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
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Friday, June 23, 2017
Consider the term, "gun violence," commonly used by gun control advocates and which imbues an inanimate object with the ability to act and to commit violence. Guns, of course, cannot be violent in themselves. Violence originates with people who use guns and a variety of other weapons, including fists, to commit violence.
Very few children are killed by firearm accidents compared to other causes of child deaths. Yet, gun control advocates have created the false impression that there is a national epidemic in accidental firearm deaths of children. In fact, the National MCH Center for Child Death Review, an organization that monitors causes of child deaths, reports that seven times more children die from drowning and five times more from suffocation than from firearm accidents. Yet we don’t hear of "drowning violence," "swimming pool violence," "bathtub violence," or "suffocation violence."
The NRA is correct to insist that "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." We have known this since the Sullivan Act. New York state senator Timothy Sullivan, a corrupt Tammany Hall politician, represented New York’s Red Hook district. Commercial travelers passing through the district would be relieved of their valuables by armed robbers. In order to protect themselves and their property, travelers armed themselves. This raised the risk of, and reduced the profit from, robbery. Sullivan’s outlaw constituents demanded that Sullivan introduce a law that would prohibit concealed carry of pistols, blackjacks, and daggers, thus reducing the risk to robbers from armed victims. The criminals, of course, were already breaking the law and had no intention of being deterred by the Sullivan Act from their business activity of armed robbery. Thus, the effect of the Sullivan Act was precisely what the criminals intended. It made their life of crime easier. The first successful gun control advocates were criminals,
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -- Thomas Jefferson, On Crimes and Punishment
"To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." -
George Mason ( One of the founders of the United States )
"If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves." --Joseph Stalin
One must wonder what the real agenda for gun control advocacy is. While there are undoubtedly many sincere misguided people who believe it will diminish violence (they naively believe external law is the key instead of focusing on the heart where the violence originates), they are for the most part, puppets on a string. The puppet masters, with the real ulimtate goal of public control so as to attain ultimate power, stay out of public sight. History makes that undeniably clear.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
I am a cessationist. That is to say, I believe that certain gifts of the Holy Spirit were employed in the earliest stage of Christianity to authenticate that God was doing something new. These “sign gifts”—such as the gifts of healing, tongues, miracles—ceased with the death of the last apostle. This is what I mean by “cessationism.” Some cessationists might style themselves as “soft” cessationists whereby they mean that some of the sign gifts continue, or that the sign gifts may crop up in locations where the gospel is introduced afresh,1 or that they are presently agnostic about these gifts, but are not a practicing charismatic. For purposes of argument, I will take a hard line. In this way, anything I affirm about the Holy Spirit’s ministry today should not be perceived as being generated from a closet charismatic. I wish to address some concerns that I, as a cessationist, have concerning the role of the Holy Spirit today among cessationists.
While I still consider myself a cessationist, the last few years have shown me that my spiritual life had gotten off track—that somehow I, along with many others in my theological tradition, have learned to do without the third person of the Trinity ......
Dan's essay is must-reading for all evangelicals.
I have had the privilige of fellowshipping in many diverse churches in the Body of Christ throughout the world - i.e., Southern Baptist, Assembly of God, Independent Charismatic, Vineyard, Presbyterian, United Methodist, U.S. Military "Generic" Protestant, Episcopelian, Roman Catholic, - among others. I'm puzzled by the attitude of most non-charismatic evangelicals towards the Holy Spirit. While the Father and Son are prominent in evangelical worship, the Holy Spirit is often non-existent. And yet, Jesus warned the only unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:31-32). Of this astonishing statement by Christ, respected Christian theologian Dr. F.F. Bruce writes,
“…Speaking against the Son of man might be due to a failure to recognize Him for what He is. So Paul recalls how in his pre-Christian days he thought it his duty to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. But if, having seen the light on the Damascus road, he had deliberately closed his eyes to it and kicked out against the goad which was directing him into the true path, that would have been the sin against the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit persuades and enables men to accept Christ and enjoy the saving benefits of the gospel [John 16:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12-14; Acts 7:51], but if anyone refuses to submit to the Spirit’s gracious constraint, preferring to call good evil and evil good, how can the gospel avail for him? The deliberate refusal of the grace of God is the one sin which by its very nature is irremediable” [F.F. Bruce, Answers to Questions (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1973), pp. 46-47.].
The feast of Pentecost (so prominent in the book of Acts) is not celebrated or even mentioned in the vast majority of evangelical churches that I've been in. In contrast, the Roman Catholic church celebrates Pentecost Sunday in their liturgical calendar ascribing it as the third most important celebration behind Easter and Christmas. They point out that Pentecost Sunday commemorates the birth of the Church and is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, celebrated early enough to be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (20:16) and Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians (16:8). It supplants the Jewish feast of Pentecost, which took place 50 days after the Passover and which celebrated the sealing of the Old Covenant on Mount Sinai.
The Eastern Orthodox church also celebrates Pentecost Sunday, while Protestant Evangelicals are strangely silent. Though fully God, the Holy Spirit is never worshipped in evangelical circles except in passing via those hymns that pay Him homage. The Holy Spirit is rarely addressed or acknowleged in prayer. He does not exist in their common vocabulary.
In an online Baptist bulletin board, someone asks here if "we Baptists" are somehow afraid of the Holy Spirit, sparking debate,
Great that we are "people of the Book". But are we willing to allow the "author" of that Book chance to do as he would so will among us?
Another board member observes,
Yes. I think we have ignored the third person of the Godhead much to our detriment. I think this manifests itself best with "seeker-sensitive" churches. Marketing replaces the Spirit empowered delivery of the Gospel for growth. I think we see it in the pressure to make our churches as little churchy as possible so that they will appeal to more people.
As noted here, Southern Baptists struggle with a unifying postion on the Holy Spirit. (Note: In 2015, the Southern Baptist board changed its position and now permits Southern Baptist missionaries to have a "private prayer language" [i.e., pray in tongues] - see here).
John Piper acknowledges here that the Holy Spirit is underemphasized in evangelical circles,
If you are asking me about right now, I would say that he is probably under attended to somewhere. Maybe in young, reformed and restless circles—or whatever this movement is called. Especially as it concerns the fullness of the work of the Holy Spirit. Not his role in effectual calling, but his gifts. His necessity for powerful witness. 'Wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes upon you... You will receive the Holy Spirit and you will be my witnesses.' So maybe we are underemphasizing the necessity and the power of the Holy Spirit for witnessing.
Also, I was just thinking the other day that we downplay the work of Holy Spirit in terms of his varied gifts. This is underemphasized too much in our reformed churches, and in typical evangelical churches.
..... Here's what hit me the other day. If there are gifts of healing. If there are gifts of faith, gifts of miracles, gifts of discernment. That means some Christians are going to be granted answers to those prayers where others aren't. So maybe the reason I'm not getting the answer to my moral struggle or my physical struggle is because I haven't asked Jane to pray for me. And Jane has the gift of healing. Or Jane has the gift of discernment of spirits and can see something here that needs to be seen.
But I've locked myself in my closet, "God save me. God help me. God strengthen me. God deliver me!" And God is saying, "Uh... I have taught you about spiritual gifts and you don't ever avail yourself of them. Don't come complaining to me saying that I haven't responded to you when I have gifts waiting for you and you never open the package."
So I think that I could do better, and we can do better at that level.
So the answer is that in various groups, various ministries of the Holy Spirit are probably underrated and underemphasized.
In my experience, this attitude tends to foster a spiritual impotence among evangelicals, who may be strong in Biblical exposition but are subsequently weak in spiritual power. Interestingly enough, in my own walk after 13 years as a Christian, it was a charismatic military Chaplain who mentored me on what it really meant to follow Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. I had never met a man more humble than him who was filled with such spiritual power that he commanded respect from all that knew him. With complete and utter dependence upon the indwelling Holy Spirit, he radiated Christ.
Scot McKnight (NIV Application Commentary on Galatians) gives us an excellent overview of how prominent the Holy Spirit is in Galatians:
(1) The Spirit of God is what the Christian receives at conversion (3:2, 3, 5, 14; 5:25), and this was evidently made known through charismatic experiences (see comments on 3:1–5). Such an experience makes the convert a “son of God” who can call God Abba (4:6). Indeed, the reception of the Spirit is what the entire Old Testament looked forward to as it came to fruition in the universal plan of God (3:13–14). To live in the Spirit is to live in the age when God inaugurates his kingdom.
(2) Those who are “in the Spirit” are persecuted by those in the “flesh” (3:4; 4:29).
(3) Those who are “in the Spirit” exercise hope for the coming establishment of God’s righteousness and their own declaration of fitness before God (5:5).
(4) Those who are “in the Spirit” are victorious over the “works of the flesh” (vv. 16–18, 19–21) and so live a life full of the manifestation of the Spirit (vv. 22–23). For this victory to occur, Christians need only submit to, or walk in step with, the Spirit (v. 25; cf. 6:8).
Galatians is about the Holy Spirit.
Chad Norris’s "Signs, Wonders, and a Baptist Preacher" is an autobiographical account of how he went from an anxiety-ridden Baptist youth preacher, to a still imperfect but joy-filled conduit of the Spirit’s power. Norris prompts us to ask good questions – and old questions – that surge during times of revival. What can we expect from the Holy Spirit, not just in theory, but in practice, on an everyday basis? What does it mean to “walk by,” “live by,” and “keep in step with” the Spirit (Gal. 5), in the midst of our routines?
At the beginning of the 5th century, near the end of his fifth oration, Gregory of Nyssa soars into an ecstatic review of the Spirit’s work and titles. His overwhelming rhetorical flood has never been surpassed,
“Christ is born; the Spirit is His Forerunner. He is baptized; the Spirit bears witness. He is tempted; the Spirit leads Him up. He works miracles; the Spirit accompanies them. He ascends; the Spirit takes His place. What great things are there in the idea of God which are not in His power? . . .
“What titles which belong to God are not applied to Him, except only Unbegotten and Begotten? For it was needful that the distinctive properties of the Father and the Son should remain peculiar to Them, lest there should be confusion in the Godhead Which brings all things, even disorder itself, into due arrangement and good order. Indeed I tremble when I think of the abundance of the titles, and how many Names they outrage who fall foul of the Spirit.
“He is called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Mind of Christ, the Spirit of The Lord, and Himself The Lord, the Spirit of Adoption, of Truth, of Liberty; the Spirit of Wisdom, of Understanding, of Counsel, of Might, of Knowledge, of Godliness, of the Fear of God. For He is the Maker of all these, filling all with His Essence, containing all things, filling the world in His Essence, yet incapable of being comprehended in His power by the world; good, upright, princely, by nature not by adoption; sanctifying, not sanctified; measuring, not measured; shared, not sharing; filling, not filled; containing, not contained; inherited, glorified, reckoned with the Father and the Son; held out as a threat; the Finger of God; fire like God; to manifest, as I take it, His consubstantiality); the Creator-Spirit, Who by Baptism and by Resurrection creates anew; the Spirit That knows all things, That teaches, That blows where and to what extent He lists; That guides, talks, sends forth, separates, is angry or tempted; That reveals, illumines, quickens, or rather is the very Light and Life; That makes Temples; That deifies; That perfects so as even to anticipate Baptism, yet after Baptism to be sought as a separate gift; That does all things that God does; divided into fiery tongues; dividing gifts; making Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers; understanding manifold, clear, piercing, undefiled, unhindered, which is the same thing as Most wise and varied in His actions; and making all things clear and plain; and of independent power, unchangeable, Almighty, all-seeing, penetrating all spirits that are intelligent, pure, most subtle (the Angel Hosts I think); and also all prophetic spirits and apostolic in the same manner and not in the same places; for they lived in different places; thus showing that He is uncircumscript.”
