Sunday, August 8, 2010

Does being a Christian mean that I should be patriotic?

The Bible is very clear that governments are established by God. Romans 13 tells us that all authority comes from God and that we must be in subjection to it. Verse 2 states,

“Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God.”

Paul explains that governments are a blessing, they keep the peace. Paul told Titus (3:1) to…

“…remind them (the believers at Crete) to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed.”

If you desire to live for Christ then you will do your best to live in subjection to His ordained authority.

Paul not only encouraged believers to obey governments, but also to pray for them. I Timothy 2:1-2 states,

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quite life in all godliness and dignity.”

Paul encourages us to live by the laws of the land and further to pray for our leaders. This is especially interesting since Paul was writing during the reign of emperor Nero, who was famous for persecuting Christians.
However, patriotism often indicates more than mere obedience and prayer. For many, patriotism implies a deep commitment and love for their country; a “love it or leave it” attitude. Many Christians have associated loyalty to their nation (or nationality) with loyalty to God. “Christianity and Patriotism are synonymous terms,” said evangelist Billy Sunday, “and hell and traitors are synonymous.” Thus, one of America's most effective evangelists fell into the trap of confusing the Christian faith with the religion of American patriotism.

Paul does not encourage this type of patriotism in his writings. In I Peter 2:11, while urging civil obedience, he refers to believers as “aliens and strangers” in an ungodly world. He understood that the Christian's citizenship is in heaven, not among the countries of the earth. We serve (and are loyal to) the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. No other allegiance is as important as our commitment to God.
I, too, am proud of the United States. However, I also remember being extremely proud of my high school. As I cheered for our football team, I honestly felt that there was not a school in the entire world that was better than mine. When I entered college, I realized that all high schools are basically very similar. None are worthy of being elevated to a “supreme school” status.

Perhaps this is the way it will be when we enter Heaven. We may feel blessed for living in America, but I doubt that we will feel any patriotic allegiance when we realize that our true commitment has belonged to God all the time. Standing before Christ, we will look around and see that He has blessed people from every part of the world throughout history. We will realize that (like the Sabbath) nations were created to serve man and not the other way around.

Author: Mark Van Bebber of Films for Christ.
Selengkapnya...(Read More)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Is oral sex biblically wrong within marriage?

QUESTION: “My wife and I love the Lord with all our hearts, and we don't want to do anything to sin against Him. Our question is in the area of oral sex. Is it scripturally wrong for married couples?”
No where does the Bible forbid it or discuss it. There is no biblical evidence that it is a sin against God for a husband and wife to express love for each other in this way. Even the book of Leviticus, which mentions many Old Testament sex-related prohibitions and rules for the Israelites, never mentions it. We see no reason to believe that expressing affection for one's mate in this way is forbidden or would necessarily harm one's walk with God.

We are aware that some have tried to make a biblical issue out of what parts of the body a married couple can and cannot kiss. In their minds, there is only only one biblical form of sexual expression in marriage, sexual intercourse. They attempt to defend their viewpoint on biblical grounds—trying to make it into a holiness issue. However, no where do we see Scripture putting such limits on the sexual relationship of a godly husband and wife, even Levitical priests (who were forbidden to do many things).

Most knowledgeable and spiritually mature Christians realize that God is the author of sex and love, and every part and sensation of the human body, and that He intended the relationship between husband and wife to be loving, sensuous, joyful, creative and full of pleasure.

Read the somewhat cryptic Song of Solomon from a lover's point of view. Using delicate, romantic language and metaphors, it describes a beautiful, affectionate, romantic, sensuous, joyful and passionate love between husband and wife. It seems to be speaking of the lovers tasting, eating and drinking of each other's bodies (Song of Songs 2:3; 4:16; 8:2). One cannot be sure what this means exactly, but certainly we see no evidence here or elsewhere that God is concerned with what part of their bodies might be touching, including where they kissed their mate. (About the Song of Solomon, see the WebBible Encyclopedia http://ChristianAnswers.Net/dictionary/solomonsongof.html)

God is concerned about your love for each other. He wants all Christians, including husbands and wives, to be kind to each other, patient, respectful and unselfish. Ultimate love is pure in motive and action. Follow that goal, and you are not likely to go wrong.
What about Sodom?

Perhaps you have heard some one claim that oral lovemaking in marriage as wrong by associating it with the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. This comparison is misguided and offensive. It is quite clear that Sodom's problems had nothing to do with how godly, loving marriage partners were expressing their affection for each other.

To the contrary, there was a total lack of godly, loving, heterosexual marriage partners in Sodom (save Lot and his wife). We shall not name the many gross and demonically inspired evils that probably took place among the wicked there. It is better left unsaid. Suffice it to say that the list would sicken most people. “The men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord” (Genesis 13:13). Serious students of the Bible and archaeology know that the kind of things that were going on at Sodom were done by extremely ungodly people, expressing enormous selfishness, total lack of love, extreme spiritual depravity, and major rebellion against God. In other words, the sex lives of godly husbands and wives was not an issue at these cities, nor did it have anything to do with its destruction.

Although the Bible is silent on the specifics of what you have asked (apparently leaving it up to the mutual agreement of the marriage partners), it is not silent on sex in marriage. Conservative Christian marriage counselors Dr. Ed Wheat and Gloria Okes Perkins point out that…

“…a biblical understanding of sex dispels false fears and inhibitions. …The Scriptures tell us clearly that the joyous sexual expression of love between husband and wife is God's plan. …Uninformed people have actually considered the Victorian view to be biblical because they think the Bible forbids all earthly pleasures. Certainly not! In fact, the Bible is far more 'liberated' concerning sex than untaught people realize. In God's view there is a mutuality of experience between husband and wife. Each has an equal right to the other's body. Each has not only the freedom but also the responsibility to please the other and to be pleased in return. …These basic principles concerning the enjoyment of sex in marriage are found in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5…
The principle of need… a commandment, to meet our mate's sexual needs…
The principle of authority… when we marry, we actually relinquish the right to our own body, and turn that authority over to our mate. …the wife's body now belongs to the husband. The husband's body now belongs to the wife. This means that we must love our mate's body and care for it as our own…
The principle of habit… we must not cheat our partner by abstaining from the habit of sex, except by mutual consent for a brief time” [Love Life for Every Married Couple, pp. 70-73].

Copyright © 2001, Eden Communications, All Rights Reserved.
Selengkapnya...(Read More)