Apostasy Is The Hot Topic Now, But Should It Be?

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Last week it was Josh Harris. This week it’s Marty Sampson. Next week it could be another high profile Christian, or it could be someone you know personally. But someone somewhere will turn away from the faith, openly declaring that he or she no longer believes Christian teaching.

A number of solid believers have used blogs and podcasts to comment on these two most recent cases of apostasy, and they’ve all made some valuable points. Indeed, Scripture addresses the topic quite forcefully, particularly in the book of Hebrews. The author of that book wrote it as a response to professing Christians who reverted back to Judaism, warning them against neglecting their salvation. So the Word of God definitely sets a precedent for talking about apostasy. Therefore I appreciate the willingness of people to use current events to discuss the matter.

I worry, though, about this issue becoming too dominate in our thinking. In a perverse sort of way, it Continue reading

Praise God I Have A Place To Put My Hope

As John and I exited Boston’s Prudential Tower Wednesday, we started down Boylston Street toward the Public Garden. Just outside the door, I noticed a saxophone player.  Now, it’s not really unusual to find musicians scattered throughout the city, especially in areas that have a high amount of foot traffic. Most of the time, I pass by them enjoying the music momentarily. They’re part of Boston’s charm.

This particular saxophone player intrigued me because the first five notes he played sounded just like the first five notes of the hymn, My Hope Is In The Lord. I strained to hear whether or not he was actually playing the hymn, but I couldn’t quite tell. I rather doubt it.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about the hymn, and about where I place my hope. Certainly, this world offers little hope as it gleefully plummets toward its endorsement of sin at breakneck speeds. Christians who refuse to acquiesce to the demands of the liberal culture must expect increasing levels of pushback and eventual persecution. Even denominations that, a mere three years ago could be counted on to stand on the bedrock of Scripture have begun bowing to the world’s corrupt values.

We can’t hope in anything or anybody!

But we can hope in the Lord. And maybe our crumbling society reminds us to keep our hope fixed decidedly on Him. When we recall His sacrifice for us at Calvary, we can rest confident in His faithfulness toward us. Against the darkness, we can sing cheerfully that our hope is in the Lord.

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And We’re Surprised Because…?

Holy BibleLast week Amazon pulled books about “conversion therapy” (therapy helping people overcome homosexuality) from its website. Last week Facebook warned one of its users that posting a meme quoting 1 Timothy 2:12 was hate speech. Last week apologist James White cautioned his readers that our ability to speak out for Christ on mainstream social media platforms is quickly coming to an end.

Admittedly, such persecution is minor compared to things Christians in other countries endure for the sake of Christ. I’ve served as a contact person for missionaries in both our previous church and our current church — a position that allows me to read about people who receive physical torture for turning from Islam to Jesus Christ. A missionary from our former church regularly writes to me chronicling the intense suffering and resolute faith of a woman she led to Christ. Believe me, nothing American Christians presently face is anything like what that lady goes through on a daily basis.

At least not Continue reading

The Bible Makes Clear Statements On Homosexuality; Why Christians Should Follow It’s Lead

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For the first three decades of my adult life, I was involved with ex-gay ministry on some level. Readers of my Autobiography With Purpose will find some details of that involvement here and here. When I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Greater Boston Area in 2002, I thought I’d never have to write about homosexuality again. Or even think about it.

Less than three years later, Massachusetts Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: Transforming America

Originally published on July 3, 2017:

Pray For AmericaOur country has recently passed the second anniversary of the Obergefell decision legalizing same sex marriage. Truthfully, even though I knew that the decision would have disastrous ramifications for Bible-believing Christians, I hadn’t expected those ramifications to appear so quickly. Thankfully, religious liberties haven’t completely disappeared yet, but most of us feel the pressure to affirm homosexuality as a good thing. Popular evangelical celebrities like Jen Hatmaker haven even declared boldly that God considers same sex marriages to be holy.

But, while the growing pressure to enthusiastically embrace the LBGTQ most assuredly endangers those of us who stand firmly on Scripture’s pattern for human sexuality, I don’t   believe it profits us to spend a lot of time and effort trying to reclaim America as a Christian nation. I am, frankly, increasingly doubtful that it ever truly was one.

Rather, it seems more appropriate for believers to understand that our primary citizenship is in heaven, making us aliens in terms of this world. If we are to be shocked that western culture now approves of homosexuality, perhaps we should be shocked that it took this long for such a shift to happen. After all, the world is simply acting like the rebellious world it is.

I’m by no means suggesting that Christians acquiesce to LBGTQ ideology, so please don’t misinterpret me as saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” That posture may make people like Jen Hatmaker feel good about themselves, but true Christians will hold fast to God’s standards. We’ll remember the words our Lord Himself spoke:

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ ~~John 15:18-25 (ESV)

For a while, for reasons I don’t at all comprehend, western society tolerated Biblical Christianity (or at least a semblance of it) for the past 500 years. Perhaps we’ve gotten used to being socially acceptable,  therefore forgetting that we can’t expect the world to line up with godly values. Jesus never promised that we could transform America into a land that honors Him. Instead, the Obergefell decision should transform Christians into a people who understand that this world is not our home.

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Did I Publish The Open Letter To Beth Moore In Order To Get People To Read The Outspoken TULIP?

Dear DebbieLynneSince Susan Heck, Michelle Lesley, Elizabeth Prata, Amy Spreeman and I released Open Letter To Beth Moore last week, we’ve fielded a lot of questions and criticism. Some of the questions undoubtedly come from Mrs. Moore’s supporters, who typically won’t tolerate any questioning of their beloved teacher. Nevertheless, their questions deserve respectful answers such as those Michelle Lesley graciously provided in today’s In the Mailbag blog post. I dearly hope you’ll read Michelle’s thoughtful and important post before you continue on with this article.

That said, a comment by J Mill included a remark that troubled me. Let me quote the entire comment for the sake of context before I discuss the portion that bothered me:

It certainly seems against the gospel to assume that one cannot be friends with people because you interpret scripture differently. The world wide CHURCH has many different interpretations on many theological issues and yet we are one. Just because you disagree with her does not mean that she is operating outside of biblical orthodoxy. Not everyone needs to speak on everything – we all have topics that are especially in our view at certain times. Most importantly, Scripture would direct you to conduct this inquiry one-on-one with Mrs. Moore, not use it as fodder for your blogs. It seems you may have a log in your own eye to remove.

Michelle’s Mailbag post dealt with most of J Mill’s objections, so again I refer you to her wisdom. But the accusation that I used this matter merely as fodder for my blog shouldn’t go without notice.

Regular readers of my blog know quite well that I have been trying to move away from the idea that discernment ministry revolves around calling out false teachers. Too many so-called discernment blogs (most notably Pulpit and Pen) capitalize on exposing teachers they disagree with (even doctrinally sound teachers). Such baptized versions of supermarket tabloids have severely damaged legitimate discernment bloggers, and I have absolutely no desire for The Outspoken TULIP to degenerate into that type of blog. If J Mill had read enough of my articles, she would have known better than to have made such a baseless accusation.

Subsequent to running the Open Letter, I wrote a teaching reviewing the basic Gospel message. At this writing, only 101 people viewed that post, compared to 5,844 people who clicked on the Open Letter. Ladies, that lack of interest in posts that actually focus on the Word of God disturbs me. I would much rather have you excited about posts that proclaim the Gospel and study God’s Word than about posts about Beth Moore.

I was asked to provide input on the Open Letter, to sign it and to post it on my blog. I complied with those requests after consulting my husband. I wanted the letter publicized in order to ask very legitimate questions of someone who has an extremely high profile in the Southern Baptist Convention — to which my church currently belongs. As Michelle Lesley explained in her post today, publicly asking Beth Moore to clarify her views on homosexuality is no different than publicly asking Joe Biden to explain why he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment. The SBC is floating Beth Moore’s name as its next president, making it necessary to understand her position on this issue. In that context, I agreed to donate space to the Open Letter.

I had been planning an entirely different series for last week’s posts. Running the Open Letter derailed those plans indefinitely. Far from being fodder for my blog, this letter has interrupted my train of thought.

Furthermore, the Lord has been convicting me concerning caring about gaining readers. The SBC may be big on numbers, but I am fighting against the lust to have thousands of adoring followers. The lust for numbers has led the SBC and other evangelical churches to compromise God’s Word — ironically that’s the main reason they cling to Beth Moore in the first place. To put it bluntly, they profit from her book sales. I have no interest in compromising my obedience to God simply to have a widely read blog.

Wanting more readers for posts that teach Biblical doctrine than for posts that call out false teachers like Beth Moore doesn’t mean I want a huge following. It simply means that I want the women who read this blog to care more about studying Scripture than they care about the latest dirt on a false teacher. Though it’s sometimes necessary to ask the sort of questions that Susan, Michelle, Martha, Amy and I asked, I prefer to teach Biblical discernment by helping women rightly understand God’s Word.

Finally, although people I highly respect gave me words of encouragement after I published the Open Letter, only one affirming Tweet meant the world to me:

Jeremy's Tweet

May it be a joy for Pastor Jeremy to give account for me when he stands before the Lord (Hebrews 13:17).

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Also see Elizabeth Prata’s essay answering her critics.

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Pride, Arrogance And The Seduction Of Western Culture

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Approaching the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Americans unabashedly celebrate Gay Pride Month. Boston has Rainbow flags everywhere; somehow I doubt its display is very different from most major cities. The way that Western culture champions the LBGTQ movement now makes it hard to believe that homosexuality was illegal just 50 years ago.

Although I don’t believe homosexuality should still incur criminal penalties, I do grieve that even professing Christians now embrace it. Bowing to public pressure, even evangelicals have begun compromising their convictions that the Word of God condemns all forms of sexual deviation. After all, merely saying that Continue reading