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



Friday, March 30, 2018

Farrell & Farrell's Most Popular Song


(We were privileged to spend a wonderful day with the Farrells in Italy touring Venice with them in the late 80s.)

Farrell & Farrell (Bob & Jayne) was/is a husband-wife duo that recorded albums in Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) from about 1977 to 1991. Their music ministry took them literally all over the world, including several trips behind the Iron Curtain before the wall came down. The Farrell's were one of the last groups in the Christian Industry that gave Alter Calls after every concert. Bob & Jayne were the first Christian Group to use Synthesizers and brought a new sound in Christian Music that no other Christian Group had ever done. The Duo has recorded over 25 LP's / CD's throughout their amazing Ministry. They had some of Christian Music's biggest hit songs like : All You Need, Boundless Love, People In A Box, & People All Over The World. Since those chart topping days the Farrell's have remained very busy with Ministry and Family life. They have raised two beautiful daughters and are proud grandparents.

Bob has become one of Christian Music's greatest song writers and has won many awards for writing #1 songs for some of the world's greatest Artists like: Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Michael English, Wynonna Judd, Eric Clapton, Anne Murray, and Dianna Ross among others. He has also written several stage musicals called, "Savior", "LaVoyage" and the critically acclaimed "Hero". Bob is also writing movie screenplays, directing & composing for Christian Films. Farrell has also just released a CD of his own called "Bob Farrell Collection".

As for Bob's beautiful wife Jayne, she was always compared to Karen Carpenter with her smooth voice range and has been busy being a loving Grandmother. Jayne has a huge heart for missions and the homeless. She spends her time serving others and has been called by God to talk to the church about tough issues the church doesn't want to hear about these days like getting right with God, becoming holy, and about going back to the basics of the Word Of God.

We Are The Reason (David Meece)

The original recording by David released in 1980 ...


The bland dismissal of truth


Mike Adams shines the light into the darkness here in his essay entitled "Abortion and the Christian Case for Choice".

Dr. Willie Parker slowly and methodically dismembers babies for a living. Because he claims to do these evil acts in the name of Christian compassion, there are a lot of people who will never again be able to take Christianity seriously. That is the reason why the Mississippi State University (MSU) Gender Studies program recently hosted Parker’s lecture “Abortion and the Christian Case for Choice.” It was the perfect choice for feminist ideologues wishing to denigrate Christianity.

..... Willie Parker’s bland dismissal of truth claims as mere matters of preference is important. It demonstrates that his worldview is postmodernism, which eschews absolute truth. Such a worldview is wholly incompatible with Christianity. Put simply, if you are a Christian you are bound to the idea of absolute truth. After all, Jesus makes it clear in John 14:6 that there is absolute truth – and that only one path leads to salvation. If there were no truth, there would not be any Jesus claiming to be the Truth. By extension, there would be no Christianity.


Of course, the postmodern worldview explains Willie Parker’s deep moral confusion.

*******


"Deep moral confusion" is an appropriate description not only of Dr. Parker, but tragically more than a few professing Christians who have jettisoned truth in favor of snake-oil that is marketed by a culture in moral free-fall.

Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely (Prov 28:5, ESV)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

People who thrive on social media, live in a fantasy world

People who thrive on social media, live in a fantasy world. Little surprise then when reality rudely intrudes upon them. As I wrote earlier here, kids that dream of becoming "social media influencers" need to have that ambition crushed as soon as possible.


Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on (1 Thess 5:14, MSG)

"Why do we always need some chemical fix?"


VICE asks some hard-hitting questions here in their piece entitled "The Mystery of the Terrifying Xanax Resurgence in America".

Pharmaceutical marketing is often said to be a key cause of the opioid crisis. That doesn't explain the deadly rise of benzos.

Between 1999 and 2016, as many Americans are now at least vaguely aware, the number of deaths from overdoses that included opioids quintupled. However, during roughly the same period, the number of OD deaths that involved benzodiazepines (a.k.a. "benzos") increased by a mind-boggling factor of nearly eight.

Benzodiazepines include drugs like Xanax, Klonopin and Valium,

..... There is no easy marketing explanation for benzos' more recent resurgence, however—although substitution due to disenchantment with serotonin drugs like Prozac could be part of it.


At some point, though, this longer arc of America's drug story begs the question: Why do we always need some chemical fix? Kelly Knight, associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, noted in an interview the “deaths of despair” theory put forward to explain the rise in opioid, alcohol and suicide mortality. She asked, "Is there something socio-culturally happening in US that is making folks particularly anxious, insecure and depressed?”


*******

As I noted last year here, the dramatic rise of prescription drugs coincides with an explosion of mental illness in the west. In 2013, I warned here that we were drugging our kids into insanity.

The article above raises a great question - Why do we seemingly always need some chemical fix? The unwelcome answer lies in the ongoing cultural disintegration that corresponds with a rejection of truth. When one embraces a worldview that does not conform to reality, some form of escape mechanism becomes necessary or else insanity is inevitable. Historically, drugs have always been a primary choice for escape. The epidemic drug usage in America is in fact symptomatic of a widespread rejection of truth.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Church’s Infatuation With Youth


Eric Metaxas highlights here something that progressively bothers me - the Church’s increasing infatuation with youth.

Yes, the church needs young leaders, of course, but what it really needs are good leaders, of whatever age.

And if we get younger leaders, who is going to train them? A recent Barna study said, “The bare facts of the matter are that even the wisest of older pastors is not here indefinitely, and his wisdom will be lost to the community of faith unless it is invested with the next generation.”

Andrew Root, author of “Faith Formation in a Secular Age: Responding to the Church’s Obsession with Youthfulness,” says that churches have bought into Madison Avenue’s siren song that “authenticity” is paramount and can be found only by catering to young people.

In an interview at Religion News Service, Root quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who seemed prophetic when he said in his day, “The church has been more obsessed with the youthful spirit than the Holy Spirit.” But “To encounter the Holy Spirit,” Root says, “means there is no longer slave nor free, male nor female, Gen Z or Baby Boomer, but all are one in the person of Christ.”


*******

The video above shows some contemporary popular "hip" pastors.

Contrary to popular perception, Christianity Today published a survey here of 250 evangelical, mainline, and Catholic congregations representing more than 20 denominations in nearly 40 states, ranging from new plants to churches more than a century old. Half of the congregations were predominantly white, while one-third were multiracial.

Their research concludes that young people don't want hip pastors. They want substance rather than style. As one online post (now gone) observed more than a decade ago,

The term bespoke the dignity of the office and the sacred calling it entailed. Not so anymore. Dignity is gone as is the sense of sacred calling. Gotta look like the world or nobody will come. Gotta talk about Hollywood movies, play high octane music and bleach my hair… Little wonder that the gray heads found in wisdom have quietly left the building and with them, what was left of godliness.

Young pastors dressed like they just rolled out bed late for school are all the rage in much of the modern evangelical church. The problem is that their theology and grasp of truth is often just as disheveled as their physical appearance. There is little substance in the cotton-candy theology espoused by many of them. We've brought into the lie that young people will tune out anyone not of their generation. Wisdom and maturity only come with time; they cannot be manufactured.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

"There have always been bad parents and damaged kids, but we've never had so many"


Deana Chadwell, adjunct professor and department head at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon, hits the proverbial nail on the head here with her essay entitled "Not In Kansas Anymore". Must reading in entirety.

I know a teacher who's trying to deal with a student who has already thrown rocks through the principal's office windows and is currently threatening to burn down the school with a flamethrower.  He's six years old.  

It's been ten years since I've been in a public school classroom, but even back then, the horrible parenting I was seeing had me worried.  I'll never forget the young man who chose to write his narrative essay about the night his father tried to strangle him.  He was nervous about testifying at his dad's trial.  Or the young woman whose father was willing to pay for the braces she needed as long as she would bring home friends for him to have sex with.  And the young man, fatherless and troubled, who brought a hatchet to school to use on me if I made him give a speech.  His terrified mother's warning saved both my life and his.

Or the kid who stole my credit card and was going to hold it hostage until I changed his failing grade.  Or the young lady I found sobbing her heart out in the hallway one morning.  I hesitated to stop and talk to her – she was prone to frequent tearful meltdowns – but I did stop, and I was glad I had.  That morning, her father had walked into a local park, doused himself with gasoline, and lit a match.  He was, of course, dead – and no one in that household had thought to keep this poor girl at home that day.

.... what happens when the postmodern moral compass of students fails?  Some stats can give some insight.  In the 1910s, there were only two reported incidents of violent attacks in U.S. schools, and one was actually an accident.  In the 2010s, there were 126 such attacks.  Students all over the country are attacking (with knives and guns) each other and their teachers at an increasing rate.  The correlation is unsettling; something has gone wrong.

..... We have developed an undercurrent of thought in this country that has created a mirage, a distant vision of a utopian society in which everyone will live effortlessly and harmoniously, placing no strain on dear Mother Earth, offending no one, and rarely taking responsibility for much of anything.  We will puff our egos and pat ourselves on our collective, non-working backs about the Shangri-La we created without any help from that nasty, demanding God.  After all, we are evolutionarily sure that people are basically good, so all we have to do is to sing "Kumbaya" and smoke a joint or two.

It's quite a shock, therefore, when things like the Parkland shooting happen.  If people are basically good, then how do we account for the Wicked Witches flying around our cities?  How do we explain the massive amount of irresponsibility that led up to the Parkland massacre?  We can feel the philosophical panic building.  To unravel the twisted, inconsistent, evil worldview that got us to the Austin bombings, the Las Vegas and Parkland shootings, and the shooting in Maryland will take some excruciating soul-searching, and human beings are not usually willing to go there.


*******

The culture is now reaping what it excitedly sowed when it ejected any notion of God from the public forum. The ruling elite wanted nothing to do with God and with no moral compass they now rule over precisely what they sought and deserve - a godless society.

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Pet 2:20-22, ESV)

The Biggest Enemy of Planned Parenthood


Monday, March 26, 2018

Bringing rocks to a gunfight


There's a bizarre news article here explaining that potential shooters in a Pennsylvania school district will face students armed with rocks.

“Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone. If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,” said Dr. David Helsel. That was Dr. Helsel testifying to the House Education Committee last week in Harrisburg.

“At one time I just had the idea of river stone, they`re the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard and they will create or cause pain, which can distract,” said Helsel.

*******

Proof that higher secular education is no guarantee of common sense.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Prov 9:10, ESV)

"Humans in the hands of an angry universe"


Ethan Siegel, PhD in astrophysics, has an interesting article here entitled "Stephen Hawking Developed An Odd Penchant For Doomsday Fearmongering Late In His Life".

But later in life, he used his platform to push a macabre worldview.

.... He spoke with the religious fervor of a modern-day Jonathan Edwards — but instead of sinners in the hands of an angry God, we were humans in the hands of an angry universe.

And the universe was very angry. Hawking worried that too many humans would consume too much energy and the Earth literally would burn up: “But the present exponential growth can not continue for the next millennium. By the year 2600 the world’s population would be standing shoulder to shoulder and the electricity consumption would make the Earth glow red hot.”

He was equally fearful of artificial intelligence, which he described as possibly the “worst event in the history of our civilization.” If humans or their machines weren’t the agents of our civilization’s demise, then Mother Nature would intervene, perhaps through an epidemic or asteroid strike. There were far too many rapacious humans on this planet, and celestial retribution would thin out the herd.

The trouble with his predictions is that none of them were rooted in scientific reality.

*******

Hawking is a tragic example of what happens to a brilliant IQ that is not anchored in absolute truth. While he was talented in ferreting out some created truth, he had no transcendent anchor. Once truth is jettisoned, anything goes ........ no matter how bizarre or preposterous. As the author notes, none of his fear mongering predictions were rooted in reality.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Exorcism - the real thing


“The Exorcist” director William Friedkin terrified the Venice Film Festival last year with his new documentary, “The Devil and Father Amorth,” and now everyone can see why in the official trailer. The non-fiction feature profiles the late Father Gabriele Amortha as he performs his ninth exorcism on an Italian woman. Friedkin was in the room for the exorcism, and it shook him to his core.

“It was terrifying,” Friedkin told Variety at the Venice Film Festival about recording the footage. “I went from being afraid of what could happen to feeling a great deal of empathy with this woman’s pain and suffering, which is obvious in the film.”

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Is This the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature?


Each of the Hebrew bullae, measuring about 0.4 inches in diameter, had been stamped with a seal bearing the name of its owner. These were created by first placing soft clay on a tied ligature and linen sack or papyrus, whose negative impressions are clearly seen on the bulla’s reverse side, and then pressing the seal against the clay. Among the bullae found in the debris, only five show papyrus negative impressions on their reverse side. One of these is the bulla impressed with the personal seal of King Hezekiah.

Alongside the bullae of Hezekiah and the Bes family, 22 additional bullae with Hebrew names were found. Among these is the bulla of “Yesha‘yah[u] Nvy[?].” The obvious initial translation, as surprising as it might seem, suggests that this belonged to the prophet Isaiah. Naturally, this bulla is far more intriguing than all the others found adjacent to Hezekiah’s bulla.

Finding a seal impression of the prophet Isaiah next to that of King Hezekiah should not be unexpected. It would not be the first time that seal impressions of two Biblical personas, mentioned in the same verse in the Bible, were found in an archaeological context. In our City of David excavations (2005–2008), the seal impressions of Yehukhal ben Sheleḿiyahu ben Shovi and Gedaliyahu ben Pashḥur, high officials in King Ẓedekiah’s court (Jeremiah 38:1), were found only a few feet apart. Furthermore, according to the Bible, the names of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah are mentioned in one breath 14 of the 29 times the name of Isaiah is recalled (2 Kings 19–20; Isaiah 37–39). No other figure was closer to King Hezekiah than the prophet Isaiah.

Read about it in Biblical Archaeological Review here.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Jewish Sanhedrin invite Arabs to join 3rd Temple project


The newly reconstituted Sanhedrin in Israel, the re-creation of the ancient legal council, is inviting Arabs to prepare for their role in the construction of a Third Temple, as the Bible prophesies. A letter prepared by rabbis explains “the time has come to rebuild the Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem in its ancient place.” Read about it here.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

If politicians believe that gun-free zones work, why do they hide behind armed security themselves?


Ryan Cleckner, former special operations sniper and a current firearms attorney, debunks 10 common arguments here for gun control. As he correctly points out, these emotion-based arguments will do nothing to solve the problem - indeed, they will make it worse while infringing on the freedom of law-abiding Americans. But facts increasingly don't matter to those ensconced in power, fueled by an insatiable greed for ever more power and wealth.

The "excesses of its own liberalism"


Erielle Davidson recounts her dreadful experience here of moving to San Francisco where the "excesses of its own liberalism" have wrought havoc.

In addition to dangerous patches of broken glass, the sidewalks in San Francisco are often accompanied by truly staggering amounts of trash. I didn’t understand initially from where all this trash was originating, until I witnessed someone breaking open a public trash bin in order to sift through the items. Amongst the trash that lines the many sidewalks of San Francisco, there are often used needles and more than occasionally, human feces.

... The public defecation problem has become so intolerable in San Francisco that private citizens have built an online map to track the concentrations of poop in the city, so that pedestrians may know to avoid certain areas.

And it’s not just poop. The overwhelming smell of urine on parts of Mission Street and Market Street would make your nose bleed.

.... In a region where the median income is just under $100,000 and where the economic growth — fueled by brilliantly innovative minds — has been nothing short of astounding, there is some of the country’s most abject and abysmal poverty.

In addition to experiencing the foibles of day-to-day life for San Franciscans, I’ve also been wholly disheartened by the relative frequency of crime I’ve encountered. 

.... I was a bystander in a drive-by shooting outside a restaurant where I was purchasing food — I was forced to hide in the kitchen of the restaurant after shots rang out.

Over the course of the last two years, I’ve reached out to the cops about hearing gun shots on my street at least five to six times. I once came home from work to spot three fire trucks outside my house, after a fight had broken out next to my front door and the situation had escalated to such a degree that the cops and the fire department were both called.

About half a year after that, my next-door neighbor’s car was stolen off of our block. It was eventually recovered by the cops, but heavily damaged, with its rims missing, its lights removed, and its sides dented. And to top it all off, we even found a crack pipe in the door of the driver’s side.

....  San Francisco, one of the richest cities in the country and home to a booming center of intellectual capital, has suffered from the excesses of its own liberalism. Bloated and inefficient spending, combined with a gross shortage of housing only worsened by rent-control antics and a fat city bureaucracy, has left a city in utter disrepair.

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As I argued earlier here, the havoc wrought by liberalism in the physical world mirrors the devastation it theologically wreaks in the church when embraced, upheld and championed as "truth". Real Truth is disregarded and deception becomes the norm.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

We live in an age when popular churches increasingly mirror the manipulative techniques of pop culture


There is a tragic story here about megachurch pastor Andy Savage of Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN resigning because of sexual sin in his past as a youth pastor. More disturbing though is the initial reaction of the church when Andy Savage publicly acknowledged it. The Wartburg Watch properly calls them out here for their entirely inappropriate reaction at the service where Savage confessed to a sexual indiscretion in his past ministry.

Prior the standing ovation, I tweeted that the church would do a standing ovation since it is a typical, knee jerk, ignorant attempt to manipulate people which is frequently used by abusive churches. I believe that this response was premeditated. Sadly, many unthinking people in the church were easily suckered into this phony show. One person who did not stand up and applaud said that those around him appeared irritated that he went against the grain. Maybe, deep down inside, they were a bit uncomfortable by their response?

That entire church service was shocking to me. Jules Woodson was abused by Andy Savage. She was then re-abused by the members and pastors of Highpoint Church. Instead of thoughtful words and a subdued service, indicating a minimum understanding of the gravity of the situation, the church leaders presented a raucous, circus-like show with an entertainer up front screaming that Andy Savage was *worthy.*

Savage received a standing ovation to his confession of a sexual incident with a 17 year old student in a youth ministry. Chris Conlee actually implied Jules Woodson should be on the same path to healing as Andy Savage! Seriously?. Do I really have to explain to pastors?

As I watched this mess, I wondered how a church could screw up this badly.

I was dumfounded by members of Highpoint who attacked Jules Woodson via Twitter, threatening her that they were going to expose her. Some daft lady said that she had the gift of *spiritual discernment* and that Savage was innocent of molestation. I saw dippy Scriptural *explanations* made by members who apparently don’t know the difference between a pastor and a king or  between crime, sin, repentance and restoration.


HighPoint got their city on a hill moment and it was a huge fail. They should hang their heads in shame. 

As painfully pointed out here in an analysis of the inappropriate behavior of the church,

"Religious leaders use forgiveness theology as a cover, and as an avoidance, of accountability," Brown told The Washington Post. "And it's a way of further shaming victims. 'What a bad girl you are, you aren't forgiving.'"


*******

Donald Miller recounts in his article "How To Spot a Manipulative Church Leader",

I am eternally grateful the first minister I encountered was such a good man.

Because the second minister I encountered wasn’t.

A committee was put in place to replace our pastor and the committee decided to hire a dynamic young man from Louisiana.  The man had been a traveling preacher, moving from church to church to perform revivals and to tell people about Jesus.  He was a tall man and loud.  He flailed his arms as he spoke.  He talked about God’s power, about God’s wrath, about God’s love and to be honest, he was quite moving.  

He was incredible at getting people to respond.  He had a sharp sense of humor, would occasionally say shocking things to test our loyalty and see if we would turn on him or go with him.  He knew the Bible inside and out and knew how to play human emotions like a fiddle.  On any given Sunday, we would experience a range of emotions from guilt and shame to fear and sometimes joy.

I even remember his first sermon. It was entitled “Appoint those you trust and trust those you appoint.”  That should have been an obvious sign to everybody. He was saying, without question, if you hire me to be your pastor, I am the boss. You must never question my authority.

Soon, the entire congregation fell under his spell.  We loved it when he delighted in us but feared screwing up.  One Sunday, he snapped at the man working in the sound booth so sharply the man turned red from embarrassment.  The pastor, realizing he’d gone too far, explained ferociously that God is a God of excellence and wouldn’t stand for mistakes, even from volunteer sound guys.  He then quoted a passage about how we were supposed to be perfect even as Christ is perfect.

Looking back, this was all manipulation.  People who care about the truth understand they are capable of self-deception and surround themselves with accountability.  This pastor got rid of the accountability.  He drove off any elder who wouldn’t submit, once again, quoting scripture and spinning the Bible so that those questioning his motives looked like infidels.  He even said he felt justified using violence against them, simply because they refused to trust the leader God had appointed.

What made the situation so difficult is that the church in fact grew ......

*******

Indeed. There is an excellent article here on spiritual manipulation in the church. We live in an age when popular churches increasingly mirror the manipulative techniques of pop culture in a misguided attempt to corral followers into the Kingdom of God. But there is little of value to be gleaned from a culture rapidly descending into paganism. While the church can (and should) avail itself of useful technology and advances, caution is paramount when it comes to incorporating the methods of a fallen culture, no matter how popular or successful in the world. A service can be so technically perfect that it becomes more performance than worship. Such a service is adept at manipulating emotion and response much like a Hollywood blockbuster, instead of depending upon the Holy Spirit to move as He wills.

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness" (1 Cor 3:19, NIV)

"An unwarranted belief that we are special creatures"


So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27, ESV)

There is a sobering article here entitled "The Push to Make Human-Chimp Hybrids" wherein the author cites the "terrific idea" to create a human-chimp hybrid - a "humanzee". The rationale for such a monstrous undertaking is crystal clear - "to drive a stake into the heart of that destructive disinformation campaign of discontinuity, of human hegemony over all other living things."

In a long article adapted from a chapter in his forthcoming book, psychologist David Barash proposes that society should sanction the making of human-chimp hybrids. He refers to this new creature as a "humanzee" and says that "making it would be a terrific idea."

Barash recognizes some of the scientific challenges to making a humanzee but claims that it is "by no means impossible or even unlikely that a hybrid or a chimera combining a human being and a chimpanzee could be produced in a laboratory. After all, human and chimp (or bonobo) share, by most estimates, roughly 99 percent of their nuclear DNA."

His main argument for pursuing the creation of a human-chimp hybrid is based on the belief that humans have an unwarranted belief that we are special creatures. As Barash puts it, "Moreover, I propose that the fundamental take-home message of such creation would be to drive a stake into the heart of that destructive disinformation campaign of discontinuity, of human hegemony over all other living things."

*******

There is perhaps no better illustration of the ferocity of mankind's rebellion against God than this. Since the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, infinite God is effectively immune from any kind of successful attack on Himself, the next best option is to strike out at His designated image-bearer. We cannot of course do anything to God Almighty Himself, but we can certainly mar the image of God. This explains the current cultural fascination with sexual identity and so-called transgenderism. God created us male and female in His image and eliminating that distinction mars the image of God. Even then the Creator has the last laugh as all attempts to change sex are ultimately futile (i.e., see here.)

The proposal to create a "humanzee" - something that would have been the stuff of horror movies just 20 years ago - is now viewed as mainstream (and even a "terrific idea") by some. This is how far the culture has frighteningly fallen into depravity.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When deception becomes the norm and truth is summarily dismissed - know that the end is near


Matthew Walther is willing to declare here what many might be thinking but are afraid to say:  Elon Musk is a messianic huckster.

Elon Musk is a goofball techbro whose real business is quack philosophizing, not inventions or engineering.

I realize that the founder of Tesla and SpaceX really does make things, like electric cars and spaceships. But Musk's numerous attempts to realize his gleaming visions of a Jetsons-like future have never come close to living up to the (largely self-manufactured) hype.

... Why have we allowed this lunatic a prominent place in our public and commercial life? Even his name makes him sound like the villain who convinces the Earth Federation in the year 4836 to trade in its fleet of perfectly serviceable if somewhat old-fashioned solar-powered starships for his sleek but shoddily made models that, allegedly, run on nothing but crystals from the planet Flion.

The line between science and science fiction has always been a blurry one. No sooner would Jules Verne write a story about, say, an electric submarine than some genius inventor would will it into reality. The problem with Musk is that he seems willing to calmly accept the reality of every nebulous Star Trek plot device in existence without bothering with the boring part where the thing actually has to work. Even a supercomputer operating on the principle of the so-called infinite monkey theorem could not devise a credible individual repository for all the wild things Musk believes. From the imminence of total human extinction to the perennial undergraduate assertion that, like, maybe we are all living inside in the Matrix, there is no implausible, discredited, absurd-on-its-face theory or cause that Musk has not endorsed with brio.

It would be difficult to think of anyone else who routinely says things as blinkeringly stupid to large audiences as routinely as Musk.

... The truth about Musk, though, is that for all his visionary cant there is nothing especially revolutionary about him. He is, in fact, a typical example of a type that is painfully familiar in American life: the shamanic huckster. Such persons have flourished in the fertile soil of this continent and the equally fecund imaginations of our free-thinking citizenry almost since the Mayflower. Sometimes people like Musk convince their fans to follow them into the desert and eat magic mushrooms in between a capella campfire renditions of "Masters of War" and freeform rap sessions on the mysteries of consciousness. Sometimes they see visions of both Jesus and assorted Hindi deities and declare themselves "greater than God." Sometimes they convince the Beatles to go with them to India. Sometimes they just hand out pamphlets outside train stations and bum cigarettes from tired commuters.

Musk is, thank goodness, much closer to the anodyne type of messianic lunatic than to the Jonestown variety. If it weren't for his peddling of high-priced death-traps that federal regulators have so far allowed to traverse our crumbling roads, I would feel comfortable declaring him essentially harmless.


*******

There is no doubt that Musk is a visionary capable of motivating people to achieve things they ordinarily would not on their own. The question is: from whence does his motivation spring, and for what purpose? He is of course a master of the requisite skill required of all hucksters - deceptive marketing (see here.)

Deception is the defining characteristic of this age, and it will exponentially increase as we approach the end of the age. In fact, so rampant will deception become just prior to the return of Christ, that it will be the normal state of affairs. In other words, when deception becomes the norm and truth is summarily dismissed - know that the end is near.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4; ESV)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Being "sheep" does not absolve us of personal responsibility


Whether by design or accident, it's becoming increasingly obvious that we are cultivating a nation of sheep, shorn of personal responsibility. Freedom requires responsibility - a point strongly made by Paul in the New Testament. Steve Campbell penned "The Grim Lessons of Charles Whitman" here. No doubt partly due to the increasing reluctance to teach history, the vast majority of Americans alive today have no clue who Charles Whitman was.

Charles Joseph Whitman (June 24, 1941 – August 1, 1966) was an American mass murderer who became infamous as the "Texas Tower Sniper." On August 1, 1966, he used knives in the slaying of his mother and his wife in their respective homes. He then went to the University of Texas in Austin, where the rampage began. He shot and killed three people inside the university tower. He then went to the tower's 28th-floor observation deck, where he fired at random people for some 96 minutes, killing an additional eleven people and wounding thirty-one others before he was shot and killed by Austin police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy. A total of sixteen people were killed; a 17th victim died 35 years later from injuries sustained in the attack.

In his article, Campbell paints some lessons for us. Key among them is "don't wait for help" .....

Help will not be in time to save you.

In the absence of any visible police presence, students decided to defend themselves.

The police were armed with revolvers and shotguns.  Neither was effective against an enemy atop a 300-foot tower shooting over a chest-high wall.

The populace of U.T. and Austin in 1966 was an armed society.  These people felt every right to defend themselves, and they did so in numbers.  Among civilians, students and police were those who owned high-powered rifles, many with scopes for long-range targeting.  Within 20 minutes, they began to return fire on Whitman, who was forced to give up his place shooting over the wall and from then on shot only through the drain holes at the base of the deck.

In the seventy-odd minutes after that, only one more fatality occurred.  When the Tower deck was "stormed" by a lone cop with a revolver, backed up by a volunteer with a shotgun, Whitman was prone on the deck, with his rifle's barrel through a drain hole.  While he was furiously reversing the rifle out to shoot these "intruders," he met the revolver bullets – all of them.  The officer then grabbed the shotgun and emptied that as well.

Had Whitman been standing to shoot over the wall and undistracted by return fire, it might have been a very different story.  

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There is a corollary here regarding the impotence of much of the contemporary church. When Scripture refers to the church as sheep, it is with the connotation of being under the care and protection of the Shepherd (Christ). That does not absolve us of personal responsibility. Quite the opposite. The indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to act on Christ's behalf, and as His image-bearers, God entrusts us with tremendous responsibility.

Paul Howey writes,

We know without a shadow of a doubt that we are human beings, not four legged animals that grow wool and graze on grass. More importantly, we know that Jesus is not a literal shepherd of any literal four legged grass-grazing sheep. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the Good Shepherd over Christians who are people, not farm animals. So even though Jesus is referred to as the Good Shepherd and even though Christians are refereed to as sheep in the Bible, that does not mean that Jesus is a literal farm shepherd or that Christians are to be treated as literal sheep. While there are many passages that refer to Christians directly as sheep, we know this reference is only symbolic. Here is one verse that on its own demonstrates a clear comparison:

For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 1Pet 2: 25

King David who penned the beloved and well-known 23rd Psalm was a literal shepherd in his youth. Better than almost anyone, he understood what it meant to be a sheep in the Kingdom of God. In comparison with how many pastors today paint what it means to be a "sheep" in the church, David's life stands in stark contrast. History is quite clear that David was a courageous man of action that never rejected the mantle of personal responsibility. Indeed, I strongly suspect that many Christians today would be offended by someone like King David. We need to be offended.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Government hypocrisy and incompetence on gun ownership

Pew Research has an exhaustive study on American gun ownership here with some interesting data. More fascinating is the statistical data here, annually published by the U.S. government. Entitled "Firearms Commerce in the United States Annual Statistical Update”, the report is from the U.S. Department of Justice with corresponding analysis by HuntingMark.com’s Jeff Edwards.

So which U.S. states own the most guns? The answer is likely to flabbergast you. Especially who is #2 on the list.


Despite some of the strictest and most onerous gun laws in the nation (read about it here), the seat of U.S government has more guns per capita than any other state in the Union, except sparsely settled Wyoming. Government hypocrisy at its finest (apparently no one should have guns except those in the seat of power.)

Worse yet, the Obama Justice Department purged more than 500,000 fugitives from the federal gun background check system. (see here.) Hundreds of thousands of criminals ineligible to buy firearms became eligible overnight thanks to this idiotic decision. Government incompetence at its finest.

The Grace of God


Friday, March 16, 2018

"When one is part of a cult, facts don't matter"


Relating to my post yesterday "Crying Wolf In The Last Days" here, Cal Thomas has an enlightening editorial here entitled "Apocalypse Now?".

Since the beginning of recorded history there have been end of the world predictions. In recent years we have had radio preachers, politicians and scientists declare with certainty that the world would soon end, either because of our decadent lifestyle, or because of "global warming," now known as "climate change."

Responses to these Chicken Little declarations have ranged from people hiding in caves to the most recent announcement by Costco that it has a doomsday meal kit for sale.

.... The book is a point-by-point takedown of the predictions of disaster made by the climate change movement, none of which have materialized, but when one is part of a cult, facts don't matter.

... climate change has been blamed for prostitution, barroom brawls, airplane turbulence and war; one climate activist is quoted as saying we should "protect our kids by not having them"; recent "hottest year" claims are based on statistically meaningless year-to-year differences; Antarctica is actually gaining, not losing ice; carbon dioxide levels today are 10 times lower than in some past Ice Ages.


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The divorce from reality among climate-change fanatics is part of a much-larger ongoing phenomenon among the culture-at-large, that unfortunately includes a large swath of the church. As Cal Thomas correctly observes, "facts don't matter" to those seduced by deception. Jesus warned in Matthew 24:10  that at the end of the age, many will abandon the faith.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1 Tim 4:1, NIV)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Crying Wolf in the Last Days


The video above is Jim Baker recently warning that next month (April) could "shake the world".

While I do believe we are living towards the end of the age with many of the predicted Biblical signposts coming to fruition, it's also important to recognize the tragic proliferation of many Christians crying "wolf" as history speeds towards its appointed consummation. In Matthew 24:6-13 Jesus warned,

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 

The picture is one of cascading warnings  - but we are not to be alarmed. The scenario that Jesus paints is one of patient endurance on the part of a church under increasing persecution. In verse 24 of the same chapter, Jesus warns of false prophets that will deceive even the very elect, if possible. In fact, in verses 37-38, Jesus predicts a continuity of relatively normal life with the culture "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage" until the day of judgment finally falls.

Prior to the spectacular total eclipse in the United States last year (Aug 21, 2017), there was a plethora of Christians warning the end was imminent (i.e., see here, here, here, etc.) While I do believe the eclipse was theologically significant, even more significant will be the total eclipse 7 years later in 2024.

There is a difference between the experience of Jonah in the OT where widespread, genuine repentance delayed predicted judgment, and what is transpiring today. When Christians repeatedly and publicly cry "Wolf", they lose credibility with the culture. While it's certainly appropriate and Biblical to warn the world that judgment is approaching, the "sky is falling" shrieking that emanates from many Christians is not.

Patient endurance is called for.

This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. (Rev 14:12, NIV)

Queen of Heaven

In the OT book of Jeremiah, there are several references to the "Queen of Heaven" - always in the context of idol worship. There is an interesting article here on the Roman Catholic perspective of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Officially, Roman Catholics worship only God – the Father, the incarnate Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Church, however, encourages veneration of the saints, with the virgin Mary foremost among them.

Mary has received incredibly high-sounding titles, such as Mediatrix of all Grace (because Jesus came into the world through her), Co-Redeemer, Advocate and Dispenser of God’s Grace, and “Queen of Heaven,” despite the fact that the prophet Jeremiah strongly condemned the Jews of his day for worshiping a personality called by the same name (Jer. 7:18; 44:15-18).

The ‘Queen of Heaven’ is the name of Asherah or possibly Astarte, a Caananite idol and goddess worshiped in ancient Israel and Judah. Astarte was accepted by the Greeks under the name of Aphrodite. It may also be a Babylonian title for Ishtar, an important goddess in the Babylonian pantheon.

The book of Jeremiah makes mention of the Queen of Heaven five times, always in the context of idol worship.

"So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. But am I the one they are provoking? declares the LORD. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?" [Jeremiah 7:16-19]

These people who were offering sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven were beyond hope and Jeremiah was told not even to pray for them. Since they were so deep in their idolatry, God had given them up. It was not just individuals involved in this idolatry but entire families … the children gather wood, the fathers light the fire and the woman knead the dough and make the cakes of bread to be sacrificed.

Pope prays to MaryCatholics claim this veneration given to the Blessed Virgin Mary is in no way idolatrous because it is rendered to a creature and is not a substitute or an alternative to the worship owed to the Divinity. The highest type of worship or adoration referred to by Catholic theologians as “Latria” is accorded to Jesus Christ. The honor paid to Mary and the saints is infinitely lower. When it is given to the saints, it is referred to as “dulia” and when it is given to Mary it is referred to as “hyperdulia” because it surpasses the veneration given to the angels and saints combined.

Catholic apologists will say worship does not mean worship and venerate does not mean worship and render homage does not mean worship and pray to does not mean worship and sacrifice to does not mean worship .....


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"Mariology" is the theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mariology methodically presents teachings about her to other parts of the faith, such as teachings about Jesus, redemption and grace. Christian Mariology aims to connect scripture, tradition and the teachings of the Church on Mary. In the context of social history, Mariology may be broadly defined as the study of devotion to and thinking about Mary throughout the history of Christianity.

The article referenced above in the Jeremiah project properly points out how dangerously close to idolatry Roman Catholics are in their practical devotion to Mary.

The four dogmas of Roman Catholic Mariology are: 1) the title “Mother of God”; 2) the Immaculate Conception; 3) the Perpetual Virginity of Mary; and 4) the Assumption of Mary.

Mother of God: In AD 431, the Council of Ephesus countered the Nestorian heresy by declaring that Mary was truly the Mother of God: “Not that the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from Mary, but the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself, was born from Mary.” One problem with this wording is that it awakened the old Arian heresy that the Logos (Jesus) was a created being. In AD 451, at the Council of Chalcedon, Leo, Bishop of Rome, ratified the decision that Mary was theotokos (“God-bearer”) only as to the humanity of Jesus. The title had nothing to do with Jesus’ divinity as the eternal Word of God. The Chalcedonian definition added the words “as to the manhood” immediately after theotokos, which should have ended erroneous thinking. But the populace took this word theotokos as an uplifting of Mary’s status and started to venerate her. The term theotokos was not incorporated into the Nicene Creed of 321 or the Constantinopolitan Creed of 381. Neither is that expression used in the Anglican Articles or in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Immaculate Conception: This tenet of Mariology holds that Mary, at her conception, was sinless (immaculate), preserved from original sin. According to the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia of Theology, no statement of Mary’s being free from original sin is found in the West before AD 1000. It was not until 1854 that faith in Mary’s Immaculate Conception was taught as an official church dogma.

Perpetual Virginity: According to Roman Catholic Mariology, Mary was always a virgin before, during, and after giving birth to Jesus. The Roman Catholic Encyclopedia of Theology admits that the formula of “virginity before, in and after giving birth” did not come into use till after the 7th century.

Assumption: The Assumption of Mary teaches that Mary, when she died, was taken up (assumed) body and soul into heavenly glory. It was not until 1950 that Pope Pius XII defined the doctrine of “Mary’s bodily assumption into heaven.”

Mary’s role in salvation: Another element of Roman Catholic Mariology is the belief that, at the conception of Jesus, Mary entered into a spiritual union with Him. Pope John Paul II discussed Mary’s place in the plan of salvation in the encyclical Redemptoris Mater, emphasizing “the special presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and his Church. For this is a fundamental dimension emerging from the Mariology of the Council.” Pope Benedict XVI stated that “Christology and Mariology are inseparably interwoven.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia states, “In [Mary’s] Fiat of faith, she received salvation for all. . . . Mary’s mediatorship is to be understood on the level of the solidarity of all mankind which is in need of redemption. . . .The function of Mary in salvation determines her relation to the Church. . . . Mary is mother of the Church under this more individualistic aspect, since she is effectively concerned for the salvation of each individual” (pages 898–901).

Within Catholicism, there is a drive to define a new Marian dogma in which Catholics, as a matter of faith, would be obliged to accept these three doctrines: 1) Mary participates in redemption with Jesus Christ; 2) grace is granted by Jesus only through the intercession of Mary; and 3) all prayers from the faithful must flow through Mary, who brings them to the attention of her Son. This movement would, in practice, redefine the Trinity as a kind of Quartet. The idea that Mary is a co-redemptrix or mediatrix contradicts 1 Timothy 2:5, which says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus is the Mediator. There is no mediator between man and Jesus. Jesus Himself dwells in believers; thus, no other mediator is required (Colossians 1:27).

Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus or anyone else direct any praise, glory, or adoration toward Mary. Mary was present at the cross when Jesus died (John 19:25). Mary was also with the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14). However, Mary is never mentioned again after Acts 1. The apostles did not give Mary a prominent role. Mary’s death is not recorded in the Bible. Nothing is said about Mary ascending to heaven or having an exalted role there. As the earthly mother of Jesus, Mary should be highly respected, but as a creature she is not worthy of worship or adoration. The Bible nowhere indicates that Mary can hear our prayers or that she can mediate for us with God. Mary herself sets the example for us in directing her worship, adoration, and praise to God alone: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is His name” (Luke 1:46–49).

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Deathblow For Christian Witness


Madeleine L’Engle’s popular children’s book "A Wrinkle in Time" was recently made into a movie. The book contains many Christian themes and also includes several Bible verses and references to Jesus, but the film’s screenwriter decided to leave all of that out. According to The Christian Post, Jennifer Lee (who was also the screenwriter for Frozen) said she left out Christian themes because she wanted the film to be more “inclusive.” (see here.)

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The gospel is both inclusive and exclusive. The gospel - while certainly inclusive in the sense that the invitation is extended to everyone - is necessarily exclusive by nature. The desire to be more "inclusive" at the sake of exclusive truth is the death blow for a Christian's witness.
  • Jesus is the only way to the Father, thereby necessarily excluding all other pretenders (John 14:6).
  • In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus warns of a great separation at His return between those referred to as "goats" from those identified as "sheep". The goats are excluded from the Kingdom of God.
  • In the Final Judgment, a great number will be excluded from Paradise and condemned to terrible suffering for eternity. (Matthew 7:13-14).
Jennifer Lee is unfortunately following the trend of many Christians today who seek to be all-inclusive at the cost of truth. Removing the exclusive truth ultimately strips the gospel of power and robs it of the extraordinary and unique capacity to free us from sin.

As Brain Jennings wrote in his blog, "The Gospel is exclusive. Suggesting that submission to Jesus isn’t necessary belittles the cost of sin, the crucifixion of Christ and the hope of the resurrection. Those who make such claims swim in arrogance, presuming that their thoughts are higher than those of God. Those who teach the so-called Gospel of Inclusion seemingly forget that the original message of Jesus cost the disciples their lives. The Gospel offends people because it says that higher conscious and good intentions won’t save you; Jesus saves. Diminishing the necessity of Jesus is about as loving as not warning someone that they’re about to drive off a cliff. Love holds hands with truth, always."

Yes - abortion IS modern child sacrifice


Dr. Jerry Newcombe presents the truth here when he equates abortion with modern child sacrifice - something that I've argued for years.

Recently a crisis pregnancy center was visited by a church-going girl who was disappointed to find out she was pregnant. The center tried to help the girl, who was set to have twins---offering free medical care and services for her and her babies’ needs---so that she would choose life for her babies. But the problem was her due date. Rather than miss a cruise for which she had booked tickets, she chose to abort.

Anyone can claim to be a Christian, but that doesn’t make them so.

Meanwhile, let’s not kid ourselves that one can participate in performing abortions and at the same time walk in good faith with Jesus Christ, the Lord of life. Abortion is the American version of the ancient practice of child sacrifice. Moloch would be pleased.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The loss of conscience always leads to the loss of freedom


There is a pertinent essay here on Breakpoint entitled "Gun Control; Will it be the Conscience or will it be the Constables?"

Now, in full disclosure, I’m a Second Amendment guy. I own guns: I support the right to bear arms. But I’m also a student of history and worldview.  Rights always come with responsibility. And people who are incapable of enjoying freedoms inevitably lose them.

...... Chuck Colson used to say that if a people will not be governed by the conscience, they will be governed by the constable. The loss of conscience always leads to the loss of freedom.

John Adams, our second president, said that our Constitution is meant only for a “moral and religious people,” and “is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” That would include the Second Amendment.

Increasingly, Americans display a shocking lack of conscience. 

.... America is deeply sick.

Liberals who want to ban guns often say we’ve evolved beyond our Constitution. Evolved? No, we’ve devolved below it. We’re no longer a people moral or religious enough to sustain the freedoms of self-government.

... Freedom is unsustainable without virtue.


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Once the culture jettisoned truth and began creating their fantasy, it was just a matter of time until the collective conscience was seared.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The first American truly “post-Christian” generation


Enter Generation Z (the youngest generation): Born between 1999 and 2015, they are the first truly “post-Christian” generation. More than any other generation before them, Gen Z does not assert a religious identity. They might be drawn to things spiritual, but with a vastly different starting point from previous generations, many of whom received a basic education on the Bible and Christianity. And it shows: The percentage of Gen Z that identifies as atheist is double that of the U.S. adult population. The Barna report is here.

More than one-third of Gen Z (37%) believes it is not possible to know for sure if God is real, compared to 32 percent of all adults. On the other side of the coin, teens who do believe one can know God exists are less likely than adults to say they are very convinced that is true (54% vs. 64% all adults who believe in God). For many teens, truth seems relative at best and, at worst, altogether unknowable.

Their lack of confidence is on pace with the broader culture’s all-out embrace of relativism. More than half of all Americans, both teens (58%) and adults (62%), agree with the statement “Many religions can lead to eternal life; there is no ‘one true religion.’” There’s a sense among Gen Z that what’s true for someone else may not be “true for me”; they are much less apt than older adults (especially Boomers, 85%) to agree that “a person can be wrong about something that they sincerely believe in” (66%). For a considerable minority of teens, sincerely believing something makes it true.

Normalizing The Chaos


There's an opinion piece here in the Washington Times pointing out the consequences of unchallenged liberalism in California: homelessness, drug needles and garbage.

In California, the destruction of society and individual lives has become so overwhelming, the state’s liberal overseers now spend their time covering up where they can and normalizing the chaos as much as possible.

... In California, the destruction is particularly acute. As the social structure in major cities continues to break down, the state focuses on banning plastic straws, whether to release from prison a mass murderer from the Manson family, while cheering at becoming as sanctuary state.

Just this week, the Los Angeles Times issued an editorial titled, “Los Angeles homeless crisis is a national disgrace.” Actually, it’s not — it’s a California disgrace. The editorial exemplifies the refusal of liberals to not just admit their responsibility to social destruction, but an inability to even relate to reality.

... For liberals, social chaos is their friend. They need it to prey on the emotions of others, while then using it as an argument for more government control of our lives.

As if living in those conditions is just another life choice, the ACLU tried to stop Mr. Spitzer’s effort to clean up a homeless camp of 700 people living along a riverbed next to Angels’ Stadium. He prevailed, but so dangerous was the environment, it took hazmat crews to clear out the encampment.

“Trash trucks and contractors in hazmat gear have descended on the camp and so far removed 250 tons of trash, 1,100 pounds of human waste and 5,000 hypodermic needles,” the report said.

The left has a history of working hard to hide their failure, malevolence and destruction of society. Years ago, this column brought to you the effort by San Francisco to move their homeless to an island. Now the story is about how the city spends $30 million trying to clean city streets of hypodermic needles and human feces.


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California is a graphic picture of what happens when liberalism rears its political head. But it's also a picture of what happens in the church when liberalism manifests itself theologically. The physical homelessness, drug addiction and garbage in California all have spiritual counterparts in the church when liberal theology predominates. (A short, comprehensive review of the history of the rise of liberalism in the church is here.)

Liberal theological study often leads one to abandon the faith - Heb 6:4-6. In its wake, the chaotic shattered lives of its adherents almost always leads to some form of addiction. Having forsaken the freedom in Christ, they fall back into bondage (2 Peter 2:20-22). Church History is strewn with the garbage left from the tentacles of theological liberalism. Al Mohler documents a contemporary real-world example here of the inevitable disaster when theological liberalism is embraced.

Theological disaster almost never strikes out of the blue. 

...... We have seen this same pattern throughout mainline liberal Protestantism. The moral revolutionaries push and push until the denominational middle gives way or dies out. This drama is playing out a bit later on the stage of the CBF, but its end is clear enough. In the meantime, the “Illumination Project” has been truly illuminating.

..... This is the inevitable result of the abandonment of the full truthfulness and authority of Scripture. The CBF was born of controversy within the Southern Baptist Convention over the inerrancy of the Bible. On July 9, 1991, the CBF (which would adopt that name the following day) approved an “Address to the Public” that included one and only one clear theological statement, and that statement rejected the inerrancy of Scripture. “The Bible,” said the statement, “neither claims or reveals inerrancy as a Christian teaching.” Once the truthfulness and trustworthiness of the Bible are abandoned, theological revisionism is inevitable.


.... Finally, this is what happens when autonomy trumps biblical authority. The moral revolution was only possible because of a great and unsustainable shift to personal autonomy in the culture. 

... For Southern Baptists and other evangelical Christians, the “Illumination Project” should serve as yet another reminder of what becomes inevitable once the full authority and truthfulness of the Bible are abandoned. There is nothing to celebrate here . . . only sadness.

Liberal theology is often apostasy and heresy with a more polite label. 2 Timothy 3:7 warns of those who are ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of truth.

Friday, March 9, 2018

America The Insane


(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) (Acts 17:21, NIV)

Barry Farber calls it like it is here in his editorial entitled "America The Insane".

I’m sick and tired of hearing problems of great magnitude dismissed by Americans who claim to be sick and tired of one thing or another. In my case, I’m sick and tired of hearing Syria’s catastrophic slaughter of innocents and North Korea’s A-bombs and school shootings and non-school shootings all bumped to the back of the news bus and replaced with lurid tales of people you never heard of leaving the White House payroll, as though we’re living through a perpetual Pearl Harbor.

Who the hell are nine-tenths of these soon-to-be-unemployed people, and why should we care?

.... A story about the crisis in Venezuela about to pop is no longer competition for a clever reporter who authenticated Melania Trump’s shoe size!

... On the first day of journalism school at the University of North Carolina, old Dean Coffin told us about the cub reporter who was sent to cover the local PTA meeting. A few hours later the editor walked through the newsroom and found the reporter sitting there all glassy-faced and thunderstruck. “Where’s your story?” the editor asked. “There is no story,” the cub reporter confessed.

“Why not?” asked the editor. “Because there wasn’t any PTA meeting,” replied the reporter.

“And why wasn’t there?” asked the editor.

“Because,” replied the reporter. “The schoolhouse burned down.”

Today they’d give that reporter a prize for “Best Effort to Commit Journalism.”


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This is precisely why I now pay very little attention to journalists. In Jul 2013, I wrote here in "Talking heads talking nonsense",

Picture a 1st century version of Oprah Winfrey on Mars Hill in Athens and you’ve got the idea. 

In the 21st century amidst a culture in decline we’ve taken the art of dispensing drivel (foolish talk, babble, balderdash, blather, bunk, double-talk, gibberish, gobbledygook, hogwash, hooey, jabber, nonsense, poppycock, prating, rot, rubbish, tripe, twaddle) to a whole new level, bombarding a stupefied populace via talk radio, talk-show television, cable and internet virtually 24 hours a day without ever having to leave the comfort of one's home.  One can spend literally every waking moment listening to self-proclaimed “experts” dole out their “wisdom” on every conceivable subject under the sun - inventing news, usually presenting their opinion as settled fact and often contradicting themselves.  The emergence of 24-hour news exacerbates the problem as networks scramble to fill airtime, and often have to resort to meaningless "fill" pieces.

I wonder if Luke’s observation in Acts 17 isn’t, in part, a warning for future generations.  The older I get, the more I realize the majority of contemporary Talking Heads are simply intellectuals talking nonsense, filling up air time until the next commercial break.  As Thomas Sowell so insightly observes in his timely book Dismantling America,

"“There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.”

The enemy's chief weapons are deception and distraction. The only way to avoid being absorbed by the Borg and succumbing to the fatal nonsense is to ignore it - and anchor yourself in the Truth.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dumbing Down The Faith


There is an interesting "Evangelical Quiz" online here. Though there are some very simple theological questions, it seems to be more of a "quiz" on American evangelical traditions. For example, do you know who the various cartoon characters are, lines from hymns, 20th century people, or parachurch organizations? Most telling is the scarcity of questions that really ascertain one's true grasp of theology. Rather than a measure of American evangelicalism, it is sadly an indication of its' sore deterioration.

In Dec 2017, Ethan Renoe elaborated here on the tragedy of a diminishing intellect within the church.

Ask most American Christians today any question deeper than “Does God love everyone?” and you’re bound to get some sort of response suggesting that that sort of discourse should be reserved for theological universities.

The other day, a friend of mine said he sees no merit in understanding Calvinism or Arminianism because he just wants to love God and love people. And it seems that the ball stops there for most Christians today. No need to know any more than that.

I would go so far as to say that there is even a fear in evangelical Christianity of knowledge. In my experience, this fear comes from one of two sources: People are scared that if they come to know too much, they’ll be like the Pharisees and will just become haughty and judgmental to others, thus weakening their love for God; or they’re afraid that they’ll learn too much and go off the deep end of liberalism and swim in the risky waters of universalism and other heresies.
We have replaced rich, robust theology in the Church with emotional music and constant reminders that “God is love and loves you and He’s your personal Savior and loves your soul …” These words are great at bringing outsiders through the doors (because they’re true by and large) but poor at growing believers into mature witnesses with rich understanding of the deep things of God.

I have found the opposite to be very true. I have found that the more I learn about God, His Word and theology which describes Him, the more I can love and worship Him, because now there is that much more to adore and be amazed by. If my ability to worship God is a fire, learning more about Him only adds more wood to the blaze. After all, if you really loved God, wouldn’t you want to learn as much about Him as possible?

Our logic is pretty backward here.

Quite honestly, I’m exhausted by Christians who don’t want to learn more. It’s one thing to not know much about our faith, but another to have no desire to grow.

.... A church that offers only emotional, feel-good theology is going to lose the long-term wrestling match to a well-read and convincing atheist nearly every time.

Puritan Cotton Mather wrote, “Ignorance is the Mother not of Devotion but of HERESY” (caps lock his).

The mushy-gushy can only last so long.

.... J.P. Moreland, in his book Love the Lord Your God With All Your Mind, demonstrates how the Second Great Awakening led to the beginning of emotional preaching and impassioned calls to a quick conversion experience, as opposed to a period of contemplation, learning and discovery of the Christian faith and doctrines. We live in the fallout of that style of thinking. Moreland writes, “The intellectually shallow, theologically illiterate form of Christianity … came to be part of the populist Christian religion that emerged.”


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Amen. As Renoe observes, "the Church was once the place where believers came to learn deep theology and robust doctrine." Indeed, the early church required new members to undergo two years of theological instruction and contemplation before being baptized. Perhaps they knew something we didn't and weren't so backward as many today might think.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Attempting to legislate away evil by targeting a tool is the height of folly.


Trevor Thomas provides some enlightening statistics here in his essay entitled "Guns, Men, and Murder: The Data".

Of the ten worst counties for the number of murders, five of them are also among the worst when it comes to murder rate.  Of the 30 counties with the highest murder rate, 19 of them are in the worst three percent for total number of murders.  Whether one considers the sheer number of murders or the murder rate, the other telling and significant piece of data in our debate is the presence of guns in these areas.

City-Data lists the top 101 counties when it comes to "lowest percentage of residents that keep firearms around their homes" and "highest percentage of residents that keep firearms around their homes."  As the table linked above also reveals, of the three percent of counties – 95 total counties – with the highest number of murders, 43 of these counties are in the top 101 when it comes to lowest rates of gun ownership.

Only 19 of these counties are in the top 101 when it comes to highest rates of gun ownership.  Of the ten counties in the U.S. with the most murders, all are in the top 101 when it comes to lowest rates of gun ownership.

Additionally, as this table reveals, the overall murder rate for the top 101 of highest and lowest rates of gun ownership is virtually identical.  The murder rate for the top 101 counties with the highest rates of gun ownership is 6.28 per 100,000.  The murder rate for the top 101 counties with the lowest rates of gun ownership is 6.15 per 100,000.  Also, of the 30 counties with the highest murder rate, nine of them are in the top 101 of lowest rates of gun ownership, while five of them are in the top 101 of highest rates of gun ownership.

At the state level – where data is more readily available – the numbers reveal the same: there's no correlation between the presence of guns and the rate of murder.

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Trevor is absolutely correct on the futility of trying to legislate away evil. There is an interesting analogy here in his expose. He proves that the data does not support the common notion that gun violence causes evil; it is a common misperception that simply does not reflect reality.

In this fallen world, our perception often contradicts reality. Why? Because sin colors our perception, leading fallen man to see what he wants to see. We think we see reality, but we don't. We are - in plain fact - blinded to reality.

I am color blind (Deutan). Last Christmas my wife gave me a pair of wonderful Enchroma glasses that allow Deutan colorblind people to see true color. For the very first time in my life, I was able to see true color, not the washed-out bland colors I had seen all my life. While the false colors were very real to me, they of course didn't reflect actual reality. Thus, there are several occupations closed to color blind people because their impairment of true color detection can have catastrophic consequences (i.e., commercial pilot, many military specialties, electrician, firefighter, law enforcement, etc.). With the Enchroma glasses, it's a whole new world for me and I'm still discovering how wrong my perception was with different colors.

I thought I was seeing reality, but I wasn't. I was blind to reality and it took something outside and separate from me (i.e., the Enchroma glasses) to remove my blindness to reality. The same is true with our sin which fatally colors our perception of reality. Since sin has tainted virtually every aspect of creation, something outside and separate from the corrupted creation is required to remedy our blindness and open our eyes to true reality. It takes transcendent truth to remove our blindness to reality. Without this truth, we are absolutely convinced that the illusory is reality and blindly stumble towards the consequences. On the other hand - once we embrace absolute truth - it becomes a whole new world.

and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32, ESV)