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US Attorney General Jeff Sessions caused something of a stir last week with his comments on the Trump Administration’s new Zero-tolerance policy for those illegally crossing the US’s Southwest border with Mexico. In his June 14 speech in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sessions said, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God had ordained them for the purpose of order.”

The reaction from some quarters was not, shall we say, appreciative of the Attorney General’s remarks. On June 15, the Indianapolis Star ran an article with the headline “Sessions cites Roman 13 to defend Trump’s immigration policy, raises Christians’ ire.”

One of the disapproving Christians cited by the article was Mike Mather, identified in the piece as the senior pastor at Broadway UMC in Indianapolis. He is quoted saying, “It was terrible…If you read the first 11 chapters of Romans, you get a pretty good idea of what the context of that community was. If you read (Chapter) 12, you see love is supposed to be the guiding force. (Sessions) didn’t read on very far.”

But the hits don’t stop with just one minister. The Rev. Dr. Rob Saler compares Sessions to Nazi era Lutherans who he says supported Hitler based on the passage quoted by Sessions.

But it’s not enough for the Indianapolis Star to suggest Sessions is a Nazi sympathizer. The article also quotes history professor John Fea saying that supporters of Southern slavery also quoted Romans 13 to support their slave holding. The hint here seems to be that Sessions, himself a Southerner, is also a supporter of slavery.

Wow. Jeff Sessions is obviously a very bad man. Not only does he hate immigrants together with their children, but he’s a closet Nazi and wanna be slave holder to boot. And we know this, because he applied Romans 13 to people who flout US immigration law by entering the country illegally through the Southern border with Mexico.

What, then, shall we say to these things? In the first place, this piece once again lays bare the obvious hatred the mainstream media has for regular Americans and the elites’ contempt for their legitimate concerns about the deleterious effects mass, illegal immigration is having on the United States.

As far as the Indianapolis Star (and the USA Today network of which it is a part) is concerned, only Klasmen and Nazi Brownshirts would cite Romans 13 in any context that would support government actions against illegal immigration, especially the Trump Administration’s Zero-tolerance policy on the Southern border instituted in April. In more formal terms, the article commits the informal logical fallacy know as the ad hominem abusive argument.

Second, when it comes to Christian commentary on immigration, only those who support tax-payer funded, mass third-world immigration, migration and refugee resettlement are considered worthy sources. The article cites one minister, a seminary administrator, and a professor at a (at least nominally) Christian college, but no one of like authority who might beg to differ. The article does cite Sarah Sanders, identified in the article as a conservative Christian, making a somewhat vague statement in support of Sessions, but that’s it.

Third, the Star’s article also lends implicit support to the sinful practice of ecumenism. Not content with brining forth liberal Christian religious authorities to call Sessions bad names, the Star also links to a joint statement released by the Office of Government Relations of the apostate Episcopal Church endorsed by a rainbow coalition of “diverse religious organizations” which includes representatives from Islam, Judaism, various liberal Protestant churches, and of course, the Antichrist Roman Catholic Church-State.

Christians are not to yoke with unbelievers, not in marriage nor in ecumenical political statements. Yet the Protestant individuals and organizations who at least name the name of Christ (n.b. I do not say these people are Christians, only that they name the name of Christ) and who lent their name to this joint statement have joined in ministry with unbelieving Muslims, Jews and Roman Catholics. This is a sin in the eyes of God.

Fourth, as is the case with so many pieces in the mainstream media on immigration, the Indianapolis Star’s article is really an extended appeal to pity, which is another informal logical fallacy to go along with the ad hominem abusive argument noted earlier.

The chief objection critics have in the article to Zero-tolerance policy of Sessions and the Trump administration is that is separates children from their parents. For example, in the joint statement mentioned above, we read that the Zero-tolerance policy is wrong, among other reasons, because it, “[tears] children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them.” Further, we are told, this separation is, “unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.”

Now let’s stop and think about this for a moment. Yes, it’s a sad thing that children and parents are separated by the legal system. For my part, I don’t know if this is the best way to handle things or not.

But the article simply assumes, without ever proving, that it’s wrong for the legal system to separate children from their parents. But is that the case? Is it necessarily wrong for the civil magistrate, in the course of carrying out his God-appointed duties, to separate parents and children?

