Family, Health, Justice & Government, Morality, Sexuality, Transforming Society

Abortion and the Bible: Can Pro-life and Pro-choice Both Be Right?

In view of today’s landmark decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, here are two extracts from my book, Abortion and the Bible: Can Pro-life and Pro-choice Both Be Right?

Preface

While perusing the Scriptures and considering their logical application to abortion, it became apparent that the word of God is not as plain about the onset of personhood as some think. I grappled with pinning a point of view I could finally embrace. Nevertheless, though my understanding of all the aspects surrounding abortions continues to grow, I have become more acquainted with the biblical texts pertinent to the subject and better anchored by them.

I have become convinced that the Bible is pro-life in protecting fertility, life, and especially personhood in the womb while recognizing a biblically complementary pro-choice standpoint. At the same time, a measured pro-choice stance may not necessarily undermine God’s mysterious involvement in creating a “living soul.”

In addition, the 1 in 2 loss of zygotes, spontaneous abortions, and the human response to them, may corroborate that a gap exists between conception and personhood. Also, the condoning of abortions in the case of rape, incest, or medical threat may indicate a lack of unequivocal biblical assurance for the commencement of personhood by many Evangelicals or hypocrisy on their part. I hope the thoughts expressed in this book will challenge any unbiblical assumptions held by both the pro-life and pro-choice factions and help toward a view that represents the entire witness of the Bible, which is the basis for unity in the Church and society at large.

Key Biblical Texts

Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NAB)

Just as you do not know how the life breath enters the human frame in the mother’s womb, so you do not know the work of God, who is working in everything.

Notes:

  • This translation states that “the life breath” in the womb follows the existence of a “human frame.” The NRSV reads similarly.

Assumptions:

  • The verse may confirm that the pattern used to create Adam, where physical development preceded the onset of the soul, is standard in the offspring of Adam.

Ezekiel 37:4-10

4And He said to me, ‘Prophesy concerning these bones and tell them, “Dry bones . . .  6‘I will attach tendons to you and make flesh grow upon you and cover you with skin. I will put breath within you so that you will come to life. . . .”’ 8As I looked on, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath . . . so that they may live!’ 10So I prophesied as He had commanded me, and the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet—a vast army.

Notes:

  • There were two stages in the resurrection of the dead bones, viz., from physical life to a living soul.

Assumptions:

  • The verse may confirm that the pattern used to create Adam, where physical development preceded the onset of the soul, is standard.

Genesis 2:7

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Notes:

  • There were two stages in the creation of Adam, viz., from physical life to a living soul.

Assumptions:

  • God may have implemented similar stages in the offspring of Adam.

Genesis 2:21-22

21God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man . . . .

Notes:

  • Eve did not appear to require God breathe into her.
  • Unlike her future offspring, Eve was made immediately into an adult.

Assumptions:

  • God used living material from Adam to create Eve.
  • God breathed life into all of humanity when He breathed into Adam.

Genesis 25:22-23

22The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23The Lord said to her, Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.’

Notes:

  • Activity in the womb appears to depict the characteristics of individual personhood.

Assumptions:

  • Personhood begins in the womb before birth.

Exodus 21:22-25

22If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Compare with:

22When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine. 23If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (NRSV)

Notes:

  • The different versions have different outcomes, viz., premature birth and miscarriage.
  • There are different levels of punishments in different versions, namely, a fine for causing a miscarriage versus “a life for a life” in the event one occurred.

Assumptions:

  • Life in the womb is not considered equal to a human being in versions that interpret “miscarriage.”

Hosea 9:11-12

11Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, no conception. 12Even if they rear children, I will bereave them of every one . . . .

Notes:

  • Offspring appear to be “Ephraim’s glory.”
  • Four stages of life are mentioned, viz., conception, pregnancy, birth, and children.
  • Conception is the first stage of life.

Assumptions:

  • If life begins at conception, personhood may begin at conception.

Judges 13:4-5

4Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb . . . .

Notes:

  • The mother of Samson was told to avoid “wine or other fermented drink” from before she became pregnant.
  • This corresponds to the lifestyle her child, a future Nazarite, would have to make.

