Purpose in or for Life

Here is another letter to the editor I submitted to our local paper ten days ago; it was printed in today’s edition. Let me encourages you, brethren, that as often as you can write a “letter to the editor” is as often as you can evangelize with the printed word.

Letter to editor,

Some ask questions like, what a “transcendent truth?” is or “what is truth?” with a perspective that there is not one or it is not possible to determine if there is one. These are questions (and thus arguments) of the atheist and agnostic. Generally speaking, liberals recognize such a concept as truth that is objective and transcendent. However, according a recent study, “…liberal churchgoers” are becoming less and less ‘churchgoers’ because they have become offended and leave as the devout churchgoers become more conservative. In fact, one researcher said, ‘When you take away that external form or motivation, people either drop away or they find their own kind of motivation’” (“Duke prof says in book: Americans religious faith waning”, Journal-Gazette, C-3, 8/30/2011).

This is exactly the predicament atheist Kai Nielsen was in when he said, in his debate with J.P. Moreland on God’s existence (1991), “there can be purpose in life even if there is no purpose to life” (italics his). This is a rational atheist recognizing that his life is a meaningless existence, yet there is need for proper motivation to do certain things. If meaning is only in this life, then there is no rational reason for being good in comparison with not being good – except for utilitarian reasons. Thus, the idea of “universal principles” are strictly man-made and, correspondingly, meaningless concerning purpose for life’s existence! This is the nature of the evolutionary hypothesis for life.

One writer said, in a completely different context, “I’ve heard it said half-jokingly that the difference between philosophy and religion is that philosophy is questions without answers and religion is answers without questions. I’d like to think that a secular studies program could combine the best of these two stereotypes” (Herb Silverman, President, Secular Coalition for America,  Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Charleston, Washington Post, On Faith, 9/1/2011).

Indeed! Perhaps something like this ought to be pursued, and we can begin with the question: “Can one know there exists a transcendent being (God) to whom each will give an account?” This is a question that is worthy of debate, as one is taking place in northern Alabama on a university campus in late September.

#editor, #meaning, #purpose

Letter to editor

A letter I sent in today. Let me encourage you to keep your letter to the editor ongoing.

The idea of being a racist and being called a Christian are terms that only a delusional person can think to be compatible. It fails miserably in the sight of Matthew 7:12, otherwise known as the “golden rule.” However, let not your thinking on the golden rule delude YOU into thinking that merely because you have a standard way of thinking about what is right and what is not that that is necessarily correct. The golden rule is God-ordained, and not man-ordained.

The other day I read of a “LaPorte Church of Christ” minister in Colorado having passed away. If the reports are correct about this man’s actions, it is a pitiful commentary on those associated with the Lord’s church. “A LaPorte pastor dubbed a leading ‘anti-Jewish, anti-minority and anti-gay propagandist’ by the Anti-Defamation League has died” (http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20110714/ ). One thing is for sure, the “Anti-Defamation League” (ADL) is the last place I would go for any kind of guidance when it comes to propriety of behaviors.

Regardless of how I view the ADL, it does say something that needs to be considered. When a person uses the prefix “anti” it is apparent that one is against that something to which the prefix is affixed (if you will). We might ask why is it that someone is against Jews, minorities, and/or gays? Moreover, in what way and why is that person against these people?

If the standard to be used is man’s own standard, then that one who applies his own standard is no better than the one to whom he is against; in fact, he might be worse! God is not against Jews (as people); He is not against minorities (as people) and neither is He against gays (as people). He is against behaviors that are contrary to His will regardless of ethnicity.

God’s standard of behavior can’t be improved upon by any man living today, or who will live. This is seen in what we know to be the golden rule, and it was lived in the person of Jesus Christ – to whom all will stand and give an account.

#editor, #racist

A Letter to the Editor — Homosexuality

Ron is good about writing to the newspapers. I have done so a couple times and am committed to doing so more regularly. Here is a piece I wrote back in November, 2009. It was printed and there was no editorial follow-up from anyone. There were a few in the community (besides members of the church) who spoke favorably of it. Randal had an opportunity to read it recently and encouraged me to post it on TFR. Here goes…

I am writing in regards to Ms. Janeen Burkholder’s commentary from Tuesday’s edition (Nov. 10th) in which she wrote about her son, the Laramie Project, Matthew Shepard, Fred Phelps, homosexuality, and her understanding of God.

There is much I would like to express regarding the above topics, but spatial restrictions require brevity.

All of my comments are predicated upon the belief that there is one true God and that He has communicated His expectations for mankind via the Bible. As our Creator, He has the privilege of telling us how to live; He defines what is right and what is wrong. God has given us free will, but all humans will one day be held accountable for their actions.

God expects His followers to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Although Fred Phelps does communicate some things that are true, the manner is which he does so is not loving or helpful. I am a firm believer that homosexuality is wrong. Why? Because I hate homosexuals? No. Homosexuality is wrong simply because God has condemned the behavior (e.g., Lev. 18:22; I Cor. 6:9-11). The same could be said for those involved in premarital sex or extramarital affairs. God’s desire is that all who are sexually immoral would repent and seek to do His will and be saved. Those who commit acts of fornication, adultery, and homosexuality are lost unless they change. That is what the New Testament teaches, and I believe God’s word.

The murder of Matthew Shepard was a tragedy, as is the murder of anyone. Those who committed the heinous acts against Mr. Shepard behaved immorally. Let it be noted, however, that God did not create them as murderers. They chose to become such, despite the risk of being ostracized socially and imprisoned (or even executed in certain states). Perhaps their upbringing encouraged them to be violent and they were nurtured to hate. Nevertheless, such is not an excuse for what they did. We expect people to control themselves and not take the life of another—no matter how much they are oriented toward violence or how strongly they desire to murder. Likewise with Mr. Shepard. God did not create him as a homosexual. He chose to become such and was certainly influenced in that direction by his experiences. Despite these inclinations, however, Mr. Shepard should have controlled himself and avoided immoral behavior. We expect those who are inclined to steal to control themselves and deny their illicit desire. We expect those who are inclined toward murder to control themselves and pursue the way of love. God says these behaviors are wrong, just like sexual immorality. I do not deny that some may have sexual feelings toward those of the same gender, but since God says this behavior is wrong it must not be pursued.

God does not make people thieves, murderers, homosexuals, adulterers, drunkards, child molesters, etc. Certain sins tempt some people in ways they may not tempt others, but ultimately people chose to behave in these immoral ways. But, there is a better way—the Lord’s way, as the New Testament explains for us today. Some in the first century who were enslaved to these wicked behaviors were saved through faith, repentance, and baptism in the name of Jesus (cf. I Cor. 6:9-11; Acts 2:37,38). Their sins were washed away and they had a fresh start. Such is still possible today in the twenty-first century.

It would be my pleasure to respectfully discuss any of the above matters in greater depth with any interested party. There is an abundance of evidence for the matters touched on above that simply cannot be squeezed into an editorial.

Stephen R. Bradd
Preacher for the Clinton Church of Christ

#editor, #homosexuality, #letter

Is it Political or Christian?

Recently, I wrote a letter to the editor that garnered response. My letter to the editor has provoked a response from some in the congregation where I preach. The response was of a charitable disposition, but with much disagreement; one brother thought I went “over the top.” Though I was grateful for their replies, I said two things on this: first, that which I wrote can be sustained and, second, to get me to stop, the church will need to get rid of me. That which I said needed to be said, and it needs to be said again! The paragraph below is not the letter, but an updated version of the letter to the editor.

Homosexuality is immoral and an affront to God who created us. However, the Obama administration cares little (if anything) for God and His ways. His secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, expressed herself in such a way to speak to each governmental employee that there should be acceptance of this immoral lifestyle as something normal. From a news outlet we can read the following: “’Human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights, once and for all,’ Clinton said. ‘So here at the State Department we will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity’” (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/68245).

Those who know Scripture understand this ideology/agenda is contrary to the moral standard of the Lord. Moreover, those who support such an immoral ideology are themselves standing against the Lord – whether they see (or admit) this or not.

For some people, the most important thing in this whole political debate is the political party, not anything the Lord might say on a topic. From this approach, we can tell that there are many who would just as soon see the Lord and His will dismissed before they would see their political part, candidate, or candidates lose. They would rather vote for Satan’s agenda than be defeated on election day!

Unfortunately, some see this as a Republican against the Democrat rather than seeing this as it is, a Christian issue. One man said to me that if I hold sway on this matter, then it might be the case that a person (or persons) can’t be voted for; perhaps in this he is correct. But, let us ask a fundamental question: what is more important, should we vote for someone because that one is (or they are) the lesser of two evils, or should we vote Christian? I will choose the latter, what will you choose? These remarks struck a chord with some and, we might say, it was an out-of-tune chord at that. Be that as it may, that which I have offered as a view can be sustained by Scripture’s teaching. What is more important to you?

#democrat, #editor, #homosexulaity, #republican, #scripture