It is very sad that Some, Media, Politicians and Pastors CONTINUE TO make a critical mistake in assuming that God and Allah are the Same, Actually they are not!

To gain a proper understanding of this question, ask it like this, “Do Christians and Muslims both have a correct understanding of who God is?” The answer is definitely no.

Because of crucial differences between the Christian and Muslim concepts of God, the two faiths and view of God cannot both be true. The biblical God alone addresses and solves the problem of sin by giving His Son.

Please don’t be deceived. It does Matter what you believe and Teach about this issue.

While the Muslim and Christian views of God have some similarities.  They Most Certainly do not Worship the same God.  Because of crucial differences between the Christian and Muslim concepts of God, the two faiths cannot both be true.

In addition, to how Jesus, God in the Flesh, answers Man’s Sin Problem,  A vital difference between the Islamic and Christian views of God is the biblical concept of the Trinity. (This doctrine also is what distinguishes Christianity from all other World Religions and Cultic groups likes Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, New Ageism and etc).

In the Bible, God has revealed Himself as one God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

While each Person of the Trinity is fully God, God is not three gods but three in one. The Trinity is essential to the Christian faith. Without the Trinity, there would be no incarnation of God’s Son in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Without Jesus Christ, there would be no salvation from sin. Without salvation, sin would condemn all to an eternal hell.

Another very Critical component of this the Question, “Is God and allah the same” is seen when one considers the Mission of God. God’s Mission is stated as follows………. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18)

The god of Islam did not have such a mission.

Dr. Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.  Professor at Denver Theological Seminary, writes, “Islam claims to be a fulfillment of Christianity, yet it denies many essential Christian teachings.”

A Christian can never retreat from the clear doctrinal position that Jesus is GOD, yet Muhammad the prophet of allah, rejected the idea that Jesus, a human being, could in any sense be God.”

When one thinks critically and logically it becomes clear, the god of Islam and the God of Christianity cannot be same, because God can not possess contradictory attributes.

The New Testament writer, Jude says it plainly, “3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

 

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted attsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307.

 

 

I will never forget the conversation.

I asked a very talented, gifted and bright young leader in Hall County why he was supporting a particular political candidate and not running himself.

I have never forgotten his response, “I’d rather be a King Maker than a King.”

Truer words have never been spoken with regards to our Governor’s veto of RFRA (HB 757)

I am writing with no “ill intent” to our present Governor.

While I did recommend him to my South Georgia family as a man of conservative values, I’ve really never had a more than casual conversation with him. I suppose I didn’t fully investigate his conservative roots and strength to stand against great pressure.

No doubt about it, I have several disappointments regarding the Governor’s recent veto of HB 757.

It concerns me that he doesn’t know the values and character of Georgians.  I am offended by his use of Scripture, out of context, to support positions that benefit his personal agenda. I am very frustrated that once again a politician says one thing to get elected and does not do the will of those who supported him after he no longer needs them.

A Peril of Beholding to King Makers 

However, my purpose in writing today is simply to present a Peril of Beholding to King Makers.

In other words, there is grave danger in beholding to those who one may think places and maintains them in power through money and influence.

In case you assume I can’t possibly relate, I can affirm that having been a pastor for over 30 years, I’ve had to navigate waters very similar to those that Governor Deal just experienced.

While it is hard to stand fast on principle and core values it can be done when it is understood who you are MOST responsible too.

I determined many years ago to live my life for an audience of ONE. I will not back up on who Jesus is nor will I ever cease to promote the Sufficiency of God’s Word.

Governor Deal didn’t understand, the biggest Peril of Beholding to King Makers is YOU miss your MOMENT.

Consider:

Esther had her MOMENT:  “…for such a time as this.”

Patrick Henry had his MOMENT:  “Give me Liberty or give me death.”

Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe had his MOMENT when he responded “NUTS” to the Nazis’ demand that he surrender Bastogne, during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge.

The Apostle Peter had his MOMENT: Upon seeing everyone else turn away from Jesus, Peter uttered the famous lines when asked by Jesus “Are you leaving too?”  Peter replied, “To whom would we go, you have the words of eternal life.”

Nathan Hale had his MOMENT when he proclaimed, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

Governor Deal missed his MOMENT

I am saddened for Governor Deal; he missed his Moment:

  • The moment when he could have made an eloquent defense of protecting all Georgians.
  • The moment when he could have stood for the principle of No Discrimination against anyone, including Christians.
  • The moment that would have secured for himself a legacy of standing against the corporate giants, many of whom care less about Georgia values and more about personal wealth.

