July 17, 2015

Bruce Jenner, Gay Marriage, and Planned Parenthood: The Self-Deification of a Nation

by Mike Riccardi

Apple and SnakeThe last few months have been emotionally tiring for Christians in America.

Though many debate whether the United States was ever a “Christian nation,” there can be no denying that a Christian worldview and biblical principles were fundamental in the formation of this country. Indeed, the founding fathers understood this even as they crafted the charter documents of our government. Thomas Jefferson wrote that the “inalienable rights” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” which mark the ideals of every American, are endowed to us by our Creator. John Adams wrote, “We have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

And for many years, America seemed to be comprised of a largely “moral and religious people.” That’s not to say that everyone was a Christian, or that outward morality or religiosity was equivalent to having truly been born again by the Holy Spirit. But for so many years, this nation that was built upon the freedom of speech, expression, and religion has provided a conducive environment for the Church of Jesus Christ to fulfill her mission: to freely proclaim the Gospel of forgiveness of sins through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and to make disciples of those whom the Lord saves. This symbiotic relationship has resulted in a general moral consciousness in society that has made it suitable to be governed by our Constitution, according to the vision expressed by Adams above.

But as I said, the last few months have been particularly tiresome for Christians in America, as our society continues to give indication after indication of increasing hostility against the very values that our country was built upon.

As recently as a few days ago, our society has continued to celebrate the “transitioning” of Olympian Bruce Jenner, even going so far as to honor him with the ESPY Arthur Ashe award for courage. The whole episode with Jenner sparked a nationwide conversation about transgenderism. Gender, our culture tells us, is a fluid construct, not at all linked to biology, and is to be decided upon by each individual, no matter how young or how old. And if a 12 year-old boy at your child’s middle school decides he’s a girl, he will be sharing a bathroom with your 12 year-old daughter, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

White House RainbowOn June 26, the Supreme Court mandated that all 50 states fundamentally redefine one of the most foundational building blocks of civilized society. Squares can be round, a tail can be a leg, and, according to the infinite wisdom of the five lawyers on high, “marriage” can describe a union between two men or two women. And because of that decision, Bible-believing chaplains should be kicked out of the military, churches should lose their tax exemptions, and clergy should be forced to perform same sex “marriages” against their conscience.

And just this week, a video was released that reminded us once again of the preeminent social injustice of our day: the constitutionally-protected right to mercilessly murder one’s own children. In an undercover video of the Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood, the nation was confronted with the sight of Deborah Nucatola discussing Planned Parenthood’s business of selling the organs and limbs of dismembered children, all while sipping wine and enjoying her salad. It was like sitting down to lunch with Heinrich Himmler.

Now in one sense, Christians should not be surprised to see the world acting like the world. No matter what our country’s roots are, we are under no delusions. Apart from the sovereign, regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, mankind is totally depraved, corrupted by evil to the very core of our being. And yet these displays of the godlessness and immorality of our nation over the past view months have been particularly high-handed, particularly rebellious, particularly gruesome. And while we know we are not defeated by these things—God laughs and scoffs, and King Jesus still reigns from the throne of heaven (Psalm 2:4–6)—we lament and mourn the moral demise of a country that we once loved. Like Jeremiah on the ash heap of Jerusalem, we know something of the sentiments he expressed as he wrote, “My eyes fail because of tears, My spirit is greatly troubled; My heart is poured out on the earth Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people” (Lam 2:11). Like the psalmist confronted with the godlessness of his own nation, we feel what it meant for him to say, “My eyes shed streams of water, Because they do not keep Your law” (Ps 119:136).

The Self-Deification of Society

How are we to process all of this?

America Rejects GodWell, as I see it, all three of these checkpoints of moral degradation—transgenderism, homosexualism and the destruction of marriage, and abortion—all stem from the same polluted fountain out of which even the first sin flowed: self-deification. Satan tempted Adam and Eve to rebel against God in the Garden by holding out to them the deceitful promise that they would become like God in their rebellion. And it seems plain to me that our society is absolutely intoxicated with the very same prospect. They want to be God.

The Lord Jesus affirms in Matthew 19:4 the creation-reality of Genesis 1:27, that in the beginning God created mankind in His own image as male and female. Our Creator has determined that gender is binary and immutable, and that such order—even amidst unity in diversity—is reflective of His own character and nature. And yet transgenderism preaches, “No! God is not the determiner of your gender and identity. You are! You create male and female, in your image! You have to do what feels right for you, and don’t let anybody—least of all your Creator—tell you different!”

In the same text in Matthew 19, by that very reference to mankind being created male and female, the Lord Jesus underscores that God, the Creator of marriage and of mankind, has defined marriage to be between one man and one woman. God’s condemnation of homosexuality could not be clearer (Rom 1:26-32; 1 Cor 6:9-11; 1 Tim 1:9-10). And yet the vehement homosexualism of our society rebelliously declares, “No! God will not dictate to us what marriage is or is not! We will define marriage any way we see fit! And if you disagree with us, we will campaign to get you fired from your job, to destroy your business, and to marginalize you from society in any way we possibly can!”

In the same vein, the God who has created mankind male and female with the design that one man and one woman be joined in marriage, has created us in His image (Gen 1:27). And because all human life is uniquely created in the image of God, for this reason human life is sacred. It is for this very reason, as God reaffirms His creation mandate to Noah after the flood (cf. Gen 9:1), that He says, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man” (Gen 9:6). Anyone who unjustly takes the life of an image-bearer of the God of the universe is a murderer. And that is such an offense—such a distortion of the image of God in his own person—that such a man is required to pay for that offense with his own life. God Himself is the Creator of all life. And yet the culture of death, prostituting the cause of women’s rights to satisfy their own bloodlust, pronounces with the dogmatism of modernity, “No! That child in your womb is simply a fetus—simply a clump of cells. Clump of Cells vs Valuable OrgansIt does not become a living human person until you feel like it is a living human person! And if you want to, you can hire a skilled hitman to crush its skull, tear it into pieces, and suck it out of you through a vacuum! But if you declare that it is a living person, the law will prosecute anyone who harms it.”

You are the determiner of your identity, not God your Creator. You define marriage, not God the Creator of marriage. You determine life and personhood, not God the Creator of all life. Transgenderism, homosexualism, and abortion are our society’s fledgling attempts at self-deification—the creature’s rebellious hallucination that it is Creator and Lord. And even if they’re not transgender, even if they’re not homosexual, and even if they have no interest in killing their children, the rest of our society must support these expressions of self-deification, lest they be confronted with the futility and fantasy of their own designs to flee the Lordship of Christ.

The Church’s Mission

You are not GodThat means that our mission, my fellow followers of Jesus, is not to retreat from this depraved culture, but to go into this depraved culture and herald the message of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. To tell a world drunk on its own arrogance that God is God, and they are not. That He makes authoritative declarations and pronouncements and judgments, and they do not. It is to tell this lost world that their sovereign Creator has made a declaration, and it is this: that all people everywhere must repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. And that on that day, at the name of His Son, the Lord of all the earth, Jesus Christ, every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ—not themselves—is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We must declare to them: “Dear friend, if you have conformed to the rebellion of our culture, declaring yourself to be lord of your life and pursuing your own self-deification, this confession of the Lordship of Jesus that you will make on that last day will not be the adoring praise of a worshiper converted at the eleventh hour. No, it will be the despairing admission of a conquered enemy, bowing in resentful submission to the Sovereign King whose power you can no longer deny. And nothing will remain but for you to enter into His everlasting destruction. Friend, be reasonable. You did not create yourself. And whether it’s today, or on that terrible day, you will have to bow your knee in submission to the One who did create you: the Lord Jesus Christ. I plead with you to bow it now. Despite all of your sin and stubborn refusal, the door of salvation yet remains open. Abandon your sin, and abandon yourself, and run to Christ.”

