Friday, November 30, 2007

Young Rock Bands

If you look at today's issue (November 30) of USA Today, specifically in the Life section, you will findthis feature article on "kid bands."

As much as I am tempted, I am not going to go off on some huge diatribe. I have nothing at all against kids forming music groups. I happen to be connected with one in an informal, advisory sense. However, there are some telling things in the USA Today profiles of today's "kid bands" that ought to be at least a little disturbing to the rest of us, if not parents.

First, why would a group of very young kids (some pre-adolescent) want to call their band "The Naked Brothers Band?" No matter what innocent explanation that could be offered up (and I don't know, having just heard about them), is such a name really a good idea given the problems that have arisen of late with the sexualization of the young in our culture? Even if they didn't mean anything nasty, I am sure others will enjoy the double entendre.

As for the kid band called "Light of Doom," I found some rather disturbing things in that profile also, especially the mention of "liking the lifestyle" of rock and roll and girls "throwing themselves." Again, keep in mind the ages of these guys. And the "lifestyle?" These guys would do well to remember the destructive side of the rock and roll lifestyle, which has seen more than a good many young musicians dead way before their time, and most likely in Hell.

Yes, I know. I sound like an old, prudish curmudgeon. And I'll keep on sounding like it, because I for one am really getting tired of seeing young people with a lot of potential crash and burn on the public stage. (Britney and Lindsay, anyone?) I am tired of seeing deaths, drug overdoses, molestations, abortions, venereal diseases, suicides, and young lives ruined before they've even begun.

Will those terrible things happen to these guys (and a few girls)? I hope and pray not. And that responsibility lies with their parents for the time being. I hope they're watching things like hawks. And for their legions of budding young fans, I hope THEIR parents are watching THEM like hawks. Down the road, there might well be some things crop up that aren't quite such innocent fun.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quote of the Day: Michael Horton

Check out this article in World Magazine. In it, Michael Horton had this to say about the seeker-sensitive church issue . . .

People are not consumers who need to be satisfied. They're sinners who need to be justified. Preaching is not technology. It is a means of grace.

And then . . .

The state of the church in America today is poor, and it's a condition you can't blame on Willow Creek alone. It's increasingly difficult to swim against the tide of materialism, consumerism, and narcissism in the culture."

Those statements hit the bullseye spot on. Kudos to Michael Horton for calling it like it is.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bill Clinton and the Emergent Church

If you would like to see a classic example of why so many of us get frustrated at dealing with Emergent-types, check out the comment thread in this post at Dr. Ron Gleason's blog.

After you've finished there, check out this little gem from Bill Clinton. How are these two things related in my mind?

I have stated before that Bill Clinton was America's first postmodern president. He can claim two mutually exclusive positions on an issue and then claim that he's being consistent. Bill Clinton (and Hillary for that matter) make up their own truth as they go along, and people seem to always swallow it hook, line and sinker. Why people don't call it what it is -- lying -- is beyond me. "But," you say, "they believe what they are saying when they say it." In that case, they are delusional and belong in Bellevue Hospital, not out on the campaign trail or in the Oval Office.

I think Bill and Hillary would be quite content in an Emergent church, because the concept of absolute, objective truth is foreign to these people. If truth isn't determined by political expediency, truth is determined by culture -- a notion more out of Derrida than it is out of Scripture. As you can see at Ron's blog, they take a handful of Bible verses and throw them against the wall in hopes that something sticks, using it to justify their position whether or not the verse has anything to do with their position.

When you correct them on their chosen verses and their applicability, you are usually ignored, or they throw more out of context verses at you. Sometimes, they don't even bother citing Scripture and merely emote. They run off on bunny trails and highways of non sequiturs. By the end of the discussion, you are ready to swallow a whole bottle of Xanax.

At the end game, they really don't think much of the authority of Scripture, or discerning the true meaning. They're simply not interested. Their agenda is all that matters. In fact, they rather remind me of radical Marxists. Anything is permissible as long as the end goal is realized. They'll joyfully tear to pieces as many local churches as possible until they are all remade to fit the postmodern Brave New World. If you object, you'll be taken to Room 101* until you alter your point of view, or you'll be run out of the church they've taken over by stealth and deceit.

The end-times, apostate church will be made up of many facets. The Emergent Church nonsense is just the latest facet on the old chunk of coal. They've been set up for tremendous deception by their own insistent rebellion. Deceived they are, and deceived they will be.

As the Bette Davis character Margo Channing once infamously said, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

*(Sola's note: Room 101 was the feared room at the Ministry of Love in George Orwell's 1984. "Everyone knows what is in Room 101, Winston." I think people would do well to read that classic novel again, especially to see how the book's evil regime dealt with truth and history.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Huckabee Campaign Response

In response to my concern over Mike Huckabee appearing with Texas televangelist Kenneth Copeland, the governor's campaign office sent me the following note. In fairness to them, I want to post it here.

Hey Joel,

Thank you for your interest in Gov. Huckabee's campaign for president! With respect to your question on the Copeland affiliation, thank you for your concern, and your point is well taken.

The Governor is not a prosperity gospel advocate, nor would he condone any financial negligence or fraud on the part of anyone, especially preachers (but as far as I know, Copeland has not been proven guilty of anything at this time). However, I believe that promoting one's message is often important enough to warrant public appearances with people who we may or may not agree with on everything. For example, a number of years ago, the Governor traveled with Bill Clinton to promote measures to fight child obesity throughout the South. The two certainly do not agree on much at all, but that message was more important than playing politics.

Again, the Governor appreciates your interest in his campaign. He also needs your support! Please continue to check the website, and I urge you to take advantage of opportunities to contribute in various ways, whether through monetary donations, volunteering in your area, or just spreading the word to vote Huckabee for President!

Best regards,

Jared Morris
Huckabee for President, Inc.

Annapolis and Russia - Two Quick Comments

I am pressed for time today, so I'll just comment quickly rather than do an in-depth post.

1. Annapolis "Peace" Conference.

It amazes me that anyone could call this a peace conference. The words of Palestinian President Abbas aside, it is difficult to make peace with a group of hostile nations and individuals who want you dead and wiped off the map. Israel keeps getting pushed into making concessions, while there are no concessions on the other side. This is obscene, and the Bush Administration ought to be ashamed.

