Arkansas, God and Execution-4 Points

Arkansas is big in the news right now because the state is trying to get through some executions before their execution drugs expire. And some Christians are upset about it and arguing that God is against it (for the record, I love prison ministry, I share Christ with inmates several times a year and I love taking Communion with Christian inmates who are my brothers in Christ).

Now to be clear, reasonable people can disagree on the death penalty. It is harder to get executed if you’re rich and can buy the most expensive lawyer around. Every pro-bono attorney is not Atticus Finch. I’d argue those are obstacles to be overcome, not reasons to do away with capital punishment.

But there is one thing you cannot do if you take the Bible seriously:

You cannot argue that the God of the Bible is against the death penalty.

Last week Shane Claiborne, social activist, tweeted that the death penalty is a disgrace to Jesus.

FullSizeRender (2)
Sorry Shane. Not the Jesus of the Bible. Read Genesis 9:6.
Is that true? Is the death penalty a disgrace to Jesus?

I also came across an article a while back by a “pro-lifer” pleading that Christians MUST reject the death penalty in the case of people like Jack Jones (he raped and strangled Mary Phillips to death in front of her 11-year-old daughter who was tied to a chair) if they are truly pro-life.

Is that true? Does pro-life equal rejection of the death penalty?

On both questions the answer is, “No.”
Here are four reasons why:

1. God is FOR capital punishment.
No ifs, ands or buts. If you want to oppose capital punishment, don’t use God as your source. In fact, you could preface your argument with “I don’t care what God says about it!” Because that’s where you are. And that’s OK! Just be honest. I’m weary of people claiming Christ is against it. It’s in black and white.

The Words of God Himself:
 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, d8488-gen96
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in His own image.
Genesis 9:6 (ESV)

“But that’s Ooooooold Testament. We’re in the age of grace.” Ok. A statement made from ignorance. But I’ll play along.

New Testament:
For he (the govt authority) is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s
wrath on the wrongdoer. Romans 13:4

That’s New Testament. And God says “if you do wrong, BE AFRAID“. And just in case you’re unclear on the weapon, the sword was not used:

  • to shackle a person,
  • to give a person mercy,
  • to taze them,
  • to rehabilitate them,
  • or to write them a citation.

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Some brutal weapons of destruction.
The sword is a brutal, painful and bloody weapon of destruction, used to “run a person through” so to speak. In short – to execute them. And the sword bearer in Romans 13:4 is God’s instrument of justice and wrath.

So Old Testament, New Testament, God never, ever gives any indication that He is against capital punishment, and in fact, endorses it. Why? Because God values life – He made man in His own image. And He punishes the taking of it. 

2. It is a grave injustice to equate abortion and capital punishment.
When someone argues that to be truly “pro-life” you have to be anti-capital punishment, they are making a horrendously (and I’d argue inhumanly) unjust statement. It’s saying that the murder of an innocent baby is the same as the Biblically endorsed execution of a man who brutally raped and murdered a woman in front of her daughter.

That is sick and twisted and is an indication of a morally compromised mind.

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This statement is evidence of a broken moral compass.
An innocent baby is not equal in any way to a guilty murderer.

They are not the same. Not in God’s eyes. Not in any sense of justice. Only in a skewed “God’s so impotent and weak that justice is just not even in His framework” sense does this view work.

3. Pleading mercy for a murderer is not necessarily noble OR pro-life.
This point I find most offensive. There’s something particularly unsettling and untoward about Christians who are not the injured party pleading mercy for a murderer.

If you are injured, you have standing to plead for mercy for the aggressor. If your loved one is murdered, I suppose you have some standing to argue for mercy for the murderer.

But if you sit in another state, unaffected by the crime, suffering no loss, suffering none of the pain of the crime, pleading mercy for a murderer does not make you noble or necessarily pro-life. In fact, I’d argue it makes you:

arrogant,
unjust,
lacking in compassion for the true loss of the victim’s loved ones.

