Monday, December 9, 2019

How You Can Help Me Defend the Gospel in the Cultural Mission Field

On November 29, 2019, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary terminated my employment. The documentation for what happened with my termination can be found here. I shared the gospel in the popular culture. My testimony encouraged people to see themselves as God defined them rather than accept the "born this way" myth so popular among gay activists. The Seminary did not want the attention brought by this issue. So I was fired for sharing the gospel.

This is demoralizing, but I am working in other areas that can present a positive gospel message to the culture. I wrote a play, Lady and the Girl, which premiered on December 6 in a soft launch in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As you can see from this link, the theatrical piece brought the gospel message through a dramatic narrative of Mary Todd Lincoln and her friendship with the freed slave, Elizabeth Keckley. You can go to this link to see pictures of what we did, and to support this ministry:

https://www.givesendgo.com/robertlopezmission

While the termination from Southwestern disturbs me greatly, I am focusing my energy on new paths going forward. It would be an honor to have your support! Here is the cast of Lady and the Girl. We want to bring the show to African American churches for Black History Month and to Europe. God bless you all!


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

WHY CRITICAL RACE THEORY IS WRONG.

Critical race theory and intersectionality are wrong. I maintain this even though I advocate firmly for multicultural diversity. I have sustained attacks from both left and right. In fact, on Facebook calls for my firing came both from a left-wing person who accused me of racism for criticizing abortion and drag queen story hour, and from a right-wing person who accused me of doubting capitalism and sympathizing with left-wing social justice warriors.

To understand why critical race theory is wrong, I ask that you first break down how, as educators, we lead people from a classical curriculum to critical race theory.

Consider the most problematic quote I ever heard while teaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: "You came here to teach Western civilization, not to teach multiculturalism." This insulted me beyond belief. It also reflected profound ignorance. Multiculturalism is part of Western civilization, starting with the quadrivium of ancient cultures that fed it: Greek, Roman, Hebrew, and Christian. Remember that other cultural and ethnic identities that arose in the development of the West gradually became additional components of an organic whole that accommodated and sprang from a great deal of cultural difference.

A classical curriculum involves teaching students about the foundational tensions among various cultural identities. So if we are objective and consistent classics and ethnic studies mirror each other (as long as we resist the political biases that impose a false right-wing or left-wing inflection on them, respectively.)

In a classical curriculum, you do not teach "critical thinking" or "worldview" to students. You teach students what happened and what great people have said. You provide them this content, drawing from the many different cultural sources that produced the history, literature, and ideas that interacted with each other in each era from antiquity to the present.

I believe, absolutely, that we have to teach students Greek and Roman texts, as well as Anglo-American, British, French, African-American, Mexican-American, Chinese-American, Brazilian, Moroccan, etc., texts. We show students what happened in the history of these groups. We let them enjoy the great aesthetical texts that each group has produced.

Critical race theory and even worse, intersectionality, are shockingly devoid of content. There is no substance there, simply a lot of generalizations and postures, and unchallenged postulations about the way different groups relate to each other. It is possible to be a committed critical race theorist without having read much African American literature or much literature from the European traditions that became "white" people groups.

To get an institution or a student constituency to critical race theory, you first have to get them from substantial content to theory; then you must get them to critical theory; then you get them to critical race theory and throw intersectionality on top of it.

I caution fellow conservatives that often the first warning signs of an encroaching critical race theory are not critical race theory texts, but rather a general fascination with theory devoid of content. You see, this is how this goes:

1. First, they eliminate history and literature from the curriculum. Students get only the barest and often weakest sense of what has happened in the past and what great people had to say about anything.

2. They replace content with abstract conversations that amount merely to generalized theories devoid of context and uprooted from any specifics.

3. Once students are immersed in theory without content, then the professor asks them to engage in critique (the "critical" part). Since the students have no base of content to inform their critiques, they draw critical postures from within themselves, which means they retreat more and more into a narcissistic exercise of analyzing their own feelings and projecting these onto broad paradigms that have nothing to do with larger trends from the world as it has existed.

4. Now that you have students in "critical theory" mode, where they are accustomed to perceiving aimless opinions as serious intellectual work, and they have lost the ability to memorize facts or past texts, you throw them into discussions about race. Since race is a sensitive topic, minorities are largely aggressive while whites are largely defensive or apologetic. The more tension and strife this fruitless discussion causes, the more people feel that some important work is being accomplished, when there has been no expansion of knowledge whatsoever.

5. Now you have brought students to critical race theory. As they begin to notice that conversations are shallow and repetitive, you create the illusion of sophistication by reproducing the same discourse with race replaced by gender, sexuality, class, or other identities that actually have nothing to do with race.

The overall ignorance, futility, and delusion of this entire exercise is terrible for minorities, who have been systematically deprived of a deep education about their own cultural heritage while also being forced into a contemporary political position that has little to do with their human identity. Since minorities have often been exploited, uprooted, and stereotyped in the past, critical race theory furthers more of the same abuse even though it appears on the surface that minorities are given sympathy and attention.

Reading African American literature is actually the opposite of critical race theory. If you read the texts, you give students the tools to build their worldview. As their tools become more varied, they will be inclined to think critically about whatever is presented to them. You don't teach critical thinking or worldview to students. You teach them history and literature then let them grow into the thinkers they will become.

If you worry about critical race theory --as you should--you should be on the lookout first for changes in seminaries that lead people away from specifics, away from history and literature and art, toward theory, abstraction, generalization, and open-ended conversation.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

5 SHORT VIDEOS ON THE EQUALITY ACT--YOU SHOULD OPPOSE IT!

In case you need to be walked through the specifics of the Equality Act and why it is so crucial to block its passage, I have made five short videos here, walking through the specifics of (1) the preamble of the bill, (2) Sections 1-2 on "findings," (3) the bill's redefinition of "public accommodations", (4) the bill's warping of the racial history behind desegregation of public accommodations, and (5) the bill's abuse of educational institutions and the ways it would force schools to protect predators and disruptive students to the disadvantage of vulnerable students.

PART 1: The Preamble


PART 2: The Fake "Findings"


PART 3: The Harmful Distortion of "Public Accommodations"


PART 4: The Abuse of the Racial History of Desegregation


PART 5: The Bill Will Force Schools to Allow Predators and Disruptive Students to Harm Vulnerable Students

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Hearing D.C. McAllister's Side of the Story

The firing of Denise McAllister, known as D.C. McAllister, from Daily Wire and the Federalist, was an obvious blow to many conservatives. Here we see a strong conservative voice with a lot of pop culture appeal driven off two platforms often known for defending free speech. It was my great honor to interview Denise and get her take on it all. 

Warning: Some Disturbing Content Not Appropriate for Children


You can here it on Soundcloud or by video:



Take a listen at https://www.bitchute.com/video/Dm5bfZ3A4VEq/ or below:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

ROBERT OSCAR LOPEZ RESOLUTION ON WHISTLEBLOWERS


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On Southern Baptist Whistleblowers and Their Freedom of Conscience
April 21, 2019

ROBERT OSCAR LOPEZ
WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has already suffered the consequences that occur when people who hold ecclesiastical power intimidate church members into silence, as exemplified by (1) the sex abuse crisis reported by the Houston Chronicle, and by (2) dangerous compromises by Southern Baptist groups that partnered with Anglican groups which, as investigators such as Tom Buck discovered, encouraged youth to explore homosexuality and even attend prurient homosexual events—both scandals, among many others, which might have been averted if whistleblowers and informants who knew of such problems had had the opportunity to bring information to the public without retaliation from people in power; and
WHEREAS, Jesus Christ demonstrated in His ministry the importance of confronting authorities when they have failed to live out God’s Word or have badly shepherded the flocks to whom God has called such authorities, such as in the following selections from only one gospel: Jesus Christ’s public challenge to scribes in Matthew 9:4; Jesus Christ’s challenge to the Pharisees’ objections to His associations in Matthew 9:12; Jesus Christ’s rejection of the Pharisees’ view of fasting in Matthew 9:15; Jesus Christ’s prophecy that Christians will be brought “over to sanhedrins,” “in their synagogues,” and “before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations” in Matthew 10:16; Jesus Christ’s admonitions to entire generations and entire towns in Matthew 11:16 and Matthew 11:21; Jesus Christ’s confrontation with the Pharisees about the Sabbath in Matthew 12:3; Jesus Christ’s refutation of the Pharisees’ accusations about demons in Matthew 12:25; Jesus Christ’s refusal to provide the scribes and Pharisees with a sign in Matthew 12:39; Jesus Christ’s public charge of hypocrisy against the Pharisees and scribes about dietary law in Matthew 13:7; Jesus Christ’s rejection of the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ prophetic claims in Matthew 16:2; Jesus Christ’s public warning against the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 16:6; Jesus Christ’s description of the source of his future tribulations as “the elders, chief priests, and scribes” in Matthew 16:21; Jesus Christ’s public refutation of the Pharisees’ position on divorce in Matthew 19:8; Jesus Christ’s description of his crucifixion as being “handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death” in Matthew 20:18; Jesus Christ’s warning about hierarchies, saying “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them and the men of high position exercise power over them […] It must not be like that among you,” in Matthew 20:25; Jesus Christ’s expulsion of money changers and dove sellers from the temple complex in Matthew 21:12; Jesus Christ’s rebuttal to the chief priests and scribes by assigning moral weight to children and infants in Matthew 21:16; Jesus Christ’s shrewd deflection of condescending interrogation by “chief priests and the elders” in Matthew 21:24; Jesus Christ’s purposeful targeting of the chief priests and the Pharisees as faulty leaders who will lose their kingdom in Matthew 21:45; Jesus Christ’s calling of the Pharisees “hypocrites” about taxation in Matthew 22:18; Jesus Christ’s public claim that the Sadduccees were “deceived, because [they did not know] the Scriptures or the power of God” in Matthew 22:29; Jesus Christ’s public and purposeful deflation of the scribes and Pharisees for not practicing what they preach and loving honors and titles when they are really “broods of vipers” and “whitewashed tombs” in the entirety of Matthew 23; all these passages, when taken as a whole, overwhelmingly show that Jesus Christ intended His people not to stay silent before religious authorities whose misdeeds come to people’s attention; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptist leaders who invoke “hospitality,” “civility,” and “speaking lovingly,” as hedges against the confrontation of religious authorities, would seem to be in error; insofar as Scripture demonstrates that secrecy and silence in the face of wrongdoing are not godly, as evidenced by the following: 2 Samuel 12:7 (the prophet Nathan did not hold back from revealing King David’s crimes to him); Luke 12:49 (Jesus Christ states, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were set ablaze!”); Luke 9:33 (Jesus Christ’s Transfiguration aligns Him with prophets like Elijah, who confronted Ahab in 1 Kings 18:18 and Jezebel in 1 Kings 21:23); and 1 Corinthians 13:5-6 (the Apostle Paul defines love such that “love does not act improperly…Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth”); and
WHEREAS, Jesus Christ demonstrated in His ministry that secrecy and silence in the face of wrongdoing are rather harmful and ultimately doomed to failure, saying in Matthew 10:26, “there is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered and nothing hidden that won’t be made known… [w]hat I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; what you hear in a whisper, proclaim on the rooftops”; and
WHEREAS, the Apostle Paul calls us to speak openly when we know of things being done under the cover of darkness in Ephesians 5:11-13, saying, “Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them [f]or it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret [but] everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light”; and
WHEREAS, in Revelation 3:16 we are warned that churches that rely too much on politeness and complacency will not please Jesus Christ in the last days, but rather, it will be said, “because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth”; and
WHEREAS, scriptural warnings match what we see occurring to the Southern Baptist Convention in our present time, as decades of fear and silence cultivated by people in power have caused many potential whistleblowers to back away from taking concerns public, and many whistleblowers who have taken concerns public have suffered retaliation and found themselves marginalized within their communities; and
WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist heritage dates back to the Reformation and a profound element of Baptist identity lies in the rejection of any concept of a “pontiff” or “pope” or “archbishop” claiming infallibility, so that our foundations clash with the rise of individuals so influential that they operate beyond the pale of criticism or scrutiny; and
WHEREAS, more than a few employees or members of Southern Baptist entities—including, among many others, employees of churches, professors at Baptist seminaries, pastors at Baptist churches, and others engaged with Baptist churches—have been warned not to criticize leaders in Southern Baptist entities due to a “gentleman’s agreement” or the supposed “eleventh commandment”; and
WHEREAS, some Southern Baptist leaders have misused certain scriptures (among them Matthew 18:15-19, Exodus 20:16, Romans 13:2-5, Ephesians 4:1-6, Ephesians 6:7-8, and 1 Timothy 5:19), mistakenly construing any criticism from any Southern Baptist as a violation of the gospel’s mandate to avoid needless discord, or mistakenly construing any expression of concern as slander, with the result that, for example, professors at one Baptist seminary are forbidden by a “gentleman’s agreement” from criticizing any public figure leading any Southern Baptist organization or associated with any Southern Baptist organization leaders; and
WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention should not use non-disclosure agreements at all insofar as such agreements impose silence on fellow believers by threatening to use the power of the unbelieving world’s legal system to enforce such silence, in violation of Jesus Christ’s warning in Matthew 22:21, to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s but to the Lord what is the Lord’s; and
WHEREAS, so long as Southern Baptists unofficially enforce gentleman’s agreements and the eleventh commandment, or make use of non-disclosure agreements on those whom they dismiss or pressure to resign, then potential whistleblowers will face reprisal in the form of church discipline and organizational retaliation to include firing, blacklisting, and/or character assassinations in public forums, with the result that many people will remain silent about corruption, abuse, error, and financial mismanagement in Southern Baptist entities; and
WHEREAS, for the sake of harmony and out of obedience to the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17, we may expect employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to show discretion in questioning or challenging authorities within their own chain of command, yet to extend this mandate from one Southern Baptist organization to the entire leadership and its cronies of the whole Southern Baptist Convention would turn the Convention into a totalitarian cult; and
WHEREAS, the “eleventh commandment” known as “thou shalt not criticize a fellow Baptist publicly” cultivates a climate of fear and silence that can only allow sinful, abusive, or misguided practices to flourish within the Convention and within its organizations, because some Baptist figures who hold powerful positions have availed themselves of their influence to retaliate against their critics by contacting employees, church leaders, or associates in order to apply pressure behind the scenes; and
WHEREAS, no authority figure should be granted such eminence that the gentleman’s agreements, an old boys’ network, the so-called eleventh commandment, and/or non-disclosure agreements can afford the authority figure an airtight shield against necessary and healthy scrutiny or challenge; it should never be the case that an authority figure can, if he chooses corruption or fails to see how he has become corrupted, ignore or dismiss private criticisms, and then deflect public criticism by claiming that critics can only challenge him privately; and/or that an authority figure can ultimately cite false standards such as “civility,” “cordiality,” “hospitality,” “church unity” or “respect” as a way of blocking fellow Southern Baptists from raising concerns or seeking correction to Southern Baptist organizations; and
WHEREAS, trustees, entity leaders, pastors, executives, directors, and other empowered individuals in the Southern Baptist Convention do not own the resources they steward and must act in the interests not of themselves or of their friends but rather of the Kingdom, of the Southern Baptist Convention, of the Southern Baptist people, and of the members of their entities; and all these interests are always best served by transparency, due diligence, and scrutiny to avoid conflicts of interest, corruption, nepotism, error, abuse, and waste; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention affirms that there are only ten commandments in Exodus 20:3-17, and none instructing Southern Baptists to refrain from criticizing Baptist leaders, even publicly if necessary; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention denounces “gentleman’s agreements” designed to force silence on people whose livelihoods depend on the Convention due to their service to the Convention; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention denounces “non-disclosure agreements” and calls all Southern Baptist leaders who have imposed them on former employees to repent of them; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention denounces retaliatory actions by Southern Baptist leaders, such as contacting critics’ employees or charges in order to threaten critics’ jobs or standing within their community; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention calls all Southern Baptists to proclaim and avail themselves of their freedom of conscience, since our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ told us in John 8:32, “the Truth will set you free.”

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Note: Stop talking about homosexuality and start studying heterosexuality

This piece, published today on Theological Matters, argues that homosexuality has taken too much space in our debate. The real issue is what to do with heterosexuality (English version is below the fold, if you scroll down):

https://theologicalmatters.com/2019/01/02/como-los-cristianos-confunden-el-tema-de-la-heterosexualidad-what-christians-get-wrong-about-heterosexuality/

The English version here in entirety:


Preston Sprinkle republished a 2017 essay by Greg Coles: “You don’t need to pray that God makes me straight” at the Center for Faith, Spirituality, and Gender. Coles boldly rejects the idea of heterosexuality.
Coles’s message joins an enormous genre of books and conferences exhorting Christians to engage LGBT issues by speaking the “truth in love.” Key players in the discussion hail from Christian institutions, most notably Mark Yarhouse of Regent University.
Sprinkle’s Center resembles Love BoldlyFaith in America, the Reformation ProjectRevoiceSpiritual FriendshipNew Ways Ministry, and LivingOut, not to mention the Metropolitan Community Churches. They partner often with Christians like Jackie Hill PerryRosaria ButterfieldKaren Swallow PriorWesley Hill, and Sam Allberry.
These groups aim to bridge clashing worldviews. One worldview adapts Biblical exegesis to postmodern culture. In noting homosexual culture today, this worldview condones homosexual identity, homosexual desire, or even sodomy itself (see here for “Side A” versus “Side B”.)
The other discerns today’s cultures according to the Bible. Based on what the Bible says, it deems today’s homosexual identity, desire, and intercourse wrong (see here for an argument linking postmodern sexual movements to the Sodom story.)
Coles equates heterosexuality and homosexuality as equally broken and sinful, stating, “Gay or straight, we are all drawn to lustful behaviors.” He offers an either/or choice:
  1. reject all sex as equally sinful or
  2. offer the same grace to all sexual inclinations.
The first would deny Christians the pleasures and procreation of normal sex. Since this is impossible and conflicts with Jesus (who glorifies male-female intimacy within marriage in Matthew 19:4-12 and in Mark 10:6-12), readers must choose #2.
Consequently equal grace to all sexuality becomes a de facto endorsement of homosexual desire. This is rhetorical but not Biblical.
The leveling between heterosexuality and homosexuality reinforces LGBT tenets:
  1. the desires are “normal,”
  2. the desires form an “identity,” and
  3. it is “bigoted” to ask that homosexuals repudiate their desires if we do not ask heterosexuals to abandon theirs.
These tenets make it difficult to uphold chastity, even with the best intentions. Study the case of Julie Rodgers at Wheaton College.
Catholic and secular, homosexual and heterosexual contexts all provide grounds for evangelicals to approach such reasoning with caution. The Catholic Church faces catastrophic fallout over sex abuse by clergy, of which 85% was same-sex. A MeToo movement spotlighted heterosexual abuses resulting from the loss of sexual boundaries. Clear limits matter. Yet the “truth in love” movement grows in appeal.
So what’s going on? Rather than scan the Christian responses to homosexuality, one can gain greater insight by examining evangelicals’ failure to understand heterosexuality.
In Jephthah’s Daughters (2015), I included a chapter called “Problem of Women.” In America, fear of sex has often led to a male fear of women and a female fear of men. In response, men avoid women and women avoid men through social arrangements that become sex-segregated. Nathaniel Hawthorne did not construct the Puritans’ fear of sexuality from nothing. From “Rip van Winkle” to Walden, one finds a long history of Americans dreading heterosexual domesticity (I explore this conundrum at length in The Colorful Conservative as well.)
While Coles appears to present a new idea it is actually old. His starting premise, like the premise of most others in this movement, errs: the major challenge facing Christians is not how to respond to homosexuality, but rather how to cultivate a Biblical heterosexuality.
In Genesis 1-2 God designs males and females to fulfill each other through sexual intercourse. The fifth commandment in Exodus 20:12 places “mother” and “father”—roles based on intercourse and procreation—as figures whose respect bestows flourishing on “the land.” Rejecting one sex goes against God’s design in scripture.
God did not create sexual orientations. He created sexes. God gave each sex a body equipped to provide physical pleasure and children to the other sex. Everybody is heterosexual because everyone is either male or female, regardless of what feelings they may grapple with. Homosexuality has nothing to do with heterosexuality and cannot be cast as its corollary.
Some people feel powerful same-sex desires, as Greg Coles narrates in his column. This does not change the fact that they are heterosexual already, because God made them that way, as the Bible tells us. Men in his situation need to stop self-analyzing to see if they can become straight—that is a moot point. They need coaching to help them date marriageable women.
Ministries should help people prepare themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually for deliberate courtship of the opposite sex. Coles relates his own failures to feel desire at random images of women. That misses the point. God created his body to be desirable for a woman, so he has a gift to shareMinistries should encourage Christians to use their God-given anatomies. Their sexed anatomy grants them a pleasurable talent to be shared according to its purpose rather than denied the opposite sex.
The focus on whether Christianity forbids homosexuality has taken too much energy. For 2019, we need to begin a new discussion of heterosexuality as:
  1. a good in itself, provided that it is not abused,
  2. incomparable to homosexuality, and
  3. the necessary end of any ministry for Christians who identify as LGBT.
Males and females—indeed all humans—have equal right and duty to engage in such discussion. People should stop saying “heterosexuality is not holiness.” That statement is vague and misleading, a non-sequitur. God’s design for us is holy and His design is heterosexual. Even a celibate person has to acknowledge the beauty and intrinsic value of the opposite sex. Nobody can live life believing that the opposite sex does not deserve affection and pleasure.
To people like Greg Coles, I can only say, stop thinking about homosexuality and apply your male body to its God-given purpose. If your thoughts go back to dark places, pray and fill your mind and heart with the Holy Spirit.