To the political left, racism isn't about hating someone based on the color of their skin. Because if it was that, then they'd have to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and in fact, even much of the Democratic Party is racist for their treatment of white people.
Rather, to the left, racism means "prejudice plus power." So in other words, only the majority can be racist, because only the majority has power. That's a convenient way of excusing their own behavior and hatred, and in fact, even justifying it.
That last point, by the way, is why the left doesn't see anything wrong with violence directed towards anyone they ***perceive*** as racist. To them, they're fighting a battle against evil, just as most conservatives see little or no problem with violence directed towards Islamic terrorists. (A "liberal Christian" actually made this very argument to me the other day -- she justified the violence of Antifa by comparing it to the wars and battles that we're fighting and have fought in the Middle East; to her, violence was justified as long as it was directed toward a perceived evil, without any regard for whether that violence was being carried out by a government in an act of actual war (Romans 12) or by an individual who simply didn't like the country in which they live (which goes directly against Romans 12).)
But to take it back to the beginning, what does the Bible teach? First, there's only one race -- the human race. And second (for our purposes here), love your neighbor. Love even your enemy. There's no exception in there for "loving your neighbor unless he's part of a racial group that has more political or social power than you have." The command is simply to love your neighbor, period.
What modern racist theory advances is actually a quest for power -- which is an idol -- rather than the selfless, raceless, colorless love to which God calls all people.
Use of the word "Christian" is almost a misnomer these days. Just as anyone can claim to be a male, or a female, or both, so too can anyone claim to be a "Christian." But perhaps surprisingly to most of you, Jesus never told us to "make Christians" or anything of the sort. In fact, the word "Christian(s)" is only mentioned three times in the entire Bible. (Acts 11:26, 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16; that's it.) And when it is mentioned, the only definition given is that of a disciple -- or student -- of Jesus Christ: "And there is Antioch [in Syria], the disciples were first called Christians." (Acts 11:26)
And so you see, discipleship is what Jesus commanded -- not taking His name in vain, which is actually expressly prohibited by the 10 Commandments. We are called to lay down our lives, pick up our crosses, and give all that we have to follow Christ. We are called to live sacrificially, worshiping and honoring Him, spreading the "Good News" of the Gospel and the Cross, and avoiding sin to the greatest extent possible in our life (and confessing and repenting from those sins when we do sin). That's what the Bible calls us to -- lives fully devoted to Jesus Christ, not simply following a "code of Christian ethics" or only following a selected portion of Scripture (e.g., the Sermon on the Mount, or the Beatitudes) that makes us feel good about ourselves. To do either of those latter things apart from faith in Christ and His Cross, is actually to create a man-made works-based religion, as an attempt to justify ourselves before a holy and righteous God.
But you see, salvation -- and justification -- are by faith in Christ, and by faith alone. (Galatians 3:24) There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation or our justification, not even "living out the Sermon on the Mount" or "practicing the Beatitudes," and certainly not simply taking the Lord's name in vain.
No, you see, we are most certainly not commanded to simply call ourselves "Christians." We are commanded to be disciples of Jesus Christ, fully devoted to Him, and leaving the cares and pleasures of this world behind to serve Him with all that we have, and all that we are, because that is how He loved us first.
I agree with Dinesh, but wanted to add my own thoughts as to why his words ring so true. To understand where my post is coming from, let's start with the general left/right paradigm, or at least one way of looking at such things:
autonomy / anarchy <-----------------------------> authority / law & order
To the liberal, "tolerance" really stems from a desire for complete autonomy. Autonomy literally means "self law," where everyone gets to do whatever makes them happy. (This is also why this group is so often accused of being driven by their emotions, and having such strong emotional reactions to things that upset them / make them unhappy.) Not surprisingly, the left's ideal is a Utopian society where everyone lives in blissful peace; but their reality is a society where complete anarchy would result, because everyone would eventually do whatever made them happy. That's the far left. Marxism, Communism, Socialism, and all forms of the "Sexual Revolution" fall into that category. That's why those groups all get along under the guise of "tolerance." I'll get to Radical Islam in a moment.
On the other side of the spectrum, you have those who value absolute authority and the resulting law & order. Christians value the authority of the Word of God and the government, so long as the latter is not acting contrary to the Word of God and/or the Constitution, subject to the caveats listed below. Non-Christian conservatives generally also value the authority of the Constitution and government, so long as the latter is acting in accordance with the Constitution as originally written and properly amended (so, e.g., no inherent "right to privacy" leading to abortion, or other forms of judicial activism and "legislating from the bench").
Because the political left wants complete autonomy, they hate those who push for complete authority and law & order. And for that reason, the left has no "tolerance" for those who value absolute authority and law & order, namely the Christians and the other conservatives. To "tolerate" such groups would go against their true underlying motivations for complete, emotion-driven self-governing autonomy.
Islam is a unique bird. From the perspective of Islam itself, Islam is as far to the right as you can get. They lack the grace and mercy and love of Christianity, so they value an absolute authority that has NO FORGIVENESS. If you look at it from their own perspective, and look at what they really believe as laid out in the Quran, Hadidth, and Shariah, then you see that Islam (all of Islam, not just "Radical" Islam) is as far to the right as you can possibly get. In fact, Islam is further to the right than even Christians or the most adamant conservatives.
But from the perspective of the left, most of whom generally don't know what Islam actually stands for or is about, they see Islam as just another "oppressed minority" who wants their own absolute freedom (autonomy) to do whatever they want. And so for now, the left both accepts and embraces Islam as one of their own. But what they fail to realize is that Islam is the ultimate Trojan Horse. As Islamic leadership has said time and again, they plan to use America's religious liberty laws against America, to actually use our own laws and protections to eventually overthrow those very laws and protections. The plan is to hide behind the protection of these laws as long as they lack political power, and then to eventually overturn these laws and impose the Sharia once they get sufficient political power.
Now some may say, "Well, wait, Islam is only 2.1% of the country right now -- that's far from a political majority!" To which I'd respond, the Muslim population in America has more than doubled in the last 15 years, and shows no sign of slowing down. It's not hard to imagine the Muslim population being around 4-5% of the total U.S. population in another 10-15 years.
Now again, some may say, "Well, wait, 4-5% of the population is hardly a majority!" Yes, but that's still plenty big enough to wield political power and begin to destabilize society, especially when they begin to form political alliances with the left, a group who will offer sympathy for their "plight." If you don't believe that, you need look no further than the LGBT community in America. The American LGBT community is only around 3-4% of the population, but yet look at the political power that it already wields. Once the Muslim population roughly doubles again, in another 10-15 years, they'll be at the same level as the LGBT community today -- and we already see the groundswell of support from the left for their "cause." If we continue down this path, we'll be at the point of no return before we realize what happened. Once they have sufficient numbers within their community -- and sufficient sympathy and allegiances from other political communities --they will begin imposing their political will on the same "tolerant" society that once celebrated their arrival.
If we don't reverse the ship now, we are setting this country on an irreversible course to complete anarchy and destruction, potentially within our lifetimes. And if this country falls, as the last major beacon of the Christian West, I believe the world will fall with it.
Just over two years ago, God clearly revealed something to me that is both powerful and important in discussing the issues before us today. As the immigration debates rage on, many will justify their positions by pointing to a portion of Matthew 25. Often, they will specifically point to the portion of Matthew 25 that fits their argument, but will ignore the complete context of the passage. If you're following these discussions at all, you likely know what portion I'm talking about, and particularly this one specific verse: "As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40).
Before we can fully understand this passage, we must view it and understand it in its proper context. You see, Scripture is not just a collection of verses. The original manuscripts didn't even have verse numbers or chapter numbers; those numbers were added later for ease of reference and discussion. And while the verse numbers and chapter numbers do help us when referring to Scripture, they should not serve as an excuse to take individual verses out of context just to make a point. All of Scripture is truth (John 17:17), but it is truth that must be first understood in its proper historical, cultural, and textual context, and only then can it be properly applied to our lives today. And so it is with this portion of Matthew 25.
Looking at the full context, this verse is part of the "The Final Judgment" of Matthew 25. I had read this passage many times before, and never fully understood it. Indeed, it seemed to almost create somewhat of a paradox. After all, many of us have helped the least among us -- but virtually all of us have also ignored the least among us (Matthew 25:45), probably more times than we can count (or even realize). We all seem to fall into both camps. And as should be clear to any Christian (who are my primary audience here), we obviously cannot end up in both heaven (Matthew 25:34-40) and hell (Matthew 25:41-46) at the same time. So what gives? What was I missing?
Thankfully, on that night just over two years ago, God showed me what I needed to see. The clarity stemmed from a discussion with a committed Roman Catholic friend, who was using this passage to justify the idea that we only go to heaven if we do "more good than bad." He was quite sincere in his beliefs and convictions, in a way that I found unusual compared to most Roman Catholics that I know. And so, I did the only thing I could think of doing: I went to God in prayer.
Perhaps more importantly, I went to God in prayer with a humble heart. I didn't ask God to show me why I was right. I asked God to show me if I was right. Even more precisely, I asked God to show me if my friend was right. "God, is there something I'm missing here?" I did not want to "win the argument" -- I wanted to know the truth, whatever that truth may be. My heart was open and seeking, not proud and proving. This wasn't about me or any sort of pride. This was purely about my desire to know God and to please God, to be sure that I was both living and teaching others the actual truth of Scripture -- not just what I wanted it to be, or what someone had "taught" me along the way.
And so I went to God in prayer, and with a humble heart. In that moment, God both slowed me down and spoke to me, showing me something about this passage in such power and clarity that I could not possibly miss this truth any longer. To help you understand what God showed me, please allow me to walk you through the passage in the same way that God walked me through it just over two years ago:
Slow down. Start at the beginning of the passage. Matthew 25, verses 31 and 32: "31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats."
This passage pertains to the Final Judgment. At the Final Judgment, Jesus will come back in all of his glory, and will be sitting on his throne, and all of the angels will be with Him. That's verse 31. All of the nations -- that means ALL of us (or at least of us who are not Jewish by birth) -- will be gathered before Him. And He will separate us into two groups. That's verse 32.
And then, read verse 33: "And He will place the SHEEP on His right, but the goats on His left."
Almost immediately upon reading that sentence, I heard God say to me: "John, who are my sheep?" His voice wasn't audible, but it was close. It was most certainly clear, and personal. And He immediately took my heart to the answer. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27.) The sheep are Jesus' people. More specifically, they are those who both hear Jesus' voice AND follow Him. They are those who know Him intimately -- not just those who know His Word, as important as that is, but those who know HIM personally and intimately. Those in whom the Spirit of Christ truly dwells. (See, e.g., Romans 8:9.)
They are the people on His right at the Final Judgment. They are the sheep.
As for the rest? Well, all of the nations are before Him -- and all of the people must be accounted for at the Final Judgment. And so everyone who is not a sheep -- everyone who does not know Jesus Christ intimately and in obedience to Him -- is a goat, as much as it pains me to write that. They are the people on Jesus' left.
After Jesus divides His sheep from those with whom He did not have an intimate fellowship (the goats), He then turns first to His Sheep and commends them for the good that they did in this life -- much of which was done without even realizing it. NOTABLY, HE DOES NOT UTTER A WORD OF CONDEMNATION FOR HIS SHEEP, THOSE WHO ARE TRULY BORN AGAIN OF THE SPIRIT. And you see, this is entirely consistent with the full truth of Scripture. For in the heart of the magical Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul clearly said, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1.) This forgiveness is both promised and expected for those who have truly given their lives to Christ and who have been born again of the Spirit.
You see, the glorious blood of Christ has covered every last sinful thing that regenerate, Spirit-led Christians have done. Scripture is clear about that. (Romans 8:1-4.) And so, with our sin having been nailed to the Cross and our record of guilt expunged (Colossians 2:13-14), Jesus can now honestly declare His sheep "righteous" and "Not Guilty!" Instead of being honestly required to condemn us, He can now honestly reward us at the Final Judgment for our good deeds. And thus, Jesus blesses His sheep immensely at the Final Judgment with entry into the kingdom of heaven, but it does not end there. (Matthew 25:33-34) Jesus also rewards His sheep -- and only His sheep -- for the good works that they did in this life, often including things they did not even realize they were doing for Him: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." Then the righteous will answer him, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?" And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:35-40 (emphasis added); see also 1 Corinthians 3:10-14.)
Then, and only then, does Jesus turn to those that He did not intimately know, those whom were not His sheep -- the goats standing on the left. And to those who were not born again of the Spirit, JESUS DOES NOT UTTER A WORD OF PRAISE. RATHER, THE ONLY DEEDS MENTIONED ARE THEIR SINS, SPECIFICALLY THEIR SINS OF OMISSION. For as hard as this is to hear, apart from faith we cannot please God. (Hebrews 11;6.) In fact, everything in your life that "does not proceed from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23.) Until you are reconciled to God through the finished work of Jesus Christ as applied by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, even your "good deeds are like filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6.)
