Never Say #NeverTrump

I, like so many other Christian #nevertrump-ers, am switching my oath to not support Trump quicker than Ted Cruz changed his promise to support Trump.  Just as Cruz couldn’t have foreseen Trump accusing his father of assassinating JFK, I couldn’t have foreseen the turn of events of the last three months.  Who would have known that FOX NEWS, the only unbiased source of news, would support Trump as soon as he became the clear winner of the Republican nomination?  There can be NO other explanation (don’t even try) than, we all judged him too soon, based on public behavior over the last thirty years.  Without further ado, here are ten reasons that I will #neversaynevertrump :

1.  We Need Fresh Blood

          We need fresh blood in the Republican Party.  Trump’s blood is so fresh that a vile of it is known to be the antidote to Vampirism.  Trump’s blood is so fresh that we have seen him continually learn what it means to be a conservative during this primary season.  At first, all he knew was that the President’s birth certificate was fake and that we need a wall, but he is a quick study.  Whenever he has learned an essential element to getting Republican votes, he has seen the error of his ways.

2.  Trump is a Good Man

          Scratch that, he’s the best man who ever lived.  We know that He would not have slipped up and got caught in Vietnam like John McCain, that’s for losers.  He is so great, that he can say horrible things about people, but they still confess that he is a good man.  I thought Ben Carson was a good man, but Trump thinks Carson is like a pedophile (and Trump knows a lot about insest) or at least a liar, and Ben still supports him.

(If you have not yet realized this is satire, please return to the top and start over.)

3.  Trump is a Christian

          Donald Trump is the only Christian I have ever known that has never had to ask God for forgiveness.  You may doubt his orthodoxy, but there is no other explanation for why he is always pandering for the votes of Christians.  Trump says he is a Christian, and a Christian would never ask Christians to vote for him just because he wants their votes.

4.  Don’t Forget the Game Plan

          Donald Trump is a Republican. Christians must vote Republican. That’s the game plan, according to the pamphlet How to Disciple the Nations published by the Republican National Committee.  We know that the only way to end abortion is to vote Republican in every national race.  Look how much we have gotten by never deviating from this game plan.  Our nation has been brought so far in the direction of righteousness in the last thirty years.  The game plan works!  (That is, if you don’t count abortion and gay marriage.)

          Face it, abortion will only be ended by the federal government.  When the Supreme Court tells governors not to keep babies from being murdered, God surely wants governor’s to obey them.  Every governor has to allow babies to be murdered until enough Supreme Court justices drop dead.  If we keep to the game plan for another century, maybe abortion will end!  It’s not like a state can disobey Congress!  That’s just crazy!  

5.  A Democrat President Will Destroy the Nation Within Four Years

          I know, some of you are getting tired of that doom and gloom.  Sure, it didn’t happen in 92, or 96, or 2008, or 2012.  But we will certainly see the absolute destruction of our nation, nay, the world, if one more Democrat becomes President.  We cannot think longer term than four years.  Doom is nigh.  The Republican party must know they can count on our vote as long as they are slightly to the right of the Democrats. We don’t want them to actually have to earn our votes and put forth righteous policy, that would be arrogant of us.  Did I mention doom is nigh?

          Remember, this is a two party system (it’s somewhere in the Constitution, right?).  And those two parties have never changed (right?).  Maybe if there was a viable third party we would vote for them, but nobody is going to vote for those losers when both the nominees for the major parties are so competent.  Sure, if we lost this election by throwing support behind, for instance, the Constitution Party, we might kick the Republican Party out of the picture in four years, but by then Hillary Clinton will have completely destroyed our nation.

6.  Trump Has the Only Thing you Need for Diplomacy

          How should our nation deal with other sovereign nations?  The answer is obvious:  hostility, strength, and speaking off the cuff.  Why has The President and the Secretary of State done so terribly?  It’s not because of their politically correct, Christ-defying ideology of world unity mixed with a self-serving desire to meddle in smaller nations.  They have done a bad job, for not being strong and hostile and for thinking too much before they tell other nations where they can go!  We need a President who has a politically incorrect, Christ-defying ideology of world unity and a self-serving desire to meddle in smaller nations.

7.  Trump will keep his promises

          We know Donald Trump will keep his promises.  If you’re unsure, ask FOX NEWS.  Don’t ask his first two wives, because keeping promises to the one person to whom you should be most faithful has no correlation to political promises.  Don’t ask any of his creditors, because four bankruptcies have no correlation to what he will say to get votes either.

8.  We need a President Who Will Calm Racial Tension

          There has been a lot of racial tension in this nation.  Why?  Not because we need justice system reforms or because our country needs Jesus. There are racial tensions because Barrack Obama too quickly sides with minorities during police violence.  We need a president who too quickly sides with police during police violence.  That will end racial animosity.

9.  He will put America First

          America is Trump’s first priority, right after his own fame and power.  That is so different from Secretary Clinton.  She only cares about her own fame and power.

10.  An Unpredictable Evil is Always Better than a Predictable One

          I would much prefer to pet the dog that might rip the flesh from my bones than the one that will certainly pee on my leg.  Trump might evolve back into a New York liberal or a reality television character in the White House, but maybe He will accidentally be the greatest president in history.  On the other hand, can we really afford a third Clinton Presidency?  Remember, doom is nigh!

Noah: A Review and Analysis


Noah – Here is a PDF version of my review for printing, sharing, etc.


This Friday, March 28th, I decided to go see the Noah movie in theaters with a good friend from my church. I had previously read reviews of the script and the analysis that many Christians leaders had given from their perspective. And as I usually do, I respect what they have to say and consider them genuine and trustworthy in their opinions, even when I disagree with their tone or some of their interpretations. But given that many people always prefer that those commenting on a film should watch it themselves, I was not going to leave myself unable to provide respectable input on a film of this magnitude.  I wanted to be able to offer people my own review and therefore decided to attend a showing of the film myself. What follows are some of the important things I took away from the film after seeing it this weekend.

First, before spoilers, I would like to say that I will leave a highlighted note below of where one should stop their reading this review – if they are intending to see the film themselves and would prefer a ‘tabula rasa’ reception of watching the film. That being said, I would like to discuss whether or not Christians should pay for a movie ticket to see this film before it comes out on Red Box for $1.50 on Blu-Ray.

Therefore, after seeing the film, I would recommend that any Christian who cares to offer a respected critique to fellow co-workers and friends should certainly attend the movie soon while people are talking about. But, if you don’t care to involve yourself in those discussions right now, no worries, just wait till you can rent it or don’t worry about seeing it at all. Second, if you feel that any retelling of an Old Testament story – that leaves something out, or even slightly implies something different – is actually evil, demonic, or heresy… you should obviously just stick with the other reviewers for your information and not harm your conscience by seeing Noah for yourself. I mean that with all sincerity, as I understand that some of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are not edified by watching a ‘Bible’ movie (made by Hollywood) because of the lack of consistency these movies tend to have with the text of Scripture itself. And to all you other Christians, don’t be so quick to encourage others to harm their conscience about such things!

But, other than those warnings, I would not see it a completely terrible thing to watch the movie yourself at some point in time and consider how an atheist writer and director retold the Noah story from his own perspective of trying to incorporate the Scripture’s explicit material within his own thoughts about the world, man, justice and mercy.

All of us who have read the headlines know that the writer/director, Darren Aronofsky, is an avowed atheist. He has a worldview and agenda that is antithetical to the Bible, the Gospel, and all the goodness of God that Christians uphold as the treasure of their very life and existence. Yet, it always pleases me to say that every atheist is made in the Image of God and has the Law of God written on his heart even though he suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Therefore, no matter how much Aronofsky may have wanted to make an “unbiblical Biblical movie” that was more secular than sacred… he cannot escape the common grace of God or what following the explicit data of Scripture does to his own movie making. Given those facts about Aronofsky, it was guaranteed by God’s rule that this atheist would teach some important truths about mankind and the creation by attempting to retell the story of Noah in this way.

SPOILER ALERT – A this point in the review, all parts of the movie that I can recall are now game for the rest of my analysis. If you plan to see the film and don’t want to know some of these items yet, save this or e-mail it to yourself and read what follows after you see the film.

The Good

Noah depicts the flood events of the Biblical epic as global, just like the Scripture teaches. No matter what some scholars would like to argue about the text and the science of the flood story, the whole earth is destroyed and the explicit language of the Scripture teaches that Noah is the Second Adam, leading humanity into a type and likeness of the new creation that the “Last Adam”, Jesus, is bringing about with his own life, death and resurrection (Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15). Any retelling of the flood that takes into account Noah as a son of Adam, in the lineage of Seth (Genesis 5), will always come away teaching that Noah restarted the human race as a new ‘Adam’ figure.

Noah depicts the wickedness of humanity with great faithfulness. There is no doubt that anyone who sees this film will come away thinking that mankind has great evil, or potential of evil, within his own heart. No matter where I might have disagreed with how the story of the flood was retold in Noah, I cannot help but acknowledge that everyone in the film was shown to be a sinner, even Noah, himself. This reminds us and teaches us that Adam’s sin corrupted all of us and that we cannot escape that corruption without the help of God in Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Noah shows us, on the big screen, some of the massive weight of power and judgment that God showed all of humanity on the day the flood began. God, the Creator, repented of making mankind and decided to wipe them all out, excepting Noah and his family (Read Genesis 6 and following). Seeing the global flood in excellent CGI and artistry was powerful and moving. Men, women, children, and babies were all slaughtered by the One, Holy, Triune God as the flood waters covered the land and washed away the stain that was sinful humanity. Both the mercy (saving Noah) and the justice of God (destroying evil mankind) were displayed to everyone. And since I don’t believe God needs to be defended for His judgment and decisions, it is not as concerning to me that the movie didn’t seek to explicitly ‘preach’ an orthodox view of God’s justice in wiping out humanity. Do I wish it did? Sure, but God still doesn’t need our defense to justify His actions. He is our judge and we are not His.

