However, I need to be clear up front that, from a constitutional stand point I don't believe having it on our money in any way violates the First Amendment (if history means anything). If we were to take into consideration the context under which the First Amendment was written, it was not at all separating church from state in the sense of separating religion and state. It was simply declaring that congress (at the federal-level) did not have the right to establish a national Christian denomination. Even after the ratification of the Bill of Rights, many states had their own state religions (read "denominations") at the state-level of government.
To say that Congress (at the time) was saying religion had no place in government at all is really to just dismiss history and context all together. We won't get into that here, but if you're interested I'd recommend the following for starters:
Confusing Vengeance with Just Defense: A Response to John Piper's Discouragement of Armed Christians
"Exhorting the lambs to carry concealed weapons with which to shoot the wolves does not advance the counter-cultural, self-sacrificing, soul-saving cause of Christ."
However, in a recent post, he has made a terrible mistake in regards to advocating an unbiblical view of Christian ethics in the social sphere. This has been responded to greatly by several people (most notably for me was Dr. Joel McDurmon's response: A biblical response to John Piper’s denial of the Right to bear Arms.)
And while I've written on this issue before, since the Washington Post has now also picked up Piper's discouragement for armed Christians, I feel the need to reach people in my own sphere of influence (however small that may be) in pointing out some of Piper's inconsistencies that must not go unnoticed.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There's not a whole lot! I mean, on the one hand we could say the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. That's certainly a joyous occasion (as well as Good Friday, where He paid the penalty for our sins).
But neither of those could have happened unless he did the truly remarkable thing of becoming one of us; or, as John records it: "the Word became flesh" (Jn. 1:14).
As Christians, we need to presume he is innocent until proven guilty.
As the number of individuals accusing Bill Cosby of rape and/or other sexual offenses has reached 55, there's a large part of the public (including Christians) who are determined that that's plenty of evidence to determine his guilt.
Furthermore, God's Word - the standard to which all governing measures (whether self-governing, family-governing, church-governing, or state-governing) should be subject - never gives the State the right or authority to dictate what one can and cannot ingest in their bodies (provided it's not breaking some other lawful matter, like the taking away of an innocent life - for instance, the State does have a right to prohibit any type of ingestion that would induce an abortion, and execute those who would use such ingestions - Ex. 21:12, 22-25).
Therefore, yes, I think marijuana should be legal for individuals to grow and use.
Precious in the sight of the LORD
In addition to that, clearly something does need to be done to help prevent such tragedies from being so frequent. I think we would be hard pressed to disagree with the idea that ultimately what will reduce or eliminate these tragedies is the mass conversion of individuals to becoming Christians through the power of the Holy Spirit, which He will use by the preaching of the gospel to the unsaved, and then training Christians in full-orbed discipleship in our churches.
In the meantime, I wish to express the following thoughts on what it means to be a Christian in the face of these types of situations.
Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner...
With the threat of undercover terrorists it seems a little difficult to sort out. I get that.
But on the other hand - while I realize there are still practical issues to wade through carefully - if we turn to God's Word where it actually speaks to socio-political ethics - it does seem to clear up pretty well what our obligations are. So what are our obligations?
The phrase "presuppositional apologetics" might be lost on many in the church, but its method and use has continued to increase in popularity even today. Dr. Bahnsen didn't develop the method but learned it from Dr. Cornelius Van Til. He did, however, give teeth to it, as demonstrated remarkably in his formal debate ("The Great Debate: Does God Exist?") with Gordon Stein and other debates.
All I wish to do is to call attention to the false dichotomy being imposed in the chant: "Do your job or resign." For one thing, Kim Davis, by neglecting to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, is doing her job. The State of Kentucky Constitution reads thus:
Isn't it interesting that Scripture teaches so clearly such an ambivalent attitude toward money and wealth.
For instance it is seen as a definite blessing that Abraham and Job were wealthy individuals (Gen. 13:2; Job 42:10). Likewise, Moses prays for the Lord to establish the work of their hands (Ps. 90:17 - bless their work and the fruit of that work), while Jabez also prayed for God's material blessings (1 Chron. 4:10). And both of these were seen as good things. Yet eslewhere in Scripture there are very sharp rebukes against the wealthy (Jas. 5:1-6;cf. Lk. 6:24).
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
The book of Acts then goes on to show how God used these men and others to do just that - be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. That is how the work of the Great Commission began.
But I think it's important to understand that this was just the beginning of the Great Commission and the work of discipling all nations. This whole thing of 11 guys going out into the world as ambassadors for Christ was a unique phenomenon. Certainly God is still calling missionaries (yes, God calls missionaries - Acts 13:2-3) to be His ambassadors in actively going into the remote parts of the world in order to make entire cultures and nations His disciples. Yet it seems to me that from Scripture, overt active evangelizing, while important, is not the main avenue of discipling the nations. It seems rather that the normal course in which God will continue to expand His Great Commission work is first and foremost in the home.
What I'm saying is that discipleship starts in the home, continues in the church, expands into the community, and from there goes out into all nations. Here is why I say that.
I'm not going to take the time here to lay out a case as to why that is an abhorrent ruling in the eyes of God (Lev. 18:22, 20:13) and why gloating over it as Obama did will only incur further wrath on himself and his nation (Ps. 2:10-12).
What I also will not be doing is claiming myself to be sitting on a mountaintop, waiting for God's judgment on America because of this ruling and, in my mind, even far more gruesome sins (like the 3 million babies we kill each year in terrifying ways). No, I'm not sitting on a mountaintop, waiting for God's judgment on a sinful nation.
What I'm saying is that the church has already been doing that very thing for far too long; and we need to repent from that method of Christian living.
I don't pretend to be immune to this phenomenon; and I confess that I even went through it myself a couple years ago (I do think God has brought me past it at this point - but I'll leave that to the reader). This situation has been seen a lot recently within the church due to the advent of the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement. But I think a similar thing is going on in our culture with regard to politics. Perhaps it would be called the Young, Restless, and Libertarian.
I'm not here going on the offensive against the libertarian system. I have many Christian friends with a libertarian viewpoint in regard to politics, and they are not the aim of this post. My aim has to do with those who claim libertarianism while still being in that cage stage where they can hurt themselves and others.
A chief case-in-point is an article I came across the other day entitled, 6 Ways Parents Teach Their Children Socialist Values (shared on Facebook a mere 3.5 thousand times). Now I agree that parents often do inadvertently teach their kids socialist values. But the author of this article is not giving a Biblical worldview assessment of that situation nor in the answers he proposes.
I don't know if he's a Christian or not (Reformed or otherwise), but regardless I do believe his article needs to be addressed.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.
His lament was for both of them (2 Sam. 1:23): Jonathan, who was like a dear brother to him (2 Sam. 1:26), and also Saul (2 Sam. 1:24), who tried to kill him (1 Sam. 19:1, 20:33). David lamented and was grieved over both of their deaths that occurred as a result of the fallen-world calamity we call war.
People feel pain. The loss of loved ones and even the loss of past enemies can reduce the strongest of men to tears beyond counting. And I say again, this is no small thing. War is not a trivial matter. In the words of one of my good friends: "War is a hellish death machine, an unfortunate consequence of fallen man's condition."
[Pray] also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly
Even in the most well-known "Renaissance-man" passage of Scripture, which in context is no "Renaissance-man" passage at all - it's just been accepted as being so for the last however long (Phil. 4:13) - even then Paul goes right on to say: "It was kind of you [Philippians] to share my trouble" (Phil. 4:14).
If our own day's heroes of the faith are not above requesting prayer for their respective ministries, if not even the Apostle Paul was above requesting prayer for his ministry, how much more then do us lesser-servants of the gospel like myself need such prayer support for our ministries?
(FYI: I'm not trying to have some back-door ("false") humility here when I say "lesser-servants." I'm just meaning those of us whose ministry is not a full-time vocation - and there are many of us out there)
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