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Culture and Religion

Religious freedoms from practical, political, and Biblical perspectives

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Religious freedoms from practical political and Biblical perspectives

The topic of religious freedoms in the United States and other countries is hot. Perhaps it always will be. As Christians, we often find ourselves fighting from multiple perspectives and against multiple fronts. The preservation of religious freedoms holds importance to those of the faith and must be understood for what it truly is.

Let’s take a look at the religious liberties debate from the three standard fronts: practically, politically, and Biblically.

Practical religious liberties

The foundation of the United States was built on religious liberties. While some will debate whether that meant Christian liberties based upon the initial desire to escape the church rule and persecutions in Europe or if they truly meant full liberties for all, the reality of today is that religious liberties cover every true religion. By “true” religion, I’m not saying that religious liberties should only cover Christianity. I’m referring to those who have pure beliefs, right or wrong, while excluding those who have created a false religion for the sake of a political statement. In other words, I’m not a fan of extending religious liberties to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster because it was created to make a statement and not because of true belief.

It is within this foundation that we have to act practically. Any attempts to betray this foundation will invariably turn around and haunt us. If we believe in religious liberties to allow us to practice our Christian faith how we are taught, then to take away the liberties of other religions will hurt our own cause.

There are limits. The expansion of Sharia Law, for example, goes against our Constitution and is therefore fair play to prohibit. This applies to those who have religious beliefs that are perversions of the Bible; just because someone claims to be doing something evil, illegal, or unconstitutional in the name of Jesus Christ doesn’t make it defensible. If a church kills someone during the practice of an exorcism, they should be held accountable and should not be able to hide behind religious liberties.

A 2016 poll showed that the majority of Americans believe in defending religious liberties, but that there was a divide about whether those liberties extended to all religions or just Christians. One can look to the Constitution to determine that this is unacceptable and one can look to the Bible to demonstrate that it is acceptable. We’ll cover both of those shortly, but from a purely practical perspective it behooves Christians to defend the religious liberties of all true religions. Once we start separating out when religious liberties apply and when they do not, we walk down a path that will lead to our own liberties being taken away.

Political religious liberties

As we noted, the Constitution is clear about how religious liberties are to be guaranteed. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian, a Catholic, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Jew, or any of the other religions. The Constitution grants you the right to practice your religion how you see fit as long as doing so does not break the law.

This is where we see the crux of the matter. The 1st Amendment is being attacked through politics, but it’s also being attack through laws that try to limit the freedoms by representing themselves as other freedoms. We saw it in play in Oregon where the owner of Sweet Cakes was being held accountable for following their faith.

From a purely political perspective, religious freedoms are under attack. It isn’t just the left that is attacking. Religious liberties are being attacked from the right, though it’s not being done so directly against Christians. This is a dangerous path. Once one religion is stripped of a liberty, all other religions will follow. At that point, the Constitution and the desire for fairness will supersede the common sense of the threats from other religions as compared to the threats from Christians and Jews.

Now, more than ever, we must vote with the Bible in mind. We’ve seen what can happen with eight years of a President who doesn’t hold the Bible in the highest regard. One could say that this trend has been building for decades and that President Obama is simply the culmination. This is why we’re adamant about the need for strong Evangelical Christians in Washington DC.

Biblical religious liberties

There are those who will point to the Bible and declare it as a reason to attack those of other religions. Some would say that as a Judeo-Christian country, we should extend religious liberties only to those who follow the path that we follow. This is problematic from a practical and political perspective, but it’s also problematic from a Biblical perspective.

We could go back and forth quoting Deuteronomy 12:29-31, 1 Corinthians 8:5-6, or any other number of verses that are intended to make us feel like we should have an exclusive religion that allows no room for others in our country, but that misses the point of the entire Gospel. Our goal should be to spread the Word of God to all who would listen. We’ve all heard stories about people of other faiths who were brought to worship the one true God based upon experience or outreach. These stories should be the foundation of an understanding that it’s not ours to know why certain people cross our path. Remember, for some, we as individuals may represent the first time they ever get to experience a Biblical perspective. We may be the only representation of the Bible that they get to see.

I always like to turn to the end of the Book of Matthew as a reminder that we are to spread the Word:

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

– Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)

Going forth does not necessarily mean having to go on mission trips overseas, though that is an important aspect of this. There are plenty that can be taught here and some of them want to be taught the Word of God. Religious liberties must be protected to allow this to continue, for conversions to happen, and for the Word of God to spread with limited intervention from the government.

As Americans place religious liberties at the top of their list as influences, we must always remember the more freedoms we all have, the better it will be for everyone. If we believe in the Bible, we must trust that it will overcome all other teachings.

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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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