All posts by Heather Walton

Why I Stand and Where I’ll Fall

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

By Heather Walton

The apostle Paul was a Christ follower, as were Barnabas and Mark. Yet they had a sharp disagreement that unfortunately kept them apart for many years. Really it seems like it was over something that really shouldn’t have been a long term issue, yet it was. Before that they had been very close and a great team. The enemy seeks to divide but God’s purposes stand.

As I’m seeking the Lord and zealous to do His will, it is not a secret that some folks, some godly folks, some folks I greatly respect, some folks I love, believe I am misguided. I don’t believe I am, but I respect anyone’s right to disagree. In fact, I want to protect that very right to believe differently and to speak up about differing beliefs, and that’s why I’ve taken the stands I have.

Our founding fathers were godly, albeit imperfect, men who sought the Lord and framed the Constitution from a Biblical worldview. Those who wrote the Declaration of Independence and those who supported the War for Independence risked everything, including their livelihoods, their safety, their families’ safety, their reputations, and their friendships, because they felt called by God that men should have freedom, not a selfish freedom, because they knew they may not even live to see that freedom. Like those in the Hebrews Hall of Faith, they did this for a higher purpose than themselves. These people were law breakers when it came to King George’s tyrannical laws, and many faulted them for it. But they appealed to a higher Law. God made us in His image. As His image bearers, we have laws that transcend the Constitution, but because the Constitution is based on God’s Law, and it is the highest law of our country and our Commonwealth, I will protect it however I can. In fact, in 1989, I took an oath to do so, and that oath had no expiration date.

My friend from Uganda sent me very graphic pictures of people dead and dying in the streets bc of lockdowns that cause people to starve. If liberty fails here, the world is impacted. I firmly believe we have a responsibility to steward what He has entrusted.I look at people like William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonheffer, and I’m inspired. These men were not daunted by the fact that few stood with them and that many were opposed. They were sure of their calling and accountable to God above all.

I don’t pretend to be worthy of the company of such men, but I am inspired by their bravery and commitment. I have had few trials in comparison, but I am willing to pay the price because I’m assured of God’s calling and because liberty — true liberty — is worth it.

My greatest allegiance is to the Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t take that lightly. I stand on liberty because He bought it for us. That transcends political borders and parties and has eternal consequences. The things we are seeing run far deeper than masks, vaccines, and lockdowns. There is no political party with the answer. I do not take a political stand. I stand for truth. I stand for Christ, and if I fall, I fall into His arms.

COVID in KY: What do these numbers mean?

By Heather Walton

I examined the statistics for Kentucky on the CDC’s death statistics and made some observations from the following data:

This chart is part of the data found at https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Weekly-Counts-of-Deaths-by-State-and-Select-Causes/muzy-jte6/data

1. I calculated the actual Kentucky deaths from week 15 to week 42 of 2019 and 2020, because that period reflects the beginning of the COVID deaths and allows for enough time to have passed that the data for 2020 should be complete. In doing so, I got these numbers for Kentucky: 2019: 25,209 total deaths; 2020: 27,744 total deaths. That means 2,535 more deaths for Kentucky during that period, accounting for about 93 deaths per week. That could be statistically significant, but we do need to control for other factors.

2. I calculated the deaths by natural causes from the same periods and for 2019, there were 22,933, and for 2020, there were 24,919. This means there were 1,926 more deaths by natural causes, which brings the above number to 71 deaths per week, 22 less weekly than the total. This means there were 2,276 unnatural deaths for that period in 2019, and 2,825 unnatural deaths in 2020.

It is important to investigate the effects of the pandemic and its mitigation measures on unnatural deaths, because causation and/or correlation there could be evidence that lockdowns are at least partially counterproductive. Also, if you make the case that civil unrest is unrelated to the lockdowns, then those figures should be considered independently. And if you make the case that lockdowns are causal, at least partially, to civil unrest, then the cure could be partially responsible for continuing cases and deaths due to the virus.

3. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and World Population Review, the population of KY increased by 32,017 between July 2019 and the present, which is a .35% increase. We should expect rising death rates with rising population, and we should expect the death rates to outnumber the population growth because of the aging population.

4. According to scholarly research, mortality has been disproportionate in skilled nursing facilities, with around 34% of the deaths occurring in nursing homes. In fact, Dr. Steven Stack said during the November 30 Governor’s briefing that two thirds of Kentucky COVID deaths have been in nursing homes. This, of course, is tragic, but does not support lockdowns; it may actually build a case against them.

I believe it is important to think critically and have productive dialogue regarding the issues of our day. We must not rely on others’ opinions, but should do our own research and ask thoughtful questions before coming to conclusions.

In doing so, I’m not trying to downplay anyone’s pain or personal experience with the virus; on the contrary, it is crucial to examine the impact of COVID-19 from multiple perspectives. I have repeatedly been told that, if I had experienced the devastation of this virus, I would think and behave differently. To that I say, is there anyone who hasn’t experienced the devastation of this virus? And why do some people limit the negative impact to catching the virus or deaths attributed to the virus? It goes so much deeper than that:

Consider the impact on people’s livelihoods: In Louisville alone, hundreds of businesses have closed this year. Many workers have been laid off. Our state economy has been devastated. You might say that this isn’t as important as the loss of human life. In fact, it does sound like a reasonable concession to make for the sake of so many potential lives lost. However, when we consider that perhaps the numbers are being over-dramatized, it should make us pause. Even if they weren’t, we need to look at the short and long-term consequences of this huge economic loss. Indeed, it could result in loss of life, and definitely results in loss of quality of life.

Depression and anxiety are on the rise. This is a major consequence of the lockdowns. Many children and adolescents are suffering from the lack of true social interaction and the uncertainty perpetuated by these mitigation measures and the media attention given to the pandemic. Unemployment also contributes to mental health, as does isolation. And what about the elderly who are not allowed visitors, even in the final moments of their lives? It seems downright unreasonable that the government has even mandated that people die alone.

Students are receiving less-than-ideal education, because non-traditional instruction (NTI) is not cutting it for many who are enrolled in in-person programs. Granted, NTI can be done well, but many students in public schools, especially if they do not have parental support, are not getting an education comparable to what they received in the classroom.

