Category Archives: Christianity

Bill Lockwood: Ocasio-Cortez Should Spend Time Reading the Bible Before She Criticizes It

by Bill Lockwood

Nothing more clearly illustrates that the ideology of Socialism is in reality a religious doctrine dressed in political clothes than the amount of vigor socialists exert to criticize the Bible. Our entire culture war is a religious one. From Barack Obama to Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, socialists have felt the need to attack God’s Word. Ocasio-Cortez, for example, once again this week unleashed on biblical values. Why? Because the Bible demonstrates that totalitarian systems are wicked.

This is all very peculiar to many mistaken Christians who naively suppose that Christians have no business logging in on “political issues.” Their idea seems to be; allow atheistic socialism and communism and fascism to trample God’s Word with hobnail boots—just keep your mouth shut. Give no answer.  This evidently comes about because they cannot see divine principles behind the political machinery in America. For example,

Life, Liberty and Property

Life, liberty and property are not important values to us because they are Constitutional concepts. Instead, they are constitutional concepts because they are biblical values. This is why the Founders built our system of government upon these theological pillars.

Take the issue of life. God’s Word teaches (Psalm 139:13-16) that God gives life to an infant within the mother’s womb. But the protection of that life, the very purpose of law, Ocasio-Cortez likened to “controlling women’s sexuality.” When the state of Alabama outlawed nearly all abortion in the state in 2017, she could hardly contain herself and charged that the “religious right” only invoked religion to “punish women.”

This is the classic dodge by a hedonistic society that has thrown out God’s Word and is therefore left with a big empty hole of nothingness by which to determine what is and what is NOT life. Godless women may be sexually active—but there are consequences to that behavior, including the formulation of life. For a society to allow the murder of that unborn life so that women and men may feel no repercussions for their immorality is itself a gross violation of natural law, to say nothing of biblical values.

Consider the issue of homosexuality. Last week during a House Oversight Committee hearing on “LGBTQ Rights” Ocasio-Cortez compared religious people on the right with “white supremacists” and opined on the “long history” of people “using scripture and weaponizing and abusing scripture to justify bigotry.” “White supremacists have done it, those who justified slavery have done it, those who fought against integration have done it, and we’re seeing it today.”

What Shall We Say To These Things?

First, for one to claim biblical backing for a concept of “rights” does not mean that this is an accurate portrayal of the Bible. Some in history may have tried to “justify” racial superiority with scripture, but God’s Word cannot be blamed for every misuse which the invention of man may come up with. Ocasio-Cortez should understand this. The Bible declares that life is sacred because it is created by God (Gen. 1:27), even in the mother’s womb (Psalm 139). Yet, that does not stop liberals from demanding the murder of the unborn as a “right.”

Second, the legal standards historically established by our society have been biblically-based, including the outlawing of homosexuality. The New Testament is emphatically clear that homosexuality is a behavior-driven malpractice that results from a free choice that people make. Romans chapter one even points out that this grievous sin occurs in society only after that society has repudiated God.

If the absolute standard of God’s Word be no longer valid, then what would be wrong with being a “white supremacist” or a “black supremacist?” Can Ocasio-Cortez tell us? What standard condemns these ideologies? Regarding slavery, what would be wrong with slavery to begin with, if there is not an absolute standard by which to measure? Why would “bigotry” be an ugly thing, Ocasio-Cortez? What criminality or injustice would there be in being prejudiced and intolerant of others?

The natural parameters of Republican principles of government come from the Bible—including public morality. All the residents of a community are subject to these standards approved of by the majority. If not, government itself would be impossible. Ocasio-Cortez may rail against the “theology” of what she calls “religious fundamentalists,” but the only thing she has to offer in its place is a “theology” of atheistic hedonism which turns society into cesspool of wickedness and violence in which “every man does that which is right in his own eyes.”

Bill Lockwood: Islam, Christianity, and Roman Catholicism

by Bill Lockwood

Julia Ioffe, writing in Foreignpolicy.com, makes a classic mistake in an article entitled “If Islam is a Religion of Violence, So Is Christianity” (6-14-2016). Apparently miffed that the general populace draws such conclusions as that “Islam is bad and Christianity is good” in the wake of mass shootings in America, Ioffe says it is a “hateful hypocrisy” to “single out Islam.”

She overtly blares out “I am tired of hearing, from Bill Maher and from Donald Trump, that Islam is inherently violent. “I am even more tired of hearing that Christianity is inherently peaceful.”

And how does she demonstrate that Christianity can be a “religion of violence”, and that Islam can be peaceful? She slogs through history, recent and ancient, to show atrocities committed by those who claimed to follow Christ, such as the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. On the other hand, she gives illustrations of peace-loving Muslims. “Islam, as it was practiced in medieval Span, was beautiful and peaceful, too.”

Since Ioffe’s investigative method is flawed, she erroneously concludes, “No religion is inherently peaceful or violent, nor is it inherently other than what its followers make it out to be.”

What About These Things?

While it is true that observers of religious people judge and asses the religion itself by the examples that people live before them, this does not explain the religion itself, nor the formative teachings of that religion. This methodology is about as thin as seeking to determine the official Democratic Party platform by asking Democrats on the street what are their feelings about the issues of the day.

This is clumsiness, to say the least. Many atheists have used this same flawed principle in defending atheism. Many atheists live admirable lives, they tell us. No argument here—but their morality does not derive from their atheism. It is bootlegged straight out of Christianity.

Severed branches of trees have enough sap left to keep the leaves green for a while. So also, atheists have enough “moral sap” leftover to keep them moral–but neither humanism nor atheism provide in and of themselves any moral substance.

This illustration now sets us up to examine Ioffe’s assertions.

Christianity

How should one assess a religious standard? How should one examine what that religion teaches? How can one determine what a religion “inherently is?” Ioffe condemns that Christianity can be violent. How so? She uses the illustration of Dylan Roof, who killed nine people in the middle of a Bible study in Charleston, S.C. but who declared allegiance to “the white supremacist cause” and “pointing to the Council of Conservative Citizens” which claims to “adhere to ‘Christian beliefs and values.’”

Christianity cannot be accurately assessed by examining people who did not live up to the standard set by Christ in the New Testament, regardless of the institutions to which they belong. The Lord Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, taught completely the opposite of what Roof practiced, including love your neighbor as yourself.

The same is true regarding the endless pointing to the Middle Age Roman Catholic Church and its atrocities, which Ioffe does in her article. She does this to point to bloodletting committed by Catholics in the “name of Christ.” She is not alone here—men such as Bill Maher do the same thing.

The American people need desperately to learn that the Roman Catholic Church is not a representative of Christ upon the earth, nor is it the church about which one reads on the pages of the New Testament, regardless of what the papacy asserts, and regardless of what name is invoked while perpetrating crime.

The Roman Catholic Church is the direct result of a brazen apostasy from the New Testament over the ages. Read the New Testament yourself and see that there is no pope, no papal infallibility, no Vatican State, no infant baptism, no baptism of desire, no baptism of blood, no rule of celibacy, no monasticism, no inherited sin, no immaculate conception, no bodily assumption of Mary, no praying to the saints, no rosary, no purgatory, no indulgences, no canonized saints, no veneration of saints, no sacraments, no lent, etc.

Official Roman Catechism’s and Encyclopedia’s admit that these doctrines “developed over the centuries.” The Roman Church through the ages simply adopted myriads of foreign doctrines, then wedded itself to a state apparatus and became a mixture of “church and state” which even sent armies into the field to shed blood on behalf of the Vatican!

Yet, this is what Ioffe uses to say that “Christianity” can be violent. It is interesting that journalists are supposed to go original sources. But not in this case. She wants us all to assess the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ by means of Rome. We are not so easily misled.

Islam

Here we come to something entirely different. Muslims as a group, behave in different ways, depending upon how many of them occupy a territory or nation. As percentages to population rises, so does violence. Why is this? Once again—go back to the original source, Ioffe. What do you find?

The one perfect Muslim was Mohammed. What did he do? How did he behave? Multiple verses in the Koran command the use of the sword (Surah 9:5; 9:73; 47:4, etc.). Islam, in its inception, waged war on all who did not accept Allah and Mohammed as his prophet. Mohammed was a war-lord of the Middle Ages style who led his followers in numerous battles. Violence is not an “apostasy” from a peace-loving Mohammed, but an imitation of him and his “inspired” commands from Allah.

When Mohammed died, not one person on the entire peninsula of Arabia disagreed with the man. This is not explained on the basis of freedom. His dying words were to carry on to “fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of truth (even if they are) the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (Surah 9:29).

Note the choices the founder of Islam gives to conquered peoples. One, Accept Islam. Two, pay the jizya (poll-tax on non-Muslims). This is the cornerstone of the entire system of humiliating regulations that institutionalize inferior status for non-Muslims in Islamic law. Three, prepare to war with Muslims.

Peaceful co-existence in a pluralistic society, of which Ioffe writes, is not one of the choices.

Does any of this sound anything like what was taught by the Savior of the world? No, Julia Ioffe. The religions of the world are inherently what their founders actually taught, not what later followers may or may not do. It is interesting that Ms. Ioffe did not once reference Christ Himself or His teaching when cross-examining Him. Nor did she look to see what Mohammed actually taught. Both are easily referenced.

It is something for which we ought to be thankful that not all Muslims faithfully carry out Mohammed’s “inspired” orders. But this is only because they do not live down to the standard set by their founder. On the other hand, it is sad that many professed Christians do not live up to the standards set by the Lord Jesus Christ found on the pages of the New Testament.

Bill Lockwood: Illegal Immigration and Christianity

by Bill Lockwood

I worship with a church that supports a missionary family in Cape Town, South Africa. Several churches of Christ in the United States have pooled their resources to finance the work there, which includes feeding the poor in a soup kitchen, providing shelter to those who live in cardboard boxes, and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. The giving of our finances in the church is, of course, strictly voluntary.

What do Americans think of my preaching that we all need to assist the poor in foreign countries and “preach good tidings” to them? Obviously, they recognize that is my right. Most would probably agree that such works need be funded by American dollars.

But it is also their right to reject that work. They may prefer works closer to home than South Africa. What then if, in reaction to their rejection, I would then insist that all MUST give to this specific work or be counted as unchristian and hard-hearted? I could add some biblical warnings about assisting others in need and threatening the judgment of God if they did not.

Some may answer—“look here, we support other works that are just as charitable. Why do you insist that we participate in the specific work you and your church are engaged in?” That itself would be a charitable answer seeing the approach I had taken. Others would probably ignore me. Still others would rightly question my ability to think clearly.

Let’s take it one step further. Suppose I have influence through powerful lobbyists in the legislature of the State of Texas. Because of my frustration with my fellows for their “lack of compassion” to those in South Africa, I work through these lobbying influences until legislation is passed in the State that mandates portions of public tax dollars to the South Africa work. Now everyone WILL support the work that I have been preaching!

What Has Occurred?

First, no one could classify the money that comes because of legal action as “charitable giving.” Legislative action does not spawn charity. The very reason “legislation” is passed is to compel compliance. Money may flow and people may benefit—but charity it is not. It is redistribution by force. The socialists dream. Not only so, but no one in their right mind would consider forcible redistribution a part of the “charitable giving” of the Congressmen who so legislated. They will not write this off on their tax returns.

Second, the legislative action has a deleterious effect on real avenues of giving. As long as the government compels from me more money to apply to one specific work that bureaucrats have selected, my ability to give to other needs that I personally would rather support has depleted. And how many charitable works are there that the government demands I sponsor? As many as there are legislators. That being the case, how much of my own money do I have remaining with which to support works that I select? Other works are just as fine as supporting missionary work in South Africa, but they will have to do with less.

Third, are those who oppose the legislation that FORCES tax money to flow to South Africa “unchristian?” Are they “uncharitable?” Shall I go about bellowing how “unchristian” my fellows are because they oppose that specific piece of legislation? Since it is not charity to begin with, it hardly is logical to say that those who oppose it are stingy, greedy, unchristian Scrooges. Common sense and even-handed reasoning recognizes that many people support many different causes and if you do not support the cause which I prefer it does not make you unchristian.

The Border

Now look at the southern border. Border states have been crying for as long as I have been alive for the federal government to do its job and curtail illegal crossings. But no politician has been brave enough—or desirous enough– to get that job done–until President Trump. President Obama even single-handedly, without constitutional authorization, negated some of our own laws in order to allow more foreigners to pour into America.

Now we are told we need to assist these foreigners from poor countries because that is our Christian duty! Translation: this is the charitable work that the liberal intelligentsia has selected for you to participate in, and money will be forced from your pocketbook to sponsor it. Not only so, but these poverty-stricken people that beg to come in will be housed in your neighborhoods at your expense. If you have misgivings about it, you are unchristian. Christian duty demands open borders, so the story goes.

Here are some questions. If it is Christianity to force Americans to pull down our border fences, is it not also Christian duty to allow the poor to camp in your front yard? Does ‘Love your Neighbor’ mean pull down the fence? Why are all of those who preach “open borders” shored up behind walled communities and housing area, normally in white middle-class neighborhoods? Is it not hypocritical to demand your neighbors to care for the poor, while we do very little? Why have front doors on our homes?

Shall American families be required to sponsor various families from south of the border? If so, should these families be forced to adopt-a-family by bringing them inside your homes? If not, why not?

If one selects some other charity work instead of the “open borders” program, is that less charitable? Is it necessary to follow the government’s agenda in order to be charitable? What if, as a Christian, I am for closing the border completely and funneling my resources to care for the poor among us?

Would it not be better just to GO to the country of origin of many of these people and do voluntary charity work there?

If I do NOT give charitably, should the government take control of my finances to make me be more charitable? Would that be charity at all?

Bill Lockwood: Methodist Church Asks the Elderly to Leave the Congregation

 

by Bill Lockwood

This headline appeared last week in The Washington Post. The Cottage Grove United Methodist Church on the outskirts of Minneapolis-St. Paul, is a small dwindling church of about 30 members that has put in place a new “strategic plan” for church growth among “younger people” such as Millennials. A major part of that plan, which one 70-year-old member calls “age discrimination,” is to ask the elderly to leave and worship elsewhere.

After this news went national, Dan Wetterstrom, the “head pastor” of the church, claimed that these allegations of “age discrimination unfairly represented the strategy for a church that has been on the decline for two decades.”

Instead, he explained, the church’s services are “being cancelled” and will re-open after a major refurbishing of the building, its staff, and its worship services, including replacing the traditional hymnals. A church memo also recommended that “current members stay away for two years, then consult with the pastor about reapplying.” That is according to the local news outlet, the Pioneer Press.

“The plan is to shut down the church in June and reopen later this year with a new pastor, new programming and building updates ‘aimed at engaging more members of a growing community.’” “While older members will not be physically barred from attending, the expectation is that they will not.” Wetterstrom added, “We are asking them to let this happen. For this to be truly new, we can’t have the core group of 30 people.”

So, it is technically not “disinviting” the elderly. They are only “physically shutting the doors” and the current elderly membership must “re-apply” to get back in after a recommended two-year absence.

Bruce Ough, the Methodist “bishop” of the Dakotas-Minnesota region and provides oversight to congregations, defended the strategy as part of a “relaunch effort” that has been “successful in other parts of the region.”

It is difficult to know where to begin to comment on such items as this. It does give a frightening insight into the mindset of many Americans which sees the elderly as a hindrance instead of an opportunity to serve. No wonder many churches have completely capitulated to a godless culture that demands the ceasing of preaching against sin.

 

Bill Lockwood: “Bring on the Lions!” — Homosexual Agenda Seeks to Destroy Christianity

by Bill Lockwood

Several years ago a relative of mine was in a major northeastern city for a short visit and it so happened that a “Gay Pride” parade was occurring. Shocking as it seems, some of the marchers were carrying signs that read: “Bring on the Lions!” That, of course, referred to the extermination of Christians after the order of the ancient bloody Roman Empire and presented a completely different picture of the Homosexual Goal for America than the MSM would like for you to see.

The entire political & cultural battle today may be boiled down to a War on God by the political left, which is being driven by the Homosexual Agenda. Nothing can be clearer than this. Even Islam joins with homosexuals—for now–in this same goal of eradication of Christianity. Read the text of the Democratic Party’s so-called Equality Act (H.R. 5) and be in the dark no more. It completely eradicates The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), originally passed in 1993, let alone respect the First Amendment which promised that the federal government is FORBIDDEN to touch religious speech and freedom.

“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000bb et. seq.) shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application of enforcement of a covered title.”

The RFRA began as a reaction following a 1990 Supreme Court decision (Employment Division v. Smith) which concerned Christians that religious liberty might be threatened. This resulted in a huge national movement of Christians to protect their God-given rights.

How does this link to the Homosexual Agenda? GrasstopsUSA re-published a portion of homosexual activist Michael Swift’s Manifesto from 1987. For a real stomach-turner, read the entire text on Fordham University’s website entitled, “Michael Swift, ‘Gay Revolutionary,’” reprinted from the Congressional Record itself.

We shall sodomize your sons, emblems of your feeble masculinity … Your sons shall become our minions and do our bidding … All laws banning homosexual activity will be revoked. Instead, legislation shall be passed which engenders love between men… There will be no compromises … All churches who condemn us will be closed … All males who insist on remaining stupidly heterosexual will be tried in homosexual courts of justice … Tremble, hetero swine, when we appear before you without our masks.

As Grassroots correctly stated, “Disguised as a measure to extend civil rights protections” to homosexuals and “transgendered individuals,” H.R. 5 actually “forces every man, women and child in the United States to not simply accept anti-biblical behaviors but to actively affirm them under penalty of law.”

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo, a homosexual Opinion Writer for USA Today and who wishes to “outlaw” “conversion therapy”, while claiming to be “libertarian,” headlines the following, “Gay Conservative: Equality Act would crush religious freedom. Trump is right to oppose it.”

Polumbo calls the “Equality Act,” “the landmark LGBT rights bill.” “From my vantage point as a gay conservative, I can see that the Equality Act goes too far for any level-headed gay rights advocate to support, and its blatant disregard for the basic right to religious freedom is appalling.”

The bill purports to protect LGBT Americans like me by prohibiting discrimination ‘based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit and the jury system.’ On the surface, this sounds unobjectionable—after all, no one deserves to face discrimination. Yet the bill defined ‘public accommodations’ so loosely and called for regulations so sweeping that it would crush religious freedom and radically reshape American society.

Polumbo warns that “The Equality Act could potentially see houses of worship deemed ‘public accommodations’ and subjected to anti-discrimination law. It would also declare any hospital or establishment providing medical services a ‘public accommodation,’ which would include religious organization and hospitals.”

Steve Warren

Homosexual activist Steven Warren issued in 1987 a “Warning to homophobes.” In it he stated that homosexuality will be spoken of in your churches and synagogues as an “honorable estate” and “you can either let us marry people of the same sex, or better yet abolish marriage altogether.”

Throwing down the gauntlet to Christianity, he warned, “You will be expected to offer ceremonies that bless our sexual arrangements” and you will “instruct your people in homosexual as well as heterosexual behavior, and you will go out of your way to make certain that homosexual youths are allowed to date, attend religious functions together, openly display affection, and enjoy each others’ sexuality without embarrassment or guilt.”

If the older people object “you will deal with them sternly, making certain they renounce their ugly and ignorant homophobia or suffer public humiliation.” “Finally, we will in all likelihood, want to expunge a number of passages from your Scriptures and rewrite others …”

The final warning: “If all these things do not come to pass quickly, we will subject Orthodox Jews and Christians to the most sustained hatred and vilification in recent memory.”

Bring on the Lions.

Bill Lockwood: The American War on God & the First Amendment

by Bill Lockwood

American leaders have been hostile to God for over a century. Our cultural landscape has been re-shaped because of it. One of the most recent battles involves a High School in West Virginia.

The Rutherford Institute, led by John Whitehead, has a press release this week which once again shows the depth and nature of this war against Christianity. A high school student-led club called Youth Alive in Weston, West Virginia has practiced posting sticky notes with inspirational messages to encourage each other on a bulletin board in one of the hallways. It is student-led, featuring Young Republicans, Young Democrats, Youth Alive, and other groups–all which use the board.

The trouble apparently came when students began posting Bible verses of a self-help nature on the board. That was too much for the Lewis County High School administration, which promptly shut down the bulletin board completely. No Bible allowed. It probably would have still been in use had students posted a quote from Karl Marx such as “Workers of the World, Unite!”

The nature of the America’s struggle is here seen. It is The Bible that is under assault. With concerns over a non-constitutional measure called “Separation of church and state,” the Lewis County High School actually has capitulated to the onslaught of secular forces in America.

John Whitehead, a constitutional attorney, comments, “What a missed opportunity to support young people in their efforts to find positive, constructive methods of engaging with fellow students who might be struggling with feelings of depression, unhappiness and stress.”

Whitehead has been fighting this secular onslaught for forty years. “Not only is the removal of these inspirational notes a clear act of censorship that violates the First Amendment,” he said, “but it also sends the disheartening message to young people that school officials care more about doing what is politically correct than doing what is right.”

The Rutherford Institute is leading the legal fight for liberty in Lewis County, demanding the Youth Alive be allowed to re-post inspirational notes, including selections from Bible verses. Students need faith, encouragement and forgiveness in a world where people are broken-hearted, alone, insecure, stressed and confused. The Lewis County High School has actually violated the First Amendment and the Equal Access Act, a federal statute that guarantees religious and political clubs equal rights in public schools.

First Amendment?

Two things here. One, the First Amendment is designed to forbid government from endorsing or supporting one particular church in the Christian world—nothing to do with removing Bible, Christianity, or godly principles from the public square. The forbidding of “establishment of religion” in the First Amendment simply refers to a “National Denomination” in the sense that America was to have a State Church supported by public taxes.

As a matter of fact, Fisher Ames was the Founding Father who offered the final wording of the First Amendment. From his own writing it is clear that “religion” means “single Christian denomination.” The original version of the amendment, proposed in the Senate on Sep. 3, 1789, stated, “Congress will not make any law establishing any religious denomination.” The second version read, “Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination.” The third version reads similarly.

Note that the word “religion” is interchangeable with “denomination.” The founders were unanimous that the First Amendment merely forbade the establishment of a National Church. It had nothing to do with excluding God from the public square, least of all from schools. But what do secularists care about original intent?

Second, Dr. Samuel Mitcham, Jr., a military historian who has authored the recent It Wasn’t About Slavery: Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War, stated in a recent interview on the American Liberty with Bill Lockwood radio show, that which we term “political correctness” is actually nothing less than Cultural Marxism. Everything has a place in the market-place of ideas—except the Bible.

Dr. Mitcham knows whereof he speaks. A college professor for over twenty years and author of more than 40 books on military history and the culture, Dr. Mitcham is right on target. Who would have guessed that none the less than Karl Marx would have been the dominant force in American political “correctness” within two hundred-fifty years of his Manifesto?

 

Bill Lockwood: Was Jesus a “Refugee?”

by Bill Lockwood

As reported by CNN, a Methodist church in California is displaying a nativity scene depicting Jesus, Mary and Joseph as refugees in cages to “draw attention to the conditions faced by migrants seeking asylum in the United States.” The Claremont United Methodist Church, which is about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, “posted the photo on its website showing the three held in separate cages topped with barbed wire. The baby Jesus is wrapped in a silver foil blanket.” The “lead pastor” Karen Clark Ristine told CNN that “we thought about the most famous refugee family in the world.”

The United Methodist Church, ever ready to warp biblical narratives into liberal political messages, has displayed a stunning ignorance of the Bible. As Gary DeMar observes, “Leftists have little regard for the Bible unless it can be used to scold Christians for judging righteously … and to support socialism based on a passage about voluntary giving (Acts 2:42-45; 4:32-35).”

As I wrote in a former article, there are several biblical considerations that need be made. (1) God Himself established borders of nations. Read Acts 17:26. (2) God demanded that Old Testament Israel respect the borders of other nations. God gave Mt. Seir to Esau and his descendants for a “possession.” Therefore, Israel, when coming out of Egypt, was not to cross it (Deuteronomy. 2:5). The same regarded Israel’s respect of Moab’s borders.

(3) Once settled in Canaan, the Israelites were sternly warned to “drive the Canaanites out.” The stated reason for this was to preserve the culture of Israel (Numbers. 33:51,52). (4) Even Abraham was deported once it was discovered that he lied to border agents. Read Genesis 12. (5) Regarding Jesus and the holy family, as DeMar notes, they were living within the confines of the Roman Empire. Egypt was part of the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus’ birth. Their escape from Bethlehem was only to another Roman Province. (6) Another command given to Joseph and Mary was that they were to return to their homeland after the death of Herod (Matthew. 2:20). DeMar asks, “How many refugees return to their home nations after entering the United States?”

Bill Lockwood: The Name of God

by Bill Lockwood

Alfred Edersheim, the Jewish commentator who became a Christian, explains why Matthew’s gospel (3:2) will use the phraseology ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ while ‘Kingdom of God,’ appears elsewhere (e.g. Mark 1:4).

According to the Rabbinic views of the time, the terms ‘Kingdom of heaven,’ and ‘Kingdom of God’ … were equivalent. In fact, the word ‘heaven’ was very often used instead of ‘God,’ so as to avoid unduly familiarizing the ear with the Sacred Name. This probably accounts for the exclusive use of the expression ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ in the Gospel by Matthew.

I was raised by a godly Christian mother who explained to me when very young that the Jews took such care when even writing the name of God in copies of the Scriptures that they washed their hands before putting pen to parchment to write it. I never heard her speak of God except in sober tones.

Kimberly Burnham, in the website ReformJudaism.org, posted an article entitled “Writing the Torah and Honoring the Name of God.” In it she interviewed Rabbi Kevin Hale who “talked about going to the river near his house to wash himself in a mikveh (ritual bath) before writing the name of God in the Torah scroll he worked on.

The reason there are very few errors is the intentionality that goes into the writing of the name of God …‘Every letter is sung out as you write, and there is an acute awareness of begin in the presence of something great,’ Hale said, noting that the name of God is written with a unique quill using special ink, a 2,000-year-old recipe.

The third commandment of the Decalogue forbids “taking the name of the Lord in vain.” Vain means empty, nothing, worthless. Writer Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina, and assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, asks this pointed question: “How did ‘watch your mouth’ make the top ten?” The answer is simple: God wants us to revere His name.

That being said, how has it come to pass that Christians, who ought of all people, to honor the name of God, have allowed a hedonistic godless blasphemous culture to influence our manner of speaking and thinking in that “O my G_____ ”, or equivalent expressions have become the norm?

DeYoung reflects on light-hearted “nicknames” that people use to refer to one another. Then he comments,

“But funny nicknames given to us is one thing; irreverent use of God’s name is another. Everywhere in Scripture the name of the Lord is exalted in the highest possible terms. ‘O Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!’ (Psa. 8:1). ‘Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name’ (Psa. 29:2). The first petition of the Lord’s prayer is ‘Hallowed be your name’ (Matt. 6:9). The apostles proclaim that ‘there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12). Paul assured the Romans that ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Rom. 10:13). And the culminating event in all of creation is when, ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of god the Father’ (Phil. 2:10-11). The Bible does not want us to forget the holy importance of the divine name.

Nothing marks the godlessness of a culture as much as dishonoring the name of God.

Bill Lockwood: Why Do Christians Support Donald Trump?

by Bill Lockwood

Not presuming to speak for all Christians, I do, however, wish to offer a few observations regarding the general support of Donald J. Trump by Christians and Constitutionalists. This is timely seeing that so many on the socialistic/Democratic side of the political spectrum love to harangue Trump-supporting Christians about the past personal behavior of Trump. They seem to delight in pointing out his multiple marriages, his infidelities, his foul language, or other personal indiscretions, always with a view to shaming Christians for their support.

What Shall We Say to These Things?

First, no Christian of which I am aware excuses Trump’s personal sins. But this is a far cry from an elected official such as Bill Clinton using his powerful position as the chief executive to assault women in the oval office. On a broader scale, if an angry press would devote itself to scouring all public officials with the scrutiny they have applied to Donald Trump, I doubt there would be many officials to escape unscathed. So, what does this mean? Stop participating in the election process because those whom we elect have soiled lives? I suspect that is what the left really desires.

Second, I readily confess that the ideal is as stated by John Adams. “He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries the most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.”

Thomas Jefferson agreed. “For promoting the public happiness, those persons whom nature has endowed with genius and virtue … should be able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens …” But where are we as a society?

It is needless to point out here that our entire culture for the past 75 years has been more reflective of Sodom and Gomorrah than the “shining city on a hill” that John Winthrop paraphrased from the words of our Savior. There is without question a deep-dyed wickedness in the populace that is corroding the nation’s soul. Finding a virtuous and godly person that will fill the position of a “natural aristocracy,” as Jefferson worded it, and willing to put themselves into the grinding mill of the political arena, is nearly an impossible task.

Third, with the above in mind, many Christians primarily have relied upon the simple principle of how best to secure our God-given liberties? Since the entire history of civilization is nothing but the story of suffering peoples at the hands of their own governments, which candidate will support the kinds of Constitutional principles that more positively reflect that? Or, more pointedly, do Donald Trump’s policies lessen the vice-grip of government, or do the Democratic policies? To ask the question is to answer it.

One must recognize that political power always, without fail, gravitates toward centralization and that this movement always erodes and destroys the liberty of people by removing the decision-making processes and transferring them to that central government. Christians therefore, have wisely resisted the growth of government. And it is only Donald J. Trump, even with his brass-knuckle less-than-genteel approach, who can drain the swamp that threatens to drown us all.

An Illustration

The Jews in the time of Christ did not enjoy even a modicum of the liberty that we now have as Christians in America. As a matter of fact, Israel’s sovereignty had been removed from the period of the Assyrian Empire in the Old Testament (8th century B.C.) and was never regained. The mighty Roman empire controlled Palestine during the birth of our Lord, and the Jewish people suffered beneath the local rule of one wicked Procurator after another.

So, when a Quirinius, the Legate of Syria (Luke 2:1-3), would order a census in Palestine with a view to taxation, the Jews submitted even though despising it. So also other governors of Syria such as Coponius, Marcus Ambivius, and Valerius Gratus, who followed Quirinius. Other various fiscal oppressions of a grievous sort were practiced by Romans against the Jewish people. All of these the Jews loathed, but tolerated.

This was because these governors generally respected the religious feelings of the Jews and gave wide latitude to Jewish practices and scruples. We know, for example, that they removed the image of the Emperor from the standards of Roman soldiers before marching them into Jerusalem, so as to avoid the appearance of a cultus of the Caesars (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. I, p. 242).

But all of that was far different from a Pontius Pilate who forced the hated emblem on the Jews and defied all of their most sacred feelings.

Today

This is not unlike the political scene today. A secular society continues to dominate our culture, which Christians decry. Christians tolerate, probably too much, the unconstitutional and ungodly measures in our country. But this is completely different from a Democratic leader such as Barack Obama who publicly mocks the Bible, engineers the redefinition of marriage, rubs Christian noses in the murder of the unborn, and parades to the world that we are not a Christian nation.

Added to that is the fact that in the end, not only has President Trump boldly stood for a more biblical stance in public policy, but has sought to massively de-regulate the unconstitutional super-state in which we live. A report by the Council of Economic Advisors in June, 2019 estimates that after 5-10 years of the new de-regulatory approach of the Federal Government household incomes will have been raised by $3,100 per household per year.

Casey Mulligan, the chief economist for the CEA, explained that “The deregulatory efforts of the Trump Administration have … removed mandates from employers, especially smaller businesses, and have removed burdens that would have eliminated many small bank lenders from the marketplace. These deregulatory actions are raising real incomes by increasing competition, productivity, and wages.”

In the end, however, it is not merely economic prosperity that many Christians desire. It is to secure our God-given liberties by rolling back the unconstitutional government in which we live. Donald J. Trump seems to be the only person with enough back-bone to attempt this daunting task. I suspect that the radical left realizes this fact which explains their mindless hatred and opposition.

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