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Monday, June 19, 2017
Man-made "truth" is an illusory fantasy, a ticking-time bomb of sooner-or-later destruction. Real truth is absolute and timeless, the basis of meaningful and fullfilling existence.
A firm embrace of the truth is the only remedy that can bring us back to reality and restore sanity.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Saturday, June 17, 2017
But there’s another brand today trying very hard to convince the public that it sells more than one product. Planned Parenthood has spent the last few years insisting that its clinics offer all kinds of services besides abortions. As the latest stunt in this ongoing campaign, they’ve partnered with “Avengers” director Joss Whedon to produce a high-budget ad titled “Unlocked.”
In this three-minute propaganda piece, Whedon depicts a world without Planned Parenthood. It’s a dark and scary place where a mother dies of cancer because she can’t get screenings, where a couple breaks up because of a sexually transmitted disease, and where a young woman’s dreams of college are crushed by a positive pregnancy test.
Speaking with TIME magazine, Whedon said that if Planned Parenthood shuts down, “millions of people lose access to basic health services” like contraception, cancer screenings, and sex ed. In other words, he’s parroting the talking points we’ve heard non-stop from Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and others who insist that the organization “does so much more than abortion.”
But as our friends at Save the Storks point out, Planned Parenthood’s 2014-15 annual report shows that they perform a meager 1 percent of the nation’s pap smears, and less than 2 percent of all clinical breast exams. The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute reports that over 80 percent of teens receive sex ed instruction from somewhere besides an abortion clinic, and contrary to repeated claims by Planned Parenthood’s leadership and advocates, they perform a grand total of zero mammograms.
As the prime instigator and perpretator of the American holocaust, Planned Parenthood's thirst for blood money is inexhaustible. But they will not stand alone in final judgement. The Supreme Court justices that legalized the butchery, the politicians that fund it, and the American public that tolerated it for so long will all answer to justice one terrifying day.
Friday, June 16, 2017
In an article on truth written by theologian R.R. Reno in July 2009, the author observes that reality anchors the intellect rather than the intellect constructing or constituting reality. Our culture has it backwards as it uses the intellect to spawn a fantasy reality where anything goes no matter how bizarre or nonsensical. The result is a culture of death. Truly, the emperor has no clothes.
As Reno observed,
The Church contributes to world by speaking the truth about our humanity, a truth vouchsafed in Christ, a truth that must be spoken in season and out.
The problem is that much of the church has muted its witness, shielding the truth - its' most powerful weapon. It's easy to speak truth when it's in vogue but can be quite costly when it's scorned (precisely when truth is most needed.) When a culture jettisons the anchor to reality, all bets are off. At that point, the church that is embedded in the culture is along for the wild catastrophic ride - unless it stands firmly and inflexibly (usually at great cost) with truth.
Theologian Garrigou-Lagrange (1877 - 1964) correctly identified relativism as the enemy of truth. The antitode is a firm, inflexible committment to truth ... something that fewer and fewer seem willing to do today. The video above contrasts critical reason with love of truth. Someone that relies soley on critical reason will be stunted in their intellecual health as something more is needed - the love of truth. It is the love of truth that ultimately brings someone to their full potential and firmly cements them into reality. When the church loves the culture more than truth, it becomes little more than entertainment. Without truth, we are doomed to wander in a fantasy fog on the edge of cliff in this fallen world, until finally we fall inevitably and irretrievably to our death.
We must seek to reignite a love of truth.
... for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved (2 Thess 2:10, ESV)
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (Eph 4:15, ESV)
Thursday, June 15, 2017
If its leaders and members are tolerating a softer, more inclusive approach to gender, it might be a bellwether of things to come in the culture war over gender.
The other side of the coin is presented here in an article published in Christianity Today entitled "Gender Inclusivity Isn’t Liberal. It’s Biblical" which defends the revision to the CSB. See also here an interview with a defender of the new translation which asserts it is "gender accurate" as opposed to "gender inclusive."
ChristianAnswers.net wrestles with this thorny question here in an article entitled "Does the Bible really support gender-inclusive language?" The article asserts that the gender-neutral use of anthrpos does not necessarily support the demand for gender-inclusive language, and gets to the heart of the matter by asking what "gender inclusive" language is? Interestingly, the author who wrote in 2003 (when same-sex marriage was unthinkable in the U.S.) implies that same-sex marriage is the logical deduction of gender inclusiveness. He was prophetically correct.
I recommend reading all four links in entirety.
While the interview in ChristianityToday argues that the new translation is "gender accurate", not "gender inclusive", the defender is playing semantics. The last article addresses what I believe to be the key issue in this debate - Does equality in redemption imply equality in all things? Do male and female have different roles? Or can each equally fulfill all roles?
Functional subordination is the White Elephant in this room. Complementarianism is the view that males and females, while equal in value, complement each other in their respective and different roles and duties. The opposing view is Egalitarianism which is the view that male and female are interchangeable with respect to roles and duties. The Bible teaches that men and women are of equal worth, dignity, and responsibility before God (ontological equality). The Bible also teaches that men and women have different roles to play in society, the family, and the church. These roles do not compete but complement each other. Egalitarianism removes any distinction with respect to roles and duties. Earlier, I wrote here, here, and here on the consequences of embracing egalitarianism as a worldview.
Those that embrace an egalitarian understanding must explain the explicit teaching of Scripture that the Son, while equal to the Father, is functionally subordinate (in role) to the Father. After his resurrection, Jesus is given a seat that is subordinate to God. He is seated at the right had of the Majesty, the Power of God: Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69; Acts 5:31. The Father has bestowed the kingdom to the Son just as the Son will bestow the kingdom to his disciples (Luke 22:29). Matthew 20:20-23 (Mark 10:35-40) Jesus declares that Jesus cannot give specific positions in the coming heavenly kingdom but only the Father has that authority. In 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 - Jesus hands the kingdom to his Father and is eternally subjected to the Father. These texts show that even though the Son has all authority over others (Matthew 28:18) but not over his Father and Jesus ALWAYS receives the authority from his Father. He will give it back to his Father but he never bestows authority on his Father. Even though he has all authority over others, some authority will continue to be reserved for the Father alone, even in the Kingdom.
Jesus looks to the Father as his God (John 20:17; Ephesians 1:17; Revelation 3:12; compare Micah 5:2-4) Other verse that teach functional subordination of the Son to the Father include John 5:19,22,27,30; John 8:28 (Jesus does nothing of his own initiative); John 8:29 (The Son always does the things that are pleasing to the Father.) How long is 'always'? This implies that his life of pleasing the Father extends to all eternity.
The article at ChristianAnswers.net wisely concludes,
..... there is something wrong with rejecting the Biblical teaching about the role differences of men and women, and to the extent that adopting gender-inclusive language implies approval of that rejection, it is imprudent to do so. Paul's becoming all things to all men did not, after all, entail his refusing to confront thievery merely because doing so might offend some thieves (Ephesians 4:28), let alone the whole catalogue of sins mentioned in Romans 1:26-32.
Those who insist on gender-inclusive language other than the historically gender-inclusive man and men and he, his, and him…
- falsely consider the latter gender-discriminatory
- insist on their version of gender-inclusive language to the possible detriment of an important Biblical truth
- imply that the God-breathed Scriptures themselves are morally flawed to the extent that they fail to conform to this new moral standard
- rightly consider generic masculines gender inclusive, as demonstrated by millennia of usage in many languages and cultures
- uphold an important Biblical truth about male and female roles
- uphold Scripture as morally blameless not only in what it teaches but also in how it teaches it
(An additional recommended reference is here by Vern Poythress and Wayne Grudem entitled "The Gender-Neutral Bible Controversy: Muting the Masculinity of God's Words".)
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
With the recent shooting of a Congressman by a progressive leftist (you know ... the "peaceful", "tolerant" ones), the debate by talking heads and politicians will surely focus on gun control - as it always does - instead of the worldview that almost always fosters violence. After the shooting, GOP Congresswoman Claudia Tenney received a threatening email saying: 'One Down, 216 to Go…'. Anne Coulter warned,
The explosion of violence against conservatives across the country is being intentionally ginned up by Democrats, reporters, TV hosts, late-night comedians and celebrities, who compete with one another to come up with the most vile epithets for Trump and his supporters. They go right up to the line, trying not to cross it, by, for example, vamping with a realistic photo of a decapitated Trump or calling the president a “piece of s—” while hosting a show on CNN. The media are orchestrating a bloodless coup, but they’re perfectly content to have their low-IQ shock troops pursue a bloody coup.
With talk from Madonna about "blowing up the White House" and Kathy Griffin holding a bloody depacitated head resembling Donald Trump, the progressive leftists are showing their true colors as they repeatedly and openly advocate violence. Hillary Clinton’s former running mate Tim Kaine called for Democrats to “fight in the streets against Trump.” Kaine, whose son was recently charged for his involvement in a riot during a pro-Trump event, had appeared on MSNBC in January, calling for members of his party to “fight in Congress, fight in the courts, fight in the streets, fight online, fight at the ballot box.” The New York Times is currently sponsoring a play that features the assassination of President Trump. During the play, the Caesar character is shown fully nude, as well as tweeting from a bathtub before being stabbed to death by female and minority senators as an American Flag hangs beside them. David Kupelian wrote of the play,
“When the assassination of a sitting president is graphically celebrated in New York’s Central Park, and gets a standing ovation from onlookers, and at least some of its sponsors enthusiastically endorse it, what we’re looking at is a shockingly depraved loss of conscience and decency on the part of the ‘hate Trump’ crowd. It is reminiscent of the French Revolution and the giddy blood-lust of the enraged populace who watched the beheadings of their former leaders as though it were great entertainment.”
BuzzFeed writers wish for Trump’s assassination in private office chats leaked to Big League Politics. In screenshots exclusively provided to Big League Politics by former BuzzFeed employee Tim “Treadstone” Gionet, better known as Baked Alaska, the website’s Director of Social Media Maycie Thornton wishes for Trump’s assassination as co-workers laughed and cheered her on. “This was not the first time BuzzFeed employees talked openly about wishing President Trump would get assassinated, they hated conservatives so much they even held an office party when Justice Scalia died. It was a toxic environment and you were declared a heretic if you were a Trump supporter, bottom line,” Treadstone told Big League.
Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch posted a video urging people to march, bleed, and die in the streets. In February, Obama’s attorney general posted a video in which she urged people to march and bleed in the streets to resist the president and his administration. “Comedian” and DNC Speaker Sarah Silverman called for a military coup against President Trump. In a tweet using all-caps, posted to her 11 million followers, Sarah Silverman called for a military coup against the president as a violent rally was underway in Berkeley in February.
Madonna tells a women’s march that she fantasizes about blowing up the White House. During the unhinged aging pop star’s vulgar speech at the rally, she demanded that this was “the beginning of a revolution,” and called Trump’s win a “horrific moment of darkness.” Snoop Dogg references assassinating President Trump in a music video. In the BADBADNOTGOOD video for the remix of “Lavender,” released in March, the hip-hop star focuses on police brutality in a world full of clowns. In the controversial scene, the 45-year-old rapper is seen holding a toy gun to the head of a clown dressed as President Trump. A “bang” flash pops up after the rapper pulls the trigger. Rapper threatens to pimp Melania Trump and “make her work for us.” During a protest in Los Angeles in the days after the election, an unhinged anti-Trump demonstrator asserted that “people have to die,” over the election results. In 2011, the Arizona killer was described as a “left-wing pothead”, an atheist and an occultist. He killed a Republican federal judge in the massacre.
The Democrat party in America is the party of progressive liberals and the party of abortion on demand, no matter the duration of the pregnancy. More than 40 million babies have been aborted in the last 37 years since the Roe v. Wade decision. Tens of thousands of children have been killed at the 9-month point of birth by third-trimester abortionists like George Tiller who was closely associated with Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius. This is pure horrific violence against the most innocent among us.
Obama’s former communications director Anita Dunn said in a speech that communist Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung was one of the world political figures that she admired most. Yet Mao Tse-Tung was the greatest genocidal killer in all of human history. Hollywood movies and TV shows, produced and directed overwhelmingly by ‘pacifist’ liberals, use guns and violence in alarming quantities. These productions spur violence in the general public. John W. Hinckley tried to assassinate president Ronald Reagan based on his obsession with the violent movie Taxi Driver. The Columbine High School massacre in 1999 was directly inspired by the film Natural Born Killers starring environmentalist Woody Harrelson. These stories are endless.
As Ian Tuttle observed just last week,
Antifa [a far left group] are not a new phenomenon; they surfaced during the Occupy movement, and during the anti-globalization protests of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Antifa movements began in early-20th-century Europe, when fascism was a concrete and urgent concern, and they remain active on the Continent. Lately, Antifa have emerged as the militant fringe of #TheResistance against Donald Trump — who, they maintain, is a fascist, ushering into power a fascist regime. In Washington, D.C., Antifa spent the morning of Inauguration Day lighting trash cans on fire, throwing rocks and bottles at police officers, setting ablaze a limousine, and tossing chunks of pavement through the windows of several businesses. On February 1, Antifa set fires and stormed buildings at the University of California–Berkeley to prevent an appearance by Breitbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. (They succeeded.) In April, they threatened violence if Ann Coulter spoke on the campus; when the university and local law enforcement refused to find a secure location for her to speak, she withdrew, saying the situation was too dangerous.
...... The purpose of words is, the philosopher Josef Pieper suggested, “to convey reality.” But it is clear that, for Antifa, the purpose is to cloak reality. Antifa’s reason for describing something or someone as “fascist” is not that it is actually fascist (although perhaps on occasion they do stumble onto the genuine item), but that describing it that way is politically advantageous.
The issue is not gun control. It's about a worldview denying reality that openly advocates violence. If it continues unchecked, their targets will also soon include Christians whom they ascribe as the source of all bigotry, hatred and violence.
The Crusades never ended; they've merely been on hiatus for seven centuries. Of course, you will never see any of this on the mainstream media with its' fantasy depiction of Islam as a religion of peace. The conflict between Christianity and Islam is once again heating up as Muslims claim victimhood and as they exercise hard and soft jihad with the ultimate goal of imposing Sharia' law. The two worldviews are incompatible and cannot coexist without either or both compromising essential beliefs. Christians confronting Islamic rule face three options:
- Defend Biblical truth at great cost
- Abdicate and live under subjection and persecution
- Physically leave
But it's not just Islam that is wielding the sword against Christianity. There is another even more ancient, powerful and dangerous worldview that is a much more serious and insidious threat to the Christian worldview - that of secular humanism. With roots as far back as Eden, it arrogantly affirms the right for man to arbitrarily determine right and wrong. As CS Lewis observed in "The Way" in the Abolition of Man, no human can create objective value; he or she might as well try to create a new primary color. Nihilism is the inevitable result, which explains why drug overdose is now the top cause of death among young adults in the United States (according to recently-released statstics from the Department of Justice.)
The warfare is intensifying as secularists make significant gains in hounding the Biblical worldview out of politics, education, entertainment, mass media, and the workplace. The result is that a grand mass deception is enveloping the culture with the ripening fruit of secularism: obscenity, vulgarity, divorce, greed, rudeness, selfishness, violence, murder, intolerance, drug & alcohol abuse, and sexual immorality. In a mad dash to see who can go lowest the quickest, profanity now freely fills the public vocabulary of many politicians and entertainers. The mushrooming cultural war between progressive leftists and right-leaning conservatives in America is but a shadow of an escalating spiritual conflict in the Heavenlies. In particular, the widespread acceptance and celebration of homosexuality is a loud warning klaxon, given the sobering passage in Rom 1:18-32.
Emboldened by recent success and a government that is increasingly hostile to the Biblical worldview, secularists are making significant inroads into the church, replacing the Biblical worldview with one that is manmade (i.e., see here.) A recent Barna survey shockingly finds that only 17% of self-proclaimed Christians in America now hold a Biblical worldview (see here), meaning that an estimated 83% of the church is now impotent in this battle.
Ultimately though, the number of adherents on each side is irrelevant; truth is what is pertinent. Just as the ancient apologist and theologian Athanasius was prepared to stand alone against the world if necessary for Trinitarian truth, so too must we be willing to be the last one standing if required, no matter the cost. Two millenia ago, Someone stood before a Roman governor in capital judgment and said, "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (John 18:37) And while the secular authorities tried to stamp out the voice of truth that day, history records how it actually turned out with Pilate figuratively throwing a match onto a rising pool of gasoline. As the end of the age approaches, the hostility between worldviews will intensify. The relative few that side with Truth will be the last ones standing.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
As you travel down from Simon Bolívar International Airport into the city center, the difference between Caracas and Bogotá – formerly one of the world’s major drug war battlegrounds – is stark.
Armed police stand on almost every street corner. Every physical space is dedicated to promoting the success of the late Hugo Chávez’s socialist revolution and Nicolás Maduro’s authoritarian regime. The opposition undermines official government propaganda with its own graffiti, effectively accusing the regime of destroying the country with the highest oil reserves in the world.
..... Everything about Venezuela suggests this is a nation on the brink of collapse. Whether it is the ongoing violence, the extreme poverty, or the enormous piles of garbage in the street, nothing is working as it should be. In January, inflation reached over 800 percent, while some analysts predicting it could reach 1500 percent by the end of the year. Even at one of the city’s most exclusive hotels, breakfast offerings remain scarce and electricity and internet connection regularly cut out.
.... As one student put it to me: “Chávez succeeded in creating an equal society by making everyone poor.”
Christians that foolishly believe socialism is the way to idyllic paradise are misguided and in for a rude awakening upon entry into Paradise. Heaven certainly isn't a socialist form of rule; it's a kingdom with a King who is all-wise, all-powerful, all-knowing and all-just, and where rewards and punishment are relative to deeds committed (salvation is an unearned gift, not a reward.) Scripture is clear that believers receive differing rewards (Luke 19:12ff; Matt 16:27; 1 Cor 3:13-15; etc.) and unbelievers receive differing punishment (Matt 11:20-24;cf 10:15; Luke 12:47-48; John 19:11; Heb 10:26-31; etc.)
In this fallen world inhabited by fallen men, socialism (which concentrates power in the hands of very few elite) is a sure-fire guarantee recipe for disaster.
On Wednesday, Sanders applied a religious litmus test during a confirmation hearing for Russell Vought, the hopeful White House deputy budget director who happens to be an evangelical Christian. Vought has described the need for the “centrality of Jesus Christ in salvation.” He did not avow an extreme religious stance, but simply stated that he believes in the need for a faith in Jesus Christ for entrance into heaven. This is a core Christian belief. Nearly all the world’s religions claim their teachings exclusively demonstrate the means of salvation, including Islam.
Yet Sanders did not take Vought’s answer well. He replied by saying, “[Vought] is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.” However, two years ago, Sanders felt the opposite way when the faith of potential Muslim officials were called into question. When former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson asserted that Islam and the U.S. Constitution are not reconcilable, Sanders claimed this was “very wrong.”
Story is here.
This will become more and more commonplace as Christianity is hounded from the public sqaure.
Monday, June 12, 2017
Christian Smith’s research leads us to the indisputable conclusion that for at least two generations, American Christianity has mounted no sustained, substantive challenge to the ongoing cultural revolution now blessed by MTD.
Smith’s research reveals that our Christian institutions—churches, schools, colleges—have collaborated in the death of Christian culture in our country. I do not accept the easy blame-shifting to institutions alone, though. Too many Christian clerics and educators, within churches as well as church institutions, have told me how much resistance they get from parents when they try to teach a more vigorous, theologically substantive form of the faith.
If by “Christianity” we mean the philosophical and cultural framework setting the broad terms for engagement in American public life, Christianity is dead, and we Christians have killed it. We have allowed our children to be catechized by the culture and have produced an anesthetizing religion suited for little more than being a chaplaincy to the liberal individualistic order ......
....... According to the tenets of moralistic therapeutic deism, which emphasizes personal happiness and well-being, there is no reason why Christianity should object to same-sex marriage. The summum bonum of our American civil religion is maximizing the opportunities for individuals to express and satisfy their desires—a belief that orthodox Christianity by nature opposes but that Christian moralistic therapeutic deism embraces and baptizes. As Smith told an audience at Princeton Theological Seminary,it is not so much that Christianity in the United States is being secularized. Rather more subtly, either Christianity is at least degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or, more significantly, Christianity is actively being colonized and displaced by a quite different religious faith.
........ Christians who believe that politics will save us should discard those illusions now. The primary focus of orthodox Christians in America should be cultural—or rather, countercultural—building the institutions and habits that will carry the faith and the faithful forward through the next Dark Age.
Food for thought.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7, ESV)
Sunday, June 11, 2017
|Stoned women for adultery.|
|"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."|
|"I have been commanded to fight |
against people till they testify that there
is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad
is the messenger of Allah"
|"He who lives by the sword |
will die by the sword."
|Permitted stealing from unbelievers.|
(Bukhari 44:668, Ibn Ishaq 764)
|"Thou shalt not steal."|
(Sahih Muslim 6303, Bukhari 49:857)
|"Thou shalt not bear false witness."|
|Owned and traded slaves.|
(Sahih Muslim 3901)
|Neither owned nor traded slaves.|
|Beheaded 800 Jewish men and boys.|
(Abu Dawud 4390)
|Beheaded no one.|
|Murdered those who insulted him.|
(Bukhari 56:369, 4:241)
(Matthew 18:21-22, 5:38)
|"If then anyone transgresses |
the prohibition against you,
Transgress ye likewise against him"
|"If someone strikes you on the right |
cheek, turn to him the other also."
|Jihad in the way of Allah elevates one's position in Paradise by a hundred fold.|
|"Blessed are the peacemakers, for |
they will be called Sons of God"
|Married 13 wives and kept sex slaves.|
(Bukhari 5:268, Quran 33:50)
|Slept with a 9-year-old child.|
(Sahih Muslim 3309, Bukhari 58:236)
|Did not have sex with children.|
|Ordered the murder of women.|
(Ibn Ishaq 819, 995)
|Never harmed a woman.|
|"O you who believe! Fight those of the|
unbelievers who are near to you
and let them find in you hardness."
|"Blessed are the meek, for |
they shall inherit the earth."
|Ordered 65 military campaigns |
and raids in his last 10 years.
(Ibn Ishaq )
|Ordered no military campaigns, nor |
offered any approval of war or violence.
|Killed captives taken in battle.|
(Ibn Ishaq 451)
|Never took captives.|
Never killed anyone.
|Encouraged his men to rape enslaved women.|
(Abu Dawood 2150, Quran 4:24)
|Never encouraged rape.|
Never enslaved women.
|Demanded captured slaves and|
a fifth of all other loot taken in war.
|"The Son of Man came not |
to be served, but to serve."
|Was never tortured, but tortured others.|
(Muslim 4131, Ibn Ishaq 436, 595, 734, 764)
|Suffered torture, but never tortured anyone.|
|"And fight them until there is no more persecution and religion is only for Allah"(Quran 8:39)||"Love your enemies and pray |
for those who persecute you"
|Blessed the brutal murder of a half-blind man|
|Healed a blind man|
|Ordered a slave to build the very pulpit |
from which he preached Islam.
|Washed his disciples feet.|
|What are the Greatest Commandments?|
"Belief in Allah and Jihad in His cause"
|What are the Greatest Commandments? |
"Love God and love thy neighbor as thyself."
|Demanded the protection of armed bodyguards, even in a house of worship|
|Chastised anyone attempting |
to defend him with force.
|Died fat and wealthy from what was |
taken from others in war or
demanded from others in tribute.
|Demanded nothing for himself. |
Died without possessions.
|Advocated crucifying others.|
(Quran 5:33, Muslim 16:4131)
|Was crucified himself.|
|According to his followers: |
Had others give their lives for him.
(Sahih Muslim 4413)
|According to his followers: |
Gave his life for others.
(John 18:11 and elsewhere)
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Rogers: Well, it’s interesting because these things always start where we’re not looking. In 2007, Iceland went broke. People said, ‘Iceland? Is that a country? They have a market?’ And then Ireland went broke. And then Bear Stearns went broke. And Lehman Brothers went broke. They spiral like that. Always happens where we’re not looking. I don’t know. It could be an American pension plan that goes broke and many of them are broke, as you know. It could be some country we’re not watching. It could be all sorts of things. It could be war. Unlikely to be war but it’s going to be something. When you’re watching Business Insider and you see, ‘That’s so interesting. I didn’t know that company could go broke.’ It goes broke. Send me an email and then I’ll start watching.
Blodget: And how big a crash could we be looking at?
Rogers: It’s going to be the worst in your lifetime.
Blodget: I’ve had some pretty big ones in my lifetime.
Rogers: It’s going to be the biggest in my lifetime and I’m older than you. No, it’s going to be serious stuff .......
Blodget: And we are in a situation where Western civilization already seems to be possibly collapsing, even with the market going up all the time. Often when you do have a financial calamity, you get huge turmoil in the political system. What happens politically if that happens?
Rogers: Well, that’s why I moved to Asia. My children speak Mandarin because of what’s coming. You’re going to see governments fail.
Aside from practical steps that one can take to prepare (i.e., moving some assets into tangible conservative investments like land & gold, paying off debt, beocming self-sufficient, arming oneself, etc.), the most important thing by far that anyone can do is deepen their relationship with Christ and His church. Recognize that everything material in this world is transitory and will burn one day. Store up your treasure in external things.
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences (Prov 22:3, NLT)
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt 6:19-21, NIV)
The church of Scotland followed the Reformers during the 16th century Reformation. Their abdication of Biblical authority is tragic and echoes 1 Tim 4:1.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons (1 Tim 4:1, ESV)
Friday, June 9, 2017
t wasn't too long after the superintendent said, "Amen," that several members of the graduating class came down with a raging case of microaggressions.
The near-hysterical snowflakes hollered about being offended and demanded an apology.
"I came there to graduate, not go to church. It kind of ruined the rest of my night," Preston Schaeffer whined to the newspaper. "That was the last night of my high school experience and he chose to talk about religion instead of graduation."
Oh, the humanity of it all. The nation weeps with you, gentle snowflakes.
"The fact that he put his rights over our rights, it really offended a lot of us," student Ashlynn Bradley told the newspaper.
Story is here.
This graphically illustrates the deplorable condition of many young kids today who were taught to believe that the world revolves around them. After school - IF they graduate as many seem to become perpetual students as long as the money holds out - reality will hit hard.
He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty (Proverbs 28:19)
If we think that region is chaotic now, imagine if there were not a state like Israel to mitigate the barbarism that repeatedly emanates from it
This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War, when the state of Israel defeated three Arab armies determined to destroy the Jewish state in a second Holocaust. Notwithstanding all the might the Arabs could muster (supplied by the Soviet Union), Israel saved itself from annihilation and liberated the holy city of Jerusalem from Jordan’s oppressive rule of Judaism’s holiest sites.
But more than that, we should reflect on the fact that in preserving itself Israel also preserved Western Civilization in the Middle East. If we think that region is chaotic now, causing constant suffering for the people who live there and increasing the risk of regional or global war, imagine what it would be like if there were not a state like Israel with the might, economy, and political culture to mitigate the horrors of barbarism that repeatedly emanate from it.......
Israel is not perfect; no nation-state is. But it is far closer to perfect than what surrounds it. What surrounds it are failed states, oppressive dictatorships, terror states, terror-exporting states, and rigid oriental despotisms. These all contribute to instability in the region and the world while Israel contributes stability, economic growth, and most importantly restraint by quietly working with the United States and regional governments to combat terrorism and Iran’s expansionist moves.
The persistence has not been without a heavy price for Israelis .......
It's ironic that the two nations currently protecting Western civilization by taking the strongest stand against Islamic terror, are also the most despised at the United Nations. Worse yet, an increasing number of citizens in both countries hold a fantasy worldview - that if it becomes the majority-held perspective in each country - will spell the doom of the nation and ultimate collapse of western civilization.
Nevertheless, the remnant who faithfully adhere to truth must continue to shine its' light into a darkening culture no matter the cost, just as Jeremiah did in ancient Israel.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Comedian secular leftist Kathy Griffin's publicity photo of her holding a bloodied, severed "head" of President Trump – in ISIS style solemnity – is the most recent real-life reductio ad absurdum of tragic, shocking, seeming support of the secular left for Islamism, the violent and political distortion of Islam .....
The puzzling question remains: "What do the secular left and Islamists have in common?" Moreover, why are these two groups frequently drawn seemingly to harmonize on actions and plans so easily? After all, the disparities between the secular left and Islamists are truly overwhelming .....
.... let me briefly suggest a few hypotheses that sociologists might investigate to explore this unexpected collaborative match between these contrary groups:
1. The secular left, in spite of their public rhetoric for liberty, are de facto supporters of authoritarian thinking. They want all their own views to be affirmed as "settled" by everyone else – much as Islamists desire ......
2. The secular left repeatedly ignore the dignity and eternal value of each human being, endorsing elective abortions even up until the birth of babies. Similarly, Islamists trash the dignity and eternal value of any person they can justify calling an "infidel"! .....
3. Most of the secular left and Islamists are also committed to identity politics rather than to principled politics and program politics. Both groups urge people to vote based upon their ethnicities
4. Perhaps most revealingly, the secular left and Islamists reject Biblical teachings, including true liberty, justice, and compassion for all in a society that both honors and trusts the living God.
I would add that both groups share an abiding, irrational hate (way beyond mere rejection) of Biblical truth. So similar, strong and violent is the hate in each group that one wonders how much of a role demonic influence plays as both share an explosive anger to expunge Biblical truth from the public square. Ironically, the secular left would be among the very first victims of Sharia' law once implemented. Just as the Praying Mantis and Black Widow devour their mates, so will Islam eventually destroy the secular left who is truly dancing with the Devil.
Excerpt From: Groothuis, Douglas. “Christian Apologetics.” InterVarsity Press, 2012-06-18. iBooks.
Nihilism argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Moral nihilists assert there is no inherent morality, and that accepted moral values are abstractly contrived. Nihilism may also take epistemological, ontological, or metaphysical forms, meaning respectively that, in some aspect, knowledge is not possible, or reality does not actually exist.
Ultimately nihilism views everything an meaningless. Groothius makes a persuasive case in "Christian Apologetics" that relativism inevitably leads to nihilism - something we now see being played out today. As more and more conclude that life is ultimately meaningless, drug overdose is the now the leading cause of death for people under 50 in the U.S. (see here.)
As Michael Brown wisely said here in 2015,
For the last few decades, our culture has warmly embraced moral relativism, where right and wrong are determined based on our feelings, and so there is nothing absolute. Morality is entirely relative, which means that you can have your morality and I can have mine.
Today, we have moved from moral relativism to reality relativism, where not only morality but everything is determined by how I feel, so you can have your reality and I can have mine.
This is not a matter of a dangerous descent down a slippery slope. This is a matter of falling off the cliff entirely.
Call it reality free-fall—or perhaps, reality free-for-all, since anything goes these days.
The effects of moral relativism are obvious.
Abortion may be wrong for you, but not for me.
Living together out of wedlock may be wrong for you, but not for me.
Name the sinful behavior, whatever it is—as long as it allegedly doesn't hurt anyone, which also becomes a relative concept—and who are you to judge? From porn to drugs to adultery to stealing, we can find justification for our actions.
In the words of Scripture, "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit" (Prov. 16:2).
When I was shooting heroin (1970-71), I began to hang out with junkies, and they were a very different breed than my hippie friends. (Some of the hippies wouldn't do chemically-based drugs, since that was not "natural," which is yet another aspect of moral relativism, but that's another story.)
One junkie was telling me about a friend of his who was so morally bankrupt that he would steal money from his own grandmother.
I said to him, "But didn't you tell me you stole money from your own mother?"
He replied, "Yes, I did, but I would never steal money from my grandmother!" (To my shame, I had stolen money from my own father.)
This confirms what Ravi Zacharias observed, namely, "With no fact as a referent, what is normative is purely a matter of preference."
Well, we have taken that concept one step further today: "With no fact as a referent, what is real is purely a matter of perception."
Who's to say Bruce Jenner isn't a woman? (As someone tweeted me today, "Her name is Caitlyn.")
Who's to say Rachel Dolezal isn't black?
Who's to say that people suffering from species dysphoria are not actually part animal? (A technical description of this disorder is "the sense of being in the wrong [species'] body... a desire to be an animal.")
Who are you to judge?
Why must people be confined by the "gender binary" of male-female? Why, for that matter, must they be confined by the confining boundaries of skin color, ethnicity or even humanity? Why not transcend humanity and simply be who you really are, which means whoever you imagine yourself to be?
I recently had a conversation with a very sweet, non-religious lesbian caller to my radio show. She insisted that gender dysphoria (meaning, transgender identity) was different than species dysphoria, just as others have told me that gender dysphoria was different than Body Identity Integrity Disorder (sometimes called "amputee identity disorder," or, more recently, being "transabled"), and still others have argued strongly that being transgender is different than being "transracial."
Yet all the arguments are based on perception versus reality (with the exception of those who are born with biological or genetic abnormalities), and we are simply told that Bruce Jenner really is a woman (after all, transgender is the "t" of the LGBT movement) whereas Rachel Dolezal really isn't black. Based on what objective criteria? None.
I'm convinced that the LGBT war on gender will undermine itself, being part of the larger war on reality, and that soon enough, sanity will prevail in our society.
That being said, this is an issue I would gladly drop for now if not for the fact that it continues to shout at us day and night, calling for a response, the latest example being the outrageous interview with Rachel Dolezal on NBC's Nightly News.
I was so grieved by her comments during the interview that I prepared a special video response, which you can watch here.
R.C. Sproul once wrote, "I do not want to drive across a bridge designed by an engineer who believed the numbers in structural stress models are relative truths."
In the same way, there's not much hope for a world in which all reality becomes relative, but when we cut ourselves off from the one true God, the ultimate source of reality, we really do lose our bearings.
A return to divine truth—to reality—will deliver us from our delusions.