The Present—His Presence

We are living in uncertain times. What is going on in government? What is going to happen to the economy? What is going to happen in our lifetime, and what is the world going to be like for our children and grandchildren? One commodity that seems to be dwindling for many is hope.

One of the gems within the Christmas/Gospel message is God’s presence among people. It is important to understand Jesus’ highest position. We are told He is the Alpha and the Omega (First and the Last), and Lord of lords and King of kings (see Rev. 1:8; 17:14). In John’s Gospel we are told Jesus is the Word, who was with God and is God, who took on flesh and “dwelt among us” (see John 1:1-5, 14). Furthermore, Paul tells us that in doing so, Jesus “emptied himself” (see Phil. 2:7).

In Matthew’s Gospel we are told one of the names of Jesus is Immanuel, meaning “God with us” (see Matt. 1:23). He did not come to dwell among the elite or to live in the lap of luxury. He was born in poverty, grew among the average Joe, and associated with the hurting and outcast.

Although Jesus has ascended, He promises His continual presence through His Holy Spirit (see John 14:15-17). Note, the passage says that He will abide with us forever.

Perhaps you are facing some challenging circumstances (e.g., loneliness, illness, financial issues, marital problems, etc.), and God feels a million miles away. Maybe you are thinking He has abandoned you. My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you will remember the Word (Jesus) “dwelt among us” and continues to dwell within His people. 

There are some who feel they are “too far gone,” but Jesus, His grace, and His presence are given as gifts to all who are willing to receive them by faith. If you have not already, may you receive these gifts this Christmas season.

The Greatest Gift of All

This has been a different sort of Christmas season, as my wife and I have recently made a 1400 mile move. For the past few months we were downsizing, going through things to sell, donate, or throw away. It is astonishing how much stuff is accumulated over the years, much of which is not needed, and some not even wanted. My wife and I repeatedly told each other we have too much stuff.

We live in a society that constantly tells us more is better, and having this and that will make us happy. For us, we realized having so much stuff actually added to our stress. Not only by going through it all, but also just looking at it all the time. Even with the house straightened up, there was still clutter.

I have not been in the Christmas spirit at all this year. Granted, I have been preoccupied with the move, but it has become so overly commercialized. It has felt strange going to the store for groceries or cleaning supplies and seeing people do their Christmas shopping. In a matter of a year or two many of the gifts will be trashed, sold, or left to collect dust. So much stuff not needed.

Nevertheless, buried beneath the commercialization, festivities, and wrapping paper there remains for each of us the greatest gift of all, which is the real reason for the season. What makes this gift unique  is it is a provision for what we truly need: redemption, love, joy, peace, and meaning. Yet, this gift is left unopened and unwanted by so many. Still, this wonderful gift is offered to any and all who are willing to receive it. And what is this gift?

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 5:15-17

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23

Have you received this gift from God? If not, why do you continue to reject it when it is freely given?

Faith Requires Enduring Patience

Sometimes faith is treated like a sprint—fast, exciting, then over. However, biblical faith is more like a marathon. There are times the miles are long and the perseverance is quite strenuous. There are times when life’s terrains test persons to their limits, and when God’s promises seem like mirages. One sees the promises in the distance, but they seem to disappear when one draws closer.

It is both all to easy and all too common for persons to give up. “It’s too hard,” some say. “It’s not fun,” others complain, who never really understood the meaning of redemption to begin with. There are times when faith is hard. There are times when it is not fun. Preachers do a great disservice to persons when they portray the Christian life as a never-ending party, because in reality it is often (spiritual) warfare. And we are expected to hold true to the faith even in the trenches. One of the prophets writes:

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay…. the righteous shall live by his faith. ~ Habakkuk 2:2-4

The prophet, too, wrestled with faith, life, and the workings of God (or apparent lack thereof). He begins his brief book as follows:

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? ~ Habakkuk 1:2-3

Who among us have never pondered such questions? Nevertheless, God tells His prophet—and us—that His promises are faithful and will come to pass. Do not give up, my brothers and sisters, because you have come too far. Remember His faithfulness in the past. God will remain faithful in years to come.

Does Jesus’ Skin Color Matter?

I am somewhat humored when people debate Jesus Christ’s skin color. Not very long ago a man decried the belief in a “white” Jesus, as this is merely a form of “white supremacy.” Now, I doubt Jesus was white or black, considering He was a Galilean Jew. Regardless, I would have liked to ask the man decrying Jesus’ “whiteness” if he was living his life for Jesus. While it is doubtful Jesus was either white or black, it is certain He was not American, European, or African. He was neither Republican nor Democrat. No group of people can ever lay claim to Jesus as if He was some sort of beast to be tamed.

Let’s say Jesus was either white or black, does it matter? Either way He calls you and I to repent of sin (our sins might be quite different, but it is still sin). He commands us to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength; furthermore, to love our neighbor as ourself (see Luke 10:27). He calls us to take up our cross and follow Him; to forgive those who have sinned against us; to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors; and to treat others the way we want to be treated. None of these are color or ethnic issues. Regardless of His skin color, are we obeying Him and abiding in Him?

In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes seven “I am” statements:

  • I am the bread of life (6:35)
  • I am the light of the world (8:12)
  • I am the door (10:9)
  • I am the good shepherd 10:14)
  • I am the resurrection and the life (11:25)
  • I am the way, and the truth, and the life (14:6)
  • I am the true vine (15:1)

No matter the tone of His pigmentation, Jesus makes some radical declarations. Furthermore, His color is not important. Rather, it is His being that is of utmost importance. He is the living God who took on human form. We relate to Him not because of our skin color but His humanity. And taking on our humanity He paid the penalty for our sins on the cross—the sins of persons of every color and culture.

For me, I do not care what color Jesus was, nor do I care that He was a Jew. These make no difference to me whatsoever. I am just grateful that He loves us and died for us, no matter our color or ethnicity. Perhaps someone reading this is convinced Jesus was either white or black. Either way, the real issue is this: Are you yielded to Him? And is He your Savior?

Problems with Critical Race Theory Infecting the Church

Before addressing some of the problems with Critical Race Theory (CRT) infecting the church, allow me to first define what I mean by the church. What is the church? Is it those who adhere to Roman Catholicism? Is it white evangelicals who believe in a “white man’s” religion? Heaven forbid! The church is comprised of followers of Jesus Christ who believe that He is the God-Man (fully God and fully man) who bore the sins of humankind, and was raised from the dead, and gives eternal life to all who turn from sin and believe on Him. Thus, the church is made up of people of every color, tribe, and nation. Understanding this is of supreme importance.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” ~ Revelation 7:9-10 (ESV)

When CRT (i.e., various ideas about “systematic racism,” the evils of “whiteness,” the false dichotomy of the “oppressors and the oppressed,” etc.) infects the church, such infection creates major theological problems that must not be ignored. The issue is not simply that churches are poisoned but that the very Gospel of Jesus Christ and biblical theology are distorted and denied.There are five particular problems I will address concerning Critical Race Theory in the church: 1) The philosophical aspect; 2) the image of God; 3) the perception of authority; 4) sin; and 5) the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

First, from a philosophical perspective, the very infrastructure of CRT is founded on Marxist ideas. Marxism is an extremely secular-materialistic and atheistic philosophy. Wherever you find Marxism, you will find division, rebellion, and lust for power. How ironic whenever Marxists accuse other systems as being these. Marxism is godless and ruthless to the core (listen to anyone’s account who has suffered under communistic regimes). To try to mix such ideas with Christian teachings is like trying to mix oil and water. The apostle Paul gives followers of Christ a stern warning:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. ~ Colossians 2:8

The next issue is crucial, as we consider the image of God. What is the image of God? Is it dependent on intellect, ethnicity, gender, or morality? What does the Bible say?

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ~ Genesis 1:27

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. ~ James 3:7-9

Again, what is the image of God? The image of God is the human race. This includes men/women, adults/children, black/white, European/African, gay/straight, Christian/atheist, Democrat/Republican, the wise/foolish, the kind/cruel, etc. The issue here is not about right or wrong, but whether certain groups of people are superior or inferior to others. There are behaviors and attitudes that are wrong; however, the person him/herself is still created in the image of God. CRT tends to view “whiteness” as morally inferior, etc. However, by trying to deal with racism, it only perpetuates it. CRT simply seeks to turn the hourglass upside down, not to break it altogether.

