Over the last couple of years, I have had the privilege to be a part of the Men’s Bible Study led by Dr. Steven J. Lawson. We have been going through a verse by verse study of the book of Romans. While we may not be moving through Romans fast, I assure you that this has been one of the most profitable Bible Studies I have ever participated in.
Dr. Lawson brings clarity to the Word like few others are able to do. He has focus and drive and his passion for the Word of God shines through with each session. You will find yourself immersed in the book of Romans and gaining insights on how this great masterpiece fits in with the whole of Scripture.
The Men’s Bible Study meets regularly. The physical group meets at Herb’s House in Dallas, TX but you can enjoy the study online via Livestream. All of the studies are recorded so you can go back and watch them again and again.
I encourage everyone to watch videos of this study. You will be challenged in your faith and grow in your knowledge of Scripture.
Out of the three possible plans for a way forward, there is one that the Council of Bishops do not want to see pass, The Traditional Plan. The Traditional plan would almost guarantee a split in the United Methodist Church. Namely, churches that want to support the sin of the LGBTQ lifestyle will leave. Of course, some, myself included, would see this as a purification process for the church.
Simply put, the Traditional Plan (TP) would keep the current position of the United Methodist Church stating that homosexuality is not compatible with Christianity and that there is to be no LGBTQ clergy or weddings within the church. The TP would go further to add strict enforcement to the doctrine as well. Every annual conference will have to certify that they will uphold the doctrine or else they will be removed from the United Methodist Church. This includes clergy and bishops as well.
The TP upholds biblical standards with regard to homosexuality and LGBTQ positions. They are sinful and, as such, are not compatible with the Christian life or the Church. Romans 1 makes very clear how God views the LGBTQ lifestyle:
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Romans 1:26-27 ESV
The passions of the LGBTQ movement are dishonorable. They are unnatural. They are against God’s created order and they are sin.
Because of this truth, the Traditional Plan is the only biblical plan that is on the table for the 2019 Special General Conference and is the plan that I endorse.
The United States is currently in a shutdown over border security. The topic of the wall and methods of border security are not what we are interested for this article. The question is this, should Christians be involved in politics?
I believe that the confusion comes in when we read passages such as Romans 13.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
Romans 13:1-2 ESV
Yes, we are to be subject to the governing authorities. Yes, those authorities have been placed in a position of power by God. However, in the American system of government who has the real authority? The people. Therefore, God has placed each of us in the United States in a position of what I like to call simple authority. We are not rulers, but we determine who our rulers are and we influence the shaping of the laws that rule over us.
With this understanding in mind, I believe that it is not only proper for Christians in the United States to be involved in politics, I believe it is our duty. It is our duty to vote. It is our duty to speak out about issues, especially issues that are directly spoken about in Scripture.
Now, back to the issue of Romans 13, we are not to disobey government laws in the United States that do not violate Scripture. There is still an order of rule in this country. We must obey the government unless they would have us violate the ultimate ruler, Jesus Christ.
So I encourage all Christians to get involved. Know the issues. Know what is going on in your country and the world around you. Write your representatives about the issues of the day. Vote people into office who will lead this country in a way that will be faithful to the Scriptures. Do not just sit on the sidelines and do nothing.
Next month, the United Methodist Church will join several other mainline denominations in America to take up the task on what to do with the LGBTQ movement. Specifically, they will vote on whether or not to allow LGBT persons in the clergy. The problem is that this should not even be up for debate.
Scripture makes abundantly clear that the LGBT lifestyle is a sin. Romans 1:26-28 clearly tells us that this lifestyle is dishonorable, contrary to nature, and debased. It is not a lifestyle that is to be celebrated or elevated and it certainly has no place in the church.
Immediately this stance will raise accusations of bigotry and hatred but nothing could be further from the truth. While the church cannot and should not embrace the LGBT lifestyle, it should reach out to people who identify with that lifestyle with the love of Christ. The phrase love the sinner and hate the sin is more than appropriate in this instance. The church should reach out to the LGBT community with the truth of the Gospel.
What is that truth? We are all sinners, condemned to Hell. However, Christ came and died for our sins that we can be saved out of our sin and turn towards Christ to pursue a life of holiness. For the person who identifies as LGBT that means they can turn away from their sin just as any other person and the sin that they struggle with.
In other words, speaking out against the LGBT community lifestyle with the message of Christ is not a message of hate. It is a message of hope. The United Methodist Church needs to turn back to that message of hope without sacrificing the hatred of sin that we are called to have.
In the State of California, a bill has passed the General Assembly banning the sale of any goods or service that would seek to correct the behaviors related to homosexuality or transgenderism. This is the latest attack from the LGBTQ lobby against anyone who would dare to stand in their way. Remember, “tolerance” is the word of the day as long as you hold to their worldview and their worldview alone. But as Bible-believing Christians we cannot hold to that worldview. It goes directly in the face of Scripture.
Sin is a topic that is often discussed in theological circles, as it should be, but often we do not contemplate the weight of our sin. Romans 3:23 informs us that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. But what does that mean? How bad is it to fall short of that glory?
We know that the shortcoming that is our sin causes us to deserve death (Romans 6:23). It is a judgment and a sentence that is reserved for the most heinous of crimes in human laws, but it is given to even the “smallest” of offenses in the Law of God. Continue reading →