Monthly Archives: December 2013

Assimilation: Assimilation and the American Way

This is part of a series of posts on the sin of Assimilation. Click here to see the entire series.

According to the Declaration of Independence, “All men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…” Christians rightly argue that most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were true believers. Christians wrongly argue that the Declaration of Independence is a document based upon biblical doctrines. (See my paper on “Authority” for the proof of that assertion.) In particular, the belief that God has given unto men the “right” to engage in the “pursuit of happiness” is a doctrine that has caused the Church to be assimilated into the culture of the land.

The idea that each individual has a God given “right” to pursue happiness is relatively uncommon in the history of political philosophy. Not too many years before the writing of the Declaration of Independence a man by the name of Thomas Hobbes had described the state of man as “miserable, brutish, and short.” That served as a pretty good summary for the experience of most people. Nevertheless, by the time of the Declaration of Independence we see that a view had developed that man has a right to be happy.

The notion that man has a God given right to be happy is in direct contradiction to numerous passages in the Bible. In the Sermon on the Mount (as recorded by Matthew in Chapter 5: 3-12) Jesus makes several comments about the blessed state of existence of true believers in Him. In verse 3 Jesus describes the believer as being “poor in spirit”. In verse 4 He describes them as “those who mourn”. In verse 6 He describes them as “hungering and thirsting after righteousness”. A hungry and thirsty man can be described as being anything but happy. Perhaps most telling of all is when Jesus asserts that “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness” and “Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely.” None of these descriptions of the true believer is in any way consistent with the concept of the pursuit of happiness.

James 4: 8-9 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom.” Once again, this exhortation to draw near to God does not come accompanied by the God given right to pursue our
own happiness.

Jesus, in his farewell discourse to the disciples recorded in John 14-16 has several interesting things to say about the quality of life His followers were about to experience. In 15:19 He says, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” It is safe to assume that it is difficult to pursue happiness when surrounded by a world filled with hate for the individual in pursuit of that happiness. In 16:2 He says, “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue; but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.” Although specifically relevant to the disciples at that time, this passage continues to be fulfilled by Christian martyrs in our era. It is difficult to see how being executed for faithfulness to God is a part of the pursuit of happiness. Although not being subject to torture and execution, it is still difficult to conceive how it is possible to pursue happiness while undergoing the type of social persecution that Christians enjoy in the United States today.

In Matthew 10: 34-39 Jesus is recorded saying something that directly contradicts the concept that God has ordained the pursuit of happiness for His people. Jesus says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword…. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it.” Again, it is difficult to see how the pursuit of personal peace and happiness is consistent with the revealed will of God in the Bible.

Despite the clear teachings in the Bible, evangelicals have abandoned biblical truth in favor of the pursuit of happiness doctrine found in the Declaration of Independence. Christians believe that their lives are to be easy, pleasant, enjoyable, good, and happy. Believers are regularly instructed from the pulpit that it is God’s will for them to be healthy, wealthy and content. Just trust in Jesus and your marriage will be restored. Just walk the walk and pray the prayer and your kids will be guaranteed to never “do drugs”. Indeed, theologian Francis Schaefer has described Evangelical theology in our era as the “age of personal peace and affluence”. As a less renowned theologian (Janis Joplin) once said, “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz”

All of this sounds terribly judgmental. How, it will be asked, can I possibly come to such negative conclusions as those stated in the paragraph above? I offer but one bit of truth as the primary evidence that proves my assertion that evangelicals have totally assimilated the idea of the pursuit of happiness: anger at God.

There is nary a Christian counseling ministry, a church or a seminary in this country that does not actively promote the practice of being angry with God. Christians are routinely counseled that the way to psychic happiness in their lives is to scream at God in anger for the miserable hand of life He has dealt them. No matter what goes wrong, the best way to cope with it is to get angry with God. After all, we are told, He is big enough and He can handle it. Your husband just took up with a pretty, young thing? Get angry with God! Your kid just got arrested for possession? Get angry at God! You just found out you have a terrible disease? Get angry with God! It seems there is no hardship known to man that does not have anger at God as the primary cure.

What is actually happening is that Christians are trying to pursue happiness and they are running into the providence of God as He promised in His Word. Rather than encountering pleasant, enjoyable, self-actualizing experiences, believers encounter the harsh reality of life in this world as Jesus described it. If these folks were true believers they would realize that anger with God is sin, pure and simple. God will judge those who profess to be angry with Him severely. If these folks were true believers they would realize that “all things work out for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” is not just a nice phrase to write on a trinket. True believers realize that all that comes from the hand of God is good. True believers meekly accept the discipline of God knowing that it is for their good.

If the Declaration of Independence had wanted to be theologically correct the authors should have written that all men are created by God and endowed with the unalienable duty to serve Him in all places at all times. But then, that would not have justified a revolution against the King of England. Instead, the Church has wholeheartedly adopted the concept of the pursuit of happiness, and its requisite anger with God corollary, as the best means to conduct life on earth. This act of assimilation has resulted in the misery of millions of people.

Words Worthy of Utterance by Every True Believer

Title: God, Be Merciful To Me

Composer: Richard Readhead (1853)

God, be merciful to me,
On Thy grace I rest my plea;
Plenteous in compassion Thou,
Blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within,
Cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.

My transgressions I confess,
Grief and guilt my soul oppress;
I have sinned against Thy grace
And provoked Thee to Thy face;
I confess Thy judgment just,
Speechless, I Thy mercy trust.

I am evil, born in sin;
Thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art,
Teach Thy wisdom to my heart;
Make me pure, Thy grace bestow,
Wash me whiter than the snow.

Broken, humbled to the dust
By Thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice
And in gladness hear Thy voice;
From my sins O hide Thy face,
Blot them out in boundless grace.

Gracious God, my heart renew,
Make my spirit right and true;
Cast me not away from Thee,
Let Thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation’s joy impart,
Steadfast make my willing heart.

Sinners then shall learn from me
And return, O God, to Thee;
Savior, all my guilt remove,
And my tongue shall sing Thy love;
Touch my silent lips, O Lord,
And my mouth shall praise accord.

Assimilation: Gambling

This is part of a series of posts on the sin of Assimilation. Click here to see the entire series.

Gambling is another behavior on which the Church and the State are in agreement, at least somewhat. Until recently in this country it was considered to be the case that the practice of gambling was, at best, a weakness that needed to be discouraged. However, just like in the case of the history of drug laws in the United States, we have seen how the state has now changed the social understanding of gambling and, thereby, changed the rules. Gambling is now only a sin if it is either not operated or regulated by the State. In other words, the only sinful gambling that takes place, according to the State, is the gambling that they are not able to tax. When gambling is done in State approved casinos and under the supervision of State licensed examiners, it is a panacea for many of societies ills. The revenues that are produced are utilized to bring about all manner of allegedly beneficial social programs.

The Church has been at the front of the charge to limit or eliminate gambling. In the last election cycle in the state of Colorado there was a ballot initiative that would have slightly increased the number of slot machines that are currently operating in the state. I received letters and phone calls from numerous Christian organizations informing me that this was the first horrible step in the short walk to certain destruction. Several of the communiques made the point that this was the most significant social issue in several years and that it would set the moral barometer of the state for years to come.

What does the Bible say about gambling? Absolutely nothing that I am aware of. I can think of no verse that speaks directly to the topic of gambling. Why, then, is it deemed a sin? Every argument I have heard is that gambling is a sin because of the effects that it creates in a small number of people who gamble compulsively. That is the same argument as saying that alcohol is a sin because of the drunkenness that it causes in the small percentage of people who over consume. Both arguments confuse the cause with the effect and both arguments are wrong. Christian liberty applies to the issue of gambling just like it does to drug use. All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. If you are compelled to gamble, then don’t do it. If you are not, you are free to gamble, if you want to. You certainly do not have to gamble if you do not want to.

Hypocrisy About Gambling

Another reason frequently given for why gambling is a sin is that it is an unwarranted use of money. This is somewhat similar to the “Temple of God” argument used against smoking. Just like in the case of smoking, the Church has once again “strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel”. The theory goes something like this. Work is a sacred activity that is compensated by money. A Christian who works is exercising dominion as God ordered him to do. To take a part of the compensation from the sacred activity of work and give it to gambling is almost a type of prostitution. Money, so it is said, should simply not be squandered in an offhand fashion in an attempt to get additional money by chance. In fact, the motivation to get “rich quick” via the route of gambling is nothing short of a repudiation of the dominion mandate.

Just like the “Temple of God” argument against smoking, there is some truth to this argument. However it also suffers from the same hypocrisy. The Bible clearly states that God expects His people to tithe. The tithe is 10% of income. All Christians are ordered to give 10% of their income to their local church (I am not going to make the biblical argument for the tithe here). The reprehensible reality is that only about 10% of Evangelicals tithe and the total giving to the church is about 2.5% of the income of the average church member. Now God does have a clear statement in the Bible about this reality. He calls the failure to deliver the tithe to Him a case of theft (Malachi 3). Stealing is a clear sin against God and should be grounds for church discipline. Yet, how many churches discipline for failure to tithe? None that I am aware of. It seems to be nothing less than hypocrisy to assert that gambling is a sinful waste of funds when Christians are publicly robbing God every week!

In light of the fact that there are no prohibitions against the activity of gambling, just as there are no prohibitions against spending money on any other recreational activities, it makes sense to assign gambling to the category of Christian liberty and subject it to the rule of moderation.

What has been shown is this: the Church has been assimilated to the culture of the US in that it has adopted the position that behaviors that are rightly in the realm of Christian liberty are actually considered to be sinful. The State is happy to agree with the Church that these behaviors are sinful, as long as they get their cut when they “regulate” the odious activities. The Church plays the willing pawn of the State by providing the moral indignation against activities that are not, according to the Bible, in any way sinful. Earlier I said, “…if smoking, drinking and gambling are really examples of assimilation to worldly values and if believers are generally engaging in the practice of smoking, drinking and gambling, then it is logical to conclude that the Church in the US has been assimilated to local culture.” Believers are not generally participating in the activities of smoking, drinking and gambling. That fact, however, does not prove that the Church has not been assimilated. Why? Because smoking, drinking and gambling are not examples of assimilation to worldly values.

Earlier I also said, “However, if smoking, drinking and gambling are not really examples of assimilation to worldly values but the Church nevertheless considers them to be, then it is logical to conclude that the Church is again assimilated to local culture…” That is where we find ourselves. Smoking, drinking and gambling are not sins. Nevertheless, the Church agrees with the worldly definition of what a sin is and engages in a strong campaign against behaviors that are really a matter of Christian liberty. We find that, in this area, the Church is fully assimilated to the world.

Hero Worship of Mandela Blinds Conrad Mbewe

I appreciate a lot of what Conrad Mbewe has to say about a wide range of topics. That’s why I was interested to hear what he has to say about Mandela now that the African leader has passed. Mbewe is an African Reformed Baptist pastor whose theological views are generally in line with mine. Because of this and the fact that he ministers in Africa, I was curious to see what he might have to say about the late Mandela.

You can read Mbewe’s article on Mandela here. I take no issue with the theology detailed in the article. However, Mbewe asks a question that I would like to answer. He says, “While many have hailed Mandela as perhaps the greatest African leader, others have dismissed him as a terrorist and communist. How, can one explain this?” Mbewe then goes on to explain that Mandela’s involvement in guerilla warfare was complicated and that it is unfair to label him as a terrorist because of the complexity of the situation. He then fails to even address the issue of Mandela’s communism.

How can one explain why some people have dismissed Mandela as a terrorist and a communist? I am not familiar enough with his violent activities, but it is quite easy to conclude that Mandela was a communist. Allow me to explain.

The Freedom Charter was the statement of core principles of the South African Congress Alliance, which consisted of the African National Congress (ANC) and its allies. Mandela held numerous positions in the ANC: ANCYL secretary (1948); ANCYL president (1950); ANC Transvaal president (1952); deputy national president (1952) and ANC president (1991). The Freedom Charter was officially adopted at the Congress of the People on June 26, 1955. You can read through the entire charter on the ANC website, but allow me to highlight some statements for you and explain how it reveals the ANC’s and Mandela’s communism.

The charter states:

That South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.

At the time this was written, the land within South Africa actually belonged to specific people. In order for the land to be given to the “people,” the state would have to forcibly take the land from those who owned it.

The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people.

At the time this was written, all the wealth within South Africa was owned by specific people. Some had very little. Some had much. Regardless, it all belonged to someone. The charter denied people the right to their own wealth.

The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the Banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.

At the time this was written, all the mineral wealth and banks were owned by specific people. The charter denied people the right to their own property.

Restrictions of land ownership on a racial basis shall be ended, and all the land re-divided amongst those who work it to banish famine and land hunger.

The charter took all the land from those who owned it and gave that stolen land to whomever had been hired to work on the land.

All shall have the right to occupy land wherever they choose.

According to this, the charter completely abolished the right of land ownership.

The state shall recognize the right and duty of all to work, and to draw full unemployment benefits.

Under the charter, everyone was to have the responsibility to work, even if that work was simply the collection of unemployment benefits.

There shall be a forty-hour working week, a national minimum wage, paid annual leave, and sick leave for all workers, and maternity leave on full pay for all working mothers.

All employers were required by the state to adopt these specific terms. Under the charter, a free market of labor simply would not exist. The labor market would be completely controlled by the state.

Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children; Higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit.

I find it fascinating that education would be both free and compulsory. That seems like a bit of a contradiction. In order for education to be free, all the teachers, administrators, and curriculum writers would have to volunteer their time. Since we know that would never happen, from where would the money come to pay for education? Furthermore, can you imagine the children of a free society being forced to attend government schools?

All people shall have the right to live where they choose, be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security. Unused housing space to be made available to the people. Rent and prices shall be lowered, food plentiful and no-one shall go hungry. Free medical care and hospitalization shall be provided for all, with special care for mothers and young children. The aged, the orphans, the disabled and the sick shall be cared for by the state.

In where other than a communist society do people have the right to “be decently housed”? In where else than a communist society can the state confiscate unused property and make it available to “the people”? In where other than a communist society can the state tell landlords how much they can charge for rent and food producers how much they can charge for their produce? Where other than in a communist society does the state provide “free” healthcare for all and are the aged, orphans, disabled, and sick “cared for” by the state?

Anyone who is not blind can see that the Freedom Charter, the African National Congress, and Nelson Mandela are all communist. Unfortunately, Mbewe is blind. He is blinded by his hero worship of Mandela. In Mbewe’s own words, “For the cause for which [Mandela] lived, i.e. the freedom of all the people of his country, it is difficult to find someone else alive today who can be a better icon. Facts are very stubborn things. The best we can do is to admit them. Mandela was an African liberator par excellence!” Maybe Mbewe is talking about a different Mandela; but the ideals laid out in the Freedom Charter don’t sound very liberating to me. It is fascinating to me that Mbewe could describe as a liberator anyone who would steal all property and wealth and require all children to attend government indoctrination centers. Based upon what is written in the Freedom Charter, I think it would be more accurate to describe Mandela as a communist.

So, why is this important? Why have I taken the time to answer Mbewe’s question? It is important because God tells us that people have a right to their own property and wealth when he says, “You shall not steal” (Ex 20:15; NASB). God tells us that it is wrong to look at what your neighbor has and desire to take it for yourself when he says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Ex 20:17). Confiscating the wealth and property of another person, even if it is done with and through the power of the state, is contrary to God’s character, and people who dedicate their lives to ideals that are contrary to God’s character should never be praised as liberators by Reformed ministers.

Hypocrisy Hidden Under a Thin Veneer of “Love”

In the debate over homosexuality, there are generally two sides. One side says that God’s opinion, as recorded in the Bible, should dictate what constitutes acceptable human behavior. The other side says that human desire should dictate what constitutes acceptable human behavior. Given the presuppositions of both camps, it is impossible that they will ever agree. Because of this, I generally refrain from engaging in the debate. I certainly hold a position that I will share with anyone who wants to know it, but my experience is that most people don’t want to know my position. So be it.

Then, I came across an interesting article, which you can read here, that seeks to provide a third side to the debate. Actually, I think the author, A United Methodist youth pastor from Mississippi named Tyler Smither, would say that he is moving beyond the debate itself and seeking to find a completely different solution to the issue. He says that everyone should keep his opinion about homosexuality to himself because it does not matter what anyone thinks about the morality of homosexuality. He says that both sides of the debate have missed the point and that they should simply “try telling a gay kid that [they] love him and [they] don’t want him to die . . . inviting her into [their] church and into [their] home and into [their] life.” As he makes his case, he also makes eight outrageous claims that go way beyond the issue of homosexuality. These are claims that I simply cannot ignore. So, I won’t.

1. The stakes have changed

Smither claims the time for debate over the morality of homosexuality is over because the stakes have changed. At some point, it was apparently worthwhile to discuss God’s opinion about the matter. Now, things have changed. What exactly has changed? According to Smither, “The stakes are too high now. The current research suggests that teenagers that are gay are about 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.” Even though God clearly has an opinion about the issue, the importance of his opinion has changed because gay people are killing themselves more often than non-gay people.

2. Whether or not people are dying is the basis of what matters

Now that homosexuals are killing themselves at a rate higher than non-homosexuals, it no longer matters what God’s opinion is regarding homosexuality. In regards to the debate over God’s opinion on homosexuality, Smither says, “It doesn’t matter. Why doesn’t it matter? Because people are dying.” That is a fascinating claim. I wonder if the suicide rate of fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, murderers, rapists, and thieves is higher than that of people who don’t engage in these behaviors. I have not seen the research, but I am willing to bet that the suicide rate of at least one of these groups is higher than the average. Surely murderers kill themselves at a higher rate than normal people. Therefore, according to Smither’s logic, we should not take into account what God says about murder because God’s opinion no longer matters when “people are dying.”

3. A person is only a human being if he gets physically ill when a homosexual kills himself

This has got to be the most outrageous of Smither’s claims. I don’t get physically sick when anyone kills himself, regardless of whether or not the person is gay. Yet, Smither says, “Kids are literally killing themselves because they are so tired of being rejected and dehumanized that they feel their only option left is to end their life. As a Youth Pastor, this makes me physically ill. And as a human, it should make you feel the same way.” There you have it. In order to be considered human, you have to get physically sick when a gay person kills himself.

4. Being theologically correct about homosexuality is morally irresponsible

I know it is hard for logical people to conceive of a world in which correct theology is not congruent with morality, yet that is the world in which Smither lives. He says that it is impossible to both hold a correct doctrine of homosexuality and treat homosexuals in a morally responsible way. The implication is that the correct doctrine of homosexuality is that it is a sin and that the morally responsible way to treat a homosexual is as if homosexuality is not a sin. Therefore, Smither says, “When faced with the choice between being theologically correct and being morally responsible, I’ll go with morally responsible every time.” If theology is correct, it necessarily follows that it is moral. This is because theology is the study of God and because morality is a reflection of God’s perfect moral character. If our theology is correct and if we live our lives according to it, then what we do will, by definition, be morally responsible. Smither, though, apparently lives in an alternate universe where either morality is not a reflection of God’s character or where theology is not the study of God or both.

5. The treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany is comparable, at least on some level, to the treatment of gays by Bible-believing Christians

Until now, I had never been compared to a Nazi just for wanting to know what God thinks about a moral issue. Yet, this is precisely what Smither does when he gives the reason for Dietrich Bonheoffer’s attempt to assassinate Hitler. Smither says, “[Bonheoffer] believed that complete pacifism was theologically correct. And yet, in the midst of the war, he conspired to assassinate Adolf Hitler; to kill a fellow man. Why? Because in light of what he saw happening to the Jews around him by the Nazis, he felt that it would be morally irresponsible not to. Between the assassination of Hitler and nonviolence, he felt the greater sin would be nonviolence.” Smither’s implication is that gays are being treated as something less than human, the same way the Jews were treated during WWII, by those who claim homosexuality is a sin. Even though it is theologically accurate to define homosexuality as a sin, it would be morally irresponsible to not stop Bible-believing Christians from saying that homosexuality is a sin in the same way that it would have been morally irresponsible for Bonheoffer to not attempt to kill Hitler.

6. Seeking the truth of Scripture is an unnecessary luxury

It seems really strange to me that someone claiming to be a Christian pastor would make this claim. Yet, Smither says, “We no longer have the luxury to consider the original meaning of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church.” How quickly is orthodoxy replaced with apostasy when finding the truth of Scripture is a luxury that we can set aside when it becomes inconvenient?

7. No one is permitted to speak when lives are at stake

Apparently, people are only allowed to talk under certain circumstances. One circumstance that abolishes the right to speak is when a homosexual is contemplating suicide. In Smither’s own words, “We are now faced with the reality that there are lives at stake. So whatever you believe about homosexuality, keep it to yourself.”

8. The gospel is irrelevant–all that matters is saying nice things to gay people

What should a Christian pastor say to the homosexual who visits his church on Sunday? Most of us would think that the gospel is a good place to start with all unbelievers, regardless of whether or not they are gay. Not Smither. He says, “Try inviting [the homosexual] into your church and into your home and into your life. Anything other than that simply doesn’t matter.” Wow. The only thing that matters is saying nice things to gay people.

Those are Smither’s outrageous claims. There are numerous implications to what Smither writes; but I only want to address one, the one that reveals his hypocrisy.

I believe the Bible. I believe it is God’s word. It is the full revelation of God’s will and his character. I believe that all decisions in life should be based upon what the Bible says. I believe that God’s opinion is not only the most important opinion but the only opinion that matters. Over the last several years, I have been mocked, ridiculed, threatened, and slandered because of my beliefs. My coworkers reject me. People like Tyler Smither dehumanize me by questioning why I don’t get sick when a homosexual kills himself and by comparing me to Hitler. I am so distraught over this that the only option of feel I have left is to end my life, and I am not alone. There are millions of us struggling to deal with the continuous rejection we face. Yet instead of keeping his opinion to himself and telling us that he loves us and inviting us into his home and life, Smither tells us that we are not humans, that we are morally irresponsible, and compares us to Hitler.

Smither’s treatment of Bible-believing Christians is appalling. He may love gays, but he certainly does not love people who care about God’s opinion–and the fact that he demonizes one group of people in the name of love for another group of people makes him a hypocrite. The loving thing would be to treat everyone lawfully. If Smither wasn’t a hypocrite, he would treat everyone equally. He would accept all of us as we are, Bible-believers and gays alike. As it seems though, Smither’s love for gays is merely a thin veneer for his hypocritical treatment of others. This is not the way Christian pastors should behave. We should treat ALL people, including those who disagree with us, the way they deserve to be treated. We should treat ALL people based upon their God-given, objective rights. We should treat ALL people the way that God says in the Bible they should be treated. We should treat ALL people the way Jesus would treat them.

Assimilation: The Bible Says “Yes” to Drugs

This is part of a series of posts on the sin of Assimilation. Click here to see the entire series.

Not surprisingly, the Bible describes a medicinal use for alcohol. Proverbs 31: 6-7 says, “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his trouble no more.” The case can be made that this is more than a statement about the medicinal use of alcohol. In fact, it appears as if this passage is a straight out endorsement of giving a bottle of Thunderbird to the bums we might see downtown! Clearly it is permissible to give “strong drink” to the person who is perishing. Strong drink can act as a painkiller for the person who is near death, perhaps due to a debilitating illness or disease that is causing a lot of pain. But the second exhortation for the use of wine describes a different situation. Merely having a “bitter” life is sufficient reason to give wine to a person. In fact, the wine is not there to treat any medical problem but is there to help the poor soul “forget his poverty”. Although most Christians do not like to admit it, alcohol is described in the Bible as a means by which those who are spiritually impoverished may anesthetize themselves. This goes on everyday among those who live in the street.

I Timothy 5: 23 is perhaps the most well know reference in Scripture to the medicinal use of a drug. Paul writes, “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” There is very little disagreement on the interpretation of this passage. There is little doubt but that Paul is exhorting Timothy to the medicinal use of the drug alcohol. What is interesting however, is that Paul apparently has no conception of Timothy needing to get the permission of the State before consuming a medicinal drug. It is quite obvious that Timothy is deemed to be qualified to purchase and consume a medicinal drug entirely on his own recognizance.

Mark 5: 23 records the description of Jesus being crucified. It says, “And they tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it.” This is another obvious medicinal use of a drug. The wine and myrrh mixture was designed to be a painkiller in an attempt to somewhat mitigate the agony of crucifixion.

Psalm 104: 14-15 is an interesting passage that illustrates the principle of the recreation use of a drug. It says, “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine which makes man’s heart glad…” Why does this wine make a man’s heart “glad”? Because it is a drug. The consumption of wine alters the physical and mental state of the drinker to create a sense of euphoria (gladness). Nowhere in Scripture does God prohibit the production and recreational consumption of this drug as a means of making the heart “glad”.

Ecclesiastes 10: 19 says, “Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry…” Here is another overt example of food and drink being used for the purpose of making life better by means of altering the perception of reality in the participants. Of course, just as overeating is gluttony, and a sin; so overdrinking is drunkenness, and a sin. But, eating and drinking are not sins, they are encouraged behaviors.

John 2: 10 contains the story of Jesus producing an alcoholic beverage. When the headwaiter tests the wine that Jesus has produced he has this to say, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer; you have kept the good wine until now.” Again, if we cast aside presuppositions that force us to somehow interpret this as “non-alcoholic wine”, we are forced to the conclusion that Jesus produced a drug to be used by all of those who were attending the wedding feast. The common practice was to serve the best wine first. After consuming the good wine it would be less likely that those who had indulged in the drug would be able to ascertain that the latter wine was not the same quality. That is because the drug would cause them to become partially detached from reality. That is what a drug does. Jesus heightens this experience by making good wine to be served after the participants are already well on their way to the euphoria created by the depressant drug alcohol.

There are dozens of verses that describe the evils of alcohol. I suspect that most Christians are well aware of them so I am not going to reproduce them here. The Bible says that “wine is a mocker” and that “strong drink” can destroy the soul of a man. In all cases where the Bible describes the drug of alcohol in a negative fashion, it is always associated with drunkenness. Drunkenness is defined as the overuse of the drug alcohol. When the drug has been used to the point where the desired affect has gone beyond a sense of euphoria to a loss of personal control, drunkenness has taken place. It is not the use of the drug that is a sin. It is the abuse of the drug that constitutes a sin.

I Corinthians 6: 12 sums up the biblical position on drug use. It says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” This passage gets right to the heart of the biblical teaching on the use of drugs. Drugs are not unlawful. There should be no laws against the use of drugs. There is nothing inherently sinful in drug use. However, if a drug comes to a position of being the master of that person, the line has been crossed from saint to sinner. Paul’s statement that he will not be “mastered” by anything is most instructive and gets to the heart of the physical addiction and the mental habit of taking drugs.

Here is a simply test to use to determine if you are using drugs responsibly or if you are sinning in your use of drugs. Ask yourself this question, “Am I consuming this drug because I want to or because I have to?” If you have to consume the drug, it has become your master and you are sinning. If you do not have to consume the drug, feel free to use it as a lawful means of altering your perception of reality and making your heart glad.

I realize that the argument I have made will be ignored by just about everyone. Those who do not ignore it will only read it so they can become angry and vehemently disagree. Nevertheless, it is a biblical position on the issue of drug use. It is a biblical position on smoking and drinking. More importantly, it is a biblical position on smoking and drinking that is diametrically opposed to the position of both the Church and the State on smoking and drinking. If what I have argued is true, then it necessarily follows that the Church has been assimilated into US culture by adopting the view that smoking and drinking are sinful behaviors when they are, in fact, matters of Christian liberty.

Assimilation: Hypocrisy in Drug Use

This is part of a series of posts on the sin of Assimilation. Click here to see the entire series.

The hypocrisy in the position stated above, and believed by evangelicals, is obvious. When the definition of drug is properly understood it can immediately be seen that the condemnation of recreational drugs is applied haphazardly. There is no question that caffeine is a drug. It is a stimulant that has a profound effect upon the human body. It is a habit-forming drug that evidences real and serious withdrawal symptoms when a user (addict in the terms of the society) attempts to go “cold turkey”. Nevertheless, this drug is dispensed, free of charge, in probably every church in the country every Sunday morning. To make matters worse, this drug is consumed by most Christians every morning as a means to heighten their awareness prior to going to work. Many Christians laughingly comment as to how they need their “fix” every morning just to wake up. Everybody knows that a cup of coffee is little more than a “delivery system” for the drug called caffeine.

Now why is it that the use of caffeine is not immoral and the use of cocaine is? This question is especially poignant in light of the fact that the original Coca-Cola was a soft drink that contained cocaine for precisely the same reasons that caffeine is consumed in coffee. Yet, somehow, cocaine-containing Coca-Cola is immoral (because the state says cocaine is an illegal drug) but caffeine-containing coffee is a cherished church tradition.

Nicotine is a stimulant found in tobacco. It has very similar affect upon the human body as caffeine. Those who use nicotine find that it helps them to concentrate and perform at a higher level. Yet, the general consensus among Christians is that it is a sin to smoke, while it is saintly to drink coffee. Why are Christians blinded to the inconsistency of the application of rules of drug use? Why is it a sin to smoke and not a sin to drink coffee?

Most likely the answer that would be given to the last question would go something like this: drinking coffee, although admittedly a drug, does not harm the body in the way that smoking does. After all, is not the body the “Temple of the Holy Spirit”? I believe most Evangelicals would say that it is acceptable to drink coffee because it somehow does not “hurt” the body (ignoring the fact that it is a stimulant and that it is physically addictive!), whereas smoking has been clearly shown to have many negative physical affects upon the human body besides the ingestion of nicotine.

There is some truth to the argument that smoking can do harm to the human body in a way that drinking coffee cannot. But as is the case in all drug use, the poison is in the dosage. Massive ingestion of coffee does more damage to the body than light smoking. Heavy smoking does more damage to the body than light coffee drinking. Perhaps more importantly, overeating and not exercising can do more harm to the body than moderate smoking and coffee consumption combined! Numerous medical studies have shown that there are some positive benefits attributed to smoking. In some cases, especially those revolving around the smoking of pipes and cigars, it has been shown that light to moderate tobacco use actually reduces risk factors associated with damage to the body and poor health. On the other hand, I am aware of no study that has ever concluded that obesity is in any way good for the “Temple of God”.

It is possible that I have only visited churches in which the members have a problem with overeating. But I don’t think so. I believe it is fair to say that among evangelicals, as it is among the US population in general, obesity is a serious problem. Not only is it a problem; it is also a sin. Proverbs 23: 20 says, “Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, or with gluttonous eaters of meat”. Gluttony is easily defined. Gluttony is eating more than you need. Gluttony is easily detected. Are you fat? If you are, you have engaged in gluttony. Why is it that evangelicals rail against the use of tobacco and ignore the more obvious and common sin of gluttony? If we are serious about the argument of not doing harm to the “Temple of God”, then why are so many Christians fat and lazy? Even worse, why is nobody preaching about the dangers of obesity and the sin of gluttony?

The answer to that question is easy. Too many people would get mad and leave the church if the pastor preached that gluttony was a sin. My pastor did just that and several fat members left the church in a huff. These folks didn’t smoke or drink and believed that it was the duty of the pastor to “preach the whole counsel of God”. So much for logical consistency.

It is clear that there is a lot of confusion in the minds of Christians with respect to drugs and the abuse of the body. We have indeed been guilty of “straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel” on this issue. We do and say nothing about the significant minority of our church members who are public gluttons while at the same time condemning those who might smoke on the grounds that they are ingesting the drug of nicotine and harming their bodies. Meanwhile, we all reach for another cup of coffee!

The question of the use of the drug known as alcohol has divided the Church in the US since before Prohibition. Fundamentalists go to great lengths to “prove” that all references in the Bible to wine and strong drink that are positive are references to alcohol-free wine and strong drink. Conversely they say that all references to wine and strong drink that are negative are references to alcohol-containing wine and strong drink. Some denominations state flat out in their doctrinal statements that the “production and consumption of alcohol is a sin”. Others allow for limited uses of alcohol. To answer the alcohol question and to get an understanding on the biblical position on drug use we need to examine some passages.

Ernest Goodman is Confused

He may not be confused about everything, but Ernest Goodman is certainly confused about the Reformed doctrine of cessationism and the role of the Holy Spirit in missions. In his article “The Spirit Incommunicado,” Goodman argues that Reformed missionaries take some “theological leaps” in order to arrive at their view of the sufficiency of Scripture. He then goes on to explain how the Holy Spirit orchestrates mission efforts by secretly and mystically communicating to individual missionaries.

Let’s first deal with Goodman’s confusion over the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. Regarding missions, he says, “We should do what ‘seems good’ while listening for His guidance and watching for the circumstances of His providence. This isn’t looking for ‘extra-biblical’ revelation, it’s relying on the Spirit of Jesus for the interpretation and application of His Word.” Mr. Goodman claims that looking for the revelation of God’s secret will by experiencing mystical guidance and interpreting circumstances is not extra-biblical revelation. Anyone who makes such a contradictory statement is clearly confused. Revelation that comes outside of the pages of the Bible is the very definition of extra-biblical revelation.

Furthermore, Goodman does not seem to understand that the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture is not a rejection of the ministry of the apostles. He claims that Reformed missionaries reject the precedent set by the early church in order to arrive at their view of the way the Holy Spirit guides missions today. This, however, is simply false. Their view of the way the Holy Spirit guides missions today is based upon the belief that God has revealed everything he wants to reveal. The Holy Spirit spoke to prophets in times past because God had not finished speaking. Today, though, God has communicated within the Bible everything he wants to communicate; and everything he has communicated is sufficient for all matters of life and godliness, including missions.

With Goodman’s insistence on seeking the revelation of God’s secret will outside of the Bible, he rejects the sufficiency of Scripture in practice. If he believed the Scripture to be sufficient, there would be no need for him to seek God’s secret will outside of the Bible. The rejection of the sufficiency of Scripture is a serious thing. However, my guess is that his rejection of this historical doctrine is a direct result of his confusion. If he actually thought through his position, he may return to the orthodox view of the Bible.

In the meantime, we still have to deal with Goodman’s strategy for allowing the Holy Spirit to orchestrate the mission of the Church. He describes four areas of missions in which the Holy Spirit should be mystically revealing God’s secret will.

Sending: He says that “the church must only send those who have been called and that his calling is made by the Spirit and affirmed by the local church.” What he fails to say is HOW this calling is made. Maybe he means that anyone who feels like he should be a missionary has received a calling by the Holy Spirit. If so, how do we then differentiate between those with a genuine calling and those who have heartburn? That’s where the local church plays its role. Goodman even says so himself. However, he immediately contradicts himself by saying, “Even if someone meets all the criteria for service, we cannot assume it is good to send him out.” Let me get this strait. The calling is secretly and mystically received by an individual, and then the calling is affirmed by the local church. However, the local church does not send the person based upon whether or not he meets all the criteria. Exactly what, then, is the role of the local church? Goodman does not say. What is clear is that Goodman believes the local church should send missionaries based upon something other than what is written in the pages of the Bible.

If a person meets all the criteria and wants to go, the local church should send him. It’s that simple. We don’t need mystic revelation to reach these wise and good conclusions.

Strategy: Goodman says that “statistics and ethnography are good tools for us as we organize our resources, but ultimately we must do what the Spirit leads us to do . . . even if [he] leads us to minister among a ‘reached’ people.” Scripture very clearly tells us that the mission of the Church is to teach all the nations to obey what Christ has commanded. Using statistics and ethnography to figure out where those nations are located is wise and good. Why do we need the Holy Spirit to secretly tell us to minister among a certain people when God has already told us to minister among all people? This is an especially important question when one feels that God is telling him to make disciples among a people who have already been made disciples.

Evangelism: Goodman argues that the evangelist is supposed to say different things to different people and that the only way he can know what to say to specific people is for the Holy Spirit to mystically and secretly tell him what to say to specific people. However, orthodox Christianity teaches that the evangelist is to proclaim the gospel. He is to proclaim the gospel to man, woman, Jew, Greek, slave, and freeman alike. The Bible very clearly reveals what the gospel is, so there is no reason for the evangelist to seek extra-biblical guidance as to what to say to any specific person.

Church Planting: Goodman says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain. As we make disciples, churches are formed. But what those churches should look like, what they should redeem and what they should reject, must be done according to scripture as illuminated by the Spirit. Otherwise, we get contextually inappropriate expressions of church.” I completely agree with this. The problem, though, is that Goodman disagrees with himself. All along, he has been arguing that we have to receive special and specific revelation from the Holy Spirit. Now, he has changed his tune and says that we need to conduct our ministry according to Scripture. Like I said, he is confused.

He ends his article with a statement that reveals the depth of his confusion. He asks, “Does God have a ‘specific will’ for us as believers?” According to the article, God most certainly has a specific will for us as believers. At the very least, God has a specific will regarding who receives the call to missions and how the local church affirms that calling. God has a specific will for where the missionary is supposed to conduct his ministry. God has a specific will regarding the specific words the evangelist is supposed to use when talking with specific people. Throughout the article, Goodman answers the question of whether or not God has a secret will for believers with a resounding “yes.” Yet, in the end, he specifically answers this question by saying, “I don’t know.” If he really does not know, then why did he write the article? Mr. Goodman is obviously confused.

Assimilation: Smoking and Drinking

This is part of a series of posts on the sin of Assimilation. Click here to see the entire series.

Smoking and drinking are deemed to be worldly behaviors primarily because they involve the consumption of a drug. It is accepted as a basic presupposition that Christians should never, ever, have anything to do with any type of drug! Despite the fact that Christians are divided into hundreds of denominations based upon different biblical interpretations, I believe it is fair to assert that all Christians would agree that personal, recreational drug use is a sin. The question that needs to be asked is, what does the Bible say?

It will come as a shock to most believers, but the Bible just says, “Yes” to drugs. In order to prove this point it is necessary to do several things. First, I need to define precisely what a “drug” is. Second, a brief history of the social perception of drug use in this country would be helpful. Lastly, a quick summary of numerous relevant passages from the Bible will be examined.

In very broad categories, drugs can be divided into four general classes. Stimulants are drugs that have the effect of stimulating the human physiology. This stimulation results in a feeling of alertness, attention, heightened awareness, and euphoria. Some commonly used stimulants are caffeine, nicotine, and cocaine. Depressants are drugs that have the effect of depressing the human physiology. This depression results in a feeling of tranquility, calmness, and, again, a sense of euphoria. Common depressants include amphetamines and alcohol. Hallucinogens are drugs that affect the chemistry of the brain. Hallucinogenic drugs cause the user to have an altered sense of reality that is generally euphoric in character. Common hallucinogens include marijuana and LSD. Lastly, opiates are powerful drugs that have an effect upon both the brain and the body by blocking neural pathways. The use of opiates can have a strong tranquilizing effect. They also can be used to create an altered sense of reality. Opiates are also sometimes referred to as narcotics. Common opiates are morphine and heroin.

The four classes of drugs described all have a common effect upon the user in that they bring about a change in the physiology of the body that is desirable for the user. They also have the common affect of rendering a change to the cognitive perceptions of reality on the part of the user. Although each of the different classes acts upon the body in different fashions, they all have the same perceived impact of creating a sense of euphoria in the user. For my purposes I will define a drug as any substance that alters the cognitive perceptions of the user, generally interpreted in a euphoric fashion.

Prior to 1906 in the United States, all of the drugs mentioned above (including marijuana, cocaine and heroin) were readily available for purchase on the free market. However, in 1906 Congress created the Food and Drug Act. This act was a response of Congress to the traveling medicine shows that were sweeping the country. Because there were many different types of drugs being sold at these shows and because many of the products that were being purchased contained ingredients that the purchasers were unaware of, Congress deemed it necessary to require a label that would detail all the contents of a medicine. There were some examples of people becoming ill or even dying from the use of some of these tonics and Congress felt the need to “do something”. The Food and Drug Act simply required that all bottles of medicine clearly spell out what they contained. There was no attempt to stop or regulate the production of these medicines. It was believed by Congress that consumers just needed to be aware of what they were purchasing, not that they needed to be protected from their own purchasing decisions.

Largely due to the influence of the Christian Temperance Union (which was successful in getting the highly unsuccessful Prohibition Act passed in 1920) and the growing desire of a minority of American citizens to have government control over drugs, the Harrison Narcotic Act was passed in 1914. This act proscribed that from that point forward all “habit forming” drugs would be regulated by the US government and would be available for “medical” use exclusively. The Harrison Narcotic Act was followed up by a more specific act of Congress in 1924 which made it illegal for anyone to manufacture, possess or distribute heroin. It is worth noting that in that year the Bayer company had produced and sold about 1.6 tons of heroin for popular consumption on the free market.

Finally, in 1938, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was created by an act of Congress. Prior to the establishment of the FDA, any person was free to purchase any non-narcotic without a prescription. The FDA laid down two primary principles. First, all “dangerous” drugs would be subject to prescription laws. Second, all government authorized agents (doctors and pharmacists) must comply with government rules relating to the dispensing of narcotics.

Prior to 1906, the production, purchase and consumption of all drugs were deemed to be a personal decision. By 1938 and the creation of the FDA all of that personal responsibility had been dismissed. The social perceptions about drugs and drug use changed dramatically. Prior to the government claiming monopoly control over the dispensing and use of drugs it was not considered to be a social stigma for an individual to use drugs, either for medical or recreational purposes. After the establishment of the FDA the use of drugs was either good or bad depending upon from whom they were purchased. As Thomas Szasz points out (in his book entitled “Pharmaucracy”), if you use drugs under the authority of the state, you are a patient. If you use drugs under your own authority you are an addict. In the same way, if you sell drugs under the authority of the state, you are a pharmacist. If you sell drugs under your own authority you are a pusher.

This change in societal perceptions has a tremendous benefit for the State. By completely controlling a part of the economy that used to be in the free market, the State is able to dole out political favors and receive graft in return. Decisions about which drug comes to market and how much it will cost can now be made by politicians rather than the free market. A tremendous amount of soft political money is shifted into politician’s pockets by drug companies who expect favorable legislation in return.

No better modern example of the increased power and hypocrisy of the State can be seen than in the “tobacco settlement”. Using the coercive power of government, many individual states forced private tobacco companies to pay them funds for the privilege of continuing to do business. Ostensibly the government extorted these funds from tobacco companies because of the damage they had done to the “public health”. However, not a penny of the extorted funds is being used to pay for anyone who has allegedly been harmed by tobacco (that money is being spent to shore up state budgets that are ridiculously in the red). Rather, the government has a vested interest in seeing that the tobacco companies continue to be profitable so as not to see their own income stream from legal extortion decrease. The net effect of the “tobacco settlement” is little more than the virtual reality that the state governments are now the primary “shareholders” of tobacco stocks in that they receive the preferred dividends from the profits of the companies as they continue to sell the harmful drug that brought about the suit in the first place!

This change in public perception about the production and use of drugs raises a vital question. How can the exact same act (using drugs) be criminal (sinful) at one time (when done under personal responsibility), and be moral and proper at another time (when the state dispenses the drugs and collects the profits)? The utilization of drugs is today deemed to be immoral in all cases except when done under the auspices of the State and for medical purposes. The use of drugs on one’s own personal recognizance and for recreational purposes is always considered to be immoral. I believe that is a fair summary of the current position of both Christians and non-Christians on the topic of drug use. However, as I will show, it is woefully hypocritical.

Who is Calling? And Who is Listening?

I recently heard an evangelical missionary quote a daily devotional. The name of the devotional was not given, but it sure sounded like “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. Don’t let the title fool you. It is not Jesus who is calling. It is simply Mrs. Young pretending to be Jesus and saying to her readers all the things she wishes Jesus would say to her. Anyway, the devotional was quoted after a brief explanation of how much the devotional was helping this person get through a particularly difficult time in which the person was tempted to judge several individuals, none of them Christians, who the person believed had sinned against him and his family. Here are the supposed words of God that were quoted:

“Thank me that I am able to meet your needs even when others let you down. Praise Me that I am able to transform their lives as well as yours. Just as My Son died for you, My child, He died for them. When you judge and condemn them, your attitude breaks my heart.”

Packing this much heresy into just four sentences takes a special skill. I find it hard to believe that any Christian could hear these words and think that they came from the God of the Bible. There is so much wrong with this quote that I hardly know where to begin. So, let’s just start at the beginning.

The first sentence is, on its own, quite good. Though I think it is blasphemous to put words in God’s mouth, I do believe it is a good thing to thank God for meeting the needs of his people. That, however, is not the focus of the sentence. The focus is on “even when others let you down.” The focus is on the other people who, for whatever reason, did not do for you whatever it was you needed them to do for you. When this happens, thank God that he is able to step in and fill the void.

The second sentence, by itself, is not too bad either. We should praise God for his ability to transform lives. Again, though, the focus is not on the praise of God’s infinite ability. Rather, the focus is on the people who can have their lives transformed. If the focus were on God’s infinite ability, the reader would be told to praise God for demonstrating his infinite ability by transforming some people with his grace and by destroying other people with his wrath.

The third sentence is where things really start to get out of shape. If it is true that Jesus died equally for both his children and all the other people in the world, then one of three heresies must necessarily be true.

1) If Jesus died for everyone, then everyone is going to heaven. If the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus on the cross for all the sins of all mankind, then God’s wrath has been extinguished. There is no more wrath to come. There is no hell, and everyone is going to heaven. This is the heresy of universalism.

2) If Jesus died for everyone but not everyone is going to heaven, then Christ’s sacrifice must not have been sufficient. It must not have worked for some people. Christ must not have been able to take all of God’s wrath upon himself. The blood of Jesus must not have been able to completely cover everyone’s sin. I do not know that this heresy has a particular name, but it certainly denies the deity of Christ as it rejects his infinite ability and value.

3) If Jesus died for everyone but not everyone is going to heaven and the sacrifice of Christ was one of infinite worth, then God is not just. If Jesus was punished for the sins of John Doe and John Doe goes to hell, then God will have punished two people for the sins John Doe committed. If a judge decides to execute his own son in the place of a murderer and then later decides to go ahead and execute the murderer as well, that judge will have perverted justice and should be removed from the bench. The same is true with God. If he punishes his Son in the place of sinners and then decides to go ahead and punish the sinners as well, he is no longer just and should be removed from his throne. Fortunately, that is not what God does. He most certainly punished his Son in the place of particular sinners, but those particular sinners will never face punishment themselves. There are other sinners who will face punishment. These are the people for whom Christ did not die. Their sins have not been covered. God’s wrath against them has not been satisfied, and his eternal judgment awaits them.

The fourth sentence is an outright rejection of God’s character. Why would God’s heart be broken when those who he will judge and condemn are judged and condemned? The judgment and condemnation of the reprobate brings great joy to God’s heart. What would break God’s heart would be to declare the wicked anything other than guilty. Their sin is ultimately against God, and to declare their acquittal is to deny God of his right to retribution. Denying God his rights is not something any of us should be in the business of doing.

I said that I find it hard to believe that any Christian could hear the words of this devotional and think that they came from the mouth of God. Anyone who does think so is clearly blind to what is written within the pages of the Bible. With that said, I don’t find it hard to believe that the vast majority of evangelicals would believe these words came from the mouth of God. This is because the vast majority of evangelicals think that Jesus loves everyone equally and died for all the sins of all people. They think that judgment is inherently contrary God’s character. They think that Christians are required to offer blanket forgiveness to anyone and everyone who sins against them because that is what Jesus does. They think God’s glory is seen mostly in that he fills various voids in their lives and transforms people from something bad to something good. They think God is something that he is not, and they love him that way. They love the Jesus who comes forth from the mouth of the likes of Mrs. Young. The problem, though, is that this Jesus does not actually exist. He is merely an idol invented by heretics and planted in the minds of the gullible masses in today’s Church.

So, who is calling? Hell is calling; and unfortunately, the masses are listening.