Social Media, Faith and Freaking Out

I am writing this on June 21. The big hubbub is the kids being separated from their illegally immigrating parents.

This is all over the internet and everyone and their mother has an opinion on it. People, including politicians, are using the Bible to “prove” their side of the argument.

This is one of the problems I have with the modern social media culture we live in: the media completely controls what people are aware of and what people momentarily care about.

This exact immigration policy has been enforced for several presidents now. One must ask one’s self why this is an issue only with this president.

I am not a fan of any of our presidents, to be honest, so I have no axe to grind in that battle. But it is intriguing watching what people get fired up about and when.

I’m curious what the new item everyone is freaked out about now when this posts (Supreme Court Justices happens to be the issue!). Social media is just one freak out to the next. It’s exhausting and pointless.

I find it very sad that people use other people’s kids as tools for their political agendas, whether school shooting victims or immigration issues. Most don’t care about these kids; they care about their side winning elections.

The Bible was not written to tell governments how to run a country. The Bible was written so that people of faith would know how to live.

One of the things the Bible repeatedly says is to not freak out, to be patient, self-controlled, and to remain humbly at peace.

You can’t do this if your mind is wrapped up in scare mongering and political rancor.

If you care about kids who are suffering, go out and find one and help him and keep it to yourself before God. No need to post about it or make a political movement. No need to work up others to your cause. Love your neighbor. You don’t need an institution or government authority behind such a thing. Just go do it.

Here’s a tip: The noisier a group is, the less they are actually doing. Busy people don’t have time to talk; they are out doing things. The empty wagon is the loudest wagon. Social media hubbub is a substitute for action.

Helpful people rarely get attention because helpful people are not doing anything for attention.

Serve the Lord. Be at peace. If you’re not at peace, you’re not minding the things of God, but rather the things of this earth, and you’re probably not actively doing anything helpful for anyone.

Serve the Lord not as eye-pleasers hoping to get attention from adoring crowds, but in simplicity of heart, showing the love of Christ to people who need it.

It’s not complicated and it requires no degrees, voters, nor fans. You simply present your body as a living sacrifice and go do God’s will. I beseech you to go for it.

For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men
–1 Peter 2:15

Talking does not silence foolish people; doing good does. Lots of fools need silencing. It sure seems obvious we need more doing of good!

Social Media and Irresponsibility

Social Media is a modern driver of societal thought. I used to like social media when it was social. I caught up with a lot of friends and family I never had much contact with.

But once lots of people got on Facebook, it turned into a bragging, share every thought in your head, popularity contest.

People, in general, are lazy bums. There are a few personality types who are workaholics, but the majority of humanity defers to laziness. We remain at rest until acted upon by an outside force.

Lazy people become sensitive people. When you know you’re not doing anything, you become defensive. You want to maintain appearances while doing nothing.

Facebook is filled with hyper-sensitivity and people’s faces doing awesome things. Every church event is posted, every Bible Study, every theological insight, every proof that we’re doing something, is immediately up there so everyone will approve of our awesome so we can spend the rest of the day sitting and waiting for the applause.

People who have to tell you they are doing something are insecure. They know you wouldn’t know what they were doing unless they told you. For some reason, they need human applause. What’s the point of doing anything if no one sees it? It’s the neglected falling tree in the forest that no one hears. Poor thing.

When Jesus Christ was on earth this is what He said and what He acted on:

I receive not honour from men.” He also said, “that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

That wasn’t just an observation of a truth; that was the underlying mindset of His life.

Jesus Christ had one motivation in life: do the will of His Father. He lived to get honor from His Father, not from people. Even when He did things worthy of honor and people applauded Him, He immediately told them to be quiet.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. He humbly served His Father. The only opinion that mattered to Christ was His Father’s. Go and do likewise.

It’s why Jesus Christ spent time in the Sermon on the Mount telling people to pray in their closets, to give without letting the left hand know what the right was doing, and when you fast to look ridiculously healthy so no one would know it.

Much of your faith should be between you and God. If you need others to congratulate your faith, you aint doing faith.

Social Media encourages irresponsibility (appearances over actions) and leads people to care way too much about what others think.

If you can’t serve God in isolation and silence, then ask yourself if you have ever served God. We’re not to be men-pleasers doing eye-service, but to be servants of Jesus Christ.