Thus, having rejected the offer of salvation through the sacrifice of our LORD Jesus Christ, the goats are left to fend for themselves at the Final Judgment. And much like an Earthly trial, they are condemned for the sins they did commit, and those sins are not excused simply because of some good deeds that they committed along the way. If you dispute that, imagine a judge who presided over the trial of a murder. Imagine a scenario when there was a perfect and irrefutable record of the man's guilt. And yet imagine that the judge slammed his gavel and declared the man "Not Guilty!" The judge has shown mercy, but the judge would no longer be fair and righteous. The arbiter of justice himself would fail to be just. But because God is just, He also cannot look at a guilty man and honestly declare that person "Not Guilty" (let alone "righteous"). God would actually cease to be God in that moment, because He would be rendering a dishonest verdict.
But yet, God loves us. God does not want to have to punish His creation, even though that's what we all deserve. (Romans 3;23; Romans 3:10; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Nahum 1:1-6.) God wants all people to reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9.) God wants all people "to come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved." (1 Timothy 2:3-4.) And that "truth" includes the whole counsel of God, including especially the truth about the sinful, rebellious, and condemned reality of mankind in our natural state -- but also the truth of a God who loved us so much that He took the punishment for those who were willing to trust in Him, a God who loved us so much that He died in our place, so that those who put their faith and trust in Him (and in Him alone) may be saved. Through His death on the Cross, God both remained "just and [became] the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:26; see also Colossians 2:14-15.) We are not saved because of our good works, which would actually be self-righteousness, but rather because of Christ's finished work on the Cross. (John 19:30.)
And if you are truly saved, that salvation starts now, for "this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17:3) We are saved not merely to keep us from hell, but so that we may know the One True God intimately -- and even internally -- and so that we may know Him starting now. In writing to the true spiritual church, Paul made this point quite clear: "God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:24-27 (NKJV) (emphasis added).)
And so that brings us back to the sheep. Those who are truly saved are those who truly know Jesus Christ now, in this life, and who continue in that faith until the end of their days. Those who are truly saved are His sheep, and they stand on His right, both forgiven and ready to be rewarded for their good deeds. For truly, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, only commendation and rewards for what we have done with our salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-10.)
The goats, however, stand on the record of their own life -- and that record contains more than enough evidence to find them guilty every time. And like a guilty person standing before the highest Judge of all the Earth, no amount of good deeds can save you from the punishment you deserve for your sins. The destiny of those who have not received an assurance of forgiveness from Christ is an eternal hell, a bottomless pit, an existence where the fires never go out.
As I realized that last part for the first time two years ago, my heart wept. I was broken, and almost paralyzed with angst, and with the weight of the Spirit. And in many ways, just as Paul was, I still am. (Romans 9:2-3.) In no small part, this is why I "preach" so much -- to make Jesus known, but also so that no one who knows me for any amount of time can make it through this life without hearing the true reality of who we are apart from Christ (condemned sinners), as well as who we can become through Christ (beloved children of God, see John 1:12-13).
And so if you're still with me after all of that, then please consider the two things that I believe God wants me to emphasize about this passage. I hope they can bless all of us as we persevere through these turbulent times on Earth, and beyond into our eternities:
(1) You MUST have an actual relationship with God. No one in the bible had the bible. Knowing Scripture certainly helps inform you as to who God is, and what God wants from us. But a theological understanding is not enough -- you must have an intimate relationship with Jesus. He must know you as a disciple, and you must know Him as Lord. If you have never truly heard His voice (and I mean that literally, not figuratively), then get on your knees and cry out to the Lord. Repent in sackcloth and ashes if necessary, but cry out to the Lord and seek Him with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. For even when standing under God's wrath, He nevertheless promises to reward those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6.)
(2) Absolutely no amount of good deeds can save you. This is especially true for those on the godless liberal left, but also for many professing Christians (and others) who do not truly know God. (Matthew 7:21-23.) Many of you have established your own set of moral absolutes, while simultaneously rejecting the absolute authority of God's Word. You strive for equality, but in doing so celebrate sin. You beg for tolerance, but barely tolerate (if at all) those who love God. You hide behind, "Judge not, that you be not judged" -- while openly judging President Trump (and virtually all of his supporters) as racist, and so much more. (Matthew 7;1.) You say "Only God can judge me," not realizing that He already has. "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil." (John 3:19.) And lest there by any doubt, the light is Jesus (John 8:12), the only One who can truly save you both in this life, and for the next.
And so yes, for those who are saved and truly know Jesus Christ, our eternal rewards are determined by what we do for others, although even there I would note that Jesus is specifically talking about what we did for the Brothers (and Sisters) in the verse that started this whole discussion, Matthew 25:40. And considering the love Jesus feels about His Bride, the Church (see, e.g., Revelation 19:7, 21:9), as well as the angst against those who persecute the Church (Acts 9:1-4), that is not surprising.
But for those who do not know Christ, no amount of "good works" or human-created morality can save you, and this remains true no matter what our modern "knowledge" and "wisdom" and "culture" tell you. The only way to be made right with God is through repentance and belief, through putting your faith and trust in Christ and in Christ alone, and through the regeneration of the Spirit that truly leads to the new life -- both now and into eternity.
Trust ye not in yourselves or your works, but trust in Christ and in Christ alone! (See, e.g., Acts 4:12.)
As Christians, we are commanded to speak "the truth in love." (Ephesians 4:15) Despite this clear command of Scripture, we often fail to speak the truth at all on the hardest issues, largely because of Political Correctness. Rather than confronting the shifting winds of culture head on, we regularly remain silent for fear of being publicly "shamed," or worse. The result of our failure, as the church, is a culture that's been pushed so far left that it's forgotten what's right. The time to fight back, with truth, is now.
When we do speak, however, we are to do so in love. To that end, we are clearly commanded to "Let no unwholesome word proceed from [our] mouth." (Ephesians 4:29) In an attempt to fight back against PC culture, many Christians (and others) have become uncouth, forgetting that Scripture speaks about our language just as it speaks to our other behaviors. Thus, perhaps without even realizing it, we have also been influenced by the shifting winds of culture, specifically by the often-vulgar language used by many on the far-right. Neither silence nor vulgarity is acceptable for a people called by the name of Christ.
As Christians, we must find ways to make our points strongly, but without using bad words or vulgarity. We cannot let our desire to fight the PC culture become an excuse for our own disobedience to Scripture. And to that end, I give you my most recent sermon. I hope you find it edifying, and welcome whatever comments you may have.
Believe it or not, I was once #NeverTrump. To me, this election is about turning this country back to God, and for that reason I was initially in favor of Sen. Rubio, who I initially felt was the best person for that job. After seeing the moral and social degradation of this once great country over the last 8 years, turning this country back to God with all that we have was more important than ever. In fact, it still is. And strangely and somewhat circuitously, that is How I Got to Trump.
But first, let’s jump back to the primary. After Sen. Rubio was out, I was initially at somewhat of a loss. I had heard all the “bad things” the media kept showing about Trump, but I wasn’t very comfortable with Hillary Clinton, either. My initial thought was that I’d skip voting in the Presidential contest and only vote in the down ballot races.
Nevertheless, I still love both Christ and country, in that order, and find that politics is a good avenue to talk about both at once. In fact, many of my political discussions morphed into Gospel discussions with many friends who otherwise would not have much interest in those discussions. So for God and country, and with my own passion and interests in mind, I began to simply focus on the issues rather than the candidates.
As I did this, I noticed something remarkable: As a Christian, I found myself agreeing with Trump on issue, after issue, after issue. But still, he was Trump. No matter how I felt on the issues, this was still the man who the media portrayed so horribly, albeit that was somewhat of his own doing.
But as time went on, I found myself starting to warm to Trump, and especially agreeing with his positions. But still, I had to ask: As a Christian, could I vote for this man?
Eventually Trump came to Austin, holding a rally here in August. I wanted to see what he (and his supporters) were about for myself. So I went. And I came away truly shocked, perhaps even flabbergasted.
The man was not at all like the media had portrayed him. Neither were his supporters. In fact, both he and they seemed like some of the nicest people I’d ever met. They were passionate, for sure, but their passion was for this country – not against any people group, as the media tries to portray Trump and his supporters.
The most passionate guy I saw happened to be standing right next to me. He was yelling like crazy in support of Trump. He seemed to be a fairly young man, and I found it exciting to see someone who cared so much about politics, and this country, at such a young age.
Did I mention that he was Latino?
Also in attendance at the rally was a man in a “gays for Trump” t-shirt, as well as Asian Americans for Trump and numerous people of Hispanic or other origins. In fact, the very friend that I went with was of a different ethnic origin. But they – and more accurately, we – all shared a love of this country, and a very sour taste from the corruption and immorality that Obama-Clinton-Soros and the Democratic Machine shoved down our throats over the last 7+ years.
Trump also brought the Angel Moms on stage. They were women who lost a child at the hands of an illegal immigrant. Maybe they tugged at my heart strings for once instead of always relying on pure logic, but how’s that any different from the Democrats repeatedly showing the video of the little boy in Syria covered by blood, ashes, and bomb debris? The main difference, of course, is that Trump has actually taken the time to get to know these women, rather than using a video of a stranger solely for political convenience. And perhaps the bigger difference, as I realized only a few days ago, is that Trump didn’t fuel the war in Syria for the sake of Qatar and its natural gas money in the first place. No, that was Hillary and Bill Clinton, the same people who were now trying to profit a second time off that war – the first profit being monetary gain via Bill’s $1M “gift” from Qatar for his wife’s influence as then-Secretary of State; and the second desired profit being more political gain via the manipulation of the boy who was hurt in the war that Hillary helped start.
But back to the Austin rally. I left there feeling completely different about Trump – and his supporters. I already knew that I agreed on most (if not all) of the issues, and after this rally I at least felt comfortable voting for Trump. But I still wasn’t sure if I could openly and consistently support Trump. Nevertheless, with a few months to the election, my decision making process continued, as it should.
Now may be a good time to mention that I voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary, and then voted for Senator Obama in the 2008 general election and President Obama in the 2012 general election. You see, I wasn’t always a Christian, or a Republican. In fact, I didn't become a Christian until Fall 2010, and I remained the Democrat that I was until around 2013. Even after my conversion, I was still a fairly young Christian as of the 2012 general election. I knew Christ and had put my trust in Him for my salvation, but I was still learning much about the faith that I had been called to. In my naivety, I believed all of Obama’s stories about caring for the poor, and about him being a Christian. But then, after the election, I started to notice some things that were off – and really off at that.
The first thing that really got my attention was when Obama celebrated gay marriage in 2013. Scripture is clear, both on homosexual actions (they are sins, and never right before God’s eyes) and marriage (between man and woman). So how could an air-quotes “Christian” celebrate something that so clearly went against God’s Word? The answer is, you can’t. You can’t be a disciple of Christ while claiming to know more than Christ. You can't be a student of Jesus while rejecting the clear words of your “teacher.” This is where the Democratic Party lost me.
But then, things got worse from there. Our “Christian” President began to mock and belittle Christians (which, in retrospect, I perhaps should’ve noticed after some of his previous comments), but yet embrace the false god of Islam. In a sense, this is actually the greatest evil in God’s eyes. Not Trump’s potty mouth or even his adulterous affairs, as bad as those may be. But the greatest sins throughout the bible are consistently two-sides of the same coin: Turing away from the One True God, and turning towards false gods. Apostasy and idolatry. The first two commandments of the Old Testament, and the Greatest Commandment of the New Testament.
Things only got worse from there, as the Democratic Party repeatedly bowed at the altar of sexual immorality on issues from forcing Christians to participate in homosexual “marriages” to forcing our women to unwillingly share restrooms with men, and even showering with them. And that’s before we even get to their open celebration of killing living beings in the womb.
But back to the 2016 election. A few weeks after Trump’s Austin rally, I attended the Act for America National Conference in Washington, DC. You may think this is crazy, but I really felt God telling me to go. And boy, am I glad that I did! Many great things happened there, and I made many wonderful friends. But even more striking was being in a group of a few hundred people, almost all of whom were either Christian or Jewish, or at least pro-Christian and pro-Jewish.
And every one of them supported Trump.
This was where I began to realize that not only could I vote for Trump, but that I could also openly support Trump. I began to realize that he wasn’t the “bad guy” the media portrayed him to be, but rather a Patriot who really cared about this country – and while I’m still not convinced that he is fully a Christian, he at least stands with the Church and with Israel, both of which are very welcome after the left’s assault on God over the last four to eight years.
Then, just as I got comfortable with Trump, the Trump bus tape from 11 years ago was released. Talk about a major reset, and a major time for inward reflection. Could I still support this man? To this day, I don’t think he was speaking of any actual sexual assaults. He was, however, bragging about adultery, both by wanting to cheat on his own wife, and by wanting to cheat with a woman married to someone else. Both of those things are big no-no’s in my book, and even more so, in God’s Book.
I took time to pray, and listen to God. I always try to listen to God before I write or post anything of import, but I wanted to be extra clear here. I also wanted to take time for reflection, and consider the current situation in light of Scripture. And eventually, God showed me something. I wrote about it here, and here, and perhaps most completely (from a theological perspective) here.
You can read those posts for yourself, but the short answer is this: We are all sinners. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. If we are saved at all, we are saved by God’s grace working through faith in Jesus Christ. And apart from God’s salvation, we are all sinners who stand condemned before a holy and righteous God. That is as true for Mr. Trump as it is for Sec. Clinton, as it would be for myself apart from God’s grace and my personal faith in Jesus Christ. And so neither of them are “good moral people.” They’re both sinners, although Trump was at least moving in the right direction.
And so as between two flawed candidates, I chose to stand with the one who chose to stand with us in the Christian community. I chose to stand with the one who chose to stand with God’s people, both in the Church and in the Jewish community. I chose to stand with the one who was not turning a blind eye to evil and lawlessness and immorality. I chose to stand with the one who truly seemed to be putting this country first, rather than a personal desire for power. I chose to stand with the person who was surrounded by many Christians, even if he was not yet fully all the way there in his own walk. I chose to stand with the candidate who took a genuine Christian as his running mate, rather than a pro-abortion faux Catholic named Tim Kaine. I chose to stand with the one who was supportive of Christians, rather than mocking us. I chose to stand with the one who was supportive of life itself, rather than mocking it.
As I said at the outset of this post, I felt that the #1 issue in this election – and before this country as a whole – is that we must turn back to God. I still believe that to be the case, perhaps now more so than ever. I believe the first step in turning back to God is the church coming to life, and being free to do its work in this country. I believe, with every fiber of my being, that this country is not “great because we’re good,” as Hillary would say out of one corner of her mouth as she embraces the evils of abortion and sexual immorality out the other. Rather, I believe that we were once great because we were blessed tremendously by the triune God of the Bible, and I believe that only by turning back to that God can we truly hope to Make America Great Again.
And so while neither candidate is perfect, I chose to stand with the one who would stand with the Church and with Israel, and who would prioritize the interests of America over the interests of nations that hate us. I chose to stand with the candidate who would at least let the Church step up and stop this nation’s slide into godlessness and immorality, and to help turn this country back to God, because that is the only way that we will truly Make America Great Again.
For all these reasons, I chose to stand with Donald Trump and Mike Pence. And come tomorrow, if you haven’t voted yet, I hope you will join me in doing so as well.
Good night, and come tomorrow, may GOD BLESS AMERICA once again!
When Jesus commanded us to love God, our neighbor, and each other, He was not telling us to tolerate (let alone embrace and celebrate) unbiblical lies. From Islam to the gay agenda, we must stand for truth in a society that is becoming "progressively" darker and moving steadily farther from God.
If you care about the issues shaping the country in this election season, or about God's truth and living in a manner that shows our love for God (or simply want a deeper perspective on many of the issues that I discuss on a regular basis), then I'd encourage you to listen to this sermon:
In a world dominated by lies, God's truth can truly set us free.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
A new sermon is up.
"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." ~ Jesus (Matthew 6:12 NKJV)
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ~ Jesus (two verses later)
Are you aware of the forgiveness that God offers you through Jesus Christ? Are you also aware of Jesus' commands to forgive those who sin against us? Are you struggling with forgiving yourself or laying your burdens down? If any of those strike a chord, then I hope you this sermon can be a blessing to you.
Nate Silver wrote a profound article last summer. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Silver, he is a statistician who earned a solid reputation by correctly forecasting previous election results on his blog "Five Thirty Eight" (which is the total number of votes in the electoral college). His platform has since expanded, and he is now a regular contributor to various statistical-based discussions on ESPN.com. His discussions search for conclusions rooted in facts and evidence, and if anything his personal views (such as in his chats) seem to lean a little to the left. All of which is to say that he does not seem to have any sort of anti-liberal bias.
But back to his profound article from last summer. In that article, he looked at murder rates in countries that have a "high Human Development Index," which is "an overall measure of welfare and standard of living." In other words, countries that a high amount of resources and are governed by the rule of law. Thus, his article considered countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, Italy, France, Greece, Germany, and even Cuba, among many others; but excluded countries that are well-known but relatively impoverished and/or lack the Rule of Law (which often seem to go hand-in-hand), such as Brazil, Mexico, Libya, Somalia, and Syria.
At first blush, the United States' homicide rate of 5.2 homicides per 100,000 people was one of the highest among countries in his survey. And in fact, if you limited the study to the 31 most developed / advanced countries, then the United States' homicide rate of 5.2 was easily the highest among that group.
But as Mr. Silver is wont to do, he didn't stop at the surface. Rather, he dug further into the data. He divided the American victims of murder into four groups, by race: Overall, white, black, and Hispanic. And once he looked at the numbers that way, the result was quite different:
The data showed that the black community suffered 19.4 homicides per 100,000 people -- a rate that is almost triple the next worst country.
And so that got me thinking. We hear so much about black-on-black crime, but what do the numbers really say? How many of those homicides suffered by the black community are the result of black-on-black crime, as compared to white-on-black crime or other sources.
And that led me to this study from the U.S. Department of Justice. The study looked at homicide trends in the United States from 1980 through 2008. If you hit the link and scroll to page 13 of the study, you'll see this incredible -- but very alarming -- stat: Most murders are intraracial (within the same race), and "84% of white victims were killed by whites" and "93% of black victims were killed by blacks." In other words, white victims are killed by other white people 84% of the time, and black victims are killed by other black victims 93% of the time. I'm not trying to do anything other than look at the honest, raw, and even painful numbers here, so please don't read anything else into it.
But as I said above, the reason I went looking for the black-on-black homicide rate is because of how startled I was about the 19.4 rate in the chart above. So now having this 93% number, I was able to go back and ask the question, what would the homicide rate look like in the black community if you only included black-on-black homicides? In other words, are whites really victimizing blacks as much as the media and the Black Lives Matters MOVEMENT would like us to believe, or is the problem stemming from something else?
And so when you combine those numbers, here's the result: Of the 19.4 homicides per 100,000 members of the black community, 93% of those deaths was caused by other members of the black community. Multiplying those numbers (19.4 * .093) still leaves a staggering rate of 18.0 homicides per 100,000 people in the black community that are caused by black-on-black violence.
If you go back and look at the chart above again, you'll see that the next highest country (among the HDI countries) is Lithuania, with 6.9 homicides per 100,000 people. The rate for America as a whole is 5.2 homicides per 100,000 people, which is almost exactly the same as the homicide rate of 5.3 / 100,000 people in the Hispanic community. And the rate for white Americans is only 2.5 / 100,000 people, which is still higher than most other HDI countries, but does not stand out nearly as much. But the rate of 18.0 homicides per 100,000 in America's black community caused by black-on-black violence , and remains, staggering -- especially since it's almost triple the homicide rate of any other racial group within the United States.
And so that got me to thinking about the common refrain that we have a problem with the "American gun culture." If the American gun culture as a whole was the problem, then you would expect the aforementioned per capita numbers to be roughly equal. But yet, those per capita numbers are staggeringly different.
And that got me to thinking about what's so different within each of the various sub-cultures within America, and what other variables matter within the American culture in general.
I don't know the answers to that last question, but I am hopeful that at least framing the question begins a productive discussion that goes beyond the typical buzz words and accusations. Let's come together, put aside our differences, and begin to ponder what common aspects of the American culture (Hollywood's glorification of violence?) and the differences of the various sub-cultures (the way country music talks about guns vs. the way they are glorified in the Hip Hop culture) lead to these staggering differences.
While I absolutely believe that God is ultimately in control, I also believe that He gives us free will to make many of our decisions. And I also believe strongly that we can make those decisions more effectively when we are more educated on the actual facts, and when we work together instead of bucking against each other. And so why not begin that discussion here? Feel free to comment below (honestly but politely, please) or on my Facebook page.
"For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God." (Acts 20:27)