These are just a few of the consequences of restricting the movement, activity, and free will of the entire population. And what’s worse is that the restrictions are somewhat random, with some industries and activities being allowed to continue, while others are not.

Concerns regarding religious liberty may be the most alarming. Church, we are being lulled to sleep, boiled alive, or whatever proverb you want to use. We are operating with our masks not just covering our mouths and noses, but our eyes and ears as well! Some are allowing feelings and experiences to override truth, facts, and even Scripture.

I understand that COVID is real and that people do have devastating health effects, some of which we may not realize for years to come; however, some people act as if this is the only cost, and that we must avoid losing even one life due to this virus. How many of those same people are doing everything they can to avoid cancer, heart disease, and diabetes? How many people who shame others for not wearing a mask would do the same to someone smoking a cigarette or going through the drive-through at a fast-food restaurant? How many of those same people make sure they are doing everything health-wise to avoid the virus? How many text and drive?

It’s time for us to wake up to the possibility that we are being manipulated, and to ask why. This may not be comfortable for some to consider, and I predict that many will be upset by me even suggesting this. Yet, I must. It would be remiss of me to withhold critical thinking in the name of feelings. We must, if we are honest seekers of truth, explore the possibility that we have been conditioned by the media, by our education system, and by the government, to believe things about this virus that are not true. To take it a step further, we may even be responding to this virus in ways that are not correct, and that we may be perpetuating falsehood by going along with the narrative. It’s not wrong to think critically. It’s wrong to allow our feelings to override truth.

If you’ve lost someone due to this virus, I am not downplaying your pain. But I submit to you that I have personally seen things from a different perspective during times of grief, and that perspective has generally been flawed, because grief is all-encompassing. I would also ask you, if your loved one had died of something else, would you be vigilant about the other cause of death? For example, if your loved one died of heart disease, would you be evaluating your health choices in light of your loved one’s death? Would you be changing your eating habits and exercising more? Would you be trying to close down the fast food industry? Would you be shaming people who eat fast food and don’t exercise? These are important questions to ponder, especially given that heart disease is the number one cause of death, and many with COVID had it as a comorbidity. If the answer is “no,” what does that do to your credibility in the way you are handling this virus?

I simply ask that those of you who feel so strongly about these mandates and lockdowns please consider the true statistics and the broader context. I also ask that you try to understand that those of us who feel strongly in the other direction are not malicious, unfeeling, greedy, self-absorbed, indifferent, or stupid. Most of us believe you should be free to make up your own minds about this. Most of us are upset at the powers that have created this pandemic of fear, and we are simply trying to bring truth to light. Most of us would find it easier not to be confrontational, yet we believe in God-given liberty too much to see what is happening and turn a blind eye. We are not your enemy. Please consider our perspective.

So Long, Social Media?

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By Heather Walton

Dear Facebook,

I think it’s time we consider breaking up. I feel like our relationship isn’t healthy. I find myself too dependent on you, checking on you too often, trying to make sure our relationship is still okay. I need to know that people are reading my posts, and I really hope they like them. I know sometimes I write stuff people don’t like, but I really hope they won’t judge me for it, or worse, unfriend me, or even worse, presume my eternal fate. I crave social points. I want to know my worth is secure, and everybody knows that likes, positive emojis, shares, and friend requests offer security. I mean, if everyone on social media thinks I’m alright, well, then I must be. Right … ???

Even then, you know, I’m not sure. You know, there could be people who unfriended me and I didn’t notice. Didn’t I see someone pop up in my friend suggestions yesterday who I thought was already my friend. What was up with that?

And sometimes I post something and somebody doesn’t like it, and they say something really unkind back to me, or they scold me, even calling my character into question. I know you can’t tell tone in a comment, but it sure seems like they’re yelling at me, or shaming me. Maybe I’m not okay after all. Maybe they’re right, and I’m insensitive, or an idiot, or a bad friend. Maybe I really don’t know the right way to think. Maybe I should just stop posting anything that might offend.

But then I try that, and I still end up offending someone over something I didn’t even consider controversial.

Sometimes I wonder which life is reality. Is there a living, breathing representation of me somewhere in cyberspace? Sometimes it sure feels like it!

It used to be that I would fret over the things I actually verbalized to people, and that was enough. Now I also get to overanalyze online dialogue. And I receive feedback from any number of people with whom I never would have shared in person what I posted online because of the sheer volume of people who can be reached in a nanosecond on the Internet. Several post their commentary for my reading “pleasure.” And have you ever noticed how bold people will be online? Most of them would never actually say out loud some of the things their fingers will vomit out onto the screen.

Some people choose to only use social media to showcase themselves. Others to share lighthearted memes and family photos. Nothing wrong with that. But, and I’m sure you’ve noticed, Facebook, I’m kind of intense. I have convictions and I want to share them, not because I want to shove my thoughts down people’s throats, but because I believe in the free exchange of ideas, and because I believe what I have to say is worthy of being heard.

To go even further, I believe God has called me to seek truth and to speak and write about it. If I break things off with you, then I won’t be able to share with them as easily. Do I need you? No. Might God use you to get His message out through me? I hope so. Now that may sound prideful, but for me, writing is a calling. In the parable of the talents, the stewards were expected to use what the Master gave them and to multiply it. My Master has gifted me with the talent of writing, and I dare not bury that talent by keeping it hidden only in my journal. If I did, that would actually be the prideful move.

I really do believe that God has called me to communicate in writing with a fallen, desperate world, to tell them that Jesus is the answer to all that ails them. Sometimes He calls me to write stuff that I really would rather keep to myself. Other times I make mistakes. But my intent is always to glorify God and to serve my fellow man.

So for now, I guess I’ll hang in there. I need to remember that it’s not about me, how I feel, or how comfortable or popular I am. It’s about obedience to share what God has laid on my heart, in hopes that it will encourage and strengthen Christ-followers, and draw unbelievers to Jesus. Sometimes that offends people who disagree, but that doesn’t change God’s call or His truth.

Okay, Facebook, I guess we’ll give it another chance, but I’ve got to remember not to get caught up again in trying too hard and analyzing too much. I have to remember that my real Audience sits on the throne of the universe and not on the other side of a screen.

Sincerely,

Heather Walton

P.S. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10 ESV).

2020: Why Be Thankful?

Photo by Hal Nixon on Pexels.com

By Heather Walton

This has been the worst year ever! COVID. Civil Unrest. Economic Collapse. Isolation. Shortages. Uncertainty. How can I be thankful?

Let’s remember that that the Apostle Paul admonished us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Paul had been through many tough things, including persecution, imprisonment, beatings, loss of friendship, anguish over the trials of the church, shipwreck, hunger, nakedness, and more.

It’s interesting that this admonition came in the midst of Paul’s teaching about the Day of the Lord. Prior to this verse about thanksgiving, Paul shared with the Thessalonian church that they were not to worry about those who had died missing the Lord’s return, and not to worry that those on the earth would miss it either. He also told them not to worry about when this would happen; instead, he focused them on how to live in the meantime.

He urged them to have self-control, to show brotherly love, to mind their own business, to encourage one another, to work, and to abstain from evil. He encouraged them to be at peace, to pray, to rejoice and give thanks. He told them not to quench the Spirit or to despise prophecies. His message was one of hope, peace, and unity.

And all of it came from the heart of a man who, by our standards of peace and safety, had a rough life. Not just a rough year. Decades of difficulty.

This man admonished us to live out our faith by being thankful in all circumstances. No exceptions.

This year has been challenging for everyone. Nobody has been exempt from the effects of the worldwide crises taking place in 2020, and it’s highly probable that 2021 will bring surprises and hardships of its own. Yet I am thankful.

I’m thankful for all the “good” things, of course — things like God, family, friends, shelter, food, and meaningful work. But it goes deeper than that this year.

I’m thankful for a lot of things I previously took for granted — things like toilet paper and gatherings with friends. But it goes deeper than that this year.

I’m thankful for the ability to creatively do things I used to do differently — things like teaching and tutoring online, grocery delivery, and curbside pickup. But it goes deeper than that this year.

I’m thankful for the hard things, the bad things, the irritating things:

  1. I’m thankful for the lockdown that brought my family home full-time and gave us time together that we never would have had otherwise, that taught us that we really don’t need nearly as much outside our four walls as we had thought.
  2. I’m thankful for our tyrannical governor, who has shown me how precious our freedoms are and given us a chance to realize that liberty is worth fighting for, that it is precious and should not be taken lightly.
  3. I’m thankful that Joe Biden appears to have won the election, because perhaps now evangelicals will take their eyes off a perceived political “savior” and turn their eyes on the one-and-only true Messiah.
  4. I’m thankful for the refining of the church, in which the true believers will come through stronger, and those who were just playing church are faced with making their faith real or simply walking away. This crisis has clarified allegiances and values.
  5. I’m thankful for the remnant community I’ve been united with in brotherly love, and I’m looking forward to what the Lord is going to do through this group of believers.
  6. I’m thankful that I’ve been drawn to search the Scriptures much more fervently, looking to see when the Lord may return, and how to live in the meantime.
  7. I’m thankful for a greater awareness of the socialistic, humanistic assault on God-given liberty and the understanding of the demonic forces behind it.
  8. I’m thankful that the uncertainty and unrest has made me much less attached to this world and increasingly aware of my heavenly citizenship.

Today we remember a group of Pilgrims and a group of Native Americans who came together, though they had many differences, and gave thanks to God for the simple provision of food, which allowed them to live just a little longer. May we be thankful for the simple things as well. May we be thankful for the good things, the things previously taken for granted, the ability to creatively do things differently, and yes, even the hard, bad, and irritating things.

Happy Thanksgiving 2020 to all!

Who Among Us Will Stand?

https://hebringsbeautyfromashes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Who-Among-Us-Will-Stand.mp3
Audio version of this post

By Heather Walton

NEVER FORGET WHAT YOU SAW HERE

The Holocaust Museum stands as a testament that never again should we allow tyranny to intimidate us into submission to a government that seeks to destroy our fellow man, that seeks to take away our fundamental rights, that sinks headlong into atrocities and unfathomable crimes against humanity.

Imagine if you will that you had seen it coming. What would you have done? History stands as a witness that the German people — the German Christians — should have done more. Yet most did nothing as they witnessed an entire class of people become depersonified, demonized, dominated, and doomed to death.

This didn’t happen overnight, and it shouldn’t have happened at all.

And it mustn’t happen here.

Not on our watch.

Oh, but it’s not, you might say. We aren’t like the Germans before WWII. We would never allow what they did. Not us! We are enlightened. We believe in liberty, justice, and equality!

Do we? How easily will we give it all up for a little peace and safety? For a little prosperity? For a little health?

It would be intellectually dishonest to refuse to consider the implications of our collective consent to the tyrannical measures imposed to mitigate this virus. Indeed, it would be utter denial.

If you read the mainstream media, especially exclusively, you are being deceived. It is nothing but a steady stream of editorials designed to sway you to believe their thesis — that man is both the problem and the solution to the world’s problems, that we can fix what ails us, that there is no God but Caesar, and that we need the government to save us.

My fellow Americans, we have subsisted on a steady diet of propaganda for decades, and we have lost the ability to reason. If we don’t watch out, we will submit to, consent to, and perhaps even commit, terrible atrocities. (In fact, we do already.)

So what should we do? I’m glad you asked!

  1. Read. Research. Reflect.
  2. Consider that the media has a bias and an objective, and ask yourself if it aligns with yours.
  3. Seek out scholarly, peer-reviewed research about things like masks, vaccines, isolation, pandemics, and more.
  4. Consider why the government cares so much about this virus as opposed to others, especially things that cause more harm.
  5. Consider why certain people and activities are targeted and others aren’t. Are there commonalities?
  6. Start conversations. See if others are thinking as you are.
  7. Do the math on the virus. Compare the math to other illnesses and activities.
  8. Read about those who have stood against injustice.
  9. Read the Bible.

Then, if you think something just doesn’t add up, consider engaging in activities that could turn the tide against tyranny.

It doesn’t take much time and effort to call or email your representatives and governing officials. If you want to go deeper, consider how you can educate others and how you might stand up against injustice.

Even though my governor has taken many liberties with our freedom, that doesn’t mean I should submit. Indeed, I have chosen the path of resistance in multiple small ways over the past few months.

What about Romans 13, you ask? I believe many Christians are being shamed into submission by the use of a few carefully chosen verses of Scripture. Yes, we do need to submit to the governing authorities; however, people preach this, assuming that civil government is the highest law. If that is the case, to which civil government, and to which part of civil government do we give the highest degree of submission? The mayor? The governor? The court? The legislators? The president? The U.N.?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Preamble to the Declaration of Independence (Emphasis Added)

According to our founding fathers, a higher Governor gives us our rights.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego agreed:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18 ESV (Empahsis Added)

Not only did these courageous men refuse to comply with Nebuchadnezzar’s edict, but they chose to do so regardless of the consequences. Likewise, Peter and John, when admonished not to preach about Christ, appealed to the ultimate Lawgiver:

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:27-29 (ESV)

Brothers and sisters, do we have such courage? Do we not see that our liberties are sacred, and no matter the rightness or wrongness of the suggested measures to combat this virus, the mandated countermeasures by principle are immoral. For the civil government to interfere with our personal freedoms, and especially our religious freedoms, is unconscionable and the potential consequences are horrifying.

I’m not debating the morality of mask-wearing, though I have made, and continue to make, a case against their efficacy and necessity. However, I am openly challenging the idea that the government is requiring us to cover our faces with cloth. More than that, I’m proclaiming that the government should not interfere with the church, with free speech, and with individual families’ decisions of whom or how many people to have in their homes. The government also should not dictate when people get tested for infectious diseases or demand to know with whom they’ve associated (unless a crime has been committed). And the civil authorities definitely should not be able to forcibly or coercively vaccinate anyone, child or adult, period.

For the civil government to interfere with our personal freedoms, and especially our religious freedoms, is unconscionable and the potential consequences are horrifying.

So I’ll ask again: Do we have the courage of our forefathers and the great men and women of faith throughout the ages? Will we stand against oppression and tyranny? Will we do this for our fellow man? Will we do it for our posterity?

Consider these words from the Declaration of Independence:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness … But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Declaration of Independence (Emphasis added)

Our founders duty-bound us not to accept what is going on in our government today. They call out to us across history, and tell us that, when government challenges our fundamental rights, we should not allow it. They take it a step further, and say that such government must be overthrown! Are we there yet?

We have given in to the lie that Jesus was weak, that the Gospel is emasculated, impotent niceness that doesn’t mess with our daily lives. We forget the Jesus who challenged the money changers and the Pharisees, the Jesus who told Pilate he would have no power unless God allowed it, the Jesus who told us to give what is Caesar’s to Caesar and to God what is God’s.

We have given in to the lie that Jesus was weak, that the Gospel is emasculated, impotent niceness that doesn’t mess with our daily lives.

Our highest allegiance is to God, not to Caesar, and when the two conflict, we can cower and acquiesce to governors and kings, or we can stand with that great cloud of witnesses and defend our rights as God’s image-bearers, not because we are entitled, but because we are morally obligated to stand up against evil for the sake of our fellow citizens and the coming generations.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this:

Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Sermon on II Corinthians 12:9

Consider also that great cloud of witnesses listed in Hebrews 11, men and women who “were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16 ESV).

May we be worthy of that city by being the best caretakers of our God-given liberty as long as He gives us the strength to do so!

The Rise of Socialism and the Case for Civil Disobedience

from https://factfile.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Quotes.jpg

By Heather Walton

I have heard Christians say that we should stay completely out of “politics.” As I’ve prayerfully considered this stance, I’ve found it lacking. Instead, my dual citizenship compels me that, in order to truly be heavenly minded, I must also be of earthly good. Just because Jesus is coming, and hopefully coming soon, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be about His business until the very day the trumpet sounds or He takes me home.

My dual citizenship compels me that, in order to truly be heavenly minded, I must also be of earthly good.

Some have said that America is done, past the point of no return, and that we just need to let events play out. While I would agree that it appears that the sun is setting on our beloved republic, and that it is only a matter of time before we willingly submit to socialism, and subsequently join hands with the coming “new world order,” that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up.

Consider the parable of the talents: The master left three servants in charge of various amounts of his wealth. Two servants invested his money wisely and brought a return, and were therefore rewarded. The third, who feared his master, buried the talent apportioned to him, rather than making it work for his master until his return. As a result, he was disinherited and his talent given to another. Only recently did I realize that Jesus shared this parable in the context of end times prophecy. Church, we are not to bury our talents as we await our master’s return! We are to be about our Master’s business until the very last second.

If, instead, we as the church, forfeit the culture war, the war for the very soul of our nation, and the very soul of the church itself, with the excuse that “our citizenship is in heaven,” we should be charged with spiritual treason. He has called us to “rescue those being led to the slaughter,” to hold back evil, to warn the sinner, to admonish the saint, to subdue the earth, to, like our Creator, in whose image we were formed, use our gifts and talents, not to bury them as we await His return. This does not mean our hope is in this world; rather, unless our faith is evidenced by these actions, how are we to draw all men to Him, and ultimately to that eternal reward He desires for them. If the ministers, missionaries, and apostles of old, would have had the attitude that the culture is lost and we simply need to submit to ungodly authority as we await our heavenly Savior’s return, where would the Kingdom of God be today? Would this country even exist?

If, instead, we as the church, forfeit the culture war, the war for the very soul of our nation, and the very soul of the church of itself, with the excuse that “our citizenship is in heaven,” we should be charged with spiritual treason.

Think of men like William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. Think of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men were heroes because they refused to submit to tyranny, and because they instead stood against tyrants on behalf of those who could not stand up or who would not stand up for themselves. They were not necessarily considered heroes by their peers during that time, yet they risked their reputations, their livelihoods, and their very lives for the righteous causes to which they had been called.

“Well, these men were exemplary in their time,” you might say. “They were specially gifted and called by God for those tasks.” Yes and no. We are all plainly called to “love mercy, practice justice, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8), “to rescue the orphan and widow in their distress and to live lives unstained by the world” (James 1:27), and to “rescue those being led away to the slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11). These admonitions are for all believers, not a select few. We consider these men to be extraordinary, but only because we have settled for mediocrity in the Kingdom of God. We now view ordinary Christianity as extraordinary, or perhaps even as sin.

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”

Isaiah 1:17 ESV

The American church has so watered down the Gospel that countless souls are deluded into the illusion of justification before a holy God; unless we sound the alarm boldly and unwaveringly, their blood will be on our hands.

Perhaps it is because of this watering down that we have bought into such heresies as the social justice gospel, which tells us that man can cure the world’s ills without requiring repentance, easy believism, which gives us Jesus as Savior while neglecting His Lordship, and “open and affirming” faith communities, which deny essential scriptural truths.

We now view ordinary Christianity as extraordinary, or perhaps even as sin.

Perhaps it is because of this watering down that we have believed the lie that we need to keep our faith private and not speak into the culture. That there are two realms — the sacred and the secular. Not at all! Either Jesus is our life and governs every aspect, or we are not alive in Christ at all!

If the Gospel hasn’t changed our lives, we haven’t accepted it, and are not beneficiaries of His grace. This is sobering, as it should be. We are called to examine ourselves in light of the Gospel, and judge ourselves, not by our peers’ actions and reactions, but by the Word of God. If we are not in line with it, if we are offended by it, if we are unwilling to live by it, we would be presumptuous to trust our eternal security.

Do we live our lives worthy of this very Gospel? Does our faith cost us anything? Should it perhaps cost us everything? In attempting to keep our lives, we lose them, but in losing our lives for Jesus’ sake and for His Gospel, we gain an eternal glory to which nothing in this world compares.

We have allowed a stunning degree of apostasy into the church. We have played the harlot with the gods of this world. We have trampled the grace of God with the foulest of sins, and we have failed to reprove — and worse, even given hearty approval to — those who prostitute themselves to an Americanized “grace.” In doing so, we have baptized converts into the very gates of hell. For this, we must give an account. From this, we must repent.

Christians, our country is falling fast into an evil that steals, kills, and destroys. That evil is socialism, an ideology devoid of God, an ideology that dictators have used to rise to power at the expense of the vulnerable. Do the names Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler bring up any hint of virtue? No, these men are considered an anathema in the rolls of history. These men were all socialists, communists, Marxists.

Socialism, a pretty name for Marxism, is purely evil. Today it may look like the government is doing some good things that fall in the realm of socialism, but don’t be deceived. Consider public education: isn’t it a good thing? How would our children learn to read and write and do math otherwise? How would they become responsible citizens otherwise? What about the poor who can’t afford private schools?

Don’t fall for it!

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.

Vladmir Lenin

“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.”

Adolf Hitler

John Dewey, father of modern public schools, believed that the best way to change the society for the better was through education. As a religious humanist, Dewey believed it was the duty of the schools and other social institutions to transform society, from what he saw as the antiquated traditional model embraced by theists, to a modern secular society ruled by pragmatism and a devotion to community ideals.

Public schools are a socialist construct. Before the state ran public schools, the church offered free education to those who were able to partake. Others were home educated in academics, practical skills, vocations, or a combination. The humanistic, socialistic takeover of schools was by design, and as a result, we have ridden the slippery slope into a pit of immorality and decadence, and our children can not understand the Bible or the Constitution, and they scoff at both. Government has no place in educating our children; it is our responsibility as the church and as the family.

The result of the slide into socialism is that we now are canceled as old-fashioned, homophobes, closed-minded, delusional bigots who are out of touch with reality. In many cases, our neighbors, family members, friends, and even our own children have developed animosity and bitterness toward us, but more importantly toward the God that created them. Yet, some still spout scripture to justify their attitudes and action, and they even use it against us.

For example, in my home state, our governor regularly cites his faith as reason to implement tyrannical measures to “fight the coronavirus,” yet this same man defies the God he cites allegiance to by celebrating homosexuality and abortion. This man who alleges to personally feel the pain of every loss to this virus has no problem severing the livelihoods of healthy people and shaming those who don’t agree. He tramples liberty and belittles those who disagree.

Submitting to unjust laws is not Biblical. Should the German Christians have submitted to Hitler? Of course not! But it was a gradual descent, one that they probably didn’t see because it started out subtle and continued subtly until they got to a point of no return. It likely would have been hard to recognize as it was happening, unless they were really paying attention. In saying that, I’m not likening any of our government officials to Hitler, but I’m simply saying that, if the German Christians would have seen the whole picture from the beginning, perhaps they would not have submitted to the gradual steps that got them to the horrific place they ended up.

I don’t believe this nation has much longer. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to hold back the darkness as long as we can. I don’t necessarily mean to take up arms. But I do mean that I will not submit to unjust mandates if it is in my power to resist, and I’m not doing it to “demand my rights,” but instead to demand your God-given, Constitutionally-affirmed, rights as His image-bearers. If that makes me unpopular, or if it brings me difficult consequences, so be it. Regardless of how one feels about liberty, it is an absolute, and I won’t give up our collective liberties without resistance.

Perspectives on the current crisis and coming cure

By Heather Walton

“I can’t believe this is America!” I’m not sure how many times I’ve said that in the past few weeks. This country is becoming decreasingly recognizable as the America I grew up in, as the America I committed to defend, as the America I once took great pride in.

Lockdowns, mandates, rioting, talk of a coming mandatory vaccine. Chaos around every corner.

Nothing is more shocking than the covert rise of socialism that has suddenly emerged into plain sight and that looms close on the horizon. How did this happen? Why do young people (and old) think this is okay?

We could analyze this from a historical perspective and trace the roots back to Darwin, Nietzsche, Marx, Dewey, and countless American Socialists/Humanists throughout the generations. The tentacles of this beast are pervasive and destructive.

We could analyze this from a political perspective and defend the free market economy from philosophical, economic, and biblical viewpoints, and we would see that socialism doesn’t work.

Instead, I would like to analyze this from a worldview perspective. How is it that our society has bought into the lie that we can create a Utopia where there is no poverty, no inequality, no difficulty? Where the government owes us peace, prosperity, and health? Where we allow a few to dictate to the majority of us that we are politically incorrect, homophobic, bigoted, privileged, and flat-out wrong if we have biblical values? Where trees and insects are more valuable than people? Where feelings dictate our perceived reality, and facts no longer matter? Where we fear the whims of children and ignore the wisdom of the elderly?

This is by design. The enemy masquerades as an angel of light and has deceived the whole world into thinking that humans can solve their own problems, that God is dead, that we evolved from primordial goo, that this life is all there is, and that we must therefore do everything we can to make it everything we can while we’re here. “You only live once! Follow your heart! Live your dreams! Live and let live! Love who you want!”

This year has been shocking to many, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. The world has been working toward this chaos for many years, and this chaos is part of the process of our evolution toward the grand finale, in which a cosmic battle will conclude.

There is a Satanic plot to steal, kill, and destroy, and that plot has been unfolding since the Garden of Eden. Today we see it manifested in so many ways, including blatant deception through the media and education, election fraud, division on every imaginable and created issue, and worldwide civil unrest. The devil and those he has deceived into working for his agenda are creating mass chaos so that they can be false saviors who bring order from chaos.

The Bible tells us that one day Jesus will return for his bride, the church. When He returns, we need to be ready. Church, be ready! He is coming soon. How soon? That’s a mystery. The Bible tells us we won’t know the day or the hour, that He will come like a thief in the night, that it will be sudden. However, we should recognize the season, but we have to be paying attention, and we have to guard our relationship with God as the day grows closer.

We are told to endure to the end, and we are warned a great falling away of believers in the last days. No matter what lies ahead — persecution, tribulation, martyrdom — we must be steadfast. There is nothing more precious or prized than our eternity, and nothing is worth missing the riches of an eternal home with our Savior.

There is one cure for what ails our nation — Jesus. That is all. Sound simplistic? Perhaps. It is a simple answer, yet not an easy one.

Many people believe that turning to Jesus is as simple as inviting Him into your life as your Savior. While this is part of it, this would be what Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to as “cheap grace.”

According to Bonhoeffer, who was martyred for his stand against Hitler, grace is costly. It was costly to Christ, of course, but it also is costly to those of us who partake.

“The grace he (Martin Luther) had received was a costly grace. It was grace, for it was like water on parched ground, comfort in tribulation, freedom from bondage of a self-chosen way, and forgiveness of all his sins. And it was costly, for, so far from dispensing him from good works, it meant that he must take the call to discipleship more seriously than ever before. It was grace because it cost so much, and it cost so much because it was grace.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (italics mine)

The American church has cheapened the concept of grace by, whether purposefully or inadvertently, deluding people into believing that they can simply say a quick prayer, asking Jesus to be their Savior, and then continue business as usual. Brothers and sisters, may we never be guilty of this heresy!

We are told in Romans 10:9-10 (ESV), “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (emphasis mine). Lord means master, one who is in charge. Servants submit to their lord’s will and order their lives according to his wishes; they do not tell him what they will do or not do; they do not tell him what his orders mean or what he demands; they do not shape him according to their image and likeness. Their works don’t make them his servants; on the contrary, they do his work because he is their lord.

We are called to be disciples, which means students. We are to study our master and to emulate Him, and we are to teach the next generation to do the same. The Bible is clear about many matters of morality. If we choose to dismiss this divine instruction, we should not delude ourselves into thinking that Jesus is our Lord. And if He is not our Lord, then we serve the god of this age, the devil.

Make no mistake: Things in this world will get worse, and it will be increasingly difficult to live out the Christian life. The church must be steadfast. It may require everything we have, including our lives. Whether or not we are martyred in Christ’s name, we are to willingly die to ourselves daily, every day we have breath in our lungs.

The future of this nation and this world are bleak, yet we await a kingdom not of this world. In the meantime, we are called to shine forth as gold, to share the true Gospel, and to serve our fellow man. We are to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth. And we are to “love mercy, practice justice, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8).

The current and coming crisis are the result of man’s sinfulness, for which there is one and only cure: the costly grace of the risen Christ! If you don’t know Him, I urge you to repent and surrender to Him today. If you do know Him, yet aren’t following Him as fully as you ought, I urge you to repent and surrender to Him today. This is the cure to all crises, both temporal and eternal.

Masquerade: Facing Constitutional Facts

By Heather Walton

I recently had the opportunity to testify during a public hearing regarding Kentucky’s mask mandate (902 KAR 2:210E). There were many amazing people on the zoom call, testifying about various reasons the mask mandate is unconstitutional and sharing compelling personal stories and scholarly research to support their positions. (This is not a statement that people shouldn’t wear masks, as that should be an individual choice, but rather that the government should not regulate this decision.) This is the first time I’ve attended such a hearing, and I found it to be a worthwhile way to participate in our democratic process. Here are my comments, taken from the transcript:

“Thank you so much for this opportunity to speak, and I just want to say I appreciate everyone’s comments. I’ve been very impressed with the depth of research and experiences that you all are willing to share.

So, I’m going to start off by saying when I was seventeen years old, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic. I don’t feel released from that oath, and I think that our Constitution is being trampled in all sorts of ways today. While my allegiance was specific to the U.S. Constitution and I do believe that Constitution is being trampled, I am going to argue from the Kentucky Constitution, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which is subordinate to our national Constitution. So, to clarify, the Constitution is the highest law of our Commonwealth and it gives all the branches of government, including the Executive Branch, its power.

And the Preamble of that Constitution says:

“We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy, and invoking the continuance of these blessings, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

Preamble to the constitution of the commonwealth of Kentucky

So, first, we are entitled to both political and religious liberty and our Constitution was founded on these liberties. The mask issue is highly political, and, for some, it may violate their religious liberty. When we’re looking at a document, an original source, we should define it in terms of the way that it would have been defined at that time. And, so, I want to go to a couple of Websters 1828 Dictionary definitions, the first one being the word political, and political means,

“pertaining to a nation or state, or to nations or states, as distinguished from civil or municipal; as in the phrase, political and civil rights, the former comprehending rights that belong to a nation, or perhaps to a citizen as an individual of a nation; and the latter comprehending the local rights of a corporation or any member of it.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

And the definition of liberty civil liberty is,

“the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient for the public is tyranny or oppression. Civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another.” Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.”

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

So, moving on to Section 1 of the Bill of Rights of the Kentucky Constitution which addresses the “rights of life, liberty, worship, pursuit of safety and happiness, free speech and acquiring and protecting property, peaceful assembly, redress of grievances and bearing arms, all men are by nature free and equal and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned.