The movie actually did grapple with the reality that God destroyed all kinds of people, young and old, who may not have been as evil as some other people in their day. Some, like Russell Crowe himself (who starred as Noah in the film), may come away thinking Noah wasn’t a good man or that God wasn’t very merciful… but that is the very point of the flood story! Noah was still a sinner, even though he was a ‘righteous man’ and God executed justice on humanity for all their evils. No Christian should ever try to lessen the weight of God’s judgment when proclaiming the truth of the flood events to non Christians. The flood makes the Gospel of Jesus even better news for people considering why Christians believe that God wiped mankind out in a global flood that renewed the creation and restarted the human race with the lineage of Seth, from which the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, comes. (Luke 3:23-38) As Christians, we should never be hesitant to help others understand why we call the work of Jesus “good news” or “Gospel.”

The Bad

At this point, I will turn to the negative and unhelpful aspects of Noah.

Noah depicted several things in ways that are not very consistent with a Christian interpretation of Genesis. And while C.S. Lewis might have more heartily commended the film – because he believed Genesis chapters 1 through 11 (until you get to Abraham) were ‘true myth’ – I am reviewing this from the perspective that Moses wrote Genesis in the genres of historical narrative and that any attempt to say that Genesis involves itself with fictional accounts is simply unfounded and inconsistent with the text’s own linguistic structure. You can view my apologetics presentation here online:  Genesis as History

Noah, in its creative license, ended up leaving out some key aspects of the story in Genesis. First (in the Bible), the angelic ‘sons of God’ only came down because they found the ‘daughters of man to be attractive’ (Genesis 6). Noah claims that they came down to help mankind because they felt sorry for them because of how harsh the world was going to be after the Creator kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden. These fallen angels were also not represented correctly, though I certainly enjoyed the ‘rock monster’ effect and how it was incorporated into the story of the film. For those interested in my view, the most helpful understanding of the ‘sons of God’ passage is this: The fallen angels, attracted to women and mankind, left their places of authority and possessed men who had authority, taking for themselves many wives and raising for themselves many children that became ‘giants’ in the land – either by their greatness of power or their actual physical height and strength, or both. From them come all the ancients myths of the ‘men of renowned’ – such as Hercules, Achilles, Dionysius, Perseus, and any other culture that recounts stories of mighty men who were the product of ‘gods’ having sex with beautiful women and producing children. Unfortunately, none of these explicit citations in Genesis are addressed in the pre-flood movie world of Noah.

Noah also left out the fact that God told Noah to bring on the ark more than simply ‘two of each kind’ of animal. God also said, “Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals” (Genesis 7). This was not mentioned, which left a large gap in the explicit narrative of Genesis that addresses clean and unclean animals throughout. Even the presence of an ‘unclean’ snake/dragon in the garden is significant for a proper interpretation of the fall of mankind in Genesis chapter 3. This signifies what Adam was not doing in protecting the garden from the unclean serpent. And while I feel this was a ‘minor’ negative, it is worth noting that Noah clearly reflects the interpretations of an atheist writer who doesn’t care about what Scripture cares about. And I will also admit that you don’t usually have time to get into the clean/unclean pattern in a movie with 2 hours of runtime!

Noah most notably didn’t make clear the explanations that Genesis gives about God revealing himself to Noah and his sons. Throughout the movie, Noah was only given limited information about what God intended to do with him and his family after the flood. It was also not clear to Noah, in the film, as to whether God wanted to save him when the prophecy of the flood was first revealed to Noah in a vision. This is not the picture that Genesis paints when God clearly states (Genesis 6:9) that Noah was a “righteous man”, “blameless in his generation” and that he “walked with God”, just like Enoch did (in Genesis 5). Further, in Genesis chapter 7, Noah is told that he and his family are being saved because God had seen that Noah was a ‘righteous man.’ On the contrary, in the film, Noah enters the ark depressed and despairing of life for his family. He is depicted as believing he and his sons won’t have any more children and that God only really means to save the innocent animals, since all of man (including his kids) are unredeemable. Now, this makes for a very powerful question of “is man worth saving?” Still, it does not reflect well on the Genesis account or on God’s clarity in speaking to his chosen people with trustworthy revelation. I can only hope that those who view the film will refresh their memories of the actually account in Genesis rather than assume that God wasn’t clear about humanity’s future with Noah and his family.

The Worthy

Now, I would like to address some interesting points in the film and why I found some of them worthy of contemplation. These may or may not be significant to the overall story of Noah that Aronofsky is telling, but I found them to be important to dwell on as I watched the film myself.

First, on a fun point of interpretation, in Noah we see an old Methuselah who recounts the prophecies of his father, Enoch, the man who walked with God and was no more, because God took him to be with him at an early age (see Genesis 5). When Noah is telling Methuselah of the coming judgment on man and Methuselah says that Enoch told him the world would be ‘destroyed by fire.’ Noah proceeds to tell him, ‘No, not by fire. But by water.’ Puzzled, Methuselah moves on to help Noah figure things out, but I found this worthy of notice because it is actually a very accurate point of Biblical prophecy. You see, Jude and 2 Peter (two of the Catholic Epistles in the New Testament) explain the end of this current age in which we live. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3 that the world is being reserved for fire, since God promised never to deluge the world with water again. Peter says that God will eventually bring a final judgment on all people throughout history at the resurrection, with the consummation of the New Heavens and New Earth. Jude, telling of similar judgments, actually refers to an apocryphal account of Enoch, the preacher of righteousness, who foretells of the second coming of Jesus to judge the world. So, Methuselah was right to mention judgment by fire as prophesied by Enoch, his father. He simply did not understand yet that the judgment by fire was not going to happen until the end of the ages, or that the flood was a type of things to come with Jesus. This is an extremely important type and anti-type that flows throughout the Scripture. Impressively enough, an atheist writer picked up on this in his research and creatively incorporated it into the film of Noah.

