Living In Exile

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96 Responses

  1. Dan from georgia says:

    Well put!

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks, Dan.
    Wrote it for myself as much as anyone else…

  3. Josh the Baptist says:

    Totally agree. Thanks for writing this.

  4. Michael says:

    Thank you, Josh.
    I don’t think many understand the concept of exile so I expect some push back.

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    It’s funny, today is the feast of the Ascension and is probably unrecognizable in most non liturgical churches.
    In the evangelical church today is the feast of the National Day of Prayer.

    I rate today’s top 3 events this way
    1.) Ascension = much regard and prayerful observance
    2.) Cinco de Mayo = will be observed at lunch today heartily
    3.) National Day of Prayer – run for your life!

  6. Josh the Baptist says:

    I thought National Day of Prayer was the 24th?

  7. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’m always the worst evangelical.

    Anywho, Michael, yes, switching you view of USA from “Israel in the land” to “Israel in Exile” also changes your perspective on prophecy and eschatology.

  8. Michael says:

    It’s today, Josh.

    Here in the valley there is a big meeting featuring video from David Barton…

  9. Michael says:

    Josh…your #7 is more ballsy than my article. 🙂

  10. Dan from georgia says:

    They are showing a David Barton video? Sorry to hear that…

  11. Josh the Baptist says:

    Barton was here just a few weeks ago.

  12. Mr Jesperson says:

    I agree with this. I am not a fan of Theocracy or of revisionist history to suit a pet ideal. My view has changed over the years. Now, I note that God gave Israel self rule. What they did with that was so horrible, the high places, the killing of prophets, that God had to send them into exile. The nation from then on was always under an outside and pagan power. This appears to have kept a lid on the sin inside the nation. It was good for them. I currently do not think anything has changed. When theocracies were tried it just brought a great corruption to the Church. But humility is a virtue and history is so often times ignored.

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Perhaps Barton is preaching on the Ascension? 😉

  14. Julie Anne says:

    Michael, you are now going up against Franklin Graham. Good luck with that, bro! I’ll stand with you, btw!

    https://youtu.be/JceM72OMGdo

  15. Cash says:

    Excellent article, Michael. It’s strange to think of being in exile but it is a fact. I thought the comparison to Babylon was particularly apt. Interesting what Jesus said about the end in Luke 17:26-28 that it would be like the days of Noah and people will be doing all the things God said to do in terms of planting and building and multiplying.

  16. Michael says:

    Julie Anne… we have lots of surprises coming for Franklin…but you know that already. 🙂

  17. Jean says:

    Michael, I don’t know if it was your intent in the article, but your view, while correct, is also liberating. “[I]n its welfare you will find your welfare.”

  18. The Dude says:

    This is a very good article.I agree with what’s written here.Now if I put this on my Facebook I’ll be dead by sundown.Most of my Facebook friends who claim to be believers have jumped on the Trump wagon…all I’m hearing is how he’s going to make America great again.

  19. Kevin H says:

    Very good. Yes we are in exile. We should be seeking the welfare of our city (country). Seeking the welfare of our city, state, country, etc. can be manifested in many ways and may even sometimes include political involvement. But we must be cognizant that we are living in a land that has no covenant with God and never has and thus there cannot be an imperative that the country (most especially as a governmental rule and legal entity) must return to something that never existed in the first place.

  20. JTK says:

    I have never agreed with you so thoroughly on a political post, Michael.

    Only when they were limited to immigration topics

    Perhaps I can make an analogy:
    It is like talking to a sports fan of a particular sport when you care nothing for that sport anymore.

    That is how I feel.

    I appreciate everyone who is prayed for me recently.

    Let us continue being Joseph’s and Daniels and Shadrach me shack and Abednego in exile

  21. Scott says:

    Good article!

    Your comment, “praise the Lord, double down on black and make it rain for the ladies…” was one of your best one liners yet. 🙂

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    We are not called to nations. We are called to neighbor and neighbor is anyone God puts in your path.

    I would say a Christian taking interest in nation probably does not understand Jesus nor the New Testament and really uses Jesus as a national mascot.

