Sunday, April 26, 2015

Journal-Gazette Letter: Rough Draft

Below is a rough draft of a letter/column I will be sending this week to the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette. The letter focuses on reactions to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by the Indiana legislature earlier this month. Most of the letters were vehemently opposed to RFRA. My original letter and a few others were the only ones supporting the bill.

The Religious Freedom bill has motivated many to write letters to this newspaper. Very few of the published letters expressed any support of the bill (my letter was one of those few). As I read the letters of those opposing the bill, I wondered how many had actually read the bill or the amendment (which basically neutered the bill). The original RFRA was given over 60 days of public testimony in our state legislature, but the amendment was written in secret without any public testimony at all. Yet I have not heard any of those who favor open government complain about that process.

Many of those who opposed the bill used such strong language that I thought we were talking about two different laws. Words such as “fiasco, anti-gay image, humiliation, buffoons, toxic legislation, embarrassed, laughingstock, bigotry, obsessive hate” filled the letters page of this newspaper.

As I watched business “leaders” and politicians panic, it occurred to me that the true “homophobes” are not those who believe homosexual marriage is a moral perversion. The true homophobes are people who are deathly afraid of upsetting the various gay rights organizations. The true homophobes are those people who are afraid to say publicly what they really believe because they fear personal attacks and intimidation tactics.

Emotional demagoguery and fear replaced rational discussion and debate about the merits of the bill. Many people opposed to the bill do not want rational discussion because rational thinking is dangerous to their position. Instead, feelings and emotion rule the issue, not facts.

Many opposed to the bill say they believe in free speech but then are surprised to find that people exist who actually have opinions different from theirs. Since they have little or no experience in actually discussing controversial problems, they resort to intimidation and emotional labels to shut down debate. Facts do not matter, only how the law made people “feel”. And, of course, our feelings take priority over inconvenient facts.

Some college students today are so immature and insecure about inconvenient truths that college campuses have established “safe zones” where students can go to deal with the trauma of having to listen to viewpoints which contradict their own beliefs.

One letter writer asked someone to show him where the Bible teaches that homosexuality is more of a sin than robbery or murder. As a pastor, I will be glad to educate him. The Bible uses the word “abomination” for those sins which are particularly detestable to God. Not all sins are labeled an abomination. And not all sins are equal in their seriousness or their effects. Just as our justice system does not punish every crime with the same penalty, not all sins have the same moral seriousness or consequences. The Bible refers to moral sins such as homosexuality, idolatry, lying, pride, dishonesty in business, and murder as abomination. One reason the Bible calls these acts “abomination” is that all of them contradict truth, a fundamental characteristic of God. This does not make other sins “less sinful”. It simply calls attention to the more serious nature and consequences of some sins.

I wonder where all of this rush to allow people to love who they wish and to avoid any type of restrictions on moral behavior will end. Here are some questions for those who are so fanatically opposed to RFRA and so invested in homosexual marriage:

Should churches and religious colleges lose their tax-exempt status because they oppose homosexual marriage and have prohibitions against certain sexual behaviors?

Should college accrediting agencies remove accreditation from those schools which teach that only marriage between one man and one woman is acceptable and that any other “marriage” is immoral?”

Should states refuse to recognize marriages officiated by ministers who oppose homosexual marriage?

Should states allow polygamy between consenting adults, where polygamy would include one man and multiple wives, one woman and multiple husbands, three or more men married to each other, or three or more women married to each other?

Why should any government prevent two brothers or two sisters from marrying each other if they are sincerely in love with each other? Incest is not the issue here since children cannot be naturally produced between same-sex couples.

Once a society rejects any objective basis for morality, then the only basis for any morality is what that society chooses to accept. And, as we have seen recently, that basis can change faster than a politician seeking votes or a business seeking profits.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Time To Die: Making Decisions

Below is a link to a message I preached at Thompson Road Baptist Church in Indianapolis,
Tony Slutz, pastor. The topic- "A Time To Die: Making Decisions".

