Pastor's Pen 02/16/2022
- Published: 22 February 2022 22 February 2022
- Last Updated: 22 February 2022 22 February 2022
A Message from Pastor Hale
God reveals himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in masculine words, but He is spirit – not male or female. God is not contained by our categories. The Son of God became man, but He is not male from eternity, though He was the only-begotten Son of the Father from the beginning. Though male and female are used of God’s creatures – they are not all-encompassing terms. But modern feminism wants to pit men and women against each other, removing God – His order – and making this distinction everything.
To define God oneself is idolatry. The world says girls can be boys, and vice versa. This really means we can be gods and god can be what we want. But saying it does not make it true. Women’s “power” is not to compete with men in strength or authority, or use their sexuality to get what they want selfishly, which leads to immorality. Women’s strength is in being women, as God made them, recognizing and supporting God’s role for men – even though they do not ever fully reach it – not striving for what they are not made to be. Men and women are made to be compatible, in marriage, but sin gets in the way.
Many today imply that God can be anything we want – even ourselves. But in this worship of gender, the Gospel has no room. Before God, faith is genderless. There is no male or female in Christ and His redemption, though must have been given different bodies and roles for living in this world. Forgiveness is not divvied out according to gender. We separate the earthly and God’s Kingdom. But we dare not ignore the body that Christ gave us – certainly that is not His will.
Earthly roles are certainly different for men and women, but this is temporary and these outward duties and responsibilities do not hinder God’s Spirit which renews us through the words of Christ. Faith in Christ for forgiveness is inward – it is not about earthly power, success, or recognition.
To rebel against gender is to go against one’s own body and God’s creative will. This is destructive. God is not limited by our bodies or categories, which are all broken and condemned by sin.
The feminist paganism of our time, which makes everything about gender, creating division and hatred for our good bodies and new life God gives only to females, is not always so in-your-face as in abortion or transgenderism, but it is one of the universal heresies of our time we all must struggle with and repent of.
A Message from Pastor Hale
The holy estate of marriage is holy. We are often told stories and shown images of how bad marriage can be for sinners who do not get along. It is miserable to experience and watch suffering. But implicitly blaming God’s institution of marriage in this human accounting disregards God’s holy action in uniting man and woman: They are no longer one. This holy bond is not undone by difficulties, regret, or struggling sinners.
Suffering is tough, but not evil or harmful for faith. Struggling couples should seek help – especially God’s Word of help, but sinning to avoid potential pain brings certain pain and sin. To willingly break a marriage is unholy and a direct sin against God. No amount of human motivation or rationale can undo God’s certain Word: “What God has joined together, let not man break asunder.”
No one wants a divorce – no kids grow up desiring this pain and emptiness. Feminism has not turned the script, but broadened it – so the women can leave just as easily as unbelieving men. Love is not about ourselves, but others. Love in marriage is a debt and duty to God, ultimately. It is not optional or conditional based on how much we think we should suffer. To flee from God’s call is never righteous. The holiness of marriage is a freedom for those who love Christ – it is not a constant choice or decision. Our Lord has given us who to love. The married know where to serve – and yes there will be some troubles.
Independence is an illusion. We need one another and most certainly depend on the holy God for life. Marriage is a gift of God, even where there is intense suffering and it is abused by sinful parties. Blame sinners, yes, and seek forgiveness in Christ for sin, but the one flesh union is not a mere human relationship. God unites male and female in marriage.
Leaving a marriage is to break, in a sinful way, what God has joined together. It is an unspiritual act. It is not just to break one’s word or a social contract – it is to offend and go against the holy God. That is why even for an innocent party in a divorce, who does not want the marriage to be broken, the brokenness is real. It only takes one person to break what God has joined. Marriage certainly needs our prayers and most serious attention – it is holy, after all.
Those who seek happiness in divorce are certain not to find it—since they oppose God’s will and institution of marriage. “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6).
A Message from Pastor Hale
Most Americans now claim to believe in ghosts. The tie between superstitious unbelief and paganism is clear. Everyone has spiritual beliefs, but not all are valid. By rejecting the truth of Christ, unbelievers fall for lies and old-wives tales. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles” (Rom. 1:21-23).
The scriptural evidence points to more supernatural going on than we see (angels are pervasive throughout the Bible) – and not all of it is good. But if it is not of God, it is of Satan. We are told that people are deceived: “for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Cor. 11:14-15).
The Bible references the idea of ghosts – they did not understand that Jesus had risen in His own body when He came to them on the first Easter evening: “they were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.” (Luke 24:37). Jesus referring to ghosts, however, does not prove their existence independent of God or Satan – he is referring to what they (forgiven sinners who grew up among sinners) wrongly thought that Jesus was – some disembodied spirit. Jesus is not always worried about correcting his disciples in every error they make – or else there would have been little time for anything else. Arguing from silence is possible, but proves nothing conclusively. In any case, God created all things.
If a ghost is non-physical, how could we encounter them? The supernatural exists, no doubt, and many strange things happen that are explainable by scientific language. But what is a ghost? Is it the spirit of a person that died, roaming the earth? That defies Scripture and God’s judgment that occurs: “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
Of course, the possibility for a good angel to appear is also possible – a spiritual being taking on the appearance of a person: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). Abraham did just this in receiving visitors in hospitality.
No doubt, people encounter Satan and his tactics in daily life, deceiving many – even professing Christians. The important thing is to not be deceived by them – and worship them in any sense – to fear, love, trust them, thereby making them a false god. We need fear nothing in Christ, covered in baptism with His righteousness.