    But that’s just me and I don’t want to be accused of overstating the case. I am uncomfortable when any president even says God Bless America – I can’t amen that if I don’t know who his God is – and since I have never heard any of the presidents of my day define who their God is – well, I just keep my amens wrapped up for when I can.

  23. Em again says:

    “double down on black and make it rain for the ladies” … we have too many of these types given places of honor in our churches … starting, way long ago, with the early proliferation of popes

    the topic posted is a great reminder and true, but has anyone studied how God has used certain secular nations to disseminate the Gospel over the last 2,000 years?

  24. Michael says:

    Thanks for the positive comments and the thoughtful additions to what was written.

    MLD at #22 sums up the rest of my thoughts on this matter…

  25. Melody says:

    Amen. As an Adult Third Culture Kid in between it all, I needed this today. Thank you for the reminder. My citizenship is in heaven!

  26. Steve Wright says:

    Living as an exile does not mean living as one oblivious to the culture…it is living in such a way that the kingdom of God is infused into that culture.
    ————————————————————–
    well said…and THAT is what the vast, VAST majority of politically active evangelicals are trying to do.

    The reason it is equated to “taking back America” is because, unlike the history of many nations around the world, we have seen the infusion of the kingdom of God previously in our culture and deliberately and actively removed by those hellbent to do so.

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “we have seen the infusion of the kingdom of God previously in our culture and deliberately and actively removed by those hellbent to do so.”

    This is a very curious statement. How did someone, or some group remove the kingdom of God from our culture? Are you sure it is the real kingdom of God you are trying to recover or just some American image of what you would like the kingdom of God to be?

    The kingdom of God I know will not be destroyed or removed from our culture or anything else. At least where I come from a Target restroom is not the kingdom of God.

  28. Michael says:

    Are you sure it is the real kingdom of God you are trying to recover or just some American image of what you would like the kingdom of God to be?

    The answer to that will probably be in caps too…

    I think the kingdom of God owes a greater debt to Germany and Switzerland than the U.S…but I’m insanely contrarian on this point.

  29. Jean says:

    Why is it that some of the most secular countries in Europe:

    Have lower murder rates,
    Higher life expectancies,
    Lower poverty, and
    Higher education test scores.

    What exactly does Christian nation mean? Is it the 2nd Amendment? Being the police man of the world? Being against same-sex marriage? What exactly is it?

  30. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Good, but provocative questions.
    I have a bunch more, but choose not to push my luck. 🙂

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean,
    I think 2 reasons
    1.) we were raised on the wild west mentality
    2.) we spend too much money defending the world and not enough on the quality of life. I think if Sweden had to solely depend on them selves for their national defense (and I mean solely) that a lot of that money they get to use to give free education and massage each others troubled minds would evaporate.

    But none of the countries we point to are non Christian – they were built on Christian values – back in the day they were Christian – and today still have that inbedded in their memory even if they do not know where it comes from.

  32. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael #30,

    Please push your luck! Hehehe…

    Kevin H has been opening the proverbial can o’ worms last several weeks now! I miss your thinking posts from Mondays!

  33. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I’m being careful because I love a lot of people who hold to some measure of “Christian” nationalism.

    Some of my thoughts would be really, really, offensive to those folks.

    My job isn’t to offend as many people as I can, but hopefully to get people to think more deeply about these matters.

    There was a day when I didn’t care who I offended, but I rather speak in such a way that people can hear.

    I’m surprised that this thread has gone as well as it has… besides, the Lutherans are doing a good job speaking for me. 🙂

  34. Today one of the big things I was watching was the mayor of NYC calling for a boycott of chick fil a. Now this really has no Kingdom of God impact. It does stifle 1st amendment rights but no 1st commandment rights.

  35. Em again says:

    these comments i’m reading on this thread are sincere and solid – but the one thing that i don’t get is why we all can’t see how our nation (he United States of America, not the Kingdom of God) has slid from honoring their members who follow the Christian faith to reviling them?

    In spite of the fact that there were always scoffers, both intellectuals and non thinkers, i was there and i know for a fact that the Church had standing and respect in this nation for a time… now we are patronized at best and tolerated

    did we to compromise to stay in the game? … some did – and so isn’t it inevitable that this had to happen sooner or later? isn’t that really what we want back? Our standing in the community, so to speak?

