In Response to "Pastor" Adam Phillips Inaccurate Statements Concerning Sodomy (Via Twitter Post on 7/16/15)
I would like to respond to Mr. Marty Rush’s recent letter entitled “Bible Not Reliable Guide for Morality”. In his letter Mr. Rush stated that “The Old Testament supports ethical codes that are alien in today’s world and actually immoral by modern standards.” and he is absolutely right! The reason for this is that what is seen as morality today is totally against God’s idea of morality. In today’s society it is nothing to live in adultery and fornication yet God calls it sin. Why? Because it destroys lives! How many marriages are destroyed because of adultery? How many diseases are in people because of fornication? Yes, God’s laws are foreign to today’s society but that is because we live in a society that calls good evil and evil good. The Bible has something to say about that as well; “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;” (Isaiah 5:20a).
The reason the Bible, in Mr. Rush’s eyes, “is not a good guide to ethical behavior” is that ethics is a word not known today. Lying, cheating, stealing, immorality, sodomy, and such evils are considered the norm today. We cover it over by saying things like “it’s just a white lie”, “no one got hurt”, or “it’s an alternate lifestyle”. The problem is that people reject that our sins are not against each other but against a thrice Holy God! Is the Bible unreliable as a guide because the ethics that God chooses are holy and the ethics we choose today are evil? Is God wrong because man wants to be right?
Mr. Rush has seen God’s judgment in the Old Testament but he has failed to see God’s love and His holiness. In His love, God gave moral laws meant to help man in their relationship with each other and with God. If man would follow these laws our society would be much better off. It is not that God’s Word is unreliable but that man’s desires are unreliable!
Mr. Rush has continually stated the faults of Christians, many falsely so called. As a Christian I know that I am not perfect and the sins of professing Christians have, in effect, “shot us in the foot”. I agree that people who profess to be a Christian should live up to God’s moral laws or stop calling themselves a Christian and defaming God’s Holy name. We are not perfect but are forgiven and should live like we are. But let us not forget that the greatest wrongs against humanity have been by non-Christians, whether atheist or religious. The crusades, religious people but totally un-Christian; The Holocaust, an atheist; Massacre of innocent Cambodians, an atheist; 911, religious but not Christian; Abortion, led by an atheist.
God has the right and the obligation to punish those that do not heed His laws. Knowing we could never live up entirely to those laws God sent His son, Jesus, to take our penalty on the cross so that we might be saved. God is a God of judgment but His love is greater! As a good parent will punish a child for wrong doing so that he will be better, God punishes His people to help us learn to be more like Him. Those who are not His children will one day be punished in the Lake of Fire but until then His cry is the same; “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
In response to Mr. Marty Rush’s article “The Atheist Ten Commandments”, as a Christian I am hammered every day by the world screaming that I must be tolerant in my beliefs. Our government, led and provoked by people like Mr. Rush, is trying to make it against the law to preach what the Bible teaches. The first amendment in our Constitution grants every American freedom of speech and of religious beliefs and yet the atheist says that applies to everyone BUT the Christians. If a Christian tries to act on his freedoms it is called hate speech and stupidity. Every article Mr. Rush has written speaks of Christians as unintelligent, mindless, crazy, dangerous, irrational, etc.
In his last article Mr. Rush called our belief in God irrational. I would say that it is irrational to believe that human intelligence is the best thing since sliced bread. Look at history, Mr. Rush. The intelligence levels have DECREASED since evolution started being taught in our schools. Mr. Rush misinterprets the Bible by saying God is against art. Read it again, Mr. Rush, if you ever have. Look at the tabernacle and temple. There was much art in both of them and the temple of Solomon was considered the most beautiful building in the world. God told them what to put in those places of worship. God is an artist (His art is all around us and is us) why would HE be against creativity? Mr. Rush’s point on speech was a great one. The atheist’s belief that he can say whatever he wants to and shouldn’t have to worry about offending someone is anti-social. Yes, you have freedom of speech but that doesn’t mean you should say whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s called self-control and respect. In fact, Mr. Rush’s commandments seem to stem from a lack of control and understanding (i.e. # 5, 6, and 7). This, of course, is very revealing. Prior to the teaching of evolution and the growth in atheism this country was actually a very moral country. Since then it has become a country that says “If it feels good, do it.” Through the teachings of Evolution (you’re only a more-highly evolved monkey so act like an animal) and Atheism (There is no God to be accountable to, so do what you want) this country has devolved into what we see today.
I would like to offer my services to Mr. Rush to help him understand the Word of God. It does not hold a message of hatred and bondage but a message of God’s love and freedom from sin. Yes, God is a God of judgment but His patience with man is an example to all of us. Atheism is a religion. Atheism worships the human intelligence. We have seen where that has led this country. King David told us “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1a)
Well, the election didn't go the way most of us hoped it would. What now? I can tell you that I was a little depressed this morning when I got the news. I love my country and seeing it taken down the road to socialism is very disturbing. As I went to work I was troubled thinking about where the president will take us in the next four years. One of the men at work said "what can you do?" As I worked I thought about that. What can I do? Before I left I told him that there is something I can and will do; I will pray for our president! I Timothy 2:2 commands us to pray for those in authority. Luke 6:28 commands us to pray for those that despitefully use us. God reminded me today that my hope is not in the White House. My hope is not in the Court House. My hope is in God! "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness." Praise God, I still have hope.
I gathered my family this morning and preached to them about my hope. I told my children that we might, and probably will, face persecution like what we've only read about. I told them, if so, to trust in The Lord because He will never leave us nor forsake us! Hallelujah!
It is time for Christians to wake up! Romans 13:11 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." I believe that this election is God's judgement upon Christians for sleeping at the wheel. Maybe He will have to allow persecution so that we will do what He commanded us to do. He did that to the Church in Jerusalem, remember? If so be, then I make my stand now! No law will hinder me from preach what thus saith The Lord! No law will stop me from witnessing! No amount of time in jail will keep me from proclaiming "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" And while I am at it nothing is going to get me down because my hope is in The Lord! Jeremiah 17:17b "...thou art my hope in the day of evil." Psalm 121:1-2 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." Hallelujah!
I send out the call to all Christians, pray for the president that God might change his heart. Proverbs 21:1 " The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." Take time to fast for our country. Mark 9:29 "And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." Get busy for The Lord! John 9:4 "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." That day is coming quickly. Might we be able to say that we lived in victory. (Revelation 2:11, 26; 3:5; 21:7) God bless you as you seek to honor Him.
Each of us deals with the threat of temptation every day. Temptation has been Satan’s tool since Adam and Eve and the method of attack has not changed, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (I John 2:16) Jesus was tempted in every way that we have ever been tempted, the difference is He never succumbed to the temptations. Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” So, how do we overcome this threat in our lives and live the life of victory that Jesus wants us to live?
First, you must have the right strength. Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” If we try to combat temptation in our flesh we will fall prey to it every time. To effectively fight temptation you must be a Christian. By this I mean someone who has repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus alone for salvation. Psalm 144:1 “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:” David knew in himself he could not fight temptations but he needed God in his life to be his strength and to teach him to fight temptation. For the Christian, the Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:22-24 that there is a war going on inside of us. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour the “old us” still wants to control our actions but the “new us” wants Jesus to control them. So, who wins? That is up to you. Whichever person you feed the most is the one that will be strongest.
That brings us to the second point; you must have the right standards. The Bible tells us in Psalm 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” David gives us the proper standard to combat temptation. Most people will fight certain temptations over and over again and the reason they never have victory over the temptation is that they keep the temptation around them! If you have a problem with pornography why do you keep watching movies with nudity in them? If you have a problem with alcohol why do you hang out with friends when they’re drinking? David says that the way to fight temptation is with the right standards; don’t put the wickedness in front of you and don’t hang around people that do those things you struggle with.
The third thing we must have to overcome temptation is the right stamina. Temptation will not stop attacking just because we defeat it once. When Joseph was sold into slavery his master’s wife tried to tempt him to commit adultery with her. Joseph told her no but the Bible says in Genesis 39:10 “And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.” She came back every day to tempt him again. To Joseph’s credit, and for our example, Joseph never succumbed but instead he ran away from the temptation. To overcome temptation you must fight it every day, sometimes you just have to run away from it.
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (II Peter 2:1)
The Bible speaks a lot on false teachers and prophets especially when the end times are spoken of. I Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” A thorough study of the Bible shows that we are living in the last days. All prophesy has been fulfilled for Jesus to sound the trumpet and call His children home. Because the Bible is perfect and without error (Psalm 119:140, Proverbs 30:5) we know that many things being taught today do not line up with the Bible. We call these false doctrines. That word “doctrine” is not a word to fear. The word doctrine is defined as “In a general sense, whatever is taught. The doctrines of the gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles.” Matthew 7:28 “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:” Acts 2:42a “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship...” II Timothy 3:16a “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine…” II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” From these verses, and many more like them, we find that doctrine is commanded to be taught and followed. The doctrines that we are to teach and preach are the doctrines of Jesus Christ and the Apostles which are found in the Word of God. Any thing taught, that is not found in the Word of God, is called false doctrine. The Apostle John told us what to do concerning those that teach false doctrine; II John 1:10 “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:”
False doctrines have been part of Satan’s attack on God and God’s people since Adam and Eve. Some of the most prevalent of false doctrines are: worshipping Mary, Jesus Christ is not God, Christ blood does not atone, baptism by any means other than immersion, speaking in tongues that are not known languages, Spirit baptism, etc. Some of the popular newer ones are: Name It and Claim It, God does not judge, Live Like the World to Reach the World, and the Prosperity Gospel. Each of these false doctrines cannot be found in the Bible. Oh, the person teaching them might twist a verse or two to make their doctrine sound like truth but when you study the whole Word of God you see them for what they are – false doctrines!
How can we tell the difference between true doctrine and false doctrine? By studying the Bible, don’t take what I or any man says as “Gospel” but search the Scriptures. The Bible speaks clearly on this; Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” II Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Now, go look it up and God bless you as you study. If you want to discuss doctrine call me.
Have you noticed the signs around Salida that read “Jesus Christ is Lord in Salida”? That is a bold statement for one to make. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary the word lord means “A master; a person possessing supreme power and authority; a ruler; a governor.” As I read that the question comes to mind “Is Jesus Christ REALLY Lord in Salida?”
For Jesus to be the master in Salida would mean that all would claim Him as such. It would mean that every bar, liquor store, and marijuana clinic would be shut down; that every person in town would have repented of their sins of adultery, fornication, sodomy, lasciviousness, idolatry, paganism, and even their lying! The Bible quotes Jesus as saying “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) The Bible is full of the things that Jesus commanded His servants to do but I think the one that wraps it all together is found in 1 Peter 1:15-16 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” I can tell you without a doubt that Jesus Christ is NOT Lord in Salida. That sign was made to make people feel good in their religion while those same people live a hypocritical life! If you have that sign up at your house and you are not faithful to God’s house don’t call Him your Lord. If you have that sign up and you’re down at the Tenderfoot Tavern on Friday night don’t call Him your Lord!
Many will say that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing. They will say God is a God of love and He does not judge. Obviously you don’t read your Bible. The word “judge” is used 177 times in the King James Bible. The first mention is found in Genesis 15:14 and it is God speaking saying He will judge. The last mention of the word “judge” is found in Revelation 19:11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” Again, this is speaking of Jesus so the first and last mention of the word “judge” is talking about God judging. Yes, He is a God of love. I John 4:8b tells us “God is Love” but the Bible also tells us that God is a God of judgment! II Timothy 4:1 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;” & Isaiah 61:8a “For I the LORD love judgment…” Proverbs 6:16, Isaiah 61:8, Jeremiah 44:4, Zechariah 8:17, & Revelation 2:6 & 15 all tell us that God hates sin! Many verses have shown us that certain sins are an abomination to Him which means it makes Him sick! Sin is prevalent in Salida and as such means that Jesus is not Lord of this town.
The good news is that Jesus not only wants to be Lord of Salida but He wants to be your Lord. The Bible tells us in Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repent is “to sorrow or be pained for sin, as a violation of God's holy law”. I plead with all people, Repent! Don’t wait! Tomorrow may be too late!
Last week we talk about the problem in American churches today and that was the lack of true Gospel preaching in the pulpits. That problem is a direct link to the second problem I mentioned and that is the lack of preaching from God’s people.
Now the word preach has two different definitions and both are used in the Word of God. The first is what we discussed last week and according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary is “To discourse on the gospel way of salvation and exhort to repentance; to discourse on evangelical truths and exhort to a belief of them and acceptance of the terms of salvation” in other words to preach in the position of a pastor, missionary, or evangelist. This is a ministry that, according to I Timothy 3:2, is only for qualified men (“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…”) It is hard to be the “husband of one wife” and be a woman.
The second definition is “to proclaim.” All Christians, men and women, are to proclaim the Gospel by telling others about Jesus Christ. If you will not tell your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and strangers about Jesus you might want to check up on your salvation. Christ gave us a promise and a commission in Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This commission is given to the local church which is made up of the individual Christians that have joined with that church. This means each of us is to proclaim the Gospel starting at home (our Jerusalem), then our Judea (our nation), into Samaria (our neighboring countries), and to the uttermost parts of the world! This is done through your personal witnessing and inviting folks to your church and then through the missions program of your church. Giving the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a person that does not know Jesus as their personal Saviour is the most important work that you can do for Jesus Christ.
Another way of witnessing is through your life and how you live it. This is often referred to as “lifestyle evangelism”. I must stress that this will never replace and was never meant to replace verbal witnessing, but how you live your life will give credence to your verbal witness. Let’s put it this way, if I were to come and tell you that Jesus loves you and He can wash away your sins and give you a new life and while I tell you this I am drinking a beer or smoking a cigarette would you believe much in that “life changing” talk? No, because anyone can see that the Bible teaches us in I Corinthians 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” and in Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” The Bible goes a step further and says “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also…” (Habakkuk 2:15a) Our lives ought to reflect the change that Christ made in our hearts. To many “Christians” today are not proclaiming the Gospel either through their mouth or through their living. America needs preaching from God’s pulpits and from God’s people.
There is a major problem in churches today. That problem is the lack of the preaching of God’s Word. The great Apostle Paul admonished the younger preacher Timothy to “Preach the word…” (II Timothy 4:2) Romans 15:4 tell us “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” The Bible is given as an example and for the learning of all Christians. It teaches us that we should all be bold in our witness for the Lord and in our preaching of the Word of God (Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”). As I said, there is a problem in churches today. This problem is two fold, (1) lack of preaching from God’s Pulpits and (2) lack of preaching from God’s People.
The first problem is the reason for the second problem. Preaching is God’s method of delivering the Gospel (1Corinthians 1:21 “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Titus 1:3a “But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching…”). God gives His churches pastors to preach the Word of God to His people (Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”). These Men of God are to fulfill certain requirements found in I Timothy 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:4-9 and if they do not meet these requirements they should NOT be preaching in a pulpit.
Now, too many preachers are preaching “thus saith Dr. Boastalot” instead of preaching “thus saith the Lord”! We hear them talk about the reasoning of men, their experiences, some feel good stories and very little, if any, of the Word of God. Now, quoting a man and telling a story or an experience that gives some light to what one is preaching is one thing, but more often than not it is more of those than the Word of God that is spoken. The Bible says “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18) Our example from Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles is preaching! Matthew 3:1 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,” Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Acts 4:33 “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” If a man stands in a pulpit, before a congregation of people, and will not declare “thus saith the Lord” with conviction and without apology that man is not fit to be a pastor!
America is in a great spiritual decline. The need for America today is not necessarily a new president. The need for America today is some preachers with backbone! Men who will boldly stand before their church and say “thus saith the Lord”! Preachers must stop prancing around sin, and being in sin themselves, and start preaching against it! “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)
Problem #2 will be discussed next week.
Pastor Thornsley is married to the former Carlene Culver and they have eight wonderful children (4 boys & 4 girls).