Election 2012: Thoughts on Obama, Romney and the Church

The election is over and the results are in. I just want to highlight a few points that I think are worth considering.

Pray for our president.

This should go without saying and I’m sure many churches do. However I’m a little taken aback at how Christians are praying. First and foremost we should be praying for his conversion. That’s right, his salvation. This probably sounds judgmental except for the fact that Jesus instructs to judge with “right judgement” in John 7:24 and to look at the fruit of those who claim to be of Christ as Matthew 7:16 says. So let us judge with right judgement by examining the fruit of Obama’s actions.

1. he is the most radically pro-abortion president to ever sit in office;

2. he is pro-homosexual; and

3. he supports the defamation of marriage by supporting same sex marriage.

These sound like progressive cultural stances, shouldn’t we be applauding him? I mean Obama has said in the past he’s a Christian, shouldn’t we just take him at his word? What looks progressive is actually worldly wisdom and a sign of God’s revealed wrath against this nation. Romans 1 clearly describes what it looks like when God gives a society over to depravity in his wrath.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another…Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural onesIn the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error…God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” Romans 1:18-32

It’s clear from this text that homosexuality and murder are the hallmark signs of God’s wrath among others. So let me ask you this…if Obama was a Christian would the fruit of his actions be the very thing God uses to display his wrath against a sinful mankind? Obama’s actions march lock step with what the text calls “being given over to sinful desires.” If we judge by right judgement and if we examine fruit as the scripture tells us, then the answer is more than clear. We as a church must be on our knees praying for this man’s conversion. The fruit of a true Christ follower will never be what God describes as evidence of his wrath. Homosexuality, the defamation of the God given institution of marriage, and the murder of millions of unborn children are meant to be warning signs, not simply ignored under the guise of humility or not judging others.

Why two unbelievers?

The scriptures constantly refer to God as “establishing government and authority”. As Romans 13:1 states, “for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” So if this is true, and God is completely sovereign over those who rule over us, then why did he only give us two unbelievers to choose from? Why didn’t he raise up a man of God who is a servant of Christ to lead this nation? Instead we got a Mormon and a secular humanist.

The answer comes from a biblical paradigm God has used over and over again. In scripture, whenever the children of Israel were disobedient, God raised up a pagan nation of unbelievers to rule over them. It was God’s way of chastising them in order to turn their hearts back to him. Time and time again Israel was exiled and subjected to the morality and laws of pagan unbelieving nations. If it’s God who establishes all authority with his own purposes, then we can safely assume he is doing the same here. So when you and I look at Romney and Obama, we were never meant to see and champion a “lesser of two evils”. We were meant to see our only two choices are people who blatantly reject the lordship of Christ and be broken over it. Our poor selection should be a constant reminder that as a nation, we have to turn our hearts back to God. Instead what we ended up doing was championing a morality that doesn’t flow from the cross and was simply less evil than it’s predecessor. Seeing the possibility of two unbelievers ruling over this nation should have provoked us to prayer and repentance, instead it drove us to mistake morality for godliness. This isn’t to say it was wrong to vote for Romney. I’m simply saying let’s not miss the bigger picture here that everything is not well just because someone shares 80% of your moral values and happens to be a candidate. The bigger picture is confession, repentance, and a heart that flows with affection for the King.

Where do we go from here?

If we are going to be blunt about it, God just gave the nation of America over to it’s own sinful desires under the hand of an unbeliever. Abortion, homosexuality, the degradation of marriage, you name it, God gave us over to it. We should rest in the fact that God has purpose for doing this…repentance.

We should also keep in mind that the primary way God changes a culture is from the proclamation of the gospel. While we may be discouraged about the direction our nation is taking politically, we can be certain that our commission remains the same. Go and make disciples and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. May these next four years be fruitful in prayer, fasting and repentance, in the hope our God will restore our land and raise up a true man of God to lead this nation and not simply someone who has some of the same morals we do, yet rejects our God.

