Read the Bible A Lot
Read the Bible a little and you will surely be arrogant. Read the Bible a lot and you will be humbled. You will see more of God and you will become small in your own eyes. You will see His law and realize you are not as good as you thought. See more of His salvation and you will be more grateful and humbled towards those around you.
When I first began to really seek the Lord, I was challenged to dig into the Bible and learn and grow. And by God’s grace, I started to grow like a weed. His word was sweet to me and my eyes were opened to so many truths I had never considered before. My faith began to have a backbone, and I actually knew why I believed what I believed for the first time. And I made sure that everyone around me knew what I believed too. I was zealous and serious and incredibly certain of myself. Almost no one could tell me anything that I hadn’t heard before, and I often wouldn’t even listen to you if I perceived that we did not use the same lingo. Looking back, I was showing the sign of someone who had not read their Bible for very long.
What was that sign? Arrogance. One sure sign that someone hasn’t read their Bible for very long, is that they are arrogant. That might seem surprising, but it is almost universally true that someone who has spent a little time in God’s word always seems to have the answer for any situation. Here’s how this plays itself out: Someone begins to read and grow and learn for the first time in their life. They start growing in their knowledge of the Bible. They’ve read through the Bible a few times, they look around, and realize that they’re way ahead of “those other people” who never read their Bible. They’re further encouraged in their delusion of superiority by living in a society that really is Biblical illiterate. Mix that with a lot of sincerity and genuine zeal, and you are looking at someone who is marked by a certain Biblical arrogance that makes that person undesirable to be around.
This arrogance leads people to say really unkind things to those around them.
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Some Conflict is HealthyBy Marshall Segal — 10 months ago
Over time, division in healthy churches produces unity, not division. Don’t let the good fruit of conflict silence the apostle’s clear charge: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you.” Christians don’t aim for conflict; we aim for agreement and harmony in Christ. We can’t let the usefulness of divisions make any of us divisive.
In most cases, cruelty — not wisdom — would have told them to cut the baby in two. How many kings in history would have had the sword brought, not to draw out the true mother, but to violently end the matter? Who would have imagined that thousands of years later, we’d still hold up such a brutal scene as a beautiful model to imitate — as a masterclass in conflict resolution?
Two women came to King Solomon, like so many others, to settle a dispute. They were both prostitutes, so deciding whom to trust wouldn’t be easy. Both had recently given birth to sons, within just a few days of each other. One boy was now dead because of a horrible accident. His mother woke to find she had smothered him while the two were sleeping. Can you imagine the horror when she realized what she had done?
Desperate, she added horror to horror. She took the living son from her roommate’s breast, and laid the cold body of her carelessness there instead. She stirred the heavy storm of guilt into a hurricane. When the other woman woke up, she found the child at her side was dead. After examining the baby more closely, though, she discovered what evil had happened (like any mother would). But how could she prove it? She couldn’t; they “were alone” (1 Kings 3:18). So the two went to court, both declaring, “The living child is mine, and the dead child is yours” (1 Kings 3:22).
We know what the king does next — the jarring way he uncovers the truth. Who would have guessed he’d threaten to have the child cut in two? When Israel heard of the judgment Solomon rendered, they stood in awe of him, perceiving that the Spirit of God was in him (1 Kings 3:28). Can you explain, however, why he was wise to reach for a sword?
We might say Solomon was wise because it worked. The true mother proved herself by pleading that the boy be spared, even if that meant he would be raised by another woman (1 Kings 3:26). Likewise, the selfish response of the other woman exposed her treachery. That it worked, however, doesn’t explain why the king was wise (only that he was). Surely the same strategy would have failed in lots of other crises.
What made Solomon wise, in this case, was that he knew to lean into the conflict between them to prove who was who. He pressed on the sensitive issue at hand until each woman revealed what kind of woman she really was. The apostle Paul offers a similar piece of wisdom to the church when he writes,
When you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. (1 Corinthians 11:18–19)
There must be factions among you. In other words, some conflict is necessary for churches to remain healthy. Why? Like Solomon with the prostitutes: to prove who is who. Who’s really here to worship, obey, and enjoy King Jesus — and who’s here for some other reason?
Isn’t Division Bad?
Aren’t all divisions in the church to be avoided, though? After all, the apostle himself says (earlier in the same letter, even),
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
The Fourth Phase: Persecution?By Peter Jones — 7 months ago
Of course, believers’ humble practice of God-honoring heterosexual marriage, though it may be costly, will also bear witness to the joy men and women have in biblical marriage. And in spite of stubborn resistance from opponents in contemporary culture, God’s powerful love and mercy is irresistible, as is his creative wisdom–in making us male and female—in his image. This we must seek to share in love with those who adopt androgynous sexual expressions. We must continue to express the love of Jesus, who was crushed on the cross for our redemption and for anyone who will receive it.
In a perceptive article on the recent history of Evangelicalism in America (which I recommend), Aaron Renn, a writer for First Things, confirms something I have been thinking for some time: politics has become religious. It is thus difficult to speak out about traditional moral behavior without being “cancelled” or charged with being a Christian nationalist—by people who doubtless plan on making America a pagan nation! In other words, contemporary progressivism and biblical faith now occupy many areas of common ground. How has this come about? Renn describes three recent distinct phases of secular culture as it relates to Evangelicalism and biblical Christianity, moving from general acceptance to general opposition. They are, in Renn’s terminology:
A Positive World (Pre-1994)
In this stage, as Renn puts it, “society at large retains a mostly positive view of Christianity. …Publicly being a Christian is a status-enhancer. Christian moral norms are the basic moral norms of society and violating them can bring negative consequences.”
I cannot resist my oft-repeated phrase: “When I came to America in 1964 I thought I had died and gone to heaven.” As a European, I was surprised that a Christian student movement like Campus Crusade for Christ would try to attract students to the Christian gospel by drawing attention to the much-admired BMOC (Big Man on Campus), who happened to be a Christian. Renn shows that “this period is the last period of generalized Christendom where most in Western culture shared the same moral norms and where Christians could concentrate on sharing the Gospel.”
A Neutral World (1994–2014)
The next stage takes a neutral stance toward Christianity. “Christianity no longer has privileged status but is not disfavored. Christian moral norms retain some residual effect.”
I note that this period immediately follows the appearance in 1990 of a book by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s. This book is presented as a “compelling and compassionate work that never fails to stimulate. After the Ball is required reading for straights interested in understanding a minority that comprises 10% of the population and for gays who are learning that the revolution is far from over.” The authors encouraged gays “to come out of the closet, and they outlined a code of gay ethics calling for mature love relationships and greater moderation in sex.” The book was a massive success, creating general ambiguity in the way people began to think about both homosexuality and Christianity.
A Negative World (2014–Present)
According to Renn, “Society has come to have a negative view of Christianity. …Christian morality is expressly repudiated and seen as a threat to the public good and to the new public moral order.”
Biblical Christianity is now in this third antagonistic phase. Renn sees cultural antagonism in the conflict between progressivism’s re-definition of “the public good and the new public moral order” and that of the biblical moral order. Incisively, Renn dates the transition from the neutral to the negative phase in the year 2014, just before the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, which, he notes, “institutionalized Christianity’s new low status.” He does not explain why the new status is low. By granting to homosexuality constitutional status and by recognizing same-sex marriage as a “civil right” (which many “conservative” figures applauded at the time), the US Supreme Court paganized the “profound mystery” of the Christian gospel, expressed in male/female marriage, which reveals God’s love for his people (Eph 5:31–32). Two men copulating cannot represent God’s love for his people, since, throughout history, this was the pagan image of the divine and human relationship. Indeed, as Paul says a few verses previously, sexual immorality and impurity…must not even be named among you (Eph 5:3). In our time, the LGBTQ ideology has been accepted as a perfectly valid lifestyle, but it is an ultimate rejection of biblical faith.
Thus, in the “Negative World” we are opposed by a non-Christian, religiously pagan worldview. This is why we see such hesitation to appeal to the Creator as the source of our human rights. IN POD WE TRUST has become the new humorous statement of faith. It is just what Paul argued so long ago in Romans 1. In verse 25 he describes the basic worship exchange (worshiping the creation rather than the Creator). In the next verse, he argues, “For this reason,” people practice homosexuality. The pagan, religious opposition in the “Negative World” is causing our Christian young people to leave the faith of their youth in droves, either because they are afraid to be unpopular or because they are convinced of the validity and value of the new “public good” and “public moral order” of personal rights.
The place of sexuality is the dividing point between biblical and progressive morality and between the politics of the Left and the Right. For many progressives the “public moral order” is becoming more “free” and now consists of normalizing all pagan sexual expressions, which can be loosely categorized as “androgyny.” This term joins male and female, whereas God created these as distinct. We see androgyny in various forms of non-binary sexuality—homosexuality, bi-sexuality, trans-sexuality and drag culture, all of which claim civil rights, since they believe that there are no ultimate distinctions; all is homo, the same. It is little wonder that antagonism against Christianity is so often connected with issues of sexuality. Christianity affirms one foundational difference, namely the distinction between God and his creation. The male/female distinction is the capstone of all the other distinctions God put into the universe (such as land and sea, night and day, etc.). Yet that very male/female distinction is the target of most current public lawsuits against Christians who want to maintain their right to turn down work that would go against their belief in those creation distinctions. Christian business owners, such as bakers and photographers, want to maintain their public witness regarding sexuality. When Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) retired from the Senate and was chosen as the University of Florida’s next president, no one was particularly surprised, since Sasse had already been a university president earlier in his career. But the University’s Faculty Senate held an emergency meeting in which a large majority railed against the administration’s decision to make Sasse the sole finalist. Sasse’s conservative position on gender caused faculty members to express “no-confidence” in his appointment. Affirming conservative views on sexuality is the best way to get you cancelled!
Dr. Al Mohler’s November 2 “Briefing” was dedicated to showing how thoroughly the medical profession has adopted LGBTQ ideology as normative. “On LGBTQ issues and on a host of other issues,” Mohler said, “it is clear that the medical establishment is taking sides. And overwhelmingly, the medical establishment is taking sides by siding with those who are enthusiastic for the LGBTQ revolution.” Perhaps the clearest example of the power of LGBTQ ideology on culture is the promotion of life-altering techniques—surgery and puberty-blockers that permanently sterilize an individual—on minor children who question their personal fit with the stereotypical sex of their birth. A huge majority of voters (78.7 %) “believe underage minors should be required to wait until they are adults to legally use puberty blockers and undergo permanent sex-change procedures.” Yet Democrat politicians, aware of the vindictiveness of the transsexual movement and fearing to lose the huge campaign contributions of the LGBT lobby, refuse to support the public’s preferences. Large corporations who were once culturally conservative have gone “woke,” progressive, and politically Leftist. Their vast wealth has allowed them to become monopolies, thus freeing them to cast off market theories of fair competition and to align with the newly erected moral icons of the day: targets for “environmental, social and governance” (ESG), and individual sexual freedom.
The future includes the emergence of a “new [Catholic] Church” under pro-homosexual Pope Francis, who is completely at odds with traditional Catholicism as understood by Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. Just before becoming Pope in 2005, Ratzinger noted: “Very soon it will no longer be possible to affirm that homosexuality, as the Church teaches, is an objective disorder in the structuring of human existence.” Perhaps as he saw the compromises of the Vatican and realized that he would not be able to change them, Ratzinger had no option but to resign.
On the Protestant Reformed side, the decisions of Calvin University are disturbing. The school’s board recently chose to allow LGBTQ-affirming faculty to remain as recognized professors, even those who offer statements that they are not in agreement with the church’s confessional beliefs on homosexuality. “The big story here is that a college that has claimed evangelical identity for more than a century, completely owned by a denomination that has raised its affirmation of biblical sexuality to confessional status, is surrendering to the sexual and gender revolution.”
So what cultural time is it? In what phase is our culture now? Emily Rizzo, clinical professional counselor in D.C. with the Counseling Center of Maryland, describes the present as a time in which “we’ve already moved away from the cis, straight world, [so] there is more of a possibility to be open.” Rizzo plies her trade, counseling LGBT+ clients and individuals in non-monogamous or polyamorous relationships since “open relationships just tend to come more naturally to queer people.”
Today’s “time” sees teachers exposing young children in state schools to radical gender and sexual notions. Such instruction is surely part of the normalization of the LGBTQ agenda. Two spokesmen for “Drag pedagogy,” justify “drag queen readings for children. …[W]ithin the historical context of the USA and Western Europe, the institutional management of gender has been used as a way of maintaining racist and capitalist modes of (re)production.” To disrupt this dynamic, the authors propose “drag pedagogy,” as a way of stimulating the “queer imagination,” teaching kids “how to live queerly,” and “bringing queer ways of knowing and being into the education of young children.” The goal is to expose “childhood innocence” as an “oppressive heteropatriarchal illusion,”to make “queer thinking” the future “moral order” of society. Their task, they say, is to disrupt the “binary between womanhood and manhood,” seed the room with “gender-transgressive themes,” and break the “reproductive futurity” of the “nuclear family” and the “sexually monogamous marriage”—all of which are considered mechanisms of heterosexual, capitalist oppression. Powerful politicians support this ideology, in one way or another. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the third in line for the presidency, posted a clip of her cameo on the fifth episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 7” on Twitter, endorsing drag queens as “what America is all about.” She stated that “it was an honor” to make an appearance on the reality TV show and that she was “inspired by the contestants because they knew their power. Pelosi’s district is the site of a huge, annual public street fair for a sado-masochistic sex celebration, which she endorses.
Another politician, none other than President Biden, recently received in the White House the trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, who publicly presented himself, dressed and speaking as a teenage girl, and discussed transgender issues with the President, who agreed with him that it was “immoral” to deny sex-change surgery to children. John Fetterman, senate candidate for Pennsylvania recently stated that “LGBTQ education should be mandatory in all schools.” Will our future belong to proponents of “queer sex”?
The Human Rights Campaign thinks it will. They show that LGBTQ voters are on track to become one of the fastest-growing voting blocs in the country. They predict that by 2040, one in five Texas voters will be part of the group. “(LGBTQ voters are) emerging as among one of the most influential voting constituencies in the country, whose impact will permanently transform and reshape the American electoral landscape.”
The church is already in Renns’s third culturally “negative period,” and I am taking the liberty to add a fourth stage. As the strength of pagan religious power increases, we will, no doubt, enter a fourth period.
A World of Persecution
The church must be ready to face intense opposition. Already “cancel culture” has arisen from the reasoning of the LGBTQ community, who are convinced that their constitutional status removes any religious rights from Christian believers who might evoke their rights of free speech and free commerce. For the moment, most court cases on these issues take seriously the protections guaranteed by our constitutional religious liberty laws. What will happen when the moral high ground is held by the LGBTQ community? They believe that nature’s norm of heterosexuality has become an unjustified, outmoded definition of normalcy. The natural order has evolved into normative non-binary androgyny of all sorts. One cannot help but think of the Roman culture of Paul’s day.
In view of a possible fourth period, what should be the current stance of the church? To be sure, we must preach clearly the love of God available for all, since all are made in God’s image. But the pulpit must also show God’s created plan for men and women and the connection between worshiping creation and sexual degradation. Both unbelievers and believers, old and young, need encouragement to stand firm. Our younger believers are under immense pressure from the culture and often have no idea how to speak about the sexual issues in relation to the gospel message. They are often tempted to abandon their faith. Recent Barna research shows that “only 50 percent among teens who identify as Christians say Jesus was resurrected; not even half (44%) say Jesus was God in human form. Only 40% open their Bible more than twice a year, and only 9% open it more than once a week. How will they be able to analyze and reject the pagan spirituality that surrounds them? Significantly, Barna did not even bother to ask them their views on sexuality which, as we have demonstrated, is the dominant worldview of our day.
Preaching a blend of gospel declaration and cultural apologetics follows the example of the apostles and of Paul in particular. Though he was not interested in creating a Christian empire, he was committed to training Christians how to represent God before the pagan world. Thus he taught the church, as well as any pagan who might hear him, how to think specifically about honest commerce, the traditional family, marriage and male/female sexuality—doubtless because it got them to think about God the Creator and Redeemer and how to glorify God in their daily living. Our Christian young people especially need wise instruction about the things they are hearing and seeing in their school and social settings. Yet some are deprived of any solid teaching about today’s androgynous, identity-oriented perversions. I beg all Christian pastors and youth leaders to dig deeply in understanding the theological connections with today’s sexual behaviors and then to train your young people to understand the issues and to stand firm, while reaching out to their friends with the gospel.
Of course, believers’ humble practice of God-honoring heterosexual marriage, though it may be costly, will also bear witness to the joy men and women have in biblical marriage. And in spite of stubborn resistance from opponents in contemporary culture, God’s powerful love and mercy is irresistible, as is his creative wisdom–in making us male and female—in his image. This we must seek to share in love with those who adopt androgynous sexual expressions. We must continue to express the love of Jesus, who was crushed on the cross for our redemption and for anyone who will receive it. To announce that love, we must be ready to give our lives, as Luther wrote 500 years ago:
Let goods and kindred go,This mortal life also;The body they may kill:God’s truth abideth still,His Kingdom is forever.
Dr. Peter Jones is scholar in residence at Westminster Seminary California and associate pastor at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, Calif. He is director of truthXchange, a communications center aimed at equipping the Christian community to recognize and effectively respond to the rise of paganism. This article is used with permission.
 Aaron M. Renn, “The Three Worlds Of Evangelicalism,” FIRST THINGS, Feb 2022,
 See Amazon presenting page.
 Peter Jones, “Androgyny: The Pagan Sexual Ideal”: https://truthxchange.com/resource-library/articles/androgyny-the-pagan-sexual-ideal/
 Al Mohler, The Briefing, 11/2/2022.
 Albert Mohler, The Great Evangelical Deconstruction, World, (November 4, 2022).
 Christopher F. Rufo Oct 24, 2022.
 H Dyer – “Global Studies of Childhood, 2017,” – journals.sagepub.com
 Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman Agrees “LGBTQ Education” Should Be “Mandatory In All Schools”.
 Nick Hartman, “A Reflection on Barna’s Open Generation Report,” GenZ, October,26, 2022.
Both Spouses Need Care After Sexual InfidelityBy Ellen Mary Dykas — 1 year ago
For every married man who battles sexual sin, there is a wife and perhaps kids who are impacted. It’s beautiful when churches uphold God’s good, biblical design for marriage, discipling their people that husbands and wives are to love each other as unto the Lord, to serve one another selflessly as a way to show devotion to Jesus through faithfulness in all areas. However, we must also uphold God’s compassion for wives when marriage vows are broken. This is what Paul is speaking about, in part, when he exhorts husbands to “…love his wife as himself” (Ephesians 5:33). When husbands need help loving their wives, the Body of Christ steps in to counsel, correct, and provide compassionate care.
Johnny and Hannah (names changed) had twelve years of marriage behind them when his secrets came out. He’d humbly told Hannah when they were dating that porn had been a struggle since his teens. She took the news in and faithfully tried to learn how to help him, and their relationship moved forward to marriage. What Johnny hadn’t disclosed was that in high school, he’d fathered a baby and had caught an STD from his girlfriend. He brought that STD into his marriage. And there was more. Johnny then committed adultery with two women early in their marriage.
Fast forward twelve years. Johnny and Hannah had two kids and a busy life of parenting, jobs, and financial stress due to the pandemic. Hannah’s mysterious health problems and a trip to the doctor forced Johnny’s hand to come clean about his past, including how it had brought sickness into Hannah’s body.
Yet Hannah’s heart was sick, too. She was devastated to learn that her husband had kept so much history a secret from her. Even worse, it crushed her spirit to come to grips that her husband had endangered not only their marriage but her very life by giving himself sexually to others. To top it all off, he had another child out there somewhere!
An Initial, Helpful Pastoral Response is not Enough
Hannah insisted that Johnny call their pastor when she learned all this heavy news, and, thankfully, the pastor responded quickly and compassionately. Within two days, the three of them met in his office, and out tumbled a sad, painful story of sin, suffering, and secrets. He wept with them and acknowledged the severity of their situation.
This is good news, right? Wouldn’t we want a pastor, church leader, counselor, or friend to respond this way? Yes! I celebrate when hurting wives share with me that their pastors respond with empathy, loving engagement, and personal availability. There are so many hurting couples in our churches who are alone and silent in their pain, so when I hear of a pastor’s office providing a warm and safe landing place for a couple, I truly am encouraged.
However, it’s what happened next that is sadly common for wives in particular when a husband’s infidelity comes out into the light. Don’t get me wrong: Wives can be sexually unfaithful, too, but, in my fifteen years of ministry at Harvest USA, I’d say the calls from wives who have been hurt compared to husbands responding to their wives’ sexual sin is roughly 90 to 1.
An Unfortunate Yet Typical Scenario
Hannah and Johnny left the pastor’s office exhausted, brokenhearted (her), and ashamed and angry (him). But they did have a plan. Johnny would meet with the pastor weekly for the next month for some initial accountability, prayer, and encouragement. The pastor offered to try to find a mature woman in the church to connect with Hannah. Hannah was hopeful about having at least one person to open her heart to, even if she was deeply embarrassed and overcome with sadness. Counseling wasn’t an option, as there just weren’t finances for it, and, anyway, they lived in a community “where everybody knows your name,” so Hannah was terrified of others finding out.