Assumptions:

  • The child was to be kept from alcohol from conception and throughout its development in the womb.
  • The onset of personhood begins in the womb and may begin at conception.

Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Notes:

  • This verse speaks of God having intimate knowledge of Jeremiah before he existed.
  • It also speaks of appointing Jeremiah as a prophet before he was born.
  • The term “formed” is the same root word used to describe the forming of Adam before God breathed into his nostrils and he became “a living soul” (Gen. 2:7).
  • The verse indicates a time in the womb, but does not indicate the onset of personhood.

Assumptions:

  • This verse initially speaks to the idea of the person before personhood.
  • “Before I formed you” could refer to an initial physical phase before the soul becomes manifest.
  • “[B]efore you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations,” may concern a subsequent phase in the womb when the soul has become manifest and able to interact.

Luke 1:15

[F]or he . . . will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.

Notes:

  • John the Baptist is filled with the Holy Spirit while still in the womb of his mother.

Assumptions:

  • Personhood is required for infilling to take place.

Luke 1:41

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb.

Notes:

  • John the Baptist responds to the presence of Mary who was to carry and birth to the Messiah.

Assumptions:

  • The personhood of John the Baptist is evident.

Matthew 1:20

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

Compare with:

But when he had thought this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (NASB)

Notes:

  • The term “what is” is also translated as “that which” in accordance with the Greek “to” which is translated “that.”
  • Some versions super-interpret this with terms like “the Child,” “the child,” “the baby,” etc.

Assumptions:

  • The conception by the Holy Spirit brought about evidence of a pregnancy.
  • Personhood is assumed by some translators.
  • Personhood may not yet be in effect.

Numbers 5:19-28

19Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, ‘If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband’— 21here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—‘may the LORD cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.’ Then the woman is to say, ‘Amen. So be it.’

. . .

27If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. 28If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

Notes:

  • An accused woman under suspicion of adultery had to drink “bitter water that brings a curse,” which would expose her guilt and, if pregnant, induce a miscarriage.

Assumptions:

  • This scenario may have been limited to an induced miscarriage before human personhood begins. Otherwise, the outcome would be an overreach of an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
  • Nonetheless, God could exercise punishment according to His discretion which went beyond the limitations He imposed on Israel. For the wages of sin is death. Consequently, the possibility exists that this passage can include the miscarriage of personhood in the womb.

Proverbs 6:16-17

16[S]ix things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him [are] 17. . . hands that shed innocent blood.

Notes:

  • God hates the shedding of innocent blood.

Assumptions:

  • God will punish those who shed innocent blood.

Psalms 139:13-16

13“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Notes:

  • “[M]y inmost being” is a distinct part of a person.
  • The terms “my frame” and “unformed body” refer to the physical self in the womb.

Assumptions:

  • “[M]y inmost being” appears to be a reference to the soul. It is used that way in Proverbs 23:13, which reads, “my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.”

Psalms 22:10

From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Notes:

  • God is personally involved from the womb.

Assumptions:

  • A relationship with God may begin in the womb.
  • Personhood may begin in the womb.

Psalms 51:5

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Compare with:

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (ESV)

Notes:

  • Sinful from conception is different from being conceived in sin.

Assumptions:

  • The former may imply the existence of personhood at conception.
  • The latter refers to sin passed on by the parents, which could manifest whenever ensoulment occurs.
Life in the Spirit

Changing the Heart of a Nation

The Bible Doctor

The Church is the light of the world, but without truth, they become the blind leading the blind, floundering and leading others to do the same. In this way, American evangelicals, who have had a huge influence on their country’s political landscape, have done just that. The following books offer remedies for three areas where many have lost biblical focus and led people astray:

Dismantling Dispensationalism

Available in Paperback, eBook, or as posts at Real Church Life

Remedies:

  • Remove the false end-time teachings associated with the Apocalypse.
  • Restore the day-to-day benefit of the book of Revelation to believers.
  • Better understand eschatology.
  • Remedy international relations.

The Bride and The Beast

Available in Paperback, eBook, or dedicated Website

Remedies:

  • Restore the requirement for good character in public officials.
  • Restore credibility with the unsaved.
  • Restore Christian influence as the means to long-term societal change rather than resorting to using…

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Marriage, Morality, Sexuality, The Law

Homosexuality and the Bible: Reflecting on the Discussion by Rob Bell & Andrew Wilson

Link to YouTube video in the post

Test Every Word From Every Teacher

Christian teachers like Rob Bell have a big influence on the body of Christ, and so their public views and teachings ought to be placed under greater scrutiny. Also, teachers in the body of Christ should welcome the examination of what they teach, for all see through a glass dimly (1 Cor. 13:12). Furthermore, it is praiseworthy and commanded to test what one gets taught. Paul commended the Berean Jews when he said that they “were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 NIV). And John says, “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 NIV).

Faulty Equivalences

So, despite Rob Bell’s frustration during the discussion at focus being put on homosexuality and not on other issues, it’s appropriate what he advocates gets scrutinized. Furthermore, his claim that undue focus gets given to this topic is unreasonable, as is the red herring of making a topic like “worry” of equivalent relevance. For, though “worry,” like many other issues, is a problem, no one in the body of Christ embraces it as a way of life, and all agree on its remedy. No one argues that “worry” is natural and that we should allow people to happily live in “worry” if that is what they are comfortable doing. However, when it comes to homosexuality, that is what people like Rob Bell are arguing, and a schism in opinion has come about that needs attention. And, yes, all sin is evil, but it is evident from the entire scope of Scripture that certain sins are more heinous than others.

Faulty Leverage

Not only does Rob Bell try to bolster his right to being frustrated by using false equivalences, but he also undermines the issue of homosexuality and the word of God by suggesting that they talk on topics that Jesus spoke about, like “worry.” He implies issues addressed by Jesus are weightier than those like homosexuality which, according to him, Jesus never addressed. Yet, are we to assume, because Jesus didn’t specifically address the issues of incest and bestiality, that he diminished the need to discuss these evil practices? And what if these get embraced by some in the body of Christ? So why not homosexuality which is growing in prevalence and acceptance despite being, up until recently, unanimously understood by the entire Church as sinful?

Using Jesus’ silence on any topic is faulty leverage, for Jesus said, “Man shall . . . live . . . on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4 NIV). He did not place His words above the moral law in the Old Testament. And, it would have been illogical and absurd had He said anything to nullify what His apostles would be inspired to write.

Yet, this is a common defense used by those who advocate for homosexuality, like Tony Campolo in “Christianity and Homosexuality – Tony Campolo” (14:20), who distinguishes between the authority of Jesus’ words or, in this case, His apparent silence on the topic, from God’s word through Paul in Romans. Ironically, Tony Campolo began his talk by saying that “the Spirit of God infused the authors so that what they wrote became an infallible guide to faith and practice” (00:52). Consequently, he should know that Paul’s teaching on homosexuality in Romans Chapter 1 is equally God’s word and New Testament revelation. While I found his stories heart-wrenching and wholeheartedly agree that love is the only approach, we must be careful for, just as he did with Peter, Satan will target our feelings to have us “seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (Matt. 16:23 NLT).

Faulty Foundation

Rob Bell’s frustration appears to be a deflection by someone who has already decided to make light of what he does not consider a grave topic. In addition, it helps him hide from his lack of a helpful and robust hermeneutic that can thoroughly justify his position, which is a reasonable expectation of a teacher in the body of Christ who holds to such an opinion. Instead, he had not yet worked out what in Leviticus is timeless and what is not, limiting his ability to understand Jesus’ reference to “sexual immorality.”

In the end, Rob Bell did not offer a clear breakdown of his hermeneutics or of the scholars he mentioned. What he said seemed flakey and unable to withstand what Andrew Wilson was asking. His view on homosexuality, built upon little more than smatterings of scholarship and put together piece-meal, crumbles under the first bit of rigorous testing. And, rather than the word of God, his view is undergirded by experience, which is never a sure foundation.

Are Christians supposed to be appeased by this sort of defense? Are we supposed to acquiesce to his retorts that patronize and don’t offer substance, and simply change the topic? No, for we are to get to the bottom of teachings. Also, as a reminder, “you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1 NIV). Therefore, everyone should welcome a loving discussion like this so that our teaching can be pruned and changed if necessary.

Was Jesus Silent on Homosexuality?

In Matthew 15:19, Jesus lists “adultery” apart from “sexual immorality” by saying, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person” (ESV). However, in Matt. 5:32, He most assuredly included it when He said, “But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (ESV).

Should only “adultery” be considered “sexual immorality” because that’s the only one Jesus specifically addressed? No! Jesus and His Jewish audience understood “sexual immorality” as defined in Leviticus, namely, homosexuality (Lev. 18:22), pedophilia (Lev. 18:23), bestiality (Lev. 18:23), incest (Lev. 20:17), or other forbidden familial relations (Lev. 20:11,12). Jesus, however, listed “adultery” separately from “sexual immorality” in Matthew 15:19. That leaves incest, other forbidden familial relations, bestiality, and homosexuality that fall under his reference to “sexual immorality.” Therefore, one cannot say that He didn’t deal with sins like homosexuality simply because he didn’t specifically name them. On that basis, one could argue for any sexual sins other than “adultery” to be excluded.

Jesus lived by “every word” and would have understood that homosexuality (Lev. 18:21) was one of the sins of “sexual immorality.” He also understood the ramifications of failing to live by every word, hence His warning.

Rob Morley

Sources:

Premier On Demand. (n.d.). Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson // Homosexuality & The Bible // Unbelievable? [YouTube Channel]. YouTube.

Suncrest United Methodist Church. (n.d.). Christianity and Homosexuality – Tony Campolo. [YouTube Channel]. YouTube.

Judgment, Morality, Prophecy, salvation, The Bad News, The Good News, Transforming Society

Hope for Ukrainians and Promise of Judgment

Why Is There War in Ukraine?

The war in Ukraine has me asking whether the people of Ukraine had been, like Job, fearing God and shunning evil. In other words, were they building their lives on faith in God and righteousness? It’s a rhetorical question, for they are not unlike most people in every nation of the world who go about life with little thought for God, mounting up judgment upon themselves.

The Hope for Ukraine, Russia, and all Nations

In a post, A Time of Peace, Joy, Judgment, and Wrath, I wrote of the hope found in Isaiah 2 for the people of Ukraine and all other nations. It includes one of the most beautiful pictures of restoration between people and God and between one another found in the Bible. Pray that God sends more workers into Ukraine with His gospel and the entire word of God so that they may rebuild with Christ in the center.

God Has Promised Judgment and Wrath

A closer look at Revelation allows one to see that wars and pandemics are just some ways that judgment comes from God upon people. If the war in Ukraine is a judgment on seemingly good people, one can imagine what is in store for our nations and, especially, those not yet saved. And think what judgment is in store for Putin and Russia if they do not repent and seek God’s mercy.

“For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:30-31).

As I write, the Russians appear to be preparing their people for a protracted war in Ukraine and their Foreign Minister spoke ominously of the potential for World War III. Hopefully, it’s just a ruse.

Fear God

And what of those who are saved? How are we to live? Are we in need of the discipline of God?*

“Since everything will be destroyed [by fire] what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Pet. 3:11-13).

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).

“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others” (2 Cor. 5:11).

*For more on Jesus judging His churches, and those in them, as well as people in the world, you can read, Don’t Say the J Word, a post I wrote during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rob Morley

In Christ, Justice & Government, Real Church, The Body of Christ, Transforming Society

Think Church, Be Church, Change the World

Picture by Lusi

World Changers

To see His Church the way Jesus did is to view a company of people imbued with His light and changing the world. He saw them as world changers when he said, “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14) and taught them to pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10).

Can Darkness Help the Light?

If He said, “I will build my [Company of Light-Giving World-Changers] and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18), why do we look to politicians as the source of help for the Church and its causes? After all, can darkness help the light? “Many seek audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that one gets justice” (Prov. 29:6). Often politicians come as angels of light, offering the kingdoms as Satan did to Jesus, but though they may give something, they often end up taking and destroying far more.

Change Is Grassroots Work, Not Drive-Through Politics

Change doesn’t come by placing quick-fix plasters of promises and executive orders on the cancer of sin. True societal change comes through grassroots efforts of love. It begins with me and you taking the plank out of our own eye so that we can really help others. Change is often incremental before it is exponential. It is grassroots work, not drive-through politics.