Russia Elections

We've heard much over the past few years/months about Russia's retreat from democracy. Doesn't anyone have the long view of history anymore? Russia has never been a true democracy or representative republic. It has no tradition of democracy. And since 1917, there has been a general modus operandi. The Soviets were very good about appearing to liberalize for a time, only to tighten up again when sufficient Western capital had flooded in, or certain political objectives were realized. All who had hoped that President Putin would be a different type of leader (including our own president, who claimed to be able to look into Putin's soul), are now having to face a bit of reality.

I will probably have more to say on this later, but that's all for now. Think about it.

The Hoot of the Day

If I wanted to, I couldn't make stories like this up. And no, this isn't an account of extreme or hard-core wrestling. It actually happened in a Memphis McDonalds, of all places.

I'll begin grieving for the state of our society after I quit laughing.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Raging Nations and Psalm 2

As the world's attention is drawn to Annapolis, Maryland, and the so-called "peace" conference, I want to look at world leaders through the lens of the Psalms -- specifically the second one. This is derived from a sermon I preached back in early January.

Psalm 2 is a popular psalm especially for the Messianic prophecy in it. But there is a lot more to glean from it. It is a royal psalm that was written for the coronation of the Davidic kings, in keeping with the Lord’s covenant with David. (See 2 Samuel 7 to review that covenant). We also see in the psalm the future references to the ultimate fulfillment when Christ assumes the throne of His father David. We also see the judgment that falls on the house of David and the ultimate redemption of God’s people.

Note how the rulers of the earth are portrayed beginning in verse 2. It is interesting that this is an active rebellion, not a passive one. Rather than just ruling as evil leaders, they are shown to be actively TAKING COUNSEL TOGETHER against the Lord and His Anointed. The term anointed can be used to refer to the King of Israel/Judah, as in 1 Samuel 24 when David refused to smite Saul. It also refers to Jesus -- the English word Messiah comes from the Hebrew word for anointed one. Our Jewish friends try to dispute that, but that's another post for another time.

In verse 3, look at the complaint of the earth’s rulers. They actually are chafing at the Lord’s restraint, but the Lord actually laughs at them and reminds them that He is sovereign over His creation. Proverbs 21:1 – “The heart of the king is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” We know that God’s wrath against evil is in firm keeping with His holy character. God’s wrath against sin reflects His righteousness.

God is the one who puts kings in their positions and removes them at will. Daniel 2:21 says “it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings.” In recent times, we had an example of that in the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan. I am sure that Turkmenistan’s President Niyazov had no idea he would be immediately ushered in to stand before the real “father of all Turkmen” as Niyazov liked to style himself. I can’t help thinking of that golden statue that revolves with the sun in Ashgabat built at Niyazov’s orders. I remember another statue erected by the order of a king in Daniel 3. That was a remarkable event considering Daniel’s prior interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the warning contained therein. What ultimately happened to Nebuchadnezzar? He ended up eating grass in a field for seven years. God overruled him and judged him for the sin of wanting godlike worship.

How many times do we see this throughout world history? A ruler wanting to be God and ruling like a despot. (As an aside, how many times do we as individuals want to be God? We don’t come out and say it, but when we rebel against the Lord, we are really saying we want to be autonomous in our own lives, aren’t we?)

The psalm ends with a glorious promise to all who trust in God.

As the Annapolis peace conference gets underway, I am thinking about all of this again. In my earlier post on the possible upcoming war, I referenced the Oracle of Damascus in Isaiah 17. Damascus is one of the oldest continually lived-in cities. It has never been completely destroyed and removed from being a city. This prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, but it will be in the future. How? Israel? Nukes? It remains to be seen.

No matter what happens, we know from Scripture (and experience) that the Lord's decrees will be accomplished. This is in keeping with Isaiah 46:10 – “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure.’”

Wouldn't it be nice if the world would remember that? It would be really nice if those of us in the church would remember it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Huckabee Makes a Mistake

I first got wind of the event described in this Christian Post story about a week ago. Now it's been picked up by WorldNetDaily, and I am very, very concerned.

What am I talking about? Word that Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee hitching to the Kenneth Copeland bandwagon in terms of having Copeland take a high-profile spotlight in pitching his campaign. Note Governor Huckabee's glowing praise of Copeland and his wife, Gloria. In terms of politics, I can't believe that an astute politician would want to hitch his wagon to someone under investigation by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley for his use of donor finances. Yes, innocent until proven guilty, and believe me, I really don't relish the idea of the government sticking its nose in church business. However, some of these televangelists have brought it on themselves. Take a look at Richard Roberts' recent resignation at ORU. It appears the chickens finally came home to roost.

Aside from politics, Kenneth Copeland's theology is horrendous, and I would expect a Southern Baptist to know better. I'm not just talking about minor theological differences, either. Copeland teaches the "Jesus Died Spiritually" doctrine, and has made a whole host of statements through the years that are heretical, to put it mildly. This isn't an anti-charismatic/Pentecostal thing either. Traditional Pentecostals rejected Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin's "latter rain" doctrines long ago.

I am seriously troubled by this, and have to rethink my earlier endorsement of Mike Huckabee. I have yet to hear a really good explanation.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Coming War - Pt 2

The oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen ruin (Isaiah 17:1).

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that we had just had Middle East free-lance journalist and author David Dolan on our radio program. Dolan, a former CBS News correspondent, has been living in Israel for the past two decades and has reported extensively on the many conflicts there. As promised, here are some more thoughts on what he had to say.

David's prognosis was decidedly grim. He made several observations, beginning with the upcoming Annapolis "peace" conference in Maryland. David thinks this conference is a sham and window dressing. Nothing much will genuinely come from it. Some of it might well even be designed to provide cover/distract attention from what is really going on - preparations to deal with Iran's nuclear program. And on that note, David says the messages ought to be clear to anyone reading what's going on. There had better be a resolution to this crisis soon, with "soon" being spelled out for emphasis. If the United States doesn't deal with Iran, the Israelis will. They have no choice.

Why? A comparison was made to what took place during World War II. Adolf Hitler breathed plenty of threats toward Jews, and no one took him seriously. Iranian president Mahmood Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs who pull his marionette strings are threatening to wipe Israel off the map, and soon. While the world appears to roll its eyes, the Israelis are taking Mad Mahmood seriously. In David's view, there is a window of opportunity to get the Iranians to straighten up, but it's a narrow window and it's closing rapidly.

Now, what about the "peace" negotiations? Anyone with half a brain realizes that peace is ultimately impossible between Israel and the Palestinians while a large majority of the Palestinian leadership (not to mention the people) want Israel driven into the sea. Yet Israel continues to receive pressure from the international community to make "painful sacrifices." To the Israelis -- and to the evangelical Christian community that supports them -- this kind of unfair nonsense is getting very, very old. From the leadership on down to the ones on the street who, in interviews, say that this peace is only "temporary" until they're ready to strike again, there is no real desire for peace in terms of two people living side by side in harmony. The only "peace" these evil murderers will accept is the silence that comes with every last Jew lying in their graves. Why the world placates these monsters is beyond any stretch of the imagination. One can only guess, and I don't like the reasons that come to my mind. There are many Arab/Palestinians who indeed DO want peace with Israel. A genuine peace. But should they voice that desire, the radical zealots have no compunction about butchering them as well. It's truly tragic. Arab Christians are caught in the middle. They deserve our prayers and support as well.

When a people is threatened with annihilation, they can only do one thing. That is to defend themselves to the death by whatever means necessary. In the case of Israel, that could well be a nuclear strike of their own if they feel their backs against the wall. Syria is being pressured (according to David) by Iran to share in an assault on Israel. Should Syria indeed attack Israel with troops and thousands of rockets (containing chemical weapons?), Israel might feel no alternative but to launch a severe response. The oracle of Damascus as predicted by the Prophet Isaiah has yet to be fulfilled. Could that be around the corner?

Only the Lord knows. It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority (Acts 1:7). Those are the words of Jesus Himself. So we watch, wait and pray. His purposes will be accomplished. For those of us who name the name of Jesus as Lord and Savior, are we ready to face the difficult times that will come in the wake of such a war? Are we ready to show ourselves as lights in a growing darkness? Will we bring the Lord glory by our faith and resolve, and by the "peace that passes understanding? Will we still boldly share the Gospel as the only true answer for all the world's calamities? Most important of all, are we ready to face Him at last?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Thankful Heart?

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits (Psalm 103:2).

As I observe Thanksgiving Day here in the United States, I trust that most of us who name the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are indeed using at least a portion of this day to think about Him with a measure of gratitude. If you detect a note of cynicism in that statement, you wouldn't be far from the truth. However, don't take it personally because the cynicism (maybe conviction would be a better word) begins with me.

As with most holidays having religious significance, Thanksgiving has almost become a caricature of itself here in the U.S. At one time, you would have heard much about the blessings God has showered on this nation. You would have heard retellings of the first Thanksgiving in the early days of the Republic. You would have watched heartwarming movies about the love of family gathering together to enjoy a wonderful, traditional meal, including a heartfelt prayer of gratitude to God.

Nowadays, any "family" movie centered on a holiday seems to focus on the relatives from Hell, or families from Hell. The holiday is just a big nuisance. Thanksgiving parades used to be a family affair, but today who knows what outrage you might see trundling down the street. Commercialization has set in as well. It's hard to get enthused about Thanksgiving when they start advertising it on the Fourth of July, and begin putting up Christmas decorations at Halloween.

And churches? Oh, you might hear a sermon or two on being thankful, that is if you're still in a congregation where the Bible is still preached. And even then, there might be a contingent of malcontents who think you're not being authentic and relevant to a postmodern mind. Even now, I find myself instinctively reaching for a fireplace poker to swing. Down, boy!

What about me? I notice all these things and struggle with cynicism. My own life can get pretty frantic. I am way too busy for my own good. Some days I find it hard to pray. Some days I find it hard to read Scripture outside of using it in connection with my work. I ought to be reading it for personal devotion as well. And that has ripple effects. If these are indeed the last days (and I believe that they are) none of what is going on in our culture should be a surprise. But like many believers, seeing the growing sin around us fills us with sadness. And with me, the sadness is easily replaced by contempt and even fury at times. Praise God, it is then that the Holy Spirit does His work and begins reminding me of a few things. None of us should ever get too much on a high horse. We are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast(Ephesians 2:9). If anything, the state of our culture should provoke me to greater love, to greater witness, and to a deeper desire to live a holy, righteous life. It should lead me to praise and thank the Lord for the opportunity He has granted me to serve Him in the presence of His enemies. And that's not all I should be thankful for.

I am thankful for salvation. I am thankful for a roof over my head. I am thankful for the privilege to serve full time in Christian ministry. I am thankful for a warm fire on a cold morning. I am thankful for good doctors who help me when I am ill, and for good dentists who fix my teeth when they develop problems, I am thankful for shopkeepers, gas station attendants, grocery store clerks, postal workers, delivery crews, broadcasters, and yes...even government officials. I am thankful for everything I take for granted every day, with a reminder to myself to stop taking them all for granted. Even these things are the blessings of God. He can use people even in rebellion against Him to accomplish His divine purpose, and that is something for which to be thankful. His purposes will always be accomplished.

I am thankful for the opportunities He gives me to show love to others. I am thankful for the opportunity to tell others what God has done for me. I am thankful for the many kindnesses great or small shown to me by others in the course of time. I am thankful in adversity, even when I don't feel thankful at the time. Why? Because the testing of your faith produces endurance (James 1:3).

This list could go on and on, and that is appropriate. Eternity won't suffice to tell of all the things for which I -- and you -- should be thankful. I know there will be those on the unbelieving side of the fence who will dwell on all the rotten things that have happened to them, and scoff at the notion of being thankful. How many of those rotten things have happened as a consequence of their own actions is known only to them and to God. They don't realize that they could have it much, much worse, and maybe it's God's mercy to thank that they don't have it even worse than they do. Perspective.