Third, consider the perception of authority. CRT equates authority with oppression, but is authority always wrong and oppressive? Are those under authority, by default, oppressed? Is corruption and abuse of power limited to one type or group of people? Authority itself is not bad. In fact, God is the one who has established levels of authority, from the home to government. Indeed, authority can be—and often is—abused, but the same can be said of most things. Nevertheless, authority is intended to serve good purposes.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by GodTherefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. ~ Romans 13:1-4

Even in the home, God has ordained the family structure with the man being the head (see Eph. 5:23), and churches have pastors, elders, deacons, and overseers (see 1 Tim. 3:1-13). Authority is meant to be good; however, too often it is misused. But is the perversion of authority limited to one certain group of people? Is it limited to color, gender, or even religion? Admittedly, there is abuse of authority in many churches, but are congregations to rise up and do away with pastors and the like? My point is this: it is not simply black or white husbands, pastors, leaders, city officials, government officials, etc. Each is intended by God to be beneficial to those who are under the authority. For CRT to view authority as wrong and oppressive is to kick against what God Himself has ordained. Unfortunately, the human heart has a natural propensity for perverting anything good. This brings us to the next problem.

CRT makes a moral distinction between the “oppressed and the oppressors.” The “oppressors,” by default of the color of their skin, and since they have had such an influence on society, are by nature racist, oppressive, barbaric, and brutal. On the other hand, the vices of the “oppressed” are viewed simply as a result of the “oppression.” However, it is here where the infection of CRT begins to directly affect the Gospel. Perversion, corruption, brutality, etc. are not issues of color but of the heart of every human being which is infected by sin. Furthermore, sin stems from the perverse and evil desire of being independent of God and His rightful Kingship.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. ~ Romans 1:28-32

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”….  The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  ~ Romans 3:9-18, 22-23

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all menbecause all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.~ Romans 5:12-17

So, for whom did Jesus Christ die? Let us be very careful here. Jesus died for sinners, and it is only sinners who can be redeemed. Did Jesus die for blacks and whites? Of course He did. Then what does this reveal? It reveals that each of us are sinners. Furthermore, only human beings made in the image of God are redeemable. Fallen angels are sinners, in the technical sense of the word; however, they are neither made in the image of God nor are they redeemable.

For CRT to be true, then there must be superior and inferior people. If this is the case, then what is the significance of the image of God? If whites are sinful by default, and others are sinful due to oppression of whites, then what exactly is original sin? Do the latter truly need a Savior? And if they do not, then how can they be redeemed, since Christ died for sinners?

It is true, racism and oppression are real. But to create a dichotomy between blacks and whites, and to treat as though one has a monopoly over oppression and brutality, is to deny what the Bible actually teaches. Whether you go into a predominantly black society or white, you will find corruption, oppression, deception, and brutality. At the same time, you will witness people made in the image of God whom Christ died for. May the Holy Spirit use His holy scalpel of truth to cut out the deadly infection of the deceitfulness of CRT.

The Anarchist’s Hellish Paradise

I have not seen (nor do I have any desire to see) the movie, The Purge or its sequels. Part of the plot, the way I understand, is there is an annual holiday, for 12 hours, when crime (murder, rape, etc.) is legalized and no legal authorities are on patrol. Society is free to unleash its depraved desires.

I mention such a movie for a reason. We are living in a day when there has been a growing number of voices desiring anarchy. The voices often claim the desire stems from a desire to promote “justice” and to do away with the corrupt legal authorities; however, the whole reason we have laws is because, if left to our own devices, society would become more unjust, corrupt, and brutal still. Contrary to the warm-fuzzy teachings in much of modern psychology that people are “basically good,” the Bible teaches otherwise—and history surely supports the Bible.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ~ Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)

Before the great flood we are told:

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ~ Genesis 6:5

Even the apostle Paul writes of humankind in the New Testament:

As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” ~ Romans 3:10-18

Can we truly argue that these are not accurate portrayals of us as human beings? The thought is scary as to what brutal evil we are capable of if you take God, law, and retribution out of the picture.

You do not believe me? Jesus says that from the abundance of what fills our hearts our mouths speak and actions come forth (see Matt. 12:34; Mark 7:21). Now, consider the vile things people post on Twitter, Facebook, and the internet. From school campuses to political realms people declare persons or groups should get sick and die, be assassinated, burn in hell, etc. There have been pictures posted on the internet depicting President Trump being decapitated, and videos of persons being injured or killed, simply for trying to protect their businesses—their means of earning an income to provide for themselves and their families. We can close our eyes to the reality of the Bible’s teaching of original sin, but what if God, law, and retribution did not stand in the way? Do we not shudder at the thought? If, indeed, people were truly “good” and could self-govern themselves, we would not need so many laws; furthermore, the news would not consistently tell of real life horror stories. But, if we are honest, we know that we are not essentially “good.” Something within us is deeply distorted.

Anarchy does not—because it cannot—promote peace or justice. Without law and order people become a law unto themselves. As in the case of a tragic Old Testament period, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25).

The anarchist’s dream is, in reality, a hellish nightmare filled with brutality, injustice, fear, and tyrannical reign of the “survival of the fittest.”

It is no exaggeration to say we are in desperate need for redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ, an inner transformation, and the filling of His Holy Spirit. And this is all possible for anyone who calls upon Him and believes.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. ~ Romans 10:9-10

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Only through the redemption of Jesus Christ and the regeneration of His Holy Spirit can our sinful hearts with evil passions be set free from the cruel bondage of sin.

The Literalness of Jonah and the Big Fish

In this article I have no interest whatsoever in attempting to try to convince unbelievers of the truthfulness of the account of the prophet Jonah. Rather, I wish to challenge those who profess to be followers of Christ, yet try to pass Jonah’s being swallowed by a big fish as being allegorical or just a tale.

We read of the account in the Old Testament:

And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. ~ Jonah 1:17 (ESV)

Then later, after Jonah prays while in the fish, we are told:

And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land. ~ Jonah 2:10

Now, shifting gears for a moment, the genuine follower of Christ understands that Jesus is truly God who took on human flesh and walked among men. This being the case, what is His take on the account of Jonah? Did Jesus simply view Jonah as an old Jewish mythological tale? 

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. ~ Matthew 12:38-41 

Jesus’ words reveal that He views Jonah as a real prophet who existed, who was really swallowed by a large fish and dwelt within it for three days, and the people of Nineveh were real people who repented at Jonah’s preaching. Similarly, Jesus was stating that Jonah’s account was a foretelling of the Messiah‘s literal death, burial, and resurrection.

What absurdity when persons who profess to be followers of Christ, who claim to believe in His deity, then doubt the validity of the Scriptures of which Jesus testified as being completely trustworthy and true. If one does not believe that it is possible for a man to be swallowed by a fish and to remain alive by the sovereignty of God, then how in the world can such a person truly believe that Jesus literally died for the sins of men, was buried, then literally arose from the dead (this is the very heart of Christianity, see 1 Cor. 15)?

This is not a trivial matter, but hinges on what it means to believe. To not believe the accounts of which Jesus states as being true, is to reveal distrust in His perception. Furthermore, if one finds a lesser issue of being unbelievable (a man surviving in a fish for three days), how can he possibly believe in the more incredible—that One died a gruesome death, was buried for three days, then conquered death? The latter is certainly far more unbelievable—yet, it happened!

If you view the account of Jonah as merely a fanciful tale, then I assure you, so is your supposed “faith” in Christ and His death and resurrection. If you deny the lesser miracle, then how can you support the greater?

The Importance of a Woman Respecting Her Husband

In my last article I wrote on the importance of a man loving his wife. This time around, I am writing on the importance of a woman respecting her husband. I cannot count all the times through the years I’ve heard women say things like, “I ain’t respecting my husband, he doesn’t deserve respect!” or all the times I’ve heard women belittle their husbands to others. A wife’s disrespect is just as injurious to a marriage as a husband’s lack of love and gentleness.

One of the grave misconceptions in our society, as noted by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in, Love and Respect, is that love is to be unconditional, whereas respect is to be earned. However, this view of respect (and honor) is not biblical. Followers of Christ are not to wait to show respect to others until they prove themselves to be worthy. Neither are Christians granted permission by God to withhold respect to those who are jerks. As difficult as this is, He calls us to a higher standard.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church … However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. ~ Ephesians 5:25, 33

Just as a man is not told to love his wife along with the clause, “unless she is difficult or disrespectful,” neither is a woman commanded to respect her husband with an understanding “unless he is harsh or acting like an imbecile.”

Eggerichs is correct, generally speaking, when he notes that men and women desire both love and respect. However, where women tend to desire more to be loved, men desire more to be respected. To the Christian couple, these are not arbitrary commands; rather, a Christian marriage is to reflect the loving and glorious relationship between Christ and His church.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. ~ Ephesians 5:31-32

What an amazing way Christ loves, cherishes, nurtures, and protects His church. How repulsive when men mistreat their wives! What a glorious thing when the church honors Christ by respecting and yielding to Him. Yet, how revolting when women disrespect and resist their husbands at every turn.

The breakdown of every failed marriage is a result of persons disregarding the foundational importance of love and respect (or respect and love).

The Importance of a Man Loving His Wife

In the outcry against sins of society, a Christian man can neglect to decry his own sin in his own home—namely, the sin of neglecting to love his wife as Christ loves His church (which a number of other sins can be attached to this: pride, anger, harshness, sexual withholding or abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, etc.).

Too many Christian men have perverted the passage that reads, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church” (Eph. 5:22-23), meanwhile totally ignoring the command just a few verses later:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her … In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. ~ Ephesians 5:25, 28-29 (ESV)

Regardless if a man is a simple layperson or a preacher with theologically solid and polished sermons, he can give a thousand and one reasons why he might disrespect and mistreat his wife, all of these reasons are inexcusable before the Lord who calls him to love his wife and honor his vows to her (before Him and witnesses).

Does a man think the Lord ignores or treats flippantly a man treating his wife poorly? The apostle writes,

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. ~ 1 Peter 3:7

Understand, the Bible is not at all saying the woman is lesser or inferior. In fact, her qualities are to compliment the man’s, just as his are to compliment the woman’s. A man is to love, nourish, cherish, and honor his wife. To neglect these is to both neglect himself and have his prayers hindered. As Christian men decrying the sins and corruption of society, may we also be all the more vigilant in decrying any sin of our own where we might be dishonoring, harsh, and demeaning to our wives. God is just as condemning of these as He is of any sin we might cry out against in society.

The Relevance of Christianity

There are some who claim that “Christianity needs to change” and that biblical teachings are “outdated and irrelevant.” However, neither of these claims are correct. It is not Christianity that needs to change; rather, sinful, unbelieving hearts are what need to change by the regenerating and transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, if people actually believed the dire predicament of the human condition and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, and truly put into practice the teachings of Jesus (without “tweaking” them according to their own preferences), there is nothing more practical and relevant than Christianity.

Our world is ravaged by selfishness, pride, disrespect, xenophobia, greed, deception, slander, hatred, violence, immorality, and the like. All of this is a result of original sin.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. ~ Romans 5:12

This corrupting and destructive power of sin can be likened to Gollum and the ring in, The Lord of the Rings. The ring, like sin, distorted his original nature and being, poisoned his mind and perception, and created a love and addiction to the very thing—his precious—that was destroying him.

The term “progressive Christianity” is both erroneous and deceptive, as well as stating, “making the church relevant.” So-called progressive Christianity ignores the reality of what the Bible calls sin—in all of its forms. The same for those who claim to promote relevance. The tendency, really, is to try to “have one’s cake and eat it too.” Often, these are mere attempts to gain God’s heaven apart from renouncing sin and yielding to Christ’s lordship. These remind me of the words in U2’s, “The Wanderer”:

“I stopped outside a church house
Where the citizens like to sit,
They say they want the kingdom.
But they don’t want God in it.”

This is why we are seeing so many churches and movements, feigning the name of Christ, all the while endorsing goddess worship, homosexuality, abortion, rebellion against any authority, rejection of the trustworthiness of the Scriptures, dismissal of holiness, etc. Many profess to condone these in a spirit of love; however, they misunderstand the true concept of what it means to love. Genuine love does not dismiss the seriousness of sin and its consequences, truth, or justice.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? ~ Micah 6:8 (ESV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[d] from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14

[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:6

Furthermore, we are told:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy,drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. ~ Galatians 5:16-24

The truth of the matter is this: if people truly believed on Christ, renouncing sin and selfishness, and surrendered to the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures, we would see a cleaning up in politics, wholesomeness, in Hollywood, homes being restored, and peace in our streets and communities. Again, Christianity does not need to change, people do. If people were to accept Christianity’s effect throughout the ages, they would see that it is far more relevant and productive than what it is given credit for.