Homosexual Marriage: A Change in the Law of Marriage and Religious Freedom

“On Friday, June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 vote to impose so-called ‘gay marriage’ on all 50 states.” While this decision did not change the nature of true marriage, for only God can do that, it did change the nature of legal marriage, and, tragically, in many minds that is a change in the nature of marriage.

The court’s ruling did considerably degrade the institution of marriage in our culture. Moreover, the court’s decision demonstrated one of the most pronounced, unguarded, and hubristic acts of legislating from the bench and disregard for the Constitution to date (demonstrated in their moral reasoning in the article below). Finally, certainly they set in place a ruling that will perpetuate the dismantling of religious freedom in America. I believe this may prove to be, over the coming decades, the most devastating consequence of the ruling. I think that this moralizing decision will be the genesis of untold clashes between believers and the courts, and, as it stands, a portentous signal regarding the kind of decisions that we might expect from the court.

Dr. Jerry Johnson, Ph. D., President and CEO of National Religious Broadcasters, has written two excellent articles on this ruling, Supreme Shame and Supreme Sham (and one more to come), and reading them both will be well worth your time. Particularly important to note is the biblical guidance for Christians from article one, and the moral, rather than legal, musings of the majority opinion in the second.

We Need Christ’s Help NOT Self-Help

In the Los Angeles Times article “Self-Help’s Big Lie” Steve Salerno explains, “Self-esteem-based education presupposed that a healthy ego would help students achieve greatness, even if the mechanisms necessary to instill self-esteem undercut scholarship. Over time, it became clear that what such policies promote is not academic greatness but a bizarre disconnect between perceived self-worth and provable skill.” Continue reading →

Christianity Benefits Everyone

Obviously the most important benefit of following Christ is spiritual; salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). However, even those who do not accept Christ can benefit socially from the presence of authentic Christianity. This article seeks to highlight one area in which this is true. That is the area of keeping down healthcare costs. This is because today, as in the past, much of the cost of healthcare is related to behavior and is therefore preventable. Continue reading →

How Did Our Baptist Ancestors View Church and State?

John Leland, a Baptist preacher, “emerged a leader among the Commonwealth’s Baptists. He was instrumental in allying the Baptists with Jefferson and Madison in the bitter Virginia struggle to disestablish the Anglican Church and to secure freedom for religious dissenters.”[1] (italics added) According to L.H. Butterfield, Leland “was as courageous and resourceful a champion of the rights of conscience as America has produced.”[2] (italics added) Leland, who allied with the Baptists, supported Jefferson because of his commitment to “the rights of conscience.”[3] (italics added) This did not refer to separating religious beliefs from politics, but rather allowed one to believe according to his own conscience without government interference. For example, Leland celebrated Jefferson’s election from his pulpit.[4] By conscience, they referred to the first table of the Ten Commandments as Roger Williams did. Conscience refers to ‘opinions’ so referred to by both Jefferson and the Danbury Baptists in their correspondence. Continue reading →

A Letter to My Dear Baptist Ancestors

Thank you for your willing and unselfish sacrifice for my undeserved freedom of religion in America!

It seems to me that most Americans, including many Baptists, are either unaware or have forgotten the extraordinary role that Baptists played in securing religious liberty in America. Many Americans who are aware seek to minimize Christianity’s role in general and Baptist’s role in particular. Then there are those whose lack of acknowledgement and appreciation sometimes manifests itself in admonishments to pastors, particularly Baptist pastors, against speaking out or being involved in politics. Some of these chastisements come from Baptist pews and pulpits. Let me mention one historical example of Baptist influence. Continue reading →

ObamaCare: The Affordable Care Act and the Decline of Religious Freedom

The loss of spiritual freedom for supposed physical freedom is reason enough to become informed, and to work and pray for the collapse of ObamaCare. Following are some of the ways that ObamaCare will further erode religious freedom in the U.S. Additionally, check out the “ObamaCare and its Mandates Fact sheet” at Alliance Defending Freedom.  This four page fact sheet summarizes the destructive impact of ObamaCare upon religious faith. An excellent resource.

  1. The abortion mandate limits business owner’s First Amendment rights by requiring them to directly fund the death of innocent lives created in the image of God (Gen 9:6).
  2. It advances the notion of only protecting religious freedom when all participants are adherents to the faith, thereby limiting the ministry of religious groups to the public (Matt 5:13ff).
  3. Government control of healthcare requires working people to pay for those who could work, but choose not to, thereby encouraging laziness (2 Thess 3:10).
  4. Government control of health care further erodes the need for personal responsibility and decision-making. This undermines the understood need for repentance and accepting the gospel, since both require a clear sense of personal responsibility (Rom 3:23, 10: 9-10).
  5. It furthers the redefining of religious freedom under the First Amendment to merely meaning freedom of worship.
  6. It expands the cost of running the spendthrift federal government, thereby reducing the amount of discretionary income for Christians to give to spiritual causes, to utilize private schools, or to live on one income.
  7. It continues the transference of benevolence from the private sector to the federal government, thereby limiting the benevolent role and significance of religious groups (Matt 5:13ff).

Just Revolution

Michael Tinney, a member of the 2013/2014 Roundtable in Ethics, explains the answer to the following question. Is the overthrow of an existing king, ruler, or government, if war or violence is necessary, ever biblically justifiable? Continue reading →

“Separation of Church and State” A Baptist Understanding!

“Wall of separation” is the exact phrase used by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptists, whereas “separation church and state” is the popular phraseology. My use of these phrases in this article should not be construed in any way as an endorsement of either agreeing with them or using them. I actually argue for Christians to disabuse ourselves from using them as a gloss of the First Amendment. For when it is so used, it is at best a tawdry and misleading replacement of the amendment’s beautiful words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” I use it only because the article necessitates that I do.

In the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education case (1947 – 330 U.S.1), the Supreme Court applied the establishment[1] clause to the states. It also imbued this guarantee with a firm Separationist reading. Justice Hugo Black’s words for the Everson majority proved a prophetic distillation of the establishment cases for the next four decades: “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another….In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and state.”[2] (italics added) Continue reading →