Rob Morley

Eschatology, Judgment, Leadership, Prophecy, The Antichrist, Transforming Society

UNHOLY FIRE!

Evangelicals in America brought unholy fire into God’s holy institution of government (Rom. 13) and, worse, into His Church. They must repent for this fire continues to destroy their nation and divide the Church and only God can put it out. I have written on this in order to bring about repentance and to this end have made my book freely available at THE BRIDE AND THE BEAST: Evangelicals in Bed with Trump.

Rob Morley

Eschatology, Faith, Judgment, Prophecy, salvation, The Antichrist

Ukraine Under God’s Judgment, a Russian Beast, and Nations Warned

Edited Picture:
fangol (Robert Proksa)

Why War Has Come To Ukraine

Don’t get me wrong when you read this. I am all for Ukraine and its people and am incredibly inspired and impressed by their resilience against extreme Russian aggression. But as a student and teacher of God’s word, I must ask why God’s judgment has fallen on them? For such losses and devastation speak to this. Or is Ukraine like righteous Job, and am I like his friends?

For some, the idea that God is judging them might not sit well, for Ukraine has been a peaceful country (except, of course, having to ward off Russian separatists and face the Russians in war). It is not an easy reality for me to proclaim either. But do they have peace with God? How have they responded to the gospel? This is the most important question that the people of Ukraine and all people of the world must answer. For it has to do with so much more than the destiny of a nation and its people. It’s their eternal destiny. For, though Russian aggression is unwarranted in human terms, nevertheless, the circumstances speak to and warn all on earth who have rejected Jesus Christ.

Jesus As Judge

Consider the following passages:

“Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psa. 2:12, NIV).

“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish’” (Luke 13:1-5).

Similarly, the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ teaches that people are judged for rejecting Him. It depicts Jesus as the judge who brings wars, famines, economic despair, plagues (e.g. COVID-19), etc. on those who have rejected Him.

Have Ukrainians wholeheartedly turned to Christ? And, what about you and your nation? Yes, what of America, Russia, England, etc.? Are we better than the Ukrainians? No, far worse in some cases.

The Beast Gets Judged

But if God’s judgment on Ukraine is this severe, consider how bad it will be for Putin, despite God using Him to this end. Yes, woe to Putin and his allies, for he is Russia’s manifestation of the beast of Revelation, whose end, barring repentance, is destruction in the lake of fire.

Finally, be warned America, for you have coddled your very own manifestation of Revelation’s beast, with white evangelicals as his false prophet, and he has not gone away. I have written more on this in several posts and my book, THE BRIDE AND THE BEAST: Evangelicals in Bed with Trump.

Repent

Turn to God with all your heart. For, as Jesus warned, “unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:5). Have you peace with God? Perhaps you would like to read my post, Are You Saved and Assured of Your Salvation?

Pray

Pray for all Ukrainians and Russians. For God, in His mercy, is willing and able to forgive any who come to Him and repent of their sin. Even President Putin.

Rob Morley

Jesus, Judgment, My Bible, salvation, The Bad News, The Good News

The Bible Is Both Good News and Bad News

Do You Want The Good News or Bad News First?

The good news is that the Bible is 100% accurate and God’s word. The bad news is that the Bible is 100% accurate and God’s word. It is either good or bad depending on how you answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:15).

The Good News

God chose to save the world by sending Jesus to die on the cross and pay the debt of their sins so that He could forgive any who seek Him for mercy and a new start. For though “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), “[H]e is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). “God made [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus Is God’s Message of Salvation and Judgment, Death and Life

” . . . we [who share God’s word] are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life” (2 Cor. 2:15-16). For “[w]hoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:36).

The choice is yours. God, in His love for you, already made His.

Rob Morley

Justice & Government, Leadership, Morality, Transforming Society

A Resolution Worth Keeping

Forgotten/Unknown Resolution from 1998

“In 1998, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, passed, what they called, a Resolution On Moral Character Of Public Officials.”1 It contains biblical principles that inform and warn the electorate against choosing persons of ill-repute. Here it is:

WHEREAS, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 NAS); and

WHEREAS, Serious allegations continue to be made about moral and legal misconduct by certain public officials; and

WHEREAS, The Bible calls upon all citizens to submit themselves to their governing authorities as ministers of the Lord (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13); and

WHEREAS, Scripture further teaches, “Whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:2); and

WHEREAS, Governing authorities are not themselves exempt from the rule of law and must submit to the nation’s statutes, rather than mocking them (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:14; Proverbs 19:28-29; 2 Samuel 12:7; Mark 6:17-18); and

WHEREAS, Some journalists report that many Americans are willing to excuse or overlook immoral or illegal conduct by unrepentant public officials so long as economic prosperity prevails; and

WHEREAS, Tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment (1 Kings 16:30; Isaiah 5:18-25); and

WHEREAS, Many public officials and candidates deserve our gratitude and support for their consistent moral character and their uncompromising commitment to biblical principles of right and wrong, resulting in blessing upon their people.

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 9-11, 1998, in Salt Lake City, Utah, affirm that moral character matters to God and should matter to all citizens, especially God’s people, when choosing public leaders; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we implore our government leaders to live by the highest standards of morality both in their private actions and in their public duties, and thereby serve as models of moral excellence and character; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we urge all citizens, including those who serve in public office, to submit themselves respectfully to governing authorities and to the rule of law; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists and other Christians to fulfill their spiritual duty to pray regularly for the leaders of our nation (1 Timothy 2:1-4); and Be it finally RESOLVED, That we urge all Americans to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office, and to elect those officials and candidates who, although imperfect, demonstrate consistent honesty, moral purity and the highest character.2

Rob Morley

1Morley, R. S. (2021). The Bride and The Beast: Evangelicals in Bed With Trump. Self-published.

2Southern Baptist Convention. (1998, June 1). Resolution On Moral Character Of Public Officials. SBC.

Justice & Government, Leadership, Morality, Transforming Society

The Moral Character of Public Officials: Remembering January 6

Photo by MIMICA Rgbstock

“In 1998, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, passed, what they called, a Resolution On Moral Character Of Public Officials. If it had been followed, Trump would have been kept out of office in 2016 and evangelicals would have distanced themselves from him in 2020.”1 Instead, more the 80% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Resolution On Moral Character Of Public Officials reads as follows:

WHEREAS, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 NAS); and

WHEREAS, Serious allegations continue to be made about moral and legal misconduct by certain public officials; and

WHEREAS, The Bible calls upon all citizens to submit themselves to their governing authorities as ministers of the Lord (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13); and

WHEREAS, Scripture further teaches, “Whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:2); and

WHEREAS, Governing authorities are not themselves exempt from the rule of law and must submit to the nation’s statutes, rather than mocking them (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:14; Proverbs 19:28-29; 2 Samuel 12:7; Mark 6:17-18); and

WHEREAS, Some journalists report that many Americans are willing to excuse or overlook immoral or illegal conduct by unrepentant public officials so long as economic prosperity prevails; and

WHEREAS, Tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment (1 Kings 16:30; Isaiah 5:18-25); and

WHEREAS, Many public officials and candidates deserve our gratitude and support for their consistent moral character and their uncompromising commitment to biblical principles of right and wrong, resulting in blessing upon their people.

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 9-11, 1998, in Salt Lake City, Utah, affirm that moral character matters to God and should matter to all citizens, especially God’s people, when choosing public leaders; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we implore our government leaders to live by the highest standards of morality both in their private actions and in their public duties, and thereby serve as models of moral excellence and character; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we urge all citizens, including those who serve in public office, to submit themselves respectfully to governing authorities and to the rule of law; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists and other Christians to fulfill their spiritual duty to pray regularly for the leaders of our nation (1 Timothy 2:1-4); and

Be it finally RESOLVED, That we urge all Americans to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office, and to elect those officials and candidates who, although imperfect, demonstrate consistent honesty, moral purity and the highest character.2

Rob Morley

1Morley, R. S. (2021). The Bride and The Beast: Evangelicals in Bed With Trump. Self-published.

2Southern Baptist Convention. (1998, June 1). Resolution On Moral Character Of Public Officials. SBC.