Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dick Armey Goes Spazz - Attacks Dobson

As you'll see from the story link below, once reliable conservative voice Dick Armey has gone off the reservation and then some, lauching a pretty cheap attack at Dr. James Dobson. The former Texas Congressman had a pretty strong public Christian testimony at one time. With this diatribe, he sounds more like James Carville.

Pretty sad, in my view. If this is a harbinger of things to come, it isn't good.

Newsmax Story

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bill Clinton's Purple Rages

By now, most of you have heard of former president Bill Clinton's purple rage aimed at Fox News' Chris Wallace during Fox News Sunday. While some commentators said they were surprised at the outburst, it wasn't really a surprise to those of us who have watched the antics of Billy Bob for decades. Among his staff, the "purple rage" was an old friend. (Tongue-in-cheek, of course)

I recall reading an account by Dick Morris telling the story of good ol' boy Bill physically tackling him one day in a parking lot when they had some dispute or other. The former prez has been seen over the years chewing out his staff, sometimes in public. He often uses his considerable physical girth to intimidate the individual or individuals he is screaming at. Childish, and as media figure Rusty Humphries pointed out this week, classic narcissistic behavior. No matter what happens to Clinton, it's always someone else's fault.

Aside from it being a bit laughable for Clinton to chide the Bush Administration for not doing in Osama during their first eight months in power (wasn't Clinton in office for eight years?)..it's also laughable for Bill Clinton to accuse Chris Wallace of being part of the vast right wing conspiracy. Get real.

One of these days, Mr. Clinton's rage is going to get the best of him and he will make the mistake of punching his finger (or fist) in the wrong person's face. Then the legalities will be very interesting. While it is illegal (rightly so) to threaten or assault the president (or former president), what if said president or ex-prez assaults someone else, and that someone else defends himself by delivering a hard haymaker?

That will be interesting to watch as it proceeds through the courts. Then Clinton could sell the story to the tabloids.

EDITED TO ADD:

Now the talking heads are speculating whether Mr. Clinton's rage was genuine or calculated to achieve a political end. Knowing what we do of the Clinton machine, that is certainly possible. As always, watch and observe closely. The truth generally comes out for all to see eventually.

Friday, September 22, 2006



Words of Wisdom from John Piper

Noted pastor, author and Bible teacher John Piper is someone I respect a great deal. This past week, he wrote the following response to the troubling situation that evolved after Pope Benedict's remarks on Islam. Great food for thought and prayer, and I post it in its entirety for your perusal.

-0-


HOW CHRISTIANS SHOULD RESPOND
TO MUSLIM OUTRAGE
AT THE POPE'S REGENSBURG MESSAGE
ABOUT VIOLENCE AND REASON


"Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the
nearest Muslim." Those were the words of Sheikh Abubakar Hassan Malin to a
gathering of Muslims in Mogadishu on Friday, September 15, 2006. On
Saturday, Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five Christian
churches in the West Bank and Gaza. On Sunday, September 17, in London,
outside Westminster Cathedral, Anjem Choudary addressed a demonstration and
said that those who insulted Islam "should be subject to capital
punishment."

These were among the reactions to a speech given by Pope Benedict XVI at
Regensburg University, in Germany on Tuesday, September 12. Perhaps
connected to the speech was the murder on Sunday in Mogadishu of
sixty-six-year-old Leonella Sgorbati, an Italian Catholic nun serving as a
nurse in a children's hospital.

In the speech, the pope was addressing the foundation of the secular
university. The subject was faith and reason. He was arguing that the
foundation of the university, and the spread of truth and faith, lay in the
rationality of God. He asked, "Is the conviction that acting unreasonably
contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and
intrinsically true?" He answers, "I believe that here we can see the
profound harmony between what is Greek, in the best sense of the word, and
the biblical understanding of faith in God."

In other words, the pope is arguing that the university, and all people,
have an obligation to act in accordance with reason, because reason is
rooted in God. At this point, he brought in a discussion of the difference
between Islam and Christianity on the relationship between God and reason.
Christianity, he argues, sees reason as rooted in God.
But, citing a noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, he says that "Ibn Hazn went
so far as to state that [in Islam] God is not bound even by his own word,
and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's
will, we would even have to practice idolatry."

This, he implies, disconnects God and reason and opens Islam to a use of
violence in spreading their faith that is not governed by reason. He cites
Sura 2, 256 from the Qur'an, where Mohammed says that there is no compulsion
in religion. Then he draws attention to the later developments in the Qur'an
by quoting the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus in 1391 in Ankara
(today's capitol of Turkey). The emperor apparently said that Mohammed
taught that one could "spread by the sword the faith he preached." Then the
pope said,

"The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the
faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible
with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. . . .
God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's
nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone
to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without
violence and threats. . . . To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need
a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a
person with death . . . . The decisive statement in this argument against
violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary
to God's nature." (The entire speech is on the www in numerous places.)

These references to the role of reason in Islam, and the apparent
endorsement of violence (in parts of the Qur'an) as a way of spreading
Islamic faith, have outraged Muslims and sparked violence and calls for
violence. Subsequently, the pope said, "I am deeply sorry for the reactions
in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of
Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims.
These in fact were a quotation from a Medieval text, which do not in any way
express my personal thought."


How should Christians respond to this situation? I will suggest ten
responses that flow from the Bible.

1. Admit that the Christian church has often been too entangled with civil
governments, with the result that violence has been endorsed by the church
as a way of accomplishing religious, and not just civil, goals. The
Crusades, for example, stand as a monument to collective Christian blindness
to the teaching of Jesus. We should make every effort today to avoid
political alignments between the Christian church and any civil government
or political party. (See my article, "Tolerance, Truth-Telling, Violence,
and Law" at www.desringgod.org.)

2. Make clear that the use of God-sanctioned violence between Israel and the
nations in the Old Testament is no longer God's will for his people.
The coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as a suffering servant, rather than
a warlord, and his gathering of a people from all nations rather than only
one, are two of the many reasons why the Christian church today should
not-and almost universally does not-endorse or use violence to promote the
gospel of Jesus Christ.

3. Admit that there are many Muslims today who do not approve of violence in
the spread of Islam. Admittedly, to many of us in the West, their number
seems small and their voice seems muted by the reputation of the more
violent strains of Islam. We do not know how large that segment of Islam is.

4. Point out how Islam, in its most sacred writings and authoritative
teachings, belittles Jesus Christ, not just occasionally in the news, but
constantly by its dominant claims. Islam denies that Jesus Christ was and is
God, a central truth of the New Testament and the Christian church (John
1:1-3; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8). Dominant streams of Islam deny that
Jesus died on the cross and therefore deny that the claim that his death
atones for sin and propitiates the wrath of God is true (1 Corinthians
15:1-3; Romans 3:21-26; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). Therefore,
defenders of Islam daily defame Jesus Christ and insult the glory of his
gospel.

5. Point out that, in response to this constant defamation of Jesus Christ,
there are not public threats or demands for apologies from the church. This
is not because we do not love Jesus above all things, or because we have no
zeal for the glory of his name. It is because he told us to expect this
(Matthew 10:25; John 15:20) and then modeled for us how to react: "When he
was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not
threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly" (1
Peter 2:23).

6. Do good to those who hate you-and, of course, those of other faiths who
don't hate you (Luke 6:27). This is not because Christians do not believe in
vengeance. We simply believe that it is not ours to give. And this age is
not the time to give it. This is an age of mercy and patience and
forgiveness toward those who malign the King of the universe. He will have
his Day of Wrath. But we are too sinful to be entrusted with that righteous
judgment. Rather, we should obey the words of the New Testament: "Beloved,
never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is
written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary,
'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to
drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head'" (Romans
12:19-20).

7. Seek to win others to saving faith in Jesus by persuading with words, not
imposing with force. This was the way the gospel spread among many religions
in the early centuries of the Christian church. The earliest teachers said,
"Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others" (2 Corinthians
5:11). When the New Testament speaks of the "sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians
6:17) or "the weapons of our warfare"
(2 Corinthians 10:4), it clearly means the word of God and power of
spiritual persuasion.
8. Always be ready to die, but never to kill, for the sake of commending
Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for sinners and rose again as the
Lord of the universe. Jesus promises to triumph through our accepting
suffering, not our causing suffering. He died to save all who will
believe-from every nation and religion. He calls us to follow him on this
Calvary Road. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls
into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much
fruit" (John 12:24). This is not the death of a suicide-murderer. This is
the death of one who loves his enemies and, as he dies, prays, "Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do"
(Luke 23:34), and, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (Acts 7:60).

9. Pray for the salvation of all those who belittle Jesus Christ. Pray that
they would put their faith in Jesus Christ who died for our sins so that if
anyone-from any nation or any religion-would embrace him as Lord and Savior
and Treasure of their lives, they would be saved from the guilt of sin and
the wrath of God. They would have eternal life and joy.
This is the way the great apostle Paul prayed: "Brothers, my heart's desire
and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved" (Romans 10:1).

10. No matter the cost, continue to exalt and commend Jesus Christ as the
great and only Savior that he is. Say with the apostle Paul, "It is my eager
expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full
courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or
by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." The day will
come when every knee will bow to Jesus as Lord and as God (Philippians
2:10-11). Until that day comes, affirm with Paul: "I do not account my life
of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and
the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel
of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).

Longing for the Savior to be exalted,

Pastor John


The only qualifier I would add to the above is that this should not be construed to mean that a government cannot protect its citizens through military or law enforcement means, nor should it mean that individual Christians cannot protect themselves, someone else, or their loved ones from direct threat. For instance, if a purported terrorist was getting ready to shoot, stab or explode somebody in a crowded public square (or to break in to my home), I would have every right (and duty) to do what is necessary to stop the threat.

I also think people confuse martyrdom with thug behavior. If a government tries to execute me for my faith, that is one thing. However, if some thug on the street wants to kill me or my family, I find no obligation in Scripture to lie down and let him do so. When it comes to issues such as these, we need to take the whole counsel of God as found in the Bible and not isolate a few verses to justify a totally pacifist position. It's just not there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ABC More Afraid of Christians than Radical Islam?

I received the following email from a friend who supports the ministry of former Reagan Administration official Gary Bauer. In this communique, Mr. Bauer (whom I have had the privilege of interviewing) expresses more than a little scorn at ABC News for seemingly agreeing with Rosie O'Donnell that evangelical Christians are the true threats to world peace. I share Gary's scorn, as no doubt most Christians will after reading Gary's note below in italics.



Onward Christian Soldiers

Does Rosie O’Donnell have a second job at ABC? While running her mouth as a
daytime co-host of The View, it appears as though she is producing news
reports for ABC’s evening news broadcasts. While the world is recoiling in
shock at the reaction of radical Islam to the pope’s comments, ABC News is
fretting over one Christian youth camp in North Dakota. That’s right, those
“scary Christians” who according to Rosie are “just as threatening as
radical Islam in a country like America,” warranted an entire segment on
ABC’s Sunday evening news broadcast.

ABC's indictment: “Children are being raised to be soldiers in God’s army,
or as the camp’s director put it “…radically laying down their lives for
the gospel.” The story was in part prompted by a new book from radical
feminist Lauren Sandler, who is terrified because, “This is an enormous
youth movement.” As evidence of the “growing menace,” ABC noted,
“enrollment at Christian colleges is up 70 percent. Sales of Christian
music are up 300 percent. Tens of thousands of youth pastors have been
trained.”