At the top of this post is a little cabin in the Arkansas Ozarks. It's now a historical site, but at one time a family lived there. From all appearances, they didn't have much. They didn't have the cars, the supermarkets, the fast food, the electricity, the running water and all the other things we take for granted. Life was hard. But I have a hunch they knew how to be thankful for what they had.

A good reminder for the next time I am tempted to complain.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dilbert and the Emergent Church

I will be posting a Thanksgiving-related post tomorrow. But for fun today, go to the website for the Dilbert comic strip and look at the one for today, 11/21/07. It's hysterical and unwittingly makes a point that many of us have been trying to illustrate for some time about the Emergent Church, and their manner of playing fast and loose with the meaning of Scripture. Keep in mind, if you happen to see this tomorrow or afterward, you will have to click on the "archives" button and select the strip for November 21st.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Late Update - A Coming War?

It is late and I am just getting home from doing my radio program. This evening, we had former CBS correspondent David Dolan as a guest. David has lived in Israel for the past two decades, reporting extensively on the never-ending conflicts in the Middle East. Tonight's program was sobering. David fully expects a military campaign to break out against Iran soon. When he said it, he spelled out S-O-O-N for effect. Whether it is Israel launching the strike or the United States, he believes the powers that be have decided that action must be launched if negotiations fail to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. David also believes that much of the world will privately be thankful even if some protest loudly.

I will have more to say on this later in terms of comment, hopefully to both put a biblical analysis on it as well as a geopolitical analysis. Before bed I will say this. If this does indeed happen, the ripple effects will be global and possibly devastating. Yes, something has to be done. But wars have a way of creating ripple effects with unforeseen consequences. Does that mean military action should never be taken? No. But let's walk into it with eyes wide open.

More later.


Today's post is decidedly non-theological. For once, I felt like posting a rant in true Luddite fashion. Right now, I am incensed at my bank for changing the on-line banking system. And while my ire is currently leveled at them, in reality there is enough to go around for the ubiquitous, never-satisfied, never-ending "tweakers" out there.

The previous on-line system they had was wonderful. It was simple. It was user friendly. No need to click multiple areas to accomplish a simple task such as a fund transfer. If you called your account up and gave it a date range, there was the whole thing there right in front of your eyes. No longer. The powers that be just couldn't be satisfied with a good thing. Noooo. They had to tinker. They had to "make it better." In a pig's eye.

Very, very rarely have I found anyone's tinkering with things such as this "better" or "helpful." It usually ends up in an abortion. More complicated. Confusing. Not user-friendly. Multiple levels to jump and navigate. Yep. They fixed it alright. I honestly think these kinds of people exist just to make our lives more frustrating, and our efforts to conduct simple, everyday business as time consuming and frustrating as possible. Mind, I am not talking about redesigning a look or appearance. I am talking about messing with the functionality. In a disjointed, random sort of way, I can compare my frustration over this to frustration experienced during my radio days, when a person with whom I used to work would tie up the production room for two or more hours recording and re-recording himself doing a commercial. He'd take an hour just to pronounce one word. By the time he got done and we heard the finished project, it wasn't any better than the rest of us could do in 15 minutes. But he thought he was "making it better."

While I am at it, this ranks up there with the idiots at food manufacturers who think they're "improving" a product one has used for 40 years such as Fleischmann's Margarine or Crisco Shortening. "New, improved taste." Yeah, right. It has the consistency of sea foam. Just try popping corn with the stuff or baking a pie crust. The margarine foams up in the skillet like a latte and ruins the popcorn. And the pie crust with the Crisco comes out the consistency of road tar. My fondness for the electric chair grows with each passing day.

Earth to "consultants." LEAVE THINGS ALONE!!!!!! They're fine just the way that they are. If I want you to change it, I'll tell you.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Don't Mess With Me Tutu

As if the constant sputterings of Jimmy Carter weren't enough, it looks like South African "priest" Desmond Tutu is bubbling up to the surface again.

It seems the good archbishop is mad at conservative Christians and theologians for their stance against sodomy. Note these comments taken from the Christian Post's story . . .

"Our world is facing problems – poverty, HIV and AIDS – a devastating pandemic, and conflict," said Tutu.

"God must be weeping looking at some of the atrocities that we commit against one another,” he added.

"In the face of all of that, our Church, especially the Anglican Church, at this time is almost obsessed with questions of human sexuality."

Tutu went on to criticize the spiritual leader of the 70-million member Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, for overlooking God’s “welcoming” nature.

"Why doesn't he demonstrate a particular attribute of God's which is that God is a welcoming God?” he posed to the BBC.

The Anglican Communion has been in turmoil over homosexuality since The Episcopal Church in the United States elected the openly gay Gene Robinson to serve as the bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

According to the BBC, Tutu said he had felt “saddened” and “ashamed” of his church body at the time of Robinson’s consecration and that the Anglican Communion had responded in an “extraordinarily homophobic” manner.

When asked during the interview if he still felt ashamed, he replied: “If we are going to not welcome or invite people because of sexual orientation, yes.”

"If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn't worship that God," he added.

I am glad that Desmond Tutu is so out in front with his disdain for biblical truth and the God of the Bible. It makes me wonder, then, why anybody still gives credence to this guy as a spokesman for the church. He apparently has the same regard for Scripture as Bishop John Shelby Spong. Spong, you might remember, never met a biblical core doctrine that he didn't deny. I would hope Bishop Tutu isn't that extreme, but this isn't a good sign.

God is indeed a welcoming God, but there's a bit of a hitch. God expects repentance. Those who truly have saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ acknowledge that they are sinners and desire to leave sin behind, including the sin of sodomy. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that people who unrepentantly engage in homosexual conduct will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Desmond Tutu, like so many other liberal clergymen of his stripe, misunderstand the love of God. They overemphasize the love of God at the expense of His justice and righteousness. In truth, all the attributes of God are balanced and one flows into the other in perfect harmony.

I sympathize with conservative Anglicans who are reluctant to see a schism in their fellowship. But if your churches are led by clergymen such as this, I don't think you have any alternative.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Praying for Celebrities

Solameanie's Note: I thought this was a cool story to come over the mainstream wires of AP. A great example of lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness.


