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Is Mike Pence too political for church?

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There have been a lot of talk lately about Mike Pence speaking at the SBC. Many complained claiming it was divisive and political. Jonathan Leeman wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition criticizing the very idea of Mike Pence speaking. I will address this article in greater detail on the points that I agree and disagree with. But first, let me answer the very question I posed: Pence isn’t too political to address a congregation, but his speech was.

In short, Mike Pence’s address offered zero substantive theological content. It was merely about his privilege as serving as Vice President. While acknowledging this privilege merited a short section in the beginning, it needed no more continuation. Instead, Mike Pence droned on and on about his experiences and the administration’s accomplishments.

I think there’s only one way you can sum up this administration: It’s been 500 days of action, 500 days of accomplishment. It’s been 500 days of promises made and promises kept. 

Pence’s address followed a pattern of praising Trump with loosely intertwined references to God and praising his hosts as guest speakers often do. The intertwined religious language while praising the accomplishments, not of God, but of the President is the briefest summation of Pence’s speech to the SBC that can be offered. The only biblical passage cited was Psalm 126 in reference to a story that served as praise to the Trump administration. God wasn’t working though Trump in Pence’s speech. Instead, Trump was working. At the end of his speech, Pence did offer a superficial message about praying for America with a quoting scripture.

Mike Pence had an opportunity to address the leaders of many churches. He blew it. But would all politicians do the same?

Politicians Should Be in the Pew, Not the Pulpit?

Jonathan Leeman’s article for The Gospel Coalition draws this conclusion. He has five reasons for not allowing politicians to address a church event.

  1. No reason to give attention to a politician’s words over a plumber’s or an accountant’s, at least not in our assemblies or associations.
  2. Having a political leader address our churches or associations of churches tempts us to misconstrue our mission.
  3. Undermines our evangelistic and prophetic witness.
  4. Hurts the unity of Christ’s body

Reason one is most certainly true. However, I believe we ought to separate the person from the profession. On the basis of spiritual maturity and calling should a politician or any notable guest address an assembly. This first reason is the one I believe to have the most merit in regards to the situation at hand. Inviting a politician to address a Congregation is wrong if the only reason is that they are a politician. However, if the politician is a member of the church, what is wrong with having a fellow member speak?

Reasons two and three are certainly tied together in there logic. I believe these reasons hold merit for Pence’s sacrelidgious speech but are not inherently true of all politicians who accept such similar offers. Reasons two and three open a multitude of separate issues both independent and dependent on the circumstances. Meaning, yes this could happen, but the degree in which we can mitigate the temptation are limited for Satan is the tempter. In the case of Pence, reason three was definitely true. Many would see that the SBC tied itself to Trump. But that is not the fault of the SBC per se. But that is Pence’s fault for giving a campaign rally speech instead of a message. If Pence gave a theologically sound speech there should be little temptation to misconstrue the mission. The third reason is inevitable. Since the beginning, Christians witness has been undermined by the lies of Satan. The original Christians were thought to be cannibal and even atheists. We can’t always prevent these lies, but it would be good not to validate them which Pence did.

Now hurting the unity of the body of Christ is a weak point. Leeman’s fourth point is basically saying that Pence is too polarizing, because Trump is… Trump, on a National level to address a church. Pence is polarizing, but he was polarizing before Trump. The polarizing premise is true but, assuming Pence is indeed a follower off Christ, this would be the result of living a Christian life. Here’s another polarizing figure: Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop. Would polarity disqualify him from speaking? If we are to apply national likability to our church speakers, we’re going to end up with a lot of TV personalities who don’t comprehend dyophysitism.

Like Jack Philips, Pence has taken a lot of flak for being a devout Christian. Isn’t this the kind of person who may have a good message to the assembly? Seemingly so. Again Pence under-delivered. To be fair, Leeman clearly states he doesn’t blanket outlaw politicians from speaking.

I can envision a few circumstances where there is some measure of mission overlap that could justify it. Maybe a group of Christian college presidents asks the secretary of education to address them. Or a Christian conference on work asks a Christian congressman to talk about working as a Christian on the Hill, so that attendees can apply the principles to their own settings.