“Hast thou faith? Have it to yourself before God” are some of the most beautiful words of the Apostle Paul.

We all stand before God and will give an account of everything we say and do. Live like that’s true. Stop worrying about whether people approve or notice or even care. Grow into Chris and do the right thing.

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: I am not telling you not to be on Facebook. I do not care if you are on Facebook. I do not want to hear all the reasons why you are on Facebook. What I do with Facebook matters none at all. I’m more concerned with faith. My issue may not be your issue. Consider your faith and why you do what you do is the point.)

Oh, Grow Up!

The modern irresponsibility in the church is a reflection on society. Being irresponsible is not something you would learn from reading the Bible.

Therefore, we must conclude, that any doctrine encouraging people to be irresponsible must be man-made, a result of philosophy.

Our society is currently bemoaning the number of 30-year olds who live in their parents basements. Just recently there was a man in his 30’s whose parents took him to court to get him out of their house.

What laundry list of things has gone wrong in that family?

Work ethic has taken a massive hit. People take every excuse to stay home from work. The number of people who could be in the workforce but are not is higher than ever.

Our society is massively sensitive to the words of others. Sticks and stones break bones and names never used to hurt anyone. Now apparently, names practically kill people, or so they’d have you believe.

These things actually go together. The only people who are sensitive to what people say about them are people who have lots of time on their hands. Busy people generally don’t care what others think about them. They have things to do.

All of humanity needs to hear one phrase very loudly in their ears: Oh, grow up!

This same mentality has taken root in the church. The church also is filled with people who need to hear: Oh, grow up!

The amount of Christians who tell me they don’t have to do God’s commands, or that it’s not what we do; it’s who we are, and let go and let God, and all other sanctimonious, quasi-theological sounding blather that means: Don’t tell me what to do, is ridiculous. We’re human beings; not human doings. Doing commands is Old Covenant bondage, be free, man!

I’m tired of the conversation. I’m tired of arguing whether commands are suggestions or not. I’m tired of arguing about whether grace means no work or not. I’m tired of the lazy people telling me God only sees Christ, He doesn’t see me, so it doesn’t matter what I do.

Oh, grow up!

Stand up straight and pick up the cross and follow the Man who laid down His life for you and loves you fiercely and has provided everything you need to please your Creator.

Christianity never used to preach such lazy things. Christians used to be industrious and used to preach constantly that we were to pursue holiness, without which no man will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:4). But not any more. That qualifies as legalism in our day.

So, why is it that Church History is empty of such thinking until society started teaching such things? Curious, no?

If we put as much energy into justifying our sin and trying to circumvent commands, as we did into doing what God said, you’d have a ton of crowns waiting for you on Judgment Day.

I know I have to continue to defend biblical truth. I know I am to be patient with people even if I’m entirely impatient with their brand of stupid. I know I’m to be gentle and not willing to readily fight with people. I also know that people who hold to these responsibility-denying doctrines generally have tough lives. I also know they will stand before God some day and I genuinely want them to be ready.

I’m also aware that I need to grow up too. We all do. We have not yet apprehended.

Our job is to grow into Christ Jesus; not to find all the reasons why we don’t have to.

So, again I say, grow up!

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith,
act like men, be strong.
–1 Corinthians 16:13

Satan, the World, and God’s Will

Satan is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, and the prince of this world. The Bible says all these things.

Satan is fighting against and thwarting God’s will. We have been equipped in Christ to resist the temptations of the Devil and to stand opposed to him and his deceptions.

Many oppose this teaching, thinking that if Satan has power and can thwart God’s will, then in some way Satan has more power than God, or that God’s sovereign power is limited by His own creation who can overpower Him.

I find this objection lacking.

God granted this power to Satan, God sets the bounds of what Satan can do, as shown in the Book of Job. God gives His creation freedom within His determined boundaries.

God is still ultimately in control. At no point can Satan, or any part of creation, go beyond those boundaries God has set.

God has given us free will and also gives us the consequences of our actions. Satan rebelled against God’s authority because he wanted more. God gave him some. We’ve seen what Satan has done with it.

God has given people authority on this earth as well. We can resist God and His will. We do it all the time. Before Calvinism hi-jacked Christianity, we used to define sin as “anything contrary to God’s will.”

