And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 23, Number
In this issue:
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APRIL 05 - 09, 2021
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Joe R. Price
Merriam-Webster defines a primer as “1: a small book for teaching children to read 2: a small introductory book on a subject 3: a short informative piece of writing.” “Primers were once a standard part of every child’s education. The first primer printed in North America, The New England Primer (ca. 1690), was typical; it contained many quotations from the Bible and many moral lessons, and the text was accompanied by numerous woodcut illustrations. We no longer use the word in early education…” Too bad.
It seems we need a primer to wade through the changing terminology of the present evil age. Commonly used words no longer have their accepted meanings. People are afraid to speak, and truth suffers.
Most of all, we need to know and speak God’s truth. We must know and compare the definitions and applications people are giving words and deeds to God’s word. It is the truth in which we must abide (John 8:31-32).
Christians are not “of the world,” but we do live in this world (John 17:16; 1 Cor. 5:9-10). Being “wise as serpents” includes knowing our environment in order to know our enemy (Matt. 10:16; 2 Cor. 2:11). To do that, we must identify error and sin to avoid it (Eph. 5:3-7; Gal. 5:19-21).
The following primer is by no means official or exhaustive. Neither is it a political statement (although people with political agendas often use these terms). We will not shy away from preaching God’s word with its application to politics. We aim for accuracy so fair evaluations can be made. So, here’s my primer of some current terms and what God’s word says about them.
LGBTQ. An acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (or Queer). The Bible says such conduct is sin and those who practice such face God’s eternal punishment (Jude 7; 2 Pet. 2:6; 1 Cor. 6:9-10).
Birth sex. One’s biological gender at birth. Most female mammals (including humans) have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (XX), and most males have two distinct sex chromosomes (XY). This is God’s order and arrangement for procreation from creation (Gen. 1:27-28). An increasing number of people are challenging this science differentiating between birth gender and gender identity. CNN reported this week (without scientific documentation), “It’s not possible to know a person’s gender identity at birth, and there is no consensus criteria for assigning sex at birth” (Devan Cole, cnn.com).
Assigned sex. The gender a baby is assigned based on physical appearance. (see “birth sex” above). Telling a boy he is a girl does not make it so, and it is a lie (Eph. 4:25).
Gender identity. The gender you think and feel you are. “A person's internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female” (M-W). The Gender Equality Act now before Congress will allow males who identify as females to use women’s restrooms, locker rooms, etc., as well as compete in women’s sports. This is an affront to God’s creation of male and female (Gen. 1:27; cf. Deut. 22:5).
Gender dysphoria. “A persistent unease with having the physical characteristics of one's gender, accompanied by strong identification with the opposite gender and a desire to live as or to become a member of the opposite gender” (thefreedictionary.com). Children in elementary and up are being introduced to the possibility of being a different gender than their biological gender. The Bible says children should be taught what is true (Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4).
Gender fluidity. Gender can change over time; it is not static. (See “Assigned sex.”)
Racism. The classic meaning of racism is discrimination against a person or persons based on their race. Segregation laws were outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. God abhors racism, and so do Christians (Acts 10:34-35; 17:26; Rom. 13:8, 10).
Being racist used to be an indictment against segregation (which God abhors, Luke 16:25-37). Now, segregation is in vogue as people are being categorized, stigmatized, praised, and criticized based on little more than the color of their skin.
Increasingly, if one does not elevate certain races and deflate other races, then you are called a racist. Everything is seen through the lens of race. But judging others by appearance is unrighteous (John 7:24). Of course, we have historical differences (some good and some evil). But God looks on the heart of every person (1 Sam. 16:7). So must we. Actions come from the heart and the choices we make. Let us treat everyone with love and respect (Lk. 12:27).
Cancel culture. A form of censorship, it withdraws support for people and companies that offend current progressive sensibilities. It stigmatizes and “cancels” people. The Bible says to “reason together.” The cancel culture stifles reasoned discussion (Isa. 1:18; 41:21; Jude 3; 2 Pet. 3:15; Acts 17:2-4, 11). Let’s increase the kindness culture, not the cancel culture (Matt. 7:12).
The gospel of Christ is the solution to all these social ills because sin is at the root of them all (Rom. 1:16). When hearts are converted to Christ, lives are changed, and nations change. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Shrewdness of the Sons of this Age
Scripture Reading: Luke 16:1-8
Jesus drew attention to the shrewdness of the sons of this age, Luke 16:8.
I. SONS OF THIS AGE TEACH US LESSONS ON SHREWDNESS, Luke 16:1-8.
of this Age are Committed to their Survival, Luke 16:3-4; Col. 3:1-5 (1-11).
II. WHAT SHOULD WE DO? Luke 16:9-12
Be Faithful Stewards of Material Blessings, 16:10.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Staying Balanced in an Age of Propaganda
It is increasingly difficult to distinguish legitimate, accurate news stories from propaganda. News and opinion have mingled under the banner of journalism over the past 30-40 years. Agendas (political, economic, corporate, etc.) drive how news is reported (or not reported). I doubt there was ever really a time in news reporting that everything reported fit the Walter Cronkite description. Still, “That’s the way it is” instilled confidence we were getting straight news. Now, the sad reality is many news agencies and reporters have angles they intend to promote (left and right). News is big business, big money, and big power.
That sounds cynical. It is. I don’t arrive at that conclusion happily or haphazardly. We ought to remember the world is driven by selfish lusts and prideful self-interest (1 John 2:16). Do we expect honesty from worldly-minded people who have rejected God and His truth (2 Tim. 3:1-5)? “Let no one deceive you…” (Eph. 5:6). Be wise (Matt. 10:16).
How do we prevent cynicism from bleeding over into our faith? How do we stay balanced? (1) By remaining committed to the absolute truth of God’s word (John 17:17; 18:36). (2) By speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). (3) By trusting in the power and presence of God. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). (4) By setting our minds on heavenly, not earthly, things (Col. 3:1-3).
The gospel is not propaganda. We aim to preach the whole counsel of God, not selective parts that fit a human agenda (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim. 4:2-4).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 04/04/2021
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA