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



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Reformation Turns 500


Breakpoint has an article here on the anniversary of the Reformation and how Martin Luther shaped our world.

Historian Philip Schaff writes that next to the beginning of Christianity, the Reformation was “the greatest event in history.” That may be hyperbole, but not by much. If you worship in a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, non-denominational, or—of course—Lutheran congregation, you’re directly affected by Martin Luther. Anglicans have been affected too, and even Roman Catholics saw reforms within that communion that came about because of Martin Luther.

And the Reformation’s influence goes far beyond the church doors. Luther’s appearance before the Diet of Worms—that famous moment when he reportedly said, “Here I stand, I can do no other,” has been called “the trial that led to the birth of the modern world.”

Our ideas about free inquiry, democracy, education, and capitalism can all ultimately be traced back to the Reformation.

...... “The Reformation,” wrote the late Episcopal priest Robert Capon, “was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace—bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us singlehandedly.”

There is no bottom to the pit of insanity once we divorce ourself from transcendent truth


As proof there is no bottom to the pit of insanity once we divorce ourself from transcendent truth, the British government is now advising the United Nations that the term "pregnant women" is offensively exclusive to the fantasy of transgenders.

A UN human rights treaty should replace “pregnant women” with “pregnant people” to avoid offending transsexuals, the UK Government has said.

The Sunday Times reported that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) feared excluding “transgender people who have given birth”.

Read about this lunacy here.

The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind (Deut 28:28, ESV)

Monday, October 30, 2017

For exorcism to be reclaimed by evangelical Christians requires a more responsible approach


The success of drug therapy in treating some psychotic symptoms has resulted in its' domination in psychiatric medicine. There is no question that some mental illness is indeed caused by physical imbalance in the human body and can be successfully treated sometimes with drug therapy. Not all seizures are demonically inflicted - i.e., see the apparent distinction between physically-caused seizures and demonic affliction in Matt 4:24. Yet, sometimes there is a clear correlation between seizures and the demonic - i.e., the epileptic boy is also demon-possessed in Matthew 17:14-21.

Apart from the evidence of Matthew 4:24, the NT uniformly ascribes mental illness to the demonic - which is subsequently cured by exorcism. This has led some to speculate that demonic activity must have been much more concentrated in Christ’s day than it is in ours, either because His unique messianic presence provoked it, or because the power of the kingdom of God had not yet been fully released into the world to suppress and oppose it.

In general, most psychiatrists regard the idea of demon-possession as a bygone relic of pre-scientific superstition. However, contemporary psychiatry has not totally abandoned demonic terminology.  As  I noted earlier here, medical psychiatry now professionally recognizes demonic possession. It’s diagnosed as dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personality disorder [MPD])/demonic possession in the Merck manual. Correspondingly, in some cases some psychiatrists now view a religious service of exorcism as favorable therapy.

In the New Testament, the possibility of illness - and especially mental illness - is rooted in demonic attack and widely assumed. Demon-possession with the characteristics of MPD can be readily identified in the gospels. For example -  ‘what have you to do with us?’ (Mark 1:24) and ‘my name is Legion; for we are many’ (Mark 5:9). It is obvious in Scripture that Jesus and the apostles possessed a worldview that took for granted the existence of evil spirits and regularly ascribed mental illness to their malevolent activity.

But in the New Testament we also find demon-possession diagnosed in many cases which do not fit the MPD pattern. In Mark 9:14-29 we read of a boy with ‘a dumb spirit’ who suffered from convulsions. That physical disability like dumbness was sometimes caused by demonic possession is clear from Matthew 9:32-33, 12:22, and Luke 13:11. Paul regards the divination power of a slave girl as due to an evil spirit (Acts 16:16). The accusation by His enemies that Jesus himself was possessed seems to be related to what his opponents interpreted as paranoid or megalomaniac delusions (John 7:20, 8:48, 10:20).

It's noteworthy that Jesus employed a different technique when he healed those whose illness He attributed to the demonic. He exorcised the evil spirits ‘with a word’ of authority (Matthew 8:16-17), whereas in other healings he commonly used touch (e.g. Mark 7:33).

Liberal theologians assume that the Biblical vocabulary of demonic possession is an artifact of a pre-scientific first century that should be discarded for our better-informed culture. But there is an enormous amount of testimony from the church and missionary experience over the centuries that is difficult to explain without the reality of the demonic.

While it is true that many contemporary books on the subject of the demonic are sensationalist, there is also some careful and objective research such as John Richards’ book But Deliver us from Evil (1974). The spiritual gift of ‘discernment of spirits’ (1 Corinthians 12:10) is widely accepted as referring to a supernatural ability to identify demonic activity. Richards argues that the diagnosis of demon possession should be based on a number of clues: i.e., the rational elimination of other causes; an informed analysis of symptoms and case history; and the employment of charismatic intuition. But he also cautions that it may not always be possible to come to a firm conclusion and suggests that maybe it is not always important to do so. His concludes that if conventional therapy failed and exorcism worked, then one can assume that exorcism was indeed needed.

Roy Clement produced a useful holistic model that depicts the internal and external influences upon one's mental state:



With this understanding, mental illness can conceivably be caused by some combination of faulty body chemistry (physical influence), dysfunctional family experience (social influence), demonic assault (spiritual influence) or unresolved guilt (personal sin). Thus, healing may be sought via any of these channels. Drug treatment, psychotherapy, counseling and exorcism should therefore not be regarded as necessarily mutually incompatible remedies but often as complementary therapeutic interventions, each exploiting a different facet of human nature and external effects.

Sometimes it may be possible to diagnose a single one of them as the responsible agent. For example, X-ray identification of a brain tumor and its subsequent removal by surgery and/or chemo/radiation therapy may be the solution. Alzheimer's can similarly be attributed to entirely physiological causes. But the essential unity of human nature makes it likely that in many (most?) cases the precise origin of mental illness will often be indeterminate, perhaps involving several of these facets of the human personality simultaneously. The possibility of demonic involvement in mental illness therefore must always to be considered as one potential strand of diagnosis and of the subsequent therapy.

The Bible clearly does not present demonic activity as merely the misconception of a pre-scientific culture. Today exorcism is practiced primarily in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Pentecostal traditions. However, the main body of the Protestant church in the last two centuries has unfortunately restricted the demonic to the area of personal temptation and leaves medical science to deal with almost all mental illness. In part, this has been a knee-jerk reaction against the fanaticism and superstition that has tragically manifested among some Christian "deliverance" groups. But perhaps Protestants have ceded too much ground to the worldview of naturalism in this area. A responsible application of Clement's holistic model enables the church to reclaim exorcism at a pivotal moment when darkness is again rapidly enveloping the culture. The resurgence of the occult, widespread embrace of sexual immorality and banishment of the gospel from the public square is combining in a perfect storm to produce demonic possession on a widespread scale not seen in the west for centuries.

The Bible presents no contradiction in the simultaneous application of both physical and spiritual remedies for a sick person. Hezekiah applies a poultice to his boil and also prayed for healing (Isaiah 38). James recommends anointing with oil, the intercession of the church elders and the confession of sin (James 5:14-16). Where physical illness is concerned we have no qualms taking the medication that the doctor prescribes and yet simultaneously petitioning the church to pray for healing. Why then, in cases of mental illness, should the healing resources of medicine, psychotherapy, exorcism and gospel proclamation not be used together in a systemic, collaborative effort that affirms the validity of each within its own frame of reference? If we discard the reality of the demonic, we may well often forfeit the only effective solution. Interestingly, the early church fathers believed that demonic possession was possible even for Christians, primarily through prolonged willful sin (see the book referenced here.)

Some people may need to take drugs (perhaps indefinitely); some people may need a long period of skilled counseling; some people may need to be supernaturally delivered from the demonic; some people may need to repent and believe the gospel; and some people may need a combination of some or even all of these remedies.

With respect to exorcism, the ‘try it and see if it works’ approach that is advocated by some deliverance ministries is unwise. (This is one reason why the Roman Catholic church insists upon the exploration of all other potential avenues first, before an exorcism is undertaken.) There are numerous reports about patients whose condition was in fact worsened by a misguided exorcism ritual. The ranting and hysteria that sometimes accompanies some Christian exorcists bears little similarity to the calm authority with which Jesus and the apostles handled such cases. For exorcism to be reclaimed by Protestant Christians requires a more responsible approach than is commonly exercised today in most "deliverance" ministries.

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 ..... For the past 25 years, he has helped clergy distinguish between mental illness and what he calls "the real thing."

The control of symptoms by drugs is not necessarily the same thing as a cure. If Christian pastors need to be less suspicious of the healing methods of contemporary psychiatry (at least psychiatry that is grounded in the Biblical worldview), then psychiatrists certainly need to be less dismissive of the therapeutic resources available only to the Christian church. Modern medicine has been only partially successful in the organic treatment of mental illness. While many advances have been made, Christians have every right to insist that moral and spiritual factors play a significant role in this kind of disorder. Indeed, as I noted earlier here, mental illness is increasingly epidemic in our scientifically-advanced culture despite skyrocketing medical knowledge.

C.S. Lewis observed in The Screwtape Letters that the Devil disguises his activity well and is equally happy with the skepticism of the secularist as with the fanaticism of the occultist. Undoubtedly mental illness is not the only, or even the major, sphere of his malevolent activity in our modern world. The New Testament is quite clear that demonic activity must be opposed by the church. The Roman Catholic church takes a holistic approach to potential demonic activity. Similarly the Protestant church should use teams of Christian MDs, psychiatrists, counsellors and pastors working together on the same cases. Such a holistic team could offer an integrated approach to the treatment of mental illness, taking the phenomenon of spiritual evil seriously, without engendering the unhealthy obsessive attitude towards the demonic which in the past has too often undermined the effectiveness and credibility of the healing ministry in the church. In our darkening culture, it would be tragic if the Evangelical wing of the Church proved so wedded to the rationalist presuppositions of its post-Enlightenment roots - and the worldview of naturalism - that it was unable to effectively respond to this challenge.

Because the church alone is empowered to successfully combat the demonic.

The rule of the gun will replace the rule of law


This is the apocalypse North Korea wants to unleash

DAY Zero: the lights go out, planes fall from the sky. Year One: 90 per cent of the US population is dead. This could be the nightmare of a North Korean attack.It wouldn’t happen overnight. But it could happen. A new report to the US Congress warns one or two nuclear weapons detonated high in the atmosphere above the country would — within a few months and years — lead to the death of 90 per cent of the country’s population. It’s a worst-case post-apocalyptic nightmare scenario common to computer games and movies. Nothing would work anymore. Society would collapse. The rule of the gun will replace the rule of law.

Under an EMP pulse, aircraft will cease to function and will likely fall uncontrolled from the sky. That’s how many people are in commercial airliners in US skies at any one time.
With their avionics fried, they’d fall from the sky. High-speed rail vehicles would cease to be guided. Cars would stall. The lights would go out and computers would die — and so would every piece of medical equipment in a line-of-sight of the nuclear fireball, high in the sky.

Then there would be the fires. Gas pipelines feeding cities and industry could ignite from fried control systems, unleashing widespread firestorms. How many would die in the first day is anyone’s guess.

But that would just be the beginning of the end.

Read about it here.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Our future as a democratic culture


Earlier I wrote here about the truth that genuine self-sufficiency is rooted in a faith in in the one true God. In the Nov 2017 edition of First Things, theologian R.R. Reno observes,

Our future as a democratic culture does not depend upon “inclusion” or “diversity,” two overworked words in public life today. It depends upon our capacity for self-government, which in turn assumes the ability of ordinary people to stand firmly on their own two feet, taking the measure of things and making politicians answerable to reality.

Indeed. As I wrote earlier here, government dependency is a form of enslavement.

The Roman Catholic & Protestant Perspectives On The Virgin Mary

What do Roman Catholics and Protestants believe about Mary the mother of Jesus? Walter Martin (Protestant) debates Mitch Pacwa (Roman Catholic) on the question. 


Friday, October 27, 2017

The Growing Darkness


And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. (Rev 18:2, ESV)

Interest in spirituality has been booming in recent years while interest in religion plummets, especially among millennials. The majority of Americans now believe it is not necessary to believe in God to have good morals, according to a study recently released by the Pew Research Center. The percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 29 who “never doubt existence of God” fell from 81% in 2007 to 67% in 2012.

Meanwhile, more than half of young adults in the U.S. believe astrology is a science. compared to less than 8% of the Chinese public. The psychic services industry — which includes astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-card reading and palmistry, among other metaphysical services — grew 2% between 2011 and 2016. It is now worth $2 billion annually, according to industry analysis firm IBIS World.

Story is here.

*******

The occult is roaring back with a vengeance.

Prior to the seventeenth century, most people in society embraced aspects of the occult. Then the Age of Reason dealt a blow to the occult worldview. However, a vital tradition of occultism and metaphysical movements developed in the nineteenth century and continued into the twentieth.

The occult’s clearest religious expression is in its worldview. An occult/mystical worldview undergirds many cults that are presently active in America, especially those associated with Eastern religions, the New Age and human potential movements, and the many psychospiritual groups. Such expressions of the occult have taken the strongest hold during the last quarter of the twentieth century.

The rise in occultism comes at a time when exorcism is becoming more common. The Roman Catholic church does not have enough trained exorcists to cope with the demand. Karl Payne, evangelical author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance,” argues America is becoming desensitized to images of evil promoted by the mass media. He says,

"The Third Reich of Nazism clearly demonstrated that if you tell a lie loud enough and often enough some people will believe it, even if that lie results in the justification of murdering millions of innocent people. I still think it is more than an irony that some of the same entertainment pundits that view evangelical Christianity as extreme, and conservative Christians akin to dangerous terrorists for their pro-God and pro-life convictions, view and promote occult baloney as harmless, healthy entertainment.”

The skyrocketing use of drugs is a key component to the resurgence of the occult. As I noted here in 2013,

The Greek word “pharmakia” literally signifies the use of medicine, drugs, and spells. It appears five times in the New Testament: in Gal 5:20, Rev 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15. “Pharmakia” is usually translated in English Bible translations as either “witchcraft” or “sorceries”. It's noteworthy that the English word “pharmacy” derives from the Greek word “pharmakia”.  Of course modern pharmaceutical drugs can provide wonderful relief and even much-needed cures. But drugs - both legal and illegal - are also one of the enemy's most potent weapons for destroying lives. Steadily refusing to even try time-tested methods for handling behavioral problems such as discipline, exercise, diet-modification, productive work or spiritual warfare, the church plays into the enemy's hands by dishing out powerful mind-altering drugs like candy, creating insanity. While there may be cases where the use of such powerful medication is beneficial, it should always be the last resort after alternative therapies have been tried and failed - not the first option.

Back in 2012, Christian News warned here of the worldwide increase in demonic manifestations and provided disturbing examples.

The sudden string of reports of cannibalism and other shocking violent crimes in the news is causing much discussion about the extreme demonic manifestations that are escalating worldwide.

.... The reports have been alarming for many, who wonder what possessed these individuals to behave in such a depraved and barbaric manner. While there is talk that the events are a precursor to a “zombie apocalypse,” others are convinced that demonic activity is taking place and are pointing to Biblical accounts as parallels.

Only the church is equipped to successfully combat the descending darkness and resurgence of the demonic. As I wrote here in 2015,

There is little question that demonic influence plays an increasing role in the rising mental illness afflicting our culture.  Maturity, discernment and wisdom are crucial in confronting it. In cases of strong demonic influence, traditional methods of treatment (i.e., medication, psychotherapy, etc.) may successfully suppress the symptoms but are ultimately ineffective in removing the root cause. It is akin to putting a band-aid on melanoma. The only cure is the gospel.

*******

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one (Eph 6:16, ESV)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might (Eph 6:10, ESV)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21, ESV)

“The universe should not actually exist”


Despite the organization’s $1.24 billion annual budget for 2017, the physicists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, are being forced to admit failure in their latest effort to explain why any of us are here. Indeed, why there’s even a “here” here at all.

“The universe should not actually exist,” said Christian Smorra, a physicist at CERN’s Baryon–Antibaryon Symmetry Experiment (BASE) collaboration.

CERN, founded in 1954, features a circular tunnel some 17 miles around that houses a particle accelerator, which uses peak energy of 14 trillion electron volts to speed particles to nearly the speed of light and allow them to collide. It is underneath Switzerland near its border with France. Smorra and other scientists are trying to resolve the mystery of why – given the assumption the universe is the result of the Big Bang – the resulting matter was not annihilated back into nothingness by the equal amount of resulting antimatter.

“All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter,” Smorra told Cosmos magazine. “An asymmetry must exist here somewhere, but we simply do not understand where the difference is.”

It is that elusive asymmetry CERN scientists have been seeking – some out-of-balance property that allows matter to continue existing.

That’s easier said than done. Unstable by nature, antimatter annihilates in a burst of pure energy when it comes in contact with matter in a reaction that is the most efficient known in physics. To date, very precise measurements have been conducted on antimatter’s properties: mass, electric charge and most recently, magnetic moment, but with no difference being found when compared to regular matter. Last year’s CERN’s Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus (ALPHA) experiment proved equally disappointing when atoms of antihydrogen and hydrogen were examined with light for the first time, and no difference was observed. Still, the universe remains.

Read about it here.

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding." (Job 38:1-4, ESV)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Pale Green Horse Is Riding Now


North Korea's persecution of Christians is on a par with Nero's in ancient Rome


"If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you."
Jesus Christ
(John 15:20, ESV)

*******

North Korean Choi Kwanghyuk is one of the lucky ones. The 55-year-old managed to escape from the work camp where he was sent after being targeted and persecuted by the government for his Christian faith.

.... Despite having to hide his faith in plain sight while living in North Hamgyong province, Choi was still compelled to bring religion to others when he started an underground church. “There were about nine people,” he said. “I couldn’t do mission work because we had to keep it secret that we had a church. If that information had leaked, we could have faced the death penalty.”

.... Prisoners are forced to stand on their toes in tanks filled with water up to their noses for 24 hours, stripped and hanged upside-down while being beaten or given the infamous "pigeon torture” -- where both hands are chained to a wall at a height of 2 feet, forcing them to crouch for hours at a time.

Tiny rations of watery corn porridge leave inmates on the brink of starvation, and many hunt rats, snakes and frogs for protein. Some even take the drastic measure of searching through animal dung for undigested seeds to eat. Beatings are handed out daily for offenses as simple as not bowing down in respect to the guards fast enough. Prisoners are used as practice targets during martial arts training. Guards routinely rape female inmates.

Story is here.

*******

As reported here, North Korea's persecution of Christians is on a par with Nero's.

WASHINGTON — Christians in North Korea are facing persecution that is likely "on par" with the level of persecution that the Early Christian Church faced under Roman emperor Nero, a prominent human rights activist said during a Capitol Hill ......

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"Sex Addiction" or Sin?


There's an article here asserting that sex addiction destroyed Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul who used his power to sexually abuse and rape women for decades..

It’s called the "dopamine reward pathway" and  it seems to be involved in all kinds of addictive behavior: cocaine, opium and heroin, meth, on and on and on. Sexual orgasm can kick off the dopamine pathway, and you need bigger and bigger stimulation for that same old kick. So you have to escalate, even if you have to ruin your life. (See: Tony Weiner, Bill Clinton, and many others.)

.... There's nothing new to historians and psychiatrists. Human beings are boringly predictable, and the Roman Emperors Nero and Caligula followed the same path .....

.... The definition of "addiction" is “a behavior that becomes destructive of oneself and others.” When your cravings for crack cocaine get so bad that you have to murder your dealer, or yourself, that is by definition an addiction. Addictions are not limited to illegal substances. Escalating sex is also addictive, and for some people, political power might be addictive.

*******

No.

The author has reversed the cause and effect. "Sex addiction" is not the cause of immoral behavior, but the effect (result) of yielding to the sin impulse that is inherent in everyone since the Fall in Eden. Sin is the root problem - not "sex addiction." 

In 1988, Karl Menninger, M.D. warned in his prophetic book (here) that the refusal to acknowledge sin as the root problem would result in a world-wide affliction of depression, gloom, discouragement and apprehensiveness. He argued that mental health and moral health are identical, and the recognition of the reality of sin offers to the suffering struggling, anxious world a real hope not of belated treatment but of prevention.

The plethora of "addictions" today is merely man's latest attempt to thwart personal responsibility, a tendency that began in Eden (Gen 3:11-12). Until one recognizes and acknowledges the truth of inherited sin as the starting point, they are defenseless in the battle. And there is only one Power in the cosmos that can free us from sin's universal and deadly influence.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9, ESV)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

How America Destroyed the Gospel


Christians Need Not Apply


There is a disturbing trend manifesting within the increasingly progressive-liberal U.S. government. In stark violation of the U.S. constitution which guarantees freedom of religion, progressive liberals are hounding the faithful out of government.

:"Christians are being discriminated against and this is the hypocrisy of liberalism," said Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress. "Those who cry the loudest for tolerance are usually the most intolerant people when it comes to ideas with which they disagree," he said.

As Eric Metaxas warned, "To me the idea that U.S. senators are this ignorant about this incredibly, utterly central element in American freedom, I find frightening and it should be a wakeup call to everybody,"

Story is here.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Greatest Danger To The Church Today

Walter Martin was one of the greatest apologists of the 20th century. During his lifetime, he repeatedly warned of the insidious cancer within the church that has always represented the greatest danger to the health and well-being of the Body of Christ. Thirty years after this message, the veracity of his warning rings ever truer with much of the church sadly succumbing to the cancer.


.... fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert ... (Acts 20:29-31, ESV)

No, God doesn't play dice with the universe.


In the video above, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku argues that (contrary to what Einstein said) God does indeed "play dice with the universe" meaning there is a degree of uncertainty to some events in the cosmos. But he's wrong.  From God's perspective there is no uncertainty and He knows with absolute precision, everything that will happen (He even knows the future result of every dice throw - Prov 16:33).

On the other hand, Scripture affirms that our choices are truly our own. But while our choices are truly our own, God knows with absolute certainty ahead of time what we will choose, and He is astonishingly able to use our free choices to orchestrate and accomplish His perfect will. The Bible affirms both the absolute sovereignty of God and our reponsibility of choice. How precisely God is able to do that is beyond human comprehension and exists solely in the divine mind. At that point, all we can do is bow in worship.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Face Of Evil


Michigan Abortionist Michael Arthur Roth, who was caught by police with 14 containers of aborted baby remains in his car, has entered a plea of “No Contest” to three felony counts of Larceny in a Building.

The 75-year-old appeared in a Macomb County Circuit Court Monday in the latest episode of a saga dating back to October, 2015, when police discovered stolen drugs, abortion equipment, and aborted baby remains in the trunk of his car.

According to reports at the time, police in West Bloomfield, Michigan, found “14 containers of human tissue, possibly fetuses, medical equipment and large amounts of Fentanyl, a drug used for pain and sedation,” leading to the suspicion that Roth had been secretly carrying out illegal home abortions.

The discovery of the cache came about as the result of an automobile accident in which Roth hit a child with special needs, critically injuring him. Police investigators obtained a warrant to search Roth’s impounded car and found the human tissue in containers along with the other contraband during the search.

Read about it here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Myth Of Scientific Objectivity


There's an essay here entitled "The Myth Of Scientific Objectivity" by a software engineer that argues science has never been truly objective but is always hostage to the  "political, moral, and religious views" of the scientist. The author thoughtfully reflects on the truth that in a fallen world, science can never be truly objective. His conclusion? "Scientists would do well to start with a frank acknowledgment that they do not really know the deeper sources of their own dearly held scientific truths."

My friends who work in scientific fields were aghast when they saw that the organizers of a planned “March for Science” had tweeted that “colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues [black power emoji][rainbow emoji].” Who can blame them for their horror? The impartial search for truth is having enough problems these days, what with the discovery that many prominent scientific results, over a broad swath of fields, are non-replicable and likely false. 

.... What makes them wary, however, is the even more illiberal desire to inject the views and interests of progressive social causes into the methodology of science itself (hypothesis formation, experiment, analysis) and perhaps even into its conclusions. 

...  In fact, the purported objectivity of scientific inquiry is a damaging myth, and the illiberal instincts of the Marchers for Science represent a corrective, though not a cure. Science has been ideologically captured since its birth, and “value-laden inquiry” is not a recent deviation but is rather fundamental to its successful practice. The successful conquest of the institutions of science by overtly politicized forces would change little on the ground, but it would help to update society’s perceptions so that they match the underlying reality. We should welcome the March for Science as it sets out to destroy the academy’s undeserved reputation for neutrality and to reveal science for what it has always been.

.... This is why those most invested in science as a way of knowing the world react with such horror to the proposal that values, even the progressive values they overwhelmingly share, should inform the scientific method. 

.... The political, moral, and religious views of a scientist really do affect the results that he gets. 

.... Another way in which our metaphysical beliefs construct the body of evidence that is available for theory to address lies in the ways we classify and categorize the world. 

.... The point, rather, is just that science is not unique, and that it can never be self-justifying. Questions like “which science?” and “why this science?” are often useful ones.

..... science is made up of fallible institutions and fallible individuals. Yet the mechanisms of peer review, grant-making and funding, access to laboratory resources, and so on make it all too easy for a dedicated cabal to deliberately (or even accidentally) freeze out research that does not conform to their vision of the world.


*******

Amen.  Organized science has often proved and continues to prove to be the biggest adversary to impartial discussion and consideration of any data that does not conform to the accepted worldview — an alien concept to many people due to the way science, particularly in the mainstream, has been mythologized as a totally dispassionate and objective enterprise that only cares for so-called "truth" (though the anthropogenic “global warming” scandal no doubt helped undermine that myth!)

The scientist is just as motivated by emotion as the next person, whether it be greed, fear, malice, love, pride, or ambition. Degrees and Ph.D.s don’t suddenly transform someone into a person that is utterly impartial and free of emotional or intellectual prejudice, or immune to other forms of corruption (in this fallen world) for that matter.

Most important is the worldview held by the scientist. A materialist (or naturalist) worldview (which many hold) will inevitably drive his conclusions.

The term “skeptic” comes from the Greek skepsis, which means examination and doubt, and not knee-jerk denial. Somewhere then, organized skepticism and enthusiastic debunkers went wrong. Somewhere along the way, some people began to unconsciously mistake closed-minded cynicism and arrogance for skepticism—and the one thing the best known “skeptics” never seem to doubt, of course, is their own set of ontological or existential assumptions.

One reason so many people make it through life with a fairly closed mind to “paranormal” information in particular is that they never have an experience that forces a catastrophic psychological upheaval upon them, leaving them to reassess everything they have ever assumed to be true - such as an encounter with Christ. Being born again (John 3:3) shatters one's worldview and revolutionizes their grasp of reality. At that point we have access to the ultimate source of truth.

Holy Ground


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"Nothing is proven until it is officially denied"


For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Matt 24:24, ESV)

There's an interesting review (authored by a retiree from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security) here of a new book the makes the case that caution must be exercised in believing anything reported by the press.

Some of these smear techniques can probably be found in a study of politics in the ancient Sumerian city of Ur. 

...... The Internet has made it extremely difficult to spread fake news. Dan Rather learned this when he attempted to pass off a memo that he claimed was created in the 1970s. It was immediately recognized as a fake because it was created with a computer font that did not exist at the time. The “dossier” claiming to show Trump connection with the Russians is similarly an obvious fake. It is amazing that people in the intelligence community can get away with claiming that it might be accurate. The first page of the dossier is classified “Sensitive Source -- Confidential.” You do not have to be an intelligence expert to know that sensitive sources are never classified confidential.


*******

This is precisely why I watch and read very little from the mainstream press and media. I get almost all my news from various independent sources on the Internet. And I exercise caution in believing anything. Scripture explicitly warns of growing deception towards the end of the age that will be so strong as to be capable of even deceiving the unwary elect. Case-in-point: the plethora of advertising for "DNA Kits" that can allegedly reveal one's ancestry. There is little doubt that a significant contingent of the church believes the hype and have even purchased the kits. But a little research brings us this scientific perspective ....

Anyone with a spare $100 to $900 can buy a "DNA ancestry kit." Self-collection of DNA requires only a quick swab of the inside of the mouth to gather cheek cells. Mail that smear back and the company will then compare your DNA to various other samples. 

But claims that this analysis will tell you much about where you came from are downright fraudulent, anthropologist Deborah Bolnick of the University of Texas at Austin and 14 co-authors recently reported.

..... But, Marks points out, these companies are preying on the public because they simply don’t have enough comparative information to pinpoint a gene on a world map. They might match your DNA to some group on some continent, but what they don’t tell you is that you would probably also match the group next door if only they had some of those samples as well.

.... More insidious, these companies pretend to trace your unique ancestry through mitochondrial DNA, but that’s simply not possible. A few hundred years, a few generations, and every person's history is a genetic mishmash. One little gene isn't going to inform anybody about anything.


*******

The gullibility of many in the church will ultimately bring ruin to their lives.

Stop being gullible and live. Start traveling the road to understanding. (Prov 9:6-8, GW)

What is the Relationship Between Persons of the Trinity?


Monday, October 16, 2017

The Growing Evidence for ‘‘Demonic Possession’’:What Should Psychiatry’s Response be?


There is an interesting academic paper here published in 2005 entitled "The Growing Evidence for ‘‘Demonic Possession’’:What Should Psychiatry’s Response be?" While the author does not approach the subject from the Biblical worldview, he draws the conclusion that demonic possession is real and wrestles with the growing recognition of the limitation of powerful drugs, the resurgence of electroconvulsive therapy (EVT), and the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder (MPD).

As a result, it is impossible to avoid arriving at the surprising conclusion—at least for the moment—that evil spirits are real and that they sometimes obsess or possess the living.

..... American clergy commonly distinguish between afflictions that are ‘‘purely emotional’’ and those that are ‘‘spiritual.’’ This distinction prevails throughout the deliverance ministry.

... Moreover, is it all that far fetched to consider the further possibility that powerful neuroleptic medications might also discourage an obsessing spirit from oppressing its victim—might, like shock therapy, create a hostile environment in the brain for oppressing spirits?

.... Much of the world is mystified by the West’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of spirits and takes a dim view of any therapy that excludes spiritual healing from the picture. It is possible that the West took a backward step long ago when, under the spell of scientific materialism, it dogmatically refused to give spirits their due. Millions of us might have been harmed by this refusal.

.... I mentioned above the apparent cure by MacNutt of a schizophrenic who had been in a mental institution for 12 years. And Peck is not the only psychotherapist working in America to treat mental illness as possession. Colin Wilson mentions two who occasionally treat their patients as if they were possessed. One of them, Dr. Ralph Allison, a specialist on MPD working in California, occasionally ran into personalities that did not act at all like split-off alters. Of one of these Allison wrote, ‘‘Despite all my efforts, I was unable to find a more plausible explanation for his existence than the spirit theory’’.

.... I believe that the evidence surveyed here provides good reason to think that Jesus’ interpretation of mental illness is at least sometimes on the mark. If it is, the implications for us would be significant.


*******

As I noted earlier here, medical psychiatry now recognizes demonic possession (at least in principal). I referred to Dr. Richard Gallagher, a board-certified psychiatrist .....

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 ..... For the past 25 years, he has helped clergy distinguish between mental illness and what he calls "the real thing." 

The academic paper from 2005 is worth reading in entirety. The author's conclusion?

Psychiatrists should question their materialist assumption that mental illness is strictly a matter of an aberrant brain, carefully examine the literature of possession, experiment to determine why exorcists and deliverance ministers often succeed where psychiatry fails, and develop a more complete inventory of techniques for healing the complete person.

Since the paper was published in 2005, the cultural situation in the West has quickly deteriorated with increasing acceleration in the intervening 12 years. At the same time, one must be cautious of the abuse and outright fraud perpetrated by some self-proclaimed "exorcists" such as Bob Larson - i.e. see here. But as the light of the gospel has essentially been banished from the public square, the powers of darkness experience increasingly free reign. The materialist is helpless; only the church is empowered to effectively confront and combat this evil and free those who have been enslaved.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:10-12, ESV)

Surgical Sex


Paul McHugh was the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at the world-class John Hopkins Hospital in 2004 when he published this article entitled "Surgical Sex". He relates in some detail why John Hopkins (who was the first hospital in the U.S. to offer so-called "sex-change" surgery) decided to stop offering the procedure.

Until 1975, when I became psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, I could usually keep my own counsel on these matters.

..... Once again I concluded that to provide a surgical alteration to the body of these unfortunate people was to collaborate with a mental disorder rather than to treat it.

This information and the improved understanding of what we had been doing led us to stop prescribing sex-change operations for adults at Hopkins—much, I’m glad to say, to the relief of several of our plastic surgeons who had previously been commandeered to carry out the procedures.

...... Quite clearly, then, we psychiatrists should work to discourage those adults who seek surgical sex reassignment. When Hopkins announced that it would stop doing these procedures in adults with sexual dysphoria, many other hospitals followed suit, but some medical centers still carry out this surgery ...... some surgeons and medical centers can be persuaded to carry out almost any kind of surgery when pressed by patients with sexual deviations, especially if those patients find a psychiatrist to vouch for them. The most astonishing example is the surgeon in England who is prepared to amputate the legs of patients who claim to find sexual excitement in gazing at and exhibiting stumps of amputated legs. 

........ Much of the enthusiasm for the quick-fix approach to birth defects expired when the anecdotal evidence about the much-publicized case of a male twin raised as a girl proved to be bogus. The psychologist in charge hid, by actually misreporting, the news that the boy, despite the efforts of his parents to treat him and raise him as a girl, had constantly challenged their treatment of him, ultimately found out about the deception, and restored himself as a male. Sadly, he carried an additional diagnosis of major depression and ultimately committed suicide.

...... I’ve learned, there is a deep prejudice in favor of the idea that nature is totally malleable.

Without any fixed position on what is given in human nature, any manipulation of it can be defended as legitimate. A practice that appears to give people what they want—and what some of them are prepared to clamor for—turns out to be difficult to combat with ordinary professional experience and wisdom. Even controlled trials or careful follow-up studies to ensure that the practice itself is not damaging are often resisted and the results rejected.

...... I have witnessed a great deal of damage from sex-reassignment. The children transformed from their male constitution into female roles suffered prolonged distress and misery as they sensed their natural attitudes. Their parents usually lived with guilt over their decisions—second-guessing themselves and somewhat ashamed of the fabrication, both surgical and social, they had imposed on their sons. As for the adults who came to us claiming to have discovered their “true” sexual identity and to have heard about sex-change operations, we psychiatrists have been distracted from studying the causes and natures of their mental misdirections by preparing them for surgery and for a life in the other sex. We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it.


*******

Much has changed in the 13 years since Dr. McHugh published his informative article. Sex-change surgery is now increasingly the rage everywhere (although it's biologically impossible to change gender since every cell in the human body is genetically coded as male for males, and female for female.) After nearly 40 years of common-sense, in 2016 John Hopkins bowed to the political and cultural madness and decided to resume sex-change surgery.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now says life begins at conception


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just released their 2018-2022 draft strategic plan here ...., which unequivocally states that life begins at conception and deserves protection. In the introduction it says,

“HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”

The draft mentions conception five times total.

No doubt this will give apoplexy those who advocate for and especially those who reap profit from the practice of child sacrifice in the form of abortion. Nothing infuriates the enemy more than shining the light of truth on his works of darkness.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Ps 139:13-16)

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Great Deception


'I seem to be either a de-sexed monstrosity, or I’m a damaged, mutilated male. I’ve been alone a long time. I’ve been forced into celibacy. I yearn for mere conversation and cuddling.'

There is must-reading here entitled "What Two Former Trans Men Want You To Know About All The Lies" on the transgender rage that is burning through the culture with devastating results. It is the chief weapon of mass destruction now deployed by the enemy against the only part of creation made in the very image of God Himself.

Paul, a computer programmer who is currently unemployed, is 38 years old and in the process of “detransitioning,” undoing steps towards the sex change he began a decade ago.

Before “transitioning” from male to female, Paul struggled with dysphoria for years. He remembers his high school days filled with shame over his “girlish” interests and peer groups and struggling with gynecomastia (swollen breast tissue in males), isolation, and confusion. When Paul first learned about transgenderism from an article in his student newspaper, he felt he had found the missing piece.

..... “On the day of surgery, I was surprised at how it was suddenly unfolding into something larger than I expected. I tried to stop them, but I was then anesthetized. After surgery, I went into shock at how thoroughly I’d been altered in both appearance and function,” Paul says. “I was a sex addict, and sex was now disrupted. I also now found myself in a constant, low level of groin pain. A year later, the bleeding began. I was told to wait it out, see a specialist, and not to get a lawyer.”

After a painful recovery, Paul was told that, despite having been told otherwise before surgery, he couldn’t actually stop hormone treatment. He confronted his doctor, whom Paul says admitted to lying, claiming “rules were broken for his benefit, to increase access to care.”

..... In an era where transgender rights are at the forefront of social politics, media does its part to selectively inform people about the realities of transition. Transition guides tailored to teens are made up of cartoons and glittered chest binders. Stories on detransitioners are written off as “uncommon” or “myths,” and those who dare tell the stories of those who regret their transition meet repercussions.

..... Undergoing gender reassignment is regarded as the Holy Grail for those struggling with their sex. When the potentially fatal outcomes are not adequately tracked, however, shouldn’t honesty be the priority when speaking about the lifelong effects of the transition process?

Paul’s advice to children looking to transition? “Don’t.”

*******

In fact, the entire world of "transgenderism" is one giant web of deceit. The culture certainly doesn't want you to be exposed to the truth. The problem is that sooner or later truth always intrudes and ultimately demolishes the bizarre worldview. The bad news is that what's often left is a smoldering ruin of a life. The good news is that Christ alone has the power to recreate a life worth living upon those ruins.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Col 2:8, ESV)


The Catastrophic Vision of Hugh Hefner: How our Culture Lost Its Soul


There is yet another opinion piece, this time on Breakpoint here reflecting on the true legacy of Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy.

Back on September 27th, Hugh Hefner the founder of Playboy, died at ninety-one.

An ancient Roman maxim says that one shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but it would be irresponsible to not take note of his ideas and cultural influence, along with their consequences and victims.

...... Eleven years ago, Chuck Colson put Hefner’s legacy into proper perspective. On the occasion of Heffner’s 80th birthday, Chuck said that “Hugh Hefner did more than anyone else to turn America into a great pornographic wasteland.”

Hefner’s journalistic eulogists are celebrating his rebellion and ultimate triumph over the “puritanical elements of the [1950s].” You know, that “dark and joyless time in America,” as writer Matthew Scully put it, “when one could actually go about daily life without ever encountering pornographic images.” Without Hefner’s pioneering vision, “American males could not avail themselves of hundreds of millions of obscene films every year—as they do now.”

That our pornographic wasteland is filled with so many victims is also part of the man’s legacy, which can only be fully understand in light of the larger story of the sexual revolution.

You see, Hefner once claimed to have changed America, and it’s hard to argue that he didn’t. He took Alfred Kinsey’s ideas of sex separated from morality and embodied them in images and words, making them seem glamorous, sophisticated, and respectable.

Along with the birth control pill, porn was the other tangible artifact of the sexual revolution and catalyzed the separation of the sexual act from its God-given purpose. Instead of a self-giving, life-giving act in the context of marriage like God intended, sex became an act of selfish pleasure in the cultural imagination.

Porn turned image bearers into objects to be enjoyed instead of subjects to be respected and honored, while giving the illusion that there were no consequences or guilt. Hefner was what I call “the artist” of the sexual revolution, granted a loosely-used modifier here. Ideas alone can’t change culture; they need champions, and the most effective champions are artists and educators.

...... Hefner’s legacy includes fatherless homes, objectified women, porn-addicted and trafficked children, and the sexualization of all aspects of culture. And in a supreme bit of irony, a decreased lack of interest in sex with real-life women by addicted men.

All of this is the result of what Hefner called the “Playboy Philosophy”: ultimately the divorcing of sex from its God-given context—marriage—and its God-given consequences—children.

I posted about Hefner’s legacy on Facebook soon after his death, and one commenter quoted Jesus, “For what will it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” And thanks in large part to Hugh Hefner, the same might be asked about our entire culture.

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Amen. Well said.

Dead Sea Scrolls scam: Dozens of recently sold fragments are fakes, experts warn


Article is here.

The forgery market will presumably continue as long as the lure of owning a piece of the word of God tempts the growing Evangelical Christian community, which doesn’t always have the scholarly means to verify their high-ticket purchases.

While the wealthy Green family and the Museum of the Bible employees appear to be able to take a philosophical approach to the risk of forgeries, there are other smaller Evangelical Christian collectors and centers — including some Christian universities in the US — which bet the farm to own ancient scripture.

“The sellers of these fragments have preyed on the well-meaning faith of Evangelical Christians who are compelled by the idea of owning a piece of ‘the Bible that Jesus read,'” said Davis.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Latest Lunacy From Dan Brown


Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, is finally showing his true colors, bizarrely asserting that "collective consciousness" will replace God.

Humanity no longer needs God but may with the help of artificial intelligence develop a new form of collective consciousness that fulfills the role of religion, U.S. author Dan Brown said on Thursday.

Read about it here.

*******

There no true scholarship to be found in Brown's works. A combination of imaginary history and fanciful conspiracy theories, his books represent the "Oprah Winfrey" of the genre. You're better off playing video games. Christians that read his drivel or watch his trash on the movie screen are at best wasting their time, and at worst fatally weakening the foundations of their worldview.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Col 2:8, ESV)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. ... (1 John 4:1-6, ESV)

"I’ve Had An Abortion, And That’s Why I Know Congress Needs To Stop Them"


Theresa Bonopartis wrote a sobering article here that every congressman and supreme court justice needs to read in entirety. The truth is blindingly painful to those who live in denial.

No one told me what was about to happen, or about the development of my baby. I was injected with saline, which caused me to go into labor as, I was later to find out, my son was thrashing around inside me as his body burned. After many hours, I gave birth to a dead baby boy.

I can still see him lying on the bed next to me as I stared in disbelief. I could not believe that this was legal. What was wrong with us that we had allowed this? My mind could not wrap around it, as I looked at his tiny hands and feet. How could this be possible? Yet it was, right there on the maternity ward where the woman next door to me was celebrating the birth of her child.

..... We have gone from making abortion “rare and legal” to enshrining it for all nine months at the expense of everything, including the long-term impact on the mothers we profess to care about. This negative impact is still being denied by those who have made abortion their god, despite women themselves speaking out on the pain and destruction it has caused.

How did our country come to this? Can average people continue to do nothing just because they feel it will never affect them? When will we honestly look at the repercussions of our more than 40 years of abortion legality, with 60 million unborn babies dead and countless numbers of mothers, fathers, and others suffering?


*******

I've said many times that all those who favor the legality of abortion should be forced to witness one and the aftermath. After all, if it's nothing more than ridding the body of a "mass of tissue", why should they not be willing to observe it so that they may be better prepared to defend it? Why would virtually none of them gladly observe? Because instinctively - deep down - they know something evil is occurring. The louder and more raucous the support for abortion, the greater the inherent suspicion that something is terribly wrong. Barring personal repentance, a fearsome judgment awaits all those who enabled legal abortion. And a day of reckoning approaches for the culture that practises child sacrifice on a wholesale level.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

We Are To Provisionally Obey, Not Admire Or Idolize


Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Rom 13:1-2)

Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. (1 Pet 2:13-14)

Contrary to what many (most?) evangelical Christians would say, I do not consider politics to be a "noble" aspiration but a necessary evil in this fallen world. In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense,

Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.

The Bible is explicit about the relationship between the Christian and civil government. We are to respectfully obey legal government authority, and the government is to treat us justly and fairly. But even when the government does not fulfill its role, we are still to live up to ours. However, when the government directs/asks us to do something that is in direct disobedience to God’s Word, we are morally obligated to disobey the government.

The problem is that many contemporary Christians seem to hold an almost-sacrosanct view of civil government, especially that of the United States. The founding fathers were keenly aware of the fallen nature of man and thus deeply suspicious of civil government and orchestrated a Constitution to specifically limit the power of government. We are to respectfully obey unless directed to do something that contradicts Scripture. But respectful obedience is worlds away from admiration. Somehow I have trouble picturing 1st century Christians holding Apr 21st celebrations in the church in honor of the founding of Rome (believed to have been founded on Apr 21, 753 B.C., see here.)

As I observed earlier here,

The hypocrisy of those ensconced in power in Washington D.C. is exceeded only by their greed and lust for power. The founding fathers clearly understood this and thus sought to limit the power of the U.S. government via the Constitution.  But ingenuity is now inventing creative ways around it to satisfy the greed and lust for power inherent in fallen man.

I would never encourage or enjoin anyone to seek political office. Yes, I recognize the necessary presence of Christians in the political process, but view it as a necessary evil in this fallen world. The allure and trappings of power are simply far too seductive for the vast majority of Christians to withstand. I believe the best qualified candidate is the one that does not want or seek political office. (George Washington, the first president of the United States did not seek or want the position - see here.)

There is a difference between the respect that Scripture mandates for civil government and the almost fawning attitude that many evangelicals display. I certainly don't espouse the position of someone like the Jehovah's Witnesses who view civil government as illegitimate (I served on Active Duty for 20 years.) The Bible is clear that all civil authority is mandated by God and I respectfully obey. But it's  a necessary evil in this fallen world ...... and one that is quicksand for many unwary believers.

How could Jesus be fully God and fully human?


Monday, October 9, 2017

In truth, we have erected a house of cards that is surely destined for collapse.

Carl Truman presents excellent analysis here on the prevailing culture of celebrity. It's well worth reading in entirety.

..... the most important question does not concern the righteousness of the two sides’ positions. Rather, it concerns why any of us should allot special importance to the political views of a group of men whose sole claim to fame is the ability to play a schoolyard game with exceptional competence. And why is Jimmy Kimmel, a late-night comedian, suddenly a national authority on the philosophy of healthcare? The absurdity of these phenomena should be obvious. If it is not, then that is a sign of the absurdity of contemporary society.

..... We might also regard the cult of the celebrity as a symptom—perhaps the symptom—of the near-total collapse of the ethical into the aesthetic. The red carpet at the Oscars is surely the greatest evidence for this. All those stunningly attractive people, all those designer dresses—that’s what catches the popular imagination. But how many abortions are represented in that parade of the bold and the beautiful? How many sordid affairs? How many broken marriages and consequently children? 

.... If freedom made the American public square great, entertainment appears to be in danger of making it rather ridiculous.

*******

In 1978 Christopher Lasch wrote "The Culture of Narcissism", defining an entire age in terms of a personality disorder where all of America was fixed on itself with a kind of "transcendental self-attention." Lasch noted the narcissist identifies with individuals of grandeur, because he believes he is like them—and he labeled our entire culture narcissistic: thus our increasing need for celebrities.

There is very little - if any - truth to be found in the lives and discourse of the overwhelmingly vast majority of celebrities. Those that pay heed to them erect a house of cards on sand that is surely destined for collapse.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Fencing With Bigots


George Weigel presents truth here with an imaginary dialogue between a judicial nominee and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary of what once imagined itself “the world’s greatest deliberative body”. It's must-reading in entirety.

Senator Proudie: Do you believe that Roe v. Wade was rightly decided?

Professor Valiant: As a lower-court judge, Senator, I would apply all governing Supreme Court precedents in cases that come before me. Beyond stipulating that, I do not think it appropriate for a nominee to the federal bench to comment on issues on which I might have to rule.

But if you were to ask me a more general question, Senator, as to whether I think that the Supreme Court can get it wrong on occasion, I would say “yes.” I think the Supreme Court got it wrong in 1857 in Dred Scott v. Sandford, when it held that an African-American whose ancestors had been brought to the U.S. as slaves could not be a citizen and thus had no legal standing. I think the Supreme Court got it wrong again in 1896, when the Plessy v. Ferguson decision upheld segregated public facilities in the states. Would you agree that the Supreme Court got it wrong in Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson, Senator?

Senator Proudie: [Incoherent muttering.]


*******

The hypocrisy of those ensconced in power in Washington D.C. is exceeded only by their greed and lust for power. The founding fathers clearly understood this and thus sought to limit the power of the U.S. government via the Constitution.  But ingenuity is now inventing creative ways around it to satisfy the greed and lust for power inherent in fallen man.

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (1 Sam 8:10-22, ESV)

What was crucifixion like?


Saturday, October 7, 2017

North Korea ‘Decoders’ Are Sounding Alarms


Earlier this year, I chronicled here the prediction by a Jewish Rabbi in 1994 that the rogue nation would become the nuclear key to the final war of Gog and Magog

North Korea boasts about its nuclear weapons program by releasing photos and videos of its missiles. But in them are tiny clues to their true capability. A team of U.S. analysts, working outside the government, shows how they decode these images to determine when North Korea is bluffing – and when it is showing true power. These open-source experts conclude it's too late to stop North Korea from becoming a member of the nuclear club. Video is here.

The different theological positions on the rapture of the church

As I wrote earlier here, I hold to the "pre-wrath" rapture of the church. Here's a short video of Kent Hovind briefly explaining the different theological positions on the rapture of the church at the Second Coming of Christ.


Friday, October 6, 2017

There's A Sucker Born Every Minute


(PT  Barnum (5 July 1810 – 7 April 1891) was an American showman who is best remembered for his entertaining hoaxes and for founding the circus that eventually became Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. "There's a sucker born every minute" is a phrase closely associated with Barnum although there is no evidence that he actually said it. Early examples of its use are found instead among gamblers and confidence men.)

Brent Bozell tells us here about Dan Brown's (author of The Da Vinci Code) latest lure for suckers.

Dan Brown, the author of "The DaVinci Code," is back with another blockbuster anti-religion novel, and CBS "Sunday Morning" rolled out the red carpet on Oct. 1 to honor him and his massive commercial success. The segment began with what he called his "fortress of gratitude" -- his house loaded floor to ceiling, over several stories, with bookshelves ... stuffed with copies of Dan Brown's own books.

So we know who Dan Brown worships .......

..... Brown's somehow not "anti-religion," but CBS announced his new book "puts God on the edge of extinction." Brown proclaimed "Traditionally, all the gods fall. And my question is, are we naive to believe that the gods of today will not suffer the same fate?"

Dokoupil followed up. "Would that be a better planet?" Brown responded, "I personally believe that our planet would be absolutely fine without religion, and I also feel that we're evolving in that direction."

But he's absolutely not anti-religion.

Welcome to how secular liberals spend their Sundays ... while thinking it's the churchgoers who are sharing a smug affirmation of their beliefs.


*******

Affirming the old adage that a sucker is indeed born every minute, we witness many people (and Hollywood) giving such credence to Brown (who plays so loose with the facts to the point of holding a cartoonish worldview) and paying him homage for his fictitious "research". Brown clearly has an axe to grind. In 2006 Daniel Henninger correctly nailed Brown as "P.T. Barnum in print".

While the culture at-large lovingly adores Brown because he quietly affirms their hedonistic lifestyle by arrogantly dismissing the uncomfortable notion of a transcendent God, the wise will ignore his snake-oil babble.

But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene (2 Tim 2:16-17, ESV)