Restoring the hearts of the fathers to their children…

[Remarks delivered at #defundPP rally at The Peace Center (Greenville, SC), April 23, 2016]

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to testify before the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Subcommittee. Under consideration was the Personhood Constitutional Amendment joint resolution S.719. If this joint resolution gets passed, the people of South Carolina will be able to vote on the November ballot to put the following language in the state constitution:

The privileges and immunities of citizens of South Carolina and the United States shall not be abridged, so that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. These rights shall extend to both born and preborn persons beginning at conception.

(to keep up with this personhood legislation like our Personhood South Carolina Facebook page)

During that subcommittee hearing, it stood out to me that those speaking against S.719 were predominantly women (representing Planned Parenthood) while those speaking in support were predominantly men. Sensing the same disparity, Sen. Margie Bright-Matthews opined during the subsequent full Judiciary Committee meeting. She said, “there were a lot of men that had a lot of opinions about what should happen to a woman’s body and that was my problem.”

My first thought after the subcommittee testimony and Sen. Bright-Matthews’ statement—which, of course, was ignorant and deceptive on many levels—was this… Continue reading

A Father’s Resolutions by Cotton Mather

Cotton_MatherCotton Mather, Puritan pastor in New England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, formed some resolutions regarding fatherhood. Here is the beginning of those challenging and faithful resolutions, followed by a link to a PDF of the whole…

PARENTS, Oh! how much ought you to be continually devising for the good of your children! Often device how to make them “wise children”; how to give them a desirable education, an education that may render them desirable; how to render them lovely and polite, and serviceable in their generation. Often devise how to enrich their minds with valuable knowledge; how to instill generous, gracious, and heavenly principles into their minds; how to restrain and rescue them from the paths of the destroyer, and fortify them against their peculiar temptations. There is a world of good that you have to do for them. You are without the natural feelings of humanity if you are not in a continual agony to do for them all the good that ever you can. It was no mistake of an ancient writer to say, “Nature teaches us to love our children as ourselves.”

RESOLVED— 1. At the birth of my children, I will resolve to do all I can that they may be the Lord’s. I will now actually give them up by faith to God; entreating that each child may be a child of God the Father, a subject of God the Son, a temple of God the Spirit—and be rescued from the condition of a child of wrath, and be possessed and employed by the Lord as an everlasting instrument of His glory.

2. As soon as my children are capable of minding my admonitions, I will often, often admonish them, saying, “Child, God has sent His son to die, to save sinners from death and hell. You must not sin against Him. You must every day cry to God that He would be your Father, and your Saviour, and your Leader. You must renounce the service of Satan, you must not follow the vanities of this world, you must lead a life of serious religion.

Read them all here (pdf).

 

Command your children to keep the way of the Lord…

We live in a spiritually soft age. That God uses means, particularly a child’s father’s commands, is understood today to be a betrayal of God’s grace. Yet, when it comes to soccer or SAT scores we readily understand the necessity of commanding our children. “No pain, no gain,” we tell them. Meanwhile, we make no demands on their conscience because we’ve been told that doing so will lead them to a mere outward conformity and no further. The message we are teaching our children is that sports requires discipline, obedience, rigor while the spiritual life is one of unprovoked, spontaneous, soft emotion. We no longer speak of the spiritual disciplines.

We’ve come to believe that when it comes to sports and academics our children will come to see the necessity of hard work and discipline, and, in the end, will enjoy the fruits of such discipline. But, when it comes to the spiritual life, the pursuit of God, the keeping of the way of the Lord, any rigor, any accountability, any discipline is a sure way to make our children hate God. The antinomians have won the day.

Read Genesis 18:19: “For I have chosen him (Abraham), so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”

If those words had not been inspired by the Holy Spirit we’d be inclined to dismiss them as legalistic and harmful. But there they, exhorting fathers everywhere to command their households to keep the way of the Lord. It takes faith in God’s means to do that, especially when we’ve been taught to stay silent, to manipulate rather than command, to convince rather than exhort. Not so when it comes to football: 2-a-days, strict diet, proper hydration, watching tape, learning from mistakes, cardio work-outs, weight training, “rub some dirt on it and get back in the game, boy!” Sunday rolls around and Johnny wants to stay home from evening church: “OK, son. Rest up for next week’s practice.”

We are to command our children to keep the way of the Lord. This way comes with a playbook that must be studied and memorized, spiritual disciplines, weekly meetings, continuous prayer, working out (our salvation with fear and trembling), buffeting (our bodies to make them our slaves), law to be kept, confessions to be made when unkept, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, single-minded devotion to Jesus Christ, Savior of sinners.

Fathers, your children need to hear your commands to keep the way of the Lord. What you command is what you believe to be of ultimate importance. God has made you a father, a man in authority. Use that authority to the glory of God.

Here’s some sobering help from men who did not suffer from the softness of our era: Continue reading

Man's duty to protect woman…

I stumbled onto our government’s Selective Service website this morning. When I was 18 years old I was required to register for selective service (the draft). Registration is still required for all young men in the US, but it is only a matter of time before women are included in the same requirement. Why is this? Read this page of the Selective Services website and the trajectory and sentiment of the armed forces should be obvious to you.

When these issues were debated in the 1990s, the stated reason women were not required to register for the draft was that they were restricted from serving in positions in the military that involved “direct ground combat.” In 2013, a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff called upon all military branches to “eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.” This work is intended to be completed by January 1, 2016 and will result in the removal of any barrier to women being conscripted into combat positions in the military.

This direction is a shameful abdication of man’s calling to cultivate and to keep (Gen. 2:15) those weaker vessels (1 Peter 3:7) entrusted to his care… Continue reading

The courage of engineers…

When I was about 14 years-old, I read the autobiography of Chuck Yeager, first pilot to travel faster than the speed of sound. I partially blame the book for my fear of flying. Time after time Yeager was strapped into airplanes—and I use that term loosely—that theoretically would stay intact at high speeds. Dropped from the bottom of real airplanes, Yeager had to trust his instincts as a pilot and the wisdom of the engineers. The goal was to break the sound barrier, and yet engineers and scientists had no idea what was going to happen! Some speculated that breaking the sound barrier would lead to the destruction of the aircraft. Others said, “No way, man.” Yeager got to find out who was right. Weeeeeeeeeee!

I was reminded of that biography while reading an article in The Atlantic about testing the first nuclear reactor in a submarine. Testing prototypes, especially nuclear powered ones in 1953, takes a certain certainty—an engineer’s courageous trust of math and computation. There is always a guy saying, “Keep going!”—and an engineer saying, “It should hold”—as they stand five feet away.

Another day of witness and an invitation…

I have very little doubt that my brothers in the Presbyterian Church in America would state privately that abortion is a modern genocide. Yet when it comes to prophetic ministry to state that truth publicly, there is more silence than talk. Will our Lord judge us well for such inconsistency?

Along with a number of people from Trinity, I drive for over thirty minutes to stand at the gates of hell, telling the residents of Greenville that children are being murdered within her gates, that she has a death-camp in her midst. I do so one day of the six days a week the abortuary is open. I invite my brothers and pastors from the PCA to put some flesh on those theological bones by practicing true religion outside the Greenville Women’s Clinic.

A map showing PCA churches near the place in Greenville where babies are murdered.

A map showing PCA churches near the place in Greenville where babies are murdered.

Would you consider being there one of those six days? Will you join us?

Let the contemplations of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (as told by Eric Metaxas) inspire you…

The Scriptures said that faith without works is dead, that faith “is the evidence of things not seen.” Bonhoeffer knew that one could see some things only with the eyes of faith, but they were no less real and true than the things one saw with one’s physical eyes. But the eyes of faith had a moral component. To see that it was against God’s will to persecute Jews, one must choose to open one’s eyes. And then one would face another uncomfortable choice: whether to act as God required.

Bonhoeffer strove to see what God wanted to show and then to do what God asked in response. That was the obedient Christian life, the call of the disciple. And it came with a cost, which explained why so many were afraid to open their eyes in the first place. It was the antithesis of the “cheap grace” that required nothing more than an easy mental assent, which he wrote about in Discipleship (Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, 278-279).

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Be a fisher of men…

1. With your encouragement…

2 Cor. 1:3   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

Did you know that your difficulties and the comforts that followed from them may be for the purpose of witnessing to others, showing others the comfort to be found in Jesus Christ? We don’t reject suffering as being of the devil. We accept it as being from God and useful as an opportunity to witness to others about what we live for. Continue reading

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy (part 3)…

37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground (Heb. 11:37-38).

Of verse 38, the Puritan pastor John Owen writes:

Of this world it is said, that it was “not worthy” of those sufferers. It was not so in the ages and seasons wherein they lived; nor is so of them who suffer in any other age whatever. The world thinks them not worthy of it, or to live in it, to enjoy any name or place among the men of it. Here is a testimony given to the contrary, — that the world is not worthy of them. Nor can any thing be spoken to the greater provocation of it. To tell the great, the mighty, the wealthy, the rulers of the world, that they are not worthy of the society of such as in their days are poor, destitute, despised, wanderers, whom they hurt and persecute, as the “offscouring of all things,” is that which fills them with indignation. There is not an informer or apparitor but would think himself disparaged by it. But they may esteem of it as they please; we know that this testimony is true, and the world one day shall confess it so to be.

Reflecting on this verse, Owen makes this observation:

It becomes us to be filled with thoughts of and affections unto spiritual things, to labor for an anticipation of glory, that we faint not in the consideration of the evils that may befall us on the account of the gospel.

Parents, how are you cultivating the above mindset in yourself and then in your children? Continue reading

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy (part 2)…

If we believe the coming generation will face more hostility from our pagan culture, how do we switch gears from raising them for worldly success—as we have been doing, let’s be honest—to raising them for warfare, suffering, and loss? (We should have been doing that all along!) Here’s my list (Add others in the comments, please):

1. Discipline your children with the rod and with the Word. Proverbs 22:15, 23:13, 29:15. Love them through discipline (Prov. 13:24). Want them to have a right regard for authority?—one where they know that the ultimate authority is God whose throne is in heaven? Show your children your own fear of God and submission to His will in this task. Rebuke them and train them with the Word. Spank and speak. Give the no and the yes. Punish for sin and go to God’s Word to show them the right path.

Remember, we are no longer training them for success in the world, we are training them for success in battle… Continue reading

Missing the elephant in the womb…

Sad story in The New York Times this morning…made sadder by the blindness of many of the participants. Amazingly, the hospital and her administrators, who are obeying the laws of the State of Texas, are on the side of the angels this time.

Update: Now baby Munoz’s life is in the hands of the courts. Mr. Munoz has sued the hospital

This morning, Munoz took another step toward fulfilling JPS’ wish for clarity, filing suit in Tarrant County District Court. In the suit, he says the hospital has diagnosed her as “brain dead” and that all life-sustaining treatments should be stopped.

Keeping her alive “makes no sense, and amounts to nothing more than the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body against the expressed will of the deceased and her family.”

Update 1.22.14: The lawyers for Mrs. Munoz’s husband are now claiming the baby is not healthy and so deserves to die. A hearing is set for this Friday in Fort Worth:

A state district judge will hold a hearing Friday to consider removing a pregnant Haltom City woman from life support after she was kept alive by John Peter Smith Hospital against her family’s wishes.

State District Judge R.H. Wallace will hear a request by the family of Marlise Muñoz to have JPS immediately cease further medical procedures and remove her from any respirators, ventilators or other “life support” and release her body to the family for burial.

Please be praying for Judge Wallace and for the life of the baby.

Update 1.24.14: The judge ordered the hospital to terminate the life-support. Many sources are reporting that even the hospital is saying the baby is “not viable.” The Lord knows. The hospital could also now appeal the decision. Here’s a bit from the AP report:

Judge R. H. Wallace Jr. issued the ruling in the case of Marlise Munoz. John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth has been keeping Munoz on life support against her family’s wishes. The judge gave the hospital until 5 p.m. CST Monday to remove life support. The hospital did not immediately say Friday whether it would appeal.

Update 1.27.14: The hospital threw in the towel and decided not to appeal the judge’s decision. Mr. Munoz stopped the life-support around noon yesterday. Again, no mention of the baby who was being kept alive by these methods. No mention of the possibility of life coming out of these dire circumstances…

A lawyer for the family said Sunday that Marlise Muñoz was pronounced dead a short time after life support was withdrawn.

“Our client, Erick Muñoz, has authorized us to give notice that today, at approximately 11:30 a.m. … Marlise Muñoz’s body was disconnected from ‘life support’ and released to Mr. Muñoz,” said a statement from the family’s attorneys, Heather L. King and Jessica H. Janicek.