Monday, December 29, 2008

Will They Be Consistent?

For years the belief of the seeker-sensitive movement has been that results can be used to measure success. Any time their approach to 'doing church' has been criticized the response has been 'but look at how many people we have' or 'look at how many Baptisms we've done this year' to justify their approach as if the number of bodies in the seats somehow trumps any other consideration.

Now with things like this beginning to happen, I wonder if we'll find consistency among our seeker-sensitive bretheren? Will they take a church bankruptcy as a sign that what they're doing has not, after all, been correct?

I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Who Protects Whom?

Is the primary responsibility of a nation's military the protection of themselves or of the civilian population of that nation? William Grigg ponders this as he considers the recent tragedy in San Diego:

Leviathan Devours a Family

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Let's Get Rickey!

Do you remember the old Life Cereal commercial?

The kids don't want to eat the cereal because they've heard it's good for them so the enlist the help of "Mikey" their younger brother. "Let's get Mikey" they say and sure enough "Mikey" eats it up.

Rick Warren is the Mikey of inter-faith efforts. Any time they need a Christian voice to lend support to one of these things, he's there to 'eat it up' and lend the impression that all religions are basically the same.

While Life Cereal may be good for you, allowing the world to believe that Christianity is just another religion, not all that different from any other, or that caring for the poor is the Gospel rather than a result of the Gospel most decidedly is not.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Timing Is Everything

Gosh...if she'd only killed him a year ago, she wouldn't be in all this trouble.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Women in the Military

Aside from things like males being responsible for the protection of females rather than being complicit in putting them in harms way, here are 10 more reasons putting women in the military is a bad idea:

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Friday, September 26, 2008

Egalitarian Nirvana

More news to warm the hearts of egalitarians everywhere! We even have the husband staying behind to tend the kiddies, who could ask for more?

Mother & Son Going off to War Together

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Representative DeFazio on the "Bailout"

While I would disagree with Representative DeFazio (D-Oregon) that the solution is more government regulation, or, heaven forbid, taking an ownership position in private business, much of what he says rings true.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Getting Out of Iraq

Ron Paul provides a very sobering analysis today of the issues around our presence in Iraq. You can read it here.

I pray that those in power in this country will wake up to the realities of the situation in Iraq and will have the willingness and backbone to do what is right before its too late. I especially pray that efforts among many in the present administration to widen the conflict into Iran will be thwarted. Should we make the mistake of attacking yet another nation, either directly or using Israel as our proxy, I shudder to think of the consequences, both to our nation and others. Bismark, no dove by any stretch of the imagination, once said that preventive war is like committing suicide to avoid death. I pray we don't move from shooting ourselves in the foot in Iraq to shooting ourselves in the head in Iran.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No Smart Cops!

The New York Times is reporting that a man was denied a job as a New London police officer because he scored too high on the intelligence test.

Yeah, that's the last thing we need, smart police officers.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Founding Father or Prophet?

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. - James Madison

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Support our Troops - Really

"If our politicians in Washington, D.C., really wanted to "support our troops," they would follow the Constitution, stop meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, restore the benefits and medical care for our veterans, and never send another American soldier to bleed and die for the United Nations. Anything less than that is only political grandstanding and empty rhetoric." - Chuck Baldwin

Read his article in its entirety here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Quotable Quotes

"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

~ Nazi Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering

Thursday, May 8, 2008

When Chickens Come Home to Roost

How sad for the poor Democrat party. After years of fostering division and playing the politics of race it finds itself hoisted on its own petard.

The Democrats have done their best to Balkanize this country into as many special interest groups as possible, pitting those groups against each other for political advantage over and over again, yet when they see the same thing happening within their own organization suddenly its a terrible thing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Quotable Quotes

"The family is the basic unit of government in God’s order with all other units being responsible for ensuring the family can enjoy peace and safety. Fathers are the source of home government. Wars disrupt this order. When fathers go off to war families are left without headship leaving them less able to groom future fathers and mothers." - Al Cronkrite

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Few, The Proud, The Convicted

Apparently Mr. Bush is running out of folks to fight his war for him.

Military Wavers for Ex-Convicts Increase

This is concerning for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that at some point they'll run out of ex-cons and start looking at other potential sources to keep the war going.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Quotable Quotes

"To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!" ~ H. L. Mencken

Friday, April 18, 2008

Those Ignorant of History are Doomed to Repeat It

Ahh... those clever folks in San Francisco. Call me crazy but I think the 1936 Olympics were in Berlin. See what happens when our universities opt to teach things like Cyberfeminism instead of world history.

HT: Lew Rockwell

Monday, April 7, 2008

To Protect & Serve (Themselves)

Seems that in California at least some people are above the law - those whose job it is to enforce it.

Special license plates shield officials from traffic tickets

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Biblical Approach to Gender Issues

If there's one thing our culture needs today its a Biblical view of sex and of what it means to be uniquely a man or a woman. If you're looking for a strongly Biblical discussion of such gender issues as male female roles, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, etc. the first issue of Mark Dever's new series is a must listen.

The Importance of Gender - Genesis 1:27

Monday, March 31, 2008

Minister's Apology

A commenter to my previous post about the local minister who planned to apologize to those who've been condemned by Christians posted the link to the sermon so that I was able to hear it in its entirety.

You can hear it here.

I have to admit some of the things he said were true and needed to be said, such as the fact that the evangelical church has been politicized and is often in bed with the Republican party. You don't have to have read my blog for long to know that that resonates with me.

However, there were many more things that he said which caused me concern. The overarching theme, as I'd suspected earlier, was the love of God to the exclusion of His wrath. For God's love to make any sense at all, however, it must be paired with His wrath and this is sorely lacking in the preaching of today. If we've been born again, understanding God's anger at sin helps us appreciate His love and grace all the more. For the unregenerate, the realization that God is angry at their sin and will judge them for it, apart from their repentance, is often the thing the Holy Spirit uses to convert them. Jonathan Edward's sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", possibly the most famous sermon ever preached in America, was used mightily by God during the First Great Awakening to convert many souls. Despite the politically correct messages coming from many churches today, scripture could not be clearer that those who are not Christians are God's enemies and His wrath abides on them (John 3:36, Romans 5:10, Ephesians 2:3). Every verse touting God's love can and should be juxtaposed with those which reveal His anger at sin. To do otherwise is to present a half god to people. Real love tells people the truth.

I think, in fact, this is one of the other things that concerned me about Rev. Lee's message, a tendency to misunderstand what love is. Erich Segal said "Love is never having to say you're sorry", Rev. Lee seems to be saying "Love means never doing anything that brings any discomfort or pain into someone's life." Just this past Sunday our pastor pointed out that truly loving someone often means they will experience pain. No one likes to be told they are a sinner and that apart from Christ they will perish. No one in love with their sin (as we all are in our flesh) likes to be told to forsake it. Yet true love requires that those things be said. However, Rev. Lee said to those to whom he was apologizing that he was "sorry for any pain you've experienced. (from those in the church)" ANY pain? We don't covet the highest and best for our children, our friends, for anyone when our goal for them is that they never experience pain. We in fact, do them harm when that is our goal for them.

In a recent article by Jay Adams entitled Stand Firm he talks about what the church needs to be in order to meet the challenges of the future, I'd recommend reading it in its entirety. However, one of the best points it makes is this:

My concern is with the softening of the church. For you to make a future impact for Christ, and to be able to withstand hard times ahead, this trend must be reversed. There is a deplorable softening of doctrine, of attitudes, of courage, and of language. And it is all justified under the rubric of “love.” But there is a vast difference between a loving and a concessive spirit...a church that puts fellowship above truth is a weak church that will be unable to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Just one example that I noticed of this softening of language in particular in Rev. Lee's message was the constant reference to the "unchurched" (a favorite term of the seeker sensitive crowd). The Bible calls people apart from Christ lost. They don't need to be "churched" they need to be saved.

