Am I going Liberal with my Immigration?

It is far too easy to jump to our political corners and defend our political party to the death, so I am going to try and refrain from that action here today with this post. I believe that we often put country before God and I think we jump to that rather quickly with immigration. Far too often we start our positions on immigration from a political affiliation instead of a Biblical one. To be fair to both sides, I think the conservatives are guilty of this on immigration and liberals are guilty of it in regards to abortion.

Our Experiences Vacationing out of the Country

I told my wife that the next time that we travel outside of the country it will be for mission work. I am not talking about mission work where you go paint a house, I am talking about mission work where my family has to worry about my well being every day. Not that I have a death wish, but I think anything less than that is not productive for Christ.

My Chiropractor does a great amount of work in the country of Jamaica. He goes into remote villages in the jungle and works with the locals and their posture. He is also working with the government to find a better route for Jamaican adoptions. I talked to him about my concerns with these fancy resorts in the third world nations. He then brought up that the resorts in these third – world countries actually have invested in infrastructure to shield the consumer from seeing what the living conditions actually are for the citizens of these countries. Sad! (Donald Trump tweet style)

Before you throw a fit about my discussions regarding the tourism industry, I already know that the average amount of revenue for the country form tourism is around 75% of their entire economy.

Bahamas

straw marketThe first trip I took outside of the country was to the Bahamas with my wife’s entire family. This included her mom, dad, grandma, aunt, uncle, and two cousins. We talked with the employees there about what they do outside of work and I was surprised to find out that most of the lifeguards at the resort go fishing for conk shells. On their days off they would often spend up to 12 hours a day fishing for conk as it is in such demand for the tourism industry. Her cousin also decided to indulge in the local “herbal” delicacies from a lifeguard that was less than sketchy.

We decided to take an excursion outside of the resort to visit another site on the island. To do this we had to take a taxi and walk through one of the major cities in the Bahamas. The results to me were startling. Drivers did not obey the traffic lights and were even allowed to drink and drive as long as they did not drive erratically. We went to an area called the “straw market” and I was incredibly saddened by what I saw. Sure, some of it is theater from the locals so you purchase goods from them, but you cannot hide the rotting teeth, inflamed guts in the children from malnutrition, and the stench from not showering with running water.

What repulsed me even more was the way we treated the locals with our bartering. I mean, what is $40 for a trinket to us? What is $40 for the family that made the little necklace? The American guilt I felt was a deep pit in my stomach that I still feel to this day. This feeling only got worse with the other countries we visited.

Jamaica

ricks cafeWhen my wife and I married we decided to take our honeymoon in Jamaica. The problem with Jamaica was that the beaches in front of our resorts were public. This was vastly different from the Bahamas as they actually had armed guards patrolling the beach property in front of the resorts, you know, so the local trash did not disturb the guests.

The ironic thing about the locals in Jamaica was that they were extremely funny and friendly. Our favorite local would sing American songs while we relaxed on the beach with our free drinks and free food. What saddened me, was when we were at dinner one night and the waitress told us how lucky we were to live in America. She was also talking to us about how she was saving up to buy off a guard that her friend knew in the United States. She said that some of the guards will allow you to go through for just the right amount of money. …We tipped her extra that night so maybe she could make her way here one day.

The Dominican Republic

sugar caneIf the above experiences were not enough, I had finally had it in the Dominican. We passed a billion dollar sugar cane factory that was invested in by the Chinese. Trains went from farm to farm, field to field, just to collect the sugar cane that was manually harvested by Haitians. Even the Dominicans would not work the fields as it was to labor intensive.

The fresh water rivers looked like the river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This sight was similar in Jamaica, but even worse in the Dominican. And these people walk miles to drink it!

dominicanWhile driving to the resort from the hotel, our tour guide pointed out this hut village in the middle of the country. He talked about all of these major league ball players that all came from this village of metal shacks with sugar cane roofs. He said in the Dominican the only chance they have of making it out of poverty is baseball. That is why you see so many South and Central American ball players in the MLB today.

The Guilt I Feel

There was only reoccurring trend that I felt through all of my experiences: We were the customers at the zoo. We lived among the people and citizens of these impoverished nations and looked out our windows at them with our camera phones. We took pictures, thought about how awful it would be to live here, and then complained about our food at dinner that night to the lady that had to go home to a hut where she lived with her extended family.

I cannot imagine what the feeling would be like to work at these resorts. The amount of customers from around the world treating this gourmet food like it was trash. Leaving our plates full because we did not like the taste. Leaving our drinks have full because it cooled down before we could enjoy the hot coffee. Asking for more alcohol because the bite to our mixed drink was just not enough. I still feel sick for this to this day.

Immigration Reform

Last week President Trump and the Republicans were in hot water over their policy proposal with separating the immigrant – sorry, ILLEGAL ALIEN –  families at the border. I had a hard time processing this when I was discussing it with my wife. Sure, I like President Trump and I am a Republican. I also understand that this was the policy under Obama and the media turned a blind eye to it.

I understand all of this. But I also understand that I could not go to the border and keep these families out. Sure, we let in some bad individuals, but how many bad people are here today that are born here? We are the most prosperous, richest nation in the world, should we not want to share it with the people that want to come in and reap the benefit? Some abuse the system, some go to welfare, but at what cost to our human decency?

We often forget that God is sovereign and His Will will be done. We take comfort in knowing this as long as He does not make it too uncomfortable for us. If we were that South American family that wanted the best for our children, would we not also try and make it here illegally? I will do whatever it takes so my son has a better living than I have now. I can only expect that from these families as well.

As Christians we are called to go out and make disciples as described in the Great Commission. I think any social or governmental issue below that is just that – secondary.

If you want to read a great article on this topic, go to David Platt’s article at The Gospel Coalition. I do not agree with most of the TGC stances as I discuss in detail in other blog postings, but I follow Platt and really enjoy his ministry.

God bless

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Will Social Marxism Grab J.D. Greear?

The highly polarized SBC Presidential election ended with the youngest pastor the convention has ever had as their President. J.D. Greear, the 62nd President from The Summit Church in Durham, NC, is bringing a pseudo Billy Graham flare to the office as he holds more of an arminian (or traditional) stance on salvation. The SBC is riddled with Calvinist and pseudo-Calvanist positions with prominent members such as Albert Mohler leading the way.

For myself, I would consider myself a David Platt style Calvinist. I think other prominent Christian leaders that would fall into this level of Calvinism would be John MacArthur and Paul Washer.

The Pulpit and Pen article I am using for my JD Greear research highlights this style of Calvinism perfectly:

The fact is, while a modified form of Calvinism has grown in recent years and taken some in the SBC away from Finney’s notions of Decisional Regeneration, the Sinner’s Prayer and altar calls, Calvinism in the SBC is typically a world away from the staunch Calvinism of the Reformation that the not-so-traditionalists fear so greatly. In fact, most of the “Calvinists” in the SBC really aren’t Calvinists at all; they’re just men who have grown tired of the number-counting, every-head-bowed and every-eye-closed salvation mills popularized by Semi-Pelagian preachers like Billy Graham, Billy Sunday and Charles Finney, who did little more than serve as midwives for the spiritual still-births of generations of false converts.

We all have spent time or know loved ones that attend churches that are obsessing over the Sinner’s Prayer (I blame the pride of megapastors and their focus on a “head count”, which shows how many people have prayed this prayer). The church we are members at also obsesses over the Sinner’s Prayer, reciting it almost weekly with invitations to recite it after the pastor. This style does not worry me too much at our church as they preach convicting messages instead of the fluffy sermons you see and hear on television, or your local megachurch, but the slope is slippery and the pastor is standing on the edge.

If you listen to my podcast, I discuss regularly my experiences under a false salvation. That was, I believe, due to my confidence in the SP keeping me from eternal damnation. After reading such books in the NT as 1 John and James, I can now fully say without hesitation that I was bound for hell for the bulk of my life. The commercialization of the SP has led to many people being falsely converted, which in return is destroying the church from the inside out, highlighted by the social Marxism movement today within the church.

J.D. Greear, from what I can tell, is leading a mission to where he is truly trying to bring people to Jesus Christ. But the recent article I read from One News Now might be worrisome to most orthodox Christians like myself. The author of the article, Bryan Fischer, summarizes the column with this statement:

If my position on an issue is right and biblical and grounded in God’s Word but interferes with my relationship with a homosexual, then I’ve got to dump being right. That’s pretty much what the new leader of America’s largest Protestant denomination implies.

If this summary rings a bell, you might be thinking of Carl Lentz’s most notorious interview on The View, to which he fumbled around on the idea that an abortion is indeed a sin. Lentz later retracted that viewpoint on Twitter, but only after serious backlash. Lentz is the “pastor” at Hillsong in NYC. Hillsong professes themselves to be a church, but they are anything but. Click here to watch him on The View.

The ONN article highlights one of Greear’s sermons in 2014, where he hit on homosexuality and how we should treat this sin and the people inflicted with the sin:

We have to love our gay neighbor more than we love our position on sexual morality, which means that our relationship with them must not be contingent upon their agreeing with us about sexuality. It means that when they don’t agree with us we still don’t push them away.

The posture of many Christians in our churches is more characterized by anger than by compassion, by judgment rather than by friendship. I am NOT saying that we would ever compromise our position or fail to state it, just that even when they disagree with it, we do not cut them off – we draw them close. We say yes, this issue is important. I cannot compromise, but I love you more than I love being right. And so even if you don’t see things my way, I’m going to keep bringing you close, and I’m going to remain committed to you.

In the cross of Jesus Christ, he shows us the right way to relate to the gay and the lesbian community – clarity about God’s righteousness, compassion that would give up its own life to draw them close.

Homosexuality, racism, and sexism topics have engulfed modern Christianity. Orthodox Christians like myself, Todd Friel (Wretched Radio), and Phil Johnson (Grace to You, Grace Community Church) have been left perplexed by these topics. Organizations such as The Gospel Coalition and evangelical “leaders” such as Beth Moore have taken hold of these topics. Although I really like some of the TGC council members, there stances on these social issues are rather odd and confusing at best, such as J.D. Greear’s stance in his 2014 sermon highlighted above.

I guess for myself I would say the answer to all of these topics is the gospel? The Bible? Jesus? Sermon on the Mount? I guess I could go on and on about different passages of the Bible that could help defeat these sinful positions, but that would not get endless clicks each and everyday, or whenever the news starts fake outrage. For an evangelical leader looking for their own fame instead of proclaiming the Gospel, bringing in social changes and highlighting entire organizations as “racist, sexist, or homophobic” is key in 2018. The Holy Scriptures and teachings of Jesus have been the firm foundation to root out these evils for 2000 years, but the 21st century approach within the church have seemingly left the gospel for a mainstream, secular approach.

One of the reasons that these wishy-washy stances on homosexuality have become so watered down is the fact that evangelizing and the bar that makes someone a follower of Jesus have lowered. No longer is repentance the bedrock to a true salvation, but the SP. The ware on the SP has taken root because it has led to so many people living under a false salvation. In 2018 it has been labeled blasphemy to highlight to homosexuals that they have to turn from their sin to be a true son or daughter of Jesus Christ. Can a true Christian still have the homosexual desire? Sure. But as we have read in 1 John, it is evident that someone that is living with the Holy Spirit cannot live under a constant, unrepentant sinful nature and still be confident in an eternal salvation.

Churches are no longer focusing on the gospel and leading lost sheep to a strong, true salvation, but are in fact focusing on congregation numbers, balance sheets, and Twitter followers. Church leaders are more focused on obtaining the blue Twitter check mark instead of pleasing their Holy Father.

Christians should be witnessing by showing the lost sheep that they are sinners in need of a savior. The only chance that they have in an eternal salvation is dropping their worldly desires, repenting of their evil sins, and following and trusting in Jesus Christ. We have decided to turn evangelizing into a soft friendship to try and lead people to Christ. We ignore the sin and instead just focus on going to church and having Christ as your “best friend”. The church in the western hemisphere has become so watered down that soon we need to be sending Christians from the third world to America instead of the other way around.

Homosexuality as a sin that can lead you to eternal damnation? Yes, but so is constant gossiping, adultery, lying, envy, lust, etc. The list is long. The social issue crowd is growing because as orthodox Christians we have neglected to focus on these other sins as tickets to hell as well if we live in constant un-repentance. The key to truly bringing lost sheep to Christ and a true salvation is highlighting the importance of knowing that you are a sinner in need of a savior, and the only savior is Jesus Christ.

God bless