On Black Lives Matter and the Question No One Seems to be Asking (But Should Be)

Many questions have been raised – and continue to be – about the movement known as Black Lives Matter and its pursuit of social justice. But the question no one seems to be asking is one which, in my humble opinion, is the most fundamental of all:

What does it actually mean that black lives “matter” and why should it matter to me?

It is a question that is important to consider because to assert that “black lives matter” (or “all lives matter” if you prefer), is to apply the universal assumption that human life in general is inherently valuable if for no other reason than that it is human life.

But what is it about human life that elevates it to this particular level of appreciation and esteem?

Against whose standard of measure is valuable defined? Is that standard objective or subjective? If objective, then, by what authority are we obligated to acknowledge said standard? And if subjective, who then determines when, if, or how this standard of worth changes and to what degree?

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” – Psalm 8:3-5 (NASB)

As mantras go, “blacklivesmatter” might make for a good hashtag on social media, but there is more to it than that.

Much more.

For to declare that a thing “matters” – whether it be a human life or a set of collection of antique jewelry – is to ascribe to that thing a degree of significance or worth that is grounded in a preconceived idea of what it means for something to “matter”.

“Man is an exception, whatever else he is. If he is not the image of God, then he is a disease of the dust.” – G.K. Chesterton

Ask anyone you know if a certain person or thing is of any importance to them and not only will you receive a definitive answer but, more than likely, they will give you the reason why as well (whether the answer is yes or no).

And it is the why of this proposition that “black lives matter” that no one seems to be talking about.

I live in a suburb of Atlanta where it is not unusual to see deer roaming about this time of year. Mornings are dark longer now, so I’m more alert than usual when driving into work, as deer have a tendency to dart into the road as if out of nowhere.

Every now and then, not often, I’ll notice a deer carcass lying on the side of the road. In that moment, I may spend a second or two in compassionate contemplation about the events that ultimately led to the animal’s demise.

Questions such as: How was it killed? Did it endure much suffering before it died? What was it doing so close to the road in the first place?

You know, thoughts like that.

But what I do not spend time contemplating is whether I should pull my car over to see if the deer can be revived by performing CPR. I do not think to dial 911 to request an ambulance so that the remnants of the deer can be transported to the county morgue and autopsied. Nor do I bother to contact the animal’s next of kin so that funeral arrangements can be made.

No, the most attention that poor deer will get from me is a passing glance as I continue on my way into the office.


It’s simple, really.

The deer didn’t “matter” to me.

Not because it wasn’t my deer, mind you, but because it was a deer.

Now, before you go reporting me to PETA or accusing me of being some insensitive, animal-hating conservative nut job, please understand that the previous illustration is neither to suggest, infer, nor imply that animals do not matter.

They do.

In fact, you may be surprised to learn just how much Scripture has to say about how we are to treat animals as the creations of God they are.

For example:

“Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest…” – Exodus 23:12a (NASB)

There are other texts that come to mind as well (Deuteronomy 25:4; Proverbs 12:10; Luke 12:6).

But though it is true that animals are created by God, they are not created in the image of God (imago Dei). Among the myriad creations formed by the hand of God, only human beings can lay claim to this unique distinction (Genesis 1:27).

Which brings us back to the original question, doesn’t it?

“If we ever deny our unique status in creation as God’s only image-bearers, we will soon begin to depreciate the value of human life, will tend to see humans as merely a higher form of animal, and will begin to treat others as such. We will also lose much of our sense of meaning in life.” – Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, p. 450

You see, the truth, when all is said and done, is that you cannot arbitrarily assert that black lives matter without also offering an apologetic as to why. For to declare, as if in a vacuum, that black lives have significance is of no real profit unless the argument is posited within the context of objective truth.

Otherwise, the discourse is reduced to nothing more than subjective opinions and ad hominem conjecture, the result of which is tantamount to running on a philosophical treadmill as the dialogue becomes so circular and unproductive, that it just goes on and on and on getting no one anywhere.

“Christianity is a philosophy – though not a rationalistic one because we have not worked it out beginning from ourselves. Rather, God has told us the answers. In this sense it is the true philosophy, for it gives right answers to man’s philosophic and intellectual questions.” – Francis Schaeffer (as cited in Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended by Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen, pp. 241-242)

Any conversation about the value of human life, whether it be with regard to social injustice, abortion, or child slavery, must start with God and with His objective and equitable construct of why human life matters.

That the issue of the significance of human life is deemed by many to be worthy of protest in its various and sundry forms, is only because God, who is the Author of all life, has attributed significance to it.

“Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.” – Psalm 100:3a (NASB) 

It is the same today as it was thousands of years ago, when God declared holy the ground on which Moses stood as he encountered the glory of God at the burning bush (Exodus 3:5).

Only God could declare sacred and hallowed [קֹדֶשׁ] something as useless and expendable as the dirt that Moses’ worn out sandals had come in contact with in that one extraordinary moment.


Human life matters because, in our humanity, we bear the image of the One who gives life to each of us (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

That we, as human beings, are of a particular race, ethnicity, or nationality is of no significance given that even those aspects of our earthly existence are sovereignly ordained by God, so neither you nor I have anything to boast of in ourselves (Acts 17:26).

Not our race.

Not our ethnicity.

Not our individual socio-cultural experiences.


“But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians 6:14 (NASB)

The question of why black lives matter is indivisible from the annunciation that black lives matter.

It is an attestation that demands an apologetic because, at its core, it is an existential inquiry that invariably points us to God and to His standard for how mankind should relate to Himself and to one another (Exodus 20:1-17; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Matthew 5:38-48John 13:34-35).

With this in mind, as followers of the God of all life, we must be prepared to respond to subjective philosophical hashtags with the objective biblical hermeneutic that mankind is not, as Chesterton stated, merely a “disease of the dust”.

Humbly in Christ,


On conservatives and race: do black lives really matter to the right?

Please consider this thoughtful commentary from my sister in the Lord, Lisa Robinson.

Lisa Robinson

black-lives-matter-super-169In my last post, I addressed an issue of priorities that drives politically conservative Christians to not only be drawn to the GOP but also feel compelled to endorse it’s candidate to uphold priorities. Specifically, I noted issues of life and traditional values and expressed the following.

These concerns are quite legitimate. We care about the rights of the unborn. And we care about the liberties granted us under the founding principles of this nation, that are to ensure freedom of worship. And so the typical response at elections is who will align with these values.

I confess that I had a particular audience in mind when penning that post, those who insist that the GOP platform is the most compatible with Christian values regardless of who their spokesperson is. For this crowd, these are concerns that are most directly linked to issues of life and morality. It is not…

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Elections Are Ultimately About Voting the Right Sinner Into Office


Do me a favor.

Stop whatever it is you’re doing and take a few moments to think back to the very first promise someone made to you.

What thoughts immediately come to your mind? Who made the promise? Was it fulfilled as-promised or is it yet to be realized? If the latter, how does it make you feel today? Disappointed? Unimportant? Perhaps even unloved?

Now, think ahead to November 8, 2016.

What thoughts come to your mind now? What expectations do you have of the person for whom you’re planning to cast your vote for president (assuming you are planning to vote)? Are you more hopeful in their promises than in the ones made to you at other times in your life? Why or why not?

“Everyone has commitments to a certain way of seeing life. Some people call this a worldview. Whatever the label, it is a vision about life, what it is, and how it works. This vision of life may be wise or foolish. People may or may not be self-conscious about their vision of life. But everyone possesses such a vision.” – Heath Lambert, A Theology of Biblical Counseling: The Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry, p. 16

At the risk of making you feel as if you’re being interrogated under a heat lamp from a fast-food restaurant, the reason I posed the aforementioned questions is because, if nothing else, elections are about promises…

…and hopes…

…and expectations.

And why do we hope?

Why do we believe?

We hope because something inside of us longs for righteousness in our political leaders. We know it is right that those who are in authority over us should exercise that power with integrity and equity.

We believe because, as Christians, we trust in the veracity of a God who has so purposed that worldly governments operate and function “as a minister of God for our good” (Romans 13:4a).

Nevertheless, we must not be naive to the fact that underneath all the pomp and circumstance of presidential politics is the universal truth that, like each of us, politicians are sinners by nature (Romans 3:23). That any man or woman should, by God’s sovereign will (Romans 13:1b), attain to the highest office in the land – or any office for that matter – won’t change that.

The Lord is my portion,” says my soul. Therefore I have hope in Him. – Lamentations 7:24 (NASB)

My pointing out the fallen nature of politicians is not to suggest that Christians should hold such a thing against those who seek political office. Such logic would be both misguided and hypocritical, as no human being could then even run for office let alone be elected to one.

Which is why spiritual discernment is so critical.

Consider the counsel given to Moses by his father-in-law, Jethro, concerning the governance of the people of Israel during the Exodus from Egypt:

Now listen to me: I will give you counsel and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.” – Exodus 18:19-21 (NASB)

Then there is David, whom God ordained to be king over the nation of Israel while he was but a shepherd boy, looking not at his external attributes as qualification for the office, but at something far more important:

When they entered, he [Samuel] looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinidab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either. Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him here; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” – 1 Samuel 16:6-12 (NASB)

Whether we realize it or not, the reason so many people – Christians and non-Christians alike – are so concerned about this presidential election is because it is fundamentally a matter of biblical theology not political ideology.

Regardless of one’s political persuasion or party affiliation, each of us has an innate awareness of our capacity as human beings to commit evil. It is this shared but unacknowledged awareness of our penchant to sin against one another that is causing such an unprecedented level of angst among voters across the nation. Our problem is we simply refuse to treat it as the spiritual issue it is.

It has been said that the elections of 2016 are the most crucial in our nation’s 240-year history.

I can’t say that I disagree.

Given what is at stake in this election, particularly as it relates to potential implications to the church and our ability as Christians to continue to freely practice our beliefs, as followers of Christ we must ask ourselves:

  • Have I attempted to see these presidential candidates as God sees them; looking past the external to fruit of who he or she is on the inside?
  • What biblical evidence is there that either of these candidates is endeavoring to live a righteous life before the God who created them in His image?
  • Am I viewing this election as a spiritual matter with spiritual implications to our nation or do I see it merely as my civic duty to perform?
  • To what degree, if any, does my professed Christian worldview shape my political ideology?
  • Do I compartmentalize my Christianity so that it applies only to certain areas of my life and not others?
  • Have I spent time alone, before the face of God, seeking His divine wisdom as to how I should cast my vote?

Righteousness exalts a nation. But sin is a disgrace to any people.” – Proverbs 14:34 (NASB)

Needless to say, there is no “perfect” political candidate.

There has never been nor will there ever be.

Whether president or dog catcher – all are sinners alike.

But, you see, perfection is not the standard.

God’s standard of perfection was met in His Son Jesus Christ. It is in Him alone that perfect righteousness can be found (2 Corinthians 5:21).

But though God does not require perfection of us, He does require holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16). And if God requires holiness in the lives of we who profess to believe in Him, how then can we discount or disregard it in the lives of those we choose to govern us (Proverbs 29:2; 2 Corinthians 6:14)?

“Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing with God’s judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. He who most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man.” – J.C. Ryle, Holiness

When we consider that the very concept of government was established by God (Romans 13:1), then, to the Christian at least, voting is seen as not just a civic duty but a spiritual discipline.

Yes, all politicians are sinners.

That much is true.

And yet we can still pray that God will have mercy on our nation so that the right sinner is elected to office in November.

Humbly in Christ,


John Mark Syndrome: Pursuing Biblical Justice at the Expense of Christian Unity

Image credit: nydailynews.com

For anyone to admit that incidents of police-involved violence is a divisive topic in America today would be an understatement to say the least. Likewise, to deny that this issue is equally divisive, if not more so, among Christians is to be naively oblivious to reality.

Does my saying that surprise you?

It shouldn’t.

There is a sense today in which many followers of Jesus seem to have bought into the notion that Christian “oneness” (1 Corinthians 1:10-17Romans 12:18) is defined solely in terms of being in complete agreement with one another on such issues as this; that obedience to our Lord’s command to “love one another” (John 13:34-35) is evidenced only by the absence of any signs of disunity or friction among those who profess to belong to Him (John 1:12-13, 6:69; Ephesians 4:25-32).

But the truth is there are any number of worldly matters in which followers of Christ are clearly not not united.

Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah saying, Thus the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’ – Zechariah 7:8-10 (NASB)

The topic of biblical justice is only the latest in a veritable laundry list of discordant socio-cultural issues the evangelical church has had to deal with over the past half century (such as abortion and same-sex marriage).

Not that biblical justice is a new issue, mind you, but rather, as an issue, it is being experienced by an entirely new generation in entirely new ways, not the least of which is through unlimited access to smart devices and social media platforms that bring people face-to-face with incidents of police-involved violence often in real-time.

For the sake of context, I define biblical justice as:

the equitable application of God’s objective standard of righteousness, as revealed in the Bible, toward those who are created in the image of God by those who are likewise created in His image, and who, by virtue of God’s sovereign will, have been placed in positions of authority over them (Genesis 1:27; Proverbs 31:9; Micah 6:8Romans 13:1-7).

It should go without saying that the pursuit of biblical justice, as a gospel mandate, applies to every Christian everywhere, whether individually or corporately (Isaiah 1:17Micah 6:8; Matthew 28:19-20).

Nevertheless, this mandate, though scripturally sanctioned, should not be viewed as the all-or-nothing, by-any-means-necessary proposition many believers make it out to be.

For to hold to such a rigid paradigm of biblical justice is to risk breaking fellowship with others who are believers in Christ (Romans 8:16-17) but who, though equally committed to this mandate, may not necessarily perceive the issue through the exact same theological, philosophical, cultural, or ideological lens.

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? – Amos 3:3 (NLT)

Interestingly, if not ironically, these same Scriptures that exhort us toward this pursuit also warn us of how easily such relational disintegration can occur; and how we must guard against allowing even our most well-intentioned efforts on behalf of the gospel to morph into self-centered idolatry.

A Commendable Purpose

In Acts chapter 15, Paul and Barnabas are ministering to Jewish believers in Antioch  (vv. 22-34) who were being wrongly taught that circumcision was still a requisite for salvation (vv. 1-5).

After spending some time there (vv. 33-35), the two apostles mutually agreed that it would be a good idea to “return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are” (v. 36).

That Paul and Barnabas would be so concerned for the welfare of their fellow brothers and sisters is commendable. After all, what is the gospel of Christ if not seeking the well-being of others in the name of Christ, and meeting those needs even if at great sacrifice to ourselves (Luke 21:1-4John 15:13; 2 Corinthians 8:9-15Galatians 6:9-10; James 1:27)?

But, you see, having a right purpose is not enough in and of itself.

It must be accompanied by a right heart-attitude.

A Contentious Disagreement

The brotherly unity exhibited by Paul and Barnabas toward one another was short-lived.

Having addressed the divisive teaching that was being propagated among the Antioch believers, the two missionaries soon found themselves pitted against one another over whether their fellow brother in Christ, John (Mark), should accompany them on their goodwill journey to the other churches.

Barnabas was in favor of the idea whereas Paul was not (Acts 13:13, 15:37-38).

The disagreement over John Mark was of such severity that we are told they “separated from one another” (v. 39).

To truly appreciate the depths of disharmony that existed between Paul and Barnabas, it is important to note that the Greek word separated in the aforementioned verse carries the same hermeneutical connotation as the word divorce.

So it can rightly be said that the divide between Paul and Barnabas was so contemptuous, so profound, so deep-seated as to be on the level of a husband and wife who decide to terminate their marriage (Mark 10:9).

It is a mindset that is often the case with Christians with regard to the issue of biblical justice.

Under the banner that biblical justice is mandated in the gospel, we allow our personal zeal for this mission to become such a point of contention that our own vision of how and by what means this mandate should come to fruition becomes more important than the mandate itself.



We have forgotten whose mandate it is.

A Cautionary Example

Paul and Barnabas divided themselves over a fellow brother.

Think about that for a moment.

Two godly men, faithfully laboring together in the defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ, suddenly determine to separate from one another, not over an unbeliever – which might have been somewhat understandable – but over a fellow believer with whom they would one day share in the glories of heaven forever (Philippians 3:20).

But are you and I any more unified than were Paul and Barnabas?

Are we really any different than they?

No, not really.

