Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Christians and Halloween

The following is an article written by my ministry partner, Rev. Kevin S. Johnson. Kevin is the president of the Institute for Christian Apologetics. In this article, Kevin offers a balanced view of how we as Christians ought to respond to Halloween. You'll also see a link to ICA in my links sidebar if you'd like to check out the rest of what ICA has to offer.


HALLOWEEN - A Celebration of the Dead!

A Short History Of Halloween

Ancient Times

The practice of celebrating the fall or harvest is one that can be traced back into the dim recesses of mankind's early recorded history. Ancient agrarian societies had reason to celebrate if the crops were good. They felt "the gods" were blessing them because they (the people) had been obedient in presenting the kind of sacrifices the "gods" demanded.

Demons or fallen angels can affect the weather. Satan caused a tornadic wind as is recorded in the book of Job 1:18 that killed Job's children. The New Testament calls the "gods" demons or "fallen angels" (see 1 Corinthians 10:20.). This causal relationship between demonic entities, idols and the weather should humble us in our appraisal of the ancient peoples. They were not necesarily irrational in their bondage to idols.

This took place in areas inhabited by an early European tribal group known as the Celts. These lands were primarily Ireland, Wales and parts of England although prior to that the Celts originated as far south as Northern Spain. The representatives of their "gods" were Druidic priests. The "priests" were considered intermediaries of the gods and were treated with fear and respect. These "ambassadors" would tell the people that the gods wanted them to give offerings to them in order to placate them, and that if the offerings were appropriate, the gods would be satisfied and would bless them with good crops the next year. That was fairly standard practice for pagan priests throughout the world.

The Druids added a special flair to this that is akin to the racket of offering "protection" used by organized crime today. They would tell their followers that at least once a year there would be a celebration made to honor the god of the dead known as "Samhain". This marked the death of the old year and the birth of the new year. The priests taught the people they would come to collect offerings (usually foodstuffs for their own peculiar dietary requirements) on this holiday.

If offerings were not forthcoming the household withholding the offering would be cursed. This sometimes included the possibility that a demand would be made for a family member to come forward to be used as a human sacrifice. These would be taken and murdered. They would then be placed on a sacrificial funeral pyre known as a "Bone Fire" (ie: bonfire). The site of the fire would usually be on a prominent hill where it could be a visual reminder of the price of resistance.

The Druids would go door to door saying, "Be blessed or be hexed". (This not so subtle threat of extortion has come down to our day as "Trick or Treat!") As they went door-to-door, they were dressed in robes with magical markings on them, and had hal lowed out turnips with the face of a demon carved in it and an oil lamp smoking and glimmering inside. Does this sound familiar? This later in Ireland was known as "Jack of The Lantern" (Jack-o-lantern). It represented a light for the spirits of the dead to follow.

Enter Rome

As the Roman Empire conquered the British Isles bringing the famous "Pax Romana" (the peace imposed by Roman might) the Druids lost prestige and followers and no longer were able to terrorize the people in the same manner. The festival did not go away however and soon the mythology of the "night of the dead" developed.

This was imagined to be the night when the fabric between the dimensions or realm of the spirit was so thin that you could make contact easier on this night than on all others. It was believed that the spirits (thought to be of departed humans or the gods) with their secret or greater knowledge could influence divination devices (the Ouija board is a modern day counterpart) and events in the physical world more easily on this special night.

Therefore certain practices were developed to better com municate with the dead. Such communication known specifically as "necromancy" is forbidden in God's word. (see Deuteronomy 18:9-22).The pamphlet "Holidays and Holy Days" by Tom Mckinney says, "Since Samhain was the beginning of the New Year, much divining was done concerning the coming year. A very popular form was to kneel around a tub of water with apples floating in it and the first one who could get it out without using his hands or teeth would have good favor with the spirits in the coming year. Then each would peel his (or her) apple, trying to get the peel off in one piece (which gave the peeling particular power, and gained special favor with the spirits). The peel was then thrown over the left shoulder, and, whirling quickly about, each was supposed to see an apparition (ghostly vision) of the one who would become his or her sex partner (or spouse, depending upon local custom) during the coming year."

Enter Roman Catholicism

With the dawning of the Christian era in Europe the Roman Church decided it would be better to redefine certain festivals and holidays "converting" them if you will into Christian holidays. This is the origin of the timing of Christmas, St. Valentines' Day, and to some lesser extent Easter.

In the eighth century the Pope decided to do something about the Samhain Festival. The approach was to change the timing of the holy day celebrating the lives of past Christians from Springtime to November First. Mckinney says, "In the British Isles, All Saints Day came to be called "All Halloweds" since it was a day to honor all the "hallowed ones", the Christian dead. Since Samhain always occurred the evening before All Halloweds, it came to be called "All Halloweds Evening," or just "Hallowed's E'en" and finally to "Halloween" as we know it today. Because of the relationship in the names, and the adjacent dates, many today entertain the completely unfounded idea that Halloween is somehow a Christian holiday." This has allowed otherwise orthodox churches to have Halloween parties in the church itself. This contributes to the weakening of the Christian witness against oc cult and satanic symbolism drawn and worn by youth throughout the rest of the year. If its O.K. one day, then why not all days?

Enter The New World

The seventeenth century saw immigration from the British Isles increase and many left England for religious freedom.The conservative Christians (largely progressive Puritans) who came to the New World passed laws forbidding occult practices. This, of course, included Halloween as it had by then been adopted by Wiccans or witches as their special day.

A tragedy developed in Salem, Massachusetts where laws that where designed to protect society from the effects of the occult ended in the execution of innocent people on the testimony of some unstable teenage girls. The fact of occultism being a reality at that time in the colonies is documented in the excellent book, "The Light and the Glory", by Peter Marshall Jr..

What the people at Salem were violating was Jesus' command to not "pull the tares up with the wheat lest in pulling them up you also destroy the wheat" (Matthew 13:29). We are to deal with heresy by converting the heretics, not killing them! After they are converted they will be considered executed by God as He then counts them in Christ. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me..." (Galatians 2:20).

As more Celtic immigrants came to America they brought Halloween with them. "Jack of The Lantern" turnips were exchanged for the larger American pumpkin. The holiday flourished. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, The Church became "comfortable" and raised little protest. Those who objected were looked at as "witch hunters" a term like the modern "Mcarthyism" that was meant to bring a knee jerk reaction. This supposedly linked one with "unenlightened" thinking akin to those in Salem, Massachusetts who had killed people on unreliable tes timony.

Modern Observance

As the mercantilism of the industrial revolution of the nineteenth and twentieth century increased, so did the selling of all holidays with Halloween being no exception. Today it is a huge industry with millions spent each year on cards, movies, videos, games, pumpkins, candy and costume accesories.

There are a lot of people who have a vested interest in seeing it perpetuated. This is without mentioning those that are philosophically inclined to New Age and Occult thinking that see Halloween as an annual opportunity to give a benign and fun face to their practices. This lures unsuspecting ones through curiosity and fond memories of crisp cold air, next door neigh bors giving them candy, and dressing up as some exotic or goulish character. This fails to mention "harmless" trick or treating and maybe some juvenile mischief like soaping of windows and toilet papering yards. Never mind that someone elderly could have had a heart attack cleaning the mess up. In fact, why should anyone have to clean up a mess deliberately made in the name of "holiday fun"?

Modern Satanists, pagans, neo-pagans, and Wiccans all view Halloween as a high magic day when spells are to be performed. Ritual celebrations of all stripes are conducted then. It should sadden the hearts of true Christians to know the idolatry that centers on Halloween annually. Our young people as their ancient counterparts still try to contact the dead through the Ouija board. This divination "game" can be purchased at the toy store! We have all seen this form of idolatry. The Apostle Paul was greatly distressed by the idols he saw in Athens (See Acts 17) and we are to follow his example (Phillipians 3:17). Do You?

Scriptures To Use When Evaluating Halloween
(Please look these up and study them to make your own evaluation)

Deuteronomy Chapter 12:1-6 and 29-32

This entire chapter addresses the idea of "converting" pagan religious practices and using them in the worship of the one true God. Since God doesn't change in His moral attributes (Hebrews 13:8) those things that He hated in the Old Testament would still be eschewed in the present and forever. The principles revealed in the Old Covenant are still relevant to us. This bears directly on the Catholic churches perhaps well-intentioned but still wrong practice of converting holidays.

Deuteronomy Chapter 18:9-22

An important list is given here that tells of God's disgust at certain occult practices. Drawing attention to these practices by making them appealing for "fun's" sake or casting them in a positive light at all would certainly not be pleasing to the heart of our Heavenly Father.

2 Corinthians 6:17

This tells Christians to come out from the midst of the wickedness of this Christ rejecting world and be separate from them. The idea embodied in the Hebrew concept of holiness is set forth here. The people of God are to be unique and different from the world around them as a witness to them.

Ephesians 5:10,11

This Scripture commands us to have nothing to do with the "unfruitfull works of darkness" but to even expose them.

What About Costume Parties?

We see nothing wrong with playing "dress up" or going to gatherings as long as Christian propriety is considered in what costumes are worn. It may be wise to not do this on Halloween as you may be mistaken for approving of this "holiday" but that is between you and the Lord. You have been called to freedom.

What About Trick or Treating?

Aside from the obvious social and physical dangers that exist in the form of poisoned candy, getting hit by cars, temptations to vandalize, and the potential for encountering unsavory characters at night, there are spiritual concerns. The whole "horror movie" mentality that teaches occultism to our children is an integral part of the ambience of Halloween. To deny this is to be willfully out of touch with the modern world, mentally comatose, or just plain dishonest. Part of this mentality is the notion that "might makes right" or "give me what I want (treat), or I'll take revenge" (trick)! "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," God says in Deuteronomy 32:35 and He means it. Vengeance belongs to God for only He knows how to administer it in a just way. It does not belong to human beings! Vengeance, coercion, and extortion are not allowed. What message are we sending when we allow participation in "Trick or Treating" when it still smacks of its demonic origins?

What About Giving Candy Out?

This is a real concern to conscientious Christians who don't want to participate or seem to encourage this holiday. Our recommendation may seem surprising given our stance up to this point. I did tell you we are not legalists but try to do that which has a spiritually sweet savor to the Lord. Christians should always be ready to give of themselves. We should be known for our generousity. When someone comes to our door it is almost always an opportunity to give (This includes Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses). When little children who many times are not at a point in their lives to understand what they are doing, yell "Trick or Treat!" they are asking, perhaps demanding, that we give them candy. Jesus said that if someone asks you for your shirt you should give them your coat also. That should answer whether we give or not. What do we give though? The answer to that is found in the words of Jesus and in common sense. Jesus said to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". This is an invitation to put yourself in the other guy's moccasins for a while and ask yourself what you would want if you were that particular person. Do you think a little six-year-old really wants a gospel tract when he or she comes to your door? No. They want CANDY! Now that doesn't rule out the Gospel tract just don't let it be the only thing you give them. Can't you just hear the talk?...."Those people in that nasty old house just gave me a dumb ol' piece of paper!"... "What did it say?"..."I don't know I just threw it away!"

What About School Participation?

This is a great time to let your children learn firsthand the feeling of being a Daniel, a Shadrach, a Meshach, or an Abednego. Read them the stories of these young men of faith who wouldn't bow to that which was idolatrous but stood firm for God even though everyone thought them foolish. You could rob your child of the opportunity to develop character in the area of standing alone for what is right. That ability will come in handy throughout life, especially when the crowd is doing life threatening drugs or sex during the impressionable teen years.

Just send a note to the teachers, or better yet, meet with them and explain your desires that your child not participate in drawing witches or composing poems about witches and witchcraft. Tell them they will not be attending "parades" or parties that are to occur during school time. Otherwise, he or she will not be attending at all on Halloween day. It would be wise to plan some thing fun and worthwhile with your child for that day so he or she won't feel ostracised or left out.

How Much Should I Tell My Kids?

Tell them all they can handle at the age they are at. As a concerned Christian parent you are the one who is in the best position to know how much they can handle. Answer any questions they raise about the occult. Explain why God hates idolatry and why they should agree with Him. Tell them the love of God compels Him and you to restrict those things that are dangerous to them. Head the devil off at the "pass" by letting them hear about these things from you. This will stave off the impression you are naive and also take away any mystique from the words of a stranger that might attempt to lure them.

Learn all you can from credible Christian sources that know about the occult and know how to apply the Bible to make it relevant. Some people fear there are things in the Bible that their children are not ready to know. That may be true, depending on their age since the Bible hspeaks to all stages.of life. You may be surprised, however, at how much of God's word can be understood and applied at any age. Whatever God has put in the Bible is there for the reason of loving you and bringing glory to His name -use it!

Also, remember God has given your child to you, not the state, not the teachers, and certainly not the media and television producers! Since He has trusted you with such an awesome charge, take it seriously! Don't be intimidated by outside pressures from any of the above, not even from your extended family if they are not Christians and don't share what is precious to you regarding the Bible. Don't be obedient to your child but insist, through loving training, that he or she be obedient to you! Be influenced by God in all of this as He reveals Himself to you in His word.

Some Final Thoughts

Mount Carmel Outreach and The Institute For Christian Apologetics defends the liberty of the believer in Christ. Bondage to any legalism is not desired. We have defended the right of Christians to celebrate other holidays (such as Christmas) against the assaults of the cults ie: Jehovah's Witnesses that teach we mustn't have Christmas trees and should not celebrate any birthdays including Jesus'!

Having said all that, we find we simply cannot give the same kind of approval to the "holiday" of Halloween. With the rise of Satanism and the Occultism of the New Age Movement so prominent, the enemy will use any and all devices to seduce our children (and adults!) into that murky worldview. It is very important our children do not get mixed messages from us.

It has been said, "what parents allow in moderation children allow in excess". Some Christians see no harm in "going with the flow" celebrating Halloween as long as their kids are dressed up as a butterfly and not the devil or a witch. The real question we believe we should ask ourselves is: Does what I am doing honor God or is it just pleasing to myself? The Bible tells us that we are "bought with a price" and that whether we ( all Christians, not just some) live or die we should do so as unto the Lord. Jesus said, "Let the dead bury the dead" (Matthew 8:22). Perhaps we should say let the spiritually dead imitate the dead, if they must, but we won't!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reformation Day

Reformation Day is tomorrow. Thanks to the guys at TeamPyro for jogging my memory on that one. Oddly enough, Halloween falls on the same day. In one of my more snide moments, I was wondering how some in the Emergent Church would celebrate Reformation Day if at all. Some of them seem to disdain the idea of the Reformation. In fact, given the penchant of some to toy with syncretism -- and their love of the mystic and medieval -- I find myself wondering if they'll have a Wicker Man celebration followed by communion afterward. But again, that's me in my more snide moments. Snidely Whiplash I'm not. At least not yet.

Seriously, I think Reformation Day would be a great day to remember all the good things the Reformers brought us. Recapturing the biblical Gospel. A renewed devotion to the authority of Scripture. A whole host of things that evangelicals seem to be forgetting. And of all people, evangelicals should know better. Going "home to Rome" is bad enough. But syncretism is even worse. The Gospel remains the stone of stumbling that it has always been. Jesus is the only way. He's the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to God the Father but through Him. That has never been a popular message, and it never will be. But the Achilles Heel of the church today is that it wants to be popular. The Gospel has become a product to be sold rather than a truth proclaimed.

Perhaps we need a Reformation all over again.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Again, Where's the Repentance?

The link below will take you to a news story updating us all on the Genarlow Wilson case. To recap, this now 21 year old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a sexual indiscretion with an underage girl, albeit consensual. The Georgia Supreme Court ordered Wilson released, calling his sentence cruel and unusual punishment, and too harsh for the offense.

Now we could probably agree on the sentence being too severe for the offense, but what has continued to strike me about this case is that there seems to be no acknowledgement that what Wilson and this girl did was wrong -- at least from what we read in the media. In the story linked below, it speaks of Wilson addressing the congregation at a Baptist church. Nowhere in the story do you read anything about Wilson saying that he did something he ought not to have done. No mention by anyone that a sin had been committed. It is certainly possible that this was said from the platform, but it certainly hasn't been said in any news story I have read about this matter. The flap over the unduly harsh sentence has taken over entirely from the matter that unmarried young people ought not to be engaging in sex, and most CERTAINLY not videotaping the act.

One does not excuse bad behavior or an unfair judgment by pointing to other bad behavior. It would have been wonderful if it had been said clearly, "Yes, my sentence was unjust, but what I did was wrong, and I repent."

The culture's inherent narcissism seems to have won out again.

Associated Press-Wilson

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Stephen Colbert for President?

While chuckling over the idea of Stephen Colbert running for president, all of a sudden I was struck with an idea.

The only place he is running is South Carolina. What better way for the electorate to send a loud, clear message to both parties by voting for Stephen Colbert either on the ballot or as a write in. I think the Republican Party needs the message the most. Most people I talk to about this subject are very dissatisfied with the current crop of candidates (the so-called second tier not included). The media and party hierarchy seem determined to nominate a social liberal. Voting for Stephen Colbert in the Republican Party might finally get it through their skulls that we don't like what they're offering.

Then they can finally start paying attention to a serious candidate that deserves our support such as Mike Huckabee.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Church for Sale?

I am writing this from a motel room on my way back home from a personal business trip. Today while traveling north on U.S. 67 through the Mark Twain National Forest, I saw a sight that begs for a few days pondering.

Along the highway, there is a relatively new church that sprung up there within the past few years. It's a lovely building, constructed from what appears to be a mixture of brick and stonework. The denomination is irrelevant for my purposes here. What struck me was the fact that this newer church appeared to be abandoned. There was one of those portable signs out front where people put changing messages up. There had been something posted there but several letters were missing to the point that you couldn't really make out what the message had been. But then I noticed this -- a "For Sale" sign.

Oh, my. What could the problem have been here? In over their heads in a building program? An unexpected church split? Who knows without investigating, and I really don't care to do that. How about the irony inherent in that sign? Not necessarily for that particular congregation because I don't know anything about them. But the irony could apply elsewhere should that sign be posted on other church grounds. A church for sale. Sale to the highest bidder? Theology up for grabs? Whoever gives the most money controls the flock? If you really want to take a dark turn, sale as in spiritual harlotry?

That sign made me think and the thoughts weren't pleasant. Lord, bring this nation and your people to repentance.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Away on Business

The Seventh Sola takes a brief posting break made necessary by a business trip. Lord willing, I'll be back later this week. Until then, God bless and stay tuned. Things have a tendency to happen while I am away.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Comments on the Candidates

I will have more to say about the candidates -- both Republican and Democrat -- as time goes on. However, time is pressing this week so I'll just make a quick commentary sparked by last night's "debate" between the GOP candidates for president.

First off, calling these events a "debate" is a bit of a joke. They aren't debates. They're glorified news conferences at best, and dog and pony shows at worst. There isn't time in 60 seconds to debate or flesh out any issue with substance, so those of us who vote can really make a decision as to who the best candidate will be. There might be flashes of substance here and there, but can one really evaluate a candidate's positions on controversial issues by quick promises and soundbites? I say no. I would love to see a genuine "Lincoln-Douglas" type debate under formal debate rules. I could care less whether or not it sells television commercials. Those who can't pay attention can just go watch a pro wrestling match for all I care. I want to know -- IN DETAIL -- what these guys propose to do about the problems our country faces.

Having said that, I think Mike Huckabee's performance last night was solid given the constraints. He clearly stated his positions on social issues of concern to Christians, and they match up with mine. More than that, despite the short time alloted him by the questioners, he even pitched some quick, innovative ideas on health care and the Social Security question. I'd love to see those ideas fleshed out substantively. And that brings me to another comment.

Have you ever gotten the idea that the media are trying to pick the Republican nominee? They appear to me to have chosen Rudy Giuliani. Have you also ever gotten the idea that some of the GOP candidates are in the field simply to siphon off support from enough true conservatives that the "real" desired person will gain the nod during the primaries? It is well known how fractured the conservative movement is at the moment. Divided between eight candidates, we can't pick one and stick with him.

Here's another thing to consider. Ever think about the real fact that many conservative Christians will not vote or go third party before they'll vote for a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights candidate? Think that little fact isn't known by the hierarchy? And that little fact might well put Hillary in the White House? Some Republicans would be just fine and dandy with that one.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The "Downgrade" of the U.S.

A few posts back, I referred to the Lord Jesus' words . . . Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). These words are in reference to the last days. This morning, I thought of another warning from the Apostle Paul, who wrote to Timothy . . . But evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13). The immediate context of that warning dealt with false teachers in the last days, and the persecutions endured by Paul, no doubt at the instigation of some of these false teachers.

I don't believe any thinking Christian is blind to what is going on in our own society here in America. While much of the country's attention is focused overseas, we have a lot of troubling things happening here at home. Did you see the news from this week where a school district out East decided unilaterally to offer birth control to 11-year-old children no matter what parents say? How about the homosexual activists in San Francisco who invaded a Catholic mass and took communion from the priest while dressed up in garish costumes? How about 41 members of the U.S. Senate going after a private citizen, and LYING about what he said in reference to U.S. troops even though their lie could easily be disproven?

I should mention at least one reference from overseas simply because it's so awful, and because things that begin in Europe find their way here eventually. How about the Norwegian "expert" who said toddlers in day care ought to be allowed to sexually act out in the classroom because it's good for them? Catch that one? I won't spell out just what is included by "acting out," but pretty much anything goes. Houston, we have a problem.

But the churches, surely they are still refuges of sanity in this maelstrom? Yes, there are a dwindling number of outposts holding on to biblical truth, but they too are dwindling it seems. Even in evangelical circles, where pastors and theologians (not to mention laypeople) ought to know better. The rot has set in and as usual, the rot begins from the head down.

The thing is, none of this has happened in a vacuum. And honestly, none of this should be a surprise. We were warned about it in advance by the Lord Himself and His apostles. None of this could ever have gone as far as it has if the Lord's church was awake and doing what she is supposed to be doing.

Read the letters to the seven churches in Revelation again. Every one of them. Note what the Lord praises and note what the Lord condemns. And then evaluate your own fellowship. While you're at it, evaluate yourself. I am in the process of doing that myself. I am not immune to the influence of this culture. Now more than ever, I need to hold on to biblical truth and trust in the Lord, whose Spirit has sealed me and will keep me by His grace. That does not absolve me of responsibility to do what I know to do, and to be "salt and light" in this culture.

Being children of God does not mean we will not face difficulty. Being saved doesn't mean we won't be called on to sacrifice, nor does it mean we won't be called on to die. But we have a whole generation of fat and sassy Christians who don't have a clue. It might well take some very hard times to wake them up. Oppression and persecution tends to purify. Do I want that to happen? Of course not. But I can't be a Pollyanna about it either. Can things be reversed? Yes, if there is repentance on the part of the people of God. The prayer of righteous people still avails much. But we as the church have a house to get in order. And it can begin none too soon.

Friday, October 19, 2007

As You Can See . . .

Well, I hope you all like the new film noir design of this blog. Hats off to Everyday Design (Jules and her husband) who did it for me. I am so pleased! They nailed it and then some! For those of you who would like a good, creative new design for your own blogs, I recommend them highly!

Thanks, Jules! (I LOVE the old manual typewriter)

SOLA'S "EDITOR'S NOTE" -- In the process of the new design, some of the links I had to other blogs were left off of the sidebar. I will be restoring them and adding some more as soon as I can find some extra time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

This Is Intolerable!

The link below will take you to an article published in WorldNetDaily today. It tells the infuriating story of a family out East who ran afoul of the Child Welfare Nazis simply by asserting their rights to govern their own family (not to mention their child's health care) as they see fit. Even more maddening is that another doctor injected herself against the family's own pediatrician who backed the family. Read the whole horrifying account.

Until families get mad enough and begin putting huge heat on their state legislators to rein these out of control agencies in, we can expect more of this evil nonsense in the future.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Now, The Language Comment

How many times of late have any of you been out in public -- it could be a restaurant, gas station, anywhere -- and your ears are accosted by someone bleeping out foul language? Hopefully it doesn't happen in church, although I have seen that happen more and more of late, and sometimes from the platform. God forbid. But I digress.

It seems that America's language is growing more and more foul by the year, and at younger and younger ages. You can't even watch the news or prime time television any longer without a bunch of bleeps. Sometimes they don't even bleep.

I was amused today at a story on the newswires about a woman who was recently charged with using foul language and disorderly conduct. Apparently the toilet in her house overflowed, and she was screaming obscenities at the top of her lungs loudly enough to be heard by her neighbors. She got turned in after she was asked to tone it down and responded to the request with more curses (according to the story). Some have been outraged at the fact that she was in her own home, but she was legitimately charged because her volume AND language disturbed the peace of her neighbors. But here's what is really interesting.

In this particular locale, it is against the law to use obscenities and profanity in public. You can be cited for it. I am not sure how many other places have statutes like this in place, but I think that maybe it's time they were enforced. Don't whine at me about free speech either. You don't have the right to be obscene and vulgar in public. I wish they'd add another provision besides a fine. Perhaps some mouths should be washed out with soap . . . by force.

Can't you tell my tolerance level and patience with our increasingly ugly society is wearing thin? That in and of itself worries me a bit. What does the Lord say about the last days? "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold." That's Matthew 24:12. I really don't want that attitude hardening in me. But I can see how it can happen in otherwise tolerant people.

I think this society had best wake up to a sober fact. Even aside from the judgment of God, the loss of freedom often results from the abuse of freedom. Right now, we have a whole lot of freedom abusers, and it's getting worse. If society refuses to govern itself, someone will -- in time -- step in with an iron hand and govern it whether it likes it or not. May the Lord have mercy on us if that ever happens.

Coming: A New Look for The Seventh Sola

I am pleased to announce that soon, there will be a new look for The Seventh Sola. A firm called "" is working on a new format for this blog, and we'll be trying to give it a rather film noir look to fit my already rather grim personality. I was actually going to wait to announce this on another day, but Blogger is having another one of its hissy fits and won't post the photo I had in mind to go with my ORIGINAL plan, which was to comment on the growing coarseness of language in our society. So, I'll do that on another day.
In the meantime, stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Border Injustice

I am glad to see the cases of U.S. Border Agents Ramos and Compean are getting renewed attention. This particular matter is one of a growing list of things I have against the Bush Administration in terms of its foreign and domestic policy. And I say that as a lifelong, very conservative Republican.

These two agents were convicted for opening fire on illegal alien drug smugglers at the southern border with Mexico, and were promptly charged, convicted and sent to prison. Their lives are in danger in prison for obvious reasons. This case should never have been brought against them, and President Bush should have pardoned them by now. Why is that?

Some have made the case that it's because Bush has Hispanics in his family. Perhaps that plays into it, and perhaps that's a cheap shot. I am personally more of the mind that it has more to do with the North American Union idea, and that Bush places a higher premium on globalism than he does on the sovereignty of our country. And these two agents are paying the price for New World Order politics and economics.

Things won't change until people get mad enough. It seems like the pot has a long way to boil yet.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Israel's Amazing Tolerance . . . For Us

I woke up today to watch the morning news, and to again be aghast at the cheek of the U.S. State Department, unfortunately this time in the guise of Dr. Condi Rice. Dr. Rice in essence warned Israel not to make obstacles or take actions that will gum up the peace process. Excuse me while I snort my coffee across the room. What peace process? And how dare we chide Israel when the real concern ought to be what is going on in the Gaza Strip, not to mention Syria and Iran? You can't make peace with people who want to kill you. And until the Palestinian "authority" cleans up its own act in a whole myriad of ways, Israel shouldn't waste its time.

I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Rice. In many ways, she is in a no-win situation. However, this administration's blind spot on the Middle East is adding to my already growing disenchantment with it, and this disenchantment will carry over to the Republican Party if the Party begins singing the same song. Let me add to this another solemn warning. The more we push Israel into giving up land for "peace," the more we make our nation subject to divine judgment. Let's let the Prophet Joel (the real one) speak for the record . . .

I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land (Joel 3:2).

When the subject of Israel and the Palestinians is discussed these days, it quickly degenerates into a "look what THEY did!." "No, YOU look at what THEY did. THEY did it worse." One does not have to agree or approve of every action of the government of Israel. I certainly do not, especially in recent years. I also have great sympathy for the plight of Arab Christians who are often caught in the middle of this bloody conflict. But none of that should trump what Scripture says. None of that trumps the Abrahamic Covenant. None of that trumps what Scripture says about Israel being brought back to the land in UNBELIEF, and God continuing to accomplish His purposes.

We forget that at our peril.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Teenagers in Church - Mosh Pits or Actually Learning Something?

Over at Team Pyro, the always thought provoking Frank Turk posted another in his series on the reasons people leave churches, and whether or not they are legitimate reasons. (Click on the word "series" and that will take you to Frank's commentary.

This whole discussion has been enlightening, but in today's post, he mentioned something almost as an aside. He relates an incident at one particular church where several groups of parents actually pulled out of the church because their teenagers were being taught church history and the five Solas of the Reformation!!!

In the comment section, I made the rather snarky comment that if the teacher had brought in a mosh pit for the class, that undoubtedly would have caused the ranks to swell beyond building capacity. I shouldn't be surprised at such lamebrainedness, but it still manages to make me shake my head in disbelief. I applaud the Sunday school teacher who actually attempted to teach these kids something of substance that might well benefit them greatly after they reach adulthood. But no. Instead, they are bereft of an excellent learning opportunity, an opportunity to deeply enrich their faith and knowledge of the sacrifices made by the Reformers to restore a biblical Gospel.

Take the kids to church fall retreats and snow camp. Play all sorts of gross-out games in youth groups. Unsupervise them to the point where the teens are having sex in the coatrooms (I'm not making that one up - it actually happened). Teach them about contemplative labyrinths, the silence, and the spiritual significance of tattoos and tongue-studs. But actually teach them Bible? Actually teach them something substantive about the Christian faith? Buddha forbid (after all, we all worship the same God, don't we).

If and when this country degenerates to the point where Christians are seriously persecuted for their faith, a whole lot of people are in for a very rude awakening. But there is one good thing that comes out of such an event. Persecution does tend to purify the church. Ask those who lived the experience in other countries where the authorities looked at Christians with a jaundiced eye.

Anyway, thanks to Frank for raising my blood pressure today. And giving me another subject on which to rant.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Blogspot for Dr. Gleason

The link below will take you to the "Against Heresies" blog, where an interview with my friend Dr. Ron Gleason is posted. Ron has been on my radio program several times and always has some thought-provoking things to say. This interview begins with spotting signs of decline in a minister/pastor.

Dr. Gleason Interview

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Yet MORE Snakes in the Grass

For years now, I have believed that very little good can come out of love-fests between "progressives" and conservatives, whether it is in politics or theology. Especially theology. If you look at the results of such conclaves to find "common ground," what usually happens is that the conservatives end up being taken for a ride. Conservative principles end up being watered down, and eventually the liberals get their way.

Read the story linked below, where you'll find that a number of people who identify themselves as "evangelicals" have gotten together with a host of "progressives" (read that "liberals") to find "common ground." Supposedly, the argument between the two sides "isn't working." Note especially who the "evangelicals" are at the end of the article. Not surprisingly, you'll find both Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren, who never seem to find a heresy they don't like. These two jokers stopped being evangelical a long time ago. But yet they are given this platform as representatives of the evangelical persuasion. They don't represent me. Not by a long shot.

If the kind of common ground they are talking about includes genuine works of charity that include the proclamation of the biblical Gospel, fine. However, if their "common ground" means biblical truth must be watered down, they can forget it. Don't waste my time. I don't want to compromise with liberal theologians. I want them to repent. There can be no compromise with error. Ever.

Perhaps it's time for the liberals to give ground for a change and come OUR direction.

Christian Post

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Another Snake

You know, that snake photo could come in real handy....

After reading the news reports about the guilty plea from Michael Devlin (the Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby kidnapping/abuse cases), I am struck with both revulsion and wonder. The revulsion is obvious. What Devlin did to these kids is unspeakable. I feel badly that Missouri can't fire up the old gas chamber at Jefferson City. They are considering a new law instituting the death penalty for such egregious cases, but it will come too late in this case. Under Missouri law, the method used in execution is either lethal gas or lethal injection, and it appears to be up to the discretion of the director of the state's Department of Corrections. But Devlin will spend the rest of his life in prison, and whether he'll continue breathing there is a good question. I pray that he genuinely repents while he still has the chance.

Second, I wonder at Michael Devlin's neighbors in his apartment complex. Surely the sound of a child being tortured would have been heard, and questions would have been asked. Or did people just not want to get involved? Very troubling.
Oh, Ho! The Cat's Out of the Bag!

For those of you following the ongoing controversy over the supposed push for a "North American Union" and new currency, the "Amero," well, what do you know? President Bush, as well as the Canadian PM and the current president of Mexico, all ridiculed the idea as a concoction of conspiracy theorists.

Thanks to former Mexican president Vicente Fox, the cat is now officially out of the bag. Let's see how they explain this one away. I will be watching with rapt attention. Read the story linked below.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Taking God Out . . . Again?

I guess it was only a matter of time before we'd have another dispute over removing God from the public square. The link below will take you to today's story. Apparently an architect in Washington D.C. is refusing to put God on a display flag certificate on Capitol Hill. Protests have already begun to try and reverse the decision. Sadly, this won't be the last story of this kind. It's only going to get worse in the short term. In the meantime, by all means call your Congressman and raise cain. We can't allow historical revisionists or the radical left to have their way here.

Our Midland

Monday, October 08, 2007

No More Excuses

In writing a prayer calendar this morning, I came across the following verse of Scripture. I've seen it many times before but today it rings with renewed resonance . . .

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).

This strikes me especially forcefully because of the energy so many churches expend these days to be "trendy" and "welcoming." We consult Madison Avenue and marketing consultants for tips on how to get people in the doors. We think if we can sell our "product" in a savvy-enough manner, we'll "close the sale" and gain a new convert. Sounds great, that is if we're trying to get people to sample Wheat Thins. But that's not what proclaiming the Gospel is all about, that is if you take Scripture seriously.

No matter how many warm fuzzies we try to inject in the message, the bottom line is this. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are commanded to acknowledge our sin, and to repent of our sin. We are also commanded to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead for our justification. No matter how you slice it, that kind of message is not palatable to a lost and dying (not to mention narcissistic) culture. But it is the truth unvarnished, and then some. Our purpose as followers of Christ is not to tell the culture it is just fine and dandy. Our purpose is to confront the culture with the claims of Christ.

By all means, we are to exhibit the love of Christ. The world will know we are His by our love for ONE ANOTHER. We should also love the lost enough to tell them the truth, no matter what their reaction and no matter what the consequence. Their accepting the message is not our concern. It's God's concern. Our job is to proclaim the truth and allow the Holy Spirit to do His part. Any other approach will not have a lasting impact. You can't have a Savior without knowing that you need one. If you are never brought face to face with your sin, you will continue to be oblivious to the fact that you -- yes, YOU -- and me . . . are lost and have no hope without the shed blood of Christ.

But, you say, that message will turn people off. You'll drive people out the door. No one will attend our church. Really? Are you saying that the Holy Spirit has become incapable of drawing people to Himself? Scripture says otherwise. Is God impressed with numbers? Jesus said, "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over ONE sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10). He also said, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37).

I don't know about you, but I'll take the Lord's word over that of a bunch of "church growth" consultants any day. Better to be in a church with five saved people rather than one with 10,000 who are unregenerate because they've never really heard the Gospel.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Gall of the EU

I seldom do two posts in one day, but I couldn't let this one pass. Read the following from Radio Free Europe . . .


Former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and several dozen other members of the European Parliament said in a formal petition on October 4 that they object to recent remarks against homosexuals made by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (see "RFE/RL Newsline," October 3, 2007). The legislators stressed that they urge him "to avoid the use of language inciting intolerance, and to respect, rather than seek to deny, the fundamental rights of sexual minorities."

Now, that's chutzpah. I have my disagreements with Orthodox Church theology, but when Alexei II speaks out against the sin of homosexuality, he is doing exactly what a spokesman for a Christian church ought to be doing. I could care less whether the EU Parliament likes it or not. They can object all they like, and then go pound sand. What they ought to do is repent. Second, they need to butt out of the church's business. Christian pastors (not to mention individuals) are well within their authority and competence to speak out on these subjects. They are commanded by God to do so. We are answerable to God, not to the EU.

And by the way, here they go again with talk of "minorities." When we began to allow the use of this terminology and mindset to talk about an aberrant behavior in the same manner we would talk of an ETHNIC minority or racial group, that is how the gay activists managed to get the camel's nose, hump and rump under the tent. Bad, evil behavior is not a civil right. Perhaps the patriarch should have said that too.
More on the Limbaugh Situation

I promised an addition to yesterday's post, and here it is. I think I'll probably have some more to add before the weekend is out. Not so much on the Limbaugh situation, but about the many snakes waiting to envenom our body politic.

By now, most of you have probably heard the contretemps over Rush Limbaugh and his alleged "anti-troop" remarks. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid began the flap, demanding that Rush apologize immediately. More than that, he and a whole list of Dems have signed a letter to Clear Channel calling for Rush's head, and are asking the rank and file to pressure Limbaugh and his advertisers.

There are several problems with this business, but let me just mention one. It's pretty important. Rush didn't say what they're accusing him of saying. Let me be blunt. Harry Reid and his acolytes are bold-faced liars in the mode of Josef Goebbels. They think if they froth at the mouth and scream the lie loudly enough, people will believe it.

Unfortunately for them, there is a problem of playing slimy games like that in this day of the Internet, 24-hour media and instant communication. Their allegations are very easily exposed for the falsehoods they are, and they are the ones who end up looking cheap, foolish and demagogic. They've miscalculated on another thing. Rush -- not to mention those who are of the same mindset -- don't take attacks like this lying down. They punch back, and punch back hard.

I think the most disturbing thing about this whole affair is what it portends for the future. More than anything else, this reveals the almost demonic determination of the left to ruin and silence anyone who stands in the way of their quest for absolute power. That's what the drive to re-establish the misnamed "Fairness Doctrine" is all about. They can't win people over to their ideas or host a show that will attract any listeners, so they will use the long arm of government to force people to listen to their spittle.

I hope they keep this up and get even more ridiculous. They always overreach in the long run, and end up getting slapped off their chairs.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Assorted Snakes in the Grass . . .Er, River

When looking through the photos from my August trip south, I came upon this little photo of a deadly water moccasin (or cottonmouth, as they call them in Arkansas). It's just lying on the rock, peacefully basking there above the cool, clear water. Until it gets in a feisty mood and decides to sink its venom-laden fangs into something (or someone).

We seem to have lots of snakes in the stream of late. Just reading USA Today started me off. There's an article in there featuring teenagers bemoaning their parents discovering and (God forbid) actually "breaking their rules" and daring to post on their children's websites. They're not comfortable really with the parents knowing what's going on either. The whole tone of this article really irritated me. Excuse me, but while the child is a minor, there is no such thing as a child setting rules for the parent to obey. There is no "right to privacy." Anything that goes on under the parents' roof is the parents' business. Said child is using the computer and establishing their Facebook or MySpace on the good graces, not to mention the pocketbooks, of their parents. This whole mindset where children run the household is just the sort of Dr. Spock on steroids drivel that has the family on life support in America. Let me state this clearly. For any child of mine, I reserve the right to intervene in anything, up to and including whether or not he or she has a computer at all. Parents, take your biblical authority back in the home. Believe it or not, your child might grouse a bit now, but they'll thank you for it later. And tell the ACLU to go pound sand and to keep their nose out of your family.

Next, we have an unbelievable situation going on with Rush Limbaugh and the Democrats in Congress. The perpetually ridiculous Harry Reid and his motley crew of blowhards is trying to make the case that Rush is dissing the troops. This is beyond laughable, and I am sure that the troops in general are laughing plenty at this outright lie on the part of the left. They know better. Rush would never say such a thing, and he has the audio transcripts to prove it. All I can fathom is that the left is once again playing out of Dr. Goebbels' handbook. Tell the lie often enough and loudly enough, and maybe people will believe it. They could care less about the troops, but they care very much about alternative media holding them accountable and exposing their wild-eyed stupidity to the nation. So they'll try to silence Rush or any other media that stands in their way. Thankfully, they chose to mess with the wrong guy, and it's backfiring.

I'll have to stop for now, but I'll carry on more later with this "snakes" theme. Believe me, there's LOTS to talk about.