Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Really Inconvenient Truth

The following essay appeared in the Kairos Journal. It is published here in its entirety with their permission.

We Can’t Help But Tell the Truth

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:18-20 (NIV)

The world has asked the Church to sit down and be quiet, and the Church has largely complied. In fact, the Church itself has asked the Church to sit down and be quiet, and the Church has largely obeyed. The Church knows so many biblical things, but there are so many people who hate to hear them. So some pastors and teachers are tempted to water down the truth to maintain warm relationships within and without the Church.

Knowing that the truth of Jesus would undermine their authority, “the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees” (4:1) moved in to stop this preaching. They arrested Peter and John, jailed them overnight, and then brought them before the high priestly family. When asked, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Peter, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” gave all the credit to Christ, the Savior (4:8-12).

Not knowing what to say, the Sanhedrin sent Peter and John back to their cell. Fearing public and subsequent Roman reaction, they decided to let the two apostles off with a stern command (parangelia) to stop their teaching, but the prisoners would have none of this. They explained that they were working under a higher authority than the Sanhedrin (and the Romans) and that they had a proclamation mandate from God.1 They also directed the judges to judge their own judging, to ask whether they might be setting themselves at odds with God.

This same Greek word for command (parangelia) appears repeatedly in the Gospels, but it is Jesus, and not the Sanhedrin, who issues the directives. In Matthew 10:5-6, Jesus commands the twelve to go to “the lost sheep of Israel.” In Luke 8:29, Hecommands an unclean spirit to come out of a man. In Mark 8:6, Jesus commands the crowd to be seated for a miraculous feeding. Thus accustomed to the divine commands of Jesus, the apostles were unimpressed with human commands contrary to Jesus’ Great Commission.

The Romans had delegated authority to the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious court, but this authority was tenuous. If the actions of the chief priests and elders fomented insurrection or chaos, then their power would be stripped from them. Rome would step in with more direct, secular supervision.

Jesus’ directives are distasteful and inconvenient. For example, pastors know that a strong stand on the sanctity of marriage, one drawn from Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, elicits astonishment and contempt from the culture and retaliation from the “wounded” and their biblically indifferent constituency in the Church. Similar backlash can fall upon pastors who discredit cults and embarrass the backslidden. Pressure also arises outside the Church. In the face of many counter-biblical forces, pastors have to decide whether or not they will stand in the tradition of Peter and John or fall down in the interest of personal safety or “peace in our time.”

(Cowardice for those of you who can't read the yellow)

The Health Care Bill, which none of us has seen - or had the opportunity to see (transparency), may become the Health Care Law very soon. That doesn't mean that the House of (non)Representatives will have voted on it, though.

No, as you have no doubt heard by now, it may be rammed down the nation's throat on the basis of a "deem and pass" scheme. By this tactic, the (non)reps vote on procedural issues and minor adjustments to the bill rather than the bill itself. All the House has to do is match up to the Senate version of the bill. This, then, is "deemed" to be the same as passing the bill.

WHY? There are several reasons for the use of this tactic. First, it allows passage with fewer (non)votes. More importantly in my humble estimation is the fact that (non)reps can allow this to become law without having to vote one way or another. Did we elect people to go to DC and NOT vote on the substantive issues of the day?

The constitutional scholars will argue whether or not this is a constitutional move. I can't answer that, although I have my doubts. What I do know is that this is a cowardly action.

I mourn the loss of my nation.

Pray for America. Please

This, my friends, is political cowardice.

Friday, March 12, 2010


A few months ago, I had to put restrictions on this blog so that machines could not respond. It's a little bit of an inconvenience, I know, but not too bad. Today, however, I got dozens of comments - in Chinese. A while back, someone who reads Chinese informed me that these are all ads for pornography or sex shops or some such thing. So, today, I had to spend quite a bit of time erasing all these comments, which has to be done one-at-a-time.

It was annoying. Please, freefun0616 , leave us alone. We do not want to read your ads in ANY language. If you wish to make meaningful responses, you are welcome. Otherwise, please cease and desist.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Olympics are Over

I enjoy the winter olympics much more then the summer event of the same name. The skiing, snowboarding, and skating are fun for me to watch. I thought I'd just share a few thoughts on the most recent installment.
  • I do not enjoy the figure skating events. Does it seem to anybody else that the men get more and more effeminate?
  • The fascination with curling is beyond me.
  • Speed skating is ruthless - and the judges are not to be trusted.
  • I can't believe the things that some of those skiiers and boarders do - and the slopes they ski.
  • The mogul skiiers aren't human.
  • Biathlon must be incredibly difficult. Getting your breathing to cooperate for the shooting after skiing hard seems to be quite a feat.
  • I didn't watch it live, but that hockey game was obviously one for the ages. Congrats Canada!
  • I wonder how much the taxpayers of Vancouver and Canada are going to end up paying for the privilege of hosting.
  • I wonder how many missionaries were in Edmonton and Whistler.
  • I never saw any of the ski jumping. I'm sorry I missed it.
While all those superior athletes were displaying their collective prowess, my wife and I were skiing with our #1 grandson. We didn't ski as well as they do, nor did we get any medals (of any color). Our rewards were greater, though. We had two different devotionals with him each day, learned a new memory verse, played board games, and just plain enjoyed his company.

We Win!