June 2015

SCOTUS decision disappointing but not surprising

June 30 2015 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

As widely reported, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its ruling on the matter of marriage Friday morning, June 26. In a 5-4 decision, the court said the 14th Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples and to recognize marriages performed in other states.
 
While the court’s 103-page opinion was not a complete surprise, it was immensely disappointing that five men and women ignored the foundational principles of the constitution and invented a new form of legal marriage, imposing their personal agendas on an otherwise free nation.
 
The dissenting opinions of Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts said the Constitution has nothing to say on the subject of gay marriage.
 
President Barack Obama used the occasion to continue to divide a nation that needs unity – racially, morally and politically. He desecrated the White House on the day of the court’s proclamation, lighting the exterior with the bright rainbow colors that have become a symbol of gay rebellion.

 
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Allan Blume

This act was infuriating to decent Americans. It reflects this president’s consistently poor judgment and disregard for the Christian faith.
 
Calling for the nation to bow down to one more piece of his godless agenda, the act takes me to the third chapter of the book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar built a large golden image, calling everyone in the nation to publicly bow down and worship it. To refuse the king’s command provided the disobedient a trip to a “furnace of blazing fire.”
 
The political correctness police of that day reported to the king that “certain Jews” (probably a racial slur) in his administration did not bow down and worship the king’s golden image. The three young Jewish men were identified but did not resist arrest. They said, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire, ... but even if He does not, let it be known that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up.”
 
You know the rest of the story. God delivered them from the furnace, and a profound witness of God’s glory went out across the world.
 
John Piper, pastor and founder of Desiring God, lamented the “new calamity.” In his blog, Piper wrote, “For those who have forsaken God’s path of sexual fulfillment, and walked into homosexual intercourse or heterosexual extramarital fornication or adultery, Jesus offers astonishing mercy. But today this salvation from sinful sexual acts was not embraced. Instead there was massive institutionalization of sin.
 
“My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us,” Piper said.
 
Homosexual behavior is not new. “What’s new is not even the celebration and approval of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What’s new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.”
 
In his response to the court’s decision, Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote “The Supreme Court’s decision … is a central assault upon marriage as the conjugal union of a man and a woman and in a five to four decision the nation’s highest court has now imposed its mandate redefining marriage on all [50] states.
 
“As the Chief Justice makes clear, Justice Kennedy and his fellow justices in the majority wanted to legalize same-sex marriage, and they invented a constitutional theory to achieve their purpose. It was indeed an act of will disguised as a legal judgment,” Mohler said.
 
“In one sense, everything has changed. And yet, nothing has changed. The cultural and legal landscape has changed, as we believe this will lead to very real harms to our neighbors. But our Christian responsibility has not changed. We are charged to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and to speak the truth in love. We are also commanded to uphold the truth about marriage in our own lives, in our own marriages, in our own families, and in our own churches.”
 
Russell Moore, president of Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said, “As Christians, we believe in marriage. We believe that it is from above, not below. We believe that it matters supremely to agree with God about the definition and purpose of marriage and family. So today we grieve for our country and solemnly pray that soon God would grant the leaders of our nation new hearts to see the beauty of biblically defined marriage law.”
 
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. “As North Carolina Baptists, we continue to believe and affirm that God’s biblical design for marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.
 
“Even before today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, we know that there are those who may disagree with us about how marriage is defined. As followers of Jesus Christ, we remain committed to God’s Word and a biblical view of marriage. At the same time, Jesus instructed us to love and minister to everyone in a spirit of grace and truth, including those who may disagree with us on this issue and on other issues, as well.”
 
Apologist and author Alex McFarland said, “Today’s atrocious Supreme Court decision took the definition of marriage out of the hands of the people – and out of the Bible. The fact is that marriage is biblical; it’s a gift from God, and no one should have the power to change its definition or meaning because of societal trends and perceived cultural shifts.
 
“God was the first to define it in the Garden of Eden and He should be the last to define it. It’s a sad commentary on society when nine human beings have the power to change God’s laws for an entire nation.”
 
GuideStone Financial Resources released a statement from Executive Director O.S. Hawkins, “The Supreme Court’s decision, which now redefines marriage, will have lasting ramifications. GuideStone will work with internal and external counsel to determine its impact. It will likely take weeks to determine next steps.
 
“In the meantime, churches should work with their legal and accounting advisors to determine whether their governing, employment, building use and other documents or policies need to be reviewed in light of the expanding definition of marriage. Our co-laborers at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission have created a free handbook, Protecting Your Ministry, which may be useful for churches, available on their website, ERLC.com.
 
“The cultural and legal landscape, which has been shifting for some time, has made a radical change with this ruling, perhaps as large or larger a shift than Roe v. Wade,” Hawkins said.

“GuideStone remains committed to advocating for the churches, ministries and pastors we serve during these days and will share information to help churches remain compliant in their health care and retirement plans.”
 
We are indeed a broken nation. But until we bow before Almighty God in spiritual brokenness and repentance, there will be no healing.

6/30/2015 11:48:44 AM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments



Farewell Boy Scouts of America

June 2 2015 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

Robert Gates, president of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), told attendees at the BSA annual meeting in Atlanta on May 21, the Scouts should voluntarily end its ban on gay adult leaders before a court forces them to do so. The former Central Intelligence Agency director and U.S. secretary of defense said he is not asking the national board to change the leadership policy immediately.
 
No one is surprised.
 
Two years ago BSA witnessed the exodus of thousands of scouts and the cancellation of many local groups with the announcement that gay scouts are accepted into the organization. Leaving church troops in a moral quandary, the policy change resulted in the launch of Trail Life USA, a Christian-based alternative to the Scouts. Trail Life USA’s website brands the organization as a “Christian adventure, character and leadership program for young men.”
 
A 2013 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) resolution said opening the group’s membership to homosexual youth was “merely the first step toward future approval of homosexual adult leaders in the Scouts.” The resolution was on target.

 
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K. Allan Blume

At the time, Southern Baptist leaders echoed the resolution’s prediction the Scouts would eventually drop their ban on gay leaders, according to a Baptist Press report. Among the leaders voicing that opinion were Steve Lemke of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Russell Moore of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and Roger S. Oldham of the SBC Executive Committee (EC).
 
“We grieve that the Scouts have planted the seed of their eventual destruction,” Oldham, EC vice president for convention communications and relations, said at the time. “It won’t happen overnight, but the course has been set.”
 
Oldham was correct.
 
Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in his May 27 blog, “The Boy Scouts were doomed the moment the national leadership decided to preserve the organization at the cost of the values and ideals that gave it birth.”
 
Mohler added, “Even as he took office last year, Gates indicated that he was not satisfied with the compromise the BSA national board adopted in 2013. After insisting, just six months earlier, that the Scouts would not change their policy excluding openly-gay scouts and scouting leaders – a policy national leaders acknowledged was expected by the vast majority of scout parents – the national board crumbled under external pressure, largely from activist organizations and major corporations.”
 
But Gates’ argument is based on the self-preservation of BSA as a national organization. “He made no moral argument at all,” Mohler said. “[Gates] did not celebrate the new policy he proposed on moral grounds, nor did he lament the loss of the older policy on moral grounds. There were no moral elements in his argument.”
 
The fatal flaw in the argument makes the very existence of the Boy Scouts ever more vulnerable, Mohler concludes. Absent the Bible-based morals of previous generations, Americans are building a society that has no need of the Boy Scouts. The organization is systematically dismantling the moral fiber of its existence, while constructing a new organization that has no moral purpose. The new structure leaves scouting in “yet another unsustainable compromise.”
 
Of course, all of this is evolving in the context of massive bullying campaigns and pressure from self-appointed officers of political correctness.
 
Someone needs to ask Gates, “When you finish retooling the Scouts, who will need the organization, and what will be its purpose?”
 
The Scouts have not merely drifted from the strength of their founding morality, they deliberately set their sails toward the pirates who will rob them of their moral cargo.
 
Samuel James, communications specialist for ERLC said Gates is clearly appealing to the “wrong side of history argument.” In the Canon and Culture blog, James said, “Gates is warning his fellow Scouts that standing athwart culture in this issue is just too high a price; for the sake of the survival of the BSA, the old ways should be scrapped and the ‘world as it is’ be embraced.”
 
Preserving the Scouts from “legal or political headwinds isn’t a sufficient motivation,” James added. “The problem with Gates’s plea isn’t that he’s wrong about what would face the Scouts if they held on to their policy (he’s probably right, actually), it’s that Gates is calling for an (massive) ethical transformation with an explicitly non-ethical reason. Imagine if a politician plead for the cessation of human trafficking on the grounds that traffickers just face too many risks and too much scrutiny from international governments. Not only is such an argument ridiculous, it is morally repugnant.”
 
Mohler said, “As a former Boy Scout, I lament the inevitable loss of scouting, knowing full well how much good the scouting movement has done in the lives of countless boys and men.”
 
I also lament the demise of BSA, but not as one who was a Boy Scout as a child. First, as a pastor of churches that hosted Scout troops, I am saddened that BSA has forced churches to distance themselves from the organization. Church leaders were unnecessarily strapped with a divisive, unwelcomed controversy. BSA walked away from the contest scoreless.
 
Second, I grieve for my father who became an active scout leader after I went to college, and was awarded some very high honors from the organization. He loved BSA. He invested years of time and energy in the lives of young men who were in search of character. He was deeply dedicated to the organization’s moral goals and to the boys who learned biblical values through scouting. I am sure if he was alive today, he would grieve, also.
 
Farewell Boy Scouts of America. You lost. America lost something when you caved. Nobody won.

6/2/2015 10:34:11 AM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 1 comments