Ten Problems in Churches

Whenever I find myself lamenting a problem in church, I try to ask myself if I’m being too critical. I don’t want to overlook the positive aspects of things. But lately I have noticed some real problems in churches that hinder the ministry and often go unaddressed.

Below is a list of ten problems that I have noticed in modern-day churches that leadership often overlooks. This list is not exhaustive, but I do think it begins to address the problem of the anemic state of many churches. My intent is not to simply point out the problem but also to help find the solution. If I could summarize the solution to the problems below in one statement, it would probably be: Get back to the basics. We must return to the Word of God.

1) We Are Too Busy

I don’t know about you, but I feel exhausted. Race here. Race there. Get this done. Get that done. Then start the cycle all over again. I find that I’m a much happier and peaceful person when I can slow down, recharge, and reset. It can be so refreshing to have some time to read, rest, and reflect. I’m convinced that we are so busy sometimes that we miss what life is really about.

We must learn to say “no” to some things. We can’t do it all. We need to say “no” to things that will take us out of church on Sunday mornings. That likely means sports. I’ve been very frustrated with all of the youth sports that are scheduled on the Lord’s day. I find that my week goes better when I start it in the house of the Lord.

It’s possible, though, to be too busy at church. We can get run down when we spend nearly every night at the church and leave no time for family, rest, or recreation. I guess you could call it too much of a good thing. If we are to serve others, we have to make sure our cup is filled or we will find ourselves with little to offer them.

If we want the Lord to speak to us, we have to be quiet and still and open our Bibles. This requires slowing down by necessity. I think we would see a lot of our stress and anxiety melt away if we would take this simple, but sometimes challenging step.

2) False Doctrine

There are many false doctrines out there, and I cannot list them all here. But I do want to address some of the bad ideas that are currently sneaking under the radar of many churches.

Wokeism, social justice, Critical Race Theory (CRT), and cultural marxism are probably more popular in churches than you realize. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has largely surrendered to these horrible ideas with the passage of Resolution 9 and the appointment of woke leadership. Other denominations like the Methodists and Lutherans have been struggling with them as well.

The best resource I’ve seen on this topic is Jon Harris’ book, Christianity and Social Justice: Religions in Conflict. He gives the historical background of these dangerous ideas and calls out current leaders who have succumbed to them. Harris also does a good job of showing how CRT and social justice contradict the Gospel and seek to establish an entirely different religion.

The best way to combat error is to know the truth. It is imperative that church members know their Bibles or they will find themselves unequipped to fight false doctrine. The Bible speaks of a falling away or apostasy in the last days. We must be vigilant against teaching that does not line up with the Word of God.

3) The LGBT Agenda

Nothing has shocked me more about the state of the church than its acceptance of the LGBT agenda. There are still a few faithful churches who have not bowed the knee to Baal, but they seem to be getting fewer with each passing day.

Even if a church doesn’t accept the LGBT agenda, its silence on the matter is nearly just as bad. Preachers need to be bold in addressing this issue in a Biblical manner. The first duty of a pastor is fidelity to the Word of God.

The Revoice conferences have wreaked havoc in the Presbyterian Church in America as they have sought to normalize the Same-Sex Attracted agenda. In the SBC, former President, J.D. Greear, preached a sermon on Romans 1 in which he said God whispers about sexual sin. Greear also said in his podcast that he would use someone’s preferred pronouns if a transgender person visited his church.

The church needs bold clarity on this issue. Too often the church leaves doubt in people’s minds about what the Bible says about homosexuality. We must seek to please God, not man, and speak the truth in love.

4) Entertainment Instead of Worship

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that many churches these days have brought in worldly entertainment to their services in order to appear hip and cool and attract more people. In some churches, it’s hard to distinguish between a concert and a worship service. Hymns have been jettisoned for watered down, modern worship songs which repeat the same words throughout the song.

We need to make sure we are honoring the Lord in our worship services. We are not there to please unbelievers, but God. How can we foster a worshipful environment when we import worldly music and videos into the services? If we have loud music blasting over the speakers before the services, that does not not set an appropriate tone for worship.

One of the great things about hymns is that they encourage everyone to participate since they are all contained in a hymnal. Even if someone is unfamiliar with them, it won’t take them long to learn it. The music is right there on the page. And the lyrics of hymns often teach doctrines and theological truths as opposed to the shallow emotionalism of modern-day praise music.

5) Watching and Listening to Impure Things

I remember years ago pastors would preach against ungodly entertainment like inappropriate movies, TV shows, and music. Now it’s considered legalistic, and rarely do I hear sermons on the topic. But few things, in my opinion, are harming the vitality of churches than the impure things that members are putting before their eyes and ears. And with the internet, it has become even more serious than ever before.

Remember that old song, “Be careful little eyes what you see?” It’s a simple message, but it’s very true. A verse in Philippians comes to mind:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

6) Chasing Money Instead of God

Jesus told us we can’t serve both God and mammon (wealth). Yet many churches and Christians are seeking to do just that. It is rare to hear a sermon against the love of money these days. The reason why this is so serious is because money, like few other things, has a way of stealing our hearts and loyalties. It prevents us from being fully devoted to the Lord and makes us worldly minded.

The Apostle Paul, like Jesus, also spoke about the dangers of chasing after riches:

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
‭‭I Timothy‬ ‭6:6-10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

One of my favorite Bible characters is King David. He had many flaws and personal sins, but one thing he did not seem to struggle with was the love of riches. Charles Swindoll points this out in his excellent biography entitled, David: A Man of Passion and Destiny. David’s heart was devoted to the Lord. After all, the Bible calls David a man after God’s own heart.

7) Following a Denomination Instead of Christ

The SBC is currently embroiled in all kinds of scandals and corruption within its national leadership. What has been very frustrating to me is to watch people’s loyalties to the denomination trump loyalty to Christ. No matter how bad things get in the SBC, leaders seem determined to stay in the denomination.

We must be willing to exit a denomination that no longer follows Christ. It is clear that the SBC has imported worldly ideologies like feminism, CRT, and the LGBT agenda. Its leaders seem unwilling to correct the problem. There comes a point when we must decide whom we will serve.

8) Out-of-Touch Leaders Who Lack Courage

We desperately need preachers who will boldly and unapologetically proclaim the Word of God. President Ronald Reagan talked about “raising a banner of bold colors, no pastels.” He was talking about the Republican party, but I think the illustration fits this discussion as well. A lot of pastors are using pale pastels. They deliberately keep things vague and murky so as not to upset any members, especially big tithers.

The moral morass that we find ourselves in calls for a clear proclamation of truth and righteousness. If our Christian leaders do not sound notes of clarity and distinctness, then how will the culture know the difference between right and wrong?

Our society has become so wicked that now kids are endangered by these radical ideologies of the Left. Places that used to be safe for kids like schools and libraries are no longer safe. Yet many preachers will not speak out on issues like drag queen story hour or inappropriate books in school libraries. If we won’t even protect the children, then our country is indeed lost.

Leaders are not just timid, but they are also out-of-touch with the saints in the pews. When people in the pews are concerned about moral issues of the day, they often get ignored by leaders. Russell Moore, former president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, spent his time in that position mocking conservatives for being concerned about the state of America while he was making videos about aliens and robots. Few things are more frustrating to lay people than being treated disrespectfully by those who are supposed to be fighting for them and with them, instead of against them.

9) A Corrupt Seminary System

We need to rethink the way we do seminary. We have preachers coming out of these institutions with advanced degrees who are more liberal and less bold for the truth than when they went in. The focus is often wrongly placed upon academic accolades and prestige instead of faithfulness to the Lord.

Churches seemed to be in much better shape when we had less educated preachers. They were less proud and out-of-touch, more willing to take bold stands for the Lord, and more likely to preach against sin. Few things hurt a church more than a preacher who lacks boldness. If he is more concerned with pleasing those in academia than the Lord, then the whole counsel of God will not be preached. Sermons will be soft and lack vitality.

No where in the qualifications for elders or pastors in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 does it mention a formal seminary degree. Those passages speak about character, family, the ability to teach, and sound doctrine, but not about worldly credentials.

When churches require their leaders to have advanced seminary degrees, it also prevents those who may have the gift to preach but don’t have a formal degree from using that gift. Peter was a fisherman, but he was also a bold preacher for the Lord because he knew Jesus and walked with Him. When you read Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, you discover that he boldly preached the Word. You don’t find the politically correct wishy-washiness in sermons that you hear now.

