Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What Christmas Are You Celebrating?

By Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.

First Baptist Church of Oak Creek Wisconsin

Audio Sermons: www.sermonaudio.com/fbcoc


The idea for this message came from the tract titled A Christmas Trio by Trumpet Tract Ministries of Milwaukee. A husband-wife team from our church published a number of good Gospel tracts, all of which use the King James Bible for Scripture quotes.


Christmas is one of the United States of America’s “OFFICIAL” Holidays! Yet, there are a variety of different ways that Americans celebrate Christmas. The tract suggests three different ways people celebrate this National Holiday. I will add one more. As you listen to the four descriptions of Christmas, ask yourself this question: “What Christmas am I celebrating?”


Here are three, and a fourth category


1) The Secular Xmas

2) The Mythical Christmas

3) The Religious Christmas 

4) The True Christmas


Let’s begin by looking at…


·       The Secular Xmas

Even atheists and agnostics take part in this national holiday, however they are SURE to “X” Christ completely out. “The birth of Christ carries no relevance for them and the main concerns are gifts, parties, and family gatherings.”1 They view the primary value of the holiday as financial boost to the economy. It certainly does give a BIG boost to our economy. Americans will spend from $455 to $475 billion this Christmas.


But, there is a warped bent within this Xmas crowd that takes things even further. They desire to remove all public manifestations of Christ from Christmas. Nativity displays MUST GO! They insist that Christmas Trees become Holiday Trees. No “Merry Christmas” greetings! That’s a BIG “No, NO! It must be “Happy Holiday’s.” They make sure that every one knows that they are offended if “Christ” is in any way included. One community was even going to ban Red and Green because they make people think of Christmas. After a HUGE public outcry, the city council voted it down.  Red and Green can be displayed


Here is an email that I received from Liberty Counsel that illustrates the militant attack on Christmas-

Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford has issued a disturbing directive forbidding employees to say or write the word "Christmas." This directive was given by the University upon legal advice of the Oklahoma Attorney General, W.A. Drew Edmondson. Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to the University following a complaint from a University affiliate.


The controversy began when the University's Director of Human Resources recently visited various departments and said that decorations featuring the word "Christmas" in any areas of the University must be immediately removed.  


He also instructed the employees not to say "Christmas" while on the job. As a result the employees cannot respond "Merry Christmas" to other employees or visitors to the University. Read our News Release for more details. (After being confronted by a law firm, the University President intervened and brought sanity back to the situation)


Then, closer to home, we have a group of atheists who can’t stand the fact that Racine permits a Christian Nativity scene to be erected by a private group in Monument Square. So atheists decided to erect a pyramid with various anti-religious quotes on it, right next to the crèche scene.


An article on the Racine Post Blog says, “David Nelson, 81, another of the half-dozen atheists who helped set the pyramid up on the square Wednesday night -- about six feet from the Nativity Scene -- insisted, ‘we're trying to educate the American public. The Founding Fathers left too many loopholes in the doctrine of separation of church and state.’”

One person who identified himself as an American agnostic is quoted to have said – “The only problem with putting the pyramid next to the nativity is that you come off as a XXXX [fool]. The atheists are probably right, that Christianity is a make-believe myth that can cause people feel all good and faithy inside, and that religion should be separate from government. But, keep in mind that it's that same government (and maybe a forgiving religion) that is keeping you (the atheists) from being lynched.”

As you can see, this crowd celebrates Xmas. No religious convictions are involved. Jesus is completely crossed out of the picture. They refuse to recognize the paramount importance of His birth. “The irony of this Christmas is that people are participating in a holiday that came about as a result of the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ; however, they don’t recognize Him as such, don’t pay attention to Him, yet will still participate in His birthday. It is made a common thing and that is a sad thing. Is this the Christmas you are celebrating?”1


The appropriate Scripture for the Xmas crowd is -- Psalms 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” They are fools!