In fact, I would argue that believers today are just as willing to separate themselves over the issue of biblical justice as were Paul and Barnabas over John Mark.

The evidence of this is all around us.

Instead of offering a Christ-focused gospel as an appropriate response to the matter of injustice in our society, we partition ourselves into one or more of the following “camps”:

  • pro or anti-national anthem protests
  • pro or anti-Black Lives Matter
  • pro or anti-slavery reparations
  • pro or anti-law enforcement

Consequently, the world comes to know us not for a gospel that addresses humanity’s innately sinful condition – which is at the root of all injustice – but for the infighting that exists among ourselves simply because we happen to not all see eye-to-eye on the various dynamics and nuances associated with this issue.

Such a distorted view of Christians by the world is to be expected when that which is mandated by the gospel becomes more important than the gospel itself.

And that, my brothers and sisters, is something we should never allow to happen.


In our pursuit of biblical justice, we must resist the temptation to become victims of what I call “John Mark Syndrome”.

John Mark Syndrome is what Paul and Barnabas suffered from.

It is taking a legitimate gospel mission and personalizing that mission in such a way that it becomes more about us than about the gospel.

And lest we forget, the gospel is about Jesus.

It is not about you or me.

Remember, the only reason there is a gospel at all is because Jesus, who is God in the flesh, condescended to us not the other way around (John 3:16; Romans 5:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30aEphesians 2:1-9; Colossians 2:9).

It is when we attempt to invert this truth that deep divisions occur and we divorce ourselves from one another to the detriment of our witness for Christ (Ephesians 4:29-32).

When you stop to consider the extent to which the issue of biblical justice continues to divide the church today, especially along racial and ethnic lines, the question we as believers must ask is:

In the broader context of the gospel, namely, that it is a call for people to come to faith in Jesus Christ for the salvation of their soul (Acts 4:12), is this one issue really worth what it is costing us?

Humbly in Christ,


Why The Debate Over The Star Spangled Banner Has Been Brewing For Over 2,000 Years

https://i1.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8286/7853865782_b28710c0a0_z.jpgCommemorative statue of “The A&T Four” on the campus of North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

Over the course of human history the goal of all protest has been to either change minds or influence behavior.

Whether it is the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, or Black Lives Matter, all dissent, be it corporate or individual, has as a common denominator one, if not both, of the aforementioned objectives.

But given our normal propensity to focus on what a particular protest may or may not ultimately be designed to accomplish, what is often overlooked is that antecedent to the aims of any protest are its motives.

Irrespective of the issue(s) being contended or the method(s) employed to bring said issue(s) to the attention of the masses (a requisite if any protest is to achieve its stated goals), what is inherent to any complaint, demurral, or remonstration is a standard of righteousness that is borne of a worldview – a personal moral or ethical framework – that is grounded in an awareness that there exists such a thing as truth.

The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think. – Aristotle

Contrary to what many today believe, when it comes to matters of protest the predominant question is never a matter of right and wrong but of truth.

There can be no consideration of what is right or wrong about a particular issue, be it social, cultural, political or otherwise, apart from first establishing what is the truth about a matter.

That I said “…what is the truth” versus “…what is true” is not a misstatement.

Understanding the distinction between these two paradigms is crucial to any conversation about issues of social justice, because by definition truth is objective (impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced, nonpartisan) whereas that which can be said to be true is subjective (personal, individual, emotional, instinctive, intuitive).

The intrinsic discordance between subjective and objective truth is why a person like San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick can on the one hand be inspired to protest police-involved shootings of black men, women, and children by not standing during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before a game, while on the other hand remaining deafeningly silent, at least publicly, about the millions of unborn black babies who are aborted each year in the very same nation whose anthem he so despises.

It is this same ideological dissonance that serves as the impetus for Megan Rapinoe, a player on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, choosing to align herself with Kaepernick by kneeling when the national anthem is played before a match.

But where was Rapinoe when 9-year old Tyshawn Lee was shot five times in a retaliatory act of violence by a black gang member while on his way to his grandmother’s house? Or Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of Chicago Bulls star Dwayne Wade, who was shot and killed, allegedly by two brothers who are black, while pushing her 3-week old child in a stroller near a school?

Tell me, where were her protestations then?

Oh, wait.

On second thought, maybe I’m being a little too hard on Rapinoe.

Perhaps she was simply unaware that the Star Spangled Banner was America’s official national anthem when both Lee and Aldridge were murdered – and has been since 1931.

All this to say that a subjective paradigm of truth leaves people like Kaepernick and Rapinoe free to pick and choose which “injustices” they will place their supposed righteous indignation on display for all to see. Whereas an objective standard of truth views all injustice – regardless the race, ethnicity, or socio-economic station of either the offender(s) or victim(s) – as wrong.

What is truth? – Pontius Pilate

The question society faces today is the same as what Pontius Pilate posed more than 2,000 years ago during the first Roman trail of Jesus Christ (John 18:28-38).

In fact, the question of truth is so fundamental to our understanding of right, wrong, justice, and injustice that the only way anyone could ever protest anything under the pretense that it is right or wrong or just or unjust, is against an objective standard of truth that universally applies equally to all of God’s image-bearers.

And the only source of objective truth the world has ever known is found in the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12).

The objective truth of the Bible was central to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

The Civil Rights Movement was not about the unjust treatment of black people simply because they were black. The issue of race was but one factor in what was a much larger discussion. Ultimately, the Civil Rights Movement was about the unjust treatment of black people who, like their oppressors, were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

It was on that one precept that the entirety of the Civil Rights Movement hinged.

The universal truth of imago Dei – that all mankind bears the image of God – is what affirmed the Civil Rights Movement as a just and legitimate cause that garnered global support.

It is the objective truth of the Word of God, which is applicable to all human beings regardless of race, ethnicity, or nationality, that validated both the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56 and the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins of 1960 as righteous, and therefore, necessary undertakings relative to the principle of imago Dei.

The early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letters From a Birmingham Jail

A primary reason Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe, and other athletes like them, would choose police-involved violence against blacks as the impetus for protesting the more than 200-years old Star Spangled banner as opposed to, for example, the decades-long strategy of Planned Parenthood of deliberately placing the vast majority of its abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods, is because of a view of right and wrong that is filtered through a subjective definition of truth as opposed to an objective definition.

But, you see, what they and we must understand is that all truth, and all that could ever be said to be true, begins and ends with God.

That God declares Himself to be “the Alpha and the Omega” (Revelation 22:13) is not to be understood only in an eschatological context, but also in the sense that our understanding of everything about our existence in this world is both founded and consummated in Him and in the objective truth of His revealed word.

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth (John 17:17).

Apart from the Word of God not only is there no right or wrong or justice or injustice, the very concepts themselves would be non-existent because we possess neither the inherent capacity nor the desire to want to do what is right or just to one another (Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9).

At the risk of being misunderstood in what I have said in this blog post, I want to be clear that I do not begrudge Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, or anyone else for that matter, the right to protest.

That I would be so arrogant as to take issue with either of them for exercising their Constitutional right to disavow the Star Spangled Banner would be hypocritical on my part, especially when America as a nation was founded on protest.

Would I have taken the same approach as Kaepernick and Rapinoe?

No, I would not.

I consider myself blessed that God, in accordance with His sovereign will, foreordained that I would be born in America (Acts 17:26) and for that I am profoundly grateful.

Having said that, no, America is not perfect. That much is true.

Then, again, it was never meant to be.

Where the notion originated that America is somehow obligated to live up to some pie-in-the-sky standard of collective righteousness, I do not know.

There is no nation that is perfect. There has never been nor will there ever be.

There can be no perfect nation whose inhabitants are themselves innately imperfect.

To believe otherwise is to live in a state of perpetual naivety.

These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates. – Zechariah 8:16 (NASB)

I fully expect that over the next several months there will be others, perhaps even you, who undoubtedly will feel motivated to come alongside Colin Kaepernick in protesting the Star Spangled Banner whenever it is played.

And that’s fine.

However, as you protest, please consider that the grievance you hold against America has more to do with the words spoken by Pontius Pilate 2,000 years ago than those penned by Frances Scott Key 200 years ago.

Objective truth demands that our indignation not be selective.

One cannot compartmentalize their morality and protest one thing as being wrong but not another.

For at the heart of all protest is the question, “What is truth?”