Perhaps it is also a good idea to tie seminaries to the local church instead of to a denomination so that they will be more accountable in matters of policy and doctrine. In the SBC, seminaries like Southeastern have embraced CRT and social justice. It’s hard for a person in the pew to do much about it, though, when the seminary presidents are accountable to a board on which sit members no one even knows.

I’m all for future pastors and preachers receiving the training they need. Seminaries are helpful when it comes to teaching subjects like Hebrew and Greek. But I wonder if more time needs to be spent in mentorships out in the field. Young preachers will probably learn a lot more from following a pastor around for a few months than he will in the years he spends at seminary.

10) Snobbishness

It is painful to feel snubbed or not accepted in church. When we think of someone being rejected at church, we usually think of the person with a sinful past that is judged unfairly. That is indeed wrong, but it doesn’t have to be that. Oftentimes, the problem can be cliques in the church. If you don’t fit in with a certain group, you may feel left out.

James talks about showing partiality to people in church because of their wealth or the clothes that they wear. So, obviously snobbishness is nothing new. But when you are on the receiving end of it, it can be very disheartening.

What I find usually happens is that church members get into the habit of hanging out with certain people in church. They have their friends and their routines. When someone new comes in, often the effort is not made to reach out and include him. It doesn’t have to be a matter of malice, just one of neglect and carelessness.

Few things will harm a church’s effectiveness and witness like a smug, snobby attitude. People will not come to a church where they feel unwelcome. We must display the love and compassion of Christ to the lowly and outcasts in these matters.

Conclusion

My intention in presenting this list is not to just point out the problems. My hope is that by identifying these issues, we can do something to address these problems and correct them. I want to see the church have its vitality restored and be an effective witness for Christ. Let us all pray Psalm 85:6:

Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?

Don’t Use the Left’s Language

In George Orwell’s novel 1984, Newspeak was the language of Oceania created by the Party to limit people’s ability to think and communicate subversive thoughts. It was basically a dumbed down version of English, or Oldspeak. Such nonsensical words like doubleplusgood were created to replace words like excellent. Goodthink meant politically correct ideas that were approved of by the Party. And words like joycamp (forced-labor camp) meant the exact opposite of the reality behind the word. Some modern-day examples of newspeak include the words inclusive, homophobic, and winter break.

Inclusive is the big buzzword these days. Everyone wants to be welcoming and kind to people. But that’s not really what the Left means by the word. They mean that you must approve of agendas that you don’t agree with—that you can no longer hold to Christian values. If you espouse anything that doesn’t line up with the Left’s pet causes, then you are a bigot, and thus not inclusive.

Being inclusive is also the reasoning behind the use of the next word, Winter Break. When I was a kid, we called the two-weeks we got out of school in December and January, Christmas Break. But I’ve noticed in recent years, Winter Break is used even by Christian teachers (largely out of habit or being forced to, I suppose). This is a clear attempt to deChristianize our schools, though liberals will claim that they are only trying to be inclusive. Everyone knows the reason why kids are out of school during this season—Christmas. People often travel to be with their families during this time. Yet the Left wants to pretend that it’s just another break from school that happens to occur during winter.

Homophobic has also been a liberal buzzword for years. The Left uses this one to beat anyone into submission who dares to challenge the LGBT agenda, which makes it difficult to hold to Biblical views on sexuality. If you say you are for marriage between a man and a woman, then you are tagged and labeled with this word. No one wants to appear to be afraid of something, so they get defensive, and in so doing, unwittingly distance themselves from the very values which they espouse. This is all a very insidious strategy by the Left.

All of this probably sounds way too familiar. A recent online meme joked about the need to move 1984 from the fiction section to the current events section. The sad fact is that people these days voluntarily change their language; they don’t even have to be forced to do so. This is largely due to the deconstruction of truth and language found in postmodern academia over the last century. No longer is 2 + 2 = 4 such a simple and obvious concept.

So, as Christians and conservatives we must not fall into the trap of using the Left’s language— because if we do use their language, we will play right into their hands. We will limit our ability to discover and communicate truth and to defend our cherished values. Like in the novel 1984, we will get to a point where we just accept whatever lies the Party pushes on us. Then freedom of speech and freedom of thought will be things of the past. The Left will control everything in society. You have to realize that is the goal—control. And the Left often uses language to achieve it.

My First Time to Ski

Little Blue bunny slope, Youth Center, and Main Chalet at Red River Ski Resort

My family and I recently went skiing at Red River, New Mexico. It was my first ski trip. The town of Red River offered beautiful scenery, tasty food, and a quaint atmosphere.

Our first task when we arrived in town was to go to a local sports shop to rent skis, poles, and boots. The staff at All Seasons was very helpful in getting our sizes and providing the gear that we needed.

View of the Tubing house and the Gold Rush slope

After the ski shop, we went to the chalet to sign up for lessons. It was very crowded, and we had to wait in line. They were sold out of lessons, but we were able to buy lift passes (which were expensive) so that we could ski the next day.

Since we didn’t get lessons, I watched YouTube videos that night at the condo on how to ski. The videos were helpful. They talked about the importance of using the wedge technique. Even after watching the videos, though, I still found it hard to slow down or turn.

There are three different kinds of slopes, which are color-coded. The Green slopes are for beginners, the blue for intermediate skiers, and the black for experts. For the first day, I stayed on the green bunny slope called Little Blue (confusing, I know), which was challenging enough. It had a long, moving treadmill to transport skiers back to the top of the slope.

On the second day of skiing, I got bolder and took the ski lift up to a steeper, green slope called the Gold Rush. Let me just say that the ski lift requires a bit of skill to ride as well. When I exited the ski lift, I had a wipeout. It was pretty humiliating.

At top of the slope, I was quite intimidated by the steepness of the slope before me. Keep in mind this was still a green slope. The resort also had a black slope called “The Face” that went almost straight down. I have no idea how people skied on that one. I started down the Gold Rush slope and my speed quickly got out of hand. I tried the wedge, but it didn’t seem to slow me down. I fell, and I had trouble getting my skis back on. I managed to try again, though. I didn’t want to give up so easily. I went a little further down, and I had an even bigger wipeout. One thing I learned is that if you fall on the higher-up slopes, no one seems to care to help. They just zoom right pass you. I felt like I came close to injuring my leg, so I decided that was enough. It wasn’t worth getting hurt over. So I walked down the rest of the way (which wasn’t easy in ski boots while also carrying my skis and poles).

Carrying the gear and wearing the boots were my least favorite part of the ski experience. The boots are hard to get on and off and even harder to walk in. With long walks in the cold from the car to the slopes, I felt worn out before I even began to ski. My shins and legs were also sore from walking in the boots.

My wife had skied multiple times before, so she was already an experienced skier. She made it look easy. She traversed the Gold Rush with ease. My older son loved skiing. Even though it was his first time, he picked it up rather quickly. My younger one was more like me. Skiing was not really his thing.

I would say that some people are going to enjoy skiing more than others. I found it very challenging, and even slightly dangerous. It probably didn’t help that I’m not really a cold weather person.

The view behind our condo

Our condo at The Woodlands on the River had a beautiful view (see the picture above). It felt very cozy to go back there in the evenings and light the fire and look out the windows. And with a kitchen, we were able to have meals there as well.

There are only a few restaurants in town, but the two that we ate at were delicious—Sundance Mexican Restaurant and Texas Reds Steak House. Sundance had huge sopapillas, and Texas Reds had a delicious T-Bone steak. Sundance had a long wait time. They took reservations, but we didn’t realize that so we put our name in and went back to the condo. We came back an hour or two later. Texas Reds didn’t take reservations so we got there early, even before they were officially opened. We were the first ones to be seated.

Small pond near the Flyer House

As far as recommendations to new skiers, I would say that you definitely need to have a plan. It may be crowded, and things can quickly sell out. So call ahead or go online to see if you can reserve a spot for lessons and lift tickets. Figure out where you are going to rent your skis from. Also, it might be a good idea to take sandwiches for lunch in the chalet. They have a small cafe and snack bar, but the lines were long and seating was hard to find. Expect things to be expensive. Parking is difficult as well unless you get there early or late in the day.

Overall, it was a fun experience. I enjoyed the scenery, food, and time with family more than the skiing. Yet I’m glad I got to experience it so at least I know what it is like. Before I went, I didn’t really understand the appeal of ski trips. Now I know that they have a charm all of their own.

The Sad, Sinful, Silence of the Church

I know pastors and seminary professors who should be speaking out on the false doctrine, marxism, and corruption within churches and our society, but sadly they are not. So I ask myself, “Why do I go through the trouble of warning others about these things if our leaders don’t seem to care or are unwilling to do anything about it?” The answer is that I don’t want to be like them. I actually care about the truth more than being popular. And just as Ezekiel was called to be a watchman on the wall and warn others, so too do we have a responsibility to do likewise.

Our society is crumbling all around us, so it seems rather strange and a little unnerving to attend church and hear little about such things. Nothing about the dangers of marxism, CRT, or social justice. Nothing about the threat of the LGBT movement. Very little about sin or repentance.

We’ve been through two of the most tumultuous and eventful years in American history, and I’ve heard little to nothing about the race riots, January 6, or tyrannical government overreach. At what point does the church become out of touch if it refuses to address such huge events? If there is no position taken or instruction given in some of the most consequential events in American history, people begin to look elsewhere for answers.

This timidity in addressing contemporary events, sin, and societal dangers is one of the major problems in the church. We need preachers who will guide their flock on what position to take on such matters. A man of God must be willing to declare, “Thus says the Lord,” and preach the Word of God boldly without apology. But sadly, too many pastors seem to be more concerned about advancing their careers.

There is much emphasis put on the academic side of things in churches. But I would rather sit under a preacher with no advanced degrees who just boldly and faithfully preaches the Word than to listen to a Ph.D. who is afraid to take a stand or say anything controversial. It seems to me that what often happens is that the more academic credentials a preacher has, the less courageous his preaching becomes. His focus becomes more about impressing or pleasing his friends in academia rather than pleasing the Lord.

And it is difficult to respect your leaders when they don’t have courage. I find often that the people in the pew are more willing to speak out and to fight in the trenches, than those in the pulpit. In fact there seems to be a real gap between the pew and the pulpit. Many leaders seem completely out of touch with their congregations.

One of the jobs of the shepherd is to fend off the wolves and protect the sheep, but these days it seems that the wolves are let in the door to devour the sheep. Ezekiel rebuked the sinful shepherds of his day who fed themselves instead of feeding and taking care of the sheep:

“Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.”
‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭34:7-10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

In John 10, Jesus talked about hirelings who failed to protect the sheep from the wolves:

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. John 10:12

So little has changed. We still have hirelings in pulpits who refuse to protect the sheep from the wolves. We still have sinful shepherds who feed themselves instead of feeding the flock. What has changed is that the dangers have increased, and the lies have become more subtle. In a time when the sheep need bold and vocal shepherds more than ever, we have many weak and selfish shepherds who are more concerned with their career or social standing than with preaching the unadulterated truth. It is indeed sad that the church is silent in such a dangerous day.

American Idols

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” 1 John 5:21

In the Old Testament, idolatry consisted of worshipping other gods, usually statues made of wood, stone, or gold. Israel struggled throughout its history with worshipping the false gods of the nations around them, right up until the time of the Babylonian Captivity, at which time they finally seemed to learn the lesson (perhaps they even overcorrected and became too legalistic).

In the New Testament, Paul mentions idolatry in Romans and 1 Corinthians, but he seems to expand the concept to other forms in Colossians 3:5, where he declares that greed, or covetousness, is idolatry.

In churches today, you’ll often hear a definition of idolatry as anything that people value or love more than God. The Bible is clear that we are to keep God preeminent in our lives. After all, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. —Matt 22:37

America has many such idols that prevent us from loving God with all our heart. Let’s focus our discussion on two of the most popular ones—money and sports. These two often go together, but let’s begin with money.

There’s nothing wrong with money in and of itself; it’s the love of money that is a sin. We need money to pay the bills, to eat, and even to help others. Money is a necessary evil in a fallen world.

Our currency displays our national motto, “In God We Trust.” It is a wonderful motto. Sadly, though, in practice our nation often seems to trust in the dollar instead of the Deity.

Idolatry often masks itself in practical ways as corporations and individuals excuse unethical behavior in order to increase the bottom line. At other times it’s more obvious such as when a professional athlete or coach who is already making millions of dollars will leave his team for a better deal.

Paul warns us about chasing after riches in 1 Timothy 6:9:

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

The idol of money, like all idols, will not satisfy. No amount is enough. Those who seek happiness or security in wealth will never be fulfilled.

Sports is another American idol. Again, there’s nothing wrong with sports in and of themselves. I’ve enjoyed playing and watching sports myself. But our society has taken athletics to the extreme. We’re all familiar with the exorbitant salaries of professional athletes. We also are aware of people who won’t miss a game of their favorite team, but they can’t seem to find anytime for serving God or attending church.

Little league baseball teams play tournaments almost every weekend in the spring, summer, and fall, making it almost impossible for the players and parents to attend church on Sunday mornings. Fans will go all out for their favorite sports team, but they often show little enthusiasm for the things of the Lord. Families get together for holidays and spend nearly the whole time watching and talking about football.

To make matters worse, there are seemingly few sermons about repentance of idolatry in American churches. We need preachers who will tell it like it is. Instead, preachers calculate what is safe to say and filter their sermons through a politically correct lens. If we’re going to correct the sin of idolatry, we must first confront it from the pulpit.

The bottom line is that we need to repent of leaving our first love and get back to putting Christ first in our lives. Anything less will leave us feeling unsatisfied and miserable. Only God can fill our hearts with joy and offer us the forgiveness and healing that our nation so desperately needs.

James Carville Blames Virginia Losses on “Stupid Wokeness”

Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s governor’s race Tuesday night. Many attributed McAuliffe’s loss to parental anger at his tone deaf statement, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Parents in Virginia were already upset with the Loudoun County school board over sexual assaults, CRT, and transgender issues. Others cite Biden’s unpopularity as the reason for McAuliffe’s loss.

But Democratic strategist and political consultant, James Carville, may have given the most eye-opening and candid explanation for the Democrats’ defeat in Virginia.

Carville appeared on PBS News Hour Wednesday night, and host Judy Woodruff asked him about the reason why Democrats lost. He summed it up in two words, “Stupid wokeness.” The rest of his answer did not disappoint:

“Some of these people need to go to a woke detox center. They’re expressing a language people just don’t use and there’s a backlash and a frustration at that.

Carville went on to say that the Democrats need to be about changing laws instead of dictionaries. He lambasted “these faculty lounge people that sit around mulling about I don’t know what.” And he even commented on Seattle’s CHAZ from last year, saying, “autonomous zone–who could even think of something that stupid?”

Wow! It’s an interview worth listening to, and it’s an indication that all of this wokeness is so out of control that even the Democrats are starting to wake up to its negative effects. The question is, “Will other Democrats wake up to the dangers of wokeness like Carville?”

The Courage of Luther

On this Reformation Day, in which we commemorate Martin Luther’s act of nailing the 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, on October 31, 1517 (which began the Protestant Reformation), we can be encouraged by his boldness to stand for the Gospel and the Word of God.

Luther was protesting the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church. Luther wanted to get back to the heart of the Gospel–justification by faith alone, which is one of the Five Solas. They are listed below:

Luther suffered consequences for his principled stand. In 1521, he was excommunicated by Pope Leo X and called upon to defend himself at the Diet of Worms before the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. There he uttered these words:

“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

Interestingly, it is debated whether he said the famous words, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” Many scholars say there is no evidence for this particular phrase. Regardless, Luther showed true courage in standing against the Pope and Emperor.

In the Edict of Worms, Luther was declared to be a heretic and had to flee to Wartburg Castle, where he translated the Bible into German. Luther never was arrested. He was protected by German princes, and the Emperor was soon distracted by other problems.

On this Reformation Day, we should remember the courage that Luther showed in standing up to the Pope and Catholic Church, and the reason for his stance–fidelity to Scripture. We could use more people like Luther today, people with courage and conviction to follow Christ regardless of the consequences.

Politics in the Pulpit

I believe that we should trust in the Lord. The Bible is very clear on that principle. In addition, I believe that we should wait upon the Lord. I also believe that sometimes we must speak up, take action, and get involved. Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for every season and purpose under the heaven.

“…A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” –Eccl 3:7b

In our day and age when marxism, sexual anarchy, and general wickedness seem to be running rampant, I believe that it is time to speak out. Sadly, though, it seems many Christians use the concept of trusting in the Lord as an excuse to do nothing and say nothing. Or they might view speaking on politics in the church as somehow impure, worldly, or as a diversion from the true mission.

I’ve found that the people who believe this are sometimes judgmental toward those who do speak out or get involved in politics. They seem almost pharisaical in their attitude, as if they are somehow purer or more devoted than those wayward Christians whom they see as “trusting in princes.”

What I find surprising about all of this is that our Founding Fathers saw no problem with speaking about politics in the church. They trusted in the Lord and exercised their rights as citizens. An examination of Acts 22 shows us that the Apostle Paul did the same.

Consider the Reverend Jacob Duché’s The American Vine sermon, in July 1775, in which he blasts Britain for attempting to cut down “this branch of thine own vine.” He goes on to say:

“Go on, ye chosen band of Christian Patriots! Testify to the world, by your example as well as by your counsels, that ye are equally the foes of VICE and of SLAVERY.”

Or take for example the Reverend John Carmichael’s June 1775 sermon entitled, A Self-Defensive War Lawful:

“The angry tools of power who mislead government may call us American “rebels, who would throw off all government–would be independent and what not.” –But we can now, with great confidence, appeal to God that that is false — we desire no such things –we desire to be as we were in the beginning of the present unhappy reign –we have tried every lawful peaceable means in our power — but all in vain! . . .

. . . Therefore you can, GENTLEMEN SOLDIERS, appeal to GOD for the justice of your cause.”

Or the Reverend Samuel Langdon’s sermon before the Assembly of Massachusetts Bay at the end of May 1775:

“That ever memorable day, the nineteenth of April, is the date of an unhappy war openly begun by the Ministers of the King of Great Britain against his good subjects in this Colony, and implicitly against all the colonies. —-But for what? —- Because they have made a noble stand for their natural and constitutional rights, in opposition to the machinations of wicked men who are betraying their Royal Master, establishing popery in the British dominions, and aiming to enslave and ruin the whole nation [so] that they may enrich themselves and their vile dependents with the public treasures and the spoils of America.”

And perhaps most famously, John Witherspoon’s The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men on May 17, 1776:

“God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable, and that the unjust attempts to destroy the one, may in the issue tend to the support and establishment of both.

One of the results of shunning politics in churches is an increasing ignorance in the pews of moral and contemporary issues. Many parishioners may know how to become a Christian but very little about how to live as one. Sometimes I feel as though we are winning people to Jesus who then go on to live like the world because they never hear that transgenderism, abortion, pornography, and other evils are contrary to God’s will. Or they may support a party or a candidate that promotes values which are in opposition to godliness because their pastor declared a moral equivalence between the two opposing political parties.

So if you’re a Christian who turns his nose at politics and pretends to be above such worldly matters, you may not be superior in your faith. You may just be a bad citizen. Or at least an ignorant one.

Wake Up, SBC Leaders!

The following article is directed toward the Ed Litton’s, Danny Akin’s, Adam Greenway’s, J.D. Greear’s, and other Big Eva members of the SBC:

If there is one word that sums up how I feel right now as a Southern Baptist, it is frustration. Our society is in the middle of a marxist revolution, and most SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) leaders are either silent or clueless about what is going on.

Communicating with these leaders often feels like an exercise in futility. Marxist ideologies like Critical Race Theory (CRT) are ripping up the foundations of our society, and many Christian leaders aren’t taking the threat seriously. They just laugh it off. In fact, some preachers are even endorsing these crazy ideas. I had an exchange with one pastor the other day, and he referred to CRT as a “boogeyman used to scare people.” He went on to use the word “equity” in a positive sense. He was employing the language of the marxists and probably didn’t even realize it. So much for the boogeyman theory.

Books like Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility and Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist are also circulating among Christians circles. DiAngelo says it’s wrong to be colorblind. Kendi says that you have to be anti-capitalist if you want to be antiracist. Yet there are few if any warnings about all this from the pulpits. The only Christians I hear talking about it on public platforms are podcasters like Jon Harris and radio hosts like Janet Mefferd and Sandy Rios. If it weren’t for them, we would be in the dark on these issues.

Many SBC leaders try to remain neutral as if they’re above the partisan fray. But you can’t remain neutral about evil ideas. You have to call them out. SBC leaders are masters of speaking out of both sides of their mouths, telling each side what they want to hear. It’s difficult to get a straight answer from them. Figuring out where they stand on an issue is like trying to pin jello to the wall.

Many of these leaders care more about their career, reputation, or paycheck than they do about the flock or speaking the truth. There is an overemphasis upon academic degrees within the SBC at the expense of fidelity to the truth. What good is your education if it doesn’t cause you to be faithful to the Bible and bold in speaking the truth? Many of these leaders were likely indoctrinated by marxist thought in college. Perhaps they are silent about CRT and other leftist ideas because they have fallen for these lies themselves.

We live in a time when the concept of objective truth is a forgotten idea. Pastors should be driving this concept home in their sermons. But sadly what you often hear is the same relativistic ear-tickling found on college campuses. CRT is built upon subjective things like emotion and experience. Standpoint epistemology, which is an element of CRT, teaches that authority rests in one’s personal perspective or experience instead of in objective, verifiable truth. We need our leaders to be refuting these errors and false teachings.

I understand that politics isn’t for everyone, but it would be nice to see some concern for our country and some acknowledgement of the revolution that is taking place before our very eyes. Sadly, I suspect that some SBC leaders are secretly rooting for America to fall. If you doubt this, look at previous statements from former Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) president, Russell Moore, about Mayberry, Robert E. Lee, and Donald Trump. It’s clear that Moore hates America and probably agrees with Kendi that our country is intrinsically racist. Moore has since left the SBC, but his rants are typical of the woke nonsense that you get from evangelical elites these days.

SBC leaders continue to defend and side with woke teachers. They offer no criticism for anyone except conservatives, and they expect us to believe that they are something other than liberals or cowards. It’s time that they wake up to the truth of what is going on. It’s time that they start caring about more than money and power. It’s time for them to pick which side they are on.

“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

In Defense of Columbus Day

“Columbus, of course, has always held a proud place in our history not only for his voyage of exploration but for the spirit that he exemplified. He was a dreamer, a man of vision and courage, a man filled with hope for the future and with the determination to cast off for the unknown and sail into uncharted seas for the joy of finding whatever was there. Put it all together and you might say that Columbus was the inventor of the American dream.

After years of academic assaults on the legacy of Christopher Columbus and the riots of last year in which multiple statues of the Genoese explorer were torn down or removed, the celebration of the holiday bearing his name seems to be hanging by a thread.

Some objections to honoring the man who discovered the New World and opened it up to exploration and colonization by Europeans include the following: Columbus’ cruel treatment of native peoples, the fact that he never touched foot in the continental United States, and that he wasn’t actually the first person to reach the New World.

That his behavior was sometimes cruel and tyrannical is really undisputed, although it might be exaggerated somewhat. At one point the Spanish crown sent to have Columbus put under arrest and brought back to Spain. But we would honor very few people if we let their faults exclude them from recognition. Columbus did have plenty of blemishes on his character, but who doesn’t? He also had a lot of positive traits. He was willing to take risks and boldly embark upon an ocean-crossing adventure at a time when no one was sure what lay on the other side of the Atlantic.

It is also true that Columbus did not set foot in what is now the United States. In his four voyages to the New World, he explored the Bahamas, Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Central America, South America, Trinidad, and the Lesser Antilles. But that does not mean he didn’t have a large impact on our country’s history. He let the world know it was possible to sail across the Atlantic and that there were undiscovered lands between Europe and Asia. Thus, Columbus’ successful voyages to the West Indies opened doors to European exploration of the future United States that would soon follow.

While Columbus was the second person to discover the New World (behind Leif Erikson and his voyage to Vinland, or Newfoundland, 500 years before), his impact may have been larger. As hinted at above, Columbus paved the way for the other European explorers and the English who would found settlements in the modern-day United States. The same can’t be said for Leif Erikson’s voyage. While there were lasting Viking settlements in Greenland, that wasn’t the case for the rest of North America. Perhaps, timing played a key role, but it is pretty clear that Columbus’ footprint in history is larger than Erickson’s when it comes to the exploration and development of the Americas.

So it is important that we continue to celebrate Columbus Day in an age when much of our history is being erased and rewritten. Our society is based upon the tradition of Western Civilization, and if we throw out our heritage, we will forget who we are and where we came from. If you don’t particularly like Christopher Columbus, remember that Columbus Day is about commemorating his contributions and impact upon history as much as it is honoring the person. If our nation cancels Columbus, it is cancelling much more than another explorer. It is cancelling an important part of her history.