On my most recent trip to Israel, our Jewish guide rather mockingly said that I am missing a lot by living according to biblical moral “restrictions.” That was a statement of ignorance.
I have lived without moral restrictions, and I have lived with them, and I have found by experience that living with them is the way of true liberty. That guide’s smoking and drinking and cursing and womanizing and over-preening arrogance has not made him free.
It is because of my “biblical lifestyle” that I am alive and in good health at 64 (in contrast to some of my high school buddies who are dead because of their sensual lifestyles), am married to the “wife of my youth,” have grown children with good marriages who are raising our grandchildren in stable happy homes, and a thousand other things I could mention.
Speaking at the recent Women Deliver conference in Malaysia, Chelsea Clinton lamented that her maternal grandmother was the child of unwed teenage parents who “did not have access to services that are so crucial that Planned Parenthood helps provide” (“Chelsea Clinton Laments,” LifeNews.com, June 20, 2013).
Apparently Chelsea, daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, believes that it would have been fine if her grandmother had aborted her mother, since the major “service” provided by Planned Parenthood is abortion. They perform an average of one abortion every 94 seconds…
Women Deliver is a feminist advocacy organization, one of the goals of which is “universal access to reproductive health,” a euphemism for birth control and abortion…yet it is little girls that bear the brunt of this philosophy, as a disproportion of abortions target females.
Some time in the 1980s when I was on a visit to the United States, a television station wanted to stage a debate between me and a prominent creationist called, I think, Duane P Gish. I telephoned Stephen Gould for advice. He was friendly and decisive: “Don’t do it.” The point is not, he said, whether or not you would ‘win’ the debate. Winning is not what the creationists realistically aspire to. For them, it is sufficient that the debate happens at all. They need the publicity. We don’t.
To the gullible public which is their natural constituency, it is enough that their man is seen sharing a platform with a real scientist. “There must be something in creationism, or Dr So-and-So would not have agreed to debate it on equal terms.” Inevitably, when you turn down the invitation you will be accused of cowardice, or of inability to defend your own beliefs. But that is better than supplying the creationists with what they crave: the oxygen of respectability in the world of real science.
Now compare that to the commentary of David Cloud:
There have been many excellent debates between creationists and evolutionists since Darwin’s day. Hundreds of debates were held on university campuses and elsewhere in the 1970s and 1980s between highly educated men on both sides of the issue. I attended one in about 1974 at a university in Florida when Henry Morris and Duane Gish took on a couple of evolutionary professors. Dr. Gish was a great debater.
That was until the evolutionists started hiding behind the smokescreen of “let’s not give creationists legitimacy by debating them.” Actually, evolutionists had discovered that they can’t go head to head on the facts alone. They have to flee for refuge in their secular religion and its presuppositions.
Parents must have the right priority In the family. Never let sports get in the way of serving Christ. This means, for one thing, that you never miss church for any sporting activity. There are multitudes of Christians that neglect the Lord’s house for sports. At one of my Bible conferences not long ago, many of the young people and adults missed the evening services to attend a softball playoff. That is the same priority that unsaved people have! If that is not lukewarm Christianity, I don’t know what is, and Jesus said that He hates it (Revelation 3:15-16).
My two cents
I am in agreement with this quote and I wonder what it would be like if organised sporting events weren’t held on the Lord’s Day at all. I think that would throw certain people (and sports leagues) into a panic.
I can imagine this scene where if I was at some sporting event on a Sunday, I’d like to bring a tablet and maybe watch a religious sermon on YouTube instead. I can think of any number of things that really took off in the 20th century which have chipped away at the primacy of church in people’s lives—and I think sports is one of the most prominent.
I was also thinking about this past quote I found on sports; I’m glad that people of different denominations can assign sport to a low priority.
Consider the godly example of Eric Liddell, the son of Scottish missionaries to China. He was Scotland’s fastest runner and in 1923 won the 100 yard race at the AAA Championship with 9.7 seconds, a record that stood for the next 35 years. A committed Christian, Liddell spoke at gospel meetings for the Glasgow Students Evangelical Union during his college years. He qualified for the British track and field team at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, but because the 100 meter race was held on Sunday he refused to participate, even though this was his best distance…
In spite of personal pleas from the royal family and criticism in the British press for letting down his country, he stood by his decision and spent that Sunday preaching in an evangelical church in Paris.
My two cents
I would love to see this happen in the 21st century, but I think the lure of money and covetousness is too strong for most Christians nowadays. (I hope I can be proven wrong.) I guess I’ll have to go into the past for some other examples:
First off is the former world chess champion Bobby Fischer. In the 1970s, he was part of the Worldwide Church of God, and kept Saturday as a day of rest. When he entered tournaments, he insisted on not playing matches on Saturdays, and the tournament organisers would reschedule their matches as a result. I heard some opponents had a cry and got upset though.
Another example comes from a Jew, Rabbi Joseph Gutnick, a former President of the Melbourne Demons football team. Back in 2000, Melbourne made it to the Australian Football League Grand Final. This was Melbourne’s second Grand Final in 35 years, so there was a lot of anticipation. The media interviewed Gutnick a few days before the match, asking what the team president would be doing on the day.
He said that he was going to be keeping the Sabbath with his family.
I don’t think the media was prepared for that answer.
In Titus chapter 2, verse 11, people say “well you have grace. Grace means you can pretty much live like you want to. Don’t you have grace? Don’t you believe in grace? You must be Pharisee” they say.
They say, “you’re strict about the Bible and how Christians [are] to live, you’re a Pharisee”. Now that’s not what the Pharisees were guilty of. Pharisees were guilty of rejecting Jesus Christ, rejecting the Gospel of the grace of God, replacing Scripture with their own man-made tradition, and living in hypocrisy. And if I am guilty of those things, then I am a Pharisee, but being strict about Christian living and strict with the Bible is not Phariseeism, it’s obedience. We’re saved by grace, but we’re saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:8-10).
My two cents
The concept of Biblical strictness has appealed to me for years. Strictness must include obedience to the word of God, especially the parts which are unpopular or politically incorrect. Obedience to just the easy bits is slackness.
Christians who accuse others of Phariseeism often forget the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:1-3. According to these verses, He commanded us to follow the Pharisees’ teachings (just not their actions), and David Cloud makes a good point of what their actions were. Put another way, Jesus was criticising the Pharisees because they weren’t as strict as he was. In this context, disobedience to the teachings of the Pharisees is ultimately disobedience to Christ.
The Bible ought not to be seen as an uncomfortable straitjacket that presses into us—that’s the usual connotation that’s been loaded into words like strict, and this is unfortunate. Rather, Biblical strictness ought to be seen as something we want to cling to. If we don’t cling, we’re not strict, and then we become like Pharisees.
Phariseeism is not strict obedience—it is slack disobedience. People who call others Pharisees tend to forget this and gravitate towards a self-indulgent emotionalism.
Dr. Timothy Tow, pastor of Life Bible Presbyterian Church, Dr. S.H. Tow (M.D.), pastor of Calvary Bible Presbyterian Church, and Dr. Jeffrey Khoo, Academic Dean of the Far Eastern Bible College, are other examples. These men are staunch Calvinists but they are also soul winning Calvinists and have great missionary zeal. They and other of their associates have been responsible for the gospel being preached into many dark corners of Asia, and for this I rejoice. They distribute my books in their bookstores and have communicated with me on various occasions, and I count them friends in the faith; though I do not agree with their Calvinism nor their position on baptism and I cannot, for the latter reason especially, speak in their churches. But I love them and do not count them as enemies.
My two cents
I really like this quote from David Cloud. When I think of people from different denominations and an appropriate way of dealing with them and referring to them, I want to use this quote as an example of a godly attitude.
That begs the question of how far a doctrinal disagreement can go until there’s a schism between churches or anathema between believers. I haven’t figured out a cut-and-dried formula for that yet. In any case, if (non-Calvinist) fundamentalists and (non-fundamentalist) Calvinists can join forces, imagine the manpower that comes as a result.
Speaking of David Cloud, I also have some good quotes lined up from his Scripture Demands Fundamentalism sermon, but that’ll be for another time.