Get out into the marketplace. Engage society with the deep truths of God. Don’t be distracted with life and let complacency take hold. Stand up for the gospel, proclaim the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord. Make up your mind that these next four years are going to be a turning point for you spiritually as you deepen your affection for Christ and forsake your life for his fame and glory. The issues of homosexuality and abortion aren’t simply lifestyle choices. They’re serious signs you have been judged as a society and been found wanting. Engage one another in dialogue about these matters. Stand against abortion, make your voice heard. Develop a strong apologetic against homosexuality and proclaim the truth of Christ to the gay community in love.

Forsake the world and set eternity before you. No candidate will be your hope, no candidate will be your joy. Christ alone is your King. “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” Hebrews 13:14

A Survey of Church History by Dr. W. Robert Godfrey

Ligonier Ministries has put together a comprehensive lecture series on early church history that will help you develop an understanding of how God has sustained his church from it’s inception. This series is simple, solid, and affordable. If you are looking to develop a strong apologetic concerning attacks against the early church, this is the series for you.

Part 1, A.D. 100-600

Many committed, knowledgeable believers still know little about the history of the church. As a result, they’re missing a testament to God’s steadfastness over the centures. Now, a monumental new teaching series sheds crucial light on church history, demonstrating God’s promise to build and preserve his church so that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

Join Dr. Robert Godfrey as he takes believers through the first twelve lectures of what will be a sixty-lecture series covering theology, apologetics, notable church fathers, and much more.

For access to all 12 lectures in part 1 click here. Each lecture is made available for $2.00 and can be downloaded separately. Both video and audio are available.

Click here for a free study guide.

Dr. Daniel Wallace Has Started a New Blog

Dr. Daniel Wallace is professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary (has taught there for more than 25 years) and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. Visit the blog frequently as well as his other site Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.

His new blog is located danielbwallace.com.

Why Apologetics? Addressing some Issues and Comments.

Two short months and 100 posts later, the harshest criticism I’ve received for my website hasn’t been from people of other faiths, but from Christians. I just wanted to take some time and explain why I started Frontline Apologetics and what I hope to accomplish with the site. There have been a lot of comments (both good and bad) and they deserve some attention.

The most common issue I have run into with the site is, “Why does God need us to defend the Gospel? Doesn’t the Gospel defend itself?” This is a great question. It’s quite true that God doesn’t need anything from us. However God’s word is more than clear, he ASKS and COMMANDS us repeatedly to defend and contend for the Gospel. I’m not sure how anyone can read the New Testament and walk away thinking that we aren’t called to this. 1 Peter 3:15 “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” I know “God doesn’t need a defense lawyer” may sound good, but verse after verse makes it clear God is asking and inviting you to defend the Gospel. 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 says, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Here are some more verses to consider: Philippians 1:16, John 7:24, 1 Cor. 5:12, Ephesians 5:11, Acts 22:1

I’ve also had the issue brought up, “it’s the Holy Spirit that leads us into truth, so why be critical of others who might teach falsely or of unbelievers?” It is absolutely true that the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth (John 16:13) and bear witness of Christ (Romans 8:16-17). However, the primary way that God has chosen to distribute his truth throughout His church is through the body of Christ. God has entrusted us with the good news of Christ and His word and has graciously given to us preachers and teachers soundly and rightly dividing the biblical scriptures (1 Corinthians 12:28). Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…

It’s not our job to be divisive, it’s our job to be unified“. This is perhaps the most puzzling objection to me because Jesus himself said the nature of the Gospel is divisive. He said you will be hated because of him (John 15:18), the Gospel divides even families (Matthew 10), and to expect persecution (Luke 21:16). Some will hear the good news of Christ and joyfully accept it, others will hear the good news of Christ and it will be foolishness to them (1 Corinthians 1:18). So if you choose to proclaim the Gospel in love and reverance, it’s STILL going to be divisive. There is no getting around that. The only way you can be truly “unified” with the world or with false teachers is if you fail to preach the Gospel and instead turn to another method that avoids it.

Along this same issue, but inside of the church, if you believe it isn’t unifying or that it’s unloving to point out someone’s misrepresentation of the Gospel, then you have elevated man’s feelings above rightfully dividing God’s truth. Nowhere in God’s word are we called to be unified with those who teach falsely and refuse to repent, but rather we are told to avoid such people (2 John 1:10-11). And nowhere in God’s word does it say that “the greatest threat to his church is disunity”, but rather false teaching is (1 Timothy 4). This culturally influenced line of thinking is akin to not telling your kid how to use a knife to cut their food because you don’t want to “hurt their feelings or be unloving”. They will inevitably end up cutting themselves or someone else. It’s the same with God’s word. We all know someone who has walked away from Christ or the church because God was inaccurately represented to them. They ended up rejecting a Christ that they never met! Accurately representing God in a loving, caring way is absolutely critical, but not at the expense of the Gospel or God’s word. The New Testament repeatedly warns us that false teachers will arise up FROM AMONG US. This means that they are IN THE CHURCH. So naturally this means we are to be mindful of God’s word, handle it rightly, and lovingly correct our brothers when they misrepresent God’s word (2 Timothy 3:16). Sometimes we all misspeak, but there is a difference between mispeaking and making a lifestyle out of twisting God’s word. How can you take a stand against someone who leads others astray with false teaching if you have created a methodology that says it’s unloving to confront them? Acts 20:28-29, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.“, Here are some scriptures to check out: Matthew 7:15, John 7:24, 1 Cor. 5:12, Ephesians 5:11, 1 Tim. 4:16, 1 Timothy 4:1-10, 2 Peter 2:1-22

If a Pastor has a church of thousands, that should tell you they are doing something right.” We aren’t called to judge by appearances, but rather by the fruit of a ministry (Matthew 7). If a teacher is claiming to come in the name of Jesus, but clearly teaches another Gospel, then how is that good fruit? It isn’t, and Galatians 1:8 says “let him be accursed…” I know that grates up against our culture’s “smile and don’t disagree” sensibilities, but this is a serious matter to God and it should be serious to us as well. If you are passionate about seeing a lost world saved, then shouldn’t you be passionate about a teaching that leads them to spiritual death? And to argue from numbers only lends credibility to warnings in God’s word like Luke 6:26, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” and 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Whether the church has 100 or 10,000, the standard is a genuine love for God and a fidelity to His Gospel.

I know this is good information, but I’m not sure what to do with it.” The reason I post the information I do, is so the believer in Christ can educate his or herself about what the bible says. The first defense of the Gospel is to KNOW the Gospel. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” You can’t “rightly handle” God’s truth if you don’t KNOW it. Secondly, I post information so the believer can see and hear what other religions believe. Paul demonstrated an ability to understand what a culture believed and then he offered up the Gospel of Christ in contrast to those beliefs. If you have ever shared a conversation with a Muslim or an Atheist, you will quickly get cut down to the ground if you aren’t aware of what you are doing. A simple “God loves you, he wants you to reach your hopes and dreams, come visit my church” presentation of the Gospel will turn sour fast in the face of people who are educated about matters of faith. I post information so the believer can have a basic grasp of what others believe, and be ready to speak to that with the Gospel.

I’ve also noticed a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Gospel is and what it means to accurately present the Gospel. In today’s culture, we think it’s unloving or fear mongering to point out what another religion believes. So what we end up doing is not proclaiming the Gospel at all. We talk about what Christ can do for them, or we end up just inviting them to church, or we think that giving them a cup of water is somehow “proclaiming Christ’s Gospel” to them. These things ACCOMPANY the proclamation of the Gospel, they don’t REPLACE it. Most of the time we end up portraying a “genie Jesus” who can grant their wildest hopes and dreams, but we leave them not understanding they are alienated and hostile in mind towards God because of their evil deeds (Colossians 1:21). Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” Testimony is great, serving them is great, inviting them to church is great, but may we never neglect proclaiming what “the blood of the lamb” truly means.

I started Frontline Apologetics so you could have all of the best resources linked in one spot, and easily accessible from your Facebook or Twitter feed. I did this with the intent of helping you clearly understand your God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to help you understand what other religions believe and how to speak to those beliefs with the Gospel, and to help give you confidence to boldly speak out and proclaim the Gospel of Christ in love and reverence. In short, I do this to help us all obey God’s word and bring him the glory He rightfully deserves. I realize there will always be someone who doesn’t agree. I warmly welcome your thoughts and objections. However, let’s leave our cultural biases and inclinations to believe “what sounds right” behind and instead seek with all of our hearts to do what God has asked us to do in His word.

I pray we all, myself included, long for a passion to see God’s word rightly and boldly proclaimed in a lost and dying world. Or in the words of Jeremiah 20:9, “if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

Tips for Awkward Free Witnessing

Let’s face it, we’ve all been in a conversation about God that turned a little awkward. Either you completely misunderstood each other, didn’t listen, misrepresented a position, or just plain offended the guy, it happened and you walked away hoping you’ll never see his face again. Hopefully these points will help you to have a healthy and effective conversation with others about Christ.

Know the Gospel.

If you don’t know the Gospel, then it doesn’t matter how effective you are at speaking with people. If you get the good news of Jesus Christ wrong, then even if the other person agrees with what you have presented, ultimately you haven’t presented anything. A good apologist will find a way to talk about man’s sin, not avoid God’s wrath and perfect justice, and unpack God’s love, grace and mercy revealed in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Leave any one of those points out and you have severely truncated the Gospel and chances are the other person will leave the conversation not understanding or caring what the Gospel is.

Listen and understand their position.

Nothing will close ears faster than misrepresenting someones position to them or just plain not listening to their points. This includes speaking over someone, cutting them off, or using sweeping generalized statements that don’t apply to them. “Yeah but all _________ believe ________!” Or insinuating they’re stupid by saying, “you can’t possibly believe that!” The more you speak with people, the more you will find not all people who adhere to a different religion (or no religion at all) believe the same thing. It’s important to listen, hear them out and then speak to the objections they raise instead of wildly speculating about what they “probably” or “might” believe. Some of the best conversations come from people who feel they have been rightly heard, so they gladly return the favor. Has anyone heard the good news of Christ during a shouting match? You want them to walk away thinking about the Gospel, not giving you the middle finger and cursing the day you were born.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

Keep it as simple as you can.

I know you probably want to show off your exegesis by taking on the entire book of Romans in one sitting, but chances are your friend’s eyes will gloss over and he will drool from lack of brain activity. This is a conversation, not a pulpit. Be sensitive to their receptivity. If they are engaged and are asking you good questions, then by all means go as far as you can with that. However, if you get the sense that they’re struggling to grasp something simple like their sinfulness in light of God’s justice, then try to refrain from raining down fifty Old Testament foreshadows of the Trinity. Too much too soon.

Love God and love the person you are speaking with.

The person you are talking to isn’t a notch in your conversions belt or a feather in your faith hat. You were once in their position, struggling to learn the basics of the Gospel, so be sensitive. If you don’t have a burning desire in your heart to see people reconciled to God through Christ, or if you don’t have a genuine burden to see God glorified through the redemption of man, your words will coldly reflect that. Evangelizing and apologetics are serious endeavors because you are dealing with eternal matters. You aren’t trying to convince someone Burger King makes the best burgers, you are trying to convince someone they are “alienated from God and hostile in their minds because of their evil deeds“. If you are going to witness to someone about the grace and mercy of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, then heed God’s words in Mark 12:30-31,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…Love your neighbor as yourself.

Realize the ability to understand the Gospel doesn’t depend on you.

As a good apologist you can speak to every argument and you can lay down the best Gospel presentation possible, but ultimately the ability to understand the Gospel is granted by God for his own purposes.

