Design a site like this with
Get started

I’m Sorry, Mr. President.

A meme on Facebook quoted former US president Jimmy Carter as implying that because Jesus did not specifically condemn homosexuality, it is therefore an acceptable lifestyle.

Credit: Most of the content of this article has been adapted from Alan Shlemon that he posted to Stand to Reason (

In a May 19, 2012 article published by The Blaze, Huffington Post Senior Religion Editor Paul Brandeis Raushenbush engaged the 39th president on various cultural issues in the context of Christianity and Scripture. One of the topics was homosexuality. Here is the germane part of President Carter’s response:

Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things -– he never said that gay people should be condemned.

Reading that comment, I was immediately struck the logical fallacy President Carter was committing. He reasons that silence on an issue implies ascent. The conclusion he drew is that homosexuality is okay because Jesus didn’t specifically condemn the practice.

Shlemon writes…

First of all, Jesus didn’t need to say anything about homosexuality. No first century Jew questioned whether homosexual sex was morally permissible. That’s because every Old Testament reference, poem, or metaphor that addresses sex and marriage in a positive way presumes heterosexual relations. Furthermore, every reference to homosexuality in the Old Testament is negative. There was no debate as to what the biblical witness was on that behavior. God-fearing Jews already believed homosexual sex was prohibited.

Second, it’s not certain that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. It’s possible He did address it but His statement wasn’t recorded. The Gospel writers didn’t document everything Jesus said and did—only what they thought was important to their audience. Indeed, most of what Jesus said (and did) was never written down. John 21:25 says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” It’s possible Jesus did talk about homosexuality but the Gospel writers didn’t feel it was necessary to include it in their accounts. [Fred: I agree with the assertion but believe it is more the work of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration rather than the subjective decisions of the human authors.]

Third, even if it turns out Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, so what? What follows from that? Jesus’ silence on the matter wouldn’t mean He approves of homosexual sex. That would be an argument from silence, a type of faulty reasoning. Besides, Jesus didn’t speak about every immoral behavior. Should we infer that drunkenness, child sacrifice, and neglecting the elderly are morally appropriate since Jesus never said anything about them either? That would be absurd. Jesus addressed moral issues of His day as they arose in conversation.

Fourth, we know what Jesus would have said about homosexuality if asked. Jesus was an observant Jew living during the Mosaic Law. He had not yet instituted the New Covenant. That’s why He often referenced the Law. For example, Jesus cited the two greatest commandments of the Law (Matthew 22:37, 39) and told the rich young ruler to uphold the commandments of the Law (Mark 10:17-22). Therefore, if asked what He thought about homosexuality, Jesus would have cited the Mosaic Law again (Leviticus 18:20, 20:13), which unequivocally states that homosexual behavior is a sin.

Fifth, Jesus did voice His opinion on matters of sex and marriage. When asked about divorce, Jesus cited the Genesis creation account: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:3-6). Jesus believed that God’s design in Genesis, making male and female join together to become one flesh, was the intended blueprint for sexuality even for His day. His view about sex and marriage is one man, with one woman, becoming one flesh, for one lifetime. Indeed, Jesus emphasized that the one-flesh union described in Genesis is a God-ordained institution (“What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate”). A male-female union has the Father’s stamp of approval. If that was Jesus’ view on sex and marriage, then every other type of sexual act, including homosexual behavior, is disqualified.

Sixth, Jesus does basically say homosexual behavior is a sin. In Mark 7:21-23, Jesus says, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery…all these evils come from inside and defile a person.” The Greek word translated “sexual immorality” is porneiai, which is a term that includes many sexual sins, including homosexuality. First century Jews who heard that word would think of the sexual sins listed in the Mosaic Law, which includes homosexual sex.

Seventh, saying “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality” mistakenly presumes that the words of Jesus are more authoritative than the rest of Scripture. But it is the Holy Spirit—God Himself—who inspired all of the words of Scripture, not just the red letters. That means Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:9-11, where homosexual behavior is specifically condemned, are also inspired by the Holy Spirit and are the authoritative word of God. Since Jesus and the Holy Spirit co-exist in the Godhead and are in perfect communion through all eternity, we can be confident that Jesus agrees with the Holy Spirit about what He’s inspired to be written in Scripture. [Fred: Some of President Carter’s comments in the Raushenbush article suggest that he may not hold to the infallibility of Scripture. That may speak to his elevation of the authority of Jesus’ words over other scriptural texts.]

Any one of these seven responses alone is sufficient to respond to this challenge. When you combine them together, though, it leaves no room to doubt that this challenge can’t be sustained.

Day 1 of 30

  • I awoke at 4 o’clock this morning instead of my normal 5 o’clock time. I was concerned because fasting requires more rest, not less. Still, I have learned that the Spirit sustains me when I don’t get the sleep (I think) I need. He did today.
  • I did not head into the day with my typical calm, relaxed mindset. I was in a funk and I didn’t know why. Even a coworker commented that my demeanor suggested I was frustrated. (I told her I would stop on the way home and get a new one.)
  • A David Jeremiah devotional had the quote of the day from Cameron V. Thompson: “Vague praying is lazy praying.” Ouch!
  • The Spirt interrupted me today when I was ready to take issue with something a teenage child said. He caught me (as opposed to me catching myself) and options flashed in my mind. I responded positively rather than negatively, and the result was both positive and peaceful.
  • From Future Grace: Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God. No one sins out of duty. We sin because it holds out some promise of happiness. That promise enslaves us until we believe that God is more to be desired than life itself (Psalm 63:3). Which means that the power of sin’s promise is broken by the power of God’s [promise]. All that God promises to be for us in Jesus stands over against what sin promises to be for us without him.
  • I listen to A LOT of Christian music (contemporary, praise/worship, hymns) while fasting. A lyric today mentioned a thousand generations will someday shout praise to God in eternity. That struck me powerfully. Whoa.
  • Newsflash: Cran-Mango ain’t “all that.”

Fast Forward

The theme of this fast is grace. Over two months ago I began to pray about doing this in the spring. Not long after, I took up my copy of John Piper’s Future Grace. I listened to the audio version two years ago and there was so much gold to be mined from it that I decided that one day I would have a printed copy. (I’m old enough to still enjoy and benefit from marking in the books I read.)

When I started through the introduction of Future Grace, I learned that it had 31 chapters. I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to base my time of fasting on the book and for a period of 31 days. That meant setting aside the book until my fast began.

Periods of fasting do not occur in a vacuum. I wish they did. It would be wonderful to withdraw from the frantic pace of daily life and focus exclusively on prayer, worship, Scripture, reading, meditation, and reflection. Wonderful, but not practical. For me, this fast takes place during an extremely busy time in my life. My “day job” as a college registrar is hectic as one school year ends and preparation for the next begins. I am moving from on-site to remote work as well. This will allow me to move home (Kentucky) to be with family after six years of living apart.

My time of fasting also happens as I end my pastorate at a wonderful little church in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. My time with the church was brief compared to others I have served, but I am no less saddened to leave them. It took mere minutes to get acquainted with the people and fall in love with them.

People are often interested in why someone chooses to fast. If you are such a person, this paragraph is for you. Based on my study of Scripture and several books on fasting, I believe a Christian can both be led of God to fast and also declare a fast. I always have some reasons and goals when I fast, but often, the Lord has His own plans for me. In this case, I am interested in a period of concentrated spiritual growth that focuses on renewal and revival. The move home will bring challenges as my family and I adjust to living together again and I want to be as ready as possible for that, so I am much more of a blessing than a burden.

Fasting is journey. It is not without trials and struggles. When any Christian…fasting or not…takes time to focus on the Lord…Satan takes notice and turns up the temptation “heat.” And the Lord will often use periods of fasting to test faith to strengthen it as well as increase patience, endurance, and perseverance. During other fasts, I have experienced a wide range of emotions…and not all of them were of the God-honoring variety.

As you are led by the Spirit, I invite you to join me on this journey. Perhaps something I learn or experience will be of blessing and/or benefit to you in your life of faith. It would be my humble honor.

God bless you, Reader.

Fred Miller

Need Some Rest?

My daily study of Scripture has been in Titus for several days now. This short letter from Paul to Titus, who was on Crete, is packed full of powerful truth.

Listen to Verses 1 and 2 in the NIV:

“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time…”

Very quickly (too quickly, perhaps) let me break this down:

  • Paul is a servant and apostle FOR a reason or purpose. What?
  • The reason is twofold:
    • The faith of God’s elect or chose people; and,
    • The knowledge of truth
  • These two things accomplish something. They lead to godliness
    • Commentator Albert Barnes says there is no other end or scope than godliness
    • If Barnes is right, then our pursuit of godliness or holiness is an end unto itself, not a means to some other end. Think of it! To be godly, Christlike, or holy…what is there beyond that? We don’t strive to live holy lives to get God’s blessings (though He does bless obedience); we strive for holiness to get God…to be like Him. He tells us in Scripture, “Be holy for I am holy (1 Pe 1:16).
  • The faith and knowledge of which Paul speaks in Verse 1 have a foundation; they are based on something: the hope of eternal life
  • We have this hope because of God’s eternal promise (Verse 2).
  • The promise is certain because God does not lie but keeps all His promises.

To summarize this, let’s work backward.

Our always-truthful God has promised eternal life to all who are redeemed. That promise gives us hope. That hope is the foundation upon which our faith and knowledge rest. That faith and that knowledge lead to godliness.

Need some rest? Rest today in the hope of your eternal life if you are saved. The struggles of this life will one day be gone. Let that rest restore the strength of your faith and enrich your knowledge of the truth. What truth? The truth that you are loved by God, redeemed by Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit to live the holy life, a life that brings Him glory and brings you joy and peace no matter your circumstances.

Father, I’m exhausted. Recently, I have doubted that I can go another day, another hour, another minute. I need rest. Let me find it in You and in Your rock-solid promise of eternal life. Renew my physical, mental, and emotional strength through my faith in and knowledge of the truth. Remind me that I can all things through Christ who gives me strength. Amen.

Heavenly Sunlight

It was Sunday morning and I was in my chair reading my Bible. I was engrossed in the narrative of Exodus and did not realize that the sun was rising higher in the sky to the point it was shining in my face. My first instinct was to lean left to get out of the path of the sun’s rays, but I stopped suddenly. The last few days had been cloudy and a thunderstorm had moved across the mountain the night before. The bright sunshine was welcome.

So I closed my eyes and basked in the light. As I sat there, the orange-yellow I saw behind my eyelids got brighter and brighter until it was red-orange. I sensed the warmth from the sun even if I didn’t actually feel it. I thought of Jesus the Son and a line from Fairest Lord Jesus: “Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer…”

A few minutes later, I remembered Revelation 1:16 where it says of Jesus, “…His face was like the sun shining in its strength.” At His transfiguration in Matthew 17:2, it says Jesus’ face “shone like the sun.” I wonder if Peter, James, and John looked away or just closed their eyes and let the radiance of Christ’s glory shine on their faces. We read that “the Son is the radiance of God’s glory” in Hebrews 1:3.

Eventually, the intense light faded as the sun moved across and up my window on its path. As it did, I opened my eyes and began to hum the tune to an old hymn, the lyrics playing my mind: “Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight; flooding my soul with glory divine…”

It was Sunday morning and I was in my chair reading my Bible…

Traditional, Bible-believing churches grow

by Fred L. Miller

Much of this article was written by Dr. Michael Brown for, the website of the American Family Association. It has been edited to focus on the research showing how churches that remain committed to orthodox biblical doctrine grow while those who depart from it toward liberalism decline. Brown’s original article can be found here. PL comments will be in brackets. Let Dr. Brown get the deserved credit for his work.

[Referring to the pending split of the United Methodist Church into a conservative and a liberal branch, Brown said,] “History says that the conservative branch will grow and the liberal branch will diminish.”

This has been the pattern for decades, as I documented in 2015, citing a major study dating back to 1972 written by Dean M. Kelley: Why Conservative Churches are Growing: A Study in Sociology of Religion.

As Kelly wrote almost 50 years ago, “Amid the current neglect and hostility toward organized religion in general, the conservative churches, holding to seemingly outmoded theology and making strict demands on their members, have equaled or surpassed in growth the early percentage increases of the nation’s population.”

As for the liberal churches, he noted, “The mainline denominations [which were becoming increasingly liberal] will continue to exist on a diminishing scale for decades, perhaps for centuries, and will continue to supply some people with a diluted and undemanding form of meaning, which may be all they want.”

As I pointed out in my 2015 article, “Writing in the Federalist in August, 2014, Alexander Griswold noted that, “Every major American church that has taken steps towards liberalization on sexual issues has seen a steep decline in membership.” (His article was titled, “How to Shrink Your Church in One Easy Step.”)

More broadly, this is confirmed by data just released by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

Roughly 120 years ago, the Center claims that there were about 80 million Evangelicals and less than 1 million Pentecostals/Charismatics worldwide. (These terms might be anachronistic for the year 1900, but they are being used to trace particular groups over the last 120 years. And, of course, there is overlap between the two groups, which are both very conservative theologically.)

Today, those numbers, globally, are put at 354 million Evangelicals and 694 million Pentecostals/Charismatics. The projection for 2050 puts these groups at 581 million and 1 billion, 89 million respectively. This is the [projected] growth of Bible-based Christianity, especially one that emphasizes the ongoing ministry of the Spirit.

The Center’s data does not isolate liberal denominations, so their decline cannot be pointed to in the chart linked here. But further confirmation comes from a January 4, 2017 article in the Washington Post, which noted that “Liberal churches are dying. But conservative churches are thriving. A Canadian study found that conservative churches are still growing, while less orthodox congregations dwindle away.”

[Growth for traditional churches is not automatic, however.] To be sure, if the conservative congregations are hypocritical, dead, and legalistic, they too will dwindle away. But if they preach Jesus, welcome the Spirit, exalt the Word, and reach out to their community, they will thrive.

The liberal branch will become more liberal. Specifically, they will question some of the fundamental tenets of the faith (including the inspiration of the Scriptures, the virgin birth and the resurrection, the second coming, and more; much of this is happening already). They will become more universalistic (meaning, salvation is not exclusively through Jesus). And they will move further and further away from biblical morality. (For a recent, shocking example from Sweden, see here.)

In contrast, the conservative churches will remain steady [with regard to orthodox believe], since they are not reacting [to societal and culture changes]. They are simply maintaining their historic stance, believing what [the Bible teaches], and affirming what Jesus and Paul taught.

Dr. Michael L. Brown, PhD, is a radio host, author, professor, and Christian apologist. His nationally syndicated radio show, The Line of Fire, airs throughout the United States.

Dr. Fred L Miller, Ed.D. is a pastor, teacher, adjunct professor, and founder of The Prevailing Life (, a ministry helping Christians endure, persevere, and prevail.

Read the Bible. A lot.

We’re a week into the new year. If you committed to daily Bible reading on some plan or schedule, you might already be struggling. Here’s a reminder of the importance of spending time reading Scripture.

I recently sat down with my Bible and a plan to finish reading the book of Genesis. I had nine chapters left in the story of Joseph, his brothers, and father in Egypt and Goshen. The story is so rich that I wanted to experience it all in one sitting. It took about an hour, but what a wonderful experience it was!

That got me thinking about the time I commit to reading the Bible and what happens while I read it. I noticed that the longer I read, the more involved I became in the text. Could there be a connection between time and involvement with the text? I think so.

This is by no means scientific, but it fits. Consider that the more you watch a certain TV program, the more you want to watch. We can thank streaming services for the ability to binge-watch the entire series as fast as our schedules will allow. No more waiting for next week’s episode. I confess: I have watched an entire season of a show over a weekend.

Okay, back to the Bible. I am concerned that we’ve allowed ourselves to become comfortable with as little of it as we think we need for the day or can fit into our schedules. Be honest. Have you read a devotion book with a single verse of Scripture at the top and counted it as your Bible reading for the day? Ashamedly, I once did. We even have the One Minute Bible that divides God’s Word into portions that can be read in under sixty seconds.

Question: How invested can you get in ANY book – a novel, a self-help book, even a Christian life book – in one minute? Personally, I can’t get much out of such a short reading. Am I opposed to resources like the One Minute Bible? No! I can think of times during the day when, after having read my Bible at length that morning, when a small morsel of Scripture is desired, needed, and helpful.

What I don’t recommend is Christians building their daily worship time on a foundation of 15 – 60 seconds of Scripture and thinking themselves “fed” for the day. As I write this, I am thinking of an old TV commercial. The tag line was, “No one can eat just one Lays potato chip!” My mind is laying that idea on the Bible: “No one can read just one verse/minute of Scripture!” I wouldn’t eat a bite of cereal in the morning and think I had all the physical nutrition I needed for the day. I should not feel that way about the Bible either.

This is God’s Word! It is His heart and mind expressed to us. “God’s love letter to man” is a label used for the Bible. It is our strength and defense and we need more than “a verse day to keep the devil away.” Christians must shift their interest back to the Bible. We have thousands of books based on God’s Word, but we need to be in God’s Word; to learn it and live it. R.C. Sproul said, “I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a technique, in anything and everything except where God has placed it: His Word.” I think we often look for it in any book beside the Bible.

I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking power in a program, in a technique, in anything and everything except where God has placed it: His Word.

R.C. Sproul

It is a matter of influence. Think of all the words and images you hear each day. Think of the messages they send. What worldview are they based on? What values do they promote? What we see and hear – what we are exposed to – we embrace and we repeat. If you are an average American, you watch 5-6 hours of visual media (TV, movies, etc.) on a daily basis and, often, it is not spiritually sound programming. Your feeding your mind a lot of worldly values. How much godly content are you feeding it?

It is a matter of priority. We need to turn off the TV, music player, or laptop and turn on our Bibles. We need to reduce or eliminate any activity that keeps us from the Bible. God promises immeasurable benefits from knowing the truths of Scripture. No such promises from any other book or media. People need Christians that love and know the Bible for in it is the truth, freedom, and hope they need. We need a “Bible first” approach to our daily activities. That doesn’t mean you have to read your Bible “first thing” each day; what it does mean is that you structure your day around your time reading and feeding on Scripture.

Make time for reading the Bible. Scratch that. Make LOTS of time for reading the Bible. It is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (see 2 Timothy 3:16). It is a lamp for your feet and light for your path (see Psalm 119:105). In other words, it is good for what we need so we can to do what we’re here to do: live holy lives of sacrificial service to the Lord Jesus Christ.

“I read the Bible too much,” said no one ever.