Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

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: Welfare and “Original Sin”?

by Bill Lockwood

Ellie Bufkin of the Washington Examiner, wrote the following. “Democratic Texas Rep. Al Green claimed that President Trump’s impeachment was necessary to deal with the ‘original’ sin of slavery.

“During a Saturday appearance on MSNBC, the congressman cited an interest in acting on behalf of people of color. ‘I do believe, ma’am, that we have to deal with the original sin,’ Green said to host Alex Witt. ‘We have to deal with slavery. Slavery was the thing that put all of what President Trump has done lately into motion. It’s [the] insidious scion of racism. The president has played on racism, and he’s used that as a weapon to galvanize a base of support to mobilize people.’”

Let’s step back a moment.

The biblical scholar R.C. Foster observed over a hundred years ago that the rejection of Jesus by his home town of Nazareth (Luke 4) was in part due to the “most common and worst of crimes”—ingratitude. “It is often true that the more that is done for unworthy people, the less they appreciate it and the more they presume upon the generosity of others and grow in the false grandeur of their own conceit.” That this is self-evidently true is seen in the sad reality now in America. Ingratitude.

Prior to the creation of our welfare state in America, charity was practiced by individuals, churches and private organizations. This was the formula of the Founding Fathers. So successful was it that there is no record of people dying on the streets because of lack of food, shelter or medical assistance. Americans were the most generous people on the earth. So thought Alexis de Tocqueville when visiting our country from France in 1831 and 1832.

Enter the welfare state of the federal government. It has helped create the opposite of its stated goal of alleviating the poor. Not only has poverty continued to rise in America, but the sense of “entitlement” followed by the “worst of crimes”—ingratitude—has become commonplace. This has now morphed into a boiling hatred for whites in many minority communities that one can hear, see, and feel.

See the statistics on recipients of the state-sponsored welfare state. According to the U.S. Census Bureau “approximately 21.3 percent of people in the United States participated in major means-tested government assistance programs each month in 2012.” Participation rates for the black population is at 41.6 percent; followed by Hispanics at 36.4 percent; then Asians or Pacific Islanders at 17.8 percent; lastly, by non-Hispanic whites at 13.2 percent. Stating the obvious, the Bureau concluded “blacks were more likely to participate in government assistance programs in an average month.”

Added to overt financial assistance from the public trough, minority communities have also been the favored recipients of government policies such as affirmative action which has been touted as necessary to fight the enduring effects of white racism. Our entire culture is saturated with affirmative action practices, from educational institutions, medical schools, law schools, even the military itself. But instead of alleviating racial animosity, the only enduring lesson that is being ingrained is hatred for a white America that supposedly is racist.

Al Green

Back to Al Green. Hatred simply seethes in America. The comment by Democratic Texas lawmaker Al Green, who claims that America needs to deal with racism of the past by impeaching President Trump, is a perfect example. To Green, everything that occurs is colored in racial tones. White America can elect a Barack Obama, can pay millions of dollars to black sports and entertainment hero’s; can acquiesce to affirmative action programs that favor people of color in all segments of society—yet nothing is enough. Atonement is never found. This is the way hate works. Hate is a leviathan with an insatiable appetite. Always hungry for more, but never satisfied. Al Green is afflicted with it, and it has become so pervasive that Green feels comfortable airing his hatred on national television.

The “original sin” of which Al Green speaks is ingratitude. His own. His ingratitude for being a legislative leader in the greatest country that has ever existed. He has allowed the ingratitude in his soul to hard-boil into hatred. Al Green hasn’t ever been a slave; nor his father, and I dare say even his grandfather. He knows no slave holders in America, nor the sons of slave holders. The only people that are slaves are the middle-class taxpayers who support his gigantic welfare state. But this is not enough.

Just as with the election of Barack Obama, many whites supposed that racial animosity would subside, but they were mistaken. It metastasized. Hatred knows no bounds. Even if Donald Trump is successfully impeached and removed from office, which would be a travesty in American justice, Al Green’s hatred will only increase.

Bill Lockwood: Freedom v. Force

by Bill Lockwood

Freedom irritates the left. Not their own freedom—but yours. Democrats live with a hatred; a despising of the very principle of liberty. This is the essential difference between the left and the right—not merely how spend money and upon what—but whether or not to curtail your freedom.

Consider free speech. The free and open exchange of ideas has been the hallmark of American society for over two centuries. The First Amendment has served as a prohibition against the Federal Government from managing any kind of speech. Alarmingly, however, more than one-half of Americans today favor a “re-writing” of the First Amendment whereby “hate speech” would be illegal. The survey was taken by the nonpartisan Campaign for Free Speech (CFS).