All other questions are secondary.

Humbly in Christ,


The Sin of Injustice is No Excuse for the Sin of Racism

Image credit: nypost.com

For many young black Americans today, particularly millennials, the pursuit of “social justice” has become somewhat of a raison d’être (the sole reason for which a person or organization exists.)

Being convinced that both their personhood and purpose are first and foremost founded in their racial and ethnic identity, they live by the credo: “Before I am anything else, I am black.”

This “black-first” mindset has given rise to a belief among these young people that, “Whatever happens to any black person happens also to me.” As such, their “righteous indignation”, such as it is, over perceived acts of injustice is purely subjective.

Their anger, for lack of a better word, is rooted solely in identifying racially with the “victim” of said injustice.

If the victim of what they perceive to be oppression is “black like me”, then, the right and requisite response must be to cry out for “Justice!” Conversely, if the victim happens to not be black, then, not only was there no injustice but I also absolve myself of any responsibility to care about what maltreatment may actually have occurred and why.

To that end, if my so-called “blackness” has become such a god to me that the degree to which my conscience is moved by acts of injustice is predicated upon the extent to which my own subjective standard of race-based morality has been violated – as opposed to being convicted that God’s objective standard of righteousness, which applies to all people equitably, has been contravened – then I must confess and repent of my idolatry.

And racism is idolatry because it exalts what which was created, namely race, above that of its Creator (Romans 1:21-25).

If there is a poor man with you, on of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you should shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’ – Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 10-11 (NASB)

We must be honest enough to acknowledge that this race-centered view of injustice has in fact been embraced by many black Christians.

Their rationale is that because Jesus had (and has) a particular concern for the poor and oppressed of the world (Luke 14:13-14; Mark 10:21; Matthew 5:3) – and who is more oppressed today than black people? – it is not sinful for them to possess the biased sentiments they harbor within their own hearts.

In seeing the world as if through race-colored glasses, they define terms like oppression and injustice within a construct that is shaped more by humanist sociology than biblical theology. Consequently, in their pursuit of social justice the ends – including their racial attitudes – justify the means. Hence, they see themselves as ‘warriors’ not racists because, in their minds anyway, their cause is inherently “righteous” in itself.

The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.1 John 2:9-11, 4:20 (NASB)

The sin of injustice is no excuse for the sin of racism (Romans 12:17).

The same Jesus who washed the feet of Peter, washed the feet of Judas as well (John 13:1-15).

As Christians, the indignation we may feel over the egregious mistreatment of one person by another, irrespective of the race of either the perpetrator or the victim, does not give us the right to respond with our own nefarious actions and attitudes (Luke 6:27-38).

That followers of Christ would be in any way prejudiced toward anyone because of the race or ethnicity with which God Himself endowed them (Acts 17:26) is sin – period.

The God who Himself shows no partiality (Romans 2:11) cannot – and will not – condone any expressions of racism on the part of those who profess to believe in Him. Because, believe it or not, the same God who created you in His image created every other human being in His image as well (Genesis 1:27).

Christians should not simply reflect the morality of their era but the morality of the Bible. – John Piper

In whatever manner we might be unjustly treated, the model for how we should respond is Jesus Christ (Mark 14:64-65, 15:16-20). For nothing we encounter in this world, regardless the situation or circumstance, will ever rise to the level of indignation and humiliation Christ endured on the cross for undeserving sinners like you and me (Ephesians 5:1-2).

I realize the tone of this post may seem rather direct, but the Scriptures are unambiguous that if there was one thing Jesus clearly despised during His earthly ministry it was hypocrisy (Luke 6:42).

The truth is often difficult to accept.

This is especially true when you and I are confronted with the deprecatory truth about ourselves.

Nevertheless, we must be willing to call out sin wherever it exists (Ephesians 5:11), especially when that sin is hidden within the recesses of our own heart (1 John 1:9-10).

Humbly in Christ,



Socialism in Jesus’ Name? – Dr. R.C. Sproul
Stereotypes, Generalizations, and Racism – John Piper

Socialized Medicine and the Sovereignty of God

I recently came across the story of Anita and Wolf Gottschalk, an elderly Canadian couple who are being forced to live in separate care facilities due to a backlog in the Canada healthcare system.