And I’d say you have an unhealthy appetite for mercy that doesn’t cost you a thing.

At the very least you have diminished the value of the life taken and the pain and suffering of the victim’s loved ones.

4. Capital punishment doesn’t keep a person from repenting and finding Christ.
Some, with a warped view of justice, argue that when a person is convicted of murder, that we should seek their salvation instead of their just end (according to God’s Word: Gen. 9:6, Romans 13:4).

The two are not mutually exclusive. It’s not either/or. You can give the death sentence in a court of law (no one’s talking about vigilantism here) and still share Christ with someone. As mentioned before, I share Christ with inmates several times a year. I love it when anyone gives their life to Christ!

And the truth is, death sentence for a brutal crime could be a great motivator for repentance. Who wants to stand before God with the stain of brutality and murder on their soul?

You have to look no further that the thief on the cross in Luke 23. It was on the cross, hours away from death…when faced with his own mortality that the thief repented and was granted salvation by none other than Jesus in the flesh. Jesus didn’t save him from execution. Jesus saved him from hell. A much better salvation. 

Why does this matter?

Because Christians need to be people of the Word. People who know it, understand it, and follow it. People who do not misquote it or use it as a shill for their own agenda. And Christians need to be people of justice. Seeking justice and mercy for the victim, whether the victim is a baby killed in the womb, or a man or woman murdered on the street.

God is very clear on capital punishment. He offers salvation to all – the liar, the gossip, the thief and even the murderer. But nowhere in Scripture, NOWHERE in Scripture, does He offer rescue from the just punishment for crime. Rather He sets up governments to institute that justice and defend the defenseless.

God is for capital punishment.

 

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Wrath of God?

I’m gonna say something that many folks don’t like.

khan11
Was gonna write on The Wrath of Khan, but changed the subject matter. Still, HAD to use this picture! Ricardo’s awesomeness was clearly on display in this role.

God is angry. He’s mad, He has wrath, and this great wrath is being stored up for a great day of judgment which from reading the New Testament, is more terrifying that you or I can imagine.

Just One Example:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18

Being told that God might be angry, the majority of the population RUNS SCREAMING into one of three camps (not literally folks – hyperbole – sheesh).

Singing Kumbayah

Camp #1: Denial. 
“But David, God doesn’t get angry. Anger is my dad when he drank too much or had trouble at work. It was bad and evil, and he’d just as soon give me a slap in the face as look at me, and you never knew why! That’s anger, and it is bad, God is good, so God never gets angry! Come sit with me and let’s hold hands, burn incense and sing Kumbayah.”

Or “David, that’s why the world thinks we’re backwoods hillbillies. And because the world thinks that, even though Jesus said many are headed to destruction, and He is coming with a sword, we need to do away with this belief! So I will declare that God never gets angry!”

Camp #2: Atheistic Agreement with the Wrong Picture.  

“I’m with you David! I know God is angry, and He’s just like my dad who would slap me as soon as look at me, so I’m not going to have anything to do with God! God is angry, so I hate Him!”

Mao, Stalin, Madelyn Murray O’Hair – all atheists and all children of abusive fathers. Paul Vitz argues in his book Faith of the Fatherless that each one of these famous atheists said in effect “I agree that God is an angry, hateful God like my father, so I will reject God…to the point of not even believing in Him.”

Camp #3: Crazy Lunatic Embracing of God’s Anger.

Some folks REALLY like the idea of a God who is pure, undiluted rage. In the old days, these were called “hellfire and brimstone” preachers. They get red in the face and veins pop out on their forehead as they yell at the audience about how miserable they are (even if saved) and how God is furious all the time at everyone and whenever He called anyone “beloved” what He REALLY meant to say was something akin to “heinous beast of woe”.

Like most things, Satan loves to take a little truth and twist it into a caricature. Today the news media is all too ready to promote the caricature as the norm. So you see a little church that is made up of one extended family (40 people in all), being hateful and nasty at military funerals, and you’d think is was the Christian face of America! But it’s not. It’s MAYBE 40 people. But it gets more news than a Second Baptist Houston with a membership of 58 thousand.

So What About God’s Wrath?

So I can deny God’s wrath or reject God b/c of how I view His anger or go crazy with fury thinking erroneously that I’m like God.

Or…I can understand His wrath.  

This seems to be the wisest course. It (His anger or wrath) is mentioned 600 times in the OT, and 25 times in the NT.  So to ignore His wrath, I’ll have to toss out my Bible and start making it up on my own (like a health and wealth preacher!).

Now the question of how you deal with God’s anger is not “do I agree with the preacher?” but “does the preacher agree with God’s Word” and “do I agree with God’s Word?’ For God’s Word clearly teaches about God’s anger. And so it’s important to understand it.

I’ll explain more in my next post, but I will leave you with the best definition of God’s wrath I’ve encountered. Because (this is an important clue of what is to come), God’s wrath, God’s anger is in some ways, VERY different than ours. The definition is by Ray Ortlund, Scriptural genius. He says God’s wrath is…drum roll please:

“His active, resolute opposition to all evil.”
That, my friend, is a beautiful thing. Because evil is so…well, evil! But more on that next post!

See you then. God Speed,

David

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God of War?

Ares-Greek God of War, my costume last Halloween.

When some folks think of God’s anger, they think it means He’s like a God of war. Now certainly if you enslave His people for 400 years, He will be a warrior (Exodus 15:3), but let me see if I can bring some clarity to the issue of God’s anger.

God’s Anger Is (highlighting with red today because it’s a fighting, “war-like” color that makes bulls angry and upsets “progressive” teachers (this is a great link) wanting to outlaw red for checking papers):

#a. Not malicious, but just.

I read Percy Jackson and the Olympians – got it from my daughter. It’s a fantasy/fiction about a current day boy who has all these adventures with the gods of Greek mythology. Pretty entertaining.

The Greek gods were malicious and spiteful – like school kids at times. The God of War, Ares, loved a fight. He loved to stir it up just for the sake of stirring it up and he didn’t care who got hurt (had a buddy like that in high school!).

The Canaanites – neighbors of Israel – worshiped the god Molech. Molech was considered to be a fierce vengeful god who demanded child sacrifice – and the people of Judah to some extent joined in the child sacrifice! Molech was an angry vengeful god.

That is not our God.

 God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses His wrath every day. Psalms 7:11

RIGHTEOUS is the operative word here.
God’s anger is always just.

Judah rejected God’s grace for hundreds of years, worshiping by having sex with prostitutes and murdering their children as a sacrifice. And God was patient. He waited not years, but centuries to bring mete out His justice. God’s anger was not malicious – it was just.

#b. God’s anger is Not capricious or erratic, but measured. 
The definition of capricious anger, or erratic anger is anger that is expressed at the wrong time and/or at the wrong things.

Testosterone destroying car.
Even THINK you like
it- you lose your man card.

A guy is at work – things get messed up. He’s angry. On the way home, traffic is backed up. He fantasizes about having a bulldozer blade that will plow through the folks in his way, but he’s in his Smart Car so that would be unwise. Now he’s seething. He’s seething because of the traffic, work, and because of the fact that he’s driving a ridiculous car that is actually sucking the man force from his very being. His man card was confiscated at the dealership.

No cats were hurt in taking of this picture.

Then finally…home at last. He walks in and the cat just walks in front of him – barely in his way and BOOM – “meeerroooowwww” – flying cat! Everyone in the room – especially the cat – is thinking “where did that come from???” He’s angry at the wrong time at the wrong thing. Little Mortimer asks “Father…why so capricious and erratic?

God is never like that.  His anger is always accurately measured – it is at the right things at the right time.

A just weight is His delight.  Proverbs 11:1  

When God makes a judgment, when He is angry, His anger is right and true. It is His direct, calculated and accurate response to sin.

#c.  God’s anger is not selfish or impulsive, but selfless and patient.

Much of our anger is selfish. I didn’t get MY way, MY tv, MY food on time, MY, MY, ME, ME. And when do we get angry? After our selfish desires have been patiently simmering for a long, long time? Heck no! I want it NOW.

But Psalms 145:8 says The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 

2 Peter 3:9
 He is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish  but that all should reach repentance.

#d. God’s anger is against wickedness and the wicked. 

Clearly Jesus loves sinners (Romans 5:8). For God so loved the world. God loves me, a sinner.

But many extend that to say that God does not get angry at the sinner – you and me. Ridiculous. REALLY ridiculous.

The Lord was angry with Aaron, angry with Hebrews at Sinai  and with the Hebrews in the wilderness. Not just with their rebellion, but with them!

Mark 3:5 says Jesus looked at the Pharisees “with anger”. He wasn’t angry at their sin – He was furious at them? Called them things like “white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones”. Fighting words! Now He’s God, so remember – His judgment in using those words is right and true.

Jesus made a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple! “Excuse me, not mad you, just what you’re doing. Pardon me while I thrash you.”

Ridiculous. He turned over tables and popped his whip around. He was angry at the money changers.

God’s anger is real. You cannot strip God’s wrath of all emotional content and present it as a completely dispassionate and cerebral thing (Moment of truth-think I read that somewhere-not sure it’s original with me). God is not angry just with the wicked things we do, but with the wicked things we are.

And while it may seem odd to you until I explain it, the fact that God is angry at the wicked things we are is extremely comforting to me. Here’s why:

There is unspeakable evil in the world today. Children molested, children enslaved. Girls captured in India and sold into brothels for life. And not all who commit such crimes are brought to justice. So if God is sitting idly by, unmoved by this great and horrific evil…if He is not ANGRY with those who hurt children in this way, then He is NOT a good God. He’s like the judge who let’s the criminal go free. He’s an evil and wicked God. If God is not angry at unadulterated evil, where is hope in the universe? Alas, all hope is tragically gone, we are undone and God is impotent!

But (and I’m shouting triumphantly in my head right now) He is angry with the wicked.
He is a Man of War  Exodus 15:3
And while justice may not get served
everywhere on this earth in this life,
He promises that at the end of the age, justice 
will prevail for all and His goodness will triumph. 
Praise Him! He is Mighty! He is Good! And He is Victorious! 
Amen.
 
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

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5 Points to Understand About Transgenderism

genderGod is still God and in the end, Jesus always gets the last word. So don’t panic. Be kind, loving and gracious to all. You can afford to be gracious if you worship Jesus the King. But also be an informed and active faithful witness of God’s Word and wisdom in the world.

We’ve gone way off the rails as a nation, in a way that is quite rebellious against God. Here’s a little bit of what I mean:

  • Yesterday was Anti “don’t be against anything sexual no matter how disturbing you phobic bigot” Day.
  • The President issued an imperial edict declaring any boy can go in the girl’s restroom or locker room if he just says, “I feel like a girl,” (that really is the only requirement). If you refuse this edict the President has threatened to take billions of dollars from your state. Because he’s the king – no need for a legislature to create laws!
  • Target has said anyone can use any restroom they want if they “feel” like the corresponding gender on the door of the restroom. But oddly if I “feel” like a checker I can’t dig around in the money drawer (I’m being repressed! I’m being repressed!).

I’ve read a lot of nonsense about the whole issue, so to clear things up, here five things critical things you need to know:

1. God is crystal clear on gender. He says in Genesis 5:2, “He created them male and female,” and just in case you only believe the red letters in your Bible, His Son (Jesus) quotes Him in Matthew 19:4. What is happening now by the President and Target and others is a rebellion against God’s common sense, easy-to-understand plan and His distinction between the sexes. It’s what happens when man has no fear of God and sets himself above God.

2. You can’t change gender. No matter what you amputate (could that sound more absurd?), or how much plastic you pump into someone, or how many hormones you inject, a man is still a man and woman still a woman at the cellular level. It does nothing to change the DNA in every single one of the 37.2 TRILLION cells in a person’s body. AND you’re no longer certified organic (but still non-GMO verified)! 

Which means all you get is a more feminized man or more masculine woman. But still a man, still a woman.

In fact, John Hopkins QUIT doing “sex changes” (in quotes because it’s not what is says it is) in 1979 because the result was not, “changed, healed, and made whole!” but rather, same emotional issues as before (click here to read more). And – side note – we’re talking about a condition that affects approximately .3% of the population.

3. Being “transgender” is an emotional disorder that needs compassion, treatment and healing. That it’s an emotional disorder is the opinion of Dr. Paul R. McHugh, Psychiatrist-in-Chief when John Hopkins quit doing sex change surgery in 1979 because it didn’t help the patients.

It is truly twisted to say, “I agree Mister Smith. You feel like a woman, so you are a woman!!! Use the woman’s bathroom!!!” Pure lunacy. It’s as bad as:

  • Telling the man who thinks he’s George Washington, “You really are the first President of the United States so you should move into the White House right now!”
  • Telling an anorexic, “YES!! You are morbidly obese at 85 pounds. You’re fat!! VERY fat! You should continue to starve yourself. “
  • Telling an alcoholic, “I agree with you. You don’t have a problem! It IS everyone else’s fault, and you should KEEP drinking Mad Dog 2020. And it comes in delicious fruit flavors so it’s got to be good for you!”

You would never tell those people those things because you realize the individual’s feelings contradict reality. It wouldn’t be compassionate to agree with them, it would be (certainly in the last two examples) downright wicked and destructive to agree with them. And to say that being transgender is normal and should be embraced is equally wicked and destructive.

In fact, the aforementioned Dr. McHugh said given that close to 80% of those kids (gender confused) will “abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated ….”, he considers treating a child as the opposite of their natural gender with hormone therapy, etc. to be “close to child abuse.”

4. Privacy matters. The President’s edict steals the privacy of men and women, and even little children to go into a locker room or bathroom and not be exposed to the opposite sex.

We put urinals and toilets and showers in separate “rooms” from the rest of Target or the high school or kindergarten because normal people want PRIVACY from the opposite sex for changing and bathroom business. If it truly doesn’t matter, why have “rooms” at all? Just have a dressing “area” and a toilet “area” and a urinal “area” and a showering “area.”

We don’t do that because people have a normal expectation of privacy from the opposite sex when the clothes come off no matter how an opposite sex individual may “feel” about their gender on that day.

I thought privacy was so sacred that it even enshrined abortion? You mean privacy applies to abortion but not the shower?

5. This issue is not at all about compassion, but about the sexual left and the President of the United States exploiting people with mental illness for political gain. I’m not sure what all the reasons are, but I do know at least one reason is to tear down all sexual guardrails in society to demolish our nation’s respect for God.

When leaders reject God, the people suffer. When a society plows through the guardrails in the area of sexual relations, it destroys families, damages children, and will eventually bring chaos to a nation (we’re already there in many ways).

Under the umbrella of legitimacy given by the President’s and industry’s words, people will continue mutilating their bodies in hopes that surgery will heal them, parents will continue hormone therapy and cross-dressing their young children in hopes that it will help them, all the while encouraging an emotional disorder when real hope is available.

The real hope? Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” While the treatment differs from gender confusion to anorexia to any other disorder, the ultimate hope is found in the truth that God created men and women to love them, and have a relationship with them. And ultimate hope and healing always comes through Jesus Christ.

Our job? To love, be compassionate, be kind, pray for our leaders and country, tell the truth, and encourage all people to healing in Jesus Christ.

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Banned Phrases: All Sins Are Equal In God’s Eyes

“Banned Phrases” – this will be a recurring feature of ILikeMyCoffeeBlack.com, because there are just too many silly things being spouted off by people who should know better!

These are phrases that are oft repeated, and either: annoying, and/or ignorant, or…maybe accepted truths that are actually false. Just want to enlighten you. If you continue to use one of these phrases, I’ll have to….well I have no idea. Like I have any power at all. But they are banned! Banned I tell you!

As an example, if this was a generic everything-but-the-kitchen-sink post, “YOLO” would be at the top of the list. Every time you say “YOLO,” and angel loses a few IQ points.

You get the idea. So if I can get a drum roll please…the first banned phrase is:

All sins are equal in God’s eyes.

At first blush it seems so deep. So insightful. So astute. And yet it is… so ridiculous.

This one makes me want bang my head on the desk. Where did anyone every get that idea? Did they use any logic? Or did they bother to ask God? Or even bother to look at what God actually said? Like maybe, I don’t know, in the Bible?

I was with a group of men years ago, and we were discussing someone we all knew who had committed a horrific crime. And one of these men said “well you know, all sin is equal in God’s eyes.” Yes…I’m sure God feels the same about the particularly horrific sin we were discussing, that smashed a number of lives to literal pieces, as He feels about the fact that as a second grader I lied to my mom and said I was sick when in fact, I was well. Because God is a simpleton like that (harshest sarcasm possible here).

Two arguments for all sins NOT being equal. First, common sense, second, God’s own Word.

Common Sense:

If you think that God sees all sins equally, this is what you’re saying, literally:

 

Now assuming you are human with an IQ greater than your shoe size, you can see that anything the kid on the left could do, would pale in comparison to the Castro brother chaining girls for 10 years in a dungeon and doing things I shudder to think about.

You can tell the difference in the magnitude of the sins represented above, but God Himself cannot distinguish between the two and recognize that one is a thousand times more wicked, sick, twisted, painful and horrific? You can tell the difference but God can’t?

That would have to be a morally corrupt God.

 

God’s Word: 

God is NOT morally corrupt. Over and over and over and OVER again God differentiates between levels of sin.

Now I get where a child might think this is true. The reasoning goes like this: the smallest sin is enough to send you to hell, so all sin is equal in God’s eyes. If you’re a child, that makes sense. But a simple review of God’s Word reveals this to be shallow thinking.

 

Different Sin, Different Consequence

Commit murder, get executed. Genesis 9:6
Steals an ox, repay with five oxen. Exodus 22:1

These are God’s penalties. So if all sins are equal, why isn’t the thief executed? Or the murderer just paying fine? Because all sins are not equal in God’s eyes. Yes, any sin makes us guilty and sentences us to hell. But God views the shedding of human blood as much worse than stealing, because it involves the taking of a human life, so God’s penalty in this life is much, much worse.

Different Sin, Different Ultimate Judgment

Jesus said on the day of judgment, it would be MUCH more tolerable for Tyre, Sidon and Sodom than for Capernaum (Matthew 11:22, 24). According to Jesus even ultimate judgment has varying degrees of severity, based on the sin.

And if that’s not enough:

Jesus Himself Calls One Sin Greater than Another

John 19:11 Jesus tells Pilate Himself, “he who delivered me over to you has the GREATER sin.” If you’ve got a greater than, you’ve got a lesser than. A greater than something cannot at the same time be equal to that something. Christ Himself answers the question of whether or not all sins are equal.

All sins aren’t equal. There are differences in sin, differences in God’s resulting judgment. All sin is evil. But to equate the sin of lying  with the sins of a Gosnell is to degrade God’s justice, and defy Godly logic and it actually minimizes the impact of vile wickedness on the victims.

Murder, slavery and the slaying of babies are much worse sins a child lying to mom.

If you don’t believe me, ask God. He answers with great clarity in His Word.

God Speed,

Pastor David

 

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