What Should Christians Do In Light Of Cruz Dropping Out

What is the call of the church? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was pretty shocked when I heard the news last night that Cruz had dropped out of the race. Frankly, I hadn’t been too enthused about many of the candidates at all. Still, I did think Cruz was our best shot. As I say that, I know that there are many Christians who do support Trump and if you are one of those, this is still relevant to you.

Many of you were Cruz supporters. You were downcast and saddened last night. After all, we’ve gone through a hard eight years in this country. We don’t want more of the same. Many of us have been discouraged by the decisions of the Supreme Court as well.

In some ways, if you’re shocked, it will take some time to get used to. Our minds tend to jump to panic. I’d like to see I was a paragon of virtue in this. I’d like to, but I’d be lying. I didn’t rest well last night. I do get concerned about America, so what I say to you, I say to me as well.

I was talking with someone last month at a restaurant and he asked me about our country. I gave the same answer I always give. How do we turn our country around? The church has to be the church. We unfortunately have not been being the church.

We have become so individualized we do not think beyond ourselves. I find this best modeled in the lady I heard in a small group once say that she’s saved and her children are saved so she’s just going to wait for Jesus to come. What a horrible attitude! What about your neighbor’s children? If your children go off to college, will they remain Christians?

When we become the church, we will be living as Jesus lived. We will give as He gave. We will sacrifice as He sacrificed. We will care about the things that He cared about, and there are many areas I have to improve on that personally. A pastor at our church gave a sermon on prayer lately that showed me that yes, I have a long way to go. We all have many such areas.

Bart Ehrman actually gives an interesting example of this. He’ll give a talk to his incoming students in his classroom. Keep in mind, this is an agnostic saying this. These classes will have about 400 people in them. He’ll ask how many of them agree with the proposition that the Bible is the Word of God. WHOOSH! Nearly every hand goes up. Then he’ll ask “How many of you have read The Da Vinci Code (Or whatever the book of the day is. I’ve heard Harry Potter used for instance). WHOOSH! Nearly every hand goes up. “And how many of you have read the Bible from beginning to end?” A few scattered hands go up. Ehrman points out that he can understand wanting to read a great novel, but by their own admission, these students have just said the Bible is the Word of God and they don’t seem to care to read what He has to say. How many of us are much better?

As I went to bed last night thinking about the church being the church, I thought that it’s a shame we put our hope in politics so much. Of course, it’s not that politics is unimportant. We should care about politics. It’s that we already have a savior. We already have a Lord and Master. We dare not say “If our political candidate does not get elected, then all hope is lost!” No. The world will still go on. The Gospel will remain unchanged. Let’s list some facts we believe as Christians.

Fact: Jesus Christ is the risen Lord of the universe.

Fact: God is enthroned in the Heavens and laughs at attempts to usurp His power.

Fact: We have the Great Commission to do.

Let’s keep these in mind. Christ originally gave the Great Commission to His followers and you know what? They didn’t have the internet. They didn’t have cars and planes that could travel the Roman Empire. They didn’t have the best education. (In fact, the most educated among them could have been Matthew the tax collector who would have worked WITH the government as a tax collector) They were fishermen and they were told to go into all nations and make disciples.

All nations would include Rome.

You know, Rome, that empire that ruled the world. That empire that came to persecute Christians. That empire that demolished every attack against them. They were to give the most bizarre message that would have been given and they would have done so without being able to look back on past generations of Christians who had done the same. They didn’t even have a New Testament to preach from!

Of course, the scholar Paul joined the party later on and he did a great work, but he did it without all that we have today. He had to be the original pioneer in many ways. Can you imagine what Paul would do if he had the resources that we had today? Paul had no hesitancy in going to Rome even though he knew he was going to die.

We act like all hope is lost meanwhile based on an election that hasn’t even happened yet in a country where we are not yet fearing for our lives.

You see, it doesn’t matter if Trump or Hilary or Sanders gets elected or if Cruz or Rubio or anyone else had got elected. Our mandate is the same if Ronald Reagan is in office or if Barack Obama is in office. Our command is to be the church. We are to do the Great Commission. Our marching orders haven’t changed and maybe we panic because we have put our hope in government.

Unfortunately, we’re also great hypocrites with this in a lot of ways. When we talk about bathrooms, we say that people are not of the opposite sex just because they feel like they’re a woman in a man’s body or vice-versa. I agree. We dare not give authority to our feelings to tell us who we are. We look at Mormons and say the burning in the bosom is not the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and I agree. Then after all that, we look and say “Well I don’t feel like we can do anything and our country is doomed.”

Your feelings and mine do not overpower Scripture. You can have those feelings, and it’s likely you will, but we must work to overcome them. We do not determine the truth of God by how we feel and if we start doing that, then we are placing our feelings over Scripture. If you have a feeling that disagrees with Scripture, well so much for your feelings. They’re simply wrong. This is why we also need to preach the Gospel to one another and remind ourselves of the truth.