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Anyone who thinks Britney Spears' best days are behind should know this—she does have a prayer.
The celebuwreck, who has been struggling to get custody of her kids while launching a comeback, is the top prayer-getter at the Hollywood Prayer Network, a group of more than 5,000 Christians that prays for stars instead of writing them off as lost causes. The network recently passed a Bible to socialite Paris Hilton and plans to pass one to Spears later this month. It also picks up-and-coming child stars for its monthly Kids Prayer Calendar and pairs hundreds of mentors with struggling actors—the kind more likely to take your order in a restaurant than appear on your television. Members of the network, which has chapters in 16 U.S. cities and eight countries, see Hollywood as the 21st century's largest mission field, a powerful industry that can be used to sow the seeds of an international cultural and religious revival.

"We tell people, 'If you're angry at a TV show or you're switching channels because of content, stop and pray for the people on the show,'" said Karen Covell, HPN's founder. "If you really believe in God and you believe God has a transforming power, then leave it up to Him." The group, which is co-hosting a 700-person prayer breakfast in Beverly Hills on Friday, is part of a larger movement among Christians who feel that Hollywood may be the best vehicle for reaching the uninitiated, said Robert Johnston, a professor of theology and culture at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. "A megastar who turns his or her life around and gives the credit to God could have a tremendous influence on today's younger generations," he said.

"The prayer network is the equivalent, and perhaps more important, than praying for our president," Johnston said. "Just as churches have traditionally prayed for leaders, now we recognize that one of our primary sources of leadership is the entertainment industry." Hollywood insiders, however, say most stars probably don't want any
divine intervention—and they question the logic of praying for A-list celebrities when there are more pressing issues such as world hunger, poverty and war.
"This kind of attitude comes off as very sanctimonious and a bit creepy, frankly," said longtime celebrity publicist Michael Levine. "I have been to some born-again Christian events that are every bit as discomforting to me as Tommy Lee at his worst." That attitude hasn't fazed the Hollywood Prayer Network. "It's this higher need. If I were asked not to, what would I do? I don't know if I could turn off this compassion that I feel," said member Terri Renfro. "I'm called to do this, so I do."

Hundreds of people have signed up for the Incognito Prayer Network, an informal list that allows members to pray for a celebrity of their choosing—or for one assigned to them. The group also hands out stickers for remote controls that read "Pray For This Show," takes prayer walks on studio lots and sells red plastic bracelets stamped with the Hollywood ZIP code, 90028. Spears is at the top of prayer requests these days, Covell said, but celebrities don't have to be on the brink of a meltdown to get a little religious TLC. Some members pray for their favorite actors, for a star who seems lonely or for someone who's had a string of box office flops.

"People will pull me aside at church and say, 'I really have a heart for Jennifer Aniston or whoever, but I feel weird praying for them because I don't know them,'" said Covell, who herself is a TV producer. "I say, 'No, no, pray for them.' It's like a gift for them that they don't even know they're getting." A publicist for Spears' label, Jive Records, did not return an e-mail requesting comment. A Hilton publicist also did not respond to a request for comment.

Renfro said she's currently praying for Spears, but has prayed in the past for Robert Downey Jr. and Robin Williams—both of whom have battled addictions. Renfro, who belongs to a nondenominational church near San Francisco, puts Post-It notes on her computer to remind her to pray, but sometimes it's hard to forget when her celebrity is nonstop tabloid fodder. She recalled a day she prayed for Downey and then later found out he had been arrested. "It was one of those cases where the Holy Spirit prompted me," she said.

Renfro, 49, also volunteers for the network's new Kids Prayer Calender. She targets a different child or teen star for prayer each day of the month. Some are well-known (Miley Cyrus, Dakota Fanning, Daniel Radcliffe) but others, like pint-sized Rachel Covey of Disney's "Enchanted," are just entering the business. The goal is to swaddle these budding stars in prayer before they become the next Spears or Lindsay Lohan, she said. "Some of them are little, little teeny kids," said Renfro, who labels them "Ones2Watch" on the prayer calendar. "It doesn't really matter if I think they'll be somebody big, because there's a value in praying for anybody who comes across this industry."

That's wisdom Michael Gordon takes to heart. The 46-year-old actor, whose stage name is Michael Dean, signed up for a prayer mentor with the network a year ago after struggling to squeeze endless auditions—and rejections—around his day job at FedEx. The support from his prayer partner, an analyst with J.P. Morgan in Denver, has given Gordon the confidence to push ahead and even reveal his faith to some of his acting peers. "When I think about biblical examples, those are the kinds of people that Jesus hung out with," said Gordon. "He was with the lepers and the blind and the poor and the outcast and, it's like, here I am, I'm dealing with those types of people and I have the opportunity to be a positive influence in their lives."

Hollywood Prayer Network:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Time for a Little Intolerance

I am beginning to dread Christmas and Thanksgiving. Not because of the holidays, of course. It's because one can't turn on the television or read the newspaper without hearing of some moronic protest being launched, either on the streets or in the courts.

This morning, I was watching the news and lo, there arose a school district where the Christmas film classic, Miracle on 34th Street, has been banned. The district says the film focuses too narrowly on Santa Claus. Add this one to all the other Christmas kerfuffles out there, stirred up by all the various interest groups who find Christmas offensive, including those from other cultures and religious traditions.

Let me say at the outset that I am no fan of Santa per se. I believe that the reason for the season is Jesus Christ, not a mythical character. However, I have no desire to be an Ebenezer Scrooge and tell people they can't enjoy the Santa story and tradition. In and of itself, it's harmless as long as the real truth about Christmas is told. Regardless, this kind of stupid, ignorant (and in some cases malevolent) nonsense is beginning to get real, real old.

The rabid atheist groups who raise Cain need to receive a firm, loud response from the majority. They need to be ignored, and the courts who back them need to be ignored or replaced. The Constitution stipulates that the legislative branch has the authority to remove things from the courts' jurisdiction. That needs to be done and done now.

