The Apostle Paul Says We Don’t Have to Boycott Target

Just about every six months or so, there is some group calling on all Christians to boycott company X or company Y, because the company supports some ungodly cause. For some, the boycott is cathartic in that it gives them the sense that they are doing something about the evil that persists in the world. But the reality for the believer is that we can still shop at Target, Starbucks, and even attend football games put on by the NCAA without damaging our witness as believers. There is no need to have our consciences bound by these new calls for righteousness, especially since our righteousness comes from Christ alone, not our boycotts of the wicked.

We can come to this position through three passages, two from the Apostle Paul and one from Christ’s own words. First Paul’s words on the matter. The first passage that Paul helps us come to this truth is found in 1 Corinthians 5, where he is dealing with the church’s failure to disciple a wicked and unrepentant brother in their midst. He tells us not to keep company with sexually immoral people but then clarifies: Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

Paul calls on us to separate ourselves from believers who practice sexually immorality, but not from those in the world because we would not be able to function if we separated ourselves from the world. This shows us that we can shop in the world, buy and sell from sinners, etc. The standard of separation comes inside the body of Christ, not outside the body of Christ.

We must realize that if we were to investigate every corporation, every small business owner, every service that we employ, looking under every stone, we would find evil and wickedness with ALL of them, including Chick Fil-A and Hobby Lobby. These latter two companies probably do not support causes that we disagree with, but they do employ sinners who do. At what level would we have to remove ourselves from using a company, and still be actually honest in the endeavor? What I mean by this is that all corporations are sinful and fall short of God’s glory. We should hold Chick Fil-A and Hobby Lobby to a higher standard, but the rest of them are wicked and evil from the get go, in the truest sense. All it takes for us to be truly wicked is to have an evil heart of unbelief  (Hebrews 3:12). This is all it takes for us to be disqualified and judged by God as wicked and evil.

Given that reality, every corporation out there allows this wickedness to manifest itself in one way or another. True, we do not want to support companies who’s purpose is evil in nature, like Planned Parenthood, but we are free to shop at companies that are in the business of providing our daily bread even when they use their proceeds for evil intent.

We also get a hint of this truth when Paul is dealing with the issue of serving meat that was sacrificed to idols. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul shows us that the only time we need to worry about eating meat sacrificed to idols is when the person serving it, announces that it was sacrificed to idols. In verses 27-32, Paul says that we should not eat of the meat for the sake of the one who spoke, and for their conscience sake. It’s not for our conscience sake since we have the freedom to eat of meat sacrificed to idols “for the earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness.” We have the liberty to eat the meat, but do not do so for the sake of the one serving it.

Finally, we also see this principal in the words coming from our LORD, when He proclaimed: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Don’t think for a moment that Christ did not know the wickedness of the Roman Empire. He knew of the slavery, the wars, the idolatry, the immorality, the orgies, the children being killed by their parents because they did not want another daughter, and a host of other sins. He knew that the taxes given to Rome would be used to support all these evils, yet He still commanded us to give unto Caesar.

We are to be faithful in paying our taxes even when the government is using those taxes for an unjust cause. We see the same truth when the widow gives her mites to the temple. Christ knew the leadership was corrupt, but still commends her for being faithful to God’s calling.

The point is that what corporations and our government does with the money we render, through taxes and commerce, is on their heads, not ours. Christ will deal with the wicked. God specifically says: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.”

We need to trust Him at His word, and ask ourselves: “are we really willing to trust God to deal with the wicked as He has promised us that He will? Or do we feel the need to exact our own ounce of justice in the matter?”

Christ does not hold us accountable for how our taxes are used or how the profits are used by corporations. He knows more clearly than we do, of their evil intent and schemes. Christ wants us to live our lives for His glory in all things and trust in Him. This is why Paul concludes the passage on sacrificed meat with the following words:

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Therefore feel free to shop at Target, or Starbucks. By doing so, you can also know that those companies, while evil in their intent, are also being used by God to support and provide for fellow believers.


Dear Fellow Christians

Dear Fellow Christians,

You still have not convinced me from Scripture how it is my responsibility to “save the nation” by voting for Trump. I know that many of you are excited because Ted Cruz endorsed Trump today, as if, the salvation of the nation were in Cruz’ hands.

I have also seen that Franklin Graham is making the same appeal, that we vote for Trump to stave (the transitive verb definition) off Hillary.

Again, I don’t see any of this in Scripture. We are called, not to save nations, but to go and make disciples in all the nations. You keep acting like this election is going to aid us in our mission or impede us in our calling. But realize that the Apostles did not seek permission from Rome to proselytize the Jews, or anyone else that would listen. They were simply faithful and true, preaching the gospel both to Jew and Gentile, leaving the harvest up to the LORD.

This is part of the Great Commission, which is a far more noble calling than saving a pagan nation from itself. So please, please, please, stop thinking that we are gaining anything by getting Trump elected. As Christians, that is NOT our calling or mission. We are to pray that our leaders let us live our lives in peace, and trust God if that does not happen. But we are not to become political spokesmen for the despots running for office, selling our values in the hopes that this moral ne’er-do-well will some how “save this nation” via the Supreme Court. That is a fools errand.

Let us make disciples, worship the LORD in Spirit and Truth, live according to His commandments (including the Fourth Commandment) and pray for a harvest to the Kingdom that does not perish. Let us trust in the true King of all creation and realize that our hope, safety, livelihood and security are not tied up in a bunch of mini-despots in this nation’s capital. Our hope is in the eternal King of glory, who rules with loving compassion towards those who are His, and an iron rod towards those who are not. Let us quit wasting our time seeking to save that which HE has never promised to save, and seek to share the gospel with those who are His, but yet do not know it.

If we would spend as much time focused on serving Him, and being faithful to Him, as we do in seeking to get Trump elected… well, who knows what might happen. But I’m quite certain what will happen if we do elect Trump: nothing. The nation will continue to slide into moral decay because we will be deluded into thinking we have pushed off that evil by electing the slightly less than evil Donald, instead of the slightly-more-evil Hillary.

As believers, let us trust, follow, obey and worship the only One who can actually make a difference in our country, culture and communities. Let us trust in our Savior, Jesus Christ, looking to Him for all good things.

Sincerely,

Timothy

The Apostle Paul Doesn’t Care if You Vote

PERSONAL NOTE: Please know up front that I don’t hate America. I am a veteran and love this country. However, I do recognize that with all there is to love about America, she is no more special than any other country in relationship to the God of the Bible. Therefore, as Christians, our focus should be on our KING and His Kingdom.

In the battle of the upcoming election, I have really had to question my views on voting for Trump or not. This may be why some Trumpsters get under my skin so. I know that my writing about Trump has angered a lot of people, including some dear friends. As of yet, no one has convinced me that voting for Trump is what I should do as one committed to following Christ. I also know that no matter what I say here, other Christians are committed to voting for Trump on their convictions as well. We all have our own convictions. This is a post in which I’m trying to explain mine once more. With that, if I have tried to bind your conscience in earlier posts about the election, please forgive me. Obviously this topic is really difficult for a lot of us.

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Is Infant Baptism Protestant?

R. Scott Clark has a 9-part series on Paedobaptism that is quite helpful. Here is the portion of the first installment:

Is Infant Baptism Protestant?

In short, yes. All the Protestant Reformers including Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin held to infant baptism. Though these three great Protestants disagreed on many things, they all agreed on the Protestant doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. They also agreed that infant baptism is a biblical practice and the best expression of the Protestant gospel.8 In fact, infant baptism has been the practice of the historic Christian church since the Apostolic period.9 Of course the historic practice of the church does not settle the question. Historic practice, however, suggests a certain presumption in favor of infant baptism. Nevertheless, tradition alone is not sufficient reason for any practice in the church. Therefore Reformed Christians practice covenant baptism because we are commanded to do so in both the Old and New Covenant Scriptures. 10

Baptism: The New Testament Sign of Abraham

Part of what I have been trying to say when it comes to baptism, in order to show that it involves the entire family, is to understand the mindset of the First Century Jew when it came to the sign of circumcision. Both baptism and circumcision are signs of the covenant of grace (often called the New Covenant) and pointing us to the gospel (even in the Old Testament).

Here I would like to show the requirements given to Abraham in Genesis 17 for circumcision. Please note, this is given before the Mosaic Covenant which included the ceremonial rituals of the temple. So the requirements predate that covenant, and therefore were not negated as the ceremonial law was in the New Testament. In other words, the requirements and instructions of the covenant still remain even though the sign has changed.

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Dear Evangelical Trumpsters

Dear Evangelical Trumpsters,

I think you might have more credibility with me if you were to come right out and apologize to Bill Clinton for all the things you said about him while he was President of the United States. Remember how we piled on about how immoral he was, and how he lied under oath, even to the point of impeachment? We were all right in doing so. He was a disgrace to the office of the president.

But in supporting Trump, you have lost your credibility. You have shown that your allegiance is really open to the highest bidder, simply because someone has an R behind their name. The moment you pull that lever for Trump, is the moment you compromise your convictions for expediency. You are basically a pragmatist, and every thing you opposed in Clinton (and others) because of biblical principles is now compromised. Anything you say from this point forward in trying to be salt and light in society and culture, is empty. It is really sad that you are willing to sell out your convictions, your truth, your doctrine so easily, when push comes to shove. What is even sadder than this, is that you are selling out to save your comfortable way of life. You are not willing to give up anything in order to stand for Christ. True believers will gladly give it all up, to follow their LORD.

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The Myth of Catholic Sainthood

This past weekend, the Roman Catholic Church decided to make Mother Teresa a saint. The RCC has had this bad habit of thinking it can declare sainthood for some time now. I know that many will marvel at the wonderful “works” that Mother Teresa performed in her life, but none of those works, no matter how many Buddhists she inspired to be a better Buddhist, will garner her one ounce of merit worthy of sainthood.

We must remember that the RCC, all the popes, nuns, mothers, and others, departed from the true faith of the gospel many hundreds of years ago. In their belief that the popes are in the line with the Apostle Peter, they somehow came up with the idea that they could declare who was and is a saint. Now, if you know anything about human nature, you can see very quickly that declaring someone a saint, can become very political in nature. This is the last thing we need in the body of Christ: a group of fallen men who think they have the right to speak for Christ, and standing in place of Christ, declaring who is and isn’t a saint. With this being the case, people will have to tow their party line in order for anyone to become a saint. Then, on top of that, they don’t bother with the average member of their religion, only the popular ones get to be saints. It’s sort of like an Amway marketing scheme for the religiously devout, only those with the triple diamond award pins get to be considered.

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Why Do Paedobaptist Believe that Baptism Replaces Circumcision

In my ongoing study on the defense of paedobaptism, I’m hoping to shore up many of the areas of concern that people have when it comes to this topic of paedobaptism, or the baptism of infants, toddlers, and children into the covenant-keeping community.

One of the big hurdles for credobaptists, who believe that only professing believers should be baptized, is the argument that we make showing that baptism replaces circumcision. We come to this position in the way the Paul speaks of baptism and circumcision. He uses the words interchangeably, showing that in essence, the two signs are similar even though circumcision is no longer a sign required for the people of God (see Acts 15). He does this in Colossians 2:11-13.

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A&M — UCLA Game as a Microcosm of the Church

I know that using a title like that, I might get accused of over-spiritualizing the football game between Texas A&M and UCLA on Saturday. For those of you who did not watch the game, the underdog Aggies took a 24-9 lead into the fourth quarter. This is well and good because I was hoping for an Aggie win to start the season, especially against a team that was ranked at Number 16 in the AP Top 25 polls. The fact that A&M was not ranked showed you how the sports writers of America view the Aggies. In the top 50, but not 25.

Nonetheless, the Aggies took a lead and for the first time in years, it was obvious that A&M had its defense back. Historically, A&M has always had great defenses and it was what made them fordable in years past.

But the lead, in a nationally televised game, had an effect on the coaching staff. Sumlin & Company decided to get very conservative in their play calling when it came to the offensive side of the ball. The theory goes that when you enter in the fourth quarter, you get conservative, and run the ball, so that nothing bad really happens. Or you just make short passes to pick up a few yards here and there. In other words, what gave A&M the lead in the way they played up until that point, was being abandoned in the hopes of holding on to the lead to get the win.

It was almost enough to cause them to lose the game. They quit with the game plan that gave them the lead. Anyone who watches sports has seen this happen time and time again. It’s quite frustrating for fans who have to watch their team slowly dwindle away and lose. In fact, just watching it happen, and seeing your team pull out the victory at the last moment, is really quite hollow because you know that in the end, your team…well, got lucky.

Now, take the same analogy and apply it to the church. What makes the church successful is when the body of Christ is being faithful to our calling, preaching God’s word, administering the sacraments, worshiping in Spirit and truth and striving for a life of holiness as the people of God. When we depart from those fundamental issues that we have been called to, is when we become weak.

I have watched the church over the last 25 years trying to make great strides in reaching and changing the culture. The effects of the efforts have been devastating to the state of the church. While the mega-church movement is alive and well, holiness is absent. While God’s love is readily preached, nothing of His holiness and judgement is mentioned. In an attempt to accommodate the culture, so that we somehow become more relevant, we have become just like the culture, tattoos and all. The church, as a whole, is no different than the culture we were seeking to change.

What happened? We lost focus with what makes the church, the church and tried to be more than what we were called to be. No where does God call us to change culture. He calls us to be holy, because He is holy. Yes, I know we are to make disciples. But those disciples are supposed to come into conformity with Christ and His word. In fact, there is scripture that says we should not be conformed to the world, Romans 12:1-2. Sadly, in trying to save the culture by becoming like the culture, we lost our identity as the people of God.

We are no different than a 1,000 coaches out there, who get satisfied with a lead, and lose focus with the calling. Coaches are called to win, not coast. And the church is called to be the people of God, not like the culture. Hopefully, we will repent and the LORD will still allow us an overtime win.

Heidi’s Peanut Butter Cups!

As many of my friends knows, I’m a confessing chocoholic (please follow the link). This isn’t like being confessional in a theological sense, where you come to your positions theologically through much study, prayer and leading by God. This is…of the flesh, completely! Chocolate is my Kryptonite, my weakness when it comes to eating. I love chocolate. Well, that should be overly redundant by now.

However, since my doctor strongly recommended I go on a diet and my wife helped me, I have cut out almost all chocolate intake. In fact, the first three weeks on the diet we were completely chocolate free, along with being beer free, wine free, bread free, cheese free, potato chip free…,well, anything that I could eat that wasn’t absolutely good for me. And guess what? The diet worked beyond my wildest dreams. After the first four weeks, which is the main portion of the weight-loss portion of the diet, I went from a dainty 265 lbs. to 238 lbs. After that, the diet focuses on stabilizing at the 238 lbs. But I didn’t stabilize at all. I kept losing weight. Now I’m down to an even 230 lbs. for a told loss of 35 lbs., and I may get into the 220s if I continue eating the way that I have been.

But alas, the need for chocolate. Heidi knew that I loved chocolate, so she went to work trying to find chocolate that would keep us in the guidelines of our diet, meaning that it had to be butter free, sugar free, fat free, etc. You might think that it was an impossible task, but not for Heidi. She came up with a simple recipe of mixing cocoa (a major portion of what makes up chocolate) with coconut oil (no relation to chocolate), added some Stevia and then froze it. This was about week three of the diet, so when she presented it to me, I was extremely grateful.

I bit into the chocolate not knowing what to expect. It was quite different than the chocolates we are accustomed to. First of all, it’s not full of sugar. Yes, the Stevia gave it a hint of sweetness, but the taste was more chocolate and almost sour in comparison to the other chocolates we are used to eating. I loved it.

Then something happened. The more she made it, the more my tastes changed, and the more I loved it. That has been another one of the surprises to this diet, my tastes have changed. While in the first part, I was craving all kinds of foods I could not have, after being away from those foods, I only began to crave what was on the diet. The last hold out was last week when I was craving Saltine crackers. Strange, I know.Food 005

What was special is that Heidi gave me a piece of chocolate the she dipped in all-natural peanut butter, and it was a taste from the heavenlies. I told her she should make some peanut butter cups, and she being the loving wife she is, she did!

The two I have eaten were splendid. While you have to keep them in the refrigerator because the chocolate has a low-melting point, the cups are best eaten at room temperature, meaning they will be much more messy. But messy is worth it. Here are the final peanut butter cups.

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