I’ve read a lot of commentary regarding Biden’s excessive debate laughter and constant interruptions, but have yet to read a perspective which properly frames the debate in global terms, even from the most thoughtful commentators.
Joe Biden’s inability to control his laughter during a serious vice-presidential debate is a cause for great concern, particularly if he did so to deliberately play to his base.
The vice-president forgot Ryan is there because he was nominated to represent a solid portion of the citizens of the United States. This nomination may have been through Mitt Romney, but Romney himself has been vetted through a particularly stringent process.
In other words, Joe Biden wasn’t laughing at Paul Ryan and his ideas – he was laughing at US citizens. Does Biden laugh at Chinese representatives? What about the Russians? The Taliban?
The contempt shown to the US citizenry by a sitting vice-president is a far worse transgression than mockery by any comedy channel or highly partisan news channel pundit. It broadcasts to the world a peculiar disdain for much of the US electorate.
If this was a strategy to play to his base, then his handlers are showing a very serious blindness to appearances on a highly volatile world stage. If a deliberate campaign strategy places election interests over the interests of the US electorate, they are not fit to govern.
That many fail to recognize the depth of his indiscretion, should be a great warning sign – as a nation we’re getting numb to the insults. This is toxic.
The partisan divide, like a calloused scab, is hardening, making it more difficult to work together on solutions in the future. It’s a highly visible projection of instability.
Just as it’s particularly dangerous for individual spouses to expose their marital problems with others who could then seek to exploit the opening, it’s deadly for national leaders to be so openly divisive and contemptuous of their own people.
If neither side sees such warning signs, then we’re well on our way towards civil war.
And that is no laughing matter.
Update: This morning after I posted this, I found Mark Levin is also bringing up the same point.
I made this earlier today. It sums up all that is wrong right now with Obama’s campaign and his sense of what is most important. People should have very serious concerns that our President is out of touch with reality and his supporters aren’t helping him in the least.
It’s been a long time since I visited the on-line abortion arguments, but recently I came across several postings that really touched the issue of abortion and faith. Although they have slightly different titles, it still comes down to:
The link above is anonymous post – put up by the owner of the site. (Why do pro-choice people rarely if ever use their names when making profound statements they agree with – is it fear, shame or both?) Granted the article is titled about Democrats, but the Democratic National Convention this year was so overwhelmingly pro-choice, at this point I consider the terms synonymous.
The author hints in her article it comes down to bodily autonomy. Below is my response I gave in the comments, based in part on God’s Word, but also incorporating BioSLED – a series I did on refuting pro-choice arguments. Also, I edited and expanded my response below to provide a more complete discussion, given it’s no longer a comment, but a post here on my blog.
So “Can you be a Christian and be pro-choice?”
The definitive answer – no.
It is impossible for someone to be pro-abortion-choice and an observant follower of Christ. Now I’m not claiming it doesn’t happen, or the one making that claim is lost, unsaved etc. I’m claiming that being an observant follower of Christ is mutually exclusive from demanding bodily autonomy for one’s self or others. Abortion places the desires of the flesh over the love of God. 1 Cor 6:19-20 makes it abundantly clear that our bodies are not ours!
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
So let’s discuss human bodies, central to pregnancy and abortion.
As Jesus Christ observed the greatest commandment is to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. This requires us to know who is our neighbor and to love them. Who, then, are the smallest and weakest human beings among us? Does their development make them human at some point or are they of a human nature already?
Should human beings at different stages of development not be acknowledged as humans? Is the word “baby” a transformative declaration reserved for bestowing humanity? Should dependency upon others be a basis for declaring someone as inhuman?
Here’s another question – as a Christian are you looking forward to eternal life with Christ? If so, when did that start, or are you still waiting? Didn’t Jesus tell Nicodemus you must be born again? Do you think he’s talking about a journey down a birth canal or is this what Peter refers to as being born of imperishable “seed”? It’s a matter of spiritual conception. Physical conception is the beginning of an intrinsic human existence, one which abortion violently ends.