The Gottschalks, who are in their 80s, have been married 62 years.

The situation in which the Gottschalks find themselves is regrettable to say the least.

After more than six decades of marriage, that this couple should have to live even one day of what remains of their earthly lives under such circumstances, is a devastating commentary on what can happen when government gets involved in the business of providing healthcare services, particularly to those who are the most vulnerable among us.

But that is what socialized medicine does.

It decimates people’s lives by putting them at the mercy of subjective decisions made by government bureaucrats; men and women who have no vested interest in the individuals being adversely impacted by their decisions. And yet government-sponsored “universal healthcare” is exactly what many in the United States want for themselves.

Or so they think.

The American equivalent of the Canada Health Act, the law that governs health insurance programs in Canada, is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (more commonly referred to as Obamacare).

I distinctly recall President Barack Obama commenting on the glorious benefits of government-sponsored universal healthcare. It was during a speech in Strongsville, Ohio in 2010, that the President boastfully declared:

…for Americans who get their insurance through the workplace…a lot of those folks…your employer, it’s estimated, will see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent, which means they can give you a raise.

Needless to say, such lofty prognostications have yet to come to fruition – and most likely never will.


Because that’s not how socialized medicine is designed to work.

The irony of so-called “universal” healthcare is that it is the nature for anything based in socialism to benefit only the privileged few, not the disadvantaged many.

History is replete with examples of this.

But we are still beguiled by this other fairy tale: that a large group of liberal-minded reformers, not pretending to be a class, not seizing the power but creeping into it, not smashing the state but bending it to their will, can take charge of the economy and approximate a free and equal society. – Max Eastman, Reflections on the Failures of Socialism, as published by The Mises Institute, March 1955

As insurance premiums continue to skyrocket – the exact opposite of what President Obama promised would happen – individual choice continues to decline as more insurance providers make the business decision to withdraw from the unprofitable program.

Playing on the fears of people being unable to financially withstand a worst-case healthcare scenario, Obamacare was peddled to America’s citizens under the guise that it could do what only God alone can: keep us and our loved ones ones healthy and alive.

See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand. – Deuteronomy 32:39 (NASB)

It has been six years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law; and many Americans are just now beginning to realize it is not the panacea it was made out to be.

The only reward most Obamacare enrollees have to show for their misplaced hopes is higher premiums and deductibles, less freedom of choice, and – Surprise! – a Form 1095-A from their friendly IRS informing them of the ‘shared responsibility’ payment they now owe.

Sadly, evangelical Christians are as much to blame as anyone that Obamacare is now the law of the land, having bought into the fallacy that it is the role of government to ensure that all of our needs, and even most of our wants, are met. But nowhere in the Scriptures does God transfer the responsibility of caring for one another from the Church to the State (Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Leviticus 19:33-34; James 1:27).

Christians must be discerning enough to understand that the State always takes more than it gives – always.

That the State gives anything to any of us is not because it is inherently benevolent, but because it is empowered to take by force from one individual to benefit another. There is nothing the State gives without demanding something of equal or greater sacrifice in return; and that something is usually to accede to it more of our individual freedoms.

Unfortunately, the Gottschalks are learning this the hard way (as will many Americans, I’m afraid).

As Christians we should never exchange our God-given freedoms for the mirage of government-sponsored security. We must remember that though government does exist “as a minister of God for our good” (Romans 13:4a), it is God alone who is sovereign over the affairs of our lives.

But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. – Psalm 115:3 (NASB)

Though it may be the prudent thing to do for most of us, still the reality is having health insurance is not efficacious in extending our existence in this world.

That you have head-to-toe coverage with Aetna or Humana or Cigna, or any other insurer for that matter, is not what is keeping your heart beating as you read this blog post.

My father died of a massive heart attack at the age of 64 as he was sitting on the toilet in the master bathroom of his home. My mother came home from work and found his lifeless body slumped over the bathtub.

My father had health insurance coverage.

My point is that even in matters of life and death, the trust we place in a promissory government must never exceed the confidence we place in a providential God (Psalm 146:3-4).


For it is the God who keeps His promises who also keeps you and me (Matthew 6:31-34).

Humbly in Christ,