Can Women Be Ordained Pastors? With Dr. Maurice Lee. Sin Boldly Episode 107

c73448e0ba496cd3b5af2488bb265330I was joined by Dr. Maurice Lee to look at the topic of women’s ordination. Though we are in the same denomination, I admitted that the topic was one I considered carefully and did not take for granted. Because this is a point of division among otherwise friendly denominations, it is one we should be discussing more often. We looked at many of the relevant texts, but this is not an exhaustive biblical exercise.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below.

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How Far Does “Pro-Life” Go? Abortion and Social Justice. Sin Boldly Episode 105

ultrasound4d20I was joined by pro-life apologist Clinton Wilcox and attorney (and high school friend) Bianca McKnight to look at one of the common arguments agains the pro-life community: pro-lifers only care about babies in the womb but not about the child once born, especially if born into less than ideal environments. The conversation also touched on the all-important question of when life begins and even the death penalty. These are important conversations I love to have on the show and after reaching out to “professional” advocates of the pro-choice position and never hearing back, I was glad that Bianca was willing to come on and share a common critique.

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Disaster: Thoughts on Harvey and Katrina with Dr. Michael Sprague. Sin Boldly Episode 104

51oz1CBaAdL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Dr. Michael Sprague joins me for a bonus episode of the show to discuss his experiences living through Katrina and its aftermath. Given that Houston has just endured Harvey, it was a timely message. He tells incredible story of survival and talks about how disasters can bring the Kingdom of God together in ways nothing else can. Dr. Sprague is the Louisiana Chaplain for the Capital Commission of Louisiana and I was honored that he reached out to me to discuss his book.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

A Quick Response to the Joel Osteen Harvey Controversy

635711822066456721-GTY-124945350I was asked what I thought about the Joel Osteen Harvey Controversy. I thought I would jot down a few quick thoughts. To get caught up, you can go here. Basically he is personally being lambasted for not being a shelter for Harvey evacuees. Lakewood Church maintains that water surrounded the facility and they were unable to be reached and that their own building was flooding. Just a few things to keep in mind…

  1. It remains true that Joel Osteen’s teachings are false. He does not preach a saving Gospel, though by God’s grace, I’m sure many at Lakewood are true Christians who will be saved. If it was good enough for Paul to preach “Christ and him crucified”, it is good enough for us as well. Many critics of the Prosperity Gospel have pointed out that it has little to say when life happens…like Harvey. So Osteen is naturally an easy target today. My hope would be that this event and seeing our helplessness in the wake of just a fraction of God’s power, would cause all preachers of men’s greatness to repent before God and preach the cross of Christ. After all, what good does such vapid preaching about God’s favor do when the house you worked your entire life for is five feet deep in water?
  2. We all are angry and hurt and need a face to attach to Harvey. It looks like Joel Osteen’s toothy grin will be the face some will choose to be angry with.
  3. Beware the hypocrites! Criticism of Osteen by nonbelievers, who do not share Christian convictions and yet love to hold Christians to their own (perfect) standards, doesn’t impress me much. Christians can always be accused of hypocrisy. And yet, how many times have “Good Samaritans” saved thousands in Houston on their own without any prompting or help from “higher” authorities? Many people hate God. That is a fact. And they will take their shots any chance they get. But their opinion of Osteen should mean nothing to Christians because they themselves have no standard by which to evaluate the good deeds of Christians. Only Christians who share Osteen’s purported conviction that the Bible is God’s Word can rightly judge Osteen. (And by judge I mean accuse him or clear him of un-Christian behavior.)
  4. Most significant roadways are closed in Houston. Even if sections of major arteries are clear, exits are frequently closed. I’m certain that many of the roads around Lakewood were flooded. To what degree is impossible to know right now.
  5. The 8th Commandment (“Thou shall not bear false witness”) and Luther’s instruction are that we are to place people and their actions and words in the best possible light, including those we disagree with. (#1 above was said in the best possible light, by the way.) If Lakewood is saying they were surrounded by water and not ready/able to take on folks in need of shelter, we should believe them and not proceed to slander Joel Osteen. A few Twitter pictures do not paint the full picture of the surrounding area.
  6. As much as I disagree with Lakewood’s prevailing theology, I know they do good works. It would not surprise me if Lakewood does more good that any church in Houston when this is all said and done. Their people are civically good people and, well, obviously quite generous! Everyone in Houston was caught off guard by the severity of the flooding. Give folks a few days to catch up. The critics may be eating their words soon.
  7. Sheltering isn’t as easy as Joel Osteen showing up with a key to the front door and opening the doors. It is complicated if it is a long-term situation you are facing. You need to coordinate with FEMA and probably the Red Cross; you will need volunteers and perhaps they couldn’t get there; you will need staging areas for donations, cots, eating, etc. It is massive effort in the midst of chaos.
  8. It isn’t Osteen’s decision alone. He has an immense staff and I’m sure a Board of Directors or council of elders, etc. He wields the most power, I’m sure, but there is no evidence that he personally said “No” when someone in need was at the door, and that is the image being portrayed. If he is guilty of evil for his actions, most of us in Houston who stayed at home – per instructions – and were not present at church buildings to welcome people in are equally as guilty. We’re just smaller targets.
  9. Osteen’s immense wealth invites this kind of criticism. The false theology of #1 is now bearing fruit against him. I have already said that is wrong. But when Paul told elders to be “above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2), this is why. Bad reputations of Christian ministers hurts our witness. His theology may justify his wealth but this is the double edged sword that comes with being a wealthy proclaimer of the Gospel.

What Not to Say if AHA Calls on Your Church to Repent

AHA Church RepentThis essay is super niche and will be strange to folks unfamiliar with AHA. But if you’re caught up in the movement – one way or another – I’ve tried to be fair and offer something to do the most good. I realize those who do Church Repent will disagree and at times I’m sure I painted with too broad a brush. If you are part of Church Repent, please read it all the way through. These are simply my suggestions to make the most good out of a situation that won’t change anytime soon. 

Part of the movement/ideology that is Abolish Human Abortion is the Church Repent project. Its aim is to exhort true Christian churches (as opposed to liberal Christian churches which they would not regard as being in the fold in the first place) to cease being apathetic about abortion. They believe that the reason abortion is legal in the land is because the church has not done enough to end it. While this project is relatively limited to a few cities and states, it may very well grow as AHA grows. I have talked with folks involved with Church Repent both on my radio show and online and while I do not claim to have studied all of the underlying theology (which as I understand it is Theonomist, Dominionist and Post-Millennialism in some or most cases), I feel I can offer a way to help bear fruit or expose the differences with relevant clarity.

I begin with things commonly and instinctively said by church members when they realize their church has been chosen by Church Repent. I base this on a number of videos posted of these exchanges. Other things have been said, of course, but these seem to be the most common and most “knee jerk” responses to Church Repent’s presence.

1. “We agree with you and we work to end abortion. We are pro-life.” Saying the words “pro-life” will be fingernails to a chalkboard to a Church Repent participant. They have long since given up on the pro-life movement and view it (in many cases) as guilty of abortion as a “pro choicer”. They believe the pro-life movement exists, at best, to regulate abortion and that the participants in the pro-life movement will continue to raise funds so long as abortion continues…so they don’t mind it continuing. Pro-life legislative “victories” are seen as failures by abolitionists because they never abolish abortion, but simply regulate it. Even if you protest at abortion mills, unless you are as committed to them for abolitionism, and perhaps through Church Repent and AHA, your work to end abortion will fall short of their standard. It will not be worth your time to recite what you have done to discourage abortion as a “pro-lifer.” Best not to even say those words.

2. “We support crisis pregnancy centers.” This will not help your cause. They may encourage you for supporting CPCs but will say that it won’t solve the problem of abortion. The better strategy is to work to abolish abortion, not care for women and babies after a pregnancy has occurred when abortion is still a viable option to the mother. In essence, supporting CPCs will not be enough as it doesn’t abolish abortion and this is the best good worth working for.

3. “Who are your elders?” Some believe they can get the Church Repent folks in a biblical quandary by putting them on the defensive and asking who their elders are. In essence, the argument is that AHA/Church Repent is not of value because they are not organized in a way most churches are: with elders, deacons, pastors, etc. Members of AHA may be accountable to each other, but many are not in “traditional” churches, especially not a 501(c)(3). They do not recognize elders as absolute necessities in church life and you may technically concede that elders are not absolutely necessary in all circumstances. They will just hear you as arguing for the status quo: organized churches who are comfortable and not acting to abolish abortion.

You might try to engage with 1 Corinthians 14 regarding orderly worship. Those who disrupted the worship service were condemned by Paul. This will not change their mind as they can just as easily lift up the biblical model of Jeremiah standing outside the Temple preaching to wicked men there. Which biblical example is the right one?

4. Do not have a mindset of, “What can I do to get these guys to leave?” They will only leave when they are done with you and feel it is time to move on. They have the legal right to be there and they will outlast you. There are no magic words to get them to leave.

5. “Why don’t you protest liberal churches?” In short, they don’t view the liberal churches, i.e. the churches that actually and actively support abortion, as worth their time. Liberal churches have their minds made up and they will not and perhaps cannot repent. They will tell you that they are interested in getting committed Christians to work together and to in essence, pull real Christians out of 501(c)(3) corporations to rebuild a more pure Church. They assume that such real Christians won’t be found in liberal congregations. You might actually agree with them on that.

6. Do not debate politics. Debating Republicans v. Democrats will not impress those who think both parties have sold their souls, perhaps even literally, to the devil. Folks who are as committed to the cause as Church Repent folks are are not going to be impressed by conventional political parties or answers, least of all someone like President Trump.

Those are the most common things that seem to be said to them in confrontations. Here is what I might suggest as more fertile ground to converse on.  

1. “I agree abortion should be abolished.” If you are a member of a conservative congregation that is already “pro-life”, then consider if you might also support abolitionism. Study it and ask yourself if the abolition of abortion doesn’t make the most moral and legal sense. Ask why pro-life organizations do not demand abolition when they could just as easily do that as demand, say, the regulation of abortion clinics. Give sincere thought to abolitionism as a good legal goal and try to find common ground there.

You and I might differ from AHA in that we don’t tend to be as, well, skeptical of the pro-life movement. Perhaps you agree with the philosophy that it is best to get the most done that you can and pro-lifers are not inherently wrong for adopting that point-of-view. Still, first try to find out if abolition is something you are against in principle, and why. That is what they are promoting, so understand it.

2. Try to figure out exactly what kinds of action your congregation ought to be doing – from their point-of-view. Assuming that teaching and preaching against abortion isn’t “enough”, try to find out what legislative action is taking place that you can support. Find out who are the congressmen in your state that are working for abolition. Find out what “pro-life” politicians in your state are doing to end abortion.

3. Ask questions to understand better the theology driving their action. If you hear them say, “We are Dominionists,” for example, ask what that is. Familiarize yourself with Theonomy and don’t have a negative view of it from the start. You might end up agreeing with many of its principles. Or if you don’t, you can at least have an informed conversation about the theology behind the project. They will respect you for that much more than just being a “get off my lawn” kind of guy (which will be your first and most prevalent instinct.)

4. Take their literature. They paid for it and they want you to take it. It will be an offense to them to argue with them without giving them a fair hearing. So just take it already. (I believe, by the way, that some people do not like their literature because in depicting the evil of abortion, the graphic illustrations they use often look demonic themselves. I’m not talking about the pictures of abortion victims here but the graphic typefaces, artwork, etc. AHA clearly has an aesthetic that portrays anything but a fluffy, harmless Christianity. They want to depict the reality that they are at war with abortion. I believe that stark graphic design is, well, a little scary to many people. I think AHA wants to wake folks up, so they don’t much care.)

5. Argue that Christians gathering and receiving what God gives (in Lutheran parlance, Word and Sacrament are God’s means of grace for us) is an intrinsic good. It is not wrong that Christians gather together in buildings they do not pay taxes on. There is no scriptural teaching against that. And argue that Christians receive from God as well as act in His service. Sunday is their time to receive.

6. Recommend designated times when real, less-charged conversations can take place between them and your church’s leadership. If they don’t take you up on it, well, it might help you in evaluating if they really want to change your mind or make a show of it.

A thought on something that may catch you off guard…

When a congregation is attacked for being a 501(c)(3), know that there is a whole lot behind that statement. Some of which you may agree with. You might ask that if the 501(c)(3) is gotten rid of by the congregation, what kind of incorporation they would recommend? You might ask what kind of church governance they endorse? In short, the issues go beyond abortion. Arguing about abortion won’t be enough. You will ultimately be asked to “be the Church” in a completely different way. And you might as well learn something from the encounter because you are highly unlikely to change their mind.

Am I defending the Church Repent project in this post? No. I will defend in principle the idea that congregations need to repent of their apathy towards abortion and ought to do more in its horrible wake. On that point, abolitionists have much to teach the church.

But:

1. I do not agree with the underlying theology of the Church Repent project;

2. I believe only changed hearts and minds will change the world and bring about more social justice, and this may very well harden them;

3. I regard Sunday worship as ordained by God and therefore good and worthy of respect (I know it may be a stretch to call what goes on in some congregations “worship”);

4. I disagree that this methodology is as effective as patient teaching and listening as brothers and sisters in Christ, even if that will be a frustrating and time-consuming venture;

5. I do not believe the Church can be blamed for the evil of abortion, or any other evil as evil is a free choice that man makes in accordance with God’s will;

6. I (sadly) believe that the true Church is so small that it could not overwhelm the powers of darkness in this nation if it wanted to;

7. I share their frustration that evangelical churches often embrace superficial, attractive working theologies;

8. I believe that, among some, what is revealed is not a call toward the Church to repent, but a hatred of the Church itself. This represents a divided house, which will not stand.

So what I am trying to do in this post is serve as a way forward for the good of church repentance and to help those who find their congregation being targeted by Church Repent.  I offer it for what it is worth.

White Nationalism and Christianity: Sin Boldly Episode 103

KKK-Jesus-Saves-Christian-Prayer-MeetingThis solo episode looks, with some perspective now, at the Charlottesville rally and a new book that argues for a link between White Nationalism (or is it white nationalism?) and Christianity. Is there really such a link? Are these truly professing, biblical Christians? I also look at a fascinating article about 19th century American Christianity and its correlation to 21st century American Christianity. Finally, I look at a few bad, but common, arguments for abortion.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

The Right Side of History, Wrong Side of God. Sin Boldly Episode 102

rightside1On this solo episode, I look at the modern phrase “the right side of history” and ask if such an idea is even possible. I also look at the toxic “call out culture” found on social media, Iceland “eliminating” Down Syndrome via abortion, and ask whether it is appropriate to have drums in worship.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

 

A Debate On the Moral Argument. Sin Boldly Episode 101

Right and WrongTwo new friends joined me for a debate on the moral argument for God’s existence. Both have studied philosophy and find the argument intriguing. Danny Felty is a philosophy student from Louisiana and Jack Angstreich is an atheist who describes himself as a moral relativist. (That is a technical term!) If you have wondered about the intersection between God’s existence, man’s nature, and how we can say what is right and wrong (or if we can say that anything really IS right or wrong), this show is a great introduction to all of those topics. Thanks again to Danny and Jack for making the time!

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here.  That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

A Christian Poet and Author Joins Me To Talk Shop, Faith and Race . Sin Boldly Episode 100.

eric-l-farrell-00I made it to 100 episodes! Yay for me. For this episode I had on a new friend and brother in Christ, Stage Poet, AKA Eric L Farrell. Learn more at www.stagepoet.com. We talk about his truly interesting vocation as a working poet who honors ordinary laborers and we also talk about the impact of slavery and race. This was perhaps out of the ordinary for the show but I was really glad Eric could join me. Eric’s poetry has a mixture of humor, insight and Gospel proclamation. You’ll enjoy it.

If you want to listen via the podcast feed, that link is here. That link will take you to iTunes. To subscribe to the Sin Boldly podcast with an Android phone, I recommend the Cast Box app, which easily finds Sin Boldly via search. Your iPhone (or iOS) Podcast app finds it easily on iTunes. If you subscribe to the show, you get the episodes immediately upon release. Otherwise, it may take a few hours from the time of publication until it shows up on the feed. To listen immediately, see below. 

Why the name “Sin Boldly”? Martin Luther wrote to his friend Philip Melanchthon in 1521: “If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” To sin boldly, therefore, is not to seek unholy living, but to follow the course we believe the Bible demands even if the world is against us. And if and when we sin, trust in an even greater savior.

On the “Right Side” of History

hrc12636rd_7There are two very basic competing views of man’s progress. The first belief, which is generally rooted in Modernism and the hope that scientific discovery will unleash a utopia for man, is positive. Man’s ethical and spiritual evolution is pushing us to greater and greater heights. Whereas we once were primates and now we are men, we also once endorsed barbaric practices and now we are refined. The course of history is one of men getting better and better, of leaving off the unenlightened shackles of ignorance and embracing man’s destiny as paragons of virtue.

The other view is certainly less positive. It does not view man as being on a course towards moral perfection but says that man is just as likely on a downward trajectory. End times prophecies in the New Testament, for example, speak of wars and man’s moral deprivation in the end times. It is expected that man will fall away from God’s will, not that he will either run to it, or be able to get along just fine without it.

Well, which view is right? Surely we can just look at history and decide, right? Well, kind of. On the one hand, chattel slavery is surely a mark against man and abolishing it does indicate moral progress. On the other hand, slavery remains a very common reality in our world today, only it is most commonly in the form of sex slavery. Arguably, the slavery of the Romans and Greeks was more humane than chattel slavery, so progress doesn’t look to be in an upward move in that regard.

But more people have more “rights” now, so surely that is a good thing, right? For example, women can vote, and segregation has been outlawed. That’s progress, right? Well, that would certainly count as progress, but at the same time, we have legalized a medical practice that has taken the lives of 60 million babies. So, are we on the right side of history if we are just trading off one wrong for another? Wouldn’t real moral progress be seen across the proverbial moral board?  After all, to look at things on a grand scale, more Christians were martyred in the 20th century than all others combined and one need only look at the death tolls in Nazi Germany, Mao’s China and the Killing Fields of Cambodia to ask if modernity has brought us to higher moral ground.

And, by the way, all of this assumes there is some meta-moral worldview that any of us can appeal to in the first place! “Moral progress” assumes there is some ultimate standard of “good” and “bad” and “right” and “wrong” that we all know and can all access. We know we are making progress, because we all know the ideal. But many among us would not affirm an objective, ultimate moral standard, for they know that to do so they would have to affirm God’s existence. And to do that, they would have to acknowledge what God would say about our morality.

And this brings us to the phrase under discussion in this essay: “the right side of history.” This assumes the first positive view of man’s progress: that man is on an upward trajectory and whatever happened in the past is necessarily worse than what will happen in the future. It assumes that when future generations judge this generation, they will judge the moral progress we have made as an obvious good, just as we do regarding slavery, segregation, suffrage, etc. So many live now in fear of what future judgments will be upon this time in history. And they live so as to be on what they believe will be the “right side” of history’s judgement.

The most obvious example of this is what is commonly thought to be our generation’s civil right’s issue: same-sex marriage and now transgender rights. Those who promote changes to our understanding of marriage and gender do so because they assume their vision of the future is what history will judge favorably. What they are missing is that it is not the judgment of future generations that we are to fear: it is the author of all history – God.

For there is no “right side” of history. There is only a “right side” with God. There are only men and women who are bound to the period of history in which they find themselves. During that time, men and women will have to choose if are willing to be faithful to God or not, and let God be the only judge of history that matters. After all, the idea of moral progress is a myth. For all of the hopes of the 20th century, they were burned in the fires of war, genocide, and social experiments that utterly failed. Who is to say that the current experiment we are embarking on will also not fail?

That’s the problem with believing you know what future generations will consider good. This is perhaps possible if you believe God is the author of history. But if you do not, you are likely looking to future, not-even-yet-existing future generations to justify yourself. It would be far better to worry more about God’s judgement than those you will never know.