He Who Keeps Israel

President Obama has increased the quota of Syrian refugees from 2,000 to 10,000. Recently the director of the FBI James Comey told a House Committee on Homeland Security the Federal government does not have the ability to do thorough background checks on 10,000 Syrian refugees.   This leads some to say that while the President’s humanitarian heart is in the right place, the increase quota makes our nation susceptible to infiltration by Islamic State terrorists posing as refugees, which seems to be what may have happened in Paris.

Christian sentiment on the refugee crisis seems fractured along these two fault lines; a desire to extend mercy to those who are merely fleeing senseless violence, and the need to secure the welfare of ourselves and our neighbors from the same violence that may follow them in the form of terrorists claiming to be refugees.

I am confident the vast majority of the Syrian refugees are non-violent, non-combatants fleeing the persecution of the IS in Syria, people like you and me, and they mean us no harm. But I am equally confident that IS insurgents would try to take advantage of this situation to gain entrance into our country. I find it difficult turning people away who are suffering untold privations while fleeing for their lives, but it would be equally difficult to explain to a neighbor I favored a policy that let a terrorist slip into our country and subsequently maimed or killed one of their loved ones.

It poses a dilemma. I’m glad I am not the one that has to make a decision on this matter. We should pray for those who will be making determinations regarding the refugee situation.

The terrorist attacks in Paris leave many worried about how safe it is to travel, and the real threats of IS to export their murderous plans make Homeland Security questionable when our borders are as porous as a sieve. I do not know if there is any place on earth we can say with absolute certainty is safe.

The psalmist David wrote, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid,” Psalm 56:3-4. In a very real sense the only trustworthy security comes from above.

As a Christian I believe God has a plan and purpose for my life and until God is finished with me here I am invincible. After all, you really cannot kill a Christian you can only change his location.

I realize there are those who do not share my faith, are afraid, and peace of mind is elusive. I suppose you are left to whatever man-made measures are available fallible and imperfect as they are. I choose to trust Him of whom it is said, “Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep,” Psalm 121:4. He who keeps Israel keeps me.

A Proper Perspective of Prophecy

French President Francois Hollande in the wake of the Islamic State attacks in his country said, “France is at war.” France has taken a number of steps to enhance its national security and has called for a coalition that would include the United State and Russia to eradicate IS.

When Jesus was asked by his disciples what would be the sign of His return and the end of this age He said, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars,” Matthew 24:6. President Hollande’s declaration seems an eerie reminder of Christ’s prophetic words. If that is the case, does this mean God has predestined the human conflicts we witness occurring around the world to herald the return of His Son?

It is estimated that approximately twenty-five percent of the Bible when it was originally penned referenced future events. While there is much debate regarding the nature of biblical prophecy, I am convinced fatidic passages flow from two of God’s attributes, His omniscience and His omnipotence.

God knows everything and this includes what will happen in the future, and He is all-powerful and this includes His ability to control what will happen. While these are distinctive attributes of the Father, they do not operate independently of one another. What God predetermines to occur is subject to what He foreknows.

The clearest example of this is the fall of Adam and Eve. I do not believe God predestined Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, but foreknowing they would transgress; He had already predestined a Savior, a plan to remedy their rebellion to His law. Calvary was in the heart and mind of God at Creation.

This means that God foreknows each decision and action of saint and sinner, and without violating the will of either, He weaves all into the tapestry of human history so that human history flows inexorably to the culmination of His predetermined and perfect will.

When Jesus prophesied, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars,” He does not mean God has predestined us to fight and kill each other, but He foresees that as men turn from God, they will turn on one another. God is not the author of evil nor does He predestine it, but He does foresee it and warns us of its approach.

I know I have waded into deep theological waters in this article, but I think it is important for those who read prophetic passages to have a proper perspective of what has been foretold. The conflicts we witness raging around the world merely presage an escalation of the same in incidence, duration and intensity, but the evil to come is manmade. We are prone to blame God for what transpires when in reality we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Those IS terrorists are responsible for what happened in Paris, not God.

A Captive Conscience

On April 17, 1521, a diet (a church tribunal) was convened in Worms, Germany. The Roman Catholic Church tried a monk named Martin Luther for the charge of heresy. Johann Eck was prosecuting the church’s case and on this day accused Luther of saying and writing things that contradicted current church teachings. When Luther was asked if these things were written and said by him, he admitted they were his words. Eck asked Luther a simple question, “Will you recant or not?”

Luther requested an adjournment to consider his answer. If he refused to recant and was convicted of heresy he could be executed. Luther gave his answer the next day. “Unless I am convicted by Scripture or by plain reason…I am bound by the texts of the Bible, my conscience is captive to the Word of God, I neither can nor will recant anything.”

These are partial quotes from both Eck and Luther, but they accurately portray what was at stake. The issue was one of authority. Luther believed the Pope and the decisions reached by councils of cardinals had led the church away from the fundamental teachings of Christ and he had challenged those decrees. Would he recant and bow to the authority and words of men, or would he bow to the authority of the Word of God? His answer, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.”

Ever since God has had church leaders and a people who will reject human teachings and ideas that conflict with the authority of the Scriptures. They embrace the Bible as the rule for what they believe and the way we should live. The watch cry of the Reformation sola Scriptura, Latin for “Scripture alone,” is a constant reminder of our belief in the authority of the Bible as our only guide for what we think and do.

I believe each of us is born broken and flawed as the Bible says. We subsequently make flawed contributions to society, industry and government that cause relational, economic and political problems. While these problems are great they are fundamentally spiritual in nature and the Bible alone contains the remedy for our spiritual needs.

This is why I write about the issues we face from a Biblical perspective. I believe the only solutions for society’s problems are found in the Christian Scriptures, the Bible. My theology (all of us have one) is conservative and comes from an orthodox interpretation of Scripture. I trust a plain understanding of Scripture with a simple and direct application of its principles.

Like Luther, my conscience is captive to the Word of God, because I believe God knows what is better for us than we do. We would be better served if we had a higher regard for what God says than for what we think.

A Bad Day At The Ballot Box

With 95% of precincts reporting the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was voted down by 61% to 39% last Tuesday. Known by the acronym HERO, the crux of the controversy was the ordinance would have allowed a transgender person to use a public restroom of their choice.

Houston’s lesbian mayor Annise Parker who introduced and supported the ordinance lamented the loss. She attributed its rejection to “a calculated campaign by a small, very determined group of right-wing ideologues and the religious right and they only know how to destroy and not how to build up.”

Ms. Parker did not oppose the calculated campaign by a small, very determined group of left-wing ideologues and the irreligious left who only know how to destroy common decency and not how to build up public morality. Mayor Parker tried with a committed small group to foist her personal agenda on the people of Houston and is perturbed that it failed.

This particular case underscores a truth that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender propagandists deny and repeatedly misrepresent. The LGBT activists claim that moral issues like same-sex marriage and transgender ordinances, like the one here, are statistically supported by a majority of Americans.

But there is no more accurate poll than the ballot box, and there has never been an instance when such issues have been put to a popular vote that they have won approval. In fact, they have been overwhelmingly voted down time and again like here. If the majority of Americans support same-sex marriage and the rights of transgender people, why is it they never get a majority of the votes?

A small determined and committed group of LGBT activists have managed to fool the courts and a state legislature or two, but they have not won support of the American people. I think this is why state legislatures are reticent to adopt and enact statutes in keeping with the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. Same-sex marriage is not popular with their constituents, and it is the popular vote that reelects them.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male an female He created them,” Genesis 1:27. Procreation was an inherent ability in the complimentary creation of the man and woman. As a Biblicist I believe gender is assigned by God at birth. Ergo, I believe one’s gender is sacred and non-transferrable. Gender is not a guessing game or a matter of one’s choice despite what others may or may not believe.

One does not need to believe as I do, but if a grown man thinks he can follow my daughter into the female restroom because he feels like a woman we are probably going to have a serious disagreement, because if he is confused about his gender, he may be confused about some other things, that as a father I am not confused about.