Noah challenges us to incorporate an interpretive consideration regarding how man’s wickedness actually affected the creation. While Aronofsky is very interested in ecological preservation and what some call ‘tree hugging’ and ‘animal worship’, the Genesis account very clearly states that man was to be the ruling caretaker over all the creation – both plants and animals. Thankfully, I felt while watching the movie that Aronofsky didn’t make as big a deal out of this as I thought he would. This leaves many Christians and viewers the opportunity to consider how they are in fact created to care for others and not abuse the world we live in. Further, Adam was given the task of expanding the garden throughout the world in Genesis chapter 1 and 2 by filling the earth with his children, but when Adam sinned and condemned all his children to working the ground in toil and sweat, man’s abuse of the creation was solidified and eventually man was rightly wiped out by the flood event. Why? For all of man’s sins – against God, other humans and the rest of creation. Aronofsky’s green interpretation might be a turn-off for some Christians, but I found it a helpful reminder to remember God’s calling for man when he created them ‘in His image.’ This still applies to all people today and Christians need to remember this, even when they have to grapple with creation-worshipping atheists.

Noah may actually accomplish one important thing – getting people to read God’s word again and consider what it actually says. Now this may be a novel expectation, but I would encourage all of my readers to read the Genesis account before they go see the movie and after they go see the movie. You should be able to critically analyze the film to find out what was ‘gotten right’ and what was ‘gotten wrong’ by Noah. Studying God’s word and seeking its judgment of us (not our judgment of it) is one of the most important acts of obedience in the Christian life. If we can be moved to learn God’s word better, then our viewing and discussions of Noah will have benefited our lives for the better and not for evil.

One important point of reading Genesis and the rest of the Bible’s commentary on Noah is to notice that some Christians are actually getting frustrated by the portrayal of Noah NOT as a preacher of repentance. Inferred in this position is the interpretation of 1 Peter 3: 18ff that says Noah was the one who preached to the ‘spirits now in prison’ by the Spirit of Christ in him. They claim he called people to repentance before the flood came. But this is actually not what I believe Peter is telling us when he talked about Jesus going “by the Spirit” to proclaim/preach to the spirits of the imprisoned. And while I’m not going to have room here to explain a full account of exegesis, the interpretive key for 1 Peter 3 is the phrase that Jesus was “made alive in the Spirit, in which he went.” I believe this is a reference to Jesus’ resurrection, and that what Jesus does in ‘preaching’ or ‘proclaiming’ to the ‘spirits now in prison’ is actually a declaration that occurred in Christ’s ascension to heaven to sit on the throne of God. This would mean that the ‘spirits’ – be they man or angelic – were being told that the God-man, Jesus, was now ruling over the creation and had done what all men before him could never do – fulfill the covenant that Adam broke, that Noah and his sons couldn’t maintain, that Abraham’s descendants rebelled against… Jesus finally fulfilled the eternal covenant by his perfect life, his death, and his resurrection on behalf of all of us who believe and obey His Gospel.

Christians shouldn’t be upset because Noah isn’t shown walking around calling for people to repent of their sins and be saved and enter the ark. By all accounts in the Bible, Noah never did such a thing, nor was he asked to do it. God judged mankind in an un-revocable way AND THEN he declared to Noah that only he and his family would be saved on the ark with all the animals (follow the flow of Genesis 6 to see it). Interestingly, this was a fundamental aspect of Noah, regardless of interpretive problems by the atheist writer and director.  Noah was shown to have no hope for saving the rest of humanity, even when they wanted to run into the ark while the rain was falling. Noah was even depicted as slaughtering any who attempted to enter the door. Regardless of the likelihood that Noah killed people, it is more consistent with Genesis than those Christians who misinterpret the 1 Peter 3 recounting of Noah and the relationship these events have to Jesus, baptism, and the resurrection. Even more, as my friend pointed out, Noah truly gives us a good consideration as to what psychological effects the flood might have had on Noah. Could Aronofsky have hit the metaphorical head of the nail by taking the entire thrust of Noah’s personal experience shown in the film to explain why he got drunk in his new garden? The entire human race was destroyed before his very eyes and only he and his family were left. If anything, this movie compels us to consider exactly how Noah could have felt, even in the face of the grace of God that saved him.


Noah is a secular film more than it is faithful to Christian interpretation of the flood story. But even with its errors and omissions, I was still able to benefit from viewing the movie on the big screen. I highly recommend that this film be seen with others and not ‘by your lonesome’. You should plan on going out after the movie and discussing your likes and dislikes, where it matched the Genesis and Biblical accounts, along with where the writer used substantial creative license. If you can’t convince yourself to pay the cash to Hollywood, don’t worry, just wait until it comes out for cheap on Red Box or Netflix and watch it then.

