Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hutterites and Homosexuality

It seems everywhere you turn these days you see and hear of gay pride, gay marriages, homophobia, gay tolerance and gay bashing. 

What are we Hutterites to make of all this? Where should we stand? Didn't Jesus talk of love and forgiveness?

Matthew 19:4-5 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Exodus 20:14 "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge."

1 Corinthians 6:9 "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."

From these passages we can figure out that sex outside marriage as God ordained it is adultery. Adultery is sin. Sin cannot enter heaven. 

I've had a few discussions with people on the subject of gay activity and marriages. For one they say "These people love each other, God is love and loves love, so therefore being gay is good." or "These people were born gay, and God made these people, therefore gay is good" 

 "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20

There is also the argument that if we feel a want or need, that we need to pursue that want, cultivate that want, and fulfill that want, but there's a real problem with that. Let's take for example a married man who sees a beautiful woman and feels lust towards her. Should he cultivate and let that lust grow until it's too powerful for him to resist? Or should he resist and quell that lust right away, reminding himself that it's an adulterous, sinful lust that will only lead to heartbreak and a breaking up of his family? Or how about the young lad who feels a lust to build fires? Should he consider since he was born with that lust that he should fulfill it? Or the lust of the drunkard to drink? The druggie towards drugs? The depraved to depravity? The rapist to rape? The killer to kill? How should we separate a good lust from a bad lust? For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. Matthew 15:19. 
There are also many good passions, for example a farmer who's passionate of raising animals, a nurse with great compassion for sick people, a gardener who loves to garden, or a cook who takes great pride in how the evening meal turned out. 

What we need to is a moral guide. But what should that be? Our own feelings and passions are not very good guides. Government then, or society at large? Fifty plus one vote? We know those are not good moral guides, for if they were, Auschwitz would have never happened. Look at the tribes who supported cannibalism and human sacrifice. And look at the current issues with abortion and euthanasia. We have to admit that there's only one true moral guide by which morals can be judged by and that's by the Word of God. Scripture tells us we are made in the image of God. That gives human life intrinsic and unmeasurable value. 

So back to the subject at hand.  What is the homosexual to do with his orientation towards the same sex?  
 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:19.

The homosexual has to first of all recognize it as sin, repress and quell it with all other sinful lusts and walk the narrow road. For what are the passions of this world worth towards the passions of what is to come? 

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:16

It seems we all have our own special cross to bear. And that cross can be our ticket to heaven. Without that cross we live a life that has no problems or cares. A life where we depend on ourself and our strengths and talents. A life where we get along just fine without God. A life where we have no need for a God and no need to look for one. Where we don't need to look upon the heavens for help. Yes, that's what a cross does. It makes us recognize and see how Iittle in control and helpless we really are. It makes us look for God, ask for his help and depend on it. It makes us understand what Paul meant when he wrote "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So yes, we can say homosexuality is a heavy cross to bear, but not unlike many other different crosses that people bear. We have to recognize it as such. God loves sinners and so should we, for in reality we are all sinners and in desperate need of God's Grace. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  And the answer to this is: Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 

Look at this sobering message in Hebrews 10:26 "For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins." 

Let's not be fooled, sin remains sin and shame remains shame. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God's values and morals don't and won't change with the passing of time and changes in philosophy. God doesn't need to go through the Age of Enlightenment. He is the Enlightenment. We must conform to the ways of God for he will never change, nor will he conform to the ever-changing whims of man. 

But if one doesn't believe there is a God and that we were made in his image, then I suppose there is no reason not to support the LGBT movement. There is also no reason not to support any lust or passion of any kind, regardless of consequence. If all there is to this life is this life then who are we (Christians) to expect (Christian) morals from anyone? Who are we to say what's right and what's wrong? Who says there even is a right or wrong?


Louie Vetter

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Baptism, what is it?

Baptism is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God. 1 Peter 3:21

The water doesn't turn anyone into a Christian. Baptism or the water does not take the sinful nature of our flesh away. The essence of baptism and the covenant is this; that we henceforth strive and fight against our sinful nature, not to let it rule or break out in our mortal body, but to live a Godly life in this world. Indeed, it means that whoever has accepted Christian baptism is henceforth obligated at all times to live with a good conscience and keep himself of a pure heart. For a pure, glad heart; says scripture, is a continual feast. There must be redirection towards a new life; our old man must be crucified, and a new one arise in Christ, which is created in the image of God, in righteousness and holiness. Amen

Hutterite Baptism. Baptism Day

Baptism Questions

(Before the prayer)

Q1. Do you now acknowledge the teachings of Jesus, which have been laid before you, as being the truth and the true foundation to salvation?

Q2. Do you believe in and agree with the twelve articles of our Christian Faith, and will you witness to them? 
  1. I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth
  2. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord
  3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary
  4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and buried
  5. He descended into Hell. The third day He rose again from the dead
  6. He ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty
  7. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead
  8. I believe in the Holy Ghost
  9. I believe in the Christian church, the fellowship of saints
  10. The forgiveness of sins
  11. The resurrection of the body
  12. And the life everlasting, Amen.
Q3. Do you desire the prayer of intercession of the church so that God may forgive and remit the sins committed by you either knowingly or in ignorance?

Q4. Do you desire to yield, to give and to sacrifice yourself to the Lord God in the covenant of Christian baptism?

(Prayer) After this prayer, while kneeling, these questions.

Q5. Do you sufficiently understand the Word of God and acknowledge it as the only path to eternal life?

Q6. Do you truly and heartily repent of the sins which you committed either knowingly or in ignorance against God and do       you desire to henceforth fear God, never more willingly to sin against God, and rather to suffer death than willfully sin against God?

Q7. Do you believe that your sins have been forgiven and remitted by God through Christ and the prayer of intercession of his people?

Q8. Do you desire to accept brotherly discipline and admonition and also to apply the same to others when needed?

Q9. Do you desire to yield, to give and to sacrifice yourself, body and soul with all that you have to the Lord God in heaven, and to yield in obedience to Christ and his church?
Q10. Do you desire to establish a covenant with God and with all his people and to be baptized on confession of your faith?

The minister, with his assistant, with pouring on of water speaks the following words: "On the confession of your faith I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. May God Almighty in heaven who has given you grace and mercy through the death of Christ and the prayer of his church clothe you with fortitude from on high and inscribe your name into the book of life, to preserve you in piety and faith until death. This is my wish to thee through Christ Jesus. Amen. 

(With hand extended to individual) "Stand up my brother (sister) the Peace of God be with you."

(The individual receiving baptism) "The Lord be with us." 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Hutterite Baptism. Week 7 - Last Instructions

  Today, dear children, your seven week period of receiving guidance and instruction is over and now it's up to you. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13. Paul tells us here that it's not our doing but God's. God gives the desire and the will towards salvation and if we act on that will, God then gives accomplishment. All we have to do is accept. But if we reject this great gift of Grace we invoke the wrath of God, for sin cannot enter heaven. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelations 22:27

  Therefore dear children, stay with the word and Strive for the truth unto death, and the Lord shall fight for thee. Ecclesiasticus 4:28 If you believe you are freed from your sins through the blood and death of Christ Jesus, surely your names will be written into the book of Life.  Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” John 8:51   

 Remember, once baptized you are a member of Christ and his church. Nothing will be able to harm your standing with God except sin. Beware and flee from it as a poisonous snake. You can no longer do what you want, but you must deny your own will and self love to follow God. 
 To give up your self will and self love is best described as the kernels of wheat that make up a loaf of bread. We have to be ground into flour by the stone mill that is Jesus Christ. Each kernel has to lose its individuality in order to bind together with the other ground kernels in the making of the flour. Then it is baked in the fire of the Love of God to become bread. Any unground or partial kernels remaining in the bread are offending and soon spit out. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:24-25  And remember dear children ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:20 Stay with the faith, read and study daily so that you stay on fire for God's Word and not grow lukewarm as the Laodicean Church. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Revelations 3:15-16 
 The word of God is an all consuming fire. The more you will immerse yourself in it the hotter and brighter you will burn and the more you will want to, all the time remembering it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. But if you distance yourself from the word, your light will soon fade and eventually go out. 

   In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us who will enter the kingdom of heaven.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
"Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." 
  This is certainly a hard sermon and there are two things that come to mind right away. 
1) We can never attain such perfection. 
2) The overwhelming need for the Grace of God.  
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 
  And the answer to this is:
Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 
  But it is impossible to walk in the newness of life without being born again and partaking of the Holy Spirit. We need all the fruits of the Holy Spirit to help us overcome, namely; love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
  We must take our aim and eyes off this world and focus upon the one that is to come. We must be able to say with Paul; I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

 The Mount represents the community of believers who have given themselves in covenant and baptism and stay true therein. And so, dear children, strive to be true brothers and sisters in Christ, according to His teachings. Don't go to Church out of mere habit but of Love to God and His Word. Stay diligent in the work your community entrusts you with.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4  Remember, you are not only working for yourself but also for those who cannot work for themselves: the elderly, the sick, the widows and orphans. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalms 133:1. 

 Admonish your brethren and be willing to accept admonishment from them, that ye both grow in faith to Christ Jesus. But be warned, admonishing will not win you any friends, it cost John the Baptist his head.  For we live in community not to have good times or to get rich, nor because of friends or family, but for salvations sake, through faith and hope in Jesus Christ.

  Let the life of our dear Saviour be your guide. Hold him always in your hearts with joy, so that you can truthfully say with the Psalmist David in Psalm 23. 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Amen

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