Posts Tagged ‘Christian faith’

On Family Loyalty and Christian Discipleship

January 2, 2018

As a born-again Christian over the course of several decades now, I am often curious to read what other Christians have written regarding Bible difficulties.  Today, I read an interesting post over at Bill Muehlenberg’s blog entitled, “On Family Loyalty and Christian Discipleship.”  He categorized it under the headings of “Christianity,” “Difficult Bible Passages,” and “Family.”

To be honest, I became a bit alarmed when I read some of the sections of the post that were about “radical discipleship.”


Radical discipleship means putting God first above everything else – even above good things which God has blessed. That may mean having to choose at times between loyalty to Christ and allegiance to family. That is what Jesus is on about here: the radical call of Christian discipleship.

When I read that, I immediately thought about the term “cult.”  For me, the only reason I can think of to have the need to “choose, at times, between loyalty to Christ and allegiance to family” would be if certain family members are causing harm to the Christian and/or purposely attacking any member for their Christian discipleship.  Didn’t Jesus also tell us that the “wheat (true believers) and the tares (fake or false adherents)” will grow together, and at the harvest will then be separated?  Well, Bill’s next several paragraphs helped to ease my fears about where he was going with this:

Let me finish with a few wise words of commentary here, just on the Matthew passage. Craig Blomberg cuts to the chase: “Theological syntheses must balance Eph. 6:14 and 1 Tim. 5:8 with teachings like these. Devotion to family is a cardinal Christian duty but must never become absolute to the extent that devotion to God is compromised.”

R. T. France puts it this way:

Like many prophetic oracles, this saying is cast in an absolute form which needs to be set alongside other contrasting aspects of Jesus’ teaching. Family enmity is not a virtue in itself, nor is it the universal experience of Jesus’ disciples, but it is a matter of priorities. Loyalty to Jesus and his mission comes first, and the result of that may be that family ties are strained to breaking point. But there is a new family relationship for disciples of Jesus which more than compensates for what may be lost by loyalty to him (12:46-50; 19:27-29).

Robert Mounce comments, “The issue is one of priorities: our commitment to Christ must be greater than to anyone else. Jesus is not counseling his followers to ride roughshod over family affection or responsibility. The point is that when a person pledges solidarity with Christ and his mission, nothing – not even the love of a family member (understood as unsympathetic to the Christian faith) – must be allowed to stand in the way.”

Again, the point is not to trash family relationships but to fully exalt Christ in everything. As Daniel Doriani comments:

Jesus assumes parents and children love each other. He approves of love in the family. But he says love of family must never push him into the background. A disciple must love him supremely, more than father or mother, son or daughter, husband or wife. If we must choose between pleasing Jesus and pleasing our family, Jesus says we must love him more than father or mother (10:37).

This is not about the Christian repudiating or attacking his own family. The point Jesus is making is that when we come to Christ, family members may well turn on us and reject us. As D. A. Carson puts it, “He does not mean that those he wins as his disciples will turn against their family members, but that by winning men and women to himself their family members will turn against them.”

Ah…OK, that makes more sense.  I have experienced when a family member “turned against me” because of her unbelief in Jesus Christ and her rejection of God’s Word, the Bible.  This person even went so far to spread rumors about me to another relative in order to trash me and turn that relative against me as well.  Sadly, she passed away back in 2011.  Even though I tried to reach her with the Gospel on several occasions (books, emails, sharing my dad’s journey to faith before he died), and prayed for her salvation, her belief was that she would go to heaven because she was kind to animals.  Of course, I won’t know until I get to see the Lord in eternity whether or not any of my invitations to her about her need to accept Christ as Lord and Savior helped her make that eternal decision.

Back to the article.

Bill writes:

So these hard words of Jesus about radical discipleship are NOT meant to be used as an excuse for believers to ride roughshod over their own families. Family life is held in high regard in Scripture, and Christians should do all they can to maintain healthy family relationships.

I know about this type of situation.  When someone marries into another Christian family, one might think that they are “safe” regarding Bill’s admonition that discipleship doesn’t mean to “ride roughshod over their family” members.  Unfortunately, this is not always true.

There can be many reasons for a spouse to encourage her husband to become estranged from his family. You can read my former post about that HERE.

Another reason could be that the Christian spouse that the son married into is in a kind of family cult.

I was surprised to read that Bill had been exposed to cult behavior.  It could happen to anyone.  And, if a particular spouse is not aware of the underlying reasons why a wife would want her husband to abandon his family, he could be manipulated into doing it.

Bill wrote:

Having been in a few cults early on in my Christian journey I know how normal it is for the new convert to be urged to hate their family and turn against them. It is quite common in the cults for the leader to pit the believer against the rest of their family, and insist that the cult is his new family.

Bill continues to write:

This is certainly not what Jesus had in mind when he said these words. Family life is something God-ordained and we need to show proper respect and love for family members.

But then, he also wrote:

The main message of Jesus here is that at times we will have to risk alienating our own family as we fully follow Christ.

When an in-law family is involved in a cult (or, even just cult-like behavior within that small family), they can give a new member of the other side of the family a reason to alienate his own parents and siblings!  I’ve seen it happen and it is excruciatingly painful, terribly sad, and certainly not biblical in nature!  The example I can share here is that “unhealthy communications” and “perceived crossing boundaries” were excuses used for a son to dump his Christian family members; without any effort to discuss such grievances.  Even the suggestion by his side of the family to go to Christian family counseling in order to resolve the issues at hand has been rejected.

Bill admits:

It is unfortunate (alienation from family members) when that does occur, and we are not to go out of our way and seek for that to happen.

Well, in the example that I shared above, the female in-law family DID seek for it to happen.  Terminology like counseling someone into “taking a deep dive” and “purging someone out of his bottled up self and shallowness, even if that means countless hours of staying up all hours of the night to get to the root of your hearts and listening to the convictions of the Holy Spirit… even if it hurts!” was used.   And saying to the untrained in-law “mom” who is doing the so-called “counseling” that “it doesn’t come overnight and you have to work for that transparency…such a blessing that you explained AND most importantly demonstrated that it takes continued commitment and listening to God to make it work!…and that there’s no “easy” way.”  She continued:  “I am so excited for me and Carey to follow in that!”

Now, those particular paragraphs may sound innocent and like there isn’t anything wrong with what is being espoused.  However, when it includes encouraging the husband to abandon his Christian parents (to whom he had previously always expressed love towards, and had written wonderful praises and thanks for his good Christian upbringing in decades worth of birthday cards and Mother’s/Father’s Day cards) and also caused him to choose to become permanently estranged from them; one could look at it as being very damaging.  Such a Facebook post now sounds cult-like and quite scary!  It very well could be another kind of “spirit” working within that family dynamic; NOT the Holy Spirit of God.

Even though my family member (who died in 2011) rejected me for my faith in Jesus Christ, often mocked me for it and even told lies about me to other family members, I still did not become estranged from her.  I continued to attempt to reach her with the Gospel.  And, despite some of the mean things she had done to me over the years, I had to FORGIVE her for them!  When I finally prayed about it and did forgive her for years of dislike, mean things done in the past,  and lies told about me,  a heavy burden was immediately lifted off of me!  THAT is the Jesus Christ that I know and worship!  Only He could do that for me.  When I am weak (and filled with un-forgiveness), He is strong and through the power of the Holy Spirit, had years of pain lifted off of me!

That act of forgiveness was what was NEEDED in order for me to start re-establishing a new relationship with her (mostly via phone because she lived across the country)!  A reunion of sorts was planned, but sadly, she died before that could be arranged. One of the last things that I had discussed with her was my post about Remembering Dad. I hope she read it and took it to heart.

As I had written in the case of Aurora and Carey, outstretched hands and the willingness of communicating with estranged family members requires forgiveness. Such a trial in life as this may be necessary in order for Aurora and Carey to work out conflict within their own lives. Perhaps the parents and extended family members on the son’s side of the family are just collateral damage. It could be a necessary time in the young couple’s lives to go through, in order to see what they have done more clearly. Ultimately, it is my hope and prayer for them to be reconciled back to the parents that raised their son in a Bible-based church and manner; a family that takes seriously 2 Timothy 2:15 that requires believers to “rightly divide the word of truth.”  That is key to the adherence towards  true Christian faith.

Hat tip:  Bill Muehlenberg’s blog

“Stuck In The Middle With You” – Election 2016

September 21, 2016

Readers here don’t need me to tell them that the Election of 2016 has been, currently is, and will be unlike any other in the history of the United States of America.

Those following the political candidates closely are all waiting for the next shoe to drop.

(Well…Hillary’s already did while getting into the van!  Now don’t get all bent out of shape!  It’s a joke…you’re supposed to laugh!)

Today, I feel like a person in the midst of that Stealers Wheel classic song, “Stuck in the Middle With You.” [Youtube Video link]

Ironically, one of the latest comments there says:

Indio Side 3 months ago (edited)

‘Clowns to the Left of me, jokers to the Right’. FITS THE CURRENT PRESIDENTIAL RACE!

Regular readers here know that from the very beginning, I wasn’t thrilled with either candidate. I have stated in past posts that I need to be a NEVER HILLARY voter, but Trump disturbs me as well. I have stated that he would be light-years better than Hillary, but that’s just my observational opinion.

This morning, my blog reader list had the two following posts back to back:

True Discernment: Reconsidering My Opposition to Trump [Note: don’t let the title keep you from reading the post! You might be surprised about the ending.]


Can you now see why that “Stuck in the middle with you” song jumped into my mind?

I have blogging friends who have been sounding the alarm about Trump.

I have a blogging friend who deleted my blog from their blog roll list because I’m not enthusiastically supporting Trump.

I have friends who are very pro-Trump, very anti-Trump (and vow to write in a candidate of their chosing), semi-pro Hillary (with the caveat that “at least we know what to expect from her” meme), and, of course the anti-Hillary/NEVER HILLARY ones who know all too well about the Democrat machine of stealing elections, all the years of Clinton corruption, the obviousness of HilLIARy lies, the terrible health problems plaguing her (which they try to hide from the public), and the fact that the horrid billionaire backer Georgevil Soros will do everything sick and sinfully humanly possible to get her elected.


Anyway, I saw a commercial last night during Hannity’s TV show on Fox where Franklin Graham was offering a free copy of Decision magazine’s guide to the 2016 Election.

Copy of message on the page:

This election could be the most important in our nation’s history, and I believe God can use us—His people—to turn the tide. We must pray fervently, stand on His Word, and vote according to Biblical truth.

I’d like to send you a free copy of the special September issue of Decision magazine: our presidential election guide. In this magazine, we examine the major issues facing our nation today, where the candidates stand, and what God’s Word says. Explore the candidates’ stances on the Supreme Court, religious liberty, and abortion, plus the party platforms on marriage, terrorism, and more.

I hope you will request your copy of Decision today—then pray and cast your ballot on Election Day. May God bless America!

Franklin Graham

I signed up to get a copy today and the message I got was “allow 4-6 weeks for delivery” which means I may get it as late as November 2nd! If you want a copy, I suggest going to that link and ordering it now!

During my search for the Decision magazine link, I ran across an older article at The Political Insider claiming that Franklin Graham is supporting Donald Trump.

Comments there are varied.  Some are stating that it is right for Graham to support Trump because of his positive stand on Israel.  After all, Scripture tells us:

Gen 12:1

Now the LORD had said to Abram:

“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.

Gen 12:2

I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.

Gen 12:3

I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So…on that one very important issue, Franklin Graham got it right! As Christians, we are to bless Israel.

We know that the current inhabitant in the White House and his Badministration didn’t bless Israel! In fact, he and his Muslim Brotherhood sycophants showed attitudes of cursing Israel! 0bama only pretended to be a Christian during the election of 2008, yet God allowed the people of our nation to naively vote for him. In hindsight, we see what a liar Hussein has been for 8 long and dreadful years. Recall how the people “clamored for a political ‘messiah’,” and ended up voting for BHO – the worst pResident in history!

Christians might ask, “where was God in all of this?”

Answer: He was teaching us a hard lesson. What we need now is repentance!

We had another chance to change course in 2012. But the people were still too blind to see that the “change” 0bama professed for America was more like chains of socialism and dependency. Less people voted for BHO (plus there was much evidence of vote fraud), but apparently, too many people wanted their free “gimmies” and didn’t care about jobs, the economy, the Supreme Court selections and judges around the country; or the terrible errors in the war against radical Islamic terrorism, (etc…name the poison) to change course just yet.

Today, it’s a totally different story! Millions more people have been awakened and now know that they were hoodwinked and don’t want four more years of 0bama’s dreadful policies via HilLIARy Clinton!

So…what is the call of God for Christian voters? For me, the answer is in these Bible verses:

2Ch 7:14

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2Ch 7:15

“Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.

Hat tips to all links.

Where’s The Courage?

April 13, 2016

During an ongoing discussion in the Disqus comment section at Matt Walsh’s blog, I ran across a post on my Disqus home page that came from my former Talk Wisdom blog.  It was written during the Carrie Prejean “Miss California” controversy. [Note: scroll down past the Facebook comments at Walsh’s blog to reach the blog comments via Disqus.]

Please read my Talk Wisdom blog post:

What The World Can’t Take Away From Carrie Prejean.

This young woman had the courage of her convictions and stood strong in the Lord through a horrible barrage of attacks and controversy.

People who take the time to read about all the controversy that swirled around Carrie back in 2009 will notice that Prejean is not a ‘perfect Christian’.   But the truth is, none of us are!  That is precisely why we ALL need to repent and accept THE one who is perfect –  Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!

I had forgotten that it was Donald Trump who ultimately gave the “OK” to have one of his underlings announce the decision to strip Prejean of her Miss California crown because she stood up for her Christian faith in the question and answer portion at the pageant and answered a question where she replied that she believes that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Hmmm…so is Trump really on the side of traditional, biblically based marriage as created by God? Or is he pro-homosexual faux ‘marriage’ today? Appears that he was siding with the latter ideology back in 2009.

So far, I found this blog post over at the National Organization for Marriage which describes that when asked at a news conference, Trump was noncommittal either way because he refused to answer the question!

I find it disturbing that he refused to answer the question.  If he doesn’t have the courage to answer a simple question, how will he have the courage of conviction in the face of the problems he would face as president?


BUNKERVILLE | God, Guns and Guts Comrades!

God, Guns and Guts Comrades!

Cooking with Kathy Man

Celebrating delicious and healthy food

In My Father's House

"...that where I am you may be also." Jn.14:3


A fine site

The Marshall Report

Exposing The Establishment Daily

Talk Wisdom

Talk Wisdom's goal is to defend the tenets and values of Biblical Christian faith. We defend our Constitutional Republic and Charters of Freedom, especially when speaking out against destructive social and political issues. As followers of our Savior and Lord, we should boldly stand up for Jesus Christ in our present circumstances. He is our Savior, Lord, and King, and His love needs to be shed abroad in our hearts and in our world - now.

Standing in Grace

...this grace in which we now stand. — Rom 5:2

Exalting the name of Jesus through Christian essays

Michelle Lesley

Discipleship for Christian Women

The Acceptable Digest

"Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it ..." Song of Solomon 8:7

On the Edge Again

Life happens. I hope to encourage everyone in bad times!


...integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Cry and Howl

He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 2 Sam 23:3


Pastor Ward Clinton is a pastor in the Church of The Nazarene and author of a handful of books.

GraceLife Blog

Thoughts About God's Amazing Grace

True Discernment

2 Timothy 4:3-4

Freedom Is Just Another Word...

Random stuff, but mostly about Guns, Freedom and Crappy Government..


De Oppresso Liber

The Oil for Your Lamp

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6)

Walter Bright

Refining theological understanding. Sharpening ethical rigor. Heightening devotional intensity.

Kingsjester's Blog

Opinions from a Christian American Conservative

As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) KJV

Daniel B. Wallace

Executive Director of CSNTM & Senior Research Professor of NT Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary

The Master's Table

God honoring, Christ Centered

Citizen WElls

Citizen News not Fake News


Thoughts on Our Constitutional Republic

We the People of the United States

Fighting the Culture War, One Skirmish at a Time



Be Sure You’re Right, Then Go Ahead

"Our threat is from the insidious forces working from within which have already so drastically altered the character of our free institutions — those institutions we proudly called the American way of life. " -- Gen. Douglas MacArthur is the best place for your personal blog or business site.