As for the immigrants from other cultures who move here and then raise Cain, they need to receive a loud, clear message. Just try going to Saudi Arabia as an immigrant and then tell the society you find references to Muhammed offensive and want them stopped. Just try going to India and insisting on the right to slaughter a cow in public. Get the idea? When you move to a culture, you are the one moving in. You understand full well what the traditions of the country are where you are going, and you respect that. It is one thing to share your own traditions and to observe your own traditions, but quite another thing to try and force your host nation to abandon theirs, with force being the operative word. This is a country founded on Christian principles and traditions, and you knew that coming here. Get over it and deal with it. You have the right to observe your beliefs as you choose. You have no right to insist on the denial of ours. If you can't stand it, go home. If you can stand it, and respect it, then you are welcome.

The media and radical left will try to label a stance such as this xenophobic, intolerant, hateful, you name the charge. And such charges are patently ridiculous. These kinds of charges are made in an effort to bludgeon people into submission under their notion of tolerance, which means everything goes EXCEPT Christianity. It's time the rest of us got a little intolerant of THEIR intolerance. They're the ones who poked the hornet's nest with a stick. They're the ones who started this. They need to reap the due reward of a righteously angry society who has finally had enough.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Three Cheers for a Colorado Sheriff!!

At last, an elected official has the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the ACLU and the so-called secular progressives. Larimer County Colorado Sheriff Jim Alderden has written a column, which I have linked below. In it, he flays the hide off of liberal activists in the city of Ft. Collins who have plans to meddle with Christmas in true Soviet fashion. Not only does he verbally lambaste these clowns, but he also calls for local residents to help his department observe Christmas in capital letters. Gotta love it! I hope and pray more like Jim Alderden will step up to the plate and stick a good solid thumb in the ACLU's red eyes.

Larimer Co. Sheriff Bullseye

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today's Kudos

1. King Juan Carlos of Spain.

I have to admit I have some affection for monarchy. Perhaps it's the romantic in me. Who knows. Anyway, King Juan Carlos this week told Venezuelan would-be dictator Hugo Chavez to "shut up." It's about time someone had the moxie to slap Chavez down publically, and the King stepped up to the plate. Five gold stars.

2. Conservative Anglicans

The American Episcopal Church leadership is all in a dither because some of their churches actually dare to take Scripture seriously. Several have pulled out from under the authority of the American leadership and have placed themselves under African primate Peter Akinola, a strong priest who actually dares to take Scripture seriously. The conservative congregations are being threatened with the loss of their property through litigation, but thus far they are standing their ground. Five gold stars.

3. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue

Governor Perdue called -- and led -- a special Day of Prayer to ask God to send rain on the drought-stricken Southeast. Right on schedule, a small group of rabid atheists and mis-named "freethinkers" began their loud caterwauling about the governor being involved in a religious observance. To his credit, Governor Perdue told them to go pound sand. Okay, he didn't do that..he just said he'd pray that the protesters would learn tolerance -- a brilliant rejoinder. And what happened? Georgia got some much needed rain. Go figure. Ten gold stars to the Guv.

All in all, not a bad week considering a lot of other nonsense going on.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

America and Prophecy

Due to today's busy schedule, I am posting the following commentary by author and teacher Chuck Missler. Chuck speaks of America's future in relation to Bible prophecy. Chuck has been on our radio program several times and is always thought-provoking whether or not you agree with all of his conclusions.


Where is the United States in Bible prophecy? We have been asked this question by many of our readers over the years and today we would like to take a brief look at what the Bible has to say about America's ultimate destiny.

The United States appears to be conspicuously absent from Biblical prophecy. Biblical scholars tend to disagree on this subject. We could make a multitude of conjectures concerning America's fate, but the fact of the matter is that the Bible does not specifically explain God's plan for the US.

However we can learn many things about America's possible destiny by looking at the parallels between the US and the Northern Kingdom of Israel as described in the book of Hosea. The Northern Kingdom enjoyed material prosperity unequaled since days of Solomon, but they had sunk to the depths of immorality and idol worship. As a result of their sin God judged Israel and they were destroyed by their enemies.

The United States also enjoys unprecedented wealth and prosperity, but as a nation we have turned our back on God. So why hasn't God judged America? Is it too late? Or is there still time? Our Lord has power over all that is in heaven and earth and He alone has the power to transform our nation. God made a promise to the people of Israel that may apply to us as well:

"If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14

This call for repentance is not addressed to our President, our Congress, or the liberal left: It is addressed to "my people, who are called by my name." It speaks to the Body of Christ. Our stewardship of this nation does not begin and end at the ballot box. There is much more required of us. We need a national revival - and it must start with you and me.

"Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name." - 1 Chronicles 29:11-13

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Understanding the Left?

I am physically better today, but we've got a major conference going on at my office today and tomorrow. Therefore today's post will again be brief.

Linked below is a WorldNetDaily article by commentator Dennis Prager, who has some insight into understanding the left. He thinks you should read Rolling Stone if you really want to see through a window into the left's soul, curse words and all. I might have added that it can also provide a glimpse into the leadership of some of our churches, especially of the Emergent variety. Where else can you hear sermons or read books on this new kind of Christianity, with expletives not deleted?

Dennis Prager/WND

Monday, November 12, 2007

Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Bible Belt

I am under the weather today, so just this quick snippet of news. The link below will take you to a BBC story, where Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe takes a shot at American Christians who find a gay character in the story objectionable. It seems most of the actors and behind-the-scenes people get a hoot out of it. Another example of Romans 1 in action.

This really should not surprise any of us. The spiritual state of Europe has been in tatters for decades. But it is sad to see young people being raised with a mocking attitude toward Christianity. True, biblical Christianity that is. Anyway, here's the link:

BBC News Article

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Heaven: Was the Lord Lying?

Before I finish up where we left off on the subject of Heaven, I want to make one comment. I debated with myself on how to approach this subject. One was to do a long, in-depth attempt at a scholarly approach, and the other was to approach it in a smaller, editorial-type comment. I have chosen the latter, because I am told by those who know that, in the Internet world, brevity is best. I am tempted to believe them, because it seems most people have the attention span of a gnat these days. There are numerous causes for this phenomenon, but that's another comment for another time.

As noted earlier, TeamPyro's Phil Johnson posted a piece regarding Emergent Church leader Doug Pagitt and his seeming uncertainty on the question of whether Heaven was a real place. As you can probably imagine, that provoked a good deal of astonishment on the part of Christians who actually believe that God says what He means and means what He says.

Let's go to the Source Himself to begin. What did the Lord Jesus tell the disciples? In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2-3). That is a direct promise from the Lord.

When the Lord's time on earth was done, He ascended. In Acts 1, Luke tells us that the Lord ascended to Heaven. (BTW, Heaven is mentioned 456 times in the Bible. At times it refers to Earth's atmosphere, but at other times it refers to the Lord's other-dimensional dwelling place.) In verse nine of the same chapter, Luke describes how a cloud received Him out of their sight. Just where did the Lord go? Did Scotty beam Him up? Doubtful, isn't it?

In Revelation, throughout the whole book written by the Apostle John, it is plain for anyone who can read and cognitively understand that Heaven is a place inhabited by God, the angels, and by human beings who have passed from this life. I won't cite all the verses. Read it for yourself.

It is supremely irritating to even have to write a post like this, and not because of the need to witness to the lost. I am happy to talk about the Lord and Heaven to people who do not know. This is irritating because I am having to write this to address false teachers in the church -- teachers who ought to know better and teachers who ought to be ashamed. It is irritating even though the Lord Himself warned His people that we'd have to put up with this nonsense until His return. And nonsense it is, in spades. 2 Peter 3 talks about scoffers who pooh-pooh the very idea of the Lord's return for His people, as well as the notion of Heaven. To these scoffers, Heaven is a place on earth to be built by uber-humans who are enlightened enough to leave behind the idea that this world is not all there is.

It is irritating and perplexing why some people who style themselves as pastors take positions such as this. Just how far Doug Pagitt goes in this direction isn't really the subject of this post although I use the debate involving his words as a kick-off point. Clergymen have expressed doubts about the testimony of Scripture long before Pagitt expressed doubts about anything. You might ask the question, "If pastors are that clueless about Heaven, why are they pastoring a church?" Sadly, there are plenty of men (and women) out there pastoring churches who have no business in a pulpit, and not all of them are in mainline churches. Some of them are even in purportedly evangelical churches. The fact that evangelical churches allow scoffers and doubters to take up space on Sunday morning is a severe indictment.

Make no mistake. To deny the reality of Heaven is to call God Himself a liar. Calling God a liar, whether outright or de facto, carries serious consequences.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pix of the Week

Thanks to Mike Riccardi for tipping me off to this one. What a hoot!

A Trickle Becomes a Torrent

I still want to return to the subject of Heaven and Hell, and by God's grace I will -- tomorrow. Today I am pressed for time, so a quick think piece will have to do.

In the lovely Ozarks of Arkansas, if you tool around out in the boonies long enough, you will encounter what they call "low water bridges." They have them in other parts of the country, but I first encountered them in the Land of Opportunity. The one in the picture is near the community of Jasper. The Buffalo River is flowing over it, and as you'll see, the flow rate isn't much -- not surprising for the middle of August. If I were to stand on the bridge, the water wouldn't even get up to my ankles. You just hear the quiet babbling of the stream. It's really quite a peaceful setting.

But don't let the pastoral quiet fool you. The river can come up quite hastily and unexpectedly. They call it a "head rise." A heavy rain upstream can inundate this low water bridge and sweep away anything on it. Sometimes people have been caught completely unawares camping on the riverbank, with fatal consequences.

How like our own times in terms of truth and theology. When those of us in the church fall asleep and pay no attention to the trickle of bad theology bubbling up in our midst, the trickle quickly becomes a torrent. And often, the consequences have been fatal to many a fellowship. Why do we never learn?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Emergent Church and Hyacinth

I just had a minor epiphany today.

I often struggle to find relevant analogies for the teachers on the extreme side of the Emergent Church movement. This one should do nicely.

The Emergent Church is a true church in the same sense that Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced "bouquet") is a genuine blueblood. It's all a matter of keeping up appearances. And as was the case with Hyacinth, the sham gets exposed these days on a regular basis.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Television Evangelists Under Investigation . . . Again!

I plan to return to the subject of Heaven and Hell, but I couldn't let today's hot news story pass without comment. I am speaking of the news that U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is spearheading an investigation into the financial dealings of some top televangelists. Among those under investigation: Creflo Dollar (ironic name, isn't it?), Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland.

Normally, I dislike the idea of the government getting too high-handed in its meddling into church affairs. However, the horrible high-profile scandals of the 1980s ensured that both government investigators and the media would begin paying a very close eye to the ostentatious side of "ministry." Remember the PTL scandal? Remember the falls of Jimmy Swaggart and Marvin Gorman? Remember Bob Tilton? Some television ministries today still refuse to join the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, set up in part to help guard against such shenanigans and misuse of donor contributions. Unfortunately, it appears there are many out there who haven't learned a thing.

Yes, I know that I shouldn't prejudge this before the investigation is complete, and I don't intend to. However, I can be justly critical of lavish lifestyles that border on the obscene when that lifestyle is supported by sometimes naive people who think they are giving to the Lord's ministry. It is alleged that one of these televangelists spent thousands of dollars for a marble commode. That's a pretty expensive trip to the bathroom if you ask me.

Do I think that it is a sin to be wealthy? Not necessarily. However, I do believe -- with biblical justification -- that to whom much is given, much will be required. God expects His people to be good stewards of what He has provided. That includes me, and I don't make anywhere near what these televangelists probably consider as chump change. But compared to other parts of the world, I live pretty well and I have been convicted about how I've used money over the years. Beyond all of that, there is a pretty serious reason why stories such as this should be troubling to Christians.

What sort of witness does this kind of thing provide? I have personally traveled to places like Russia and Belarus where many Christians are very, very poor. They can't afford to pay their pastors and the vast majority have trouble even renting small, shanty-like houses to hold church meetings. It's heartbreaking.