Is ABC really so dense that it cannot grasp the difference between Christian
sacrifice and Islamic jihad? The Christian faith teaches us, “God so loved
the world that he gave his only son.” In the Middle East, Muslim mothers
celebrate when their sons kill themselves along with Jewish women and
children.

Not surprisingly, such theological concerns were not the main thrust of
ABC’s story. The real agenda came out with this line: “Sandler says the
evangelical youth movement will have a negative impact on the country’s
future, because even the most moderate young evangelicals are inflexible on
issues such as abortion and gay marriage.”

So, these Christian kids are “dangerous” because they believe children
deserve a mother and a father and that babies have a right to be born.
Even worse, they’ll be voting in a few years and not for candidates endorsed
by Rosie O’Donnell!

Please feel free to pass on this "End of Day" update to interested friends
and family members.

If you would like to receive this update by e-mail, you can sign up online
at http://www.cwfpac.com/cwf_eod_request.htm

Campaign for Working Families
2800 Shirlington Road
Suite 930
Arlington, VA 22206
Phone:703-671-8800
Fax: 703-671-8899
Web: www.cwfpac.com


Okay, to conclude..here's Solameanie's take.

ABC and other media hotshots (or radical leftie celebrities) can bravely take shots at Christians with impunity. Why? First, they disdain all we stand for. They demonstrate that constantly. But I suspect that there is another reason involved here, and it's akin to cowardice. They know that Christians won't bomb their airplanes, slit their throats, riot in the streets or send Katusha rockets into Malibu or Bel Air. We're not in the habit of sending vengeful muhajadeen to celebrities' plush doorsteps.

My advice to them is to get some wisdom AND some guts. Trust me. If the Islamic radicals accomplish their goals, the media stars and celebrities will be among the first to be beheaded or shot.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Why Did the Pope Apologize?

or...Muslims Can Be Their Own Worst Enemies, Part II

A brief addendum to the previous post..written after the events of the weekend. The pope apologized for his rather controversial remarks..misunderstood remarks, I might add. However, there is a glaring point that begs to be made. I wish more would make it. Loudly.

Not only was there massive rioting and violence by Muslims around the world, but a nun was killed in Somalia in connection with this issue. KILLED! A nun! All because of some WORDS spoken.

Rather illustrates the point of what the long dead emperor quoted by the pope was saying, doesn't it?

Again, if Muslims resent their religion being called evil and violent, there is only one way to give the lie to that notion. It's really simple. Really. Here it is.

Stop being violent.

If Christians can endure the vilest insults with equanimity, so can you. Let's see this "religion of peace" in action.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Muslims Can Be Their Own Worst Enemies

The latest incident to send Muslims worldwide into the streets to riot, scream and set fires was touched off by Pope Benedict this week. In a speech, the pope quoted an emperor from days gone by who cited the violent nature of Islam and the jihad. The article I was reading about this stressed that the pope didn't take a position one way or the other on the charge, but merely cited a couple of quotes. Regardless of whether he agreed with the long dead emperor or not, the pope's remarks set off a powderkeg. While there were several Islamic spokespeople who spoke calmly and called for an apology (while saying that the violent image of Islam was inaccurate), the overall reaction seemed to be par for the course. The link below and the accompanying Associated press story/photo tells the story.

The long and short of it is...Muslims..if you don't want a violent image, then stop being violent. It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to figure that one out. You get insulted when people call attention to the violence, murder and mayhem, and then proceed to protest a verbal statement with violence, rioting etc.

You have no one to blame but yourselves for your image. Try peaceful engagement and protest, and you'd be surprised how things just might change.

AP Story

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Brave New World of Peter Singer

For years now, those of us on the conservative, pro-life side of the abortion/euthanasia/assisted suicide equations have been warning about the slippery slope inherent when the value and sanctity of innocent life is dismissed. Slippery slope arguments are often derided, which is interesting because they end up being right more often than not.

Below is a link to a WND article about Princeton "bioethicist" Peter Singer and his advocacy of killing the deformed even after birth. One has to wonder if he'll start advocating snuff films next. If you want a glimpse into the brave new world people like this have to offer, read on. And keep in mind..today it's the deformed baby. Tomorrow, it will be the elderly, the mentally handicapped, the physically handicapped, and anyone else who isn't up to snuff in the eyes of tomorrow's society.


WorldNetDaily

Wednesday, September 13, 2006



We Just Can't Get Enough of the Carter Crew

For your reading and bemusement, I post the following little clip from James Taranto's "Best of the Web" column from Opinion Journal. After seeing the utter cluelessness of ol' Zbig of Carter Administration fame, I think we should all thank the Lord on bended knee that these guys are out of power.

A Terrorist Nuke? No Zbiggie!

Der Spiegel has an interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as President Carter's national security adviser:

*** QUOTE ***

Spiegel: Dr. Brzezinski, President Bush compares the dangers of terrorism with the dangers of the Cold War. He has even spoken repeatedly of a "nation at war" and will only accept "complete victory." Is he right or is he using exaggerated rhetoric?

Brzezinski: He is fundamentally wrong. Whether that is deliberate demagoguery or simply historical ignorance, I do not know. For four years I was responsible for coordinating the U.S. response in the event of a nuclear attack. And I can assure you that a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union on a comprehensive scale would have killed 160 to 180 million people within 24 hours.

No terrorist threat is comparable to that in the foreseeable future. . . .

Spiegel: Is fear, as at the thought of a nuclear weapon in the hands of terrorists, not something very natural?

Brzezinski: Certainly, such a notion is not entirely unrealistic, but on the other hand we are not confronted with the Soviet nuclear weapons arsenal. I do not wish to minimize the danger of a single or even multiple terrorist acts, but their scale is simply not comparable.

*** END QUOTE ***

Remember those old bumper stickers that said "One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day"? Not Zbig's day!


Here is a link to the original article:

Der Spiegel

I have to wonder how many deaths it would take for people like Zbig to get concerned. They really don't get it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Give Up Our Liberty?

Most Americans get their news from the major networks or local newspapers. That is unfortunate, as some pretty important comments from U.S. government officials never see the light of day here. Below is an article from Deutsche Welle, the German news conglomerate. Note what the AMERICAN ambassador says about the need for U.S. citizens to give up liberties. Let it sink in. Statements like this are seldom made by accident.

US Ambassador to Berlin Says Europeans are Soft on Terror

Ohio industrialist William Timken was appointed as ambassador to Germany last year

In marking the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, US Ambassador to Germany, William Timken, voiced an unpopular hardline view on Europe's battle against Islamic terrorism.
In an interview with the local newspaper Hannoverschen Allgemeine Zeitung, US Ambassador to Germany William R. Timken warned Europeans not to underestimate the threat of terror.

"Europeans must be better prepared to deal such a menace," he said, suggesting that the old continent is unwilling to accept the notion that the events of Sept. 11 five years ago could recur.

US Ambassador praises work of CIA

Battle against Islamic terrorism means giving up small personal liberties
The ambassador, an Ohio businessman who was appointed to Berlin in August of last year, praised the CIA, saying that its extraordinary undercover work has saved thousands of lives.

Last week President George W. Bush acknowledged the existence of secret CIA prisons outside of US territory, where key al-Qaeda figures have been held and interrogated since the Sept. 11 attacks. The announcement created a furor in Europe over human rights violations, with even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has boosted bilateral ties since assuming office last year, condemning the CIA operations.

Need to give up certain personal liberties

In fighting terror, Timken called on the need for Americans to give up "a small part of their civil liberties."

"We now live with the understanding that it will be a very, very long battle to resist the Islamists imposing their will on us. Saying such truths might be unpopular, but there is no other alternative," he said.

In a formal statement issued by the US Embassy in Berlin, Timken talked about being on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and driving past the burning Pentagon and the open field in Pennsylvania where Flight 093 was downed. "Each anniversary of September 11 stands as evidence that good continues to prevail over evil," he said.

On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, the American Embassy will hold a memorial service in Berlin, which is to be attended by both Timken and German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Anger of Man and the Righteousness of God

From time to time, I have to remind myself that it is a good thing that I am not God. I had to do that again this morning. Here's why.

One cannot watch the news for too long without seeing a turbaned, bearded radical Islamazealot such as Ayman al Zawahri waving his forefinger, spewing more venom and threats against the West. After a time, I stop seeing a turbaned face as my eyes focus on that little raised knot in the center of al Zawarhri's forehead. It's almost perfectly centered between his eyes and the middle of the "V" of the turban. After a while, the little knot morphs into a scope with crosshairs, and I imagine a round from an SKS rifling through the air, transforming Mr. Zawahri's forehead knot into a hole. In that split second, the would be Saladin passes from thug in hiding to thug in Hell. And no 72 virgins to keep him company in Lake Gehenna.

You know, that's awful. I should pray for the man's repentance and salvation, but I do find it hard. I have to be honest about it. Al Qaeda and its top leaders are responsible for untold deaths. Their lives are governed by hate. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if both Osama bin Ladin and al Zawahri were demon possessed.

So how do we as Christians not fall into the same murderous rage? Only by God's grace and mercy. However, we must not let ourselves fall into fuzzy thinking or unbiblical total pacifism. We might well be angered by Islamic thugs, but that shouldn't make us knee-jerk into anger or hatred against all Muslims. While Christians must not fall into vengeful behavior or attitudes, the Bible does not forbid us self-defense, nor does it bind a government's hands from taking action to stop and/or prevent terrorist attacks. The Bible tells us that "the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God." The Lord also tells us "Vengeance is Mine. I will repay." However, it is the responsibility of governments to protect their people - with force if need be. The state "does not bear the sword for nothing." It is not the government's job to share the Gospel. That job belongs to us as individual Christians.

The Gospel is available to all..even for butchers like al Zawahri and bin Ladin. So let us indeed pray for their salvation, and that God will somehow lead people into their paths who will be witnesses for Christ. At the same time, let us pray that their evil intentions will be thwarted. While we're at it, let's pray for ourselves. Scripture also says regarding the last days . . . "because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold." May it never be for those who are called by His name.

Friday, September 08, 2006



Politics and the Body of Christ

If there has been one interesting (and troubling) development within American Christian life since the 1970s, it is the way people who are supposed to be brothers and sisters in Christ have become polarized over politics. In practice, it seems that our loyalties to our particular political party take higher place than our loyalties to Christ. Frequently, our political persuasions seem to color how we view Scripture and the role of a Christian in society, rather than having Scripture inform our political persuasions. I say this advisedly, as I have not only been politically active for years, but as a media figure/analyst, I have seen it all over the past 30 years. I can see it in myself from time to time, and quite honestly, I don't like it.

Please do not read that statement and assume that I believe Christians should sit out political life in an overly pietistic sense. Far from it. We are called to be good citizens - active and engaged in our culture. I believe that can be amply demonstrated from Scripture in numerous passages. The Apostle Paul was especially eloquent on the subject of a believer's attitude toward government (Romans 13) and, at times, Paul showed himself to be quite canny in his use of the rights he had as a Roman citizen - the political system of his day.

Here in America, it is a demonstrable fact that our nation was founded on Christian principles. David Barton of Wallbuilders has amassed tremendous documentation showing the Christian consensus of our founders, even though not all of them were necessarily orthodox believers. I believe it was John Adams who once said that the American system of government was constructed for a moral, religious people and would not work with any other. He was right, and the truth of his statement is borne out in the ongoing decay of our society as we fall farther away from our moorings.

However, this is not what I am talking about for purposes of this column. I will try to illustrate it this way. Christians who are Democrats for whatever reason often fall in lockstep with the party position on abortion, homosexual rights, state interference in family matters, and a host of other things that are quite contrary to biblical values. Christians who are Republicans can go to the other extreme on economic matters, or other issues and positions on those issues that seem quite removed from what Scripture says. Oddly enough, believers on both sides try to make the case that theirs is the biblical (or at least Christian) position. When it comes to hot button political issues, we really do need to stop, take a deep breath and evaluate our platform to see if our views really reflect what God's Word says.

I have often said throughout my broadcast career that GOP doesn't stand for "God's Own Party." Republicans have done plenty with which I have disagreed. However, I could not in good conscience sign on to many Democratic Party platform positions because the Bible informs my views on these issues. And that is the crux of this whole thing. Being biblical Christians in a politically polarized country. Seeing all issues through the light and truth of God's Word, and evaluating all issues through that prism. Realizing that cynical, unregenerate leaders in both parties are capable of pandering to us, and trying to gain our votes by paying lip service to our values..simply for the sake of their own political power and gain.

There is much that can be said here. In addition, there are a lot of side issues that can be discussed in relation to the larger issue at hand. For instance, here in the West (in my case, America), the people are part of the government. We have a voice and a vote. An absolute monarchy would not provide that environment. Yet Christian citizens in both situations have responsibilities before God. If a dictator imposes homosexual marriage, there isn't much that can be done about it unless one wants to head to the protest line, and perhaps be arrested or killed. Imagine a clergyman refusing to perform such ceremonies and then taking the consequences for his principled decision. In this instance, being forced to disobey a law because it violates God's law.

However, in a democratic system, I believe our responsibility is even more grave. As a citizen whose vote and voice count, if I vote as a legislator for a biblically untenable position, or for a politician that advocates an unbiblical position on an issue, then I am responsible before God for my vote that helped put an ungodly practice in place. There are all sorts of thorny tentacles that can pop out, aren't there?

Obviously, short of glory we will always walk imperfectly. Yet, the Word of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit will give His people illumination on difficult issues, and the ability to walk in integrity. It is important that our ultimate loyalty is to the Lord and not to a political party. Our views of all issues in this life must conform to what Scripture says. When Scripture doesn't directly address a particular issue, we can arrive at a correct conclusion by following the life and thought principles laid down in Scripture. It is important to take God's Word as a whole and let it inform our worldview.

If all of us who name the name of Jesus as Lord and Savior would purpose in our hearts to do that, walking in the light of His Word rather than the false light of a political manifesto, we would find ourselves being much more effective at carrying out His Great Commission. For the end of the matter is this. It is only a regenerate heart and a renewed mind that will ultimately produce a changed life. When we get our ducks in a row theologically, all else falls into place. May God grant us the ability to do that, and indeed show the world that we are indeed His disciples.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Australians Get It!

The following link is to the Telegraph in Australia. The article deals with the need for Muslim immigrants in Western nations to assimilate and give up any radical ideology if they want to remain in country. I applaud the Australian government's boldness in this area. If we tried such a thing here in the U.S..we'd immediately be called racists and discriminatory. That, of course, is a canard. Race has nothing to do with it. Murderous ideology such as jihad does.

Much is said these days about the loss of our freedoms in America. I hope that day never comes. However, the loss of freedom often results from the abuse of freedom. I can see it happening that our enemies are using our very freedoms against us to pull off their agendas. Because of that, expect the willingness to give up freedom for "peace and safety" to grow as the threat grows.

I would hope there would be enough historic patriotics to resist such a move. However, our culture these days likes the convenient and eschews struggle of any kind. The path of least resistance.

I hope my pessimism will be disproven. Short term pessimism, that is. I'm an eternal optimist.

Telegraph

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Purpose Driven Church Splits

For some time, I have written and spoken about my concerns over the larger Purpose Driven movement spearheaded by Rick Warren. The reasons have been well catalogued by other apologists, including the way that this movement has split churches across the country. The following article is in the Wall Street Journal. I think it is very interesting that an internationally known, mainstream newspaper has picked up on this story. Read it and ponder.

Wall Street Journal

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Saving England's Crumbling Churches

I have been a subscriber to British Heritage magazine for years and enjoy it immensely. The latest issue (Nov 2006) contains an article that both saddened me, and yet gave me encouragement.

In the UK, English Heritage has begun a new drive to get government aid "for the infrastructure of England's decaying church buildings. The preservation and conservation body has identified 1,100 buildings as vulnerable and estimates the cost of restoration to be nearly a billion pounds. Local, often rural, parishes with small congregations find it increasingly difficult to maintain their often-medieval churches.

"Supported by faith groups and celebrities alike, the new campaign, called Inspired, hopes to gain government help to provide a variety of support services to aid local parishes to preserve the fabric of their ancient and historic buildings. As Simon Thurley, EH chief executive commented, 'With pubs and post offices disappearing and social problems growing, these buildings often provide the only remaining physical, cultural and spiritual focus for a community.'


I am glad that this initiative is underway, although with a note of irony. If this was happening here in "the land of the free and the brave," the wildly misnamed American Civil Liberties Union would be filing a lawsuit to stop it.

The sight of a crumbling, dilapidated church always saddens me. I look back with my mind's eye to days gone by when the structure was filled with worshippers, bells ringing on special occasions, and the local church often a rallying point for a small community. Of course, the real "church" is organic and made up of individual Christians. One can worship the Lord together on a riverbank or in a private home (provided you don't get sued) just as well as in a massive cathedral. Some critics rightly disparage some of the Taj Mahal-like structures (usually modern monstrosities) that take millions of dollars and work crews to maintain. So much focus gets placed on the building that the people who actually make up the Body of Christ seem unable to advance the Gospel without one.

This situation is different. This is not only preserving a church building for worshippers - it is also preserving the history of a proud nation. I wish my UK brothers and sisters well in this noble initiative, and am also praying for a true spiritual revival that will fill those churches to maximum capacity. (I wouldn't mind that happening here, either!)

Go England!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Solameanie's Recommended Reading List
...to be updated from time to time...

It's been several days since I've posted anything new. I am trying to enjoy some R&R in this "last weekend of summer." However, before I return to the regular, I'd like to recommend some great reading material.

1. Systematic Theology by Dr. Wayne Grudem. Published by Zondervan.

Wayne's book is probably one of the most user-friendly systematic theologies I have seen. There are a few points in it where I might take issue such as in eschatology, however it's a solid read, well written, concise, detailed enough with great footnotes, and helps make sometimes difficult concepts easier for the layperson to grasp.

2. Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church by Dr. D.A. Carson. (Zondervan)

The extremes of the ECM don't seem to like Dr. Carson much, and that's perhaps a good recommendation. Overall a balanced treatment of the controversy. He's much nicer than I am.

3. Hell Under Fire - an anthology of essays edited by C.W. Morgan and R.A. Peterson (Zondervan)

Hell is not a popular subject these days, but the subject desperately needs to be taught again. Modern "scholarship" is indeed reinventing eternal punishment. This book is much needed!

4. Correcting the Cults - Expert Responses to Their Scripture Twisting by Dr. Norm Geisler and Ron Rhodes (Baker)

This is yet another excellent resource from these two fine apologists. I have had the privilege of having Ron Rhodes on my radio program numerous times, and he's always an enjoyable, knowledgeable guest. I recommend this highly for your library.

That should do for the moment. Due to the program, I get more books in than is probably healthy, although it is is fun to see them stack up and cause the need for new library shelves!

The Seventh Sola will return with new fare soon, perhaps even this weekend if I can get done with my yardwork.