Target’s decision to come out of the closet with an official statement proudly proclaiming their commitment of allowing persons to use the bathrooms and fitting rooms corresponding with the gender they identify with at that moment rather than the biological sex they were born with (and is listed on their birth certificates) has amped up the rhetoric on this front of the culture wars America is now fighting.

Part of Target’s statement says…

“In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.” (Read the entire statement here).

That’s plain and straightforward. No ambiguity. In a world of politicians and businesses that strain themselves to parse words in an attempt to say all things to all people so they can take credit for being politically correct and deny being politically correct at the same time, depending on who their audience is, Target’s forthrightness to proclaim itself a company that proudly embraces immorality is refreshing. As a Christian it made choosing to boycott Target an easy decision.

But not everyone, including Christians, believe boycotting Target is the best decision. One such Christian is Bethany Berreth, the girl’s minister at the Bay Area First Baptist Church in Texas. I don’t know her, but I have no reason to doubt she is a Christian or to doubt she loves Jesus Christ. And in fairness to her she doesn’t tell Christians to not boycott target. She says…

“If you feel so led, sign petitions, call Target, do what you must do to exercise the rights you hold as an American citizen to make your opinion heard.”

She then quotes Colossians 4:5-6…

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Of course. But gracious speech is not necessarily pleasing speech. It is not necessarily speech that tickles the ear. It is speech that speaks truth and Truth is often described as hate speech by those who have chosen to believe lies. Those who live in darkness hate the light (Truth) and prefer to remain unsalted (preserved by the Truth) because as salt poured on to an open wound stings so Truth “poured” on to a heart wounded with sin “stings”. In fact walking in wisdom, speaking gracious words, being light and salt toward outsiders, got Jesus killed.

Certainly, as Christians we do not want to unnecessarily offend anyone, but neither do we want to remain silent in the face of evil. Truth will always offend someone.

After Berrreth made clear she was not telling Christians to not boycott Target she explained why she would not. She wrote…

“Target has never stated or even pretended to have Christian values and morals at the foundation of their decisions as a company. They have always been a ‘secular’ if you will, company. Why, then, are Christians surprised and angry when such a store holds to standards that are set in direct opposition to God’s ways (not to mention public safety)? Scripture makes it very clear that when we are children of darkness we walk in darkness (Ephesians 4:18-20) and when we are children of light we should choose to walk in the light (Ephesians 5:8). Those who are not of God, and the companies they run, are of the darkness. We shouldn’t expect them to look like those who are of the light. We wouldn’t expect an apple tree to produce oranges, and then rail at it when it failed our expectations. It just wouldn’t make sense. Sure, it’s much more comfortable when a company’s choices don’t step on our morality toes. But at their core, they are no different today than they were in the days, weeks and years before this decision.

“I’ll speak plainly here. It is utterly ridiculous to expect those who are in darkness to display the same characteristics of those who have been saved by the grace and mercy of God and are empowered to walk in light by the Holy Spirit. Not only is it ridiculous, but even if, EVEN IF we could convince them to abide by the principles of light, it is pointless in the face of eternity: they are still without hope and without God in the world. Like I said before, we may feel more comfortable purchasing products from Target when they seem to resemble our values, but that is a false comfort.” — Bethany Berreth (Full blog here).

Unquestionably, unbelievers and “secular” companies have always “walked” in darkness as Berreth points out because they are not saved. They live outside the light of the Holy Spirit. But the darkness they walk in has never been total darkness. Even unsaved man and ‘secular’ companies have walked in partial light since the Fall of man. The Apostle Paul makes that abundantly clear when he says…

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans 1:18-23 ESV).

Therefore, unsaved man and secular companies have always walked it at least partial light. So, when Berreth says that it is utterly ridiculous to expect them to exhibit the same characteristics, values, as Believers she is only partially right.

She is right that we should not expect unsaved man or secular companies to live or operate in the light that Yahweh is the only true God as Believers do in accordance to the 1st commandment…

“You shall have no other gods before me (Yahweh)” (Exodus 20:3 ESV);

or to not expect them to live their lives pursuing money or power or fame or pleasure or any other created thing (idols) while Believers place God first in their lives (forsake all idols) in accordance to the 2nd commandment…

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:3-6 ESV);

or to not expect them to honor and keep holy Yahweh’s name as Believers do in accordance the 3rd commandment…

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:3 ESV).

Obeying these commandments in spirit and truth does indeed require the illumination of the Holy Spirit, an illumination unbelievers and secular companies do not have.

But even unbelievers and secular companies have walked in the shadow of the light created by the commandments that pertain directly to their fellow man. I know of no sane individual or civilization or company that has believed that murder is a virtue. That indicates that they possess at the least a glimmer of the light given in the 6th commandment…

“You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13 ESV).

Likewise, they walk in a flicker of the light given in the 8th and 9th commandments…

“You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15 ESV) and “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16 ESV) respectively.

Thievery and lying are despised by non-Christians and secular companies because they know these activities are wrong.
Even the 7th commandment…

“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14 ESV)…

has universally been regarded as a virtue worthy of esteem even by unbelievers and secular companies. I know of no unbelievers that think unfaithfulness is a virtue nor have I ever known of a company openly praising adulterous relationships.

So, for Berreth to say…

“Target has never stated or even pretended to have Christian values and morals at the foundation of their decisions as a company” isn’t entirely true. The virtues of not murdering or even harming someone (whether willfully or through negligence), of not stealing from someone, or of not lying to someone are Christian virtues that, while not always obeyed perfectly, are nonetheless virtues that Christians and non-Christians and secular companies are rightly expected to obey or at least strive to conform to.

Therefore, I do not think it is ridiculous to expect those who are in partial darkness as Target is to display the same characteristics as those who have been saved and are enlightened by the Holy Spirit do as far as one’s interaction with one’s fellowman is concerned.

My expectations are for unbelieves and secular companies to live by the light, dim though it may be, that has been available to everyone, saved or unsaved, from the beginning of creation.

My expectations of unbelievers and secular companies are to follow the same moral laws Christians do, at least physically speaking. I expect unbelievers and secular companies to not kill (you shall not murder); I expect unbelievers and secular companies to not lie (you shall not bear false witness); I expect unbelievers and companies to not condone or facilitate sexual immorality (you shall not commit adultery – which includes a variety of sexual sins) (Target’s failing); I expect unbelievers and secular companies to not steal (you shall not steal).

I don’t a have problem being salt and light to Target, but they may not like the application of said salt and light. Early in Jesus’ ministry He sent some of His disciples out as missionaries for a short time. Among His instructions to these men He said…

“As you enter the house (to stay in while in a town), greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town” (Matthew 10:12-15 ESV).

I have entered the house of Target many times and greeted it with my money. I have lived in peace with them because they were worthy of it in the sense they did not actively embrace and facilitate evil that has been known to be evil by Christians and non-Christians alike for thousands of years.

Therefore, I will let my peace return to me and shake off any connection I have with Target.

In other words I will boycott Target and pray they return to the light they have turned from while they still can.


No “Pal” of Mine

One of the most vehement accusations unbelievers throw in the face of Christians is that of hypocrisy. And while hypocrisy is a legitimate charge against some Christians, hypocrisy is not exclusive to them. Unbelievers scream “Love Wins” while spewing profanities and blasphemies and death threats at those who take a stand for traditional marriage; that is, the union between one man and one woman. To be able to engage at this level of hypocrisy with a straight face, to scream “Love Wins” while hatred toward other people is being gleefully rain down upon them, is truly astonishing.

But hypocrisy goes beyond individuals. Companies also engage in hypocrisy. Of course, strictly speaking companies only engage in hypocrisy as an extension of its owners. That means Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, is a hypocrite because PayPal engages in hypocrisy.
As you may or may not know PayPal made the decision to not open a new operating center in North Carolina since NC passed a law restricting public bathroom and locker room assess to persons that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificates. CEO Dan Schulman took the NC legislature and Governor to task for what he believes to be legalized discrimination against homosexuals and transgendered persons.

But Schulman’s beliefs are shallow; they lack substance; and they are hypocritical. He isn’t concerned by the rights of homosexuals or others whose lifestyles are based upon sexual perversion.

That becomes obvious when one discovers PayPay does business in several countries that kill homosexuals for being homosexuals. Saudi Arabia is just one such example.

Schulman’s (and PayPal’s) self-righteousness at judging North Carolina for standing for traditional morality while his company is guilty of blatant hypocrisy is disgusting. No doubt his god, his idol, the All-Mighty-Dollar, is well pleased.

But, as a Christian, the All-Mighty-Dollar isn’t my god. Therefore, I will not worship Schulman’s god nor finance his worship of his god. I had a PayPal account, but I have chosen to close it. When I did a form was provided to get my feedback as to why I was closing the account. You can read my response below.

“I closed my account because of PayPal’s values which were made plain when PayPal flexed their financial muscle in an attempt to beat North Carolina into repealing the law requiring persons to use the bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate. That’s just common sense and to believe otherwise reveals a severe lack of common sense and an acceptance of indecency.

“CEO Dan Schulman condemned NC values by saying: ‘The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.’

“What hypocrisy! PayPal isn’t concerned about discrimination; it’s concerned about the All Mighty Dollar. The fact that PayPal does business in countries that kill homosexuals proves that.

“PayPal’s values have as much worth as fool’s gold. But then anyone who believes males should be allowed to use a female restroom and for a female to use a male restroom is a fool.”

If you’re a Christian and you have a Paypal account I strongly urge you to consider closing that account and telling Schulman exactly why.

The Mark of the Beast

Mention the mark of the beast and the most common response you get has something to do with the number 666. That’s understandable since the book of Revelation says the mark of the beast is the name of the beast or the number of its name which we are told is 666.

Further, most popular beliefs about this mark is that it will be a tattoo of the number “666” or something else on the right hand or forehead. I don’t believe that. Others believe it will be a computer chip implanted inside the right hand or forehead. I don’t believe that.

I will tell you what I believe it is and why I believe it and you are free to agree with me or not. It’s more than a tattoo or computer chip – much more. In fact, there are people today who bear this mark and are doing everything they can to stamp you with it. And unless you understand exactly what this mark is they will succeed in doing just that. You won’t see it on your right hand or your forehead, but it will be there.

Let me explain…listen to this sermon.

North Carolina Values

North Carolina has become part of the Eastern Front on the war against those whose values are based upon the Biblical teachings concerning sexuality, values that have been largely embraced by civilizations, Christian or not, for thousands of years. And history has witnessed the decay and death of civilizations that have turned from those values and embraced sexual values such as homosexuality.

The war came to North Carolina when Charlotte passed a non-discrimination ordinance allowing transgendered individuals to use public restrooms in accordance to their perceived sex.

The North Carolina legislature convened an emergency session to address Charlotte’s NDO. The NC Senate and House passed a bill that invalidated Charlotte’s NDO by giving the State the lone authority to create NDOs rather than individual municipalities. The bill stated that persons may only use public restrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificate unless they have undergone sex-change procedures.

NC Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill into law, essentially an act of war to the LGBT militants and their army which currently consists of the Presidents, CEOs, and high ranking officials in dozens of companies among whom are: Levi Strauss & Co, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Twitter, Coca-Cola, Hyatt Hotels, Citibank, Choice Hotels, Bank of America, Orbitz.com, CheapTickets.com, Hilton, American Airlines, IBM, Starbucks, PayPal, Wells Fargo, Facebook, and on and on.

These companies are flexing their financial muscle in an effort to bully North Carolina to repeal the law. One of these bullies, PayPal, has decided to not open a facility there that would have brought hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars to the state. Instead PayPal is looking for a state that shares its values. What are PayPal’s values? Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman made that quite clear in his condemnation of North Carolina’s audacity to pass a law requiring males and females to use restrooms that correspond with their biological sex. Schulman said…

“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”

That must mean that PayPal’s core values and principles include the belief that males who self-identify as females have the right to use a bathroom or locker room designated for females and females who self-identify as males have the right to use a bathroom or locker room designated for males.

In fact, every corporation that has declared war against North Carolina’s bill to restrict public restrooms and locker rooms to the sex on one’s birth certificate must share PayPal’s immoral values.

No need to feel sorry for PayPal though. Immoral values rejected in one state find ready homes in other states. Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock along with Montana’s senior Senator Jon Tester co-wrote a letter to PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman inviting him to expand his company to Montana.

Governor Steve Bullock (D) and Senator Jon Tester (D) co-wrote a letter to PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman expressing strong interest in PayPal relocating positions to Montana.
In a joint statement Bullock and Tester said…

“Unlike North Carolina, we believe that an inclusive business environment creates a strong business environment.”

So, Bullock and Tester are in effort saying…

Unlike North Carolina we leaders of Montana believe that a male who thinks he’s a female has the right to use public facilities designated for females regardless of whether those females are grown adults or minor children or whether they feel uncomfortable or fearful in the presence of a biological male while using those facilities. Of course, females would have the right to use public facilities designated for males also. Equal opportunity you know.

It appears Montana’s governor and senior senator have already capitulated to the homosexual militants immoral demands, bowing down to the Money Idol. But that doesn’t surprise me. Tester’s immoral values are have been known for years. He is an ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood, an organization that murders and butchers babies, millions of babies. So twisted and despicable is Tester’s value system that even after a series of videos were released over the last several months from the Center for Medical Progress providing indisputable evidence of Planned Parenthood murdering, then butchering, harvesting the organs of the slaughtered babies, he still supports funding Planned Parenthood. Given that demonic mindset believing males and females should be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice is natural. Sin begets sin.

But the attack on North Carolina isn’t limited to corporations that supply all the foods and toys we seem to have an insatiable appetite for or states that are happy to stab their fellow states in the back by groveling at the feet of companies carrying the Money Idol with them.

North Carolina is also being attacked by the giant industries of sports. The NCAA is scheduled to hold men’s basketball tournament games in Greensboro in 2017 and Charlotte in 2018. But that may change in retaliation for NC taking a stand for traditions values. The NCAA released a statement saying…

“Our commitment to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has not changed and is at the core of our NCAA values. It is our expectation that all people will be welcomed and treated with respect in cities that host our NCAA championships and events.”

The NCAA’s core values sound a lot like PayPal’s.

The NBA is also threatening North Carolina with economic sanctions.

And the entertainment industry, not to be outdone, has joined the war against North Carolina. Lionsgate Entertainment pulled the production of a new TV series from NC and taken it to Canada.

And the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, canceled an upcoming show slated for Greensboro, North Carolina. So, if you’re looking for him you may find him in the women’s bathroom.
Make no mistake what’s happening in North Carolina is a war, a war of values, a war to determine right from wrong, good from evil. But it’s a war fought mainly on the battlefield of money. That shouldn’t be surprising.

Economics, money, is the weapon of choice for Satan and his demons. That is made clear from Revelation 13.

“And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?

“And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

“If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain.

“Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

“Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666” (Revelation 13:1-18 ESV).

(There is much in these verses that I will not touch upon right now. I did a sermon on the Mark of the Beast that can be accessed at https://soundcloud.com/terry-l-brown-2/the-mark-of-the-beast for a deeper analysis of this chapter.)

A couple of things to bear in mind. The Beast, Satan’s agent to destroy mankind, is alive and well today in the form of godless governments and godless organizations that war against the saints and all that is holy. The only difference between them and the ultimate Beast is one of geographical scope and consolidation of power. What we are witnessing today by corporations and governments and entertainers is a battle in the war against the saints, Christians. And the main weapon is economics.
Image for a moment living in a society that requires you to pledge allegiance to every demonic, godless lifestyle and desire fallen man can conceive of with the penalty for not doing so being unable to buy and sell anything – food, clothing, or shelter for you or your family.

What will you do when a grocery store refuses to sell you food because you believe marriage is between one man and one woman, because you believe homosexuality is a sin, because you believe unborn babies are human beings and that killing them is murder, because you have North Carolina values? Folks, that’s where we’re heading right now.

Corporations that provide much of what we use every day have already bowed the knee to Satan. They will one day refuse to sell you anything unless you agree with their values. If you choose to deny Christ you will be forbidden to go to school, play sports, own a home, get a driver’s license, and on and on.

So, what do we do? We fight, today. We fight by becoming more biblically literate. We fight by praying for wisdom, discernment, and courage. We fight having resolved that we will not deny our Lord. We fight knowing that the Beast and his values will be overthrown. We fight knowing these corporations, and entertainers, and governments that have bowed the knee to Satan will one day bow before us as we stand alongside the risen Lord.

The Company We Keep

1 Corinthians 15:33 says: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (NASB). This is true. It has been said: “Show me the people your kids run with and I’ll tell you the character of your kids.” But that’s also true of us.

As Christians the most important person we should keep company with is Jesus Christ. But we need His company in ways that go deeper than reading the Bible or praying or coming together to fellowship with each other though all of these things are needful. The Apostles experienced these things when Jesus walked the earth for three years, but it wasn’t enough to keep them from falling away when He was arrested and crucified. They needed to keep company with Jesus in a different way. And they did. It was then that they were able to stand before the enemies of the Kingdom of God.

We need to keep company with Jesus in the same way. So, come along and listen to “The Company We Keep” and find out how we do that.