Friday, September 27, 2013

Tickled By The Ivories

Piano has been my favorite instrument most of my adult life. Two pianist friends I went to church with back in the '80s particularly fascinated me: playing together (one on piano and the other on organ), they blended seamlessly, yet I could tell which one was on the piano before even entering the room. Amazing how many ways a pianist can interpret a piece of music!

So, when our local Fox News station carried the stories of the Street Pianos positioned throughout Boston and Cambridge, I hoped we'd see at least one as we meandered up the Greenway yesterday. I didn't have long to wait! As we entered Dewey Square Park, coming from South Station, John immediately spotted this aqua-blue piano:

How could anyone not fall in love with that beauty, painted by Meghann Brideau? John surprised me by playing a few notes on  it.

So, I continued up the Greenway feeling totally satisfied that I'd seen one of the Street Pianos. I'd tweet my favorite local Fox News anchor a photo, pretty sure she'd get a kick out of knowing I'd found one. Then, very unexpectedly, we encountered a second one at Rowe's Wharf.
Even more whimsical than the first, this creation  by Tina Reidel delighted me. Honestly, I hadn't expected to see any of the pianos, and had then been quite certain that only one would be on the Greenway. Having gotten to see two, I couldn't have been more pleased.

Or so I thought. When we approached Ring's  Fountain, this patriotic piano by Jude Griffin greeted us, again putting a smile on my face.
Soon after, we left the Greenway to have lunch at Quincy Market. That done, I headed out along the North Building toward the Greenway, intending to go to the North End. I heard John call my name behind  me, and turned to see this fantastical piano.
Gina Heeren created this one, with its green hands inviting people to play it. (Either that, or the main character of Wicked was trapped inside, pleading for rescue.)

Since we saw four pianos rather than just one, I'll send my favorite news anchor a link to this blog post instead of one measly photo. And hopefully next week, as John and I wheel through Boston, we'll have more piano sightings to remind me of my pianist friends.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Imagining, Or Preparing?

It's a beautiful song. It reminds people that this present life isn't our final destination, and that Jesus is the focal point of heaven.

Please note that I recognize this song's value, and I do appreciate its mention that, in God's Kingdom, our chief occupation will be worshiping the Lord in His unveiled glory. A glory that our flesh, limited and corrupted as it is, can't begin to imagine. And, in those times when I've made feeble attempts to envision seeing Jesus for the first time, I catch myself feeling self-conscious, wondering how I'll respond to seeing pure holiness. So I relate to this song's lyrics, knowing that the wonder of seeing Him eludes me.

Yet, as I pondered this song at 5:30 this morning (when I should have been asking John to adjust my covers so I could go back to sleep), I realized how much the lyrics emphasize self rather than Christ. Surrounded by His glory, does it matter what our hearts will feel? Or will He be all that matters, as believers of every race and nation, from every century, sing, "Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain!"

Instead of trying to image how we'll feel on that glorious day, wouldn't we do better to practice worshiping Him as our Savior, Whom we'll behold seated on His throne? Can we imagine ourselves returning whatever rewards He gives us back to Him because He alone is worthy? Maybe this song by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir better helps us glimpse eternity.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

But Enough About Me...

As my "landmark birthday" forces itself on me, I've considered doing retrospective blog posts chronicling my life so far, illustrated with photos such as this one (taken when I was six):

Yes, I was mischievous even then. I just hadn't developed my "talents" yet! But enough about me...

And that, dear readers, is precisely the point! Too much about me envelopes this blog, and not enough about Jesus. Daily, I pray for this blog to glorify Him, only to secretly contemplate composing autobiographical posts meant to showcase my accomplishments and abilities. While there certainly is room to share my art, reminisce about various experiences I've had and celebrate my Boston Adventures, all those topics should ultimately reflect back to the Lord and His goodness toward me.

Scripture puts Jesus in the center of everything. He is the very focus of His creation, not simply its primary cause. Although many Christians treat Him as a Cosmic Bellboy, demanding that He cater to our needs and wants, He created the universe to bow down to Him in worship. Consider the words of Paul to the church at Colossae:

 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. ~~Colossians 1:15-18 (ESV)

We clutter life up with all our self-absorbed tangents, all too frequently making Christianity about us. And on those rare occasions when we actually think about heaven, we fixate on its benefits to us--whole bodies, the abolition of sorrow, reunions with loved ones. We don't see heaven as revolving completely around Jesus, nor can we imagine concentrating fully on adoring and worshiping Him. For all our declarations that "it's all about Jesus," not one of us can go two seconds without a self-referencing thought...even in our anticipation of eternity.

Yet we must move toward glorifying Jesus more and ourselves less, at the same time admitting our feebleness to fully do so. This life serves as our training ground for heaven, where we'll finally be liberated from our self-adoration so that He will truly receive all the glory.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Whitfield's "Technique"

We love "non-threatening" evangelism techniques, don't we? Yet Jesus preached the Gospel by proclaiming hard-to-digest doctrine, very often offending people. As Pastor Mike Abendroth explains in the video below, however, the Lord even preached the doctrine of Election. And so can we!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

When I Resent God

Sometimes, I really resent God for confronting my innate sinfulness, calling me to repent and demanding that I be holy just as He is holy. I want life on my terms, and I want everything to be about me. Furthermore, I don't want to confess my sins in my prayer time or read the Bible because I don't like God pointing out my sin.

Can't He let me feel good about myself?

I don't mind if He confronts other people, and it's perfectly fine if He uses me in the process! Happy to be of service! But even then, He addresses my hypocrisy:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.  ~~Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV)

He's preoccupied, apparently, with my repentance...with bringing me to holiness. He seems to think that He owns me, and consequently has every right to expect me to live for Him. He challenges my egocentric attitudes, letting me know how often, and how utterly, I fail Him.

Of course, being an all-knowing God, He's fully aware that sometimes I wish He'd just accept my sin and let me enjoy it. He's not at all fooled by my outward shows of piety. In fact, He sees my depravity much more clearly than I ever will, and He mercifully shows it to me just a glimpse at a time, knowing that I would be despondent if He revealed the full truth of who I am all at once.

But if I sometimes resent His exposure of my sin and His expectation of my repentance, most of the time I appreciate His faithfulness to bring me to holiness. He loves me enough to desire that I bear His nature, so He lovingly lets me undergo the pain of discipline.

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
    nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. ~~Hebrews 12:5-11 (ESV)

And the very pain that I resent brings me joy. It assures me that, in spite of all my rebellion and failings, He sees me as His child!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cruising To 60 Around Boston Harbor

Because turning 60 this month doesn't particularly make me happy, John and I decided to at least make the birthday fun. This summer, however, has taught us that we can't assume that September 30 will provide the nice weather that we've enjoyed in past years, so his mom suggested that we take advantage of this week's above-average temperatures. So after John's very encouraging appointment with his oncologist Tuesday, we took a CityView Trolley Tour. Regretfully, we'd been so focused on the doctor appointment (seeing an oncologist is always nerve-wracking), we left the camera at home. Swift, huh?

But the tour package included a 45 minute harbor cruise, which we took yesterday. This time, we made sure the camera was around John's neck before we left our apartment!

As the boat pulled out of the dock, I noticed my beloved Custom House Tower looking after us protectively, and asked John to take a picture.

Amazing to think we were inside that building just a week earlier!

To my dismay, the P.A. system left plenty to be desired, added to the fact that my once sterling memory has suffered from the ravages of post-menopause, so I can't identify the sailing vessel in this next photo. But it's  way-cool, so I'll show it to you anyway.

Hey...anything in Boston that looks like it's from the 17th or 18th Centuries makes me happy.

I spotted John's favorite building, and urged him to take a picture of it.
Sometime, I really should research the Harbor Walk to find out the name of that building. Not today, though. I'm busy.

I knew John would take this next photo:
The narrator did explain what the Nantucket is, and I could actually hear most of what she said. But, I remember nothing, so I'll just let you enjoy the picture.

Going along East Boston, we saw the Mystic River Bridge, and I wanted a picture to send to my mom in California.
As you can see, they're making repairs on the bridge right now, prompting John to tell our PCA this morning that we saw a covered bridge. Don't we wives suffer?

The boat docked briefly at the Charlestown Navy Yard, where passengers could get off and tour the U.S.S. Constitution and U.S.S. Constitution Museum before the next boat. I kind of wanted to get off,  but knew we wouldn't have time for lunch if we did. Once we pulled out from port, John got a picture of Old Ironsides.
Our boat cruised by the Zakim Bridge. This bridge fascinates me, though it certainly doesn't have the romance of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It's pretty, though.
I absolutely love this next photo, which shows the famous steeple of the Old North Church with the Custom House Tower behind it.
I still mind turning 60, but this birthday celebration certainly eases the pain.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Acting Before Understanding Correctly

Jesus healed a badly disabled woman who had suffered with her condition for eighteen years.

10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him. ~~Luke 13:10-17 (ESV)
As an 18-year-old girl who had been born with Cerebral Palsy, I claimed this passage as a promise that the Lord would, at some point during the course of that year, heal me.  Clearly, I'd made an application of this passage that completely missed the point of that particular healing, thereby skewing the passage and forcing an incorrect interpretation.

My folly back then underscores the truth of the quote I read on Twitter last week:

In your approach to  Scripture, If application is more important than interpretation than you'll inevitably misinterpret and misapply.

While my teenage misapplication of Luke 13:10-17 is obvious (and somewhat amusing), let's admit that Christians often are too eager to apply snatches of Scripture at the expense of proper interpretation. The most infamous example is making Matthew 18:19-20 a promise about "agreeing in prayer." In context, Jesus intended that verse to highlight His judgment on unrepentant sin and church discipline:

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” ~~Matthew 18:15-20 (ESV)

While I certainly plead guilty to twisting Scripture far too often for the sake of application, I believe the Lord is curing me of such sin, teaching me to understand His Word in its proper context. Once I find the correct interpretation of a passage, I can make a correct application. And it's applying the Word correctly that honors the Lord.

Monday, September 16, 2013

What--Blog Homework?

Sometimes, "real life" crowds out online time, which can be healthy for me.  Not quite so healthy for my blog. Ah, well, I'll be back Wednesday. In the meantime, ponder this quote from a pastor I follow on Twitter:

In your approach to Scripture, If application is more important than interpretation than you'll inevitably misinterpret and misapply.

See you Wednesday with my comments on this quote.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

More Of Boston Experienced Differently

Over a year ago, a friend from church landed a job at Marriott's Custom House Hotel as their Activities Manager. After John and I finished our lunch Thursday, we decided to drop into the hotel to say hello.

I love the Custom House, and have asked John to photograph it many times.

It towers over much of Boston with a presence that, for reasons I can't understand, reassures me. Once, John and I entered its lobby, asking to go up to the Observation Deck, but the gentleman at the front desk told us that it wasn't wheelchair friendly. Despite that disappointment, I continued loving the building. So when our friend offered to take us up one floor to the Rotunda, I felt no hesitation!

Yes, people, I loved the wonderful marble walls and  columns. Couldn't stop staring at it! It made me want to make more marble with Paintshop Pro. But I digress...
Since we couldn't go up to the Observation Deck, our friend took our camera up and took these marvelous pictures for us:
John's favorite building seen from my favorite building
The Old State House

Quincy Market
Hancock and Prudential Towers in the background
Old North Church
Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
Before we left, our friend wanted to take a picture of us in  "my" building:

This summer, for the most part, had been extremely disappointing, with weather, doctor appointments and other assorted inconveniences keeping us from enjoying Boston Adventures. So Thursday, with its surprises, satisfied and delighted us. Here's hoping for a mild winter and a good summer 2014!

Friday, September 13, 2013

New Experiences In Boston

John and I needed a play day. We'd been to Boston Tuesday, but mostly for his CAT scan, which is hardly recreational! So yesterday, we devoted ourselves to just having fun...and staying as far away from Mass. General Hospital as possible.

As things turned out, our adventure was much different than our usual excursions.

All summer (not that we had much opportunity to go into Boston and watch), the city has been constructing a permanent carousel on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. John, still very much a little boy at heart, was delighted Tuesday to see that the carousel had been completed, so he made sure he had the camera yesterday. So we got off the Red Line at South Station and headed straight up the Greenway to take photos and a video.

After  enjoying the carousel, we slipped through Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park to lunch on ahi avocado tartare and turtle cheesecake at Joe's American Bar and Grill, where we got an outside table overlooking the harbor.

Narration and photos from the after lunch portion of our adventure will, I'm sorry to say, have to wait until tomorrow, as our schedule today postponed my computer time. But hey--I've just given you a reason to visit again!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Forgetting 9/11

After two planes collapsed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, a third plane careened into the Pentagon, and heroic passengers prevented a fourth plane from plowing into the White House by forcing it to crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Americans vowed to "Never Forget." But twelve years later, New York City's Mayor Bloomberg declined to attend the memorial observance at The National September 11 Memorial and Museum, while other municipalities throughout the  nation "toned down" observances this year.

Only a year ago today, Al Qaeda attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. For reasons yet to be explained, the Obama Administration first tried to call the attack "a spontaneous reaction" to an anti-Muslim YouTube video. Although that explanation was quickly proven false, we haven't been told why Stevens' pleas to be evacuated were repeatedly ignored

Last month, The Washington Free Beacon reported that an Al Qaeda-linked group has been training jihadists to fight for the Syrian rebels. One of their training camps is in Benghazi. And today a car bomb blew off a wall at the Foreign Ministry building in Benghazi. Although no responsibility for today's attack has yet been assigned, I'm willing to guess there's an Al Qaeda link.

Meanwhile, President Obama's administration has been arming the Syrian rebels against the Assad regime, even though Al Qaeda has been strengthening its ties with rebel forces. If, as seems likely, Assad really did order chemical attacks on his own people, I understand our President's desire to inflict discipline on him, but aiding and abetting Al Qaeda seems dangerous and naive. Assisting the rebels, with their known ties to Al Qaeda, seems to forget all the harm Al  Qaeda has brought to the U.S.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Undersea World Of Computer Geeks

We finally got the video from Thursday's Boston Adventure at The New England Aquarium transferred from the camera to my computer, so I used Microsoft's Movie Maker to put the clips together. After uploading it to YouTube, I added a rather jazzy rendition of the hymn, "All Creatures of Our God and King," which flowed almost perfectly with the movement of the sea creatures! Please enjoy the results of John's and my my efforts.  And join us in praising the Lord for His creation!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Peter, False Teachers and Homosexuality

A little over a year ago, my study on homosexuality culminated in Jude's epistle. At least, I thought that ended it. Since Jude primarily wrote his epistle to warn Christians against false teachers and false prophets, the commentaries' insistence that 2 Peter 2 (please click the link and read the chapter) parallels Jude's admonitions piqued my interest.

As I worked through this chapter, a couple of the commentaries surprised me by hypothesizing that some of the false teachers Peter denounced practiced and promoted sodomy. The commentators draw this association from verses 4-10a:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. (ESV)

Although Peter discusses the judgment of rebel angels and the judgment of the flood in Noah's day, he gives special attention to Lot's escape from God's judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. Despite the Gay Christian Movement's protestations, this judgment was, in fact, mostly brought on by Sodom's rampant toleration of homosexuality. Peter's concentration on this incident leads Dr. John Gill to write (regarding verse 10):

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh,.... Not merely after the dictates of corrupt nature, as all men, and even God's elect do, in a state of unregeneracy; but "after strange flesh", as Jud_1:7 expresses it, after the flesh of men:

in the lust of uncleanness; not of fornication and adultery, but of sodomy, and sodomitical practices; sins exceeding great, not only contrary to the law and light of nature, but dishonourable to human nature; and are what prevail where idolatry, infidelity, errors, and heresies do; and which, as they are sins of the deepest dye, deserve the greater damnation, and are chiefly and more especially punished by God with great severity:
Adam Clarke concurs:

But chiefly them that walk - That is, God will in the most signal manner punish them that walk after the flesh - addict themselves to sodomitical practices, and the lust of pollution; probably alluding to those most abominable practices where men abuse themselves and abuse one another.

So, while Peter's main point centers around God's ability to rescue His Church from false teachers, there's reason to believe that some of the false teachers he alluded to offered a  false gospel of grace that permitted sexual license---including homosexuality. In so doing, Peter joins Paul and Jude in condemning those who teach that homosexuality can be reconciled with Christianity.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Jesus Says WHAT--Part III

Having shown yesterday that Jesus indeed spoke in the Old Testament, and therefore did actually make two unmistakable statements calling homosexual activity an abomination, I now wish to demonstrate that He also addressed the subject through Paul, Jude and possibly Peter (though Peter's reference is quite indirect and focuses on false teaching as a whole). Today, I will not examine the specific passages, but rather will keep to my theme of Jesus speaking throughout Scripture. The real objection to pro-gay theology, you see, isn't merely that it promotes a deviation from God's intent for human sexuality, but more importantly that it calls into question the inspiration and authority of the Bible.

The qualifications for apostleship include being an eye-witness of the resurrected Christ. Jude and Peter definitely fall under this category. And Luke indicates that, between His resurrection and ascension, Jesus spent forty days instructing His apostles.

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. ~~Acts 1:1-3 (ESV)

Paul, as we know, was anything but a believer during that forty day period. Yet, as Luke reports in Acts 9, the risen Lord appeared to him. Paul later, in defending his status as an apostle, verifies that the Lord gave him direct revelation.

11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me. ~~Galatians 1:11-24 (ESV)

Was this revelation on par with the teaching Christ administered to the rest of the apostles between His resurrection and His ascension? Absolutely! Since Jesus gave Paul the revelation, it obviously held the same authority as teaching He presented during His public ministry as well as during those forty days between His resurrection and ascension.

Now, having established that Jesus spent time after His resurrection equipping His apostles for ministry, it necessarily follows that what the Holy Spirit directed them to write in the epistles that He sovereignly placed in the Bible were, in fact, the words of Jesus. So yes, through Paul, Jude and possibly Peter, Jesus actually said quite a bit about homosexual behavior. His teachings aren't confined to the four Gospels (in which He presented monogamous opposite sex marriage as the exclusive venue for sexual relations), but rather the entire Bible delivers His teaching to us.

The Gay Christian movement, by insisting that Jesus says nothing about homosexuality, ignores His pre-existance in the Old Testament, His upholding of moral law during His public ministry and His interaction with His apostles after His resurrection. They conform His Word to their sexuality rather than surrendering their sexuality to His Word. Jesus certainly did have things  to say about homosexual behavior. It's up to us to listen.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Jesus Says WHAT--Part II

Although the four Gospels do not record any direct statements Jesus made about homosexuality, we generally forget that, as the Second Person of the Trinity, He is God. Therefore, when the word of the Lord came to Moses, all three Members of the Trinity spoke in unity. So, Jesus in fact did make two very direct statements prohibiting same sex relationships.

 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. ~~Leviticus 18:22 (ESV)


If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. ~~Leviticus 20:13 (ESV)

Pro-gay theologians argue that these prohibitions, being embedded among laws against eating shellfish and wearing mixed fabrics, are no longer binding on Christians. At another time, I will address that objection, but today let's limit ourselves to the fact that the  Lord spoke these words thousands of years prior to His incarnation.

At issue is something far more crucial than sexual preference (although how we express our sexuality matters a great deal to the Lord). If we dismiss the Old Testament as not coming from Jesus in His preincarnate state, do we not demonstrate practical denial of His position within the Godhead? In other words, the same Jesus Who became a Man in the First Century has always existed as God, and spoke to all the Old Testament prophets...including Moses.

So Jesus did, in fact, make two extremely clear statements that homosexual behavior is an abomination. He made these statements before He assumed human form, yes, but He existed even then as God, our Creator and our Lord. In worshiping Him, we must accept all of Scripture as His Word.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

To John, At 64

Hubby's 64 today.

Guided by the surprisingly accurate weather forecast, we decided to celebrate yesterday by going into Boston and visiting the newly renovated New England Aquarium. Although John took photos and videos, he has yet to upload them to my computer, thus postponing a blog post about the adventure until at least tomorrow (but more likely Saturday).

Which falls into my scheme of publicly razzing him with this video:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jesus Says WHAT--Part I

A popular argument that the Gay Christian Movement uses asserts that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality in the Gospels. They're right: He didn't. However, His apparent silence on the matter doesn't indicate His approval of same sex relationships, as suggested by pro-gay theologians. In fact, His ministry corrected many misunderstandings that the legalistic Jews propagated about the Mosiac law, so it seems highly unlikely that He would fail to clarify the Levitical prohibition against homosexual relationships.

Jesus consistently upheld the law in His teaching. Consider, as one example of His regard for the law,

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~~Matthew 5:17-20 (ESV)

In His death, burial and resurrection, the Lord indeed fulfilled the sacrificial laws of atonement. And His extension of salvation to the Gentiles fulfilled the dietary and cleanliness laws that Moses gave to ensure the Jews identity as a people separated to Him. Yet He strengthened moral laws, equating anger with murder (Matthew 5:21-26) and lust with adultery (Matthew 5:27-30).

In answering a question about divorce, Jesus appealed to the creation of Adam and Eve (which preceded Moses' law) as God's model for marriage.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” ~~Matthew 19:3-12 (ESV)

Why didn't He, at that moment, address the topic of same sex relationships? His mention of eunuchs surely would have given Him an opening to discuss homosexuality and to make allowances for loving same sex relationships. Instead of doing so (and, in so doing, exposing legalism on the parts of the Pharisees), Jesus affirms heterosexual monogamy with no divorce as the only model for marriage and sexual expression.

In my next post regarding pro-gay theology, I intend to make the case that Jesus did make clear statements about homosexual behavior, since all of Scripture is His Word. But for now, let's look at His silence in the Gospels on the matter by weighing it against His overall  teaching on   God's moral law. His silence in no way legitimizes same sex relationships

Monday, September 2, 2013

Reading Something Scripture Never Said

Having demonstrated, in Saturday's blog post, that loving same sex marriage indeed did exist in First Century Greece and Rome, it seems inconceivable that the apostle Paul would be ignorant of it to such an extent that he associated it only with pagan temple prostitution, pederasty or sexual abuse of slaves. Paul lived in a gay-affirming culture, and thus his stand against homosexuality would have offended First Century Gentiles. Therefore, he challenged the same cultural norms that 21st Century Christians (at least those who submit to the authority of Scripture) challenge.

Pro-gay theology, however, dismisses the 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 passage condemning homosexuality (along with several other sinful conditions) as referring to the homosexual seduction of adolescent boys or masters dominating slaves rather than homosexuality in general. Of course, the actual text makes no such distinction.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.(ESV)

Those who scramble to reconcile homosexuality to Christianity force the meaning of this text. Yet the qualifications they make aren't specified in the passage, but rather derive from the assumption that Paul knew nothing of committed gay relationships. In other words, they read distinctions into the passage, avoiding the clear implications that, like adultery, drunkenness or any of the other sins enumerated in this passage, those who persist in homosexual behavior will not inherit God's kingdom.

Again, Scripture loses its authority when people read their own bias into it.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

In This Glad Hour

I'd forgotten about the hymn, "Come Thou Almighty King" until they played a piano version of it during Communion this morning. Enjoy this rich treasure trove praising our Lord's manifold glories!


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