace are recovered and become the consciously propagated foundation of all gospel truth.

If a church, therefore, gets a Calvinist preacher, she will get a good thing. Several issues will be settled forever and the church will not have to wonder about the soundness of her preacher on these items of biblical truth and their soul-nurturing power. Calvinists have stood for more than just their distinguishing doctrines, but have held steadfastly to other doctrines that are essential for the health of Baptist churches in our day. Let’s look at a few of these.

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Some refer to the first point of Calvinism as “Total Depravity.” However, this phrase is a bit misleading. To most people, the phrase “total depravity” would mean that all persons are as completely and utterly as evil as they can possibly be. Which is why I prefer Radical Depravity/Total Inability. Radical depravity means that mankind is a sinful creature by nature and unable to come to God on their own.

The doctrine of Total Inability, which declares that men are dead in sin, does not mean that all men are equally bad, nor that any man is as bad as he could be, nor that anyone is entirely destitute of virtue, nor that human nature is evil in itself, nor that man’s spirit is inactive, and much less does it mean that the body is dead. What it does mean is that since the fall of man rests under the curse of sin, that he is actuated by wrong principles, and that he is wholly unable to love God or to do anything meriting salvation.-Lorraine Boetner-The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Our nature is a result of the first sin. The sin of Adam resulted in sin being passed upon all men, so that all are sinners. Mankind is born with a sin nature, dead spiritually to the things of God. We are unable commit any righteous acts without the grace of God. The first sin produced original sin. That means that because of the sin of Adam and Eve, the entire human race fell. The doctrine of original sin teaches that our very nature is influenced by sin.

Rom 5:12-19 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (13) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (15) But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (16) And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. (17) For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (18 ) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Eph 2:1-9 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by (grace ye are saved; ) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (7) That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. ( 8 ) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

On the above passage, James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken made some interesting points in the book “The Doctrines of Grace-Rediscovering the Evangelical Doctrine.”

1. The sinner is dead in sins.
2. The sinner actively practices evil.
3. The sinner is enslaved.
4. The sinner is by nature an object of wrath.

Mankind is completely dead to God and the things of God, but is “alive” to sin. Scripture clearly teaches this. Not only is man spiritually dead, but he is unable or unwilling to come to God on his own.

Rom 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

The above passage teaches us something too, first and foremost, that man’s moral nature is sinful(radically depraved). It also teaches us that man does not seek after God(inability). Mankind does not seek after God, and mankind does not seek to do the things of God.

If the above is true, that mankind is sinful and seeks not the things of God, then something has to change in order for man to come to God. Otherwise, no man could be saved.

Generally, there are three views on the “will of man” in regards to sin nature.
First, we will look at the view of Pelagius. His view is easily summed up in a few brief points.
1. Adam’s sin and guilt affected no one but himself.
2. Mankind is born not into a sinful state, but a morally neutral state.
3. Mankind is capable of living sinless if they choose to do so.
It’s easy to see how the above contradicts any biblical doctrine of sin.

The next view is one that states that mankind’s will is free, and that he is not totally dead to God and the things of God. It teaches that mankind, while born with a sin nature, is completely free to choose or reject God without being influenced by that nature wholly.

The third view, is that because mankind is a)dead in sins, and b)unwilling to come to God, then something must change for man to come to Christ. Jonathan Edwards wrote on this topic in his “The Freedom of the Will.” The first thing Edwards did was define the will. He defined it as being “that by which the mind makes choices.” That is to say, that the mind makes a decision based on what is the most desirable course of action. Second, Edwards looked at the question of why the mind makes the choices it does. Edwards stated that the mind has motives for choosing what it does. It is not neutral. The mind has certain things that it desires more than others. If the mind were confronted with two choices, one that it loved and the other that it hated, and it chose the hated, then it would be acting irrationally. And here we get to the crux of this point. Since mankind does not seek God, and hates the things of God, the mind will not choose God. Mankind’s nature is to seek sin. The mind, therefore, will choose the most desirable action because of it’s nature, even though it recognizes that sometimes these actions are morally wrong. A simple illustration would be the difference between carnivores(meat eaters) and herbivores(plant eaters). You could set a bucket of oats in front of a wolf. Physically, the wolf could eat the oats. However, it will not eat the oats because by it’s very nature it seeks after meat. Mankind could choose not to sin, in theory, but by our nature, we choose to sin even though we recognize that our actions may be morally wrong.

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