As everyone knows, the determination of what constitutes “hate speech” is the crux. Who will determine what type of speech is hateful enough to be illegal? (see First Liberty Institute article, 11-15-19).

College campuses lead the nation in showing contempt for free speech. Most college students, according to surveys, want restrictions on what they call “offensive” speech. Marxist professors have instilled a pure hatred for free speech in the student bodies. Witness the hostile reception conservative speakers have had at various Universities around the country.

Even the liberal American Bar Association (ABA) documents in a recent article the silencing of various speakers at college campuses. The authors, Stephen J. Wermiel & Josh Blackman, try to explain that it comes from “both sides”, left and right, but conclude that the “incidents” of disruption to speakers on the liberal side are “less common.” Indeed! And it is more than a stretch to say that “hecklers” wearing “Make America Great Again” hats equate with the violence of shutting down speakers and forcing college campuses to withdraw conservative invitations to speak. Silencing by force is the leftist method.

Force has been used so much by the left that some Republican-led state legislatures have felt the need to impose policies on their state university campuses to allow free speech.

Under the rubric of “hate speech” the big tech giants Facebook and YouTube have already shut down Alex Jones’ voice on InfoWars.  Some Christian voices, like Julio Severo, are put in “Facebook jail” for posting Bible verses such as about homosexuality. Google suppressed Prager University and Twitter temporarily banned Candace Owens. So prevalent has this forcible silencing of speech been on the left that Bill Maher was compelled to ask, “If you’re a liberal, you’re supposed to be for free speech. That’s free speech for the speech that you hate.”

Consider Climate Change. The Paris Climate Accord from which Trump withdrew in 2017 is all about force. Those who preach the Green Gospel of saving the planet cannot garner enough support for their message by normal debate and means of persuasion. Therefore, these globalists wish to sign American taxpayers on to a globalist “Carbon Pricing Panel” whereby the dictators of the United Nations will force reparations from the United States to pay for our environmental sins. These payments will be distributed to Third World and developing nations.

All of us have pulpits. Some of us preach the gospel of Christ and by reasons addressed to the mind ask worshippers to contribute in collection trays. Leftists and socialists of the Democrat Party cannot garner enough support for their doomsday message that the Sky is Falling, consequently they must save us all—by forcing us to pay contributions to their collection baskets. They cannot rely on freedom or the free-flow of ideas, so proponents of the Green Gospel use force.

Fred Singer, prominent scientist at the Heartland summit, a University of Virginia environmental science Professor Emeritus, and founder of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, observed, “This is about money and power. Science plays a small role, and mostly it’s being misused….It’s a matter of really trying to control things.”

Consider attacks on private property. So essential is this to freedom that John Adams commented that this was the single foundation stone undergirding all human freedom and liberty. “Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist.”

The left knows this as well. The all-out attack on private property by the program Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), fostered by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development program and flourishing under HUD funding, has become common-place in American cities.

Big government planners do not like that you have the “freedom of association.” Liberty to live where you like and with those whom you are most comfortable is anathema. We must pare down your liberty branches! Cities are bribed with the endless access to federal money to “re-distribute” the racial mixes of their populations. Cities such as Baltimore, MD are placing minority families in white suburbia. No freedom here.

Liberal bastion Minneapolis, Minnesota became the first city to end single-family zoning. The Mayor of the city called such housing a mark of racism and “self-segregation” that must be halted at once. The white population is in his cross-hairs. Other cities are beginning to follow suit. 1

There are also a large number of organizations, such as Center for Study of Social Policy, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE); Center for American Progress (CAP); W. Kellogg Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and others, that are in the business of bribing cities with large amounts of George Soros money to forcibly re-zone various neighborhoods or re-draw school boundaries to dismantle schools that have “too large a white or Asian population.” 2

Another group, PolicyLink, a radical activist group, pushes policies such as “parks equity” which states that lack of access to city parks are partly responsible for “racial performance gaps” in school and on the job. The manifesto therefore is for middle-class tax-payers, once again by force, to begin funding more parks in slum areas of the country.

The common denominator in all of this is lack of freedom. Force replaces it. This is the tool of the left.

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.

Ryan T. Anderson: Transgender Ideology Is Riddled With Contradictions. Here Are the Big Ones.

by Ryan T. Anderson Ph.D.

People say that we live in a postmodern age that has rejected metaphysics. That’s not quite true.

We live in a postmodern age that promotes an alternative metaphysics. As I explain in “When Harry Became Sally,” at the heart of the transgender moment are radical ideas about the human person—in particular, that people are what they claim to be, regardless of contrary evidence. A transgender boy is a boy, not merely a girl who identifies as a boy.

It’s understandable why activists make these claims. An argument about transgender identities will be much more persuasive if it concerns who someone is, not merely how someone identifies. And so the rhetoric of the transgender moment drips with ontological assertions: People are the gender they prefer to be. That’s the claim.

Transgender activists don’t admit that this is a metaphysical claim. They don’t want to have the debate on the level of philosophy, so they dress it up as a scientific and medical claim. And they’ve co-opted many professional associations for their cause.

Thus the American Psychological Association, in a pamphlet titled “Answers to Your Questions about Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression,” tells us, “Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.”

Notice the politicized language: A person’s sex is “assigned at birth.” Back in 2005, even the Human Rights Campaign referred instead to “birth sex” and “physical sex.”

The phrase “sex assigned at birth” is now favored because it makes room for “gender identity” as the real basis of a person’s sex.

In an expert declaration to a federal district court in North Carolina concerning H.B. 2, Dr. Deanna Adkins stated, “From a medical perspective, the appropriate determinant of sex is gender identity.” Adkins is a professor at Duke University School of Medicine and the director of the Duke Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care (which opened in 2015).

Adkins argues that gender identity is not only the preferred basis for determining sex, but “the only medically supported determinant of sex.” Every other method is bad science, she claims: “It is counter to medical science to use chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, external genitalia, or secondary sex characteristics to override gender identity for purposes of classifying someone as male or female.”

This is a remarkable claim, not least because the argument recently was that gender is only a social construct, while sex is a biological reality. Now, activists claim that gender identity is destiny, while biological sex is the social construct.

Adkins doesn’t say if she would apply this rule to all mammalian species. But why should sex be determined differently in humans than in other mammals? And if medical science holds that gender identity determines sex in humans, what does this mean for the use of medicinal agents that have different effects on males and females? Does the proper dosage of medicine depend on the patient’s sex or gender identity?

But what exactly is this “gender identity” that is supposed to be the true medical determinant of sex? Adkins defines it as “a person’s inner sense of belonging to a particular gender, such as male or female.”

Note that little phrase “such as,” implying that the options are not necessarily limited to male or female. Other activists are more forthcoming in admitting that gender identity need not be restricted to the binary choice of male or female, but can include both or neither. The American Psychological Association, for example, defines “gender identity” as “a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else.”

Adkins asserts that being transgender is not a mental disorder, but simply “a normal developmental variation.” And she claims, further, that medical and mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of gender dysphoria are in agreement with this view.

Transgender Catechism

These notions about sex and gender are now being taught to young children. Activists have created child-friendly graphics for this purpose, such as the “Genderbread Person Graph.” The Genderbread Person teaches that when it comes to sexuality and gender, people have five different characteristics, each of them falling along a spectrum.

There’s “gender identity,” which is “how you, in your head, define your gender, based on how much you align (or don’t align) with what you understand to be the options for gender.” The graphic lists “4 (of infinite)” possibilities for gender identity: “woman-ness,” “man-ness,” “two-spirit,” or “genderqueer.”

The second characteristic is “gender expression,” which is “the way you present gender, through your actions, dress, and demeanor.” In addition to “feminine” or “masculine,” the options are “butch,” “femme,” “androgynous,” or “gender neutral.”

Third is “biological sex,” defined as “the physical sex characteristics you’re born with and develop, including genitalia, body shape, voice pitch, body hair, hormones, chromosomes, etc.”

The final two characteristics concern sexual orientation: “sexually attracted to” and “romantically attracted to.” The options include “Women/Females/Femininity” and “Men/Males/Masculinity.” Which seems rather binary.

The Genderbread Person tries to localize these five characteristics on the body: gender identity in the brain, sexual and romantic attraction in the heart, biological sex in the pelvis, and gender expression everywhere.

The Genderbread Person presented here is version 3.3, incorporating adjustments made in response to criticism of earlier versions. But even this one violates current dogma. Some activists have complained that the Genderbread Person looks overly male.

A more serious fault in the eyes of many activists is the use of the term “biological sex.” Time magazine drew criticism for the same transgression in 2014 after publishing a profile of Laverne Cox, the “first out trans person” to be featured on the cover.

At least the folks at Time got credit for trying to be “good allies, explaining what many see as a complicated issue,” wrote Mey Rude in an article titled “It’s Time for People to Stop Using the Social Construct of ‘Biological Sex’ to Defend Their Transmisogyny.” (It’s hard to keep up with the transgender moment.)

But Time was judged guilty of using “a simplistic and outdated understanding of biology to perpetuate some very dangerous ideas about trans women,” and failing to acknowledge that biological sex “isn’t something we’re actually born with, it’s something that doctors or our parents assign us at birth.”

Today, transgender “allies” in good standing don’t use the Genderbread Person in their classrooms, but opt for the “Gender Unicorn Graph,” which was created by Trans Student Educational Resources. It has a body shape that doesn’t appear either male or female, and instead of a “biological sex” it has a “sex assigned at birth.”

Those are the significant changes to the Genderbread Person, and they were made so that the new graphic would “more accurately portray the distinction between gender, sex assigned at birth, and sexuality.”

According to Trans Student Education Resources, “Biological sex is an ambiguous word that has no scale and no meaning besides that it is related to some sex characteristics. It is also harmful to trans people. Instead, we prefer ‘sex assigned at birth’ which provides a more accurate description of what biological sex may be trying to communicate.”

The Gender Unicorn is the graphic that children are likely to encounter in school. These are the dogmas they are likely to be catechized to profess.

While activists claim that the possibilities for gender identity are rather expansive—man, woman, both, neither—they also insist that gender identity is innate, or established at a very young age, and thereafter immutable.

Dr. George Brown, a professor of psychiatry and a three-time board member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, stated in his declaration to the federal court in North Carolina that gender identity “is usually established early in life, by the age of 2 to 3 years old.”

Addressing the same court, Adkins asserted that “evidence strongly suggests that gender identity is innate or fixed at a young age and that gender identity has a strong biological basis.” (At no point in her expert declaration did she cite any sources for any of her claims.)

Transgender Contradictions

If the claims presented in this essay strike you as confusing, you’re not alone. The thinking of transgender activists is inherently confused and filled with internal contradictions. Activists never acknowledge those contradictions. Instead, they opportunistically rely on whichever claim is useful at any given moment.

Here I’m talking about transgender activists. Most people who suffer from gender dysphoria are not activists, and many of them reject the activists’ claims. Many of them may be regarded as victims of the activists, as I show in my book.

Many of those who feel distress over their bodily sex know that they aren’t really the opposite sex, and do not wish to “transition.” They wish to receive help in coming to identify with and accept their bodily self. They don’t think their feelings of gender dysphoria define reality.

But transgender activists do. Regardless of whether they identify as “cisgender” or “transgender,” the activists promote a highly subjective and incoherent worldview.

On the one hand, they claim that the real self is something other than the physical body, in a new form of Gnostic dualism, yet at the same time they embrace a materialist philosophy in which only the material world exists. They say that gender is purely a social construct, while asserting that a person can be “trapped” in the wrong gender.

They say there are no meaningful differences between man and woman, yet they rely on rigid sex stereotypes to argue that “gender identity” is real, while human embodiment is not. They claim that truth is whatever a person says it is, yet they believe there’s a real self to be discovered inside that person.

They promote a radical expressive individualism in which people are free to do whatever they want and define the truth however they wish, yet they try ruthlessly to enforce acceptance of transgender ideology.

It’s hard to see how these contradictory positions can be combined. If you pull too hard on any one thread of transgender ideology, the whole tapestry comes unraveled. But here are some questions we can pose:

If gender is a social construct, how can gender identity be innate and immutable? How can one’s identity with respect to a social construct be determined by biology in the womb? How can one’s identity be unchangeable (immutable) with respect to an ever-changing social construct? And if gender identity is innate, how can it be “fluid”?

The challenge for activists is to offer a plausible definition of gender and gender identity that is independent of bodily sex.

Is there a gender binary or not? Somehow, it both does and does not exist, according to transgender activists. If the categories of “man” and “woman” are objective enough that people can identify as, and bemen and women, how can gender also be a spectrum, where people can identify as, and be, both, or neither, or somewhere in between?

What does it even mean to have an internal sense of gender? What does gender feel like? What meaning can we give to the concept of sex or gender—and thus what internal “sense” can we have of gender—apart from having a body of a particular sex?

Apart from having a male body, what does it “feel like” to be a man? Apart from having a female body, what does it “feel like” to be a woman? What does it feel like to be both a man and a woman, or to be neither?

The challenge for the transgender activist is to explain what these feelings are like, and how someone could know if he or she “feels like” the opposite sex, or neither, or both.

Even if trans activists could answer these questions about feelings, that still wouldn’t address the matter of reality. Why should feeling like a man—whatever that means—make someone a man? Why do our feelings determine reality on the question of sex, but on little else? Our feelings don’t determine our age or our height. And few people buy into Rachel Dolezal’s claim to identify as a black woman, since she is clearly not.

If those who identify as transgender are the sex with which they identify, why doesn’t that apply to other attributes or categories of being? What about people who identify as animals, or able-bodied people who identify as disabled? Do all of these self-professed identities determine reality? If not, why not?

And should these people receive medical treatment to transform their bodies to accord with their minds? Why accept transgender “reality,” but not trans-racial, trans-species, and trans-abled reality?

The challenge for activists is to explain why a person’s “real” sex is determined by an inner “gender identity,” but age and height and race and species are not determined by an inner sense of identity.

Of course, a transgender activist could reply that an “identity” is, by definition, just an inner sense of self. But if that’s the case, gender identity is merely a disclosure of how one feels. Saying that someone is transgender, then, says only that the person has feelings that he or she is the opposite sex.

Gender identity, so understood, has no bearing at all on the meaning of “sex” or anything else. But transgender activists claim that a person’s self-professed “gender identity” is that person’s “sex.”

The challenge for activists is to explain why the mere feeling of being male or female (or both or neither) makes someone male or female (or both or neither).

Gender identity can sound a lot like religious identity, which is determined by beliefs. But those beliefs don’t determine reality. Someone who identifies as a Christian believes that Jesus is the Christ. Someone who identifies as a Muslim believes that Muhammad is the final prophet. But Jesus either is or is not the Christ, and Muhammad either is or is not the final prophet, regardless of what anyone happens to believe.

So, too, a person either is or is not a man, regardless of what anyone—including that person—happens to believe. The challenge for transgender activists is to present an argument for why transgender beliefs determine reality.

Determining reality is the heart of the matter, and here too we find contradictions.

On the one hand, transgender activists want the authority of science as they make metaphysical claims, saying that science reveals gender identity to be innate and unchanging. On the other hand, they deny that biology is destiny, insisting that people are free to be who they want to be.

Which is it? Is our gender identity biologically determined and immutable, or self-created and changeable? If the former, how do we account for people whose gender identity changes over time? Do these people have the wrong sense of gender at some time or other?

And if gender identity is self-created, why must other people accept it as reality? If we should be free to choose our own gender reality, why can some people impose their idea of reality on others just because they identify as transgender?

The challenge for the transgender activist is to articulate some conception of truth as the basis for how we understand the common good and how society should be ordered.

As I document in depth in “When Harry Became Sally,” the claims of transgender activists are confusing because they are philosophically incoherent. Activists rely on contradictory claims as needed to advance their position, but their ideology keeps evolving, so that even allies and LGBT organizations can get left behind as “progress” marches on.

At the core of the ideology is the radical claim that feelings determine reality. From this idea come extreme demands for society to play along with subjective reality claims. Trans ideologues ignore contrary evidence and competing interests, they disparage alternative practices, and they aim to muffle skeptical voices and shut down any disagreement.

The movement has to keep patching and shoring up its beliefs, policing the faithful, coercing the heretics, and punishing apostates, because as soon as its furious efforts flag for a moment or someone successfully stands up to it, the whole charade is exposed. That’s what happens when your dogmas are so contrary to obvious, basic, everyday truths.

A transgender future is not the “right side of history,” yet activists have convinced the most powerful sectors of our society to acquiesce to their demands. While the claims they make are manifestly false, it will take real work to prevent the spread of these harmful ideas.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal

THF: https://www.heritage.org/gender/commentary/transgender-ideology-riddled-contradictions-here-are-the-big-ones


Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, where he researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy. Anderson is the author of several books and his research has been cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices in two separate cases. Read his Heritage research.

Bill Lockwood: Why Should Christians be Interested in Opposing Socialism?

by Bill Lockwood

Modern America has been trained to compartmentalize their lives by placing “religion” and worshipping in the church-house or privacy of the home as separate and distinct from “politics.” “Politics” is thought to be what one does when going to the ballot box. Never should these two ideas meet. So is the conventional wisdom.

It is further supposed that ideas such as socialism, communism, statism, collectivism or their variants are merely “political theories” that have no bearing on religious teaching, or more than that—that biblical teaching does not touch such ideas.

This is all very shallow and without any serious thought into what the biblical view of the world includes. Let’s begin with the Bible. Christian truth is one organism. It has a unity and coherence the parts of which cannot be arbitrarily removed without doing violence to the whole. In the words of the great Christian writer James Orr,

“He who with his whole heart believes in Jesus as the Son of God is thereby committed to much else besides. He is committed to a view of God, to a view of man, to a view of sin, to a view of Redemption, to a view of the purpose of God in creation and history, found only in Christianity. This forms a Weltanschauung, or “Christian view of the world” which stands in marked contrast with theories wrought out from purely philosophical or scientific viewpoint.” 1

This is why there is deep antagonism between Bible believers and scientific theories of the origin of the world and mankind. The schism cannot be papered over by simply saying, “I believe in God and the general theory of evolution.” The naturalistic view of the world begins with this sign: “NO MIRACLES ALLOWED.” The Christian view of the world begins with this: “In the beginning GOD CREATED the heavens and the earth.” There is no middle ground.

Socialism

The same is true regarding socialism. Oscar Jaszi was a noted Hungarian social scientist, historian, and politician of the 19th century. Jaszi found himself in the middle of socialist revolutions in Europe during the formative years of communism/socialism, labor parties, and liberal democratic movements. Later, teaching at Oberlin College in Ohio, he authored works published by the University of Chicago Press. He wrote the entry under Socialism in 1934 for the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, a multi-volume scholarly work. In his lengthy article on “Socialism” for the Encyclopedia, Jaszi summarizes six points which are characteristic of all collectivist movements. They are as follows:

  1. A condemnation of the existing political and social order as unjust
  2. An advocacy of a new order consistent with moral values
  3. A belief that this ideal is realizable
  4. A conviction that the immorality of the established order is traceable not to a fixed world order or to the unchanging nature of man but to corrupt institutions
  5. A program of action leading to the ideal through fundamental remolding of human nature or of institutions or both
  6. A revolutionary will to carry out this program.

Jaszi then issues this warning. “The fact can scarcely be overemphasized that no true socialist is satisfied with merely economic reforms but advocates also a distinct educational, ethical, and aesthetic policy.”

At the heart of all socialistic ideas, including communism, Nazism, statism, and fascism, is an atheistic view of man. That is, mankind is solely determined by physical, social, and/or economic factors. This is directly at variance with the biblical view of man, which teaches that the problem with mankind is sin, a rebellion against God (Rom. 3:10-12).

To teach that God Exists sets one at war with atheism which says there is no God. To teach that there is One God (Deut. 6:4) is to oppose polytheism which says there are many gods. It is also to oppose the pagan worldview which believes that deity is somehow embodied in the earth. And to teach that God created man in his own image—a freewill being whose problem is SIN, is to be at variance with the socialistic creed that preaches the problems of mankind arise from the environment and that by reforming social institutions problems will be solved.

It is simple. Belief in the biblical view of God opposes atheism and the biblical view of man opposes socialism. Further, since politics is defined as the principles by which society should be governed, should not Christians be engaged in combatting socialistic ideas that engraft themselves into a culture—even if they are in the political arena?

1 The Christian View of God and the World, p. 4.

Bill Lockwood: True Religion Results in Free-Will Giving: Not Jizya or Socialistic Forcible Taxation & Redistribution

by Bill Lockwood

By speaking of the reign of Solomon (970-931 B.C.), which was a foreshadowing of Christ’s kingdom, the Psalmist in chapter 72 depicts the expansive coming reign as being from “sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth” (72:8). During this reign of the Messiah the kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts (10).

Charles Spurgeon, the matchless commentator on the Psalms, observed at these verses,

…true religion leads to generous giving; we are not taxed in Christ’s dominions, but we are delighted to offer freely to him… This free-will offering is all Christ and his church desire; they want to forced levies and distraints [to seize by distress], let all men give of their own free will, kings as well as commoners; …

Free will offerings. This is the only giving known in the New Testament. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Let each man do according as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly, nor of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.” For this reason, Paul writes the letter and encourages by persuasion the churches to freely give. How beautiful is this precedent compared to other systems and man-made religions and systems!

Compare Giving to Islamic Jizya

Mohammed absolutely established that people of other religious persuasions must pay a poll tax to Muslims called the jizya. This was specifically that they might recognize they were inferior to Muslims. “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (Koran 9:29).

From the religionofpeace.com website:

Traditionally the collection of the jizya occurs at a ceremony that is designed to emphasize the subordinate status of the non-Muslim, where the subject is often struck in a humiliating fashion. M.A. Khan recounts that some Islamic clerics encouraged tax collectors to spit into the mouths of Hindu dhimmis during the process. He also quotes the popular Sufi teacher, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi:

The honor of Islam lies in insulting the unbelief and the unbelievers (kafirs). One who respects kafirs dishonors Muslims… The real purpose of levying the Jizya on them is to humiliate them… [and] they remain terrified and trembling.

The jizya (or extortion) is one of the main cornerstones of the entire system of Islam. It institutionalizes forever the fact that, in the eyes of Muslims, non-Muslims have an inferior status in Muslim nations.

Another example is this that there is no way to live peaceably with Islam. Where it has dominated a culture, it has exacted a forcible toll on all non-Muslim peoples throughout the centuries—without exception. As it develops and engulfs a culture, Islam is designed to extinguish all Kafir civilizations. It is but a reflection of Mohammed himself who did not stop the conquering of Arabia until 100% of his demands were met.

This is just one example that demonstrates that Islam is not a religion of God, depending upon thoughtful reasoning and persuasion by argumentation; but a man-made totalitarian system relying solely upon force. When one comes out of the dank dungeon of Islam, and stands upon the mountaintops of Christianity, he is able to breathe the clean fresh air of a religion of the heart whose founder, Jesus Christ, never used violence or force to subjugate man, but died on the cross for the sins of the world.

Compare Giving to Socialism or Social Justice

Social Justice is not simply doing humanitarian acts of kindness as Buckley and Dobson suppose in Humanitarian Jesus: Social Justice and the Cross. “The Social Gospel asks Christians to be concerned and invested in the world around them” (p. 42). The authors suggest that the entire issue is about whether first to give a tract or a sandwich to those in need? (p. 43) This is ignorance as to what is social justice or socialism.

The great author and thinker Thomas Sowell explains: “Central to the concept of social justice is the notion that individuals are entitled to some share in the wealth produced by society, and irrespective of any individual contributions made or not made to the production of that wealth.” (A Conflict of Visions, 216)

But if all people in society are entitled to a share in that which I produce, how shall this be enforced? For this reason, socialism by definition implies the “expansion of the government domain to produce social results to which particular individuals are morally entitled.”

So states The National Association of Scholars. The term “social justice”, or socialism, they explain, is today understood to mean the “advocacy of egalitarian access to income through state-sponsored redistribution.”

But state-sponsored redistribution of my production begins with theft. Forcible removing from me of the fruits of my own production to give to others. This is not even remotely associated with the free-will giving taught by Christianity. If it is, why must there be a gigantic state to enforce it?

The French writer, Frederic Bastiat was correct therefore to explain socialism as plunder.

See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. . . It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder. (Bastiat, The Law, p. 17).

That the above has already occurred in America is obvious. The evil is already upon us. A gigantic welfare state. Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul summarizes it well.

From lower-income Americans who rely on food stamps, public housing, and other government programs, to middle-class Americans who live in homes they could not afford without assistance from federal agencies like Fannies Mae and Freddie Mac, to college students reliant on government-subsidized student loans, to senior citizens reliant on Social Security and Medicare, to billionaire CEOs whose companies rely on bailouts, subsidies, laws and regulations written to benefit politically-powerful businesses, and government contracts, most Americans are reliant on at least one federal program. (Dec. 31, 2018. Ronpaulinstitute.org)

Make no mistake. The Welfare State is nothing akin to the free-will giving of Christianity. Once again, instead of relying on force to confiscate and redistribute, the early church in the book of Acts willingly and freely gave of their possessions to assist others (Acts 2:43-47; 5:1-4). There is a world of difference between the Bible and the systems of man.

Bill Lockwood: Preaching against Homosexuality?

by Bill Lockwood

Many voices in the Catholic Church are exulting in the September 1 appointment by Pope Francis of pro-homosexual Archbishop Matteo Zuppi of Bologna, Italy to the position of cardinal. Zuppi was one of 13 individuals promoted. PinkNews, an online news agency for the global LGBT+ community, praised the new appointment precisely because Zuppi is a “pro-LGBT+” advocate.

Another celebrant to the appointment is Fr. James Martin, author of a pro-LGBT+ Catholic book called Building a Bridge. Zuppi had written the “Foreward” to Martin’s book. According to PinkNews, “Zuppi identifies that there is ‘a bridge that needs continuous building’ between the Church and the LGTB+ community, who he describes as ‘people of God.’”

Amazingly, so far from the word of God have many Catholics strayed that Archbishop Zuppi calls the homosexual network in the world “the people of God.” The fact that Zuppi has been named as “cardinal” means he will be able to vote for the next pope when that time arrives (Michael Chapman, CNSnews.com; 9-9-19).

According to PinkNews, the appointment is also “celebrated” among “more progressive Christians, who hope the Pope’s choice of cardinals reflects his vision for ‘a Church of dialogue.’”

So here it is. The Roman Catholic Church is setting a trajectory for pro-homosexual teaching in the future, discarding not only hundreds of years of teaching, but more importantly, the clear biblical teaching which describes homosexuality as not only sin, but “perversion” (Jude 7, NIV). But such is expected to be the case in a church not found on the pages of the New Testament.

Reaction

The real shocker in all of this is the reaction which many in the “Christian world” have exhibited. Instead of lamenting the direction of society, including those who claim to be “spiritual leaders,” many are celebrating it. If not celebrating—at least defending it.

One person wrote in response to the posted simple news story—“So if you are a Christian or go to church you have to hate gays?”

This is the knee-jerk reaction of people who cannot take biblical teaching regarding sin of any kind. They hurl accusations of “hatred” upon those who point out sin. By this logic Jesus Himself was a “hater” because he taught against “fornication”—which includes homosexuality (Matt. 19:9).

Another responded: “Let him that is without sin, cast the first stone.”

Once again, an anemic effort to thwart the biblical teaching against sin. Since all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) we might as well just put a cork in our mouths when it comes to quoting passages that condemn sin. But more than this, the Bible nowhere teaches that all sin is the same sin.

It is true that all sin separates us from God (Isa. 59:1-2); but it is also true that some sins have a much more deleterious effect upon society and upon one’s soul than other sins. Even Jesus referred to some sins “as greater” (John 19:11). Paul wrote that some sins have more serious effect upon one’s body (1 Cor. 6:18), perhaps by twisting the mind more wickedly.

It is difficult to believe that modern people have come to the conclusion that the sin of burning children alive in the fires to false gods—as did some Israelites in the OT (see 2 Kings 23:10; Jer. 32:35, et. al.)—is no more culpable than a “white lie” spoken to one’s parents. Both are sins—but one not only has many more harmful effects on society as a whole but indicates a deeper depth of depravity than the other.

So it is with homosexuality. Inspired Apostle Paul called the sin of homosexuality “unnatural” (Rom. 1:26) and a “vile passion.” It occurs when God “has given up a society” (1:24). Jude referred to it as “going after strange flesh” (Jude 7, ASV) or “perversion” (NIV). God said plainly in Leviticus that there were a number of particular sins, including bestiality and homosexuality, for which the “land will vomit you out” (Lev. 18:25, 28; 20:22). Not all sins fell into this category. Not all sins are classed as “perverted.”

Still another asks, “Do you love the sinner when you point out sin?” Once more, this sounds as if the biblical doctrine against homosexuality makes us just simply nervous. We immediately dodge by questioning the motives of someone pointing out the sin of homosexuality.

What if I had no love of God in my heart for any sinner? Would that change the truth? Absolutely not. Jonah preached the truth of God to Nineveh (Jonah 3). Nineveh would be overthrown unless they repented. I wonder if the Ninevites squirmed beneath this message by saying—“do you have LOVE for us Ninevites?” –as if to say that somehow the message would be changed if he did not.

But as a matter of fact, Jonah did NOT have love of people in his heart. He was very angry (Jonah 4:1) that Nineveh was spared upon their repentance. He wanted them destroyed!! As all can easily see however, this had nothing to do with the message itself. Jonah delivered the message faithfully even though his motives were not what they ought to be.

It is a perfect illustration of the modern generation being non-thinking, even practicing “avoidance behavior,” on the topic of sin. Whenever sin is pointed out or preached against, we dismiss the teaching by suggesting that “too many people hate.”

Reality is: we are so unaccustomed to God’s Unfiltered Word that we perform many mental gymnastics to avoid its impact—including charging preachers of the Word with being “haters.”

If I do not love one person in the world as I preach it does not change the fact that I am to preach and people need to accept the truth of God. The issue of homosexuality is not whether I love or hate. The issue is: What does the Bible teach, and am I to teach it? If I do not love as I am commanded to do, that is another issue entirely. And what IS occurring today is an overturning of society by the false prophets of the Roman Church by the appointment of pro-homosexual bishops to higher leadership positions.

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