While I am very disappointed in Governor Deal’s veto of RFRA, I think I am sadder that he missed his MOMENT.

But Governor Deal needs to know that politics isn’t the only realm where “KING MAKERS” put pressure on people to compromise and take weaker positions.

I’ve experienced it in ministry.  It has often been suggested to me that maybe I should “tone it down,” or “be more careful about calling out false theology and pseudo intellects,” even some who stand in our own community’s pulpits.

I realize the pressure that influential politicians can feel when big time donors and Hollywood celebrities begin to exact pressure on them to conform to the whims and agendas of the elite.

To the younger and less experienced in Politics and Business, my warning is don’t allow King Makers to steal your MOMENT.

Recently Gainesville and Hall County has placed some young talented men and women in positions of responsibility and elected office.  I hope they will be strong in their resolve and never allow “the King Makers” to STEAL AWAY THEIR MOMENT.

I am sorry that the hard work of both the State House and Senate was vetoed by the Governor.

They were deliberative in their consideration of RFRA (HB 757).  They represented well the people of Georgia and the values of Georgia.

They can bring the bill up again….but the Governor will never get his MOMENT back.

For that I am really sad.

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry and Church Well Solutions, a ministry consulting work.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted attsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307 or email attsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

I am grateful I was raised in a home that instilled in me the value of hard work, personal accountability and the principle of treating ALL people equally, even those who disagreed with me.

Discrimination just isn’t in my Personal DNA.

So, I find the present stance of those in political positions who are willing to allow discrimination against people like me, people who hold to a Biblical Worldview, to be very discouraging.

What is being ignored in the present Religious Liberty Bill (RFRA) discussion is that ALL people have a Right to Freedom from Discrimination. No person should face discrimination on the basis of Color, Gender or Religion.  This is AMERICA.

Many politicians don’t understand that Christ Followers like me, who hold to a Biblical Worldview, CAN NOT choose the government over the Sufficiency of Scripture.  Therefore, in order to have a fair and level playing field in the market place, in the political process and in the practice of faith, we MUST BE PROTECTED.

I’m not specifying a particular draft of the Religious Liberty Bill (RFRA) at this time.  But, I am stating that the government should not establish laws that force persons like me, who hold to a Biblical Worldview, to either choose man’s way or face discrimination hence removing us from participation in the Market Place or hindering our pursuit of careers in law, medicine or government service.

Many politicians don’t understand the point that those Christians, who hold to a high view of Scripture, can’t hold to this view and at the same time participate in activities that are contrary to what the Bible directs.

For instance, those who hold to the Sufficiency of Scripture understand God’s strict prohibition against MANY THINGS (which lead to less than HIS BEST) ONE being same sex relations and same sex marriage.

For me, the view of Scripture with regards to same sex marriage and same sex relations is very, very clear.  It contradicts God’s Created Order.

The Governor, Legislature and Citizens of this great state should be working hard for people like me who are most certainly facing discrimination for the view of Scripture held.

I realize there are many churches (several in my own town), whose pastors and leadership hold a low view of Scripture and are anxious to compromise Biblical Truth for personal promotion or perhaps worldly acclaim.

I cannot! I will not!

I hold very principled core values with regards to the SUFFICIENCY of Scripture.  I will not back down from what I know the Bible very clearly teaches in order to be accepted and “liked”.

While I don’t expect the Government to force people to like me; I do expect it  to protect me from discrimination so I can pursue the rights promised me.

I don’t expect elected officials to adopt my view of the Sufficiency of Scripture, but I do expect from them Fairness to all Citizens.

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry and Church Well Solutions, a ministry consulting work.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted attsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307 or email attsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 

 

January 10, 2016

I was honored by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle to be invited to address and Pray for the Georgia Senate on Opening Day 2016.  

Lt. Governor Cagle was a gracious host as we visited in his chambers for over 30 minutes, as he introduced me before I spoke and then as he stood next to me and personally introduced me to Each Senator from our great State.  Lt. Governor Cagle  was so very kind to me and my guest Harry Gambill and I was pleased to learn from each Senator I met with that Lt. Governor Cagle was held in high esteem.  

I am also very grateful to “my own” Senator, Butch Miller as he and his wife Teresa were so kind and welcoming.  Senator Miller is greatly respected by his colleagues in the Senate.  It is clear that so many have great respect for him.  

I also want to thank my Friend, Harry Gambill.  This is the Second time he has attended the Capital with me.  I was so proud for him to accompany me today and help me out.  He is an excellent Navigator  (we may not have found the Correct parking lot, but we FOUND a parking lot)  🙂

Transcript of Dr. Tom Smiley’s Address to the Georgia State Senate

Good Morning, Mr. President, Senators, Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Bible Says, “What does it profit a man if He Gains the Whole World and losses His ONLY Soul.

I bring two specific challenges to those who serve in this Chamber.

First, a very important truth that must be considered by anyone who has authority or governance over others is the simple truth that learning to accept personal responsibility leads to health, growth, and success.

Taking personal responsibility for your own life is the first step toward personal freedom and control.

So today, I want to sound a challenge that as legislators, you do all you can to promote the value of citizens taking personal responsibility.

The government should not be an enabler that promotes a culture of government dependence.

It is clear that the very people you are charged with governing will never reach their full potential by depending on government! As legislators, you must be bold and courageous to keep in the forefront of your deliberations and laws, the truth that as individuals, we are each responsible for our own actions and the consequences that follow.

If ‘society’ is responsible for everything, then no one is personally responsible for anything!

Without personal responsibility there cannot be freedom.

My second challenge to those who serve in this Chamber is in regards to our Judeo-Christian heritage.

If America, if Georgia, loses the Judeo-Christian heritage that has given us our historic identity and the greatest of achievements in literature, art, music, education, politics, and economics, it will lose its identity and its greatness.

For the sake of our children, and their children not yet born, we must support and defend our Judeo-Christian heritage.

I urge you to be bold and brave and uncompromising in supporting our heritage, a heritage that America was founded upon, a Judo-Christian ethic; the Judeo-Christian ethic distinguishes America from all other countries.

Our Judeo-Christian heritage is what drives our belief in the biblical God of Israel, in His Ten Commandments and in His moral laws.

Keep in mind, America, the State of Georgia, will answer not to a mortal government but to the one true God.

Woodrow Wilson said,

“America was born a Christian nation for the purpose of  exemplifying unto the nations of the world the principles of  righteousness found in the revelation of God”.

I’m asking you, don’t apologize for preserving and defending our unique identity, character and values defined by our Judo-Christian heritage.

Please affirm our roots; it is in God we trust, it is in God we hope; it is in God we love.

There are many worthy efforts you as legislators will engage in, however, few as important as promoting personal responsibility and none as important as defending our Judeo-Christian heritage.

I pray God’s wisdom and discernment as you lead and serve this great State.

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, thou who art the way, the truth, and the life, hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make all free.

Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. Liberty costs too much to be hoarded.

Help us see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please You in what we do.

I ask that those in this Chamber and in places of influence may seek Your wisdom in all deliberations, may have a strong discernment of Your will, and may honor the confidence and trust placed in them by those they govern.

In the strong name of Jesus, I pray,

Amen!

 

Special note:  As much as I enjoyed the opportunity, there is so much more I would have loved to have shared, especially about our Judeo-Christian Heritage. However, I was given a “not to exceed” 5 minute time assignment, so I felt I must honor that request.  I would love to speak at any other events or gatherings and further “unpack” my remarks regarding our Judeo-Christian Heritage.

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry and Church Well Solutions, a ministry consulting work.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted attsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307 or email attsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 

 

I don’t apologize for my Principled stance that First World nations have a right to preserve our own unique identity, character and values.

President Obama said in refereeing to the recent Paris Attacks that the event “was an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”

Many people consider these words to be “safe phrases” or expected political speak.

However, the selection of his words reveals a deep misunderstanding. (One I am afraid many Christians mistakenly hold)

At issue is that these words reveal that our President doesn’t understand that Islam, Radical or Moderate, DOES NOT SHARE THE VALUES that the Western World, our world, holds dear.

Need convincing…….Consider a soccer game between Turkey and Greece in Istanbul.  During this game the Turks booed during the moment of silence for the Paris dead and chanted “Allahu Akbar.” Where in the Western World have people booed a moment of silence for those suffering or dead?

Need convincing…..Among 1.6 billion Muslims, hundreds of millions do not share the values regarding women’s rights, abortion, homosexuality, free speech, or the equality of all religious faiths.

The default position usually taken by those who disagree with me on this matter is, “Oh, those are just the Fanatics of ISIS”.

REALLY?

Ask yourself this question, does Saudi Arabia share Obama’s universal values regarding sexual freedom and the equality of Christianity, Judaism and Islam?

Can you point to ONE Muslim Country that allows for anything like the First Amendment? How does the Sunni or Shiite sect of Islam look upon the Freedom of Speech, Religion, and a Free Press?

The values of secular France and the values of Americans are not shared by the Islamic world, Moderate or Radical. Their False Prophet, False Book and False god won’t permit it.

I’m open to a rebuttal from a person of the Islamic Faith, who would tell me different and say it in any Middle Eastern Country except Israel.

Mr. President you are Right, Partly….. The Paris Attack was an attack on all of humanity….….BUT NO those values ARE NOT SHARED by the Muslim World.

I don’t see the “REFUGEE” debate as an argument about whether Americans will be open and welcoming Rather, I frame this discussion from the vantage point that the world is reawakening long suppressed truths.

Truths such as race and religion matter. To some they are life-and-death matters.

The point missed is that not all creeds, cultures and tribes are equally or easily assimilated into a Western nation.

I don’t apologize for my Principled stance that First World nations have a right to preserve our own unique identity, character and values.

I believe the time may be at hand for a moratorium on all immigration and a rewriting of the immigration laws that reflect the understanding that our own unique identity, character and values have a right to be preserved as we welcome new people groups into America. At one time the immigration laws of America did that exactly.

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry and Church Well Solutions, a ministry consulting work.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307 or email at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

For many these are Spiritually Confusing TIMES and, unfortunately, even some, who stand in pulpits today in our own community, contribute to the confusion especially as it relates to Jesus and the way to eternal life.

Through a Divine Appointment, Peter was invited to speak about God, eternal life and Jesus to a man named Cornelius and his household.

Here is where the Bible gets very “21st Century”.

Cornelius is referred to as “devout and God-fearing; {even giving} generously to those in need and praying to God regularly.

Today, some tell us that ALL GOD requires in order to grant eternal life and to forgive sin is to Be Good, Be Fair, Care about Others, Fear God, Extend Grace.

Sadly, a year or so ago in our community, 3 local churches sponsored a pseudo-biblical scholar who presented the idea that “believing in the resurrection of Jesus” isn’t even required for salvation.

While I can’t judge the HEARTS of those who espouse such teaching, I can recognize False Teaching and I do know the source. It is the distinct purpose and mission of satan to discount God’s Truth and to make less of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Isn’t it “telling” that when Peter had the opportunity to speak about Spiritual things to a man who was devout and God fearing, a man who was generous to the poor and who prayed to God regularly, Peter didn’t hesitate in exclaiming the full Truth?

Peter Really Loved….

Without compromise or apology, Peter said, Jesus was killed on a Cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day…. HE was seen….by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. Jesus commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead….and everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

Real Love of Others.

I want to Love People to the point that I will tell them the truth. I don’t want to succumb to the temptation that I welcome more the applause of man or that political correctness would trump truth telling or fear of man would cause me to be silent about the One Way to God.

God Help Me.

I will without apology affirm the Person and Nature of Jesus, His Bodily Resurrection, the Reality of Heaven and Hell, the Sufficiency of God’s Word and the amazing Grace and unconditional love offered by the One True God.

There are so many “Cornelius” around us today–good people, generous people, God fearing people, praying people. We must be faithful in telling them that Jesus is the Only Way to know the forgiveness of sin and to know God.

Eternity weighs in the balance.

 

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry and Church Well Solutions, a ministry consulting work.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307 or email at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

Asking God to sanctify sin by blessing what he condemns is irresponsible, irreverent, and blasphemous. It is completely unacceptable as church policy. I will not do it.

*******************************************

In 2002, the synod of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster authorized its bishop to produce a service for blessing same-sex unions, to be used in any parish of the diocese that requests it.

A number of synod members walked out to protest the decision. J. I. Packer was one of those who walked out.

When asked why he walked out, he answered, “Because this decision, taken in its context, falsifies the gospel of Christ, abandons the authority of Scripture, jeopardizes the salvation of fellow human beings, and betrays the church in its God-appointed role as the bastion and bulwark of divine truth.”

Nearly 14 years ago, this biblical scholar demonstrated a respect and confidence in the functional, life-directing authority of Scripture rather than in the subjective opinions of man.

I have attempted to describe my heart and spirit as I enter this “public” debate relative to God’s Word.  I have often pointed to men like Paul, Peter, John, and Jude who were unashamed of standing on the Truth of God’s Word and pointed out error.

I found Jude’s word in his New Testament letter (verses 3-4),  to be the summation of my convictions and the reason for my standing for God’s Word.

I have decided, regardless of what personal preferences other pastors may hold and irrespective of the cultural trends in play, I will affirm the Bible as the ethical standard by which to judge my life and my responsibility.

