Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal

Monday, November 30, 2015

With an Eisegetical lantern, we are liable to step on a land-mine in the cultural darkness

Eisegesis is the attempt to make Bible verses say what I want them to say, regardless of their plain, literal, historical, and grammatical context and meaning. Scriptures that conflict with my cherished personal beliefs are ignored or redefined to agree with my predisposition. In 2010, the Francis A Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development published here a pertinent article entitled "The Problem of Eisegesis" warning of this dangerous tendency within evangelicalism.

Do you read from the Bible or read into the Bible? Do you know the difference?

How is the Bible delved into by your eyes, mind, and church? Do you seek to read into it what you want? Or, do you seek to glean what God actually has for you and the people He has called you to teach and reach? Are the views you have based on hard evidence and careful biblical study? Or, do you just take for granted what a favorite mentor or teacher or theological position has to say?

We have a big crisis in the conservative and evangelical churches in America! The problem was once just isolated to fringe, uneducated pastors and churches who had no regard for a good Bible education and careful learning. There is a mindset of anti-intellectualism, not wanting to be knowledgeable in the language, history, or tools of the Word, thinking it would be better to just be led by the Holy Spirit, when in fact, laziness and pride were the reasons for ignoring the real moving of God. As a result, many sermons are based merely on felt needs without Bible instruction or proper interpretation. Such thinking has given birth to a watershed of false doctrines and inept Christians with weak faith and a lack of Fruit and maturity in their lives. 

... our research has shown something even more abysmal with pastors?
  • Seventy-two percent (72%) of the pastors we surveyed in the last ten (10) years stated that they only studied the Bible when they were preparing for sermons or lessons. This left only 38% who read the Bible for devotions and personal study.
  • Twenty-six percent (26%) of pastors said they regularly had personal devotions while eighty-two percent (82%) of all those surveyed felt they were adequately fed spirituality.
  • Seventy-one percent (71%) of pastors said when they read the Bible for study, they regularly just looked for what they wanted and did not read it in context.
  • Sixty-two percent (62%) of pastors said when they prepared Bible studies or sermons, they rarely looked up what they did not know or understand and just "winged-it." The same percentage also said they regularly read into a passage what was not there in order to make their point.
  • Fifty-nine percent (59%) of pastors said when they prepared Bible studies or sermons, they did not think it was necessary to make sure their teaching was based on the text or biblically correct. It was more important to connect with their people.
  • Keep in mind these are the "conservative," Reformed and Evangelical pastors, not the mainline liberals or the left wing of the emerging church! And thus, they took their tainted information, considered themselves prepared, and sought to feed their flock spirituality, discounting their people from real, biblical truth!

Ouch. Much of the western evangelical church is now unfortunately reaping what they sowed with an Eisegetical understanding and proclamation of Scripture. In contrast, Exegesis often correctly challenges our wrongly-held presuppositions while Eisegesis usually confirms faulty doctrine. Joel provided an example of Eisegesis here in 2007 on The Christian Watershed:

A good example of eisegesis in a popular understanding is Revelation 3:15-16. This famous text speaks of how the church at Laodecia was neither hot nor cold for the Lord, but instead was lukewarm, and therefore was about to be spit out by the Lord. Many pastors and laypeople have taught that Christ is saying, “I’d rather you be on fire for me (hot) or completely against me (cold) than to be caught in between (lukewarm).” This has been a popular understanding and accepted interpretation. However, it is one of the best examples of eisegesis.

The first error in reading this passage is many people will read it prima facie. This is a Latin term which means “at face value” or more literal “at first glance.” In interpretation, it refers to our initial perception of a text. When people read this passage in Revelation, their initial reaction, based on their pre-understanding, is that “hot” and “cold” must refer to being on fire for Christ, or being against Christ. This is because in our culture we have used these words for such idioms. To be “cold” to something means to be disinterested or even against that thing. We think of the “cold shoulder,” or “cold speech,” or other similar idioms and figures of speech. We then take this pre-understanding and apply it to the reading in this passage.

The second error is ignoring the historical context of the passage. Laodicea is not a concept or a mythical church; it is a real church that existed in a real city. Notice in the passage how they are attacked for being affluent and are called poor, naked, and blind. This makes little sense until we look at the historical city of Laodicea. Laodicea was a very affluent city because of its famous textile industry. Likewise, it held a famous medical clinic that would develop an oily substance to help with the eyes. Thus, Jesus uses these three things in developing imagery for them and explains how, though they have gained these things physically, they are poor, naked, and blind spiritually.

Taking this further, we know that Laodicea lacked cool water. Instead, they had to use an Aqueduct to pipe in water from a neighboring city (Colosse). By the time the water got to Laodicea, it was lukewarm and therefore had many parasites. The people would have to boil their water before drinking it, otherwise they would get sick. Thus, cold water was viewed as refreshing and drinkable, while hot water was viewed as purifying. When we look at the historical context, we see that Christ is saying that Laodicea is neither hot nor cold, but instead lukewarm. What He means by this is that the church in Laodicea is neither refreshing to the general populace (via servant hood, helping the poor, etc) or purifying to the general populace (via sharing the Gospel). He wishes they would at least be one of them, but they are neither, they are indifferent to both. All they care about is amassing wealth and because of this, Jesus says they are a parasite and a disease. He draws an illustration to what would occur when someone drank the lukewarm water – they got sick and would throw up violently. Thus, Christ is saying the church in Laodicea makes Him sick.


Devastating contemporary examples of dangerous eisegetical interpretation of Scripture are those who use it to find Biblical "support" for homosexuality, same-sex marriage and abortion. Especially when confronted with difficult passages that may challenge us, it is all too easy to read into Scripture what we want it to say instead of diligently seeking to let it speak on its' own from the plain, literal, historical, and grammatical context and meaning. As darkness envelops the culture, it's crucial we use the Exegetical light of Scripture to safely illuminate our path forward. With an Eisegetical lantern, we are liable to step on a land-mine in the cultural darkness.

How women are treated under Sharia law

Part 1:

Part 2:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

My New Favorite Christmas Song

Question: "What is the meaning of Noel?"

Answer: Every year, people sing songs like “The First Noel” at Christmas, and many wonder what a “noel” is. In French, joyeux noel means “Merry Christmas.” Our modern English word comes from the Middle English nowel, which Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defined as “a shout of joy or Christmas song.” The roots of the word are the French noel (“Christmas season”), which may come from the Old French nael. This, in turn, is derived from the Latin natalis, meaning “birth.” Since Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, it was natural for people to refer to the celebration as the “nativity” or the “birth.”

Another possible root for noel, also from the French, is the word nouvelles, meaning “news.” As the popular carol says, “The first noel the angels did say / Was to certain poor shepherds. . . .” The meaning of “news” certainly makes sense in that context; however, the early usage and definition of noel seem to focus more on the idea of birth, and that is probably the more accurate meaning.

There are very few records giving the details of the earliest Christmas practices, but at least as early as the 4th century, some Christian groups were celebrating natus Christus on December 25. Since their almanac referred to the day as “the birth of Christ,” it would be natural to see derivative words like nael and noel used in the same way.

In the Middle Ages, several English carols began with nowell, and French carols similarly used noel. Since early songs often used the first word as the title, a “noel” came to refer to any song about the birth of Christ. Because of this, the word now carries the dual meaning of a Christmas song and the Christmas celebration itself.

Our English carol “The First Noel” was first published in a book titled Carols Ancient and Modern, edited by William Sandys in 1823. The message of the song is the joyous pronouncement that the King of Israel has been born. When we sing the song or wish someone a joyous noel, we are following the example of the angels, announcing the good news that Jesus Christ was born, not just for Israel, but for all mankind, so we could receive forgiveness of sins through Him.

A Preview Of ISIS In 2011

The Egyptian Revolution of 2011, locally known as the January 25 Revolution (Arabic: ثورة 25 يناير‎; Thawret 25 yanāyir),[21] began on 25 January 2011 and was part of the Arab Spring. It was naively heralded by the U.S. administration as healthy and the birth of democracy in Middle Eastern nations ruled by monarchies and dictators. History has subsequently and decisively ruled them foolishly wrong. In Egypt, the military and secularists stepped in to prevent another destructive Islamic regime. 

The night of Feb. 11, the Egyptian dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak was falling. More than 100,000 people filled Cairo's Tahrir Square in wild celebration. Among those in the crowd was CBs's "60 Minutes" colleague, correspondent Lara Logan. In a preview of what was to ultimately incarnate in the Islamic State known as ISIS, on the night of the 11th, a mob turned on Lara and her "60 Minutes" team and singled her out in a violent sexual assault.

Earlier in 2015, Lara Logan was admitted to the hospital again as she continues to deal with health problems stemming from the brutal sexual assault in Egypt in 2011, suffering from digestive disease diverticulitis and internal bleeding. A CBS source said, “Lara’s health has continued to suffer and she has been hospitalized numerous times in the years following the attack in Egypt."

Here is her story from 2012 in her own words.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

15 Excerpts That Show How Insane Secular Education Is Becoming

  1. College Students Say Remembering 9/11 Is Offensive to Muslims
  2. Portland State University Offers Course Teaching How to 'Make Whiteness Strange'
  3. A University in the San Francisco Area Actually Told Students To Call 911 if They Were Offended
  4. Educators in the Volunteer State are very concerned that students might be offended by the usage of traditional pronouns like she, he, him and hers
  5. A Professor at Polk State College has allegedly failed a humanities student after she refused to concede that Jesus is a ‘myth’ 
  6. College Codes Make ‘Color Blindness’ a Microaggression 
  7. The phrase 'politically correct' is now a microaggression 
  8. 'American,' 'illegal alien,' 'foreigners,' 'mothering,' and 'fathering' are just a handful of words deemed 'problematic' by the University of New Hampshire’s Bias-Free Language Guide
  9. The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) in Maryland denied Brandon admission to its Radiation Therapy Program in part due to his expression of religious beliefs 
  10. A California school co-founded by a firebrand who once called for an ‘intifada’ in the U.S. has become the nation's first accredited Muslim college.” 
  11. According to Coastal Carolina University, sex is only consensual if both parties are completely sober and if consent is not only present, but also enthusiastic 
  12. Clemson University apologizes for serving Mexican food 
  13. All-Women’s College Cancels ‘Vagina Monologues’ Because it Excludes Women Without Vaginas." 
  14. The 'Black Lives Matter' leader who landed a teaching gig at Yale University delivered a lecture this week on the historical merits of looting as a form of protest 
  15. Assistant Dean (at Cornell) Tells a Project Veritas Investigative Journalist that the University Would Allow an ISIS Terrorist to Hold a 'Training Camp' on Campus, Saying: 'It Would be Like Bringing in a Coach to do a Training on a Sports Team.'

Story is here.

Parents Successfully Fight Elementary School's Plan To Promote Transgenderism

A school in Wisconsin abruptly dropped their stealth plan for a promotion about transgenderism after parents objected and called in a team of lawyers to help them fight off a plan that was sprung on them with only a day’s notice. Mount Horeb Elementary School in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin withdrew plans to promote the pro-transgenderism book “I Am Jazz” to grade-school students after school officials were warned by officials with Liberty Counsel that the district’s claim it had a student with a “girl brain and a boy body” was “completely at odds with the rationale for equality between the sexes: there is no difference between male and female brains or mental abilities, and this idea fosters gender stereotypes.”

The team of lawyers at Liberty Counsel told the district its plan to support a student with gender confusion by requiring students to call a boy “her” and “she” … “infringes upon the other students’ rights to tell the truth, in accordance with their religious convictions, and reality.”

“No one has a moral right to compel others to participate in a fiction (including compelling teachers and others to use pronouns that do not correspond to objective biological sex),” the letter from Liberty Counsel to the district said.

Vigilant parents that are not afraid to resist the culture can have meaningful impact and effect real change. Parents ... your kids ultimately are your responsibility, neither the school's, the church's, nor anyone else. Don't abdicate your authority and responsibility.

Press release is here.

Friday, November 27, 2015

"They are not perverting a great religion, as our politicians claim, they are living it"

Dennis Greenfield successfully argues here why Islam is a religion of war.

Islamic violence is a religious problem.

Islam derives meaning from physical supremacy, so war becomes an act of faith. To believe in Islam, is to have faith that it will conquer the entire world. And to be a true Muslim, is to feel called to aid in that global conquest, whether by providing money to the Jihadists or to become a Jihadist.

The fulfillment of Islam depends on the subjugation of non-Muslims so that violence against non-Muslims become the essence of religion.

When Hamas states that, “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah” or the ISIS rapists tell Yazidi girls that rape "draws them closer to Allah", they really do mean it.

... When Muslims explode into outbursts of violent rage over seemingly petty things like a cartoon or a video, it is because to them, any loss of face for Islam is the worst kind of blasphemy because it challenges its supremacy.

Truth and power in Islam are identical. It is not a religion of the oppressed, but of the oppressors.

Mohammed's prophecies are validated by his conquests. The truth of Islam is seen in the expansion of Islam. When Muslims succeed in killing non-Muslims, they prove the truth of their religion.

... Islam is not primarily an inward spiritual experience, but an outward expression of tribal honor. Its religious expression is the upholding of the honor of Islam and its expansion in the same exact ways as the honor and expansion of the tribe are upheld.

That is why Islam suffers from the classically tribal obsession of protecting "honor" by controlling women so that the blood of the tribe is not polluted by outsiders. That is why it is obsessed with any insult, real or imaginary to Mohammed, its theological tribal founder. And why it must continually expand its territory through conflict so that the tribe grows and so that the surplus sons don't stay behind to fight each other over tribal territory. This is true of Syria on a much larger scale. 

... By causing infidels to "lose face", the Muslim fulfills the Koranic verse which promises that Allah had sent Mohammed to make Islam supreme over all religions. By contrast when Islam "loses face", an act of blasphemy has been committed, which can only be righted religiously by killing the non-Muslims, thereby forcing them to lose face and once again affirming the physical superiority of Islam.

This creates the cycle of violence, which is not the result of Christian or Jewish oppression, but of the need for Muslims to validate the truth of their faith by oppressing non-Muslims. To co-exist with non-Muslims is blasphemous for a Muslim, when his Koran proclaims "Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends" (Koran 5:51). Mohammed's final command was to ethnically cleanse the Jews and Christians of the Arabian Peninsula. ISIS sees itself as completing the work that he began.

Islam does not co-exist, for its followers its truth can only be found in conquering non-Muslims.

... Islam has little to it but the material. Even its paradise exists in the form of the sort of physical pleasures that its followers crave, fancy robes, exquisite banquets, golden couches, and of course that famed appeal to the dedicated Jihadist, "curvaceous virgins... and an overflowing cup" (Koran 78:33-34). Islamic Heaven is a grossly exaggerated version of the kind of loot that Mohammed's followers expected to find by following him in the first place, gold, jewels, silk, spices and young girls.

The gang of throat slitters who accompanied Mohammed on his massacres across the region were given a religious incentive that would transcend death.

Even if they died in battle and would not live to enjoy all the jewels, overflowing cups and girls-- the Koran promised it to them in heaven anyway. The gang of robbers, escaped slaves and ambitious desert rats trailed after Mohammed across sand dunes, their minds filled with the promises of rich loot from the caravans they were raiding. And in the feverish heat, the idea that they would receive even better loot if they were to die in battle, making death preferable to life, would have seemed plausible.

Out of such such petty greed and lust did Islam initially expand. 

... And now Islam's vendetta is worldwide. Every insecurity translates into a provocation. Every jealous impulse never satisfied explodes into violent rage. Every conflict for thousands of years breeds a new vendetta. Did Muslims once live somewhere? They must reclaim it, for to fail to do so is blasphemous and a betrayal of Mohammed's mission. Did Muslims never live somewhere? Then they must go there now, and raise up minarets and proclaim the superiority of Islam, for to do otherwise is a failure to expand the borders of the Ummah, which is a betrayal of Allah's will.

The very existence of people living free from Islamic dominion, is blasphemy. Blasphemy that must be remedied by bringing them under the rule of Islamic law. 

... The intersection of Islam and Terrorism is the inevitable result of Islamic theology which is supremacist and materialist, which when combined with the honor-shame code of a tribal culture, drives it compulsively toward war and conquest.

... in the end, the problem of Islamic violence is the problem of Islam.

Too Few Are Specific And Persistent In Prayer

And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen. "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." (Matt 21:22)

Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matt 7:7)

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24  )

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it (John 14:13-14)

Something interesting has happened to my prayer life over the past decades. Through the years, I find myself increasingly bolder and much more persistent and specific. I think many Christians are frustrated in their prayer life because their prayers are not definite, consisting primarily of things like prayers for world peace and general blessings upon others. There is little clarity, faith, persistence or power in their prayer.

I increasingly find myself before the throne of grace with very precise requests and for increasingly the "smaller" things in life. But I have also become much bolder in faithfully seeking the bigger and more significant things. As my faith matures, my prayers become more specific and persistent.

I have not bought into the heresies of the "name-it-and-claim-it" or the Word-Faith movement. Rather, as I draw closer to Christ, I become far more aware and appreciative of His love, mercy, grace and omnipotent power. Most important of all, I become more and more cognizant of His perfect will. But here's the astonishing kicker - being aware of God's perfect will does not eliminate my freedom to ask according to my desires and choices. As I noted earlier here, I think William Lane Craig correctly argues that our free choices neither negate nor conflict with Divine Omniscience.

Why might Jesus desire our prayer be specific? The Psalms Project offers three reasons ...

  1. Relationship. God wants us to be honest with Him, to share the desires of our heart. God knows what we truly desire – why hide our requests from Him behind vague, wimpy language? Who are we fooling?
  2. Understanding of our desires. Specifying our desires before God helps us to realize what it is we truly desire. It forces us to actually think about our desires and confess those desires before Him. It reveals the desires that are righteous and those that are unrighteous. It helps us understand ourselves and evaluate our hearts before Him. It also helps us to “pray bigger” than we normally would. Instead of settling for the same old vague requests that never bring much direction or closure, God encourages us to look deeply into our hearts and express our innermost desires. What do we really want to see happen in our lives? In our schools? In our home? What do we really want God to do? Are you praying like God can do “exceedingly more than we ask or think,” or like God can do very little? Are you praying a specific, godly desire and expecting to see it?
  3. Knowledge of an answer. How will we ever know a prayer is answered unless we ask for something specific? Knowing a prayer has been answered clearly builds up our faith, builds relationship with God, and encourages us to pray more boldly and specifically in the future. Vague prayers don’t build up much anticipation. Vague prayers don’t cause us to wait expectantly for an answer from God. Specific prayer does. Again, this concept goes back to relationship. When we pray with specificity, there is transparency and clarity between us and God.

Wayne Grudem offers this perspective on prayer in his book Systematic Theology:

Prayer is not made so that God can find out what we need, because Jesus tells us, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8). God wants us to pray because prayer expresses our trust in God and is a means whereby our trust in him can increase. In fact, perhaps the primary emphasis of the Bible’s teaching on prayer is that we are to pray with faith, which means trust or dependence on God. God as our Creator delights in being trusted by us as his creatures, for an attitude of dependence is most appropriate to the Creator/creature relationship. Praying in humble dependence also indicates that we are genuinely convinced of God’s wisdom, love, goodness, and power—indeed of all of the attributes that make up his excellent character. When we truly pray, we as persons, in the wholeness of our character, are relating to God as a person, in the wholeness of his character. Thus, all that we think or feel about God comes to expression in our prayer. It is only natural that God would delight in such activity and place much emphasis on it in his relationship with us.

... But God does not only want us to trust him. He also wants us to love him and have fellowship with him. This, then, is a second reason why God wants us to pray: Prayer brings us into deeper fellowship with God, and he loves us and delights in our fellowship with him.

A third reason God wants us to pray is that in prayer God allows us as creatures to be involved in activities that are eternally important. When we pray, the work of the kingdom is advanced. In this way, prayer gives us opportunity to be involved in a significant way in the work of the kingdom and thus gives expression to our greatness as creatures made in God’s image.

I have experienced truly extraordinary answers to very specific prayer that are inexplicable apart from the supernatural move of God in answer to my persistent requests. But God is not at my beck and call. Not all prayers are answered the way I would like. As Jesus submitted to the Father's will in Gethsemane, there is genuine peace in truly being able to submit to His will when sometimes the answer is "no".

Through the years, I have become convinced that prayer offered in faith truly affects the way God acts (in a sense). William Lane Craig elaborates on this point ...

We should not think of prayer as changing God’s mind or changing events. God knows from eternity everything that will transpire in time, so that prayers do not literally change anything. For God’s foreknowledge already takes our prayers into account. God’s foreknowledge is chronologically prior to the prayers we offer, but the prayers are logically prior to what God foreknows. If we were to pray differently or fail to pray, God would not be caught by surprise but have already factored that into His providential plan.

So then how do our prayers make a difference if they do not change things? Precisely by being factored by God into which world He has chosen to create! Were we not to pray, then perhaps God would not have done such-and-such. Because God knew that you would pray for a certain thing, God has so arranged the world that that thing happens. Had you not prayed, God would have created a different world instead.

Reflect on that jaw-dropping consequence for a while - your prayers can truly impact what happens in creation. Surely this is also part of what it means to be made in the image of God. God does bring about remarkable changes in the world in response to prayer, as Scripture repeatedly teaches that He does. If we really believe this, the natural consequence is to pray much more. Someone who prays little probably does not really believe that prayer accomplishes much at all.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Why do Western women join the Islamic State?

The Christian Science Monitor has an article here pondering why western women choose to join the Islamic State.

In slowly growing global numbers, women and girls are choosing to abandon western “luxuries and freedoms” in exchange for becoming wives, mothers, and Internet recruiters for the terrorist group, reports The Christian Science Monitor. It appears that the number of men leaving Europe and the US for Syria is “continuing at a steady plateau,” yet “the number of Western women headed to Syria has grown exponentially within the past year,” according to The Monitor, which notes that of the 4,500 foreign fighters believed to have joined IS by early 2015, about 550 of them were women.

[Women and girls] aren’t just fulfilling what they see as a religious duty. Their motives also reflect a counterculture revolt among Muslim women and girls who refuse to live as second-class citizens in the west, researchers say. For them, it is suddenly both dangerous and cool to be a particular kind of Muslim. And that attraction can be irresistible, researchers say. 

“We do see a snowball effect,” [Erin Saltman, a researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) in London] says. “It is almost like a subculture punk movement. It is secretive. It is empowering. It is against tradition and norms. So you can see a bit of youth counterculture involved in this.”

“They are not ignorant of the brutality and violence. They have also been radicalized to really believe that there is an in-group of the pure good individuals and there is an out-group who are evil, and you dehumanize the outgroup,” Saltman says.


Given the origins of ISIS, there is little doubt that demonic involvement is also a factor in deceiving women to join. It is only when they are ensnared in the spider's web and it is too late to escape, that the blinders come off and they experience the horrific, true nature of the evil inherent in the Islamic State.

Evangelicals who support gay marriage are not "intellectually honest"

Evangelicals who support gay marriage are not "intellectually honest" and are unfaithful to the biblical teachings on sexuality and marriage, Family Research Council Senior Vice President Rob Schwarzwalder said Tuesday. As I reported earlier here, the 2,800-member Evangelical Theological Society, a prominent group of leading Evangelical scholars, theologians and professors, adopted four resolutions last week at its annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, which affirm the Bible's teaching on marriage and sexuality. Schwarzwalder, one of the co-drafters of the resolutions, told The Christian Post that although the ETS very seldom adopts resolutions, the resolutions were passed in an attempt to debunk the mainstream media's notion that there's a divide amongst Evangelicals on gay marriage and sexual morality. The resolutions only affirm what orthodox Christians have historically understood about marriage and human sexuality.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Girls Who Fled To Syria: Groomed By The Islamic State


Tragically, one of the Islamic State group’s “poster girls” (an Austrian teenager) who was lured into Syria, was allegedly killed after trying to flee. Samra Kesinovic, 17, left Vienna in April 2014 to join the Sunni terror group with her 16-year-old friend Sabina Selimovic. Both were featured in propaganda videos from Raqqa, Syria, until Selimovic died in the war zone, the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, or CTED, reported last December. Local Austrian papers reported that Kesinovic, who married an ISIS fighter, was killed trying to escape Raqqa, the Telegraph reported Tuesday.

She realized too late, that the Islamic paradise she was promised and naively believed existed, was in reality "hell on earth".

Story is here.

The Last Antibiotic Begins to Fail

National Geographic has a blog here warning the last effective antibiotic is now beginning to fail.

The rapid dissemination of previous resistance mechanisms (eg, NDM-1) indicates that, with the advent of transmissible colistin resistance, progression of Enterobacteriaceae from extensive drug resistance to pan-drug resistance is inevitable and will ultimately become global. “Pan-drug resistance,” to be clear, means that nothing at all will work—that infections are untreatable by any known compound.


Decades ago, it was unthinkable that fatal epidemic diseases could ravage the world again with the emergence of modern, powerful pharmaceutical drugs. Now, antiobiotics are losing their effectiveness after years of overuse and misuse.

There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ravi Zacharias - Is Paris Burning?

Ravi Zacharias argues the West is under assault by a resurgence of Islamic fervor across the globe and while responding to individual attacks by separate groups, refuses to acknowledge and engage in the wider battle. Pulling no punches, he charges that the free world is being lied to by their politicians and most of the media.

The layers that obscure the truth are burying humanity in large numbers. Yes, Paris was burning again and those flames and the dead bodies may well be a grim foreshadowing of what the future holds.

..... This is twenty-first century murderous man. War in small increments can be deadlier than large scale war because it doesn’t just desensitize the killers; it desensitizes all of humanity.

... The West is being taken down in small portions till one day the lie of the murderers being protected by smooth-talking power brokers with a bodyguard of lies will be seen for the terrifying belief that it is. No contrary view will be allowed then. For now, the layers of distortion cover the graves of the murdered. The whole world has become a courtroom where clever lawyers make truth unattainable. Whether it be 9/11 or the carnage at the Boston Marathon or blown-up planes or Paris, we will not find answers because to ask the question is either to receive a lie from some politicians or many in the media, or to invoke the wrath of hate-filled killers.

... It is death to ask the pointed question because the answer, if true, betrays the real truth. The masquerade is on and it is deadly. We watch hundreds die. We hear speeches full of distortions; we tolerate deceit and even reward it. Some in power and in the public eye whitewash the reality while the blood of the murdered cries out from the ground. Our children and grandchildren will inherit the whirlwind because our media pundits and misguided speech-makers have sown to the wind by trading in lives for their power.

... Only when we as individuals see the evil that is within will we find an answer for the evil that is around us. Maybe, just maybe, someday a carnage will take place that might cause everyone in power to see their own hearts as God sees them and tell us the truth of what these killings are all about. Only then will truth triumph and we find real answers. Until then, the flames will gain ground and not just Paris will burn, but the next story of scorched lives in another city will make us forget this one… or possibly, awaken us to the cost of a lie. More than ever we need the Savior. 

Editorial is here. It is must-reading in entirety.

The Spread of the Caliphate: The Islamic State

(Warning:  Viewer Discretion Is Advised)

The Spread of the Caliphate: The Islamic State (Part 1):

Grooming Children for Jihad: The Islamic State (Part 2):

Enforcing Sharia in Raqqa: The Islamic State (Part 3):

Christians in the Caliphate: The Islamic State (Part 4):

Bulldozing the Border Between Iraq and Syria: The Islamic State (Part 5):

Ask The Citizens of Paris

San Francisco’s armed criminals can rejoice. The last gun store in the city closed at the end of October, 2015. High Bridge Arms manager Steve Alcairo told Time magazine that he can no longer put up with the city’s anti-gun atmosphere and endless piles of paperwork required by the San Francisco Police Department, state Department of Justice and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The government doesn't have to outlaw guns to strip citizens of their 2nd Amendment rights. They need only follow San Francisco's example and make the process of legally securing ownership of one so prohibitively encumbered with red tape and bureaucracy that law-abiding citizens resignedly give up their constitutional right to own one.

Of course that doesn't stop criminals from acquiring weapons.

Inside the city limits of Chicago, not a single gun shop can be found — they’ve been outlawed. With nearly 3 million residents, Chicago has the most stringent gun laws in the nation. Gun laws were so strict, that the US Supreme Court intervened in 2010 (to no effect.) How effective have the draconian laws been in Chicago? Gun violence in Chicago over the summer reached near war zone proportions in early July with 82 people being shot between 4 p.m. Thursday and 3:30 a.m. Monday morning. 15 of these shootings were fatal. Tragically, even a 7-year-old child’s life was taken by one of these bullets.

According to data from the FBI’s uniform crime reports, California had the highest number of gun murders in 2011 with 1,220 — which makes up 68 percent of all murders in the state that year and equates to 3.25 murders per 100,000 people. The irony of such a grisly distinction is evident when you look at which state was named the state with the strongest gun control laws in 2011 by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. You guessed it — it was California.

If you look at the data another way — murders per 100,000 people — another gun control haven tops the list. The FBI data also notes that Washington, D.C. had the highest murder rate per 100,000 people. The nation’s capital saw 12 gun murders per 100,000 in 2011. DC also finished first in gun-related robberies per 100,000 people – with 242.56. Washington, D.C. has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. And yet again, the gun murder rate remains dramatically high, the highest in the United States in fact. With matchless hypocrisy, Cathy Lanier  (the Chief of Police for Washington D.C.) commented Sunday night on 60 Minutes:

“If you're in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it's the best option for saving lives before police can get there"

By her own account, a prospective victim's best chance in a mass shooting (or to save lives) might be to have a gun. But despite her call on Sunday night for civilians to “take the gunman down” in a mass shooting scenario, Washington DC’s chief of police has approved just 48 concealed carry licenses in the past year and nearly 80 percent of all applicants have been rejected. (Needless to say, criminals are not handicapped by her policies, only law-abiding citizens.)

On the other side of the fence, in 2011 Utah was the state that the Brady Campaign determined had the least gun control and experienced just 26 gun murders and a firearms murder rate of 0.97.

In Switzerland, almost every adult male is legally required to possess a gun. (Like America, Switzerland won its independence in a revolutionary war fought by an armed citizenry. From the very first years of Swiss independence, the Swiss were commanded to keep and bear arms.) One of the few nations with a higher per capita rate of gun ownership than the United States, Switzerland has virtually no gun crime. It is what is inside the heart that precipitates murder, not the gun.

A society without guns sounds great; in a perfect utopian world, it would be not be necessary to need a gun. However, we do not live in utopia. We live in a fallen world where violence, death, and destruction are commonplace and preying on the innocent is increasingly a way of life for many.

Ask the citizens of Paris.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Watch The Religious Ad That British Movie Theaters Banned

British movie theaters banned an advertisement featuring the Lord’s Prayer, because it was too offensive. Digital Cinema Media, a group that runs 80 percent of movie theater advertisements in Britain, has stated that they will not run the 60-second ad because they have a policy of not screening ads with political or religious messages in case they offend people.

The New Official Mental Disorder - Believing Homosexuality Is Wrong

If you think there might be something wrong with homosexuality, you most likely have a mental disorder, according to a recent study by a team of Italian researchers.

Discussing the study, lead researcher Emmanuele A. Jannini, M.D., stated: “After discussing for centuries if homosexuality is to be considered a disease, for the first time we demonstrated that the real disease to be cured is homophobia, associated with potentially severe psychopathologies.”

That’s right. The research team specifically found that “psychoticism,” “immature defense mechanisms” and a “fearful attachment style” were associated with a greater “homophobic” attitude in individuals. Award-winning journalist and author David Kupelian was not surprised by this new study, because he predicted exactly such developments in his latest book.

“In ‘The Snapping of the American Mind,’ I predicted that the current obsession of the loony left – which dominates the social sciences – with pathologizing conservatives and Christians as ‘disordered’ would only accelerate,” Kupelian said. “A generation ago, people who engaged in homosexual acts were considered ‘disordered’ by the psychiatric and psychological professions. Today, simply recognizing homosexuality as disordered makes you disordered!”

... “In the Soviet Union, far-left ideology and a powerful impulse to silence dissent led to ‘diagnosing’ the most normal, clear-thinking and courageous people – ‘dissidents’ like Natan Sharansky – and incarcerating them in mental hospitals,” Kupelian explained.

“We’re not there yet in the U.S., but just ask yourself this: How different is it for the crazy left to label conservatives and Christians ‘haters,’ ‘bigots’ and ‘extremists’ – even potential ‘domestic terrorists’ – as they routinely do today, and labeling the same people as mentally ill? That day may be closer than anybody thinks.”

Story is here.

Abortionist Publicly Prays, Calling Evil As Good & Vice Versa

An abortionist recently stopped to say a prayer next to a poster providing an image of an aborted baby, claiming that God’s hand is upon her, while conversely, pro-lifers are prideful and unChrist-like. 

The incident occurred outside of the Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton as the North American Forum on Family Planning was underway. Members of the Pro-Life Action League stood outside of the event holding signs, including a sign being held by Director Joe Scheidler that provided a photograph of a child known as “baby Malachi,” who was dismembered at 21 weeks gestation.

“My dear Heavenly Father, I’m grateful today to be here at this wonderful meeting,” the woman, wearing a Planned Parenthood sticker on her jacket, says as she approaches and stands next to the photograph. “And I wanted to express to You the gratitude and humility that I feel as an abortionist.”
“I can imagine no person who is in greater need of Christ-like love and excellent medical care than a woman who is faced with an untenable pregnancy,” she continues. “And I am grateful every day to feel Thy Spirit and Thy guiding hand in my work as I speak to women of all faiths and all creeds.”

The abortionist then asks that she not consider any mother as wrongful for seeking an abortion.
“I just want to pray to continue to have the humility to accept that I am incapable of knowing anyone else’s heart and mind, and my role as my human being is not to judge others, but to give them care and compassion when I can know nothing of their heart,” she prays, “and leave the judgment to You, to Thy divine wisdom and omnipotence, and just provide them the love of Christ that we all need and deserve.”

The woman continues by characterizing pro-lifers as prideful and hard-hearted.

Story is here.


Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isa 5:20)

Evangelical Theological Society Affirms Biblical Sexuality

Amidst widespread cultural shifts on sexual norms that have affected Christian churches and leaders, the Evangelical Theological Society (web site is here) adopted four resolutions affirming the biblical teaching on human sexuality. The gathering, which works to advance Evangelical thought within Christian and religious scholarship, held 67th annual meeting this past week in Atlanta, Georgia. The theme of the 67th annual meeting of the society was "Marriage and Family."

Below are the four resolutions adopted by ETS in 2015:

  1. We affirm that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess inherent dignity and worth.
  2. We affirm that marriage is the covenantal union of one man and one woman, for life.
  3. We affirm that Scripture teaches that sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage as defined above. This excludes all other forms of sexual intimacy.
  4. We affirm that God created men and women, imbued with the distinct traits of manhood and womanhood, and that each is an unchangeable gift of God that constitutes personal identity.

"At a time when some advocates of court created same-sex marriage and the conflation of genders are claiming there is a shift in the Evangelical community concerning these matters, today's vote in favor of affirming Scripture is a distinct refutation of their assertion," said Schwarzwalder.

Schwarzwalder added that those who claim to be under the banner of Evangelicalism who have departed biblical teachings on human sexuality must "reconsider their allegiance to Scripture's teaching."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Lebanese Woman Recounts What Islamists Did To Her Country

There are more than 80 radical mosques in the U.S.

There are more than 80 radical mosques in the U.S., according to the Clarion Project (web site is here), a non-profit group that describes itself as “dedicated to exposing the dangers of Islamist extremism.” Using Clarion’s definitions, The Daily Caller News Foundation has mapped these radical mosques here in an effort to aid readers seeking to understand the extent of radical Islamic voices in this country.

“Islamist extremists have developed a sophisticated network of interconnected organizations across America,” according to Clarion. “The common thread among these organizations is their ideology of political Islam, which aspires to implement Shariah governance and to establish a global Islamic caliphate.”

Several mosques on the Clarion Project’s list stand out.

  • Dar al-Hijrah, located just outside Washington in Falls Chruch, Virginia, for example, was the place of worship for two of the 9/11 hijakers. This mosque’s present Imam, Shaker Elsayed, described Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna’s teachings as “the closest reflection of how Islam should be in this life.” The Brotherhood “seeks to implement Sharia-based governance globally,” according to the Clarion Project.
  • Multiple terrorists have come from the Islamic Society of Boston, including the Boston Bombers and al-Qaeda terrorists Aafia Siddiqui, Tarek Mehanna and Ahmad Abousamra.
  • The Islamic Center of Tucson was “basically the first cell of al-Qaeda in the United States,” terrorism expert Rita Katz told The Washington Post in 2002. “At least a dozen terror-linked individuals have been tied to the” center, according to the Clarion Project.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

A Columbia University student has been so "traumatized" by racially stressful classes (that study historical white people) that she will graduate two years late in 2016 instead of 2014. Nissy Aya was a panelist during the university’s “Race, Ethnicity, and University Life” discussion where she told attendees she should would not be able to graduate in four years because learning about white historical figures and characters has been too psychologically taxing.

“It’s traumatizing to sit in core classes,” Aya said, the Columbia Spectator reported Thursday. “We are looking at history through the lens of these powerful, white men. I have no power or agency as a black woman, so where do I fit in?”

Story is here.

Obviously, the entire faculty of Columbia University must be required to undergo indoctrination with "Microinequities" diversity training (see here).

Given our culture's snowballing insanity, barring national repentance and the emergence of a Josiah-like leader, we are on track to one-day equal the madness of North Korea ...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Truth Decay

Lecture entitled "Truth Decay" by Dr. Doug Groothuis, Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Denver Seminary. It's must-watching.

Part 1

Part 2

MicroInequities - Political Correctness Run Amuck

Coming soon to your workplace, school, and maybe even eventually your church - "MicroInequities".

MicroInequities™” training is a politically-correct seminar designed to expose “hidden barriers to success; the subtle, usually subconscious messages we all send that devalue, discourage and ultimately impair performance in the workplace.” It also claims that “we send between 2,000 and 4,000 positive and negative micromessages each day” and that they “have a powerful influence on driving the behavior of all those with whom we interact.” The MicroInequities document is here.

Intel ealier this week asked its employees – all of them – to attend diversity training workshops. In an email to employees, Intel CIO manager Andy Robbins said:

Some of you might already be familiar with the MicroInequities™ training offering that was first rolled out about ten years ago at Intel. This training will help inform, educate and inspire all of us to role model behaviors that make us all feel a strong sense of connection and belonging within the IT organization.

My ask of you is to take this training before the end of 2016 and join your peers in creating our best possible work environment. Classes are available now and will be supplemented with IT Intact training classes in 2016. In addition to MicroInequities™, Global Leadership and Learning (GLL) will be launching a new program called GROW that provides complimentary skills. Expect to see more information about GROW in early December.

HBO’s comedic take on tech culture, Silicon Valley recently poked fun the tech industry’s obsession with “microaggressions,” with a parody anti-harassment policy that promised to ban “microaggressions, nanoaggresions, picoaggressions, yoctoaggressions and all such oppression “particles,” if you will, down to the quantum level.”

This would be funny ... except it's all too increasingly real as political correctness runs amuck, making everyone paranoid, fostering imaginary victimhood, and turning the most-privileged culture in the world's history into a bunch of spoiled, immature whiners.

Undoubtedly, the Bible will be increasingly marginalized because of the vast number of politically-incorrect verses found therein. Tragically, an increasing number of pulpits appear to be ignoring those "insensitive" verses. Several years ago (2007), Curtis Dahlgren wrote here on the top politically-incorrect verses found in Scripture. He is absolutely correct in his assertion and observation,

... the most politically incorrect verse in the Bible is:

"The heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" — Jeremiah 17:9

This was the reason our Founding Fathers worked so hard to create the principles of checks and balances on government, and in fact they did NOT keep God hidden from the public square. Their biggest fear was an "ungodly" society.

And the ungodly psycho-babble of the secularists does not agree with the Founders. "Guilt" and the need for the redemption of man is now "out of style," and self-esteem (and relativism) are "IN"!

When deceit and self-esteem "rule," the inability to blush becomes the rule more than the exception. As evidence, I give you our pop culture — and the terrorists' culture of death, both of which confirm Jeremiah's words.


By nature, truth is often necessarily offensive. The degree to which Scripture is marked as "hate speech" and disappears from the public square is directly proportional to the darkness enveloping the culture.

Friday, November 20, 2015

"We have to choose one or the other"

(Years ago, my eldest daughter was away from home in Bible college. On one of her trips home, we were discussing the school and how much she liked it. I asked where she attended Sunday church and her answer was in the small town adjacent to the school. She mentioned that she liked to attend the Sunday School with the"really old" ladies. Perplexed, I asked my 20-year old daughter why she preferred that particular class. Her answer? "Because there is so much wisdom there.")


Rachel Gross writes here on the apparent fact that evolution is finally winning out over creationism. A majority of young people apparently now endorse the scientific explanation of how humans evolved.

National polls show that creationism is beginning to falter, and Americans are finally starting to move in favor of evolution. After decades of legal battles, resistance to science education, and a deeply rooted cultural divide, evolution may be poised to win out once and for all.

The people responsible for this shift are the young. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, 73 percent of American adults younger than 30 expressed some sort of belief in evolution, a jump from 61 percent in 2009, the first year in which the question was asked. The number who believed in purely secular evolution (that is, not directed by any divine power) jumped from 40 percent to a majority of 51 percent. In other words, if you ask a younger American how humans arose, you’re likely to get an answer that has nothing to do with God.

By and large, they’re older Americans. About 34 percent of Americans 50 to 64 years old believe in creationism. For Americans older than 65, it’s 37 percent. From the perspective of people who endorse evolution, that’s a good thing—because, not to be insensitive, but old people die. When these elderly creationists shed their mortal coil, they will be replaced by that younger generation consisting increasingly of nones. The result: a steady phasing out of those who oppose evolution.

The gay rights movement had a word for this: generational momentum. “Which is a polite word for death,” says Evan Wolfson, the president and main architect behind Freedom to Marry. “That was our secret weapon: Old people die.”

This phenomena (of the older people being more faithful to Biblical truth) does not extend only to evolution. It appears to be across the board. In my experience, younger Christians seem much more accepting of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Not every child who starts out in church stays in church; in fact, many young people are falling away from the faith and walking away from the church as they grow older. A recent survey conducted by the Barna Group found that less than an astonishing 1% of the young adult population in the United States has a biblical worldview. Even more startling, the data shows that less than one half of one percent of Christians between the ages of 18 and 23 has a biblical worldview.

The Barna Group defines a biblical worldview as belief in the following:

  • absolute moral truth exists
  • the Bible is completely inerrant
  • Satan is a real being, not symbolic
  • a person cannot earn his way into the kingdom of God though good works
  • Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth
  • God is the supreme Creator of the heavens and the earth and reigns over the whole universe today

Yet another study by Fuller Seminary looked at why young people are falling away from the faith, and determined that the most important factor in whether young people leave the church or remain steadfast in their faith is whether they have a safe haven to express their doubts and concerns regarding their faith before leaving home. Such a refuge is found in two places: their home and their church youth ministry. Unfortunately, the Fuller study also found that most church youth programs tend to focus on providing entertainment and pizza rather than building up young people in their faith. As a result, teens are ill-equipped to face the challenges they will encounter upon leaving home. It’s no wonder that some young people fall away from the faith, if they were never grounded in the faith to begin with.

Two studies conducted by both the Barna Group and USA Today found that nearly 75 percent of Christian young people fall away from the faith and leave the church after high school. One of the key reasons they do so is intellectual skepticism. But how many of these youth were actually taught the Bible in their homes or in church? Statistics show that children today spend an average of 30 hours per week in school where they are often taught ideas that are diametrically opposed to biblical truths, e.g., evolution, the acceptance of homosexuality, etc. Then they come home to another 30 hours per week spent in front of a television set bombarded by commercials and sitcoms, playing video games, or connecting on social media. This is in contrast to the time spent weekly in the church classroom: 45 minutes. Given the amount of exposure to worldly influences versus Bible training, it’s understandable why young people leave the home without a Christian worldview and why many are falling away from the faith. Not only are most youth not being well-grounded in the faith, but they’re also not being taught to intelligently examine the views of skeptics who will inevitably challenge their faith. Most of these students are not prepared to enter the college classroom where more than half of all college professors view Christians with hostility and take every opportunity to belittle them and their faith.

A key factor in keeping young people from falling away from their faith is the influence of their parents. It’s as the Proverb says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). One particular study found that when both parents were faithful and active in the church, 93 percent of their children remained faithful. When just one parent was faithful, 73 percent of their children remained faithful. When neither parent was particularly active in church, only 53 percent of their children stayed faithful. In those instances where neither parent was active at all and only attended church now and then, the percentage dropped to a mere 6 percent.

There are many competing beliefs in the marketplace of ideas. Relativism and skepticism are commonly seen as “enlightened” positions in our society. Christian parents must train their children in God’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:6–9). Teenagers should be able to walk away from the home without falling away from the faith. They must be fully trained in how to respond to their unsaved friends. They should be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within them (1 Peter 3:15).

The fact that so many young people are falling away from their faith should concern every Christian family and church. It’s not enough to blame the secularization of society or the increased biblical illiteracy of the world in general. If the world is biblically illiterate, then the church is partly to blame, since the church is to be “declar[ing] the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Churches need to take a hard look their youth programs. Instead of entertaining youth with skits, bands, and movies, we should focus on teaching them Scripture with logic, truth, and a Christian worldview. Frank Turek, a Christian author and lecturer on apologetics, addresses the problem of youth falling away from the faith this way: “What we win them with we win them to. If we win them with entertainment and low commitment, we win them to entertainment and low commitment. Charles Spurgeon was way ahead of his time when he implored the church to start ‘feeding the sheep rather than amusing the goats’”.

In my experience, Christians that reject the Biblical doctrine of special creation, undermine their ideology and it is just a matter of time before devastating cracks appear in the rest of their worldview. Older people are the ones most likely to believe in special creation. As theologian Wayne Grudem forcefully argues here,

Christians cannot accept modern evolutionary theory without also compromising essential teachings of the Bible.

... Evolution is secular culture’s grand explanation, the overriding ‘meta-narrative’ that sinners
accept with joy because it allows them to explain life without reference to God, with no
accountability to any Creator, no moral standards to restrain their sin, ‘no fear of God before
their eyes’ (Rom. 3:18) – and now theistic evolutionists tell us that Christians can just surrender to this massive attack on the Christian faith and safely, inoffensively, tack on God, not as the omnipotent God who in his infinite wisdom directly created all living things, but as the invisible deity who makes absolutely no detectable difference in nature of living beings as they exist today. It will not take long for unbelievers to dismiss the idea of such a God who makes no difference at all. To put it in terms of an equation, when atheists assure us that matter + evolution + 0 = all living things, and then theistic evolutionists answer, no, that matter + evolution + God = all living things, it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0. 

I was previously aware that theistic evolution had serious difficulties, but I am now more firmly convinced than ever that it is impossible to believe consistently in both the truthfulness of the Bible and Darwinian evolution. We have to choose one or the other. 

It is becoming more and more crucial that older Christians stay active and involved in the lives of younger ones. Churches that have few elder believers (or none) are absent an important steadying influence. Christians that don't experience the regular impact of elder, mature believers in their lives are much more susceptible to being led astray.

British Convert from Islam to Christianity brutally beaten and hospitalized

Nissar Hussain, a British man of Pakistani descent who converted from Islam to Christianity, was brutally beaten outside his home in Bradford on Tuesday (17 November) and left with multiple fractures and severe bruising. The two attackers, their faces concealed, were waiting in a car outside Mr Hussain’s home, and jumped out just as he left his house to move his car. They knocked him over with the shaft of a pickaxe and savagely beat him while he was on the ground.

.... In all of this, he has been betrayed time and again by those who are there to protect. Police, church leaders and political authorities have rigidly refused to concede that it is his status as a convert from Islam that has made him a target in the eyes of the Muslim community. Apparently none of them wanted to compromise their relationship with Muslims.

For over 20 years, Mr Hussain has complained to police about the persistent persecution that he, his wife, and their six children have endured ever since coming to faith in the Lord in 1996. Yet the barrage of attacks has continued unabated. They have made their plight known to church leaders and political authorities, but to little effect.

Then, two weeks ago, a group of young people huddled across the street from the house where the family live, hurled a lit firework rocket at the window of his child’s bedroom and pelted the house with eggs. The incident was caught on CCTV and was featured on the ITV local TV channel. At last, people began to take notice. I had already advised him to move house to a safe part of the country, because his life and his family’s lives could be at risk.

Story is here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Distinctions Between Strong And Weak Churches

Over the past 4 decades, my work has taken me into various countries and across cultures. I've had the privilege of worshipping in churches across the denominational spectrum: independent, denominational, charismatic & non-charismatic, evangelical, reformed, arminian, conservative & liberal. I've communed with Roman Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox believers. I've been in churches of all three governmental types: congregational, episcopal, and presbyterian. I've recited the Apostles's Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Creed of Chalcedon, and the Athanasian Creed as well as participate in fellowships that refused to recognize any creed other than Scripture (Sola Scriptura does not mean Scripture is the only source of truth as I pointed out here.) I've shared the Lord's Supper with tiny house churches in countries virulently hostile to the gospel as well as in megachurches in other countries that would be considered small cities in some places in the world. I've been in churches that use state-of-the-art technology to communicate the gospel and others that would be at home in the 1st century.

Some churches were good and some were bad. Some were strong witnesses despite being small, while others were dying despite being large and wealthy. Some were worldly and some were heavenly. Some were carnal and some were spiritual. Some were strong doctrinally and some were weak. Some worshipped in the flesh and some worshipped in spirit and truth. Some had their treasure in Heaven and others chose to store up on Earth. Some were legalistic, some were gracious and some didn't care.

Having fellowshipped in multiple churches embedded in various cultures over the past 4 decades, I've drawn some conclusions on the distinctions between strong churches and weak churches:
  • Strong churches depend on truth and the Holy Spirit to move hearts. Weak churches depend on lights, sound and motivational discourse from the pulpit.
  • For those with plurality rule, strong churches tend to have mature (respected) senior elders who have been in the faith for decades. Weak churches tend to have young (popular) elders that are relatively new to the faith.
  • Strong churches are not afraid to take unpopular stands for truth at the cost of losing members. Weak churches tend to be silent on controversial issues for fear of offending anyone.
  • Size is no guarantee of faithfulness or effectiveness. Effective churches that bear witness, evangelize and care for the poor can be anything from a house-church to a mega-church.
  • Doctrinally strong churches tend to have leaders with formal theological training. Weak churches tend to be the opposite.
  • Strong pastors are quick to recognize spiritual gifts in the congregation and empower recipients to use them. Weak pastors tend to feel threatened by the emergence of strong spiritual gifts in the fellowship.
  • Strong pastors delegate while weak pastors consolidate all decision-making and authority.
  • Strong pastors graciously confront when necessary; weak pastors avoid confrontation.
  • Strong pastors boldly challenge the congregation; weak pastors allow them to "take it or leave it".
  • Strong pastors take their cue from Christ; weak ones take their cue from the most popular, high-publicity pastors in the culture's church-at-large.
  • In their private time, strong pastors regularly read ancient, proven theologians in addition to good contemporary ones. Weak pastors focus on contemporary authors from the "10 Best Seller" list.
  • Strong pastors teach using two different methods from the pulpit - (1) systematic theology and (2) exegesis through an entire book. Weak pastors use the Nielson ratings to ascertain sermon content.
  • Strong churches walk the fine line between making unbelievers and seekers feel welcome and not being seduced by the culture's current fads. Out of the fear of ostracizing visitors, weak churches don't see any need for caution.
  • Strong churches effectively and selectively embrace the good things espoused in the culture to remain relevant. Weak churches tend to become so much like the culture that there is little difference.
  • Strong churches are an agent for change within the culture while weak churches mirror the culture.
  • Unbelievers tend to be convicted in strong churches but usually feel "at home" and comfortable in weak churches.
  • Strong churches tend to have formal, published doctrinal positions; weak churches don't.
  • Strong churches view Scripture as an overarching guide for faith and life and tend to interpret literally, historically, grammatically, and contextually. Weak churches tend to understand Scripture as a giant metaphor and view it more as a suggestion than mandate.
  • Strong churches embrace the whole of Scripture, even those passages they may find troubling. Weak churches pick and choose.
  • Strong churches appropriate their empowerment from Christ to effectively engage in spiritual warfare. Weak churches ignore the subject altogether as the superstitious relic of a bygone era.
  • Strong churches invest considerable time and effort into formally instructing new converts in the Essentials of the Faith (as I noted here, the early church spent 3 years formally training new converts!) Weak churches welcome them into the fold with little more than a handshake and hug.
  • Strong churches effectively and graciously exercise church discipline when appropriate while weak churches don't want to alienate anyone and use hyper-grace to excuse willful, persistent sin.
  • Strong churches emphasize repentance as the door to freedom while weak churches almost never use the word.
  • Strong churches sound clear calls for a commitment decision for Christ while weak churches are nebulous.
  • Strong churches embrace death; weak churches ignore it.
  • Strong churches emphasize love with progressive sanctification; weak churches just emphasize generic love.
  • Strong churches are increasingly holy; weak churches tend to become desensitized to sin.
  • Strong churches offer simple, bold, heart-felt and specific collective prayers; weak churches offer touchy-feely, "majestic" generic prayers.
  • Strong churches tend to emphasize the true cost of discipleship while weak churches tend to emphasize the benefits.
  • Strong churches focus on the quality of disciples; weak churches focus on the quantity of disciples.
  • Small groups in strong churches emphasize Bible study and relationships. Small groups in weak churches accentuate social time and potlucks.
  • Strong churches emphasize serving while weak churches highlight receiving.
  • Strong churches get their hands & feet dirty while weak churches live in an antiseptic "bubble".
  • Congregations of strong churches tend to be a true cross section of society including the poor, unwanted and undesirable. Those from weak churches tend to concentrate on one specific subgroup of the culture (usually Yuppies.)
  • Worship in a strong church, even a large one with very talented worship leaders and musicians, elicits spontaneous & heartfelt worship. Worship in weak churches, while it may be extraordinarily talented, feels more like a contemporary Christian music concert.
  • Strong churches are not afraid to air dirty laundry when necessary for the health of the congregation. Weak churches pretend all is well.

Lions Led By Donkeys

David French hits it our of the ball park with his timely editorial here entitled "America’s Brave Soldiers: Lions Led by Donkeys". It's worth reading in entirety.

In 14 years of continual combat, has there ever been a greater disconnect between our warrior class and the civilians who purport to lead them? American politicians still don’t understand our enemy, still don’t understand the capabilities and limitations of the American military, and — worst of all — they still seem unwilling to learn. They come from an intellectual aristocracy that believes itself educated simply because it’s credentialed — and they tend to listen only to those who share similar credentials. They’ve built a bubble of impenetrable ignorance, and they govern accordingly.

... But the politicized Pentagon bears its own share of the blame — beginning with a politically correct culture where discrimination complaints are more harmful to careers than battlefield failures. Yale- and Oxford-educated Ash Carter is no doubt intelligent (he has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics) and may be an upgrade over Chuck Hagel, but he has exactly as much experience in uniform as the commander-in-chief. On his watch, the Pentagon has maintained rules of engagement that have so dramatically hampered American forces in the field that terrorists routinely and easily find safe haven from the world’s most capable military.

... I do not believe that military service is a prerequisite for the presidency, but lack of service — especially lack of service since 9/11 — should lead to a degree of humility and openness to counsel that our political aristocracy self-evidently doesn’t possess. I know their world. I’ve lived in their world. This is a political class that reflexively distrusts the military, believes the right kind of experience can be gained by attending panel discussions from Boston to Geneva to Istanbul, and claims to gain on-the-ground insight from quick, guided tours of the safest sectors of Iraq and Afghanistan. They know nothing. Worse, they learn nothing.

"They went from singing about the Devil to meeting the Devil face to face"

It's significant that the California-based band Eagles of Death Metal was playing their song “Kiss the Devil” at the moment that three terrorists stormed a Paris theater Friday and began opening fire, reports state.

“Who’ll love the devil? Who’ll sing his song?” the song’s lyrics ask. “Who will kiss the devil on his tongue?”

“The atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling,” survivor Isobel Bowdery wrote on social media. “And then when the men came through the front entrance and began the shooting, we naively believed it was all part of the show.  It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre. Dozens of people were shot right in front of me. … Cries of grown men who held their girlfriend’s dead bodies pierced the small music venue,” she continued. “[A]cts like this are suppose to highlight the depravity of humans and the images of those men circling us like vultures will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Blogger and street preacher Goeffry Grider commented on the matter on Monday, expressing concern about the eternal destiny of those who were singing and dancing to “Kiss the Devil” moments before they lost their lives.

“It is safe to say that there were just about no Christians at the concert that night, that the vast majority of those people were lost, unsaved people,” he wrote. “As those people bled and died on the dance floor of the death metal concert, they went from singing about the Devil to meeting the Devil face to face. Hell is no joke, it is absolutely not a party, and you do not have to end up there.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"The Peaceful Majority Was Irrelevant"

A CNS News panel was asked by an American Muslim why the Western media shows the bad part of the Islam, The superb answer unveils the truth. Outstanding video.

Are Christians Responsible For Most Wars?

The thesis that religion is the primary cause of war is a myth unsupported by history.  Atheists and secular humanists often claim that religion is the #1 cause of violence and war throughout the history of mankind.  For example, Sam Harris claims in his book "The End of Faith" that faith and religion are “the most prolific source of violence in our history.”

An interesting source of truth on the matter is Philip and Axelrod’s three-volume "Encyclopedia of Wars", which chronicles some 1,763 wars that have been waged over the course of human history. Of those wars, the authors categorize 123 as being religious in nature, which is an astonishingly low 6.98% of all wars. However, when one subtracts out those waged in the name of Islam (66), the percentage is cut by more than half to 3.23%.

That means that all faiths combined – minus Islam – caused less than 4% of all of humanity’s wars and violent conflicts. Further, they played no motivating role in the major wars that have resulted in the most loss of life.

The fact is that non-religious motivations and naturalistic philosophies are to blame for nearly all of mankind's wars. Lives lost during religious conflict pales in comparison to those experienced during the regimes who wanted nothing to do with the idea of God – as evidenced in R. J. Rummel’s work "Lethal Politics and Death by Government" where he provides the following statistics for the 20th century:

Lives Lost Under Non-Religious Dictators:
  • Joseph Stalin - 42,672,000
  • Mao Zedong - 37,828,000
  • Adolf Hitler - 20,946,000
  • Chiang Kai-shek - 10,214,000
  • Vladimir Lenin - 4,017,000
  • Hideki Tojo - 3,990,000
  • Pol Pot - 2,397,0003
Rummel goes on to note that “Almost 170 million men, women and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed or killed in any other of a myriad of ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners. The dead could conceivably be nearly 360 million people. It is as though our species has been devastated by a modern Black Plague. And indeed it has, but a plague of Power, not germs.”

The historical evidence is clear that religion is not the #1 cause of war.

At the same time, we must acknowledge that religion has at times been a cause or significant factor in war. The best contemporary example of course is Islam. But we must also be careful to distinguish between Christianity and Islam with the stark distinctions between Christ and Muhammad, as well as the Bible and the Qur’an on the subject of violence.  One promotes peace and discourages violence; the other mandates violence.

It's significant to note the New Testament itself does not condemn the vocation of a soldier if his duty is performed in a responsible and lawful fashion (i.e., Matthew 8.5, Luke 3.14, Acts 10.1-8 and 34-35). It was Augustine who introduced “just war” doctrine into Christian theology. A summary of Just War doctrine is posted here.

The Ultimate Cosmic War

From start to finish , the Bible depicts a cosmic battle between good and evil. Jesus conquered the greatest enemy of all - death - through His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection. And He calls His followers to appropriate that victory in our own lives.

When wars occur between the nations of the world, Christians should reflect on their involvement and reaction using carefully thought-out biblical principles as opposed to knee-jerk reactions. Work on "Just War” theory by the theologians of previous generations helps us do this in faithfulness to Scripture.

If not religion, what then is the primary cause of war?  The answer:  It's the same thing that triggers all crime, cruelty, loss of life, and other such evil.  Jesus is clear: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:21–23).

James agrees when he says: “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel” (James 4:1–2).

In the end, the historical evidence is clear. Sin is the #1 cause of war and violence, not religion and certainly not Christianity.