I’ve put off writing on homosexual “marriage” for many years. My good friend and ministry colleague, Eric Holmberg, has been producing a series on the homosexual political movement for several years. I’ve shared these thoughts with Eric and he’s encouraged me to write this article. To be clear, although I agree with the Bible that homosexuality is a serious sin, an “abomination” — I don’t hate homosexuals. As a teacher in central Florida, I have an above average ratio of homosexual and bisexual students in my classroom. I treat them with the love and respect they deserve.
Among my own family and friends, I’ve seen the destructive outcome of adultery, sexual promiscuity and homosexuality. These are facets of the same problem, the rebellion to God’s law concerning sex with marriage. A good friend of mine recently began sending me articles from an Internet blog defending polygamy from a biblical perspective. Soon it became known that he had fathered a child with a woman other than his wife.
The great tragedy here is not that there is sin, for we are all sinners. The tragedy is that each of these people is from a Christian background. At one point in their lives, they would have strongly condemned the behavior that they now practice.
The “judge not” objection is one of the most widely abused scriptures in the Bible. To hold a moral position is to make a judgment. It is true, however, that God commands us to extend mercy to sinners and treat all people with compassion. In the video below, Eric Holmberg exposes the fallacy of the “judge not” argument.
So it is impossible not to make value judgments, including the judgment of Christians who stand against sexual sin in our culture.
I have recently become convicted that I’ve held off in part in writing on the sanctity of marriage out of the “fear of man” and not wanting to offend certain people who are close to me. But I can no longer afford to be ensnared by feelings. These situations and related situations are coming at the church like a freight train. Our culture’s fallen view of marriage as anything other than the God-ordained union of one man and one woman will affect every Christian in coming months and years. It will eventually separate the true from the false within the church. In fact, it is already happening.
Recently, Pastor Rob Bell, who made headlines last year for disputing the biblical doctrine of an eternal hell, was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. He made the statement that Christians can no longer cling to portions of the Bible that are outdated and that the majority of the church is close to accepting homosexual “marriage.”
Is Marriage a Civil or Church Institution?
Most of my discussions with Eric have had to do with marriage from a pagan/civil perspective vs. marriage from a biblical/church perspective. My argument is that both views of marriage are exactly the same except that in the Bible we find there is a mystery revealed. Paul writes in Ephesians that marriage was ordained to reflect the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church.
For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:30-32).
Unlike many Christians, I don’t find in scripture that there is such a thing as a “covenant marriage” or a “sacramental marriage” that is any more valid or binding in God’s eyes than a civil marriage.
When I married my wife, the pastor performing the ceremony pointed out that marriage is the one “sacrament” that was ordained by God before there was sin. I thought that if we call marriage a “sacrament” it is not the same as baptism or communion. God gave the institution of marriage prior to the fall of Adam and Eve. Therefore, marriage and the resulting mandate to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion” (Genesis 1:28) is given by God to all people for all time.
That being stated, it is true that with the coming of Christ, He in effect reinstituted marriage and the institution now takes on a role in sanctifying the earth through Christian families and children. It is also a “mystery” revealed, which is the literal meaning of the Greek word, mysterion, from which we get the word “sacrament” — or holy rite (Latin: sacrāmentum).
In pagan/civil systems we find marriage between one man and one woman for the following reasons.
- It protects women from being abandoned by men once they are impregnated and left with children they would then have to support all by themselves.
- It protects the children from being left poor and destitute.
- It protects lines of inheritance and property rights of families.
All of the above reasons show why marriage is not solely in the domain of the church. The biblical truth of “covenantal inheritance” for the church and the Christian is also reflected in marriage. The biblical reason for marriage is that it reflects the relationship between Christ and the church. All of the above civil reasons are exactly the same, but when we see marriage through a spiritual lens, we see God’s eternal purposes as well.
However, marriage is not described as exclusively “Christian” in the Bible itself. Nowhere in scripture is marriage a ritual, ceremony or sacrament mandated as part of the duties of a minister. In Ruth 4, marriage is described as the domain of civil elders. In the Gospel of John 2, the marriage ceremony is described as a covenant feast between a betrothed couple. The families had previously made a civil covenant with some type of dowry, payment or token in the presence of witnesses. The marriage took place when the man took the woman into his household. There was no ceremony or ritual beyond a feast of celebration. Marriage became the domain of the church in the late ancient period when Constantine gave the role of cleric and judge to the priests and bishops of the church. However, there is no record in the first three centuries of church history of a marriage being performed by an church officer.
In fact, the Dutch Reformed and later the Pilgrims and Puritans in America viewed the marriage contract as a civil affair. William Bradford wrote in his work, Of Plymouth Plantation, that in 1621, he performed the first marriage in New England as the civil magistrate.
May 12 was the first marriage in this place, which, according to the laudable custom of the Low-Countries, in which they had lived, was thought most requisite to be performed by the magistrate, as being a civil thing, upon which many questions about inheritances do depend, with other things most proper to their cognizance, and most consonant to the scriptures (Ruth 4) and no where found in the Gospel to be laid on ministers as a part of their office. “This decree or law about marriage was published by the States of the Low-Countries Ano: 1590. That those of any religion, after lawful and open publication, coming before the magistrates, in the Town or State-house, were to be orderly (by them) married one to another.” Petets  Hist, fol: 1029. And this practice has continued amongst, not only them, but has been followed by all the famous churches of Christ in these parts to this time (William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1646).
It is fitting to have a pastor or elder preside as a witness to a marriage because the marriage is between the individuals and the church is acting as a witness. Thus the spiritual nature of marriage is emphasized among Christians. I have no doubt that a Christian marriage has a deeper meaning than that between two non-believers. However, the civilly binding nature of the covenant is retained through a record signed by witnesses.
Thus there is no real difference between a sacramental marriage and civil union from a practical legal perspective.
Should the state get out of the marriage business?
To defend against homosexual “marriage,” being enforced on the states by federal courts, some have proposed to get the civil state out of the marriage business and let churches recognize those marriages they want to recognize. This is a defensive posture meant to protect churches from being forced eventually by the state to recognize something as “holy matrimony” that God calls an “abomination” in scripture. However, getting the state out of the marriage business does not protect individuals from fraud. If a man marries a woman and simply wants to move on — let’s say he drains the couples’ bank account and shacks up with another woman — then the woman, possibly left with young children or with less financial resources than the man, has no recourse except to go to the civil courts to sue. In a marriage, there is relief from fraud or theft. Divorce court is also civil court, but a divorce must include some type of financial settlement. In many states, it is assumed that a married couple shares property by law. This is not the same as an arrangement between roommates or an unmarried couple.
While it is true that churches can adjudicate and enforce church discipline, they do not have the power of punishment that the state wields. At most they can excommunicate, and then unfaithful spouse would be free to do as he pleases. In short, civil marriage keeps men in check. It keeps men from acting like NBA stars and dropping litters of children with multiple sex partners. Pagan/civil marriage does not explicitly reflect the covenant of Christ and the church, but at least it elevates us from the level of beasts.
What should be the view of the church on same sex “marriage”
The view of the church on homosexual “marriage” must first be that it is the “mark of the beast.” It is the state changing the age old view of marriage and then forcing Christians to recognize these unholy unions. Rather than a man and a woman signifying the the eternal bond between Christ and the church, we have instead two men or two women signifying the union of mankind with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. It signifies man’s fallen nature, rather than his redemption. The ultimate goal of the homosexual movement is to “destroy the image of God” in marriage. In this way, it is almost as insidious as abortion in that it hates and seeks to destroy the image of God in mankind. The ultimate goal of homosexual marriage, short of destroying God, is to destroy the church’s witness in the earth and therefore destroy the church. If homosexuals can force churches to accept the mark of the beast, then the church itself becomes a harlot and participates in the abomination of calling an unholy union “holy.” This is nothing new. The ancient Israelites engaged in this when they allowed the pagan practice of male temple prostitution (cf. Deuteronomy 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24) into their culture. It was not called “marriage,” but effectively it was meant to profane the holy place of God. So sanctified homosexual unions have always been meant as an attack on God’s holy Temple, the church.
From a civil perspective, there has never been a reason until recently for homosexual marriage to exist. The three reasons that pagan cultures instituted civil marriage have no bearing on homosexual unions. Only with the advent of modern socialism and egalitarian humanism do we see this movement toward same sex “marriage.”
In ancient times, even in cultures where homosexuality was tolerated or even accepted, there was no homosexual marriage as a legal institution. Even among the Greek culture where philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle commended pederasty — sex between an adult male and a boy — there was no idea of a civilly binding marriage between two men. In fact, “homosexuality” as an orientation is a modern idea. In ancient times, it was considered either a perverse form of lust — or it was accepted as a valid expression same-sex attraction.
Now in modern times, we have the socialist state. With the graduated income tax, exemptions, health care benefits and other social programs that benefit families, homosexuality has become an “equality” issue. It assumes the idea of achieving a greater equality among social and economic standing. The answer of the church ought to be to work to cut these government mandated entitlements. The problem is that the “entitlement mentality” has become so ingrained among the poor and minorities that even though most are socially conservative, they tend to vote for politicians who are socially liberal hoping to gain greater benefits. The church can become more outspoken against these entitlements, including the graduated income tax, and work to eliminate the IRS altogether. We must once again become the salt and light that we are called to be.
That being said, acceptance of homosexuality did not come into our culture solely because of socialism. Sexual perversion became “normal” due to relaxed morality concerning fornication and adultery that arose in the 1950s and ’60s. In reality, we can trace the roots of this permissive attitude to the Enlightenment in the 1700s and the “free love” movement among the Romantics of the early 1800s. The sexual revolution is the crack that opened the door, and once the door was flung open, we began to see socialist egalitarian arguments in favor of the alternative forms of marriage — and even the abolition of marriage. The state is now being brought into the controversy to be the “fist” that will punish those who stand against “equality.”
The “Death Scream” of Western Humanism?
Egalitarian humanism has now replaced Christianity as the “civil religion” of most of the west. We are now seeing the beginning of an all out war on the church as the last bastion that ought to be opposing statist tyranny. Unfortunately, few in the church understand the history and theology or marriage or the nature of the battle we are facing.
The homosexual “equality” movement will ultimately fail because the socialist apparatus necessary to support it is a house of cards that is already collapsing. The requirement to support homosexual marriage will be mandated in an increasing number of social programs that Americans will be required to participate in. Not wanting to be responsible for their own health and welfare, many Americans are buying into wholesale government control of healthcare, education and numerous other social welfare programs. At the same time, radical Islam is a being raised up by God to punish the west as a scourge against our sexual immorality. America is seen as the “Great Satan” in that we export pornography, abortion and permissive sexual attitudes to Third World countries.
First, western humanism will collapse under the weight of its own sin. The pattern of history is that God always uses His enemies to judge His people, then He judges His enemies. Second, Islam will begin to be subsumed by the numerous Christian revivals taking place in Africa, the Middle East and the South Pacific Islands.
The Coming (Albeit Brief) Acceptance of Polygamy
A growing number of “Christians” who are being duped by the lies of the homosexual activist movement will soon begin to endorse polygamy. They will have no argument to oppose both homosexual marriage and polygamy. This is inevitable. This will come first among lawsuits by Muslim citizens who have immigrated to the United States, then among Mormon cultists, and then by application to anyone. Their arguments go like this:
- Didn’t God tolerate polygamy in the Old Testament?
- Were there not polygamists among the Jews and even some New Testament Christians during the time of Paul?
- Haven’t missionaries often accepted pagan polygamists into the church when they are converted?
- If God condemns homosexuality in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and yet He tolerated polygamy, then why do modern Christians condemn polygamy?
- If Christian condemn homosexuality as an Old Testament law, shouldn’t they accept polygamy — especially among non-Christians?
- If Christians don’t accept the lax attitude of God toward polygamists and prostitution in the Old Testament, then why are we so quick to use the Old Testament to condemn homosexuals?
The only Christian worldview that has valid counterargument to these lies is that which holds in high regard biblical laws on sexuality — such as, theonomy, presuppositional apologetics and related views. Those who do not understand the relationship between law and grace (well over 90 percent of evangelicals) will be steamrolled by the political agenda of those who want to destroy the biblical view of marriage in America. We are beginning to see this already.
I will here use a biblical law or “theonomic and presuppositional” approach to explain why polygamy was never part of God’s plan, but was only tolerated to a degree in Israel due to the hardness of their hearts.
Four Views on Polygamy
There are essentially four views on polygamy throughout church history.
- Polygamy, although practiced by Israel and to a certain degree tolerated, has always been condemned by God. (This is my view.)
- Polygamy was allowed for a time by God, but now this has changed under the New Covenant.
- Polygamy is allowed under certain circumstances in the New Covenant, such as when a tribal chief is converted. These marriages are valid for social reasons, but the husband ought to be celibate with the secondary wives.
- There is no commandment against polygamy in scripture, although for practical reasons, it should not be encouraged.
I won’t go into exhaustive detail and outline the four views here. Others have written on it. However, I’ll make a few of points. The understanding of the church fathers in the early centuries was universally that God condemned polygamy throughout scripture. The reasons why it seemed to be tolerated were varied. But none of the church fathers wrote in favor of polygamy at any time in history. This was an issue because — although rare — polygamy was practiced, especially in the east among both Jews and pagans. Christians living in these cultures were taught in no uncertain terms that polygamy was forbidden by God. It was viewed as tantamount to adultery.
This is important because there were Jews who both condemned and practiced polygamy in the early centuries of the church. Those few Jews who accepted the practice pointed to the Patriarchs who had multiple wives. Those who claim the church fathers were “anti-semitic” (an anachronistic understanding of the term) — or more accurately, “anti-Jewish” — should understand that there were many valid reasons for condemning the religion of the Jews. Jesus himself condemned the false religion of Pharisaism both because of the “gnat” of legalism and the “camel” of ignoring the heart of God in the Law (Matthew 23:24). After the final destruction of the Temple in the time of Bar Kokhba in 135 AD, the religion of the Pharisees became the de facto Jewish religion.
Once we begin to examine the view of Christian scholars in the Middle Ages, it gets far more complicated. Christian Emperors such as Charlemagne had multiple wives. That is, Charlemagne had five wives in sequence, numerous concubines and 18 children. As Christianity expanded into the Holy Roman Empire’s newly conquered pagan lands in northern Europe and the east, polygamous practices and variations were tolerated. Still polygamy was rare because one had to wealthy to afford to keep more than one wife. It was the purview of royalty. As a consequence, there were notable Christian theologians (hirelings in my opinion) who wrote treatises in favor of polygamy.
Shockingly, even some of the Reformed scholars wrote that there were no commands in the Bible condemning polygamy. In the 16th century there was a Christian re-examination of plural marriages. The founder of the Protestant Reformation,Martin Luther wrote:
I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter.
It’s important to note that Luther was speaking of an instance in which a man with a sick wife who could not have sexual intercourse wished to take another wife without dissolving or annulling the first marriage. Later, Luther in part recanted, but the weakness of his response and his willingness to consider exceptions is astonishing.
It is my earnest warning and counsel that Christians especially shall have no more than one wife, not only because it is a scandal, which a Christian should avoid most diligently, but also because there is no word of God here to show that God approves it in Christians…. I must oppose it, especially in Christians, unless there be need, as for instance if the wife be a leper, or be taken away from the husband in some other way.
It was probably more scandalous in the Catholic world at that time that Luther wrote against sacerdotal celibacy than in favor of polygamy. Few at the time even noted the outrage.
The heretical anabaptists (that is, the primitivists and anarchists among this group) were far more austere in their “advocacy of polygamy, appealing to the patriarchal order of society in justification of their position” (Polygamy in Christianity).
The Biblical View on Polygamy
The argument for a biblical position condemning polygamy is very similar to that of abortion. Yes, child sacrifice was practiced in the Old Testament, even among kings such as Solomon. But killing a child on a pagan altar is universally condemned in scripture. And no, abortion is never explicitly mentioned in scripture as being condemned. Although the Bible speaks of the payment of restitution for the miscarriage of an unborn “child,” abortion is never listed as a punishable crime. Does this mean that God allows for abortion? No, other scriptures indicate that a baby is a living soul from the moment of conception in the womb. The laws of homicide and murder must apply here.
Likewise, although ancient Israel practiced polygamy, Jesus’ explanation of marriage and forbidding divorce and remarriage as a form of serial adultery must also apply to polygamy. Note that Jesus said Moses allowed it due to the “hardness of your hearts” (Matthew 19:8). He does not ever say that God tolerated it.
While it is true that adultery is condemned as a capital crime deserving the death penalty, we never see this applied to polygamists in the Bible. At most, Paul says that elders must be “the husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2). However, assuming that this validates polygamy is an argument from silence.
We also don’t see a single historical instance of a person being held accountable for the crime of adultery, homosexuality or bestialism in the Old Testament histories. We do see several instances of Judah’s kings using banishment as a lesser punishment for the male temple prostitutes (cf. 1 Kings 15:12).
However, this does not mean these capital punishments were never carried out. At most, it means it was probably rare or that Israel failed to enforce the fullest extent of the sanctions of the Law in the death penalty, although God commanded it as a fitting punishment.
This is most likely what Jesus was referring to when He spoke of Moses allowing divorce for the “hardness of your hearts.” It was not God’s tolerance, but the unwillingness of men to punish the crime of adultery.
Winning the War
Jesus Christ entered the world as fully human and fully God. He took on the form of a man made in the image of God even though He was from the beginning co-equal, co-eternal and one in substance with God. Human beings take on this same image of God when the union of two gamete cells results in a Person that immediately begins to divide and multiply. This is both the image of Christ and the image of the Bride of Christ, the Church. It is the image of marriage and the mystery of Christ in us. The image of conception also reflects the Dominion Mandate — to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). The explosive growth of the embryo and then fetus is also the image of the Great Commission given to the Church — to fill the earth with the Good News of Christ and subdue all of life under God’s sovereignty (Matthew 28:18-20).
Likewise, the reason homosexual marriage is wrong because it violates a creation ordinance. “In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Geneis 1:27). God created one man and one woman in His image to be a reflection of Christ and the Church. This reflects our relationship to God in salvation. The union of a man and a woman demonstrates the purpose of God that through pro-creation the planet could be filled and subdued to reflect God’s glory. That is what marriage is. It’s a reflection of our creation in the image of God.
This is what separates humans from animals, even though animals also mate and procreate. It is what separates us from angels, even though angels are called “sons of God” and are called “persons” or “men” in scripture. Angels cannot marry and procreate. Only human beings are mandated with filling the earth with our progeny to the glory of God.
Only human beings are made in the image of God. The marriage of a man and a woman then is an image of creation and redemption. Homosexual unions don’t bear that image. Polygamous unions don’t bear that image. They bear only the mark of man’s rebellion toward God. This is not the mark of Christ, but the mark of antichrist. No judge’s perverse, vacuous interpretation of the 14th amendment can overturn a creation ordinance or turn rebellion into freedom.
Sadly, even many Christians believe this battle is over and we have lost both on the life and marriage front. Nothing could be further from the truth. God’s ordinances are eternal. Nations who rebel against God’s laws are always judged. Equilibrium must always return because these laws are hard-wired into nature itself. Trying to ascend above these laws is a futile waste of time and effort.
Suppose we think of a man made of water in an infinitely extended and bottomless ocean of water. Desiring to get out of water, he makes a ladder of water. He sets this ladder upon the water and against the water and then attempts to climb out of the water. So hopeless and senseless a picture must be drawn of the natural man’s methodology based as it is upon the assumption that time or chance is ultimate. On his assumption his own rationality is a product of chance. On his assumption even the laws of logic which he employs are products of chance. The rationality and purpose that he may be searching for are still bound to be products of chance (Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith (P&R, 1972), p.102).
Equilibrium must always return. The only foundation for human reason is the destiny and purpose authored in our beings by an eternal God. This is the imago Dei — the image of God in us. Even the idea of “rights” based purely on human reason is nonsense. The founders understood this and rightly appealed to “God,” our “Creator,” “the Supreme Judge” and “Divine Providence” as the source of human dignity and civil rights. This is necessary, since asserting human rights above God’s Law, like a “ladder of water,” must always return to equilibrium. In the long term, we will win the war. However, to win this battle in the short term, we must do two things.
- Be biblical presuppositionalists — that is, not afraid to reason using the plain meaning of the God’s Law and Truth, which is eternal.
- Be resolute and persistent enough to challenge the false reasoning of judicial tyranny through to the end in order to expose it for how nonsensical and diabolical it really is.
We have fallen this far because Christians have cooperated in attempting to build “ladders of water.” We have been inconsistent on our stand for Law and Truth. We have been afraid to venture boldly into the civil debate and point out the foolishness of man’s rebellion against God.
Notorious Orlando and Miami-Fort Lauderdale child killer now serving a one-year sentence for drug trafficking
Visualize abortionists in jail! Click to enlarge.
In 2014, Harry Perper was convicted of 1 of 19 counts of oxycodone trafficking, racketeering and conspiracy. He’s now serving a one year sentence plus three years probation. That’s actually a light sentence. Each count can carry up to 15 years, but he pleaded guilty and 18 counts were not prosecuted.
ORLANDO, Florida (www.forerunner.com) — Notorious abortionist Zvi Harry Perper had his license suspended by emergency order in August 2014 as a result of multiple counts of federal drug trafficking and racketeering charges. The indictments occurred in 2011 and stemmed from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s sting operations that helped to close almost 100 “pill mills” throughout Florida.
In 2011, Zvi Harry Perper was charged with 19 counts of racketeering, drug trafficking and conspiracy.
Perper’s case has not yet come before the Florida Board of Medicine, but a complaint was filed with the Department of Health on January 10, 2014. Another complaint was filed on July 29, 2014 and notes that
On or about May 14, 2014, in the Circuit Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County, Florida, in case number 2011-CF-001934-AXXX-MB, Respondent was adjudicated guilty of attempted trafficking in oxycodone, a second degree felony, in violation of Section 893.135(1)(c), Florida Statutes.
His license was put under emergency suspension status effective September 10, 2014. An emergency suspension is given prior to a formal hearing and the licensee may not practice medicine.
A 37-page complaint outlines nine counts of medical malpractice related to prescription drug sales to patients with a history of drug abuse. Perper was indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy and drug trafficking. He most recently worked as a dealer of pain pills for a controversial clinic in Miami that was founded by a convicted drug smuggler.
Perper was the abortionist on duty at EPOC abortion center in Orlando when Baby Rowan, a 22-week gestation baby boy, was born alive and left to die. Baby Rowan’s mother, described him as a very fast-moving, hyperactive type of person.
Perper also perforated a woman’s uterus at Orlando Woman’s Center requiring a hysterectomy. He was subject to disciplinary action for “substandard care, incompetence or negligence” on February 12, 2008:
Nature of Complaint: The physician upon performing a termination of a patient’s pregnancy through dilation and curettage severely perforated the patient’s uterus and deposited materials including the fetus and placenta into the patient’s lower abdominal cavity. The patient was subsequently transferred to a medical center where another physician removed the fetus and placenta from the patient’s abdominal cavity and due to the severe perforation of the patient’s uterus performed a hysterectomy.
This case has been erroneously reported by several pro-life blogs as the source of abortionist James Pendergraft’s current license suspension. Pendergraft himself has been almost continually under suspension since 2006. Pendergraft owns five abortion clinics in Florida and has continued to operate even while his license has suspended five times by hiring other abortionists like Perper. These have included
- Abortionist James Pendergraft (extortion)
- Abortionist Walker Whaley (conspiracy to manufacture synthetic cocaine)
- Abortionist Zvi Harry Perper (racketeering, drug trafficking)
- Abortionist Randall Whitney (aggravated battery; reduced to misdemeanor on “no contest” plea)
In 2012, another Orlando Women’s Center employee was arrested on charges of rape.
Security officer Roderick Johnson (sexual battery)
Amazingly, Perper’s medical license was not suspended in 2008 due to an agreement in which he satisfied the terms of disciplinary action. Perper received a reprimand from the Board of Medicine and was ordered to pay a fine.
Perper then reemerged in the news as one of 17 doctors who were arrested in 2011 on drug trafficking charges. The Sun-Sentinel has an article about the “mafia doctors” who were arrested in 2011 for running “pill mills” in south Florida. The article is one of the few by the mainstream media that makes the connection to Perper’s career as a troubled abortionist.
Perper began working at the pain clinic after he was fined $10,000 by the state in 2008 for a botched abortion in Orlando, according to state records.
An article in the Broward Palm Beach News on May 14, 2010, exposed Perper’s pain pill clinic.
Broward County Medical Examiner Joshua Perper has warned us about the dangers of pain clinics. Last June, he was in the Miami Herald talking about the dangers of doctor shopping, where people go to numerous clinics to stockpile pills like oxycodone, Xanax, and Valium.
“It’s almost impossible to monitor different people shopping doctors,’‘ [Joshua] Perper told the newspaper. “A person can get hundreds or thousands of pills.” He went on to talk about the explosion in oxycodone-related deaths, which ballooned to 171 in Broward County in 2008, more than double the figure from 2005. In the Sun-Sentinel, he warned of how those using the pain clinics are consuming deadly cocktails of pills.
What Joshua Perper didn’t reveal was that his son, physician Zvi Harry Perper, was himself in the pain pill business. Harry Perper dispensed pain medication at a clinic on Swinton Avenue in Delray Beach called Delray Pain Management LLC. The clinic was founded in early 2009 by a convicted drug smuggler named Kenneth Murry. Harry Perper is listed as a manager of the clinic.
According to the Palm Beach Post, the clinic was founded by convicted heroin and cocaine trafficker, Vincent Colangelo. Colangelo was running at least eight more pill mils in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area at the time of his arrest. He was sentenced to prison for 20 years in 2012.
Incidentally, the town is also home to a number of Palm Beach luxury detox centers that serve the more affluent members of the community who are facing drug abuse issues.
Perper is arrested at the “pill mill” he ran at Delray Pain Management.
In yet another ironic twist, Joshua Perper was the coroner who did the autopsy report on Anna Nicole Smith, the Playboy model who died from an overdose of prescription medication, a bizarre case that has prompted numerous conspiracy theories.
In September 2011, Governor Rick Scott announced he would not reappoint Perper to another three year term as Chief Medical Examiner. Perper expressed surprise at the decision, saying that Scott gave him no reason. He subsequently announced his intention to resign at the end of October of that year, and enter retirement according to an article in the Sun-Sentinel.
DEA agent Keigh Barker, right, escorts abortionist Zvi Harry Perper, son of the Broward Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua A. Perper, to a awaiting police car after his Delray Pain Management clinic was raided by agents on February 23, 2010.
The Forerunner has followed Perper since 2007 and has compiled the following articles.
- Abortionist Zvi Harry Perper charged with racketeering and drug trafficking
- Perper, Zvi Harry (verified) – Delray Beach
- Orlando Abortionist Pendergraft suspended for fifth time
- Is Kermit Gosnell an outlier?
Personhood is a shift back to a Christ-centered view on the sanctity of life and all dignity of life issues. We begin with a recognition of the dignity of the human person at all stages of development due to the image of God in all human beings, the imago Dei.
To understand the Personhood strategy, you simply have to look at three passages in the Bible, which are easy to remember, Genesis 1, Jeremiah 1 and Luke 1.
Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.
Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Luke 1:39-45 – Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
Personhood represents a paradigm shift in the pro-life movement. We begin with scripture and insist that the right to life is God-given. We are all created in the image of God. In fact, we were made in God’s image from our biological beginning in the womb.
Years ago, I first heard someone say that the political end of the pro-life movement failed at its inception because it was never Christ-centered and you can’t fight a demonic force with natural weapons. We hear the phrase, “You can’t fight Goliath in Saul’s armor.” This means that man’s efforts will fail, but God’s plan for victory is according to His plan.
At first, I thought it was a cynical comment. Finally, I realized that the truth is far worse than that. Our struggle does not begin and end with abortion. Abortion is just an obvious outcropping of a deep spiritual problem we have as a culture in failing to recognize some of the most fundamental of all biblical truths.
A Brief History of the Recent Pro-Life Movement
To explain why the Personhood paradigm is much larger than just a plan to end abortion, we first need to understand a bit of history.
Roe v. Wade did not establish a women’s right to choose abortion. It established the right to privacy concerning the abortion procedure and was meant to protect doctors from criminal proceedings.
The Personhood of the unborn child is already established in many of our laws. Case in point: Ariel Castro, a man in Cleveland who was convicted of kidnapping and continually raping three women over a period of years, as well as the killing of a preborn child, was sentenced to life imprisonment. He could have been sentenced to death had he not pleaded guilty to first degree murder. Ironically, he later committed suicide in prison. In this case, the law recognized the Personhood of the preborn child that Castro conceived through rape.
Charles Van Zant, a Florida state representative from Keystone Heights, has said that Roe established a “loophole in the law governing murder.” This assessment is a valid interpretation of the law concerning the personhood of the preborn. We recognize forced abortion as killing in some cases, but we make exceptions for the criminality of murder in other cases.
Paradigm Shift #1 — The Bishops’ Plan
At the time Roe v. Wade was passed, the only large religious body that had an active plan to end abortion was the Roman Catholic Church. Most Protestant denominations were either silent on the issue and some even issued statements of agreement with Roe. Now we would expect that from liberal bodies such as the United Methodist Church, the Episcopalian Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the United Church of Christ (Congregationalists), the PCUSA. We expect a weak view on the pro-life issue from the unorthodox — the Seventh Day Adventists, the Unitarians, the Mormons and so on.
Much to our shame, some evangelicals joined the chorus of briefs that were written in favor of Roe. Even the conservative Southern Baptist Convention prior to 1973 called on all Baptists to work for abortion rights.
Resolution On Abortion, adopted at the SBC, June 1971:
WHEREAS, Christians in the American society today are faced with difficult decisions about abortion; and
WHEREAS, Some advocate that there be no abortion legislation, thus making the decision a purely private matter between a woman and her doctor; and
WHEREAS, Others advocate no legal abortion, or would permit abortion only if the life of the mother is threatened;
Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that this Convention express the belief that society has a responsibility to affirm through the laws of the state a high view of the sanctity of human life, including fetal life, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves; and
Be it further RESOLVED,
That we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.
Resolution On Abortion And Sanctity Of Human Life, adopted at the SBC convention, June 1974:
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically held a high view of the sanctity of human life, and
WHEREAS, The messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis in 1971 adopted overwhelmingly a resolution on abortion, and
WHEREAS, That resolution reflected a middle ground between the extreme of abortion on demand and the opposite extreme of all abortion as murder, and
WHEREAS, That resolution dealt responsibly from a Christian perspective with complexities of abortion problems in contemporary society;
Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that we reaffirm the resolution on the subject adopted by the messengers to the St. Louis Southern Baptist Convention meeting in 1971, and
Be it further RESOLVED, that we continue to seek God’s guidance through prayer and study in order to bring about solutions to continuing abortion problems in our society.
Resolution On Abortion, adopted at the SBC convention, June 1976:
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have historically held a biblical view of the sanctity of human life, and
WHEREAS, Abortion is a very serious moral and spiritual problem of continuing concern to the American people, and
WHEREAS, Christians have a responsibility to deal with all moral and spiritual issues which affect society, including the problems of abortion, and
WHEREAS, The practice of abortion for selfish non-therapeutic reasons want-only destroys fetal life, dulls our society’s moral sensitivity, and leads to a cheapening of all human life, and
WHEREAS, Every decision for an abortion, for whatever reason must necessarily involve the decision to terminate the life of an innocent human being.
Therefore be it RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Norfolk in June 1976 reaffirm the biblical sacredness and dignity of all human life, including fetal life, and
Be it further RESOLVED, that we call on Southern Baptists and all citizens of the nation to work to change those attitudes and conditions which encourage many people to turn to abortion as a means of birth control, and
Be it further RESOLVED, that in the best interest of our society, we reject any indiscriminate attitude toward abortion, as contrary to the biblical view, and
Be it further RESOLVED, that we also affirm our conviction about the limited role of government in dealing with matters relating to abortion, and support the right of expectant mothers to the full range of medical services and personal counseling for the preservation of life and health.
This complicity in the abortion holocaust is a dark stain on the evangelical movement. It ought to give us cause to pause and consider that evangelicals were in large part responsible for legal abortion. Although most evangelical churches eventually shifted toward a no compromise position, the initial confusion hurt the burgeoning pro-life movement and delayed activism.
The Catholic Bishops’ plan was a comprehensive, state-by-state plan to pass a Human Life Amendment at the federal US Constitutional level, but it also included a grassroots strategy of passing state laws and amendments and using the “states’ rights” clause of the tenth amendment to resist federal tyranny in the form of legalized child killing.
The Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, to their great credit, refused to compromise with the “exception clauses” of Roe for rape, incest and the health of the mother. Sadly, they didn’t have the support of the majority of Americans and especially of the large Protestant church denominations, such as the Southern Baptists, who would not join in an uncompromising, no exceptions stance. The Bishops’ Plan failed in part because many state and federal legislators were only willing to support a plan that had the “exceptions.”
This was the first split in the pro-life movement.
Paradigm Shift #2 — The Hyde Amendment
In 1976, Representative Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.) sponsored an amendment to the Federal Budget appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). His amendment denied Medicaid funding for abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger or she is pregnant as a result of rape or incest, but only if the woman reports the incident at the time of its occurrence. Despite opposition from pro-abortion groups, Hyde attached this amendment every year to the same appropriations bill. The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Hyde amendment (Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297, 100 S. Ct. 2671, 65 L. Ed. 2d 784 ; McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420, 81 S. Ct. 1101, 6 L. Ed. 2d 393 ). See: After Roe v. Wade.
The Hyde Amendment was opposed in the beginning by the Catholic Bishops, since it included the “exceptions,” but supported by several evangelical groups who had by now joined the pro-life movement. Although there is evidence that some lives have been saved due to the Hyde Amendment, Personhood advocates worry that any law that allows child murder in certain cases actually strengthens the pro-abortion agenda. It undermines our argument that abortion is child murder. Other life advocates argue that the “exceptions” become a necessity to save some lives even while they “chip away” at Roe and try to eliminate abortion incrementally and gradually.
Paradigm Shift #3 — Personhood
The modern Personhood movement was begun by Georgia Right to Life president Dan Becker. Personhood came about when Becker sought to revive the strategy of the Bishops’ Plan focusing on passing a Human Life Amendment to the state constitution of Georgia. Ironically, the evangelicals now lined up behind Becker’s agenda, while National Right to Life and the Catholic Bishops now opposed it (although the local policy has recently changed in some states such as North Dakota). Their reasoning as I just outlined was that any state law or amendment that did not have the exceptions was unacceptable as a sound strategy to chip away at Roe.
In 2008, Personhood USA was established by Cal Zastrow and Keith Mason, who are now working toward legislative and voter initiatives in over 30 states. In every state where it has been tried, several “pro-life” organizations, including Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, National Right to Life and the Catholic Bishops have opposed Personhood.
It’s ironic that now several conservative “pro-life” commentators, such as Sean Hannity, hold the view that the exceptions are necessary in order to pass restrictive legislation — even though the Roe decision was framed around these very exceptions! They want to reverse Roe as a decision even while they keep it in place through legislation.
In terms of paradigm shifts, compared to where we were at in 1973, the pro-life movement now stands on its head.
Why Personhood now?
The shift in the pro-life movement is to go back to square one and define that a human being is a Person from biological beginnings with no exceptions for the circumstances of conception.
Already the nation of Mexico, where the capital city recently made abortion legal, about half of the state legislatures have passed Personhood Amendments that would keep the federal government from imposing abortion on the states from above as occurred with Roe v. Wade in the United States. In our country, we now have to work backward and pass Personhood even while trying various ways to undo Roe. The reality is that we cannot do one without the other. Overturning Roe won’t make abortion illegal in each state. Passing Personhood won’t supersede Roe. Now we have two tasks to accomplish at one time.
But this strategy has already worked in Mexico. Poland is moving toward having Personhood in their national constitution. The nation of Hungary has the first constitution of the 21st century. Hungary has the following in their newly written constitution:
“Human dignity is inviolable. Everyone has the right to life and human dignity; the life of a fetus will be protected from conception.”
Personhood is a worldwide movement led by the Holy Spirit. The focus of pro-life groups in many countries around the world is shifting from regulating abortion to defining what a Person is.
Pro-life advocates in our own country support Personhood philosophically almost without exception. The only difference between Personhood advocates and the rest of the pro-life movement is a disagreement over timing. They want to wait to stack the Supreme Court bench with conservatives and overturn Roe. We want a grassroots movement that will vote on Personhood amendments now. I often tell people that if we work toward Personhood now, we will eventually get there. If we delay our obedience, then we will be counted among those who opposed Personhood even when our support was needed the most.
The Biological Time Bomb
There is a biological time bomb ticking. The advances we saw in physics and chemistry in the early 20th century resulted in major paradigm shifts in those sciences. Biology is lagging behind, but huge advances are around the corner. Philosophers and religious leaders have thought about the issues surrounding life, death and immortality for thousands of years, but the structure of the DNA molecule has been known for less than 60 years.
What does that mean? It usually takes a generation or more for a major discovery to percolate through an entire scientific field. The major battles that Personhood advocates will fight in the next 50 years will have nothing to do with abortion. In fact, abortion may all but disappear due to advances in science. In a couple of years, a woman will be able to walk into any store and buy an over-the-counter fertility monitor that may be worn as a watch. This will have the function of telling within a 99.9 percent certainty when the wearer is fertile.
Technology can be used for both good and evil. We should welcome these advances and prepare to use them to save lives. We certainly won’t be able to stop the bio-technological tidal wave that is coming. We’ll also have scanning devices within the next ten years that will be able to “see” in real time the baby as it develops in the womb — not just during a trip to a doctor — but through an “ultrasound baby monitor” that may be worn at all times just like today’s heart monitors.
Medical technology will be used to save lives in a greater capacity than ever before. Abortion will become increasingly intolerable as a “choice” for women.
However, with this biological time bomb, there is a Pandora’s Box of new possibilities that bring serious moral, legal and ethical questions. There is on the horizon the possibility of cloning, genetic engineering, eugenics, embryonic experimentation, organ harvesting, human-animal hybrids, euthanasia, nano-technology, advanced artificial intelligence, “cyborgism,” “post-humanism,” “trans-humanism,” and so on. This might seem like science fiction to you, but if you are part of Generation-Y, you will live to deal with the social conflict these developments in bio-technology will cause.
Personhood.net has a must-see presentation on these emerging bio-technologies.
The paradigm shift that we see coming is based on the fact that most pro-choice advocates are actually pro-Personhood once we take the concepts of “anti-abortion” and “pro-life” out of the argument. There is a 50-50 split over the topic of abortion, with many in the “mushy middle” advocating some type of compromise. Over 90 percent of college students interviewed agree that such horrors as eugenics and experimentation on living fetuses ought to be illegal. When they are asked to provide the rationale for their stance, they will often invariably say that this is a developing human being and ought to have the right to dignity.
It is imperative that we seize the opportunity to create cognitive dissonance in the minds of young people who may otherwise think of themselves as pro-choice, perhaps due to the pressure to be politically correct, but are otherwise in favor of Personhood as the only alternative to what they see as Nazi eugenics and other dehumanizing abominations. From there the mental shift to recognizing the full Personhood of the unborn child without exception is just a short step away.
Another resource, The Abortion Matrix, is a video seminar and DVD was developed to enlighten Christians to the spiritual reality of this fight.
Education, Constitutional Initiative, Legislation/Political Action
If you haven’t worked for the Personhood Amendment, there is still time to get involved. People ask me when we are going to be on the ballot in Florida. In fact, this is a battle we will be fighting for the long term. We are a young movement. Florida has a much more difficult requirement than any other state to get a constitutional amendment initiative on the ballot — except for maybe California.
In reality, we are in the foundational stages. Personhood Florida is the first state affiliate of Personhood USA, which itself about five years old, and we are working closely with the national organization to establish a protocol for all state affiliates. We began as a single issue PAC, which sponsored the amendment. In 2013, we filed for recognition as a 501c3 organization, which does the education. Then we are in the process of filing our 501c4 which will handle fundraising for the ballot amendment and political action, legislation and campaigning.
We have three goals, education, the citizens’ initiative and then legislation, political lobbying and endorsing candidates who endorse Personhood.
The important point we should be clear about. Personhood is not about overturning Roe v. Wade or even about abortion primarily – we are thinking about sanctity of life issues that are 50 years down the road – and that is how we can win – by recognizing the sanctity of life by defining what a Person is. Personhood is due to the image of God present in all human beings. We are not asking government to define Personhood – we are asking government to recognize it as an inalienable right.
We don’t see much of a downside to the next Personhood vote in November. Win or lose, we believe that we will be the winners in the long run because as the Personhood movement gains national attention we will gain the momentum needed to advance in other states, the nation and the world.
The civil rights movement of the 21st century is called Personhood. Long after abortion becomes a settled issue and a thing of a past dark age, we will be dealing with end of life issues, cloning, in vitro fertilization issues, artificial wombs, genetic engineering, animal-human hybrids, nanotechnology, singularity, cyborgism, transhumanism.
This biological time-bomb is ticking and is about to explode. The Church is unprepared to deal with many profound implications that are coming at us fast. All of these advances in biology can be reformed by recognizing the Personhood of all human beings from biological beginnings to natural death. That’s why you should become part of the Personhood effort in your state.
The Personhood movement also holds the promise for bringing righteousness, liberty, long life and prosperity to the whole human race. There are Godly applications for genetic research to cure diseases and reverse aging. But the acid test is Personhood. That is, we are each made in the image of God. Therefore, the dignity and sanctity of life must be respected and preserved in all research and application.
People have been searching for immortality for thousands of years, but we’ve only known what the DNA molecule looks like for about 50 years. The reason we age is that DNA breaks down and does not replicate the same way as when we are young. Some reading this will live to see that a lifespan of 100 to 120-years-old is commonplace. I believe this will happen eventually, but God will not allow it to come until the Gospel has sufficiently leavened the world. Among certain people, I believe this gift of long life is coming soon. Imagine what a gift it would be for a 75-year-old to enjoy the physical health he enjoyed as a 25-year-old, knowing everything he knows now. But in the depraved reprobate man, this could be a source of great evil. Why did God choose to limit man’s lifespan after the Flood? It was because prior to the Flood and after, man created a race of Nephilim — men of renown whose long lifespans made them capable of attaining a god-like status.
Currently, a 20-year old with $10,000 in mutual funds investing just $100 a month will be a millionaire by age 70. If this investment is allowed to accrue until age 170, it will be approaching a billion. With this amount of money, a person could become a petty dictator in some countries. For example, if I had had $1 million, 23 years ago during the collapse of the Soviet Union, I could have started my own kingdom. If I had had $1 billion, I could have bought up most of the land in several central Asian Republics and averted several civil wars. There were entire nations where the gross national product was about $5 billion in 1995.
God simply doesn’t allow that to occur on a mass scale by limiting our lifespan. However, we are now breaking down language barriers with the Internet and computers. And soon, due to genetic breakthroughs we will have long lifespans as in the days of the patriarchs.
How many people can say that they are in better physical shape at age 50 or 60 than they were at age 30 due to their nutrition, health and fitness? I was looking at some photos of my grandfather who died of leukemia at age 63. Then I compare him to my father and the difference is amazing. It is certainly possible to still be “young” at age 60 or 70. Now imagine you could extend that to age 120.
I believe that long term, God intends on giving Christians long life and wisdom. Then He intends on transferring great wealth into the hands of Godly people who will literally be able to take dominion of the earth, similar to what Joseph was able to accomplish in just 14 years in the whole known world of his day. Joseph lived to be 110. If you are 55 or less, you should consider your life is not half over. So it is crucial that we maintain control over the advances in genetic research that are coming soon. The vision of the Personhood movement is to ensure this knowledge is used toward greater liberty and to protect the sanctity of life.
What Makes a Christian Powerful
By Joe Smith
Edited by Doug Wooley, 9/20/1988
Revised by Jay Rogers, 10/8/2014
Joe Smith was an elder and past vice president of Maranatha Christian Churches and Ministries. He passed on to be present with the Lord earlier this week.
Joe Smith is survived by his wife Katie in Wesley Chapel, Florida.
I heard this message by Joe Smith back in the 1980s when I was a young Christian. It contains the some important foundational truths that impacted my life. The original title of the message was “What Makes Maranatha Powerful,” but I disagree with this title. It should be “What Makes a Christian Powerful” because God has one standard for all His people.
Lordship, holiness, covenant, purity, evangelism, the Great Commission, prayer and fasting are not obscure doctrines for a special category of super-spiritual Christian. These truths are what make all Christians powerful. I’ve edited the article in places to reflect this.
Joe’s Spiritual Background
By Doug Wooley
Many times we need to know what a person is thinking and what his experiences have been before we can understand what he is saying. Otherwise, we will receive his message from our own experiences and from what we are thinking. Joe has been walking in the kingdom since 1959. One day a man witnessed to Joe and his life was touched by God. Joe acknowledged Jesus Christ as his Lord. He did not know about being saved, but something happened on the inside of him that changed him. He had the experience of salvation, which is better than having three Scriptures on salvation. It is better to know God than listen to five tapes about God.
Over the years, Joe has seen people come and go. He has been to many churches, some of which he experienced the manifested presence of God and some of which he perceived as being dead and cold. One day at a crusade in Paducah. Kentucky in 1973, Joe heard the Maranatha band, Praise, and he was amazed at the anointing and strength upon these young people. Joe said had worked with young people “for years and years and years,” and he never saw anything like this. Joe wished he could take what these young people had and put it in his youth at his church. After the meeting, Joe met Bob Weiner and asked if he could get together with him to learn what Bob was doing with his youth. Joe visited with Bob’s church all day on a Saturday and stayed for the nightly service. Songs were sung and testimonies were given and the excitement and anointing grew. Joe related how he had gone to a Baptist church that had an activity building with coke machines, ping pong tables, basketball goals almost everything, but they did not have the same anointing in the young people. Joe then asked God to show him where the anointing and power comes from.
The Source of Our Power
By Joe Smith
People make a mistake in thinking that power is in the form and they will try to copy the form, hoping to produce the power. The Bible says, power comes from God. Power belongs to God. “Faith comes by hearing” (Rom. 10:17). The Word will activate faith within you. When you begin to implement that which God has shown you, a form will begin to take place to implement that which God has spoken. But, the form is never the source of the power. God is the source of the power. Form is developed.
The power is not with form, but with underlying principles from the Word. The Church made out of people, so the Church is no more powerful than the people that are in it. Therefore, the principles that make the Church powerful are also the principles that will make any man or woman powerful. We can be powerful Christians by having the following six foundations: Lordship, holiness, covenant, evangelism, world vision, prayer and fasting.
After reading 2 Tim. 3:1 4, one might think that these Scriptures are speaking about sinners who are just living for themselves with no thought of God.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Tim. 3:1-4).
However, verse 5 continues, “holding a form of godliness, although they have denied its power, and avoid such men as these.” Many church groups meet and have a form of godliness, but they have denied the power.
Total Commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ
One of the foundational teachings that makes a Christian powerful is “Lordship.” Lordship is an attitude of the heart of an individual to commit his entire life to Jesus to be his servant for life. Lordship or total commitment, is committing your own will and desires to do that which pleases God. Jesus is either Lord of all or not Lord at all. However, many times we fall short of the intent of our hearts, to serve Jesus 100%. Our actions don’t always measure up to the attitude of our hearts. If a person’s attitude of the heart is not Lordship, then they will have a form of godliness, but deny the power.
Power comes from hearing the Word of God and responding to it. If this Gospel cannot set you free from the power of sin over your life, then this Gospel cannot get you to heaven or give you eternal life. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” When you give your life to Jesus, the power of sin is broken over your life. Rom 6:14 says, “sin shall not be master over you,” after you have become a Christian as a result of responding to the Gospel and giving your heart to Jesus. The people in 2 Tim. 3 have a form of godliness but are denying the power because they are still living in sin. It is one thing to live in sin; it is another thing to make a mistake. If a person’s attitude is to please God and when he does not please God, then God will show him, and because He is his God and his Lord, he will repent and get it right with God.
Joe was used to cursing, but after he had become a Christian and cursed, the holy righteous one on the inside of him said that he is not supposed to talk like that and he stopped cursing. Something happened on the inside of Joe showing that the nature of man can be changed.
When we preach Lordship, this means that the power of sin is broken in a Christian’s life and that a person is not to live in sin anymore. We do not tolerate a person who lives in sin – that is, a person who claims to be a Christian and is attending our church. Instead church discipline is practiced.
With people having the attitude of their hearts right, we then developed a form to express Lordship. If a person is going to be a part of our church, then this is the form to express their commitment. But form is not the power of God. You can go to every meeting, and do everything you are supposed to, and yet die and go to hell. People make the mistake that if they obey the form, then they must be right with God. Only the blood of Jesus makes you right with God, thereby giving you a proper attitude in your heart. However, if your heart is right with God, then it will be expressed in a form.
The second foundational teaching that makes a Christian powerful is “holiness.” The Bible often talks about blessing God’s holy name (Ps. 145:21). Jesus was called the holy child. The Spirit of God is called the Holy Spirit. That is because God is a holy God. Holiness is the nature of God, just as love is the nature of God. Holiness is absolute total purity, complete, whole, and healthy. Therefore, God by nature, has to be opposed to anything that is unholy, anything that is corrupt, anything that is impure. Seeing sin in the universe actually magnifies God’s holiness. Without holiness, no man can see God. Holiness is also defined as that which has been separated to be used by God for His glory. The motive and attitude of our hearts’ for everything that we do should be to “give glory to God,” and then we will never be frustrated.
Holiness is purity. God has often forgiven sinners, but He has never forgiven sin. That had to be atoned for. When we realize that our sin has been atoned for and that God can and will forgive us for our acts of disobedience and impurity, worship is invoked inside of us. Whenever anyone has seen God in His holiness and purity, they have fallen on their face before the Lamb and said, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” Isaiah saw a vision of God with the train of His robe filling the temple and the angels worshiping God saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts” (Is. 6:3). The apostle John had a similar revelation of angels not ceasing to say “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty” (Rev. 4:8). Anytime a group of people live in purity, the worship in that group will be outstanding. Holiness will produce worship. In 2 Chronicles 20:21, singers were specifically assigned to praise God in the beauty of holiness. When we walk in holiness, our praise and worship will be outstanding and the presence of God will fill our temples’ (bodies’). In many church groups, there is not a high level of praise and worship because there is immorality, lust, and impurity in the congregation.
The Church has a form to express holiness. We don’t allow ungodly relationships in our church (2 Cor. 6:17 18). When you become a member of our church, a person becomes “singly devoted to God.” As you become singly devoted to God, He will prepare you for marriage. The Bible says, “the marriage bed is holy and undefiled.” God instituted the family and purposes for us to be married, unless we are a eunuch. God knows exactly what you need. He was the one Who said Adam needed a help mate, and He was the One Who picked the help mate for Adam and chose the help mate for Adam. As you are just getting character worked into your life, and as your just being singly devoted to God, then God will begin to reveal to you who your wife is going to be or who your husband is to be, and He will give you someone who will help you. The Bible says, “two get a better reward for their labor than one” (Eccl. 4:9). When God begins to speak to you about marriage, God is not going to speak marriage to you and give you somebody that doesn’t have a similar vision and understanding and calling on their life. For example, if God is calling you to the nations, He’s not going to speak to you someone who does not intend to leave the city. There are some common senses and practical ways that you can check it out and say, “Well, now is this what God is speaking to me? Is this really the Spirit of the Lord coming and talking to me?”
In contrast to the world, we have a form that speaks to purity before marriage. There are many ways (forms) in which to handle the situation. In our church, young people do not date and “mess around” in order to find a mate. There are no Scriptures in the Bible on dating because God did not institute it. Anything that God instituted is in the Bible and there are clear cut directions and understanding for it. There are many Scriptures about marriage because God instituted it, but God did not start dating. God intended for you to trust Him in every area of your life, including a choice of a mate.
Someone might say, “How is God going to give me a mate?” I don’t know. Which is easier: to give you a mate or raise you from the dead? We sort of get weird when it comes to spiritual things. The reason most people never make it in the kingdom of God is because of “unholy relationships.” People who associate with the same old crowd begin to act in the same old ways.
Over the years, we have lost the emphasis in the church about holiness. In our church in Paducah, young people saw the glorious church without spot or wrinkle and they wanted to be a part of that glorious church. They saw the holiness of God. There was an awe in them for the holiness of God. There was a reverence in them for the holiness of God. Yet we never had to worry about them getting into lust and trying to sneak around to sin or cop out with some rationale of the heart as to hide their secret motives of what they were doing. They walked in purity. They walked in holiness.
Some churches are now copying the form. Yet the form is not what produces holiness. Holiness comes out of the attitude of your heart. They can copy the form all they want, and you’ll walk in that group and still find a lot of sin.
Deuteronomy 7:9 says that God is a covenant God. To be in covenant means to be faithful, loyal and steadfast. Covenant is expressed in relationships between you and God, and between you and others. A person will be no more faithful and loyal to others than he is to God. When a person comes into covenant with God, he is expressing Lordship saying, “everything that I have, everything that I am, everything that I ever will have, belongs to God.” Likewise, God says to the person, “all that I have is yours.” We get the best part of the deal. God will work with us and be faithful to us always.
Covenant is expressed in our relationship with one another. 1 Cor. 12:18 says that God places us in the body, just as he pleases. It is not the church of our choice. It’s the church of His choice. God places us in the body in a specific location so that character can be formed in us and we can conform into Jesus’ image. God will place you in the body next to sandpaper brother or sandpaper sister. Sandpaper can do one or two things. It can either rub you raw or polish you. Here is what will happen. Usually, when you begin to get rubbed, you will look at that person and say, “I was doing all right until I met you,” and think that they are your problem. They are not your problem. Circumstances do not create problems, they only reveal problems. They just reveal attitudes of the heart. If a problem is not in your heart, then it will not come to the surface.
Covenant means you give up the right to quit. If you can’t quit, then the only option is to work it out. When problems occur in a relationship, there is a suggestion to terminate the relationship and quit; however, if you are in covenant and the relationship cannot be terminated, then you have to work it out. If you know that your friend loves you and he won’t quit on you and you can’t quit on him, then you are depending on something: Because both of your hearts are to please God and for God to get the glory, God will adjust you.
Covenant means if I have a car, you have a car. If I have a house, you have a house. If I have bills, you have bills. If we have a kindred spirit of commitment and loyalty to each other, it is because of covenant relationships. We will have a great impact on the world because when God speaks, we all hear. Then we all move and do it.
We have a form that expresses covenant within our fellowship. It is important to be in proper working order with one to another. We do not tolerate back biting and injuring one another. The Bible says that he who sows discord among the brothers is breaking covenant and is an abomination to God. We obey authority and those who govern in the church. We bring our tithes and offerings into the storehouse. We open up our houses to our brothers who need a place to stay while traveling. We provide for them. All these are various forms or expressions of covenant.
The fourth foundational principle is evangelism. Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). If Jesus lives inside of us, then we will want to seek and save the lost. We might not be a campus evangelist, but wherever we go (work, neighborhood) we should be sharing Jesus. Prov. 11:30 says, “he who is wise wins souls.” The power is the desire to see people get saved. A healthy church is always reproducing itself through evangelism. Out of evangelism come international students.
The fifth thing that you need is a world vision. You have got to have that world vision. In our churches, we get together at once a year at a conference to implement this world vision. The people overseas are so excited about coming to America and coming to this conference. I know it is a sacrifice. I know we spend a lot of money. But let me tell you something. It is worth its weight in gold. I am convinced of that. It is the family coming together from all over the world. When they start parading those flags, and they start giving their testimonies, and they start doing their things, and showing us what they are doing in their ministries overseas, we’re going to get a vision; they can see, “Hey, this thing is really big, this thing is really impacting the world.”
It blesses me, when I travel to Manilla, Philippines, and I walk down the stairs and they have a big world map. I’ll see people coming around to see where they have pins everywhere there is a campus church. And they’ll stand there and say. “I wonder why we don’t have a church there? Maybe God will let me start one there?” They already have that world vision. You must have a world vision because God commanded us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). Out of this world vision, God gave us a vision to reach international students. The form will change, but the power comes from the vision to evangelize the world, not the international students. We have ministries all over the world because of international students that we reached in the United States.
Prayer and Fasting
The sixth pillar of power is prayer and fasting. In the early days in Paducah, the church would pray and fast every Saturday. They prayed from 9 to 12 in the morning. Prayer and fasting will break down strongholds over cities and release people into our churches. A church that prays will have a common vision and a common understanding. There is something that unites us in prayer. There are days that we call for prayer and fasting for specific reasons.
These six principles are the source of a Christian’s power.
Total Commitment (Lordship) can be expressed in a lot of ways, but it will be expressed if it’s in your heart.
Holiness can be expressed in a lot of ways, but it will be expressed if it’s in your heart.
Covenant can be expressed in a lot of ways, but it will be expressed if it’s in your heart.
Evangelism can go in many forms, but it will be expressed if it’s in your heart.
World Vision will be expressed if it is in your heart.
Prayer and Fasting will be expressed if it’s in your heart.
These are going to have various forms. Don’t ever get deceived and think that just because you got the form you got the power, because as we started off you can have a form of godliness and deny the power. If you just got the form and you don’t have the power, after a while it becomes drudgery to you. After a while it becomes boredom to you. After a while you sort of get hopeless because it doesn’t seem to be working or producing. This is because you have developed a form without understanding the power, and there is no power working in you. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” When you are eating of the bread of life, you will get stronger and stronger because bread gives you strength. When you’re source is Jesus, and that is your power, and that power from within is developing the form, then you will never get weaker, but get stronger and stronger.
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
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Special Two-Disc Set!
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Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
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Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
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What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
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Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
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Running Time: 130 minutes
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