·       The Mythical Christmas 


This is perhaps the most popular version that Americans celebrate. Those who celebrate the mythical Christmas combine pagan mythology and modern folklore to come up with their celebrations. Here’s what I mean. The PRIMARY character of this mythical Christmas celebration is none other than Santa Claus! The focus is on Santa not the Savior. Santa Claus got his biggest boost in America from a seminary professor, Dr. Clement Clarke Moore. He taught Oriental and Greek Literature at General Theological Seminary in New York City. At age 43 he had six children. Moore had purchased the first American Book about secular Christmas. It was called A NEW YEAR'S PRESENT FOR THE LITTLE ONES FROM FIVE TO TWELVE." It inspired him to write his poem called “A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS, OR SANTA CLAUS” for his children. He read it to them at the dinner table on Christmas Eve, 1822. We know the poem better as "T'WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS". The following year it was published in the Troy New York Sentinel anonymously. This was the beginning of Santa and his reindeer-powered sleigh. It was not until 1837 that Moore allowed his name to be used in connection with the poem.


 Though Bible-believing Christians were strongly against the mythical celebration of Christmas with Santa Claus and all the pagan trappings like Yule logs, mistletoe, the wassail bowl, holly, etc. in the mid 1830-1850’s, famous American Cartoonist Thomas Nast popularized Santa Claus in Harper' Bazaar from the 1860's to the 1880's. George Webster contributed the idea that Santa's headquarters was at the North Pole. Christ and Santa were further confused by Thomas Nast and Christmas Card publisher Louis Prang who pictures the Christ Child and Santa together in the 1880's and 90's.


Slowly but surely the Santa Claus myth usurped the truth and significance of the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. I ask you, “Is this the Christmas you are celebrating?” I would simply say this, No Virginia, there is no real Santa Claus, but Christ is real and you need Him as your Savior! I remind you, Christ is to have the preeminence in all things (Colossians 1:18).


That brings me to the next Christmas people celebrate…


·       The Religious Christmas


As a Pastor, I can tell you of this; I will likely see people who I never see in any other services the entire year at Easter and Christmas services! I have never quite figured it out to be honest with you. What is the rationale for throwing God a “bone” so to speak, two Sunday’s a year and ignoring Him the other 50?


Christmas is one holiday in which those who evidently see no need of God or church during the year, decide to “play church” for a day and attend a Christmas service. Likely they think they are “giving God His due” so to speak.


Churches go to extra effort presenting plays, musicals, and special messages on this day. You have to wonder if these things are why this crowd comes! I remember reading on one church sign – “Avoid the Christmas rush! Attend church now!”


Don’t get me wrong! I certainly enjoy singing the Christmas hymns. I am blessed by the Christmas Cantata and my heart is warmed by the Sunday School program. However, The religious Christmas crowd too often does not get past the babe in the manger! They come, sing the songs, hear the sermon and as soon as “the doors are opened…thoughts have quickly reverted back to presents, parties, and dinner. In other words, back to everything other than Jesus….”2 For those who celebrate a religious Christmas, there is really no room in their day-to-day life for Christ. Luke 2:11 is not a reality to them "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." The Christmas message “never penetrates the heart and so never gets past being a religiously institutionalized message. Is this the Christmas you are celebrating?” Finally we come to…


·       The True Christmas


The fact is that even the enemies of Christianity claimed that Christ lived, and that He performed miracles! Early Jewish documents such as the Mishnah and even Josephus, as well as first-century Gentile historians such as Thallus, Serapion, and Tacitus, all testify that the one called Christ lived in Palestine and died under Pontius Pilate. As the British scholar, F. F. Bruce put it, “The historicity of Christ is as [certain]. . . as the historicity of Julius Caesar” (NT Documents, 119).


My point is this: since Jesus lived, then Jesus was born! The Gospel of Matthew tell us that His birth was shortly before Herod the Great died (Matthew 2:19). Herod's death can be fixed with certainty. Josephus records an eclipse of the moon just before Herod passed on. This occurred on March 12th or 13th in 4 B.C. Josephus also tells us that Herod expired just before Passover. This feast took place on April 11th, in the same year, 4 B.C. From other details supplied by Josephus, we can pinpoint Herod the Great's demise as occurring between March 29th and April 4th in 4 B.C.


Likely it sounds strange to suggest that Jesus Christ was born no later than 4 B.C. since B.C. means Before Christ. But our modern calendar which splits time between B.C. and A.D. was not invented until A.D. 525. At that time, Pope John I asked a monk named Dionysius to prepare a standardized calendar for the western Church. Unfortunately, poor Dionysius missed the real B.C./A.D. division by at least four years!


Matthew tells us that Herod killed Bethlehem's babies two years old and under. The earliest Jesus could have been born, therefore, is 6 B.C. Through a variety of other time indicators, we can be relatively confident that the Messiah was born in either late 5 or early 4 B.C.


The birth of Christ is the most important event in human history. So important in fact, that the timeline of history is divided by it - B.C. abbreviated for “Before Christ” and A.D. abbreviated for the two Latin words Anno Domini (meaning in the year of our Lord). This was no ordinary birth and it changed human history forever. Even a complete skeptic like H.G. Wells, a professional historian and science-fiction writer who made no profession of Christianity, admitted in his Outline of History, “More than 1900 years later, a historian like myself, who doesn’t even call himself a Christian, finds the picture [of history] centering irresistibly around the life and character of this most significant man.…” The True Celebration of Christmas focuses the birth of Emmanuel (God with us). You can read about all the related facts surrounding the Savior’s birth in the Gospels of Matthew (1:18-2:11) and Luke (1:26-56, 67-75, 2:4-40). But what was the purpose of Christ’s birth? We read in 1 John 4:14 “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” Why do we need a Savior? The birth of Christ was necessary because all people are lost sinners (Romans 3:23). God gave His Son Jesus a body so that so that He could pay for our sins by offering of His own body (Hebrews 10:5 & 10; 1 Peter 2:24; Colossians 2:13-14). If you have never received Jesus Christ as your Savior, do it today! “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.


Notes 1-2 are from A Christmas Trio by Trumpet Tract Ministry www.TrumpetTracts.com

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Responsibilities For Fathers

Responsibilities for Fathers
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
First Baptist Church of Oak Creek Wisconsin

Responsibilities of Fathers.06152013
Text: Proverbs 4

“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. 2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 3  For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.” Proverbs 4:1-4 


Twenty-four times the phrase "my son" occurs in Proverbs. In all but one instance it is a father (David or Solomon) giving instruction to their sons. Here are just a just a few verses to give you a flavor of the advice given –

Proverbs 1:8 “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:”

Proverbs 1:10 “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”

Proverbs 3:11 “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:”

Proverbs 5:1 “My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:”

Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”

Proverbs 24:21 “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:”

There are many good things that a father should teach his children from Proverbs.

Proverbs 4 points out some basic responsibilities for fathers.

·        A Father is Responsible to Provide Instruction To His Children
·        A Father Is Responsible To Require Obedience
·        A Father Is Responsible To Motivate The Child
·        A Father Is Responsible To Teach Right Direction
·        A Father Is Responsible To Teach Right Speech
·        A Father Is Responsible To Teach The Child To Think


·        The father is responsible to provide instruction to his children

“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father…” v.1

Since children are directed to “hear” their father’s instruction, it should go without saying the father IS to guide and teach them. The Apostle Paul says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

A.    What Is To Be The Basis of guiding and teaching them?

The answer is found in verse 2 – “For I give you good doctrine….” Dads have the key responsibility for teaching their children doctrine, that is the Christian belief system. You need to teach them what you believe and tell them why your believe it and then live it in front of them!

It is NOT enough to just sent them to church or even take them to church. They MUST see faith in practice in your life!

Dad’s do your children see and hear you praying. Have you taught them to pray? Do they see you reading and studying the Bible? Do they hear you pray for lost souls or heard you tell of witnessing to someone?

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of you feeding your children the Scriptures and then encouraging them to be in the Scriptures themselves.

Turn to 2 Timothy 3:15-17 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

If you are in the Word of God and you see that your children are in the Word of God their moral compass will be programmed by the Word of God.

A father is responsible to instruct his children. The cornerstone of the instruction is to be biblical Doctrine.

·        The Father Is Responsible to Require Obedience

Proverbs 4:4 “He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.”

It is not enough to give commandments. You must require obedience and if obedience is not forthcoming, there needs to be consequences.

Proverbs 3:1 “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

It has been said that a Country that does not enforce its laws breeds lawlessness. Likewise, a father that does not enforce his laws breed rebellion. Certainly the command is “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” Colossians 3:20 And if they do obey, “Chasten thy son while there is hope…” Proverbs 19:18

Children who are left to themselves bring reproach and shame on their parents! Proverbs 29:15 “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

·        The Father Is Responsible To Motivate The Child

Proverbs 4:5-7Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7  Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

A father is to be a teacher! It takes time to be a teacher, but you need to teach your children practical things about life and living! Manners, personal hygiene, how to behave in different situations. The “how to” list: How to ride a bike. How to use tools. How to swim, hunt, fish, how to treat others, etc. Guys need to learn how to treat a lady and what to look for in a wife. Girls need to learn how to behave properly and what to look for in a husband.

Further, a father promotes right education! When my granddad was young 8th grade was enough. When my dad graduated, high school was enough. I am here to tell you, you need training beyond high school in either a trade or college.

·        The Father Is Responsible To Teach Right Direction

Proverbs 4:14-19 “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. 16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”

Mrs. Brown and I would use life examples to teach righteousness and to illustrate the end of wickedness.

·        A Father Is Responsible To Teach Right Speech

Proverbs 4:24 “Put away from thee a forward [deceitful; distorted] mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”

“What is in the well of the heart will come up through the bucket of the mouth.” A dad must be sure he speaks with integrity, not deceitfully or in a foul, slanderous way.

·        A Father Is Responsible To Teach The Child To Think

Proverbs 4:26-27 “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

You need to teach your children common sense! Teach them NOT to make decisions based on emotions. Teach them to think through situations. What are the positives? What are the negatives? What are the long range implications? Far too many people are impulsive and make wrong decisions because they have no idea how to reason properly.

I am praying for you dads! Your children need you. Take these responsibilities seriously.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Untold Story of The Persecution of Christians

A History Untold

The Untold Story of The Persecution of Christians

by Jaclyn Miller




Did you know hundreds of thousands of people have been murdered for their faith in the God of the Bible?  These peaceable people had two main ties that bound them together: their belief that Jesus Christ came to save the world from sin and that the Bible is God’s Word and sole authority in their lives.  Many generations of religions and/or governments attacked, tortured, molested, and slaughtered these people simply because they held to the Bible.  From as early as the Jews of Jesus day, to the Roman Catholic Church during the Dark Ages, to the Protestant Reformers in Europe and even in the American colonies, to today, there has been unending persecution of Bible believers throughout the world.  Most people understand the Inquisition to be the height of religious persecution that occurred for only a few hundred years in Europe, but, in fact, religious persecution has continued for two millennia across the borders of many countries including the American colonies.

In America and most other free countries today, we take our religious freedoms for granted; to the point, we have all but forgotten why we wanted those freedoms.  Society calls out cries out for tolerance of everyone’s beliefs because, they claim, we all serve the “same God”.  Particularly, many of the churches that separated from the Roman Catholic Church during of the Reformation have begun talking with the Roman Catholic Church about becoming one church again.  Dr. David Cloud, founder of Way of Life Literature website (www.wayoflife.org), wrote, “The lie that Catholicism is becoming more evangelical, more biblical, and more spiritual…is being used to encourage ecumenical relationships between Catholics and Protestants” (290).  Ever since the Roman Catholic Church lost the great power she had before the Reformation, Rome has been seeking to regain her glory years again.  Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, and etc. today do not fully understand why they separated in the first place.  If the churches that came out of the Reformation do not remember the history of the persecutions and vicious Inquisition against themselves, do Bible-believers even recall the persecutions they have endured for so long from the Jews, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Protestant Reformers?

To begin with, Religious persecution against Christians started with Jesus Christ Himself  being persecuted.  The Jews were looking for their Messiah to save them from the rule of the Romans, but when Jesus died, as He said, to save them from their sins instead. The Jews rejected Jesus and His followers as a result.  Dr. Phil Stringer, who is an author and active Bible conference speaker, says “The leaders of the Jewish Sanhedrin began the first persecution of Christians” (49).  Harold Chadwick, Editorial Director of Bridge-Logos Publishers, wrote in the updated version of “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” that because He claimed to be the Son of God, “The first to suffer for the Church was Jesus Himself—not a martyr, of course, but the inspiration and source of all martyrdom” (4).  Because Christ was willing to suffer and die as He did on the cross, His disciples believed that He taught the truth and followed Him, even unto death.  Peter, one of the more famous disciples, “requested that he be crucified in an upside down position because he did not consider himself worthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord(Chadwick 7).  “[Paul] was taken to the execution block and beheaded.” (Chadwick 8).  All but one of the twelve Disciples of Christ died violent deaths along with many other followers of Christ.   These men, guilty only of preaching in the name of Christ, were murdered by the Jews, who did not want to hear the truth.

In 70 A.D., the Roman Army under the leadership of Titus sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple, but Christians were still persecuted, now by the Romans.  Contrary to popular belief today, Constantine, who came to power in 306 A.D., was not a Christian in the same way as the Bible teaches a Christian ought to be.  “Like many during his time, Constantine’s life and conduct were a mixture of Christianity and paganism.” (Chadwick 42).  Romans of Constantine’s day just added the God of the Bible to their other gods, instead of making the God of the Bible his sole authority.  This Christianity resembled that of the RCC, not of the Bible.  Constantine created the union between “church” and state though it still took some two hundred years for the RCC to gain its full power.  Additionally, Constantine approved the famous Edict of Milan, supposedly giving Christians the freedom to live out their faith.  In Chadwick’s book, he writes “During the thousand years of general peace Christians still suffered martyrdom for their faith in Christ” (46).  Despite the edict, true Bible-believers still suffered for their faith because the edict only approved the Roman Catholic version of Christianity.  However, the more they were persecuted, the more the Bible-believers spread the gospel around the world.

As the Roman Catholic Church gained greater power over the people’s lives, she tightened her grip not only on the populace but also on the governments of that day.  The reign of the Roman Catholic Church across Europe was the second worst time of persecution for the Bible-believers because the Roman Catholic Church refused to allow the people to read the Bible in the vulgar (common) language (Cloud 61).  Yet, the people thirsted for the truth that can only be found in the Scriptures.  J. M. Cramp, college professor and college president in the 1800s, wrote that because the populace was “Shocked at the frauds and crimes which were daily perpetrated, they panted for something better than Rome proffered [offered].  The Gospel of Christ, as preached by the persecuted sects, satisfied their souls” (Cramp 87)  The Popes hated anyone who opposed their authority, but most of all those who insisted the Bible was the only authority by which a man should live.  “Cursing was first thought of, because it was easy, and the Church was expert at it…they said ‘all manner of evil against them falsely,’ hurled anathemas [permanent condemnation] at their heads, and called upon the people to ‘hate them with a perfect hatred’” (Cramp 88).  During this time, the Popes began issuing Papal bulls to threaten Christians with eternal separation from God.  When this was not enough, the Popes gathered armies to go on crusades by promising to those who served in them salvation from their sins.  “The human bloodhounds were at work in all directions” (Cramp 90).  These armies would either wipe out whole towns, as in the case of the town of Beziers, France.  Contingents would harass families; they did not always care that there might be Roman Catholics among those they slaughtered.  Male or female from the infant to the elderly, all were mistreated in the most horrific manner.  John T. Christian, professor of history in the Baptist Bible Institute, wrote “Mary [Bloody Mary] sought to burn all who were opposed to Romanism, Baptists and Reformers alike” (A History of the Baptists Volume 1 203)  It was not uncommon for these believers, while they were yet alive, to have their limbs cut off, stabbed many times, roasted in a fire like a pig, raped, have private parts cut off, their entrails torn out, and then be paraded around the town.  Oftentimes, the great crime that warranted such treatment was reciting Scripture in their mother tongue or denying that infant baptism had saving merit.  “Only when Rome lacked the power to accomplish its true intention did she countenance the distribution of the Bible in the vernacular languages, and even then she attempted to control such distribution and to force the people to read only those Bibles that contain Catholic notes approved by its hierarchy” (Cloud 44).  As the Roman Catholic Church began to lose power during the Reformation, it changed tactics.  Rome is now significantly destroying the foundation from which the Scriptures were translated. 

There is a common misconception that the Reformation finally brought peace among religions; however, true Christians continued in the “suffering, inflicted, not only by the Papists…but by their fellow-Protestants.  The Episcopalians and Presbyterians of England, the Lutherans of Germany, and the reformed in Switzerland…agreed in persecuting the Baptists” (Cramp 232).  The Reformers fought long and hard to gain their own religious freedom, but then turned around and persecuted those same Bible-Believers that Rome had.  Reformers treated these people no better than the Roman Catholic Church.  “Swiss Presbyterians had won freedom for themselves, but they were determined not to grant it to others” (Cramp 239).  “[John Calvin] was responsible in a large measure for the demon of hate and fierce hostility which the Baptists of England had to encounter” (Christian, A History of the Baptists Volume 1 198).  The leaders of these infant religions were just as harsh as Rome.  Protestants took away believer’s property, banished naked persons to the wilderness, and many other horrific punishments, just like Rome.  While popes issued papal bulls of condemnation of Bible-Believers, Protestant rulers issued laws against them.  “These warrants are substantially alike… word for word. Mary, the Papist, dooming to death the Protestant, and Elizabeth, the Protestant, ordering the execution of the Baptist” (Cramp 245).  Baptists had no relief from their persecutions during or after the Reformation.  There was no peace anywhere they moved in Europe; for if Rome was not attacking them, Reformists were.

This harassment continued even on the North American continent.  History books cast the colonies as a place of religious bliss from the start.   However, “As the Puritans settled around the Pilgrims, they brought their ideas of a state church with them, and they soon began to harass the Baptists and other non-conformists” (Stringer 184).  Religious freedom was a major reason for the emigration to America, yet leaving Europe and starting over completely was not enough.  Protestants wanted freedom for themselves, but not for others.  “Most colonial governments treated Baptists with hostility or outright persecution” (Stringer 187).  Though it is touted as representative of all the colonies at the time, Providence, Rhode Island was an anomaly of religious liberty among the colonies.  Even as late as “1768, three Baptists were arrested for witnessing in Virginia, and they continued to preach through the window of the Culpepper County jail” (Stringer 188).  These three were eventually let go, but others were whipped viciously or banished to the wilderness for similar acts of faith.  Part of a law passed in Massachusetts against Baptists reads, “It is ordered and agreed, that if any person or persons… shall either openly [condemn] or oppose the baptizing of infants…every such person or persons shall be sentenced to banishment” (qtd. in Christian, A History of the Baptists volume 2 54).  It was not until after the colonies won the War for Independence that Baptists finally had relief from their persecutions, but even then, it was only in the United States of America.

In the United States of America, we live a life bathed in freedom.  We have forgotten the price that was paid for this freedom and the lack of freedom that other countries suffer.  “During this century alone, more Christians have been killed for their faith than in all previous centuries combined” (Chadwick 323).  This persecution has only worsened in the last one hundred years.  The media does not report on these controversially religious massacres occurring around the world.  “Communists persecuted Christians, destroyed their churches, imprisoned them, tortured them, and killed them.  During the height of Communism worldwide, an average of 330,000 Christians were killed every year” (Chadwick 326).  This is just in the last 40 years.  While the USSR has been dissolved, there are still other Communist countries persecuting more than 150,000 Christians a year.  In China in 1990, Mother and daughter were imprisoned for the mother’s beliefs (Chadwick 348-349).  China does not want the people to have freedom to worship God as they believe He ought to be worshipped.  Over the last year, China has been clamping down harder on its people by not allowing them free reign of the internet.  Additionally, Islamic countries do not want any other religion but that of Islam.  Muslims have even burned their own Koran and blamed it on the Christians falsely (Chadwick 365).  There is still widespread persecution of Bible-Believers around the world today.  Even in America, Christians are told to be tolerant of others’ beliefs, to be non-judgmental, which is contrary to what the Bible teaches.  While we don’t have the physical persecution like that of other countries, we still are looked down upon for our beliefs.  We, American Christians, face the least amount of persecution, but are the most afraid to stand up for the Bible because we might offend someone else.

Bible-believing Christians have continuously been persecuted from the time of Christ until the present.  The Jews were the first to reject the Disciples and other Christians.  While Constantine is considered the first Christian to rule Rome, he also discriminated against the Bible-believers; furthermore, he started the “state-church” of the Roman Catholic Church.  When Rome held sway over all Europe, she viciously attacked anyone who opposed her.  Once the Protestant Reformers gained their own freedom, they began to persecute Bible-Believers just as much as the RCC even in the colonies of the New World.  Religious liberty did not exist for Baptists until the United States had gained its independence, but even then, this freedom is found only in certain countries.  Many have heard of the Inquisition, but have not been told about any of the other intense persecutions that have happened for the last two-thousand years.  As time rolls on, the story of the discrimination of Bible-Believers is lost in the past.  These important, yet often neglected, accounts must be taught lest history repeats itself, and in ten years, the Roman Catholic Church regain her glory years, once again leaving no safe haven for those that oppose her.

Works Cited

Chadwick, Harold J. The New Foxe's Book of Martyrs. North Brunswick: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1997. Print.

Christian, John T. A History of the Baptists Volume 1. Texarkana: Bogard Press, 1922. Print.

—. A History of the Baptists Volume 2. Texarkana: Bogard Press, 1926. Print.

Cloud, David. Rome and The Bible. Port Huron: Way of Life Literature, 2009. Print.

Cramp, J. M. Baptist History: From the Foundation of the Christian Church to the Present Time. London: Baptist Heritage Publications, 1987. Print.

Stringer, Phil. The Faithful Baptist Witness. Chicago: Lightning Source, Inc., 2011. Print.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

America Is Heading Back to The Practices of Pagan Rome: Homosexuality & Same-Sex Marriage

America Is Heading Back To
The Practices of Pagan Rome!
Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage
by Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
First Baptist Church of Oak Creek Wisconsin
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, wrote - “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” It seems our culture is at this point today.

Dr. Don Boys writes – “The efforts of the media, academia, Hollywood, and politicians have accomplished an amazing feat: they have changed the culture in a generation by being deceptive, disingenuous, and dishonest. Most people now believe right is now wrong and wrong is now right. Godly living is considered divisive, derisive, and deranged while perversion is no longer reprehensible, repugnant, and repulsive, but is thought (by non-thinkers) to be commendable, courageous, and even cultured!”(http://donboys.cstnews.com/homosexuals-want-special-rights-not-equal-rights)

We see Isaish 5:20-21 being lived out before our eyes – “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”

The little word “woe” indicates judgment, God’s judgment. Let me ask you two questions.

·       Do you have any doubt in your mind that the hand of judgment is on our country?

·       Do you have any doubt why God’s hand of judgment is on our nation today?

Here is the forthright truth why we are in the predicament our culture is in today. We are moving quickly away from an absolute standard of truth in this nation! As I have often told you, our nations legal system was founded upon the Judeo-Christian Ethic, that is the principles of Old Testament New Testament.  

By and large our nation is given over to relativism! Right and wrong are being decided by “the powers that be” or by majority vote. Or, you make up your own values! But this is an ever changing standards and bring instability! It ultimately leads to cultural breakdown, anarchy and chaos.

I want to focus upon one Key Biblical ethic today and that is Marriage! We read in Genesis 1:27-28a “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…”

From the very beginning marriage was between a man and a woman!

Genesis 2:18-25 “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.   21  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

God made Eve for Adam and brought her to him. Moses, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul affirm this.

·       Moses - Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

·       Christ - Mark 10:7 “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;”

·       Paul - Ephesians 5:31 “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

The Biblical family has always been, is and will continue to be the backbone of society! When the family, as biblically defined, is destroyed the culture is doomed. In fact, this was a key contributing factor in the demise of Rome. The Roman culture had become morally reprobate.

The first-century A.D. catechetical manual, the Didache, makes refreshingly clear what pagans will have to give up, in regard to Roman sexuality, once they joined the Church. It begins with the ominous words –

“There are two ways: one of life and one of death—and there is a great difference between the two ways.”

The pagan converts are then confronted with a list of commands. Some of which would have been quite familiar and reasonable to Romans, such as, “You will not murder” and, “You will not commit adultery” (although for Romans, abortion wasn’t murder, and a husband having sex with slaves or prostitutes was not considered adulterous).

But then followed strange commands (at least to the Romans), “You will not corrupt boys”; “You will not have illicit sex” (ou porneuseis); “You will not murder offspring by means of abortion [and] you will not kill one having been born.”

Against the norm in Rome, Christians must reject pedophilia, fornication and homosexuality, abortion, and infanticide. The list also commands, “You will not make potions” (ou pharmakeuseis), a prohibition against widespread practices in the Roman Empire which included potions that stopped conception or caused abortion.

I include the prohibitions against sexual practices heartily affirmed by the Romans alongside prohibitions against contraception, abortion, and infanticide for a very important reason. Christians defined the goal of sexuality in terms of the natural ability to procreate. What was different, again, was not recognizing the obvious need for a man and a woman to make a child—Stoics argued along the same lines. What was peculiar to Christianity was removing all other expressions of sexuality from legitimacy (many Stoic men had male paramours). The Roman elevation of sexual pleasure above procreation, and hence outside this tightly-defined area of sexual legitimacy defined by Christianity, led to the desire for contraceptive potions, abortifacients, and infanticide.” (From: Gay marriage and homosexuality were part of the moral landscape in Ancient Rome by Benjamin Wiker; June 26, 2012; CatholicWorldReport.com - www.lifesitenews.com/news/gay-marriage-and-homosexuality-were-part-of-moral-landscape-in-ancient-rome)

Our culture is in trouble today. We are going BACK TO THE PRACTICES OF PAGAN ROME! What is even more alarming is what I read in an article written by Julaine Appling, Director of Wisconsin Family Action this week. Below are some of the comments she is hearing from Christians!

