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



Saturday, September 30, 2017

Star Trek Follows The Culture Downhill


When Star Trek: Discovery‘s third episode debuts this Sunday, the hour will make history for the 51-year-old franchise: Revealing Trek‘s first openly gay TV series character — Lt. Stamets, played by Anthony Rapp (Rent). 

..... While there’s no indication of Stamets’ sexuality in Sunday’s episode, titled “Context Is King,” his relationship with another member of Starfleet becomes a story point in the show beginning next week. “I’m really excited and happy when a gay character is a part of a story — especially when a gay character is created in a complex and human and non-stereotypical, interesting way, and that has certainly been the case with Stamets,” Rapp told EW. “And you get to see his relationship. There was a little glimpse [of a relationship with] Sulu in Beyond, and it was a nice nod. But in this case, we actually get to see me with my partner in conversation, in our living quarters, you get to see our relationship over time, treated as any other relationship would be treated.”

Read about it here.

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There is no question that the new gay character will be portrayed as an ideal role model - someone that young people can aspire to emulate. Ever notice how virtually every gay person in prime time TV is presented as happy, witty, intelligent, healthy, moral, tolerant, charming and physically attractive? Nothing at all like homosexuals in real life which usually tend to be the very opposite? Homosexuals have a much higher risk of mental health problems (see here) and homosexual youth in fact have a much higher suicide rate than heterosexuals (see here.) Homosexuals tend to die much younger and exhibit “major depression, suicidal ideation and attempts, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, conduct disorder, low self-esteem in males and sexual promiscuity with an inability to maintain committed relationships” (see here.) Indeed, in the most gay-friendly nation on the planet, Dutch researchers Sanjay Aggarwala and Rene Gerrets reported in a recent issue of “Culture, Health & Sexuality” that adult gay men in the Netherlands were three times more likely than heterosexual men to report a mood disorder or anxiety disorder, and ten times more likely to report suicidal thoughts (see here). So much for the "gay" lifestyle (young people may not know the original meaning of the word). Nothing at all like you see portrayed by Hollywood. The worst sin always masquerades as an angel of light.

Darkness and light are metaphors for evil and good. Scripture uses light as a spiritual metaphor for truth and God’s unchanging nature (James 1:17). It is repeatedly used in the Bible to help us understand that God is wholly good and truthful (1 John 1:5). When we are “in the light,” we are with Him (1 Peter 2:9). He exhorts us to join Him in the light (1 John 1:7), for giving us light was His purpose (John 12:46). Light is the place where love dwells and is comfortable (1 John 2:9-10). God created light (Genesis 1:3), dwells in the light (1 Timothy 6:16) and puts the light in human hearts so that we can see and know Him and understand truth (2 Corinthians 4:6).

When 2 Corinthians 11:14 warns us that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” it means that Satan capitalizes on our love of the light in order to deceive. He wants us to naively think that he is good, truthful, loving, and powerful – the very things that God is. Most people are not drawn naturally to darkness, but to light. Therefore, Satan appears as a creature of light to entice us to believe and embrace his lies.

The words of God have power. Just as God’s voice spoke physical light into existence, it can speak spiritual light into our hearts. Exposure to His voice – in His Word – will help us recognize the difference between the true good light of God and that which is counterfeit.

Romans 1:15-28 clearly warns us that the end state of willful rebellion against the knowledge of God is homosexuality. When a culture willfully and repeatedly rejects the true Creator, there finally comes a point when God lets sin have full reign - and homosexuality is the final fruit of that rebellion. Rejecting the Creator subsequently and inevitably means dishonoring, abusing and misusing the very pinnacle of His creation that is made in His image. Satan cannot attack God so he attacks the part of creation made in the image of God. Male and female together constitute the image of God (Gen 1:27). Thus the ultimate misuse of that part of His creation is homosexuality which is the opposite of God's perfect intent for male and female (Gen 2:24).

Satan presents sin to us as something pleasing and beautiful to be desired, and he presents false teaching as enlightening and life-changing. Isaiah 8:20-22 describes the darkness that results from ignoring the Word. Darkness is a result of attempting to find truth apart from Truth Himself. The inevitable result is the invention/creation of false truth. Satan’s masquerade as an angel of light is effective because it turns white to black and black to white and gets us believing that God is the liar, that God is the source of darkness. Then, in our distress, we focus our hatred towards the only One who can save us.

Anyone who spends a significant amount of time partaking of Hollywood's seductive offerings, will find it increasingly difficult to maintain the Biblical worldview. Wise Christians should be very selective in their sampling of Hollywood's increasingly decadent fruit.

Man Tased While Attempting To Shake Megachurch Pastor’s Hand


Remember that all satire has an element of truth as the starting point. The Babylon Bee has an excellent satire piece here worth reading.

If you’re going to make a bold move like attempting to shake your megachurch pastor’s hand as he makes a beeline for the green room after service, make sure your church’s security team isn’t armed.

..... The pastor was reportedly able to leap out of the way, narrowly avoiding making contact with a church member, before he was quickly escorted to safety by staff members.

“That was a close one,” Hanson said later in a video posted to Instagram as he flew to a stop on his book tour. “I may not know the names of my security staff, but I’m eternally grateful to each and every one of them for their service.”

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Modern Day Babel


Many people in Silicon Valley believe in the Singularity—the day in our near future when computers will surpass humans in intelligence and kick off a feedback loop of unfathomable change.

When that day comes, Anthony Levandowski will be firmly on the side of the machines. In September 2015, the multi-millionaire engineer at the heart of the patent and trade secrets lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, Google’s self-driving car company, founded a religious organization called Way of the Future. Its purpose, according to previously unreported state filings, is nothing less than to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence."

Read about it here.

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The realization of a "Godhead" based on artificial intelligence? The wonderful technological advances of mankind are a doubled-edged sword in this fallen world. On the one hand, they have the capacity for much good. On the other hand, they empower his sin nature to new heights of rebellion and depravity.

Skynet Is Coming


The Future the US Military is Constructing: a Giant, Armed Nervous System

Service chiefs are converging on a single strategy for military dominance: connect everything to everything.

Leaders of the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marines are converging on a vision of the future military: connecting every asset on the global battlefield.

That means everything from F-35 jets overhead to the destroyers on the sea to the armor of the tanks crawling over the land to the multiplying devices in every troops’ pockets. Every weapon, vehicle, and device connected, sharing data, constantly aware of the presence and state of every other node in a truly global network. The effect: an unimaginably large cephapoloidal nervous system armed with the world’s most sophisticated weaponry.

…… Certainly, “network everything to everything” sounds a bit like the setup for the Terminator franchise, wherein a fictional defense contractor, Cyberdyne Systems, convinces the Defense Department to link the U.S. arsenal to a single artificially intelligent entity. Skynet, of course, determines that humans are a threat to its existence and uses its ubiquitous command and control powers to launch a war on humankind.

Read all about it here.

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As the world descends into moral anarchy, this potential future for the most powerful military on the planet doesn't bode well. There is only one Person who can - and will - stop the destructive madness with His glorious and fearsome return.

For most, it will be the worst day of their lives. For the others who earnestly await Him, it will be the best.

The Truth About Gender


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Withholding Truth Is Not Love


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)

More than a few Christians have the misguided notion that withholding truth is love when it is painful to hear. They are wrong.

Theologically, there is something called the “double effect.” A good (or neutral) action can sometimes bring about both a good and bad result. We may only intend the good result, which does not come from the bad result but merely together with it. In such cases, it is not only permissible, but even praiseworthy, to perform the action because the good result will far outweigh the bad result. While surgery to repair an injured shoulder can be quite painful and lengthy to recover from, the end result (a fully functional shoulder joint) outweighs the temporary pain and discomfort.

Love itself sometimes brings about a double effect, especially when it comes to telling the truth. Jesus had no compunction in telling the truth, even if it cost Him disciples.

“I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. . . . He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” . . . From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the twelve. ( Jn 6:53, 59-60, 66-67)

Theologian Frank Pavone puts it eloquently,

Truth is very much like food. We need it. Without it, we cannot grow, or even survive, as human beings and as a human community. We are made for the truth, to always receive more of it, to contemplate it, to find our fulfillment in it. And this is easy to understand when we realize that God not only gives us truth, as one of his greatest gifts, but he is truth. “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). And that truth leads to another great gift and human need: freedom. “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:31).

Love gives the beloved what he needs, even when there is some pain involved in receiving it. Hence parents bring their children to the dentist, no matter how much the children may protest. In my ministry to priests as director of Priests for Life, I often give seminars about how to preach and counsel parishioners on some of the most contentious moral issues of the day. In the midst of this, I often address the relationship between compassion and truth. Many clergy and lay counselors see these two goods as being in competition with each other. They want their people to grow, but they want them to know that God loves them, here and now, just as they are. Indeed, God loves us just the way we are, but he loves us too much to leave us the way we are. Love calls us to change. To be compassionate, therefore, means we both perceive and provide what the person needs, and therefore we give them the truth that leads to conversion. At the same time, to bear witness to the fullness of truth means to bear witness to compassion, because if we do not see God as boundless compassion and mercy, then we are missing the full truth about him. One does not have to balance being compassionate and being truthful. One does not have to “shift gears” between being pastoral and being prophetic. They are all part of the same dynamic, two sides of the same coin: namely, loving our people.

..... Think, for instance, of groups like the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. They think that killing children by abortion is sometimes the most helpful course of action for a mom or dad. They even have Scripture studies and liturgies for “choice.” These people, presenting themselves as preachers of Christ, have in fact lost their way, and are “tossed back and forth by the waves” of the culture of death. Thinking they are serving God’s people, they are actually killing them.

The image of the body in this passage also shows us that when we share the truth of Christ, we are not talking about disconnected truths, but rather an integral person. The various truths of Christ are not like books in a library, where one may decide to check out whatever books one wants, and leave the rest behind, or where the library itself may choose to exclude some books from its collection. The biblical image, instead, is a living body. All the parts are, as Paul says, “ joined and held together by every supporting ligament." You can’t pick and choose which parts of the body should be there. When you accept the person, you accept the whole body. You can’t eliminate a finger without the head complaining. What you do to one part of the body affects the whole body. So with the truth of Christ, the reason we cannot withhold any part of it is because by doing so, we affect all the rest of it. All the truths are an integral unity; they are a living Body, Christ himself.

...... Love not only demands we omit nothing from the truth, but that love communicate that truth in a particular way. To communicate the truth in love takes more than following a set of dos and don’ts, or of choosing the right words or tone of voice. Something has to happen within ourselves before we do or say anything: We have to realize that we are speaking to our brothers and sisters, that we are all on the same side. People need to know that. A discussion of the truth, whether in private or public, should acknowledge the pain that people may feel about the issue we are discussing. The psychological attitude to take and to convey is, “We are in this painful situation together and need to help each other out of it.” If the person reacts angrily, we should approach in the way we would care for those afflicted by personal disasters. We are dealing with good people who have pain, not with enemies.

..... Speaking the truth in love can be seen when we don’t just speak at people, but, like the Lord, bring them into the process of discovering the truth. We don’t just serve up conclusions; we respect their  mind and heart and will to engage and wrestle with the truth. All of us are called to wrestle with God, just as in that mysterious passage from Genesis 32 where Jacob wrestled all night with the Lord. Jacob was injured in the process but blessed with a deeper knowledge of God and of himself. Sharing the full truth, in content and in method, trusts the readiness of others to accept it, and that very  process, rather than silence or a dilution of or apology for the truth, is what shows the love.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

American Christians - Betray Your Faith Or Close Your Business


Greg Corombos highlights here the increasingly prevalent dilemma for American Christians to either betray their faith or close their business.

In just over two years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled there was a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Scruggs said, states have clearly put Christians on the defensive – in this case as well as the legal battles over bakers, florists and other business owners who with weddings.

“What you see in all these cases is states using these laws really to attack and restrict the rights of Christians to choose the messages they can and cannot promote,” Scruggs said.

“All these laws are telling people essentially to either toe the line or get out of the marketplace. Literally, Christians are being excluded from the marketplace because they can’t in good faith promote a message they disagree with.”

*******

Indeed. Like a runaway steamroller, a culture that is freefalling into moral anarchy has no hesitation in trampling the rights of Christians to practice their faith. The American constitutional right to faithfully practice one's religion has become a fictitious right for the morally bankrupt to be "free" from anyone that faithfully practices their religion. The reason is simple - any light that exposes their true moral depravity cannot be permitted in any way, shape or form.

40 years ago it was unthinkable that American Christians would face the kind of persecution they increasingly experience today. In the space of one generation, the enemy has successfully implanted his followers in the chief framers of culture - media, entertainment, political, and education.

Earlier this year, I commented here on Rod Dreher's proposal for the "Benedict Option" writing,

The Benedict Option is named after a 6th-century monk who left the collapsing Roman Empire to form a separate community of prayer and worship. Benedict of Nursia founded monasteries and a well-known “Rule” to govern Christian life together. By many accounts, Benedictine monasteries did in fact seed the growth for a new civilization to blossom throughout Western Europe after Rome’s fall. In his book "The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation" (see here) Rod Dreher makes a persuasive case that conservative Christians today should likewise withdraw from the crumbling American empire to preserve the faith, lest it be choked out by secularism, liberalism, and moral relativism.

...... Time may well prove the argument moot as to whether Christians should be figuratively building community arks to ride out the coming flood of judgment. Beliefs have consequences and very bad beliefs have very bad consequences. Barring national repentance on an unprecedented scale, faithful Christians will eventually be ousted from the culture at-large and forced (like it or not) to form into separate conclaves to survive. Either that or they will be assimilated into the Borg (i.e., "resistance is futile.") The Biblical worldview is irreconcilable with the one increasingly espoused by our culture. Choose this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:14-15).

The Truth About The Crusades


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Materialism cannot logically assert itself to be "true"




In his monumental work Christian Apologetics, theologian Doug Groothius presents a powerful and persuasive argument that materialism (also known as "naturalism") cannot logically assert itself to be "true". Materialism is the understanding that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter. If we strictly hold materialism to its own understanding of reality, the relationship between a truth claim and the reality (world) to which it refers cannot possibly exist since such a relationship is not a material thing.

For the materialist then, truth is a proposition that cannot exist independently of reality. For the materialist, it is true that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit; that particular truth is embedded (so to speak) in the material existence of H2O. But truth cannot exist independently of matter - i.e., there can be no such thing as moral truth for example. Thus any claim that materialism itself (an immaterial worldview) is "true" becomes nonsense.

Concepts such as "love" cannot logically exist in the worldview of materialism. Moral truth is nonexistent. Ultimately, materialism is a bankrupt worldview and a false understanding that eats one from the inside out. It is socially destructive and self-destructive. It smashes the happiness and peace of mind of those who succumb to it, and is associated with anxiety, depression and broken relationships. There is a correlation between materialism, a lack of empathy and engagement with others, and unhappiness. Materialism finds no meaning in a meaningless world.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lost Visitor Wanders Megachurch Campus For 40 Years


(Satire is the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. As such, it always has an element of truth as the starting point.)

Christian Satire is here at the Babylon Bee at its best ....

Jake Halpert visited Shady Hills Community Church in the autumn of 1977, and only just found the sanctuary this past Sunday ..... Sadly, Halpert arrived at the service just after the sermon concluded, and was only able to experience the closing worship song, during which half the church was leaving to get to lunch early anyway.

At publishing time, Halpert was seen wandering the campus in search of his car in order to finally return home.

The Death Of Eros


Mark Regnerus chronicles here the death of sexual love which he ascribes to the rise of egalitarianism - i.e., the loss of distinction between male and female.

Something strange is going on in America’s bedrooms. In a recent issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers reported that on average, Americans have sex about nine fewer times a year than they did in the late 1990s. The trend is most pronounced among the young. Controlling for age and time period, people born in the 1930s had the most sex, whereas those born in the 1990s are reporting the least. Fifty years on from the advent of the sexual revolution, we are witnessing the demise of eros.

Despite all the talk of the “hookup culture,” the vast majority of sex happens within long-term, well-defined relationships. Yet Americans are having more trouble forming these relationships than ever before. Want to understand the decline of sex? Look to the decline in marriage ......

....... For the typical American woman, the route to the altar is becoming littered with failed relationships and wasted years. Take Nina, a twenty-five-year-old woman my team interviewed in Denver. Petite, attractive, and faring well professionally in her position with an insurance company, Nina was nevertheless struggling when it came to relationships. She had a history of putting men she valued as confidantes in the “friend zone.” With these men, a sexual relationship seemed too risky. If it went awry, she’d lose not only a potential mate but also a valued friend. On the other hand, if she didn’t know the man well, she was willing to have casual sex while hoping for something more.

After several years, this approach had taken its toll: an abortion, depression, and a string of failed relationships. Nina now believed that a marriage ought to begin as a friendship, and for the first time in years, she had someone in particular—David—in mind. Though she had been raised by liberal parents to be open-minded about sex and wary of traditional household roles, she had come to see things differently. She was blunt: “I’m dead serious. . . . I would marry him, I would raise his kids, raise a family.”

...... Egalitarianism promised the flourishing of eros, but by abolishing the difference between the sexes, it has made sexual acts self-referential—even those that are not performed alone. Men and women are not interchangeable, and our effort to make them so has only increased the loneliness and disaffection of American life. We cannot have both eros and strict equality between the sexes. Saving one requires sacrificing the other.


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Two years ago I warned here of the tragic consequences of egalitarianism. The climax of this fantasy worldview is the current rage of transgender lunacy which foolishly decries all difference between male and female and naively believes the sexes are interchangeable. In 2006, Wayne Grudem warned that egalitarianism was the new path to theological liberalism. He proved prophetically correct with the proliferation of so many churches now laid waste with a false understanding of truth. Provided the culture doesn't obliterate itself in the near future with our reckless abandonment of common sense, we will one day look back in astonishment that people could be so stupid.

As society crumbles, further indication of how quickly the foundational concept of marriage is degrading is this article in the New York Times entitled "How Did Marriage Become a Mark of Privilege?".

Indeed.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

This was predictable


Saturday passed without the world coming to an end, but we're not out of the woods yet. The Doomsday writer who claimed that the world would end on Sept. 23 now says it will end October 21. Christian numerologist David Meade predicted Sept. 23 as the date a mysterious Planet X would collide with Earth based largely on verses and numerical codes in the Bible.

But as the day drew nigh, Meade backed off on the prediction and said he was misunderstood.

.... However, the author has since clarified that October will be the month of “action” and “seven years” of war and disaster will begin Oct. 21, according to the station.

“It is possible at the end of October we may be about to enter into the seven-year Tribulation period, to be followed by a Millennium of peace,” Meade was quoted as saying by the Sunday Express.

Read here.

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What's tragic about this end-times lunacy is the comment by one reader that "Christians are goofy".

Vapor (Ecclesiastes and the Meaning of Life)


Friday, September 22, 2017

No, the World Won't End Tomorrow and There's No Such Thing as a Christian Numerologist


Ed Stetzer calls it like it is here.

In this case, it’s making Christians look silly.

Again.

But there it is on the front page of Fox News, “Christian doomsdayers claim world will end next week.”

It’s under the heading “Science.” When you click on it, the article headline proclaims, “Biblical prophecy claims the world will end on Sept. 23, Christian numerologists claim.”

No, the world won’t end on September 23rd and, Fox News, believe it or not, there is no such thing as a ‘Christian numerologist.’ (And, who are the other Christian numerologists in the headline, beyond the one quoted?)

Every time end-of-the-world predictions resurface in the media, it is important that we ask ourselves, “Is this helpful? Is peddling these falsehoods a good way to contribute to meaningful, helpful discussions about the end times?”

Of course, the answer to this is no, they most definitely do not.

Every time.

To be fair, all it takes is a quick Google search to see that Fox News isn’t the only media outlet making these unfounded claims. Fake news—fed to an often unsuspecting public by a careless media—is alive and well in our world today. Stories like these are an embarrassment to Christians and the faith convictions we take so seriously. Moreover, they are a distortion of God’s word and deserve to be exposed for the fabrications that they are.

So, I let it be until it started showing up on my social media feeds (citing the Fox News article).

So let’s take a look and see just how fake this news really is:

First, there is no such thing as a legitimate ‘Christian numerologist ......

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As Stetzer observes, "If we start speaking up about bad "Christian" reporting, maybe people will do it less."

Planet X/Nibiru Is A Distraction


Thursday, September 21, 2017

The problem is that Christians tend to go to either extreme


Earlier I wrote here about the lunacy many Christians are professing regarding Sep 23rd, 2017. As I wrote then,

The Christian part of the web is unfortunately full of lunacy and conspiracy theories, somewhat reminiscent of the warning of Jesus to be wary of such claims. Google "Nibiru" and search the term on YouTube and you will find a plethora of articles and videos, many produced by professing Christians, of a rogue planet supposedly set to make a cataclysmic appearance on Sep 23 (it was also supposed to appear in 2012). Hogwash - see here and here. As one comment on a Nibiru video sarcastically observes, "The most amazing fact about Nibiru is that it is only visible in YouTube videos." Christians that spread this kind of fallacy do nothing but hurt their testimony and take the focus off real truth. Last year, I wrote here that sometimes Christians are sadly the most gullible ones. Prov 14:15 has something to say on the subject:  The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

And here is a "Christian Numerologist" claiming "the mysterious rogue planet Nibiru, also known as Planet X, is on a collision course with Earth, which will bring world-ending tsunamis and earthquakes. The numerologist claims the dates of recent events like the Great American Solar Eclipse and Hurricane Harvey’s flooding of Texas were all marked in the Bible. Meade now says his “Planet X theory” lines up with more bible codes and ancient markers on the Egyptian pyramids."

No wonder Christianity gets such a bad rap in the eyes of many.

On the other hand I wrote earlier here that not everyone is perceptive saying,

In our learned age, most people now regard a total solar eclipse as merely an interesting astronomical phenomenon, and many view it as a celebration time for "eclipse" parties. But when two total solar eclipses crisscross the United States 7 years apart and paint a giant "X" near the geographical center of the nation, the perceptive ones see something else: a divine warning. And if nothing happens immediately after the second eclipse in April 2024, many ... including more than a few believers ... will surely scoff. 

In contrast to the many scoffers though, the relative few perceptive ones will heed the divine warning.

The problem is that Christians tend to go to either extreme - either (1) embracing and promulgating the craziest conspiracy theories, or (2) failing to recognize (and ignoring) clear divine warning signs.

There is an interesting passage in the Bible that at first glance may seem contradictory,

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
(Prov 26:4-5, ESV)

The meaning is that we must use discernment in each situation. The same is true with respect to end-time signs. Wisdom is called for.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

When you've won all your battles you've got to find new enemies to fight


There's an enlightening article here on the new enemy of the Southern Poverty Law Center - Truth.

When you've put the Klan out of business and won all your battles, but you're not ready to close your doors, you've got to find new enemies to fight.  

One of those new enemies is former Vanderbilt history professor Dr. Carol Swain. Swain grew up in the old South and fought poverty and racism to become a university professor. She's an expert on white nationalism. But she has publicly attacked the SPLC, and Swain, a conservative Christian, found herself on the SPLC's hate list as a supposed "apologist for white supremacists."

Other SPLC targets have included Dr. Ben Carson – who was later removed from its hate list – female genital mutilation victim Hirsi Ali, and even small charities like the Ruth Institute, whose mission is to help families and children. The Ruth Institute said, "If this makes us a 'hate group,' so be it."

The SPLC: A 'Money-Making Machine'

Among the list of Christian groups on the SPLC's Hate Map are many local churches. It's usually because they oppose the gay agenda.  

The list includes the Family Research Council. FRC Executive Vice President General Jerry Boykin doesn't pull any punches, telling CBN News, "First of all, the SPLC, you have to understand, is probably one of the most evil groups in America. They've become a money-making machine and they've become an absolute Marxist, anarchist organization."

Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group, is also on the list. Kerri Kupec, ADF legal counsel and communications director said, the Southern Poverty Law Center once did good work, "but the SPLC lost its way a long time ago."  

Nothing 'Poor' About the Southern Poverty Law Center

Kupec dismisses the SPLC as a "direct mail scam," but marvels at the SPLC's revenues, with assets listed at $315 million.  

"I have never heard of a group with 'poverty' in its name that has so much money," Kupec said .....


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Christianity is rapidly becoming the new whipping boy and scapegoat for a multitude of groups, each with a differing agenda, but all with a common goal: the rejection and overthrow of Christian truth. What we are witnessing today is just the beginning of persecution ..... unless this runaway cultural train to destruction puts on the emergency brakes. The common new enemy is Truth.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

America Will Either Harden Or Soften


The same sun will harden one substance and yet melt another; it is because of the nature of the substance, not the sun. Some harden their hearts when exposed to a revelation of God while other hearts soften. The same sun that hardens clay also melts wax. In the book of Exodus, Pharaoh increasingly hardened his heart when he experienced the powerful work of God. The end result was his destruction.

Before ancient Israel's destruction via the judgment of God, they foolishly believed themselves safe because they were more righteous than the surrounding nations. But Scripture is adamant that the more one receives, the more is required of them (Luke 12:48). (Indeed, God used the pagan Babylonians to execute judgment on ancient Israel.) And as God spoke with increasing urgency to the remaining southern kingdom of Judah, culminating with the prophet Jeremiah, they only further hardened their heart. Despite God’s repeated warnings from other prophets, the previous loss of the northern tribes, and encroaching foreign powers, those that remained in Jerusalem believed that the existence of the temple and their religious practice therein would ultimately keep them safe.  Through the brave rhetoric of Jeremiah, God reveals his disdain for such confidence.

As recipients of an extraordinary degree of God's grace and blessing, much more is required of America that the surrounding nations. Yet, led by a political class drunk with money and power, an entertainment industry renowned for debauchery and a largely apostate church, we have sunk morally lower than even some of the worst pagan nations.

I believe the total solar eclipse over America on Aug 21, 2017 signals that God's patience with America's astonishing moral descent is coming to an end. As He reveals His sovereignty in judgment during the next 7 years (until the next total eclipse on Apr 8, 2024) with increasing frequency and power, America will either collectively harden or soften.

Destruction or restoration await America. National repentance or willful, stubborn rebellion - the choice is collectively ours.

Sudden Destruction


While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape (1 Thess 5:3)

It's astonishing how quickly catastrophic destruction can come. Everything can change in a heartbeat.

On August 24, 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius literally blew its top, spewing tons of molten ash, pumice and sulfuric gas miles into the atmosphere. A "firestorm" of poisonous vapors and molten debris engulfed the surrounding area suffocating the inhabitants of the neighboring Roman resort cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae. Tons of falling debris filled the streets until nothing remained to be seen of the once thriving communities.

The passengers on Titanic were some of the richest, most privileged people on the planet living in the lap of luxury on board Titanic on the night of April 14, 1912. Before the sun rose the next day, more than 1500 of them were dead. Their fabulous wealth could not save them.

Early in the morning on Aug 6, 1945, in Hiroshima the atomic bomb instantly killed about 80,000 people, pulverized about five square miles, and wrecked an additional ten square miles of the city, with decreasing damage out to seven or eight miles from the center.

The passengers on the four hijacked flights on 9/11 began the day as usual and before mid-morning were encompassed by sudden destruction.

Dec 26th, 2004 dawned as any other day in the Indian Ocean ... until a magnitude 9.3 earthquake generated a tsunami that killed an estimated 250,000 people by lunchtime in 14 countries. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

But the Bible warns of a coming time of even more terrible global destruction when wealth, power, position, possessions, prestige, or strength will not matter.

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand? (Rev 5:15-17)

Only one thing will save anyone then - a living relationship with the King of Kings.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth (Rev 3:10)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Why You’ve Never Really Seen Hollywood Portray An Abortion Scene


Hollywood will never show an actual abortion because it would remove all doubt about whether abortion takes the life of an innocent human being. 

