Racism has been around, we can only assume, as long as there have been different ethnic groups for people to love and hate. It begins with a special love for one’s self, and then it extends to feeling a special affinity and pride for one’s family or extended community. For example, it is natural for sports fans to take pride in their favorite team. They may even identify themselves with their team. They wear the team logo on their clothes, go to the games, and cheer them on to victory. That is their team, and they say things like, “We won the game last night.”
This post was written by my good friend and pastor, Kevin Smead. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther rocked the world by daring to question non biblical doctrines held by the church at that time. He swept away the cloud around how a person is made right with God. For centuries the church had been drifting away from the biblical gospel, and Martin Luther’s 95 Theses began a movement that restored that simple gospel back to the church. Four hundred ninety seven years later the world needs to hear this message again. Enjoy reading!
Grace is a lovely young lady of nineteen years. She professes to be a Christian. She goes to church regularly, gives money in the offering, reads her Bible and prays. Her pastor teaches that since Christ is our righteousness Christians are free from the confines of God’s moral law. He teaches that Christian liberty is the freedom to do whatever we wish, even sin. He just finished a sermon series he called Scandalous Freedom. There are a few caveats, but the basic message comes through loud and clear- you are free from God’s moral law through Christ. Free not just from the curse of the law but also its commanding authority in our lives. Grace is encouraged by this teaching to go ahead and move in with her boyfriend. They plan on getting married later but with college and all it just isn’t the right time. She prayed about it and has a peace about her decision and she really does love him. They were drinking one night and a few weeks later she realizes that she is pregnant. They can’t afford a baby right now. She begins to contemplate having an abortion. At first her conscience bothers her about the idea but her boyfriend is all for it and the pastor’s teaching seems to allow for this kind of freedom. Yes, he did say we are free to do it right or wrong. That is all she needs. She schedules an appointment for an abortion.
Norio gets up early every work day. He wants to make sure that he gets to work on time. At his job on an assembly line he gets paid by the piece. His boss, Kyu, is demanding and makes sure all of his workers get their quotas filled each day. Norio worries some days that he won’t make it. One day last week he wasn’t feeling good and he missed his quota. He was warned that if he couldn’t keep up there were many others waiting to take his job. He didn’t like his boss. He felt like he was on a treadmill that kept getting faster and faster. Maybe it was because he was getting older now and just didn’t have the same energy he used to. He wondered how much longer he could keep up. But he kept pushing himself because he needed the money. Twice a month the workers lined up to receive their pay. All of the pieces they assembled were tallied and they got what was due them. Norio knew that his production was down and just as expected his pay reflected his lagging work. He was uneasy thinking that his job may be given to someone else. He felt depressed, and there seemed to be no end in sight. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I can think of little else that angers me more than child abuse. In many cases little children four or five years old suffer unspeakable atrocities at the hands of their own parent/ parents. Some depraved people get pleasure out of the pain and misery of others, especially the most helpless ones. It makes no difference to them that the victim is their very own child. The poor child cries out for mercy yet none is shown. The suffering of these little ones is enough to make even calloused hearts boil and to cry out for justice. A while back I read an account of a young man born in a prison camp in North Korea. He was mercilessly abused and even tortured at the hands of the evil prison guards. His only crime was that his parents were political prisoners. He was left to die, but recovered and eventually became the first person to ever escape from that prison camp. He is deeply scarred from the abuse he suffered. There are thousands more children just like him, and at this very moment are suffering terrifying cruelty.
People love quoting the Bible. We seem to have an instinctive knowledge that if we want authority behind what we say we quote a Bible verse. Even those who don’t believe the Bible have favorite verses that they sling around from time to time. Especially when someone challenges the actions or lifestyle of another as being unhealthy or wrong, invariably you will hear something like this, “you can’t judge me!” or “judge not, lest you be judged”.
This may seem like something strange to say, but I want to thank all the scorners of conservative Christians. I want to thank the mockers and the scoffers. I want to thank all those who rejoice when professing Christians fall. I even want to thank those who have directed their contempt to my family. I don’t thank them because I approve of their mocking, scoffing, and hatred, but rather because of the great service they are rendering to the people of God. I don’t thank them because I think they are just and fair in their contemptuous words, but if we are careful we just might find something of value in what they say.