I also thought last night of how Jesus said that in this world we would have troubles in John 16:33, but He has overcome the world. Note that. He has overcome it. It’s not a future thing. It’s a done deal. We don’t see all the results of it, but Jesus has overcome. Ultimately, we’re on the winning side.

We’ve had a lot go wrong in our country, but perhaps things aren’t gloom and doom as much as we think. Years ago the Supreme Court defended abortion. Today, you’d find that more and more people are turning against abortion. I suspect the same thing will happen with their recent ruling on homosexuality and marriage. If our case is right, and I am sure it is, then we need not live in fear. A worldview like this can’t live for long. It will self-destruct. Some of us think we’re seeing this start in the whole transgender issue.

In fact, let’s look at the homosexual community. They make up a small portion of our population and yet, when they made a plan and acted on it and charged forward in the face of opposition and fear, look at what they accomplished. Now we claim that we have the God of the universe on our side and what are we doing in response? We are a far larger portion of the population than they are. The truth is the homosexual movement is doing more for their behavior than we are for Jesus Christ.

So what am I going to do?

I’m going to keep doing my blog.

I’m going to keep doing the podcast.

I’m going to keep doing apologetics the way I’m supposed to.

I’m going to keep doing the Great Commission.

I’m going to continue to love the wife God gave me.

I’m going to continue to strive to walk as Jesus walked.

And you know what, I’m going to do that regardless of who gets elected? I would do that if Cruz got elected. I will do it if Trump or Clinton or Sanders gets elected. I would do it if somehow Obama got a third term. I would do it if somehow Reagan came back from the dead and got elected again.

By all means, vote and be active, but don’t put all your eggs in the political basket. If you think things are going to be harder, well that just means we have more of a challenge. It doesn’t mean we have a big game over.

My wife and I like to watch The Flash for instance. Now if you have seen recent episodes, and we haven’t seen last night’s yet, we saw where the Flash lost all of his speed and it went to the villain speedster recently. My wife and I did not turn off the TV then and say “Well that was a good series. Looks like it’s all hopeless for him now.” No. Instead we look and say “Dang. I don’t know how he’s going to get out of this one, but he’s going to find a way and he will defeat the villain in the end.” Why? Because we know that’s how these stories work. The authors do not write stories where the good guys lose like that. We don’t have to know how the author will pull it off. We just know that he will.

The author of this story is God. He’s the one in charge. If I can have trust that the writer of a TV show will bring about a good ending, can I not do the same with the greatest author of all? He’s  in charge. Life is still an adventure. There will always be challenges regardless of who is in the White House, but we can still do great things if we’re willing to just get up and do them.

Your marching orders are still the same. Be the church. If you want to see the change, be the change. You will either be part of evangelism or a hindrance to evangelism.

I plan to be a part of it. How about you?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Supreme Court And Redefining Marriage

What do we do now that the court has ruled? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Like many of you, I’m disappointed by the ruling of the court today on marriage, but I am not shocked. We’ve had this before and it’s not the end of the world. The court also ruled on abortion. The question now comes to what are we going to do from here?

We are going to do what our marching orders already were. They were the Great Commission and they haven’t changed. They’re still the same. Are we living in a culture that despises Christianity for the most part. Yes, as were the first Christians and in fact, they lived in a worse one. (I am speaking to those living in America) We have not yet resisted, as Hebrews would say, to the point of shedding our blood, though many of us do think such a time is coming. Many of us can be disappointed that this ruling happened, and that is understandable, but we should not be shocked. Why did it happen?

It’s not because the world did what they do. That is what we’d expect. Why should we expect people who don’t share that worldview would act as if they did? If you want to know what has gone wrong in this country, it is not the fault of those outside the body of Christ. They are not to blame. It is the fault of those who are in the body of Christ. The reason things have happened the way they have is we have not followed our marching orders. We have insulated ourselves inside of our little bubbles and hoped that Jesus would just come back and ignored what happened in the world around us. I mean, as long as we and our children are okay, so what? We’ve done our part.

We have never fully done our part. Our part is never done.

Today is not a day to look in fear. Today is a day to look at what has happened and say “Challenge accepted.” We never stopped fighting against abortion despite the ruling of the court, just as over a century and a half ago some would not stop fighting against slavery, despite the Dred Scott decision. Why should we stop now? If we are right in our claim that marriage is a man and a woman, no ruling from a court could change that. That would be like saying that if the court ruled tomorrow that triangles have four sides or that something can go faster than the speed of light, then we would accept those things as well.

So what do we do?

The same thing we’ve always done. We just now remember what the stakes are when we don’t follow our marching orders. We are to do all that we can to spread the Kingdom of God and it should not be a shock to us that we face opposition along that path and often from the governments, just like the early Christians did. Let us instead of being afraid, come together and unite as we should and do that which we were told to do.

We will be either obedient to Christ or we won’t.

I’ve made my choice.

What’s yours?

in Christ,
Nick Peters

The Apostles’ Creed: The Living and the Dead

Who is it that God will judge? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Our next stop in our look at the Apostles’ Creed is that God will judge the living and the dead. Recently while I was out somewhere, I saw someone with a tattoo that said “Only God can judge me.” My thought upon seeing that is “That should ultimately terrify you.” People might think they can escape all judgment here and no one has any right to say anything about them, but wait until they get to where they will see God.

That God judges the living and the dead shows that no one can escape this event. When it comes to the final judgment, we will all stand before God and give an account. Death is not a way to escape the reach of God. No one can ultimately escape it. God will call everyone in the world to accounts, from the small to the great.

This would also be a message of hope for those in the Roman Empire at the time who were suffering. If Jesus is Lord, then He will indeed judge the world. The one who once sat in the place of receiving judgment will instead turn and be the judge of Pilate. The one who was condemned by members of the Sanhedrin will instead now condemn those members of the Sanhedrin.

The judgment will also be fair for all. Many times, we have this idea that getting into the Kingdom of God is like a theological exam. If you answer all the questions right, then you get in. If you don’t, then it really doesn’t matter to talk about all the good that you’ve done. You’ve ultimately failed at your lot in life and you will be judged. To many, this strikes them as unfair.

In reality, what God does is entirely fair. God sets the same standard for everyone else. That standard is perfection. You can either accept the score someone gave on your behalf, namely Christ, or else God will judge you by the only thing that He has left to judge you by, and that is your works. If they’re not absolutely perfect, then you’re out.

Now it’s not enough for some to say Jesus is the antidote to that because then comes the obvious rejoinder. What about people who have never heard about Jesus? In this case, my answer is simply we have no definitive answer on this. We do know from Scripture that God is good and God is just. My best response to this is that as Scripture says, the judge of all the Earth will do right. (Genesis 18:25. Psalm 98:9) God will judge each person I believe who never heard about Jesus by the light that they had and He knows where their heart is and how they would have responded.

Until then, we have our marching orders. We are to fulfill the Great Commission. Christ did not give us a plan B. He did not tell us what will happen when we do not fulfill our assignment. If you are concerned about those who’ve never heard, the ultimate thing you can do is to make sure that they hear, by either being a missionary yourself or supporting those who are.

We don’t know when the judgment will occur ultimately, but let it influence you in everything you do. One day you will be judged.

Are you ready to give an account?

In Christ,

Nick Peters

There’s A New King In Town

Is someone else claiming to be in charge? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

There’s a Christmas song describing the birth of Jesus that says that there’s a new kid in town. A look at Matthew’s gospel would of course indicate that at one point Jesus was a new kid in town, but a look at the end of the gospel would indicate that Jesus is not the new kid but rather the new king.

When we get to the Great Commission, we are told that all authority in Heaven and Earth has been given to Jesus. Therefore, we are to go out and do all that He has commanded. This is usually seen as something to give us assurance. As we go out telling the good news of forgiveness, we can be assured of the presence of Jesus. Now I don’t deny it includes that, but it is so much more.

The old rule of hermeneutics is that whenever you see a “therefore”, you’re to look and see what it’s there for. The text says it’s based on Jesus having all authority. All authority does not mean just to forgive sins. It means just what it says. Jesus has all authority. In an age where the disciples would have been well acquainted with Caesar and the Roman Empire, they were to know that because of the resurrection, Caesar was no longer in charge.

Instead, it is Christ who is the King and Christ is the one who rules from Heaven. His scope then reaches even further than that of Caesar and unlike Caesar, Christ is an eternal king. His throne can never be taken by another. All the Caesars would come and go. Christ would live on.

In fact, what is it that Christ tells the apostles to do? He tells them to do what He has commanded them. This is not a call to evangelism! This is a king giving marching orders! This is a charge going out that the world is to know that Jesus is in charge now and you are to be the bearers of that message! You are to go out into the Roman Empire and tell them Jesus is Lord!

Such a message would have been practical suicide, and if church tradition is to be believed, it certainly was. The Roman Empire would not have been happy hearing that they were no longer in charge. Jews would not be happy knowing nothing was said about returning them to the glory days of David and Solomon. We today consider it good news in our context. In their day, the news would have been news the people would NOT have been happy to hear.

And yet, that news still thrived somehow.

The Great Commission is still for us today and let us get something clear. Jesus is still king and He has given His orders. There is no other path that we are allowed to take. The king’s opinion is not up for debate. Many of us can hear the question about those who never heard. The best way to handle this is to make sure that they hear. We are told what we are to do. We are not told what happens if we fail in our mission. Christ has not given us a plan B. If He is our king, we are to follow His orders. If we are not, are we really seeing Him as king?

In Christ,
Nick Peters