“I just don’t think the Bible condemns homosexuality. As long as two people love each other, I think they should be able to get married. Same-sex marriage is going to happen. There’s nothing we can do to stop it.”

“In the early days of the Bible, God needed everyone to populate the earth; we don’t need that anymore. Children just aren’t the issue. Plus the Bible isn’t meant to be taken literally. So, I see nothing wrong with people of the same sex who love each other and are committed to each getting married. Who are we to tell people who they can love?”

“Well, even if the government legalizes same-sex marriage—which is pretty much inevitable—so deal with it, that doesn’t mean pastors will be forced to marry anyone they don’t want to.”

Appling writes, and I fully agree – “Tragically I have heard all of these and more very recently from people who say they are Christians—some from people I personally know to be born-again, Bible-believing saints of God and even from some recent Bible-college graduates.”

She goes on to say, “This commentary is an urgent appeal to all Christians to get back to the Bible—and not some liberal translation or paraphrase. Use a version that is considered by conservative scholars to be a solid word-for-word translation.”

Why is she saying that? Because many of the modern translations are changing words and phraseology that addresses the issue of sodomy!

While I can excuse biblical illiteracy among the unsaved, biblical illiteracy is rapidly becoming a serious problem among true believers. If it isn’t illiteracy among believers, then it is an even more serious problem—an unwillingness to believe what we read in the Bible and to obey its clear teachings about what marriage is and God’s clear teaching about men with men and women with women.

Homosexuality is SIN. So called “same sex marriage” is NOT marriage and saying so does not make it so!

In fact, God destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah because of their sin. We read the account in Genesis 19:1-29.

Consider what the Apostle Paul said about it in Romans 1:25-28 & 32. In fact in verse 26 homosexuality is called “vile affections” and “against nature.” Verse 27 says men “burned in their lust one toward another” and their acts were “unseemly.” In verse 28 they do things that are not convenient. The word used in the Greek means not fit; unbecoming; hence abominable. In point of fact, because they chose to reject God’s principle of man+woman, verse 18 says “God gave them over to a reprobate mind,” that is, a depraved mind.

Verse 32 explains why there is such a push by homosexuals for same sex marriage. Romans 1:32 “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in [approve of; are pleased with] them that do them.” They know it is perversion. They this lifestyle is under the judgment of God but they “have pleasure” in it themselves, they are pleased with others being involved, and rejoice when others are forced to accept it!

This is the spirit of Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert’s lesbian cousin Jean Podrasky. She says that perversion should be legal because “society is becoming more accepting of the humanity of same-sex couples and the simple truth that we deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and equality under the law.”

Ohio Republican Senator has recently endorsed same-sex marriage after his son will “came out of the closet” revealing that he is a homosexual!

My Christian friends: Homosexuality is perversion. It is sin. It is wrong!  Same-sex marriage is perversion, sin and wrong. It has always been sin, and always will be sin no matter what anyone, any politician, any activist, or any court decides. Why? Because God says it is sin!

These sinful perverts want formal acceptability. They want so to speak “The Good Housekeeping Seal of approval on their evil activities. Why, because they want their vile affection treated normal. They want to be accepted, applauded and they want to advocate their lifestyles because they, as Romans 1:32 says, “take pleasure” in every single person who they can convince what they are doing is normal, natural and loving when it is not. As Dr. Boys says, “It is incredible that homosexuals, with a straight face, can demand respect and recognition for their dignity.” Homosexuality is debauched, filthy, degenerate and under the judgment of God.

Shame on any Christian who does not stand against this vile perversion. We must stand for Biblical truth! I see my more and more who claim to be Christians caving in to accepting homosexuality and same-sex marriage under the cover of “love.” When your compromise God’s Word you commit Treason against Christ!

If you love the Lord and care about homosexual, you will tell him or her the truth. Homosexuality is SIN. But there is forgiveness in Christ if they will turn from their sins and turn to Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:9 talks of “effeminate” and “asbusers of themselves with manking,” which refer to homosexuals as being able to be saved and free from their filthy lifestyle. We see that in 1 Corinthians 6:11  “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

The most loving thing you can do for a homosexual it to share the Gospel with them.