The fact that we can sin and resist God and His will does not mean we have more power than God, nor does it mean God’s power is subtracted from. God allowed us to do this!

We are created in God’s image. God has free will and so do we (within the bounds given us by our Creator). God uses His will to always do righteousness. We do not. God has provided a means of salvation where we can be recreated in Christ Jesus to do good works which God has before ordained that we should walk in.

God created us to obey Him. We rebelled. Humanity reaped the sowing of rebellion: creation itself now fights against us through the Fall and the Curse.

Satan is still trying to thwart God’s will. Satan does so by deceiving people and using creation to continue to fight against the Creator. Observe the following:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
–1 John 2:15-16

Satan, who can’t create anything himself, has to use what is already created to trap us. So John tells believers not to love anything on this earth! If you love something on this earth, Satan will use that thing against you.

He will turn that created thing, morally neutral in itself, into that which can destroy your soul.

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are NOT OF THE FATHER!

There’s something else going on down here that is against what God wants. God does not use created things against you. He does not tempt people to sin with earthly things.

If Calvinism is true, then these verses are not. If God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, then the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life have to be from the Father, because all things are, according to Calvinism.

So, again, this is where the Calvinist starts to define different kinds of God’s will and God ordaining means as well as ends, none of which actually answer the basic problem.

If God ordains the means, then again, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life must be from the Father! Push it back as far as you want and you are still in the same place of admitting that God actually is the one who is making you do the lust and the pride.

Again, Satan is redundant and God’s character must adapt characteristics of the Devil if Calvinism is true. In what sense is God still righteous? In what sense is John talking sense when he says there are things here that are not of the Father? Why would Jesus Christ tell us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven if God’s will is already being done here?

I’ll wrap it up with a quote of 1 John 5:19, I’ll even use the Calvinist’s favorite ESV to do so:

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

The world is a problem to us precisely because it is under the control of the god of this world. Satan is using created things to keep you from worshiping the Creator. We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

I fear that Calvinism keeps people ignorant of Satan’s devices and this will not work out well for the church.

Satan and God’s Will

I contend that God’s will is not always being done on earth. I feel no need to define different kinds of God’s will as the Calvinist does, because I believe God has one kind of will. God’s will is what God desires. God always desires righteousness; righteousness does not always happen, therefore God’s desires don’t always happen.

God can force His will on His creation, for instance with Pharaoh, but as a general rule He gives His creatures freedom within His sovereign, determined, and fixed boundaries.

Satan is part of God’s creation. Satan, according to the Bible, is a real person who is a real enemy and has real power.

God has given Satan free will to do sinful things within creation according to the boundaries God has set for him (see the book of Job).

When Satan fell from his position of power in heaven (described in passages such as Ezekiel 28:13-19 and Isaiah 14:12-19), Satan gave up his authority in heaven but was granted authority on earth.

Satan, in the form of a serpent, is in the Garden of Eden and throws it into chaos. Ever since, he has been walking about seeking whom he may devour.

Satan is our enemy. His attacks can be repulsed with the Armor of God and he is to be fled from. Satan is described as being the “prince of the power of the air” and “the god of this world.”

Satan offered Jesus Christ the kingdoms of the world. Many think Satan is lying here. But if Satan is lying, then Jesus Christ would know he’s lying, and this would cease to be a temptation in any real way.

Satan was given the power of the kingdoms of this earth. Satan even says this in Luke 4:6. Jesus would know if this were true.

Jesus’ answer is not, “Now Satan, you and I both know you don’t have the power to make that offer.” Nor was His response a diatribe about God’s sovereignty. Jesus told Satan to get behind Him. Only God is worthy of worship.

In other words, Jesus did not dispute whether Satan had authority to give the kingdom to Christ; Jesus disputed the worship part.

Jesus Christ calls Satan “the prince of this world” three times in the Gospel of John (12:31; 14:30; 16:11).

It is my contention, if the words in the Bible mean anything, that Satan has lots of control of this world.

God has granted Satan power to cause trouble down here, and that is what he’s doing.

John Wesley once said something to the effect that if the God of Calvinism is true, who needs the Devil? Under Calvinism, Satan is redundant. If God ordains whatever comes to pass, then having an enemy named Satan is kind of silly since God is doing all the evil Himself.

2 Corinthians 4:4 talks about the “god of this world.” Most are agreed Paul is referring to Satan here. Notice what the verse says in full:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The god of this world is blinding people from the Gospel. Satan is blinding people. According to Calvinism, God is the one who hardens and blinds. Again, if Calvinism is true, then Satan is redundant.

Calvinism attributes the characteristics of Satan to God. I find this blasphemous.

Think about it. Paul is shining the Light of the Gospel. Satan keeps people from seeing the light. If Paul persists in shining the light, he is trying to thwart the blinding. Therefore, according to Calvinism, by shining the light of the Gospel, Paul is trying to thwart the work of God.

On the other hand, if you listen to what Paul is saying and adjust your doctrine accordingly, Satan is the one who does the blinding. By shining forth the Gospel, Paul is thwarting Satan’s work.

“God ordains the means as well as the ends” is the Calvinist justification here. God is using Satan to blind people, thus God is really blinding people through Satan.

OK, that really doesn’t answer the problem, it just pushes it back a step. Satan is still redundant. If Satan can only do what God makes him do, and God is using the Satan tool to blind people, then God is still blinding people.

Instead of backing yourself into ridiculous logical corners, just accept the simple teaching of the Scriptures that God’s will is not being done on earth as it is in heaven, and one reason is because Satan is the god of this world and he’s fighting against God’s will.

Grasping the Bible’s teaching on this subject will awaken you to the warfare raging around us and will also help you be sober and watch for the enemy prowling around deceiving people.

 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
–Romans 13:11-12

Calvinism and Ordained Irresponsibility

Classic Calvinism maintains that God has ordained whatever comes to pass. The Westminster Confession of Faith says so, if you’re looking for the source.

Calvinists know this is a sketchy thing to say because it means God ordains sin. In other words, God makes sin happen.

The only answer to this logical conclusion is to simply state it’s not true. The Westminster Confession, after saying God ordains whatever comes to pass, simply says, but in such a way that God is not the author of sin.

I know they want that to be true, but simply stating it in direct contradiction to what was stated before doesn’t really hold any intellectual water.

“It’s all a mystery,” is the answer you’ll get there. We’re too stupid to figure it out, but God’s wisdom can do such a thing.

If God’s wisdom says that God ordains sin without ordaining sin, then God’s wisdom isn’t very wise.

I believe that God is all-wise. I believe His thoughts are higher than ours, and His ways past finding out.

I do not believe God’s wisdom can be contrary to wisdom or intellectual consistency, however. God is a God of order.

The simple solution to the conundrum, rather than impugning the wisdom of God, is to rather conclude that the people who wrote the Westminster Confession of Faith were off the mark.

If you contradict their belief, they will try to convince you that you are wrong, which is ironic. God, according to their own belief, has ordained me to not believe it. How is any degree of their arguing going to change what God has ordained?

The answer to any such challenge to Calvinism is always the same. Whether you question why pray if God ordains all things, or why evangelize if God ordains who believes, or why so much arguing with non-Calvinists if God ordains people to not be Calvinist, here’s the answer:

God ordains the means to accomplish His ordained ends.

Yup, all the stuff you are doing you aren’t doing. God is doing it. So if you do good or bad, God ordained all of it and all of this God-ordained stuff results in God-ordained ends.

Why pray? Why evangelize? Why argue? Why do good?

Because God makes you do those things.

Think about it though. Doesn’t God then ordain my not praying as well? Doesn’t He also ordain my non-evangelism and my non-doing of good? And doesn’t my not doing these things bring about His ordained ends as well?

Saying that “God ordains the means to His ordained ends” does not answer the question, it merely pushes the question back a step.

In the end, Calvinism says God does it all; you do nothing. Therefore, you are not ultimately responsible, judgment is God judging Himself, Satan is redundant, and we are all helpless automatons.

That is Calvinism. And that is why Easy-Believism is a thing. Nothing I do matters anyway; it’s all God. No worries.

Calvinism is pretty much exactly the doctrine you would expect the human heart to come up with. Everything is someone else’s fault and I’m not accountable because I’m not doing anything voluntarily.

Don’t believe it.

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile
–Romans 2:5-10