White Privilege?

WHITE PRIVILEGE

I saw a video on a friends facebook wall. The link is at the bottom of the article.  It was disturbing to me that so many Americans feel ashamed of their, “privilege” and don’t thank God for it, and His providence. We are not entitled to good things just because we are here. Here is my take on the video.
Let’s reason together. Now that we have had emotional reactions it is time to put this sentiment into its proper perspective. Leave the white, black, and hispanic, “underprivileged” American kids on the field. Replace all the other kids with some Somalian kids. (Could have just as easily used anyone one of these classes of children;children who are in wheelchairs, have down syndrome, or were aborted.) Now ask a set of questions that will be certain to demonstrate how much improved the lives of the American kids are without those other setbacks are. What you are seeing here is a direct attempt at emotional manipulation by someone who does not care about original sin, individual sin, theodicy, God, His sovereignty, or His providence. Listen, you should thank God for being born in this country, to the parents you had, the color of skin, the air you breath, the clean water and abundant food. You should thank Him for everything. You should feel compassion for your fellow man, but don’t allow it to cloud your reason. A man goes to an orphanage to adopt a child. He looks among all of the children, finds the most pathetic looking one he can, adopts him, nobody would call that man a sinner for not adopting all of the children. He would get a pat on the back for changing just one of their lives. Every last one of us are guilty sinners. Each one of us deserve, suffering here on Earth, painful drawn out deaths, and an eternity in Hell, because of our sinful natures, our rebellion against God, our individual sins, and our hatred of Him before our conversions. He is under no moral obligation to save anyone, or give them a comfortable, “fair” life. We are not morally obligated either. If you buy into the left’s logic, we must ensure that everyone starts our with, and continues to have, all of the same opportunities and privileges. Who do you think would enforce that? How would they enforce it? I’ll tell you what it would look like, it would look like the USSR. People would be marched off at gunpoint to concrete block houses. The government would become your god. They would enforce mutual oppression of everyone, or kill those who dissented. One of the wonderful things about our founding documents is that we have the right to pursue happiness. We are created equal by our Creator, God. We are not made equal by government. What we do with our lives is up to us. You can blame other classes of people, who under God’s sovereign providence had a more comfortable life, but that does not mitigate your condemned condition before the Lord of glory. What if, God only saves the elect whom He predestined in eternity? Are you going to blame Him, and call Him immoral, or a fool?
Romans 9:14-24 “14What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”
Let those who have been given new natures by God, and are born again, have compassion on the less fortunate. We will minister to their needs out of the excess of love that Christ has demonstrated on the cross towards us. Don’t rob us of that blessing. Don’t reduce the less fortunate to wards of the state, and welfare which is a nameless faceless benefactor with no compassion. Let them instead seek mercy from the Lord and His elect so that they will see His kindness in them, to them, and from them. Let them see that they must come to God with nothing, entitled to only suffering and Hell, just as we did. Beggars of divine grace, filthy, defiled, hands. They aren’t just empty hands after all… They have been tools of the enemy full of perversion, sin, and unrighteousness.

Karma… Christian, Please Stop Using This Hindu Doctrine To Explain Theodicy.

nokarma

The problem with the Hindu idea of karma is that it relies on some universal force without intellect, or reason, that isn’t a person, to keep track of all the wrongs every person does, and then dole out justice. We seem to readily accept this notion, but rule out the Biblical standard of, “You reap what you sow.” In this notion, there is an all knowing, all powerful, perfectly intelligent, flawlessly reasonable, perfectly just and righteous judge, who knows every sin, of every person, and then uses those people in their sinfulness, to accomplish His will. We know from reading the Old Testament, that when Israel sinned, God would punish them by using a sinful pagan nation to come in and militarily defeat them, or enslave them. This was God using sinners to punish sinners in His sovereign will. This would cause Israel to see their sin, because they believed in Him and knew that they were being disciplined for their sins against Him. They would then repent, and turn back to Him. When we are being disciplined for sin, we should do the same thing. Repent of our sins, turn to Christ, and believe on Him and His work on the cross to justify us to God. We should not trust in our goodness, which is actually not goodness at all when compared to the perfect goodness of God, but rather it is sinful unrighteousness. We need to give up on karma, which is a Hindu belief, and trust in the One true and living God, Jesus Christ.

Galatians 6:6-10 (NASB)

” 6The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

Absolute Truth Can Be Known.

Absolute truth can only be known totally, perfectly, and absolutely by the transcendent being who is the origin of that truth. His creatures, by their nature as lesser beings, created by Him, can only know what He has made them capable of knowing. This is also true of their ability to perceive, reason, understand, and communicate.

Then we must factor in the effect the curse had on Adam’s progeny due to his sin in the garden. We are born enslaved to a sinful nature, and are destined to suffer injury, disease, and death due to his sin, known as original sin, and our own individual sins. Sin also has affected the way we perceive, reason, understand, and communicate. This is known as the, “noetic effect” of sin.

When we consider these two ideas, it might seem that it is impossible for us to know absolute truth. This would be incorrect. God has made us able to know of absolute truth, just not perfectly, absolutely, or totally. We can know that God exists, fire burns, and the wind blows. We can even understand how combustion works, and what the source of the wind is, but to know them as God does is impossible in our current state and even in our glorified state.