But while it’s not an outlaw, such an unwritten policy places constraints on the church that are not inherently necessary. Leeman supposes some similar justification was used when The Gospel Coalition had Ben Sasse speak. In 2017, Ben Sasse addressed The Gospel Coalition and gave a theological speech. He was noted for sounding more like a pastor than a politician.

To me only two things matter:

  1. Theological substance
  2. Correct theological substance

On these two requirements I think the body of Christ would remain unified with a clear picture of its mission.

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Culture and Religion

Joseph as a type of Christ for gentiles and Jews to understand

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Joseph as a type of Christ for gentiles and Jews to understand

Whether for Jews, gentiles, or both, the Bible is loaded with messages intended to point to Yeshua as the Christ, our Messiah, Lord, and Savior. One of the most compelling stories that tells of a type of Christ is in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, in which Joseph is presented in a way that points to the Messiah to come to the world.

Many Bible scholars and theologians have talked about this. It’s the type of revelation that hits us hard when we connect the dots and realize the intense similarities between a man through which God saved Israel and the Christ through which the world is saved. It’s also a story that is not, in our opinion, discussed enough in churches. The significance is too important to pass over casually.

The Bible uses types throughout. Sometimes, a person can be a type that refers to someone in the past. Usually, they point to the future, giving us further affirmation of the timeless nature of the Father. Let’s look at a handful of similarities that point to Joseph as a type of Christ.

Men without Condemnation

Only Abraham is discussed more in the long book of Genesis than Joseph. Nearly everyone is presented with great faults, including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even Noah, a just man, made a mistake after the flood that allowed Canaan to be cursed for eternity.

Joseph has arguably one fault described in the Bible. He may or may not have bragged to his brothers about his dreams in a way that was not truly humble. He told them as well as his father that they would all bow down to him someday. One can argue that he had to tell them and that he wasn’t doing so to brag but to declare a truth. Whether humbly or not, it was God’s Will for Joseph to tell of the dreams because this put it into his brothers’ hearts to betray him. Had they not, Israel would not have been able to go to Egypt and survive as a nation, at least not in the way that it happened in the Bible.

Genesis lays no condemnation on Jospeh. Yeshua is without sin, a status obviously higher than Joseph. If Joseph had no major faults and maintained faith in God throughout his story, then Yeshua magnified this to the point of righteousness. Joseph was only a man and therefore sinned, but he was without apparent flaw worth noting in the text. Yeshua was flawless.

Sent by His Father to Check on the Flock

This is a neat little note. Joseph was sent by his father to check on his brothers and the flock of sheep that they fed. Yeshua was sent by His Father to gather the brethren to tend to the flock.

While checking on the flocks, both were betrayed.

Betrayed by their Brethren

Joseph was cast into a pit while his brothers contemplated his fate. He was then taken by the Midianites and sold into slavery as his brothers watched helplessly.

Yeshua was betrayed by His people. One could take it further and point to those who knew Him as He grew up in Nazareth. They did not accept Him, even wanting to hurl Him off a cliff and few in His homeland believed that He was anything other than the carpenter’s son. Then, of course, we could look at Judas Iscariot, an original disciple who ultimately betrayed him.

With types, we can often see different degrees expressed. In Joseph’s case, he was betrayed to a life of slavery while Yeshua was betrayed to death. Joseph’s freedom was sold for 20 pieces of silver while Yeshua’s life was sold for 30 pieces of silver. Joseph saved nations. Yeshua saved the world.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of their betrayals is that both Joseph and Yeshua were falsely accused.

Two Criminals, One Saved

When Joseph was imprisoned, he came across two others who were condemned. He interpreted the dreams of the cup bearer and the baker. The cup bearer was to live while the baker was to die.

On the cross, Yeshua was there with two criminals. One mocked Him. The other worshiped Him. One would be saved. The other was condemned.

Not Recognized by the People

Joseph was 17-years-old when he was betrayed by this brothers. He was in his thirties when they would see him again and they did not immediately recognize him, even when they ate with him. They knew he was a powerful man who did wonderful works for the people, but they did not see him as their brother nor the person who would eventually save their nation. In fact, they feared him.

Yeshua was also in His thirties when He went to spread the Word of God throughout the land. He was seen by the Jews as a powerful teacher, a healer, even a prophet, but most did not see Him as the Messiah. His works were revered by most but there were those who did not recognize that these works were done through the Father. They both hated and feared Him.

Others

Bible History put together a pretty comprehensive list of similarities in the form of verses:

Joseph Jesus
Joseph was Loved by His Father – Genesis 37:3 God said about Jesus “this is my beloved son” – Matthew 3:17
Joseph’s brothers did not believe him and hated him – Genesis 37:4-5 The Jews Did Not Believe in Christ – John 7:5 and they hated him – John 15:24
Joseph’s brothers rejected his right to rule – Genesis 37:8 The Jewish leaders said “we will not have this man to rule over us” Luke 19:14
Joseph’s brothers conspired against him – Genesis 37:23 They took counsel against Jesus Matthew 27:1
They stripped Joseph of his garments –  Genesis 37:23 They stripped Jesus –  Matthew 27:28
Joseph was sold for silver – Genesis 37:28 Jesus was sold for silver –  Matthew 26:15
Everything Joseph put his hand to prospered –  Genesis 39:3 “… And the pleasure of the Lord prospered in his hand” – Isaiah 53:10
All things were laid into Joseph’s trust –  Genesis 39:4-8 God hath given all things into his hand – John 3:35
Joseph’s own brothers did not recognize him. The Jews did not recognize their Messiah
Joseph was tempted and did not sin –  Genesis 39:9 Jesus was tempted in all things yet was without sin – Hebrews 4:15
Joseph was bound – Genesis 39:30 Jesus was bound – Matthew 27:2
Joseph was condemned with two criminals – Genesis 40:2, 3 Jesus was crucified with two criminals – Luke 23:32
One criminal was given life and the other was condemned – Genesis 40:21-22) Jesus told one of the criminals “Today you shall be with me in paradise” – Luke 23:43
Joseph was trustworthy and wise –  Genesis 41:39 God said about Jesus “this is my beloved son in whom I well pleased” – Mark 1:11
Joseph’s brothers bowed their knee to him – Genesis 41:43 “At the name of Jesus every knee will bow” – Philippians 2:10
Joseph was 30 years old – Genesis 41:46 Jesus was “about 30 years old” – Luke 3:25
God planned the suffering of Joseph in advance to save many – Genesis 50:21 Jesus said “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall be saved” – John 3:16
Joseph was made ruler over all of Egypt – Genesis 41:42-44 Jesus said “all power has been given unto me” – 8:18
Joseph married a foreign bride who shared his glory – Genesis 41:45 Believers in Christ are “joint heirs” with him in his glory – Romans 8:17
Joseph was cast into a pit and then later delivered out of it – Genesis 37:24, 28 When Jesus died he descended into the lower parts of the earth, and later ascended into heaven – Ephesians 4:9
Joseph was imprisoned based on false charges – Genesis 39:19, 20 During the trial of Jesus false witnesses were brought in testifying against him – Mark 14:56
Joseph’s brothers later repented for what they did to him – Genesis 42:7 “and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn” – Zechariah 12:10

As a representation of the coming Messiah, Joseph acts as the right type to be able to point Jews and gentiles to the truth. Joseph had no ministry per se, but he did represent the rise, fall, and complete ascension of a man whom God used to make the tribe of Israel a nation that would rise from Egypt and take the land that was promised to their father Abraham.

This comparison allows everyone today to understand the divinity of Yeshua and the coming reign of our Lord. In the end, Joseph was accepted by his people and set the path for their lives to come. The same will be said of Yeshua in the last days.

