Friday, February 16, 2018

Mass Shootings: The Bible's Answer

Here we go again:  another mass shooting in a “gun-free zone,” this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida with a death toll of 17 and 15 more hospitalized. When something like this happens, whether at a school, a church, an entertainment venue, or any other public place, there are the immediate knee-jerk reactions and recriminations to further political agendas, often even before the families have had time be notified.

Democrats blame Republicans and say they “have blood on their hands.” Many Republicans likewise blame Democrats. “Gun-control” politicians blame the NRA, guns themselves, and the 99.99% of gun owners who never have and never will shoot anyone. Gun owners blame those who came up with such ideas as “gun-free zones.” And on and on it goes. The blame always gets put on those who had nothing to do with it, and the individual who did it usually gets sympathy as a “poor, misunderstood kid” who had such potential, but he was bullied and forced by others into what he did. We’ll see how this latest incident plays out.

As usual, there will be statements about “thoughts and prayers,” and there will be those who say such things are pointless. There will be others who call for more gun laws, even though “common-sense gun laws” have, to date, failed to stop gun crime. Gun laws are not only unconstitutional. They are foolish and defy common sense.

In these debates, I come down on the side of those who say that those with intent to do evil are never stopped by laws. Bullies are not stopped by tying the hands of the potential victims and then hoping the bullies will leave them alone. This is little different than herding the potential victims of mass shooters into “gun-free zones,” which should actually be called “free-fire zones” or “target rich environments” and expecting a few signs to keep them safe. Those signs might as well say, “Attention Mass Shooters:  Come on in. No one will shoot back.” That is naiveté of the worst and most dangerous sort. I am fully aware that there was an armed guard on the campus of the school where the most recent shooting took place. However, one armed guard in a school of 3,000 students has little chance of being in the right place at the right time, as is evident by the fact that the guard never had an opportunity to confront the shooter.

Some say we need “more education” in order to stop people from doing bad things. I have seen too many articles about how education is the answer. If a man beats his wife, he needs “more education” on why he shouldn't beat his wife. Right. No one realizes that spousal abuse is wrong unless he has taken the proper education courses to help him see that. The problem is not lack of knowledge. It is a heart problem. As long as politicians and the media insist on blaming inanimate objects and their political opponents for every mass shooting, there will be no real solutions. No amount of education or counseling is going to fix the problem.

The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). All human beings are sinners, and sin comes out in different ways in different people. Not everyone will get a firearm and kill people, but we are all sinners, and we all commit sins against God. That is the problem with which we need to deal. It would be extremely difficult to deny this.

Individuals must be held accountable for their actions. Sadly, in our society, we seem to be looking for explanations and reasons instead of holding evildoers accountable. The Bible very clearly addresses this. “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11, NKJV). "Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death" (Numbers 35:31, NKJV).

The sin principle must be addressed. Evil actions are all the result of sin. Ultimately, death is the result of sin. We cannot fix this problem by making new laws, banning guns, making more mental health treatment available, or any other bandage we might put on the problem.

The only way to address this is God’s way. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is very clear:  “... that Christ died FOR OUR SINS according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day...” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NKJV).

Sinners, including potential mass shooters, need a Savior, and the Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who can redeem us. Those who ignore that fact will continue to experience the meaninglessness and frustration of living, without answers, in this world full of evil. “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever” (Galatians 1:3-5, NKJV).

For other posts I have written on this topic, click here and here.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Proposal to Solve Gun Violence

Solving gun violence does not have to be complicated. Actually, it should be very easy. Following is my proposal to solve the problem.

We know that a large percentage of gun crimes are committed with stolen guns. All we have to do is make a new law (Isn't that always the answer? Make a new law.) that says all criminals must submit to a background check and purchase a "gun stealing license" before they are allowed to steal a gun and then wait fifteen days before stealing it. After they steal it, they must register it. That way, after they commit their gun crime, they will be easier to catch. This will work because we know that criminals always obey the laws. If they see a sign that says "gun-free zone," they simply slink away and find something else to do, so obviously if they know it is illegal to steal a gun without a background check and without a license, they simply will not do it.

Does that sound absurd? Obviously, it does, so I fully expect some elected official to pick up on it and propose it, because it is very much like all of the other foolish gun-control laws and proposals.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Daniel's Prayer of Thanksgiving (Repost)

I published this post a few years ago, so instead of writing a new post for Thanksgiving, I decided to repost it.

We so often think of this time of year as a time to thank God for all His blessings – material things – our homes, our cars, our wealth relative to the rest of the world, our country, our freedom, food, etc. For these things we most certainly should be thankful, but Daniel’s prayer of thanksgiving teaches us the importance of being thankful for much more. It reveals a great deal about the nature and character of God – the things on which are based all His blessings to us. We need to be especially thankful all the time, not just at a special time of year.


Daniel’s prayer is found in the second chapter of his prophecy. King Nebuchadnezzar had his dream of the great image, and it troubled him, because he did not know what it meant. He called in all of his magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans – in other words, his alleged “wise men.” Of course, these men were not truly wise at all. They had no connection with the God of heaven. It quickly became clear that Nebuchadnezzar did not really trust the wise men, because he demanded not only the interpretation but the content of the dream itself. When the wise men asked him to tell them the dream so they could interpret it, he accused them of stalling and threatened to destroy them if they could not tell him the dream, but he promised great rewards for anyone who could do so.

Their response rang quite true. Even these heathen “wise men” had enough sense to know that only God (or “the gods” as they put it) could do what the king was asking. The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, There is not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh (Daniel 2:10-11, NKJV). 

Nevertheless, the king gave orders to have all of the wise men of Babylon destroyed, and this order included Daniel and his friends. When Daniel found out about the king’s command, he went to his house, along with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. There they prayed and asked for the answer so that they might not be destroyed with the rest of the “wise men” of Babylon.

Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king's demand" (Daniel 2:19-23, NKJV).

This prayer recognizes the superiority of the God of the universe, the God of the Bible, over all false gods that men have created. This we should be thankful for on a daily basis, because if we did not have such a God, He most certainly could not provide for us all of the other things we think about when we list the things for which we are thankful.

Notice the specific content of the prayer.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever… God is eternal. He is outside of time. He is not limited as we are. We need to see things in eternal perspective and not just temporal perspective. He is eternally worthy of our praise and worship.

…wisdom and might are His. God is all-knowing and all-powerful. All of our questions find their answers in Him, and He is the one who can do something about our situations. There is no situation too big for Him to handle.

He changes the times and the seasons… God controls His creation. This contrasts God with Babylonian fatalism based on astrology. They looked to the stars, but God made the stars. God has power and control over all those things men look to. In spite of the evidence, man has chosen to worship the created thing instead of the Creator.

Romans 1 tells us that …the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever (Romans 1:18-20, 25, NKJV). 

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork (Psalm 19:1, NKJV).

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? (Psalm 8:3-4, NKJV). 

He removes kings and raises up kings… God is sovereign. This statement contrasts a sovereign God with the weakness of Babylon deities. We sometimes wonder why God allows certain men – dictators, tyrants – to be in power. We can be confident that He has His reasons. And ultimately, all will bow to Him. 

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11, NKJV).

He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things… God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge. The wise men of Babylon were not really wise men. They were not recipients of divine wisdom. Man is completely dependent on God for wisdom. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:22, NKJV). There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV).

He knows what is in the darkness… There is no hiding place from God. He knows all about us.

…light dwells with Him. He is the source of light, in contrast to the darkness. Only He can save human beings.

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, for You have made known to us the king's demand. We ought to first and foremost thank God for all He is, and then it will be very natural to thank Him for all He provides.

Coming to grips with the very nature and character of God helps put all things into perspective. No matter what comes into our lives, we who know the Lord can accept it as from the hand of our Heavenly Father who knows all things, who is in control of all things, and who loves us with an everlasting love.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Abundant Evidence

If something is true, there is abundant evidence for that fact. If something is false, there can be no evidence. It is not possible to prove or even to produce legitimate evidence for something that is not true.

Ben Stein asked Richard Dawkins what he would say if he died and ran into God. Dawkins responded, “Bertrand Russell had that point put top him, and he said something like, ‘Sir, why did you take such pains to hide yourself?’”  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlZtEjtlirc

That question makes no sense, because God is not hidden. There is evidence everywhere, from the microscopic world to the immensity of the universe, from the smallest life form to the largest animal and human beings. The evidence for His existence cannot be missed unless people simply choose to ignore it (2 Peter 3:5). On the other hand, there is NO EVIDENCE that would indicate the non-existence of God.

"…the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…” (Romans 1:18-20, NKJV).

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Resurrection Sunday

Sunday is Easter, or more accurately, “Resurrection Sunday.” Clearly, we should never take the great doctrines of Christianity lightly, and this is especially true of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We should celebrate the Resurrection always, not just one Sunday a year.

The Resurrection is the most important event in all of history. Christianity stands or falls on the truth of the Resurrection. I once had a Muslim young man in a high school Bible class I taught in a Christian school. Obviously, he did not believe in Christ, His substitutionary death on the cross, or His Resurrection. He was very respectful, a good student, got an “A” in my class, and frequently stayed after class to discuss biblical topics. One time he really demonstrated an understanding of truth that sometimes seems to bypass many believers. He said, “If the Resurrection is true, then Christianity is true.” Of course, he went on to tell me why he didn’t believe it, but his statement was nevertheless true and very revealing.

If someone could disprove the Resurrection, they could prove Christianity to be false. It has been attempted many times. Among many others, men like Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell tried it, and after exhaustive research and study attempting to disprove Christianity, they ending up proving just the opposite and become Christians. To an open mind, the evidence for the Resurrection is overwhelming, and it can certainly lead someone to consider and ultimately receive by faith the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you live in the Colorado Springs area and don’t have a church you go to regularly, I would like to invite you to Grace Bible Church. Easter Sunday would be a good time to start. Our morning service is at 9:00, followed by Sunday School at 10:45, and we usually have an evening service at 6:00, although we won’t have our evening service this Sunday.

I have previously written a number of articles on the Resurrection. They can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Mike Pence Values His Marriage - What a Scandal!

I have seen politicians criticized and vilified for some really Bozo reasons, but this latest about Vice President Mike Pence is really over-the-top. He has a standard that he will not go out to dinner alone with any women other than his wife. Some are equating that with Sharia Law, and others are saying it clearly means he would never hire a woman to any position of importance. Now that is STUPID. Of course, if he were to be out with a woman other than his wife, no matter what the reason, there would be pictures posted all over the place along with stories of an alleged affair.

The critics need to do better than that, or they need to just give up and go away. I don't know what else to say about it. It seems the reality is that he loves his wife and values his marriage. Is that wrong, just because so many in our culture have ignored and/or rejected such values? His standard in this matter is wise and Biblical. Criticism of such a standard reveals the heart of the critic.

"...do not let your good be spoken of as evil..." (Romans 14:16, NKJV). "...having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed" (I Peter 3:16, NKJV). "...in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you" (Titus 2:7-8, NKJV).

Saturday, March 25, 2017

“The Shack” the Movie

I have read a few reviews of “The Shack.” Some were positive, and some were negative. I did go and see it, because I wanted to see how close the movie would be to the book and if there would be a reason to write a review. This will not be an extensive review. Anything I could say about the movie is already in my review of the book, which can be found here. The book has now sold over twenty million copies.

Not very far into the movie, it became obvious that it was going in the same direction as the book in that it contained much of the same unbiblical nonsense. The only good thing I have to say about the movie is that it did not contain as much heresy as the book, primarily because it is never possible to include as much in a movie as in a book. It would make the movie oppressively long to do so.

That having been said, I must point out that the movie is, in reality, much more dangerous than the book. I say this because a movie can be used very effectively to manipulate the emotions. Some people believe that anything that elicits emotion is effective in bringing people to God. This is, of course, nonsense. A skilled moviemaker or playwright could produce something that could play with the emotions and make the viewer feel good about pretty much anything. Warm fuzzy feelings do not determine truth. Truth stands on its own, regardless of what someone “feels” about it. Since “The Shack” is about the “great sadness” of losing a little daughter to a kidnapper and murderer, it certainly tugs at the heartstrings.

Regardless of the skill of a writer or moviemaker, truth cannot be manufactured from falsehood. William Paul Young (author of The Shack) has written a new book, Lies We Believe about God. If anyone had any doubt about the unbiblical positions he implied strongly in The Shack, this book removes all doubt, in that he comes right out and admits to those positions. A short review of this book is found here.

I would not advise anyone to see the movie who does not know the Scriptures well enough to discern truth from error. My wife Janet made a very short statement that pretty much summarizes the movie:  "God is love, and sin doesn't matter." It would be difficult to be much more profound than that.