If you look at an apple on a desk, you’ll see an apple. If you use a magnifying glass, you’ll see the pores on the skin as well as the blemishes. If you use a microscope, you’ll be able to see the cells of the apple. Advanced technology allows us to look at the micros and macros of the cosmos in ways that were never before possible for us. No matter what technology we develop, we will never be able to perceive things the way that God does.

God wants us to know Him. He has given us the creation to see His work. He has given us the progressive revelation of His word for us to know Him. In the person of the Holy Spirit, He makes His word understandable to us. In the person of Christ Jesus, He has made it possible for us to be justified to Him, to be adopted as sons and daughters. The Bible says this about Jesus, “…He is the image of the invisible God…” (Col 1:15) It also says, “…For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form…” (Col 2:9)

If you’d like to know absolute truth, in as much as you can, I encourage you to think about your guilt as a sinner. Consider how holy God is as the sovereign Creator of everything. Think about His perfection in all of His attributes. Repent of your sins. Forsake them. Turn from them towards Christ. He is your only hope. “…let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”…” (Acts 4:10-12) “…Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”…” (2 Cor 6:2)

What does, “Give me your tired,” mean?

Statue of Liberty

We are all familiar with the poem, “New Colossus” on the Statue of Liberty. If not the entire poem, at least this portion of it,

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

To many it has become a mandate as if it were part of the, United States Constitution. In actuality it is just a nice sentiment expressed in a poem, on a statue given to us as a gift by the French. It is a noble ideal, but does it include those who would seek to destroy our nation, and way of life? Does it include criminals entering our country illegally? Does it include criminals fleeing justice from their own countries? Does it include religious fanatics seeking to impose sharia law, and overthrow our Republic?

This country was built on the labor, and force of will executed by immigrants seeking a better life, freedom to worship God as they chose, not as they were compelled by the government. We enjoy our reputation of being the land of the free and home of the brave. We like the idea that people endeavor to come here to better their circumstances, to enjoy the American dream. We tend to forget though that it isn’t our Christian duty to offer sanctuary to any and all comers, all of the time. There are times when our national security and the safety of our allies supersede our desires to open our doors and arms to immigrants.

When it is prudent, and reasonable to allow immigration, we should. As Christians, we should want goodness for others. We should be glad to extend the hand of friendship to them. There is nothing wrong with rewarding those who seek to do it legally and for the right reasons. There is also nothing wrong with not rewarding those who would exploit us and enter in illegally. When I talk with liberals, many of them seem to think it is a moral mandate to accept even those who would kill us. They insist that we reward people who are here illegally, people who have knowingly flaunted our laws in our faces.

It seems they have changed the poem to,

“Give me your lazy, your poor,

Your malevolent masses yearning to spill blood,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the criminal, radicalized Islamic flood,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I’m pretty sure the moral of the poem isn’t to accept every person who wants to come, but rather to extol the virtues of a nation that has been a land of opportunity for people looking for a better life.  I hope people can understand this notion before they tear down the statue of liberty as a misplaced symbol of their ire.

“…and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed…”

pauldamscusstainedglass

“…and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed…”

Remember, God can save who He wants to save.  The Jews saw the gentiles as dirty compared to themselves.  The next time you are tempted to look down on someone because of their race, or some other reason, and think that salvation can’t be for them, remember the Jews and gentiles.  God will save anyone He has determined to save.  He doesn’t try and then fail.  What He sets out to do, He accomplishes.  Paul was a murderer, not just that, but a persecutor of Christ’s Church.  After his conversion he thought of himself as the chief of sinners, yet he was born again.  Christ put him off his horse, blinded him, while making him see, and then made him an Apostle.  Ananias feared Paul and didn’t want to go to him initially until God told him this, “15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;” Jesus made Paul His slave, and Paul loved his Lord and Master.  Paul brought the gospel to the gentiles with passion and fervor from the Lord, and the Church was built, with Christ as the Chief cornerstone and the Apostles laying the foundation, by the power of the Holy Spirit, according to the will of the Father.

44The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord. 45But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. 46Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.

47“For so the Lord has commanded us,
‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES,
THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.’”

48When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. 49And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. 50But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:44-52 NASB)

The Sovereignty of God in Salvation According to Acts Chapter 11.

cornelius-francesco-trevisani

In the first part of Chapter 11 we read that Peter, who was a Jew, and an Apostle of Christ, was in Joppa when he had the vision about the sheet with the unclean animals being dropped down. As a Jew there were animals he was not permitted to eat as they were considered ceremonially unclean. Now, without the context of the surrounding scriptures one might assume that this section of scripture is about making all foods acceptable to eat, although it is true that we can eat anything as long as we give thanks for it, this section of scripture should not be used as a prooftext for that truth. We would cite Mark 7, and 1 Corinthians 10 for that support.

This section of scripture is actually, about the gentiles. As of this time they were not considered by the Apostles when the gospel was preached. In this vision Peter was being prepared to preach the gospel to even the gentiles. We know the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the means to that end. We also know that people cannot know it unless someone comes to them to preach it. This notion was confirmed to Peter when the men sent to him by the Roman Cornelius arrived.

In verse 14 we read, “and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.” This is in regard to Peter and what he will say to the gentile household. Notice what happens? he will speak words… by which you will be saved… For everyone who is a fan of friendship evangelism read that over and over again.

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It must be preached with words. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (NASB Strong’s) Romans 1:16-17. It is the means God has ordained by which to save the elect.

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (NASB Strong’s) Romans 10:14-17. You’ll notice that the gentiles received the Holy Spirit after they came to faith for it says in verse 17 that they believed first. “Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” You’ll also notice that it is God Himself who gives them the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not imparted by a Priest or any man. He is not imparted by a ceremony, or some tradition. Those He indwells, He indwells by the will of the Father. In verse 18 we also see that the repentance that leads to life is granted by God according to His will, and the work of Christ on the cross as expressed in the gospel that was preached to them. “When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

The Word of God is truly wonderful. When we know it, and are informed by it, we can make decisions that are faithful to God. We are called to do what is right as Christians. Preaching the gospel of Christ is our mission. Repent and believe!

Peter Reports at Jerusalem
1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem,  those who were circumcised took issue with him, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object coming down like a great sheet lowered by four corners from the sky; and it came right down to me, 6 and when I had fixed my gaze on it and was observing it I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air. 7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But a voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’ 10 This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into the sky. 11 And behold, at that moment three men appeared at the house in which we were staying, having been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here; 14 and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” (NASB Strong’s) Acts 11:1-18

The Will of Man, Transcendent God, and Unfolding Time.

choseus

I know many people have a difficult time understanding how God could have already made everything in our futures a reality without violating our will, or making Himself ultimately guilty for what we do. Just like many of the theological problems we have, I think this also comes from our finite nature as well as being under the noetic effect of sin. I would like to explain how it could be that God has ordained or determined everything in eternity, and we remain culpable for our sin. Remember, this is just one way I think it could be. I am not certain, but it does seem reasonable to me.

We live in space-time. We experience life instance to instance, moment to moment like a line drawn through and connecting many drops of water on a surface. The drops are moments in our lives. The drops ahead are truly there. They are actual, but not yet realized by us. As such, there is truly only one path, not many. There are not infinite numbers of alternate realities, only one actual one not yet realized by us as creatures moving through space and time.

As we pass from one instance to the next, the two are connected. We have lived and are living in a seemingly linear progression to the grave. Once we die we stop experiencing time in this fashion. We move from these many instances to one infinite instance, an age without time, eternity with God. God is the Creator of time. He transcends time, and is not bound by it the way we are as creatures. For us time is an unfolding progressive revelation of what is already actual. For God I think that in eternity He has already done everything. The future, our futures are determined. We don’t experience life that way here in the material world, but in eternity it is fixed.

Think about God’s word and prophecy. When an Old Testament prophet spoke, he said, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” Then, the prophecy came. Some of us might think that when that was happening the prophet was merely telling the future. In a sense he was telling the future, but more accurately he was telling us what God had already determined in eternity about our linear experience of life bound by space and time. Since the Bible is completely revealed to us, and Christ is the word incarnate, we no longer have prophets that speak new things to us. A modern prophet quotes the Bible out loud to people.

Our experience is one where we make choices in keeping with our natures connected to each instance in space-time. When we are fearful of the future, we are saying that we don’t trust God to get it the way we want it. We should be thinking about how we can glorify God in each moment that He has already made actual when we experience it. We experience thinking about what choices to make, what the consequences could be, what the rewards of our choice could bring, and we make decisions, as well as experience the consequences of those decisions.

God is not surprised at all by our decisions or the results. He has every person who has ever lived, all their instances, all of yours and mine, from past, present, and future, all woven together in His sovereign will to work out for good. If we trust that God is truly good, and truly sovereign, and realize how sinful we are contrasted to His holiness, then we can start to see that His will is the best.

The fuller truth about our volitions is that transcendentally they are working according to God’s sovereign decrees and ordinances. The creaturely experience of an unfolding space-time is limiting and useful for God’s purposes. In it, He gives us one moment to the next to learn about ourselves, the world, Him, His gospel, and His elect will respond to the gospel. In the limits He has set for us, we grow and are sanctified. It is a process He determined to use, and is good.

So trust the one true good and sovereign God with your future. Make your decisions, and experience the results, but don’t unhinge your culpability to blame God for your experiences. It is not a paradox to use your will, but ultimately have your will predetermined in eternity. It is only paradoxical if you have a lower view of God, and your own sin.

Let’s face it, our wills are the problem. Our goal is to become more like Christ. I’ve sorrowed over my sins, and truly asked God to replace my wicked will with His so that I no longer desire sin. In eternity when we have our glorified bodies, we won’t sin. Does that mean our wills will be replaced with a Godly one? What would that look like? You can find out. If you haven’t already, repent of your sins. Trust the work of Jesus who while on the cross made atonement for the sins of the elect. He finished the work there and justified those He was saving to God. Repent and believe.