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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017
The Imminent Bondage Awaiting America
There was a time when America was regarded by all as a Christian nation.  That didn't mean that everyone in America was a Christian, nor did it mean that Christianity was the state religion.  What it meant was that American Principles and Morals reflected and were uniquely inspired by the Christian morals of that majority who at that time founded the nation.

Christians are called to be charitably serve others even has God, in saving them, has done a great charitable service that they were undeserving of.  We are called to serve others in the same way that we would serve ourselves.  Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus something profound about the human nature, "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church," - Ephesians 5:29 [ESV] - this is what is meant by loving others as you love yourself.  It isn't talking about emotions or affection - it is talking about serving others charitably (i.e. selflessly).

Love in this sense is the very opposite of selfishness.  The greatest expression of this love is found in the character of God, in the work of redemption.  God supplies and sustains the life of everything that lives.  Think this through: He isn't obligated to do.  If God determined to return that life to Himself, it would flee from all that live, and they would be dead in the moment that God ceased to sustain them.  That would be true even if no living thing had ever offended God.  But our rebellion against God's rule (i.e. our sin) is an inexcusable offense to God.  So how much more grace do we receive daily as God supplies us, who deserve His wrath already - with the breath we need to blaspheme His holy name?

When we say that God is love, we mean what the bible means when the bible says it - not that God is emotional and has a great paternal affection for us.  What we means is that God is perfectly selfless.  He serves us, even though we are His enemies because God is "like that" - that is who He is.

You might wonder why anyone goes to hell if God loves us so much, and serves us selflessly.  To many a mind this seems an inconsistent notion - how can God who is good, who serves us daily, and supplies sinners today with the life they need to go on sinning -- how can that God punish sin?  It seems out of  character.

That God supplies us with a life that we not only do not deserve (because we all are chasing after our own purposes and desires rather than obey the purpose for which God created us).  This is what we call "grace".  God is gracious to all of us sinners.

Again, this seems inconsistent with the notion that God is going to punish sin at some point.  How can God be gracious to everyone, if he is going to punish them after being gracious to them for their whole (earthly) life?

You can thank God's mercy for this common grace given to all - but the mercy that provoked this grace is not directed at everyone - it is directed only at those whom God as chosen to be merciful to.  At the time when Adam sinned, none of those whom God had chosen to show mercy to had been born.  In order to show mercy to those, they would need to be born - meaning that God could not execute judgment on Adam immediately, but allowed Adam to procreate in order that through procreation those whom God elected to show mercy to (in saving them from His wrath).

God's "common" grace, enjoyed by sinners and saints alike is necessary for the sake of those whom God will show mercy to.  In other words, sinner, It is not out of God's character to show mercy to the unrepentant sinner who daily earns for himself an even greater eternity in hell for using the life he has received to reject God Himself and rebel against His purposes, God serves such sinners for the sake of those whom He has has determined to save (to show mercy to).

God is not acting out of character.  He is selfless, and can serve a sinner selflessly because that is He who is.  He is not acting gracious, He is gracious - but not every recipient of grace receives mercy.  God feeds everyone who eats, but not everyone who eats will be saved from God's wrath.

Those whom God has chosen (and only those whom God has chosen) to show mercy will be redeemed.  God will redeem them at a great personal cost to Himself - He will, in the person of Christ, take those whom He has chosen to show mercy to, through the death of that life which they inherited from Adam's and into a new unquenchable life which they inherit from Christ.  Those who are in Christ on Calvary, die with Christ on Calvary - their punishment is received in Christ.  Those who are not in Christ, receive the same punishment - but do not receive the life of Christ, on the other side of that punishment because they are not in Christ.

That's what love looks like.  It isn't an emotion it is selfless and even costly service that we do for someone else  - not because they deserve it, or because we owe it to them in some way, or that we are in some way obliged to provide it - but because we don't live for ourselves but we live instead to serve others.  God lives like that, and calls us to live like that also.