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Conspiracy Theory

Evidence points to some dinosaurs living beyond the extinction event

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Evidence points to some dinosaurs living beyond the extinction event

It is, for all practical purposes, nearly impossible for the vast majority of people who have received a modern education to even consider the possibility that dinosaurs are not as old as we have been told. It’s a topic that I’ve avoided because the presuppositions are so powerful among the general population.

Today, I decided to tackle the topic with one purpose: to start a discussion with those who have an open mind. I’m well aware that most minds will be closed and there will be much more sarcasm than discourse, but ridicule from the indoctrinated masses is a small price to pay if just one person can hear this and decide to dig deeper into science and the Bible to have the truth revealed.

It’s been instilled in our minds as common knowledge that the dinosaurs died off 65 million years ago in the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event with the most prevalent alleged culprit being the impact of a comet or asteroid at Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. For the most part, anything that’s considered common knowledge can be sustained without anyone questioning the assumptions. For example, it was common knowledge based upon what was easily observable that the sun, moon, and stars revolved around the earth. That was finally debunked, of course, but scientific debate on the model of our solar system continued until the early 20th century.

A more recent example of common knowledge being wrong is the idea that acid caused by bad diet or stress is what causes ulcers. In 2005, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren won the Nobel Prize for Medicine by demonstrating that the vast majority of ulcers were caused by an infection of the bacterium H. pylori.

Now is not the time to debate young earth versus ancient earth, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that dinosaurs were around in the time of man. Even a brave segment of the secular scientist world has started questioning whether the extinction event killed off all of them based upon mounting evidence. There was even a formerly prominent professor who learned the hard way that bringing forth compelling scientific evidence of dinosaurs walking with men can earn people a quick entry onto the black list.

Over the centuries, intellectuals have had a difficult time having their worldviews shattered. The funny thing is that the existence of modern era dinosaurs doesn’t change much. It could mean that small pockets of the world were protected from the extinction event. One would not have to make huge adjustments to their worldview if this were the case which is why it’s so perplexing that they won’t even explore the possibility. It’s reminiscent of the persecution that Galileo received, only this time it’s not at the hand of the Christian church but rather at the hands of the church of science.

I want to go much deeper on the issue of why there seems to be reluctance at best and a systematic coverup at worst, but we’ll have to explore that on a future video. For now, I’d like to turn to a video we watched that gives a pretty interesting perspective. While I don’t agree with all of the conclusions or evidence, there’s enough good to make it appropriate for sharing.

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Culture and Religion

Houston library had Alberto Garza, a registered child sex offender, read stories to children for Drag Queen Storytime

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Houston library had Alberto Garza a registered child sex offender read stories to children for Drag

Conservatives know the LGBTQ community has their say in most aspects of life in America today. Their political and cultural influence is unquestionable and public organizations jump through hoops to appease the various groups. Many libraries have even embrace “Drag Queen Storytime” as a way to teach tolerance to children by allowing transvestites to read stories to children.

Houston Public Library is one such progressive public organization that has embraced the practice. Unfortunately, they didn’t do anything to protect the children that visit the library by allowing “Tatiana Mala Nina” to read for the children. The problem arose because”Tatiana” is actually Alberto Garza, a 32-year-old child sex offender.

My Take

Houston Public Library has apologized. Is that really enough? Mistakes happen, but there are certain situations and jobs in which extra special care must be taken. Our public libraries, which are often considered to be truly safe places and popular venues for children to learn, should be able to give a reasonable expectation to parents that registered child sex offenders are not given explicit access to children.

This is gross negligence. I may be in the minority on this one, but this is a terminable offense in my books. Someone’s head should roll.

Keep in mind I rarely call for anyone to be fired for a single offense, but this is literally the worst case scenario for a library administrator. When you give someone access to the children that come to the library, they cannot be convicted child sex offenders. That’s sort of a no-brainer.

Nothing will likely happen beyond the apology, but here’s hoping.

So many exceptions are made for “alternative lifestyles” for the sake of tolerance. But when this tolerance allows a convicted child sex offender to have access to small children, the exceptions have gone way to far. This is absolutely unacceptable.

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