Guests, From His Experience

The Bible calls for Christians, and especially church overseers, to be hospitable.

This couple, with three young children, were missionaries in Europe.  Temporarily back in the United States,  they described their work.  They slept Saturday night in our home.  We were eating Sunday morning breakfast when their little boy asked his mother, “Are the guests going to Sunday School too?”

We chuckled and his mother explained, “We are the guests.”

Sold me.


When We Disagree

There are issues and questions  over which godly, intelligent, and studious Christians have disagreed for decades and  generations.  Many, if not most, of us are troubled by the disagreement.  Some react with vigorous debate, attempting to prove the right  answer.

Some withdraw, guessing that if the issue has not been resolved after years of discussion,  most likely a clear answer does not exist.  So they are not interested.

Suggestions for proceeding:  1)  I will beware of “foolish, ignorant disputes.”  I Timothy 2: 14,24.    2)  If a question or issue is prompted by Scripture, I should be interested.   3)  I will not quarrel. I Timothy  2: 24    4) I may retreat to Psalm 131, “Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me.”  5) No one lives long enough to thoroughly review every issue.  For some subjects I will trust my elders.



Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

God is pleased by faith, but we can’t use faith to manipulate God.

It seems that different conclusions reached by godly, gifted, and experienced Bible students come not from stupidity, perversity, or ignorance, but because they assign different weight to the items of evidence.

Who is Influencing Whom?

American Christians today like to glory in a bygone era when, we are told, Christianity prevailed politically, judicially, socially, and culturally.  We pray, give, work, and organize for Christian influence.  It seems obvious from current experience and history that Christian influence makes life better.

But a contrary thought enters my mind.  A combination of history and theology suggests that any Church that so prevails among the unredeemed is a weak and polluted Church.  I’m saying that the forces of evil will not cooperate with nor tolerate a healthy church.  Healthy churches are normally attacked.

Forty years ago numerous Evangelical voices lamented that we were not using our numerical strength. We were a minority – but a sizeable one.  Furthermore, consider the many examples of dedicated minorities who had influence far beyond their number. So many Evangelicals became more active politically and socially.  We wrote to our Congress members.   Many Evangelicals ran for office and were elected.  Christian organizations lobbied and worked to rally Evangelical voters.  We marched for life and created crisis pregnancy centers.

I think we caught the non-Christian world by surprise.  We won some victories and still do.  But the secular world has awakened; it has been aroused.  The forces of darkness are using their majority status.  They have more lawyers and judges than we do.

Shall we stop lobbying and preaching about moral causes?  No.  We, like prophets, should urge repentance.  However, we must accept the fact that prophets are often irritating.  They are killed or run out of town.  We should expect the same.

It is ironic that during the same years we engaged in culture wars our Christian culture has been compromised with darkness.  Our worldliness is widespread.  We need more internal prophets.

Pharoah refused Moses.  But Ahasueras sided with Esther.  Was that because Esther was wiser than Moses? I don’t think so.  Perhaps we should concentrate on righteousness, holiness, other fruit of the Spirit, and evangelism; then simply accept whatever level of influence emerges.



Second Amendment Reality

In my experience, most discussions of the 2nd amendment weigh the rights of hunters, home protectors, and gun hobbyists against the effort to reduce the likelihood that a criminal, a political or Islamic radical, or a madman can obtain a gun.

But the original intent of the second amendment looms quietly.  A letter to the editor in the Sunday paper (July 24, 2016) interrupted the silence.  Heidi Smith wrote, “Every U.S. citizen is the organized militia.  It is our responsibility to take up arms against any force that would try to dismantle the Constitution. …if we ever do need to rise up, remember this:  our enemy won’t be using pop guns; they’ll be using AK’s and AR’s.”

That may explain opposition to compromises that outlaw AK’s and AR’s.  The Second Amendment begins “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State ….”  A “militia” is an army of citizens, not professional soldiers, called upon in an emergency.

Joseph Story, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote in a law textbook, in 1833, that “the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms”… is a safeguard “of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpations and arbitrary power of rulers; and it will … enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

I take that to mean that if a second American Revolution is needed, U.S. citizens should have sufficient firepower, including AK’s and AR’s, to threaten the professional army.  Which collection of modern citizens do we trust to stockpile such weapons?

Compare current conditions to 1776.  Are “the liberties of the republic” less infringed today than then?  Have we witnessed or can we envision upcoming “usurpations and arbitrary power of rulers?”

I can think of previous attempts to resist and triumph over “arbitrary power of rulers.”  The Whiskey Rebellion was squelched by an army led by George Washington.  In recent time attacks upon police by individuals and groups have been widely approved.  The prominent attempt to resist and triumph over a federal government’s usurpation and arbitrary power was the Civil War.

Those who hint of readiness for another American revolution need to remember the Civil War and ask  “Am I ready for that?”

I think highly of the U.S. Constitution.  I regret its progressive deterioration.  But responsibility for its dismantling will not belong to one president, one congress, or one Supreme Court.  The undermining of the Constitution has been and will be the work of many judges, educated in American law schools, appointed by presidents elected and often re-elected by U.S. citizens.  The process has been widely approved by citizen communicators, teachers, business leaders, and lobbyists.

To initiate a war because another straw is laid on the camel’s back  hardly seems prudent.  Furthermore, if the constitution loyalists are out-numbered and out-weighed, they would probably lose the war.  If they were not out-numbered and out-weighed, the deterioration would not have occurred.

Do I think the situation is hopeless?  Yes and No

No, because widespread rejection of violent entertainment on television, movies, and computer games would change our culture.  There would be fewer criminals, radicals, and madmen.  And those that existed would be less acclimated to violence.

Yes, because I don’t think Americans will make the change.

So do I intend to emigrate?  No, I don’t for at least three reasons.  One, where would I go? Two, the people to whom I am attached live here.  Three, I’ve decided to willfully own the pledge which I was led to repeat before I understood.  I pledged allegiance to the American republic:  one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.  If need be I can argue that that nation has ceased to exist.  We no longer are characteristically “under God, with liberty and justice for all.”  Such religion, liberty, and justice for Christians are eroding.

Let me explain my claim to be a patriot.  My loyalty to the United States is not contingent on it being the greatest nation on earth.  Even if it is, that may change.  My loyalty is not contingent on a history of righteousness.  Our treatment of “native Americans” and others whose property we desired, our status as a leader in the dissemination of pornography, and our market for harmful drugs are among the facts making that claim shaky.  My loyalty is not dependent upon my agreement with our founding values.  I am not convinced that our perception of  oppression by the British justified violating Biblically prescribed submission to “the authorities that exist.”

There is much about the United States, historically and currently, that is noble.  But the most important reason for my patriotism, for my sense of responsibility to the United States is simply because it is my home  My loyalty and sense of responsibility to my family is not dependent upon its members being the greatest, most noble, or most anything.  The bottom line is they are my family.  And the United States is my country.