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Posts Tagged ‘the church’

I’m still wondering:  Why did publication of the article, “Child Abuse” (an original post of ezerwoman), bring an angry response from a Christian author on “sexuality?”  Might this response be similar to the response of a woman angered by her pastor’s pro-life sermon?  Pro-life pastors have learned by experience that when they speak God’s Word on abortion, it’s not unusual for a woman to respond in anger because she is either in denial over a past abortion or maintaining a defensive posture.

For many years, I’ve been made aware of certain choices, behaviors, defensive reactions (i.e. “abortion is the lesser of two evils”), and cover-ups within my own church.  Indeed, we are “saints and sinners,” but can we encourage the “saint” without calling to accountability the “sinner”?

Silence is not a virtue, not when virtue itself is being mocked.  Disrobed.  Stolen away.

Why would concerns about protecting virtue and modesty cause anger?  Why would someone take offense when others caution against breaking down naturally protective inhibitions, or putting children in harm’s way with too much information too soon (and then expecting them to “wait”), or raising curiosity about all kinds of “sex,” or borrowing tools and techniques from non-Biblical models, or choosing the word “sex” to describe the subject matter rather than “purity”?   To bring clarity, I’ve been digging out old phone logs, journals, scribbled notes, research papers, and stories from pastors, teachers, parents, and students I’ve met along the journey.  We are in a marriage-breaking, family-fracturing, child-hurting, soul-risking mess.  I wish I could word it better, but simply put: I’ve seen too much on my “watch.”  And…  there is a shameful lack of accountability.

Bearing that in mind, I’m further determined to hold myself accountable.   First to my Savior and, next, to those who put their trust in Him rather than human opinion.  Dealing with sensitive and difficult issues, even finding myself in conflict with well-meaning Christians, requires the good counsel of wisdom.  I make a practice of running my thoughts by my husband because I need his logic and practical sense.  He has a “three day rule.”  Give major decisions or responses three days.  Write the letter.  Make the phone call.  Speak up… but, when possible, only after three days.  In addition to my husband, I seek the counsel of a core group of pastors I’ve come to trust over the years.  I seek the counsel of wise women who properly understand the role of “ezer.”   By surrounding myself with a group of people who have also seen Christians build on the wrong foundation when it comes to “sexuality” — and then witnessed the consequences and mourned with hurting people — I hope to be faithfully encouraged to the highest standard.  The standard of God’s Word.  The Word that exhorts us to “speak up” when wrong things are happening and human lives are at risk.

Silence is not a virtue.  That’s what a woman told me following a Titus 2 Retreat.  She explained years of childhood sexual abuse that led to promiscuity, abortion, and despair.  She wanted the cover-up to stop.

Silence is not a virtue.  That’s what several men and women told me when thirty years of sexual abuse of children by their Christian school principal came to light.  They wanted the cover-up to stop.

Silence is not a virtue.  That’s what a young woman told me after being encouraged by Christian parents to date older, more “experienced” men.  When she became pregnant by an “experienced” man, money was handed over for an abortion so that the daughter “wouldn’t have her life ruined.”  She wanted the cover-up to stop.

Silence is not a virtue.  That’s what a Christian youth director told me after marrying his Christian sweetheart.  But, because both had learned about sex early and encouraged to be open about their “sexuality,” each had bonded to several others before the youth director and his sweetheart married.  The marriage was troubled for a long, long time.  He wanted the cover-up to stop.

Silence is not a virtue.  That’s what an older woman told me who admitted that, for years, she was taught to be comfortable with her body, her “sexuality.”  In boy/girl classrooms, inhibitions were stripped away.  Seeing herself as a “sexual” person, she played the “game.”  When she captured a man’s attention and certain expectations followed, she grieved her loss of innocence.  She wanted the cover-up to stop.

Silence is not a virtue.  In a few short years and close proximity, four pastors within my Christian denomination apparently saw themselves as “sexual persons” with a “need” to act out their “sexuality” rather than as human persons created by God to live as men under Christ’s robe of righteousness.  One openly embraced his homosexuality, left my church body, and became an Episcopalian priest.  Another was charged and arrested for “lascivious acts with a minor and third degree sexual abuse.”  Two more were caught in a prostitution sting, one of them the former pastor of my home congregation.  Is the response to this: “Forgive me!  Love me!  Let’s go on with life”?  Or, do we want the cover-up to stop?

Christians may think they are different from the world when Jesus is wrapped around everything we say and do.  But — you’ve heard me say it many times — Jesus does not wrap Himself around worldly things.  Christians may believe they are helping others toward a brighter future.  But, if they’re using styles and techniques learned from any source other than God’s Word, then the outcome will have undesirable consequences.  God brought to Adam and Eve new emotions of embarrassment and shame with their nakedness and sin.  He covered that embarrassment with clothing and that shame with Jesus’ robe of righteousness.  We must honor that covering, even when a modern sex educator insists: “No need for modesty!  Don’t be embarrassed!  Be comfortable in your glory!”

When we see bad things happening and people being confused, hurt or — most tragic of all — tempted away from the Father God, we cannot be silent.

Silence is not a virtue when virtue is being stolen away.

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An editor asked to reprint one of my blogs in a national publication.  The article, “Child Abuse” (7-29-11), suggested that we ought to examine the source of sex education.  It prompted notes of appreciation… but also a call of anger to the publisher from a person of authority in the church.  He felt as if he’d been “attacked.”  “Labeled.”  Why?

Some think the Old Testament is, well, “old.” But, I’ll tell you what.  At times like this, I find lessons taught by historic events refreshingly helpful and hopeful.  At this moment, with division caused among God’s people over sex education versus instruction in purity, I turn to Ezra 4:1-6.

The people of Israel had just been set free from captivity in Persia (formerly Babylon) so that they might return to Jerusalem.  Few Israelites, however, wanted to return to their homeland.  A great many had adapted to their new surroundings.  They had property and liked their new lifestyle.  Going back (as in “backward”?) was not appealing.  Very few packed their bags and returned to rebuild a crumbled and decaying Jerusalem.  Reality hit hard.  The job of rebuilding the temple to the Lord was going to be difficult.  How tempting it probably was to accept the help offered by unbelieving neighbors in the land.  Were the neighbors being kind, or did they have an agenda of their own?  Whatever the case, fathers of the Israelite houses said, “No.”  To maintain pure worship, the Israelites rejected the offer of help from the people of the land who lived a life of blended and false religious beliefs.  To accept would have placed households at risk of being deceived away from Jehovah God.  To accept help from nonbelievers — to use their tools or building materials — could not be tolerated.  The task before the few and faithful Israelites was daunting, in fact, reminiscent of Noah building the Lord’s ark in the midst of his more “progressive” neighbors.  But, then — as today — clear boundaries in doctrine and practice are necessary because a corrupt gospel is no Gospel at all (Galatians 1:8).

The Christian finds him or herself facing a similar challenge today.  God’s Word tells His people to instruct sons and daughters in purity.  But, the people in the land where we Christians live practice the impurity of blended religions.  These neighbors offer their assistance — tools and building materials (with an agenda of their own?) — to us .   But, what will happen if we Christians accept that offer of help?  Will there be compromise?  Clear boundaries in doctrine and practice are necessary because a corrupt teaching of purity is no teaching of purity at all.

Here is my prayer.  May the eyes of Christian parents, pastors, teachers or students be open to the deception of blended religious beliefs.  May we refuse the assistance of people in the land who have turned from the Creator of life, marriage and family to follow false gods.  May we, with humility, examine our building materials and if found impure, disgard them as trash.  If we have been influenced by the “father of modern sex education,” Alfred Kinsey, may we turn from the lie.  Yes, Kinsey attended a church.   But, he practiced the religion of Darwin.  He built on his own theory that “children are sexual from birth.”  He coined the term “sexuality” and worshiped in its temple.   False gods always demand sacrifice.  Today, Planned Parenthood, SIECUS, and GLSEN build on the religion of my personal “sexuality.”  The sacrifice is the innocence of children; the very lives of children through abortion.

If we have put our trust in ways of the world rather than in the purity of God’s Word, may we let go of pride and hurry to the Cross.  If we have innocently accepted help from unbelieving people of the land, may we repent and be drenched in Christ’s mercy.  The pure Gospel is this: Jesus is our Robe of Righteousness.  Even if we have been deceived and unintentionally brought harm to others, we have hope.  In our Savior Jesus Christ, there is always hope.

Only one voice hisses: There is no hope.  But, that lie of Satan has no authority over us.  Because of what Jesus has done for us — in spite of us, we have dominion over the father of lies.  Of false religions.  Of hopelessness.

Dear Lord,

You are the Builder of all that is good, right and true.  Give us courage to examine the source of our tools and, when we’ve trusted our judgment rather than Yours, accept our humble confession.  Forgive us.  Lead us away from the temptation to wrap Jesus around false teaching…  false hope.  Equip us to set the gate of innocence back in place and guard the household of faith.  AMEN.

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Christians have taken up with a man named Alfred Kinsey.  Knowingly or not, we embraced his worldview and adapted it as our own.  We rejected whatever seemed perverted, but quickly wrapped Jesus around whatever appealed to our (sinful) human nature.

Has the church paired with the “Canaanite woman?”   Have little icons of Kinsey’s religion been placed in the house?  Are not we all under the influence?   Have not the heads of two or three generations been turned by a worldview contrary to Christianity?

Kinsey’s worldview promoted the idea of total sexual autonomy even for girls and boys.  His beliefs were shared by Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.  Together, they determined to free every man, woman, boy, and girl from the restraints of Biblical bondage.  They have accomplished what they set out to do.  It was not difficult.  One phrase — one simple distortion of truth — was repeated over and over: “Children are sexual from birth.”  If indeed “sexual,” then “sexual needs” cry out to be met.  “Sexual rights” must not be denied.  “Sexual expression” must take its “personal course.”

Once deceived, it was not long before fear took root.  “If children are intrinsically sexual beings, they will probably ‘do it;’ therefore, we have to help them ‘do it’ safely.”  No parent wants to see their son or daughter suffer HIV/AIDS or the new “illness” called pregnancy.  PP stood ready to help with a plethora of services including the s0-called “planning of parenthood” or practice of “reproductive choice,” a.k.a. abortion.

Parents — those to whom children are entrusted — doubted Biblical instruction in purity and stepped into the quicksand of sex education.   One worldview was exchanged for another and association with PP was rationalized.  But, Jesus — The Word — does not wrap Himself around opposing worldviews.

Jesus — The Word (John 1) — does not say that children are “sexual from birth.”  He says that children are knit together by God in the wombs of their mothers as human beings of the male or female sex.   He says that dads and moms are to guard the innocence of boys and girls, equal but different, as they also mentor Biblical manhood and womanhood.  Good parents do not rev up their son’s engine nor encourage their daughter’s provocative dress.  Good parents, according to the Christian worldview, instructs sons and daughters in patience.  Purity.  Wisdom.

Stealing away — child by child — from the Biblical worldview is the institutional monolith created by the Kinseyites and Sangerites.  Can we be so foolish as to not learn from history?  Just as the Canaanites had their way with the Israelites, do these modern “ites” have their way with us?  Does the modern church think itself beyond temptation? Can Christian parents — in any way — defend the work of PP?

Some Americans are calling for a full-scale Congressional investigation of PP.  In recent years,  PP clinics have been caught placing girls and young women at further risk.  PP employees have assisted pimps and sex traffickers, misled girls and women about the dangers of abortion, refused to comply with parental-notification laws, and misused millions of taxpayer dollars.  Evidence reveals PP’s failure to report child sex abuse.  Instead, PP clinics have been caught advising under-age girls and those who exploit them on how to circumvent mandatory reporting laws on rape and abuse.

PP needs to be investigated.  But, at the same time, Christians should be calling for full-scale investigations of their church’s educational sources, teaching, and practices.

We should clear our houses of Canaanite icons.

As people of God’s Word — both Old and New Testament — we should repent of our failures to guard the innocence of the little ones He calls by name.

We should contrast the Biblical worldview with all others.

Then, remembering that we have forgiveness in Jesus Christ, we can leave wrong ways behind.  Resist temptation and doubt.  Push back against ungodly-ites.  Restore and rebuild.

Early Christians knew they should stand in protection of their children.  That is why they instructed sons and daughters in patience.  Purity.  Wisdom.  That is why they encouraged modesty of dress and behavior.  That is why they taught that God’s Word can be trusted.

Modern Christians are compelled to do the same.

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Rep. James Lankford (OK) and Rep. Tim Scott (SC) are Christians who unashamedly discuss their faith — in the home, on the job and against political odds.  Both are in their 40s.  Both were raised in less than perfect homes but with God’s Word.  The book of Nehemiah convinced Rep. Lankford to take the path to Capitol Hill.  Biblical mentors encouraged Rep. Scott to work his way toward Congress.

Both Reps. Lankford and Scott are fully aware of the ideological and spiritual battles in Washington, D.C.  Rep. Scott is pro-life, a faithful pray-er, and a defender of Biblical values.  He has sponsored legislation that prevents unions from demanding mandatory dues; thus halting the devastating effects that unions have imposed on the federal budget and socially conservative values.  Unions spend hundreds of millions to undermine marriage, the sanctity of human life, parent’s rights, and other values that are cherished by the very members who pay the dues, but have no say on how the money is spent.

Rep. Lankford says he is grounded by the wisdom of Proverbs.  “How do we handle debt as a nation?” he asks.  “A wise man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.  We [are spending] the inheritance of our children’s children.  So, how do we correct that?  How are we able to honor the poor . . . promote justice . . . [practice] what is right and just?”

He continues, “I don’t know of another generation of leaders that has said, ‘Times are tough.  I’m going to make it tougher on my kids to make it easier for me.’  As weird as it may sound . . . debt is the moral issue of the day.”

“At the heart of many of the problems facing our country stands an institution under siege,” Lankford proclaims.  “That institution is the American family.  The best way to ensure a strong nation is to have strong families.”  The U.S. Department of Justice announced on February 24 that it would no longer defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.  Lankford took to the House floor to call out the hypocrisy.  “Many in this chamber are aware of my . . . Biblical worldview.  I am unashamed of my personal faith in Jesus Christ . . . I believe words have meaning . . . the meaning of marriage is the union between a man and a woman.  The Defense of Marriage Act codified that definition into law . . . this issue is well beyond faith . . . or social or political issue.  Marriage is now not only the center of a national social debate, but also a constitutional debate.”

Scriptural warnings, said Lankford, are clear for politicians and for the church.  “We have a first responsibility to take care of those in poverty.  To take care of our own families.  To take care of the needs around us.  The more that the church backs up from that, the more the government engages in it . . . [T]he more the nation and the family break down, the more social services are needed.  But, the more strong families you have, the less government you have . . . so we have this endless cycle that we have got to pull out of.  The only way to pull out is [to have] churches engaging in [preserving the] family.”

Are we raising sons and daughters with a Biblical worldview so that they can be morally upright citizens?  Marry and start a family?  Use their skills through honest labor?  Become involved parents?  Not be burdened by our failure to invest in the future?

Lankford says it’s not about what you do, but whom you follow, that should define you: “My calling is first and foremost not to an occupation.  It is to follow a person.  My calling is to follow Christ.”

Rep. Scott agrees.  He tries to surround himself with believers that “keep me accountable.”  There is “peace and direction for me in my leadership role,” he says, quoting Psalm 23 and Luke 6:38.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want . . . He restores my soul . . . I will fear no evil . . .

Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Excerpts from CITIZEN, August/September 2011

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God gave humans great potential.  From the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, God had plans for His creation.  People were to have a perfect and loving relationship with God.  This would allow them to experience harmonious relationships with all other human beings.  But, sin destroyed perfection.

When Satan tempted Eve, he raised a question.  “Did God really say . . .” (Genesis 3:1).  He subtly turned Eve’s thinking, causing her to think that, perhaps, God was holding something back from her.  Adam and Eve rebelled against God, elevating themselves and their desires to compete with God.  Left to themselves, man and woman would have been forever alienated from God because of sin.  But, God didn’t give up on His beloved creation.  He provided the way back to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ.

Today, satan speaks through many disguises.

  • Satan hisses, “Did God really say that He created us in our mother’s womb?”  But, God assures us (Psalm 139:13-16).
  • Satan taunts, “Did God really say that He knew us even before we were born?”  But, God assures us (Jeremiah 1:5).
  • Satan tempts, “Did God really say that taking your child’s life is murder?”  But, God assures us (Deuteronomy 5:17).
  • Satan dares, “Did God really say that a woman doesn’t have a right to make decisions concerning her own body?”  But, God assures us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
  • Satan sneers, “Isn’t your God a compassionate God?  Did He really say you should bear the burden of a child for the rest of your life because of one night’s passion?”  But, God assures us (Philippians 4:13)

Satan tempted the first man and woman to sin, but he wasn’t alone in bearing the responsibility for that sin.  Still today, he actively tries to seduce and persuade us with his temptation and accusation, but we can’t honestly pass our decisions off onto him.  Within each of us is a conflict of desires.  Galatians 5:15-21 explains the results of living by the desires of our sinful flesh.

Rev. Ed Fehskens, a trusted friend and pastor, writes, “A compassionate church will speak clearly and without compromise against the sin of abortion, cutting through the rationalizations that people use to convince themselves it was the right — and only — thing to do, considering the circumstances.  For the love of souls, we must also say that beyond the emotional and physical damage, abortion, like any sin, causes grievous spiritual harm.  Unrepentant sin places us in danger of losing our salvation — the greatest tragedy of all.”

Here’s the Good News!  Trusting in Christ and looking to His Word for life, we are moved to thoughts and actions that serve and honor God.  And, after repenting of our sin — no matter what that sin might be — we are received into the arms of our Father God because of what Jesus has already done for us on the Cross.  We are forgiven!  We are new!  We can start over!  (Psalm 32:3-5; John 8:10-11; Peter 1:3; 1 John 1:9)

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Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate and respect the writings of Chuck Colson.  He’s a man who learned some hard lessons the hard way.  I’ve read many of his books and receive his “Breakpoint” e-mails.  I don’t think he’s Lutheran, but he sure has a respect for the Law and Gospel on which Martin Luther anashamedly stood.

Each Wednesday, Colson features a “Two Minute Warning.”  This past week, he noted how many times Christians quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 which reads:

If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

To whom is God speaking?  He is speaking not to our country, the United States, but to the church… to God’s people, those called by His name.  It’s us — members of God’s family, the church — who are being called to “turn from their wicked ways.”  When we dumb down Christ, offer “cheap grace,” cling to parts of God’s Word but not all, practice silence for the sake of being “tolerant,” and adapt worldly ways we are failing to be “salt and light.”

Colson is right.  We can’t blame the “liberals,” homosexual activists, or evolutionists for changing America.  They’re saying and doing what we would expect them to.  It’s us — the Christians — who need to make a u-turn and go back to God.  If the church would repent of her ways and act more like Jesus calls the church to act, then we, too, would affect the culture.

Colson directs us to God’s Word to His people, the house of Israel, in Ezekiel 36:22-32.  The people had “profaned” His holy name among the nations.  They were unclean and fallen to idols.  “Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.”  As you read, you will discover that God’s call to repentance comes with promise and blessings.

We don’t change the world.  The world is the world.  But, whenever God’s Word in its truth and purity is spoken and acted upon by God’s people, society is transformed.  It’s been done in the past.  It can be done in the present.

Colson provides many practical and faithful-to-Scripture resources for Christians in a challenging world.  I recommend you check them out by visiting Breakpoint.

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Today, I received the following from Don, a faithful friend and pro-life pastor:

Christ alone, Word alone, Grace alone, Faith alone.  Those might be seen as slogans, but they are far more.  They reveal the heart and character of God as He enters our history — our world — with His great salvation.  About a week ago, I was with family and friends in Oregon.  There were six of us, from different conservative and “evangelical” churches.  I asked the question: How many of you have heard a sermon on either abortion or homosexuality in the last year or two?  Answer: None.  By that kind of silence we have betrayed Jesus, the Word, and the people we should be serving with the Word of Truth and Love.  May God raise up people who will truly stand on His Word, His faithfulness, and even be willing to be ridiculed for Him if necessary.

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