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MacArthur vs. Moore and Feminism in the Church

Bernie Diaz, November 6-7, 2019

There is an old story of a conversation between a school teacher and some female students that reminds me of a controversy brewing in evangelical church circles today, as part of another battle ground of the sexual revolution, which goes like this:

Teacher: Susie what do you want to be when you grow up? Susie: I want to be a doctor.

Teacher: How wonderful! And what about you Julie? Julie: I want to be a soldier.

Teacher: How commendable! And what about you Hannah? Hannah: When I grow up I want to be a wife and mother!

Teacher: [dead silence] . . .

Doesn’t that dead silence sound like a chat in 2019?

Mind you, while I believe there’s nothing wrong with women becoming doctors- though I do take issue with the “soldier” idea, young ladies desiring to take on the traditional, Biblical and submissive role of mother and wife in the home (Pro. 31; Eph. 5; Ti. 2, 1 Pet.3) will be often met with that same type of silence if not vitriol today, largely influenced by the latest wave of feminism in our society.

We might “pity the fool” who dares suggest that God has created men and women equal though different by design as the Bible teaches. The sexes are different to the extent that God has assigned complementary roles to each gender in order to better bless and order grace in his kingdom- particularly in the realms of church and home.

However, this issue has reared its head again in the wake of the internet fueled debate over the comments of notable Pastor and Author John MacArthur, concerning Author and Mega-Conference Speaker, Teacher and ‘Preacher’, Beth Moore and whether or not women are permitted to preach – a role in the church, which scripture seems to say must be filled by a qualified man, an elder or pastor, who is the “husband of  one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2; Ti. 1:6).

The controversy ensued when an online video began circulating of MacArthur in a round-table game of word association at his recent Truth Matters conference. The first words MacArthur was given by host Todd Friel to associate was the name of the founder of Living Proof Ministries, Beth Moore. His instantaneous reply was thought of by many to be derisive; when he quipped, “Go home,” to the raucous laughter of a predominantly male audience.

The backlash over MacArthur’s comment and follow-up, seemed to reflect according to his critics, a politically incorrect if not misogynistic view of Moore and her ministry, who over the past several years has proven to be more of a lightning rod figure in mainstream Christianity, by moving towards a more biblically liberal, prosperity gospel like direction.

Moore has also joined some other high-profile figures of late, in advocating support of a relatively new “Red-letter” movement of the New Testament, which ascribes greater influence and import to those ‘red-letter’ words of Jesus,found in more modern Bible translations than the words of Christ which by the Holy Spirit, inspired the apostle Paul to write in 1 Tim. 2:12, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”  How convenient those red letters can be.

This controversy, has been brewing in evangelical circles for the past few years now, under the pressure of the ever-powerful sexual revolution and the LGTBQ movement, which led the mainline American denominations within Christianity (e.g. Presbyterian USA, some Episcopal and Methodist churches) to adopt the more liberal approach to the scriptures and sexuality, even leading to the ordination of female and same-sex ministers.

Whether intended or not, John MacArthur’s response to the mention of Beth Moore’s name touched a live nerve and sent off a firestorm of reactions both in support and opposition of his comments (Moore herself called for “an end to the slander” of MacArthur, pointing out that “it doesn’t honor God”).

While some may quibble with, or others take strong exception with Macarthur for his rhetoric in a day and age of declining public civility, the question remains outside of the heat of that moment. It is a question even the long-standing and more biblically conservative Southern Baptist Convention, may be now wrestling with, which is, “Can women be Christian pastors and/or preachers to a mixed, adult audience or congregation?” MacArthur among other Biblicists have been questioning the SBC’s intent and direction of late, as some Southern Baptists had spoken of nominating Moore to the position of convention President earlier this year.

Beth Moore has openly preached in public to both men and women (which the biblical permission to do so in a non-church setting is debatable), but to such an audience in her local church in Texas, including Sunday School classes.

The Redemption of Women over Feminism

In the hotly debated passage of 1 Tim. 2:11-15, Paul had finished addressing corporate prayer when he moved to the issue of a woman’s role in the church which is not to teach, preach and lead in authority over the men in the congregation. That’s the big bone sticking in the throat of Beth Moore and many egalitarians in evangelicalism.  The apostle in introducing the biblical basis for his instructions laid the foundation for that doctrine which speaks to the unique design and high-calling that God has for women – in motherhood in particular (v.15).

There is a ‘what’ and a ‘why’ in Paul’s first point of that text. The what at that time at Ephesus, was an issue with false teaching in general and feminist leaning women in particular, seeking to teach and preach the word in the local church and thereby usurping the role of church leadership.

The main verse in contention is of course 1 Tim. 2:12, where Paul instructs his young pastor and apprentice to instruct the church that women are not permitted or allowed to instill biblical doctrine into the greater community of faith, or to exercise or usurp the authority of the preacher and local church leader.

As unpopular as that statement may be to hear or read in today’s feminist leaning culture it is nonetheless, straightforward, biblical truth. Paul is making an argument for complementarianism, which is to say that men and women are separate in some roles and responsibilities in God’s economy, but equal in worth and position before the Godhead.

The fact that Paul said that the women should learn in church (v.11), was a massive and truly progressive position for the church to take in a very chauvinistic time in history, where Jews and pagans treated women as slaves in some respects and didn’t think they should be allowed to congregate at the synagogue or temple to learn any spiritual truth at all. God said otherwise. The gospel liberates women in a biblical sense that the world at that time had no concept of. 

But it is the why of this command from Paul, which gives us the key to understanding not only the fall that cursed women, referred to by the apostle that finds it roots in Genesis 3, but the rationale for male church leadership, encompassing preaching (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:2g; Ti. 1:9):

For Adam was formed first, then Eve;and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor (1 Tim. 2:13-14).

Much to the chagrin of the post-truth skeptic of historic and orthodox Christian doctrine, Paul’s argument appeals to the transcultural and pre-Israeli legal principle that “Adam was not deceived,” but the woman was deceived (the oldest manuscripts translate the compound Greek verb, “Having been seduced by deceit”).

In other words, Paul’s 1 Timothy 2 command that women are not to lead the church and are not the head of their married homes (1 Cor. 11, 14; Eph. 5) is because the woman listened to Satan rather than God and her  husband. She became the leader, Adam was the follower and what was the result? Chaos and cursing. God created us, the blueprint is his, he knows us best and what’s best for us and his original creative design was rejected.

Woman was made to be the helper of man. She is to follow his lead, live in his provision, find safety in his protection and find pastures of rest and growth in his pastoring and preaching in the home – if it’s a Christian home, as well as of the male elder or pastor in the local church – which are differing names for the same office (1 Pet.5).

A tendency to follow was built into Eve prior to the Fall and then came the curse and in that curse the tendency to rule man was followed by the conflict, which brought the battle of the sexes into existence that remains today.

It is that never-ending battle on this side of glory which prohibits feminist leaning advocates from submitting to the authority of scripture and its plain, face-value language. As one of John Macarthur’s staff pointed out, “When we as believers encounter portions of the Bible that clash with our deeply-held convictions, we need to humbly assume that our convictions are wrong—not Scripture. And we need to carefully consider what benefit there is in following pastors and teachers whose ministries rest on the dismissal of inconvenient parts of God’s Word.”

God’s intention is not to prohibit good and godly women from exercising their giftedness and desire to teach. Far from it. This issue is a matter of obedience to the will and word of the Lord. As Seminary Professor Mary A. Kassian put it in a recent article, “It’s not about competence. God created the family and, in the family, men are supposed to be the dads and women are supposed to be the moms. It’s not a question of who is better at it or more gifted. Male-female roles are neither identical nor interchangeable.”

What Beth Moore and her supporters should remember is that the head of the church, Jesus Christ has built it and has mandated an order for it featuring male leadership. But as a result of his grace and the Spirit’s gifting, women still have opportunities and places to teach the word in a female or children’s Sunday school, small groups, prayer meetings, seminars, and perhaps conferences as well.

Beth Moore and other Bible teachers like her are not to be thought of as inferior by any stretch, but by God’s sovereign decree, different by design and should be faithful to the very Bible they aim to teach.

What About the Welfare of Children and Families?

Bernie Diaz, October 29, 2019

It has been long observed by historians and many philosophers that a society, if not an entire civilization can be best judged by how it treats it most vulnerable citizens. One might ask, “How does a nation protect and provide for its most vulnerable and innocent – its children, therefore ensuring the prosperity of its future generations to come?”

In fact, the preamble to the U.S. constitution, a paragraph outlining principles for how and why American government would be administered, mentions the promotion of “the general Welfare.” How are we doing in promoting the welfare of our children?

It would be easy to condemn America in that regard alone, for the way it has treated its preborn population, legalizing and thereby legitimizing the murder of approximately 60 million lives since 1973, in the most heinous practice of abortion. That much should be a given for any intellectually honest person who understands that the unborn are God-image bearing members of the human race who are therefore  worthy of, but who are not afforded as they once were, the most basic of human rights in this country – the right to life, implicitly in the name of the freedom to fornicate.

What is as troubling if not more so, is the way our nation is treating its born children being raised by the redefined families to which they belong to as casualties of this era’s sexual revolution. What can become of the future of the U.S.A. in light of the following newsworthy events?

  • Believe it or Not:

A Texas court has been working to sever the custody of a father from his 7-year-old son in order to allow the mother to oversee the child’s transition to living as a girl. The boy’s father has been objecting to the child’s gender transition, believing that the child is being manipulated by his mother from this divorced family. In severing the father’s custody, the state is giving the green light to allow this young boy’s mother to begin more invasive transition procedures such as hormone “therapy” and possible near-future surgeries.

We are talking about a 7 year-old boy mind you, in an age where confused young and older adults dealing with gender dysphoria are more likely to consider suicide than the general population and often regret having made such radical changes later in life.

This state is depriving a father of his God-given right to protect the innocence and dignity of his minor aged son, by subjecting him to the whims of leftist, politically-correct medical ideologies orchestrated by his physician mother.

And the state has actually argued that it is doing so in the name of compassion and the child’s best interest. Any action by any state which jeopardizes the long-term well-being of a child – physically and emotionally can never be considered best nor compassionate. Moreover, for this to occur in what is generally considered to be a more politically and socially conservative state like Texas, makes this all the more alarming.

What we are dealing with in this controversial case of far-reaching implications if not overturned, is legal and institutionalized child abuse – plain and simple.

  • Believe it or Not:

A recent New York Times story reported the explosion in child pornography in the age of the Internet: last year, investigators found over 45 million videos and images of child pornography on the web — over twice what had been reported in the previous year.

According to the report and to some who have seen the images, they are horrific. Children, some just 3 or 4 years old, being sexually abused and in some cases tortured. Pictures of child sexual abuse have long been produced and shared to satisfy twisted and wicked adult perversions, but perhaps never like this before due to the access and proliferation of such content via modern technology.

According to one columnist, “In a particularly disturbing trend, online groups are devoting themselves to sharing images of younger children and more extreme forms of abuse. [The volume of imagery is now so overwhelming that when] reviewing tips from the national center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) has narrowed its focus to images of infants and toddlers.”

America, where is the outrage and cries for social justice for the welfare of children? Law enforcement? Well, how is such a cultural outrage even possible, when our secularly dominated culture continues to strive to redefine sexuality?

  • Believe it or Not:

The sexualization of children and its approval by our mainstream media continues. The TV program, Good Morning, America recently celebrated an “entertainer”, Desmond Is Amazing, a child drag queen, who danced for money at a gay bar in Brooklyn, New York.

The above comes on the heels of a growing movement emanating initially from the capitals of the sexual revolution found on the west coast and northeast regions of the U.S., where some public libraries have begun to  host ‘drag queen’ reading events for small children.

To my knowledge, I cannot recall such a level of historical depravity seen, since the sexual perversion that was part and parcel of the moral decay which led to the collapse of the Roman empire during the birth and infancy stage of the church two millennia ago.

How are we doing so far America, in promoting the welfare of our children? Of course, such a moral revolution has not been confined to the ‘fruited plain of our land’, but has been a part of Europe and the rest of the west’s ever increasing secularism and social disorder as evidenced by..

