Some Thoughts On Yesterday’s Shooting

What can we learn from discussion on this matter? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, a tragedy occurred with a shooting in a Texas church. I am sure it was at least 20 who were killed as there are different reports out now and I know one of them was the pastor’s 14 year-old daughter. Either way, we have a tragedy right now, but what happens when we go to Facebook and the comments section to see what’s going on?

There’s immediately charges about who did it and why. Now in some sense, I can understand people not mourning. After all, there are several people who will die today and you and I will go through our lives for the most part and not even blink and in fact be happy about it. There’s nothing abnormal about this. When July 24th comes every year, for most of you out there, it’s likely another day of the year. For Allie and I, it’s a very happy time as that’s our anniversary. I don’t expect someone who doesn’t know us to be happy or to have zero sadness on that day. Every day is day of tragedy for someone and a day of joy for someone else.

I have no problem actually then with people discussing this problem and what to do about it. What I have a problem with is people who don’t know the facts acting like they do. In fact, many of them hope that the facts are on their side. That is, the fact that the killer was a member of a certain religion or political persuasion.

One report I have heard is that the gunman was an atheist who wanted to strike out at a church and I think it was his mother-in-law’s church. What would that show? It would not show that you need to be living in fear of the atheist that you meet. It would not show that all atheists are bloodthirsty killers. In fact, many atheists can lead moral lives that could put many Christians to shame.

What if it was a Christian? Again, you would not be able to extrapolate to all other Christians out there. In fact, you will find some crazies in every group out there. It saddens me greatly to know Christians do some terrible things.

For if it was a Muslim, which I haven’t heard this but I’m just tossing it out there. Sadly, I can understand this one some. Most of the acts of terrorism we’ve seen committed here in this country I think have had the battle cry of “Allahu Akbar!” Again, that doesn’t mean that I need to live in terror of the Muslim down the street.

We could go on with if this was a conservative or a liberal. One of the problems is what we do with conspiracy theories. Someone comes with a presupposition of what they think the conclusion was and then tries to find the evidence to support it. In fact, I remember P.Z. Myers did this with the shooting of the Congresswoman in Arizona where he was insistent it would be a right-wing tea party member. Even when evidence he shared was shown to be fake, he was still insistent he was right. (It does look like the posts have been taken down now.)

Now we could discuss the ideologies instead and where they lead to. These are better questions because we’re discussing worldviews and not persons. For instance, if atheism is true, this person does not have to represent all atheists, and he doesn’t if he is one, but we could ask how atheism explains this. If the person was an atheist, did that person live in contradiction to his worldview or not?

What if they were a Christian? Again, we ask the same questions. We also ask that if they were a Muslim. Every worldview has to explain evil and every worldview has to explain morality, even if as is the case with some atheists, they want to say that morality is an illusion of sorts and there is no objective right or wrong.

There’s another thing to not say here. It is foolish I think for us to try to divine the will of God from what happens. Sometimes things just happen because people are evil. I have a problem with people reading the will of God or trying to figure it out from dreams, experiences, events, circumstances, etc. which we don’t know to be directly from God and messages for us, and ignoring the place where we are sure we get the will of God, Scripture. Spend more time exegeting Scripture than you do your own life.

Also, I am on guard now for people saying statements about mental illness. Unfortunately, mental illness becomes a catch-all term that people use and automatically everyone with a mental illness is suspect. Technically, my wife and I both have at least one, namely Aspergers. Could someone with a particular mental condition be more prone to doing this? Sure, but let’s make sure that we don’t impugn all people with mental conditions with that.

When this happened in Las Vegas, I saw someone saying it was the case of mental illness. It always amazes me that people say that someone had to be mentally ill to do something like this. Not necessarily. Could some people just simply be evil and do this? We so often want to say that the person is just a poor thinker and did something stupid than to say the person is an evil soul who did something evil. Sometimes, things happen because people are sinners. Chesterton years ago said the most empirically verifiable doctrine of Christianity is original sin. We are now losing sight of that. It could be we want to say mental illness because those who are supposedly “sane” can then be free to not worry and we don’t have to bother examining ourselves and that pesky little sin problem.

For a while, you’re going to hear people make several claims about what happened. Always be ready to ask what the source is for the claim and how it has been verified. I’m also sure we will hear several crazy conspiracy theory claims. There will be no doubt people saying that this didn’t happen at all. Who knows what else they will come up with? Please especially ignore these.

Pray for the people involved and let’s try to not jump onto any bandwagons of suspicion. Wait until the facts are in, and these are facts that are agreed to by the majority, and then discuss. Until then, worldviews are always available to be discussed and it could never hurt us to have more discussions about the truth on ultimate reality.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

Book Plunge: Honey. I Don’t Have A Headache Tonight

What do I think of Sheila Wray Gregoire’s book published by Kregel? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One night, a husband went to see his wife who was in bed waiting for them to go to sleep. He came carrying a glass of water and an advil.

Wife: What are those for?

Husband: It’s for your headache.

Wife: I don’t have a headache.

Husband: Excellent.

You see, you don’t have to be an expert in the sexes to know that men really want a lot of sex. If you asked your average husband how much sex he’d like to have, chances are you’d get some variation of “More” and chances are it doesn’t depend on how much sex he is getting. Take a husband who’s even having sex every day and see if he’d be thrilled if he got to have sex twice every day. Would he really say “Nah. I’m cool.”

Meanwhile, on the other side, the wife is often thinking “Exactly how much sex do you want?” or “We just did it last night!” She can wonder how it is in a Christian marriage that this good Christian man she married suddenly became a bundle of hormones that only thinks about sex. What happened?

Enter Sheila Wray Gregoire. She’s the woman behind the blogĀ To Love, Honor, and Vacuum and she has written a book to help ladies understand the importance of having sex with their husbands and to help put them in the mood more often.

With that, every husband I know is sure to want to join me in nominating her for sainthood.

Now why is it that I as a man am reading this? Because I think it’s important for a man to understand the female mind. You see, for we men, it just doesn’t often make sense. We do something together. It makes us feel really awesome at the end. We end up validated and affirmed and if it doesn’t happen, we end up feeling miserable and that we don’t matter, and to top it all off, it’s absolutely free. We don’t have to spend any money. All we do is give each other time. If a woman knows it makes her husband so tremendously happy and has so many benefits, why not?

While I read trying to get inside a woman’s mind, I understand very well that Sheila has got inside a man’s mind. That’s really important. What women so often don’t realize is that they have a key to their man’s confidence and masculinity. A man can’t be expected to act confident and brave outside the bedroom if he’s treated as less than a man inside the bedroom. The bedroom really dominates in the man’s mind. His identity can often rest there.

For instance, in my area of Christian apologetics, before I got married, I was always a bit timid with my approach. What if someone shows me up someday? What happens to my identity then? In the midst of this, I got married and before too long, I realized that fear was not really bothering me so much. It took some time and then I figured out why. By getting to be sexual with my wife, I was getting that affirmation that I needed from her. My identity to the rest of the world didn’t matter so much if my wife saw me as the man that she desires. Please understand this women trying to understand your man. THIS IS HUGE!

In fact, one of the first tips that Sheila gives a wife is to realize her husband is an alien. When we say men are from Mars and women are from Venus, there’s a lot of truth to that. Reality is that women are likely not going to change the libido of their husbands. Sheila says that a man could have a temperature of 104 degrees and a rash and it wouldn’t change the task at hand. There’s a lot of truth to that. Yes. I’ve even been ready to go when having the flu before.

Unfortunately, what happens is mixed messages. A man makes a suggestion to his wife on how he’d like to spend the evening. The woman feels like all she is good to him for is sex and she’s just an object. She says no. The man then feels like he no longer pleases his wife or turns her on. He feels rejected as a man. Note that neither side is likely intending to send the message, but both sides get the wrong message.

For a man, what he’s really asking every time is “Do you desire me? Do you want me? Am I still your man?” He wants to know he’s worth pursuing on his own. In fact, this is why men often don’t want to be the initiator. It’s a whole lot more fun when the wives initiate.

The truth is also, most women wish they could reciprocate more often. We men need to realize that many times, a wife doesn’t like saying no. Sheila tells us on location 124 of the Kindle book that there are two solutions then. You either raise your desire or you make your husbands want it less. (And with the latter, she asks that you please stop laughing so hard.)

Sheila also says she doesn’t want you to do this out of a task. Don’t make it be “Well I guess I have to do this.” Let it be fun. Think about what benefits can await when you get there. It won’t happen overnight, it will take time, but if you do want it, you will eventually get there. You could put an extra zing into your marriage with this.

Sheila also rightly points out that a man really does have a biological need. Once a man has been sexually active with a woman, his body does start to form a need for that. In fact, if he goes without any physical release for a time, it will hurt. It will actually physically hurt him. His body was designed for at least somewhat regular intercourse.

She also says on location 181 that a man sees a curvaceous woman and he doesn’t notice her intellect first. Yes. This is true. Women. Just imagine being on a diet for instance and walking through the dessert section at the store or the chocolate section. Got that image in your mind? Okay. That’s exactly what we go through every single day in society.

Maybe your husband works from home. Doesn’t matter. If he’s on Facebook, he sees it. If he’s surfing the net, he sees it. If he watches a TV show, he sees it. Heck. I see it just when I watch game shows that I love to watch. I can’t avoid it. It’s everywhere. So picture it from this way. We are surrounded by women all day long. We tell ourselves no to these women all day long. We avoid looking with our eyes all day long. The end of the day comes and there is the one woman we can say yes to who we desire to be with. Then comes back the word “No.” To picture that, again, think of the dessert section or the chocolate section. Think of depriving yourself for weeks and then it comes the time that you have said you will get a treat and asking your husband if he’ll get it for you and he says “No.”

Ladies. You are our treat. You are our prize. You are what we love. When my wife goes to see her counselor, I come along too. Once she was stunned when I said that if you took me to see the Mona Lisa, the Niagara Falls, the Taj Mahal, the city of Jerusalem, or any great wonder of the world or of art that man has made, that I say they would all pale greatly in comparison to the joy I get at seeing my wife’s body.

I really don’t think that’s stunning. I think most husbands would say the exact same thing.

She says on location 196 that men need to feel respected and appreciated. They don’t need to feel nagged. Sex can overcome a lot of this. To change what Peter says, sex covers over a multitude of sins. Sex is the way we feel the most loved and it is the way we feel the most respected.

Sheila also wants to remind women that this can work for them, though it should not be used that way. A man who wants sex will feel more attentive. If he doesn’t think he has a shot, chances are he won’t bother. Men will tend to go where the respect is. If they think they get more respect from work than they do from their wives, they’ll go to work more. A man will spend longer hours at the office if he thinks he’ll be respected there. Make him think he has sex waiting for him at home and see what happens.

In fact, some women when seeing counselors and complaining that their husbands never do anything around the house have been told something. “Seduce him for two weeks and see what happens.” Many times, it’s amazing the change that comes over them. Give the man the sex before anything else, and you will start to see a new man. A man will not see himself as much of a man unless he’s getting sex from his wife more often. (Note in all these cases, I am talking about married men.)

Now comes another point. The man also wants the wife to want him. Don’t just go through the motions. Want him. Be active. Treat getting to be with him as a privilege. This is for you also after all. As Sheila says later, God gave women a clitoris for a reason.

Now I’ve spoken a lot to the women, but I want to make something else clear for the men. Sheila ends each chapter with a section for the men, except for the last chapter, which I did find confusing in that aspect. She wants you to know that she is on your side here and it’s wise words for we men to follow.

Going back to the women, Sheila says your marriage will not be all that it could be without healthy sex. You are missing out. Sex isn’t just meant to be a friendship. Most everything else you want in life, you can get from other relationships. It is only in marriage that sex takes place. That is what makes it unique and that uniqueness needs to be highlighted.

With this, it is best to focus on the giving. Too many wives can say “Well I might want to have more sex with him if he’d do XYZ.” Well no. That’s using sex as a weapon. There is nothing Biblical that says “Wives, respect your husbands if he does XYZ.” No. It’s just respect. (And by the way, there is information in there on the strong cases of pornography and abuse. In this case, your goal is to heal your husband over a substantial issue and/or protect your own safety in a place where you’re reasonably in danger.)

She also says you can help your husband in holiness with this. If he has an affair, that’s his own fault, but you can help remove the temptation by good sex with him. You can also better enable his mind to focus on other things. Many women can complain the only affection they get from their husbands is sexual affection. That can be because he wants it so badly that if he gets close to you that’s all he thinks about. Give him regular sexual affection and regular non-sexual affection will be easier because he can rest assured it’s coming soon.

In fact, she talks about a nurse who said that unless you’re driving down the highway, when he asks say yes. The time you spend arguing about it will be longer than the time you would have spent just doing it. You’ll make your husband happy and avoid an argument. Think that’s worth it?

Some women have a problem with sexual abuse in their past. I really recommend if that’s you, get Sheila’s book. She has some advice on how to cross over that hurdle. Some of you have dealt with rejection. She also has something on that.

Sheila also correctly points out that God made sex. It was His idea. Again, we come back to the clitoris. He made this just so women could enjoy sexual pleasure. There’s no other purpose I know of certainly for this part of the body. There’s even a book of the Bible, the Song of Songs, dedicated to sex. Let’s cut the stuff about how it’s a metaphor for God and Israel or Christ and the church. Maybe on some level it is, but first and foremost, it’s a book about sex. God’s not ashamed of it. Neither should we be.

It’s also important to Sheila that you not place burdens on it. Don’t have it be “If you buy me something I really want, we’ll have sex.” That can get the man thinking that he himself is not enough. Don’t let sex be conditional. Let it be something that you do just because you want him.

Sheila also has an excellent suggestion on how our society opposes men. Think about how we have removed competition and encouraged people to be “nice.” Now of course, I’m not saying that men should be jerks, but have you seen how men talk to each other? Men get together and insult each other constantly and you know what? We’re best friends as a result of it! My own wife is just mystified as to how my friends and I can interact with each other. “That’s mean.” Yeah. We do it anyway. It’s in fact the way we bond. Men are the ones who in fact usually bond by roughhousing. That makes no sense to women.

Men are also competitive to a fault. I remember sitting around with some guys where I worked once and talking about painful experiences we’ve had in life on a physical level. Before too long, I realized each man was trying to top the other one. That’s what we do! (I think I won since I have had major back surgery.)

Men are told we need to not be aggressive and we need to have empathy. That goes against so much of what beats in the heart of a man. A man is a go-getter by nature and a man thrives on competition. Our society though panders to more feminine attributes. On top of that, we’re told we’re not to see women as sex objects, despite the fact that women can often wear clothes that accentuate their curves profoundly and wear their pants around their hips.

The odd thing is most women don’t even realize they’re doing this. They just want an outfit that feels good on them. Many a pastor even can have a hard time preaching a sermon because there’s a woman in the front row wearing a low-cut blouse and she doesn’t even realize what a source of temptation she is. I remember a man at a church once saying how he couldn’t really think about what a woman was saying once because her skirt was just so short.

You see women, your physical appearance does matter. Now I would be superficial if I said it’s everything, but I would be wrong if I said it was nothing. We are not Gnostics. You have a body for a reason. How you treat that body is also a gift to your husband. In fact, one of the great motivators I have had to treat my own body better is being married. I want my wife to get the best of me. Strive to give your husband the best of you.

Sheila also says wives need to initiate. If a wife doesn’t do that, then her husband will always feel like a child at the candy store begging for candy. Your no may be just a no, but not to him. It’s a huge rejection. Again, it is hard for him to feel like a man you believe in outside of the bedroom, if he doesn’t think you’re the man he believes in inside the bedroom. Sheila has a wonderful quote from a husband I want to quote in full.

The most important part of making love, particularly for the men, is that it is not about us getting pleasure, but rather the high we achieve by giving pleasure to our wives. It is our way of giving love, but when it is apparent that the person receiving our love is only there to “please” us, then it becomes rejection of us personally.

This deserves to be written in gold. Women may find it hard to believe, but the greatest pleasure a man gets is out of knowing he is a source of pleasure to his wife. The constant saying of no tells us we are not a source of pleasure. It is a rejection.

One more comment from Sheila is worth pointing out. She says as well that sex gets better the more you have it. I am convinced in my own life that this is true. This month Allie and I celebrate six years together. I enjoy this area a lot more now than I did then. I am convinced I’ll say the same five years from now.

Does this mean that change will happen overnight if you desire it? No. If you’re a woman who wants to improve your sex life and you buy this book and read it, it doesn’t mean you’ll get over all the hurdles in a day, but it does mean you’re on the path and if you let your husband know you’re on your path, you can be assured he’ll go to bed that night celebrating and looking forward to the future.

Did Sheila get inside the mind of a man? I think so. Now it’s time for the wives to get inside their husbands’ heads and the husbands to get inside their wives’.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: One Nation Under God

What do I think of Bruce Ashford and Chris Pappalardo’s book published by B&H Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Two of the things you’re never supposed to discuss at the dinner table are politics and religion. What happens when you bring both of them together? Usually, matters become even more explosive. Some Christians want to avoid politics altogether and think that the Kingdom of God should have nothing to do with the governments of men. Some would prefer to combine the two together and say that we will make the Kingdom of God come on Earth through the government.

Ashford and Pappalardo have problems with both positions. Something interesting about their book is that you will not find hard condemnation of either conservatism or liberalism. You will not find targeting of the Republican party or the Democrat party. You will find discussions of the issues, but the writers leave it to you, the reader, to decide where you will take your stand beyond that.

The book starts with opening sections describing the relationship between Christians and culture. Many views are critiqued and some are settled on. It also talks about not only what the content of our presentation will be in the public square, but also how it is that we will go about presenting our viewpoint in the public square. Make no mistake, the writers definitely think Christians do need to stand up for their position.

When it gets to the issues, there are explanations of what is going on in each of the issues and then there are examples of Christians who are taking a stand on those issues. These are quite helpful as they provide often not just examples of the content but how the writers want to see Christians go about making their case in the public square. The writers then end each section with several recommended books. These are classified in range from beginning level to advanced so that if you don’t know where to go, you can have a general idea.

Issues discussed include topics like abortion, the nature of marriage, the environment, economics, war, race relations, and immigration. The writers again do not side with any one party on these issues explicitly. They do take a stand and often explain where it is that they make their stand, but they also leave a lot left unsaid. After all, this is meant to give you just an introduction to the basic facts and they don’t so much I suspect want to tell you their views, but rather how they think that you should go about coming to your own conclusion.

I do sometimes wish more sources had been given on a topic. One main example is that in the section on the environment, there was no mention of the main Christian response to this, the Cornwall Alliance For The Stewardship of Creation. There were a few other sections where I thought more works could have been added, but what is there is certainly sufficient to get someone started on the path.

This is a good and short book. If you work hard, you could read it in a day, but it will prepare you for when it comes time to vote. The reader will start to have a better grasp on the issues and can further read on the issues that interest them most.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: To Judge

Is it proper to say that God will judge? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Judging is a funny thing in America today. People constantly say “I’m not trying to judge” and every time I hear that I want to say “But that’s exactly what you’re doing and that’s not necessarily wrong.” Of course, some judging is wrong, and this is the judging that is hypocritical judging, which is what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7.

It’s a shame that John 3:16 used to be the most quoted Bible verse and today, it’s Matthew 7:1 and even then, just the first part. Jesus is not telling you to never judge. In fact, the very passage talks about throwing pearls to swine and giving what is sacred to dogs. Those actions involve making judgments.

When I lived in Charlotte shortly before the wedding, my best man who was my roommate knew he needed to find a new place to live shortly after Allie and I met. He got a job living in a luxury apartment with a boy in a wheelchair who had had a stroke. (Yes. Luxury apartment all paid for. Just suffering for Jesus I suppose.)

Once in a trip over to visit him, a nurse was there to help out who was saying that we shouldn’t judge. I asked her if her car was parked in the garage downstairs. She said it was. I then asked “Did you lock the doors?” At that point, the light bulb clicked.

Judging is inevitable. You have to do it. If you lock your doors at all, you judge. If you’re cautious about who you choose to babysit your children, you judge. If there are places that you avoid while driving or walking, you judge. When you decide who it is that you are going to marry, you judge.

It’s strange also that judging is being seen as a negative when we have more and more shows of the American Idol variety that rely on the judgment of the man on the street more and more. Why is it that judging is seen as so problematic?

A large part of it is our pseudo-tolerance society. I say pseudo because we do not know what real tolerance is. Tolerance is not being accepting of what everyone does. Tolerance is thinking that what someone is doing is wrong but being able to accept the person regardless.

Let’s consider what has to be there for tolerance. First off, there has to be an area of disagreement for tolerance to exist. A husband for the most part will not tolerate it if his wife wants to make love to him in the evening. Of course not. He’ll openly celebrate it. That’s not something that a guy just puts up with. He wants that. A husband will tolerate it if his wife burns dinner one evening.

Tolerance also when seen as a virtue is normally about something someone has a serious disagreement with on someone. You could tolerate going to a fast food restaurant whose food you don’t particularly like because everyone else in the car is going there. If you make a big issue out of it, then that is more of a problem with you. You don’t call yourself a champion of tolerance just for putting up with food you don’t like.

Third, tolerance has it that what is being done is seen as wrong. Again, you don’t tolerate something that you approve of. Husbands don’t tolerate a wife who wants to make love. Parents don’t tolerate children who clean their rooms.

The obvious example today in America is the debate over homosexuality. For a Christian, if they show tolerance, that means they show love to someone in the homosexual lifestyle without approving of the lifestyle. You can love someone without approving of everything that they do. Case in point, we all do it to ourselves.

Someone can think that the Christian is wrong in not agreeing with the homosexual lifestyle. It does not follow that the Christian is however intolerant. Of course, they could be, and if we think of people with the mindset of Westboro Baptist, they indeed are. Some people do genuinely think homosexuality is wrong but have a great love of homosexuals as people and seek to share the love of Christ with them.

Putting a stigma on judging allows possible evils to go unchecked. It should be for any of us that if a viewpoint or practice we engage in is wrong, we would want to know about it. We would want to be open to evidence and correction that will show that. Too often we are not. Too often also, we blame everyone else for how our lives are turning out instead of taking responsibility.

In a situation like this, people are allowed to use their feelings to hold others in tyranny. Having your feelings hurt is not the worst thing in the world. Sometimes, in fact, it is absolutely necessary. Sometimes you need to be told a hard truth and the only way to do that is by stepping on those toes a little bit. Some people also are not genuinely interested in debate but only in tearing others down. A firm hand can be needed for those.

So what about God? Can God judge? After all, the creed says that He is coming to judge.

It amuses me when I see atheists who complain about the problem of evil. Then you point to a society filled with evil like the Canaanite culture of the past and the atheist complains when God judges that culture as well. No matter what, God is seen as guilty. If God lets evil keep going, then He is wrong. If God judges, then He is also wrong.

God is in fact the only one who can judge perfectly since He alone is wholly good and wholly just. In fact, He is goodness and justice. When God judges also, He will be a good and fair judge with the people who He judges.

“Well how can that be? Christians get a free pass!”

God’s standard is perfection. When God judges a Christian, He will see the Christian in covenant with Christ and will judge the Christian based on the work of Christ. What happens when He comes to the non-Christian? He’s a fair judge and He uses the same standard. The standard is perfection. If someone falls short, they don’t make it. God judges them by their works.

Kind of ironic isn’t it since so many people think God should do just that and judge us by if we did more good than bad in this life.

Now you might say your works are not that bad. You never do anything really really evil. You’ve never murdered anyone for instance.

The reason something like that is thought is because people don’t really know what sin is. Consider what happens when you do what the Bible refers to as sin. You are making these claims.

You are saying your way is better than God’s.
You are saying you know better than God.
You are saying you will not be judged by God so you can get away with it.
You are saying that you will be unholy while knowing that God is holy.
You are saying you are the ultimate authority of how this world should be and how you should live in it.

In essence, you are wanting to be on the throne of God yourself. You are in fact guilty of divine treason.

If that sounds extreme to you, it’s because you just don’t realize the gravity of the situation.

I would also contend that if you are sentenced to live apart from God forever, you will continue to live in rebellion. In other words, you will be building up a debt that you could never pay off.

Saying you are guilty of divine treason could make God sound like a harsh judge, but that’s only getting one side of the picture. That’s what makes forgiveness so beautiful. It’s God saying that He knows you wanted Him to not exist and you wanted to be God yourself, and yet He is going to drop all charges against you. He will not just wipe the slate clean. He will break the slate into a million pieces. You will be seen as innocent based on your trust in Christ.

Keep in mind God could have not sent Christ and been entirely in the right. He could judge us all right now and who could say He was wrong? From a Biblical position, we all deserve death and in fact, we all deserve it right now, so every moment we are allowed to live is in fact a gift of grace.

Also, if you find yourself getting offended at the thought that you deserve death right now for being in rebellion against God, then I can just easily say you are demonstrating pride. If God is the king of this universe, upon what grounds does He owe you anything? You are to bow to Him. He is not to bow to you.

God does have the right to judge and while our judging is imperfect, passages like John 7:24 tell us we need to make right judgments, especially as people of truth who should be constantly seeking out truth. If we live in fear of judging, then we will not be able to fulfill the Great Commission our Lord has given us, for that requires we tell a world that they are sinners in need of a savior and that the King is on the throne and they need to honor Him.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Tragedy of Christian Bookstores

Why do Christian Bookstores make me thoroughly depressed every time I go in them? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Yesterday, while doing some driving to pick up some groceries, I went to a little shopping center that has a Christian bookstore in it that I shall leave unnamed. I thought maybe there was some opportunity I could find to serve in a place like that or something on a bulletin board in there that would indicate something I could do.

Unfortunately, what I saw when I went in was absolutely tragic.

To begin with, I see a salesperson from there talking to a retired pastor as I find out in conversation and what are they talking about? Blood moons. The pastor is wanting to buy a book about blood moons and from the conversation I heard, it sounds like he buys into it entirely. Of course, I have pointed to an excellent resource on this already.

The great irony here is that in the midst of the conversation between the pastor and the salesperson, the salesperson also being in ministry, it was said that there were too many people in churches who were growing fat off of the flock and fleecing them for all they were worth.

Kind of like blood moons.

When I got to talk to the salesperson there, I offered my help in Christian apologetics if ever the need arose. I was told I’d be contacted to which I said “Won’t you need my contact information if you’re going to contact me?” I’m quite sure that while I wrote it out for him, it was either ignored or promptly thrown out. Who needs this stuff? We have blood moons!

I am quite confident of a number of things with this.

#1-John Hagee will be shown to be wrong again.

#2-John Hagee provided he is still alive will write another book on prophecy.

#3-John Hagee will not confess any wrong in the past on misleading the people with past theories.

#4-The church will still eat it up and refer to him as an expert.

What else do we find? A big display on Heaven is for Real. That is another book that I have written about elsewhere. I have a greater concern with this book now that a movie has come out. Colton Burpo, the kid in the book, has entered his teen years from what I understand.

What happens if he stumbles?

There are two ways I can see this happening.

Let’s suppose that he abandons his faith first off. Let’s suppose that peer pressure or sexual temptation or some combination of those two or any other events lead him to apostasize and if asked about this says that it was all the imagination of a small child and he never really believed it. What will happen to all those people who put their hope in Christ based on his testimony? What about all those people who claimed knowledge of what Heaven is like based on his testimony?

Or suppose this scenario. Suppose he ends up doing something like sleeping with a girlfriend. Now he doesn’t abandon his faith per se, but he tells us something like “God said that it was okay if I really love her.”

Keep in mind I don’t want any of this to happen. It’s a tragedy when anyone apostasizes or gives in to sexual sin. I am warning about the danger. However much we put our eggs of trust in the Colton Burpo basket, the more danger we are in if something goes wrong with that.

Unfortunately, you can be sure that when William Lane Craig, Mike Licona, Gary Habermas, etc. has a new book coming out, these will not be put on front display and everyone encouraged to buy them. No. The apologetics books and serious theology books are going to be buried on some back shelf away from plain sight.

In fact, I was sent a web site with a list of Christian booksellers on it. Now there are some good things from time to time. The Five Love Languages for instance, or Boundaries. Not everything in the bookstore has to be apologetics and I’m not opposed to all Christian fiction, but what else do I see on the list? Heaven is for Real. Blood Moons. Joel Osteen. Not one work by a serious Christian scholar in theology or apologetics is on the list.

Is it any wonder the intellectual growth in the Christian church is stunted. We’ve been feeding them junk food for so long their diets aren’t equipped to handle real meat. At least the church the Hebrews writer wrote to was drinking milk. We’re not even at that level. It would be interesting to see what he would have to say about our churches today if he saw them.

Of course, there’s also the constant witnessing tools and each time it’s some other gimmick whether it be mints in the shapes of crosses or just witness wear. Now if someone wants to buy a T-shirt with a Christian message on it, fine. That at the same time does not constitute evangelism if you wear one. To do evangelism, you have to directly share the Gospel somehow or at least prepare people for the Gospel. Too many of us can think we wear a T-shirt in public and we have done our evangelism.

So I go into these places and I come out depressed. It is apparent why it is that the Christian church is failing. They receive no meat in their diet whatsoever. Some stores might want to sell other books, but to stay in business, they have to give people what they want.

Yet how many of you with children would say “Well if my child wants junk food, that’s the way it is.”

No. You’d seek to change their desires.

How’s it going to happen?

First off, pastors have to start really preaching the Scriptures. A pastor who gets more of their sermon from blood moons than they do from Scripture is a pastor who is a disgrace to the pulpit. You are meant to exegete the text. You are not meant to exegete the newspaper. Of course, a good pastor can be a futurist or a dispensationalist and if you want to touch on current events, fine, but remember the meat of the message MUST come from Scripture.

These pastors will need to be teaching their church serious theology and discernment. They need to be able to let their congregations ask questions. Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer are not going to prepare our youth for Bart Ehrman in college and neither will they prepare our adults for Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, for the latter, they’ll feed a mindset that will make them more prone to the message of these groups.

Now some of you pastors might think “Well I’ll lose a lot of members.” You might. But ask yourself this. Would you rather have twenty people in your church who were thoroughly committed and knew their Bibles well and could make the Christian case, or would you rather have two hundred who just hear what they want to hear and do nothing with it?

Next on the list is parents. Parents should seek to get their children in a church that does really teach Scripture seriously, but even then, you can’t expect the church to do all the work. You need to be teaching your children at home proper tools of thinking. Get them engaged with other worldviews. Don’t isolate them. Don’t just hide them from threats. Teach them how to face those threats. Equip them.

If your children were just eating junk food, you wouldn’t put up with that. You’d do everything you could to make them eat healthy. If you will take care of their physical condition, how much more should you take care of their spiritual condition?!

Unfortunately, Christian bookstores won’t change until Christians say enough is enough. That won’t happen until we get serious about real Christian growth in the church.

Until then, I suspect I’ll be spending more time on Amazon or even secular bookstores. At least secular bookstores don’t know better when they put the holy next to the heretical. Christian bookstores have no such excuse.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Blessed Assurance

What do I think of this book by Pastor Eric Douglas? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

blessedassurance

Eric Douglas sent me a copy of his manuscript “Blessed Assurance” for a review. It’s a work meant to help the Christian out who struggles with the question of if they are truly “saved” or not. The book is a relatively short read. You could probably read it in a couple of hours and it depends on exegeting select verses from 1 John to make the case.

I do think Douglas is in the right with much of what he says. I do agree that there are many people who have several good actions, but they have no commitment to Christ. These are the kinds of people who are talked about in Matthew 7.

On the other hand, there are too many people who “prayed a prayer” and their life shows no devotion to Christ whatsoever and they just want to look back at an event and say “Yeah. I’m good” and then move on from there.

This situation unfortunately happens in many of our churches where we have placed an emphasis on conversion and have not placed one on discipleship. In fact, dare I say it, but if we placed more emphasis on discipleship, it could be that books like Douglas’s wouldn’t need to be written. I am glad that they are. I am just saddened that they need to be.

I do think Douglas has a sound approach to 1 John, though I probably wouldn’t hold to the same views as many evangelicals, such as I do think apostasy from Christ is possible. I’ve seen too many ex-Christians to think otherwise.

I also do think that Douglas does get right the kind of worrying that people in this situation go through, with a fear of Hell, and of course, it’s usually in this case a strong fundamentalist interpretation of Hell. (To which, again, more discipleship is the ultimate answer overall.)

I also agree that doubt should not be seen as an enemy. I like how Douglas in the book stresses that we need not run from questions like “Does God exist?” or “Is the Bible true?” or “Did Jesus rise from the dead?” Douglas is certainly right to say this doubt can lead to a greater commitment to Christ when we follow through and do the research!

So where do I think improvement needs to be made?

I think there could be more said in response to passages like the Matthew 7 “Depart from me. I never knew you.” People in the position of doubting salvation usually see themselves as the exception to the rule. They might say “Well Pastor Douglas, I think you’ve certainly made your case, but you know, if Jesus will say that to anyone, it’s going to be me.”

The first way I’d deal with this is getting people to realize that while their feelings and emotions play a role in the Christian life, they are not a determiner of if one is saved or not or even if one has the love of God or not. In fact, I would contend that the true Christian is often one who serves not only when the feelings are not there, but when the opposite feelings are there.

For instance, in marriage, when we feel a great love for our spouse, it is very easy to serve and adore our spouse, but when our spouse has done something to really annoy us, it is very difficult to love and serve them, and yet that is what we are required to do anyway.

In our Christian walk, we are guaranteed to go through all the phases. There will be times where we delight in serving Jesus and there will be times that that is the last thing we want to do. The question is not how we feel, but what is our duty, what are we called to?

The second way is I’d point out that 99.9% of the time that when I meet someone who is worried about their salvation, I can rest assured they already have it. The reason that they care so much is because of the purpose Christ has in their worldview. A lot of times people want to debate the question of eternal security. I say just make it simple. Just trust Christ and you don’t have to worry.

In conclusion, I think Douglas has taken care of the Scriptural side, but I think in a future addition, I’d add in a bit to deal with the side of the emotions running away with the reason as that is the root of the problem. An excellent resource on this can be found in the work of Gary Habermas on doubt. You can get two of his books for free on the topic at his web site of GaryHabermas.com.

I do think this work can help those who are struggling as I’ve said. I’d just like to see more expansion on dealing with the emotional turbulence that such a person is going through at the time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

On Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty

What do I think about the Phil Robertson issue? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Normally, I don’t post on Saturday, but next week is Christmas and I will be busy and I have other reviews going on and this topic is important to cover right now so with a few hours before the podcast today airs, I’m going to give some thoughts on this one.

I can also say that I have never actually seen an entire episode of Duck Dynasty. My wife and I do not get A&E. I’ve only seen the tail end of one episode when we went to visit my parents and I remember seeing a truck get blown up (Which I thought was awesome) and having the family gather together for prayer and a meal. I liked what I saw, but never watched more.

Yet I have been watching what has been going on and quite enjoying what I see.

Phil Robertson as we know was asked by GQ his stance on various issues. This would include sinful behavior. It’s hardly a shock to anyone that Robertson, a conservative Christian, gave an answer that a conservative Christian would do. What should he do instead? Lie? (For those wanting to talk about how a true Christian behaves and believes, a true Christian does not lie.) No. He gave an honest answer. Some say he was crude. It’s amusing that these same people quite likely have no hesitancy using profanity and probably don’t complain about a number of jokes their favorite comedians make or can show up on television elsewhere.

What did A&E do in response? They cut him out of the show for going against what they believe. A key point in this has also been that Robertson included bestiality in the list of sexual sins.

Maybe he did that because it is included in the Christian list of sexual sins? Notice also he included men and women sleeping around. If anything, since that was listed afterwards, it could be implied that he’s saying that was worse. I don’t think he was saying that. He was just listing sexual sins.

And to top it off, he gives a passage from Scripture.

Now going back to A&E’s response, a lot of people see this as a free speech issue. Upfront, I will say that this is not an issue about free speech. I will assume for the sake of argument that A&E has all right to fire Phil Robertson if they so choose. The right to speak does not entail the right to be heard or agreed with.

Of course, in turn, families all across America have a right to boycott A&E and to cancel their cable.

And before going on, I just want to ask this question. A&E, what the heck were you thinking? Duck Dynasty is your cash cow. It is the number one show in the nation. It is the reason people are watching your network. Why on Earth would you want to risk the equilibrium of that show? People who watch it already know how Phil thinks whether they agree with him or not.

That having been said then, what is the real issue here?

The real issue I think is hypocrisy.

There are many homosexuals out there who are practicing homosexuals who see no wrong with the behavior, but at the same time, they’re also not dogmatic about wanting to redefine marriage. Many of them even oppose redefining marriage. They don’t want to be the center of attention. They don’t want to make their sexual behavior the focus of their life or stake their identity in it. Of course, they don’t want to be discriminated against in other areas of life, but they’d prefer to really just be left alone.

Most Christians will have no problem with these people. Now we’ll disagree with their lifestyle, but we suspect that we can have good and honest conversation with these people about the issues. These people will also disagree with orthodox Christians. Some will claim to be Christians themselves, but I don’t see any way around 1 Cor. 6 for a Christian. Those interested in more on this are invited to read Robert Gagnon’s “The Bible and Homosexual Practice” and listen to his interview on my show here.

What do we Christians mind?

We mind the ones that are very much in our face with their lifestyle and not only wanting us to listen to them, but demanding that we accept them.

“Oh you are huh? Well what about those Bible thumpers who go around telling everyone that they’re going to Hell? What about them?”

By and large, I think they’re generally an embarrassment to the kingdom. I do. The ones that I see are generally high on passion and low on knowledge on the topic. All they know how to do is quote the Bible. Get them in a discussion where they actually have to defend the Bible and they’re toast. Of course, I am not condemning evangelism, but I do think we are in a world where the Bible no longer has the authority it had before in the eyes of the world. We need to do pre-evangelism as well.

So was Robertson doing that? No. He was just answering a question and yes, he did quote Scripture, but he didn’t just say a Scripture. He also made an argument about the nature of the body and how it works. I have no problem with that. He gave the Christian view and then said “And here’s why I think this view is true.”

GLAAD of course would have none of it and immediately made a protest. Unfortunately, this has come back to bite them. GLAAD has been receiving complaints from people everywhere and if you go to their Facebook page, the people are livid. What do they point at? The hypocrisy.

All this time, the homosexual movement has been saying we should tolerate them. We should have a live and let live attitude. We should be willing to accept that they are different. Classically understood, Christians will have no problem tolerating homosexuals. True tolerance means “I disagree with your view, but I will give you all right to hold that view and live your life the way you want.” (Of course, this excludes actions that are illegal.)

The government with behavior can do three things after all. It can promote a behavior and say this is what we want society to do. It can prohibit a behavior and say this is what it doesn’t want society to do. It can also permit a behavior as a way of saying they’re not saying yes or no either way but leaving it up to people to decide.

Right now, the government permits homosexual behavior. There’s nothing illegal about it. That’s not saying anything about it being right or wrong. After all, the government permits adultery and Christians should condemn adultery. The government permits some forms of pornography (Excepting child pornography of course) despite that Christians consider (or they should!) that to be immoral as well.

Knowing that, most Christians will do the same. We’re up for having honest and frank discussions with people in the homosexual community who disagree with us. I have friends who are part of that community. I have friends who I disagree with on many issues and we know we disagree, but we can maturely discuss the issues.

GLAAD is not pleased with that. They don’t want discussion. They have shut down discussion immediately instead. When it comes to what Robertson has said, the question has not been asked “Is he right?” Personally, I think that would be a good question for us to discuss. Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that Christianity is true. Let’s suppose God does have a Kingdom. Let’s suppose this really is a behavior that excludes you from the Kingdom.

Isn’t that the kind of thing people should know about?

Let’s even suppose for the sake of argument that Christianity is false. However, Phil Robertson still believes that it is true. He honestly believes that people who are participating in homosexual behavior without repentance and not seeking to repent are going to be excluded from the Kingdom of God?

Isn’t it consistent for him to want to warn people about that?

GLAAD has decided to skip the step of if what is said is true or not. Now they could say “Well we’ve studied the claim and we’ve found that it’s not true.” Okay. Perhaps you think you have. Has your audience? What about people out there who think otherwise? What about people like myself who say we’ve studied the Bible and found it to be true and we agree with it here? We need to hear more than your indignation.

All this time GLAAD has been telling us to be tolerant of people who are different, but apparently, when someone shows up who is different from them, then that tolerance goes out the window. They no longer have a desire to be tolerant. They not only refuse dissenting arguments. They refuse dissenting opinions. If you speak out and say something that offends them, then they will come after you.

I’ve debated Muslims before. These Muslims tell me that I’m an idolater and a blasphemer. I am guilty of the sin of shirk for since I hold to the deity of Christ and the Trinity, I am assigning partners to God. I deserve to go to Hell forever.

And you know what? If Islam is true, they’re exactly right! If Jesus is not who He claimed to be, I am guilty of a great blasphemy anyway and I deserve what I get.

Am I offended by this? Not a bit! I think the Muslims are being entirely consistent.

When the Muslim says that, what do I say? I don’t go off on a tirade about being offended and therefore it is wrong. What I do is give my reasons why I think the Bible is true and why I do not think that the Koran is true. My reasons could be wrong for the sake of argument, but I give a reason.

What has happened with GLAAD is instead of focusing on the question under discussion, we are instead focusing on the feelings of those involved. If GLAAD feels offended, we cannot help with that. We cannot change what we believe is the truth just to help them feel better. What this ultimately means if we keep going down the route of discussing the feelings involved is that we are held captive by GLAAD’s feelings.

And why should we be?

Should we submit the truth to our feelings or submit our feelings to the truth?

GLAAD’s problem is that they are not practicing the gospel that they preach. The tolerance is a one-way street. If you agree and accept them, they are fine with you, but if you dare raise disagreement, GLAAD isn’t so…well…glad.

An interesting example of the kind of tactics GLAAD is doing is in the interview discussion between Al Mohler and Wilson Cruz. Do you know who these people are? Well let me tell you a bit about them.

“Wilson Cruz currently serves as a full-time GLAAD staff member and national spokesperson, having spoken about LGBT issues on MSNBC, Huffington Post Live, NBC Latino and in USA Today, among many others. He will soon be guest hosting ‘Raising McCain,’ the new talk show on Pivot TV hosted by Meghan McCain. His involvement with LGBT advocacy began in 1995, when he accepted the GLAAD Media Award on behalf of the groundbreaking drama, My So-Called Life. Cruz’s role as gay high school student Rickie Vasquez was a groundbreaking moment in the history of LGBT images in the media. Since then he has gone on to appear in several memorable roles that have spanned television, film, and the Broadway stage. In 1997, Cruz joined GLAAD’s Board of Directors. In 2008, GLAAD honored Cruz with its Visibilidad Award. He recently served on the Board of Directors for The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and for the past two years he co-chaired their annual Respect Awards which raises money for the organization. Cruz also worked at The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force as a Field Organizer, advocating in cities around the United States to expand human rights ordinances to includes sexual orientation. He has been the Grand Marshal at Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, West Hollywood and San Diego Pride events, as well volunteering for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and APLA’s AIDS Walk. He is based in Los Angeles.”

And to let everyone know, this is not a description I have made on my own. This is a description that comes from GLAAD’s own web site and can be found here.

Now what about Al Mohler?

“A native of Lakeland, Fla., Dr. Mohler was a Faculty Scholar at Florida Atlantic University before receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. He holds a master of divinity degree and the doctor of philosophy (in systematic and historical theology) from Southern Seminary. He has pursued additional study at the St. Meinrad School of Theology and has done research at University of Oxford (England).

Dr. Mohler also serves as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Seminary. His writings have been published throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to contributing to a number of collected volumes, he is the author of several books, including Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Multnomah); Desire & Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance (Multnomah); Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists (Crossway); He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World (Moody); The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness (Multnomah); and Words From the Fire: Hearing the Voice of God in the Ten Commandments (Moody). From 1985 to 1993, he served as associate editor of Preaching, a journal for evangelical preachers, and is currently editor-in-chief of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology.”

This is just a snippet of what can be found here.

In fact, I’ll even say I’m not a big fan of Al Mohler, but let’s suppose I didn’t know these two men from Adam. All I had was these descriptions of them and I’m hearing them speak about what Christians believe. If I have not done any research on my own, which of these two men should I give more credibility? The one who has a Christian position at a Christian ministry earning degrees in the subject from a Christian seminary, or should I listen to the one who has been an actor and works at an organization that champions homosexuality and has based his whole life on that view?

If you answered “Al Mohler has more credibility” you’re spot on!

Yet what does Cruz say to Mohler?

“You know, it is not a Christian thing to compare or to include homosexuality in a list that includes bestiality or slanderers.”

You can see that here.

Upon what authority does Cruz make this statement? Could he biblically back it?

Amusingly, Cruz goes on to say this:

“And here’s the other thing. There was a time in our history when we couldn’t actually speak up and say something about how we were being characterized. That is no longer today. When someone speaks about us in these ways, we will rise up. We will speak out. And the problem with some of these people on the other side is that they don’t like that anymore. They want us to stay quiet. But we won’t stay quiet when someone makes misogynists statements, when they make racist statements the way that Mr. Robertson did. That’s not American. That’s not Christian. ”

Yes. The problem is people don’t like the way that homosexuals speak out and they want them to stay quiet. This is incredibly funny considering that Cruz and his colleagues want Robertson to be silenced and stay quiet. They don’t want him to speak up at all or say his opinion.

In fact, let’s suppose for the sake of argument that Robertson made misogynist and/or racist statements.

He has freedom to do that too! If he’s a racist, he has that freedom. If he’s a misogynist, he has that freedom. It doesn’t mean he’s right to do so, but he’s free to do so. If you want to silence him, do so with an argument as to why it’s wrong.

What we can hope is that this will instead show that the homosexual narrative is not playing the way it is. We are told that more and more people are coming over to the homosexual side, at least supporting them. This should show that they are not and GLAAD has now shown their hand and the people who support Phil Robertson are angry about it. The message has been given loud and clear. “Do not speak out against us or we will deal with you.”

What this demonstrates is something I have said for awhile. Tolerance has been a sham. It’s always been a one-way street. It was never meant to go both ways. As soon as the homosexuals have the power, they misuse it just as much as anyone else would. They have wanted us to live and let live, but they do not want us to do that, unless we’re just isolated to the private sphere. We dare not be public with our faith, though the homosexual can be public with his lifestyle.

My hope in this is that we will instead get the debate started again and maybe some Christians will wake up and realize what is going on in their world around them and come out of their enclosed societies where they never interact with the world. What we see here today is that Christians are still a force to be reckoned with.

And now, they are ready to show that they will not be bullied any longer.

Where we go from here is up to everyone else and to what you and I do, but this is not a free speech issue in my view. It is a hypocrisy issue and it is time we call the other side on it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters