Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hermeneutical Devolution: A Mutated Approach To Genesis

The following is a response to an article in Joy Magazine here in South Africa. The pastor I am responding to was trying to make a case for a figurative interpretation of the Genesis creation account. His point was that it is theological and poetic in nature, therefore one does not need to interpret it literally. This was in the context of whether or nor children should be taught evolution in school. Here is my response:

After reading Pastor Howard Wylie’s letter in favor of evolution, I would like to respond primarily to Wylie’s contention that not “…every part of the Bible should be interpreted literally.” This unsubstantiated statement is as disturbing as it is dangerous because it leads to an arbitrary hermeneutic (interpretation).

My question for Wylie is how does he know where to draw the line between a literal approach verses a figurative approach, unless the Bible itself gives us direct warrant for such an approach? If Genesis 1 is taken figuratively, then what about Genesis 2 or 3? Then, what about Genesis 1-11, is it all non-literal? How does Wylie know, especially when this whole section of Scripture is written in normal Hebrew prose, not Hebrew poetry.

If Genesis 1 is to be taken theologically, as Wylie insists, does that necessarily mitigate against any scientific implication the passage might unintentionally allude to concerning creation? In the end, isn’t the whole Bible theological in one way or another?

If the Genesis account of creation is not to be taken literally, than what about the many passages throughout the Bible that view the Genesis 1-11 account as real historical events and actual people? The following four examples illustrate the literality of the creation account:

• In Exodus 20:8-11, when dealing with the 4th commandment, Moses declares that our 7 day week is predicated upon God’s creation week. The Hebrew word used for ‘day’in both Genesis 1 and Exodus 20 is yom and clearly indicates a 24 hour diurnal day is meant. Moses certainly did not see billions of years in Genesis 1, and yet, he was under the same inspiration Wylie professes to believe.

• Jesus referenced the creation account in Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-8 when he answered the Pharisees concerning divorce. In so doing Jesus cites both Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 as literal and authoritative, just as He articulated the veracity of Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:37-38), as well as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:28-29). If Jesus, who was a participant in creation, regards Genesis 1 and 2 as a literal account, who are we say otherwise? Who is the authority on the subject, Christ or Darwin?

• The Apostle Paul verified the reality of the first Adam in contrast to the second Adam—Jesus Christ (Romans 5:12-21), he promoted a literal approach to creation (Ephesians 5:31; 1 Timothy 2:13-14), as well as the certainty of the fall (Genesis 3 cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3). No one was ever more theological than Paul, yet his theology did not dismiss his literal belief in the Genesis 1 account.

• The writer of Hebrews believed the whole Old Testament was historically accurate, even the statements regarding creation (Hebrews 11:3-7). How can we believe the people and events of Hebrews 11:8-32 are literal, but not those of 11:3-7? To make such a distinction would evidence an arbitrary method of interpretation that lacks hermeneutical brakes.

The real question that confronts Wylie is, if the ‘days’ of Genesis are figurative, then why not God? Why not the fall of man? For, if the fall is figurative, then there is no need for redemption i.e. Christ. To dismiss the authority and literality of Genesis 1 in such a subjective fashion runs perilously close to denying the miracles and the bodily resurrection of Christ. It is but a step or two from denying the one to denying the other.

As for the H1N1 virus being an example of evolution, as Wylie maintains, it is not. Rather the H1N1 virus is a classic example of a mutation. Mutations never result in the addition of new information, which would be needed for evolution to be true. Instead, mutations always result in the loss of and rearrangement of existing information, which is often harmful, sometimes static, and at other times beneficial. But this illustrates the adaptation of kind that the Bible speaks of, not evolution.

Even though I believe evolution has more in common with a man-made religion than true science, I certainly do not mind if my children learn evolution as long as the horrific social and moral consequences of this dogma are fairly and honestly taught. Young people need to be reminded that the logical outcomes of evolution made the 20th Century the bloodiest and most immoral century in the history of civilization. Let us learn from this sad saga of history. Let us teach our children that evolutionary theory, combined with German existentialism, led to the nefarious deeds of a Hitler and World War 2. Then let us prepare them to answer the critics they will encounter in their tertiary education.

To depart from the plain sense of God’s authoritative word, as Wylie has done, will only lead to further concessions down the line. To oscillate between a figurative and the literal approach ultimately turns the plain sense of God’s word into nonsense.

Pastor Mark

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Climate Craze—Making Biblical Sense of the Man-Made Global Warming Debate!

The headlines in the media have been relentless and extreme in their pursuit to convince us all that a climate apocalypse is just around the next corner. We have been told that unless we “act now”, by curbing our carbon emissions, catastrophic doom awaits us all. So what are Bible-believing Christians to make of all the scaremongering rhetoric? Further, in light of the Bible, what should Christians think about the whole man-made climate change debate? Is the sky really falling this time around? If so, how should we respond?

In formulating a response to this very important issue Christians need to remember the Wisdom of Solomon who said, “He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him.” (Proverbs 18:13). In other words, there is usually more than one side to a story. It would be foolish only to listen to one person’s take on an issue, or circumstances related to an accident, or crime scene, and then make a final determination based on that lopsided knowledge. Yet, when it comes to the issue of man-made climate change, most people have uncritically embraced what the headlines declare without giving it another thought. I know I did until I began researching the issue for myself. What I learned was that there is a whole other side to the global warming debate that the media refuses to consider for a variety of reasons. Beyond that, I learned that there is no “consensus” amongst scientist on this issue.

In order to gain a better understanding of man-made global warming and the issues surrounding it, we first want to consider a few of the scientific assumptions taught as infallible fact. Then we will summarize the philosophical assumptions that serve as the launching pad for this contentious issue. Finally, we want to survey some of the biblical assumptions that will help you to piece together a wise and measured response to the headlines.

Here are but a few of the highly speculative scientific assumptions that have been used to convince the public that mankind is responsible for climate change:

Assumption #1: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant that drives the temperature ever upward. If this is true, then by simply reducing the amount of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere the current trend of rising temperature should be reversed. But is CO2 really the bogey man in climate change? Consider the following observations from climatologists who disagree with the popular promotions of this issue:

• Historically increases in atmospheric CO2 have always lagged behind rising temperatures. Examples of this are cited during both the Roman Warming Period (200 BC—AD 400) and the Medieval Warming Period (AD1000-1400), which was 2 to 3 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today. Ice core samples and other proxies, like tree rings, bear witness to this fact.

• CO2 is but a colorless and odorless trace element in the atmosphere. In fact, the primary Green House Gas (GHG) is water vapor which accounts for at least 94% of GHG’s. Because CO2 is a trace element it is measured in parts per million (ppm). Most of the atmospheric CO2 is a result of water evaporation and is not due to man-made causes.

• To put the above thought into perspective, only 3% of the atmosphere is made up of GHG’s. Then, less than 4% of GHG’s is comprised of CO2. Of That 4% of CO2, less than 4% of it is man-made. That means 96% of the atmospheric CO2 is naturally occurring.

• CO2 concentrations are logarithmic, which means we could double the current amounts of CO2 (386 ppm to 772 ppm) without doubling the supposed negative effects of CO2, as increasing levels of CO2 would have a negligible effect. As Dr. Harold Ohlmeyer notes, “Yes, atmospheric CO2 is increasing, but most of it is due to the warming of oceans which releases some of the CO2 they contain. (Our oceans contain 50 times more CO2 than the atmosphere.) In other words CO2 increases did not produce much global warming; warming produced most increases in CO2.”

• One fact you will never hear the media or politicians talk about is that CO2 is a natural fertilizer for plants, without CO2 we could not survive because plants could not photosynthesize and produce the oxygen we need to breath. For this reason, greenhouses normally operate with CO2 concentrations between 800-1200 ppm, which allows the plants to thrive.

• It is a myth that CO2 is a pollutant. It can hardly be compared with other man-made emissions like sulfur dioxide, which, when it rains, returns as sulfuric acid.

• In the end, one must not confuse correlation (rising temperatures with rising levels of CO2) with causation. If CO2 is a catalyst for temperature increases, then why has the global temperature dropped in recent years while, correspondingly, atmospheric levels of CO2 have gradually increased? If correlation equals causation, then is the recent decline in atmospheric oxygen, since 2003, directly attributable to the rise in the use of biofuels, which began in earnest in 2003? In the words of one climate realist, to say that CO2 is the primary driver of temperature is a lot like saying lung cancer causes smoking.

Assumption #2: Computer Generated Climate Models are accurate in forecasting the future of climate. This crass assumption is the Holy Grail of the man-made climate change debate. Robbed of this presupposition, the whole foundation of the climate change debate falls flat. Yet, there are some climatologists who seem to have an almost infallible faith in their climate models. But is this an ill-founded faith? Are climate models really that reliable? Here are but a couple of important thoughts that must be factored into climate model equation:

•Climate is an extremely complex system and as such there are a multitude of unaccounted variables which drastically affect the outcome of the predictions. In order to accurately gauge the future of climate change, the current models would need to factor in all of the following variables into their equation: solar variation, gravity, pressure, temperature, cosmic wind, density, humidity, clouds, topography, rotation of the Earth, the sea’s changing currents, greenhouse gases, and CO2 dissolved in the oceans — to name a few of the needed variables. The current models are unable to include all of these vital factors, because they are either unknown or ever-changing.

•There are a variety of different climate models used, none of which completely agree with the others. Even in ‘hindcasting’ the past weather, which we do know, these models have proved imprecise.

•The following comments on climate models represent the assessment of many climatologists:

Dr. Patrick Michaels concludes that reliance on climate models amounts to “… scientific malpractice … If a physician prescribed medication that demonstrably did not work he would lose his license.”

A recent headline in the New Scientist warned, “Climate is too complex for accurate predictions.”

More to the point, Howard C. Hayden, in his book A Primer on CO2 and Climate (pg.33), claims “…it is impossible to perform the well established procedures for laboratory science on the climate system. Nobody has done it. Nobody can do it. Nobody will do it … All climate models are based on unperformed experiments for which the modelers presume to know the answer.”

Dr. Reid Bryson, considered by many to be the godfather of modern day climatology in the USA, concludes that data fed into the climate models overemphasizes CO2 and accounts poorly for the effects of clouds — water vapor. So when asked about the long-range predictive ability of climate models, Dr. Reid answers with another question, “Do you believe the five-day forecast?”!

Such an evaluation of climate models is hardly the stuff of “irrefutable science.” Some have gone so far as to call reliance on these models “climate astrology”.

Assumption #3: Sea levels are rising at an alarming rate. How often has this been used like a hammer to convince us all of the urgency of curbing our CO2 emissions? The images of melting icecaps and the corresponding rise of the world’s oceans, while polar bears struggle to swim to land to keep from drowning are emotionally effective. But are the world’s seas really rising? If so, how much are they rising? To answer that question one would need to consult a true sea-level-rise expert like Dr. Nils-Axel Morner from Sweden. Dr. Morner makes the following observations based on nearly 40 years of actual field studies. It is important to note that the UN IPCC makes its sea level rise predictions based on the notoriously faulty computer generated climate models:

• The actual data, via tide-gauges and satellite altimetry, indicates there isn’t any significant sea level rise — a uniform 1.8 mm per annum over the last 100 years, about 7 inches in the 20th century. At this rate it will take several millennia to reach Al Gore’s fictional 23 foot rise in sea level by 2100. Recent data suggests that sea level rise has temporarily halted.

• Dr. Morner discovered that in the early 1970’s the Maldives saw the Indian Ocean recede by 30 cm, a loss that has yet to be recovered.

• In the case of the South Pacific Islands like Vanuatu and Tuvalu, which are the poster children for sea level rise, local conditions like subsidence, erosion, tectonic uplift and the like are simple explanations for the seeming rise in local relative sea level.

• In order to fulfill the doomsday forecasts of rising seas, a substantial amount of land-based ice would have to melt at a rapid rate. Even if the arctic completely melted it wouldn’t affect sea levels, except for some expansion, as the arctic ice sits over open water.

• The embellished hype surrounding glacial melt in Greenland fades into the clear light of reason when one considers that while some of Greenland’s western glaciers are receding, others — sometimes a few kilometers away — are advancing. Dr. Morner believes this is a result of oscillating ocean currents rather than temperature increase.

• Even if the Arctic is experiencing a bit of melting at present, Antarctica’s massive amounts of land-based ice seem secure as current ice mass has advanced by 33% above recent norms. For that ice to melt the temperature would have to exponentially increase above the normal mean of -37C to facilitate such a scenario.

• In studies just released, it has now been determined that the world’s seas may actually be experiencing a cooling because of unanticipated shifts in ocean currents, which will produce cooler air temperatures in the days ahead. This is something the climate models did not anticipate.

• Even the UN IPCC has drastically altered its predictions of sea level rise in its most recent 4th assessment report (2007). In 1990 the IPCC forecasted a maximum sea rise of 367 cm by 2100. In 2007 they significantly revised their maximum prediction for 2100 to 59 cm, which is much closer to reality.

Assumption #4: The Polar Bears are in danger of drowning, and becoming extinct. We are told if the ice melts, then the Polar Bears won’t be able to hunt. This piece of propaganda has been a great marketing tool for the promoters of man-made climate change. It is especially effective when used on children who do not know any better. The thought of these seemingly lovable and huggable creatures vanishing really tugs on the heart strings. But do the Hollywood-type promotions of the vanishing polar bear mesh with reality? :

• I wonder how many people know that the images of the polar bear in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth were computer generated? Indeed, such a truth is inconvenient!

• The polar bear’s name Ursus maritimus, which means ‘marine bear’, or ‘sea bear’, indicates these bears can swim vast distances in search of food. Given their God-given aquatic abilities, drowning is very rare!

• In 1969 the number of polar bears was estimated at 5,400 bears. Today, I am happy to report, the number is five times what it was just 40 years ago. Presently there are an estimated 25,000 bears in the arctic region. The greatest threat to these wonderful creatures is not climate change, but man.

• If a warming climate is so catastrophic to polar bears, then why did they survive the Medieval Warming Period a thousand years ago, when temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees Celsius warmer than today? Undoubtedly the bears adapted.

Assumption #5: All true scientists agree that climate change is primarily man-made, ergo there is a scientific consensus. Based on this bold assertion, climate alarmists claim “The debate is over, so we won’t even discuss any dissenting views.” Any one who questions this democratically-determined science is classified as “a denier”, a “flat-earther”, even a “climate Nazi” who doesn’t believe in real science. But is this “consensus” contrived or real? Here are a few thoughts to consider:

• Since when is science determined by the majority-rules approach? Even if all scientists, save one, were in agreement on this, it would only take a Copernicus or a Galileo to cast a question mark over the consensus.

• Dr. Michael Crichton responds to the idea of a consensus saying, “Consensus is the business of politics … There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus … Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agree that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the Sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.”

• If there is such an overwhelming consensus that believes man is the culprit in climate change, than why have over 31,000 scientists — 10,000 of them PhD’s and 3800 of them in the climate sciences — signed The Petition Project (, which is a statement that rejects man’s responsibility for the change in climate?

Why have nearly 1,000 dissenting climatologists, atmospheric scientists, and economists joined the Non-governmental International Panel for Climate Change (NIPCC) if there is such an irrefutable mountain of evidence pointing to man as the reason for rising temperatures? The NIPCC serves to critique all the climate assertions of the UN IPCC. To this end the NIPCC is the unofficial watchdog of the UN IPCC.

• The truth is that every day more and more scientists are declaring their skepticism for man-made global warming, but they are ignored by the media and politicians who are on a mission to promote their green agenda regardless of evidence to the contrary.

The above are but a few examples that illustrate how lopsided the man-made climate change debate is. Those who disagree with the headlines are not saying the earth hasn’t warmed in the past 120 years, because it has experienced modest warming as we came of out the Little Ice Age (AD 1400-1850). In the 20th century the earth warmed .67 a degree Celsius. What is being argued here is who or what is responsible for the warming. There is a growing and substantial body of evidence that exonerates human activity as the cause of climate change. Many scientists now contend the recent rise in temperature has more to do with natural climate variation than CO2 produced by man. This is not to say that man doesn’t pollute, because he does, but that is a separate issue from climate change.

So why has this one issue of climate change received so much attention? Why all the hysteria and emotionally charged headlines? What is driving this issue? Why the adamant insistence that man is responsible? Essentially there are three primary reasons (philosophical assumptions) why some have become so rabid on this issue. These, whether taken individually or collectively, serve as the motivating force behind the headlines on this issue:

1. The first is politics. The first clue that this is a political issue is evidenced in the United Nation’s involvement—hence the UN IPCC. Here we have a political body doing science. True, there are a number of scientists they have assembled to gather some expert advice, but few know that the UN’s policy assessments on this issue are written by bureaucrats, not the scientists themselves. Consequently, much is left out of these documents. Any observations that conflict with UN dogma on the topic are conveniently omitted. The UN is hardly a dispassionate and objective scientific body. They are a political entity with the objective of promoting globalization. I can’t think of a better issue to achieve one world governance and a one world economy than the issue of human-induced climate change. As H.L. Mencken astutely remarked, “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule.”!

2. The second contributing factor to the popularity of the global warming craze is postmodernism. Postmodernism is basically a philosophy for interpreting life from the vantage point of the interpreter. In the postmodern scheme absolutes are banished while relativism is extolled. At the heart of postmodernism is deconstructive thinking. Deconstructionists vacuum meaning from words, history, religion, and even science. There are a number of scientists today who are concerned about postmodern deconstructive influence in the realm of science. It would be naïve to think that postmodern interpretation of scientific observation does not take place, especially in a highly emotive issue like climate change. Doubtless, the relativistic influences in postmodernism can and do lead to junk science.

3. The third major premise fueling this global warming debate is pantheism. Pantheism is the belief that “God is all and all is God”. In other words, God is not transcendent, but is in all that exists. This way of thinking leads to an impersonal view of God where all distinctions are erased to achieve some mystical union between ourselves and the universe. The creed of pantheism deifies humanity while doing the same for thistles and pigs. The result is that humanity loses all God-ordained uniqueness, which leads to the denigration of man. This is why many environmentalists are willing to sacrifice humanity for the sake of nature. Ultimately saving the environment becomes a religion in which salvation is found through the sacraments of recycling, vegan diets, hybrid cars, and compact fluorescent bulbs. It should be no surprise that Al Gore has pronounced pantheistic tendencies. In his book Earth In The Balance, Gore nails his pantheistic flag to the mast.

So what is a Christian to make of all this? Though the Bible doesn’t mention global warming, it does give some timeless principles which can be used as a guide for making a determination about how to both view and respond to the issue:

1. The Glory Principle (Psalm 33:6; 19:1-6; 8:1-2, & 9; Psalm 104; Jeremiah 10:12-14; John 1:1-3). As the Psalmist looked at the splendor of creation it produced his exuberant praise of Psalm 8:1 “O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth …” Creation is primarily meant to be a testimony to man of God’s glory and wisdom. As one gazes at the awesome beauty of all God made, it should evoke praise to His name. This is a strong inducement on the part of humanity to preserve and care for that which reflects the greatness of the one who made it. So the Believer’s motivation for maintaining the environment is first theo-centric before it is ever man-centered.

2. The Stewardship Principle (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:3-8; 115:16). While God holds the title deed to earth, man is to be the custodian and manager of all that God has made. Humanity does not own the earth, but is granted the authority by God to adequately care for creation. This God-ordained stewardship has three prongs to it:

• Stewardship requires that we protect and preserve creation within the tension of the following two stewardship considerations.

• Stewardship includes wisely using the resources of creation for the provision of humanity. Simple examples of this include replacing trees used for building, requiring permits for hunting, and restocking fish from fisheries.

• Stewardship also includes the component of counting the financial cost of the above. Luke 14:28-32 reminds us that no king goes off to war before carefully counting the cost!

In light of these three prongs of stewardship, it is clear that what is being proposed concerning man-made climate change is poor stewardship. Given that most of the recent warming is part of a natural, varying climate cycle, the astronomical price tag for cap-and-trade schemes and carbon offsets is not equal to the supposed benefits gained. One Danish economist calculated that the annual cost of a climate initiative, like the Kyoto Protocol, would cost the participating countries one trillion dollars per annum. Even then, carbon-belching countries like China, India, and Brazil are exempt from such treaties, because they are developing nations. All of the proposed climate legislation is based on the faulty assumption that CO2 is the primary driver of temperature.

It remains to be seen how any of this will help the poor. What man-made climate promoters are loath to publicize is the stratospheric price tag of their “green” policies. This will result in much higher energy costs, which in turn will affect everyone, especially the poor. It is nothing but wishful thinking to promote wind and solar as viable alternatives. The present cost, effectiveness, reliability, and efficiency of wind and solar energy make them poor substitutes for fossil fuels. Given time and more research this may change, but we aren’t there yet — it is dishonest to imply that we are.

Our stewardship responsibilities certainly include investigating and pursuing technologies that are safer, cleaner, more efficient, and cost effective. But until those new technologies are proven, stewardship mandates we must continue to refine the current technology framework presently in use.

3. The Uniqueness Principle—humans are distinct from the rest of creation because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:19-20; Psalm 8:5-8). The image bearing qualities refer not to the physical characteristics of man (i.e. men and women) or to our human essence, but rather to those intangible qualities that aid us in the fulfillment of the mandate to ‘rule’ and ‘subdue’ the creation in which God has placed us. The ‘who’ of mankind as an image bearer is directly related to the ‘what’ of man, which is to ‘rule’ and ‘subdue’ the rest of creation.

This derived stewardship to ‘rule’ and ‘subdue’ is well illustrated in Genesis 2:19-20 where Adam is commanded to name all the animals. To name something or someone was to exercise dominion and authority over the thing named. Admittedly exercising such dominion in a post-fall world is a lot like trying to push start a vehicle uphill with the handbrake on.

As an image bearing creation of God, mankind is meant to preside over creation, not the other way around. Sadly, many of the policies and legislation sought by modern day environmentalism are designed to ‘rule’ and ‘subdue’ humanity by allowing non-rational creation to preside over man. The sum of this equation is idolatry.

4. The Priority Principle—People are not a pathogen (Genesis 1:26; 2:15): This is alluded to in the previous point, yet it bears repeating that misanthropic (hatred for humanity) attitudes toward man are tightly wedded to the environmentalist movement. I have read outlandish and bizarre stories about young women in their prime getting sterilized so they don’t add to the world’s “carbon footprint” by bringing another human life into the world. In Australia, in a recent medical journal article, Dr. Barry Walters called for a “baby tax”, which would amount to an initial tax of 4,000 Australian dollars at birth, and then an annual tax of 800 dollars until the child is of age. Thus, it is no wonder that the vast majority of environmentalists are pro-abortion. After all, in the New Age scheme of things a rock is a tree, is a pig, is a boy. Only the credulous could deny the link between this misanthropic attitude and the solutions and policies proposed by many of the promoters of everything-green.

To illustrate the point, radical environmentalist David Forman said, “A human life has no more intrinsic value than an individual grizzly bear life. If it came down to a confrontation between a grizzly and a friend, I’m not sure whose side I would be on. But I do know humans are a disease, a cancer on nature.” With friends like that who needs enemies?

5. The Imposition Principle (Genesis 3:14&17; Romans 8:18-23). All of non-rational creation ‘groans’ and ‘suffers’ and is imposed upon as a result of the fall of man in Genesis 3. The fallout of human sin resulted in a cursed earth. This curse on the rest of creation is a lot like a world class marathoner, running a full length marathon with both legs shackled by leg irons.

As a result of the curse tsunamis arrive unannounced, volcanoes spew cinder and ash into the atmosphere, earthquakes rumble, tornadoes ravage homes, violent storms scar the landscape, heat waves blister the earth, and cold snaps silently kill man and beast alike. Where temperature is concerned, the Sun’s solar variables will change without notice. Why? Not because of man-made causes, but because of the curse.

Due to the curse, the balance of nature sought by many does not exist. There is no balance of GHG’s that is known to be optimum, so how do we know that current concentrations of GHG’s, like CO2, are not within an acceptable range? Because the earth ‘groans’ and ‘suffers’, natural disasters and altered weather patterns are the norm, not the exception. Someday the curse will be reversed when Christ returns, until then weather happens whether we like it or not!

Still, the curse does in no way abrogate our God-given mandate to act as God’s custodians for His creation. It just presents more of a challenge.

6. The Preservation Principle (Genesis 8:22-9:17; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3). Even given the fall of man and the resulting curse on the earth, God still preserves and sovereignly sustains His creation. Man may harm the environment, but God promises in Genesis 8:22 that “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” He will uphold all things by the word of His power. This is not an excuse for inactivity on our part, but it is a promise that the earth will never be completely destroyed by man. God’s providential care for His creation ensures the earth is more resilient than is often acknowledged by man.

How many times have we heard some headline declaring “This is it … we are all doomed for sure this time.”? In 1989 the UN predicted that we must act with immediate effect on climate change initiatives or we would only have another 10 years at best. That was 20 years ago, so they keep moving the goal post to save face. Likewise, all of the eco-apocalyptic predictions made at the first Earth Day in 1970 have come to naught 40 years later. God is in charge here, not the UN.

7. The Future-Promise Principle (Roman 8:18-23). God’s promise to non-rational creation is that the ‘anxious longing’ will give way to a future emancipation. The redeeming work of Christ on the cross for sinful humanity has far reaching implications for the rest of creation at the Second Coming of Christ, when the curse will be reversed. Then the wolf will lay with the lamb (Isaiah 11:1-10). Any damage done to earth by man will then be completely reversed. (Again, this is not license to do as we please with God’s real estate in the meantime. His command to act as stewards is clear and irrevocable.)