My fellow Christians, it is the preaching of that Gospel—and that Gospel alone—that will bow the arrogant heart of self-deification that revels in transgenderism, homosexualism, and abortion. Let us be pray-ers and let us be preachers, for the sake of our nation and for the sake of God’s glory.

Mike Riccardi

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Mike is the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. He also teaches Evangelism at The Master's Seminary.
  • “My fellow Christians, it is the preaching of that Gospel—and that Gospel alone–that will bow the arrogant heart of self-deification”

    Amen. If smoking wasn’t a sin, I’d want whatever is in your pipe, brother. 🙂 Well done.

    • my2cents

      I’m sorry, I know this isn’t the point of your comment but I just can’t help myself…how do you biblically back up smoking being a sin? Is it bad for you? Absolutely. Should you smoke? No, no and no. But is it a sin??

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  • Warner Aldridge

    Great article brother.

  • Brian Morgan

    Amen brother. If the church cannot see by now the pressing need for active evangelism, we deserve the chastening of God to purge us. Are we not ripe for another Great Awakening in this land??!!! Let us pray brothers and sisters….pray!!!

    • sharon stockmeyer

      Amen brother

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  • kevin2184

    Amen, Mike. Well said, as usual 🙂

  • John Kiningham

    Mike, well written and well said. I like your call to engage in the culture with the gospel. Now is not the time for us to retreat into despair, but to proclaim the gospel with hope and not be daunted! Thanks for your article.

  • Mike A

    No, please do not go into the culture preaching. Please stay far away from the culture in your own weird little bubbles.

    • Tommaupin

      Mike A, by making the statement you have made in your post you are vilolating your own rule because aren’t you “preaching” by telling others what they should not do? Your post is therefore hypocracy.

      • elainebitt

        I actually read Mike A’s comment as sarcastic. I believe he is mocking Christians (or a class of) based on his presupposition that we stay in our “own little bubbles”.

  • sharon stockmeyer

    Well written, I pray that the gospel of the good news of Gen. 3:15 has been fulfilled in Jesus THE CHRIST, will be heard and believed before it is to late..

  • tovlogos

    Yes, Mike — we must not lose heart and let God’s word go out, knowing it will never come back void.

    “This symbiotic relationship has resulted in a general moral consciousness in society that has made it suitable to be governed by our Constitution.” True. And you cover all side well enough to make it clear that the man made constitution, is woefully inadequate to accomplish God’s “work.”

    It follows that, “the last few months (and beyond) have been particularly tiresome for Christians in America, as our society continues to give indication after indication of increasing hostility against the very values that our country was built upon.”
    Obviously the values upon which our country was built, in and of themselves, was not undergirded by dunamis power (as you acknowledged); therefore, today’s occurrences were inevitable. Yes, these days are more tiresome than usual, as trials can be. Faithful disciples will have the light in them, and leave no room for darkness.
    Ultimately, It would appear that loving one’s enemies is not the point as much as it is the rudiment of having no capacity for darkness within us, which covers more than loving one’s enemies — it is inclusive of a stiff resistance to practicing sin.

  • E S Gonzalez

    Urgent, serious, and true!

  • my2cents

    Ok that’s what I was hoping 🙂 thanks for clarifying lol!

  • Eric Weiss

    I am sad now.

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  • Tim Bates

    I took much encouragement from this post and shared it to all of my friends and followers on social media. So if your page got 3 more views than normal, you can thank me.

  • Eric Van Dyken

    “And if a 12 year-old boy at your child’s middle school decides he’s a girl, he will be sharing a bathroom with your 12 year-old daughter, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
    Well, not nothing. You could not send your kids to public school. Plenty of kids have come through public school with a Christian worldview and faith intact, but there is no denying that the public school system is the indoctrination chamber of secularists and social progressives. Don’t turn your kids over to the devil and then wonder how you will deal with all of the devil’s attacks on them. I suppose someone could dispute my characterization of “turn(ing) your kids over to the devil”, but it’s hard for me to see the public school system writ large as anything other than the devil’s playground. Christian day schools and homeschooling are not options without pitfalls, but they seem to me to be far superior to the alternative.

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