People, including American citizens, are put in jail all the time for various crimes. Do those objecting to the separation of the children of illegal immigrations from their parents also object to jailing rapists and other violent criminals? After all if a father robs a bank, or commits rape, and goes to jail as a result, he’s separated from his children. Is that the fault of the legal system, or is that the fault of the father who committed the crime of robbery?

But one could extend this argument. If it’s wrong to jail parents who commits actual crimes from their children, it’s also wrong to execute anyone who’s a parent for committing the crime of murder. After all, to do so permanently separates the children from their parents.

In truth, we could take this argument to the next step and say that it’s wrong to fine a parent who commits a crime, for levying a fine on a parent will to some degree affect the children. It might even create a separation if the parent no longer can afford to feed, clothe and house the children. It may be that they have to go stay with relatives for a time, thus separating children from the parents.

And why stop with separation? If we follow the logic of those who are so incensed at Sessions about separating children from parents, one could make the case it’s always and everywhere wrong to punish a parent for any crime in any way, because to do so necessarily entails that harm of some sort will accrue to their children.

Fifth, not content to blame Sessions, the Trump Administration and, by extension, any American voter who’s grown weary of his country overrun by illegal immigrants, of having to support them from his tax dollars, and of being lectured by his “moral betters” when he dares to object to any of this, the article absolves the law breaking parents of any responsibility for the plight of their children.

Somehow none of the religious authorities cited in the piece ever quite get around to stating the obvious truth: If the parents had not elected to engage in dangerous, illegal behavior, their children would not be in a detention center. Or to put it more bluntly, the blame for the children being behind bars lies with the irresponsible parents. Not with Jeff Sessions. Not with Donald Trump. And not with the American people.

Sixth, the abuse of the term “love” is evident in this article. Pastor Mike Mather is quoted as saying “If you read [Romans] 12, you see love is supposed to be the guiding force. …(Sessions) didn’t read that far.” Apparently, Mather thinks it’s loving to be soft on illegal immigration and unloving to enforce American immigration law.

But if that’s the case, what would Mather have to say to the family of former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson, who was killed earlier this year by a “twice-deported Guatemalan illegal immigrant” named Manuel Orrego-Savala? At the time of the crash, Orrego-Savala was allegedly driving drunk on Interstate 70 near Indianapolis.

Or what would he say to the family of David Kriehn from Noblesville Indiana (near Indianapolis)? Mr. Kriehn was killed by Mexican illegal immigrant Elizabeth Vargas-Hernandez while driving on I-465, the Indianapolis beltway. As with Orrego-Savala, Vargas-Hernandez was charged with drunk driving. She also was cited for driving without a license.

Perhaps Mather could explain to the grieving families of these two individuals how their loved ones were lovingly killed as a result of the loving immigration policies favored by he and his pals.

Seventh, “love” is equated with socialism. “Romans 12 includes the line, ‘Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home.’ Those versus, Mather said, seem to run contrary to the policy Sessions was defending,” whines the article.

The simple answer to this nonsense is no, they don’t. Note that the passage quoted, Romans 12:13, speaks not about general charity, but about charity toward fellow believers, “Contribute to the needs of God’s people.” A better translation of which is, “contributing to the needs of the saints,” found in the New King James Version. A second point here that must not be overlooked is that this passage is talking about private charity, not the public dole. It is honorable and pleasing in the sight of God when Christians help one another with their needs by giving of their own time and financial resources. But speaking as he does, Mather leaves one with the impression he’s okay with the welfare state and believes that the government has a Christian duty to take money from American citizens and give it to foreigners who come into the country illegally. The proper word for this is not love. The proper word is theft.

There’s more that could be said here, but I think this is a good place to stop. But before I do bring things to a close, I would like to challenge my fellow Protestants to think more carefully about immigration than they have in the past. I mentioned above that one of the problems with the article in the Indianapolis Star is the lack of Bible-believing Christians cited in the piece. But in truth, this is not completely the fault of the Star.

One thing I’ve noticed in researching the immigration issue over the past two years is the thunderous silence on the subject from conservative Protestants. Either they have nothing to say, or what they do have to say is little more than an echo of scholarship derived from work done by prelates of the Roman Church-State, the devil’s masterpiece. In truth, even if the Star has gone out of its way to find a Bible-believing Protestant to quote on the subject of immigration, it’s doubtful they could have found one with a studied, Biblical opinion to offer.

As Protestants, we need to do better.

