Monday, April 25, 2011

PC In the NBA

I did not catch the player's name or even the team, but I heard on the radio that an NBA player will be fined for making derogatory comments about the sexual orientation of another person. In other words, he used slang terminology to call someone a homosexual. That is wrong. To call someone an insulting name in anger is wrong. If the player did this, the league has a responsibility to fine him.

But I have a question. How many times per week, or even per game, do NBA players insult God? How long has it been since one of them was fined for this?

Let's face it, we live in an un-Christian, in fact an anti-Christian nation. So maybe I should expect that organizations like the NBA would fine people for insulting homosexuals but honor people who insult God.

But here is my real problem with this -- I meet many who call themselves Christians and yet say nothing and do nothing to reverse this trend. They are no longer offended at the abuse of God's name. They buy entertainment that engages in it; they allow their friends and even their children to abuse God's name without correcting them.

The NBA is hypocritical to fine people who insult homosexuals while they do nothing to stop the flood of profanity that comes out of the mouths of their players. But where do you really stand on this? Are you doing anything to cause the name of God to be honored?

"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain." Exodus 20:7, ESV

Monday, April 18, 2011

Know the Dangers

A car can be a good thing. Used responsibly it helps us in innumerable ways. But used carelessly cars can, and often do, kill and cripple. The same can be said of a knife, a gun, prescription medicines, and many other things.

I just received an e-mail from a counselor that I know slightly. She says that her counseling practice has recently experienced an incredible upsurge of people facing marital problems. In nearly every case the difficulties were related in some way to use of the Internet. Some of the cases involved Internet sites that are clearly and openly sinful, but others did not. Many of these marital difficulties began with Facebook - a site that is not necessarily sinful, but which must be used responsibly.

Facebook can be a good thing. Used responsibly it may help people stay connected with people that they love. But used carelessly, Facebook can, and often does, kill and cripple relationships. Facebook, while it may keep people connected, keeps them connected on a very superficial level, which can be very harmful to long-term relationships. This is not just a preacher talking. CNN, an organization with which I very rarely agree, has recently reported twice on a significant increase in marital infidelity among those who use Facebook.

I am not saying that we should not use the Internet, Facebook, or cars or knives or even guns. All of these have legitimate uses, but all of them also have significant dangers. If used, they must be used in keeping with godly principles. If used, they must not be used in a way that encourages the wasting of time or the superficializing of our most important relationships.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Consensus Theology

I recently heard Dr. Carlus Gupton of Johnson Bible College speak. Frankly, I did not enjoy it. What he said was too hard hitting to be enjoyable.

He said one thing that really stuck with me. He described the activities of some churches as, "The sharing of ignorance with the intent of developing consensus theology." Wow, did that hit hard.

How much of what churches do could be described in such terms? How often do Sunday school classes, small group meetings, and other church activities descend into efforts to come up with something we can all agree to, but which may not, in fact, be in keeping with God's will.

We live in a world that loves consensus. We live in a world that has forgotten that it is more important to be right than to be popular. We live in a world that makes decisions on the basis of polls instead of facts. We live among churches that make decisions based on popularity rather than biblical commands or examples.

Such an approach might make a church grow, although the empirical evidence suggests that it is a failure even in this regard. But, whether it 'works' or not, it is sin. The will of God, not man, is the measure of Christianity.

This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:8-9 ESV

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Let's Keep Talking

Recently, a "Let's Start Talking" training session was held at our building. Three groups of college students (from Purdue University, OVU, and Northwestern Michigan College) prepared themselves for the work they will do this summer trying to bring the gospel to people in various parts of the world.

The concept of "Let's Start Talking" is simple. Lots of people around the world want to learn English. So college students spend their summer offering classes in English. They use the Gospel of Luke as a text, they read together with those wanting to learn English. In many cases the conversation goes beyond nouns and verbs. An opportunity to teach something more important than English often presents itself.

We cannot help people if we are not speaking to them. We need relationships with non-Christians if we are ever going to help them to know the Lord. But the truth is, most of us have plenty of relationships with plenty of non-Christians. We are already talking with them -- about the weather, sports, politics, work -- anything and everything except what really matters.

Let's continue talking with our neighbors, friends, coworkers and non-Christian family members. But let's not stop at trivial topics or current, transient events. Let's keep talking. If we are not afraid to express ourselves about matters of little or no importance, why should we hold back about what really matters? Let's keep talking until we have said something worth hearing.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9, ESV