In the Gospel according to St. Luke, Chapter 12, Jesus Christ is speaking with his disciples and a surrounding crowd:
49 I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!
51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.
52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other,
three against two and two against three.
53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father,
mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
It seems antithetical that the Prince of Peace [Isaiah 9:6] says of himself that he came not for peace, but to divide. But these Scriptures reveal that Jesus is both God and man, vested with a multiplicity of purposes. As Son of Man, Jesus came as a servant to do the Father’s will perfectly in his body and to die a vicarious death to save mankind from the eternal penalty of sin. [Philippians 2: 5-11] The Son of Man brings peace to a severed relationship between God and mankind.
As the Son of God, Jesus came as the Word. [John 1: 1-3] Sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [Hebrews 4:12]
The world readily embraces the idea of a cuddly Jesus in a manger, surrounded by those adorable little pink angels one finds in a local ceramic store. And while the essence of God is love, He is also Holy, Jealous, and Just. And these not so readily accepted ideas of God are the source of rejection of what God has to say relative to our lives. As such, the seven billion inhabitants of planet earth can literally be divided into two groups — those who seek the things of God and those who do not. Hence, the divide.
The divide, in this context, has several implications and imperatives. First and foremost, it points us to a spiritual inevitability that those who follow God must accept. Namely, as Jesus declares in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters…” We cannot submit our lives to the rulership of Jesus Christ, and simultaneously, submit ourselves to worldly values. The passage goes on to make the reasons clear: “…for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.“
The two clauses have a different thrust. In the first clause — for either he will hate the one, and love the other — Jesus is speaking in a comparative tone. Hate is Greek transliterated miseó, which is to renounce or disclaim one choice in favor of another. In Luke 4:26, Jesus again uses this sense of hate, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” Surely, Jesus does not require us to hate the very individuals through whom we are brought into the world or for that matter other family members. Numerous passages confirm this point. But we are to esteem those relationships less than God. Place them, and for that matter other relationships, second in our ranking of priorities. Connected to that is love, agapaó in the Greek, which means to prefer. The first clause in Matthew 6:24 addresses our priority list. As such, when Jesus goes missing for three days in Jerusalem, upon his mother finding him in a temple, Jesus asked, “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” [Luke 2: 41-50] Jesus was concerned about his earthly parents, but supremely concerned about the Father who sent him to earth. It is that supreme concern that we are to have for the Lord over all other affiliations and attachments in this world.
Returning back to Matthew 6:24, Jesus continues with the second reason — or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. And here, the intensity increases in what Jesus says occurs when we attempt to serve two masters. That is, even if we were capable of esteeming two things equally, we can embrace them both. Consequently, we will hold on to one, and despise the other. To hold in the Greek transliteration is antechó, which is to say, be devoted. And the despise in the Greek transliteration is kataphroneó, which means to have contempt for something. The second reason says the more energy we place in making two things of equal importance, eventually, the very act of doing so will lead us to becoming fused with one thing and to detest the other.
It is in this second reason that we can see the awful blessing of God in the life of Abraham. [Genesis 16, 21] An aging Sarah desired for Abraham a son. But her womb was dead. She enlists her handmaiden Hagar, who ultimately gets pregnant by Abraham and bares a son, Ishmael. God, however, blesses Sarah, who miraculously bares a son, Isaac. At this point, Sarah becomes concerned about Hagar’s presence and the birthright intended for Isaac. So, she asks Abraham to write Hagar a divorce letter. To confirm this, God orders Abraham to send the young and beautiful Hagar (and Ishmael) away. God had a plan for Abraham and his progeny. And in this instruction to Abraham, our Omniscient God knew that Abraham could not serve both Sarah and Hagar. He naturally would prefer one over the other, or worse, he would attach himself to one while despising the other. And so it is for the choices of our service even today.
A corollary to serving one master is that people of faith must recognize that God has set them apart from institutions, systems, processes, and other worldly things that conflict with tenets found in Scriptures. We must make a determined choice among masters; an emphatic choice for the Lord to occupy the throne of our hearts and minds. And having made that choice, we must be consecrated in our walk. The Apostle Paul says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. [Romans 12:2]”
Jesus cautions that the divide which naturally comes need not be deliberately created by us. The division that Jesus speaks of is not some premeditated discord that believers fashion in society. But rather, the divide is a natural consequence of the Word of God applied to the things that govern our lives. And as Jesus goes on to say, the divide will occur in myriad relationships. Family members will find themselves on opposite ends of God’s will. Communities might place neighbors in close proximity, physically. But where people are in their relationship with God (or lack thereof) could place these neighbors in completely different worlds, spiritually. This division cuts across all demographics and cuts through every aspect of our lives. Athletic teams to corporate settings. Civic clubs to fraternal organizations. Community councils to programs.
The Jesus division cuts through governments and political organizations. And herein is one of our gravest challenges today. Politics. It has a profound bearing on our lives. We identify with our politics. For far too many, “I am a Republican” or “I am a Democrat” is as prominent an identity as any other. Indeed, one can observe that people today are more likely to associate with others of the same political yoke than those of the same faith yoke. Stated differently, people are likely to be more comfortable with someone of the same political beliefs despite their adherence to a faith. And people readily hold contempt for others of another political yoke, despite their unity in the faith! The house is divided. And the occupants are setting up residence in other houses called political parties. Political kingdoms are waging war through seeds of discord sown by citizens of the Kingdom of Christ. And in a very real sense, the Democratic Party, specifically, is superimposing its anti-God values onto their party faithful. Supplanting the values we find in God’s Word.
Arguably, nowhere else is this sad state of affairs more troubling than the case of Americans of African descent. Here, a people who relied on the Lord for deliverance from slavery, black codes, and jim crow, finds itself caught in the psychological grip of a Democratic Party whose values are diametrically opposed to the Will of God. Two centers of the Democratic Party, support for abortion (which is a polite word for murdering of unborn babies) and gay marriage, pit the Democratic Party squarely, profoundly, and explicitly against the Word of God. And that cannot be marginalized even by [black] faith leaders who promote a lexicon (.e.g., “right to choose”, “civil right”, “human right”), to dull our spiritual senses to “thus says the Lord”. It is as if such clergy can delineate a human right independent of consideration of the God who created humankind.
The God of our creation never ordains mankind to exert a right that is in opposition to God’s character. False prophets who espouse these anti-God policies today existed during the life of Jeremiah, the faithful prophet. Such leaders existed in Asia, when John was banished to Patmos and given the Revelations of Christ that included letters to seven erring churches. Time has come for Christians to confront the evil being unleashed in the world of politics that is leading people astray. And likewise, time has come for Christians to understand God’s displeasure in our alignment with a political party that is on a deliberate course to oppose the things of God.
This move comes on the heels of Obama’s same-sex marriage support announcement in May 2012 and a number of measures taken by Obama on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender [LGBT] community. Following the May announcement, the Democratic National Committee [DNC], led by its LGBT Caucus, inscribed same-sex marriage as a part of the party’s official platform. Specifically, the platform states:According to Reuters, President Barack Obama on Thursday endorsed same-sex marriage ballot initiatives in Washington, Maryland, and Maine. Obama’s move is seen to “galvanize gay and lesbian enthusiasm for his re-election bid.“
“Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.
We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.”
WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL POSITION AND OUR RESPONSE?
A number of biblical precepts guide a call for Christians to choose God over the Democratic Party and even its popular political figures:
1. Homosexuality is unquestionably a sin and we cannot escape our awareness of it. [Romans 1: 18-28]
2. God created the institution of marriage as the union solely between man and woman. [Gen 2: 20-25, Mark 10: 6-9, Ephesians 5: 22-33].
3. Homosexuality is not only detestable to the Lord — close to bestiality. Further, homosexuality is in-part how nations themselves fell into ruin and were destroyed. This illustrates that what becomes a practice by some can ultimately harm others. [Leviticus 18: 22-30]
4. Without consideration of the scientific body of work that suggests people are not born gay, the very idea is irrelevant. That is, even if one is born with an inclination to be gay, that person does not have to indulge in homosexuality. Such inclination can be cited as birth condition for every sin — from violence to pedophilia — because we are all born in our sinful inclinations. [Romans 5: 12-24, Psalms 51:5,
5. God loves sinners, but hates sin. Sent Jesus Christ to destroy the power of sin over mankind. God extends the gift of life to each of us, including homosexuals. [John 3:16, Romans 6:23]
6. The Democratic Party’s political investment in same-sex marriage civil right (not to mention supporting the murder of unborn babies) is an affront to the Lord.
7. The Democratic Party cannot, in its support of what is morally unjust, be the party of justice. Christians believe God is Just in his very nature, and therefore, defines all standards of justice. God is the ultimate source of and authority on justice. By defining sin as rights, the Democratic Party violates the justice of God. As such, the Democratic Party can no longer be the standard-bearer for justice, Civil Rights era actions, notwithstanding.
8. The existence of [black] clergy who attempt to rationalize Democratic Party opposition to God’s Word are leading people to error and must be viewed as ambassadors for God in the context of political engagement. Such false prophets existed during the days of the prophets (e.g., Jeremiah), during Jesus’s time on earth, and during the early church as witnessed in the letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor. [Revelation 2-3]
9. Specifically, an apology that “other issues trump values” is a lie from hell. Christians of goodwill can debate issues such as the more effective economic philosophy — Classical or Keynesian. We can debate energy policy or whether education should include vouchers. But there simply is not debate on matters of marriage between man and woman, as well as the evil of murdering babies. And we can be certain that these issues of moral import, and our handling of them, is being recorded in Heaven.
10. The issues of same-sex marriage and murdering babies are not the only moral questions of our times. Other include: capital punishment, war, great disparities of wealth created by different accesses to government. etc. The call to address same-sex marriage and abortion does not avoid these other moral questions. No party is perfect in them. But Christians can begin a march towards justice by addressing the two issues directly before us and continue the march in addressing other issues. This is tantamount to going into a burning building where ten people are trapped, even if you are only able to rescue three.
11. The Democratic Party, that received 90%+ of the African American votes, is fully aware that the party is full of people of faith. And yet, in its calculus, democratic leaders have concluded that it can entertain ungodly influences and the people of faith will not separate from the party. To ensure that, the Democratic Party engages faith leaders, black legislators, social service bureaucrats, and other beneficiaries of the party to promote the party, use fear tactics, and other devices. These are designed to dull the sense of people of faith to the war being waged against the Word of God. Notwithstanding, people of faith must decide to stand with God in this war, or to abandon God — the same God who stood for us in our most difficult moments.
12. Lastly, this is not a permanent call. People of faith must be vigilant and aware. Our support must move as parties move relative to the Word of God. On these issues, the Republican Party opposes gay marriage and is the Pro-Life party. As such, this calls for a Christian exodus from the Democratic Party and to cast votes for the Republican Party. And that actions be taken to merge other priorities (e.g., education, economics, etc.) as the transition occurs. But the immediate call is stand on God’s Word in the areas of concern in Heaven — the family and our vulnerable unborn babies.
FAITH-LEADERS ON THIS ISSUE
Videos below articulate concerns about Democratic party and a Democratic President Obama supporting an issue that is diametrically opposed to the Word of God.
Bishop E.W. Jackson, President of S.T.A.N.D.
Dr. Tony Evans,
Bishop E.W. Jackson, Pastor - Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
Rev. William Owens, President and Founder - Coalition of African-American Pastors
Bishop Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor - Hope Christian Church
Coalition of Pastors,Charlotte NC
Bishop E.W. Jackson on PBS NewsHour
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