Why Akathleptos?

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

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

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

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



Monday, April 30, 2018

Keep walking, nothing disturbing here for religious folk


Don't believe everything if you use the popular web site "Snopes" as a fact-checker. Robert A. J. Gagnon, PhD, was a professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for 24 years. Here, he outright calls Snopes a "liar" regarding the bill in Califormia to ban LGBT talk.

If you haven’t already lost significant respect for Snopes as an impartial fact-checker, its analysis of a bill that bans all transactions involved in stating Christian beliefs about homosexual behavior should. That bill passed 50-18 on April 19 and is being considered in the state senate. Snopes’ insistence that California Assembly Bill 2943 would not result in the Bible being banned in California is akin to Snopes calling “demonstrably and clearly false” the claim that Joseph Stalin killed everyone around him.

True, Stalin did not kill “all” around him. Indeed, so far as we know he never personally killed anyone. But he did have a great many people killed (estimates indicate that he was responsible for the deaths of 20 to 25 million people), sent many others to the Gulag, and generally terrorized both his own country and Eastern Europe for decades.

Sure, it is virtually impossible that California will immediately attempt to ban the sale of the Bible itself. Not even the hard Left in California has that kind of chutzpah. But citations of Bible verses in the context of declaring homosexual practice and transgenderism to be morally debased could indeed get one into serious trouble with the law if it comes in the context of selling or advertising a product or service. 

Here are the problems with Snopes’s case .......


*******

Factcheck.org is yet another organization that is deceived (see here.)

FactCheck.org never bothered to do the most basic investigative work of all: “factcheck” the bill’s author and his assisting attorney in relation to the language of AB 2943.

...... Who could have imagined that when “sexual orientation” non-discrimination laws were passed in the 1980s and 1990s it would lead to Christian bakers, florists, and photographers being fined tens of thousands of dollars and put out of business? Or children compelled to undergo gender identity indoctrination from kindergarten on?

.... while the state might not immediately ban the sale of certain books, it could prosecute someone who recommended or shared such books with a person struggling with same-sex or transgender desires. The state could also prosecute someone who, at an event in which books advocating against homosexual practice or transgenderism are sold, urges homosexually active or transgender-identified persons in an audience to change their behavior.

After people adjust to this draconian step, the state might well decide to use the law to ban books outright. In the meantime, as French adds, “the law would loom over booksellers and churches, establishing a chilling effect and providing a pretext for even more secular booksellers to refrain from stocking certain Christian titles.

... What’s the bottom line? Either Low and Samson are deliberately misrepresenting matters to secure passage of this bill, or they have ignorantly constructed one of the most poorly worded bills imaginable. Whichever answer one goes with, the end result is the same: AB 2943 does not exempt from state action any oral or written communications associated with a monetary transaction that convey, in whole or part, that people should stop engaging in homosexual practice or expressing themselves as a gender at odds with their biological sex established before birth.

To those tempted to accept Low and Samson’s assurance I say: Caveat emptor.

*******

Emboldened by the past several years, the LGBT group is now a steamroller, avidly determined to stamp out any/all resistance to their agenda. And their chief target is anyone holding to the truth of the Biblical worldview. Groups like Snopes and Factcheck.org gullibly play right into their hands.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, ESV)

Friday, April 27, 2018

Life & Death

From Paul Cardall, the composer and musician of this extraordinary music ....

"Most of you know that I received a second chance at life after a donor heart was placed in my chest on September 9, 2009. Ironically, my younger brother passed away 3 months earlier while I waited for the transplant surgery. He was unable to donate his organs. (The video contains actual footage from the day mom brought our baby brother home).

Today, beating in my chest is the heart of another young man who like my brother has gone home to the God who gave us life.

The best way I know how to express the raw deep emotions I've experienced is through the piano music I create."

*******

The video also includes footage of a young Paul in the hospital for the heart transplant. Today, Paul is a Christian artist living in Nashville (his web site is here). As someone also suffering from congestive heart failure, this is one of the most beautiful and powerfully moving pieces of music I've ever heard. Every day is an extraordinary gift from an amazing God.


My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26, ESV)

Why She Rejected Christianity (Then and Now)


This author "was raised Catholic, converted to Pentecostalism in her mid-teens, married a preacher, and deconverted after college." For one who claims to be happy living her "one life in the best way [she] can possibly imagine", her anger and vitriol are astonishing. It's apparent that abortion is very important to her and as such it appears to be the root of her rage; I suspect she has either had one or someone very close to her had one.

So on my last night as a Christian, when I came face-to-face with the knowledge that petitionary prayer didn’t operate like the Bible said it did, and that my religious leaders used the exact same strategies on me that anti-choice groups used on their vulnerable female clients, I knew well that I already had evidence for a lot of other claims being untrue. I’d just pushed that knowledge away through the shield of antiprocess. I’d thrown that stuff into the pool, where it sank without a trace.

.... On the global scale, too, Christianity is an actively harmful force. Christians are consistently, as a faith group, many decades behind the rest of society on any given social issue–and it’s been that way for centuries. That’s why Christians today have evolved what I’ve come to call atrocity apologetics to try to excuse themselves for holding deeply regressive and transgressive views, as well as utilizing historical revisionism to simply claim that they, rather than secular forces, have brought progress to humanity.

They are not members of a quaint but ultimately harmless little cult that keeps to itself. Power craves more power. Dysfunction craves control. People who see themselves as “more than conquerors” want, inevitably, to conquer and colonize. Members themselves can be quite harmless, and many are actually good people who are doing good things in the world (one of the few late-term abortion providers in America is one of them; I’d also categorize my mother-in-law this way).

Full article is here.

*******

The author is a tragic example of how hardened one's heart can become - especially when sin is embraced.

Why is she so bitterly angry? Because she is right and others are wrong? No. Because she is wrong ... and deep in her heart, she knows it.

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled (Heb 12:15, ESV)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ravenous Wolves

Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God (2 Cor 2:17, NIV)

Someone who chose wisely


No one quite understood why Titans quarterback Jake Locker walked away from a multimillion-dollar contract in the NFL in 2015. There was speculation about injuries, fear of concussions, not having the stomach for football, money. But leave he did after playing 30 games, passing for 4,967 yards and completing 27 touchdown passes. He vanished from the public view without giving any interviews.

At 26, he left the game before most quarterbacks reach their prime. And there were plenty of offers from other teams – some looking for a starter, others a solid backup. Three years later, bared his soul to a Sports Illustrated reporter whose story appears this week, explaining why what Locker did was such an unusual thing: “In this century, no other healthy and reasonably effective NFL quarterback has chosen to step away as quickly as Locker.”

Long story short – it’s all about Jesus and family.

Read about it here.

It's not possible to intimately know Christ divorced from all morality


John Waters, an Irish playwright who also is a Christian recently wrote a powerful essay on First Things entitled "A Diagnosis of Moralosis".

People’s feeling entitled to attend [a church service], and afterwards objecting to being exposed to the articulation of Church doctrine, is a new phenomenon. It suggests that the Church has become for some people a kind of emptied-out public service, disconnected from any duty to the Truth.

This is not your standard relativism. Nor does it merely express—as some would argue—the belabored binarism of Jesus and Caesar. That case may have traction in the public square, in which the Church might be deemed entitled to have its say but not to impose its way upon the polis. These new trends take things a step further, into the very sanctuary of Truth. Those who have been given the run of the square now want the run of nave, transept, and belfry. Even more disturbingly, many within the Church are willing to give in.

There is a virus at work here that as yet remains unnamed. Its symptoms can be observed in the escalating drift toward schism, but its core nature is not being precisely diagnosed. We might call it “Moralosis,” because it is an attempt to separate the “moral issues” from the core of Christianity. It is not merely about the balance between pastoralism and doctrine, but about the entitlement of the Church to speak of morality at all.

He excoriates that it is possible to know a Christ divorced from all morality, calling it a "clearly bogus idea." He forcefully and powerfully concludes,

But Jesus was the most intensely moral presence the world has ever seen. There is no “either/or” between love of Christ and engagement with the secular world about matters that may be cordoned off under the signpost “moral.” There is, instead, a “both/and,” amounting to a singular call to unite our sense of Christ’s presence with the exigencies of the world and its human quotient. It is right that we place our hope in the free gesture with which God chose to enter history, but in doing so we are enjoined to gird ourselves and enter into questions about the actions and organization of men.

Nowhere can the perniciousness of the current evasions be seen more clearly than on the question of abortion. If we imagine that a Jesus reborn in the twenty-first century would do other than excoriate and denounce those who seek to spill the blood of innocents—as though the era of Herod had returned also—then we have to concede that Christianity has been rendered a husk of its former reality. Our secularized, de-absolutized anti-culture reaches now even into our churches and other sacred spaces, dictating a partly unconscious watering-down into “niceness” of tough Christian understandings and an emptying-out of Christian words and concepts. 

All that notwithstanding, only propaganda, grotesque selfishness, and the avoidance of the plain truth prevent us from seeing that abortion is a crime crying out to heaven for vengeance. And yet, in the spaces between words, some among us have managed to convince ourselves that not only is it possible to be civilized and legislate for killing innocents, but one may have abortion and Christ as well. If this could be remotely true, it would be time to walk about the windows of Christ’s Basilicas and, one by one, pull the blinds over the stained glass.


*******

Those who vociferously proclaim that morality cannot be legislated and is independent from Jesus, are in for a rude awakening when Christ returns.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Cor 5:10,ESV)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Rabbit Hole Of Deceit

Although this video is from 2017, it's even more pertinent today as truth is commonly cast aside in a circus-like atmosphere and fear envelops much of the church.


The Theology of Foreign Policy


Michael Doran has an excellent essay this month online here entitled "The Theology of Foreign Policy". With profound and penetrating insight, he clarifies the distinction between two opposing camps of American foreign policy as "Not Republicans versus Democrats, nor liberals versus conservatives, nor rival schools of foreign policy you read about in college courses. The divide is primarily religious in nature—or perhaps “theological” is the better word, for what matters in foreign policy, as in so many other aspects of American politics, are the religious divisions among Protestants."

It's worth reading in entirety.

In 1930, Rockefeller established a commission to study the foreign mission work of seven Protestant denominations. The commission’s report, officially titled Re-Thinking Missions: A Laymen’s Inquiry After One Hundred Years, is commonly known as the Hocking report, after the leader of the commission, William Ernest Hocking, a Harvard professor of philosophy. The Hocking report calls on Christian missionaries to cease proselytizing. Jesus, it argues, is not the sole path to knowledge of God. Christianity is the fullest expression of truth, yes, but the other great religions also express elements of it. The job of Christian missionaries, therefore, is to identify the “Christian-like” elements in other religions, and to cultivate them with an eye to forging alliances across religious divides. The key to this coalition-building is “deeds not creeds.” The missionary goal should be to promote activities—education, health care, assistance to the poor—that non-Christians can join while remaining faithful to their own traditions. In short, the primary duty of the Christian missionary should be to apply the social gospel internationally.

...... Allow me to stand, like a tourist on the lip of the Grand Canyon, and marvel at the wondrous chasm that separates the Jacksonian and Progressive persuasions. They differ in their understandings of: human nature (as broken or perfectible, static or malleable); morality (as absolute or relative); the relationship between the individual and society (as requiring personal responsibility, or as requiring collective and systemic solutions); the proper role of government (to safeguard personal liberty, or to safeguard equality); the mission of the United States in the world (to be a beacon of freedom, or to lead the way toward a new era of peace and brotherhood); and the meaning of history (as maintaining a holding pattern until the end of days, or as leading inevitably to human betterment).

...... They have relentlessly presented the preferences of the Progressive persuasion as if they flowed directly from science, logic, and secular expertise. Our latter-day Menckens have painted the religious face of Jacksonianism as mumbo jumbo, while depicting secular Jacksonians as bigots, ignoramuses, or worse. But the Progressive persuasion is every bit as religious and irrational as the Jacksonian persuasion. Its vision of history and of America’s place in it is no more scientifically verifiable than dispensational premillennialism’s belief in the Rapture. Indeed, the Progressive persuasion’s belief in the perfectibility of man defies all experience—at least all of my experience. It is a conviction that can only be described as theological, yet our schools teach it as if it were science. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A ban on dangerous objects can only end with the criminalization of rocks and pointed sticks


There's an excellent essay here by J.D. Tuccille entitled "British Politicians Declare War on Knives".

Besides illegal guns, British criminals also use edged weapons, which have been a favorite tool for mayhem since the dawn of civilization.

Having failed to disarm criminals with gun controls that they defy, British politicians are now turning their attention to implementing something new and different: knife control. Because criminals will be much more respectful of knife laws than of those targeted at firearms, I guess.

"No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law," London's Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted on April 8.

Not to be outdone, his predecessor, Boris Johnson, currently Foreign Secretary, called for increased use of stop-and-search powers by police. "You have got to stop them, you have got to search them and you have got to take the knives out of their possession."

Poundland (the British equivalent of a dollar store) announced last week that it will no longer sell kitchen knives in any of its 850 stores. Similar stores are being slapped with fines for selling knives to minors.

British politicians propose banning home delivery of knives and police promote street-corner bins for the surrender of knives while also conducting stings against knife vendors. Their goal is to "target not only those who carry and use knives, but also the supply, access and importation of weapons."

It all sounds all so familiar, doesn't it? And yet so utterly pointless. If British authorities have been unable to block criminals' access to firearms—mechanical devices that require some basic mechanical skill to manufacture, or at least a 3D printer—how are they going to cut off the flow of knives, which require nothing more than a piece of hard material that can take an edge?

There are also practical downsides to discouraging the public from possessing knives—one of the oldest and most useful tools ever invented. Poundland, after all, isn't dropping the sale of combat blades; the company's move applies specifically to the tools people use to make their meals. The law looks much more likely to inconvenience peaceful people planning to carve a roast than to put off thugs who, push comes to shove, can find a way to sharpen a piece of rebar against a rock.

*******

Well said.

The worldview of the vast majority of political elites is what inevitably leads to this insanity. It's a fantasy worldview that naively dictates we're all inherently good and they alone have the solution to the world's injsutice and evil ....... provided of course that we surrender complete control to them since they know what's best. The problem is that they tend to live in a delusional bubble. It's political insanity.

In 2016, Orthodox pastor Andrew Damick authored a must-read piece here entitled "How Do Christians Survive Times of Political Insanity?".

We are not actually permitted to curse those who persecute us. And if we can’t curse them, then how can we curse people who are doing perhaps extremely hateful things but not actually persecuting us?

Now, this doesn’t mean that we can’t criticize them or hold them to account—there is a long tradition in both Jewish and Christian history of offering up a prophetic word to those in power who commit evil. But critique is not the same as cursing. We can critique even while we bless.

..... The key to being able to remain at peace and even blessing those who persecute us is that we have to remember that we have but one Messiah. I don’t care what promises any leader makes, whether it is a promise of a better tomorrow or of revenge against enemies or of progress for victims of injustice or whatever—there is but one Messiah. No politician or even churchman is the answer to our problems. They can’t do it. They don’t have the power. I don’t care how much money or how many nuclear missiles they have at their disposal—we have but one Messiah, and that is Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Likewise, there is only one Satan. I don’t care how much you hate someone else’s candidate or theologian or whoever—they’re not Satan. They’re not the evil one. They’re not even demons. Even if they are deeply wicked and in the thrall of demons, they’re still not Satan. They’re actually our fellow creatures. They’re actually people for whom Jesus Christ died, people whom He came to seek and to save. They’re actually potential saints. They’re actually potential brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. They’re actually just sinners, just like us.

Most of all, though, because we do have a Messiah and because we do know who our real enemy is, we remember how the story actually turns out in the end. This world will indeed someday end in fire. It is prophesied in the Holy Scripture. We do not need to try to hasten the day, nor is there anything we can do to delay it. Until that day comes, there will be many ups and downs. We do not know when it will be.

But we do know that our great Messiah, the conquering King Who has destroyed the power of even death itself, will in the end raise us all up from the grave and will reign forever and ever. And that is why we can have peace in the midst of whatever terrifying thing the enemy throws at us, despite whomever he uses to throw it at us. And it is also why we can bless even those who hate us and persecute us.

We are Christians. We have an eternal perspective. We know how the Great Story ends. And so we do not have to be caught up in the world’s desperate search for false satans and false messiahs.


*******

Amen.

This is why I now hate flying


I can remember when it was like this …



Some of the comments to this video are noteworthy. Particularly this one ...

"So many people try to make the 50s and 60s look so bad, but that's a lie. People were relaxed, easy going, they really enjoyed life. We can and should have it again, even better. The only way to get it back is to stop those who have destroyed most of our quality of life. We all know who they are."

Monday, April 23, 2018

I'm increasingly weary of megachurches


Christianity Today chronicles here more allegations of inappropriate behavior by megachurch Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels. Through the years, I've become increasingly weary of megachurches. With good reason - see here, here, and here. For some satire with a ring of truth, see here.

While I have no doubt that some megachurches are effectively fulfilling the Great Commission, there are many reasons to be cautious about them. Many people specifically seek out a megachurch to be anonymous. But an effective Christian witness is the exact opposite. Anonymity dilutes one's witness. While megachurches will naturally have some very talented and gifted leaders, it becomes all-too-easy for them to dangerously assume rock-star status. In 2012, the American Sociological Association penned an article entitled "God as a drug: The rise of American megachurches". They observed,

American megachurches use stagecraft, sensory pageantry, charismatic leadership and an upbeat, unchallenging vision of Christianity to provide their congregants with a powerful emotional religious experience, according to research from the University of Washington.

..... Wellman said, "This isn't just same-old, same-old. This is not like evangelical revivalism. It's a new, hybrid form of Christianity that's mutating and separate from all the traditional institutions with which we usually affiliate Christianity."

Megachurches, which rarely refer to heaven or hell, are worlds away from the sober, judgmental puritan meetinghouses of long ago, Wellman said.

As the video above makes clear, financial considerations necessarily become paramount in almost all megachurches as their overhead becomes gargantuan. To stay afloat, there is an almost irresistible tendency to become more of a "business" than a ministry. Accountability - something that is always healthy - becomes more difficult in a large megachurch where leadership often is cocooned from much of the congregation. Many megachurches often branch out into multi-remote sites with much of the service (i.e., the preaching and sometimes even worship) televised from the main campus. Of course, this means no provision for meaningful interaction between pastor and congregation and further isolates the leadership.

In 2012, Al Mohler (himself a teaching pastor in a megachurch) wondered here if megachurches aren't in danger of becoming the new liberalism. As he wisely concluded,

The times now demand our most careful and biblical thinking, and they demand our clearest conviction matched to a missiological drive to reach the world with the Gospel. We must embrace the truth with the humility of a sinner saved only by grace, but we must embrace it fully.

Once again, the megachurches are on the leading edge. We must pray that they will lead into faithfulness, and not into a new liberalism.

Megachurches can be instruments of great good ....... or the downfall of many. Just as a 340 HP twin-turbo Porsche requires much more maturity to safely and effectively operate than a Honda Fit, so too must the leadership in a megachurch exercise proportionately more wisdom, humility and maturity. And maturity (spiritual, physical and practical) comes only with age and experience. It cannot be manufactured overnight or bestowed.

Finally, I leave you with this video entitled "Mega Church Madness - The Beast Must Be Fed"


Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. (2 Cor 2:17, NIV)

Empowering Islam by Rewriting History


Raymond Ibrahim (an American research librarian, translator, author and columnist with a focus on Arabic history and language, and current events) has a sobering account here of the true history of Islam's attacks on Italy. He correctly asserts "the strategy of those who seek to whitewash and thus empower Islam is to fixate on peaceful aberrations while suppressing the continuum of hostility."

Sadistic treatment for the infidel always accompanied the raid, for "it was to the amusement of the Saracens to profane, as well as to pillage, the monasteries and churches," notes Edward Gibbon.  "At the siege of Salerno a Musulman chief spread his couch on the communion table, and on that altar sacrificed each night the virginity of a Christian nun."

Although centuries of crusades largely safeguarded Italy and Sicily from further Islamic attacks, by 1480, Ottoman Sultan Muhammad II invaded Italy and captured Otranto.  More than half of its twenty-two thousand inhabitants were massacred, five thousand led away in chains.  On a hilltop (subsequently named "Martyr's Hill") another eight hundred Christians were ritually beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, their archbishop sawed in half.

Here is how French priest Jérôme Maurand described the fate of the inhabitants of the tiny island of Lipari off Sicily after it was invaded by the Ottomans in 1544: "[t]o see so many poor Christians, and especially so many little boys and girls [enslaved] caused a very great pity[.] ... The tears, wailings and cries of these poor Lipariotes, the father regarding his son and the mother her daughter ... weeping while leaving their own city in order to be brought into slavery by those dogs who seemed like rapacious wolves amidst timid lambs."

Failing to comprehend why the Muslim conquerors so wantonly tortured the now enslaved population – including by slowly gutting the old and infirmed with knives "out of spite" – he "asked these Turks why they treated the poor Christians with such cruelty, [and] they replied that such behavior had very great virtue; that was the only answer we ever got."

Finally, a great many of those millions of Europeans enslaved and sold in Muslim Barbary between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries were originally seized from the Italian coastline and Sicily.

Read the article in entirety to grasp the full truth of Islam's sordid history with respect to Italy. In so doing, you will have a preview of what's yet to come between Islam and western civilization. There is no question that Islam breeds violence as pointed out here.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

When Government Replaces God


Last year, I observed here the tendency for government to replace God. As I wrote then,

Several years ago I met a pastor from the inner city of Philadelphia where he had ministered for close to four decades. He shared how during that time he witnessed a gradual change in his congregation from a dependency upon God to a dependency upon the government. As their dependency upon government took root, their self-sufficiency disappeared, their faith waned and attendance at church evaporated. Many abandoned the faith as government became their God. The final nail in the coffin was the relative moral decree by government of right and wrong.

Now comes confirmation that if people can get what they want/need from the government (be it health care, education, welfare, proteciton, etc.) they’re less likely to seek God. In a research paper, psychologists found that better government services were in fact linked to lower levels of strong religious beliefs. Those findings held true in states across the U.S. and in countries around the world, researchers said. The article, “Religion as an Exchange System: The Interchangeability of God and Government in a Provider Role,” was published April 12 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Abstract
An exchange model of religion implies that if a secular entity such as government provides what people need, they will be less likely to seek help from supernatural entities. Controlling for quality of life and income inequality (Gini), we found that better government services were related to lower religiosity among countries (Study 1) and states in the United States (Study 2). Study 2 also showed that during 2008-2013, better government services in a specific year predicted lower religiosity 1 to 2 years later. In both studies, a combination of better government services and quality of life was related to a particularly low level of religiosity. Among countries, government services moderated the relation between religiosity and two measures of well-being, such that religiosity was related to greater well-being only when government services were low.

See here. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Human Flight (Insane Wingsuit Flying)

Incredible film of the most dangerous sport today. Take note of how many of these flyers are now dead from accidents ...


Lethal Logic


George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, powerfully shines the light of truth here into the darkness of abortion, making the case for "Roe v. Wade Derangement Syndrome."

The defense of the indefensible often leads to a kind of derangement in otherwise rational people. That was the case with the defenders of slavery and legalized racial segregation; it has become the case with abortion.

.... “Not the child I wanted.” There, in a single phrase, is the moral dereliction at the center of Roe v. Wade Derangement Syndrome: If a pregnancy is inconvenient for career purposes, or the child to be born seems unlikely to tick all the boxes of one’s expectations, one makes the choice—“tragic,” as Ms. Marcus admits, or No Big Deal, on the Ehrenreich scale of values—to destroy the indisputably human life one has procreated. Lebensunwertes leben, “life unworthy of life,” German eugenicists and legal scholars called it in the 1920s. And we all know, or should know, where that lethal logic led when the definition of the “unworthy” was extended beyond the mentally handicapped to include certain ethnic groups, thought not to be the kind of people other people wanted as neighbors and fellow-citizens.

The refusal to recognize that lethal logic is another facet of Roe v. Wade Derangement Syndrome. 

.... The defense of the indefensible leads to rage, and rage becomes a form of madness.


*******

Amen. When we willfully reject revealed truth, we end up creating our own version of reality - the very definition of madness.

They will turn from the truth and eagerly listen to senseless stories (2 Tim 4:4, CEV)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

I guarantee this wouldn't happen to a Muslim Chaplain


A decorated Army chaplain is facing what his attorneys are calling a “career-ending punishment” after he explained to a soldier that he could not conduct a marriage retreat that included same-sex couples because of his religious beliefs.

A military investigation at Fort Bragg in North Carolina determined that Chaplain Scott Squires should be disciplined for his failure to include a lesbian couple in Strong Bonds, a marriage retreat sponsored by the Army.

The investigation determined that he chaplain, who is endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board (NAMB), had discriminated against the soldier based on her sexual orientation.

... When Squires realized he could not participate, he rescheduled the event to accommodate the lesbian couple with a chaplain who could oversee the retreat. But apparently that was not good enough.

Read about it here.

Evangelical Gnosticism


A year ago I write here of the disturbing tendency of many evangelicals to downplay the reclamation of the material world, leading for a form of gnosticism. As I wrote then,

I agree the incarnation is unfortunately diminished in much of modern evangelicalism (except perhaps once-a-year at Christmas) leading to a weakened view of humanity. Thus, 
  • the longing among many Protestants for spiritual disembodiment at death - i.e., to be "released" from the body. (which ironically is not a normal state of existence for us and only temporary; our eternal destiny is physical resurrection)
  • the de-emphasis on reclamation of the material world leading to its abrogation to the enemy (unlike the medieval Christians who powerfully brought the gospel into the arts, science, music, architecture, etc.)
  • the reluctance by many Protestants to publicly address sexuality (certainly, the apostle Paul was not hesitant)
  • the support for abortion in much of Protestantism
  • the false demarcation between "science" and faith (one serious consequence of course is the now-widespread acceptance of the theory of evolution, leading to questionable "science" and a corresponding loss of faith)
  • the widespread obesity in the church
  • etc.
The semi-gnosticism of modern evangelicalism ironically leads many into the bondage they so desperately seek release from through "super spirituality". 

Echoing mucb of what I wrote, the May 2018 edition of First Things has a powerful essay here entitled "Evangelical Gnosticism".

I teach in a great books program at an Evangelical university. Almost all students in the program are born-and-bred Christians of the nondenominational variety. A number of them have been both thoroughly churched and educated through Christian schools or homeschooling curricula. Yet an overwhelming majority of these students do not believe in a bodily resurrection. While they trust in an afterlife of eternal bliss with God, most of them assume this will be disembodied bliss, in which the soul is finally free of its “meat suit” (a term they fondly use).

.... In all, fewer than ten of my forty students affirmed the orthodox teaching that we will ultimately have a body in our glorified, heavenly form. None of them realizes that these beliefs are unorthodox; this is not willful doctrinal error. This is an absence of knowledge about the foundational tenets of historical, creedal Christianity.

.... My students are a microcosm of what I see as a growing trend in contemporary Evangelicalism. Without a guiding connection to orthodoxy, young Evangelicals are developing heterodox sensibilities that are at odds with a Christian understanding of personhood. The body is associated with sin, the soul with holiness. Moreover, this sense of the body, especially under the alias flesh, tends to be hypersexualized.

Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the Evangelical emphasis on purity, a word that has become synonymous with bodily virginity. Despite the biblical usage of purity as holiness in a broader, holistic sense, including but not limited to sexual matters, the word “purity” has become narrowly sexualized. It is not a virtue to be continually cultivated, but a default physical state that can be permanently lost.

In Evangelical vernacular, “sins of the flesh” denote specifically sexual sins, and these are the evils that dominate the theological imaginations of young, unmarried Evangelicals, far more than idolatry, say, or greed.

.... It was in debates about the person and work of Christ that the Church Fathers defended the integrity of the body. For Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, salvation was ultimately a matter of theosis, of redeeming humanity so fully that we might share in the divine life of the Trinity. This entails a reconciliation of the human and the divine. To use Athanasius’s famous phrase: God became man that men might become god. This reconciliation, however, does not destroy or overwhelm our human nature. It brings it to perfection. To be human means having a soul and a body; the full redemption of our humanness must have a bodily dimension. Thus, according to Athanasius and Cyril, as mediator and author of our salvation, Christ himself is fully God and fully man. The Incarnate Son unites humanity and divinity in his person—hence the notion of hypostatic (personal) union. Christ effects in his person the reconciliation of Creator and creature.


*******

I am no doubt one of the few evangelicals that wears a crucifix under my shirt. Derek Kubilus, a Methodist pastor explains why he too wears a crucifix,

There's something creepy and morbid about a crucifix isn't there? I mean, who would wear a piece of jewelery shaped like a body dying in agony? Who would hang a beat-up, bleeding man from their wall? What kind of sick person could take inspiration from such a gruesome scene?

Well...I do. Being someone who's body has been wracked with pain, I take comfort in remembering that Christ had a body. I wear a crucifix under my shirt and over my robe because it's important for me to remember that Christ didn't have a body that was above pain, but that his body was just as capable of hurting and bleeding as my own. The crucifix helps me remember that I'm connected to Christ not just through the “one Spirit” but also through my very body. The miracle of Christ, the miracle of God's incarnation in a human body is that the same God who is “above all” is also “in all and through all,” even my own weak, hurting body.


*******

The Son of God joined His divine nature with sinless human flesh for all eternity. What does that say about the nature of human flesh when perfected? Our ultimate destiny is bodily resurrection, gloriously reflecting the image of God.

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor 2:2, ESV)

by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Pet 1:4, ESV)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

There’s a big difference between being moral and moralizing


John Davidson drives home the excellent point here that there’s a big difference between being moral and moralizing. It's a cardinal truth that we need to always keep at the forefront of our witness.

..... there’s a big difference between being moral and moralizing. Being moral is about changing the way you act and actually helping others. It requires humility and tolerance because it arises from an awareness of one’s own moral failings.

Moralizing, by contrast, is about changing the way other people act—by force if necessary. Moralizing breeds intolerance and even tyranny because it springs from a belief that, like the pious Canadians, not only do you know the truth but you also have a solemn duty to impose it on others.

In America today, being moral is out and moralizing is in ......

..... Throughout his academic and political career, Wilson, the son of a Presbyterian minister and the father of American progressivism, was incessantly preaching at people. Once he wielded real power, he was willing to use it to silence his opponents and detractors, as he did during World War One. His belligerent sanctimoniousness was a direct consequence of an unshakable belief that he was right and if you didn’t see things his way you were either a fool or traitor.

After the war, at the Paris Peace Conference, Wilson’s arrogance and moralizing became untethered from reality. O’Toole recounts one instance when Wilson “startled Lloyd George by observing that organized religion had yet to devise practical solutions to the problems of the world. Christ had articulated the ideal, he said, but He had offered no instruction on how to attain it. ‘That is the reason why I am proposing a practical scheme to carry out His aims,’ he told his fellow statesmen.”

George later wrote that, “Clemenceau slowly opened his dark eyes to their widest dimensions and swept them round the assembly to see how the Christians gathered round the table enjoyed this exposure of the futility of their master.” Imagine being so possessed of your own self-righteousness that you think you should propose “a practical scheme” to carry out the aims of Jesus Christ.

That, in a nutshell, is progressivism. It is hubris and conceit mixed with a tyrannical impulse, and it is one of the reasons we have so much moralizing in America today, yet so little morality.


*******

How ironic that progressives who consistently market themselves as champions of freedom are in reality - ultimately - proponents of slavery. Moralism always leads to bondage (to sin) instead of the promised moral purity that it grandiosely displays on the surface. It's noteworthy that Jesus was most riled by such people.

Progressives try to mandate their (failed) version of morality on others, exempting themselves of course. Becoming moral is a function of the indwelling Holy Spirit. True moral change starts on the inside; we can never achieve true morality by simply obeying on the outside.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. (Matt 23:27, NIV)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Playing God always ends badly


Peter Skurkiss authored a disturbing article here entitled "The Trials and Tribulations of the Transgenders". Particularly disturbing are the two videos that he links to in the article - one depicting male-to-female transition sex change surgery called vaginoplasty (which is shown above), and the video for female-to-male surgery. Both are macabe butcheries worthy of any horror movie.

It should not come as a surprise that these radical procedures can lead to many horrific complications and often require follow-up surgeries and many sessions on a psychiatrist's couch. This link  gives the story of two people going male-to-female, two going the other way, and the post-op problems they've had. Take the case of Hunter. Of this male-to-female person, it is written: "Instead of the vagina she had always longed for, Hunter has what she called a 'fibrous lump between my legs and a colostomy bag.' Everything she read online and in an information packet, everything her surgeon told her, led her to believe the chances of complications were at best remote." Or take the case of Gary who went the female-to-male route and now needs two catheters and complains about not being able to pee standing up.

Interestingly, all four of these people aren't all that sorry about having their surgeries. At most, they seem to regret picking the wrong surgeon. This speaks volumes of the depth of their mental instability. 

Transgender genital surgery is dangerous.


*******

Anyone subjecting themselves to these "medical procedures" is obviously disturbed. Even more worrying though is the fact that there are surgeons willing to conduct these horrifying body mutilations.

Playing God always ends badly.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Dancing With The Devil


Relating to my earlier post here regarding the Benedict Option, in 2007 Bob Burney drew some much-needed conclusions here regarding Willow Creek Church who was at the forefront of the "cultural relevance"/"seeker sensitive" movement.

If you are older than 40 the name Benjamin Spock is more than familiar. It was Spock that told an entire generation of parents to take it easy, don’t discipline your children and allow them to express themselves. Discipline, he told us, would warp a child’s fragile ego. Millions followed this guru of child development and he remained unchallenged among child rearing professionals. However, before his death Dr. Spock made an amazing discovery: he was wrong. In fact, he said:  

We have reared a generation of brats. Parents aren't firm enough with their children for fear of losing their love or incurring their resentment. This is a cruel deprivation that we professionals have imposed on mothers and fathers. Of course, we did it with the best of intentions. We didn't realize until it was too late how our know-it-all attitude was undermining the self assurance of parents.

Oops.

Something just as momentous, in my opinion, just happened in the evangelical community. For most of a generation evangelicals have been romanced by the “seeker sensitive” movement spawned by Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. The guru of this movement is Bill Hybels. He and others have been telling us for decades to throw out everything we have previously thought and been taught about church growth and replace it with a new paradigm, a new way to do ministry.

Perhaps inadvertently, with this “new wave” of ministry came a de-emphasis on taking personal responsibility for Bible study combined with an emphasis on felt-needs based “programs” and slick marketing.

The size of the crowd rather than the depth of the heart determined success. If the crowd was large then surely God was blessing the ministry. Churches were built by demographic studies, professional strategists, marketing research, meeting “felt needs” and sermons consistent with these techniques. We were told that preaching was out, relevance was in. Doctrine didn’t matter nearly as much as innovation. If it wasn’t “cutting edge” and consumer friendly it was doomed. The mention of sin, salvation and sanctification were taboo and replaced by Starbucks, strategy and sensitivity.

Thousands of pastors hung on every word that emanated from the lips of the church growth experts. Satellite seminars were packed with hungry church leaders learning the latest way to “do church.” The promise was clear: thousands of people and millions of dollars couldn’t be wrong. Forget what people need, give them what they want. How can you argue with the numbers? If you dared to challenge the “experts” you were immediately labeled as a “traditionalist,” a throwback to the 50s, a stubborn dinosaur unwilling to change with the times.

All that changed recently.

Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study’s findings are in a new book titled Reveal: Where Are You?, co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings “earth shaking,” “ground breaking” and “mind blowing.” And no wonder: it seems that the “experts” were wrong.

...... If you simply want a crowd, the “seeker sensitive” model produces results. If you want solid, sincere, mature followers of Christ, it’s a bust. In a shocking confession, Hybels states:

We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.

Incredibly, the guru of church growth now tells us that people need to be reading their bibles and taking responsibility for their spiritual growth.


*******

That was in 2007.

This past week, the pastor of Willow Creek, Bill Hybels, suddenly resigned amidst allegations of sexual misconduct - see here. Sadly, it appears the allegations against him were far worse than he publicly admitted to - see here and here.

As I wrote last week,

"Amidst a culture accelerating into paganism, churches that seek to be "culturally relevant" often find themselves playing with fire. Sooner or later, everything burns to the ground."

Willow Creek is now astonishingly led by two co-pastors (male and female) who are not married to each other - to my knowledge, the first time ever that's happened in any church in this country. Hybels set this bizarre arrangement up, undoubtedly to be at the forefront of cultural relevance.

Willow Creek Church is sad testimony to the inherent danger when truth is sacrificed for cultural relevance.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Dunkirk is a powerful analogy for spiritual warfare in this fallen world

“Until In God's good time the new world  with all its power and might  steps forth to the rescue and liberation of the old”


(Play this video in HD with the sound turned up.)

The movie "Dunkirk" is a powerful analogy for spiritual warfare in this fallen world where the church experiences seemingly catastrophic defeat with multitudes fighting and paying the ultimate price. But the war is not over ....... and ultimate victory will be gloriously ours.

The Aurora

In 2011, "The Aurora” was posted by Terje Sorgjerd. He spent a week capturing one of the biggest aurora borealis shows in recent years.  This video was shot in and around Kirkenes and Pas National Park bordering Russia, at 70 degree north and 30 degrees east. Regarding my post yesterday here, sometimes it's the darkness that makes it most clear that God is still actively working for His glory.


Friday, April 13, 2018

I'm leaning more and more towards Dreher's "Benedict Option"


“Seeking his workman in a multitude of people, the Lord calls out to him and lifts his voice again: ‘Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days?’” (Prologue of the Rule of Benedict, quoting Psalm 34:14-15).

With this recent badgering of outspoken evangelical Christian Mike Pompeo by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, I'm increasingly inclined towards Dreher's Benedict Option outlined here.

Booker wanted to know not only whether Pompeo, an outspoken evangelical Christian, opposed same-sex marriage – even though party leaders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton once also rejected it – but whether or not he thinks “gay sex is a perversion.”

The former Kansas congressman emphasized he has a record, including in the CIA, of treating every employee fairly, regardless of sexual orientation.

“Senator, when I was a politician, I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry. I stand by that,” Pompeo said.

Pressed further, Pompeo said that at the CIA, he has accorded same-sex couples the same rights as others.

But that clearly wasn’t enough for Booker.

“Do you believe gay sex is a perversion, yes or no? Yes or no, sir? Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion, because that’s what you said here in one of your speeches. Yes or no, do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”

*******

What Booker really wanted to know was whether Pompeo had the audacity to hold the revealed truth of Scripture. Booker clearly believes anyone holding the Biblical worldview is disqualified from holding public office. Christians that choose to remain faithful to revealed truth are being increasingly ejected from the public square; they are forced to either surrender their faith or disengage from the culture. For me, the choice is clear.

Christians that choose the Benedict Option can still bear faithful witness. In order to be a relevant witness, first-century Christians did not have to participate in the Coliseum games ... or temple idolatry ... or the notorious Corinthian immorality ... or swear allegiance to Caesar as Lord in order to engage in the Great Commission. They effected a powerful witness by remaining faithful to the truth - no matter the cost - even if it meant remote exile.

Ultimately, as R. Jared Staudt articulates here, the Benedict Option is really quite simple: it is living the Christian life in a coherent, simple, and prayer centered way in the modern world. Benedict of Nursia withdrew in disgust from late fifth century Rome in favor of a cave in Subiaco. However, Benedict did not stay in isolation long, and quickly became an Abbot, gathering large numbers of men to himself. Benedict is the patron of Europe because his monasteries provided stability throughout the early Middle Ages, with monks performing basic catechesis, instructing peasants in farming techniques, forming libraries and schools, and providing potable beverages (such as beer). It is precisely by withdrawing from the world that the monks had the proper perspective to influence culture and to become a model for it.

Christians must never use the term “Benedict option” to mean that we give up trying to convert sinners, and regard secular society as hopeless. But Christianity always benefits from having communities of true faith within secular society, communities which can help to sanctify Christians to the image of Christ and resist the inevitable progression of sin in a fallen world. Amidst a culture accelerating into paganism, churches that seek to be "culturally relevant" often find themselves playing with fire. Sooner or later, everything burns to the ground. The clearer the distinction between the church and the today's culture, the more powerful the witness. The darker the culture becomes, the greater the impact of the Light reflected by those Christians that remain faithful to truth.


But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:21, NIV)

Are U.S. Christians contributing to cultural rot?


There is a sobering and powerful commentary here entitled "Are U.S. Christians contributing to cultural rot?"

We have been through a cultural revolution since the 1960s that has led to a rampant lack of discipline and order in schools, lack of respect for parents and teachers, a denigration of religious citizens be it Christians or other. We have a war zone in marriages, exploding divorce and suicide rates, mental disabilities, growing poverty as the income gap widens, a destructive culture of drug dependency and a massive financial crisis due to an unbelievably amount of greed.

..... All we hear in the media are the voices of the extreme liberals shouting for a borderless society and “more freedom.” But the ancient, Greek philosopher Plato once stated that too much freedom equals a new form of slavery ......

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Here we go again



A "Christian numerologist" says codes in the Bible suggest the end of the world is imminent, with the rapture likely on April 23. Read about it here.

In March I warned here about the church crying "wolf" in the Last Days. (As I wrote earlier in 2015, I personally hold to a "pre-wrath" rapture.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dr. David Berlinski Brilliantly Refutes Evolution


Berlinski received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University and was later a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and molecular biology at Columbia University. He has authored works on systems analysis, differential topology, theoretical biology, analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of mathematics, as well as three novels. He has also taught philosophy, mathematics and English at Stanford, Rutgers, the City University of New York and the Université de Paris. In addition, he has held research fellowships at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria and the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques. He lives in Paris

Dr. David Berlinski is not religious but describes himself as "secular agnostic".  In this short video, he blows holes in the theory of evolution without having a dog in the fight. It's quite apparent that adherents to the theory of evolution are in fact willfully practicing their own form of religion that requires tremendous faith in the absence of any real evidence. "Bugs stay bugs and dogs stay dogs." 

Why then is the theory of evolution so credible for many? Because the alternative (special creation) and its attendant implications are unacceptable.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Grand Climax of Atheism's Worldview



In 2014, Hawking admitted he was an atheist (see here.)

"Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant by 'we would know the mind of God' is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn't. I'm an atheist."

The theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who died on March 14, wrote how our universe will fade into nothingness (see here.)

This is the hopelessness of atheism, its' grand climax.

That Man is the product of causes which had no provision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his love and beliefs, are but the outcomes of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling can preserve individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins — all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.

~ Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship” quoted by Thomas V. Morris in Making Sense of it All (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 1992), 27.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Hornet's Nest


This is easily the most powerful war movie I’ve ever seen - “The Hornet’s Nest” which is a documentary on the war in Afghanistan. It graphically depicts the true cost of living in a fallen world ... and how simple, common men and women become heroes.



Sunday, April 8, 2018

While it is beyond human comprehension, both are simultaneously true


"You always have a choice."

The science fiction move "Predestination" is a fascinating and mind-blowing study in time travel paradox. It is the most thought-provoking sci-fy movie I've seen. (After watching the movie, you will find an in-depth explanation of the all the paradoxes here. Do NOT read it before watching the movie.)

Most intriguing to me is how powerfully the movie depicts predestination with free choice - just as Scripture affirms. The main character cannot change what is predestined, but all the choices are truly his free choices. Scripture affirms both, whether we can explain how it works or not. The Gospel of John presents salvation as neither solely God’s election, nor is it solely man’s free choice of the will. Salvation is equally both. It is a dichotomy and yet a paradox from our perspective. God’s sovereignty and man’s free will are both present in salvation even though they stand in constant tension with each other. Ultimately how God's sovereignty uses the free choice of man is a mystery that resolves itself only in the Divine Mind. While it is beyond human comprehension, both are simultaneously true. The movie does a masterful job of secularly presenting both as true.

Predestination:
Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (Eph 4:1-5, ESV)

Free choice:
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15, ESV)

Both:
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Prov 16:9, ESV)

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Ps 73:26, ESV)

Psalm 73:26 has been my life verse for years. Last Sunday night I ended up in the Hospital Emergency Room with a heart beat dropping down to 32 beats/minute. I ended up have the latest Boston Scientific Accolade pacemaker implanted. It's a remarkable piece of technology with incredible projected battery life of 12-13 years (industry leading). I can have MRIs with it. Automatic daily diagnostics and data transmission to the Heart Center without me doing anything. It has built-in accelerometers that detect rapid body motion and increase the blood flow before it’s needed (I had facetiously told them I wanted the “sport” model and that’s pretty much what this thing is.) It can be wirelessly adjusted.

I am astonished at the incredible complexity of the human heart, a remarkable feat of engineering. Four separate doctors were all involved in my treatment: two cardiologists, a cardiac electrophysiologist, and yet another electrophysiologist who did the actual surgical implantation. The human heart is so complex that my city has a 4-story building (Heart Center) dedicated to it with dozens of doctors that all specialize in different aspects of this one specific muscle. Anyone that believes the human body is the result of random chance over eons of almost-endless time, is willfully blind to the unmistakeable evidence of an all-powerful and all-knowing Creator.

I feel physically reborn with this new pacemaker, an ever-so-tiny inkling perhaps of the glorious Resurrection to come. God is good.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

New Observations Hint that Life is Not Common in the Galaxy


I've opined for years (i.e., here) that we are alone in the Cosmos and that intelligent life does not exist elsewhere other than on this remarkable planet known as "Earth".

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Growing Cultural Disconnect from Christianity In The West


Albert Mohler pointed out a major error in an NPR report that refers to the Christian celebration of Easter. This error, says Mohler, reveals the “extent of secularization” in American culture.

Although the error has been rectified in the online NPR article, the correction is still listed at the bottom of the piece. In this correction, the editors clarify, “[A]n earlier version of this post incorrectly described Easter as ‘the day celebrating the idea that Jesus did not die and go to hell or purgatory or anywhere at all, but rather arose into heaven.’” Mohler aptly comments that “It’s hard to imagine how one could achieve more theological distortion and confusion in a single sentence than what we find right here.”

Story is here.

*******

As our culture freefalls into paganism, Christianity becomes increasingly foreign. Adding to the problem is the massive influx into the West of people of other faiths (particularly Islam). We're seeing this on a more advanced scale in Europe. London - with its' first Islamic mayor and a huge influx of Muslims - is now reported to be more violent than New York City (see here.)

London is now more crime ridden and dangerous than New York City, with rape, robbery and violent offences far higher on this side of the Atlantic. The latest statistics, published earlier this week, revealed that crime across the UK was up by 13 per cent, with a surge in violence in the capital blamed for much of the increase.

"Londonistan" ( a sobriquet referring to the British capital of London and the growing Muslim population of late 20th and early 21st century London) is a preview of what's on the horizon for America unless we change trajectories. Liberals insist that London is a "multicultural paradise", yet are totally ignorant of reality, as always.




What's really happening? As the true light of Christianity diminishes in the West, darkness inevitably takes its place. The growing conflict in the West between Islam and Christianity is the physical manifestation of a violent war in the spiritual realm between darkness and light. Ironically, the banishment of Christianity from the public square in the West (i.e., the surrender of our only effective weapon in this combat) is capitulation to the forces of darkness. For darkness is the absence of light.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5, ESV)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

A modern-day indulgences system


In 2015 Jennifer Martin fired a much-needed ballistic missile into the false Prosperity Gospel here.

Not surprisingly, most of the victims of this harmful prosperity doctrine are those in the poor and working class—it’s like a monstrous pyramid scam of religions. They see prosperity theology as a supernatural lottery, which isn’t shocking, considering that 61 percent of people who play the lottery are from the poorest one-fifths of the population. But these televangelists claim that your faith, your very soul, is tied into giving “positive confessions.” And the fact that you are poor isn’t just bad luck: it’s not having enough faith, not praying enough, and, of course, not giving a big enough donation to their ministry.

How do televangelists get away with this? It’s easy.

...... They then ask for large tax-exempt donations and keep as much of it as possible to buy acres of land, mansions, and jets worth $65 million. Joel Osteen, pastor of megachurch Lakewood Church in Texas, for example, lives in a 17,000 square foot home worth $10.5 million dollars. His entire net worth is estimated to be about $40 million.

The greed of scheming televangelists is just another symptom of a predatory line of thinking among the rich and powerful driven to further atrociousness by attaching the name of God to their actions. 

..... Occasionally, though, my work would lend itself to saddening revelations. Some people would donate $5 and write on the envelope, “This is all I have.” Sometimes, when checking off boxes for what the donation was for on the envelope, people would write “praying for debt release” in the “other” category. Whatever was being preached in those services, the people there believed that if they gave away money—all of their money, in some cases—they’d somehow be freed from the financial burdens in their lives. The ideas behind prosperity theology had seeped into sermons of everyday churches. Meanwhile, the ministers who walked into my grandparents’ office for meetings drove incredibly expensive cars and wore elaborate 3-piece suits.

..... because the IRS makes tax exemption so easy to obtain and keep, it has led to a modern-day indulgences system—the trading of money for miracles and blessings.

Televangelists conduct themselves like a twisted multi-level marketing model where the more you buy in, the richer the people are up top. But even the most evil of money-grubbing corporations don’t enjoy the benefits of tax exemption, and none of them are promising to cure you from illness or erase your debt in exchange for your hard-earned money. Most importantly, none of them claim to do so in the name of God, as if you could supernaturally control him and earn his blessings by throwing money at ministers with bad hair and plastic smiles and multi-million dollar estates.

These televangelists do not speak for God.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Megachurch pastor - it’s “insanity” to believe that men will go to Hell for rejecting Christ

Michael Walrond, Jr. leads First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, an assembly that has expanded from 350 members to 10,000 members within the past 14 years, according to its website. 


Walrond asked those present during the Feb. 25 service to read the statement aloud, which he characterized as being comprised of “transcendent words,” that is, applicable to all belief systems and not one specific religion.

“They are transcendent words, transcendent statements, which means they are not relegated to any one religion or set of beliefs,” he said. “If you are a person who believes in God, these words can apply to you, no matter what your faith background.”

“We get so twisted in this country and in many cultures to create divides and boundaries and barriers between human beings because of our faith difference,” Walrond continued. “Think about it: that we use the thing that we think makes us closer to God [as] the very thing to divide us from one another at times. And that makes no sense.”

He elaborated further, stating that he is not a person who believes that those who reject Jesus will go to Hell. He claimed that the “key” is to simply believe in God.

For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever. (Micah 4:5, ESV)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Top Israeli Rabbi Believes Trump Will Build Third Temple in Jerusalem


Rabbi Berger explained: "No leader in history has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews and Israel. [Trump] has already created a great tikkun (reparation) for the Christians through his unprecedented relationship with Jerusalem. Trump is the representative of Edom that will perform that final historic reparation for his entire nation by building the Temple." Story is here.