Ben Stahl

Witnessing at a Pride Parade

As Jesus prepared to ascend into heaven, he gave his church her marching orders, her commission, her duty until he returns (Matt. 28:18–20). That commission begins with one simple word, “Go”! If the church remains inside her walls, she can maintain a measure of comfort and safety, but it comes at a massive cost in light of the degenerating world outside. 

October 15, 2023, was a beautiful Sunday morning as over three hundred thousand people rose early and made their way by car, bus, and train to Atlanta. If one looked down from the penthouse of one of many skyscrapers nearby, one would see a great crowd waving flags. At street level, it would be evident that this event was not like other parades. Gathering at a time of day when most Christians in America were worshiping God, this group gathered to celebrate and promote the sins summarized by the letters LGBTQ+ and one word: “Pride.”
More than five thousand marchers made their way along the parade route. They carried signs promoting their company, church, or government organization in connection with Pride. The Atlanta United soccer team changed its name for the day to Pride United. Smirnoff and Salesforce, Microsoft and Micron, Grady Hospital and Google—all these and hundreds of others showed the city they celebrate Pride. The crosswalks of midtown were painted the colors of the Pride flag. Restaurants flew Pride flags and had Sunday brunch specials for participants. Curses were raised against God. Praises were offered to Satan. A Bible was publicly torn to shreds. Indeed, this beautiful Sunday morning gave light to every evil work that is done under the sun.
In 2000, President Bill Clinton designated June as the first Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, and subsequent presidents have added bisexual, transgender, and queer to the list for celebration. Despite numerous warnings in Scripture, pride—the prerequisite for and precursor to destruction—is not only accepted but celebrated in cities around the world in June. Churches are widely represented at these events, marching in solidarity with Pride and preaching another gospel than the one preached by Jesus and the apostles. Sadly, almost absent are representatives of the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. The darkness is very dark.
Bearing Witness to the Truth
On that Sunday morning, thirteen men from various Atlanta-area churches set their minds to worshiping and serving the Lord. They met together at the early service of a local PCA congregation, where God spoke to them through his Word and blessed them with his benediction. Then, accompanied by the prayers of churches around the country, the men headed for the parade route to bear witness to their Savior. Would they be mobbed and harassed like those who had witnessed in Athens, Georgia?
There was some harassment, but, when they opened the Bible, connected the microphone, and prayed, God closed the mouths of the proud. A silence rested among those gathered to observe the parade. The Word of God went out unhindered, declaring God’s glorious deeds. No sirens sounded. No groups destroyed their equipment. No mobs pressed in. For more than an hour, they proclaimed the gospel of God concerning Jesus Christ our Lord. Thousands were warned of sin and its curse, judgment, and torment in the lake of fire for all who will not believe on the name of the Son of God. Thousands were told of him who was sent by God to save sinners from their sin. The glory of the cross and the perfect salvation worked by God in Christ were made known. Life and salvation were freely offered.
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Seven Facts about Abortion

Consider the monument of lady justice. She is often displayed with a blindfold. Why? Because true justice must be blind to the person being tried. To put it in biblical terminology, “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). She has open and equal balances in her right hand, for “divers weights and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 20:10). She has a sword in her left hand, for rulers “do not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4). In 1973, 51 years ago, the blindfold came off, divers weights replaced the balance, and the sword was laid aside. If a man kills a child in the womb without the mother’s consent, he is guilty of feticide. If a mother pays an abortionist to help murder her child, there is no legal consequence.

In her 2014 book, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights: Reclaiming Abortion as Good for Society, Katha Pollitt suggested 6 myths regarding abortion:(1) The Bible forbids abortion. (2) Women are coerced into having abortions. (3) Abortion is dangerous. (4) There are too many abortions. (5) Abortion is racist. (6) Abortion opponents would never punish women.[1]
Ten years after the publication of her book, Pollitt’s ideas are widely embraced by abortion apologists and by parents aborting their children.
Pro-abortionists are not alone in promoting Pollitt’s feminist worldview. Last November the Louisiana Baptists, a publicly pro-life organization, rejected a resolution calling for an end to, and criminalization of, all abortion. In support of their decision, leading pastors promoted the myth that a majority of women are coerced into abortion and therefore it should not be criminalized.[2]
In 2024, 51 years after the terrible blight of legal abortion descended on this country and 18 months after the overturn of Roe, abortion is increasing, more children are dying, the gospel of God is obscured and withheld, and Christians are not clear on the facts.
May seven facts concerning abortion help Christians think and act biblically while pointing unbelievers toward salvation in Christ alone. 
1. The Bible Forbids Abortion
Does the Bible have anything to say concerning abortion? Some would say no. Pollitt suggested the Old Testament is virtually silent unless Christians misinterpret Exodus 21:22-23. This supposed silence leads some, including some Christians, to conclude that God accepts or is indifferent to the practice of child murder. Seeing the divisiveness and “brokenness” it causes, they deem abortion a topic unclear in Scripture and therefore one on which to be silent. Is the Bible unclear or silent on abortion? If we join Pollitt and argue the Bible is virtually silent, then we can leave what amounts to a modern holocaust to courts, politicians, and pseudo-doctors to work out—all while the death count rises.
God tells us to test the spirits whether they are from God (1 John 4:1). Is Scripture silent? Is Scripture unclear? When we allow Scripture to speak for itself, what do we find? From beginning to end, the Bible is replete with references to children in the womb and the abhorrent sin of intentionally taking a child’s life.
In the Bible: “We do not have to wait long to find a clear indication of the sanctity attaching to man’s life and of the wrong involved in the taking of one man’s life by another. It is noteworthy that, next to the sin of our first parents, the first recorded sin is that of Cain, which had its issue in the murder of his brother Abel.”[3]
In the Bible: God views the fetus (young human being) as being a life before conception (Jeremiah 1:5), after conception (Psalm 139:13-16), and through the full term of pregnancy (Luke 1:44). God knows children in the womb by name and, according to His sovereign will, saves some in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:13; Luke 1:44)
In the Bible: God refers to the “clump of cells” in the womb as a “child.” Pregnant Hagar was told by the angel of the Lord she was “with child” (Genesis 16:11). The phrase “with child” is repeated no fewer than 16 times in Scripture. God uses the term to refer to specific children in their mothers’ wombs (Genesis 16:11; Luke 2:5) as well as to many children generally in the wombs of their mothers (Kings 8:12; Ecclesiastes 11:5).[4]
In the Bible: God views the personhood and value of children equally from conception to natural death. The “babe” inside the womb (Luke 1:41) is the same word in the original, βρέφος, as the “babe” in the manger (Luke 2:16) and the “infants” of whom Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me” (Luke 18:14-15).  
In the Bible: God calls the shedding of innocent blood murder. It is the sixth commandment of the ten—forever preserving the divine principle concerning the sanctity of life (Exodus 20:13).[5] Murder is one of the six things, yes seven, that the Lord hates (Proverbs 6:17). No murderer has eternal life abiding in him (I John 3:15).In the Bible: God particularly highlights the abomination of murdering children—a regular sin of Israelites and Canaanites as they made sacrifices to their idols. God refers to the parents as sacrificing their children to demons (Psalm 106:37). For the particular sin of child murder (among others), Israel was given into the hand of its enemies during the time of the Judges, its Kingdom was divided during the time of the Kings, and eventually Israel and Judah were brought into captivity and ruled by their enemies.[6]In the Bible: God views children as a heritage (inheritance) from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). Men and women prayed to the Lord for extended periods of time and with much weeping for the blessing of a child (Genesis 25:21-28; 1 Samuel 1:6-12). The willful ending of a child’s life could not be more inconsistent with the will of God and the whole of Scripture as emphasized when God said of child sacrifice — “nor did it come into My mind” (Jeremiah 19:5).
In the Bible: God regards children both in the womb and outside the womb as equally valuable. As the practice of child murder was all too common, God gave specific prohibitions against it. Therefore, all the commandments against murder generally are equally applicable to children, whether they are born or unborn.
Does the Bible have anything to say concerning abortion? The Bible has much to say! In all that Scripture says on the topic, God categorically forbids and condemns the sin of abortion.
The Bible forbids abortion.
2. Women and Men Want Abortion
One of Pollitt’s central arguments is that women are not victims in abortion—they want abortion. She argues that less than 1% of women who have an abortion are coerced. Here Christians should find themselves in unusual agreement with pro-abortionists—albeit for vastly different reasons.
Pollitt’s conclusion: We should support the legalization and availability of abortion because women want abortion.
The Christian’s conclusion: Men and women are sinners, desperately wicked, and therefore want to commit the sin of abortion (Romans 3:10-18).
PR campaigns such as “Shout Your Abortion” and “We Testify” merge with organizations like Planned Parenthood to validate Pollitt’s claims from a decade ago. Men and women are rarely coerced into abortion—they want abortion.  A large number of pro-life organizations and many Christians believe the myth that most women are being forced or coerced into abortion.[7] They shrink back from the truth and ignore God’s teaching to protect, preserve, and promote life. In various settings I have been challenged on use of the word “murder” to describe abortion because, “It sounds very harsh.” Christians would benefit from spending time with women on the brink of having an abortion to gauge firsthand the women’s state of mind regarding their babies.
The worldview that considers people to be basically good is a humanist one, in contrast to a Christian or biblical one. “It’s not murder, just a very difficult situation.” In a humanist worldview anything bad is not really an individual’s fault—they probably did not want to do it in the first place. Christians would do well to reclaim the “T” in “TULIP,” remembering that men and women by nature are totally depraved. The heart is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Given a license to sin, 25% of women will have an abortion by the age of 45. 
While parents of aborted babies may end up regretting their abortions, the horrific reality is that the vast majority of them eagerly pursue it.[8]
Women and men want abortion.
3. Abortion Is Deadly Dangerous
Pro-abortionists like to talk about the safety of abortion. They debunk the idea that abortion is dangerous on the ground that few women have negative medical complications. If ever there was a red herring in the abortion debate, it is this issue of safety. Safety in the same sentence as abortion insults common sense. Nevertheless, with Roman Catholic and Pro-Life organizations moving the discussion from the actual victims (babies) to the perpetrators of abortion—“abortion hurts women”—safety in abortion is a regular talking point. Meanwhile, the little children in the womb are never safe in abortion!
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Heir of All Things

As heir, the Son is reigning over all things now. The kings of earth rise and fall but the Son on the throne reigns forever. The Christian rejoices because the power of the wicked one is defeated (Psalm 110); death is conquered by the heir who died and rose again (Revelation 1:17-19); the Son is exalted; He has a name above every name; and He is soon to be publicly revealed in glory before all the earth (Philippians 2:9-11).

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things…
Hebrews 1:1-2a
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Hosea’s words are as fitting now as they were in the Old Testament. Jesus’ name is used frequently but few know Him. Many are perishing for lack of knowledge. How can they believe in Him who they do not know? There is a famine of the Word of God and the effects are all around us.
God in His infinite mercy does not leave us merely with the name of His messenger in these last days, He tells us who His Son is. God reveals seven perfections concerning the Son in Hebrews 1:2-3 followed by seven Old Testament confirmations concerning the glory of the Son. Seven being the number of completeness and perfection in the Bible the Lord is demonstrating the perfection and completeness of the Son. There is no other Savior to look for, the perfect Savior has come. The first perfection of the Son is that He is the Heir of all things.
First, we must deny that any glory is given to the Son which He did not have before His incarnation. The Son as the second person of the Trinity is always full of glory, from eternity to the present (John 17:4).
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God Gives Aid: The Savior Born for the Perishing

Christ crucified for sinners is the aid of God to man! There is life in no one else and in no other way than through the blood of Christ. On the cross Christ’s blood was shed to make an atonement, a propitiation, a satisfaction of the wrath of God for sinners. His blood was shed to reconcile God and man so that those in the empire of sin and darkness might have their chains broken, their yokes loosened, their souls freed, and be welcomed into the Kingdom of Light.

For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham
Hebrews 2:16 NKJV
The Need for Aid
What do you think about as the calendar moves closer to December 25th? Do you think of the lights, the manger, the angels, the birth of Christ? Do you think of gifts, wise men, shepherds, and barbaric kings? Do you think of your need for aid and that God gives aid? How often this month does the year 33 A.D. come to mind? Around that year two thieves and a King were nailed to crosses as they were crucified outside of Jerusalem. Why were they there?
2000 years ago the Roman Empire was in the Pax Romana (Roman Peace). There was economic prosperity as far as Roman legions could reach. There was expansion of roads, transportation, and communication. These things came at a high cost.
Caesar Augustus issued a decree that all the world should be taxed (Luke 2:1). If the taxes weren’t bad enough, corrupt tax collectors exacted more from the people (Luke 19:1-10). It was a time when Roman rulers could kill all the children within cities and kingdoms with impunity (Matthew 2:16-18). Violent uprisings took place (Matthew 27:16). Demon possession was rampant (Mark 9:17-29). Leprosy was common (Luke 17:11-19). The visible church was filled with unconverted leaders (John 3:1-21). The world in which those three men were dying on a hill was a world filled with sin, sorrow, sickness, and suffering. It was a world in need of aid.
God Gives Aid
Judea in the time of Christ was not the first time the world was covered in darkness. Since the earliest days of creation when the serpent beguiled Eve and she gave the fruit to Adam, darkness descended on earth. Adam lived for nearly a millennium but he died and his sons died. Beginning with Cain, people regularly shed innocent blood.
God saw the wickedness of man and every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). The Lord set himself to destroy man from off the face of the earth. But God spared Noah and his immediate family members from the destruction. He commanded Noah to make an ark and preach the Word. Noah did as the Lord commanded. While all the world perished including, in all likelihood, Noah’s own father (Genesis 5:31) and certainly his extended family, God spared eight souls alive in the ark. God gives aid.
Many years after Noah, in the capital of Assyria, every intention of the heart was once again only evil continually. 120,000 souls would be destroyed. God sent a reluctant prophet with a simple message – “yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). The people of Nineveh repented and God forgave them. He spared them from the destruction that was coming. God gives aid.
On that afternoon dark as night, Jerusalem was part of a vast empire greater than any Caesar could imagine. In the global empire of sin and darkness citizens lay chained to the pit of hell, hope is lost, and destruction awaits. All are guilty, none are righteous. Two thieves from the kingdom of darkness were crucified for the crimes they committed. However, few focused on those thieves as they walked by mocking, laughing, and scorning. They were mocking the man in the middle who had this inscription over His head, “The King of the Jews.”
He was hanging there bleeding from wounds in His head, hands, and feet. He did not receive those wounds for anything He had done. The Roman governor, not known for mercy, could not find fault with Him. No two witnesses could corroborate each other’s story. He hung there innocent of any crime or any sin. Passersby failed to grasp what most fail to grasp today – Jesus Christ hung on the cursed tree because God gives aid.
To Whom Does God Give Aid?
The thieves on either side of the King were not quiet in their dying hours. One of the thieves joined with the mob and soldiers, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.” The other rebuked him telling him that he was on the cross for his crime while the sinless King was on the cross without any crime. Turning to Jesus the thief said, “Lord remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.”
One thief recognized the justice of his terrible plight. He was a guilty sinner receiving his just reward. His only hope was mercy from another – namely the King of the Jews. The other thief was in the same position but couldn’t care less about mercy. To his dying breath he breathed out curses and mockery and died in his sin. To the one who looked to Jesus for help, he was not ashamed. Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
God gave aid to one thief. He did not give aid to both. His aid does not go to the seed of Adam generally but to the seed of Abraham specifically.
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In These Last Days

There is something altogether different about the time past and the last days. In time past the gospel was preached through mortal prophets, signs, sacrifices, the passover, etc… none of which were salvation for the people, nor were they intended to be salvation. They were all intended to point the people to the salvation that would come through the Redeemer. In these last days the sum and substance of the gospel has come in Jesus Christ the Lord. The one who spoke in these last days does not point to another but draws all men to Himself. 

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…

In recent articles we have considered the treasure trove of the first verse of Hebrews. The first great proposition of theology and the Christian faith is this: God is. The second great proposition that God is this: God has revealed Himself to man. The Word spoken by God is unlike any other word for it is powerful, enduring, and living. As God speaks so God does because God Is. Therefore, we must listen to Him, look to Him in faith, and we will live.
All of this is driving at the great theme of Chapter 1 – Jesus Christ is supreme and pre-eminent over all! Before the Son is introduced in verse 2, we are faced with several questions: When Did God Speak? How did God speak? To Whom did God Speak? By Whom Did God Speak?
Hebrews addresses two epochs of time in which God spoke: In time past…in these last days.. In the first two verses a comparison and contrast are presented between these two periods that divide all of history.
God Spoke in Time Past
When did God Speak? God who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.
By referencing the fathers and the prophets, the writer of Hebrews is taking us first to the Old Testament era. In that epoch of time in the past, God Spoke. God spoke all these Words saying, I am the Lord thy God… (Exodus 20:1). Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea… (Isaiah 48:17-18).
In time past it was God who spoke and no other Word was given in the Scripture but the Word of God communicating it to Holy men taught by the Holy Spirit. God spoke in time past. Several doctrines proceed from the teaching.
First, God was not apart from the people of the OT. He was with them, speaking to them. From the beginning God was there.
Second, Because God spoke in times past as in the present, the message of the unchanging God was unchanged from the message in the present.
Hebrews is very concerned to teach the unity of the message of God in the Old and the New Testament. The Gospel of God concerning Jesus Christ His Son, the call to repentance and faith, the promise of salvation to the uttermost for all those that are in Christ and washed with His blood. That gospel is the same in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone found in the Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone. It is the same salvation in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Third, God affirms the unity of the Old and New Testament message in the book of Hebrews by first quoting the Old Testament in support of the doctrine of the New Testament. Then He makes it explicit in Hebrews 4:2, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”
Fourth, the Lord makes the Old Testament very practical to us and our salvation. In time past the gospel was proclaimed as it is now but in those times past many did not listen. Will you listen?
Fifth, there are not two Bibles, but one. There are not multiple ways God brings salvation, but one. Not multiple people of God, but one people of God.  While admittedly not the thrust of this message, this one verse refutes the teaching of historic dispensationalism popularized by the Scoffield Reference Bible that brings confusion to many Christians to the present day. It brings to nothing that old heretic Marcion who taught of the angry vengeful God of the Old Testament and compared Him against the supposedly different God of the New Testament books which Marcion decided were acceptable.
In time past the one and only God of the Old Testament who is the same and only God of New Testament spoke the gospel to the people through the preaching of the prophets.
How did God Speak? God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets…
Two different Greek words that appear just once each in the NT are here in this one verse. One has to do with a variety of time; One has to do with a variety of ways or methods. The NKJV gathers this sense by translating – who at various times and various ways.
Various Times
God did not speak all at once or on demand but He spoke as He chose according to His plan – Various times
Consider the garden after the fall. Adam did not go and find God and demand He speak. God came to Adam and spoke to Him. They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… Genesis 3:8. The Lord goes where He wills and speaks when He pleases. In times past He spoke at various times.
Notice the limitation of the these words, various times.  While God spoke in time past God did not speak all the time in time past! From creation until Moses it does not seem that one book of the Scripture was written for the people. Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible many hundreds of years after the flood. Many of the generations in Genesis have no written account of God speaking to them. Others do – Enoch walked with God (Genesis 4:9). God spoke with Noah (And God said to Noah… Genesis 6:13). God spoke to Abraham many times but consider the long life of Abraham and the few special days recorded in Scripture when God spoke to Him.
Consider further the gaps in time – Nearly 400 years from Joseph to Moses as Israel was in slavery with only the promise of God to Jacob on their minds that deliverance from bondage would come. There was a similar gap between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
And yet, at that great hour when the people called upon the Lord He heard and spoke to them again. At various times God spoke but not all the time. Nevertheless, God still spoke in times past and for those times it was sufficient.
Various Ways
With these two words, God reminds us that He did not always speak in the same way or on demand. He spoke according to His good time and in His good way – various ways.
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To Whom Will You Liken Me? The Biblical Prohibition of Images (Part 2)

Nothing is offered for those who seek Christ by images. Thomas Vincent summarizes the argument in this way: “Images or pictures of God are an abomination and utterly unlawful because they debase God and may be a cause of idolatrous worship” (Vincent, p. 147). Have you put away images of any or of all of the three persons of the Godhead?

Having considered the Biblical case against images of Christ in Part 1, we will continue to the modern arguments promoting images of Christ.
In 1981 the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES) published a report “On Images of Christ.”[1] In 1983 the RPCES merged with the Presbyterian Church in America. The report presents three objections to the Westminster Standards’ presentation of the second commandment and images that are commonly held today.
First Objection: One Part or Two?
Make and Bow Down

“The [second] commandment does not prohibit the making of pictures… the commandment does prohibit the making of shaped objects for the purpose of worshipping them or worshipping God through them. Therefore, L.C. 109 is not justified in forbidding any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever.”
RPCES, On Images of Christ
The Lord does not prohibit the making of all pictures or images. In certain contexts, God even requires making images as was the case of the cherubim facing the mercy seat in Exodus 37.
However, the premise of the RPCES statement assumes one or both of the following arguments: 1) That images of any or of all the three persons of the Godhead are the same in Scripture as images of created things. 2) That images of any or of all the three persons of the Godhead and images of the creature are only a violation of the second commandment when worshipped.
Response From Scripture
The first assumption is refuted on Scriptural grounds and the Creator-creature distinction. From Scripture it is evident that Christ the Son of God is not to be compared to the visible or invisible creature. “To which of the angels did He ever say: You are My Son, Today I have begotten You… Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool” (Hebrews 1:5, 8, 13).
From the Creator-creature distinction we understand, “The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part” (WCF 7.1). Scripture teaches that God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is high above the creature and cannot be compared truthfully to a creature.[2] The creature is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). God is not made in the image of man which is to bring God down. Packer notes that the second commandment “compels us to take our thoughts of God from his own holy Word, and no other source whatsoever… to make an image of God is to take one’s thoughts of him from a human source, rather than from God himself; and this is precisely what is wrong with image-making” (Packer, Knowing God. pp. 48-49). Therefore, we may conclude it is idolatry to make representations of Christ in the image of a creature.[3]
The second assumption is refuted on the grounds of misunderstanding the second commandment. In his sermon on Deuteronomy 4, John Calvin said, “For God has forbidden two things. First, the making of any picture of him because it is a disguising and falsifying of his glory, and a turning of his truth into a lie. That is one point. The other is, that no image may be worshipped” (Calvin, Sermons on Deuteronomy. p. 298). The Scripture positively divides the second commandment into two parts, making and worshipping. In relation to God, both making and/or worshipping images is forbidden. In relation to the creature, the making is not necessarily forbidden. The making and worshipping is always forbidden.
Second Objection: The Person and Worship Dichotomy
The RPCES report laid out a second objection to the Westminster[4] view of the second commandment by creating a divide between the person of Christ and the worship of Christ. The report made the following recommendation:

That synod warn against the violation of the Second Commandment (Ex. 20:4-6 and Deut. 5:8-10) by the worship of visual depictions of Jesus Christ, while at the same time recognizing the legitimacy of usual depictions for other purposes, such as instruction or artistic expression.
RPCES, On Images of Christ. Recommendation 2
The report further stated that pictures of Christ are not just permissible but to be encouraged. [5]
Look but Not Worship
The RPCES argument is that the person of Christ can be separated from the worship of Christ. God’s people can look at manmade depictions of Christ for their help and devotion while not worshipping the image. Worship of the image breaks the second commandment; however, using the image outside of worship does not (Ibid). In this way, the argument is in line with Lutheran practice. [6] Are these things true?
Response From Scripture
The Scriptures know of no separation of the person of Christ and the worship of Christ. Assuming Joshua met the pre-incarnate Christ when he met the Commander of the army of the Lord, he fell on his face to the earth and worshiped (Joshua 5:13-15). When Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on His throne and the angels worshipping, he confessed his unworthiness before the Lord (Isaiah 6:1-3). When the blind man whom Jesus healed knew that Jesus was Lord, he worshiped Him (John 9:38);  When Jesus ascended to Heaven, His disciples worshiped Him (Luke 4:52). The angels of God worship Him (Hebrews 1:6). The testimony of Scripture is that those who believe God worship God.
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To Whom Will You Liken Me? The Biblical Prohibition of Images (Part 1)

God attaches to the second commandment is His sovereignty over us. This is affirmed in Exodus 20:5, “For I, the LORD….” He is the Mighty King, the Creator of all things both visible and invisible. All things were created through Him and for Him. He holds all things together by the word of His power.[28] Because He is sovereign, He is free to speak, govern, and ordain as He pleases. He has commanded that we should not make any graven images or bow down to them.

The history of the visible church is fraught with temptation to know God through images made by human hands. During the Reformation and for most of the 500 years following, the use of images would be an obvious differentiator between Reformed Protestants[1] and Roman Catholics. In recent decades, images “of all or of any of the three persons”[2] have been introduced to Reformed churches. This two part series of articles first lays out the positive Biblical view of the second commandment in the Old and New Testament. Relying heavily on the 1981 Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod (RPCES) report “On Images of Christ”[3] the second article proceeds to lay out three arguments commonly used in favor of images. Responding to the modern arguments, these articles find that the Bible rejects images “of all or of any of the three persons,” and calls all people to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.  
The Return of Images
The history of the visible church is filled with examples of image making and idolatry. The Israelites had not left Sinai before they made a golden calf and called it their God who delivered them from Egypt (Exodus 32). From the time of the judges through the exile, idol worship was a regular sin among the people of the God.[4] The New Testament church was susceptible to idolatry through the superstitions of the Jews and the idolatry of the nations surrounding them.[5]
God did not leave men to wonder concerning images, idolatry, and worship but rather revealed His will by speaking in His Word. God gave the second commandment at Mt. Sinai in Exodus 20 to direct the pure worship of God and forbid all idolatry.[6]  God asked questions concerning images to which no one could respond.[7] As John concluded his first epistle he did so with this positive command, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
Nevertheless, 500 years after the Reformation, images of the second person of the Trinity have found resurgence in Reformed churches and homes. For example, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Florida displays a stone statue of Jesus in front of the church building with the words, “Come Unto Me.”[8] Sunday School materials are filled with images of Christ and Christians now widely accept their use.[9] The Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES) position report “On Images of Christ” gave encouragement to the use of images of Christ in certain contexts.[10] Many professing Christians give little thought to movies and popular tv shows with actors pretending to be Jesus.
Should images of Christ be used in any context? Prior to addressing some contemporary arguments for images of Christ from the Reformed tradition, it is helpful to consider the second commandment from Scripture.
Biblical Overview of the Second Commandment

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Exodus 20:4-6
What Is Required?
The second commandment builds on the first by addressing the manner of God’s worship. In the first commandment God gives instruction concerning the object of men’s worship.[11] In the second commandment, God gives instruction concerning the practice of men’s worship.[12]
Whereas God gives the second commandment in a negative form, “thou shalt not make… thou shalt not bow,” a positive duty is required.[13] The Psalmist cries out, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker (Psalm 95:6). Jesus said, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
God requires all His worship and ordinances to be pure and complete as instituted in His Word alone.[14]
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God Spoke, Therefore

God has spoken, in the Scripture of the Old and New Testament. The Bible alone is the living and true Word and nothing else. God speaks to you through it by His Holy Spirit. Listen to Him, look to Him, and live by Him.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets…Hebrews 1:1
God has spoken to us, what must we do?
Listen to Him
Here is the call to action of this book of Hebrews. Listen to God! What will He say? He will reveal the glorious, powerful, living, enduring truths of Himself. But we must listen! Oh that my people had listened unto me, cried the Psalmist, then would God have subdued their enemies (Psalm 87:13). If we do not listen or if we stop listening we will perish.
See then that we do not refuse Him who speaks – For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven. (Hebrews 12:25-29).
Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. The God of all glory is speaking in His Word. He is above all, before all, over all, for He alone is God and there is no other! He is the self-existent God. This is the first proposition of the Christian faith and the second is related, that this great God revealed Himself in creation in this greatest and glorious manner, by speaking to us.
Will you not listen to Him? Listen to God who speaks to you for He brings a message of life and the power of life to those that will repent and believe. He brings a message of death and the power of death to those who are soon perishing.
Look to Him
There is a great heresy taking place in quiet around the evangelical world. It is the heresy of unbelief manifested again in this way – through the denial of the power of God. It appears in many ways and in many fashions but it ultimately has at its core a denial that Word of God is sufficient to change lives or to meet the needs of men and women boys and girls in all areas of faith and practice.
It manifests itself in evangelism – “God doesn’t want you to deny your inclinations and feelings, just don’t act physically upon them.” “God will keep you struggling with the same sins all your life, don’t expect deliverance but be joyful anyway.” “You are not really that bad, you are just the victim of ideologies and external factors of which you have no control.”
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God Speaks with Enduring Words

With this enduring Word, unmatched in any other book in any other place, is it any wonder that as Jesus was transfigured on that mountain with Peter, James, and John standing by to witness, and Moses and Elijah, recipients of that living Word, standing and talking with Jesus, that the voice of God spoke from the cloud saying, “This is My beloved Son, Hear Him!”

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son…Hebrews 1:1
Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” While we could debate the merits of his statement, there is one thing that is absolutely certain – God’s Word. Through all the changes around us, God’s Word abides forever. It cannot change because God is unchangeable. We can lie down at night believing it, build our life upon it, and die in peace comforted with it. The world’s ideas pass away quickly but God’s Word remains forever!
God’s Word Endures

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of the Lord shall endure forever!Isaiah 40:8

These famous words from Isaiah come just after the Lord told His prophet to speak comfortably to Jerusalem. What is so comforting about the grass withering when the grass is the people (40:7)? First, God’s enemies will wither and pass away. In a time when we are oppressed on every side by the world this is a tremendous comfort. Second, we will pass away. Initially, this seems less than comforting but when we remember that to live is Christ and to die is gain; when we look upon our flesh aging and slowly dying; when we look at the end of all things at hand and the promise of a new Heaven and a new Earth, we see there is comfort in this. Third, the Lord is comforting us by pointing us away from the temporal and to the eternal. He is pointing us away from the perishing to the enduring.
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A Memorial of Evil: 50 Years of Legalized Abortion

Pray to God for deliverance from the wicked. Pray for Godly laws without partiality. Pray for salvation of the wicked and revival of the church. Proclaim His glorious name and work to all ends of the Earth. He has by Himself purged our sins, He has saved to the uttermost those that should be saved, we must call upon Him in faith, pray to Him for help, and proclaim His glory to all ends of the earth. Prepare for God to give us the good desire of our heart.

Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9 NKJV
Sunday, January 22, 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the legalization of abortion nationwide through the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision. Since that terrible date, at least 70,000,000 babies in the United States, more than 18% of all children, have been murdered in the womb. While the CDC and pro-abortion groups show a decline in abortion over time, states including CA, NH, and MD do not report their numbers and abortions through the pill are not all reported (1). Through unreported methods and unreporting states, the number of abortions is almost certainly much higher than the CDC data indicates.
If the U.S. data were not tragic enough, the worldwide practice of abortion paints an even darker picture. Pro-death reports that 73,000,000 abortions take place worldwide every year. That number equates to approximately 40% of all children being murdered before they reach birth.
On June 24, 2022 the Supreme Court in a landmark decision overturned Roe vs. Wade in this manner – they turned the question of abortion back to the states. While many Christians and pro-life groups celebrated the outcome, the way the order was written evidenced just how far our country has abandoned any type of Biblical worldview it may have had when it was founded. The court deliberately refused to recognize the baby in the womb as a person protected by God and/or the Constitution.
The 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says the following:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…
The Supreme Court ignored the 5th amendment and refused to say the little child in the womb of his mother at any stage, let alone conception/fertilization where God creates life, is a person protected by the 5th amendment. (The full Supreme Court opinion can be read here.)
Held: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.
The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations, upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.” (page 1; page 14)
Justice Kavanaugh in his concurring opinion perhaps summarized the “conservative” court justices when he wrote:
Abortion is a profoundly difficult and contentious issue because it presents an irreconcilable conflict between the interests of a pregnant woman who seeks an abortion and the interests in protecting fetal life… On the question of abortion, the Constitution is therefore neither pro-life nor pro-choice. The Constitution is neutral and leaves the issue for the people and their elected representatives to resolve through the democratic process in the States or Congress – like the numerous other difficult questions of American social and economic policy that the Constitution does not address. (Page 124)
When it comes to crimes and great evils such as murder, the interests of the criminal and murderer are always (or almost always) in conflict with the victim(s) of the crime. Conflict between the perpetrator of evil and the victim is the very nature of crime. It is because of this conflict that there are laws with governments and police to protect potential victims when this conflict is acted upon by the criminal. Rather than reiterate the right of the baby in the womb to due process of the law before being executed by his mother, father, and their doctor (so called), one of the most conservative justices defended the evil of abortion by acting as if the constitution was neutral regarding the taking of an innocent child’s life and life in general.
The whole scope of the Constitution, highlighted in the 5th amendment is exactly the opposite – it is entirely concerned about life, so much so, that it is written to protect our freedoms while we live. Under such an argument as Kavanaugh’s there would seemingly be no reason states could not vote to allow abortion proponents, under the euphemism of reproductive rights, to have a conflict with Bible believing Christians, and simply eradicate them by majority vote.
The effect of the so-called Supreme Court victory, is that 2-6% fewer surgical abortions are taking place. However, that estimate includes Texas with nearly a 99% decline in abortion while it does not include the abortion tourism states of CA and MD. It is likely the real change post June 24, 2022 is no decline or even an increase as widespread publicity has been put on the issue. With victories like that, what would a loss look like?
In my home state of Georgia, the law recognizes an unborn child in the following way:
A member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb. A person commits the offense of feticide if he or she willfully and without legal justification causes the death of an unborn child by any injury to the mother of such child, which would be murder if it resulted in the death of such mother, or if he or she when in the commission of a felony, causes the death of an unborn child. A person convicted of the offense of feticide shall be punished by imprisonment for life.” § 16-5-80. Feticide; Voluntary Manslaughter of an Unborn Child
This seems like a godly law. Until this point it is. Unborn child murder is feticide. To kill any child at any stage in the womb from fertilization to birth will be treated as if a full grown adult were murdered. But the law does not stop there. It continues in section “f”.
Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to permit the prosecution of: 1) Any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law; 2) any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or 3) any woman with respect to her unborn child. § 16-5-80. Feticide; Voluntary Manslaughter of an Unborn Child
The law we celebrate as equal for all and upon all is not equal for unborn children. It discriminates against the youngest members of society. It is partial and unjust. Everyone who kills an unborn child is guilty of feticide except the mother and her doctor. Similar logic was used to justify slavery in generations past. The letter of the law condemns murder and gets around it for abortion by stating that fathers, mothers, and doctors (so-called) will not be prosecuted for child murder.
The Lord has much to say about partiality of the law:
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 NKJV
Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the Lord. Proverbs 20:10 NKJV
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