Matthew 20:1-16

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

#NeverTibbs

A comment on my letter to the editor last week:

“On things like SWAT teams and DNA testing, Scott should be a legislator.”

No.

In fact I am the leader and founder of the #NeverTibbs movement regarding me serving in the state legislature.

If I had to commute to Indianapolis every day I would go insane.

Haughty arrogance and hypocrisy on free speech

I said on Twitter last month that “The best poster boys for #FreeSpeech are the most obnoxious ones. That is how we test whether we are truly committed to our ideals.” While that is true, many people have a poor understanding of free speech and censorship, and have no idea how to properly use free speech and defend the right to free speech.

Specifically, just because you have the right to free speech does not mean you need to be an obnoxious jerk. One can make a point about why war is bad without posting a meme with pictures of flag-draped coffins and the text “play stupid games – win stupid prizes.” There is no need to mock the pain of grieving military families, as Liberty Memes did on Facebook and then defended the meme with an especially pretentious, haughty post about right-wing hypocrisy.

Yes, you have the right to free speech, but the fact that you get an angry reaction does not mean that your “free speech” rights are being violated. When you intentionally troll people to get an angry response, you are not allowed to clutch your pearls when you get the exact response you wanted. It is called “being an adult.”

Now, to be fair, Liberty Memes does have a good point about the hypocrisy of many on the right on free speech. Far too many conservatives are willing to grab pitchforks and torches to join a social media lynch mob whenever their sacred cows are skewered. If we believe in free speech and we are truly appalled when Leftists try to ruin someone’s life over one silly social media post, then we must believe in free speech for things we find offensive. It is reasonable to point out that hypocrisy, but not every angry reaction to intentional trolling is an attack on free speech.

Is speaking in tongues a requirement for salvation?

Note: I originally wrote this in 2009.

Some Christian denominations teach that speaking in tongues is a requires sign of salvation, and unless someone speaks in tongues he is not saved. But is this assertion Biblical? As with all questions of Christian doctrine, we must consult the foundational document of the Christian faith, the Bible. One of the Scriptures used as evidence for the tongues theory is below:

Mark 16:17-18

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

The problem with using this passage is that all Christians have clearly not been given all of these gifts. If a Christian went to his kitchen and started drinking Drano, would he be assured that he would not be harmed? Clearly, God can perform miracles and protect His followers from things that would normally be harmful or deadly, but he will not do so each and every time. That’s why most Christians would consider it foolish to make a statement of faith by drinking Drano or some other toxic substance. Not all Christians receive all spiritual gifts.

Luke 23:39-43

And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

In the above example, the thief on the Cross is not recorded as showing that he received the Holy Ghost by speaking in tongues. He is not baptized either. What does happen is that he has faith in Jesus Christ even as He is dying on the cross, and he is redeemed by the Savior as a result.

1 Corinthians 12 is probably the most direct refutation that all Christians are required to speak in tongues. See verses 4-6 and 14-18 below:

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

1 Corinthians 12:14-18

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

God has given each of us spiritual gifts, but not all of us have the same gifts. God explains it perfectly through His servant Paul, that each part of our bodies may be different, but all are necessary and created by God for His purpose. Along the same lines, God has given those in His church different spiritual gifts. Some have discernment, some can counsel people who struggle with sin, some can preach and teach, and some are called to mercy. Whether someone is preaching to the congregation on Sunday mornings or cleaning the church’s bathrooms when no one is around, all serve the church in different ways.

1 Corinthians 12:27-30

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

The questions Paul asks in verses 27-30 are rhetorical, meant to draw the answer of “no” from the Corinthians reading the letter. Clearly, not all are apostles, Not everyone works miracles or heals the sick, and not everyone speaks in tongues. In fact, there are a number of instances in the book of Acts where people are saved but are not recorded as speaking in tongues, such as the people saved and added to the church on Acts 2, the Philipian jailer in Acts 16:30-34 and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:27-39. So why does God give the gift of tongues? See below:

Acts 10:44-47

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

The Jews were amazed by this miracle, and Paul explains the purpose:

1 Corinthians 14:22

Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

As Paul explains, this was to be a sign to unbelievers so that they will accept Christ.

One thing that we as Christians need to be careful of is attaching something we have done to our salvation, as if we could have done anything to atone for the blood guilt we have and escape the punishment we so richly deserve. Salvation is not because of what we have done, and that cannot be because we are completely unworthy of God’s unmerited grace. As Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, salvation is by grace through faith, not of anything we have done. Being powerless to obtain favor in God’s sight is incredibly liberating because we know that any righteousness we have is His gift. He has already won the battle and all we have to do is trust and obey.

Random thoughts of the day

♣ Here is a great post by Pastor Tim Bayly. We must fight against sexual abuse and we must respect due process. Do you remember the Duke University lacrosse team and the Central Park Five?

♣ It amazes me how often I am accused of hypocrisy based not on what I do, but based on what other people do.

♣ Government is not a necessary evil. It is a gift of God for our benefit. Like with all of His gifts, we pervert it and make it repressive.

♣ I was an officer in both the College Republicans and Students for Life as a student at Indiana University. Now if you add the ages of two clubs’ presidents together, it is less than mine. I am an old man. Get off my lawn.

♣ Men who refuse to submit to proper authority are bad leaders themselves. They are either tyrants or doormats. If you are looking for a good leader, first find someone who submits to those in authority over him.

♣ The best poster boys for free speech are the most obnoxious ones. That is how we test whether we are truly committed to our ideals.

♣ Drunk sex is not rape unless one of the people involved is too incapacitated to consent. If a woman willingly consents to sex while drunk, she was not raped, despite the hysterical screeching from feminists.

Testicular cancer: Twenty years later

It was twenty years ago today that I walked into Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne to have an inguinal orchiectomy to remove my left testicle. It was a scary time, even though I knew that I probably would not die from the cancer: It was caught in Stage 1 and had not spread, so the surgery got it all. I was not even in much pain after the surgery. I only took a few of the prescription painkillers I was given.

The key here is I am not a tough guy by any means. I have quite possibly the world’s lowest pain tolerance, so when I say something does not hurt, it really does not hurt.

Even though I had a fairly easy time, surviving cancer will always be a major part of my life. At twenty three years old, I looked directly at death. A cousin I adored had died just a year and a half earlier from cancer, so I understood my mortality and how quickly things could go badly. Most importantly, it reminded me that the Bible is right in James 4:13-15. Life really is a vapor. You are here a little while and then you are gone. Furthermore, God tells us in Proverbs that those who spare the rod hate their children. This is because as our loving Father, God brings suffering into our lives to discipline us. (See Hebrews 12:5-8.)

I remember sitting in class the Friday before Spring Break, knowing that I likely had testicular cancer and worrying about the next week. I don’t remember anything that was said, though I do remember feeling isolated as I looked around the room. I went to the doctor on Monday and a specialist on Wednesday. The specialist suggested surgery the next day or on Friday, and I chose Friday. I needed an extra day to process and mentally prepare myself for the surgery – which as I stated above was not all that bad.

The next few weeks were a blur. I had to drop out of college, though I knew I would be back in August. I spoke with my friends in the College Republicans and let them know I would not be back until August, and lost the spring semester and the work I had done up to that point. I completely forgot to tell my dormitory, so my resident assistant was shocked when I told him why I was moving out. That was definitely a bone-headed move on my part. I normally work during the summer, but not in 1997. I went on to gain thirty pounds that summer as I sat around the house in between doctor appointments.

There was a bit of a blip in the weeks following the surgery. The biopsy of the tumor found only seminoma cancer cells, but the alpha-fetoprotein levels in my blood were elevated. By the time this was discovered, too much time had passed for a second blood test (which found no elevated AFP levels) to be useful. Therefore, the elevated levels presented three possibilities: Either it was a false positive, or there were non-seminoma cells in the tumor, or I was pregnant.

We ruled out the third option pretty quickly, so my treatment plan needed to change. Instead of radiation treatments, I would be in surveillance for five years. I was pronounced cancer-free in 2002.

Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in men between fifteen and thirty-five years old, but survival rates are very high when caught early. Men should be doing a monthly testicular self-examination to check for irregularities. If you find a lump or if you notice a size difference, go to the doctor. Procrastination is like playing Russian roulette when dealing with cancer.

Of course hiding AIDS should be illegal

In a particularly dishonest headline, Slate argues that we need to “decriminalize HIV.” Of course, no state has actually criminalized HIV. No one has ever gone to jail for having HIV or AIDS. By arguing that we need to decriminalize something that was never criminalized in the first place, Slate is spreading fake news.

What was actually criminalized is spreading HIV or exposing someone to HIV without a sexual partner’s knowledge or consent. Of course that should be illegal. Even if one argues from a libertarian perspective that there should be absolutely no restrictions on sex between consenting adults if one of them is HIV-positive, it is impossible to have informed consent when one of the partners does not know the HIV status of the other one. It is likely that the person who does not have the fatal disease would not consent to sexual activity if he or she knows that the other person is HIV positive.

The basic premise of libertarian philosophy is that you can do as you please unless you harm someone else. When someone has sex and does not disclose that he (or she) has a lethal sexually transmitted disease, there is harm being done. One could even make the case that it should be illegal for single people with HIV to have sex at all, from a public health standpoint. That is not being argued here: The issue is exposing someone to a lethal virus without his knowledge or consent.

Slate goes to the typical well, whining that the case is about racism and anti-homosexual bigotry. This is not about race or homosexuality. Had it been a white male exposing women to the virus without telling them, it would be every bit as wrong and should also be prosecuted and punished. The issue is that a crime has been committed and someone has been exposed without his knowledge or consent to a lethal virus. This is not a difficult concept for those not immersed in the cult of total sexual anarchy.