It’s absurd to disregard development time within the womb as inhuman when there is literally nothing more sacred that makes us human – so much so that the Lord himself chose to enter human nature this way. You came into being at conception, and abortion is the destruction of that flesh, which means the destruction of a living human being.
Are you perfect? Perhaps in Christ, but is he willing to kill you because you haven’t been fully sanctified? So does development make us more or less human? What about dependency?
As a believer in Christ, you rely on the grace and mercy of God Almighty through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross to not only cover over your sins, but to make you a member of His family. In other words, you’re completely dependent upon Him. If grace is unmerited favor, and mercy is not getting what we rightfully deserve, should grace and mercy be extended to every human no matter their actions, or should we judge and punish? That too would be a “choice” – wouldn’t it?
You wouldn’t want to be on the end of another’s choice to violently shred you. In fact, if you felt threatened you’d look to authority for safety & security. Does this sound familiar? Remember – you live at the mercy and grace of others all around you, at every minute.
Every principle of Christianity is in firm and complete opposition to abortion and it makes others wonder if a semantic game with the word “Christian” is being played just like claiming the word “choice” does not refer to extreme violence done to an innocent human being.
Put another way, claiming you’re both a Christian and a Democrat is an absurdity between following Christ and following our own desires regarding abortion and bodily autonomy.
In Matthew 16, after Peter declared Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus told his disciples he must go up to Jerusalem to die. Peter physically blocked Jesus’ path, and said “No Lord!”
“No Lord!” The shortest oxymoronic statement made in the entire Holy Bible.
If you’re unfamiliar with Jesus’ response I suggest you look it up – then apply it.
After last Thursday’s release of the SCOTUS ruling on NFIB v. Sebelius, we’ve had a serious run through on the spin-cycle by all sides. Claims of Chief Justice John Roberts being a legal genius by both sides has gotten ridiculous. We’ve also had backflips by the White House and Nancy Pelosi about whether “what was in the Bill” was actually a tax or something else – a penalty. This is all nonsense.
Seeing a great deal of obfuscation on both sides, as well as acknowledging the more than 2700 pages of legalese, there is only one conclusion I can draw – ObamaCare is void for vagueness. It is unworthy of enforcement.
Void for vagueness is a legal principle which means that a law is judicially unenforceable because the average citizen can’t determine what person is regulated, conduct is being prohibited, or punishment being imposed.
Currently the controversy sounding this particular act of legislation continues to play out in the media and if you have to be a legal scholar to understand the impact, or you need to set aside 3 months of your life to read the document, or if you can’t decide who is telling the truth between the 3 branches of government – then I’d say that the legislation is completely void for vagueness.
One more thing – although we are taught in school that there are three branches of government, the real answer is there are four: legislative, executive and judicial, but all too often forgotten by those three: the people.
We reserve the final say as to whether we uphold any law or ignore it.
Those branches work for us – we don’t work for them.
That point is long overdue to be reinforced to those who have forgotten who holds the power.
We don’t elect leaders – we elect representatives.
WE the people are the leaders.
As a software developer for over 30 years, I have at least an inkling that I can comprehend some fairly complex ideas, but I’m dead serious when I say, the entire Robert’s opinion and all the legal chatter coming out of it seems like complete semantic hogwash, and it’s simply more evidence of a government which is relying on mass confusion to get it’s way.
I’m still fully convinced ObamaCare is void for vagueness. And the American people need to say as such.
Our family recently attended a Sunday service at a vibrant young new church. We were surprised to find the church filled to capacity with many diverse college-aged men and women. The ratio of younger to older believers was inversely proportional to that commonly seen at many older churches.
Everything was fine until the young pastor began preaching from Hebrews 6, saying it was possible for God to use Scripture to harden your heart if you were disobedient, which could lead to losing your salvation – your eternal life with God.
I sat there shaking my head. It sounded very, very familiar. In fact, every single passage of Scripture he covered I had just thoroughly studied because a young new believer thought he had lost not only his hope in Christ, but his very soul. This young man knew he was continuing to sin (as we all do), and considered that as being disobedient to Christ. This line of thought spiraled him into severe depression. As it deepened, he interpreted the emotional flatness of depression as the departure of the Holy Spirit.
If you’ve never encountered this problem before, it’s very hard to discern between spiritual oppression and it’s consequences – spiritual depression. As I learned, the core of the problem for every new believer is an immature, often incomplete, identity in Christ. In a follow-up post I’ll discuss why we are commanded to “make disciples” and not merely preach the gospel, but first let’s address the primary issue:
Does the Word of God harden people’s hearts if they are disobedient after having accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, leading to the loss of God’s promise of eternal life?
The answer is no – yet many refer to passages in Hebrews (specifically Heb 6:4-6 and Heb 10:26-31) among others in the Old and New Testaments to substantiate their claim it’s possible to lose your salvation. There is a school of theology called the Arminians who believe this notion. You can draw such a conclusion if you make several common scriptural interpretation mistakes:
- take passages out of their full context
- filter God’s Word through emotions/feelings
- insert false ideas onto the text (eisegesis vs exegesis)
- use poor translations without researching primary language (Hebrew or Greek)
- apply faulty conclusions to other passages in the Bible (consider false premises as true, then test other conclusions against them – faulty cross-correlation)
- fail to logically consider the full scope of the author’s material
- fail to establish the historical context of Scripture and intended audience
If you’re thinking this is fertile ground for spiritual deception, you’re right. No doubt God uses such passages as testing grounds for teaching his children to differentiate between right and wrong.
The young pastor claimed this issue has been debated for centuries by scholarly men. Merely voicing that caveat indicated a lack of discernment of potential spiritual foul play when it came to preaching this issue. To me, that indicated a spiritual immaturity. Even the Aminians, who consider lost salvation possible, advocated deeper inquiry – for them the matter was unsettled.
What could go wrong?
There are very real and present dangers delivering such a message – if you’re in a fragile state of mind where you believe your identity in Christ has been forsaken, then having a pastor tell you it’s because God is hardening your heart due to either real (or imagined) disobedience can send you into a tailspin of severe depression, which can lead directly to uncontrolled psychosis with potential for homicide, suicide or both. In other words, it can trigger a very deadly feedback loop.
Preaching any gospel without full assurance of salvation despite disobedience takes the burden from Christ and puts it back on the adherent. It would require the adherent to know the full extent of right vs wrong, and make it practically impossible to maintain obedience. Such a gospel would be “void for vagueness”, a legal term which describes uncertainty when it comes to upholding a particular law or set of laws. One could never be certain of their salvation at all. Another way of putting it – which sin did Christ’s atoning death not cover? Would that be the unforgivable sin? As I found out with the troubled young man – he thought he was blaspheming the Holy Spirit!
Further, a non-assuring gospel focuses on punishment and not on grace. Adherence becomes an act of works, not the grace of salvation through Christ, received through faith. Ultimately such a promise is really no gospel at all. The Israelites had 613 commandments and the only one who could claim perfect obedience was Christ. Perfection is simply unattainable without God’s grace (which is His bestowing unmerited favor upon us), otherwise there would be no need for Christ’s work…I’m beginning to repeat scripture here.
The young pastor’s message completely lacked Hope and the full and absolute assurance Christ always provides.
If you think it’s possible to have eternal salvation but also lose it, then you are exactly in that doubled minded state found in James 1:7-8, which this young pastor referenced, without thinking it applied to himself!
He forgot to ask for wisdom, failed to discern the dangers of not believing in full assurance, then preached on the subject.
It all made perfect sense why we were there that Sunday. You could say his heart was in need of some softening compassion through truth and grace spoken with love. This softening was to be done using Scripture with a very personal testimony as to the dangers. I don’t say that with pride in my own sense of righteousness – I was only there to be a messenger for the Lord.
So what does Hebrews 6 actually say?
Here’s the first hard passage:
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. [Heb 6:4-8 NIV]
The spiritually immature tend to fixate on v4-6 considering those who have fallen away and can’t be brought back to repentance. Lacking a solid understanding of salvation, they swap the word repentance with salvation, then completely overlook very key portions of the passage.
In Greek, what does it mean to “fall-away”?
fall-away – parapipto (para: from close-beside + pipto: fall, collapse) fall from a position close/next to. Heb 6:4 is the only use of this word in the whole Bible, so that’s a little problematic. Notice, it’s unclear who the subject was close/next to. We will have to look for clues elsewhere about who.
What about “brought back to repentence”?
brought back – anakainizein (ana: up, complete process + kainizo: new in quality) renewal, make qualitatively new
repentance – metanoian (meta: with,among, after + nous: mind, thinking, understanding) change of mind, after-thought; change your mind after thinking about it.
Just looking closely at Heb 6:4 implies a moving away from someone who is very close, which makes it impossible to complete a renewal process of changing one’s mind.
I think it’s fair to conclude this verse is not about loss of salvation (being with the Lord), but most likely incompletion of sanctification. If you move away from the Holy Spirit, and pile up sin, He can’t complete sanctification – pointing out your disobedience and calling for repentance. In the eyes of the world, a disobedient believer appears to say it’s okay to crucify Christ, as opposed to humbly acknowledging his own sins lead to Christ hanging from the cross. This passage is about humility and submitting to the work of the Holy Spirit and not salvation. It’s similar to the message of Romans 12, specifically Romans 12:2.
That aspect of the fruit of the Spirit becomes clear in v7-8. God pours out rain on both good and evil, but only the good land (adamah in Hebrew) produces beneficial fruit. Disobedient believers become worthless in accomplishing God’s ongoing purposes here on earth, including transforming the culture around them. Another way of putting it – what exactly are you sowing if you’re disobedient?
So what about the danger of “being burned”? Look closely again at the passage. It’s not the land that is burned/consumed by fire – it’s the worthless produce on the land that is destroyed. The “works” (bad fruit) of the disobedient believer are unacceptable. Go read 1 Cor 3:9-15. For those unfamiliar with that passage, it’s a direct reference to Lot, and a familiar theme for the prophets of Israel.
Everyone, over a period of time, produces some sort of impact – “works”. Some impacts are much more fruitful/beneficial than others. And as James 2:20 makes clear “faith without works is dead”.
Hebrews 6 in the real world
Have you ever experienced an unrepentant disobedient believer in your congregation? If you have, you know how destructive that is for everyone. It’s near impossible to get them to repent and rejoin the congregation, and it’s more severe if it’s a ministry leader. Obedience and submission are critical to the lives of all believers, for very practical and visible reasons. This is the real key to the passage, but you have to understand it within the full context.
The writer of Hebrews was writing to a particular group of people, Messianic Jewish believers as well as non-believing Jews, who knew of God, and also knew of the sacrifices and offerings made through the Mosaic covenant. The target audience was not modern abstract-thinking Gentiles, with little experience with the books of Moses or the Prophets. Obedience, to the target audience, involved following the “Law” – meaning the written Torah. But all that changed with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Did you notice the phrase in Heb 6:6 “crucifying…all over again” – there’s only two ways this can apply – either literally those being addressed participated in the call for the crucifixion of Christ, or there’s the understanding that the sins of everyone metaphorically crucify Christ. Christ dying for our sins as a better sacrifice weaves throughout the entire book of Hebrews, and His devotion to us in such a sacrifice is a work only God could do. In essence, only the eternal living God, who could never die, would have to incarnate – become flesh, in order to be a substitute, die a human death, so through faith every human could claim His death and resurrected life as our own. God alone is perfect. God with us (Immanuel – that is God AND us) was not perfect, due to our imperfections, until his ultimate sacrifice. This atoning (be at-one ) work required obedience to the Father.
The author of Hebrews 5:7-10 talks about Jesus going through the process of submitting himself in obedience in order to be made perfect as the source of eternal salvation. Then as such, being designated the high priest in the order of Melchizedek. Consider this a bookend, with the other found at Hebrews 6:20.
Everything in between those two points describes the relationship you have with God through the high priest and in fact, taken as a whole provides a completely opposite conclusion to the loss of salvation idea some derive from Hebrews 6:4-8.
Continue reading Hebrews 6 and you’ll find that fixating on verses 4-8 is to miss the wonderful promise of assurance God has made through Jesus Christ as the high priest who is always available to make atonement for you – granting you eternal salvation.
It’s not about you or the sacifices you make, your insufficiencies, but the righteousness that comes by faith in Christ Jesus.
Of course – that leads to another question – what is “saving faith”? That will have to be another post.
Deep, thought provoking question about life, death and relationships.
I’ll explain later.
Share in the comments or email me at the link on the right.
Planned Parenthood supporters are more concerned with the bunny than the human child.
Play the video – you’ll understand why.
Last night I did something I haven’t done in a long time – engaged in an on-line abortion debate on twitter, using hashtags like #Prochoice and #Abortion. Yes – crazy, I know, but I was doing it with a purpose. I wanted to test some insights I gained over the last year. I laughed when some of my followers couldn’t make sense of what appeared to be a very bizarre conversation.
Yesterday was BlogForChoiceDay promoted by NARAL, formally National Association to Repeal Abortion Laws – then National Abortion Rights Action League – and now no longer an acronym – just NARAL. Abortion advocates play loopy semantic games, distancing themselves from the word “abortion”. It’s easy to see why – with legal defense for partial-birth abortion, and madmen like Kermit Gosnell the people of the United States are beginning to understand abortion is like a bad addiction we can’t control.
Given the upcoming anniversary of the Roe vs Wade decision, Jill Stanek decided to confront NARAL with a “Ask Them What They Mean By ‘Choice’ Blog Day”. I’m happy to say advocates of life stepped out in force – to address the evasive rhetoric.
I’d like to think reasoned response would be effective, but that requires reasoning on the other side. There was simply no sign of that. Words and rationale have become meaningless to many young abortion advocates. They make statements like “Prochoice is Prolife”. They throw infantile slurs at you. One even claimed she never was a fetus. She was being serious.
When confronted directly about why they advocate abortion – if it’s because they had one – they are evasive. If abortion were beneficial as they claimed, then why cover-up or deny it? I have no problem telling people I had a lower abdominal hernia repair. If you are advocating what you’ve never personally experienced, why should your advice be accepted as credible?
Every woman who has personally shared with me indicated the adverse impact abortion has had upon her life. How could you not? It’s unnatural to have any medical implement shoved deep inside you or to take a regimen of pills to bleed out the developing child. Women suffer from miscarriages. To deny women don’t suffer from abortion is crazy. It is most likely the word “crazy” came from the Greek word “akrasia”.
Selection of words is powerful – it can change minds, particularly your own. But that’s not always a good thing – particularly for the post-abortive. The lesson I walked away with last night was my need to choose my words carefully – treating each prochoice advocate as post-abortive. Responding maliciously would have driven them further from the path of reality, and further into dark despair.
Denial is a painful thing – the lash-outs, the warps and twists of logic, the evasiveness, the defense of the indefensible, the abandonment of reason and rationale doesn’t call for our condemnation – it’s evidence of a need for compassion and enduring love.
The most telling indicator in our arguments last night – all respondents fell silent, confused when confronted with love. That’s what’s lacking when they take their child. That’s what’s missing when they promoted abortion of other children.
That’s what we need to provide for them and towards them.