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Posts Tagged ‘Ten Commandments’

Men can change the civil law a million times but they can not change God’s Law any time. Marriage is still and only between a man and a woman.

Though devils all the world should fill,
All eager to devour us.
We tremble not, we fear no ill,
They shall not overpower us.
This world’s prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none,
He’s judged; the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.

God’s Word forever shall abide, no thanks to foes, who fear it; for God himself fights by our side with weapons of the Spirit. Were they to take our house, goods, honor, child, or spouse, though life be wrenched away, they cannot win the day. The kingdom’s ours forever!

From “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by Martin Luther

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Brian Williams seems to have felt that he was ‘always’ telling the truth, even though he was not.

Bruce Jenner ‘always’ felt he was really a woman, but he is not.

Rachel Dolezal ‘always’ felt she was black, but she was not.

The commonality in the three celebrities is the verb “felt”, as in their ‘hearts’.  When I was a child my Mom made me a cape and I felt I was Superman, but I never jumped off our apartment building’s roof. I knew it was my imaginaton, not truth and/or fact.  I instinctively knew there was a standard, outside of us, which clearly shows what I was feeling was not the truth, no matter how much I felt like I was Superman. Yet, these three personalities acted on their  imagined feelings as fact and/or the truth.  Why?

Comedian/actor/director Woody Allen, after his affair with the adopted daughter of his fellow adulterer, Mia Farrow, infamously said, “The heart wants what  the heart wants”.  In the de facto denial in society, that is culture and college, of absolute moral law, the ‘heart’ has become the standard of behavior, again, the heart wants what the heart wants. Further, the denial of original sin goes hand-in-hand with the denial of moral law. If we just have a good environment, education, homes etc. we will have good people.  Following that faulty logic then the Borgias should have been paragons of virtue.    In Federalist paper #51, written to promote the passing of the Constitution, is the telling sentence: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”  They knew men were not angels.  We all instinctively know that except a culture which has distanced itself from the depths of moral depravity each one of us is capable and the Law of God which has impartially judged it. After all as the serpent said, “Did God say…?” (Genesis 3)

So with the denial of Law and original sin, then the heart has become the ‘ultimate’ arbiter:  Brian’s, Bruce’s and Rachel’s hearts.  The result is moral chaos but the Scripture is clear:  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17: 9) and “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21: 25, the last verse of the book).  This is as old as Adam and these people in the news should come as no surprise to Christians, except so many Christians are no longer even marginally educated in the  proper uses of Law and of the Gospel   The heart of a sinner will only lead astray and we can see it in these self-deceived people.   I maintain that everyone who reads about this knows this moral truth of the deceitful heart and the need of the Savior Jesus Christ.  Everyone knows these three people lied first to themselves, self-deception and then deceived others.  It is wrong.  It hurts others.  In service to our neighbor we, the Church, must speak God’s truth  in our culture and society, so others can repent and come to the knowledge of the Son of God.

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Leave it to Beaver

Troubles the Beaver got into:

  1. Borrowing his brother Wally’s bike without Wally’s permission
  2. Gets in trouble and is scared
  3. Lying to his father
  4. Untidy room
  5. Arguments with his brother
  6. Resisting doing his homework
  7. Beaver is known as the “boy next door”
  8. Sent to the principle’s office for talking out of turn
  9. Driving the family car in the driveway and getting  a dent in it
  10. Hangs out with Eddy and gets caught in a lie about a prank in Beaver’s house

 

Leave it to Bieber

Troubles the Bieber has gotten into:

  1. DUI
  2. Gets in trouble and laughs at it in his police mugshot
  3. Truthful and forthright about his wrongs and doesn’t seem to care
  4. Public urination
  5. Doesn’t seem to have parents
  6. Resisting arrest
  7. Cultivates  image of “boy next door”
  8. Sent to a judge
  9. Drunken drag racing
  10. Huge parties in his mansion

Reflection: Full disclosure:  I made up the plot lines for the “Leave it to Beaver”, but I think they are rather like them.  Many current commentators say that we don’t live in that ’50s sitcom world…approvingly.  Look at what has been lost and this should make us mourn. They say that world was unreal…oh really?!    Long before Christ is denied as Lord, the Law of God is denied in lawlessness, 1 Timothy 1:8-10.  We are bombarded by Lawlessness everyday and too many pastors and denomination teach lawlessness.  Our Lord’s warning is clear: 

Matthew 5: 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (emphasis my own)

Dr. C. F. W. Walther pointed out that the important word in the Matthew verses is “teach”.  C. F. W. Walther’s comment on the Scripture passage above: 

The Lord also speaks of a person “who shall teach men so.” It is bad enough when a person for his own part disregards some law and leads a careless life; but it is much worse when he preaches his lax views and leads men to perdition by his preaching. He will have to render an account to God of his preaching, and on that day he may not excuse himself by claiming that it was only trifling matters which he had represented as so unimportant that no one need grieve over them. A Christian grieves even over trifles, but unchristians imagine that they can “escape by iniquities,” Ps. 56, 7. [Luther: “What evil we do is already forgiven.”] That is the slogan of the wicked, just as it is the easy-going way of unconverted people to speak of their iniquities thus: “Well, I can easily make amends, and grass will soon grow over it.” No grass will ever grow over anything for which forgiveness has not been asked of God.

Lord, give strength and courage to all who preach and teach in Your truth the fullness of your Word of Law and Promise, the light of Your Word in these dark days. Amen.

j

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 EXODUS 32:  15Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. 16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 17When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” 18But he said, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear.” 19And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. 20He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it.

“It’s true! It’s in the book! Moses, the very first person to see the Ten Commandments, immediately got mad and broke them in disgust—smashed them to smithereens. Nobody since has done a more thorough job of it.

But the situation calls for more attention. Moses’ disgust was just the opposite of ours; he was disgusted not witthe commandments, but with the behavior of the children of  Israel. We get disgusted with the commandments because we want to behave like the children of Israel. All of us at times have wished we could join Moses in demolishing those stone tablets; then we wouldn’t have to worry about breaking the commandments in the other sense of the term.” (italics my own)

The above quote is from The MAD Morality or the Ten Commandments Revisited, by Vernard Eller, published in 1970 (kind of the Jewish equivalent to The Gospel According to Peanuts1965 by Robert Short).  Yes, as in MAD magazine! The Scripture passage is also cited in this book.  What is described in the opening of this book  is truly “mad morality”, that is, the despising of the Lord’s Word.

Yet, the world since ’70 has done a good job in smashing the 10 by deconstructing them as imposing morality and too dominating.  Yet, the worry that we break them is real.  The worry can be nagging, daily nagging.  Why?  His Law is written into our hearts  (Jeremiah 31: 31-34).  We want to behave like the children of Israel worshiping a golden calf, in fact, every day we want to do just that:  if we fear losing anything or anyone more than the Lord, then you have a false god.  And if the commandments  are done away with, by some, say, “Jesus Seminar”, then someone, especially someone ‘religious’ will write his or her own laws to be kept, see Mohammed, Joseph Smith and liberal Protestantism, after all, “nature abhors a vacuum”.  The Lord knows this and next week, Holy Week,in the week that changed the world, He fulfilled the Law, the only Law (lex sola)  and it’s worrisome and wonderful demand to love: You are forgiven and loved us to the end, even death on the cross…all of us. Sola gratia, by grace alone that “saved a wretch like me”.  He has filled the vacuum and desert with His life-giving Word:  He is risen.

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Last week Thursday I and many other campus ministers were invited to watch an expose documentary, “The Spitting Game: the College Hook-Up Culture” at W & L University.  The trailer is below.  For those who do not know:  “Hook-ups”  are mutual sexual unions fueled by drunkenness with no commitment by either person. This is not new but has been happening on  college campuses for sometime now.  For instance:  I read an article about this in 2005.  One night stands now becoming weekly stands without standing for anything.  It is profoundly sad.

Two observations:  

1.  The expose taught me one thing:  alcohol and drug abuse fuel “hooking-up”. This was the unrelenting part of the expose that I knew about but it really sank in.  It goes hand in hand with adulterous coitus.  Many of the students interviewed experience “black-outs”, when a person has drunk so much, she has not passed out,but is talking and conversing (yes, driving) but the next day has to ask people: what did I say/do?  Even though the clear meaning of the 10 commandments is denied or denigrated in many campuses,  yet we know “hooking-up” is wrong because it takes drunkenness to go through with it.  Of course, it was pointed out in the film that alcohol drops one’s “inhibitions”.  An inhibition means there must be something, or someone, inhibiting the wrong behavior.  What is doing the  inhibiting and so who is the Inhibitor?  It certainly is not the devil.

2.  I thought of Galatians 5: 16-24, where the Apostle Paul lists first the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit”.  At the end of the list of the works of the flesh,  he names, “drunkenness”.  The Greek word points to the various clubs at the time in which members would have drinking games and the like for the sole purpose of inebriation.  Then the Apostle lists right after “drunkenness”:  “orgies”.  The film showed orgies.  Drunkenness and orgies go together.  We think “hook-up” is new and we  take an almost perverse pride that we this is “new”.  It is not. It’s old, as old as Adam. The only aspect of our  culture and society that is new, actually has changed, is that the societal consensus of a Judeo-Christian ethos that marriage is sacred, and certain behaviors are wrong, which supported the Church’s mission, has been weakened or even dissolved.  On campuses, there are no rules, except get good grades and don’t hurt someone else, but people are getting hurt in ways that are hard to fathom.A generation ago a college acted in locus parentes, that is, “in place of parents”:  no more.  When the Apostle Paul lived, it was the time of the Roman Empire, when he wrote Galatians.  I think we are living now in a neo-pagan culture and the Church and the Lord’s Christians are to stand-out in the stand we take in marriage and family so that others may hear the life-changing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for sinners:

14Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.  Philippians 2

And that night in the college theater, in the short discussion after the movie, were students who did not want to join the crowd and felt like they were on the outside looking in. One young man said he felt alone.  A Roman Catholic theologian, Hans urs von Balthassar said on the verse above:  living as we do in this dark moonless night and as we are holding flashlights, we must use them.  I would say it is the light of His Word in our lives, this is the “word of life” that will alone guide us through.  We walk by faith in Him Who died and rose and in that faith to love and serve our neighbors.

Lord of all power and might, author and giver of all good things, instill in our hearts the love of Your Name, impress on our minds the teachings of Your Word, and increase in our lives all that is holy and just; through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,  one God, now and forever. Amen.

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The following summation of Mr. Brooks’ article is from the 9/23/2011 edition of The Week:

If it feels right to me, then it is. That, said David Brooks, pretty much sums up the moral philosophy of most young Americans, who have grown up unmoored from any cultural or religious framework for knowing right from wrong. In a depressing new book, Lost in Transition, a group of sociologists documents how people in their late teens and early 20s have come to view moral choices as “just a matter of individual taste,” and seem perplexed when asked to make judgments about behavior that earlier generations would clearly label as wrong. Cheating on tests? Infidelity? Drunken driving? In interviews, young people say that decisions about such behavior are “up to the individual.” There is virtually no sense of any overarching value system or obligation to society or to others. “I guess what makes something right is how I feel about it,” is a typical refrain. For this, we can only blame schools, institutions, and families. From blind deference to churches and authority, our society has swung to the other extreme, and now morality is purely “something that emerges in the privacy of your own heart.”

My Comment:  What Mr. Brooks has left out is this  aspect of this moral decline of an absolute moral code:   Protestant denominations were particularly complicit in this.  Neo-liberals did not want at all “blind deference to churches”,  they/we wanted “dialogue” about divorce, war, abortion, homosexuality, feelings etc. etc.(many still do: see the ELCA). In the 60s the old morality was replaced by the “new morality”, which as one evangelical said back then was just the old immorality.  We bought into values clarification with a Christian veneer in which the self is the final moral arbiter.  We did this in youth groups. We “reaped the wind and sowed the whirlwind” (see Hosea 8:7).  The whirlwind?  Wrath.  The Law of God is written into our very being.  If we deny this, bury it, we are doing the impossible.  The wrath of breaking His Law and denying it is visited upon us.  We say as we do something blatantly wrong, “What the hell!”.  In deed, what the hell we pay in anger at each other, in self-destructive behaviors and idolatry (see politics, conservative or liberal today).

Romans 1:  18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

Only then can we pray from the depths:  Lord, have mercy.

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