  • Believe it or Not:

The lower house of the French Parliament just overwhelmingly passed a measure that mandates the national healthcare system cover in vitro fertilization (IVF) for single women and lesbian couples. The current system allows assisted reproduction for infertile heterosexual couples only.

Proponents argue women have a right to bear children regardless of their marital status or sexuality, while French pro-family groups contend the new legislation treads on the rights of children by denying them a relationship with their father. How is such a right in the best interests of the child?

Again, such news reports beg the question, “What is modern, western civilization doing for the welfare of its children and societies? Obviously, the question is rhetorical.

Why Does God Allow Child Abuse?

Interestingly enough, while all of the above stories and trends are reflecting deceitful and wicked hearts at the highest levels of influence and power in our country’s institutions and throughout the greater west, missiologists are reporting an explosion of biblical Christianity and kingdom growth in the east, including Africa (thanks in large part to the staunch, biblical ministry of the African-Anglican communion there) and parts of oppressed lands in Indonesia, Asia and even the Middle East (e.g, Iraq).

In the midst of our satanically inspired and pagan-like sexual revolution, God still sits sovereignly on this throne as he did in the time of nations and peoples he decimated (e.g. Canaanites, Amalekites) in a moral cleansing which led to generations of mercy and repentance everywhere.

Whereas, the ethical secularist or skeptic of the faith might criticize that and  the God of the Bible for being some sort of ‘moral monster’ for in their view arbitrarily inflicting genocide on nations in the past, some evangelicals may even wish that the Lord do some similar sort of cleansing today, as King Jesus will, when he returns as a judge in the future.

Regardless, God exercises his good will and purposes as he sees fit over time and history, which includes gospel redemption in the worst of times (2 Pet. 3).

God sees from an eternal perspective and is well aware of what this nation is doing to, and not doing for, its children. Therefore, a time of reckoning will come, from a God who is both kind and severe (Ro. 11:22), and whose holy character demands that sin be punished.

However, his heart is such that his grace and mercy remain extended to those who are willing to repent and be saved. As a scholar noted, “The Canaanite destruction provides us with a sober reminder that, while our God is gracious and merciful, He is also a God of holiness and wrath.”

Thankfully, by common and divine, sovereign grace God redeems in the midst of great evil and can revive and restore a nation which repents and returns to seek his ways and the welfare of its children. May we lament for the current state of the child in America, as we pray for its national repentance.

U.S. Decline of Christianity – Really?

Bernie Diaz, October 22, 2019

Many a news headline story this week has or will, make great hay of the fact that religion in general and Christianity specifically, is in decline in the United States, paralleling much of what is being found according to polls and studies throughout Western civilization as we know it.

My initial reaction? What else is new? There is a sociological rationale for the latest findings from a just released Pew Research Center phone poll conducted over the last year and change, as well as a more important one theologically, explaining the state of religion and the church today.

According to Pew: 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

Furthermore, Pew reports that, “Both Protestantism and Catholicism are experiencing losses of population share. Currently, 43% of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51% in 2009. And one-in-five adults (20%) are Catholic, down from 23% in 2009.

Meanwhile, all subsets of the religiously unaffiliated population – a group also known as religious “nones” – have seen their numbers swell. Self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up modestly but significantly from 2% in 2009; agnostics make up 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as ‘nothing in particular,’ up from 12% in 2009. Members of non-Christian religions also have grown modestly as a share of the adult population.”

Before true, born-again followers of Jesus Christ jump off the deep-end wondering if the kingdom of God, the church and our nation is crumbling before our very eyes, we may want to get a grip and acknowledge some facts in analysis on this story, from a biblically grounded world-view.

Catholic numbers aside, reflecting the illegitimacy of their ‘false gospel’ in relationship to the biblical gospel of Christ (justification by faith alone), we are simply seeing as has been noted in this space before, the reality that more and more Americans are coming ‘out of the closet’ in disclosing their lack of faith in both Jesus and religion as an institution. Atheists and agnostics are bolder in their anti-religious declarations than ever before.  

The numbers merely confirm that the true church has been living as a decided minority in the midst of an unprecedented post-Christian society for nearly a generation, reflected in its greater culture and institutions (e.g. government, media, academia and the arts).   

In other words, the United States of America as difficult as it may be to admit, is more secular than at any other point in its history and a growing number of its citizens have ignored or rejected the foundation of the Judeo-Christian principles upon which it was built nearly two and a half centuries ago.

Or, to put it another way, the Pew research findings affirm that America is severing its roots to the point where the nation’s institutions and more influential elites have become antagonistic to Christianity, to the point of threatening the basic religious freedoms and liberty the church has enjoyed since its founding.

The faith as an institution, is fast losing whatever remains at present, of its muscle, or influence over the county, compared to the primary influence it carried in its birth and then growth in generations past.

The trends seem clear enough – the U.S. is steadily becoming less Christian and less religiously observant as the share of adults who are not religious grows. The Pew survey tells us that “self-described” Christians report that they attend religious services at about the same rate today as in 2009 (62%). Which is to say, the nation’s overall rate of religious attendance is declining not because Christians are attending church less, but rather because there are now fewer Christians as a share of the U.S. population.

Kingdom Opportunity

Keep in mind true believer, that the Christian community is still the largest, single religious institution and force for good in this nation, and far greater in number than when the church was birthed and revolutionized the world, in a much greater secular and pagan environment than ours in the first century.

Note: Christianity by definition as a counter-cultural faith, must be a minority and not only survives, but thrives as such. Really? The author and finisher of the faith said so, when asked by someone as to what the volume of people would be, that make up the church:

And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!

I don’t know about you, but I do know that whether you interpret the word “many” that will not enter through that “narrow door” (think squeezing through a turnstile) in the original Greek New Testament language, or English, “many” still means, many (Matt. 7:13-14).

That means, due to the overwhelming presence and power of sin and darkness in the heart of the unredeemed, most people on the face of the earth will never find their way to heaven, and some if not more of our friends and family than we think, who profess saving faith in Christ, may be lost forever as well (Matt. 7:15-23).

It is a true confessional faith, rooted in scripture, manifest in fruits of repentance which exhibit fortitude or endurance in the faith, that separates the Sprit-possessing Peters from the mere professing Judas’ among us. That truth should not lead the redeemed church to despair however.

There are at least two reasons why Christians should look at the “decline of Christianity” as kingdom opportunities rather than disappointments:

1. Christ builds and sustains his church.  

Jesus in Matthew 16, famously told his apostles and us by extension, that he ‘built his church’ on the “rock” or foundation of his identity as Son of God, Lord, Savior and Messiah, and that hell and its gates would never prevail over it (Matt. 16:15-18). In other words, Satan and the instruments of his agenda, including this nation and its current direction, cannot and will never win- the true church of Jesus Christ, will never be killed. We know the end of the story- History, Christ and the church wins- the Devil loses.

As was the case with Israel, God always has had and will always preserve a remnant of the elect- believers in every country, city and town, as Jesus encouraged the apostle Paul’s preaching and missionary ministry; “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people (Acts 18:9b-10).”

2. The Time is right for making disciples.

The country is ripe for kingdom growth if not revival once again:

The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So, pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields (Luke 10:2, NLT).”

There has never been perhaps a greater opportunity for evangelism – for willing and able Christians to be used by God to be ambassadors- preachers and disciple-makers in America (Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Cor. 5:17-20), than now.  

Christians can be more distinct  and counter-cultural in their walk and talk, character and conduct now, than virtually any other time in our history, since we have never been a greater minority in name and number in the U.S. and certainly in the culture, than we are now.

Yes, I firmly believe that it is God who not only sovereignly chooses and saves his church (Jo. 6; Acts 13 and 16; Ro. 8-9; Eph. 1; 1 Pet. 1), but also mandates the means, as well as the ends of his plan of salvation in the world (Ro. 10:13-15).  That plan is for the disciples of the church to become and be disciple-makers. That’s you and I.

Let’s not shy away from, but embrace our kingdom victory in Christ- already won at the cross and the empty grave, no matter what you hear or read about Christianity’s “decline,” and go onward as Christian soldiers showing and sharing Christ, doing our part to fulfill the Great Commission, knowing the mission is not only possible– but already accomplished!     

The Battle for Freedom: Sexual vs. Religious

Bernie Diaz, October 15, 2019

I have been slowly but surely ringing the bell to local churches and pastors at least since the last U.S. election cycle, that the single biggest sociological and political issue Christians need to be educated on and braced for, is the war being waged over sexual and religious freedom in our country.

If anyone doubts that is so, they need look no further than the video clips available online from the televised CNN townhall meeting of Democratic Presidential candidates devoted to LGBTQ issues last week. It was then that Senator Beto O’Rourke was asked, “Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities—should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?”

“Yes,” O’Rourke said without hesitation, drawing applause from the largely liberal, Los Angeles audience.

“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone—or any institution, any organization in America—that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” he added. “So as president we’re going to make that a priority and we are going to stop those who are infringing on the rights of our fellow Americans.”

Only four years after the Obergefell Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in this country, O’Rourke has been among the first on Capitol Hill to ideologically ‘come out of the closet’ and shown Christians that the threat posed by the legitimization of homosexual marriage and special rights is more real—and more radical—than many could have imagined.   

For anyone who has been following this particular battle of the culture war that we’ve been in for more than a decade now – for any length of time, O’Rourke’s comments, reflecting the agenda of the “blue”, left-leaning advocates of this nation should not surprise.

The very exchange between then U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. and Justice Samuel Alito on April 28, 2015, in oral arguments of the Obergefell v. Hodges case, proved to be the ominous portent of the things to come.  

When Judge Alito asked Verrilli whether constitutional recognition for same-sex marriage would lead to stripping federal tax exemptions from religious colleges that oppose gay marriage, in the same way that federal law legitimately strips tax exemptions from colleges that oppose interracial marriage or interracial dating, President Obama’s Solicitor General responded, ‘It’s certainly going to be an issue.’”

Well, the issue is here and the revolution intends to march on threatening religious liberty for all institutions of faith- particularly Christian ones, which make up the majority of those that serve citizens in a variety of ways in America, such as charities like the Salvation Army and hospitals which receive the same non-for profit tax exempt status as ironically enough, Planned Parenthood, GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and other atheist and humanist groups (e.g. the Freedom from Religion Foundation).

Many of the more than 300,000 plus churches in the U.S.A. along with Christian secondary schools, colleges and universities would suffer serious financial hardship to the point of closing its doors, under the burden of taxation should their tax-exempt status (unofficial since the country’s founding and federal law since 1894) be revoked, due to the difficulties that could be brought about by property taxes and associated ministry compensation costs for churches that would be damaging to pastors.

Though some would argue by playing the church-state “separation” card, that the tax-exempt status of religious institutions should be eliminated, their ignorance of that often misinterpreted and misunderstood phrase, was  not meant for the government to create a religion-free public square. Far from it. But rather, it is, instead, to safeguard the fundamental right to religious freedom by imposing limits on the regulatory—and, yes, the taxing—powers of governments.

After all, as Daniel Webster (the man that gave us the dictionary of the same name) famously argued in the Supreme Court, that the power to tax involves the power to destroy, and so we have very good reasons for exercising that power with care—especially when it comes to religious institutions, which form the backbone or foundation of the uniquely American ideal of “self-government” and freedom.

The New Battle Front

The days of subtle encroachment by the left on biblically grounded religious liberty has come and gone. The activists of the sexual revolution which has now climbed the steps of the nation’s capital via congressional members and presidential candidates have explicitly made their end game clear- the coercion of the church – to submit to the state and the legislative wishes of this revolution.

The LGBTQ community no longer (if it ever did) stands for tolerance in the marketplace of ideas and law. It now seeks to mandate the mainstream acceptance and approval of religious adherents to their lifestyle and agenda, while personal and corporate convictions and conscience be damned.

A notable Harvard law professor’s policy recommendation made that clear, calling for the left to take a “hard line” with religious conservatives because, after all, “trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War,” and “taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.”

The Casualties

We just read some pretty harsh, war-time like language for dealing with a cultural and political opponent. The casualties of such a “war” have been documented and its not just wedding bakers, photographers and florists anymore:

A popular Virginia teacher sued the school for firing him after he refused to use male pronouns to address a female student who identified as transgender.

The school board simply issued him an ultimatum: Use the male pronoun for a female student or lose his job. The teacher, Peter Vlaming, a Christian, “… went out of his way to accommodate this student as he does all his students; his school fired him because he wouldn’t contradict his core beliefs,” said his legal counsel from the Alliance Defending Freedom, who represents Vlaming. “The school board didn’t care how well Peter treated this student. It was on a crusade to compel conformity.”

That lawsuit comes on the heels of a well-publicized case of a doctor, who was recently fired in Great Britain after 30 plus years of service for refusing to acknowledge a patient by their biological gender.  

-Duke and Wayne State Universities have joined the revolution’s wave of colleges trying to dictate which students can serve as leaders of campus clubs and ministries as well as limiting the inclusion of such groups on campus should they hold to biblical standards in their statements of faith..

Are Christian ministries like IntraVarsity crying wolf or overreacting to reasonable college standards above? Not when one considers that Wayne State for example, has not applied the same policy to other student groups that limit who can hold leadership roles. Fraternities and sororities limit their membership by sex, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association limits its membership to Muslims, and even the Quidditch Club, based on a fictional game from Harry Potter, can select leaders who affirm its stated mission.

Amazon pulled books by Joseph Nicolosi Sr. from its website earlier this month, sparking accusations of viewpoint discrimination against the late psychologist for his pioneering work in what he called “reparative therapy,” a method to reduce unwanted same-sex attraction.

Critics often refer to him as the “father of conversion therapy,” though his son insists Nicolosi never advocated such a practice and says the term is “ill-defined.” “The book ban by Amazon and radical LGBT activists reveals the blatant hypocrisy of today’s leaders of the LGBT movement,” Joseph Nicolosi Jr. wrote for The Daily Signal. “They celebrate exploration of every kind of sexuality they can imagine, unless that exploration happens to lead an individual toward a traditional, heterosexual lifestyle.”

The biggest casualty of all that Christians who think in terms of a biblical worldview should be weary of, is the religious freedom we have long enjoyed, to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, freely in the byways and hallways of America and its institutions.

More than one local American municipality (Houston, TX) has tried to confiscate the manuscripts of Sunday sermons to determine if they have violated “hate discrimination” laws.

Disciples of Christ in this country should not just be concerned about the right to “believe,” but the right to freely “exercise” their religion and faith – what and why they believe, throughout culture and society as the founders of this nation, from the pilgrims to the fathers of this government envisioned and codified into constitutional language.    

The battle lines have been clearly drawn. The Democratic Party of the United States- a pro-abortion party of death, no longer believes it will be punished for being open about how LGBTQ issues trump religious liberty.

Therefore, I would argue that the greatest freedom Christians should legally fight for aside from ‘the right to life’, would be the right to preach; to declare that Jesus is Lord of all and that he is the only, way, truth and life for the lost- including those who are fighting the hardest to quench that truth, preferring the darkness to light.

Let us show our culture war opponents the love of Christ, by arguing to fight for the freedom- the right, to preach the truth in love to them, the only truth that can save them.

A Look at the Cure for our Spiritual Cancer

Bernie Diaz, October 8, 2019

Some though perhaps not many of you by now, may have seen or read the heart-wrenching story of eighteen year old Brandt Jean, an African-American man who hugged a woman and forgave her in open court during a murder trial in Texas, for the shooting death of the man’s brother in which the woman was charged and convicted.

The shooting victim, Botham Jean, was killed by Amber Guyger, a white, off-duty police officer, who walked into what she believed to be her apartment and mistakenly shot Botham dead.

You read it right. Yes, while we’re still in the throes of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, this man hugged this woman as she was sentenced for killing his brother, provoking a wide-array of reactions from; wonder,  amazement and admiration, to frustration. It has also deepened the national debate over regulating police use of force.

At the sentencing hearing of Guyger, Brandt Jean, used his victim-impact statement to tell the court that despite what the officer took from his family, if she is truly sorry for what she did, then he forgives her and wants the best for her.

“I don’t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please?” Brandt Jean asked the judge, after telling Guyger that his main desire wasn’t for her to go to jail but to “give your life to Christ.” As the two shared a tight hug, the courtroom was largely quiet except for the sounds of sobbing.

While that act may have startled if not bewildered a good chunk of America, it should be noted that is serves as a contemporary picture of Jesus Christ’s crosswork and a very difficult reality which is to serve as a hallmark of the Christian faith: love of neighbor through forgiveness.

My recent preaching series in my church of The Gospel of God from the book of Romans, well documents and illustrates this counter-cultural mark of Christianity (Romans 12-13) in a world which hangs on to the disease of bitterness from a lack of forgiveness like a cancerous tumor.  Vengeance, the desire to ‘repay evil with evil’ (Ro. 12:19-21), eats away at the heart of both secularists and believers day in and day out.

The unbeliever or unredeemed person by nature, cannot largely understand nor desire to forgive an enemy that has done such harm to themselves or loved ones. Having been offended and cursed, the average person can quickly quote and lean on the biblical and cultural adage to take an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” ignoring Jesus’ clarifying call of that phrase to “not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.. (Matt. 5:39).”

In fact, having lived through and seen this lethal disease of bitterness at work infecting professing and Spirit-possessing Christians for some time, I know all too well the temptation of our fallen flesh to embrace unforgiveness. It’s easy and very human to do- it’s instinctive.

The counter-cultural and freeing thing to do is come to Jesus Christ, receive him by repentant faith, be born-again and then by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, to forgive or ‘cancel the debt’ of offense owed us by our enemies or neighbors.

This most Christian of all actions is painful, difficult and time consuming, yet so I’m also told is the surgery, and/or treatment and recovery of conditions like cancer. The victim’s mother of the case above, Allison Jean, had testified that she still struggles with the trauma of her son’s death, saying: “I cannot sleep. I cannot eat. It’s just been the most terrible time for me.”

What About Justice?

We must be reminded that forgiveness does not negate or absolve offenders of the consequences of their actions. Amber Guyger, the police officer who shot and killed Botham Jean, received a ten-year sentence for her crime.

While forgiveness takes the first step of healing for a victim of an offense, it does not necessarily reconcile and restore a relationship that has been broken by the offense. For that to happen, justice must be served, which in the context of interpersonal relationships, involve the offender earnestly confessing their guilt and sin to the offended victim, seeking and then receiving forgiveness from the victim as the initial step towards the peacekeeping result of reconciliation.

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (Lu. 17:3b-4, ESV).

At that point of repentance and relational restitution, forgiveness as one of my church’s fellow pastors once preached, can be, “God’s Eraser in your hand.”

Christians are to use forgiveness as God’s eraser of love with all people- particularly with others in their church families, because they have both received it in their own life as the means of being made right before, and at peace with God (Ro. 5:8; Eph.4:32), and because they will be seen by the world as never being more like their lord and savior, then when they forgive others- even the unforgiveable.  

What About the Cure?

Furthermore, forgiveness is the cure for the cancer that is bitterness that we carry in our souls every day, metastasizing into more bitterness which infects and threatens our current and future relationships if left unattended.

Bitterness caused by unforgiveness stores itself in the soul, and slowly poisons the one who carries it. As one writer put it, “It’s a blade meant for another that eventually severs the hand that tightly conceals it.”

Over time, repeated hurts can build up to destroy a relationship, as I have seen in too many marriages as a pastor who has counseled over the years. Though a tough pill to swallow, we choose to hold on to our grudges, because of our pride (“it’s the principle of the thing”). Bitterness, though, doesn’t pay very good dividends does it? It doesn’t do anything to the person you’re angry at, but only hurts you now and later. You go through life always testing people, always suspicious, and never at peace.

It prevents you from paying what God’s word demands of us, which is the never-ending debt of love to our neighbor (Ro. 13:8-10). Simply put, we must choose to love a neighbor by choosing first to forgive them.

What About the Medicine?

Unforgiveness is probably the biggest barrier to healing this side of heaven. It takes much Christ-like humility (Phil. 2:3-8) and strength to say, “I will no longer hold this against you,” and often we just don’t feel up to obeying that command of Christ.

As hard as it seems, though, it is so much harder to live with the disease of bitterness. As someone said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” You may be protecting your need to be right, but you give up your only chance at freedom and peace, and limit what God can do in you and your witness of his saving grace with others.

You may be so full of bitterness today, that you’ve convinced yourself that your heart and relationships could never be healed tomorrow, but let me assure you that the healing begins with yourself. With God, ‘all things are possible’ (Matt. 19:26). Here are three major steps to take to begin curing the cancer of bitterness that may be in your soul:

  • Confess your bitterness as sin (Heb. 12:14-15)

You must seek peace with your enemies or those you’re in conflict with and the grace to forgive them (Ro. 12:16,18). You begin by cancelling their debt to you in your heart, by casting that debt on to God in prayer.

  • Ask for God’s strength to forgive and diligently seek that forgiveness (Eph. 4:31-32; Col. 2:9-11)

It’s hard to be tender-hearted to someone who has hurt you deeply, but it is possible. We have the power to forgive because Christ forgave us, and He gives us strength through the Holy Spirit.

  • Be concerned about changing yourself, not your offender (1 Pet. 3:1,7)

You’re nobody’s Holy Spirit. You cannot change your offender- so often a spouse or other close, family member—only God can. But what you can do is allow God to change your heart. If you have a log of bitterness in your own eye, how can you take the speck out of your offender’s (“brother’s”) eye (Matt. 7:3)?

You, too, have made choices in this relationship perhaps that have hurt the other party and need to be mended. Even though their sin goes unresolved for now, he, she or them will answer for them one day before God (Matt. 10:26). In the same way, God will hold you responsible for the bitterness that remained in your heart.

As author Ed Stetzer wrote of the Amber Guyger case, When we are able to say with heartfelt words that we have forgiven those who have harmed us most, we have understood not only the power of transformation but also the gravity and enormity of what Christ did on the cross. Brandt (Jean) forgave Amber. It reminds us of who Jesus is, who we are in Christ, and points the world to a different way.

That different way is the truth and a life of healing and peace, free from the cancer of unforgiveness and bitterness.

One Pastor’s Wish List for Pastor Appreciation Month

Bernie Diaz, October 1, 2019

Virtually every month and week of the year is now recognized as a pseudo-holiday and awareness call for some sort of group or another to recognize in the United States.

Having just perused this year’s calendar, I noticed that I have already missed observing the following 10 through the first three quarters of this year:

  • National Pharmacist Day (may need a pill for that one)
  • Rare Disease Day in February (I’m not making these up)
  • Teen Dating Awareness Month (that one should be every month)
  • Fat Tuesday in March (not touching that one)
  • Adopt a Ferret Month (why?)
  • Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month (this one doesn’t add up to me)
  • Cell Phone Courtesy Month (how about this one being 24/7, 365?)
  • Honey Month (how sweet!)
  • Pirate Month (“shiver me timbers!”)
  • Shameless Promotion Month (for all of the above- in September)!

Conspicuously absent though from the national calendar is one of my favorites, Pastor Appreciation Month, sometimes called ‘Clergy Appreciation Day’, celebrating in October the contributions of pastors, reverends and ministers in the U.S.

Being a pastor myself, I might think the origin of the holiday might have begun when the apostle Paul – the church’s first missionary and church planter, stated that the elders (or pastors- leaders) of the church are worthy of a double honor (1 Tim. 5:17). He reiterated that idea in 1 Thess. 5:12-13, when he stated that that those who work hard as shepherds among the flock should be held in the highest regard for their work. 

Sounds good, but lest I am thought to be ‘shamelessly promoting’ my work, I, like many of fellow under-shepherds of Jesus Christ, are not looking for gifts (as appreciated as those may be) as much as for the fruit of our faithfulness and labor unto Christ from the sheep.

Many of us yearning to please our king and advance his cause and kingdom are looking for affirmation that they are making a difference. As for myself, I am looking for growth, but not the kind you may be thinking of in raw numbers such as church buildings, budgets and bodies per se.

Having studied and been somewhat exposed to the mega-church growth movement for nearly two decades, I frankly weary of that pastoral prospect and burden, knowing the temptations inherent in reaching that status, to compromise the gospel, to fall in sin and being pre-occupied with sheer attendance and giving stats.

As an average church-size pastor (reportedly more than two-thirds of the 300,000 plus churches in America are 100 and under in Sunday attendance) who believes in the sovereignty of God and his providence in working his will out in the world through circumstances, I’ve come to understand that it is Jesus alone who builds his church (Matt. 16:15-19).

In fact, my church’s leadership team is in the good company of the cornerstone itself of the church, Jesus Christ. If you were to lay aside the unprecedented and exceptional open air crowds our Lord preached to in his ministry, including his Sermon On the Mount messages and among the feeding of the thousands, you find a preacher and ‘Good Shepherd’ who had his most pastoral relationships defined by a smaller and specific group of disciples that, by virtually any definition, we would call today a small or average size church.  

In fact, though he preached to some massive groups of people, he never pastored them and would speak in a way so as to even whittle down the masses in order to separate true followers from fair-weather fans (Jo. 6). He called such assemblies “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36), which is like calling a mega-crowd, “a church without a pastor.”

That said, all of us who serve in the ministry should pray for and labor towards more worshippers to come to our Lord Jesus in ‘spirit and truth.’ As the universal and invisible church legitimately grows in number, the kingdom of God advances as does the praise and glory he is worthy to receive.

However, there’s no denying the numerical decline of the American church, including the nation’s largest Protestant denomination of which our church is affiliated with, the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC lost almost 78,000 members in the past year, according to reports and have now lost a million members since their peak of 16.3 million in 2003.

The denomination is down to its “lowest baptisms since 1946; lowest membership since 1990; lowest worship attendance since 1996,” according to a historical analysis from one of its seminaries. The only measure where Southern Baptists are growing fortunately in terms of the long run, are in  their number of churches being planted, adding 479 last year for a total of more than 47,000.

On the one hand, church planting has long served as a fertilizing seed for the kingdom, as it creates energies, initiatives and movements grounded upon evangelistic community outreach and discipleship. But on the other hand, “It’s clear that evangelism and discipleship are waning,” Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, an SBC affiliate told a media outlet in speaking of the church’s current state. “I don’t believe it is due to the lack of opportunities, though. Instead, there is a lack of engagement.”

So, as I think about my own church within the context of God’s kingdom priorities, I offer the following ‘Pastor Appreciation Month’ wish list to my people on behalf of my fellow elders and other local churches that may read this post all following under the umbrella of “engagement”…

  • Go to Church Regularly

Heb. 10:25 says, we should not neglect ‘to meet together, as is the habit of some’. The reason is because our meeting together is one of the primary ways we fulfil our obligations as universal church members. It is very hard to encourage, build up, challenge, edify or do any of the ‘one another’ commands when we don’t meet with the other believers to whom we have committed. We expect regular attendance when the church gathers together.

This is an even greater need to build up the encouragement of smaller, average-size churches.

  • Prioritize the Lord’s Supper

In Acts 2:42-47 we see the things the early church prioritized in its fellowship. We find they devoted themselves to teaching, worship, breaking bread, the Lord’s table and prayer. These are the activities that make a church, a church. In Lu. 22:19, Jesus commands his disciples to remember and proclaim his death in communion. The Lord’s Supper renews our commitment to Christ and his people, marking them off as a church that distinguishes them from the world around them.

By drawing a line between the church and the world, baptism and the Lord’s Supper make it possible to point to something and say, ‘there is a church’ rather than ‘there are some Christians just getting together over coffee’.

  • Tell People About your Church Regularly

The best form of advertising – whether it be the church or several other institutions or forms of consumerism if you will, is by word of mouth. No church billboard, TV, internet or radio ad campaign can match the words of a Christ-exalting and Spirit-filled member of a local church telling an unchurched and/or unsaved person about the evidences of the Lord’s grace and excitement experienced in their congregation.

Tell them what the Lord has been teaching you through the word ministry of your church. When asked how many people attend your church on a Sunday, respond by telling them about you and a few others that you have seen become transformed and are growing due to your church’s ministry.

  • Pray Regularly

The Bible tells us to pray ‘without ceasing’ (1Thess. 5:17), to pray for each other (Eph 6:18; Ja. 5:16) and for our leaders (Col 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:1; Heb 13:18). If the church is the sum of its members, this means we are called to pray for the church- including for its Biblically grounded growth. That is, each individual member as well as for its wider work and mission.

A great place to do this is in the church’s regular prayer meetings such as we have, every Sunday morning before the rest of our worship service continues.

  • Give Consistently and Serve joyfully

The Bible is full of instructions about giving. In the New Testament, its only injunctions are that disciples are to give (Lu. 6:38) generously and cheerfully from the heart, “not reluctantly or under compulsion (2 Cor. 9:6-7)” regardless of our resources.

Our church’s Commitment to Fellowship makes clear that those who wish to become members are to give of their time and talents, as well as of their treasure. The pastors or elders are “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” (Eph.4) so that may do their part to build each other up and the kingdom, as well as doing their part to be disciples who make, mature and multiply more disciples of Jesus Christ, fulfilling our Lord’s Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20).

We, therefore, desire and expect every member at Christ Community  Church to serve joyfully in the work of ministry, as every other local church should. Where there is service to build up the body and where there are opportunities to reach out with the gospel, we expect each member to be involved.

Finally, I  might add a more personal, pastoral addendum to the ‘Appreciation’ wish list to include this reminder of a gift from church members to their pastors: remember your pastor(s) are an example to the flock, but are also fallible men with fallible family members that need as much love, grace, mercy and affection as you the church member need and expect from them. In other words, your pastoral families are church members as worthy of the ‘one anothers’ ministry as you are.

Again, for those pastors struggling to remain faithful to their calling which is the greatest fruit a church elder can bring to his Lord and people, consider if you ever feel underappreciated as you may, your Pastor at the right hand of the Father appreciates you.

As one writer put it; Jesus shepherded a small group of imperfect, but committed people. He discipled them through relationship and instruction. He knew what it was like to have the crowds leave as quickly as they came. He developed a leadership team. He got frustrated when his leadership team seemed like they’d never get it. He was let down by the people he loved when he needed them the most.

He helped them assess their progress, using correction and encouragement. He prepared them to keep the ministry going after he was no longer with them.

If you are an ‘average’ church pastor, know all of the above and this: whatever you’re going through, whatever frustrations you feel and whatever joys you experience, Jesus felt them too. You’re not alone. Jesus understands and Jesus appreciates you as I appreciate the fellow pastors of my church, both bi-vocational ministers, this month and every other day whether it’s on the calendar or not.

Christianity and Climate Change – Heads in the Sand?

Bernie Diaz, September 24, 019

We know that President Trump is in the news virtually every day for something he has said or how he has said it, and occasionally gets some press- mostly negative from the mainstream media, for what he does.

This week the President may be raked over the coals for something he didn’t do- which was spend much time at the climate change summit at this past week’s UN (United Nations) General Assembly in New York. Instead, Mr. Trump opted to join Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (the latter two long-time professing Christians) in co-hosting a “Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom.”

That assembly long-overdue and much needed, was largely ignored by the secular press to no surprise. Yet, the President chose to attend and lead an international discussion on the import of religious liberty rather than hop on the climate change bandwagon which seems to again be sweeping much of the nation and its culture.

In fact, reportedly millions of students around the world skipped school on Friday of last week for a global climate change strike. The movement included more than 5,000 demonstrations in 156 countries, including Germany, Nigeria, and Tokyo. Young demonstrators held signs that read, “You are destroying our future,” and “There is no planet B.” Amazingly, New York City Public Schools said parents could excuse their students to participate in the strike.

Dozens of nations are committing to adopt stricter climate goals by the end of 2020, aiming to reach a net of zero CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) emissions by then, largely influenced by a campaign led by Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg, 16 years-old no less, and a group of other activists who filed a suit with the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child against five different countries——for failing to curb carbon emissions.

Thunberg gave an impassioned speech accusing world leaders of failing future generations, saying, “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

‘… Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot! …

Is there something to this idea of climate change and global warming? I don’t know about you, but my own South Florida experience has led me to believe that the last few years here – summers in particular, have been much warmer than usual, with several days of heat indexes (temperature including humidity) exceeding well over 100 degrees.

A recent news report and a follow-up analysis of it, illustrate the difficulty though, in pinpointing the level of climate change we may be undergoing much less what to do about it.

For instance, July was the hottest month ever recorded according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report. The scientists said July’s sizzling heat wave soared to an average global temperature 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average. The previous hottest month on record was July 2016.

However, as WORLD magazine reported, a meteorologist and principal research scientist in the U.S., said NOAA’s analysis is wrong, because it’s based on a limited and “error-prone” collection of mostly ground-level thermometers. His own website chart, based on satellite recording of temperatures in the lower atmosphere, shows the July increase as only two-thirds of a degree Fahrenheit: “not terribly alarming.”

So, which is it? Are we experiencing on our planet legitimate and disconcerting global warming or is science and society just reacting to politically motivated news and agendas with “global warming hysteria?” Theology may influence of course the answer to that question.

According to a Newsweek article, “The vast majority of scientists agree climate change is an existing, growing, and man-made threat to our planet. And yet the topic is a divisive issue in the U.S.—not least among people of faith.”

The article noted that White evangelical Christians in particular are, on average, more likely to question whether human activity contributed to the Earth’s warming, with research by Pew suggesting 28 percent accept this view, compared with 64 percent of those without a religious affiliation.

There is no doubt that the biblical worldview that disciples of Christ should follow, calls for obedience to the creation mandate God has given to his image bearers (Genesis 1:26-31), to subdue and have dominion or authority over creation, which means the environment.  Mankind is of greater value to the Lord and his kingdom than plants and trees, no matter how radical that sentence may read.

The secular left and its institutions which have little or no understanding of Christianity and its doctrines, would argue that evangelicals believe that global warming is of little concern when the end times are approaching. Indeed, it could even be proof of it.

Extreme and mistaken theology aside, Orthodox Christian doctrine teaches that believers are not only called to be stewards or managers, rather abusers of the environment, but to also continue caring for creation responsibly, as much as they are to preach the gospel and evangelize responsibly up to the moment Jesus returns to judge, rule and reign over his creation.

Climate Change is a controversial and complex issue. The scientific consensus even among Christian or theistic scientists, acknowledge that Carbon emissions that can adversely impact the environment are on the rise, having increased more than 20% over the last half-century and are above pre-industrial levels.

Burning fossil fuels (e.g. oil) undoubtedly contributes to that. And everyone agrees that CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas, and therefore adds increased amounts of CO2 to the air which should cause more heat to be trapped and warm the globe, all else being equal. Yes, an ice cap or two seems to be melting as well.

That said, the evolution of technology and industrialization over the past century plus, has greatly improved man’s quality of life and standard of living as efficient fossil fuels greatly contributed to that, including in the lives of ‘tree-hugging’ activists who are actually calling in some circles for the abolition of jet air-travel and automobiles, as they hop from plane to plane and into limousines for their next press conference.

Some countries including the U.S. have argued that they, and the world in general, will suffer economically from radical attempts to control CO2 emissions. Simply put, jobs, families and homes are at stake and are threatened by the more radical elements of the climate change movement currently dominating American media. So we better be sure.

‘How Now Shall We Steward?’  

The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men. (Psa. 115:16, ESV)

As we think through this very difficult issue, let’s remind ourselves of who created the environment and why. God has given us all his creation to fully enjoy and to cultivate it for the sustenance and good of man-kind.

Christians however, can’t forget the fact that while enjoying it, we are not to waste, abuse or exploit the creation as Genesis 2:15 admonishes us to “tend and keep” (to guard) it, proclaiming the idea of stewardship.

Similar to lending a car to a friend; you’ve given that person a level of dominion over the vehicle while he’s driving it, but you expect it to be returned in good shape right? His creation is on loan to us and is not to be polluted. To that extent, God is “green.”

In summary, there is little to no objective evidence that man is definitively the main cause of global warming, nor that the effects will be catastrophic. Yet the fact remains that our world is wearing out and has been continually decaying since the fall of man and the curse of sin infected it.

Therefore, until Christ returns to work his “extreme makeover” over planet earth (2 Peter 3:9) which cannot be stopped, we glorify God and point others including environmental advocates to Christ and the gospel by only worshipping the creator rather than his creation or creatures (Romans 1), and proving to be God-obedient stewards over it as manifesting his kingdom rule.