There also seemed to be a tendency to confuse man-made religious standards with God's standards. We certainly do not want to elevate our standards and traditions to the level of scripture, that's text book legalism. On that point I agree with Rev. Lee. However, by the same token we don't want to lower God's standards to the level of simply our own religious traditions. Prohibitions against sex outside of marriage, whether it be homosexual or heterosexual, and the murder of unborn children are not "our" standards they are God's standards and should be treated as such. We have no need to apologize for affirming those standards loudly and clearly and, again, true love requires that we MUST call them sin and call those engaged in them to repentance.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing though in the whole message was his admission that he'd once picketed an abortion clinic and was involved in the "whole pro-life movement" and now wanted to apologize for that. I find that shocking. Of course he reassured his audience that he's decidedly pro-life but apparently he doesn't believe its legitimate or loving to take action of any kind to back up that belief except telling women who've had abortions that he loves them. Abortion is the murder of a baby. Would he stand aside and watch someone murdered in a parking lot out of a desire not to offend the person committing the crime? He talked a lot about compassion in his message and how Jesus exhibited compassion and that we should follow His example. I agree:

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea." - Mark 9:42

Jesus had more compassion for children than he did for those who intended them harm and so should we.

In the final analysis, Rev. Lee's concerns are legitimate and I feel he is sincere but misunderstands the root cause of the problems he's concerned with. The real issue is that the church has stopped being the church. It has stopped preaching the true and unchanging Gospel and has instead opted for a feel-good approach that gives people the warm and fuzzies and yet often leaves them unconverted. The Gospel is not "Jesus is really awesome and you'd like Him." If you want to read a Biblical gospel presentation start with Acts chapter 2. Nowhere in scripture are we told to tell people to come to Jesus because they might like Him. We are in fact told that to follow Jesus is to commit to Him totally and that to do so may in fact make our lives worse, not better. To give people the impression that they can take Jesus on retainer to see if they like Him is not truthful and therefore not loving.

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. - Mark 8:38

The reason teenagers leave the church after high school, the reason the divorce rate is the same inside the church as out is that the church is full of unconverted people. Top that off with the fact that the church has abandoned the Biblical mandate to engage in church discipline (that might make someone experience pain after all!) and you have a recipe for most of the problems we have in the church today both internally and with our ability to reach those outside the church with the Gospel.

Richard Dawkins A Great Intellect?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Minister to Apologize

The Atlanta Journal is reporting today that a minister at a large Southern Baptist church in Gwinnett County is planning to "apologize" in his sermon this Sunday to those who've been condemned by Christians over the years. Included in his list of those who need an apology are gays (homosexuals), women seeking abortions and couples not married.

The pastor, Rev. Richard Mark Lee is quoted as saying:

Just as the Christian church has done many wonderful things throughout history, it also has done many terrible things, such as targeting, judging and condemning various individuals and groups.

First of all just who is he apologizing for? Is the good reverend planning to apologize for all of Christendom, the entire subset of Christians known as Southern Baptists, just his particular church or just himself personally? In truth, the only ones of these he can legitimately and meaningfully apologize for are the last two.

Secondly, just what specifically is he apologizing for? It's the Bible which calls homosexuality, murder and fornication sins. Is the reverend sorry for what scripture says about these things or just sorry over how some people have dealt with sinners of these kinds? There may be some legitimacy to the latter but again, only if he or his church have been involved in specific ungodly actions towards people in these groups. He can't apologize for the mistreatment someone has received at the hands of others beyond his sphere of influence and have it be meaningful in any way.

Lee goes on to say:

Some churchgoers have condemned gay people, picketed abortion clinics or ignored the poor and homeless. If Jesus were alive today, he would minister to these groups.

Well, yes He would, he would minister to them the way He ministered to the woman taken in adultery. She'd clearly been mistreated by the religious establishment and was being used by them as nothing more than a pawn in an attempt to trap Jesus. However, Christ didn't apologize to her for that, He told her "go and sin no more". There is no reconciliation with God through Christ apart from repentance of sin. However, I get the distinct impression that Reverend Lee is not going there. My guess is his is a theology of God's love absent His wrath and judgment of sin. A theology of let's all hold hands and sing "We are the World", in short, a theology that is foreign to scripture. Besides, what exactly does the good reverend have against picketing abortion mills? Would he have had a problem if the people of Germany had picketed the extermination camps of the Nazis? Perhaps Reverend Lee doesn't believe that an abortion is the murder of a little defenseless baby.

The article concludes with this quote from Reverend Lee:

"Why is the gospel of love dividing America? The unchurched world views us as judgmental and homophobic, I don't think God is going to ask what label we wore. He's going to ask what did we do for Jesus."

The reason the Gospel divides is given to us in the Bible (you know that same judgmental book that calls homosexuality, murder and fornication sins). The Bible says that the Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing, perishing because they refuse to repent of their sins and come to Christ. The best thing we can do for murderers, homosexuals and fornicators (and all sinners) is to share the Gospel with them, the true Gospel, not the "God loves you no matter what" gospel of the seeker sensitive/church growth movement but the Gospel of the Bible which calls sinners to repentance and to freedom from their sin in Jesus Christ.

As to what God is going to say to us one day, it will either be "Well done good and faithful servant" or "Away from me I never knew you" it will not be "What have you done for me". We don't need to do anything for Christ, He has done it all. Our works are a response to His grace, not a means of obtaining His favor.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Summary of My Last Year on the Computer

Another gem from my father in law. If you've had an e-mail for more than 24 hours you can relate to most of these!


Scrub the top of every can I open.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish.

I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day

I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an email to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer can buy gasoline without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put 'Under God' on their cans.

I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.

I can't boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face...disfiguring me for life.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with an infected needle.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops or the Salvation Army.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe.

I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my butt.

I can't ever pick up $5.00 I dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

I can no longer drive my car because I can't buy gas from certain gas companies!

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 PM this afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump.

I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician...

Have a wonderful day....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!!

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection day, Alleluia!

King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing and thus to love, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains that He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Painting by Diego Velazquez 1599-1660

But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.

- Isaiah 53:5

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Five Years On

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq. Some sobering words from Laurence Vance:

As of today, March 20, the debacle that is the war in Iraq has now dragged on for one two three four five years. How many more years will I have to begin an article on this date with those words?

I really don’t know what else can be said about this war. It is immoral, aggressive, unjust, unconstitutional, unscriptural, unnecessary, wasteful, and pointless... read more.

And far from opposing it or even just sitting on her hands doing nothing, the church of Jesus Christ is in many cases actively supporting and promoting this war and those who wage it. It saddens me when I see, with few exceptions, the only "Christian" voices raised in opposition to this war coming from within churches where true Christianity has not existed for years. Only from within Unitarian or theologically liberal mainline churches is one likely to hear any opposition to the war. In evangelical, gospel preaching churches one is more likely to have giant US flags in the auditorium (aka the sanctuary) and military jets whizzing by on the jumbo-tron as the congregation sings "God Bless America" or "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

There was a time in this country when Christians supported war only reluctantly as a last resort and for defensive purposes only. A time too when they didn't consider it the church's role to give unconditional support to the civil government in its prosecution of war. Consider this excerpt from a Southern Baptist resolution in 1940 on the eve of WWII:

Because war is contrary to the mind and spirit of Christ, we believe that no war should be identified with the will of Christ. Our churches should not be made agents of war propaganda or recruiting stations.

Of course many Southern Baptists served honorably in WWII but when they were at home in their churches, the church was the church, not an arm of the state. By the way, the Southern Baptist convention also passed resolutions during WWII in support of conscientious objectors. Can you imagine that in today's environment when everyone who doesn't support "our president" and "our troops" is branded a Godless liberal?

One of my favorite quotes from R.C. Sproul is this:

It is the responsibility of the church to be the conscience of the nation and to call the state to repentance when the state becomes demonized and fails to serve in the cause of righteousness.

I pray that our churches will again begin to see this as their role vis a vis the state rather than fancying themselves its cheerleaders.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hypocrisy in High Places

I've been reading Thomas Watson's "The Doctrine of Repentance" off and on for a while now. As with many Puritan writings, each chapter is broken up into smaller sections, many of which are complete thoughts so one can read the book almost like a devotional, a little along each day. That also makes the book easy to go back to after several days of not having read. This was the case recently as I picked up the book again in the middle of chapter 6 which is called "A Serious Exhortation to Repentance."

This chapter talks about those for whom repentance is necessary (which of course is everyone but Watson takes several different types of people and discusses repentance with regard to their specific situations). The section I read last night discussed the necessity of repentance for hypocrites.

Watson says:

The hypocrite or stage-player has gone a step beyond the moralist and dressed himself in the garb of religion...the hypocrite is like a house with a beautiful facade but every room within is dark. He is a rotten post fairly guilded...He can be as his company is and act both the dove and the vulture...He is a pretender to faith, but he makes use of it rather for a cloak than a shield. He carries a Bible under his arm, but not in his heart. His whole religion is a demure lie.

As providence would have it, just before returning to this book and reading the section containing the above quotes, I had read an article on Slate magazine's site which contained an excerpt from a new book by Jacob Weisberg called The Bush Tragedy. This particular excerpt dealt with what Weisberg calls Bush's evangelical politics.

Speaking of Bush Sr. he says:

Wead recommended that the vice president read the first chapter of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, a book that had become a popular evangelical device for winning converts. "Evangelicals believe that this book is so effective that they will automatically assume that if the Vice President has read it, he will agree with it," Wead wrote. Vice President Bush made sure that religious figures saw a well-worn copy on top of a stack of books in his office when they visited the White House and cited Lewis' condemnation of the sin of pride as one of the reasons "we haven't been inclined to go around proclaiming that we are Christians."

Wead is Doug Wead an evangelical whose job it was to help Bush Sr. win over the evangelical community.

Wead eventually transferred from helping Bush, Sr. with the evangelical vote to helping the current president Bush, becoming somewhat disillusioned in the process:

What Rove would do in helping Bush launch his political career in Texas, and Cheney in helping him define his presidency, Wead did in Bush helping him assert and establish his independent identity as a person of faith. But the experience left Wead troubled about the sincerity of Bush's beliefs. "I'm almost certain that a lot of it was calculated," he says. "If you really believed that there's some accountability to life, wouldn't you have Billy Graham come down and have a magic moment with your daughters? Are you just going to let them go to hell? You have all these religious leaders coming through. If it changed your life, wouldn't you invite them to sit down in the living room and have a talk with your daughters? Or is it all political?"

Wead's disillusionment led him to record some of his conversations with Bush. Weisberg says of these tapes:

The tapes reveal how calculated George W. Bush's projection of faith is. Wead said that during the countless hours the two spent talking about religion over a dozen years, they discussed endlessly the implications of attending services at different congregations, how Bush could position himself in relation to various tricky questions, and how he should handle various ministers and evangelical leaders. But the substance of Bush's own faith never came up. Wead told me he now struggles with the question of how sincere Bush's expressions of devotion ever were. He often goes over their conversations from 1987 and 1988 in his mind, having grown more skeptical about what Bush was doing. "As these memos started flowing to him, he started feeding back to me what his faith was," Wead said. "Now what is interesting for me, and I'm trying to understand, is, was I giving him his story?"

I couldn't help but be struck by the similarities between Watson's description of the religious hypocrite and Wead/Weisberg's description of the religion of George W. Bush (and his father). Its become clear to me over the last couple of years that the Republican Party in general and George W. Bush in particular have seen the Christian community as nothing more than a source of votes. They have cozied up to undiscerning high profile evangelicals who then became their shills in the Christian community; all the while treating these same evangelicals with disdain behind their backs and having no intention of genuinely addressing the concerns of Christians once elected.

For 2008 the cycle is repeating itself with these same evangelicals (with a few exceptions) assuring us that we should 'vote Republican' because the election of a Democrat would mean the end of our country as we know it. I'm certainly not a fan of the Democratic Party but I think the Republicans are destroying our country at just as fast a pace and personally I'm tired of being used by them to do it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gold & The Dollar

There have been many recent news stories reporting that the price of gold has hit $1000 per ounce for the first time. However, every one of those that I've read has gotten the story backwards. Its not that gold has gone up in value but that the dollar has yet again lost value. A proper headline for such stories would read:

"Dollar Drops to 1/1000 of an Ounce of Gold in Value"

You see, its not the value of gold that's changed, its the value of the dollar. When the current president Bush took office the dollar was worth 1/250 of an ounce of gold, a devaluation of some 75%.

Here's a good take on the situation from Paul Craig Roberts

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Acid Test of Being a Christian

One of the best discussions of what it means to be a Christian that I've ever read.

The Acid Test of Being a Christian

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The War Prayer by Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came – next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their faces alight with material dreams – visions of a stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! – then home from the war, bronzed heros, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation – "God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!"

Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory.

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there, waiting.

With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal," Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside – which the startled minister did – and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said

"I come from the Throne – bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import – that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of – except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two – one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of His Who hearth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this – keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it – that part which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(After a pause)

"Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits."

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

HT: Lew Rockwell

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Revivial?

I’ve written here before about experiences we’ve had at churches in our area due to our children’s participation in some of their extra-curricular activities. However, the event we attended this week took the cake.

It was one of the shallowest, most disjointed attempts at entertainment evangelism I’ve ever in my life witnessed. In fact it was difficult for my wife and I to sit through the entire thing and, truth be known, at the first tactful moment we could we fled.

It’s one of those cases were a man had a talent and, like so many believers today, felt the best way to serve God was to turn his talent into a “ministry” instead of just ministering while pursuing the talent to the best of his ability and to the glory of God. I was reminded of the quote from Martin Luther about vocation, specifically in this case concerning a tailor:

“If he is a Christian tailor, he will say: I make these clothes because God has bidden me do so, so that I can earn a living, so that I can help and serve my neighbor.”

Today of course the tailor would start Stitchers for Christ International (SCI for short and for the stationary), a 501c3 corporation, and go around performing at churches having developed a unique system of sharing the “gospel” using the steps necessary to hem a pair of pants.

The worst part of this particular event, however, was that after NOT sharing anything close to the gospel for 45 minutes (my wife commented that we knew more about the presenter than about Jesus at the end of it all) this gentleman asked everyone to close their eyes and “pray the prayer.” Afterwards those who had “asked Jesus into their hearts” (mostly children) were bidden to come forward where several pastors, presumably at least a few of whom had been to seminary, took their information and welcomed them into the family of God. It was easy believe-ism at its worst, have them pray the prayer and give them immediate assurance. The kids were even told this was their “spiritual birthday” and to always remember it. At the end we were told by one of the adults (I’m not sure if he was a pastor) that we’d witnessed a “revival.”

As they were leaving each child was given a pamphlet. I took a look at my son’s on the way out. “Do you Have a Heart that’s Happy?” it said on the front. Halfway expecting to see Joel Osteen’s picture when I opened the cover, I read:

“It’s your choice whether you go to HEAVEN.” (Presumably the Holy Spirit has something to do with it but He’s not mentioned at all and is definitely not the deciding factor!)

After an example of “the prayer” it said “You are now saved if you prayed the prayer to God, and you were really serious.” Serious as defined by what standard? Again, it’s totally dependent upon me, if my frame of mind is correct when I pray the prayer then I’m saved.

The sad thing to me is that a man who claims to have read the Bible completely through every year for 30 years wrote this stuff and a whole room full of church-goers, some of whom are pastors, thought it was wonderful and that they’d witnessed a revival.

This particular church is by no means alone in this approach. This kind of thing is rampant in modern American evangelicalism. When this is what passes for a revival in our churches, it’s no wonder God doesn’t send the real thing to our land. We wouldn’t recognize it when we saw it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bar Stool Economics

My father-in-law sent me this attributed to a professor of economics at the University of Georgia. Parables can indeed contain great truths!

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group stil l wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20, ' declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'

'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered somethin g important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.

Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Litmus Test?

What if we used the below quotes from Jefferson and Madison as a litmus test for the remaining presidential hopefuls, eliminating any whose platform is opposed to the ideas expressed here? Reckon how many would be left standing?

- Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated. - Thomas Jefferson

- With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. – James Madison

- I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. – James Madison

- Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. – James Madison


Friday, February 8, 2008

Reaping What We Sow

I continue to be amazed that professing Christians and other so-called conservatives across this country have not been standing in line to support Ron Paul. We've chosen instead to vote for the status quo, in many cases, I believe because evangelical Christians are joined at the hip with the United States military and consider it sacrilege to even question whether or not the war in Iraq may have been a mistake.

Despite what some may think, however, "thou shalt support our troops no matter what" is not the eleventh commandment. The irony of this of course is that the candidate with the highest donations from the military is Ron Paul and so truly supporting the troops might actually mean voting for Dr. Paul. This fact seems lost on much of the pro-war evangelical community.

As a result of this insanity, we're now faced with a likely choice in November between two candidates who are virtually indistinguishable where things like size of government and personal freedoms are concerned. It's true that one them will likely be more in favor of continuing the slaughter of unborn children than the other but what McCain lacks in that regard he makes up for in his zeal to continue the slaughter of 18 - 22 year olds having said not only that we may be in Iraq for 100 years but promising there will be more wars:

So what are we to do as believers on election day, vote for the candidate committed to taking the lives of our children before birth or after? To use the tired Pogo quote, we have met the enemy and he is us. John McCain, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the White House will be the fruit of our labor in this election.

To see what might have been, here's a clip from Ron Paul's recent speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference:

At times like this I worry for my country and my children but am thankful that, as always, we can depend on the promises of God and can know that He is in control of all things. When God is all we have left, that is enough.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The 7 Wonders of Socialism

Interesting article from a website called "WebUrbanist" about the aftermath of Socialism in the former Soviet Union.

However, in their quest to find the "7 Wonders of Socialism" I think they missed a couple:

These two unfortunately have not yet been abandoned.

HT: Lew Rockwell

Monday, February 4, 2008

Quotable Quotes

Some thoughts to ponder as we enter the election season full force.

"We are friends of liberty everywhere but guardians only of our own liberty" - John Adams

"It is the responsibility of the church to be the conscience of the nation and to call the state to repentance when the state becomes demonized and fails to serve in the cause of righteousness." - R.C. Sproul

Sunday, February 3, 2008

NFL Pulls Plug on Big-Screen Church Parties for Super Bowl

How on earth will we reach the lost (um, I mean "unchurched") now?

From the Washington Post

Monday, January 28, 2008

The White Horse Inn on Political Temptation

Is the evangelical church in America confused as to what role it should play in the political realm? Here's a take on this from the guys at the White Horse Inn. A must listen in my opinion during this election year.

Political Temptation

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Book Review - The Day & The Hour

I recently ordered a copy of Francis X. Gummerlock's "The Day and the Hour" through a promotion that American Vision was having that offered certain books for only the cost of shipping.

This is not really a book one reads linearly from beginning to end, though you could. It is more a reference guide to "last days madness" (to borrow the title of another of American Vision's books) as it has manifest itself throughout the centuries. The book is broken up into chapters each of which is devoted to a specific aspect of eschatology such as the millennium, the abomination of desolation, the anti-Christ, wars and rumors of wars, the "rapture", etc. Within each chapter are date headings under which we find some of the beliefs expressed at the time regarding the return of Christ. What becomes immediately obvious after reading several of these is that our present day does not have the market cornered on the belief that we are the last generation or in assigning prophetic significance to contemporary world events.

We find out for example that in A.D. 449 a deacon at Carthage named Quodvultdeus wrote in a book called Book on Promises and Predictions that "the barbarian invasions in his lifetime were signs of the End. He identified the Goths and the Moors as Gog and Maygog." Kind of a 3rd century The Late, Great Planet Earth !

Later we read that Sir Walter Raleigh in 1615 believed that Gog and Maygog were the Pope and Spain and that the Turks were the locusts in the Book of Revelation.

Examples of this kind go on and on for a variety of eschatological topics. The one thing they all have in common is that they were later proven wrong by the passage of time. Another interesting feature of the book is a series of some 20 charts outlining things such as candidates for the anti-Christ at various points in history or different views on the meaning of the mark of the beast. As with the narrative examples, the common thread is that all of these beliefs have been proven wrong.

Some examples in the book have been proven wrong before the very eyes of people still living today such as Chuck Smith's prediction that the "rapture" would occur in 1981.

Having been raised on dispensational premillennialism, I remember it coming as a surprise to me that others throughout history had made similar predictions to those being made by people like Hal Lindsey & Tim LaHaye. As with many in this belief system, I felt that what these men were teaching was unique to our time and was based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. A book like this which has essentially done all the research for you (the footnotes are extensive for those interested in tracking down original sources) is a valuable resource for debunking that thought and the newspaper exegesis going on today.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pray for Bosnia-Herzegovina

I was privileged to travel to Bihac, Bosnia in the fall of 2001 as a short term missionary so this small country and the believers there are often on my mind.

This week I received an e-mail from a missions team there letting me know about an effort under way to pray for Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2008. Here you can learn more about BiH as well as read about the Christian community there. Please take a look at this site and if you can, remember to pray for the people of this country during 2008.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Quotable Quotes

"There are some who would have Christ cheap. They would have him without the cross. But the price will not come down."

- Samuel Rutherford

"Prophecy depends on predestination"

- Fredrick S. Leahy

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Germany's Pogrom Against Homeschoolers

When the wall in Berlin which separated the 'free' West from the 'Communist' East fell, most assumed that it was the West which had triumphed, ushering in a new era of freedom for those formerly in bondage in the East. However, as this article from Worldnet Daily shows, one has to wonder which philosophy really triumphed, at least in Germany.

Given Germany's history regarding those with whom its government disagrees, homeschool families may find themselves in great peril shortly. We should pray that the Lord will protect His people in Germany and will turn the "heart of the king" where this wicked law is concerned.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Quotable Quotes

"To the church is committed the task of proclaiming the whole counsel of God and, therefore, the counsel of God as it bears upon the responsibility of all persons and institutions. While the church is not to discharge the functions of other institutions such as the state and the family, nevertheless it is charged to define what the functions of these institutions are...To put the matter bluntly, the church is not to engage in politics. Its members must do so, but only in their capacity as citizens of the state, not as members of the church."

- John Murray

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Virtual Chisinau

I've been blessed to travel to the Republic of Moldova on three different occasions as part of a missions team. The capitol of Moldova is a beautiful city called Chisinau. Recently I was contacted through my Flickr site by a gentleman named Mihai to ask if he could use some of my Chisinau pictures on a new website called Virtual Chisinau. I was honored to lend my few photos to this effort.

You can see one of the ones posted so far here.

While there, take a look at the other pictures as well, many far better than mine, and see what a beautiful city Chisinau is!

FYI...the site is in Romanian so it may be difficult to read the captions!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

More on Mike Huckabee

Kim Riddlebarger has an excellent discussion today on the modern American evangelical approach to politics in general and Mike Huckabee's application of that specifically.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sin is Like Silly String

Our two boys are currently playing Upwards Basketball at a local church. As those of you familiar with Upwards will know, part of the purpose of that program is to introduce boys and girls to Jesus Christ - nothing wrong with that. One of the ways the program does that is to have a short devotional for the children during the half-time of each game - again, nothing wrong with that.

However, at our first game this past week, I was more than a little concerned about the message given, or at least implied, by that half-time devotion. The overarching message was the Jesus loves you, in fact that He loves everyone no matter what. They had a man dressed up as Elmo from Sesame Street helping with the presentation and at one point the speaker said Jesus even loves Elmo with his big funny nose. He then went on to say that Jesus loves you even when you 'mess up', not sin mind you, just 'mess up'. So what does that look like? Its like when you spray silly string inside the house. I kid you not, that was the illustration given. The speaker said he likes to spray silly string inside the house (and he then sprayed it across the crowd of kids much to their glee) but that his wife loves him even when he does that and that's how Jesus loves us too.

Now, my wife thinks I'm overreacting given that these were kids between 1st and 3rd grade, at least where our boys were concerned. However, leaving aside the theological issues around 'Jesus loves everyone in the world', my feeling is it is never OK to trivialize sin in this way. Even very young children are capable of understanding the holiness of God and the seriousness of sin. They must in fact understand that in my opinion before they can repent and be saved. Which brings me to another point, there was no mention at all of repentance - just Jesus loves you no matter what.

What do you think? Was I overreacting to this little devotional or was it doing these children a disservice, especially those who may not be from Christian families and who need to hear the true gospel preached to them?

Huckabee's Phone Call from God


HT: Lew Rockwell

Friday, January 4, 2008

Quotable Quotes

"From what are the people being saved? Not from visible warfare or barbarians but something far greater: from their own sins, a work that had never been possible to anyone before."

- John Chrysostom