Friday, June 26, 2015

5 Chilling Effects of Supreme Court’s Marriage Opinion

Our world dramatically changed on June 26, 2015. And not for the good.

On June 26, 2015, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued an opinion that effectively eliminated the definition of marriage from the laws of the United States. (And no, the Supreme Court did not redefine marriage; the definition of marriage is the relationship between one man and one woman. That was the definition on June 24; and it will always remain the real definition. It is simply no longer recognized in the laws of the United States).

The effects of this opinion are numerous. Some of those effects will be felt within weeks; others will not be fully felt for years.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of effects from the Supreme Court’s opinion; nor are they predictions of what will happen. They are effects that have been occurring in the wake of the attempts of other countries to eliminate the definition of marriage from their respective laws, and therefore should not come as any surprise should we experience them in the days and years ahead.

Here are some of the most chilling effects of this decision (in my opinion):

  1. The marriage rate in the United States will plummet more rapidly—the marriage rate in the United States has already slowed dramatically. Given the drop in the marriage rate in countries like Norway and Sweden in the years following their removal of the definition of marriage from their laws—not to mention the state of Massachusetts in the years since the definition of marriage was removed from their laws 11 years ago—it should come as no surprise that the Supreme Court’s opinion will not increase the marriage rate in the United States. Marriage is just a piece of paper, the thinking goes. Why bother with it?
  2. Therefore, more children will be born out of wedlock—if the marriage rate plummets, then it would follow that more children will then be born out of wedlock. That has been the case in Norway and Sweden; and it should come as no surprise to Americans when the number of children born out of wedlock increases.
  3. The Government will become more involved in families and child-raising—the government will have a greater role in providing for those children born out of wedlock. The government will also have more input in determining what constitutes a family; we should not be surprised to see some state contrive a law that expands the definition of family like California’s new 3-Parent Law.
  4. The bullying and intimidation of those dissenting will escalate—it is already costly to publicly state that marriage is only between one man and one woman, and to live that out in the public square. The vitriolic name-calling and acts of violence began in the aftermath of the passing of California’s Proposition 8 in 2008; it has continued until today with increasing numbers of people losing their jobs, losing their businesses, and losing their homes. The push to silence any dissent will only be bolstered by the events of June 26, 2015.
  5. Many churches, and many Christians, will capitulate—Paul warned Timothy of the dangerous times he would face (2 Timothy 3:1-9). Many will become lovers of pleasure and the praise of people more than lovers of God. It should come as no surprise when we witness more and more of these churches and these Christian leaders have “epiphanies” and suddenly declare that homosexual behavior, and therefore their desired definition of marriage, is somehow okay. 

Those five effects are chilling. But I do see a ray of hope. 

The price for obediently following Jesus Christ went up dramatically on June 26, 2015. The good news is that there will be a significant number of people who will be willing to pay that price. Those will be the people who will turn and go right back into the culture that kicked God out and become the counter-culture—the “principled resistance” (to borrow from Mat Staver). They will be the ones to re-introduce to this foundering society a message of hope: the life-improving, world-changing power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They will be the ones to introduce a novel idea: to limit the understanding of marriage to be an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman. They will be the ones to purport the novel idea that life finds its genesis in the person of God Almighty, and that it begins at conception and ends at natural death. Counter-culture. Principled resistance to that which is being accepted as “normal.”

They will be the ones who will not be unlike Paul and Silas, whom the people of Thessalonica described as “turning the world upside-down” (Acts 17:6)—only they will have the job of turning an upside-down world rightside-up. 

I for one am ready to begin that work. Who’s with me?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why I Support Kirk Jorgensen for Congress (CA-52) (Part 1: The Life Issue)

I recently posted some introductory remarks as to my support for Kirk Jorgensen for California's 52nd Congressional District. I stated that there were a number of reasons behind my support. I would like to take this opportunity to explain one of those reasons: the Life Issue.

Biblical Basis

Because of the authority that the Bible has in my life, I hold to the Bible as being the supreme document as to all areas of life. Therefore, I want to take a moment to point out what the Bible says about life: when it begins, when it ends, who is its Author and Arbiter.