Regardless of the opinions of the pseudo-intellects of our day, many who stand in pulpits that once stood upon Biblical Truth, there are only two ways to exegete Paul’s thought in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 and other similar biblical passages.

One is to embrace an artificial interpretation of the text in which Paul is conceived as speaking of something other than same-sex union.

The second approach, as J.I. Packer notes, “is to let experience judge the Bible.”

……..Experience suggests that homosexual behavior is fulfilling to some; therefore, the Bible’s prohibition of it is wrong. But the appropriate response is that “the Bible is meant to judge our experience rather than the other way around,” and “feelings of sexual arousal and attraction, generating a sense of huge significance and need for release in action as    they do, cannot be trusted as either a path to wise living or a guide to biblical interpretation.”

J.I. Packer helps even the most timid among us understand “WHAT IS REALLY at stake” in today’s discussion; it is the nature of the Bible itself. Packer writes,

……Either the historic Christian belief that through the prophets, the incarnate Son, the apostles, and the writers of canonical Scripture as a body, God has used human language to tell us definitively and trans-culturally about his ways, his works, his will, and his worship. Furthermore, this revealed truth is grasped by letting the Bible interpret itself to us from within, in the knowledge that the way into God’s mind is through that of the writers. Through them, the Holy Spirit who inspired them teaches the church. Finally, one mark of sound biblical insights is that they do not run counter to anything else in the canon. . .[scripture]. . .

The second view applies to Christianity

. . .the Enlightenment’s trust in human reason, along with the fashionable evolutionary assumption that the present is wiser than the past. It concludes that the world has the wisdom, and the church must play intellectual catch-up in each generation in order to survive. From this standpoint, everything in the Bible becomes relative to the church’s evolving insights, which themselves are relative to society’s continuing development (nothing stands still), and the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry is to help the faithful see where Bible doctrine shows the cultural limitations of the ancient world and needs adjustment in light of latter-day experience (encounters, interactions, perplexities, states of mind and emotion, and so on). Same-sex unions are one example. This view is scarcely 50 years old, though its antecedents go back much further.

Please understand there is more than an intellectual battle going on today or a fight among the preachers……..to bless homosexual behavior is an explicit deviation from the biblical gospel and the historic Christian creed.

The doctrines of creation, sin, regeneration, and sanctification are necessarily distorted in the effort to justify same-sex intimacy. Not to mention that the Apostle Paul writes that the eternal welfare of the individual is at stake.

We must not allow the forces of political correctness or a desire to be “liked” to trump the compelling factor that the love of Christ causes us to tell the truth.

Martin Luther, the Reformer, said in 1521:

Unless you prove to me by Scripture and plain reason that I am wrong, I cannot and will not recant. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe [it endangers the soul]. Here I stand. There is nothing else I can do. God help me. Amen.

To be clear, I summarize…

My prayer and effort will be to “be Christ Like” In discussion and dialogue. I will seek HIS strength to “speak the Truth in Love”. I will be fair and clear in my words and expressions.

However, I am reminded that Jesus Loved Perfectly as he taught, lived and engaged His Culture; and they still Killed Him.

Second, this is NOT PERSONAL. Nearly every family has as a friend, uncle, aunt, son, daughter, colleague who is “caught up in some sin”. I want to speak Truth so our friends and family will come to the Truth and be assured of Eternal Life with the Father.

Finally, the belief that what God has revealed in the written Word is binding on the consciences of all Christians and gives shape to their behavior on every issue, not merely same-sex marriage, will be my approach to living the Christian life and the guide for exercising the calling God has placed on my life.

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry and Church Well Solutions, a ministry consulting work.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307 or email at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

I found content and and facts from from Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit by Sam Storms, which is part of the Theologians on the Christian Life series, To be very helpful in writing this BLOG. I recommend your review.

Key Thought:  We must not conclude God Isn’t working, Just Because we can’t see God at work in political decisions in Washington or in medical ethics in healthcare or in events in our daily lives.

*******************************************************

Like many of you the events of these last few weeks have caused me to ponder……..How does a religious minority living in a dominant culture with completely different views from you on almost everything, RELATE?  Does it   withdraw, assimilate, protest, critique?

Enter the Story of Esther………

Bethany L. Jenkins, Director of The Gospel Coalition’s Every Square Inch, the Director of Vocational & Career Development at The King’s College, and the Founder of The Park Forum has written a very insightful article that addresses what is on many of our minds.  She titled here article, ESTHER AND THE SILENT SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.

I’ve chosen to use as the Title in sharing it HERE,  God’s Silence is not Absence; God’s Hiddenness is not Abandonment. 

Bethany writes:

When you’re a religious minority living in a dominant culture with completely different views from you on almost everything, how do you relate to that culture? Do you withdraw, assimilate, protest, critique?

In the biblical Book of Esther, the Jews are in danger. They’re a religious minority living in Persia, a society dominated by spiritual and moral values at great variance to theirs. They have no king, no army, and no land. And powerful forces want to destroy them.

In the past, when God’s people have been in trouble, he’s sent miraculous signs and wonders. Here, though, he seems completely absent. There’s no mention of God at all—no vision, no dream, no prophecy, no prayer.

Is this an accidental oversight? Or could it be the point?

The Esther story is one of the most realistic biblical accounts of God’s providence precisely because God seems absent. It shows us how the unseen God often works through human history—“not by his miraculous intervention,” Karen Jobes observes, “but through completely ordinary events.”

In Esther, a string of “coincidences” occur in order for the Jews to be saved—a drunken and boastful king, a self-respecting queen, a beauty pageant, a sensuous girl, an overheard plot, and a timely insomnia. God even uses morally questionable decisions to work all things together for the good of his people.

And through these inscrutable and seemingly insignificant means, he advances his purposes. In the Esther story, God cares less about appearances and more about his sovereignty.

The sad irony, though, is that God doesn’t care about appearances, but we do.

Esther opens with a party hosted by the king at the palace—a palace so opulent that its description can only be compared to the temple and the tabernacle. (The original hearers would have recognized this association.) For six months, the king has paraded his power, wealth, majesty, and generosity before his officials and servants, hoping to gain their support and loyalty for the campaign he’s launching against Greece.

On the last day, with the entire city gathered, he commands the queen to come before him so he can show off her beauty. Celebrated by feminists for her self-respect and chided by fundamentalists for her disobedience, she refuses to appear before his drunken audience and, as a result, is stripped of her position. The message is clear: the king’s brashness is to be feared.

The king holds an international beauty pageant to replace the queen and compels “all the beautiful young virgins” to join his harem and undergo beauty treatments for a year. In the end, the “winner” is a Jewish girl named Esther. She’s young, compliant, and afraid—a foreshadowing contrast of the Esther who is to come.

This entire scene—from the party to the pageant—is a spectacle. It’s written to highlight how much Persian culture loves appearances. Men are measured by wealth and power, women by beauty and sexuality—or, as Keller puts it, a man by the size of his wallet and a woman by the size of her dress.

Not much has changed, has it? The world tells us to judge things and persons by external measures. It tells us that what we have—money, beauty, talent, power—matters more than who we are. It demands “beauty treatments” to get better credentials and sexier bodies.

When we adopt this appearance-driven approach, though, we miss God’s daily faithfulness because we look only for extraordinary miracles, not ordinary providence. As Keller notes:

When you see one of the ten plagues, you know that’s God! But when King Xerxes gets drunk and starts bragging, you don’t say, “Wow. There’s God at work!” But the book of Esther is trying to tell you, “Don’t make that mistake. God is at work.”

Today, if we can’t see God at work in political decisions in Washington or in medical ethics in healthcare or in events in our daily lives, we must not conclude he’s not working. As Keller notes, “His silence is not absence, his hiddenness is not his abandonment.” For Esther teaches that, in his providence, he’s working out the salvation of his people.

The Esther story is a reversal of the expected. What appears inevitable is not. Who appears powerful is not. Appearances are not what they seem.

Esther is written generations after the events have taken place. The original hearers know King Xerxes returns from his campaign in Greece as a defeated ruler. They know how God uses Esther to save them. They know how the one who tries to destroy them is himself destroyed. They know, too, then, that the story is full of irony, satire, and humor. As one commentator writes:

The author teaches us to make fun of the very forces that once threatened—and will again threaten—our existence, and thereby makes us recognize their triviality as well as their power. “If I laugh at any mortal thing,” said Byron, “‘tis that I may not weep.” Jews have learned that kind of laughter.

And Esther points to Jesus. He’s not what the people expect to find in a savior. He’s from Nazareth, not Jerusalem. He’s seen as the son of a carpenter, not a king. Based on appearances, he’s not to be esteemed, but ridiculed. Then they see him on a criminal’s cross and bury him in a borrowed grave.

But that’s not the end of the story. Appearances are not what they seem. The gospel story, like the Esther story, makes clear one of the most basic principles of biblical hermeneutics: “Without divine revelation,” notes Jobes, “the human experience is inherently ambiguous and cannot be rightly understood.”

And that divine revelation is the resurrection. The powers that seek to destroy Jesus are themselves destroyed by him—a reversal that teaches us to make fun of even the greatest enemy (1 Cor. 15:50–58). Against all human expectation, Jesus takes the death we deserve so that we can take the life he deserves.

Today isn’t the end of the story, either. The powers that seem in control are not in control. The trajectory that seems inevitable is not inevitable. As Jobes writes, “Beneath the surface of even seemingly insignificant human decisions and events, an unseen and uncontrollable power is at work that can be neither explained nor thwarted.”

 

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry and Church Well Solutions, a ministry consulting work.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307 or email at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 

 

Here is a 2 minute video I shared with Lakewood this past Sunday in light of the June 26, Supreme Court Ruling regarding Same Sex Marriage.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tfov3mkxubmzgwc/Dr.%20Tom%20Smiley%20-%20Supreme%20Court%20ruling.flv?dl=0

Here is the FULL Written Content of the video Message:

The events of this past week have saddened me as they have many of you.  However, since I’ve had a few days to pray and reflect on the many contemporary issues Biblical Christians face, I have found great peace in the following.

First, we are called by God to speak the Truth in love. I’m saddened when pastors and teachers lack courage, seek political correctness over God correctness or just adore the applause of men more than God.

Bottom line for those of us who hold to a Biblical world view is that we can only be responsible for proclaiming the truth.

Jesus said, “I am the truth”….and HE IS…. Jesus said, “The truth shall set you free”….And only HE CAN.

My passion for telling people the Truth comes from my love for people.  I love people.  My heart is burdened because living outside of God’s Will will NOT bring wholeness in this world or eternal life in the next world.

Let’s love people enough to tell them the Truth.

Second, I have been impressed to remember that we must not be surprised or intimated when a culture turns away from God. Peter told his congregation, when persecution or criticism comes don’t think it strange.  Just keep doing what God has called us to do.

I am sure the Church in America will begin to experience the persecution, bias and prejudice that most Christians around the world live with EVERY DAY.  Let’s be faithful as they have been faithful.

Finally, we must affirm God’s Word. I realize there are many standing in pulpits who fail to teach God’s Word as sufficient.

N. T. Wright, Anglican Bishop of Durham, noted scholar and theologian, has indicated that it is not intellectually honest to remove the biblical admonition to refrain from same sex activity or promote marriage as something other than between a male and female.

In his remarks on the subject of marriage he said, “It’s like a government voting that black should be white. Sorry, you can vote that if you like, you can pass it by a total majority, but it isn’t actually going to change the reality”.

The pseudo-scholars and false teachers in pulpits today will stand before God to give an account of how they taught and lead God’s people.

My father reminded me of this awesome responsibility when, upon hearing of God’s call upon my life to pastor a church, he said, “Son, that is serious business.”

I will never back up on Jesus and I will never place “feelings,” pop-psychology or political correction over the Truth of God’s word.

I believe that Dr. William Lane Craig hit the mark with his comments, “This (same sex marriage ruling) is not slippery slope reasoning. It’s more like falling off a cliff. By deconstructing marriage so that it is purely conventional, dependent upon the opinion of five justices, the Court makes marriage become whatever they want.”

I am going to pray and ask God to keep me from becoming “weary in well doing as I live as a Christ Follower.”

I will proclaim the Truth that Doctrine Matters, and to any enslaved or shamed by any sin, I will continue to proclaim, “You are Wrong BUT you are loved.”

I want to be a vehicle God uses to proclaim that Jesus loves you and invites YOU to join HIM in HIS redemptive, redeeming work.  Jesus wants all to Trust Him in matters of Living and Dying.

I shall not back up on Jesus or fall to political correction in order to please the government, Supreme Court Justices, pseudo-intellects or pastors who love the applause of men more than God.

I shall hold to and teach God’s Sufficient Word Provided and Protected by God through the ages. Ours is a serious business!

Join Me?

 

 

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry and Church Well Solutions, a ministry consulting work.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307 or email at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

 

Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is the lead pastor of Cities Church in Minneapolis/St. Paul,    He has Written an excellent Blog regarding “A Christian Response to Homosexuality.  “Why Homosexuality Is Not Like Other Sins”.  You can find it at  http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/why-homosexuality-is-not-like-other-sins

I hope it is OK that i post HIS BLOG.

Jonathan Parnell writes;

Homosexuality is not the only sin mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

It’s not the only sin mentioned, but it is different from all the rest, at least right now. At this moment in history, contrary to the other sins listed here, homosexuality is celebrated by our larger society with pioneering excitement. It’s seen as a good thing, as the new hallmark of progress.

To be sure, the masses increasingly make no bones about sin in general. Innumerable people are idolaters, not to mention those who are sexually immoral, or who commit adultery, or who steal and are greedy and get wasted and revile neighbors and swindle others. It happens all the time. And each of these unrepentant sins are the same in the sense of God’s judgment. They all deserve his wrath. And we’re constantly reminded that “such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:11). You in the church.

Concerning Popular Opinion

But as far as I know, none of those sins is applauded so aggressively by whole groups of people who advocate for their normalcy. Sexual immorality is no longer the tip of the spear for the progressive push. Adultery is still frowned upon by many. Accusations of greed will still smear a candidate’s political campaign. Thievery is still not openly embraced, and there are no official initiatives saying it’s okay to go take things that don’t belong to you. There’s no such thing as a drunk agenda yet. Most aren’t proud to choose a beverage over stability, and there aren’t any petitions that the government should abolish the driving restrictions of inebriated individuals. Reviling others still isn’t seen as the best way to win friends and influence people. Swindling, especially on a corporate level, usually gets someone thrown into jail. In fact, the infrastructure of the American economy depends upon, in some measure, our shared disdain for conniving scammers.

Perhaps excepting fornication, these sins are still seen in a pretty negative light. But not homosexual practice, not by those who are now speaking loudest and holding positions of prominence. According to the emerging consensus, homosexuality is different.

What to Be Against

As Christians, we believe with deepest sincerity that the embrace of homosexual practice, along with other sins, keeps people out of the kingdom of God. And if our society celebrates it, we can’t both be caring and not say anything. Too much is at stake. This means it is an oversimplification to say that Christians — or conservative evangelicals — are simply against homosexuality. We are against any sin that restrains people from everlasting joy in God, and homosexual practice just gets all the press because, at this cultural moment, it’s the main sin that is so freshly endorsed in our context by the powers that be. Let’s hope that if there’s some new cultural agenda promoting thievery — one that says it’s now our right to take whatever we want from others by whatever means — that Christians will speak out against it. The issue is sin. That’s what we’re against. And that’s what should make our voice so unique when we speak into this debate.

Some would like to see this whole issue of homosexuality divided into two camps: those who celebrate it and those who hate it. Both of these groups exist in our society. There are the growing numbers, under great societal pressure, who praise homosexuality. We might call them the left. And there are people who hate homosexuality, with the most bigoted rationale and apart from any Christian concern. We might call them the right.

Those Glorious Words

The current debate is plagued by this binary lens. Those on the left try to lump everyone who disagrees with them into that right side. If you don’t support, you hate. Meanwhile, those on the right see compromise and spinelessness in anyone who doesn’t get red-faced and militant. If you don’t hate, you support.

But true followers of Christ will walk neither path. We have something to say that no one else is saying, or can say.

Distancing ourselves from both the left and the right, we don’t celebrate homosexual practice, we acknowledge God’s clear revealed word that it is sin; and we don’t hate those who embrace homosexuality, we love them enough to not just collapse under the societal pressure. We speak the truth in love into this confusion, saying, simultaneously, “That’s wrong” and “I love you.” We’re not the left; we say, this is wrong. And we’re not the right; we say, you’re loved. We speak good news, with those sweetest, deepest, most glorious words of the cross — the same words that God spoke us — “You’re wrong, and you’re loved.”

God tells us we’re wrong, that the wages of sin is death, that unrepentant rebellion means judgment, that our rescue required the cursed death of his Son (Romans 3:23; John 3:36; Galatians 3:13). And God tells us we’re loved, that even while we were sinners, Jesus died for us, that while we were unrighteous, Jesus suffered in our place, that though we were destined for wrath, Jesus welcomes us into glory (Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:1–7).

Where the Gospel Shines

You’re wrong and you’re loved — that’s the unique voice of the Christian. That’s what we say, speaking from our own experience, as Tim Keller so well puts it, “we’re far worse than we ever imagined, and far more loved than we could ever dream.”

That’s our message in this debate, when society’s elites despise us, when pop songs vilify us, when no one else has the resources to say anything outside of two extremes, we have this incomparable opportunity to let the gospel shine, to reach out in grace: you’re wrong and you’re loved. We get to say this.

That’s why homosexuality is not like other sins.

 

Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry and Church Well Solutions, a ministry consulting work.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at https://tomsmiley.wordpress.com/

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (www.lifewithsmiles.com).  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org or by calling 770.532.6307 or email at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers