“Live to your own convictions.”

That’s a line from one of Miley Cyrus’s recent hits, “Do What You Want:” a song about the importance of speaking your own truth, living a life that makes you happy, and, quite simply, forgetting the rest. In it we are reminded to ignore the haters, reject bad vibes, and love ourselves.  It’s a catchy tune that speaks to a deep and universal philosophical truth: you’re special, and no one can tell you otherwise.

Oh, wait. No, I got that wrong. My mistake. That wasn’t from a Miley Cyrus song. Those were the words of a Christian pastor, teacher of Scripture and evangelist on The View last week. Talking about abortion.

Actually, no. I still got that wrong.

That was a horrendous lie stuttered by a “Christian” “pastor,” “teacher” of “Scripture” and “evangelist”” on The Semi-Circle of Ignorant Virtue Signaling last week. Talking about ABORTION.

There.

Carl Lentz joined the The View two weeks ago to discuss his ministry at Hillsong Church in NYC. Lentz has made waves in the secular world for being “not-your-normal-preacher” who has a knack for attracting millennials to church in a time when young people are rejecting religion in droves.

Now, before I go further, let me address two things. One: I envy no one who goes on The View. It is a lion’s den for conservative/Christian values, and we’ve seen at least two people in the last year go on the show to defend said values only to turn in their pro-life cards. And, two: I am thankful for the millennial lives that have been changed by Hillsong’s ministry.

Moving on.

Lentz and the hosts covered myriad topics, and then the apparently million-dollar question dropped: “So, abortion isn’t a sin in your church?”

Lentz was awkward. He stumbled a bit, then ultimately answered, “God’s the judge. Live to your own convictions.”

Wait… what?

“Live to your own convictions?” What does that even mean? This, from a pastor whose ministry is allegedly centered on the gospel of Christ? The same gospel which explicitly – and quite terrifyingly – calls its adherents to deny themselves, pick up their crosses, and follow Him? A message that demands nothing less than complete and total self-crucifixion? One that promises hardship and persecution? This can’t be the same gospel I know – the one that teaches us that anything less than total surrender to Christ isn’t Christianity at all. The gospel I know has an apt name for living to your own convictions: sin.

Yikes. Do we really have to talk about that word? It’s taboo—an idea the secular world mocks and much of the Christian world only whispers about in private. It’s easier to believe that right and wrong are subjective, based on your own predilections. That way, we can avoid the awkwardness of telling someone that what they’re doing is bad. If those are your convictions, who am I to say you’re wrong?

Perhaps for most people that’s a fine way to live. Perhaps coexistence is the best atheists and agnostics can hope for. The problem is, for Christians, the Bible doesn’t give such latitude. The standard to which we are held can only be described by another dirty word most people, Christians included, would rather not touch – holiness.

Lentz seemed to, at least temporarily, forget that. “Holy” means “set apart” and his answer to the question of the sinfulness of abortion sounded precisely like the rest of the world. Replace him with Kim Kardashian, and the answer probably would have been the same. I’m sure Lentz has read, and maybe truly believes, what Psalm 139 says about the immediate and inherent value of life at conception. Hopefully, he now realizes that he majorly dropped the ball on this one.

But Lentz’s seeming antipathy toward the evil of abortion reflects a much bigger problem than his apparent ignorance toward the sacredness of human life—a problem infecting the Church at an alarming rate: Social Justice Warrior Christianity.

SJW Christianity, on the surface, sounds like genuine Christianity. It cares about the poor, the oppressed, the lonely and the marginalized. It waves the banners of compassion, generosity and empathy. It claims inclusiveness and unconditional love.

And, indeed, the greatest commandments to which Christians are called are first, to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and then, to “love your neighbor as yourself.” We are told repeatedly throughout the Bible that love is the defining mark of a true Christ follower.

So, the problem isn’t that SJW, progressive Christians are too loving—it’s that they’ve forgotten what true love, as demonstrated by Christ, really is. They’ve replaced God’s rich, expansive definition of love with their own cheap, small version.

Instead of emphasizing Jesus’s radical, relentless love that manifests itself in salvation, they promote superficial love that manifests itself almost exclusively in social justice. An SJW Christian refuses to take a moral stance on issues like abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, welfare and sanctuary cities, because, in their minds, tolerance in these areas is what it means to love like Jesus.

The problem is, it isn’t.

Jesus was quite scandalous in his outreach to those on the outskirts of society. He was ridiculed for dining with tax collectors. He was criticized for interacting with prostitutes. He touched the untouchable – the demon-possessed, the contagious, the unclean. He locked eyes with people who had known nothing but shame and rejection. He confronted the powerful, chastised the greedy and uplifted the humble. Undoubtedly, Jesus embodied love. In fact, the Bible tells us that He Himself is love: everything that true love is is wrapped up in Him.

But to simply say, “Jesus was loving, and that’s all that matters” would be to miss the point entirely. Yes, Jesus was loving, but it’s important that we define “love” by His terms, not ours.

To us, in 2017, “loving” people means being nice to them, which means never telling them when they’re wrong. Making people feel bad about themselves and their choices is mean, so we don’t do it. Next to being a racist, being judgmental is the worst thing you can be. So, we allow everyone to discover “their” truth, and as long as that truth doesn’t prevent us from living out ours, we can all get along just fine. This is just as much the mentality of SJW Christians as it is the secular world – the only difference is, SJW Christians do it in the name of Jesus.

Theirs is a very worldly—and convenient—definition of love. And it’s not one condoned by Scripture nor reflected in Christ.

In fact, Jesus wasn’t a nice guy.

That’s right. You heard me. He wasn’t nice. Which is refreshing for someone like me, who’s always thought that niceness is overrated. Jesus was abrasive. He was brutally honest. He told Pharisees, the holiest guys around, that they were vipers who put on a good show but were nothing more than greedy bastards on the inside. He flipped tables in the synagogue just to say that it’s messed up to trade in God’s house.

He may have hung out with the sinners and the outcasts, but he didn’t coddle them. You know what he had the audacity to do, even in the midst of their own self-loathing and misery?

Call out their sin.

To the adulteress woman? “Go and sin no more.”

The tax collectors, who were cheating people out of their money? “Don’t collect any more than you are authorized to do.”

The prostitute, who washed his feet with her tears? “Your sins are forgiven. . . Your faith has saved you.”

To the paralytic? “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus’s main priority wasn’t to make people feel good, or even to heal their physical calamities, but to save their souls from sin. His was a message of repentance, not niceness.

If all Jesus had done in his life was be nice to people, the Pharisees wouldn’t have wanted him killed. The problem with Jesus wasn’t that he was a good guy, but that he was claiming to have the power to forgive sins. Unless you’re God—and as far as the Pharisees were concerned, he wasn’t—that’s straight up blasphemy. Blasphemy, in Bible times, could get you crucified.

The beef the self-righteous Pharisees had with Jesus is the same beef most people have with Jesus today: He cared about sin.

Jesus’s ministry was an eternal one. While healing people and raising them from the dead physically was an important aspect of his mission, his top priority was healing people and resurrecting them spiritually. That meant calling people away from the sin that entangled them into a life of obedience, of relationship with the Father and, ultimately, eternal life spent with Him. This spiritual about-face that brings life and a new start, Jesus explained, brings death to our old selves and retirement to our sinful modes of operation.

In Jesus, we see that the call for repentance and love are inextricably intertwined.

Somewhere along the way, Christians rejected that. We bought into the lie that the cross of Christ isn’t enough to convince people of the gospel. We began believing that the forgiveness of sins isn’t really what people wanted to hear. Thus came the era of strobe light, skinny-jean clad worship services that look more like a Coldplay concert than church. Sermons began to sound more like motivational speeches than explanations of the gospel.

And, perhaps, at first, our intentions were good. As the concept of religion became increasingly regarded as outdated and irrelevant, the church felt the need to find a remedy. Christian pop was popularized in the 90s, and churches saw this as an opportunity to replace or supplement their outdated hymns with music the kids would listen to. In parallel, the self-help industry was booming, and that philosophy began to characterize our sermons.

The Church moved away from fire-and-brimstone and legalism into a more dynamic, gracious, full view of the Christian life. But, like most good things, that trend soured. We now have what seems like a significant portion of Christianity that looks so much like the world that they may as well call themselves agnostic: it preaches a superficial, prosperity gospel Christianity that has no root in the actual gospel. It is more motivated by social justice than salvation.

Here’s the truth: the gospel doesn’t need our help. The cross of Jesus doesn’t need for you to make it cool. The gospel is dynamic yet unchanging, moving yet immovable, relevant yet timeless. In God’s economy, repentance, obedience – and, yes, holiness – will never go out of style. The 2,000-year-old news of salvation is the same exact news people need to hear today. Plain and simple.

If Jesus were here now, in the flesh, do you know what he’d say to advocates of abortion? It wouldn’t be, “live to your own convictions.” It’d be, eyes full of compassion, “go and sin no more.”

That is love. And that’s what true Christians are called to—nothing less.

68 comments

  1. Excellent article, Allie! It seems that people drawn to this false gospel have ignored or forgotten that the reason we have the ‘Good News’ is that there was ‘Bad News’ first, namely that we are all sinners in need of salvation. And so, these misguided SJW’s seek to address the sins to fix this world, instead of fixing (saving) the hearts of sinners to prepare them for eternity. Injustice is fixed when hearts are changed!

  2. Outstanding! Every word! It is why I have such a hard time sitting in church today. Finding a Bible teaching, gospel preaching church is difficult to do.

    1. What do you know about the Mormon Church? You’ll never find a more steadfastly Christian, “Bible teaching, gospel preaching” church in the world.
      We read and believe the Bible to be the word of God and that it is a testament of the divinity of Christ as our Savior and the only way to return to God’s presence!
      Check out LDS.org or ask me if you’d like to know more! 😊

      1. Ummmm. No. The Book of Mormon is not equivalent to the Bible. The “Jesus” of the Mormon Church is not the Eternally existent, uncreated Son of God. The Book of Mormon is a monumental hoax.

        1. Never said the Book of Mormon is “equivalent” to the Bible. The Bible is a sacred record of God’s dealings with his children in the old world.
          But we know there were people living on the American continent at the time of Christ. Did God just ignore them? Let them live in sin and ignorance without the hope and light of Christ?

          We don’t believe that. We believe that God called prophets to teach his people and minister to them. We believe the Book of Mormon is a sacred record of God’s dealings with his beloved children on THIS side of the world.
          When he said he had other sheep that were not of that particular fold who would hear his word, he was talking about the people here.

          Makes perfect sense and shows a God much more loving and consistent than one who would only bless a few of his children and ignore the rest.

      2. Jesus Christ is fully God. The Mormon Church rejects the aspect of the Trinity and is therefore teaching a different Gospel than what is found in the Holy Bible.

        1. Not true. Our very first article of faith states:
          “We believe in God the Eternal Father and in his son, Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost.”

          We believe that Jesus Christ is fully God. But we believe (and there is plentiful Biblical evidence of this) that he and Heavenly Father are separate individuals, but one in purpose.

          I can name numerous Biblical references where Christ clearly states that he is doing his Father’s work. That he is doing the work of “He that sent me.” Of Christ praying to his Father or asking his Father to forgive his tormentors. Why would he pray to himself? Of the Father speaking at Christ’s baptism saying “This is my beloved Son…”

          We are firm believers in and followers of the Holy Bible.

          1. How many gods do you believe in? Do you believe *you* can be a god (or that anyone can be a god)?

          2. We believe that Heavenly Father is God and that Jesus Christ is God. Those are the only beings that we worship or that we concern ourselves with.

            However, we don’t believe that the Lord went to all the effort to create us and test us and have us die and then resurrect us – just so we can spend eternity sitting on marshmallows playing harps.

            Did Christ truly suffer through the agony of the Atonement and crucifixion to redeem us – just so we could spend eternity sitting around telling him how great he is for doing that? To what end?

            Do you love and teach and sacrifice for your own children for 20-30 years in the hope that they will merely sit on a pillow at your feet and repeatedly tell you how great you are for the rest of their lives? What kind of parent would want that kind of life for their beloved child?

            Or do you invest all that energy and require them to learn and grow so that they can some day build their own lives, have their own families, do something important and worthwhile?

            We believe that God is the perfect parent and loves us enough to expect us to do great things – like continue to learn and to grow and accomplish important and worthwhile things – including – hopefully someday – building our own worlds and placing our own eternal offspring and raising them to be righteous and worthwhile beings as well.

            We don’t believe we can ever be equal to God. He is our God,our creator, our Father, but we believe we can follow in his footsteps and follow his example and please Him with our own divine accomplishments.
            Eternal progression and growth seem only logical and certainly seem a more loving and godly goal for a father to set for his children than spending eternity doing nothing other than sitting around.

          3. A lot of what you are saying are things you have decided to believe based on how you feel or what you think God thinks! You mentioned the indigenous people of the United States. I would point you to Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” God has set eternity in the hearts of ALL humanity, yet only though Jesus is salvation possible. How that is ultimately accomplished is up to God and we need to trust in his Sovereignty. You might also consider reading a great book by Christian Missionary Don Richardson called “Eternity in their Hearts” which discusses your concern for indigenous people who had no means to hear or see the Gospel. God indeed had them in mind! You mentioned God’s plans for us in eternity, and I would suggest considering 1 Corinthians 2:9 “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” While it might be tempting to imagine what God does have in store for us, I will not turn my thoughts and feelings on the matter into doctrine. God hasn’t said much about it in the Bible, and again, I need to trust what God has planned. I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God has chosen to reveal himself through Jesus and his plan for salvation, through the Bible. Period. The Bible is God’s Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” All means every single Word of the Bible. Anything else used in conjunction with it for doctrinal purposes, and considered on par with it is blasphemous and man-made, not to mention unnecessary! Remember, the Bible came FIRST. And if you truly believe it is God-breathed, then you would believe every word of it, including the warning about false prophets: Jeremiah 23:16, 2-timothy 4:3-4. God used prophets in the Old Testament before Jesus. Today he speaks through his living Word in the Bible. I pray you search out the truth. Put all doctrine and beliefs aside and give the Holy Spirit a chance to convict you. A relationship with Jesus is so freeing, because it requires nothing but faith, but most importantly, trust, which is hard. I pray that the Holy Spirit allows you to discern truth from false teaching and gives you the courage to trust the God of the Bible.

          4. Tina,
            No scripture you’ve quoted above contradicts anything I have said.
            I find your remarks rather fascinating. Everything you said to me can easily be turned around and used to refute what you are trying to say.
            You rightly point out that no one can fathom what God has done, yet you state with great authority that you know what He has done and what He has not done. .
            Do you really presume to know all that God has done? I certainly don’t!
            I do agree that Jesus Christ is the only way to Salvation and that how that is accomplished is up to God – but there you are telling me how that is to be accomplished?
            While it might be tempting to imagine that you know all that God has done and that he decided to stay mute after Christ’s resurrection, you really have no Biblical foundation for such a belief.
            The one thing that people like to point out is the verse in Revelation that says nothing should be added to ‘this book of prophecy” but what they fail to realize is that the book in question in the book of Revelation, not the Bible. And in fact, several of the books of the New Testament WERE written and added AFTER John finished writing the Book of Revelation.
            Also, the Book of Mormon is not an addition to the Bible any more than the Book of Mark is an addition to the Book of Matthew. They are separate accounts and testimonies of God’s work and word and dealings with his children in and around Jerusalem at the time of Christ.
            The Book of Mormon is simply another Testament of the divinity of Christ and it is a separate account of God’s work and word and dealings with his children on the American continent during those same Biblical years.
            Have you ever even bothered to READ the Book of Mormon to see what it says? In one of the early chapters, one of the prophets records this revelation from God:
            3… many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.
            6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible…
            7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
            8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.
            9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
            10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
            11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
            12 For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.

            You are right when you quote: “ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
            But anything that proceeds from the mouth of God is scripture and if he shared his gospel with the people on this continent, and called prophets to teach them and gave them commandments to live by, then that IS scripture and you are remiss if you ignore it because you presume to already know everything that God has revealed to everyone.
            I recommend that YOU read a marvelous old book called, “He Walked the Americas.” It was not written by anyone with any connection to the Mormon Church. It was written by a man who studied Ancient America – it’s peoples, customs, civilizations – and he makes a very compelling case for the fact that at some point in ancient history, Christ visited the people living in the Americas.
            Where do you think all the ancient native myths about a Great White God who came and blessed the people and promised to return in glory some day came from?
            The Book of Mormon recounts historical and scientific facts that were NOT KNOWN to the world at the time of Joseph Smith, yet have now been discovered or proven (horses in Ancient America, records engraved on brass and gold plates, buildings out of cement that even now we don’t have the skill to replicate, etc. It even prophecies about the beginning of the Civil War – right down to where the first shot would be fired!)
            I haven’t “decided’ to believe these things. I’ve STUDIED these things. I’ve analyzed them, held them up to scrutiny with regard to Biblical scripture and then prayed about them with a sincere desire to know if they are true. And until you have done that, I don’t think you should presume to tell me that it isn’t true.

          5. Thank you for responding … but I have to say … WOW!

            First, it must be pointed out that you present an egregious and grossly false representation of what so many people believe (e.g. “protestants,” “Catholics,” “Christians,” … or whatever they call themselves or are called by others). There is so much more than can be said here, but who has the time… That does not reflect well on many different levels. That approach may “work” in some venues, but it is appalling and deeply offensive.

            Second, you skirt and evade the question(s). Therefore, I am forced to be more blunt and specific.

            1. How many gods/Gods do you believe there are?

            2. Do you believe you can become a God (or god … I’m not sure how important or necessary the big or little “G” is in your estimation).

            3. To what degree, if at all, does it concern you that the notion or assertion that we can become like God is also the exact “lie” that was used to deceive and destroy Eve (and Adam) AND is also the same “lie” that will be widely (if not universally) believed as part of the end times apostasy?

            Please clarify, but it seems you are trying to not openly admit that you believe:

            1. There are many/countless gods or Gods
            2. That you (and countless others) can be, and/or are striving to become God (or god)

            Please just openly declare exactly what you believe. I flat disagree with Mormonism, but I respect those who are open and honest with their beliefs.

            There was some kind of quasi-admission from you with…

            “… with our own divine accomplishments.”

            Your “own divine accomplishments”? Is that an admission, or a ambiguous admission, that you believe mankind can become Gods (or gods)?

            Can women become there own Gods (or goddesses)? Either way, whether yes or no, are they also eternally married to one man/God…along with many other women…who will perpetually be pregnant and giving birth to spirit babies for eternity (or thousands and thousands of years)?

            And then there was…

            “Those are the only beings that we worship ***or that we concern ourselves with.***”

            What does that mean? Does that mean you do believe there are many/countless gods/Gods? Why not say that? Why be evasive? I gave you a chance to openly say what you believe about this, and you chose that path.