“…a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” 1 Cor. 2:14

This should drive us to our knees in prayer, pleading for the souls of men whose destinies rest solely in the hands of our Creator. Since it’s the Spirit of God who gives revelation, we are free to proclaim the pure unabashed truths of God. We don’t have to hold back, and we don’t have to soft peddle truth. We are free to love them, serve them, and proclaim God’s whole Gospel to them without the weight of feeling as if conversion rests on our abilities. The sovereignty of God in salvation shouldn’t keep you from witnessing, it should drive you to witness all the more.

Applying the above points won’t make you the next Billy Graham, but they will enable you to have effective, Gospel based conversations with your friends about Christ. Awkward conversation is like verbal bad breath, so avoid it at all costs. Proclaim the truth in love and meet the needs of people to the glory of God. Serve your community with solid evangelizing and spot on apologetics.

From Victoria’s Secret to Proverbs 31

Sometimes the greatest apologetic you can possess is the power of a changed heart and life. It’s one thing to speak the truths of God and never have your life scrutinized, it’s quite another to have a lot on the line with the eyes of the world watching and still give it all away to testify to the power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

In 2009, at the age of 19, Kylie Bisutti achieved what most young models dream of when she beat out 10,000 contestants to win Victoria’s Secret model search. She recently announced her decision to walk away from modeling lingerie to Good Morning America, “because I personally feel that I am not honoring God or my husband by doing it.

She also said:

I was growing in my relationship with the Lord and my faith.  I’m a strong believing Christian…

I just became so convicted of honoring the Lord and my body and wanting to be a role model for other women out there who look up to me…

I have decided not to model lingerie because I personally feel that I am not honoring God or my husband by doing it. My marriage is very important & with divorce rates rising I want to do everything I can to protect my marriage and be respectful to my husband. God graciously gave me this marriage and this life and my desire is to live a Godly faithful life…

 I want to point out that all too often we preach morals before the Gospel. Get your life right, get cleaned up, then get in church and pursue a relationship with Christ. Kylie clearly articulates the kind of God exalting morals that flow from the Gospel and testify to the power of a transformed heart and life in Christ. She also touches on two great points in her blog on Live31 when she writes, “Christ also led my husband and I to a great church that has helped me so much. It is a lot easier to stay grounded when you are plugged into a church and fellowship with other believers. I also stay committed to reading the bible.

Gospel driven morals, plugged into a Church, committed to reading the Word of God…bravo Kylie Bisutti.

I Quit Being A Victoria’s Secret Model To Become A Proverbs 31 Wife

Kylie Bisutti

“I started my modeling career at the very young age of 14. It was always my dream to become a super model and to be a Victoria’s Secret model was my ultimate goal in life. I felt like I was born to walk the runway and at the age of 19 I achieved that goal. I walked in my first Victoria’s Secret runway show, beating out 10,000 other girls to win the prize of their newest runway angel. From there I started doing shoots for their catalogue and was on the cover of multiple magazines, including men’s magazines. I hosted parties, dazzled red carpets, and got more attention than a girl could ever imagine. (and I loved every minute of it) I selfishly desired the attention that I was getting and I gave in to worldly ways… UNTIL I had a very gracious and convicting AWAKENING!

Click here to continue reading her story at Live31.org…

10 Pitfalls of the Foolish Apologist by Brian Auten of Apologetics 315

Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 has posted a fantastic reminder for all who seek to defend the Christian faith. Whether you’re an amateur apologist or a professional, this article hits home for all believers in Christ.

Apologetics 315 is one of the most comprehensive apologetics sites on the internet. Make sure to visit frequently and take advantage of the many resources they have available.

10 Pitfalls of the Foolish Apologist

“A Christian ambassador desires to be tactful, persuasive, sensitive, and thoughtful. Being a good apologist and being able to give good reasons for the truth of the Christian view takes prayer, patience, study, and persistence. For those who have made it their goal to become good defenders of the faith, there are certain positive disciplines and character traits that one would do well to develop. These help you become a wise apologist.

But on the other hand, there are certain pitfalls that can appear that, when left unchecked, can become character traits and make you a foolish apologist. Although there are surely more, here are Ten Pitfalls of the Foolish Apologist:”

click here to continue reading…