Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Blessing of Obamacare

No, I have not lost my mind.  I have not been corrupted by the pervasive influence of left-wing commentators and the government propaganda machine in the mainstream media.  And, no, I have not been persuaded by the overpowering rhetoric emanating from our President’s teleprompter.

But I believe that the inception of Obamacare may indeed be a blessing in disguise.  For this reason: it will force patriotic, conservative, constitution-loving Americans who believe in a smaller, less-intrusive government to dig in, to intensify the fight, to turn to God in a spirit of humble repentance and cry for help—in a manner which would not have occurred had the healthcare bill failed in the House of Representatives on Sunday.

If our side had won on Sunday, it would have been very easy to have a victory celebration and then get speedily back to business-as-usual, following the same Godless patterns that got us into this mess in the first place.

Remember the revival that swept our country immediately after the tragic events of September 11, 2001?  Churches were filled in a manner not seen in decades—for the first couple of weeks.  Then, slowly but surely, the population of the U.S. resorted to its practice of forgetting God and going its own way.

The election of President Obama caused many Christians and conservatives to wring their hands in despair and fear.  But his radical policies have awakened a slumbering giant in our land—the great majority who care about the principles upon which this country was founded.  Had McCain won, we would have continued in the same direction toward national destruction but simply at a slower pace than Obama is taking us.  Obama’s victory has spurred a revival of our core principles in a way that McCain would not have done.

I expect the same, but intensified, effect from Obamacare. Yes, it may be excruciatingly painful in the interim.  But the nature of this legislation and the manner in which it was forced upon Americans who overwhelmingly reject its tenets can prove to be beneficial long term.  It will generate a deep-seated, long-lasting resistance movement that may well, over the long haul, be far more beneficial to our country than would have the defeat of this legislative monstrosity last Sunday.

By these comments I do not mean to endorse the corruption, the sell-outs, the lies and distortions, and the spineless resistance on the part of professed pro-lifers that were the human factors leading to the victory for Obama and company.  But God has demonstrated that He is an expert in using the evil machinations of depraved humans as a means to effecting good things.  There is a need for radical, invasive surgery in our national soul, a process that will require far more than a political victory to accomplish.

Let us not be overcome with despair but rejoice in the providence of our God.  Let us recommit ourselves to following His righteous principles as the standard for our personal lives and work to see them instilled once again in our national consciousness.  “Blessed in the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

Friday, March 12, 2010

What Ails America?

The majority of Americans, as indicated in recent polls, believes our nation is headed in the wrong direction.  And with good reason.  Whether the issue is educational achievement, societal morality, financial stability, or integrity of leadership we are not what we once were.

To what do we attribute this obvious decline?  And what is the remedy?  This week, thanks to a tip from Gary DeMar at American Vision, I came across one of the finest expositions I’ve ever read of the American dilemma, its diagnosis, and the only cure.  The assessment is in the form of a study project from an unlikely source: the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, PA.

It was written in 1992 by then Lt. Col. R.L. VanAntwerp, who went on to become General VanAntwerp, serving with the U.S. Army as Chief of Engineers and Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Titled, “The Greatest Threat . . . Spiritual Decay,”  you can download a copy of his paper here.

Hope for America is not ultimately to be found in politics, revolution, or self-renewal.  The only solution to the national malaise infecting our land on nearly every front is a return to the faith of our forefathers.

I commend to your thoughtful and prayerful consideration the discerning work of Gen. VanAntwerp.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stoning Heretics

Reading in Deuteronomy this morning I came to the hard sayings of chapter 13.   Like a sharp jab to the face, these stern words get your attention!  In this age of tolerance, when about the only sentiment that merits condemnation is the audacity to claim to have found the truth, Deuteronomy stands out for its stark contrast.

God, through Moses, instructed the Israelites to be on the highest alert for even the hint of heretical idolatry.  After ordering the execution of confirmed false prophets, the Lord gets more personal.  Should the apostate be a member of your very own household, even your brother, your son, your daughter or “the wife of your bosom,” action must be taken.  Thus, if even one of the closest people to you on earth should secretly try to entice you to compromise your allegiance to Yahweh, the one true God, you were to respond with resolute action.  Such a person is to be put to death, and you are to cast the first stone!

These statements are so far removed from the sentiment of 21st century society, including the American evangelical church, that it is difficult to even contemplate such reaction to the secret enticements of an apostate.  But these are God’s inspired words.  Like the rest of biblical revelation, God expected absolute obedience by His people to whom the statutes were given.

The United States of America cannot be equated with the ancient Israeli theocracy.  We do not simply transfer the Old Testament penal sanctions and codify them as modern law.  Nevertheless, such texts are vitally important as they reveal the mind of God on the seriousness of heresy.  It does matter what you believe.  The exclusivity of the Christian gospel must be preserved at all costs.  We have no biblical grounds for ignoring professing Christians, whether family members or not, who espouse a view of God that departs from the historic, orthodox teachings of the church.

At the very least, Deuteronomy 13 should instruct us that it is critical that in our homes and churches we treat the study and confession of sound doctrine with the importance that God does.  The Old Covenant demand that those who compromise the truth be executed should cause all who truly know the Lord to sit up and take notice.  What you believe is infinitely more important than any other dimension of life.

Despite the efforts of some to suggest that God has moderated from the perceived harshness of the Old Testament, Scripture repeatedly affirms that God never changes.  Because of the eternal consequences of apostasy, because of the potential for damning your soul through unbelief, the cancer of heresy must be destroyed.  We must treat these matters which the seriousness that a capital crime demands.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

If You Don't Vote . . .

Yesterday, as I executed my daily run through scenic Pigeon Cove, some thoughts came to me about the responsibility that Christians bear to effect changes in our society.

The Apostle Paul famously warned the Thessalonians that “if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”  Some had evidently decided to sit back and wait for the Lord’s return without exercising due diligence to provide for their own basic needs.  Yes, Jesus had taught us to ask the Father for our daily bread.  But such prayer was obviously not meant to negate the importance of individual responsibility to work to provide for the needs of one’s family.  Elsewhere Paul wrote that failure to do so makes one “worse than an infidel.”

In 1 Timothy Paul charges believers to pray for civil authorities “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”  Now, following the analogy of daily bread, the call to prayer does not negate but rather assumes personal responsibility to work for the fulfillment of the prayer.

Some Christians refuse to vote because, in their mind, doing so somehow taints them with worldliness.  But utilizing the daily bread analogy, not only are we to pray for a peaceful and stable society conducive to godly living, we must work to make it happen.  One fundamental means of doing so is to cast intelligent votes for candidates who will support principles that undergird a Christian-friendly society.

Refusing to vote, out of a misguided concept of worldliness, or just plain lazy indifference, yet praying in the spirit of 1 Timothy 2, is akin to refusing to work while trusting God to provide food.  

Scripture indeed teaches that our primary citizenship is in heaven.  But such an identity does not negate temporal responsibilities in this world.  Prayer, without  accompanying human action, disregards clear biblical principles and vainly puts God to the test. 

So, if you are concerned about the direction America is taking, earnestly intercede for our leaders.  And vote in every election to demonstrate that your prayers for our nation are not empty rituals.