Some Bible passages that many recognize as identifying when life begins would include:

  • Psalm 139:15-16, which speaks about God fashioning the Psalmist in the womb--before birth;
  • Jeremiah 1:4-5, which speaks about God knowing Jeremiah before Jeremiah was being formed in his mother's womb; 
  • The use of the Greek word brephos in Luke 1:41-45, where brephos is translated "babe," or "baby." In these verses, the "baby" (who in this case was John the Baptist) was in his mother's womb. He was unborn at this point.
  • The use of the same Greek word brephos in Luke 2:12-16, this time used by the angel Gabriel when announcing to the shepherds that they will find a Baby lying in a manger, and then the actual discovery by the shepherds of the Baby lying in the manger. In these verses, the "Baby" (who was Jesus) was born, living outside the womb.
Given also the fact that Luke was a medical doctor, his use of the word brephos to describe both the born as well as the unborn child indicates that the biblical position as to when life begins is at conception.

Now, what about when life ends? The Bible has something to say about that as well. Of the myriad of passages which speak to God being the Author of our days, let me highlight a couple:

  • In Psalm 39:4-5, the Psalmist indicates that God not only knows the measures of his days, but is also the Maker of those days;
  • In Psalm 139:16, we find that God has written down fashioned for us before any of them had transpired!
Based on these examples, it is safe to say that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception and ends at natural death.

The National Republican Party Platform on the Life Issue

The 2012 National Republican Party Platform includes this statement concerning life:
"Faithful to the 'self-truths' enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children...We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and the infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide."
Pretty clear where the national party stands, don't you think?

The California Republican Party Platform on the Life Issue

So what about the California Republicans, where do they stand on the issue of life?

Like the national Republican convention, the California Republicans adopted a platform statement in 2012. That platform statement includes the following (in big, bold, letters, I might add):
"The California Republican Party is the party that protects innocent life because we believe life begins at conception and ends at natural death."
Wow. The state GOP platform is even more clear and more succinct.

Why Kirk?

Based upon his statement on the issues under the category of Family and Constitution, Kirk is rather clear on his position: He shares the position of both the national and state Republican party (as well as the biblical position) that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. If elected, he would vote for bills that added greater protection to this, the most precious liberty we have: life.


What is interesting is that his Republican opponent, Carl DeMaio, supports "a woman's right to choose;" codespeak, in my opinion, for not holding to a biblical definition of life beginning at conception and ending at natural death. On the issue page of his website, he attempts to triangulate by explaining that "the reality is that most Americans desire to protect life and do not view abortion as just another form of birth control." Sounds nice, right?

Yet at the top of that page, the website uses the following DeMaio pullquote:
"I will listen to my constituents and vote my conscience regardless of the political consequence."
So let me see if I can connect the dots...

  • Most Americans desire to protect life;
  • Thus, most people in the California 52nd desire to protect life;
  • Carl supports "a woman's right to choose;"
  • So Carl will listen to most of his constituents and still vote for laws that will end the innocent lives of the unborn
Pretty Obvious

It seems obvious to me that Kirk Jorgensen is in line with the national and state Republicans on the issue of human life sanctity, and Carl DeMaio is not. So, I can conclude that the Republican party would endorse Kirk Jorgensen over Carl DeMaio, right?


The San Diego County Republican Party's Central Committee endorsed...wait for it...Carl DeMaio.

Why is that a big deal? Money. Lots of money used to get a candidate's message out. Thanks to this endorsement, Carl DeMaio has lots and lots of money...a lot more than does Kirk Jorgensen.

Where's the California Republicans? The Republicans across the nation? 

They defer to the local guys' pick. The local guys are supposed to "know."

Those local guys? That would be the San Diego County Republican Central Committee.

For the San Diego County Republican Central Committee, they believe that Mr. DeMaio has a better chance of unseating the incumbent, Democrat Scott Peters, than does Mr. Jorgensen.

For the county Republican Central Committee, winning elections (and controlling the flow of money) is more important than the real role of government, which is to protect the liberties of its citizens.

Sorry, but I don't play that game. I could not give a rip about whether someone in Congress or in the Senate or in the Assembly is a Republican or a Democrat or something else. If they don't get this issue right, they don't get my support.

This is but one reason I support Kirk Jorgensen for Congress. I have more; I'll be sharing them later. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why I Support Kirk Jorgensen for Congress (CA-52) (Introduction)


Perhaps you have never read my blog posts before. There's a pretty good reason for that: I rarely can find the time to do much blogging.

However, there are some issues that are near and dear to my heart. They will compel me to speak up. This is one of those times.

Now I am just a pastor of a small church in San Diego. I have opinions (as do you) on a myriad of issues. And those opinions are exactly that: opinions, no more, no less. 

But as a pastor, I believe that my opinions spring forth from a biblically-based worldview; that is, that the Bible is not only authoritative in my life, it also speaks to every issue, every situation, we face in our world today.