First: The right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties. Second: The right of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences. Third: The right of seeking and pursuing their safety and happiness. And fourth: The right of freely communicating their thoughts and opinions.”

Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Bill of Rights, Section 1

So, we should have the freedom to choose, and with no other infectious disease have we gone to these measures. Will we from this time forward have to mask? According to the World Economic Forum, we probably will. Infectious diseases are a part of life and people will die from them at times. The majority of those who have died, though, from Coronavirus-19 have outlived the average life expectancy and, thus, likely may have died of something else within a relatively close time line or effectively could have died of something else with COVID listed as the reason of death but it was merely a complication of the original illness. Now, I’m not minimizing the loss of anyone, but we would be presumptuous to think that we can live forever and that the measures we take will allow us to cheat the inevitable.

For many, we feel neither safe nor happy while wearing masks. Breathing our own carbon dioxide is unnatural and many people feel panicky when wearing them, and free speech is at stake because people are literally muzzled.

There are times when masks are a safety hazard and even discriminatory and I want to give you some examples of that. One example would be the hearing-impaired. So, you have an exemption if you are hearing-impaired, and I understand you have an exemption if you’re talking to someone who is hearing-impaired, but how many of us know who is hearing-impaired just by looking at them? We don’t necessarily know. And, so, that can cause a safety hazard for those who are.

What about people who have English as a second language? I have a coworker who meets that description, and it’s hard enough to understand each other without a mask on. So, if you’re in a position where there is something that really needs to be communicated thoroughly and quickly and you’ve got English-language learners, that could be a problem, a safety hazard but it’s also a social hazard for them.

And, then, children, I want to address children. I am a certified teacher in the State of Kentucky with certifications in elementary and special education. I do teach and I also currently am a daycare director which recently reopened. Now, I think this mandate is a threat to the safety, for the emotional and physical health of children, and it is creating a generation and a society of germaphobes and hypochondriacs. For example, and I am not someone who goes around wearing masks or talking much about the safety of it around my three-year old, but she recently caught a cold and she said to me, it was because she didn’t wear a mask that she has the coronavirus. Now, she does not have coronavirus. She did not have coronavirus but there is a brain-washing that’s permeating our society about this and creating just fear.

So, a year ago, we went about our business with mild symptoms if we had some place to go or something we needed to do, but now we have to over-analyze every symptom, and this is creating in some ways a lack of a work ethic, I think, because we have to forego our work or whatever if we have a sniffle.

But when it comes to religious freedom, it also can be a hindrance to worshiping God freely. And if this is simply an attempt to gain control over people, then, it is religious discrimination as well.

Section 2 of the Bill of Rights says that absolute and arbitrary power is denied. Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of free men exists nowhere in a Republic and not even in the largest majority. This mandate is absolute and arbitrary because it is a unilateral dictate of the Governor and is not enforced over certain groups of people, namely protesters. The Governor himself was photographed with his mask down shaking both hands of an elderly lady at a rally.

Now, Section 5 goes on to the right of religious freedom and it talks about

“the civil rights and privileges or capacities, that no person shall be taken away, or in any wise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.”

Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Bill of Rights, Section 5

So, if I’m told to mask during singing at church, to social distance during church, these things are contrary to biblical teaching. We are told to lay hands on the sick, to greet each other and touch each other with affection and to sing. And if it goes against my religious conscience and beliefs to wear a mask and I have to wear one to receive the goods and services, this is a violation of conscience and my religious freedoms.

Section 26 of the Bill of Rights says,

“the general powers are to subordinate to the Bill of Rights and the laws contrary thereto are void. So, to guard against the transgression of the high powers which we have delegated, we declare that everything in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or contrary to this Constitution, shall be void.”

Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Bill of Rights, Section 2

So, if that is true, if all of the above is true and all of the things that we’ve said today, and I believe they are, these things can’t be changed according to our Bill of Rights and it is not to be altered without abolishing the government.

I would submit to you that the true pandemic we are facing is a pandemic of fear and control.

And while COVID-19 is causing sickness and even death, the death rate is low and the fear rate is astronomical. This is not about true health. It is about control, and we need not to submit to this and we need our Governor, our lawmakers and our Judges to adhere to the Constitution. Thank you. 

Trump Card: Are politicians and policies able to save America?

And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Joshua 5:13b-15 ESV

When playing cards, it would be ideal to know the opposition’s hand. Skilled players attempt to discern this through examining behavior and keeping track of what’s been played. At times, they may miscalculate out of error or because the opponent outwits them. To win against a master card player, you’ve got to be alert.

Jesus wasn’t a card player, but He knew how to perfectly judge the heart, and to respond with wisdom and grace. He bucked the religious leaders and hung out with sinners, and boldly proclaimed to both that they needed to repent. Calling people to repentance is rarely received with accolades, yet Jesus boldly called out the Pharisees and spoke plainly to Pilate. The Master impartially showed grace as He commanded obedience, and He unapologetically shared truth, no matter the personal consequences. As Christians, we should be ready to do the same.

I know my prayerfully considered thoughts will not be popular, and I’m not Jesus, so I understand they likely aren’t perfect, yet I respectfully submit them for your consideration:

When I was 17 years old, and still a senior in high school, I took the Oath of Enlistment, which reads,

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” 

(Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

And I meant it. I found myself recently reaffirming this Oath when I joined a 3% militia group, this time with domestic, rather than foreign, enemies in mind. I reasoned that, as a Christian, it was my duty to do what I could to hold back the forces of evil in America, that this is a righteous nation, that I could contribute to the cause of Christ by doing my patriotic duty to help hold back lawlessness. It was important to me that I not unite with a racist organization, so I found a group that seemed to espouse my values.

I also joined a local group that was growing exponentially, a group of fellow patriots who wanted to restore order in our city.

It didn’t take me too long to decide that neither of these groups was the fit I sought. I ended up drifting out of both.

I’ve watched multiple patriot rallies, and they haven’t set well with me. It’s nagged at me that typically there tends to be a black speaker or two, but the audience generally is lily white. There are flags — American flags, Trump flags — and there are patriotic speeches and sometimes Pledges of Allegiance and anthem singing. These things literally make me want to weep, not because they stir up high feelings of patriotism, but because patriotism isn’t the solution. “Back to normal” isn’t the solution. Voting for the “right” candidates isn’t the solution. Upholding the Constitution isn’t the solution. I’m not saying the political process isn’t valuable, or that we shouldn’t participate; I’m simply positing that putting one’s hope in our great democracy is misguided to say the least.

America isn’t the world’s salvation or its only hope. Trump is not, as some seem to communicate, the second messiah. Militias can’t restore what America has lost. Extreme conspiracy groups, such as QAnon, can’t fix things like exposing the Deep State. None of these things are the answer, because none of them can change hearts.

Going to the other extreme, we have groups like Black Lives Matter (BLM), Antifa, and the NFAC. These groups have Satanic roots, and I won’t apologize for saying so. BLM is Marxist and their leaders are engaging in new age rituals, such as chanting the names of deceased people (#SayHisName “George Floyd” and #SayHerName “Breonna Taylor”), to receive power from them. Antifa is purely bent on destruction and disorder, which the Bible condemns. And NFAC leader Jay Johnson is a new ager, looking to books such as the Book of Enoch for power. None of these things espouses virtue.

Advocates of civil intervention don’t have the answers either. The government can’t save the world by prolonging life with masks and social distancing, and providing prosperity through endless stimulus and unemployment checks. Lawmakers can’t make rioters and looters conform and they can’t reform the police through funding or defunding.

As a Christ-follower, I have examined each of these alternatives and more, trying to make sense of how to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that effectively addresses the problems we face. Each of them has come up woefully short.

I think we need to start with a humble acknowledgement that, as the Church, we have not done what we should, that our ancestors have not done what they should, and that we need to repent right now, where we are. The church has abdicated its rightful place in the community as a restrainer of evil. This isn’t new — it’s been going on for centuries. In America’s history, there were anti-Biblical principles ingrained in the founders, and thus the society. For example, our founding fathers knew slavery and prejudice were wrong, yet they allowed it to be integral to the fabric of our nation. Pastors throughout the history of our free republic have allowed and at times encouraged slavery and segregation. They have caved in to a perceived need to foster economic security, rather than standing against the evils of such practices.

While I do not agree with Critical Theory, including Critical Race Theory, I do believe racism is a problem in our culture. If I compared my experience of America with that of a black person who grew up in the West End of Louisville, which is the primarily black area of town, I doubt we would agree on our assessment of this country. Likewise, I doubt that either of us would agree on this same assessment with someone who immigrated from Africa. Perspective is key. Racism is a problem, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ONLY solution. According to the Bible, we are not to be divided by “race,” as that is a man-made construct.

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

1 John 4:21-20

According to this passage, one simply cannot be both racist and a Christian. One may have false conceptions and cultural biases, and that is often not good, but racism is hate-filled, and therefore not an option compatible with salvation.

Arrogance and grandiosity also are not compatible with Christian testimony. Recently John Piper was blasted by many evangelical leaders for his recent article in which he condemned President Trump’s character and posited that Christians should consider not voting for him. It has baffled me continually that Christians have so vehemently defended and supported the president, even holding him up as our only hope.

Jesus is our only hope and the Gospel is the only method. I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t be involved in the political process or in efforts to reform our nation; I believe we should. However, God often works in ways incompatible with our experience or expectation. Today I see many evangelicals looking for pragmatic solutions, such as voting policy over character, or even justifying clear anti-biblical behavior such as reviling and boasting, in their quest to solve the deep-rooted problems of our day. And while pragmatism is a good strategy in poker, the “game of life” has eternal consequences, and thus requires a different approach.

“And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, 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 Corinthians 11:12-15 ESV

I believe that the political “right” and the “left” are ultimately two wings of the same bird. We must remember that our enemy, the devil, masquerades as an angel of light. He is the great deceiver (Revelation 12:9) and he holds the power of the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:9; Luke 4:6; John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19). This power is his to give, and though the enemy has no power except that which God grants (Job 1, Job 2, Luke 22:31-32) and no ruler as authority unless the Lord allows it (John 19:11), Satan has a strong hand in world affairs. That he uses that hand like a card deck should come as no surprise.

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”

Matthew 24:24 ESV

In the last days, Christians will be swayed by false messiahs. Whether we are there yet remains to be seen, but it seems evident that the last days are, at minimum, fast approaching. There is much deception. The art of deception is that it’s convincing. This last-days deception will be so confusing that even the elect may be led astray. What a sobering thought! Therefore we need to be alert, on guard, wise, discerning, and steadfast.

We need to know the Word of God so well that we will not be enamored by anyone, that we will not share with anyone the allegiance that belongs to God alone, that we will not fall away from the faith because we have found someone who offers a humanistic solution.

Some say this election will determine whether or not the soul of America remains or dies. I have news for you: America does not have a soul, but Americans do. Most Americans have not given proper care to their souls, even and especially within the Church. Most Americans are more concerned about the economy and their own comfort and convenience than they are about the state of their souls. Metaphorically speaking, America’s soul is already lost; if that wasn’t the case, we would have better candidates for political office. We would have statesmen. We would have candidates who cared about the unborn and the immigrant. We would have candidates who could be compassionate and controlled, yet unyielding regarding matters of deep conviction. We would have candidates who acknowledge the need to combat racism without giving in to domestic terrorists or dishonoring police. We would have candidates who practice and lead us to repentance rather than making arrogant claims and slanderous accusations on social media. Our candidates don’t shape the culture; they reflect it — this is why I believe America’s “soul” is already lost, and that it would take a miracle to reclaim it.

Like Piper, I will not be voting for either mainstream candidate. While many would say that I should not “throw away” my vote and that I should vote policy, I disagree. I am not asking you to vote as I do, but I am asking you to prayerfully consider your perspective. God is not a pragmatist; neither should His followers be. While I will vote my conscience, I also will leave the results in His hands, and I will not put too much hope in the political process. Why not? Because there’s only ONE who truly holds the trump card, and He has the final say. My trust is in Him and Him alone, my allegiance is primarily to a heavenly kingdom, and my eternity is secure. Ultimately, we can make plans, but the Lord’s will prevails.