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Este artículo es publicado con permiso de su autor, Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner, y 9Marks. Dr. Schreiner es Profesor James Buchanan Harrison de Interpretación del Nuevo Testamento en el Southern Baptist Theological Seminary en Louisville, Kentucky y es pastor de predicación en Clifton Baptist Church.

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Frecuentemente me preguntan si una mujer puede servir en el ministerio. Mi respuesta es siempre: « ¡bible-bible-study-book-510249Si, claro! Todos los creyentes están llamados a servir y ministrarse unos a otros».

Pero respondería de manera diferente si la pregunta fuera planteada de una forma más precisa: « ¿Existen algunos roles ministeriales en los que las mujeres no pueden servir?» Argumentaría que el Nuevo Testamento claramente enseña que las mujeres no deberían servir como pastoras (lo cual el Nuevo Testamento también llama obispo o ancianos). Está claro en el Nuevo Testamento que los términos pastor, obispo, y anciano se refieren al mismo oficio (véase Hechos 20:17, 28; Tito 1:5, 7; 1 Pedro 5:1-2), y para el resto de este relato utilizaré los términos «anciano» y «pastor» de manera intercambiable para referirme a este oficio. Read the rest of this entry »

There are many stories out there that challenge the dominant LGBTQ narrative, that those with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) can in fact live within a full, complete, and joyful marriage to those of the opposite sex. Oh, and be a Christian too!  Doesn’t fairness require that their story be heard as well?

Listen to this piece from NPR (and kudos to them for demonstrating something of classic journalistic impartiality!).

And check out this too.

I hardly deny that many may suffer from SSA.  While I’ve never experienced it, I can empathize with those who do.  And in a sense, I can sympathize. There are many things that I am tempted to do that I simply don’t do.  If I acted on all my impulses and were thus “true to myself,” you would probably like me a lot less than you actually do.  (And if you don’t like me at all, well, you’d have even more compelling reasons!)  I’m afraid if I were true to myself, I wouldn’t have the lovely wife and beautiful children I do now. Every day I resist temptation, fighting against what some might call “natural” desires. But I distinguish between natural-good and natural-bad instincts. Eating food is a natural-good.  Being intimate with my wife is a natural-good. Yelling at my children when I am tired and haggard, however, is a natural-bad. It’s natural in the sense that it’s human, but human in the fallen sense.

And this leads us to yet another narrative that needs to be heard. The great ‘meta-narrative’ of the Bible. It is a story that explains exactly how this world ended up as a big, messy jumble of natural-good and natural-bad instincts. Here’s the basic plot: Creation – Fall – Redemption.  God created everything good, in proper harmony, with a perfect unity and complementing diversity. Mankind was at one with itself, at one with its environment, and above all, at one with its God. Mankind, though, transgressed, listening to the lies of the Tempter. And so our first parents fell into sin and misery, and we their offspring, fell in them. Inheriting their nature, we acted out the unnaturalness of our own sinful bent. We polluted the pristine waters of nature, we dirtied our souls!  But God, planning to redeem, made sure that man didn’t gaffe up everything. In His common grace, He hemmed in and restrained something of the natural-good, that it may continue until He sent His Son to fix the brokenness once and for all.  By the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, God broke into this disordered world to get back what He made.

Conversion gives the believer a radical new start.  They are a new creation in Christ. Yet, Christians aren’t perfected; they walk to heaven with a limp.The old man has been dealt a mortal blow, but he is still striving to regain control. The Christian struggles with temptations every day.  Temptations that the world will call “natural.” But he knows, she feels that this needs major qualification. That “natural” was then, this is now. And the now is natural-good, and good getting better every day!

Augustine, the great catholic teacher of the Church, was quite the womanizer prior to his conversion.  I suppose he was being true to himself. But after his conversion, things had changed from the inside. One day, an old flame found him on the street, came up to him, embraced him and exclaimed, “O Augustine!  It’s me!” To which he replied, “Yes, but it’s not me!” The old Augustine was gone (though I doubt not the old man wanted to rekindle the former romance). But he had embraced his new nature, a nature not unnatural, not repressed, not denied, but reborn.

 

 

This open letter to Donald Trump is a first-rate piece on how the rehabilitation of marriage in our culture is the sine qua non of truly making America great again. It also underscores the tragic reality that “the way of transgressors is hard.”

Deeper than this need, however, is national repentance and renewing covenant with God and His Christ. Without the fear of God, not even demonstrable socio-economic harm will bring about the desperately needed reform, restore relationships and advance true human flourishing. “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”

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En las ultimas semanas, hemos visto a varios estados luchando con las consecuencias de la decision de la Corte Suprema Obergefell vs. Hodges. Lo mas reciente, Mississippi ha pasado una ley protegiendo las libertades de pastores, floristas, y pasteleros, quienes no quieren tener sus consciencias implicadas por la nueva realidad. Han perdido la batalla pero desean salvaguardar su derecho de disencion y de simplemente no participar. Que cualquiera que desee soportar matrimonios del mismo sexo haga como quiera, pero esta gente no quiere ser incluida. Sin embargo, eso esta atrayendo una tormenta de protesta de todos lados, desde entretenedores, a empresas grandes, a gente en oficio publico. El gobernador de Nueva York Andrew Cuomo es solamente el mas reciente en unirse a la denuncia, respaldandolo con la vara de disciplina para con sus errantes, ignorantes anti-Americanos.

Si, Obergefell vs Hodges, fue realmente un momento decisivo; pero realmente se podria haber visto acercando desde hace tiempo. La corte de opinion publica ya habia juzgado antes de que el juez Kennedy escribio su opinion de mayoria. Kennedy solo consagro en ley—por autoridad judicial, nada menos—lo que ya se habia hecho la nueva justicia de America moderna. Rasco el comezon. No el comezon por justicia real. Si, muchos pensarian que eso es lo que fue. Una America fundamentalmente buena se estaba simplemente hacinedo mejor. Esto fue Derechos Civiles revividos. Pero yo lo veo de diferente forma—America tenia comezon de justificacion.

He aqui el problema. No somos la intachable, super-limpia nacion que queremos imaginar que somos. Estamos bien depravados. Y no estoy hablando solamente teologicamente. Nuestra depravacion es actual, palpable y visceral. La enfermedad ha llegado a la piel, y las llagas apestosas estan atrayendo moscas. Se ha hecho dolorosamente obvio. Somos sucios, hasta en las uñas. Y cuando miramos en un espejo, no nos gusta lo que vemos. Queremos ser limpios. Queremos la inocencia de nuevo. Queremos desquitarnos de la voz regañona de la consciencia que suena en los oidos: “Hemos abandonado a Dios y jugado al prodigal. Hemos perdido la virginidad y ensuciado el centro de nuestros seres.” Pero eso es simplemente muy doloroso. Y asi desesperadamente buscamos soluciones cosmeticas. Buscamos una nueva justificacion, para vindicar nuestras consciencias sin confesarnos ante Dios y el mundo.

Muchos Americanos procuran proyectar su suciedad sobre otros—usando un truco psicologico. “Es realmente el politico.” Aquel que vota es inocente. Las encuestas nunca se equivocan (y el cliente siempre esta correcto)! Pero una ves que ese votador es elegido y entra a la capital, cae de la gracia. Al final de su plazo, una mayoria justa y santa quizas lo vote fuera de oficio como castigo por convertirse malo.

Pero las realidades relatan otro cuento. Divorcio sin falta es lo normal ahora. Pornografia es lo normal. Fornicacion casual es ahora lo normal. El gobernador Cuomo esta haciendo justo eso. Sexo libre sin compromisos. Que noble! Pero quisiera decir que es diferente que cualquier fulano. Niños en todos los Estados Unidos ya estan acostumbrados a ser tirados como Frisbee de casa a casa porque sus padres se portan como niños mimados. Es extraño que esta nueva generacion este tan turbada? Por lo menos han sobrevivido la epidemia del aborto.

A mi me parece obvio. Nuestra nacion se une a la mas reciente crusada para encontrar justificacion en sus propios terminos. Encuentra una nueva causa, una nueva justicia—torcida como sea. Haciendose campeones por esa nueva justicia, se restaura la dignidad. El sentido de valor regresa de inmediato. Y cuando los malos, que mantienen una justicia mas antigua, hablan sus mentes, son callados. A lo menor, son marginalizados—los que odian odiaran!

Tengo poca confianza en el publico Americano, aparte de la restriccion de Dios. El Jurado esta corrupto, punto. Pero tengo toda confianza que cuando un Dios soberano oye las oraciones de su pueblo, cuando libremente escoge tener misericordia sobre quien tendra misericordia, que nada frenara la revolucion en las mentes del pueblo. Que El puede—cuando quiere—frenar la locura y restaurar a sus sentidos a una nacion prodiga en el lodo de la pocilga. El puede persuadir a America que renuncie su nueva justicia, su nueva justificacion, y que reciba la Suya por medio de Jesucristo.

1280px-AuthorityOfLawIn the last several weeks, we’ve seen several states struggling to come to terms with the ramifications of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell vs. Hodges decision. Most recently, Mississippi has passed a law protecting the freedoms of pastors, florists, and bakers, who do not wish their consciences implicated by the new reality. They have lost the battle but  are hoping to safeguard their right of dissent and simple non-participation. Let anyone who wishes to support same-sex marriages do as they please, but these folk simply want left out of it. That, however, is bringing down quite the storm of righteous protest from all quarters, from entertainers, to big business, to those in public office. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is just the most recent to join in the denunciation, backing it up with the rod of discipline for his errant, backward un-Americans.

Yes, Obergefell vs. Hodges was truly a watershed moment; but really, one could see it coming miles away. The court of public opinion had already ruled before Justice Kennedy penned his majority opinion. Kennedy only enshrined into law – by judicial fiat, no less – what had already become the new righteousness of modern America. It scratched the itch. Not an itch for true justice.  Yes, many would think that’s just what it was.  A fundamentally good America was simply becoming more consistently good. This was Civil Rights redivivus. But I see it differently – America was instead itching for justification.

Here’s the problem. We are not the impeccable, squeaky-clean nation that we’d like to imagine ourselves to be. We are rather depraved. And I’m not just speaking theologically here. We are actually, tangibly, viscerally depraved. The disease has reached the skin, and the stinking wounds are drawing flies. It has become painfully obvious. We are dirty, down to the fingernails. And when we look in the mirror, we just don’t like what we see.  We want to be clean. We want innocence back. We want to be rid of the nagging voice of conscience that rings in our ears, “We have abandoned God and played the prodigal. We have lost our spiritual virginity and have defiled the core of our beings.” But that’s just way too painful. So we desperately reach for cosmetics. We look for a new justification, to vindicate our consciences short of coming clean before God and the world.

Many Americans try to project their dirtiness on to others – playing some psychological slight-of-hand.  “It’s really the politician.” The voter is innocent. The polls are never wrong (and the customer is always right)!  But once that voter becomes elected and enters the Beltway, he falls from grace. At term’s end, a righteous, holy majority may well vote him or her out of office as a punishment for going bad.

But the facts tell a different story. No-fault divorce is now the norm. Porn is now the norm. Shacking up is now the norm (if you have to Google that, you’ve proved my point). Governor Cuomo is doing just that. No commitment, free sex. How noble!  But I wish I could say he’s any different from Joe Six-pack. Children across the United States are now accustomed to being tossed around like a Frisbee from home to home because their parents act like spoiled children. Is it any wonder this new generation is so troubled? Yet, at least they’ve survived the abortion epidemic.

To me, it seems rather obvious. Our nation joins the latest crusade in order to find justification on their own terms. It finds a new cause, a new righteousness – however warped. By championing that new righteousness, dignity is restored. The feeling of worth and value comes back with a flush. And when the baddies, who hold out for an older righteousness, speak their mind, they are shouted down. At best, they are marginalized – haters gonna hate!

I have little confidence in the American public, apart from God’s restraint. The jury is corrupt, full stop. But I have every confidence that when a sovereign God hears the prayers of His people, when He freely chooses to have mercy on whom He will have mercy, that nothing will stop the revolution in the minds of the people. That He can – when He pleases – stop the madness and bring back a prodigal nation in the mud of the pigpen to its senses. He can persuade America to renounce its new righteousness, its new justification, and receive His through Christ.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:23-26)

An ever so small tribute to someone much smaller – yet surpassingly more wonderful!

Recently, a second video has come out in which a higher-up from Planned Parenthood negotiates compensation for aborted “fetal tissue” (intact vital organs of aborted babies!).  It is both nauseating and abominable; and not surprisingly, it’s making the headlines.  One can only hope that such shock therapy will finally wake up the sleeping if not comatose conscience of our land.  Yet, if it doesn’t, it will only demonstrate that the irreclaimable reprobation of Ms. Gatter is more representative of the typical American.  Oh God, for the sake of the precious little ones, let it not be!

“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD” (Jer. 6:15).

The body has many natural response mechanisms.  When we are exposed to the stimulus of humor, we laugh. To pain, we cry. And to shame, to blushing. Blushing is a natural response to the sense of shame we feel when eyes are on us, and we don’t look good!

God designed this mechanism. And yet modern America has lost the ability to blush. Things that were once shameful, like indecent clothing, viewing pornography, premarital sex, and “shacking up,” are now ho-hum.  In fact, some of the things we should be blushing over we not only accept, but we validate and celebrate.  The magazine covers we pass at the store keep pushing the envelope, venturing into newer and bolder frontiers of confusion.  Those who shield their gaze are either prudes or “haters.”  (Someone needs to blush.)  We parade our nakedness, even our shameful misdeeds and confusion before the world, and we cover each other by our shared applause and affirmations.

If only our problem was a wardrobe malfunction, something superficial. Easy to fix. And if only it were a blushing malfunction – the result of some imbalanced chemicals in the brain.  Then we could take a pill and make it all go away.  No, our problem is a soul malfunction.  We are incurably wrong in the soul. Having crossed the line, tasted the forbidden fruit, we now try to cope with an angry God short of surrender. We run, sew fig cleaves, and try to hide our nakedness.  We pass the blame. We justify ourselves. But God sees through.

O that we would humble ourselves, and see our shame.  Our soul shame.  And having seen this, that we would blush, that we would cry, that we would come to the cross and find the only relief for shame and guilt in the blood of the Crucified.

Here is a beautiful video representing the miraculous formation of human life from conception.  Right now, such precious lives hang in the balance.  For years, the majority of our nation has turned the other way, pretending that abortion is merely a clinical procedure, that a fetus magically becomes a baby when it is wanted, yet reverts to a subhuman mass of tissue when it is not.  Because of this, such hidden scenes of tender majesty are cut short in the butchery of abortion.  (For those with cast iron stomachs, one can easily find videos online to confirm.)

How long will we speak for our wallets?  For our private interests?  For our unbridled appetites?  How long will we vote for what is superficial, doubtful, or secondary at best, and support what is altogether unthinkable?

God help our land.  And God help those precious lives waiting for us self-absorbed Americans to give them a voice.

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Listen to a message on the plight of the unborn.  Or, download here.