  36. Em, we can be dispised and ridiculed – but isn’t that on us? Wouldn’t it be up to us to get back into the game. When I was in college back in the mid to late 60s we used to ridicule and lambast the “preachers” who came on campus — especially the ones who would hold an American flag while they shouted at us.
    America of your memory was much more homogeneous – every one was a Christian – either a fake one or a genuine one … but everyone was one.Now not so much.

    But I always like to ask for personal testimony from the crowd here of personal encounters where someone in your day to day life tried to physically stop you from being a Christian.
    I am sure that not a single person tries to stop Steve Wright (or any other pastor reading here) from going to work each day as a pastor – no one stops him from inviting people to come to his church or tries to close down his church every Sunday morning – it just does not happen in this country at all. This anti Christian stuff is all shadows.

    As I have told people for years I do not want forced prayer in the classrooms because I do not want to have my grandchildren praying to the false gods of the Mormons, the Buddhists, The Hindus, the Jews or the Muslims. But what we see as a restriction on ‘christian rights’ is really a good thing.

  37. Now, like everyone else here I went to Ascension services tonight and the government was out there helping me get to church. You won’t believe this but they built public roads so I could drive to church. The government police force was out their making sure that everyone drove safely so we could get to church – did you notice them out their while you were driving to church?. The government civil engineers made sure the traffic lights were working so all of us would not run into each other so we could get to our respective churches tonight – did you notice. Perhaps you noticed that the government even zoned nice places to put our churches, even enough room for several churches to be together.

    You noticed right — right? Oh, you didn’t go to church to night to memorialize the ascension of our Lord? So who kept you from church? the government? the liberals? Hillary Clinton? Oh, not the government – the only one who kept you from exercising religious liberty this evening was you (plural you)

    The government is not our enemy – weak Christians are their own enemy. So, if you hear a pastor hooting and hollering about the government restricting religious freedom, ask why he closed his church this ascension day.
    Amen! 🙂

  38. Michael says:

    I really appreciate what MLD has written today…

  39. Michael says:

    We traded respect for our unique service to the community for a shot at political power.

    Tonights meeting for the “National Day of Prayer” was actually a Republican pep rally.

    My guess is that it was the same way in most places.

  40. Xenia says:

    Great post, MLD!

  41. Lutheran says:

    I went to our church’s Ascension Day service tonight.

    Didn’t realize today was also the National Day of Prayer.

    Looks like if you go to a liturgical church, it was an AD service tonight (not sure about Catholics, and I know the Orthodox world has its own liturgical calendar).

    Low church=National Day of Prayer.

    And no, MLD, not a word about politics. 🙂

    I like your #38.

  42. Em again says:

    #36- many good points – i thought your first paragraph was what i said …?…

    “This anti Christian stuff is all shadows.” maybe in your community, and Lutherans do blend in well, but up here in the corner of the PNW and, according to my kids who are much more involved in the internet social scene than i am… there is a very intense and overt dislike of what they perceive the Faith to be … that is what used to be in the shadows, but now… i guess it’s just not in your line of sight

  43. Em again says:

    #37- doesn’t speak to the situation IMV – i don’t think there’s ever been a time where evangelizing in public has been met with acceptance – most folk in my neck of the woods even ridiculed those early Billy Graham meetings in L.A. … until Hollywood showed up and then we were off to the races culminating in what we’re complaining about here most of the time

    i’m just not on the same page on this thread – i can guarantee you that the tide of public opinion in this nation has turned hostile to the absolutes, the respected norms and standards that sprung… oh forget it… stay the course, it’ll get you there… who cares what the nations do, it is all of God – pray for those in authority over you and you’ve got the bases covered

  44. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael #33,

    Good points.

  45. Jean says:

    “isn’t that really what we want back? Our standing in the community, so to speak?”

    The problem is that in civil affairs one doesn’t *deserve* honor or take it by coercion or legislation. One *earns* honor. If the church was once honored by the civil community (and I agree that it was some time back), it forfeited its honor, rather than anyone taking that honor from the church.

    When the church hitched its wagon to political parties and movements, it hitched its *honor* there too. Look what happened.

    This is where a healthy 2-kingdoms doctrine of God would really benefit the Church at large.

  46. Jean says:

    “When the church hitched its wagon to political parties and movements, it hitched its *honor* there too. Look what happened.”

    I would amend this to add that jettisoning the Word of God by many liberal churches, so that they looks more like the communities they services, has also caused a loss of honor.

  47. I am still waiting for someone to give their testimony of government hindering their personal faith – or impeding their church participation – it’s not there.
    What Target does with their bathroom policies does not affect our religious liberties at all (unless you are holding church services in a Target bathroom) – EVEN if they make such policies just to piss off the Christians.

    So tomorrow, Target gets a new CEO and he reverses the bathroom policy, in November we elect Trump and by Executive Order he eliminates Obamacare (remember Hobby Lobby’s objections) has that brought us one step closer to being a more Christian nation? Has it returned the kingdom of God to it’s rightful place? Has it even returned America back to it’s Christian roots?

  48. Kevin H says:

    Christianity has most certainly lost respect in this country. At least theologically conservative Christianity. Part of that loss of respect was brought on by ourselves with our political power grabs and the shenanigans that go on, many times unencumbered, in the church, especially high-profile churches. Part of the loss is due to people giving up their nominal Christianity and deciding that formerly followed Christian principles are not worth following anymore.

    Persecutions of Christians in this country, legally and socially is very low on the scale compared to many other places in the world. However, the level of angst and dislike of Christians in this country has most definitely risen and the signs are strongly there that it will only continue to grow.

    There have been few cases where the government has hindered or persecuted people from acting in their Christian faith, but they are there. While one can argue whether or not it is a proper Christian response for a Christian baker or florist not to want to service a homosexual wedding, the fact is the government has stepped into these cases and told the Christians that they must violate their consciences and provide services. And of course you have the ridiculous case where the Little Sisters of the Poor have been required to provide contraception under Obamacare rules.

    The way things are trending in our country, it is not an unreasonable stretch of the imagination that in the not-too-distant future the government will make it law that pastors have to conduct homosexual weddings or that it will be illegal to say anything “negative” about homosexuality. And that Christians will be required to violate their consciences in other aspects of life, most especially in issues surrounding sexuality.

    We should be concerned for our brothers and sisters who have already experienced persecution and for those of us who could experience even more in the future. At the same time, Jesus told us we should expect persecution. Our greater concern should be in living out our lives as Christians.

    “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

  49. I was thinking of this in the shower this morning. The government has never told a Christian baker that he must make cakes for homosexuals. In our America what the law requires is that all Americans provide services for all their fellow Americans.
    No matter how much you may hate black people, you must provide a wedding cake for a black wedding.

    Imagine the offense if a Christian stumbled into a bakery owned by a homosexual fella who said, “I have no problem making cakes for heterosexual weddings, but I refuse to make them for Christians as I think they are bigots.” The law would come down on him equally.

    It is currently the social media fad to tease about today’s college students who require the universities to provide “safe zones” so that they do not come in contact with any speech or actions that may offend them
    I think many times, the Christian community is making the same request of the American government.

  50. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    The question is, where should the line be drawn between religious liberty and “non-discrimination”? So if we say it’s okay that the government require the Christian baker or florist to service a homosexual wedding, what about other existing or potential scenarios. What about the government mandating that a Catholic religious institute must pay for and provide birth control and abortion-inducing drugs to it’s employees? What if the government starts requiring that all pastors must conduct homosexual weddings if they are asked to do so? What if the government starts requiring that all churches must accept active homosexuals into fellowship and membership without allowing the church to discipline them or say that their behavior is sinful? Where do we draw the line and say that this isn’t right? When do we say that the government is now acting wrongly and we cannot support their actions?

    Again, I think our greater concern should be in living out our lives as Christians as opposed to whatever persecution we may undergo. I especially don’t think we should have much concern where others “offend” us. But I don’t think it’s an either/or. Where we concern ourselves only with our Christian living and must never say a word if the government or others act wrongly against us.

  51. KevinH, that’s a lot of what if.

    Even the requiring pastors to perform homosexual weddings. If you have opened yourself up as a public wedding place then why shouldn’t you be required to marry the public.

    My church does weddings for members and family – if it is family outside of our church, they will be required to go through counseling so the pastor can dictate the sermon. I can’t imagine 2 dudes getting married when the pastor has already told them the service will be about man & woman.

    Does your non member church ban homosexuals from attending?

    To many ifs

  52. Oh, one more thing – in civil affairs out vote the other side – problem solved.

  53. Josh the Baptist says:

    I mostly agree with MLD’s initial idea, but he’s carried it too far. For instance:

    “Oh, one more thing – in civil affairs out vote the other side – problem solved.”

    Everything we vote for in NC gets overturned by the feds.

  54. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    But they are plausible what-ifs for the not-too-distant future the way things are trending in our society. They are not crazy fantasies that have little to no chance of occurrence.

    The issue with the Little Sisters of the Poor is not a what if. That has already been happening. Is the government right in that one?

    The issues with churches and pastors is not something that would be regularly faced. 99.9% of practicing homosexuals are not going to want to attend or get married by a church that does not condone homosexual behavior. But you have those sprinkled in who have the agenda to make a point or to bring down churches. Even though they have no real desire to be a part of such a church, they could and will actively seek out a wedding or membership in said church in order to make a demonstration.

    There is no stopping those with such an agenda from seeking out a church and/or pastor to bring about their demonstration. It could be even your church or pastor they would choose. And if the laws require the church/pastor to marry them, then the church/pastor would either have to do it or face punishment.

    As for my non-member church, there is no ban on homosexuals attending. If they were to seek ministry, leadership, or employment positions, I would imagine they would not be allowed to do so if they were known practicing homosexuals. Membership of course would not be an issue at my church as there is no real membership.

  55. Xenia says:

    A lot of churches rent out their church halls to make some extra money and I can forsee the day when that practice will have to stop. Actually, the practice of renting out any part of the church building will have to be reconsidered.

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – vote for the right Fed’s.

  57. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – That gets you right back to Christians campaigning for the Republican presidential nominee, because he will likely appoint conservative judges, etc.

    In my view, that’s just a failed strategy, and terribly naive.

  58. Josh the Baptist says:

    Your own quote: “If voting mattered, they wouldn’t let us do it.”

    So true.

  59. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    I agree with most of MLD’s initial premises, too. But there also has to be an admittance that a line is starting to be crossed or is getting very close to being crossed where government is hindering Christians from acting on their beliefs and/or consciences. The cases have been relatively minimal so far. With the way our society is trending it’s not hard to see those number of cases growing. And so I don’t think we can act like everything is honky dory for Christians in this country from a legal standpoint and we should have no concerns for the future either in this regards.

  60. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    One quick clarification. I wasn’t accusing you of acting like everything is fine. But I see MLD doing that.

  61. Cookie says:

    Just so disappointed at all of the criticism of the National Day of Prayer. This day was set aside over 60 years ago as a day to pray for our local govt, our state, our nation and the world. My church was invited to the town hall last night to lead the service- and we proclaimed Jesus Christ loud and clear- offering the message of repentance, forgiveness and salvation- as a solution to the problems of gang violence- racial disharmony-drug addiction- poverty-etc. If we can love one another as Christ loved us- we can truly solve problems. What is wrong with praying for our nation to return to its Christian roots? We were not settled and populated by Muslims, Hindus, Atheists or Buddhists. We were settled and populated by Bible believing Christians. That is our American Heritage. Why cant we pray for a return to that Heritage?

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Kevin H,
    “One quick clarification. I wasn’t accusing you of acting like everything is fine. But I see MLD doing that.”

    I am not saying everything is fine – I think the world is going to hell in a handbasket and in most cases that procession is not being led by the feds – it is being led by the church.. Homosexual marriage – led by the liberal church – ECLA being a large prominent one. Transgender BS – led by the church not the government – ELCA being a large prominent one.

    How are you going to plead a case to the government by saying The Church or Christianity does not allow for homosexual marriage or whatever the hot button is when half the American churches already do … and are looking forward to more.?

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Cookie – what was prayed fo?r – the Hillary / Jesse Jackson version of what America should look like in light of the scriptures or the Franklin Graham / David Barton version of what America should look like in light of the scriptures?

  64. Michael says:

    Cookie,

    We were settled by some Christians and a whole bunch of deists.
    Ask the Native Americans or the indigenous Mexicans about which part of our “Christian” heritage they should embrace.

    The National Day of Prayer here is a farce…it’s a pep rally for Republicans and the prayers are thinly veiled exhortations to the Lord that anyone left of center be defeated.

    That’s ok…I’m praying for the Vikings to win the Super Bowl and for Packer fans to either get saved or be stomped into submission…

    The standard bearer for the Christian right is now Donald Trump…a true icon of moral virtue.
    Pastors all over America will be stumping for a guy who judges women by whether or not they are a “good piece of ass”.

    I hope that offends everyone here as much as it does me…and shows what a farce this whole process has become.

    Jeremiah 29 is pretty simple…we should try it sometime.

  65. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    Okay, one more quick clarification. It seems like you’re acting like everything is fine in regards to governmental and legal intervention with Christians and the church.

    I agree it is even a bigger concern that portions of the church are accepting of sinful practices and participating in if not leading the charge for the acceptance of such. That still doesn’t excuse the government from saying, “Well, XYZ church has no problem with this and so you shouldn’t either.” If the government decided that it was wrong to baptize babies, should they then say well all these other churches don’t do it, so you Lutherans shouldn’t be doing it either”?

  66. Xenia says:

    A return to that heritage, Cookie desires, with all the best intentions….

    I commend to people the book Albion’s Seed, a history of the folkways of the first century of British setters in America. The Massachusetts Colony was certainly settled by Christians, but Christians of a stripe that no one here would be able to tolerate, not even the Calvinists among us. Virginia was ruled by a few aristocratic families who ran things like lords while everyone else was a tenant farmer, indentured servant, or slave (if you were black). Further south we had more slavery and sharecropping. For the most part, Indians were vermin that needed to be eradicated.

    So yeah, I guess if you thought you’d be one of the elite males in Virginia it would be fun to return to early America. However, you would probably be an Indian, black slave, indentured servant, or a woman, which comprised the majority of the population. Massachusetts had a zero tolerance policy towards anyone who disagree even slightly with their austere doctrines.

    Which decade of America shall we take the country back to?

    Conservatives long for a time that never was.
    Liberals long for a time that never will be.

    Be content where you are. Love God and love those around you. This is what God expects of us.

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Kevin H – read your constitution about the government shall make no laws…

    You must separate what is church (baptism etc) and what is activities the church does. If a church runs a hospital should it be exempt from all hospital rules? or when a church goes in for ‘outside’ activities should they not come under common rules.

    My church has a school and we come under all kinds of government regulations – are you saying we shouldn’t? We have been audited by the IRS twice in the 10 years I have been at this church for activities at our school – we had to fight, just like the common citizen and we won both times. We are Americans and we play by American rules.

  68. Xenia says:

    When people say they want to “take America back,” what they really mean is they want the country to return to the decades when their particular group was on top.

  69. Michael says:

    Xenia @ 66… that is pure gold.

  70. Michael says:

    and #68 is the same…

  71. Josh the Baptist says:

    yes, Xenia is right. Totally agree.

    And that is really the issue here, right? The group that at least respected Christian morals is going out of fashion, with the do-what-you-like group now in control.

    That’s really the bottom line, right?

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think too many evangelicals have misread and consequently have misunderstood those “Victorious Christian Living” books to mean that Christians should rule the landscape.

    The more liturgical types usually don’t as we have a 2 realms category (missing from evangelical thought) that God rules in both kingdoms — equally – all day everyday.

  73. Michael says:

    Did they respect “Christian morals” or was it just another group doing a power grab?

    Define “Christian morals”…biblically.

    It seems to me there is much more to biblical morals than sexuality…

  74. Jean says:

    This has been an outstanding thread. Lots of good input.

  75. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    I know what the First amendment states. What concerns me is how the government decides to “interpret” that law in relation to what it deems to be discriminatory practices. The existence of the First Amendment does not give me full confidence that everything will always be okay with individual Christians, their businesses, and even directly within churches themselves.

    Are the teachers at your school all Christians? Are they possibly even all Lutherans? What if the government declared that your school couldn’t discriminate against non-Christians and needed to start hiring them. Are you okay with that? Does your school have any chapels or religious training of any kind? What if the government declared that your school must allow the instruction of other religions into your chapels and religious training? Are you okay with that?

    I know you don’t like the what ifs, but again, they are not outside a plausible realm of possibility for our country moving forward.

  76. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Are Christian morals different from Jewish morals – Hindu morals?

    I asked earlier whose ‘christian morals’ or whose view of what Christian America should look like. Are you (no one in particular) just as comfortable with the Hillary // Jess Jackson’s Christian America as you are with the Franklin Graham // David Barton view of Christian America?

  77. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Define “Christian morals”…biblically.

    It seems to me there is much more to biblical morals than sexuality…”

    “Christian morals” was sort of a short-hand way of saying, in decades past, the vast majority of our culture believed that homosexuality was wrong, that you should get married first, and then have children, that boys have a wiener and girls don’t…etc. Yes its all about sexuality, and I’m not even arguing whether it is right or wrong, but this is what the larger part of our culture has always believed.

    Now that has flipped. A new morality rules the day. It seems that is basic issue, really.

  78. Josh the Baptist says:

    I think you guys misread what I was getting at in #71.

    There certainly has been a morality change in our country, even in my lifetime. Whatever you call either set of morals, or whichever that you think is better, you can’t really argue that they have flipped.

  79. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Kevin H, We have looked into all of the “what ifs” that you have raised
    Our teachers are Christian and Lutheran
    We have chapel and we have religious training (here is where we fought the IRS twice)

    Kevin have you ever looked into any of this? Has your church been threatened or do you pastors just keep these issues alive as fund raisers.
    We are confident that the government cannot make our pastor marry homosexuals – but then we have synod attorney’s advising us.

    Do you know – at least in California that the accreditation process for Christian schools is handled by Christians. We just went through 2 accreditation in the past year and every one of the folks on the panel where Christians working voluntarily with the state on assignment from their church / school. Not a single panel member was a non church person — and this was for a state accreditation.

    Wild eyed evangelical political rabble rousers won’t tell you that – because they want to keep you agitated

  80. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh the change is in the church also. How many folks in your church live together without being married? Does your church still operate a home for unwed mothers?
    Churches used to.

  81. Josh the Baptist says:

    Oh, MLD, I agree. The church certainly reflects our culture.

  82. Em again says:

    the Christianity that hung over the United States from its beginnings was the same Christianity that hung over the Old World, the same mix came across the Atlantic… and the Faith not only did solve a lot of social ills, God used these nations and their intrusion into the more primitive lands to spread the gospel (yeah, i heard that in a public school a half century ago and still believe it)

    i could always get my husband’s goat by pointing out that the European settlers were no more brutal than the Native Americans, just more successful … going out to conquer or be conquered has a much longer history than 400 years – it has nothing to do with a malpractice of the Christian faith… could things have been handled better? … can’t they always?

    i have thoughts on racial prejudice, too – but i spare you

  83. Michael says:

    What has changed is acceptance, not practice.
    There was a day when we kept our dirt covered.

    Now, it’s not considered dirt, so we do it in front of God and everybody.

  84. Michael says:

    Em,

    I simply don’t see in the Scriptures where it was ever biblical to spread the Gospel at the tip of a sword or musket barrel.

    We weren’t spreading the Gospel as much as digging for gold…we had a “religious” reason to slaughter the pagans.

  85. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    I guess where we differ is on whether or not the “what ifs” could happen. I say they could, you seemingly say no.

    One question that you still haven’t answered that is not a “what if” is the Little Sisters of the Poor circumstance. Is it right that the government is requiring them to pay for and provide birth control and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees? This one is a real circumstance.

    I am not one who usually gets caught up in hysteria. I think I have evidenced as much in my writings here that I am not one yelling for or from the extremes. While there are certainly preachers and Christians out there who go overboard in regards to the “government is out to get all Christians”, I do see enough evidences that make me concerned for the liberties of Christians and churches, especially moving forward.

  86. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well, my understanding with the Little Sisters and I think this was the Hobby Lobby case also that there were alternative outsourcings made available so that the offended parties were not supplying the health care benefits directly.

    On the other side, do you think the employees should go without health care. What if the Christian Science folks had a large corporate enterprise — say a newspaper and since they believe going to a doctor is sin, should they be allowed to opt out of all healthcare?

  87. Cookie says:

    From Wikipedia:

    Christianity was introduced to North America as it was colonized by Europeans beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish, French, and British brought Roman Catholicism to the colonies of New Spain, New France and Maryland respectively, while Northern European peoples introduced Protestantism to Massachusetts Bay Colony, New Netherland, Virginia colony, Carolina Colony, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Lower Canada. Among Protestants, adherents to Anglicanism, the Baptist Church, Congregationalism, Presbyterianism, Lutheranism, Quakerism, Mennonite and Moravian Church were the first to settle to the US, spreading their faith in the new country.

    Which part of this is incorrect?

    Our country was founded by Christians- our government was established by Christians- our laws were based on the Bible- not deists- Christians.

  88. Michael says:

    Cookie,

    This is silly.
    Go look up each Founder…you will find Unitarians, Deists, and a couple of Christians.
    You will be amazed how many were Unitarians.

  89. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    I had thought that the Little Sisters of the Poor case was still ongoing. But even if they have come to some kind of final resolution, I still believe it was wrong for the government to try to make them pay for and provide these things in the first place. You still haven’t answered as to whether or not it was right for the government to do this.

    I could try to answer your other questions, but they would take some time and nuance to do so. The issue we have been discussing was in regards to the existence or potential of wrongful governmental encroachment onto Christians and/or churches. I don’t have the energy to go down the rabbit hole of evaluating how every Christian or religious institution should respond when they feel that the government is wrongfully encroaching on their beliefs.

  90. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Kevin H,
    I don’t have an answer to right or wrong for the government to intervene. As I said on the other thread – I just want to be left alone but people keep butting into my life with regards to my guns and or smoking habits.

    In the end I have no time to worry about what the Sisters are doing. The Lutheran Church went to Washington and lobbied against the healthcare abortion pills issue and we are not covered under that Obama stuff – we were grandfathered in. I don’t know what we did right and the Sisters did not do. Perhaps we knew the right person to pay off, I don’t know. 😉

  91. Kevin H says:

    Cookie,

    I’ve recommended this book before on this blog, but I will do so again. John Fea, who is Early American historian and evangelical Christian has written an excellent book titled, “Was America Founded As A Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction”

    http://www.amazon.com/Was-America-Founded-Christian-Nation/dp/0664235042

    In the book, Fea sets out to take a non-biased approach to see what the facts of history are. He finds that this is not a black and white issue. He finds that those who claim that America’s founding was all about Christianity are wrong. And those that claim that Christianity had little or no standing or influence in the founding of our country are also wrong.

  92. Xenia says:

    Which part of this is incorrect?<<<<

    Pretty much all of it.

    It is true that Christianity was introduced to North America by representatives of the countries Wikipedia listed. The Puritans were Christians until they became Unitarians. Virginia was Anglican until they became Deists. The people in the South were Baptists and many of them are Baptists to this day…. culturally, anyway. Colonists came to America for a variety of reasons, not all for reasons of religious freedom.

    You are just going to have to venture out past Wikipedia and David Barton and do some reading in context. I will grant you that the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were written by people who came from a Christian heritage but by the mid- 1700's the French Enlightenment was the philosophy of the day among many of the elites. The Declaration and the Constitution are Enlightenment documents. That's not to say they are bad; I think they are very good.

    An experiment: Take the Declaration of Independence and the Sermon on the Mount and put them side by side. Find all the places where the Declaration contradicts the words of Jesus. You might be surprised.

    But that's fine; these documents are very good for governing a diverse nation, although how long this great experiment can last is debatable.

  93. Xenia says:

    But even if many of the Founding Fathers were deists, Unitarians, and fans of the Enlightenment, they were still better people than the two people who are running for President this year. The current crop could not muster up the wisdom to write documents like the Declaration and Constitution.

  94. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    You have outdone yourself on this thread…great stuff.

  95. Jean says:

    Xenia,

    Your 93 is very true.

  96. Em again says:

    #83 – amen

    #84 – not sure we’re tracking the same here…
    no, the Conquistadores and other such “convert or die” endeavors is not what i meant at all…

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