And some of these types of Western preachers have flown over to these countries on so-called ministry trips, and then chide these dear saints for not having enough faith to be prosperous. They don't have a clue of what these genuine saints deal with every day of their lives, and how they sacrificially give of what they have to both advance the Gospel and to be hospitable to guests. I have seen how their dinner tables are laden for visiting Westerners, knowing full well that it probably means their families will have to eat fairly skimpily for the next week or more. But they lovingly give the best that they have. After seeing things like this, for me to see the palatial mansions of some of these televangelists truly makes me ill.

Again, it's one thing if this money is made from book sales, music sales or some other product. But if it's done using donations from people who think that their money is being used to advance the Gospel, that's quite another thing. I can't help but think the Lord is grieved, all the more so because His name is profaned by unbelievers who see that kind of ostentatiousness and think that example is representative of both the Lord and His people.

We'll see how all this ends up, but I am not optimistic in the short term. Lavishness is often hard to give up when one becomes used to it. However, they might well be forced to live a more humble lifestyle when the donations dry up. If the charges are false, I hope they will be exonerated. More than that, I hope that they will learn the lesson that God is trying to teach them. We all could learn something as a matter of fact.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Longing for Heaven?

I hope to flesh this out more thoroughly later, but this will have to do for now.

Over at TeamPyro (see link in sidebar), a debate has sprung up over the subject of whether Christians are too heavenly-minded. Needless to say, the ones who insist that we are belong to the Emergent Church movement. Some have even gone so far as to strongly imply that we as believers are to build the kingdom of God here on earth, and not think about "pie in the sky." Hmmm. Where have we heard this before? I've always thought that the EC movement was regurgitated 1960s liberalism in new guise, and this is more confirmation of it. And, as always, we have to point back to Scripture to see what the Lord actually says about both Heaven and Hell.

References to the afterlife are numerous throughout Scripture, Old Testament included. Here are just a few:

1. Enoch in Genesis 5. God took him directly to Heaven because Enoch walked with Him.

2. Elijah in II Kings 2. God took Elijah directly to Heaven in a chariot of fire.

3. King David mourning his dead son in II Samuel 12. David said he would join his son in the afterlife in time.

Let's go to the New Testament. Jesus talked about Hell more than anyone else in the New Testament, and He also talked about Heaven. There is so much material that can be found so easily it is superfluous to retype it here. The book of Revelation ends with the true Kingdom of God established at last with a new Heaven and a new Earth. Prior to that, the dead in Christ were in His presence . . . in Heaven . . . awaiting the consummation of the ages.

The Apostle Paul said plainly that we are to set our minds on things above (Colossians). He also spoke of the coming of the Lord and our gathering together to Him (II Thessalonians 2). The Apostle Peter wrote of how this present world would be destroyed (II Peter). There's so much more.

Are we to ignore the world and do no good in it while waiting for the Lord and eternal life with Him? Stupid question and I am surprised it gets asked. Jesus said in Matthew 5 that our good works here would bring God glory. Paul said that believers were created for good works. That's in Ephesians. I think it's a canard -- and a pretty obvious one -- that biblical conservatives don't care about the lost world and its real physical needs. Ever been to a local rescue mission? Ever been to a food pantry? Ever seen what happens when your house burns down and how fellow believers respond? Ever hear of Samaritan's Purse? Again, there's so much more. But since these are private actions and not government directed through generous confiscation of your money, we can't count those. And that, I believe, is where the rubber really meets the road.

One of the contributors in the TeamPyro comment thread said it best. Those pushing Emergent theology so hot and heavy are more than likely more excited about using religion to advance left-wing political goals than they are about really introducing people to the biblical Lord Jesus. It's been done before and sometimes with pretty horrible results.

Liberation Theology, anyone?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pat Boone on Censorship

I haven't had much time to post for the past few days, so I am letting others do my work for me today. Here's yet another thought-provoking column on the benefits of censorship, written by entertainer Pat Boone. Food for thought:

Pat Boone WorldNetDaily Column

Chuck Norris Responds to Huckabee Criticism

Since we aired Don Feder's concerns over the candidacy of Mike Huckabee, today we offer up a pro-Huckabee comment from action movie and former martial arts champion Chuck Norris. After reading both sides, I am still personally standing with Huckabee. Compared to the so-called top tier GOP candidates, Huckabee by far echoes my sentiments on most issues of the day. All of us have to make up our own minds, of course, but I could not in good conscience vote for Romney or Giuliani. Anyway, below is the link to Chuck's comment:

Chuck Norris WorldNetDaily Column

Friday, November 02, 2007

Another View of Mike Huckabee

A few weeks ago, I came out strongly in favor of Mike Huckabee in the GOP presidential race. Below, I am linking an opinion piece written by Don Feder who takes strong exception to Huckabee. Feder isn't known for just slamming people willy-nilly, and his comments have caused me to rethink my endorsement.

Keep in mind, compared to the frontrunners, Mike Huckabee wins hands down on the social issues. However, there is indeed more to being a conservative than just the social issues alone. Illegal immigration is a serious issue for the security factor alone if not other considerations, and Huckabee has been soft on that issue. I look forward to hearing him clarify his positions in the days ahead.

Don Feder Column

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Fitting Way to Remember the Reformation

Now that Reformation Day is over, I wanted to share this brief quote from Dr. Martin Luther's rejoinder to the papal bull, "Exsurge Domine," which had been issued against him. Luther's reply was called "Against the Execrable Bull of Antichrist." I first encountered it in Roland Bainton's excellent bio of Luther entitled "Here I Stand - A Life of Martin Luther." I laughed heartily then and am laughing heartily now.

I have heard that a bull against me has gone through the whole earth before it came to me, because being a daughter of darkness it feared the light of my face. If not spurious, Luther believed it would have been written by that man of lies, dissimulation, errors, and heresy, that monster Johann Eck . . . whoever writes this bull, he is Antichrist . . . I protest before God that with my whole heart I dissent from the damnation of this bull, that I curse and execrate it as sacrilege and blasphemy of Christ. This be my recantation, O bull, thou ***** of bulls.

There is some dispute over the word in asterisks. Bainton used a tame word, but this particular excerpt was a bit rough. Let's just say that it rhymes with witch.