          6. Ok, MB –

            First, what exactly I did say that was “an egregious and grossly false representation of what so many people believe (e.g. “protestants,” “Catholics,” “Christians,”)? The sitting on marshmallows playing harps and singing praises? Far from being offensive, that’s actually a pretty universal idea among other Christian faiths. It’s the only one I’ve ever seen portrayed in literature or movies, etc. I’ve literally never heard a single minister, preacher, teacher, or priest offer any other suggestion of how the righteous will spend our time in heaven. What other ideas have you heard?

            I’m genuinely interested – what do YOU believe we will spend the eternities doing? How will we use the knowledge we gained in this life and that gift of endless time we’ll have in the next? What exactly did Christ redeem us to do?

            Second, I was not trying to be evasive, in fact, I think I was remarkably clear and on point. People very rightly bristle at the false idea that Mormons think we can be equal to God. We don’t believe that. He is the only God of this world. He is our only God, our only creator and we worship only Him and can never be equal to Him.

            I don’t know how to make that any clearer.

            Now let ME ask YOU this:
            When you see what we know of astronomy – that there are millions upon millions upon millions of suns racing through billions and billions and billions of solar systems full of planets, and that those solar systems are whirling around literally ENDLESS billions of galaxies out there in space, do you honestly think our one and only God created ALL of that just to place a few children on this one little rock in this one little solar system for just a few thousand years out of the eternity he inhabits? Does that really sound like a productive use of his limitless power and time? How does that make any sense to your rational mind?

            And if he IS capable of creating all those worlds in all those galaxies, why wouldn’t he do on other worlds what he has done on this one? Why would he limit himself so? What do YOU think he will do with his time when this world has come to the end and Judgement Day is over and we are all assigned to our eternal places? THEN what does He do? What do WE do?

            Do you have ANY kind of answer or even an idea as to how that is going to go?

            Is it really such a blasphemous, outrageous thought to believe that maybe there’s an eternal “circle of life?” That we all, including God, have existed in some state of intelligence forever, but that those who grow in knowledge and righteousness can learn to master the laws of nature and become creators of our own dominions in the universe?. That our beloved God was one of those who progressed far ahead and beyond us until he had the power to gather our intelligences and create spirit children to send to a planet of his making where we would begin the cycle again – to learn and grow so that we could do the same?

            We believe that, so yes, we believe that in the Universe, there are many gods and godesses who were once like us – who grew in knowledge and wisdom and righteousness until they were able to create their own place in the universe and continue the eternal process of progression. And we hope to be able to do the same some day.

            But that does NOT diminish who our God and Savior is to us. Just as the fact that there are lots of parents in this world, does not diminish the role YOU play in the life and development of YOUR children. They are subject only to you, they honor only you as their mother, no other mother is of any real concern to them.

            It’s not blasphemous to believe that God is a perfect being who wants us to perfect ourselves and follow his example. In fact, it makes sense of all the unanswered questions so many other faiths seem to say are “unknowable.”

            I’m struggling to give you a straight answer on some of your other questions because they are not straight questions. Seriously, “perpetually pregnant giving birth to spirit babies for eternity…?” That’s a pretty snarky phrase and not accurate or even an attempt to understand the truth.

            As to your question about the lie Satan told to Adam and Eve – two points.
            1- We all know that the best lies are those that contain a kernel of truth. Satan knew that too, so he told them that eating the apple would give them the knowledge of good an evil and in that way they could be like God. Well….it DID give them the knowledge of good and evil, didn’t it? And IN THAT WAY, they DID take on a bit more godlike ability.
            2- Does it occur to you that what I’m saying is EXACTLY WHY Satan chose that particular lie to use on them? That Adam and Eve were aware that their eternal future included becoming creators/gods and that that is why Satan used the appeal he did? That perhaps they believed they were being offered a short cut to their eternal destinies and that’s why they were so willing to take a bite of that apple.

            Again,while these scriptures and examples may be and are subject to personal interpretation, NONE of what I’m saying conflicts or rebuts anything that is in the Bible – and in fact it verifies and clarifies many things.

            I’m not sure how you can say you flat out don’t agree with Mormonism, when you don’t even know what Mormons actually believe. I suggest you read the Book of Mormon – which, along with the Bible, is a testament to the divinity of Christ and his Atonement for our sins – and then to pray with an open heart to know whether or not it is a true account of the God’s interactions with the people on this continent in Ancient days.

            All the best.

          7. I wrote an answer to this second question of yours. But now I don’t see it. Did you read it? I didn’t want you to think I hadn’t responded.

          8. The Book of Mormon teaches that the One True Church ceased to exist after the death of the apostles and that Joseph Smith restored the one true church D&C 1:30 for the reference. This is in conflict with Jesus’s promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church in Matthew 16-18 of the bible.

          9. The Gates of death could not prevail over the Savior. Yet, he DID die, didn’t he? But it was temporary and after a time, his (then perfected) body was restored to him and could never again be taken from him.

            Just so was/is God’s church. Evil men killed the apostles and with their deaths, the priesthood was temporarily absent from the earth.

            This is what the Mormon church teaches – that the AUTHORITY to perform the ordinances of the gospel was temporarily absent after the death of the last apostle.
            There is no record of the Apostles ordaining others with the authority (Priesthood) to baptize, to heal the sick, etc.

            But that loss was temporary, and after a time, that authority was restored to the Earth.

            The resurrected apostles Peter, James and John returned to the earth and ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry with the Priesthood – just as THEY had been ordained by the Savior during their mortal lives.

            Once that vital piece of the gospel was restored – once the priesthood was again on the earth, then the original church (the way Christ had organized it and administrated over it) was also restored. Baptisms by those with the AUTHORITY were performed and the full and everlasting gospel began to be taught once more. The gates of Hell had not prevailed.

            It’s funny – you guys seem to keep trying to “catch” me in a contradiction or a fault in my thinking or logic.
            Instead of trying to understand or learn something about what Mormons believe and why and if it might be true, you seem more interested in just trying to “trip me up.”

            Can you see that it’s exactly the same game the Pharisees tried all the time with the Savior and his followers? What Christ was teaching was considered blasphemous and was totally contrary to what the Pharisees had always been taught. They refused to hear the truth because it was new to them and threatened their belief systems. How much better their lives and souls would have been if they’d opened their minds and hearts to the idea that maybe they DIDN’T know everything there was to know about the ways of God and his gospel!

            Why not try STUDYING it with a humble heart and open mind to see if just maybe, there are things about God and his eternal plans that you haven’t yet discovered?

  3. Clearly what Lentz said is wrong, but he does not speak for all of those who are Hillsong. Brian Houston is the founder, and I believe still the head of Hillsong. I have heard him speak on abortion and homosexuality and he was clear they are against God’s Word. The type of worship such as Christian contemporary, or hymns being sung make no difference to God. As long as the lyrics are Scripturally legit they are pleasing to God. It is the message preached from the pulpit at churches that matters most, if this does not line up to God’s Word then there is a big problem that needs to be addressed. Many people have been led to Christ through Hillsong and I hate to see that negated by guys like Lentz and the person who wrote this article.

    1. You sound like someone whose ox has been gored by the Conservative Millennial. Too bad your idolatry of Brian Houston is keeping you from receiving the truth. That’s the real problem with the personality driven “ministries” that are so popular today. The first inclination is to circle the wagons around the leader, then start firing away at the offending parties.

  4. While in FL on vacation last year, I visited a church near our hotel. I knew nothing about the church other than it said it was a Christian church on the sign. The music was wonderful and the “show” that went along with it was fantastic (smoke, lighting, etc…it was a HUGE production). I actually commented to my husband that I “felt like I was at a Hillsong concert.” The preacher was vapid and his message an empty, “feel good” speech. His prayers were no better…secular and selfish. He even prayed that the Cowboys would win their next football game (and was not joking or kidding around…he was dead serious!). He was dressed like a teenager despite being in his 40’s. I can’t remember what version of the Bible he was “preaching” from, but it sounded NOTHING like my Bible and I looked it up later to read that it was an incredibly controversial version that really twists and changes the meaning of the Bible up. As we were leaving I noticed several Hillsong posters and saw that the church was a church plant by Hillsong and is financially supported by Hillsong. I love their music and continue to be a Hillsong fan, but they seriously need to do a better job of overseeing their “churches.” The false teachings coming out of that church alone (it was huge) has the potential to send thousands of people to an eternity of fire. It hurt my heart and made me so sad that I nearly wept as we drove away.

  5. Churches will continue to be more and more empty, and Christianity/Catholicism more and more rejected by young people, the longer conservative religious people take this tact. There’s a reason Sunday services are ghost towns nowadays, and the above is it.

    1. If churches are empty because people do not want to know about sin — then it is their loss. We were never told to go build a church — that is God’s job. We are to go and make disciples, and to lift up Jesus Christ.

      1. Percentage of the population identifying as atheist/agnostic/”non-religious” in 1996: 5%
        Percentage of the population identifying as atheist/agnostic/”non-religious” in 2017: 21%

        “Did you attend a religious house of worship in the last week?” – 1999, 44%
        “Did you attend a religious house of worship in the last week?” – 2017, 36%

        It’s not an accident. People are rejecting religion in record numbers.

          1. Funny; I was under the impression that Democrats gained something like 60 seats nationwide in an utter blowout a couple of Tuesdays ago. And Trump, whose approval ratings are as low as they’ve ever been for, hasn’t accomplished a single thing in 10 months.

            Oops.

          2. This is why nearly 3 million more people voted for Hillary. SMDH.

            This is why a Dem is now going to be governor in Virginia.

            Try turning off conservative “media”. You might hear the truth.

      2. Then do it and stop complaining about how the way you WANT to bring people to God’s love isn’t working.

        We don’t get to choose who deserves to be saved, and we darned sure don’t get to say that it’s because people reject our message; if people reject the message, it’s either because the message stinks or because the way it’s being delivering it stinks. I don’t think we need to really think about which one it is.

        1. Ummm…I don’t think that’s correct. People – LOTS of people – rejected the message when it was delivered by Jesus Christ! And all of the apostles. In fact, they went so far as to murder the messengers.
          Are you blaming the message or the messengers in those cases?

          We don’t get to judge who is saved, but we certainly don’t have to accept the blame every time someone rejects the truth. Satan surely has something to do with it – don’t you think? 🤨

          1. This is a good counter-argument. I do have a counter reponse, however it’s a lot more open to interpretation than our other discussion so I’d rather concede the point than walk the path of “No, I’M right!” which is what would probably end up happening.

  6. If Catholicism and Christianity continue to take this tact, they’ll find their church pews getting more and more empty and identification as practitioners of their faiths becoming less and less common. Educated young people won’t go near a Sunday service, and pigheaded religious stances on social and cultural issues are a huge part of the reason why.

  7. May I PLEEEEEAAAAASE recommend a book (actually two) to you that speaks directly to the subject at hand?

    No More Christian Nice Girl by Paul Coughlin and Jennifer Deggler was the second book put out by Paul (the first was No More Christian Nice Guy) that speaks to this moral decay of ‘niceness’. He makes his premise clear in the subtitle: “When being nice – instead of good – hurts men, women, and children”

  8. So many problems with this article…
    Okay, let’s first start by discussing the subject of outdatedness and moral-clinging.

    Here are a list of things that, according to the Bible, are acceptable:
    Murder (in God’s name)
    The death penalty (especially in all manner of bloody and horrific methods, such as stoning)
    Beating your wife and children
    Stoning your wife or children for disobedience
    Selling your children into slavery
    Violently punishing people for planting differing crops next to each other
    Violently punishing people for wearing “cloth of two threads” (pretty much most of all modern clothing, I might add)
    Punishing people (violently) for not keeping the Sabbath day holy

    This is merely a portion of acts listed, not only as acceptable, but proscribed by the Bible as proper retribution for failure to follow certain rules. By not enforcing these rules according to the measures proscribed in the book of Leviticus, you are failing to be a true Christian…at least by your own logic.

    The fact of the matter is that there are large swathes of the Bible which are extremely outdated and, to ANY modern standard, are simply completely unacceptable and just plain wrong.

    Wonderfully, the message of Jesus was to have compassion for your neighbor and for the sinful around you. To help them and to bring them closer to God by acting as an exemplar of God’s love. Not to act as it’s cudgel, nor to prescribe such values as law. In fact, Jesus even directly spoke on this matter. While he was speaking of taxes, the message applies generally: “Render unto Ceaser that which is Ceaser’s and render unto God that which is God’s.” The message here being that you should follow God’s laws first, but also follow the laws of the land. And following our modern laws does not make anyone any less a Christian, nor does supporting compassion in legislation or in how we interact with those we perceive as sinners.

    1. Most people grossly misunderstand and misinterpret the Law of Moses. It was not as violent or harsh in practice as it sounds to us now. It was in some ways, quite superior to the laws we live by now. Wrong-doers didn’t languish in jail being unproductive on the people’s tab. They were required to make restitution to the victims as much as possible. Much more sensible. And those incorrigibles were banished.

      Having said that, the Lord DID institute much more stringent laws and punishments among the Israelites after they repeatedly showed an unwillingness to trust and remain faithful to the Lord for even the shortest amount of time. He sort of instituted a “boot camp” society among them to humble them.

      But the Law of Moses was temporary and intended for that specific group of people at that specific time. It was nver meant to be a blanket guide for daily living or the proscribed law for all of us.

      1. And problem number 2, thank you for walking right into this one. Now you’re talking about interpretation. Which is all fine and dandy except….the bible lists NOWHERE that the laws of Moses were ever temporary or done with. It SUGGESTS such, but the facts remain that the laws of Leviticus were codified into the Bible with no expiration date or condition given. As such, when you start talking about things like OP did, it becomes a cherry-picker situation where we’re now picking and choosing which moral laws of the Bible to uphold based upon our understanding of scripture, couched within our understanding of what is correct in society, and the conflating the two as much as possible without even realizing we’re doing it. If you’re going to do that, you have to at least be consistent about it. Either embrace the tone, tenor, and (holy) spirit of the message, or embrace the literal scripture. Anything in the middle is just wishy-washy, and we all know how God feels about “lukewarm” individuals.

        1. What I was saying was that people who haven’t studied the Law of Moses in depth misinterpret it. If you ask the average Joe on the street, “What is the Law of Moses?” he’ll say “An eye for an eye” and not much more. But even THAT part of the Law is misunderstood. Not because of misinterpretation, but merely because of ignorance.
          For example, the “eye for an eye” law worked like this:

          Judge: Mike, Your actions caused Joe here to lose the use of his hand. So officially, you owe the use of your hand. So what is the use of YOUR hand worth to you?
          Mike: Well, I’d pay $100 to keep the use of my hand.
          Judge: Joe, does that sound fair to you? If Mike gives you $100, will you feel compensated for the loss of the use of your hand?
          Joe: No, I value the use of my hand at much more than $100! I think he should have to pay me $10,000!
          Judge: Well, Mike? Is it worth $10,000 to you to keep the use of your hand?
          Mike; Well, i don’t know, that’s more money than i’ve ever seen. i don’t know if I could ever pay that amount. What I CAN do is pay him $2,000 and do his harvesting for the next 5 years.
          Judge; Mike? How do you feel about that?
          Mike: I can live with that.
          Judge; So ordered.

          Joe wasn’t actually required to lose an eye (or in my example, his hand), it was used as the measure of what was owed in compensation.

          Likewise, the law that says a son could be stoned if he disobeys his parents COULD be carried out – but only if the PARENTS themselves are willing to do the stoning! That pretty much never happened.

          Also, the death penalties usually came with the alternative of being exiled from the community – which actually was, to some people, a fate worse than death. But it was often an option offered to the accused.

          Rule after rule, law after law, punishment after punishment – they just weren’t as harsh or horrible as the uninformed today like to say they were.

          As to the temporary nature of them…. Um…the LORD knew they were temporary, which is the only thing that matters. He was under no obligation to tell his disobedient children that his new laws were temporary. He was trying to humble them and make them understand how dependent they were upon His support and grace!
          And in retrospect, WE now know they were temporary because we know that the laws were changed a great deal during the mortal life of Christ. So…the fact that it’s not documented in Black and White by the record keepers of the time really doesn’t mean anything.

          I also find it interesting that you use the phrase, “thank you for walking right into this one…’ as if you were just lying in wait for some victim to come wandering into your trap. Interesting approach to Bible study.

          1. So now what you’re saying is that we can’t trust the Lord to be consistent. …After all, if we didn’t know the Laws of Moses were meant to be temporary, how do we know that rules against homosexuality, adultery, or usury weren’t also meant to be temporary?

          2. Brendan – now you’re just being argumentative – but not persuasive.

            Parents can be adaptable without being inconsistent.

            For example: Parents of elementary school kids might institute the following “law”:
            No TV during the school week – that “law” might not apply during summer vacation. And the rule will undoubtedly be withdrawn entirely after High School graduation. That does NOT mean the parents are inconsistent. It means the parents know what is in their children’s best interests at a specific time, while acknowledging that at a different time, that might change.

            Parents can ground a child for disobedience. Eventually, when the parent feels the child is sufficiently repentant of their offense and has learned not to repeat such an offense, the time of grounding will end.

            Parole works the same way in the legal system. After an offense, you may have to live under much stricter living conditions and be subject to much more strenuous consequences for doing things other citizens aren’t. But eventually, the term of parole ends and you get to go back to living the same life that other law abiding citizens are allowed to do.

            The Israelites had been wildly disobedient and rebellious and after a number of less serious chastisements, the Lord lowered the boom and instituted a much more remedial set of laws and very specifically laid out consequences for violations of those laws. At the same time, he loved them and provided a way for them to follow his rather rigorous demands and merciful options for when those demands weren’t met.

            Personally, I don’t believe that the rules against homosexuality, adultery, etc. are temporary, but it actually doesn’t matter in the least whether they are or not.
            because they are the laws that the Lord has given to us NOW. If he were to change the laws in the future, WE would STILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE for breaking the law that we are living under here and now!

            Get it? Just as the child might know the no TV rule may or may not apply later in his life, he still has to obey the rule while it exists. And just as we acknowledge that the laws God has given us now might be temporary, that doesn’t mean we don’t have to obey the laws that we are given NOW.

            Sorry, my dear, but your pugnacious argument doesn’t hold even a drop of water. 🙂

          3. And you are being dismissive of what is the core of the issue. For instance, even if we accept your premise of “laws” being temporary as needed, then what is to say that we are not, currently, in such a transitional period now in regards to “old laws” about homosexuality and gender roles? And whose word do we take? Many a religious scholar is in favor of modern social trends. Even the Catholic Popes have been progressive (in comparison to the values above) as of late.

            This is not mere argumentativeness; this is the very core of the issue: how do we KNOW and TRUST that conservative interpretations of these readings on moral values are still applicable? If you are attempting to proscribe value statements as moral certitudes, then the burden of proof lies upon YOU. I am not making a defined argument; it is a defined argument that I am picking apart and asking for deeper support and clarification on elements that I found lacking.

          4. The CORE ISSUE of the laws you are referring to is a spirit of perversion – extreme sexuality, lust and infatuation. You take the word of the Holy Spirit which should be the only spirit guiding you while you read the bible – it should be what can assist you with your understanding. Now if you’re telling me the Holy Spirit is leading you to believe that homosexuality is acceptable after there is scripture upon scripture in the new and old testament about how God abhors the spirit of perversion, abominable is actually the term used (and theres NOT that many that are ABOMINABLE) I’m going to have to say yes you are being led by a spirit but the Holy Spirit ain’t it king!

          5. Yeah, this is not useful at all because it relies entirely on the assumption that YOUR interpretation is the one based upon the Holy Spirit and you are NOT the one being misled and tempted by false angels. Any person on Earth can make the exact same claim (if you don’t believe me, think of religious extremists that blow things up and shoot people in the name of their god). You need to back it up with proof.

          6. You fail to address the the spirit of perversion – which once again was the core issue. The examples you’re giving is contradictory to the Holy Spirit. The spirit would never lead you to something that contradicts itself, ie: genocides that you are referring to. You cannot define faith by logic. Logic is saying that you in your own mind and state create the understanding of principalities, and discredits the spirit of the Lord.
            “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-16

          7. And you, again, fail to demonstrate that the contradiction exists, nor that the “spirit of perversion” DOES exist. Please come back after you have evidence to support your xenophobia.

          8. I’m going to ignore your attempt to insult me rather than address the actual issue. Clearly deflecting is your best argument.The truth is not hate my friend the truth is TRUTH. But lets get back to scripture since thats what your rebuttal consistently lacks.
            Matthew 17:17
            And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?
            I would note that after Jesus (the same one I THINK you were speaking of above) said this – he also said “bring him here” and REBUKED the demon (which Im sure would be an even harder concept for you to wrap your mind around so we wont get into that) that was in the boy he was speaking to, and after that the scripture says from that moment the boy was well.
            Ephesians 5:5-17 (also note this is new testament)
            You know very well that no person who is involved in sexual sin, perversion, or greed (which means worshiping wealth) can have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Don’t let anyone deceive you with meaningless words. It is because of sins like these that God’s anger comes to those who refuse to obey him. Don’t be partners with them. Once you lived in the dark, but now the Lord has filled you with light. Live as children who have light. Light produces everything that is good, that has God’s approval, and that is true. Determine which things please the Lord. Have nothing to do with the useless works that darkness produces. Instead, expose them for what they are. It is shameful to talk about what some people do in secret. Light exposes the true character of everything because light makes everything easy to see. That’s why it says: “Wake up, sleeper! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”So then, be very careful how you live. Don’t live like foolish people but like wise people. Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days.So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord wants.
            Proverbs 6:14
            Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife.
            Romans 1:25-17 (this in case you didn’t know is also new testament)
            who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
            For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due
            Leviticus 18:22-28
            ‘You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. ‘Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. read more.
            ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. ‘But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you.
            Ephesians 4:20-24
            But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

          9. Brendan, Forgive me for teasing you with this, but I can’t resist:
            “Thank you for walking right into this one…:” LOL!

            Your concern about “whose word do we take” is very valid. And I have an answer. In the Book of Amos 3:7, the Lord says this:
            “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”

            Certainly, no Christian believes that the Lord is busy doing ‘nothing!’ But he’s told us he WON’T do anything without revealing it to through his prophets!

            Which brings me back to my original question: What do you know about the Mormon Church? We believe that there IS a prophet on earth today who has been called of God to speak to his children just as the prophets did in Ancient times. Why would God send prophets to preach and reveal God’s word only in ancient times? Did he love them more than he loves us?

            Didn’t he know that children in today’s world might face trials or temptations that those who lived in Biblical days never imagined? Drugs, porn, abortion, television, internet…. Why did ancient inhabitants rate having a living, breathing prophet living and working among them, addressing the specific problems of their day -but we don’t?

            Or would the God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, continue to do his work the way he has always done – working with his people through his servants the prophets (which he specifically says he will do)?

            I really recommend you contact some LDS missionaries (or you could message me and we could carry on a discussion in an easier manner than this thread) – and find out more of what we believe.

            I will add one personal note. My father was a world class scientist. He had two doctorates in hard sciences, he was listed in Who’s Who in America for his contributions to science. He had an eidetic memory – and read everything he could get his hands on – including the Encyclopedia Brittanica (twice because it was so constantly updated). The Smithsonian Institute contacted my Dad for an answer to a science question none of their experts could answer definitively.

            I’m telling you all that to explain that he was a brilliant, logical, rational man of science. He was raised as a Lutheran. But he said that when he was introduced to the Mormon Church, he realized that it was only thing that “made sense.’ The only thing that actually answered all the questions he’d had about God and eternity all his life.

            He joined the church on a purely intellectual level. Eventually, he was converted spiritually as well. But the point is, the answers ARE available, and they make sense of all the “unknown” questions that the scholars have been wrestling with for 2000 years.

            Give it a look. You will be amazed at the beauty and simplicity and comfort of the truth.

          10. I always enjoy it when someone on the opposite side of the table in a discussion rises to the level of debate I wish to have. It’s a reaffirmation of my faith in humanity.

            I appreciate your candor, both about your beliefs as well as your background (and thus the framework within your beliefs are set). The Mormon and Latter-Day Saints churches are ones I have always appreciated for their (perhaps unstated) belief in a living faith, one that accepts that we need to change our understanding of God based on what he places in the world around us. Further, as with Millerite faiths, they also do not accept that the spirit of prophecy died with Jesus, his disciples, and John the prophet (of the last few books of the Bible).

            I have spent time with Latter-Day Saints, and I do find their faith to tend more encouraging than many other denominations, as well as more open to criticism (internal and external). I myself was raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist, one of the Millerite faiths. I have since somewhat fallen out of my religion, but I also don’t buy the atheist idea that there is no point in believing in deities or discussing spirituality. Truth comes in many forms, which is why I enjoy conversations such as these, so thank you again for engaging with me.

  9. RE: It’s easier to believe that right and wrong are subjective, based on your own predilections. That way, we can avoid the awkwardness of telling someone that what they’re doing is bad. If those are your convictions, who am I to say you’re wrong? <<<<

    Let's say that we stipulate —

    that good & evil and right & wrong are objective …

    that there are divine & natural laws …

    that we share a monotheistic faith …

    that our faith is Abrahamic …

    that our religion is Christian …

    that we have earnestly turned to our faith community's authoritative sources of Scripture, Tradition & Teaching Charisms to form our upright and mature consciences …

    then, that will pretty much ensure that, regarding most general moral precepts, we will enjoy a large communal consensus …

    BUT, that in no way guarantees that, regarding what can be thornier, more problematic moral realities, including such bioethical issues as pertaining to gender, sex, life & personhood, for example, we should necessarily expect to find the same degree of moral consensus or precisely the same moral convictions guiding each individual's conscience?

    And even when persons share the very same moral convictions regarding, for example, the many nuances of the reality of abortion, still, people of large intelligence & profound goodwill can legitimately differ in their prudential judgments regarding how to best reduce & eliminate abortions. That's to recognize that there can be many legitimate strategies to form consciences, pedagogically, including moral enculturation & Gospel inculturation, and to minister to sinners, pastorally.

    In addition to the soft powers of enculturation, inculturation, pastoral accommodation and works of corporal & spiritual mercy, there's also a place for more coercive hard powers, including both the rhetorical confrontation of jerimiads (prophetic indictments) as well as legal measures, including both church & public law.

    David French wrote an enlightened article recently. See: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/453969/conservatives-supreme-court-obsession-dangerous

    There's a great deal of wisdom in not reflexively or exclusively resorting to hard power in forming & reforming consciences and cultures. We must prayerfully discern the legitimate & indispensable roles that soft powers play, too, in personal & social transformations.

  10. It is not about being right or wrong. It is about sensible people wanting what is best for society. Like PREVENTION of pregnancy in the first place, so we don’t need to have abortions that aren’t medically necessary. More children would grow up being planned for and wanted. There is NO need to outlaw abortion – it is unplanned pregnancy that is the problem. HINT: abstinence is not an option for 95% of the population.

    I don’t care that you think homosexuality is wrong. They are a small percentage of the population. If you spent more time correcting married men who cheat on their spouses, you might really accomplish something. That is a far more prevalent problem. Actually heterosexual abuse is a much bigger problem than anything else you preach about.

    It is the way of conservatism to not try to prevent the problem in the first place…just keep dealing with consequences…

  11. RE: “God’s the judge. Live to your own convictions.”

    St. Ignatius counsels us to charitably interpret others’ words in the most orthodox sense. When one first affirms that God’s the judge, that’s an explicit (not merely implicit) recognition of an objective moral order as a theory of truth! Living by one’s convictions, i.e. following one’s conscience, is an indispensable transcendental imperative.

    Once given one’s acknowledgment of a Divine Law, the following of one’s convictions would entail — not the notion of subjective morality, but — acting in a manner consistent with one’s best understanding of the Divine Law. As a theory of knowledge, the following of one’s conscience wouldn’t necessarily entail constructing one’s own moral truth but an oftentimes problematic approach to and grasp of the Divine Law. After all, one may objectively act in a manner inconsistent with the law without being subjectively culpable for all sorts of reasons, e.g. poor formation, deformative influences, illness or duress, etc

    Whatever may be the objective moral reality, even a legal inquiry will probe and consider subjective guilt or innocence and degrees thereof. How much more so would a prudent pastoral approach evaluate each person’s unique circumstances?!!!

    An authentic conservative stance affirms principles like subsidiarity, which, at bottom, are meant to recognize and foster human freedom, which is indispensable to authentic love. This freedom per Acton is not the license to do what we want but the liberty to do what we must.

    Accordinly, the conservative default will always lead with the least coercive means and progress to the most coercive only as necessary. This is to suggest that those who reflexively lead with coercive confrontational rhetoric and legalistic strategies while giving short shrift to less coercive measures — like philosophical discourse, enculturation, inculturation, catechetical pedagogy and works of mercy — are neither being prudent nor authentically conservative.

    The prophetic indictments of confrontational jerimiads have only ever been used to call communities to repentance where a preexisting communal moral consensus has affirmed a moral/creedal truth. They were not and should not be employed as tools to otherwise establish such a consensus —not because they aren’t true, but — because they are imprudent, i.e. they don’t work, as they violate both the coercive norms of an authentic conservatism and the prophetic norms of an authentic Christianity.

    Finally, no reason folks must necessarily pit personal morality against social justice? That’s a false dichotomy and a straw-wo/man caricature!

    At the same time, a great many Gospel imperatives exceed the demands of justice and are not suited or intended for political statecraft. Charity beyond mere justice, and pacifism beyond just violence, for example, are vocational choices not political norms. Proof-texting SJW aims with the Gospel is no more apt than doing the same regarding many personal moral realities.

  12. The conservative default will always lead with the least coercive means and progress to the most coercive only as necessary. This is to suggest that those who reflexively lead with coercive confrontational rhetoric and legalistic strategies while giving short shrift to less coercive measures (e.g. BEING NICE) — like philosophical discourse, moral enculturation, Gospel inculturation, catechetical pedagogy and works of mercy — are neither being prudent nor authentically conservative.

    The prophetic indictments of confrontational jerimiads have only ever been used to call communities to repentance where a preexisting communal moral consensus has affirmed a moral/creedal truth. They were not and should not be employed as tools to otherwise try to establish such a consensus —not because they aren’t true, but — because they are imprudent, i.e. they usually don’t work, as they violate both the coercive norms of an authentic conservatism and the prophetic norms of an authentic Christianity.

  13. RE: “God’s the judge. Live to your own convictions.”

    St. Ignatius counsels us to charitably interpret others’ words in the most orthodox sense. When one first affirms that God’s the judge, as the Pastor did, that’s an explicit (not merely implicit) recognition of an objective moral order as a theory of truth! Living by one’s convictions, i.e. following one’s conscience per one’s best understanding of that order (formed in community) is not controversial but imperative. The Pastor was pastorally addressing the reality of subjective ex/culpability not redefining his or Hillsong’s moral beliefs about the objective evil of abortion.

  14. Why necessarily pit personal morality against social justice?

    That’s a false dichotomy and a straw-wo/man caricature!

    At the same time, a great many Gospel imperatives exceed the demands of justice and are not necessarily suited or intended for political statecraft.

    Proof-texting SJW aims with the Gospel in the Public Square is no more apt than doing the same regarding many personal moral realities.

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