I certainly don’t believe we Christians should rely on movies like this to replace our own proclamation of the Gospel to the world. But since the movie has been made and many non-Christians are going to see it, I would highly suggest that you as a Christian be able to respectfully respond to others who have seen it by seeing it for yourself. This will maximize your ability to teach others what the Scriptures actually tell us about Noah and his relationship to Jesus and the Gospel. It will give you more of a hearing with others who don’t agree with you or your worldview.

Lastly, pray for other Christians and any of the opportunities this may give them to have fruitful conversations with other people, both Christians and non-Christians. We live at a turning point in American and Western history, where Christians are marginalized for their faith in Jesus and their belief that Scripture is the revelation of God and our sole guide for life and godliness. The more people can respect our worldview, the less likely they will be able to turn against us when the powers and authorities in high places seek to punish Christians for their lifestyle and worldview.

The Sinner’s Prayer: Pseudo-Sacrament

—–“Baptism is only a ceremony; it cannot do anything.” This assumption is so widespread that it has almost become a pillar of evangelical orthodoxy. I grew up hearing assertions like this made at every baptism ceremony. I and my fellow Baptists took the rite very seriously, but I would often feel like no one, including the preacher, was sure exactly why. Usually he could only explain the importance of baptism by saying, “Jesus said to be baptized, so this should be one of your first acts of obedience.” That’s fine, but one doesn’t have to soak in the Scriptures long to know that God is not arbitrary even if He is sometimes mysterious. So, whatever the reason was that Jesus commanded baptism, we must have missed it.

“If You Want to be Saved, Just Say These Words After Me. . .”
—–We are so confident that human ritual can only be symbolic, but for evangelicals there is one ritual through which God is pleased to work: the sinner’s prayer/altar call. (We’ll call it “the Prayer” from here on out.) We created this ritual. It does not exist in the New Testament. Nowhere does an apostle tell a crowd, “All you need to do is say this prayer after me,” or, “If you will only ask Jesus into your heart.” I am not sure when we invented it, but I am confident it was invented (evolved probably) because it is a lot less ritualistic of a ritual than baptism. The sinner’s prayer is a lot less complicated, more immediate, and completely private.
—–When you think about it, the Prayer is still a ceremony. We want to take man out of the equation. As Doug Wilson likes to say, we want God to save people via lightning bolt. We definitely don’t want a hired minister to have to get involved in the equation, except to preach the gospel. At the end of the day, we’re still telling people that God will forgive, renew, sanctify, cleanse, and adopt them when they do… something.

Repent and Do What? To Get What?
—–The trouble comes when we start paying close attention to the way we do things compared to the Apostles. After Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) the crowd asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter did not tell them to bow their heads or to walk an isle to pray with him. “Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Most evangelicals wouldn’t be caught dead saying Peter’s words in public, but they wouldn’t think twice about telling people to say The Prayer to receive forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. We would say that people became Christians after walking the isle, but Luke goes on to say, “So those who received [Peter’s] word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”
—–This is just one of many texts that show how we have replaced baptism with the Prayer. We say, “If he understands the gospel and wants to become a disciple have him pray and ask Jesus to forgive him,” but Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). We say, “If you just said that prayer, then the old you is dead. You have begun your new life in Christ,” but Paul said, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3). We say, “All you have to do is ask Jesus into your heart,” but Paul said, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). We say, “All you need to do to be saved is say this simple prayer,” but Peter said, “Baptism. . . now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21).

“If You Want God to Cleanse You from Sin, Just Ask Him.”
—–But how can Peter say, “Baptism now saves you”? The Christian life is an act of faith in Christ from first to last. All we really need to do to be saved is to ask God to forgive us based on Christ’s death and resurrection. When we talk about people being saved by saying the Prayer, we are doing the right thing in the wrong language. We have been asking in English (or whatever our native tongue may be), but God said to ask in the language of ceremony: baptism in particular.
—–Listen to 1 Peter 3:21, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” First, let me say that Peter does not here say, “Baptism now saves you, but I don’t really mean that.” I have heard many preachers go to great lengths to argue that point. Peter contrasts Old Covenant baptism with New Covenant baptism. In the Old Covenant there were washings which removed dirt and bacteria from the body so that men could approach an earthly sanctuary. New Covenant baptism on the other hand, is “an appeal to God for a good conscience” so that men and women can approach God’s thrown room in heaven.
—–When you are baptized you ask God to cleanse you from sin through Christ’s death and resurrection. When genuine faith is present, God truly does forgive and save people through the ceremony. This is the way most of us have been thinking about the Prayer. The power is in the work of the Spirit, and not everyone who says the Prayer or receives baptism has or will continue in faith. But for those with genuine faith, God washes them in the blood of Christ invisibly and Spiritually as the water washes them for everyone to see.
—–Thankfully, even though many of us have been speaking the wrong language for a few centuries, God is multilingual. Just because God has promised to work through one ceremony, doesn’t mean that His hands are tied to always work there (as when faith is not present) or not to work anywhere else. Even with all of our modern confusion on how to begin the Christian life, I doubt many persevere in the faith who are not eventually baptized. The Westminster Confession of Faith acknowledges both that God works in baptism and that occasionally His working is not at the moment of baptism, “The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost” (WCF 28.6).

