Current Events

Should We Be Surprised About the Sexual Misconduct in Hollywood?

The attention that movements like #MeToo and the allegations of sexual misconduct against celebrities like Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, and Louis C.K. is not surprising when you consider this truth: Hollywood has been normalizing sexual promiscuity and misconduct for decades.

I was born in 1977 and, unfortunately, can remember movie scenes and television scenes of couples sleeping in a bed together who were not married to one another. With no commentary and no shame, the couple would converse and share this intimate event without any apology. To them, and to Hollywood at large, this was/is considered normal behavior.

And, this normalization of promiscuity goes back even further into Hollywood history.

In 2018, it is much worse. What used to be edited from TV shows is now a major focus of the plot. What used to be rated R is now rated PG-13 and even PG at times.

When you normalize sin, you get celebrities that think they can act and behave in whatever deviant way they want, which is why countless men in Hollywood are being accused of sexual misconduct. These men were under the impression that this kind of behavior is normal.

In some ways, they are accurate. This kind of behavior IS normal when you are without the saving power of the Gospel in your life. Sexual misconduct is normal, fleshly, unredeemed behavior.

Lady Gaga’s now famous song “I Was Born This Way,” is partially true. Everyone is born a sinner set on fighting against God and His holy expectations of us (Romans 5:10). Without the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we all will act out in unrestrained sinful ways against our fellow man (John 16:7-11).

The only hope for our world to be free of the sexual misconduct of the Weinstein’s and Spacey’s is the transforming power of the Gospel, which promises deliverance from unchecked and unbridled sin (Romans 5:17).

When you hear another news story about another celebrity accused of another form of sexual misconduct, do 4 things: lament (James 4:9), pray (I Thessalonians 5:17), warn your own heart of these temptations (Mark 14:38), and find a friend who needs to hear about the deliverance of God’s Gospel and beg them to accept it.

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What Makes Life Sacred?

The climax of creation was Day 6 (Genesis 1:26). It was on this day that man was created.

God did not “wake up” one day and find Himself lonely and decided to create man so that He would have someone to tell stories to or go on walks with. God created man for an initial purpose: to glorify Himself – “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:7).

Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:11-12 – “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.” This means life was created to glorify its Creator.

We should never forget or grow apathetic to the truth that it is God who gives life. And man has a uniqueness to his creation that no other created thing or creature has. Man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:28). The Hebrew word for “image” means “carving.” Each of us are shaped after God in some way.

  • We are likened to God in personhood. This means that, like God, we can have fellowship, commune with others, speak out in conversation or to others, etc.
  • We are likened to God in the communicable attributes. Theologians have divided God’s God into 2 categories: incommunicable (those attributes that belong to God alone – omnipotent, perfectly righteous, eternal, etc.) and communicable (those attributes that both man and God can share). Thus, God is loving – so can we be. God is faithful – so can we be. God is just – so can we be.
  • We are likened to God in reasoning ability and consciousness. Because animals do not have a soul and are not self-aware, and God is, we too have this special thinking capacity and awareness of self.
  • We are likened to God in authority and dominion. While we aren’t sovereign like God, He does designate us to rule over the earth.

God made us His image-bearers. Life is God’s to give and God’s to take away. It is never man’s “choice.” God has the privilege of giving life and it is only His to give.

In the womb, God gives or breathes in life. David says in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” David indicates that life is – at the very least – present at conception. Later David says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).

To take a baby from the womb is to steal life. It is plain and simply…murder. Jeremiah adds that God even knows us before conception (Jeremiah 1:5).

Life is valuable, not because we say it is so, but because God created it. Life is sacred because it comes from One who is sacred. And that is one of the reasons it should not surprise us that one of the 10 Commandments is a forbidding of murder (Exodus 20:13). Chuck Swindoll writes,

“It is God’s way of saying, ‘Life is so important no one has the right to murder it. Don’t end it. Let it live. Because all humanity represents my handiwork; it is Mine to do with as I please. My image is, in mysterious ways, stamped into human life’.” (Sanctity of Life, pg. 17)

On this day, which has been designated National Sanctity of Human Life Day, thank the Lord for His gift of life. Ask Him to continue to preserve life. Pray that God would convict those who steal life. Proclaim the Gospel to those who are thinking about stealing life from those precious children in their wombs.

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Racism and the Imago Dei

The main reason God loathes racism comes from the early chapters of the Bible.

On the 6th day of creation. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).

Theologians have wrestled with the imago dei (“our image”) for centuries and I am certainly not going to answer all of your questions in this blog post, but let me, instead, give you a brief understanding.

The word for “image” means “to carve or to cut off.” Genesis 1:26 means man was carved from God. He was shaped and formed – in a way – like God. That means that we are created from a heavenly pattern. That means we are created on a heavenly pattern which is not true of anything else that was created, nothing else in the time-space universe. No animal was made in God’s image. No mountain was made in God’s image. No star or black hole was made in God’s image.

Man was created in a special way. He is the only one or thing made after God in some fashion. He bears the stamp of God’s likeness. You might say the pattern for personhood was God. Like God, man has reason, intellect, will and emotion.

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To “be racist” is to behave in such a way that supposes that you are made in the image of God in a way that others are not. It is a selfish distortion of the imago dei. You could say that to “be racist” is to seek to undermine the stamp of God’s image that is upon all of us.

This is also, by the way, the reason that murder is forbidden in the Scripture – “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6).

John Calvin tell us, “Now if we do not wish to violate the image of God, we ought to hold our neighbors sacred. And if we do not wish to renounce all humanity, we ought to cherish him as our flesh.”

Love your neighbor as your self – as your own flesh. Love the one of different heritage and different language and different color from you, for you were BOTH made in God’s image.

William Powers, On Digital Busyness

Image result for william powers hamlet's blackberry“The cursor never rests in one place for long, and neither does the mind. We’re always clicking here, there, and everywhere. Thus, although we think of our screens as productivity tools, they actually undermine the serial focus that’s the essence of true productivity. And the faster and more intense our connectedness becomes, the further we move away from that ideal. Digital busyness is the enemy of depth.” (William Powers, Hamlet’s Blackberry)

A Shooter in Las Vegas Shows Us What We Need

Horrific. Gruesome. Dark.

Those are the words that came to mind yesterday morning when I woke up, turned on my PC and began reading the news alerts coming out of Las Vegas, NV.

At first it was dozens killed and a couple hundred hurt. As I am typing this post on Monday night about 6:00pm, there are 59 dead (not including the shooter) and over 500 injured.

One man armed with an evil heart disrupted thousands of lives.

Cue the questions, “Who is to blame? What is to blame?”

The media is going to offer up all the wrong answers.

  • Some will say we need more gun control and if we had limitations on the types of firearms this man owned or possessed that we wouldn’t have these mass shootings.
  • Some will blame psychiatrists that are often prescribing anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medications to these individuals.
  • Some will blame bullies or mean parents from the shooter’s childhood.
  • Some will blame President Trump for his edgy demeanor and provocative language he uses that many believe have given this country greater disunity.

The media will ask good questions but they will give all the wrong answers. And the media will never get to the central solution that addresses this form of evil we have witnessed today.

To simplify, the only way that an evil heart can be stopped from committing such terrible acts is not more laws or medicines. The antidote to this kind of evil is the Gospel.

Jesus died to save these kinds of men from these kinds of evil. Plain and simple.

Jesus has saved slave traders, murderers, drug addicts, thieves, atheists, and prostitutes. The Bible says that Jesus came not to save those who are healthy but those who are sick (Mark 2:17). This shooter is exactly the kind of individual Jesus came to save. Unfortunately, it does not seem that this shooter ever saw his need for a Savior and he died in his sins.

The Gospel message is a message that says Jesus has come to offer to exchange that which is worthless (an evil heart) for that which is valuable (a righteous heart).

But here is the catch: it is not our righteous heart. It is Jesus’ righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21).

We can’t save ourselves. No shooter can atone for his own sins; only Jesus can do that.

Willian Arnot, a Scottish pastor in the 1800’s said that

“the difference between and unconverted and a converted man, is not that one has sins and the other has none. But the one takes part with his cherished sins against a dreaded god and the other takes part with his reconciled God against his hated sin( Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, pg. 311).

This shooter cherished his sin so much that he wanted to spread his maliciousness upon the lives of others; the genuine Christian knows he is capable of the same evil (Psalm 14), but because He has trusted in Christ as His Lord and Savior, his sin no longer enslaves him (Romans 6:20). This shooter was simply acting out his evil, heart that was in bondage to sin.

What Las Vegans and the tourists that experienced this attack need right now is the hope that

only the Gospel brings.

Let’s pray for the churches in Las Vegas that love the Gospel and want their mission field to be changed by its promises. Pray that the Christians in Las Vegas would rise up to be vessels of healing, ministers of hope and friends to their fellow man.

II Corinthians 1:3

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