Martin Luther: The Reformer, The Civil Rights Leader, and The Work Unfinished

First, let me be clear: I love government holidays.

But secondly, let me add…. 

During this time of year, with the parades and media homages in memory of Martin Luther King Jr., I always like to cut through the common dialogue to find some of the more unique biographical facts about the civil rights leader. He was a very compelling man with a nuanced view of the world, America, and the civil rights movement.

Here are some of the gems I have found you may not hear from the typical mainstream media narrative this weekend. In no order:

1. In 1955, he received a PH.D in systematic theology from Boston University. He was not an empty-headed mega church pastor with a diploma from a degree mill like *insert flaky prosperity propagator here*. His flowery rhetoric had intellectual weight to back it up.

2. He was a Trekkie (a fan of the original “Star Trek” (1966) TV series). I don’t know why, but that is just awesome to me. If he would have not been assassinated, I’d like to think he and William Shatner could have done a cop comedy together in the ’80s.

3. He stated that he would not live to be 40. He died at age 39. I’m not saying the church should coronate him “prophet”, but rather he knew his message would have deranged opponents with murderous motivations. The church should take notes here, because the message of Jesus is guaranteed to bring enemies with it (John 15:18). If you don’t have some enemies then you are not a friend of Christ.

4. He was a registered Republican and opponent of communism with its “political totalitarianism” and “ethical relativism” (ah, he believed in moral absolutes!). In fact, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was made a federal holiday by Republican president and noted anti-communist, Ronald Reagan. I know there may be some truth that the contemporary Republican party is not the exact same party it was of the ’50s, but there may also be some truth that MLK would be wary of the full blown socialism being pumped out of Washington today. Again, he was a man of complexity.

5. He was a Protestant Christian pastor and his father named him after the great Protestant German reformer, Martin Luther. The civil rights movement sprung out of the Christian doctrine that all men are created in the image of God. In reality, almost every major worldwide civil rights and humanitarian movement in existence was first steeped in the rich soil of Christian theology and heritage. What charitable aid has the atheistic principles of nihilism and materialism produced?

In 16th century Europe, God used Martin Luther as a spark to change the face of Christendom forever, and over 400 years later God raised up another reformer to change the face of civil rights for ever.

There is still much more work to be done on the civil rights front. 

Grave injustices are still being performed against the most voiceless and helpless in our society. And one of the greatest atrocities in the modern world still has racial undertones attached to it. In New York city 40 % of pregnancies end in abortion. An overwhelming majority of those are African-American babies. According to the CDC, black women are three times more likely to get an abortion than white women. This should shock us out of our stupor: the leading cause of death in the African American Community since 1973 is not heart disease, aids, or violent crimes: It’s abortion. Abortion providers like Planned Parenthood have created a lucrative business off the ignorance of the uneducated and impoverished minorities in the poorest urban neighborhoods. And this all has more to do with the negative eugenics pseudo science movement of the ’30s and 40’s than we are comfortable to admit. In the past 40 years, how many more Martin Luther’s have we snuffed out before they take their first breath? Thankfully, there are many in the black community taking a stand on this issue, such as MLK’s niece, Alveda King.

The current rate of abortions in America is over 100,000 per month. More than 90% of these abortions occur not because of medical issues, but issues of mere inconvenience.

Being for an unborn baby’s rights is not synonymous with being against women’s rights. No, tragically, half of the 50 million American babies murdered since Roe V. Wade have been female. Roughly 25 million potential congresswomen, civil rights leaders, first ladies, nurses, teachers , mothers, and women’s rights leaders cheated of the basic right to life. Where is the feminist outcry for those precious female babies?

Black or white, male or female. Fellow images of God sacrificed at the demonic altar of expedience (Psalm 139). It’s not a political issue, it’s a justice issue. As MLK Jr used to say “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Yes, even in the womb.

May God raise up another reformer in the spirit of Martin Luther, to spark a revival among the inner cities and rural counties that reverses the unborn holocaust before it’s too late.  (Malachi 4:6)

The Arizona Murders: Pure Evil or Pop Psychology?

On January 8th, a nihilistic, atheistic, conspiracy theorist named Jared Loughner murdered six people and injured 18 more including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The disturbing act propelled a massive hailstorm of media speculation concerning the young man’s psychological background and mental state.

I am not an expert of psychology by any stretch of the imagination. My only introduction to any formal psychological training came when I briefly thought about minoring in it during college. After just one class, I was turned off and convinced Freud was not much more than an overeducated creeper.

Since the tragedy every major network with a resident psychologist has tried to psychoanalyze the mind of Loughner: social constraints, political persuasions, chemical reactions, and stunted emotional growth has all been posited as the source of his madness. The whole world has gone straight Dr. Phil in it’s obsession with the dark mind(lessness) of this murderer. In the midst of our diagnosing something has been tragically lost.

I agree with Kevin DeYoung when he says the root of the issue is found in this: The word “evil.” 

When people want to make such a horrific event a soapbox opportunity for gun rights or heated campaign rhetoric I cringe a bit. These are ancillary to the heart issue. Loughner wasn’t just a madman in the psychological sense, he was an evil man in the most real and concrete sense.

Why in the world would the media be so reluctant to call a cold-blooded murderer exactly what he is?

Because that would imply a moral code with absolutes, and being absolutely sure about right and wrong is almost as big a cultural party foul as being literally deranged. A crazy man who killed and died as a mere psychological anomaly is easier for our consciences to swallow than a man who is shockingly evil and died to maybe find himself in an actual eternal hell.

Jesus said Satan, the greatest manifestation of evil, was a “murderer from the very beginning” (John 8:44). How are we to label people like Loughner who side with the evil one? Just victims of a mental disorder? Merely brainwashed? Society’s failures?

No.

“Evil” is the word for them. If we lose that biblical label we must necessarily lose the ability to label anything “Good” also. If there is no good there is no God (Luke 18:18-19), and that is the very mental state a man like Loughner found himself in. 

Godless, lost, sinful and evil.

We are all of these apart from the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

May Christ, and not pop psychology, be found to be the only cure for these scourges on our human soul (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Bryan Daniels

Post Election: The Donkey Wept

A few musings about Election Night 2010:

1. Big props to Steve and Steve. Or Steve squared. Or….whatever. Steve Moss won his local school board seat. Steve Southerland won the Congress seat over an entrenched incumbent, Allen Boyd. Both are stand up Christian family men who will be an asset to their community as public servants.

2. “The events suck for the Democrats tonight,” was Chris Matthews exact somber words last night. That tingly feeling he used have run up his leg seemed to be replaced by a swift kick to the man region. The MSNBC crew displayed snide remarks, sarcastic observations and sore loser syndrome throughout their election broadcast. Brewing bitterness was their food all night long.

3.  Conversely, Fox News was the epicenter of giddy school girls at a Justin Bieber concert. When I turned the channel to “America’s Newsroom”, confetti and silly string literally exploded out of my TV, hit me in the face, and fell into my bowl of cereal. The “Mastermind” Karl Rove and the “Martyr” Juan Williams waxed poetically about the massive conservative shifts in Washington.

That either Fox News or MSNBC would claim objective journalistic integrity is disingenuous at best. Both tend to serve as political lap dogs, one for the left one for the right.

4. God is sovereign (Daniel 4:35-36). We must pray (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We must pray for all our leaders, not just the ones we have a political affinity for. The Obama administration, leftist loons, redneck right, red state and blue state. It doesn’t matter. God is the only wise, loving, powerful KING in the universe. His Son is the only living hope for this nation; not reform, new bills, less taxes, or more populist uprisings. Let’s approach Him boldly, and He will grant the only change that will last in the end (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Bryan Daniels

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