The Faith of Our Fathers
—–Here’s the point of what I’m trying to say: if we applied all that we say about the Sinner’s Prayer to baptism, we would be finally able to preach and communicate the way the apostles did. This wouldn’t require a huge theological transition, just the “old switcheroo.” Just take what you have thought about the Prayer ritual and apply it to the true ritual of entry into the New Covenant. Some will immediately dismiss the suggestion that anything happens in baptism as Roman Catholic. I would say it is apostolic.
—–Aside from that, the reformers were not afraid to speak of God acting through the ritual of baptism. Martin Luther defended the position that baptism was more than an empty symbol in his larger catechism,

If hitherto people could consider it a great thing when the Pope with his letters and bulls dispensed indulgences and confirmed altars and churches, solely because of the letters and seals, we ought to esteem Baptism much more highly and more precious, because God has commanded it, and, besides, it is performed in His name. . . . For to be baptized in the name of God is to be baptized not by men, but by God Himself.

Calvin in his commentary on Titus 3:5 was not afraid to speak of God working in baptism,

Now the Apostles are wont to draw an argument from the Sacraments, to prove that which is there exhibited under a figure [symbolism of baptism], because it ought to be held by believers as a settled principle, that God does not sport with us by unmeaning figures [empty symbols], but inwardly accomplishes by his power what he exhibits by the outward sign; and therefore, baptism is fitly and truly said to be “the washing of regeneration.”

Using Baptism Rightly
—–Aside from replacing God’s ceremonies with our own, there is something else that troubles me about the Prayer. We have come to read take “repent and believe” as a synonym for “say the Sinner’s Prayer.” We read a passage like Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” as saying “The kingdom of God is at hand; say the sinner’s prayer.” We see the words “repent and believe” and think we covered that twenty years ago when we “got saved.” God wants us to repent and believe every day. We have preachers saying idiotic things like, “If you don’t know the time and the place where you were saved, you need to get right with God.” They seem to think we could spend fifty years loving, believing, and following Jesus, then die and have Jesus send us to hell on a technicality that we started off wrong.
—–At the same time, most preachers are afraid folks will use baptism incorrectly the same way they have been using the prayer incorrectly: as false assurance of salvation. If it is bad to use the right ceremony wrongly, it is even worse to use the wrong ceremony wrongly. The beginning of the Christian life is the beginning for a reason. We should never treat it like the end. We begin the Christian life so that we can repent and believe for the rest of our lives.
—–Baptism tells us what Christ has done for and in us so that we can go on from there in faith and repentance. This is exactly how Paul uses the ceremony,

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. . . . In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:3-14).

Baptism draws our attention to Christ and tells us how we should continue to live.

Salvation by Works!?
—–Now the huge criticism that will be laid against this position is that any sort of baptismal efficacy is salvation by works. There seems to be three reasons for this misconception. First, people wrongly categorize baptism as man’s work because it involves people doing things. That criticism works just as well against praying the Prayer. Don’t say that God cannot forgive through one ritual, when you have been accepting that He will work through another ritual, even one that we made up!
—–Secondly, Paul connects circumcision with salvation by works in Galatians. Most of us, evangelicals, have been wrongly taught that this connection is based on circumcision being something man does. Rather, when gentile Christians received Jewish circumcision to improve their status with God the ritual actually placed gentile converts into a certain relationship with the law: being required to keep it apart from Christ. “I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law” (Galatians 5:3). Paul never says baptism obliges one to keep the whole law. In fact, Paul says that baptism is a ritual that had already placed the Galatians in a relationship with Christ. “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:26,7). Circumcision commits one to the law upon pain of death, but baptism commits one to Christ.
—–Thirdly, we have some vague notion that Roman Catholics believe God is at work in baptism and a lot of them are confused about salvation by works. There are other doctrines that cause trouble for Catholics; there is no reason to place the blame on baptism. Also, if you formed all your doctrines by doing the opposite of the Roman Catholics, you would definitely end up in hell. You don’t want to believe the opposite of the incarnation, the substitutionary atonement, or the return of Christ to judge and transform the world.

What About the Thief on the Cross?
—–There are some groups that think pretty woodenly about how God works in baptism, the nearly universal response to them is, “What about the thief on the cross? He was saved without being baptized.” This criticism is the right response. God can work how He wants. That man didn’t even say the sinner’s prayer. He got Jesus back and then asked Jesus to return the favor. Jesus said He would.
—–We shouldn’t let exceptions keep us from believing God when He promises to act in a certain way. Sometimes we are like Naaman (2 Kings 5), who wanted God to heal him of leprosy and then thought it was too absurd that all God wanted him to do was take a bath. Thankfully, Naaman had a believing servant who rebuked him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”
—–I am certain that the thief on the cross would have obeyed if given the chance to be baptized. I am not worried about straightening out anyone’s conversion story to align with the Bible, as long as they are trusting Christ and fighting sin today. I would have a hard time treating anyone as a Christian who refuses baptism, just because they don’t want to be ceremonial. That’s pretty high-handed. In that case, I would want to be like Naaman’s servant and rebuke their pride and unbelief.

Do you Dare to Talk Like an Apostle?
—–If we are going to follow the example of Christ’s apostles, then we should be inviting folks to get baptized (who have not previously been baptized) after gospel presentations. On a personal level we should be inviting them to church to get baptized. Let them come down and get washed (dip em, douse em, or sprinkle em) in the name of the Trinity. Then teach them how to be Christians in all of life, trusting Jesus in everything they do. If we don’t teach them to stop with baptism, baptism will be a great start to the Christian life.
—–Another way we will be apostolic is not to spend all our time preaching on the beginning of the Christian life, whether it be the Prayer or baptism. If you are convinced about what I am saying about baptism, don’t become obsessed with it. The author of Hebrews gives evangelicals a shocking warning about this sort of focus,

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

The terrifying thing about this passage is that so many preachers spend every Sunday preaching about washings, repentance, and faith, but never move on to how the gospel transforms all of life. The author of Hebrews says that not maturing in the faith leads to falling away from the faith. So whatever you decide about the beginning of the Christian life, we must be learning to live every day in the grace of Jesus Christ.

A Halloween Message for 2013

For any of you who would like to hand out a Halloween message with your candy this year, or have your kids hand a message to others while door knocking… here is my updated 2013 Halloween tract for you to use if you so desire. Just have your printer print on both sides of the paper (auto or manual) and then cut in half and fold three ways. Enjoy!

A Halloween Message for 2013

Regarding my first day of living in a Sodomite Nation

Fields of the Wood

When I was 21 years old (10 years ago, if you’re counting)… my country’s highest court decided that it would decriminalize a criminal activity, namely the practice of having sexual relations with one or more people of the same gender. But now that 10 years have gone by, today I woke up for the first time in a true Sodomite Nation. A nation where my federal government has now declared sodomy an honorable enterprize to be worthy of reward, benefit, and equal protection under the laws of this land.

Thankfully, today, I was able to visit the “Fields of the Wood” during lunch on a work trip in Murphy, NC. There stands a gigantic, monumental display of the 10 commandments. (See the photo) It is ironic that, in our nation’s capital, displays of the 10 commandments remain – even in the courts of injustice. It is so unfortunate that we have now seen the day that 5 of the 9 justices sought to once again bring our constitutional republic under the rule of judicial fiat by striking down an act of government that is guaranteed by our constitution. That act (DOMA) was voted on and approved by every representative branch of our government and stood for nearly 2 decades to try and preserve true and good morality in our land as this radical minority sought to corrupt us, even coming after our children. But as of yesterday, it was stuck down in the most heinous and immoral manner by 5 unaccountable judges.

I’m reminded of the title of a book/movie that was made some years ago… “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. Not that it has anything to do with sodomy. But its title sums up nicely what these United States are going through… a series of unfortunate events. Why are they unfortunate, you ask?

Because they are the steps of judgment that God takes an idolatrous nation through as He gives them over to their wickedness and foolishness. Make no mistake, these unfortunate events are not simple rebellion. They are God’s decreed end for those peoples who reject Him and turn to their own ways – believing they can do whatever is ‘right in their own eyes.’

So make no mistake about what I believe as a Christian. Even though I live in a Sodomite Nation, I still believe that all homosexuals deserve to die for their deeds. I still believe that all homosexual couples do not love each other with a true love. Their love is cheap and destructive, not only to each other, but even more to all those children who are adopted by them.

But Glenn, why are you singling out homosexuals? Why not all the other sins the Bible talks about? Well, that’s pretty simple… because the homosexuals have chosen to single themselves out and celebrate this new national day of history. I simply seek to say these things to dishonor their pride and immorality – because it is dishonorable. As a Christian, I struggle with sins too, but I don’t celebrate it. I ask others to pray for me and I seek to kill my sin daily with the help of God’s Spirit living in me, making me more and more righteous in union with Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

As we all seek to understand the implications of living in a Sodomite Nation, never forget what came to all those nations before who turned to greater and greater idolatry and evil. Never forget how Lot felt in Sodom (Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless – for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard). And most importantly, never forget what happened to Sodom, to Egypt, to Babylon, to Greece, and to Rome. They all fell under God’s hand and they all drank the cup of God’s wrath when they had filled it up.

So I end with this: Don’t think there is hope for those who continue to reject God. They can never be saved. But, while it is still called today, remember this:

“Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.'” (Hebrews 4:6,7)

Concerning Same Sex Adoptions

Yesterday, a friend’s question on social media in response to an article I shared about children in same sex households provoked the following thoughts on the issue of adoption, even dealing with single parent adoptions and the detriment to the child (not to mention the selfishness they expose). Here is the article I shared:

Here are my thoughts on the issue of same sex couple adoption and single parent adoption, as well as the destructive force they (in particular same sex couple adoptions) have on children and on society:

Yes, I am opposed to single parent adoptions. Though, I will firmly argue that a single parent is less destructive than homosexual parents – who effectively guarantee the perversion of the child’s mind from naturally understanding God as their Father and the Church as their Mother. For no one can have God as their Father if they do not have the Church as their mother.

Further, at least a child with a single mother or father can have a motherly or fatherly figure (respective of the one missing) enter their lives through other relatives or friends or future marriage. Same sex couples are claiming to be married and in need of no other member of the opposite sex to be required in the household (though I’m sure some single parent adopters have thought the same thing, wrongly).