Those who come to Christ for salvation, and humble themselves before God, recognizing themselves as living entirely for themselves and crying out to God to be saved from this rebellion against Him - this "sin" - these who cry out to God reckoning that God will save them if they do so  because that is His character - so they are not simply "hoping" to pray the right pray to obligate God to save them, but rather have seen that God is trustworthy, and will do what He promises - trust that God who has made such a promise will keep it  - since they qualify, as sinners, to be inheritors of that promise -- these will be in Christ, for as many as come to Christ in this way, have received the mercy of God.

What does Christianity have to do with the America of old?

Well friend, America use to be a nation built upon the notion that helping one another, living for others and not for ourselves only (Christian ideals) went so far that we would suffer personally in order to bless someone else.  Such noble character was admired and celebrated - and as a nation we were blessed.

But now we borrow from our children and our children's children to furnish the kind of selfish narcissistic celebrated by movies and television.  We want every pleasure and every treasure, and enough leisure to enjoy it all, and no responsibilities to encumber us as we glut ourselves on every conceivable indulgence.  We war against anyone or anything that would impede us as we explore every conceivable way to serve ourselves more fully.

Guess what?  We're bankrupting the future to live like kings in the present - and friend, that isn't going to lead anyone into prosperity.  In the bible, when a person borrows money and can't pay it back - they were made into slaves, and had to work their debt off in and through indentured service.

A hundred and fifty four years ago Lincolns signature on the Emancipation Proclamation set free three million slaves.  This wicked and selfish generation is enslaving and has already enslaved it's children (and grandchildren) by borrowing more money today than they will be able to pay back.  They will not live as affluently as we who burned their future on the altar of pursuing every passing pleasure.

America, you were great as a Christian nation - unique in your strength and prosperity. It wasn't America that conquered and rose above the world - it was a Christian nation, built on Christian principles, living for the world, and not for itself that rose up to such great heights, but having reached the top, you've grown narcissistic and have returned again to your pagan vomit, pursuing the same selfish pleasures the world has always pursued, and so you will crumble as every pagan culture does.

I would write you off entirely, if I didn't have hope that from this spiritually dry place that you've wandered into - you might not still find your way out.  There is still time to learn that what made America great in the first place was not America - but those Christian principles and morals that influenced and formed the greatest democratic republic in history.  Abandon the foundation, good people, and what you've build will crumble with time - leaving you destitute, and at the mercy of your debtors.

Now, if you're an atheist, or just don't know what to believe - or maybe you just are ignorant of your own history, or you just hate everything Christian because you think Christians are all stupid simpletons who are so afraid of death that they invent a God to give them an afterlife that they can hope for and thus cope with their existential cowardice - whatever.  It doesn't matter.  History is teaching us that without Christian faith, Christian ideals don't last long.  We can't rebuild America to be great if we oust Christianity, while trying to not only hold onto, but improve upon Christian ideals.

Even something like Gender identity is considered by the vocal minority as a moral improvement on what has been previously believed in the past.  Anyone who won't get on board with that, is necessarily a hate filled bigot worthy of all contempt - and should be shamed into silence.  The Gender identity war uses all the successful tactics of the jihadist - make it scary for anyone to express an opposing opinion, and you've done your job.  I don't want to be characterized as a hate filled bigot, tossed to the lions on twitter where people who've never sat down to chat with me over tea, rape me publicly for expressing an opinion that they hate, and for which they must assume I am motivated by some deep seated prejudice, etc.   Who wants that?  Better to keep our opinions to our selves, and watch our freedom of speech disappear with a whisper and a sigh.

Already in Canada, the latest bill that passed may well be used by someone to bring charges of hate crime against any person who refuses to use another persons chosen pronoun to describe them. Some of those who celebrate the passing of this new bill don't believe this will happen, but all agree that the letter of the law as it is written, leaves enough room for this kind of abuse.

I find that to be just incredible.  I don't want bills passed that "if used properly" won't oppress me, but if used according to the letter - just might.

Let's be clear, if I am forced to use pronouns that reflect something I don't agree with, that isn't just me losing my freedom of expression - that is me being forced to express the expressions of those I disagree with --under penalty of fine and/or imprisonment. Listen: when someone else has to give up their freedom in order for me to have my freedom, my freedom isn't freedom anymore.  It is oppression.  That is something that concerns me, and ought to concern you.

I personally hope that it doesn't come to this, but I am certainly irked that the law makes provision for it to do just that.

Maybe it is just my age? Maybe everyone who turns fifty suddenly thinks the world has gone to hell in a hand basket in the five years?  It could be that - but it seems like we suddenly went into a moral free fall.  I don't hate anyone who experiences same sex attraction.  I don't really hate anyone else either.  Hate isn't something I pursue, and when I find it in me, I refuse to let it rule me.  I am more likely to "hate" (for a few minutes at least) a person who cuts me off in traffic, than someone who experiences same sex attraction.

The bible is pretty clear: If you engage in sexual activity outside of marriage, you're sinning.  When the bible talks about marriage, it isn't talking about the laws of our lands, whatever they may be - it is talking about the marriage that God ordained between a man and a woman.   The bible isn't telling people how to run their nations and how to make their laws - it is describing what marriage is to God, and those who would follow God.  To the Christian - at least to the Christian who accepts the teachings of the bible at face value - marriage is not defined by the culture but by the scriptures - and it is between a male and a female.  Period.

Any sexual experience that takes place outside of that marriage is sin.  The bible is clear on that.  Yes, there are all kinds of people who will tell you that the bible doesn't say this or that - but most of them either haven't read the bible or don't believe it means what it says.  If you haven't read the bible cover to cover - don't take my word for what I say - read it yourself - you'll be amazed at how many things you find in it that the world has misrepresented.  Then you'll be angry because knowing what it really says, you will realize just how clueless most of the people who tell you what it says, really are.

Living as a husband and wife without getting married is not acceptable to God.  God does not count that as a marriage just because you might think of it as more or less the same thing.  Marriage is a life-long commitment entered into through a sacred vow you make before God between a man and his wife.  It is a covenant that pictures, we are told - the new covenant between us and Christ.  It is no more meant to be broken than Christ's covenant (which cannot be broken).

Living together, or having a justice of the peace "declare" you to be married, is not the same thing as entering into the marriage covenant that God not only ordains, but takes part in. A man cannot "marry" another man in the biblical sense, nor a woman marry a woman.  Likewise a man cannot marry a woman whom God forbids him to marry.  King Herod married a woman, but John the Baptist declared the marriage to be a farce because King Herod had taken his brother's Philip's wife.  John the Baptist rightly identifies what Herod was really doing - committing adultery with Philip's wife.  They were not married in God's eyes - even though Herod allowed himself as King to do that.  The laws of the land - even if you're the one making them - do not bind God.

When I speak of having sex out of marriage therefore, I am talking about having sex outside of that marriage union that God acknowledges as such.  Herod was married to Philip's wife, by law, but not according to God - and what they engaged in was the sin of adultery, and not what God allows in the marriage bed (because they weren't married in God's eyes).

So when I say that any sort of sexual activity outside of marriage is sin, I am not suggesting that God is okay with adultery if the adulterers are legally married - or that homosexual activity is okay if both parties are consenting adults, and consider themselves to be as good as married, or even married legally in their culture, but the same God who rejected the "biologically compatible" marriage of Herod to Philip's wife Herodias, even though that was a perfectly "legal" marriage at the time - rejects on the same grounds any marriage of semblance of marriage that does not line up with what God has explicitly ordained as a marriage.

Not sure what the bible says marriage is supposed to look like? Don't take my word for it, listen to Jesus, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” - Matthew 19:4-6 [ESV] 

Unless you have a very low view of scripture (which is certainly common enough today), you will not deny that Jesus believed that the Marriage God ordained from the beginning was a marriage between someone God made as male and another whom God made as female.  You will note that Jesus tells us not to separate these two - whether they be individuals in real life, or describe the intended template -  we do not have the authority to interfere in either.

That means that the only people who are not sinning when they engage in sexual activity those genetic males who are married to their genetic female wives in a marriage that God has not forbidden.

That makes all sex outside of marriage sinful whether it be heterosexual or homosexual - but because God defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, that means homosexual sex is always sinful.

I don't experience same sex attraction, and I hope I never do.  But if I did, it would be no different than feeling an attraction for a member of the opposite sex.  Finding someone attractive isn't a sin - it's a feeling, or better yet, it is a carnal desire that can either be indulged or resisted.  If I find myself attracted to a woman other than my wife, and I do not pursue that avenue in my private thoughts, but resist the temptation to indulge in lustful thinking - I haven't sinned.  I 'have only been tempted to sin.  It is the same for someone who experiences same sex attraction.  If such a one is indwelt by the same spirit that convicts me of my sin, they too will not need anyone to teach them that there is something in pursuing this attraction to the point of lust that is an act of rebellion against what God wants for them, and they will resist the temptation to lust.

It is theological nonsense to reason that God tempts us to sin.  James tells us that it isn't God tempting us to sin, but our own desires that are tempting us.  So we cannot argue, as some do in their folly, that because I am attracted to women and not men, God wants me to have sex with every woman I find attractive.  Heads up: that isn't God's desire - that's my desire.

Listen: the man who lusts after another man's wife is not getting his "heterosexual" lust from God, he is getting it from himself.  In the same way the man who lusts for another man is not getting this sinful lust from God - it originates in himself.

God does not give people sinful desires, and since the bible forbids all homosexual activity, which God Himself describes as an abomination,  it seems fair to conclude that it isn't God making people with sinful "same sex desires" - but rather it is our own sinfulness that tempts us in this direction.

Genuine Christians can and do experience same sex attraction - in the same way that they experience (as we all do) other sinful temptations.  We respond to all sinful temptation in the same way - we recognize that to pursue them would be an act of rebellion against God's rule in our life, and instead humble ourselves before God's word, surrendering ourselves to pursue God's desires while setting our own sinful desires aside - and this we do prayerfully looking for the grace from God to empower us in doing so sincerely.   We are not simply suppressing what we want to do - we are reasoning from Romans 6 - that it is not the life of Christ in us that provokes us to sin - not the life that saves us, but rather the old life in Adam - the life that Christ took to Calvary, and judged there by putting it to death - that is the same life that provokes us to sin - and we reject the rule of that life as it attempts (through our carnal desires) to rule over us in the moment, as it has in past times.  But here is where we learn what repentance truly is - turning away from that former life which ends in it's death in Christ, and turning to the new life in Christ - which rose victorious over sin and the grave - and this we by trusting (i.e. by "faith") that the life of Christ which conquered both sin and the grave, is sufficient to overcome this temptation in our present walk.  We call that walking in the light, or walking in the Spirit - or in obedience.  It just means we live as slaves, not to our own desires, which condemned the life of Adam, but as slaves to the will of Christ - whose will for us is that we live lives that will benefit us, and those around us - and not live lives of empty selfish pursuits that contribute only more to that condemnation that we escaped in Christ.

I used to think that the Israelites must all be very nearsighted or something.  How could any Jew living in the days of the Judean kings not look back on, and clearly see how every. single. time. Israel strayed from the Lord, they suffered for it.  Surely they had enough information to know that it was no coincidence?  Who can read these accounts and not draw the same conclusion - how could they have been so blind?  How could they go after other Gods, when it was so plain and obvious that God was the only God, and that He was the only God of consequence, and consequences?

Well, I don't think that any more.  We can look back on the America that was, and compare it to the America that is, and look at it's current (gulp) trajectory, and think, surely there is some correlation here between the rejection (and vilification?) of Christianity in the west, and it's consequent moral and fiscal nose dive?

That as it may be - one thing I think we can all see is that in order to sustain our profoundly affluent lives, we must get the money from somewhere.  Today, through deficit financing, we are robbing our children to live on money they will have to pay back.  Our children will be slaves, so that we can enjoy a better life.  Shame on us.
posted by Daniel @ 10:42 AM  
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