Our nation's forefathers strongly believed they were called into a new Promised Land for the purpose of establishing a New Israel, a model of the Kingdom of God – living proof that in God's economy people from every station of life could live in peace and prosperity together. They believed God's promises to Israel, barring those that were most specific to the Jews, were also pledged to any nation that would enter into a covenant relationship with Him. Basing our nation's principles of law and government on the Judeo-Christian ethic, they sought to initiate and admonished succeeding generations to maintain a covenant relationship with the Lord like the one made with the Israelites in Deuteronomy chapter 28.
Few matters have initiated more litigation in the courts than the presence of Ten Commandments monuments and other displays of the Decalogue across the country located on public property. The presence of most of these is the result of a joint campaign by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, working with Hollywood Royalty and movie-magnate, the late great Cecil B. DeMille. Today the radical left has erroneously argued these displays are an unconstitutional violation of the "separation of church and state" and disparage them as nothing more than a publicity stunt by DeMille to hype his movie at the time, The Ten Commandments, staring Charlton Heston. But if DeMille's motives were purely carnal, then his history with the film certainly didn't show him acting like it.
Before he ever became a National Football League broadcast analyst, Glenn Parker, who at the time played for the Buffalo Bills, once speculated as to why NFL lineman are generally cheerful individuals. Parkers said, "There are not a lot of well-paying jobs for 300-pounders. We found one, and we're happy about it." Today, if you currently have a job, you've got a good reason to be cheerful too.
This week, North Carolina's Governor Pat McCrory, flanked by four security guards, walked through the gates of the executive mansion and over to a group of protesters who had been waving their signs and relentlessly yelling "shame" and "liar" toward his state residence for a couple of days. They were upset over the abortion bill that passed the General Assembly last week and his decision to sign it. To both the surprise and chagrin of the protesters, however, the Governor offered the ladies baked chocolate chip cookies, saying, "These are for you. God bless you. God bless you. God bless you."
No moment was more strenuous to the ears of pro-lifers than when Rep. Alma Adams (D-Greensboro) insisted that if the bill closed abortion clinics across the state, it would force women back to the time of back alley abortions and pregnancies ended with coat hangers.
When most people think of government, they think of civil government with its various laws and controls. But in the most basic of terms, there are essentially two kinds of government – internal and external. Internal government, or self-government, is the most important and always shapes the nature of external government.
It is considered a landmark announcement, proof that the cultural winds are shifting in favor of the acceptance of homosexuality by the evangelical community. Exodus International, a ministry devoted to helping people overcome same-sex attractions is shutting down. Alan Chambers, the ministry's president, is apologizing for much of the hurt he believes the ministry has caused the LGBT community.
According to Recent Natural Disasters, a web site that reports on ecological cataclysms around the world every day, approximately 75 natural disasters have occurred in America just in the last 5 months.  Those disasters happening in various degrees of destruction include earthquakes, floods, landslides, hail storms, sinkholes, wildfires, avalanches, and deadly tornadoes. This nation in recent years has seen a rush of such disasters as wind, fire, rain and drought conditions. And these catastrophes are not in America alone, but happening around the globe.
This is what we like to think makes for true freedom in life. We went the distance alone. We faced the hardships independently and overcame. We made our own decisions and were subject to no one. The Bible, however, describes the concept of liberty quite differently. It describes an independence predicated on dependence.
Whether there is life after death is a question that humans have pondered for centuries. Today there is a great deal of interest in the subject with people curious about near-death experiences, supposed encounters with ghosts, and the claims of psychic mediums. Some scoff at the entire concept of an afterlife, while others are comforted by it.
It's been said that Martin Luther while at Wartburg was translating the Bible, the Devil came to visit him. Satan, who was vehemently opposed to the divine mission of the great reformer, sought to tempt him and thwart the work. In response, Luther grabbed the inkwell from which he was writing and threw it at the Evil One's head. For many years, tourists who visited the study of Martin Luther at Wartburg Castle were shown the ink stain on the wall that supposedly occurred when Luther threw the ink pot.
These events of late prove, without question, that the normalization of homosexual behavior in the culture and the legalization of same-sex marriage will inevitably usher in a flood of religious persecutions for Christians who dare say homosexuality is a sin. Touting as they have that gay rights are about civil rights, the LGBT community deceives the public into believing every born-again, God fearing, Bible-believing, follower of Jesus Christ is worse than a prejudiced Archie Bunker type idiot.
When it comes to the matter of politics, much of the church today, sadly, is divided into two separate camps. One group seeks to bring a Christian worldview to bear on the political process. The other group says the church needs to stay out of politics and just be concerned about winning others to faith in Christ.
Last week, this author wrote an article titled Drinking and Jesus Turning Water to Wine. As expected, the piece stirred considerable opposition on the part of many professing Christians against the view that the wine Jesus miraculously provided at the wedding in Cana was not fermented. Nevertheless, it remains that the counter arguments made in favor of an alcoholic-wine are largely references to old talking points that become like rubble in light of all the evidence.
I've heard a lot of erroneous arguments myself made from the Bible in favor of drinking. But none more egregious than the one that advocates Jesus endorsed imbibing when he made water into wine at the wedding in Cana.
Last week lawmakers in the North Carolina Senate took steps to restore the death penalty in our state. North Carolina hasn't conducted an execution since 2006 due to legal challenges meant to create a de-facto moratorium.
No religion in the world can match the claims of Christianity. What differentiates it from other religions is its declaration that Christ literally rose from the grave. There have always been those who have sought to debunk the resurrection of Christ, but whatever arguments have been offered fail miserably.
In the days to come, Christians from all over the world will be celebrating the passion of Christ. It is indeed the focus of God's redemption. The cross speaks of so much we need to understand about God, ourselves, our need, our duty, and our hope.
It's most unfortunate the unfounded faith Americans over the years have placed in Big Government. Now we're seeing the negative results. Our founding fathers believed in a limited role for government.
Tertullian once said, "Just as Christ was crucified between two thieves, so this doctrine of justification is ever crucified between two opposite errors." Mankind has always rejected the liberty of the soul via two extremes: legalism and license.
Recently in a blog of comments underneath one of my op-ed pieces a well-meaning person wrote: "Mark, I love you like a brother, but these social issues are just distractions to keep us busy and away from sharing the Gospel." The person who wrote that was genuinely concerned I was neglecting my duty as a minister, while leading other Christians astray from their obligation as well. In other words, politics and preaching don't mix.
It's interesting that much of the focus today on the First Amendment has to do with the so-called "separation of church and state." Yet, following the first two clauses concerning the freedom of religion there are additional sections about freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to peaceably assemble and petition for a redress of grievances.
In my home state of North Carolina, legislation has been introduced making it illegal for women to fully bear their breasts in public. The bill was introduced by Representatives Rayne Brown (R-Lexington) and Tim Moffitt (R-Asheville), in response to constituents concerns about topless rallies promoted by a group called Go Topless, an organization that's fighting for the so-called right of women to expose their breasts without violating any indecent exposure laws. They've already held topless protests in Asheville, North Carolina.
Comedian Robin Williams once argued, "If women ran the world, we wouldn't have wars…just intense negotiations every 28 days." Apparently that's no longer true since Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made the decision that women should be allowed to participate in war in the same way as men. Women had previously been denied combat positions, but not anymore.
Ah, equality and love, who could possibly be against these? Certainly only haters, bigots and religious extremists would oppose or stifle their advancement in the cause for gay marriage. Yet, it's highly doubtful that even homosexual activists really believe what they so vigorously applauded in the President's speech – the belief that "if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."