Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything

That’s the title to Robert R. Reilly’s new book which I just received from amazon, put out by Ignatius Press. I won’t list Reilly’s credentials – they are off-the-chart impressive! But whenever you use the phrase, “everyone should read this,” you better mean it because if you use it too much it won’t come with the earnestness you intended. So with great reservation, I am saying, “everyone should read this”  – and I do mean everyone. Here is the inside jacket write-up:

“Why are Americans being forced to consider homosexual acts as morally acceptable? Why has the US Supreme Court accepted the validity of same-sex “marriage”, which until a decade ago, was unheard of in the history of Western or any other civilization? Where has the “gay rights” movement come from, and how has it so easily conquered America?

The answers are in the dynamics of the rationalization of sexual misbehavior. The power of rationalization – the means by which one mentally transforms wrong into right – drives the gay rights movement, gives it its revolutionary character, and makes its advocates indefatigable. The homosexual cause moved naturally from a plea for tolerance to cultural conquest because the security of its rationalization requires universal acceptance. In other words, we all must say that the bad is good.

At stake in the rationalization of homosexual behavior is the notion that human beings are ordered to a purpose that is given by their Nature. The understanding that things have an in-built purpose is being replaced by the idea that everything is subject to man’s will and power, which is considered to be without limits. This is what the debate over homosexuality is really about – the Nature of reality itself.

The outcome of this dispute will have consequences that reach far beyond the issue at hand. Already America’s major institutions have been transformed – its courts, its schools, its military, its civic institutions, and even its diplomacy. The further institutionalization of homosexuality will mean the triumph of force over reason, thus undermining the very foundations of the American Republic.”

And as an example of what you will read, consider chapter six, “Inventing Morality,” on page 79 where Reilly is talking about court cases and comes to the case, Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. This case was challenging a Pennsylvania law that said a woman wanting an abortion had to notify (not gain consent, just notify) the father. The Court struck the law down as a violation of the woman’s right. This is an example of the domino effect of cultural “force over reason,” and the change of reality itself from “good to bad.”  Reilly then says:

“In other words, a father might act to save the life of his child, which would be an infringement on the mother’s right to kill the child. This decision represents a reversal of the wisdom of Solomon’s famous judgment in the Old Testament, in which he discovered that the real parent was the one who was willing to forsake her child in order to save his life. For the Supreme Court, the real parent is no longer the one who wishes to preserve the life of the child, but the one who is willing to take it.”

This is what this unprecedented debate is all about – it is about changing the very meanings of good and bad, right and wrong, for all of us. But know this: if you are intolerant of the gay rights agenda in any way, you are bad and you will not be tolerated – you will be silenced and punished . . . and the day is coming . . . Marshall Law and imprisonment . . . the end of a free society . . . the end.

Read the book.

 

It’s much easier to say, ‘He Is Risen,’ than to live it.

Real Christianity is not easy. In fact, it’s impossible! Apart from Christ painfully crucified and alive “in me,” I have no means to put my faith in the Son of God for what he calls me to do (Gal. 2:20). But since he is crucified and alive in me, I do not nullify this grace – I live on it (vs. 21).

I joyfully and easily celebrated the fact of the Resurrection of Jesus yesterday – but that was yesterday. Today is Monday. Tomorrow is Tuesday, and so on. Here comes the real test as to the confession I made yesterday:

* Will I lay down my life today and serve my wife, my kids, my neighbor?

* Will I resort to manipulation, guilt, self-pity, and deception this week to rule others and get what I want?

* Will I pray today and ask God for the strength of Christ to live for him and not for myself (2 Cor. 5:15-21)?

* Will I know myself as “in Christ” today and not seek my self-worth and value in possessions, money, fame, and achievements?

* Will I trust in my Father’s plan to sanctify me through hardships?

Saying, “He is Risen” is not empty theologizing nor is it attending an annual pep-rally. Here is what it means to practically say, “He is Risen” – for all my days:

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God . . . Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator . . . put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. Be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:1-17)

And if this were not enough – there is more. If “He is Risen” – wives submit to your husbands, husbands love your wives, children obey your parents, employees obey your employers, employers treat your employees fairly, continue in prayer and live a wise life in a wicked world (Col. 3:18-4:5).

Saying that the tomb is empty is no empty confession. It is full of real, day-to-day application of what it means to know Christ in every arena of life. As I said, it’s much easier to say, “He Is Risen” on Easter Sunday than it is to live it. But by God’s daily grace – it is possible, and thankfully so.

 

 

 

The sorrowful “I Can’t Believe it?!” comes before the rejoicing “I Can’t Believe it?!”

Have you ever experienced great sorrow over something only to rejoice sometime later with even more astonishment? It’s the experience that David had when he said, “weeping may tarry for the night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). It’s the experience that all those in Christ will have when we are made new like Christ. Scripture promises that the level of joy that awaits us will make our present sufferings seem light and momentary (2 Cor. 4:17-18).

For those who followed closely to Christ, this day, the second day of his burial must have evoked a sorrowful expression of disbelief: “I can’t believe it.” Luke records that the disciples, his mother, and several other women were huddled together, “troubled” and filled with “doubts” as they faced a future with seemingly no hope (Luke 24:38). But on the third day Jesus appeared to them and showed them his hands and feet. Their response? “. . . they disbelieved for joy . . . ” (vs. 41). They went from one kind of disbelief to another kind. The first was filled with despair – the second with exhilaration.

Point: If you are crushed and despairing over a lost hope, and it stuns you into the common feeling of disbelief because of shattered expectations, hang on . . . joy comes in the morning! Either in this life and most definitely in the next, whatever unbelief of sorrow you are experiencing for now, there will come a day where a joyful disbelief will sweep you up in gladness of heart. It will be like going through years of financial hardship due to medical procedures that caused you to lose your home, then . . . one day you open your door and there stands the reps for Publishers Clearing House – and a huge placard looking check written to you in bold print: $10,000,000.

Tomorrow we laugh out-loud, cry tears of joy, run around in circles, pinch ourselves, hug one another, take a deep breath, put our hands over our mouths, then over our heads – and say, “I Can’t Believe it?!” This is the promise for now and for the future for all those who love Jesus more than life itself.

 

Why Do I Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

1. Because I want to live somewhere better, forever, and so do you.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” ― C.S. LewisMere Christianity

Like you, I want to live in a place of perfect justice.

Like you, I want to live in a place where there is peace and rest and nothing harmful.

Like you, I want to live in a place where there is endless discovery and stimulation of all of my senses.

Like you, I want to live in a place of endless love and joy.

But I will not trust my future with anyone else other than Jesus – he is risen and reigns over all of heaven and earth – he is not bound by death and gravity and sin like we are – he rose victorious from the grave and will return to give to all who turn to him in faith, repenting of their sins – a better place, forever – with him.

2. Because I can’t explain the fame of Jesus without his Resurrection.

There is no reasonable explanation for Jesus’ popularity except for the resurrection. Every famous person has a reason for their popularity. And regardless of the reason whether good or bad, the reason must be true in order for the world to accept it. Jesus is not famous because he was crucified. The Romans crucified tens of thousands of men all over the known world and scripture records that Jesus was crucified as a common criminal.

Jesus is famous because his followers spread the news that he was alive though they saw him crucified and buried (Acts 1:1-11). His followers did not spread the news that he was a good teacher, or that he was “on a mission from God” in the super-hero sense, but that he rose from the dead as Lord who is fully God in flesh and is coming again.

3. Because I can’t explain the life of Saul/Paul apart from the Resurrection of Jesus.

Acts 9:1 says that Saul was breathing out murder against followers of Jesus Christ, but after seeing the risen Lord on the road to Damascus, 9:22 says that Saul was proving to others that Jesus really was the risen Christ. It makes no sense that Saul would do an about-face like this except for undeniable, “beyond a shadow of a doubt” proof that Jesus was alive.

Paul, as his renaming from Christ would take place, then lived his life in such a way that would be insane and nonsensical if Jesus was still dead. No one in their right mind would suffer so much for preaching a lie – but “Jesus is Alive” was no lie! In Paul’s own words, this is what he was willing to suffer to proclaim that Christ is Risen:

“ . . . with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”       2 Cor. 11:23-27

If Christ was not raised from the dead, Paul would never have subjected himself to such hardship – no one would. There would be nothing to gain if Christ was still dead.

4. Because of the hostility that Jesus stirs up in the world.

Jesus is the most polarizing subject in the world. The identity of Jesus and his claims are attacked at every level of society. He is more vilified in the public square, in movies, books, music, education, art, and religion – than any other religious figure in human history. Why? Because Jesus stands in the way of what mankind wants. Mankind wants to earn and work his way to eternal life. Man wants to believe that he is good enough to achieve god-like existence on his own terms. Man wants to make the rules and determine what is right and wrong in his own eyes. Man wants to make the way to Nirvana – broad and easy – protecting all of his sinful appetites and deny himself nothing. Man wants to keep his life to himself as the highest aim and goal. Man wants to be wealthy, healthy, and famous in his own strength so that he gets all the praise and glory.

But Jesus stands in the way of all of that. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life – so that no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). His way is hard and narrow – and few find it (Matt. 7:13-14), and he calls you to lose your life for his sake so that you may keep it (Matt. 10:34-38). He calls all men everywhere to turn away from your sin with repentance, trusting only in his sinless life and death for your sins and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead – and that he alone is Lord. This is why the Rulers in Jesus’ day hated him so much: Jesus was calling everyone to abandon all allegiance to man and turn to him alone.

5. Because the Bible is honest about our doubts, our questions, and skepticism of Jesus.

I find it more than curious that Scripture is so honest about our doubts regarding what it claims as truth, and for that honesty, I believe in the Resurrection of Jesus. We have doubts and questions and are skeptical to propositions and will not entrust ourselves until there is proof. Though we are liars and fabricate truth and delete facts to shape people’s opinion, we do not want to be lied to, and we do not want misrepresentation. God is aware of this.

Acts 1:3 records that Jesus gave many “proofs” of his resurrection. Throughout Luke’s gospel and his sequel, Acts, he cites dates, names of people, and roads and gates and cities and passage ways, and islands and people groups, quotations that can be verified, names and dates of kings and rulers and court documents, and first-hand eye witnesses, so as no perjury or fraud can be found anywhere in what Luke is saying.

Scripture records that Jesus’ life and his resurrection did not take place in a corner (Acts 26:24-29), hidden out-of-sight. But so that when truth claims are made about Jesus, people’s questions, doubts, and skepticism will be answered. Doubting Thomas does not believe the report of Jesus’ resurrection – he must see for himself: “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). What does Jesus do? He accommodates Thomas’ inquiry (vs. 27).

Some of Jesus’ half-brothers did not believe in him – they doubted his claims and his resurrection (Matthew 28:10, 16) even though he’s standing right in front of them days after he was crucified and buried.

Truth is: We want proof – or we will not believe. The bible does not show Christians as mind-numbed zombies following Jesus. We follow Jesus out of well-reasoned consideration of the facts. But what ultimately persuades the heart is the Holy Spirit, testifying to you, awakening you out of your dark and rebellious dungeon that Jesus is Alive (1 John 5:6-12). Therefore, Jesus himself does not mince his words:

Confess Christ as Savior and Lord or perish. (John 3:16)

“If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” – John 10:37-38.