With that in mind, I have to tell you that I think our nation is in trouble. Deep, serious trouble.

The trouble goes deeper than any threat from Russia, Iran, or China. It goes beyond the economic quagmire we find our nation trudging through. 

Trouble? Us? 

The trouble is found in the moral core of our nation. We used to have a moral compass that always pointed true north, regardless of whether or not we knew how to read that compass; now our nation's compass is like that of Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean--it points to whatever it desires at the moment. 

That may not describe you; I pray to God that it doesn't describe me. But it does describe our nation. And while we can see it in a number of areas in our culture, I want to address one area where we not only can see it, but where it is ravaging our nation. 

That area: who we elect to represent us in government at every level. 

Those whom We the People have elected to represent us today are furiously trying to fundamentally change our entire cultural landscape. At every level of government, we are seeing a systematic attempt on the part of these elected officials--from passing laws to appointing single arbitrary lawmakers posing as judges--to remake how the citizens of this country relate to its government and to each other.

Now I know that this nation has made some serious mistakes, committed some horrific atrocities, in its history. Slavery was one of those atrocities. But I also know that this nation has been--and is--the greatest attempt at protecting the God-given rights and liberties to man that the world has ever seen. Her constitution is the oldest active constitution on the face of the earth. And I don't want to see her citizens fritter away the greatest nation with the greatest constitution. Not on my watch.

Here is something else I know as well...

A Commission

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am compelled, I am commissioned, to be about the task of helping others discover and do God's will so that they can know Him better. God has given us His word--the Bible--whereby we can know Him in a deeper and more personal way. I am convinced that that book--the Bible--speaks to us about the issues of today. And I am convinced that the Bible will lead us and direct us to the kind of people that God wants serving Him in elected office.

(Now before some of my friends run off shouting "Theocracy!" at me, let me point out that everyone has a god. For some of us, it is the God of the Bible; for others, it is a god of another book or another tradition. For those who say there is no god, their god is themselves--their thoughts, their opinions, their desires. So since everyone has a god and is in some fashion serving that god, everyone, in that regard, is seeking a theocracy of some sort.)

This year's elections, like the one two years ago and four years ago, are critical elections. It is important that we vote. And, I believe that it is vital that we as followers of Jesus Christ live out our life in Him in the voting booth as well as in the workplace as well as in school as well as at home. 

That is what drives me when it comes to voting. I don't want to vote right or vote left; I want to vote up. I don't want to vote the agenda of the donkey or the elephant; I want to vote the agenda of the Lamb. And if any other agenda is in line with that, then all the better.

Why Now?

Why am I making these points at this particular moment in time? Because this year is an election year--a year where we will in California will be electing a governor, a lieutenant governor, state legislators, and a host of other offices. Including Congressional representatives and a senator. 

This year, one of the two main political parties is facing a serious gut-check with regard to their core beliefs. 

In one particular congressional race (the 52nd House District in California), the local Republican party has endorsed a candidate that does not embrace two very foundational planks in the statement of the party's core beliefs (called the platform). At the same time, that same local party has refused to endorse another candidate in the same race who is in agreement with all of his party's platform.

That candidate is the one I'm supporting. And in subsequent posts, I am going to explain a few of the reasons why I am supporting Kirk Jorgensen for Congress in 

In subsequent posts, I will lay out the reasons why I am supporting Kirk. They will deal with some very foundational issues--issues that are clearly explained in the Bible.

If you are in the 52nd California Congressional district, I hope that in these posts I can provide some assistance to you in your responsibility to elect the one who will represent you in Washington. If you are outside the district, I hope that these blog posts will provide some help in electing your own respective representative. 

But if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are to be a witness in every walk of life. Including this one. Ask your pastor or minister or priest to give you guidance as to how to vote biblically; that is part of the responsibility we have: to equip people to bear witness for Jesus in every walk of life. If you don't have a church, then I invite you to check back for the next few posts.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Forgiven Versus Restored: A Response to the World Vision Controversy

Many of you are now aware of the latest casualty in the culture wars. That casualty: World Vision.

What makes this casualty so sad is that an organization that had a solid name and reputation did it to themselves.

As their website so wonderfully describes, World Vision brings monetary sponsors alongside needy children worldwide to not only give those kids a chance to have a personal relationship with Jesus, but to also provide in a tangible way for the needs of those children throughout their formative years. 

What happened?

On Monday, World Vision announced a dramatic change in its employment policies. They announced that those professing Christ as Savior, but in a homosexual relationship that is considered in some states to be a legal marriage, may in fact find gainful employment with the U.S. division of World Vision.

The reason? On Monday, U.S. World Vision president Richard Stearns described this as a "very narrow policy change" that should be viewed "as symbolic not of compromise, but of [Christian] unity."

On Tuesday, the evangelical Christian community responded. Major denominational leaders called out the unbiblical position taken by World Vision in no uncertain terms. Sponsors called to cancel their sponsorships. 

World Vision's attempt to foster unity was successful: denominations came together to call the World Vision Board of Directors to account for this blatant compromise of Biblical principles.

On Wednesday, Stearns announced that the board had reconsidered their policy change and would reverse the policy. In a public letter, Stearns described the response to the original policy change as being done in love and with conviction. He then wrote that the World Vision board is humbly asking for forgiveness, as they are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion caused by their decision in the minds of many of their friends who saw this policy change as a reversal in World Vision's strong commitment to Biblical authority.

So...should we forgive them?

The Bible is crystal-clear: of course we forgive them! (Matthew 18:21-22) Jesus forgave all of us; we must do the same.

But...what about restoration? Do we just go on as if nothing has happened? That presents another issue: the breaking and restoring of trust.

By announcing an employment policy change that was in direct conflict with the Word of God, World Vision broke the trust of the Body of Christ. They had claimed a strong commitment to Biblical authority; their action on Monday claimed otherwise. Which was indicative of where they really are: what they claim, or what they do? I have observed that with most folks, doctrine drives deeds. We act out of what we really believe more than we act out of what we say we believe. 

Based upon what they did on Monday, it became obvious to me that the World Vision Board of Directors--several members of which belong to denominations that do not hold to Biblical inerrancy, the exclusivity of the Gospel, and have endorsed a rejection of the definition of Biblical marriage--were driven more by popular opinion, the desire to be liked, and the apparent success of their work that is fueled by that popularity, more than they are driven by a desire to be submissive to Biblical authority. What they did spoke louder than what they said.

Based on what they did on Tuesday, it is obvious that the World Vision Board of Directors acted on one of three motivations: 
  • an incredible illumination of Biblical truth that suddenly shone into the darkness of their ignorance of Scripture, which caused them to change their minds and repent;
  • an "aha" moment--a realization that their biggest supporters are the same people that they have an acute desire to avoid being categorized together with: Bible-believing members of the Body of Christ who are perceived as being "political" due to their insistence upon a Biblical position; or
  • (and this one is the most dubious) a discovery that their policy shift hurt their bottom line, and therefore a reversal was needed to stop the financial bleeding.
I know that last one is extremely cynical, but this is what happens when trust is broken. Forgiveness can come--and should come--immediately. Restoration--specifically, the restoration of trust--has to slowly be repaired. 

To be clear, this policy reversal was a necessary and welcomed first step. But it is not enough to restore the trust that World Vision is an organization that is submissive to Biblical authority.

The next step, one that would demonstrate the organization's sincere desire to be submissive to Biblical authority, would be for each board member who voted to change the employment policy to quietly submit his or her letter of resignation and then submit themselves to the leadership of their respective local churches.  Resign and humbly serve under the leadership of their respective local churches. That might be difficult, as Stearns mentioned that the original decision was "overwhelmingly ratified by the board." 

The result might mean a board room that would be completely empty for the next meeting. But it would be a necessary cost in the overall price to restore the trust of an organization that deliberately shattered its own reputation.

Solomon knew what he was talking about when he said that a good name was desired above great riches.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Moved My Blog to Here

I was taking the kids to school yesterday when I received a text.

(Please note: I did not check said text until I was stopped at a red light. Really.)

I noticed that it was sent from my gmail address. My. Gmail. Address.

The body of the text? A link. Along with a request to send a picture of my daughter.

Now, if you were me, what would you be thinking?

That's what I thought, too.

I could not get to my office fast enough to delete my Google account. My gmail. My Google docs. My calendars. blog.

Then I spent the better part of 2 1/2 hours starting up a new Google account. Including a new blog page.

I shared my experience with my wife when we both got home.

She said, "I got the same text, too!"

I was pretty certain I had smelled out the hacker and stopped a certain cyber-stalker. 

That is, until...

My daughter heard me describing this. She said, "I tried to message you to send me a picture that was on that website."

I deleted my calendar...and my blog with all of its prevent myself from further hacking from some cyber-stalker: my daughter.

Sigh...sometimes, you just gotta laugh.

I hope this helps you do that.