Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Bible Responds to Hot Button Issues

 “For the word of God is living and active….Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
– Hebrews 4:12-13

Gender roles, gay marriage, abortion, immigration reform, gun control, health care, climate change, racism and terrorism: These are nine of 2017’s hot button issues that many people assume are beyond the scope of the Bible. After all, how could a 2,000-year-old book contain answers to questions surrounding our complex issues in modern society? When we subject the Bible to a relevancy test, doesn’t it come up short?

Not at all. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s put God’s word to the test with three of these hot button topics. 

Hot Button Issue #1: Gender Roles. Gender is, without a doubt, a popular topic of conversation in colleges, political circles and in the media. Many universities across the nation, including UCLA, are now offering courses and even majors in Gender Studies. In recent months New York City leaders have begun publicizing that the city now recognizes thirty-one different gender identities including bi-gendered, cross dresser, drag king, drag queen, femme queen and gender queer. (If you don’t know what half of these genders are, that’s probably a good thing.)

But what does the Bible say about gender roles and gender expression? Well, obviously the Bible’s gender list is much shorter and less complicated than the Big Apple’s list. Passages like Genesis 1:16-28 and Genesis 2:20-25 indicate that God created two distinct genders: male and female. A person need not wonder, “Am I a male, a female or one of twenty-nine other options in between?” According to God’s Word, each person is either one or the other. And our gender identify, gender expression and marriage choices should fall in line with our biological sex. In our postmodern culture these insights seem too simple and narrow-minded. But they are just as true and applicable today as they were 2,000 years ago. These Scriptural insights should be included in our public discussions about gender without being shouted down as “homophobic.”

Hot Button Issue #2: Gay Marriage. It’s been twenty years since Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet in a Time Magazine exclusive and announced, “Yep. I’m gay.” That was, without a doubt, a watershed moment in American culture. It sparked a more passionate effort to mainstream homosexuality and turn the tide of public opinion on homosexual marriage. Although Californians went to the ballot box in 2008 and approved Proposition 8—defining marriage as being “between a man and a woman”—it was struck down in federal court. And on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state bans on homosexual marriage were unconstitutional, paving the way for gay marriage to be legal in all 50 states.

But what does the Bible say about gay marriage? As you probably know, the Bible never addresses the subject of “gay marriage” directly. And the reason for this seems clear: From a biblical perspective, the term is an oxymoron. Simply put, a person must choose one or the other. The Bible is clear in Genesis 2:18-25 and Matthew 19:4-9 that God created marriage as a life-long love relationship between one man and one woman. These verses rule out the legitimacy of homosexual marriage. (And polygamy for that matter.) In addition, verses like Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:26-27 make it clear that homosexuality is deemed by God to be a perversion of His created purpose for sex. Our culture would do well to revisit God’s blueprints for marriage and sexuality.

Hot Button Issue #3: Immigration Reform. This was one of the biggest topics on the 2016 presidential campaign trail. Over the past two years there has been much discussion about a border wall, sanctuary cities and restricting visas from certain terrorist hotbed countries. Many of these discussions have become very heated, and Christians haven’t stayed above the fray.

But what does the Bible say about immigration reform? Well, Old Testament passages like Leviticus 19:33-34 and Exodus 23:9 emphasize that in ancient Israel immigrants were to be loved and treated as native-born citizens. So, it’s safe to say that God expects every Christian to treat every alien (legal or illegal) with compassion, kindness and love. However, verses like Romans 13:1-2 emphasize the importance of obeying the laws of the land. Taken together, these verses indicate that Christians should advocate for immigration reform that is both compassionate and law-abiding. Lawbreakers must be treated with kindness while the rule of law is upheld.

Yes, the Bible has always been, still is and always will be the most relevant book on the planet—providing timeless principles that can be applied to any contemporary problem or challenge we face. Sadly, most people find shouting, cursing and name-calling to be preferable to embracing the countercultural insights of Scripture. Without a doubt, our nation would be in a much better condition if we truly believed and acted upon the wise words of Ronald Reagan: “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.”    

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit  and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Does the Bible Really Have the Answers?

“For the word of God is living and active….Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
– Hebrews 4:12-13

Chances are you’ve heard someone say, “When I was a kid I used to go to church all the time, but the church is no longer relevant in my life.” The belief that Christianity has lost its relevance has become increasingly common in recent years. A survey of unchurched millennials revealed that 70% believe that Christianity is “out of touch with reality.” Most who espouse this belief also question the relevance of Scripture: “The Bible is great and all, but it’s so old. It doesn’t contain the answers to our contemporary problems.”

Honestly, how could a 2,000-year-old book contain the answers to questions surrounding the complex, hot-button topics in modern society? How could the Bible possibly contribute to our discussions about gender roles, gay marriage, immigration reform, gun control, health care or climate change? Of what use is the Bible when establishing policies in response to contemporary issues such as abortion, racism and terrorism? When we subject the Bible to a relevancy test, doesn’t it come up short?

Not at all! Surprisingly, the Bible has always been, still is and always will be the most relevant book on the planet. In years past it has consistently offered relevant counsel to those dealing with yesterday’s difficulties and problems, and in years to come it will certainly offer relevant counsel to those dealing with tomorrow’s difficulties and problems. To say that the Bible is ahead of its time is an understatement. However, when considering the question of relevance, it’s important to keep these five truths in mind.

Truth #1: Our culture’s view of what’s relevant and God’s view of what’s relevant are not the same thing. In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Paul writes, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” Suffice it to say: Our culture’s highest priorities are rarely God’s highest priorities. Hence we are prone to label our own irrelevant issues as “relevant” and God’s relevant issues as “irrelevant.” So, when you find yourself questioning Scripture’s relevance, be bold enough to ask yourself this question: “Are my priorities screwed up?”

Truth #2: We have a tendency to major in the minors and minor in the majors. Determining our carbon footprint is a really big deal to many in our nation today. But I’m pretty sure it’s not quite so high on God’s priority list. Last week every major news outlet had a countdown clock running for James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Millions of Americans were waiting with bated breath for his testimony to begin. But something tells me that the Lord wasn’t quite so enthralled with the whole ordeal. A wise man once said, “What is good is the enemy of what is best.” Great point! Americans have many “good” priorities. The question is, “Are they God’s best priorities for us?”

Truth #3: We tend to address symptoms and ignore root causes. God’s word deals with root causes. The greatest problems in our government, schools, courthouses, churches and homes could be dealt with much more effectively if we allowed God’s living word to expose and deal with the root cause of our problems: sin. Just as the best medical doctors strive to exterminate the root cause of disease instead of just treating the symptoms, the Bible specializes in identifying and treating the underlying spiritual root of society’s greatest problems.

Truth #4: When the Bible doesn’t directly address a specific contemporary problem, it always contains timeless principles that can be applied to the specific contemporary problem.  For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find any mention of “gay marriage.” But the Bible does give us some clear, timeless principles that deal with both marriage and homosexuality. Long story short, the Bible is clear that marriage and homosexuality are mutually exclusive. In other words, a person must choose one or the other. They cannot coexist.

Truth #5: Contemporary Christians tend to be reactive, but God’s Word is proactive. As the old saying goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s easy to understand that the best way to address a problem is to nip it in the bud before it festers and becomes unmanageable. The Bible warns us ahead of time about the wages of sin. It cautions us about the dangers of unforgiveness and bitterness taking root. The Bible—in a very real sense—is the most relevant book on earth, because it doesn’t just help us deal with today’s most pressing problems. It addresses tomorrow’s most pressing problems as they germinate today. You’d be hard-pressed to identify any other book that could consistently do what the Bible has proactively done over the past twenty centuries.

So, has the Bible been given a bad rap about its relevance? Yes, it has. It is—hands down—the most relevant book ever written. When we are faced with difficult questions about gender roles, immigration reform, health care or terrorism, it provides timeless principles that help reveal God’s answers. In next week’s article we’ll take a closer look at some of these principles as they relate to a few of the hot-button contemporary issues we face.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit  and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Where Will They Spend Eternity?

 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine naturehave been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”
– Romans 1:20

In last week’s article we answered the question: “Do all babies go to heaven?” We discovered several verses in the Bible that imply that the answer is “yes.” Babies, young children and adults with mental handicaps don’t have the intellectual ability to understand their own sin or even the simplest gospel message. So, it stands to reason that they will all fall under God’s grace on Judgment Day. But what about the two billion people on Planet Earth who have the intellectual ability to understand the gospel but never have an opportunity to hear it? Where will they spend eternity?

The Apostle Paul tackles this question in Romans 1:18-20. After having made the case in verses 16 and 17 that salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith alone, Paul makes it clear that God’s wrath is being poured out on those who have rejected God and chosen a path of godlessness and wickedness. The New Testament is clear that Hell (eternal separation from God) is a just punishment for those who reject God’s offer of grace through Jesus Christ, break God’s laws and choose instead a course of selfishness and rebellion. But could Hell be a just punishment for those who have never heard of God’s grace or learned God’s laws revealed in Scripture?

According to Romans 1:20, the answer is: Yes. Wait a minute! Is the Bible actually saying that those in India, North Korea, and Iran who have never even heard of Jesus would be considered guilty for rejecting Him? How could God do such a thing?

Well, God could do such a thing because He has made provisions to reveal Himself and His most basic laws to every single person on Planet Earth—even those who never hear the name of Jesus Christ. Consider Romans 1:20: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Long story short: God has made it plain to everyone on the planet that He is real, He is powerful and His divine nature is good and just. God has revealed Himself even to those who don’t have a single copy of the Scriptures in their native tongue.

You see, there are two kinds of revelation: special revelation and general revelation. Special revelation includes: 1) The Bible, 2) Jesus Christ, and 3) the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God has revealed Himself (His character, His laws, His will and His means to salvation) in a very clear and detailed way through His Word, through the ministry of His Son and through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in each Christian.

But millions of people on Planet Earth haven’t received this special revelation. They don’t have access to a Bible. They don’t have an indigenous Christian missionary to tell them about Jesus. And they have never even heard of the Holy Spirit. However, every person on Earth has free access to general revelation. General revelation includes God’s creation and science. Even those who don’t have the opportunity to read the sixty-six books of the Bible have opportunities every day to read the sixty-seventh book of the Bible: nature. Yes, nature (i.e., God’s creation) is like a sixty-seventh book of the Bible because it reveals at every turn the fingerprint of God.

God has blessed us with five senses that allow us to touch, taste, smell, see and hear the handiwork of God all around us. The beauty of God is revealed in the tapestry of color spread across the horizon with every sunrise and sunset. The power of God is revealed in the roar of a hurricane and in the vast expanse of billions of stars scattered across the night sky. The goodness of God is revealed in the heart-melting coo of a baby and in the first fruit blossom of spring. And the justice of God is revealed in every soul’s yearning for what is right, just and fair. Yes, God’s fingerprints are everywhere around us. Therefore, according to Romans 1:20, those who reject God and His laws “are without excuse.”

Because God desires every person in every nation to come to a knowledge of the truth and avoid eternal punishment (1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9), He has provided a means by which any person on the planet can discover these basic truths about God: He is real, He is powerful, and He is good and just. But sadly, most people across the planet who have never heard the gospel turn their backs on God. And this shouldn’t surprise us. After all, if Christians—who have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit—are tempted to ignore God’s revelation, how much more so are those tempted who are living in spiritual darkness?

It’s imperative that Christians throw them a lifeline. Every person on Planet Earth needs to be given the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus and make a personal decision whether to accept or reject him. Every person deserves to know the full truth about our Creator, His plan for our lives and his offer of eternal life in heaven. Every man, woman and child needs to be introduced to God’s grace that can cover our sin and empower us to live lives that please God. From the heart of the American Bible belt to the most unreached islands of Indonesia, Jesus Christ is our only sure hope for this life and life eternal. So, God’s command to Christians is clear: Stop keeping your faith to yourself, and get involved in world missions. Pray, give and serve. The world desperately needs Jesus.
Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit  and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Do All Babies Go to Heaven?

“Now that [my child] is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” – 2 Samuel 12:23

A few years ago I served as a volunteer chaplain at Victor Valley Community Hospital. One of my main duties was to officiate at the hospital’s quarterly Fetal Memorial Service at Victor Valley Memorial Park. When a pre-born baby is miscarried prior to twenty weeks gestation, most hospitals discard the fetus as “biological waste.” But in recent years, Victor Valley Hospital and St. Mary’s have partnered with Victor Valley Mortuary and Sunset Hills to cremate the babies’ remains and offer a free Fetal Memorial Service for the grieving families.

Each time that I speak at one of these special services, I do my best to offer words of comfort and hope. I want to be able to give the moms and dads some level of assurance that their little ones are safe and sound in the arms of our loving God. This was also the case last year when I presided over a funeral for a ten-day-old baby boy who died of SIDS. As the boy’s mom stood in stunned silence in front of her son’s tiny casket, I wanted to assure her, “Your son is in a much better place, and you will see him again.” But does God’s Word support such a bold statement?

I believe it does. In Romans 1:18-20, we are told that God has revealed His power and character to men and women everywhere. Throughout nature and even within our own consciences God has left His unmistakable fingerprint—clear evidence that He is a powerful, intelligent and just Creator. That being the case, God’s word reveals in Romans 1:20 that those who reject God and His laws “are without excuse.” God’s eternal judgment is based on two things: 1) a conscious rejection of God’s revelation regarding the way to salvation, and 2) a conscious disobedience to God’s commands.

The fact is: The majority of human beings have no excuse for rejecting God’s grace through Jesus Christ and disobeying His laws. But could it be that there are some human beings who do have a valid excuse? If so, babies and young children would seem to fall into this category, especially in the light of the following verses.

After King David’s baby boy died in 2 Samuel 12, the king told his servants, “Now that [my son] is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” You may remember that David concludes his most famous psalm (the 23rd Psalm) with these words: “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” It’s clear from David’s writings that he believed he would live eternally in the presence of the Lord. That being the case, when David said, “I will go to him” in 2 Samuel 12:23, it seems clear that David believed his young son would be with him in heaven.

This conclusion is reinforced by Matthew 19:13-15 and Mark 10:13-16 where Jesus tells his disciples, “‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” Note that Jesus doesn’t say, “If these little kids died today, they’d go straight to heaven.” But he sure seems to indicate that babies and young children are innocent of sin before God.

Although the Bible doesn’t come right out and say that babies and young children are exempt from God’s requirement of personal faith in Christ and repentance in order to be saved, it seems to imply it. After all, if God’s eternal judgment is based on a conscious rejection of God’s revelation regarding salvation and a conscious disobedience to His commands, how could God condemn to Hell those who are incapable of understanding and responding to the gospel? And since the New Testament is clear that there are only two possible eternal destinations (heaven or hell), all babies and young children must live eternally in heaven. And the same could be said of individuals suffering from mental handicaps. It seems clear to me that teens and adults who don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand and/or embrace the message of salvation through Christ will similarly receive God’s eternal grace in lieu of His eternal judgment.

Where does that leave you and me? Well, you and I have heard the Gospel message loud and clear. We have heard and understood the truth that Jesus lived, died, was buried and rose again on the third day. We have heard and understood that it is only by accepting His grace that we can be saved. You and I have consciously turned our backs on our Creator and consciously disobeyed His commands. You and I know this. We understand this. Therefore, we are without excuse.

If you continue to reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and continue living in disobedience to His commands, God’s just wrath will fall on you. So, God calls out from the pages of Scripture: Turn to Christ! Place your trust in Him as Lord and Savior and walk in obedience to His commands! Babies and the mentally handicapped have an excuse for not submitting their lives to Christ. But you don’t. You are without excuse.         

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit  and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.