Restoring Love

Downtown Dallas in the background with the Tri...

Downtown Dallas in the background with the Trinity River in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Restoring Love event in Dallas, Texas is another example of Christians taking a stand and showing what is good and attractive about being a Christian and following God’s ways. Restoring Love is an example of how Christian service, charity, and compassion can and should meet all the needs that the government attempts to fill with welfare programs. Volunteers will distribute food to the hungry, repair houses of the elderly, take part in community clean up efforts and so much more.

The catch for us Christians is that if we are not willing to step up and be the church with acts of Christian love and charity, we have no business demanding that the government get out of that area. If we in Christian love will live out our faith and put feet on our worldview, that will be a sweet and inviting fragrance to the lost. And just in case it isn’t, as in the case of people like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund are on call to defend our place in the public square.

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Traditional Marriage on the Ballot in Minnesota

John Piper (theologian)

John Piper (theologian) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The people of Minnesota are voting on an amendment to their state constitution defining marriage as  “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.” Sound familiar California? We had a similar vote about four years ago. It passed, but an activist judge struck it down. Our battle is somewhere in the appeals stage. I hope your vote goes the way it has for every state where the people have had a chance to vote. In other words, I hope traditional marriage wins out.

A sermon by John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis came to my attention this week. While he didn’t come outright in favor of the proposed marriage amendment, Dr. Piper preached a sermon directly on the Biblical basis for marriage and laid out a number of Biblical principles to help his flock think through this issue. I will include the main points of his sermon here because he sums up quite succinctly some of the best thinking on this battle of our culture war.

1. Marriage is created and defined by God in the Scriptures as the sexual and covenantal union of a man and a woman in life-long allegiance to each other alone, as husband and wife, with a view to displaying Christ’s covenant relationship to his blood-bought church.

2. There is no such thing as so-called same-sex marriage, and it would be wise not to call it that.

3. Same sex desires and same sex orientation are part of our broken and disordered sexuality owing to God’s subjection of the created order to futility because of man’s sin.

4. Therefore, same-sex intercourse, not same-sex desire is the focus of Paul’s condemnation when he threatens exclusion from the kingdom of God.

5. Therefore, it would contradict love and contradict the gospel of Jesus to approve homosexual practice, whether by silence, or by endorsing so-called same-sex marriage, or by affirming the Christian ordination of practicing homosexuals.

6. The good news of Jesus is that God saves heterosexual sinners and homosexual sinners who trust Jesus, by counting them righteous because of Christ, and by helping them through his Spirit to live lives pleasing to him in their disordered brokenness.

7. Deciding what actions will be made legal or illegal through civil law is a moral activity aiming at the public good and informed by the worldview of each participant.

8. Don’t press the organization of the church or her pastors into political activism. Pray that the church and her ministers would feed the flock of God with the word of God centered on the gospel of Christ crucified and risen. Expect from your shepherds not that they would rally you behind political candidates or legislative initiatives, but they would point you over and over again to God and to his word, and to the cross.

Main Points of Sermon, “‘Let Marriage be Held in Honor’ Thinking Biblically about So-called Same-sex Marriage”, John Piper, June 16, 2012.

Even though Dr. Piper says not press the church or her pastors into political activism, if more pastors would simply lay out the Biblical framework as he did, Christians would be much better informed in their values and voting. This is much closer to the Black Robed Regiment that David Barton talks about than what I hear on Sunday. If you have a chance to read or listen to the sermon, I recommend looking over point number 7 carefully. Dr. Piper puts the issue of codifying traditional marriage into very clear terms.

What do you think of John Piper’s stance? Are there other points he should cover?

Our Godless Constitution?

Constitution of the United States of America (...

Constitution of the United States of America (page 2) (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

Is the Constitution of the United States a godless document? This idea stems from modernism. Modernism is the belief that the way things are now is the way they have always been. Fortunately that is simply fallacious thinking. Here are a few reasons that show the Founders did not write a godless Constitution.

First of all, the Constitution is not our original founding document. It is based on the Declaration of Independence, which clearly acknowledges God. What is the evidence we can use to see that the Declaration of Independence is our original founding document? Besides its historical significance in breaking our ties with the British monarchy, there are 27 grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence as the reasons we were making that break. Each of those grievances are dealt with and resolved by various clauses in the Constitution. The framers of the Constitution explained that there was a problem/solution relationship between the two.

Here is an example:

Declaration:  “He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.”

Constitution:  “Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.”

The problem (listed fourth in the Declaration) of King George requiring the colonial legislatures to convene in far away locations is dealt with in Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution. This is just one such example; there are 26 others.

Another reason involves an acknowledgement of God in the text of the Constitution. The attestation clause (VII) reads,

“Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.”

While some might argue that it was simply the convention of the time, the acknowledgement of Jesus Christ (our Lord) in the date, is an example of the intentions of the signers. The numbering of twelve years sets the Declaration as the beginning of the United States; laying the foundation as it were. The Constitution is filling out the form; giving structure to the government of the new nation.

The twelve years mentioned above is another piece of evidence for the Declaration being our founding document. The Declaration of Independence is quite clearly a document that recognizes God’s sovereignty over human governments:

“When in the course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s

God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…” (emphasis mine)

There is more evidence that demonstrates that the Constitution was a document acknowledging God. David Barton explains several more in his teaching: God and the Constitution. Please check it out. Read the Constitution and Declaration of Independence for yourself. There’s an app for that! Become informed on the intended structure of our government.

Academia Conflicted on Penn State Scandal

Penn State Warms Up

Penn State Warms Up (Photo credit: acaben)

It has been months since the news broke of Penn State’s football organization turning a blind eye to the homosexual abuse of boys by Jerry Sandusky. As the story unfolds these allegations appear have some truth behind them. The pain and suffering of these young men must be recognized and the perpetrator(s) punished.

Unfortunately the academic community has a hard time setting itself up as a prosecutor for these kind of crimes against children. While it is not as yet a popular view, there are some in the academic community who advocate that pedophilia has a proper place in adult sexuality. Thankfully, this position is still abhorrent to most people in our nation including those in the university. I’m afraid the seed belief, that there should be no restrictions on sexual expression between consenting individuals, is being aggressively popularized on the university and high school campus by left leaning academic and student leadership.

Another example of the intentional blurring of these moral lines is in the federal administration. Our president appoints to governmental agencies people who advocate for adult/child sex. Kevin Jennings was appointed as assistant deputy secretary in the Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education. He was a founder of GLSEN an organization which recommends literature to teens that encourage them to experiment with sex with adults. Why is our president bringing people like this into the Department of Education and other executive level positions with hardly a blink from the press, while Joe Paterno was vilified for not taking harsh enough measures against his former colleague?

For a good discussion of this topic, WallBuilders Live! this week featured Warren Cole Smith who explained how difficult it is to be a whistleblower when the community at large is actively rubbing out the lines of moral clarity. The crime of silence in these situations is inexcusable but easy to explain with the competing values involved. We Christians must not be silent.

Reining in the Judiciary

I recently completed a DVD series entitled “Citizen’s Guide to America’s Founding Documents“. I am encouraging my colleagues to watch and discuss the series as well.

One of the points which I have found most interesting about this course is the discussion of the federal judiciary. The judiciary is actually the smallest and least significant part of the federal government. If you look at the actual text of the Constitution there are something like 53 clauses which describe the function of the legislative branch. There are about 18 clauses that describe the function of the executive branch, but only about 6 clauses that discuss the function and form of the judicial branch. So even the weighting of attention given in the Constitution demonstrates the relative size, strength, and importance of the three branches.

The judicial branch would like us to believe that they are an equal and equally powerful part of the federal government but if you read the Federalist Papers you can see that the founding fathers saw that the legislative branch should be the dominant branch and the judicial branch would pose no threat to the freedom of the people. Unfortunately starting with Marbury versus Madison, then the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court has attempted to assert its will over both the executive and the legislative branches. The Constitution calls only for a Supreme Court, not for all the lower federal courts. The fact is that Congress has the power to decide how long the Supreme Court can meet, how many members should be on the Supreme Court, and can eliminate all the federal appellate courts, circuit courts, etc., except for the actual Supreme Court.

I for one see that the current low state of our nation has been hastened by a tyranny of unelected “lifetime” appointment judges. It is time for us to put them in their place by either having the legislature exercise its true authority over the judicial branch, or by amending the constitution to require judges to undergo affirming and reaffirming votes by the people or by Congress once ever ten years. As far as I’ve heard, Newt Gingrich is the only 2012 candidate that has brought up this topic. He was soundly attacked in the media notwithstanding the fact that he was citing Constitution chapter and verse. Click this link for his white paper on the subject.

Prison Reform

English: Concertina razor wire at a prison

Image via Wikipedia

WallBuilders had Jack Cowley on to discuss reducing recidivism amongst our prison population. Faith-based prisons in Alabama have reduced recidivism from somewhere around 80% down to less than 10% recidivism. The faith-based prison program is a part of Alpha USA involves local churches and members in a restitution and reconciliation process. These prisons are not set up based on simply doing your time. The prison population is somewhere around 60% non-violent offenders. If those nonviolent offenders would work better in these faith-based style systems, we would save a large amount of money in our prison system. A greater savings which is somewhat intangible would actually occur in the reduction of the children of prisoners following in their father’s footsteps going to prison. There’s a very high percentage of children of inmates who end up on welfare and also in prison. It contributes to the epidemic of fatherless children.

On BreakPoint this week, they discussed HOPE: Hawaii Opportunity Probation Enforcement. This is another new approach to enforcing nonviolent offenses by drug users that actually works. The crux of the program is that prisoners on probation are randomly drug tested. If they test positively they are immediately taken into custody for a few days. Typically when an inmate on probation tests positively they get several chances before the system catches up with any real consequence, giving the appearance of being able to break their probation with impunity. HOPE’s quick response time builds in a air of seriousness to the crime and encouraged the users to get clean and stay clean.

The program saves money to the tune of three dollars saved for every one dollars spent for regular enforcement. HOPE has also demonstrated a reduction in repeat offenses, therefore, reducing prison populations.

Teachers as Culture Warriors

Rebecca Hegalin spoke recently on FamilyTalk about becoming a culture warrior. Our culture is pushing against parents and families to uproot their influence in children’s lives. Mandatory preschool and daycare, full day kinder, no parent opt out for various social programs at school. All of these are examples of the Nanny State encroaching on responsibilities of the family. As Daniel Lapin would say the zookeeper taking over the care of the baby animals in the zoo. This encroachment impacts students in significant ways. As the family has been eroded away in our nation, children come to school more commonly in a state of crisis because they have no secure family environment.

Wall Builders had an episode with John Stonestreet of Summit Ministries and the Colson Center. They discussed the concept of Christians moving toward the tipping points in our culture in order to multiply our impact. Entertainment, journalism, politics, and education are all positions that wield extra leverage in our culture. As teachers we have a significant impact on our students. The left knows this and has been targeting schools from primary up through graduate courses with their ideology. Currently, it is not generally acceptable to be openly Christian in the classroom. In fact, there are reports of teachers being relieved of their duties and even sued because of their commitment to openly living our their faith. Thankfully there are a phalanx of conservative Christian legal firms that will take on clients whose 1st Amendment rights are being violated in this way. Please see my Resources page for a listing of some legal organizations that help in these situations.

We need Christians who are both willing to speak up and take a stand for what is right as well as push back when there are attempts at repression. Unfortunately, it is intimidating (at least for me) to be what seems to be a lone conservative voice in a sea of liberal leaning media, policies, and colleagues. I’m afraid of professional or social backlash myself. How about you, dear reader? Do you have concerns about taking a stand for moral causes or for Christian representation in this environment?

Mrs. Hagelin is the author of two books: Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That’s Gone Stark Raving Mad and 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.

John Stonestreet publishes (among other things) a one minute radio/podcast minute called The Point Radio. He addresses current issues from a Christian worldview.