 


 

Escape of Lot from Sodom

Escape of Lot from Sodom by Mattheus Merian (1593-1650)

From time to time I’ve written in this space about the collapse of Western Civilization that we so going on around us all on a daily basis. And in this author’s opinion, there is perhaps no better illustration of this collapse than the rise of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender (LGBT) movement over the last several decades.

I make this observation as a Christian, and those who do not believe the Bible may be tempted to dismiss my view as personal bias. But interestingly enough, at least one prominent lesbian scholar is in agreement with this view. As this 2015 article from cnsnews.com notes, “Best-selling feminist author, social critic and self-described “transgender being” Camille Paglia said in an interview last month that the rise of transgenderism in the West is a symptom of decadence and cultural collapse.”

Paglia is quoted in the article saying, “Nothing…better defines the decadence of the West to the jihadists than our toleration of open homosexuality and this transgender mania now.”

The article continues, “Paglia went on to talk about her book Sexual Personae and how the emergence of transgenderism signifies the end of Western culture. ‘Now I am concerned about this…In fact, my study of history in Sexual Personae, I’m always talking about the late phases of culture.’

‘I was always drawn to late or decadent phases of culture. Oscar Wile is one of the great exponents of that in the late 19th century. He’s one of my strongest influences from my earliest years. An I found in my study that history is cyclic, and everywhere in the world you find this pattern in ancient times: that as a culture begins to decline, you have an efflorescence of transgender phenomena. That is a symptom of cultural collapse.’

‘So rather than people singing the praises of humanitarian liberalism that allows all of these transgender possibilities to appear and to be encouraged, I would be concerned about how Western culture is defining itself to the world.’ ”

These are good comments by Paglia.  In fact, what this feminist lesbian has to say about homosexuality and transgender mania is, quite remarkably, much closer to the mind of Christ, and far more interesting, than what falls from the lips of many supposed ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ when they speak on these subjects.

The wide-spread acceptance of homosexuality and other deviant behaviors in the West is a flashing red warning signal that our civilization is in deep trouble. It’s so obvious that even a feminist lesbian scholar is able to see the problem. But for all that, there are many who name the name of Christ who are either unable or unwilling to grasp this simple and obvious truth.

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And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land…

– (1Kings 15:11-12)

“How did it come to this?,” I muttered to myself the other day. “How did it come to this?” My words were my reaction to the latest story in the mainstream press about the collapse of Western Civilization. Specifically, I was referring to yet another story about the normalization of homosexuality in the United States.

It was a story about how the State of California banned official travel to yet another state deemed by its all-wise legislators to be insufficiently submissive to the enlightened LGBT – or whatever this month’s alphabet soup variant happens to be – movement. If you’d like, you can read USA Today’s version of the story here. The short version is this, California has a state law requiring its attorney general to keep a naughty list of states subject to a travel ban due to “laws that authorize or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

Now you’re probably wondering what outrage against humanity Oklahoma committed to earn the opprobrium of California’s Attorney General. It was this, the Governor or Oklahoma recently signed into law a statue that allowed private adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex married couples.

How did it comes to this? Well, I doubt a single blog post can fully answer that question, but I would like to outline at least a few of the major factors that have produced the current state of affairs: the disappearance of Christianity in the West, the usurpation known as Judicial Review, and the Civil Rights Movement’s attack on property rights.

The Disappearance of Christianity in the West

As John Robbins argues in Christ and Civilization, Western Civilization is the by-product of the widespread preaching of and belief in the Gospel of Justification by Belief Alone. In nations to which the Reformation came, the role of government was reduced to something close to its Biblical norm of punishing evildoers and the secular work, what the Reformers called “vocation”, came to be seen as pleasing to God. As a result of this explosion in political and economic freedom, the nations of the West became the most prosperous on earth.

But Christianity has long been under attack in the West. 200 years ago, higher critics in Germany were ruining the nation’s universities with their skeptical attacks on the truth of the Bible. At the same time, those who professed to defend Christianity embraced irrationalism, perhaps the greatest heresy of all. Feminism, Marxism, Darwinism all rose to prominence as the 19th century wore on and helped to lay the groundwork for our modern world. Even many in the professing church, instead of being salt and light in the world as Jesus commanded, were instead swept up in these anti-Christian movements and began to use the aegis of the Bible as cover for advancing their unbelief, and thus was born the social gospel.

It stands to reason that if the ideas that formed a civilization are no longer held by the people in that civilization, the laws and social mores of that society will be changed to conform to the new belief systems that rush in to fill the void.

Even in the churches, few there be who hold to the teachings of the Reformation which birthed the West. And if the spiritual heirs of Luther and Calvin no longer believe what their forefathers believed, why would one expect those outside the Protestant churches to have any use for laws based upon a Biblical worldview?

The Old Testament associates the presence of sodomites in Israel with times of apostasy, and the removal of such persons from the land with periods of reformation. In the New Testament we find homosexuality condemned as a sin, saying of those who practice it that they will not inherit the kingdom of God. And from the colonial period right up to the recent past, the American legal system reflected this with the multitude of sodomy laws on the books.

But to take such a stance today in our post-Christian world is to court being branded a hater, a bigot, and unfit for polite society. The shift from laws criminalizing homosexuality to ones promoting it is a stunning change, and one that was made possible by Americans’ rejection of Christianity.

The Usurpation of Judicial Review

One assumption shared by both political liberals and political conservatives is that the Supreme Court has the right to declare a law either constitutional or unconstitutional. Liberals want to pack the court, so that liberal judges can give constitutional blessings to current laws favored by liberals and pave the way for more such legislation. Conservatives want conservative justices to do the same for their favored causes.

Almost no one stops to ask whether the Supreme Court actually has the power to do what it does, declare laws constitutional or not.

The short answer to this question is, no, it does not. This probably comes as a shock to many people. I know it did me when I first heard it.

As originally conceived, the Supreme Court was to decide, not whether a given law was Constitutional, but whether it had been applied properly. With Marbury v Madison in 1803, that all changed. For it was in this decision that the Supreme Court first asserted what is now known as judicial review, the power to decide whether a given law is constitutional.

Judicial review is essentially the Roman Catholic view of the Church applied to Constitutional law. In Rome, the Bible is what the Church says it is. In Christianity, the church is what the Bible says it is.

In like fashion, those who argue that the Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is are legal Romanists. The correct view, the Supreme Court is what the Constitution says it is, is legal Protestantism.

The Romanist view of the Supreme Court is one of the major, and very underappreciated, sources of the massive change in American law with respect to homosexuality. It was just three years ago in 2015 that the US Supreme Court in one fell swoop declared unconstitutional all laws prohibiting same-sex marriage.

The astounding arrogance of five lawyers on the Supreme Court has basically gutted the ability of Christians to find any legal recourse to resist the unchristian and aggressive LGBT agenda.

But these ungodly men and women would never have had the power to do this were it not for the Court’s prior usurpation in claiming for itself the power of judicial review.

The Civil Rights Movement’s Attack on Property Rights

Of the three reasons for the success of the homosexual movement, probably the most controversial is to point out the role of the Civil Rights movement in paving the way for the explosion in LGBT friendly legislation in recent years.

The Civil Rights Movement was a mixed bag. To the extent that its supporters sought to overturn Jim Crow laws, they have the support of this author. But to the extent they attacked property rights they deserve to be rebuked.

The attack on property rights by the Civil Rights Movement was codified into law in Title II of The 1964 Civil Rights Act. This section of the Act drew an unbiblical distinction between types of property, one called places of public accommodation and another called private clubs. Specifically, it made it illegal to discriminate in places of public accommodation – places of public accommodation were defined, for example, as inns, restaurants, movie theaters – “on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

One could read the Scriptures from cover to cover and find no such distinction between places of public accommodation or private clubs. Private property is private property, regardless of whether it’s a home, a private club or a lunch counter in a drug store. And just as a home owner has the right to refuse to all someone in his house, so too does a business owner have the right to refuse to serve someone.

“So,” someone will say to me, “Matthews, by arguing this way you’re just an apologist for racism!” To which charge I would answer, “Not at all.” Racism is a sin. It is a failure to love our neighbor as ourselves.

But not all sins are crimes. Just look in the case law of the Old Testament. Some sins, theft for example, were crimes. We know this because theft, while being condemned in the 10 Commandments, which are the summary of the moral law, also had civil penalties attached to it in ancient Israel. It is the presence or absence of civil penalties that determine whether a specific sin is also a crime.

The Bible’s stance on private property is summed up in Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard. When the workers complain to the vineyard owner about their wages, he responds, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?”

The answer to this rhetorical question is, yes it is. And one implication of “doing what I wish with my own things” is that a business owner has the right to decide with whom he wishes to do business and with whom he does not. This includes making decisions with which we may disagree and which, in fact, may even be sinful. Ultimately, that’s between the businessman and God to whom he must give account.

So why do I bring up the errors of the Civil Rights Movement? Because the LGBT Movement has followed in its footsteps. For example, the homosexual activists have applied the principle of public accommodation to those who refuse services to LGBT persons. For example, there have been a number of Christian business owners in serious legal trouble for refusing to provide cakes, flowers, or wedding photography services for same-sex weddings. These cases occurred in states that have statues preventing business owners from discriminating against homosexuals in the same way the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, religion, or national origin.

Had the principle of “places of public accommodation” not been established in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, LGBT activists would not be in a position to force Christians to serve them.

Many veterans of the Civil Rights Movement have been shocked by the tactics of LGBT activists, who have appropriated the logic and methods of the Civil Rights Movement to promote the homosexual agenda.

For example, commenting on then President Obama’s use of 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march to advocate for same-sex marriage, Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors said, “I marched with many people back in those days and I have reached out to some of my friends who marched with me, and all of them are shocked. They never thought they would see this day that gay rights would be equated with civil rights. Not one agreed with the comparison.”

Admittedly it is shocking. But once the LGBT Movement was able to attach itself to the Civil Rights Movement, by force of logic all the laws enacted in the 1964 Civil Rights Act also apply to them. Hence the proliferation of state-level laws prohibiting business owners from denying service to someone based on his being a homosexual.

And don’t suppose that this is going to stop with traditional businesses either. For example, this 2017 story “Ohio LGBT Group Announces Plans to Target Churches for Homosexual Weddings” is a shot at Evangelicals, not just in Ohio, but across the nation. As the article explains, An LGBT organization in Ohio has announced plans to target churches if they refuse to offer their property to be used in a homosexual wedding. In opposing the Ohio Pastor Protection Act (HB-36), the group Equality Ohio announced that they would target churches, forcing them to rent church facilities to groups that oppose their beliefs.”

This is seriously dangerous stuff, and perhaps represents the biggest threat to religious freedom in the US today. Given the current legal climate, it is this author’s opinion that it is just a matter of time before we see such a case in court.

Had the “places of public accommodation” clause not been included in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the threat posed by the LGBT Movement to the churches would be much less than it is today.

Conclusion

In conclusion, as a Christian I’m embarrassed at the current moral climate of our nation. And nothing highlights the current mess we’re in more than the stunning advance of the LGBT Movement over the past 50 years.

I’m embarrassed and ashamed that every year we’re enjoined to “celebrate Pride Month” as if sodomy were something to rejoice in. I’m embarrassed and ashamed that the leading institutions in my country not only do not stand up to the LGBT lie, but actually actively promote it. But perhaps most of all, I’m embarrassed that we Christians have been so ineffective in putting a stop to this nonsense.

Perhaps one of God’s purposes in allowing the stunning success of the LGBT agenda in the US is to chastise his people for their intellectual laziness and lack of faith. If so, may God grant us repentance as well as the knowledge of the truth and the wisdom and the courage to apply it to good effect.

In times past, God raised up Asa, Jehoshaphat and Josiah to put an end to the LGBT agenda in Israel. Has his arm been shorted that he cannot save today?

John Robbins“Many people in relatively orthodox churches are confused about sanctification,” wrote John Robbins in the forward to Gordon Clark’s book Sanctification.

And not only is there a great deal of confusion about sanctification, but the errors people make on this doctrine place them in two broad categories: mystics and workers.

Mystics, as Robbins points out, are those who say of sanctification, “Let go and let God.” They tend to be Charismatics. On the other hand, the workers think that justification is by grace but sanctification is by works. Such persons tend to be Reformed.

Neither of these approaches to sanctification is Biblical.

Before talking about what sanctification is, Robbins notes that salvation, “from start to finish, from election to glorification, from eternity to eternity, is all of grace.”

Robbins notes that justification – God’s declaring us legally righteous and pardoning all our sins – is by grace alone, through faith alone apart from any works. Further, justification is wholly outside us. It is a work that God has done for us by imputing – to impute means to ascribe or to reckon – Christ’s perfect righteousness to us. Justification is not a work done in us.

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