Now, I say this not to disregard the grace of God in saving people out of their twisted thinking and broken upbringings… I am saying this as a point of genuine natural law and civil society. As Christians – by conceding this to be acceptable – we further degrade and destroy our society and our witness to those who would seek to understand what a true human society should look like.

For those of you who might think that (simply) 2 is better than 1… This thinking ultimately breaks down because all children in America today (who are not being held captive by criminals of course) have plenty of people helping to raise them in their lives – whether it is school teachers, grandparents, neighbors, fellow church members, etc.

This issue, from a Christian perspective, has everything to do with nature, the created order, and human salvation – and NOT anything to do with having enough people to help a child have some kind of ‘better’ life. For a child who has a better life and ends up not worshiping God will receive more damnation in hell than the child who was poor and needy, yet still did not believe. For we are all going to be judged according to our deeds – either for rewards in heaven or punishments in hell.

By nature – on the adoption issue – any child raised in a single parent or same sex couple situation is going to be devoid of any real life experience of how God created them to grow up naturally – thus the basic problem of allowing either kind of people to adopt. Therefore, as Christians, to have any part in “okaying” or affirming such practices in adoptive circumstances is to rip apart the very fabric of our civil society. It not only harms the child, but it also puts one more stumbling block in the way of that child growing up to see these two fundamental truths of reality:

  1. No one can have God as their Father who does not have the Church as their Mother. (Galatians 4:26)
  2. Marriage between a man and a woman has always stood to show this mystery – the relationship between Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5:32)

And as we all should recall here… Jesus said, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:2)

Of Games and God

Of Games and God

For any of you interested in a Christian take on the current Video Game culture, I just came across this recently published book by Brazos. It is written by Kevin Schut, a communications expert and an enthusiastic gamer himself, offers a lively, balanced, and informed Christian evaluation of video games and video game culture. He expertly engages a variety of issues, encouraging readers to consider both the perils and the promise of this major cultural phenomenon. The book includes a foreword by Quentin J. Schultze.

Of Games and God

It’s cheaper to buy it on if you actually want to purchase it. But the above link gives a good deal of easy access to information about the book. Here is the link.

Kevin has also written a good article over on Relevant Magazine’s site called Do Video Games Cause Violence?

Here’s a concluding excerpt that I think we can all agree with:

Do bloodthirsty games encourage me to be bloodthirsty? Am I less sympathetic to the oppressed after playing video games? Am I buying into attitudes and ideologies that I should not, attitudes that glorify destructive acts, inflicting pain and causing death?

The answer may not always be yes, and so the violent video games may be simply OK or even possibly beneficial. But we should always be prepared to think through our game-playing. Unexamined ideas, actions, beliefs and mind-sets can impact us; conscious engagement makes a difference. War, pain, danger, suffering and excitement will always be part of the human condition while we still live. Many video games reflect that reality. Will we use those games to grapple with or to glorify violence?

Online Apologetics Conference 2013: A Defense of the Faith is a Defense of Life

A Defense of the Faith is a Defense of Life


Early registration has begun. Check out this year’s Apologetics Conference topics and speakers!

2013 Conference Goals:

  • Highlight the historical connection between genuine human rights and liberties and the broad acceptance of the Christian worldview… and the converse.
  • Observe that beliefs tend to automatically lead to actions based on those beliefs, and call attention to the importance of having well-reasoned, well-evidenced beliefs.
  • Raise awareness of the fact that those with a Christian worldview tend to have ‘pro-life’ attitudes and perspectives and argue that consequently, the defense of that worldview, that is, Christian apologetics, has an important role to play in defending Life.
  • Draw a clear connection in the minds of attendees between the Gospel and life issues and take aim at the notion, often held by Christians themselves, that topics such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide, human cloning, etc, are ‘political’ issues where ‘religion’ has no business involving itself.


Reading Genesis as History: Implications for Science and the Age of the Universe

UPDATE: The Conference went great and as many of you might have seen below in the comments, I posted a link to my talk on “Reading Genesis as History”. The entire talk with Q&A are available for your free viewing at the following location. Enjoy!

I will be presenting at this year’s online Apologetics conference. Click on this link and see the schedule for the conference. Thursday’s (April 19th) sessions are free to the public and that is the day I will be presenting – at 8 PM EST. My topic is entitled, “Reading Genesis as History: Implications for Science and the Age of the Universe.” Please do consider attending and check out the other topics that are going to be discussed and make sure you check them out too!

Jesus is King of the Whole World

The confession, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” is not the same as saying, “God is sovereign over the world.” Before Jesus ascended to the thrown that He said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). He did not humble Himself and die and rise again to receive an authority which He already had by virtue of His deity.

When we say, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” we confess that what God said in Psalm 2 has come true, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill” (v.6). God says to this King, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery”(v.8,9).

Saying, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” is akin to saying Obama is President, but, of course, completely different in terms of magnitude. I tell my son, “Jesus is king of the whole world.” That is what the confession means. Jesus (Yahweh saves, God the Son in the flesh) Christ (The Messiah–Prophet, Priest, and King–of God’s people) is Lord (the man who rules over the all nations). The One who loves us, died for us, and cleanses us–our Brother–is the one who rules the world.

That is why we can be confident no matter who the ruler of any particular nation is, because they are all on our turf, our inheritance.

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life."

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons