An Independence Day Message

As the Fourth of July nears, I want to record some things which have been on my heart and mind. First of all, let me say that I love America, and I feel so grateful that I was allowed to be born here. I grew up during the Reagan Era. It was a time of prosperity and patriotism. It was also a time of the Moral Majority. We didn’t have gay marriage, the World Wide Web, widespread use of cell phones (they were in their infancy), social media (Thank God), and radical division in our politics. Republicans and Democrats disagreed on plenty of things, but half the country didn’t hate the other half. People didn’t go around tearing down statues or being offended by everything. We were taught to love America in school. We sang America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee) and said the Pledge of Allegiance each morning.

Our parents took us to church and Sunday School. We learned about Jesus, the Gospel, and the Bible. We called upon Jesus for forgiveness and were saved from our sins. Then we got baptized and joined the church.

We went over to our grandparents’ house, enjoyed time with family, ate home-cooked meals, and played wiffle-ball in the backyard. We rode our bikes all over the neighborhood, collected baseball cards, and slept over at our friends’ houses.

We enjoyed sports and movies because they weren’t political. Players didn’t kneel for the National Anthem. Players talked about how hard they worked, not how entitled they were. Everyone wanted a pair of Air Jordan shoes. Donald Trump was a well-known millionaire and businessman, liked by Democrats as well as Republicans.

There was an atmosphere of unity, brotherhood, and common identity. Everyone seemed proud to be an American. In times of tragedy, the country came together instead of pointing fingers at each other. Everyone was rooting for America to succeed.

Companies weren’t woke. You didn’t have to worry about your choice of a restaurant being a test of political loyalty. Parents could let their children watch Saturday morning cartoons without fear of indoctrination. And transgenderism wasn’t really a thing. We called people who dressed up as the opposite gender, transvestites, and we thought that was a strange thing to do.

There was no Black Lives Matter organization (with Marxist principles), violent mobs in the streets, or Critical Race Theory (it was just beginning to be formulated at elite universities). Identity politics had not yet taken over. We just viewed each other as Americans.

The bottom line is that it was a wonderful time to grow up. Life was good. So many of the negatives of our present day were not around. Optimism was prevalent.

So it grieves and saddens me to see the state of our country now. I’ve watched with horror the riots, violence, and looting that has taken place over the last few weeks. Law and order broke down. Police officers were killed, injured, and disrespected. Innocent people were beaten in the streets for no reason. Mobs of “protestors” attacked cars driving along the road. Left-wing mayors refused to restore the rule of law. Instead of supporting law-abiding citizens, they chose to side with the mob.

As someone who loves history, I was appalled to see historic statues toppled because I knew that it was an attack on the very history and heritage of the United States of America. And it was not limited to Confederate statues. Even Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt came under suspicion.

My wife and I have been blessed the last few years to see some of the landmarks of our great country like Mount Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, and Independence Hall. Seeing these structures in person has only made me love America more. I’m grateful to God that we got to see them when we did since we don’t know if they will be torn down in the future. I sure hope they will remain for my kids to see them.

Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of the last few weeks was to see people whom I knew going along with the ideology of the woke mob. I expected that the liberal newspapers and news stations would support such madness. I did not expect to see churches, fellow Christians, and Republican leaders promoting the insanity.

I was watching the original Magnum, P.I. television show the other night, and it brought back memories of better days. It was a nice escape for an hour. I thought to myself, “Oh, yeah, this was back when everyone didn’t hate each other, and the country hadn’t gone crazy. We could enjoy life and not have to worry about violence in the streets. We were free to speak our mind without fear of reprisal.”

So at times like these, what is the answer for our nation? First and foremost, we need revival. Our country has strayed from God. We as a country have embraced sin and wickedness. Sadly, I don’t even hear many calls for repentance in churches and Christian circles. We need to get on our knees, humble ourselves, repent, and call out to God for mercy and revival (see 2 Chronicles 7:14). We need to also be prepared for the Return of Christ. No man knows the day or hour, but with the way the world is going, it seems like it could be very soon.

We need to teach our children our Christian and conservative values. We should read the Bible and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. We need to teach them about our American history and heritage, and not the Howard Zinn version. We need to tell them about the Pilgrims, the Great Awakening, and George Washington.

On this Fourth of July, we should teach our children about The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. We should instill in them a love of America and freedom. We should warn them against the evils of atheism, materialism, Marxism, and Communism.

We should demand that our Republican leaders fight for us to help preserve things like law and order and our American history. We should oppose efforts to eradicate or replace Columbus Day. We must not fall for the lies of the Left. Columbus is a central figure to Western Civilization. If he is toppled, the rest of our forefathers may fall like dominos.

We need to quit being deceived by the lies in the media, academia, and even in some religious institutions. We need to reject critical race theory, identity politics, marxism, and modern day liberalism. We need to stand for life (that includes the unborn), liberty (that includes for all races), so that we may be able to pursue happiness.

Finally, we need to have courage. One of the most disheartening things of the last few weeks has been to see our leaders, people who should be fighting for us, cave to the mob because they lack courage. I’m convinced that if more law-abiding citizens would have the courage to speak up and take a stand for what is right and for common sense, we wouldn’t be in this horrible situation. We must NOT be silent anymore.

So I want to wish you and your family a Happy Independence Day. Enjoy the day with loved ones. Have a cookout. Set off fireworks. But remember why we celebrate—it is the 244th anniversary of the adoption of The Declaration of Independence. Remember that we are supposed to be a free nation. And think about what we can do as citizens to reclaim that freedom and to rediscover our history.

The Supermarket

Jessica Franklin, a 38-year-old brunette, whose youthful beauty had somewhat faded, walked into Harvest Foods one evening in late Fall. As was her custom, she got a basket, and headed toward the produce section. After getting the fruit that she needed, she strolled the aisles, procuring the various items on her shopping list.

When she reached aisle 12, she saw someone from her past—someone whom she had not expected to see. It was Rick, her high-school sweetheart. She had broken up with him near the end of their senior year, just before graduation. At the time he was crushed. She was rather cold and callous about it, saying all manner of cruel things to him. She immediately began dating his best friend after the break-up. Rick had been so wounded that he didn’t even bother showing up to the graduation ceremony because he couldn’t bear to see the two of them together. Jessica then left for college and never saw Rick again, until now—20 years later.

“Rick! Hey, how are you?” Jessica called out as she approached her former beau.

He looked at her puzzlingly and replied, “Do I know you?”

“It’s me, Jessica. Now, I haven’t changed that much. Listen, I, uh, I just want to apologize for how things ended. You’re probably upset with me,” she stammered.

The man interrupted her, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. You must have the wrong person,” he protested.

“From high school! We dated each other. Remember?! We were sweethearts,” Jessica pleaded rather desperately.

“Look, lady. I don’t know who you are. I didn’t date any Jessica. I’ve got to go,” said the man abruptly.

“Rick, wait!” Jessica yelled as the man walked away. She felt humiliated and rejected. She couldn’t understand why he had acted like he didn’t remember her.

The cold shoulder Rick had just given Jessica reminded her of another time that he was upset with her. Back in high-school, she used to steal beauty products from the local grocery store—things like make-up, shampoo, and hair spray. She would stick them in her purse. Rick was with her one of those times, and he got extremely upset. He had made a scene, and she was afraid that she was going to get caught. She had never seen him so irate.

Her mind also flashed back to her pregnancy in high-school. It was Rick’s child. He wanted to have the baby, but Jessica got cold feet, and went to the clinic to have an abortion. Rick was devastated when he found out.

Jessica tried to get those horrible memories out of her head, and she continued her shopping. She looked down at her list and saw that she still needed to get some shampoo. The personal hygiene and beauty products were on the next aisle over. As she rounded the corner to the beauty aisle, she immediately noticed something strange. They were out of all the products that she had on her list. No shampoo. No make-up. No hair spray. They had everything else like toothpaste and deodorant. But there were empty spots on the shelves where the things that she needed usually were.

“Very strange,” she thought to herself. Jessica saw an employee stocking the razors, so she went over to him. “Are you all out of shampoo? And hair-spray?” she asked the stocker.

The man replied, “Yes, it’s rather strange. Earlier this afternoon we had a woman come in. She took all those items off the shelf and threw them in her basket and raced out the door without paying for any of it. She got away before we could catch her. We get another shipment in a couple of days. You might check back then.”

This was quickly becoming a frustrating excursion to the supermarket for Jessica. She just had a few more items on her list and then she was ready to go home. She headed toward the frozen and refrigerated sections. She needed some frozen dinners, milk and eggs.

Once she got the remaining items on her list, she headed to the checkout lanes. She found one without a long line. The conveyor belt in front of her opened up as the lady ahead of her prepared to pay. Jessica began to unload the items in her cart onto the belt. She hoped nothing else would happen out of the ordinary, but she had an uneasy feeling.

Once the cashier had rang it all up, she paid for her groceries. The sacker loaded them back into the basket. Then she headed toward the door to escape the weird place.

Just before she was about to exit the sliding doors to go outside, a toddler walked up to her and grabbed her hand and said, “Mommy, why don’t you want me?”

It startled her deeply. “Little guy, I’m sorry, but I’m not your mommy.” But the child just kept repeating the question, “Mommy, why don’t you want me?” It grieved her, and she wanted to run out as fast as she could, but she stuck around to look for the child’s parent.

When Jessica turned around to see if any adult was looking for the child, her eyes met Rick’s again. He was walking toward her. “I’m sorry, ma’am. He’s mine. He got away from me,” he said matter-of-factly.

“Rick, you still don’t remember me?” Jessica asked in an exasperated tone.

“No, ma’am. I’m sorry,” the man responded. Then he turned to the child and said, “C’mon, let’s go, Ricky.”

Jessica could take no more, and pushed the cart out the door, except that the sliding doors had closed, and there was only a loud bang of the cart against the metal frame. She kept pushing the basket against the doors, but they wouldn’t open. By now, she had attracted the attention of those around her. As she felt their stares, her face became flushed and she felt like she was going to faint. She was trapped!

“Let me out!” she screamed. She kept forcing the cart against the closed doors to no effect. Eventually, the stress of the situation overwhelmed her, and she fainted and fell to the floor.

When she awoke, Rick was leaning over her. “Jessica, are you okay?” he asked tenderly.

“What happened? You remember me, Rick? You know my name?” Jessica asked in a surprised tone. Everything was strange to her, though. Rick looked years younger, like he did when he was in high school. The child was gone, and both she and Rick were wearing different clothes. And her surroundings looked different. This was a different supermarket.

“Of course I know who you are,” Rick said incredulously. “You weren’t paying attention, and you walked into somebody and bumped heads. It knocked you unconscious,” he explained.

Just then an employee who had been attending to Jessica in order to make sure that she was okay, spotted some items which had fallen out of her purse. They were the items that she had stolen years earlier. The employee looked at Jessica and then looked back at the items. He thought for a moment. “Ma’am, I’ll just pretend I didn’t see this fall out of your purse, and I’ll go put them back on the shelf. I just wanted to make sure that you were okay.”

Jessica nodded her head. Rick was embarrassed and relieved at the same time. Jessica still had no idea what had happened. “Rick, what is going on?” she asked.

“C’mon, Jessica. Let’s go,” Rick said. He helped her up, and they walked out the door. Jessica looked up at the sign in the parking lot. It read Springtime Groceries.

“Rick, I thought we were in Harvest Foods. How did we get back to this place?” she asked.

“Harvest Foods? I’ve never heard of it,” Rick replied. “I guess you hit your head pretty hard. Let’s find the car, and I’ll take you home.”

A Jane Austen Quarantine

(Spoiler Alert)

If you need an escape these days, put a Jane Austen movie in the DVD player. I recently did just that as I watched Pride and Prejudice (2005), Emma (1996), and Sense and Sensibility (1995). Each film was a refreshing and relaxing two-hour respite during this time of quarantine. It may seem strange that a man enjoys these stories, but I’ll give you three reasons why I do.

First, they transport me to a time and place in which manners were held in high regard. That’s not to say that every character is a nice person, but almost everyone shows an appreciation for how one should interact with others in society. Jane Austen’s world was one unlike ours, in which the focus was not merely on the individual, but also on society as a whole. The dances and social functions displayed in the films are elaborate courses on etiquette, governed by tradition and unspoken rules. One can lament the restrictive social class structure, but the respect and honor showed by the participants must be admired. Perhaps the best example of this is when Mr. Knightly chides Emma for her rude behavior toward the poor Miss Bates at a group picnic. The rebuke leaves Emma guilt-stricken, but it eventually helps her to mature and become less selfish. This emphasis on manners can also lead to humorous situations such as in Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth refuses Mr. Collins’s proposal, but she must do so in the politest way possible. Considering the current coarseness in our own culture, I find myself tempted to long for Jane Austen’s world of civility.

Second, these movies remind me of the importance of family. I get the sense that feminists are conflicted over Austen’s novels. The stories depict a world in which women are dependent upon marriage for financial security and social standing. On the other hand, some feminists see Austen’s biting irony and critiques of the social customs of her day as evidence that she was one of them. I don’t really want to enter that debate. Regardless of what Austen intended, her novels create a certain nostalgia for her world and her times. It is refreshing to see the home as the center of the society. In each decision, individuals think of their family’s well-being, not just their own. For example, in the movie Emma, the titular protagonist won’t agree to marry Mr. Knightly until he agrees to live at Hartfield—for the sake of Emma’s father. Mr. Knightly gladly agrees. In Pride and Prejudice, the family shares in mutual happiness as Lydia, Jane, and Elizabeth are all married within a short period of time. And in Sense and Sensibility, the rest of the family wait outside gleefully as Elinor is proposed to inside the house. The two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, soon have a joint wedding to share in their bliss.

The third reason I love these movies is that they show us the beauty of nature and rural life. In Sense and Sensibility, when Marianne is running in the rain over the rich, verdant countryside to search for Willoughby, one cannot help to long for such grounds on his own similar estate. And in Emma when the two friends, Emma and Harriet, are outside under a tent doing needlework, or when Emma is painting a portrait of her friend, Harriet, on a bridge, the viewer is privileged to relish in these dream-like scenes of serenity. Finally, at the end of Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth meets Darcy on the moor in the morning sunlight, it is the epitome of early 19th-century romance. It is as though Nature becomes another character in the story. The fact that these movies produce such sentimental responses in the viewer is ironic considering that, in her novels, Austen was poking fun at novels of sensibility and such displays of emotion.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on Jane Austen. I haven’t even read most of her books. I’m currently reading Emma. I appreciate the high-quality of the writing, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a page turner. But I thoroughly enjoy the movies. They are felicity-inducing at a time when most things are not. They are light when the world seems heavy. One doesn’t watch these movies for the plot or the resolution of such, but for the beautiful journey. Would it be stretching credulity to assert that these movies make us kinder, happier, and more grateful? I don’t think so. I’d like to think that’s the effect that they’ve produced in me.

Why Did Napoleon Lose Waterloo?

Above: The Anglo-Allied Army defending the gates of Hougoumont against a French offensive during the Battle of Waterloo. The Duke of Wellington called this the decisive moment of the battle.

Scholars, history buffs, and Bonapartists have debated for over 200 years why Napoleon lost the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. The Duke of Wellington called it the “nearest run thing you ever saw,” indicating that the battle could have gone either way. Hindsight is 20/20, and it is human nature to examine what went wrong and imagine counterfactuals. In reality, there are many reasons why Napoleon lost the battle. This brief article will examine a few of them.

First, Napoleon was overconfident and underestimated Wellington. Napoleon told Soult and his generals that Wellington was a “bad general” and that the English were “bad troops.” He went on to say that the battle would be “a lunchtime affair.”

In fact, Wellington and Blucher outperformed and outsmarted Napoleon. Wellington was wise in his choice of ground. He placed his men behind a small ridge which helped to protect them from artillery fire. Wellington’s right flank was protected by the farmhouse at Hougoumont, his center by La Haie Sainte, and his left flank by the farm at Papelotte.

Napoleon also underestimated the Prussians. He thought Blucher’s troops were in worse shape than they actually were after the Battle of Ligny on June 16. And Napoleon ignored intelligence by his brother Jerome that Blucher and Wellington would link up. Napoleon expected Blucher to head east, not west.

While the Allied leaders performed well, two of Napoleon’s marshals, Ney and Grouchy, underperformed. Napoleon should have picked Davout, his best marshal, to help him at Waterloo. Instead he was guarding Paris as Minister of War. Ney was an excellent marshal, but his loyalty was in question in light of his support of the Bourbons after Leipzig. He switched sides to support Napoleon in the Waterloo Campaign, but he made some key errors during the battle. Other valuable personnel who could have supported Napoleon at Waterloo were not available–Berthier, Massena, and Murat (Berthier was disillusioned and eventually fell from a window; Massena remained neutral; and Murat had betrayed Napoleon after Leipzig to save his throne).

Napoleon himself made several errors as well. In the days before the battle at Quatre Bras and Ligny, communication problems plagued Napoleon’s forces. D’Erlon’s reserve corp spent July 16 going back and forth between the left wing and right wing, which ensured that his forces didn’t arrive at either battle in time. Napoleon also lost the initiative due to inaction between 9 p.m. on the 16th and 9 a.m. on the 17th. Thus, Napoleon was unable to capitalize on the last battlefield victory of his career at Ligny. On the day before the battle, Napoleon split his forces, which went against his own maxims of warfare. He also delayed ordering Grouchy, who was effectively neutralized by fighting the Prussian rearguard in a sideshow at Wavre, to join the battle.

Napoleon was also relying upon a faulty map of the battlefield. A printing error was responsible for the confusion. As a result, Napoleon did not have a good sense of the lay of the land.

In addition, Napoleon was sleep-deprived and fatigued. The night before he had not gotten much sleep due to constant interruptions of his men bringing him reports. It is also likely that he was suffering from a painful case of hemorrhoids during the battle. Physically, he was not at the top of his game to say the least.

Perhaps one of the most crucial mistakes committed by Napoleon was to delay action on the morning of the battle. The late start (11p.m.) dearly cost the French valuable time that they could not afford to lose. It had rained the day before, and Drouot had suggested waiting to let the ground dry for the artillery. These lost hours allowed the Prussians to join the battle later in the afternoon. Once the Prussians arrived, the battle was essentially over.

The battle itself was filled with missteps by the French. The various branches did not coordinate with each other. Ney sent a cavalry charge at Wellington’s center around 4 p.m., but he did not support it with artillery or infantry. Wellington’s forces formed impregnable squares, and the cavalry charge had to be called off. Then when Ney captured La Haie Sante around 6:30 p.m., Napoleon waited too long to send in the Old Guard, and the momentum was lost. For someone who was known for his speed and taking quick, decisive actions to gain the upper hand against the enemy, Napoleon seemed lethargic and reactionary during the Waterloo Campaign. In all fairness, Napoleon was almost 46 years old, and it had been 10 years since Austerlitz. There had been a lot of water under the bridge.

Perhaps the best explanation for his loss at Waterloo is from Napoleon himself:

“I sensed that Fortune was abandoning me. I no longer had in me the feeling of ultimate success, and if one is not prepared to take risks when the time is ripe, one ends up doing nothing.”

Throughout his career, Napoleon referenced “destiny.” As a wedding gift, Napoleon even gave Josephine a gold enameled medallion engraved with the words, “To Destiny.” After he divorced Josephine and the losses began to mount (especially in Russia), Napoleon started to suspect that Fate had turned against him. Whereas earlier in his career, Napoleon was a bold, decisive, risk-taker, by the time of Waterloo he had become indecisive, tired, and less induced to take those risks “when the time was ripe.”

Napoleon once said:

“There is a moment in combat when the slightest maneuver is decisive and gives superiority; it is the drop of water that starts the overflow.”

It’s clear that at Waterloo, Napoleon let that moment slip by.

Sources

Roberts, Andrew. Napoleon: A Life. New York: Penguin Books, 2014.

Markham, Felix. Napoleon. New York: Mentor, 1963.

Herold, J. Christopher. The Age of Napoleon. New York: American Heritage Publishing Company, 1963.

Chazan, David. “Map Error Hastened Napoleon’s Waterloo Defeat,The Telegraph, October 6, 2014.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11144216/Map-error-hastened-Napoleons-Waterloo-defeat.html (accessed April 19, 2020).

http://www.epichistory.tv/watch, Battle of Waterloo

Easter Sunday: Evidence and Implications of the Resurrection

The empty tomb

As Christians, we can rejoice that we serve a living Savior. When the women and the disciples arrived at the tomb on the first day of the week, they found an empty tomb! The angels said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead. He is not here, but is risen…” (Luke 24:5-6)

On this Easter Sunday, let us briefly reflect on both the evidence for the Resurrection and the implications of this great event for us as Christians.

Evidence

1. The empty tomb (Matt 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20)

2. The Apostles and over 500 witnesses saw the risen Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

3. Worship moved from the Sabbath to the first day of the week because the Resurrection took place on Sunday (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2)

4. The explosive growth and mission of the early church. The Apostles went on missionary journeys to spread the Gospel. Most of the disciples died martyrs’ deaths. Why would they do all this unless they had in fact seen the risen Christ? (2 Peter 1:16)

5. The Word of God and fulfilled prophecy (Matthew 12:40, Luke 18:31-33, 24:6-7)

Implications

1. Jesus Christ is who He said He was. He claimed to be God. He predicted that He would be crucified at the hands of sinful men and be raised again. His Resurrection proves that Jesus truly is the Son of God. (John 20:29)

2. Believers have the hope of being resurrected and given glorified bodies when Christ returns. (1 Corinthians 15)

3. Christ has power over sin, death, and the grave. (1 Corinthians 15)

Palm Sunday

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.”
‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭9:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


We see the Old Testament prophecy above fulfilled in Jesus’ Triumphal Entry in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, and John 12:12-15. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, less than a week before his death on the cross.

Tree branches were strewn in the road before Jesus. This would be similar to rolling out the red carpet for a dignitary or ruler today. Christians often celebrate Palm Sunday by waving palm branches in a procession. In ancient Greece and Rome, palm branches symbolized victory, joy, peace, and triumph. They were used to celebrate champions of the games or military victories. Palm branches were also used for celebration in Israel’s Feast of Tabernacles, or The Feast of Booths (see Leviticus 23:40). We read about palm branches in Revelation 7:9 as well. 

The people who welcomed Jesus also shouted, Hosanna, which literally means means, please save, or save, we pray. It is also used as a shout of praise. It seems that many of the Jews of Jesus’ day wanted him to save them from Roman occupation. However, Jesus came for an even higher purpose—to save his people from their sins.

The Hebrew term which is transliterated, Hosanna, is used in 2 Samuel 14:4 and Psalm 118:25. In the triumphal entry account, the people quoted the first part of the next verse, Psalm 118:26: Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

The symbolism of the donkey was one of kingship and peace. Horses often depicted war, but Jesus identified with the lowly and was a man of peace. He was riding into Jerusalem as a declaration that he was the King of Israel. Sadly, most of the Jews ended up rejecting Him. Before the week was over, they had handed him over to the Romans, who crucified him. In Luke 19:41, Jesus wept over the city because he knew that the Romans would come against Jerusalem and destroy the city in 70 A.D. due to their rejection of Jesus. But we know from Romans 11:26 that God is not done with Israel yet. Jesus will return one day again, sit on the throne of David, and set up his Millennial Kingdom in Jerusalem and rule over all the Earth.

So as we celebrate Palm Sunday, let us remember why Jesus came. Jesus came the first time to die on a cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. Then he rose again. One day he will come back for those who have put their faith in him. We all have to decide whether we will worship him as our King. The Bible makes clear “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

Imagine a World….

Are we in the Twilight Zone?

Imagine a world where you have a socialist running for President of the United States who is openly calling for political revolution while other Democratic candidates are endorsing infanticide.

Imagine a world where a gay mayor who recently dropped out of the Democratic primary race for President openly kisses his “husband” on stage and encourages a 9-year-old boy to come out as gay.

Imagine a world where drag queens are not only allowed but encouraged to read to children in public libraries and schools.

Imagine a world where young kids are given puberty blockers and hormone treatments to change their gender and schools encourage this.

Imagine a world where there’s a Republican President who fights for Christians, speaks out against abortion at the March for Life in Washington D.C., and has overseen a vast improvement in the United States economy.

Now imagine for a moment if you will leaders of the largest Protestant denomination in the United States telling people that it doesn’t matter who you vote for and that we shouldn’t be aligned with any political party.

Imagine those same religious leaders attacking the current Republican President, calling him a racist, and saying that we hurt our witness if we support him.

Imagine those same religious leaders being silent about the drag queen story hour at the libraries and schools, the gay mayor, and the transgender indoctrination of children, but instead they regularly try to diminish America and paint it as a racist country.

Now imagine a group of people within that Protestant denomination who are concerned about the strange behavior of their religious leaders, and imagine that group forms a conservative network to combat the liberalism within the denomination.

Finally, imagine the leaders of that Protestant denomination attacking and attempting to silence that conservative network within their denomination.

Sadly, you don’t have to imagine this world because this is the world that you are currently living in.

An Open Letter to Southern Baptists

Dear Southern Baptists,

I want to ask a favor of you. Please get off the fence and decide whose side you are on. Our denomination has been flirting with such ideas as the promotion of women preachers, the acceptance of homosexuality, Critical Race Theory (CRT), and Intersectionality. Many SBC leaders prefer to remain silent on these critical issues. When I talk to Southern Baptists, most of them seem unaware of the problems within the denomination because pastors are not talking about it. They know what is going on in the local church, but not much beyond that.

Joshua told the Israelites:

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

We cannot allow people into the denomination that are teaching unbiblical doctrines. If you support homosexuality and women preachers, you have departed from sound doctrine. We must always ask, “What does the Word of God say?”

When you give to the Cooperative Program, you are supporting some of the false teaching that is being promulgated in our seminaries and in entities like the ERLC. There must be more transparency about where the money is going and for what it is being used. As good stewards, we should not be supporting unbiblical practices.

I won’t outline here everything that has been going on within the SBC, but I will name some of the top concerns of mine: the leftward drift of the ERLC (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission), the association of the SBC with ecumenical groups like The Gospel Coalition, the woke theology of the Kingdom Diversity initiative at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the softening stance on homosexuality by SBC leaders, the push for women to be able to preach within the denomination, and of course Resolution 9, CRT, and Intersectionality.

For the last several years, I have watched the SBC drift in a more liberal, unbiblical direction. The leaders usually deny it or try to say that it’s not that bad. Yet it keeps getting worse. To the SBC leaders, I would say, “Are you asleep? Why are you not listening to our concerns? Why do you side with liberals who hate Christians over the conservatives within your own denomination?”

Something is seriously wrong in the SBC, and I urge all Southern Baptists to wake up and speak up. The time for equivocation is over. Like the Israelites, we need to choose whose side we are on. No more ignoring the problem. No more denial. Let’s deal with the problem. And let us make sure that we are on the Lord’s side.

Sincerely,

A concerned Southern Baptist

True Shepherds vs. Hirelings

The present-day church seems to have bought into the lie that being loving means that you are never stern or tough with anyone. But the Bible says in Romans 12:9b that we ought to “Abhor that which is evil.” Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” And in 2 John 9-11, the Bible says not to bid anyone Godspeed or receive him into your house if he does not bring the doctrine of Christ.

In John 10:11-14, Jesus said:

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

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Jesus is called the Chief Shepherd in 1 Peter 5:4. Christ is the example to all the under-Shepherds. Christ does several things which show that He is the Good Shepherd: lays down his life for the sheep, cares for and tends to the sheep, and feeds the sheep.

Christ also protects the sheep. Notice in the passage above from John 10 that Christ does not leave the sheep when the wolves or false teachers come. That is contrasted with the fleeing hireling, who cares for his wages and not the sheep.

Sadly, there are many national religious and denominational leaders in our country who have left the door wide open to the wolves. In fact these same leaders seem to cozy up to the wolves while at the same time criticizing the sheep for raising concerns about the danger that the wolves pose. A true shepherd will side with his sheep over the wolves. If a shepherd defends the wolves, you know that he is a hireling. That person is not serving the sheep, but himself.

We as Christians need to be able to discern between true shepherds and hirelings. We also need to be willing to confront evil and oppose it instead of tolerating it. A true shepherd may seem harsh to some when he carries out this function, but he is really carrying out his Biblical role. Remember, a true shepherd will protect the sheep.