8 Reasons People Attend False Churches

After church on Sunday, four of us began discussing why people attend churches that do not preach the gospel. Here are the answers we came up with.

  1. To meet with friends
  2. To be protected from witchcraft
  3. To be entertained
  4. To feel pleased with yourself
  5. To receive money or gifts from the church
  6. To receive a “blessing” that will produce money
  7. To find a spouse
  8. To please family

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Everyone Should Love America

Whether you are a citizen of America, Cameroon, Nepal, or Indonesia, if you believe in Jesus Christ, you should love America. In fact, regardless of your religion, you should love America. Blacks should especially love America. Mexican, Asian, Indian, and even Muslim immigration to the USA says that they love America as well. Here are 8 reasons to love the USA with the most important at the end of the list.

1. Free speech

I baptized Tinache one of many Shona men who were beaten by supporters of Zimbabwe’s previous dictator Robert Mugabe. He and many others are afraid to speak about the politics or economy of the country because there may be repercussions. Jews in Iran are pressured to support the government in its hatred of the nation of Israel. The Chinese Communist Party wants to suppress speech in Hong Kong and even off its coast in Taiwan.

America has always had a free press, and the world has taken note of it. Since 1776, the number of countries that have moved toward free speech has greatly increased.

2. Freedom of religion

China and India do not allow freedom of religion—missionaries are restricted. At least 19 Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Mauritania have a state religion with heavy restrictions on evangelism and missionary activity.

America allows the religions of these intolerant countries to come to her shores and proselytize. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This freedom is necessary to the Christian faith which is built on people freely choosing to believe on Christ rather than compelled because of their nationality, ethnicity, or heritage.

One would think that all religions would only want adherents who actually believed their faith rather than those who slipped in by default. America is an enormous land of religious decision, and its existence has had a pleasing effect on religious freedom elsewhere in the world.

3. Equality before the law

From the beginning, America offered the protection of the law to all its citizens. Presidents were not kings because they too must be law-abiding. Originally, they rarely spoke to the nation, and the people were glad to go about their day by day work without thinking about the head of the federal government because he too was one citizen among many.

Thankfully America ended the slave trade 9 months after Britain in 1807. Although much earlier, all 13 colonies banned it in 1775. The fight against slavery is one of the most wonderful marks of America. Since the founding of the country, state after state fought against it and abolished it. Ultimately, slavery itself was ended in 1865 after 620,000 Americans paid with blood. Can any country show as much will over such a long period of time to make sure all men are free? Blacks should love America because they joined Britain to end the slave trade that began in Kenya by Africans and Muslims long before America was around (See Martin Meredith’s riveting history, The Fortunes of Africa, chapters 8 and 46).

But however the past transpired, today all Americans stand equal before the law. Would you rather go to court in Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, or America? Martin Cothran says that a society should be judged by its ideals, and if so, America’s ideal is for equality before the law.

4. Stable economy

Depending on what metric is used, the USA creates more wealth than the entire European Union combined. That has a tremendous effect on the poorest countries of the world because American investors send their money overseas to build factories, start businesses, and employ really poor people all the while paying taxes in those countries which are supposed to help build roads and hospitals.

America’s wealth helps many poor people since they give more to charity in a year than all the wealth created in a year by the entire country of 55 million South Africans. Everyone should love that generosity because it effects the entire world through missionaries, development projects, investment capital, universities, and many more ways. The hundreds of children in Rafiki schools in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia should love America as well as everyone who is cheering for those kids.

5. Innovation

Who has not purchased an iPhone or Microsoft Word or Coca Cola or the Ford Ranger or Nike shoes? Who has not taken a benefit from these American inventions: bottle caps, zippers, mousetraps, batteries, thumb tacks, shaving razors, air conditioners, tea bags, supermarkets, sunglasses, and microwave ovens? Americans have a can-do spirit which is why God used that country to save the world twice in the last 100 years. Why wouldn’t everyone love that?

6. Universities

The top four universities in the world are in the US: MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Caltech. America is the undisputed champion in the world for universities with its 3,300 institutions. Many of those students hail from other countries, and that means they should love America. My great grandfather did not have opportunities to learn like these international students.

By far, America has the most seminaries for pastors and the church. If you are a Christian of any country, why would you not love a land that has trained so many people to serve God?

7. Biblical churches

Look at the local church map on Nine Marks Ministries and notice where the Biblical churches are. All of Europe has less than 200 dots on the map. South America under 50. Africa has 37. America has thousands.

If you hold to the Baptist Confession of 1689, notice where the churches are.

And why is it that this country produced so many churches? Where did they come from? Why would a South African or Pakistani or Cambodian Christian not love such a country? Why would all the Christians of the world not seek to become more like a land that can dominate its map with Biblical churches?

8. Missionaries

In the churches my teammate and I have planted, every single believer was converted by the gospel grace given first to America. Had it been handled poorly or wasted, where would they be headed today?

America sends out the lion’s share of missionaries. Of the churchplanting variety of missionary—the most apostolic of all who take the title, America sends an even greater percentage. Have you ever met a missionary from Germany or Argentina or Australia or Zambia? There are some from each of these countries, but a slow drip compared to the steady stream of Americans prepared to lay down their lives.

Were it true that Cambodia sent more missionaries than any society in the world, I would love Cambodia with all my heart. I would want to visit that country. I would want my sons to consider studying there. I would be happy if they took the Cambodian ethos that had so devoted itself to the Treasure in the field. I would study what is happening there so that it might be reproduced everywhere so that the earth might be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. I would be ashamed for the darkness of the country in which I lived. I would long for greater grace like that shining example.

I would not act as if that country did not matter, or as if my country were just as good, and I definitely would not attack the country pouring out its sons and daughters to plant churches anymore than the Queen of Sheba would have attacked Solomon once she had seen his temple and the majesty of his God.

The troops of American missionaries alone have earned it the right to be loved by all men who love the gospel or simply good education or development for the poorest places of the world.

Conclusion

Many imperfect things should be loved. Spouses, children, sinners, and the church of God are all stained with great imperfections. Even when God’s people are divisive, immoral, petty, and carnal, they are still called holy ones (1 Cor. 1:2). Too many sins have been perpetrated by America’s citizens and government, yet it is still exceptionally blessed among all the countries of the world. God has apparently loved America, and ultimately that is the best reason why we should too.

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Black Lives Matter Does Not Care About Black People

The movement known as Black Lives Matter (BLM) is not morally neutral. It makes certain claims and takes positions on theological and philosophical grounds that Christians must evaluate from Scripture. In this way, it is not merely an American issue. What are the claims made by this organization?

The most central claim is to fight for the freedom of Black people. Yet it is a miserable and justly angering reality that while highlighting a few high profile cases, BLM ignores the greatest sins and violence against black people.

1. Black babies do not matter to Black Lives Matter.

BLM fights when a drug-using armed robber is tragically killed, but they are silent as the entire black population is reduced by 50%. Catherine Davis and Bradley Mattes report,

According to U.S. census data, there were 18,871,831 black American citizens in 1960. Since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973, abortion has killed an estimated 20 million black babies — more than the entire black population of 1960.

If all the deaths of black people from all causes in a single year were added together, the murdered bodies of black babies destroyed in the womb would still be more numerous. Abortion clinics are commonly placed within walking distance of black areas.

During the 8 minutes and 46 seconds while Derek Chauvin was kneeling on George Floyd, 5 black babies were murdered with the peaceful silence of BLM approving the blood shed.

Further, BLM finds space on their website to promote the destruction of the nuclear family (under the “About, What We Believe” tab), and their editors had to make sure that they publicly support men who call themselves women (same tab), but curiously, BLM just ran out of words before it was able to defend the wanton taking of these apparently disposable lives.

2. Black men murdered by other black men do not matter to Black Lives Matter.

Each year thousands of black men are murdered by other black men, and a statistical handful by the police. Overwhelmingly, these murders take place in liberal cities where government policies have formed a steep incline preventing success and even tumbling blacks backward. It is commonly reported that there were far more two-parent homes in 1940 among the black community than today. Government policies have paid the most vulnerable people to perpetuate and even pioneer the most self-destructive practices such as single mother homes.

Incidentally, this is why Christians must study Scripture and history so that they might be able to speak biblically about politics. The conditions of society set up by the political system have far reaching consequences in the habits of our every day lives. Those habits, in turn, produce the character that forms our lot in life.

BLM does not mention character. It does not have anything to say to the thousands of dead young black men. By shouting so much against the few cases it highlights, it has lost its voice when telling black youth what they might do to avoid the great risk of violent crime by improving their own character.

But in some ways the most egregious examples of BLM overlooking the murders of other black men are the murders of black police officers and other civilians killed during the recent riots. If a black man enters a home illegally, uses drugs, threatens to murder a black woman and her baby, and yet is killed by a police officer, he becomes a hero. Yet if a black thug murders an innocent black man protecting his own property, it is ignored.

Conclusion

White and black people who have no character will support BLM because it is far less painful than weeping and working to end the river of blood that BLM conveniently ignores.

Objection:

“Abortion and criminal homicide may be problems, but that does not mean we should ignore police brutality.”

If two men were embezzling from your company, the one stealing $100, and the other stealing $100 million, it would be wrong, sinful, and totally unjustifiable to ignore the greater and shout about the lesser. Until BLM shows any concern for the murder of hundreds of thousands of black people, we will refuse to follow their twisted logic when they profess to believe that black lives really do matter.

Until BLM opens its mouth about the great tragedies of abortion and black victims of homicide, we are under no obligation to believe their religious propaganda. BLM has an agenda, but defending black people is not germane to it.

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20 Questions for Pastors Who Believe Divorce is Permissible

In the past, I have listed the arguments for divorce and against divorce. If you are not familiar with the debate or arguments, then please read those posts. This morning I finished reading Daryl Wingerd’s excellent Divorce and Remarriage: A Permanence View. For those who have taken the position that the Bible sometimes allows divorce and remarriage in cases of adultery and desertion, I offer the following 20 questions.

Jeremiah 3

1. If God’s divorce of Israel in Jeremiah 3 allows for divorce today then must couples today also continue to be devoted exclusively to the sinning spouse (3:1, 7, 12-14, 22), call themselves married (3:14), and maintain their binding covenant (3:16-19) as God did with Israel?

Matthew 19

2. Are pastors today willing to prohibit divorce without any reference to exceptions or nuance or clarifications like Jesus did with the Pharisees’ question until someone raises further difficulties as the Pharisees did (Matt. 19:3-6)?

3. Are pastors today willing to make explicit statements against divorce and remarriage without any qualification as both Jesus and Paul did (Luke 16:18; 1 Cor. 7:39; Rom. 7:2-4)?

4. If the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus (Matt. 19:3), then how does that happen if he merely admitted that he holds to the relatively conservative Shammai school of allowing divorce whenever there is adultery?

5. Why were the disciples shocked (Matt. 19:10 cf. Mark 10:10) by Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees if Jesus were simply standing with one of the well-known schools (i.e. Shammai: Divorce is permissible for fornication)?

6. If the words “except for fornication” were not found in Matt. 19:9, would it be easier for you to accept that Matt. 5:32 was referring to betrothal and not to divorce within an already established family?

7. If the words “except for fornication” were not found in Matt. 19:9, would it be easier for you to see how Paul was prohibiting all divorce and remarriage in Romans 7:2-3 and 1 Cor. 7:10-11?

8. Would any readers today describe the words “except for fornication” as “clear and unambiguous” in the debate about divorce and remarriage?

9. How much weight then does the “some divorce and some remarriage” position place on two, admittedly unclear and ambiguous words?

10. If Jesus was listing an exception in Matt. 19:9, on what grounds does that exception not include lust and pornography?

11. If lust and pornography are included as valid reasons for divorce, then has the exception not become the rule?

12. What is the significance of Matthew’s record of Joseph’s attempted divorce of Mary as well as the exception clause (“except for fornication”) in Matt. 19:9?

13. Is there any evidence that Mark’s readers assumed that Jesus permitted divorce?

14. Why should Matthew’s account be chosen instead of Mark’s account as the interpretive grid to control the conclusions about divorce?

Romans 7

15. Does Paul use marriage to illustrate that only the work of Christ could save us from the guilt of the law in Rom. 7:2-4?

16. How many ways does Paul provide for a woman to be freed from her husband in Rom. 7:2-3?

17. If a woman may be freed from her first husband in some way other than death, then may not some people be saved from the law in some way other than Christ’s work on their behalf?

1 Corinthians 7

18. Why does Paul explicitly prohibit divorce four times in four succeeding verses (1 Cor. 7:10-13) if he really believes that there are two broad categories for divorce (i.e. fornication or desertion)?

19. Why are the prohibitions in 1 Cor. 7:10-13 so clear and the exception for desertion in 1 Cor. 7:15 so unclear?

Ephesians 5

20. Wherein is the error in this syllogism?

Proposition 1: A husband must be like Jesus Christ in His love for His bride (Eph. 5:25).
Proposition 2: Jesus Christ never divorces His bride.
Conclusion: A husband must never divorce His bride.

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Obedience That Dishonored God

To the government or king

  1. Doeg the Edomite obeys the king to murder 85 men (1 Sam. 22:18-19).
  2. The men of Keilah would have obeyed the king by delivering up David after he had just saved them (1 Sam. 23:12).
  3. The men of Ziph obeyed the government when they should have disobeyed (1 Sam. 26:1).
  4. Bathsheba obeyed the king’s request for her to break her marriage vow (2 Sam. 11:4).
  5. Joab sinfully obeyed the king’s request to put Uriah in a place where he would die (2 Sam. 11:14-17).
  6. Joab and the captains of the army sinfully obeyed the king’s command to number the people (2 Sam. 24:4).
  7. Two fools obey Jezebel and lie about Naboth (1 Kings 21:10).
  8. The men who took Micaiah to prison obeyed wicked Ahab in that unjust command (1 Kings 22:26).
  9. The soldiers obeyed the Jewish leaders (Matt. 28:15).

    To the people
  10. Aaron obeys the voice of the people (Ex. 32:1-4).
  11. The Levite obeys the crowd from Dan (Judges 18:19-20).
  12. The Levite obeys the crowd of Benjamites to deliver his concubine for abuse (Judges 19:25).
  13. Pilate obeys the crowd to consent to Christ’s murder (Matt. 27:24).
  14. Herod obeyed the whims of the people around him to cut off John’s head (Mark 6:25-26).

    To parents
  15. Micah obeys his mother to worship false idols (Judges 17:3-5).

    To wives
  16. Solomon obeyed his wives (1 Kings 11:4).
  17. Ahab obeyed his wife Jezebel (1 Kings 16:31 cf. 21:25).

    To false teachers
  18. Peter obeyed the Judaizers at least for a time drawing other Christians with him back to Judaism (Gal. 2:12-13).
  19. The church at Thyatira obeyed Jezebel the false prophetess (Rev. 2:20)

Conclusions

  • The government often tempts men to sin by fearing the consequence of breaking the law.
  • Crowds of people lead men to sin because their desires are corrupt and their judgment is unbiblical. Pure democracy is not a godly system.
  • A wicked wife can exercise great power over her husband, and logically the reverse is true as well.
  • Obedience sometimes results from a lack of integrity and moral courage.
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Disobedience That Honored God

Against government

  1. Shiphrah and Puah disobey the Egyptian government (Ex. 1:17).
  2. Moses disobeyed the Egyptians government when he defended the cruel taskmaster (Ex. 2:11-12; cf. Heb. 11:24-27).
  3. Moses disobeyed the Pharaoh by sending the plagues (Ex. 5-10).
  4. Rahab disobeyed the government (Joshua 2:3-4).
  5. Samuel refused to forgive or unite with the king (1 Sam. 15:25-26, 350).
  6. David refused to take Saul’s armor (1 Sam. 17:38-39).
  7. David disobeyed the king to save his life (1 Sam. 19:12).
  8. Michal disobeys the king, her father to protect her husband (1 Sam. 19:17).
  9. Jonathan disobeys the king, his father to protect his friend (1 Sam. 20:9).
  10. The servants of Saul disobeyed the king’s command (1 Sam. 22:17).
  11. Saul’s armorbearer disobeyed the king’s command to kill the king (1 Sam. 31:4).
  12. Obadiah disobeys Ahab and Jezebel when they try to murder the prophets of the Lord (2 Sam. 18:4).
  13. Elijah disobeys Ahaziah even attacking his soldiers with fire (2 Kings 1:10, 12).
  14. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego disobey Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:18).
  15. Daniel disobeyed Darius (Daniel 6:10).
  16. The magi disobeyed Herod (Matt. 2:10).
  17. John the Baptist disobeyed Herod (Matt. 14:3-5).
  18. The apostles and the early church disobeyed the government (Acts 4:3; 5:18, 28; 7:54; 8:1; et. al.)

    Against husband
  19. Abigail disobeyed her husband (1 Sam. 25:19, 37).

    Against parents
  20. Jacob left Laban without telling him (Gen. 31:20).
  21. Jonathan snuck out privately to attack the Philistines (1 Sam. 14:3).
  22. Jesus did not obey his parents when He stayed in Jerusalem to teach the priests (Luke 2:43, 48-49).

    Against master
  23. The donkey disobeyed Balaam though it had never disobeyed before (Num. 22:23-30).

Conclusions

  • Of all the instances of godly disobedience, the most common authority to rebel against is the government.
  • Disobedience in the home is very rarely honored (I could only find two examples, Abigail and Jesus).
  • The book of Acts includes many examples of godly disobedience often as a result of evangelism. Or, to put it in reverse, ceasing evangelism would have allowed the Christians to please the government in most cases.
  • It is not uncommon for Christians to disobey the government especially with regards to evangelism.
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Three Reasons The Holy War Surpasses The Pilgrim’s Progress

Were a short list composed of the greatest works ever written by man outside the Bible, certainly The Pilgrim’s Progress by the uneducated Baptist John Bunyan should be on that list. His mind dripped Scripture and Christian’s journey to the Celestial City has helped a great many people in the narrow way.

Yet Bunyan’s The Holy War is superior.

Summary

The holy war is the conquering of the beautiful town of Mansoul first by the wicked giant Diabolos and secondly by the golden prince Emanuel. The story follows six turns of the plot.

1. Diabolos conquers the town of Mansoul.
2. Emmanuel takes it back.
3. The town falls back into sin.
4. Diabolos takes it again.
5. Emmanuel takes it back.
6. Diabolos tries twice more and fails.

Covering the Whole Bible

If you do not know the Bible, the story will surprise you at every turn, and if you know the Scripture it may surprise you even more so. How can it surprise a Bible-reader? Bunyan secures verses from at least 54 books of the Bible turning them to his purpose of telling the story of redemption. Even after reading it three times, I am constantly amazed at how many doctrines and verses the author calls into service. The image of God is found in Mansoul’s Heart Castle. The Trinity is reflected by King Shaddai, His Son Prince Emanuel, and the Lord High Secretary who fully knows the minds of the King and His Son. The Covenant of Redemption is found in several places as well as total depravity, the glory of grace, a definition of effectual calling, the glory of the resurrected body, and nearly every other doctrine in Scripture.

The story is practically a systematic theology wrapped in a memorable story with fascinating characters. This is the first reason that The Holy War surpasses The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Intensity

Secondly, the Bible’s basic plot is terribly intense, and no other earthly metaphor captures that earnest, grim, desperate, hopeful tone as well as war. Jesus compares the Christian life to farming (Matt. 13:3-9), building (Luke 14:28-30), and taking a journey (Matt. 7:13-14). Paul agrees with these and even adds marriage (Eph. 5:22-32). But more commonly found in Scripture is the picture of a war.

  • Luke 14:31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle…
  • 1 Tim. 1:18 Fight the good fight… (Also 2 Cor. 10:4; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7)
  • 2 Tim. 2:3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Most of the books of Joshua and Judges are accounts of war, and these were given to us as our examples. Imprecatory psalms such as 55, 58, 69, 109, and 137 are written to produce in the Christian a warlike mood.

But even more so than these explicit references to war or fighting are the main plot lines of Scripture. Satan is a lion on the prowl hunting for our souls. His thousands or millions of demons are our desperate enemies. They are diabolical fiends with implacable hatred and immense power. The end of all those who oppose Jesus Christ is a lake of fire and brimstone for all eternity.

In The Holy War Bunyan writes about soldiers being “brained” and taking great wounds. He has townspeople lying dead in the streets. Men fight with bandages if by any means they might save their families. Nearly all of these intense lines are taken from different verses in the prophets.

The sobriety of this story calls up manliness that approaches the reality, and that effect on the reader is more palpable here than in Christian’s dangerous journey.

The Lord Jesus Christ

Thirdly, Prince Emanuel is the main character of the Bible and the main character of The Holy War. It is not surprising to hear that someone might weep while reading for a new kindling of love to Jesus Christ in this story. He is called the Golden Prince. His cross work is mentioned. His offices are the goal of the narrative. When He arrives to defeat Diabolos your heartbeat quickens. His speech that closes the book is like the grand finale of fire works. Bunyan’s presentation of the Lord Jesus matches for beauty The Letters of Samuel Rutherford or The Poems of Isaac Watts.

Perhaps there is an author who can paint our Savior’s Face with more lively colors, but if there is, I haven’t seen the portrait. And to the point of this review, The Holy War is more fitting to this pleasing task than The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Conclusion

  • The Holy War is a systematic theology covering nearly every doctrine of the Bible.
  • It captures the intensity of New Testament salvation.
  • Our dear Lord Jesus is magnified delightfully.

In these three ways, this book surpasses the other better known allegory and maybe all other books written merely by men.

Quotes
“For here lay the excellent wisdom of him that builded Mansoul, that the walls could never be broken down, nor hurt, by the most mighty adverse potentate, unless the towns-men gave consent thereto.” 9 compare with page 96, “But after three or four notable charges by the Prince, and his noble captains, Eargate was broken open, and the bars and bolts wherewith it was used to be fast shut up against the Prince, was broken into a thousand pieces.”

Captain Conviction says to the town: “Consider if it be not amazing grace that Shaddai should so humble himself as he doth. … Has he that need of you, that we are sure you have of him?” 51

“Mr. Carnal Security did after all this mercy bestowed on this corporation, bring the town of Mansoul into great and grievous slavery and bondage.” 163

Mr. Godly fear said, “Though several of their petitions should be answered with nought but silence or rebuke: For it is the way of the wise Shaddai to make men wait and to exercise patience and it should be the way of them in want, to be willing to stay his leisure.” 174

“Then they took courage, and sent again, and again, and again, and again; for there was not now one day, nor an hour that went over Mansoul’s head, wherein a man might not have met upon the road one or other riding post, sounding the horn from Mansoul to the Court of the King Shaddai.” 174

Prince Emanuel: “Nothing can hurt thee but sin; nothing can grieve me but sin; nothing can make thee base before thy foes but sin: Take heed of sin, my Mansoul.” 264

“And dost thou know why I at first, and do still suffer Diabolonians to dwell in thy walls, O Mansoul? It is to keep thee wakening, to try thy love, to make thee watchful, and to cause thee yet to prize my noble captains, their soldiers, and my mercy.” 265

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Should Christians be Concerned About Freedom?

If your only spiritual concerns deal with the propositions surrounding Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, you have spiritual eye problems. Some think themselves particularly far-seeing because on top of doctrines like atonement and inerrancy, they also care about election and sovereignty.

Yet political and societal freedom is also a Christian virtue. South Africa’s apartheid (circa 1964-1994) stood in opposition to Jesus Christ in part because it denied freedom to a majority of its citizens. Those freedoms are melting like ice in the sun when a black bride is pushed into the back of a police car on her wedding day for the crime of carrying on with their planned wedding when government officials decided that was too risky.

Christians love freedom because the Bible teaches that society should be free. Where does the Bible promote freedom?

1. Christians believe in freedom because the Bible teaches men are all sinners.

Jesus is very clear that we are all born sinners (John 1:10; 3:19; 7:7; 8:44, etc.). Because of the virus of sin, we are all untrustworthy. Given enough power, sin will dominate each of us, and history is a clear example of that. The barbarism of the destruction of the Ndebele people by the hands of Shaka and then again by the Shona kingdom in the north is one example. King Leopold’s vile treatment of the people in the Congo is another example. These men acted wickedly because they had wicked hearts. This is the uniform testimony of the entire Bible.

  What is a sinner?  
  Sinners have wicked thoughts continually. Gen. 6:5
  Sinners are committed to sinning. Gen. 19:11
  Sinners are like irrational sheep. Is. 53:6
  Sinners have only filthy rags to offer God. Is. 64:6
  Sinners have rotten hearts. Jer. 17:9
  Sinners have nothing to offer. Matt. 5:3
  Sinners are blind spiritually. Luke 4:18
  Sinners are condemned to be executed. John 3:18
  Sinners hate Jesus Christ. John 7:7
  Sinners are children of Satan. John 8:44
  Sinners do not desire God. Rom. 3:11
  Sinners do not understand truth. 1 Cor. 2:14
  Sinners have no strength or ability. Rom. 5:6
  Sinners are born with these conditions. Rom. 5:12
  Sinners are willing slaves of evil. Rom. 6:17
  Sinners are dead spiritually. Eph. 2:1
  Sinners are children of wrath. Eph. 2:3
  Sinners have a twisted moral compass. Tit. 1:15
  Sinners are enemies of God. James 4:4
  Sinners are criminals before God. 1 John 3:4

If this is really the case, then it applies to leaders as well. If we are all sinful, then the leaders are also sinful. If they have a great degree of power, they will use it according to their sinful desires.

Of course, individual citizens are also sinners, but in the capacity as a citizen they do not have power to infringe on the freedom of others. As a dictator, that sinful citizen can act like Idi Amin in Uganda or Sadaam Hussein in Iraq or Muammar Gadaffi in Libya.

Practically each page in history shows a similar story. This is why we want a president, not a king. He must be checked by the courts which must be checked by the Parliament which can be vetoed by the president. The 1.3 million government workers are all a collective group of sinners receiving paychecks larger than the average citizen and carrying power to enforce their ideas on the country.

Christians believe in the sinfulness of man, in fact, if you deny this, you may have forfeited any Biblical right to claim to be part of this religion. But if you agree that men are sinful, then naturally you will be distrustful of giving power to those in authority.

2. Christians believe in freedom because we love our neighbors.

Jesus told us to love our neighbors, and then he showed us what that means by giving to meet the needs of others. We want each person to be able to flourish in society by making whatever choices they feel will best tend to their good as long as those choices do not harm others.

At this point, someone will say that the lockdown is necessary as a means of loving our neighbors so that they will not die. That is a fine sentiment for individuals, but it is extremely tricky for government to determine. It is tricky because you do not know what all the citizens want, because your judgments are clouded by peer pressure, and because authoritative decisions rarely end in freedom. Some citizens choose to take the risk of riding in vehicles even though each day 38 people die in our country from road accidents and 3,200 around the world pass away from car accidents. Has the country voted to relinquish their liberties? Swimming kills 870 people per day around the world. Why have we not banned swimming pools? The USA loses 14 people per day from choking, and those lives would be saved if the government mandated soup as the only diet.

In the book Death by Government, R. J. Rummel shows that government has been directly responsible for 262 million deaths in the 20th century alone. Every one of those lives was lost because government did not respect personal freedom. But the majority of those murders was perpetrated while the officials were saying that they were trying to help. The government should never take away freedom because there is the possibility of risk. That is not loving your neighbor.

A large number of citizens would choose to take the risk of sickness in order to continue working, and when I allow that freedom to others, I am honoring their judgment and their choices.

3. Christians believe in freedom because each person must be allowed to read the Bible and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

If men must be free in the most important decision—what to do with Jesus Christ, then we may safely build a free society on all smaller decisions. The Great Commission presupposes freedom. How can we tell others the gospel if movement, church meetings, and travel restrictions are in place?

Incidentally, the great Baptist Roger Williams promoted the doctrine of religious freedom, and Christians today believe that every religion should be free to promote its ideas in society as well. If a majority of people in society are Islamic, they are free to put Islamic ideas into the government or schools. While Christians may not agree with Islam, they support the freedom that allows Muslims to be Islamic.

4. Christians believe in freedom because lack of freedom results in theft.

About 3,500 years ago, God said, You shall not steal. But in a society dominated by government, every one of those posts must be paid, and usually much larger than the average worker. As the government writes more laws, it needs more “public servants.”

Money for grants, social programs, handouts, and corruption also comes unwillingly from the average worker at a small company or farm. When government has more power, freedom is reduced because theft through unjust taxes are high. When a man has lost a certain portion of his material goods, he has lost the freedom of using them in the ways he would have if they had remained in his possession.

The government—which here in South Africa calls itself Government with a capital “G” and no article as if it were your Uncle Keith—calls the lockdown essential to save lives, but the cost is freedom. At the least, we should be clear on the price if we are forced to pay it.

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29 Evidences That Christ Loves Sinners

Even before Good Friday Christ loved sinners…

  1. Christ restricted Himself to a six foot body that He might explain God to a race of men living in deadly darkness while the fullness of His divine glory was veiled (John 1:18; Luke 1:79), and this restriction was love to me.
  2. Christ dwelled with men enduring by His perfection heightened sensitivity to every prick of sin and wickedness on this earth from those who drink iniquity like water and whose devotion to disobedience defiles them from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head (Matt. 17:17; Job 15:16; Isa. 1:6), and this walking with men was love to me.
  3. Christ walked to Jerusalem knowing the outcome of His journey would be a display of injustice, torture, and personal pain enough to make the long history of human crimes seem a drop in the bucket (Luke 9:51-53), and each step was love to me.

At Good Friday we remember…

  1. Christ persevered in prayer three times in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39-44), and this perseverance in prayer was love to me.
  2. Christ refused every impulse of His flesh that urged Him to call 12 legions of flaming spirits (Matt. 26:53), and this refusal was love to me.
  3. Christ bore in His body the most humiliating degradation of laughter from His earthly peers though they were really the works of His hands, nor did He hide His face from their spitting, slapping, and cruelty (Matt. 26:67; Isa. 50:6; John 1:3), and these born indignities were love to me.
  4. Christ held his tongue when mocked by men (Matt. 27:14; James 3:2), and this holding was love to me.
  5. Christ suffered meekly from the stripes laid upon Him by a leather whip and a coarse soldier who plied His cursed strength until the back and legs of the Father’s only Son hung like strips of a slaughtered beast (Isa. 53:5; Matt. 27:26), and this scourging was love to me.
  6. Christ steadied Himself when lithe branches were twisted together and crowned His royal head though a staff pressed the thorns until His face ran with His own vital life (Matt. 27:29-30), and that steadied head was love to me.
  7. Christ placed the cross bar on His shoulders and walked amidst the great men, soldiers, and the crowd to Golgotha (John 19:17), and the bearing of that cross was love to me.
  8. Christ laid His sinless arms and legs upon a rugged tree binding Himself to the curse of the law in all its damning weight so that in the holiest and most terrible mystery He might be made a curse for me (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; Deut. 21:23), and His resignation to death was love to me.
  9. Christ did not withdraw His flesh when a soldier’s arm raised a hammer to strike through His wrist (Matt. 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:33; John 19:18), and that unflinching will was love to me.
  10. Christ lifted His voice through parched lips to gasp out a plea that the Father would not forget mercy when He looked down on the vile creatures murdering His Son (Luke 23:34), and this prayer was love to me.
  11. Christ gave hope to every sinner when He instantly pardoned, received, and comforted the condemned criminal hanging by His side (Luke 23:42-43), and this offer of hope was love to me.
  12. Christ cries, “It is finished,” so that the firmest confidence and truest happiness might one day be mine (John 19:30; Dan. 9:24), and this completed work was love to me.
  13. Christ gathered up in arms no less than infinite the terrifying flood of His Father’s accumulated wrath on sinners from Adam to today, and to testify to all the ages of the unfathomable extremity of His anguish He summoned His waning human strength to cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46; 1 John 2:2), and this quenching of the wrath in unknown agony to Himself was love to me.

At Easter we remember…

  1. Christ endures for three days the place of departure and desecration (Mark 8:31; Eph. 4:9-10), and this burial was love to me.
  2. Christ plants His foot firmly on death’s neck and thus destroys the last enemy which no human art or kingly power could ever subdue but His (1 Cor. 15:20; Heb. 2:14), and this dominion over the grave was love to me.
  3. Christ rose from the dead that I might rise (Heb. 7:23-25), and this rising was love to me.
  4. Christ sent His Spirit to dwell within men and thereby to seal them indissolubly to Himself in a union prefigured by marriage (John 15:26; Eph. 1:13), and this sending of His Spirit was love to me.

Yet long before He came to earth He loved sinners…

  1. Christ communed with the Father and His Spirit before all worlds and spoke the words which have shaped all history, “Behold I come, I delight to do Your will,” that none could deny that He first loved us (Psalm 40:7-8; Heb. 10:7; 1 John 4:19), and this covenant was love to me.
  2. Christ saw with unmistakable accuracy every evil that I would commit compounded immeasurably by the excuses I would effortlessly spin out along with the habits of selfishness, worldliness, and complacency that would mark my life and feed my own smug sense of fitness to be a son of God: He saw all this and yet chose me when I did not choose Him (Eze. 8:12-13; Eph. 2:1-3; Isa. 53:5-6), and this seeing and choosing were love to me.
  3. Christ created the worlds and continually sustains them so that all the beauty, plenty, and comfort of all that can be seen may be enjoyed by all men (1 Tim. 6:17; Psalm 8:4-8), and this creating was love to me.

And even today there are more tokens of His love…

  1. Christ stands perpetually before the Holy One interceding for sinners (1 John 2:1; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25-28), and this never-ending advocacy is love to me.
  2. Christ removes our sins as a surgeon removes the disease unfalteringly and regardless of our confusion as to His methods (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:28-29), and this removal is love to me.
  3. Christ protects me so that neither tribulation, nor distress, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any of my own foolishness though it be deeply ingrained in me shall be able to separate me from His love (Rom. 8:35-39), and this protection is love to me.
  4. Christ prepares a place far superior to this world wherein dwells righteousness and where we will live forever with our Lord serving Him and being served by Him in that eternal joy that comes in the morning (John 14:2-3; Rev. 22:3; Luke 12:37; Psalm 30:5), and this home is love to me.
  5. Christ goes with His people to the ends of the earth that each of His sheep would be found (Matt. 28:19-20; John 10:16; Luke 15:4), and both His aim for all men and His accompanying of His servants to the ends of the earth are love to me.
  6. Christ promises to return with His reward in His hand for all the called, and chosen, and faithful (Rev. 22:12; 17:14), and this promise is love to me.
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A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO THE CORONA VIRUS, Part 3

6. Money that is printed by governments without gold or other wealth behind it is theft.

“You shall not steal.” These words seem very simple, but they imply private property, ownership, and even a work ethic. They strictly forbid not only “breaking and entering” but also taking things through a third party such as receiving unjust government benefits, wasteful taxation, and increasing the money supply through fiat currency, i.e. inflation.

The US government is trying to pass out free money to each family as if money was simply paper. They have forgotten that money without wealth behind it is a time bomb. The previous recessions and depressions of the world have taught them nothing because they refuse to obey simple commands like, “No stealing.”

Since God is not mocked, they (and we) will reap what has been sown because we can be sure that our sin will find us out (Num. 32:23). We have the most trifling thoughts about the consequences of ongoing, generational theft, and we forgive ourselves without confession or repentance because we fear the changing winds of an election as if there were no Master who set up kings and appointed rulers.

Eph. 4:28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

Summary: Christians reject government sponsored theft even if it makes their lives easier.

7. The fear of death only reaches those who have not laid hold of Christ.

What is the worst that could happen during COVID 19? You would die. Unbelievers are afraid of death, but they are not afraid of God. Or perhaps, secretly, they are terrified of God which is why they are afraid of death.

But to be a believer is a kind of death.

Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Luke 9:23 If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

Those who believe are marked by no fear of death, rather a unique relief by death.

Phil. 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

2 Cor. 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Of believers, Scripture says, “He sleeps.” Jesus promised that they would be raised again (John 5:28-29).

John 11:25-26 I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Where does panic in an epidemic come from? The soul of a man who is secretly terrified by death. By the grace of our modern standard of living, we believe that we should be free from all risk. To this our Lord says, “They will put some of you to death” (Luke 21:16). To become a Christian is to accept a risky calling.

Living without the fear of death is now on display—not simply ignoring this crisis because these kinds of things don’t scare you, nor baseless “god-talk” about speaking life, but genuinely feeling the absolute confidence that being absent from the body is present with the Treasure hidden in the field. The last day of your time on earth is the first day of a new life with Christ. When viewed that way, I wonder that every professing Christian is not eager for his earthly time to be shorter.

Col. 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

The world is marked by an intense interest in this life. That means all the things of this world are very prominent in their eyes.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The sin of worldliness is loving this world and the things in it. How does a Christian feel? He holds the world with an open hand—ready to lose it at any moment.

Summary: Fear of death has motivated the world’s massive response, but this does not move Christians who are prepared and even eager for death.

8. Prayer in an emergency should first ask for forgiveness from sin.

When Israel is in captivity, Daniel asks only that God would forgive Israel for their many sins (Daniel 9). When Solomon opens the temple, he asks five times that God would forgive the sins of the nation in the future (1 Kings 8).

  • 1 Kings 8:33-34—When Israel is beaten by its enemies, they must pray for forgiveness of their sins.
  • 1 Kings 8:35-36—When there is no rain, they must ask to be forgiven.
  • 1 Kings 8:37-39—When there is any plague or national disaster, the first request is forgiveness of sins.

It will become very clear to us very quickly when we have only just entered the next life that the greatest and—it will seem—only thing that matters is whether our sins have been cleansed and removed. We will wonder that we ever pondered comfort or health or riches without a corresponding concern for salvation, conversion, and evangelism. At the time, the amazing power of sin with all its bewitching force will be laid bare, and we will rue with strongest feeling every thought and prayer that neglected this great reality.

Certainly, we can pray for people to be healed and for the virus to stop. But would it not be better—if we had to choose one option over the other—for great numbers of men to wake up to their sin and to fall on their faces in repentance and to kiss the Son lest He be angry even if the virus climbed into the ranks of history’s deadliest plagues?

Summary: A Christian’s prayers at this time ought first to be for the conversion of sinners and for a great spiritual awakening of humility and repentance.

Conclusion

There are Christian ways to view history, providence, politics, humanity, economics, science, and psychology. All other views and solutions built on them are wrong, and therefore, they will end up hurting more than they will help. Each of these should be viewed with Christian glasses. In other words, a Christian worldview will help us see each problem correctly. If we have the right glasses, everything comes into focus.

Most of us simply do not read the Bible enough. Or, in other words, we are too worldly. One reason God has allowed you to live at this time, is to draw you into thinking Biblically. Is the Corona Virus the worst ever? No. Is the Corona Virus sent from God? Yes. Is the Corona Virus a judgment from God? Possibly. Is the Corona Virus a good reason for the government to take away freedoms? No. Possibly some freedoms such as international travel bans, but in general: no.

Is the Corona Virus an opportunity for evangelism? Yes, because people are afraid of death.

Series navigation
A Christian response to the Corona Virus, Part 1
A Christian response to the Corona Virus, Part 2
A Christian response to the Corona Virus, Part 3

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