8. The Superiority Principle (Hebrews 2:5-9). The New Testament book of Hebrews portrays Jesus Christ as superior and supreme as the savior and redeemer. The superiority of Christ is amply demonstrated in a series contrasts with angels (2:5), man (2:6-8a), creation (2:8b), and even death itself (2:9). During His 3 year ministry Jesus tamed the colt, calmed the angry seas, stayed the wild winds, transformed water into wine, walked where most would swim or sail, healed the sick, and raised the dead. In His own death He demonstrated, through His bodily resurrection, superiority over the final enemy of the grave.

Because the wages of sin is death (both physical and spiritual), Christ tasted death, so that a fallen humanity might have a way of salvation. Christ, by virtue of His sinless sacrifice on the cross, provides eternal life for those will acknowledge their sin, repent of and confess their sin, while believing in Him as Lord and Savior.

Hebrews makes it patently clear that salvation is not by works of righteousness, whether they include saving the whales, cleaning up oil slicks, or curbing one’s carbon emissions. Good works, or sacraments of whatever kind, cannot undo what sin has done. Christ alone is the antidote for wages of sin. The risen Jesus is the sole agent of saving grace. Eco-philanthropy, no matter how noble and just, ultimately comes to naught in light of eternity. Saving the earth will not save the soul, but a saved soul should do all it can do to protect, provide, and care for the earth in a biblically prudent way, because God’s glory is at stake.

In the end we must “…examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). For the Christian this includes examining the issue of man-made climate change from a biblically informed mindset and then pursuing the most prudent course of action. While we pursue our God-given stewardship, we must also ensure that Christ the Savior does not become Christ the eco-activist!

Pastor Mark Christopher

Monday, May 18, 2009

Free Love or Free Fall?

The following was written in response to the recent sex-carnival called Sexpo, which came to town hocking its wares and plying the mantra of “free love”. The media reports praised Sexpo, while the event’s organizers glamorized Sexpo’s licentious creed. Local letter-page pundits took aim at any Christian group that criticized the event using the standard pejoratives like “fundamentalists” and “narrow minded”.

Oddly no one took aim at Islam. The local Muslims take a vow of silence on such issues. I think primarily for two primary reasons: First, they really don’t care and speaking out would prevent them from being invited to the postmodern table of dialogue. Secondly, Islam knows that lewd and licentious behavior will be the ruin of the west to include South Africa. Thus, they are content to let this postmodern culture self-destruct, so they can then advance their agenda when the moment is ripe.

Below is the letter I fired off to the local papers in response to Sexpo:

Dear Editor;

Is God a cosmic prude who disapproves of sex? Listening to the media, the organizers of Sexpo, and letter-page pundits could easily lead one to such a conclusion. But nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, in Proverbs 5:17-18 husbands are admonished to “…rejoice in the wife of your youth … Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love.” As the sovereign designer of sex, God reserves the right to establish the boundaries of sexuality, which is heterosexual monogamous marriage. Inside of God’s prescribed framework sex is not only encouraged it is commanded. These boundaries are for our own benefit and the good of society at large.

The organizers and promoters of Sexpo paint a facade that encourages sex without limits, sex without norms, sex without accountability, sex without goals, sex without love and commitment, harmless sex, and sex without unintended consequences. But as British sociologist, J.D. Unwin, discovered 90 years ago, free love isn’t so free.

Unwin set out to test Sigmund Freud’s theory about sexual repression harming societies and culture the world over. In response, Unwin analyzed 86 civilizations large and small over a 5000 year period to determine the effects monogamous matrimony on society. In every instance all 86 societies were at their peak morally, economically, militarily, and socially when sex was confined to marriage!

Then, Unwin observed as each society “…extended its sexual opportunity [lowered standards]; its energy decreased, and faded away. The one outstanding feature of the whole story is its unrelieved monotony.”

Unwin concluded that a society is free to build, innovate, and grow or to enjoy sexual emancipation, but it cannot do both for more than a generation. Restricting sex to marriage makes a nation strong, while removing sexual borders weakens a nation as it incrementally progresses to collapse. What does this say about South Africa?

Though a microcosm of Unwin’s findings, my own counseling experience underscores the pain and trauma produced by the creed of free love : illegitimate births, abortions, single parent homes that struggle in every way, fragmented families, depression, and the increased incidence of drug and alcohol abuse. These all testify that Unwin, like the Bible before him, was right.

Going to Sexpo to learn about sex and relationships is a lot like trying to find a gourmet meal in the rubbish bin. One is free to do as one wants, but today’s liberated pansexuals are not free to choose the terminus of all things sexual. As the sage of Proverbs (5:22) warns us, the price tag of free love results in each one being “held with the cords of their own sin.” Is this really a price tag South Africa can afford?

Pastor Mark Christopher

Note: It is of extreme interest that end time’s prophecy mentions that one of the defining characteristics of the Great Tribulation to come is that of sexual immorality—among a whole range of immoralities:

Revelation 14:8 “And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.’"

The perversion of God-ordained sexuality is so entrenched within the psyche of the one world system that they even coerce compliance with those who do not follow suit. While the term “immorality” stands for a host of other sins as well, it most certainly includes the promotion of the sexual revolution during the tribulation period, as the verse below again indicates,

Revelation 17:2 “…with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality."

The result of this politically inspired and propagated perversion will target those who disagree. The Christians during that time will receive more than a few verbal attacks, many will lose their lives as they stand as a righteous indictment against all that Anti-Christ stands for:

Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered greatly.

Revelation 18:24 "And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth."

The prelude to all this is the sexual apostasy of the church of Jesus Christ, which is well underway as I pen these words. 2 Peter 2:1-22 and Jude 6-8 stand as a warning to all who would abandon God’s holy standards for sex and sexuality. One of the over-arching features of an apostate church is that God’s sexual standards for the same are deconstructed and reconstructed to more closely resemble the culture of the world around us. It usually begins with churches that refuse address the sexual sins in both the pew and the pulpit. Any shepherd that can wink at sin in the front row is well on the road to apostasy, because he (or she) has to ignore the clear commands of Scripture. Ignoring eventually leads to deconstructing, and then assimilating the world’s omni-sexual creed into the life-blood of the church.

Therefore, it should not surprise us to see such blatant and brazen promotions of pornographic perversion as main-stream. The mandate of the true Bible-believing church is to boldly proclaim God’s truth on the subject and then practice God’s truth on the subject. In this may we not grow weary in the well doing as we simultaneously seek to guard our own hearts!

To God Be The Glory!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Gospel According To The Green Bible

I just became the proud owner of the recently released Green Bible. Thanks to and a recent trip to the USA, I was able to procure my very own copy of this latest study Bible. After thumbing through it, I can only conclude that the Green Bible is a tragic statement on where some segments of the church are today. Now every mom who has ever told her kids to eat their green vegetables, can now also rally the family around the Green Bible for family devotions, as the family contemplates everything green—including a green God.

Now I need to preface what I am about to say with a couple of qualifiers: First, I certainly support and believe that every Bible-believing Christian should exercise diligent stewardship over the creation God made and then entrusted to man (Genesis 1:26-28; 9:1-7; Psalm 8:1-9). Admittedly, there are many things advocated by the eco-evangelists of our age that are not necessarily wrong, like recycling for instance. On the contrary, what I am about to disagree with is the underlying eco-apocalyptic ideology that so-called evangelical environmentalist have bought into. In short, what the Green Bible proves is that today’s eco-evangelists have just borrowed the world’s radical categories for everything green and have baptized them with some Christian labels while sprinkling in a few Bible verses, emancipated from context, for good measure. In this, the proponents of evangelical environmentalism show little originality.

Here are but a few of the soul-warming features of the Green Bible which are suppose to give rise to a more eco-friendly devotion:

• For starters, the Green Bible (GB) is constructed of eco-friendly materials: The cover is made from cotton/linen, the pages are recycled paper, and the ink is soy-based with a water based coating. All of which should lead to many hours of guilt free Bible study and devotion! Does this mean that once the GB is no longer usable as a Bible you can throw it into the compost pile instead of the trash?

• The translation the promoters of the GB chose was the New Revised Standard Version. The NRSV is not one of the strongest translations on the market. NRSV translators relied on aspects of dynamic equivalency, this, in turn, led to the gender-neutral tone of the final product. It is noteworthy that the NRSV is renowned for being theologically deficient in the areas of Bibliology and Christology, which makes the NRSV a good purveyor for the eco-gospel.

• One of the unique features of the GB is that, instead of the standard red letter edition most Christians have come accustomed to, the GB highlights in green all passages that are some how related to the environment. There are over 1000 passages that are highlighted in this manner. As I looked at many of the green verses it was not apparent what any of this had to do with all the doom-and-gloom scenarios seen in the popular promotions of modern day environmentalism. In fact, there are many green passages that are actually prophetic in nature and relate to God’s judgment on Israel due to their disobedience to His direct commands for them as a people and a nation (Deuteronomy 28). In accordance with Deuteronomy 28, God either blessed the promised land and all that was in it, or cursed it. The blessing and the cursing in the Old Testament were always in proportion to Israel’s obedience or lack thereof. It is never asserted that Israel was punished because they failed to take care of the environment. The destruction of the land God had promised and provided the Jews was always a result of their failure to love and obey Him.

• Another feature of the GB is the green topical index at the back, which is a lot like a green concordance. Then there is a Green Trail Guide, so the green disciple can lead his or her own Bible study exclusively centered around environmental issues. There are even guidelines on how to become a “Deep Green Family”.

• In the front of the GB, there are a number “inspirational” essays written by several of scholars, most liberal and some quasi-evangelicals. More popular names like N.T. Wright, Calvin De Witt (a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison), and emerging church guru Brian Mclaren headline these green essays. Therefore, it is not surprising that the GB is a truly ecumenical enterprise which includes liberal protestants, professed evangelicals, Roman Catholics including the Pope, and Jewish clergy.

• The forward to the GB pretty much says it all. Fresh from his recent save-the-whales campaign, the former Arch-bishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa, Desmond Tutu, regales GB readers with his save the earth serenade. Tutu is a noted liberation theologian who denies the deity of Jesus Christ as well as the inerrancy of scripture. In other words, he doesn’t really need the Bible, or the God of the Bible. It is all downhill from there. Here is one Tutu excerpt based on John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." From this passage, Tutu enthuses, “As if in this cosmic embrace, Jesus would wish to enfold all that God has created, the entire universe, into unity. His supreme work is to reconcile us to God and to one another, and to reconcile us to all God’s creation.” To be blunt, this esoteric drivel sounds like something Deepak Chopra or the Dalai Lama might say. Christ is making a statement about the cross and His subsequent resurrection, which will pave the way of salvation for those who follow Him! Jesus was not making a statement about the environment, but about the sinful estate of man and the remedy for that sin, which is found exclusively in the cross. Only through the cross is fallen humanity reconciled and restored to a holy God.

• Then there are the secular endorsements from the God-fearing Sierra Club and the Bible-thumping Human Society of the United States. When the world approves of your message you must be doing something right? Right?

• Interestingly, not one climatologist endorsed the GB. The closest to expert testimony they could get were a couple of medical doctors. While physicians might know quite a bit about the human body, most MDs know about as much about climatology, and the issues surrounding climate change, as a Jack Rabbit knows about playing ping-pong. In some cases the Jack Rabbit has a better grasp on ping-pong. Even the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change was able to round up a dietician and an herbalist as part of their expert panel on climate excathedra!

• Some of the titles to the essays in the GB are a good indication of what the real agenda of the GB is all about:

The Power of The Green God by J. Matthew Sleeth, M.D.

Reading the Bible through a Green Lens by Calvin De Witt. So we also have another hermeneutic to consider when interpreting the Bible—the green hermeneutic. I wonder if one’s hermeneutical abilities are enhanced when studying under the luminescence of a compact florescent bulb?

Jesus Is Coming—Plant a Tree! By Dr. N.T. Wright, Anglican Bishop of Durham. Maybe I am just old fashioned, but my title would probably look something like Jesus Is Coming—Confess Your Sin!

Loving the Earth Is Loving The Poor by Gordon Aeschliman, editor of the publication Green Cross. And all the time I thought that loving God led to loving my neighbor, which includes the poor

• In the back of the GB there is a section entitled Action Ideas for Churches which includes suggestions ranging from hosting green Bible studies to setting up a booth at a local Earth Day Rally. Then there is a section detailing 50 Practical Tips to Get Started, which covers a variety of common sense ideas that many people already practice as good stewards, like turning off the lights or an appliance when you leave the room, or insulating both your attic and your hot-water heater.

Some of their ideas, however, are just plain silly, like cutting back on soft drinks by drinking tap water, or no longer eating at fast food outlets. On page 1237, the GB advises readers to “Consider vegetarian alternatives, which cause less pollution.” This, despite the green light given by God in Genesis 9:3 to eat meat!

Well, once the green machine gets all the climate change legislation passed, the eco-food-patrol won’t have to worry about my soda-drinking ways or my occasional visitations to McDonalds, as most of us won’t be able to afford soft drinks, fast food, or meat. Why? Because of the tax burden placed upon us by Fabian socialists, who are using this issue to float Big Government and exert Big Brother like control over us. Exorbitant taxation and penalties for those who use too much energy will be the result of draconian governmental eco-laws imposed by the new eco-imperialists. All of this will be enforced by the eco-Gestapo, of course.

One potential GB suggestion conspicuous by its absence is “the need” for churches to own a church building. Think of the money and resources a church could save by forgoing ownership of their own building! Instead, what if churches rented or leased an existing property? Our church has been in a rental facility for 8 years now and functions quite well without owning a building that would only get used a couple of times per week. It would be nice to have our own building, but where is it written that it is an absolute necessity? Why didn’t the GB editors include this suggestion? One wonders how the architects of the GB could miss something so patently obvious?

So, what, in summary, are the egregious errors of the GB?

1. The GB is driven by the same basic liberal ideologies and crass assumptions that the drive the secular environmentalists. At times, many evangelical environmentalists border on pantheistic tendencies—God is all, and all is God--as Desmond Tutu’s quote above demonstrates. This whole approach makes God a convenient means to an agenda driven end—eco-topia! As if mere man can usher in the Kingdom age apart from the coming of the King by merely curbing CO2 emissions. In this whole scheme God is incidental to the plot and plays a support role that aids the agenda driven end.

2. The brand of environmentalism used in the GB plays fast and loose with scripture. Sound exegesis of passages is often replaced with eisegetically (reading ones assumptions into the text) derived meanings as real meaning is substituted for desired meaning. A classic example of this is John 3:16, which is highlighted in the verdant green hues of the GB. This familiar passage reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The question is to what or to whom does the term “world” (kosmos) refer? Evangelical environmentalists will see in this the inclusion of the material universe. But sound exegesis and a literal hermeneutic, not the deconstructed postmodern hermeneutic of the eco-interpreters, clearly indicates that all of humanity, not just the Jews, is included in the redemption that only Christ provides.

3. The promoters of evangelical environmentalism have a very hard time believing in the sovereignty of God. Oh, they will quote with great redundancy Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the LORD's, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.” But by their desperate rhetoric and radical emphasis they deny what they profess with their lips. They really think the polar icecaps will melt and the seas will rise submerging vast tracks of land while the rest of the earth bakes into a drought saturated wasteland. They have believed the lie that CO2 drives temperature, when it is actually the other way around; temperature drives up the volumes of atmospheric CO2 through water evaporation.

Obviously, many eco-evangelicals have no confidence in the preservational power of their God to keep His creation from being utterly destroyed. Though man can significantly harm the environment, we can’t completely and irreversibly destroy it (Though I must add, this is no justification to wantonly abuse creation). Colossians 1:16-17 is wonderful testament to this fact, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

The sky is not falling and the earth is not coming apart at the seams. In the end, when the Lord returns, He will fully restore the earth as He reverses the curse. Until then, we must maintain it as best we can for God’s glory, without becoming too indifferent, or wildly irresponsible like those behind all the warm-mongering rhetoric of the man-made global warming cult. Sadly, the proponents of the GB fall right in line with all the climate-change drama queens of the day, believing all the pseudo science that masquerades as fact. Where is their faith? Is it in God, or man? What is their authority, the Bible, or some research project that finds its grant funds dependent upon proving man is responsible for climate change?

4. Finally, because of the undue emphasis of the GB on environmentalism, it demeans and devalues the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the primary message of God’s word. The priority of the gospel gets sidelined by an important, but lesser issue. One can host all the environmental friendly Bible studies one wants, but apart from the gospel, no one will ever come to Christ. You might impress some secular warm-monger with your eco-emphasis, but he will leave your eco-study seven fold more a child of hell. Clearly the GB marginalizes the gospel message. An unsaved person who picks up the GB could easily conclude that they are well on their way to glory because of their recycling ways, which amount to works righteousness. This is nothing less than another gospel, which Paul so vividly and forcefully addressed in Galatians 1:8-10:

“But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”

The gospel of the eco-evangelist is an entirely different gospel whereby one merits favor with God through the sacraments of creation care, whether it is forgoing soft drinks, eating a carbon neutral diet, or insulating your hot-water heater. The over-arching message of the Green Bible is just another in a long-line of distractions and diversions that detract from keeping the main thing (the gospel) the main thing. To slight the gospel, as the GB does, is to slight Christ, because Christ epitomizes the gospel! The color of the cross is blood red, not green.

Before coming to Christ I never had the slightest interest in preserving God’s creation. Once saved, I realized God was and is the sovereign maker and owner of all that is. It then dawned on me that I had an awesome responsibility to take care of that which reflects His glory, power, and majesty. But my reasons and motivations for creation conservation are entirely different than those being offered by the eco-shamans of evangelical environmentalism. It isn’t the scare-mongering tactics of radical-secular greens that is driving me to pick up after myself. It is my desire to please God that gives rise to my motivation to properly care for His creation in a balanced and reasonable way.

In the end, scripture asserts in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” Upon close scrutiny, the Green Bible fails that test. It does not teach things which become sound doctrine. Therefore, be a good steward of what the Lord has entrusted to you and don’t waste your hard earned cash on the Green Bible. You would be better off using your money to buy a soda. Better yet, buy a Happy Meal for some hungry child!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Obamanation of Gay Rights!

What a follows below is an excerpt out of my new book Same-Sex Marriage: Is It Really The Same?, which will be in the shelves by the end of February. Given that Barack Obama was just inaugurated yesterday, I think it only fitting to share with my brothers and sisters in Christ just what kind of "Change" a President Obama will bring to gay civil rights in America. I sincerely hope what follows will aid you in your prayers for Obama and his cabinet:

9. What is Barack Obama’s (US President Elect) position on gay rights and same-sex marriage?

Given that during the US presidential campaign Barack Obama claimed he did not fully support same-sex marriage, what are we to make of his position on the issue? In short, his position on gay rights and SSM is as radical and far reaching as his views on abortion, which amount to infanticide[1]. The best way to answer the question is to use the words of Obama himself from a statement he issued to the gay community:

Equality is a moral imperative. That’s why throughout my career, I have fought to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans. In Illinois, I co-sponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation. In the U.S. Senate, I have co-sponsored bills that would equalize tax treatment for same-sex couples and provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees. And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and
a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”[2](Emphasis added)

The first sentence says it all, “Equality is a moral imperative.” It is basically all downhill from there. Though he may have tried to distance himself from gay marriage during the campaign, it is evident that was only because it was politically expedient for him Obama to do so. He has no moral convictions or ethical squabbles with homosexuality or its related issues. Essentially he will try and promote comprehensive gay rights legislation that will irrevocably empower this tiny minority to enslave the many who deem homosexuality morally abhorrent.