... Hollywood has a long history of supporting women’s choice of abortion. But even in today’s climate of radical selfism, it would be far too dangerous to show the truth of an abortion procedure. The truth has a tendency to change minds when it reaches people, and if people were to see the truth of abortion, it’s likely that many would cease to support the practice.

... To make sure that abortion does continue as a legal and legitimate choice, people who advocate for the practice have a vested interest in making sure that the reality stays hidden. The abortion industry has long hidden behind a veil of dishonesty, and Hollywood has certainly contributed to that. To expose the truth of abortion would undermine the foundation of deception on which the abortion industry rests, and Hollywood surely has no interest in that.

Read Cullen Herout's essay here.

*******

And Derick Wilburn points out the blatant hypocrisy of Hollywood here.

These mouthy Hollywood stars are millionaires many times over and as is the case with most human beings, their homes, automobiles and lifestyles tend to reflect their income and personal net worth. Turn on E!, MTV's "Cribs", pick up a magazine or tabloid sometime and take a look. They virtually all drive huge luxury SUV's or exotic sports cars that get nine miles-per-gallon (downhill, with a tail wind), live in 20,000 square foot, 12-bedroom mansions with theaters, bowling alleys, indoor pools, multiple kitchens, etc., which require heating, air conditioning, lawn maintenance, and generally suck up massive amounts of power -- mostly from coal-fired power plants (which the politicians they're supporting are trying to eliminate.) They travel on privately-chartered jets and get around city streets in limousines large enough for 10 occupants but carrying just one.

Moreover, many of these entertainers are motion-picture action stars. Could anything be more environmentally unfriendly than the production of today's action flicks? All are rife with car chases and massive explosions. The size and scale of stuff blowing up gets bigger and bigger. In each of these movies huge plumes of thick black smoke goes billowing into the sky to supposedly eat away at our ozone layer. But apparently that's okay if there's a paycheck in it for the actor. But you and I? These same people want you and me to upgrade to a 90% efficient furnace, drive a car the size of a shoebox, and heat our homes to no more than 68 degrees to help save the planet.

Virtually all of the Hollywood elitists march in lockstep with the Democrat Party and its freakishly cultish devotion to abortion and gun-control legislation. They scream bloody murder when a deranged person walks into a building and shoots the place up, but look the other way when it comes to the million a year who are liquefied and sucked out of their own mother's wombs. "We've got to get rid of the guns to save lives", but we've got to keep "choice" so we can keep on destroying lives. Talk about having it both ways. They will volunteer time to support a cause trying to save the eggs of the Dusky Seaside Sparrow but would not lift one finger to save a human being in the same state of existence.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Splendor Of Truth


Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia authored a powerful treatise on truth here entitled "The Splendor Of Truth In 2017", using the Roman Catholic encyclical "Veritatis Splendor" (the splendor of truth) published 24 years ago. While I do not subscribe to the Roman Catholic view of justification that posits justification as a combination of faith and works [I agree with the Reformers that justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone], the Archbishop's essay on truth is a much needed clarion call. Good works do not contribute to justification but are the necessary fruit of genuine faith. Chaput's thesis can be summarized:
  • Truth exists, whether we like it or not.
  • We don’t create truth; we discover it.
  • We have no power to change truth to suit our tastes.
  • The truth may not make us comfortable, but it can make us free.
  • Knowing and living the truth ennobles our lives and is the only path to lasting happiness.
  • Humans are created with the capacity for freedom so that they could unite themselves with the truth—in action as well as thought.
As he writes,

....the core problem of our sinfulness is not that we’re breaking rules. It’s that we’re damaging our God-given humanity and forsaking the opportunity to live in the truth, which means living more fully human lives.

It is because we remain captive to a false rivalry between moral truth, on the one hand, and human freedom and fulfillment, on the other, that Veritatis Splendor remains so important.

.... Intrinsically evil acts aren’t wrong because the law proscribes them. The law proscribes them because, by their very nature, they deform the human person. They disrupt the just relations among persons and turn us away from God, our greatest good.

... We were created with the capacity for freedom so that we could unite ourselves with the truth—in action as well as thought.

... a pastor is not acting mercifully if he says, out of a misguided desire to help someone struggling with a difficult choice, “Don’t worry, as long as your heart is in the right place, God will understand.” Or even worse: “I dispense you from the law in this case.” The pastor has no power to launder a sinful choice into a morally acceptable one. In trying to do so, he commits a serious injustice. 

... The spiritual problems that arise in morally difficult cases do not stem from the “cruel” nature of a seemingly merciless law. The problems come from the fact that we fallen creatures have a hard time choosing the good when it costs us something. The right path to happiness isn’t to relax the law, but to give ourselves over to God’s power and the promise of his grace.

... the solution to hard moral choices isn’t to rewrite or neuter the law. Instead, we need to acknowledge that, by ourselves, we can do nothing. Then we need to ask the help of God’s grace to live in the truth. When we choose to live in the truth—or at least to keep trying when we fail—we’re joined more closely to Jesus. We learn to depend more deeply on his grace. 

... We find true freedom only as we’re liberated from our vices so that we not only desire what is truly good, but also act to attain it. In other words, as we grow in moral virtue, we also grow in authentic freedom.

Freedom was not given to us by God so we could redefine, on our own, what is good or evil, but rather so we could respond in liberty to his offer of friendship.

... Totalitarianism arises out of a denial of truth in the objective sense. If there is no transcendent truth, in obedience to which man achieves his full identity, then there is no sure principle for guaranteeing just relations between people. Their self-interest as a class, group or nation would inevitably set them in opposition to one another. If one does not acknowledge transcendent truth, then the force of power takes over, and each person tends to make full use of the means at his disposal in order to impose his own interests or his own opinion, with no regard for the rights of others.

... it’s vital for the sake of her mission and the world that the Church be a beacon of truth when so few such beacons remain.

... Conscience is not an independent and exclusive capacity to decide what is good and what is evil.” Rather, “conscience is the application of the law to a particular case.” Conscience stands under the objective moral law and should be formed by it, so that “the truth about moral good, as that truth is declared in the law of reason, is practically and concretely recognized by the judgment of conscience.”

... To a great extent, today’s debates within the Church—on issues of sexual identity, sexual behavior, ....  and civilly remarried, the nature of the family—simply exhume and reanimate the convenient ambiguities and flexible approaches to truth that Veritatis Splendor forcefully buried.

But the splendor of the truth cannot be hidden. It is ever ancient, ever new. 


*******

This powerful message is one that the church needs to take to heart and forcefully act upon today. Truth has essentially lost all meaning for a culture in disintegration. As the entrusted repository alone of all moral truth, the church must forcefully and clearly speak that truth (even if unpopular and at great cost) to a culture rapidly descending into darkness. It is the only hope of true freedom that we have.

"Book of Eli" prayer - ending

"The Book Of Eli" is a movie about the last Bible on Earth after an apocalypse. Starring Denzel Washington (who is himself a strong Christian) as Eli who is entrusted with safekeeping the last Bible, this is his powerful prayer at the end of his life ...


and here is an insightful commentary on the movie and its application to us today ...


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Carbon footprints of the Telethon stars

The hypocrisy of the Hollywood crowd and political elites seemingly knows no bounds.

Carbon footprints of the Telethon stars: The Hand in Hand hurricane fund-raiser started with a lecture about global warming - then celebrities with multiple homes, cars and private jets starting soliciting much needed money

Read here.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Truth About The Sep 23 "Rev 12" Sign


"Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it"
Jesus Christ
(Matt 24:23)

I'm skeptical of all the hoopla on the web about the alleged Rev 12 "Sign in the sky" on Sep 23, 2017.  Astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner gives us the facts in the video above and I agree with his perspective. (In contrast and truly significant though [I believe] are the two total solar eclipses in 2017 and 2024 that crisscross America and are spectacularly visible to all in the sky, not restricted to a computer screen with special software.)

The Christian part of the web is unfortunately full of lunacy and conspiracy theories, somewhat reminiscent of the warning of Jesus to be wary of such claims. Google "Nibiru" and search the term on YouTube and you will find a plethora of articles and videos, many produced by professing Christians, of a rogue planet supposedly set to make a cataclysmic appearance on Sep 23 (it was also supposed to appear in 2012). Hogwash - see here and here. As one comment on a Nibiru video sarcastically observes, "The most amazing fact about Nibiru is that it is only visible in YouTube videos." Christians that spread this kind of fallacy do nothing but hurt their testimony and take the focus off real truth. Last year, I wrote here that sometimes Christians are sadly the most gullible ones. Prov 14:15 has something to say on the subject:  The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

Be ready and live each day as if the Lord might return that day, but prepare for the long-term. I hold to a pre-wrath rapture position (see here) which would not happen until we are well into the Tribulation and the church is under severe persecution.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Graphic Demonstration Of The Fallen Nature Of Man


The news article here reports that lawlessness is rampant on some Caribbean islands after Hurricane Irma.

Business owners on one of the Caribbean islands ravaged by Hurricane Irma say the government needs to send in the Marines -- literally -- and increase patrols to combat the thieves and looters running rampant at Sint Maarten's shopping destination.

Elsewhere on the island, men armed with guns and machetes are terrorizing residents and tourists alike, while some wait on piers to steal the bounty of boats and ships carrying aid to the devastated community.

... Residents of the small island - divided in the 17th century into the French territory of Saint-Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten – say they have to hide inside their homes and in makeshift shelters as night falls, fearful of robbers roaming the streets


*******

Reality consistently deals a death blow to the naivety of those who believe in the "innate goodness of man". We live in a fallen world populated by fallen humans and this is an example of how quickly everything can deteriorate - literally overnight. Every person without exception is born into the world morally corrupt and  enslaved to sin and is, apart from the grace of God, utterly unable to choose to follow God or choose to turn to Christ in faith for salvation.

Yesterday I heard a radio host ask his national audience whether, regarding the recent hurricanes, price-gouging or looting was worse. I was astonished to hear a caller opine there is nothing wrong with looting because insurance pays for any loss and the looters "need" what they are taking (hoodlums breaking into a sporting goods store and stealing boxes of sneakers "need" the shoes?). Besides a a dismal understanding of basic economics, this caller sees nothing inherently wrong with taking whatever one wants. Adding insult to injury, the radio host did not correct this caller. I suspect there are multitudes of others like this caller that don't have a clue on right versus wrong.

Barring national repentance and widespread spiritual revival, what's happening in the Caribbean is a sobering preview of what is coming on a much wider scale if our culture continues to collapse. And as happened in the Caribbean, it can happen very quickly - literally overnight.

Arm yourself both spiritually ..... and physically.

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." (Ephesians 2:1-3, ESV)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What is the final arbiter of truth in an area where Scripture is silent?


As evil spreads its modern day tentacles and the culture morally collapses, demonic behavior is increasingly the norm as I noted earlier here. I just purchased this book entitled "Demon Possession and the Believer in the Early Church" to see what the early church had to say on the subject. No reviews available yet for it on Amazon.

.... in order to by-pass the influence of the Age of Enlightenment on modern day interpretation of demon possession, this study presents the records of the early Church Fathers from A.D. 100 to A. D. 500. Their original accounts are presented, critiqued, analyzed, and evaluated to determine what they communicated about demon possession and the Christian ..... The author holds a B.A. degree in Bible and Theology from Crown Bible College, a M.A. degree in Missions from Columbia International University, and a Ph. D. degree in Religious Studies from Trinity College and Theological Seminary. 

The author raises an interesting question at the outset of the book - What is the final arbiter of truth in an area where Scripture is silent? 

For the Roman Catholic magisterium, the answer is easy: "tradition" which it holds to be on par with Scripture. But even for evangelical Protestants, tradition - while always subservient to Scripture - can (and should) be a powerful arbiter of truth when Scripture is silent especially when the voice of the church is both unanimous and uniform over 2000 years. This is why it's foolish to practice theology in isolation; doing it in the context of what the historical church has said can often prevent error.

Yet another arbiter of truth can potentially be "experience". Again, while always subservient to Scripture, it too can be a powerful arbiter of truth when Scripture is silent. We must be careful not to read into Scripture our preconceptions (i.e., Rev 22:18-19; Prov 30:5-6; Deut 4:2; Deut 12:32).

Unfortunately, some Christians erroneously believe that Scripture is the only source of truth. While it certainly is the final arbiter of truth, when silent we must turn to other practical sources of truth. In reality, there are multiple other potential sources of truth. i.e.,
  • tradition
  • reason
  • general revelation
  • experience
  • emotion
Each area may have subsets. For example, mathematics can be a powerful source of truth and would rightly be considered a subset of reason. I would argue that true science is a subset of general revelation. The key of course is that all must be subservient to Scripture where it speaks. But when Scripture is silent, we must search for truth elsewhere.

The Reformers held to a theological principle of "semper reformanda", meaning "always reforming". This is the Reformation principle that Christian theology is always undergoing change, enhancement, and development. the Reformers understood that if theology was, at any point, thought to be solidified and one person’s, group’s, tradition’s, or denomination’s perspective was thought of to be “above all reproach” and, therefore, unable to be developed, the task of doing theology would be severely grieved. Thus, our theology must be reforming itself continually as we grow in our understanding of reality (i.e., God).

The fatal problem today is that most have jettisoned special revelation (Scripture) as the final arbiter of truth, leading to a free-for-all with all other potential sources of truth. It's as though the umpire in a baseball game has been ejected and each player is now making up his own rules as the game progresses - a surefire recipe for anarchy and moral chaos. Without the foundation of special revelation, all other potential sources of truth become suspect. General revelation is molded into whatever one perceives [i.e., true science becomes junk science (see here.)] Tradition becomes irrelevant. Reasoning becomes insanity.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Insanity Becomes The Norm When One Willfully Rejects God


A 12-Year-Old Boy ‘Transitioned’ To A Girl, Took Hormones, Then Changed His Mind. See here.

Patrick’s story of regretting the decision to “transition,” or try to appear opposite of one’s biological sex, is not uncommon. A 21-year-old woman from New Zealand took hormones for several years in an effort to make her body appear more like a man’s. While undergoing hormone treatments, Zahra Cooper says she became irritable, depressed, and attempted suicide. She eventually decided to stop the process and embrace being a woman again — a decision her significant other and grandfather say has made her happier.

Parents that encourage and/or permit this form of insanity with their children are guilty of the worst form of child abuse.

Rebellion against God is ultimately rebellion against Truth. With God being the ultimate reality, when one purposely and willfully rejects Him, insanity becomes the norm.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! (Rom 1:21-25, ESV)

The Never Ending Fantasy To Find Alien Life


Here's the latest in the never-ending quest to find alien life entitled "Life existed on Mars, shocking discovery suggests". See here. The discovery of the chemical element boron on Mars means life must have existed on Mars. Preposterous deductive reasoning. This shows how desperate naturalists are to confirm their delusional worldview. This false claim is now made so regularly that I'm getting tired of writing about it. As I wrote previously,

The existence of alien life would validate their cherished belief that life can (and did) arise spontaneously by itself here on Earth. And if it happened here, then it must have also happened elsewhere in this seemingly infinite universe given the 14 billion years they currently consign as the age of the cosmos.

But what if we are alone in the cosmos and there is no alien life elsewhere? It is the death knell for their theory of origins and leaves only one other option that is devastating to their worldview - special creation by an omnipotent Creator. Thus, the stampede with ever increasing urgency to find alien life which in their minds would finally vindicate their position and prove the fallacy of a creator God.

In a forlorn bid to cover all the bases, some nautralists are cautiously advocating that if alien life does exist, it might be "extremely rare". See here.

Friday, September 8, 2017

We can only spit in God's face so many times before His patience ends


A friend emailed me and observed that one "cannot spit in God's face" daily and expect His blessings. Earlier I cautioned here that not everyone is perceptive regarding divine warnings. As I wrote,

In our learned age, most people now regard a total solar eclipse as merely an interesting astronomical phenomenon, and many view it as a celebration time for "eclipse" parties. But when two total solar eclipses crisscross the United States 7 years apart and paint a giant "X" near the geographical center of the nation, the perceptive ones see something else: a divine warning.

Kirk Cameron, the actor, is one of the relative few who is perceptive. He said the hurricanes are "a spectacular display of God’s immense power" and He sends them for a reason.

"When he puts his power on display, it’s never without reason. There’s a purpose. And we may not always understand what that purpose is, but we know it’s not random and we know that weather is sent to cause us to respond to God in humility, awe and repentance," he said in a video on Facebook.

In stark contrast is Max Lucado's perspective here entitled "Hurricane Irma is coming. Where is God?" His counsel is to "celebrate God. It does you no good to obsess yourself with your trouble." Not one word is said about evaluating one's relationship to God which can clearly wax and wane. Tragically, I suspect many Christians are in Lucado's boat. However, King David - the man after God's own heart - clearly understood the ramifications of letting sin impede his relationship with God in Ps 51. More importantly, unlike so many Christians today, David sought to restore and strengthen the relationship that sin had dangerously weakened. He repented.

Abortion, homosexuality, transgender lunacy, same-sex marriage, adultery, rape, murder, pornography, political corruption, pedophilia, obesity (gluttony), alcoholism, drug-fueled binges, persecution of the church, mockery of Biblical values, greed, lust for power, violence and perversion are now all celebrated as attributes of an "open-minded" culture that has been "enlightened." Demonic behavior is increasingly the norm. Truth is mocked with Hollywood, the political elite and progressive liberals proudly leading the way. The relative few that sound a warning of the inevitable consequences are dismissed as crackpots. But the truth is that we can only spit in God's face so many times before His patience ends.

A few short days after the eclipse, Houston was devastated by unprecedented destructive flooding. And now less than 3 weeks after the eclipse, the most powerful Hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic is bearing down on Florida with a direct hit on Miami looking increasingly likely. No doubt most today mock the idea that God actually judges; the prevailing view of the culture is that God almost certainly does not exist - and even if He does, is nothing more fearful than a doting Grandfather figure who winks at evil.

As I said ...... we can only spit in God's face so many times before His patience ends. And the end of His patience will not bode well for us.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! (Ps 51:1-2, ESV)

More examples of the divinely-mandated relationship between man and animal

Earlier I wrote here about the divinely-mandated relationship between man and animal (a relationship that has been fractured by the Fall.) Every once-in-a-while we see a glimmer of that relationship as originally instituted. Here are two more examples as a lion sees his adaptive owner after 7 years, and a gorilla recognizes a girl he had not seen in 12 years .... previews of Paradise to come in the new creation.





The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel (Prov 12:10, ESV)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Hopeful Demise Of Cotton-Candy Theology


In Oct 2015, I wrote here:

Peruse any "best-seller" list of Christian books and you usually find motivational books and biographies. If there are any theological books, they are almost always what I refer to as "cotton candy theology" - i.e., flashy and imparting a short-lived sugar high, but short on nutritional value. Cotton-candy theology tends to eclipse the magnificent, life-changing, absolute, transcendent truth of Scripture. From Cotton-candy's perspective, Scripture is usually either (a) granite that is only superficially scratched, or worse yet (b) malleable with endless subjectivity and relativism.

In short supply on almost all best-seller lists is what I refer to as "classical" theology

...... Walk into any Christian bookstore (which are increasingly hard to find due to online book purchases) and look for the theology section. If one exists, it's inevitably in a back corner, occupying one or two shelves.

And now comes a report here of the imminent demise of the Christian Bookstore:

... today, these Christian bookstores are a dying breed. Indeed, it seems we are fast approaching an America where this particular brand of religious retailer will be no more than a memory.

Over the last decade, Christian bookstores across the nation have been shuttering. In some cases, consumers are just less interested in the stores' God-blessed inventory. But plenty of others are just opting to purchase religious items from online retailers, with Christian bookstores humbled before the same digital market forces that felled secular mom-and-pop bookstores.

And while the author sounds a dark picture for the future of Christian bookstores, he interestingly views it as a positive development for the church:

..... the "trinketization of Christianity" has plastered a cheap face onto a rich religious movement with a more than 2,000-year history. Purging these items from the marketplace helps strip the consumerist veneer off the faith.

The disappearance of Christian retailers will also likely improve the quality of religious books.

I must admit that my recent forays into Christian bookstore felt more like a trip to a Dollar Store full of junk, rather than an excursion into a quality library full of treasures. I echo his perspective that the demise of the Christian bookstore is probably a heathly development for the Body of Christ. Authors of Christian books can no longer depend upon Christian bookstores to market and hawkishly hype their work, no matter how ill-conceived or lacking in spiritual nutrition. Instead the consumer will determine the market just as it does for movies, meaning authors will have to generate higher-quality and more in-depth writing. The result will hopefully weed out at least some of the cotton-candy theology that is often so garishly presented to an unsuspecting public by the Christian Bookstores. Best of all, like a submarine blowing its ballast tanks, the timeless classics will once again rise to the surface as consumers discover real worth.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Medical Psychiatry Now Recognizes Demonic Possession


Dr. Richard Gallagher is an Ivy League-educated, board-certified psychiatrist who teaches at Columbia University and New York Medical College. He proudly calls himself a "man of science." While he was studying medicine at Yale, he knew about biblical accounts of demonic possession but relegated them to an ancient culture's attempt to grapple with mental disorders like epilepsy. Today however, Gallagher has become something else: the go-to guy for a sprawling network of exorcists in the United States. He now believes demonic possession is real. He's seen the evidence: victims suddenly speaking perfect Latin; sacred objects flying off shelves; people displaying "hidden knowledge" or secrets about people that they could not have possibly have known. See here.

"There was one woman who was like 90 pounds soaking wet. She threw a Lutheran deacon who was about 200 pounds across the room," he says. "That's not psychiatry. That's beyond psychiatry."

Gallagher calls himself a "consultant" on demonic possessions. For the past 25 years, he has helped clergy distinguish between mental illness and what he calls "the real thing." He estimates that he's seen more cases of possession than any other physician in the world.

Psychiatry now professionally recognizes demonic possession. It’s medically diagnosed as dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personality disorder)/demonic possession. See the Merck Manual description here.

In the possession form, the identities usually manifest as though they were an outside agent, typically a supernatural being or spirit (but sometimes another person), who has taken control of the person, causing the person to speak and act in a very different way. In such cases, the different identities are very overt (readily noticed by others). In many cultures, similar possession states are a normal part of cultural or spiritual practice and are not considered dissociative identity disorder. The possession form that occurs in dissociative identity disorder differs in that the alternate identity is unwanted and occurs involuntarily, it causes substantial distress and impairment, and it manifests in times and places that violate cultural and/or religious norms.

Symptoms and Signs

Several symptoms are characteristic of dissociative identity disorder.

Multiple identities

In the possession form, the multiple identities are readily apparent to family members and associates. Patients speak and act in an obviously different manner, as though another person or being has taken over. The new identity may be that of another person (often someone who has died, perhaps in a dramatic fashion) or that of a supernatural spirit (often a demon or god), who may demand punishment for past actions.

If a patient comes in for treatment and says they are possessed by a demon or a devil, psychiatrists don’t tell them that they are not …. instead they do whatever psychiatric treatment they think is necessary, often including strong medication. And they sometimes will bring an exorcist in.

If indeed the cause is demonic, while medication may often alleviate the symptoms, it merely suppresses the underlying cause. The root cause is not dealt with and the patient often lives in a fog. Any ultimate true healing must address the root cause and must be spiritual.

The gospel is light by nature and suppresses the darkness of demonic activity; this is why demonic activity became much rarer in western civilization as the gospel spread (in contrast to pagan geographical regions). But now as the culture largely rejects the gospel and darkness descends like a wet blanket, demonic possession is becoming more widespread particularly as it is fueled by uncontrolled drug use, blase' prevalence of human sacrifice (abortion), rampant growth of the occult, gender identity confusion, skyrocketing homosexuality, escalating sexual immorality and hyper-sexuality.

From the early church writings, we know the early church fathers believed mental illness was distinct from demonic possession. John Chrysostom wrote, “Physicians, when they are kicked, and shamefully handled by the insane, then most of all pity them, and take measures for their perfect cure, knowing that the insult comes of the extremity of their disease …. If we see persons possessed by devils, we weep for them; we do not seek to be ourselves also possessed” (St. John Chrysostom, 1978, p. 127).

They also believed anyone who was not a Christian was automatically "insane" in the sense they could not perceive or respond correctly to reality. This corresponds to the explicit Biblical teaching that unbelievers are deceived by the enemy and blinded to truth.  All the historical Ecumenical Councils denounce heretics as insane.

A male who thinks he's a female (and vice-versa) is technically insane no matter what political correctness decrees, but the 9/11 terrorists – who thought that they could go to Paradise by killing thousands of innocent people and committing suicide in the process – are oddly considered sane by many because they were simply acting on beliefs held by their entire subculture. To the early church Fathers however, both are insane. But the terrorists are insane in a very different and far worse way because they were wrong about the most fundamental reality - about who God is. Anybody who willfully and prolongedly sins is technically insane because they are acting against God who is the fundamental reality.

In the video at the top of this entry, I do not know if the defendant is insane or demon possessed. Clearly though, his behavior is not normal. While psychiatric treatment may be of some benefit to him, ultimately only the gospel can bring him out of delusional darkness into the light and reality.

Watch this disturbing encounter with an abortionist ...



In my 4+ decades of walking with Christ in the West, I encountered a handful of people who were truly demonically possessed. But that number is now surely rising as the culture rejects the light of the gospel en masse. With our culture descending into darkness and once-rare demonic possession becoming widespread, only the true gospel can restore sanity and light. The church is empowered by Christ to free those in demonic bondage, but must be willing to act as needed and use the gospel with love, wisdom, discernment, maturity and above all - faith.

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matt 16:18-19, ESV)

The line between science and politics has been irrevocably erased


Julie Kelly brilliantly casts the light of truth on the murky relationship between politics and science here in her essay entitled "Scientific American’s Transgenderism Issue Only Delegitimizes Science".

If you need proof that the line between science and politics has been irrevocably erased, look no further than the September edition of Scientific American.

In a special issue entitled “Sex and Gender,” the magazine purloins the progressive political agenda and attempts to give it a scientific mooring even when none exists.

.... SA’s opening salvo is an editorial with the headline, “Why the New Science of Sex & Gender Matters for Everyone.” The piece is astonishing not just because it’s poorly written and ill-conceived—one would expect more from such smart people—but also because it offers no evidence to back up its claim there is “new science” on sex and gender.

.... This doesn’t stop the editors from calling for updated biology textbooks and lamenting how “arguments about innate biological differences between the sexes have persisted long past the time they should have been put to rest.” In other words, they want us to believe that gender fluidity is the new settled science.

Except it’s not. Last fall, two scientists at Johns Hopkins University issued a wide-ranging report on sexuality and gender. Among their many findings is that “the hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be ‘a man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’ — is not supported by scientific evidence.”

... In a photo caption of one of the boys, who now identifies as a girl and goes by Sarah, Olson explains how he “knew from a young age that she was a girl rather than the boy she seemed to be at birth (emphasis added).

No, Dr. Olson. He didn’t seem to be a boy at birth. He was, and still is, a boy. His parents and his doctors knew this because he has a penis. Science knows this because he has XY chromosomes, which dictates the sex not only of humans but most mammals. He may have decided he doesn’t want to have a penis and he likes to dress in girl clothes and wants the world to accept him as a girl; fine by me. But this does not change the scientific, biological fact he is a boy, and to present this in a leading scientific journal, as if sex is a state of mind rather than a genetic reality, is irresponsible at best and dishonest at the very worst.

.... It will be telling to see how the scientific establishment, which unleashes shrieking warnings to the public every day about how science is truth and not a belief system, will handle this collection of pseudoscientific garbage. My guess is it will be met with complicit silence.