Tulip Blooms At Church

Friday, April 24, 2015

Wedding Cake

Last Sunday night, we brought to church the Groom's Cake from our daughter's wedding, which was 5 years ago. She and her husband and daughters were visiting with us that week, so we brought the cake to church for an after-church snack. The cake was actually very good, after 5 years (and no one got sick!). What made the occasion very special was that the woman who made the cake, not knowing we were serving the cake, came to church that night. Her husband died 4 months ago while working underneath his truck, and she came to visit that night. Irony, Coincidence, or Sovereignty?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Preparation & Delivery Of Sermons

The title page for the "Second Edition" (second printing of the 1st edition) of 1871. The book is in very good condition. Pre-1900 editions of Broadus' book are getting hard to find at reasonable prices.
If someone hasn't done this already, a good research project would be to compare the 4 main editions.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Thanksgiving Sunday

Church Meals are always fun - - much laughter & good food.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Thanksgiving Sunday

Tomorrow, Sunday, April 12, we are having a Thanksgiving Sunday to express thanks & gratitude to the Lord for His working in our church. Special Meal & Men's Music, with brief afternoon service.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jesus Christ Is Lord

The basic outline of the message preached last Sunday, Resurrection Sunday:

Jesus Christ Is Lord
  • When He was born Lk 2:11

            Lord at birth
                    “Who is right now Christ the Lord”
                    Lit: “Who is Christ Lord”
                    And He's only a few hours old when the angel says this
            Lord before birth since His parents did not have any title or position, although both of                   them are some of the many descendants of King David

                  Why? Because of who He is: Son of the Living God

  • Of All Acts 10:36

             Peace comes through Christ because He is Lord of all
             “of all” comes first: “who is of all Lord”
             Because He is Lord, He brings peace
             Because He is Lord of all, He can bring peace to anyone
             He is Lord of our President, even though our President denies Him
             He is Lord of our governor
             He is Lord of Iran, Russia, China
             He is Lord of America, even though America seems determined to destroy itself

Every Tongue Will Confess Phil 2:11
             Every tongue, Every person will 1 day confess openly that Jesus Christ is Lord
             Either because they know Him as Savior
             Or because they see Him as Judge
             1 reason that every person will eventually confess is because every person's life                        ends
             And when that happens, you will face the Lord God
            Hb 9:27 appointed once to die, then judgment

Therefore, the best confession, the best response is what 1 of the disciples did:
Christ Is My Lord & My God John 20:24-31
          1 week after Christ's resurrection, the impact was sinking in
         But Thomas hadn't been with the others when they saw the resurrected Christ
         He told them “I need to see for myself”
         25: Notice he knew what happened at Christ's crucifixion

         People treat Thomas unfairly because he simply wanted proof
         We can't blame him for that –
         He knew Christ was dead
         They buried Him
         No one denied that
         “I've got to see for myself”
         27: Notice that Christ knows what Thomas said a few days earlier
         28: Thomas only needed a moment to see & believe
         So when Christ gave him the opportunity, to his credit, Thomas was immediately                          convinced & gave 1 of the great statements in the NT about Christ
          Lit: “The Lord of me and the God of me”

This combination of Lord & God must be your response to Jesus Christ too
Christ The Lord Will Return
  • Jn 14:1-3

           Christ just told Peter that Peter will deny Christ 3x
           Then 14:1 Don't be troubled
           My Father's house has many places to live, plenty of room
           I am going to leave soon to prepare these places for you
          And if I go, I will come back
         When I come back, I will take you with Me, and you will be with Me

  • Tit 2:11-13

         God's grace appeared, and this grace brings the opportunity of salvation for all
         This grace teaches us
               It teaches us to deny ungodliness & the desires of this world
               It teaches us to live righteously & godly in this time
          While we are living for the Lord, we should be looking for the Lord

This is our Hope
Christ is our Hope
And when you see the hate, the anger, the misrepresentation of the truth
When you're frustrated, angry, discouraged, tired of the fact that people don't even want to listen
Remember: Jesus Christ is Lord
And He is coming back

Friday, April 3, 2015

Time To Die Message

Below is a link to a message I preached at Thompson Road Baptist Church in Indianapolis,
Tony Slutz, pastor. The topic- "A Time To Die: Making Decisions".

Preparation & Delivery Of Sermons

Collection of John Broadus' sermon preparation classic - 
21 copies, including an 1871 2nd printing of the 1st edition.

Thursday, April 2, 2015