Once this wide ranging list of gay friendly legislation is signed into law, Bible-believing Christians will be in the cross hairs of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and gay rights crusaders, who will tar and brand all who disagree as “right-wing bigots” and “homophobes”. We will see the professed “tolerance”, gay rights sympathizers preach quickly, morph into tyranny as these cultural transvaluationists begin applying hate crime laws and hate speech legislation to Christians and conservative congregations.

President elect Obama has also called for the complete repeal of the federal version of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Obama is on record saying, “…I believe we should get rid of the that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. I have also called for us to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell …”[3]

The federal DOMA was enacted by a Republican led congress in 1996 to regulate matters related to tax status, immigration, and social security as it relates to SSM. As the basis of the regulation, the DOMA defines marriage as between a man and a woman. In addition, this DOMA gives all 50 states the autonomy to reject the same-sex marriages from other states that performed them.[4]

By completely repealing the DOMA, Obama will jeopardize every state DOMA in the country—most states have their own individual DOMAs. This will probably require one state with a DOMA to recognize another state’s same-sex marriage. For example, a state like Texas would be forced to then recognize the same-sex marriages of those who were married in the state of Massachusetts, should such couples relocate to Texas.

To further substantiate his extreme position on gay rights, it should not be surprising Obama uses Scripture to advance his gay rights panacea. In his book The Audacity of Hope, Obama maintains that he is not “willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans [about homosexual practice] to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount.”[5]

Only a thorough-going postmodern trained attorney (Harvard Law School) could make such an outrageous assertion regarding of the following passage:

Romans 1:24 “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper”.

There is absolutely nothing obtuse or opaque about Romans’ graphic portrayal of homosexuality. One must intentionally determine not to understand what Paul is saying, in order to be so dismissive of what is as plain as the nose on your face.

Obama’s ignorance regarding both the Romans account and the Sermon of the Mount is glaring given the subsequent considerations from the sermon:

· Where in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is homosexuality ever promoted or approved even tacitly? Further, where in the Sermon on the Mount is Romans 1:24-28 ever contravened or questioned?

· In Matthew 5:17-18 Jesus said He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. Jesus upheld even the lesser laws like those related to tithing, so it is unreasonable to think that Jesus abrogated the sexual ethics contained in OT Law.

· In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus used six antithesis to expand the dictates and demands of the Law by applying it to matters of the heart (mind, will, and emotions). The sum of these antithesis was to target the thoughts and motives of any would be follower of Christ. Two of the six antithesis relate directly to marriage and sexuality:

Matthew 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery'; 28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

Matthew 5:31 "And it was said, 'Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce'; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

These two passages cover the essential terrain of the seventh and tenth commandments (adultery and covetousness)[6]. If anything, Jesus is actually increasing the demands of sexual laws to include one’s thought life. Not only is it a sin to adulterate, formicate, commit incest, to rape, and to perform homosexual acts; it is a sin to even ponder such things in one’s thoughts.

· In these two antithesis, Jesus emphasizes the distinct priority of male-female union only afforded in heterosexual marriage. He never intimates any other arrangement is acceptable. Jesus also underscores that the nature of the heterosexual union is to be both a lifelong commitment and monogamous.

· It is true that the sermon addresses other themes like loving your enemies (5:43-48) and hypocritically judging others for small matters when much larger issues loom large in our own life (7:1-6). As Robert Gagnon concludes, “However, these themes provide no more support for homosexual unions than they do for loving, committed polyamorous or polygamous unions or for adult-consensual incestuous unions, both of which Jesus obviously opposed.”[7]

· Given that Obama uses the Sermon on the Mount as support for his “moral imperative” for gay rights legislation, it is interesting he says nothing of the end of that sermon where Jesus sternly warned,

Matthew 7:15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves … Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”(Emphasis Added)

God’s will regarding sexual ethics is straightforward and obvious throughout Scripture. Jesus considers violation of the Genesis 2:22-24 mandate for marriage lawlessness, which includes homosexuality and SSM. Just because Barack Obama passes legislation favoring homosexuality, does not make it any less lawless in God’s eyes.In the end, Obama’s “moral imperative” amounts to moral impudence from Christ’s perspective.

Indeed, President Elect Obama needs much prayer regarding both his views on gay rights, and his eclipsed understanding of what Jesus really thinks about this issue.

Note: Subsequent to penning the above words, the media began reporting that one of the first orders of business for the Obama administration will be to repeal Clinton's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy for gays in the military. Regarding same-sex marriage, Sean Hannity on FOXNEWS recently did a short piece which revealed that in 1996 Obama told the premiere gay periodical in Chicago, The Windy City Times, that he supported gay marriage and would fight for gay marriage. Hence, his distancing himself from the issue during the campaign was pure political posturing to pander to the majority who are against same-sex marriage (I will get the link to Hannity's story). This is certainly the kind of change I can't believe in!

[1] Barack Obama, as Illinois state senator, voted against the Born Free Act, which would allow babies born alive during abortion the chance to have access to medical care.

[3] Ibid, p.2.

[4] The US Constitution has a “Full Faith and Credit Clause” which mandates that states must recognize the “acts, records, and judicial proceedings” of other states. In the case of the federal DOMA, this clause is suspended and not in force.

[5] Online: , Accessed 11 November 2008.

[6] The Ten Commandments serve as paradigmatic law, which means these laws are more extensively explained and expounded in the rest of the law, where specific applications are given. For example, Leviticus 18 is an application of the both the seventh and tenth commands.

[7] Robert Gagnon, “Barack Obama’s Disturbing Misreading of the Sermon on the Mount as Support for Homosexual Sex,” Online at: , Accessed 11 November 2008, p.3. Also see Robert Gagnon, “Obama’s Coming War on Historic Christianity over Homosexual Practice and Abortion,” Online at: , Accessed 11 November 2008.